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Archive for the ‘Walking with God’ Category

RomansRoad132x200I rarely have opportunity to quote a Diana Ross song for spiritual insight or inspiration, but I hear God’s voice in these lyrics from the song made famous by Diana Ross and written by Gerry Goffin and Michael Masser:

Do you know where you’re goin’ to?
Do you like the things that life is showin’ you
Where are you goin’ to? Do you know?

As I begin 2014, I ask myself, “Do I have a direction in which I am headed?”  “Am I headed in the same direction as God?” I see the new year as an opportunity, a time to adjust the headings and evaluate what was accomplished last year, and what the goals should be for the coming year, spiritually speaking.

If you are having trouble focusing or setting goals, here are some questions to help you:

  • What have you learned about God this year?
  • What have you learned about yourself from God this year?
  • What things do you continue to struggle with and need God’s assistance or deliverance this year?

May God bless you and give you grace to walk humbly with Him.

Through the LORD’S mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” Lamentations 3:22-24

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Ever have someone wrong you, and you forgave them but negative thoughts persist?    I have found myself with such thoughts more than once.  So what’s a body to do?

Choosing the right weapons

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ  2 Corinthians 10:3-5

The battle will wage regardless of the weapons we choose to take up to fight.  Although no one can escape the  battle, the good news is two-fold:

  • The battle is won.  Jesus said, “It is finished.”
  • The weapons are “in God.”  This means that I do not have to think about finding my own weapons or using ineffective weaponry to fight my foes.

What are the weapons that I can use?

  • The Whole Armor of God
  • The Belt of Truth 
  • The Breastplate of Righteousness 
  • The Gospel of Truth
  • The Shield of Faith
  • The Helmet of Salvation
  • The Sword of the Spirit
  • Prayer                                                          –Ephesians 6:13-18

These weapons will help us to bring those thoughts, those persistent thoughts, into captivity to the obedience of Christ.  We will look in more detail at what this means and how this might be applied to our lives more specifically in the next post.

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Two mountains which figure prominently in the Bible when taken together, represent the character of God.  One mountain is characterized  by a consuming fire.  On that mountain, God displayed His judgment and His holiness.  The other mountain is characterized by blood and sacrifice.  On that mountain, God displayed His consuming love and mercy.

Mount Sinai

Mount Sinai is the backdrop for Israel’s receipt of the Law.  The mountain is where God met Moses and is primarily characterized by fire:

  • Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly.  Exodus 19:18
  •  The sight of the glory of the LORD was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel.  Exodus 24:17
  • Then you came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire to the midst of heaven, with darkness, cloud, and thick darkness.  Deuteronomy 4:11
  •  The LORD talked with you face to face on the mountain from the midst of the fire.  Deuteronomy 5:4
  •  Then the LORD delivered to me two tablets of stone written with the finger of God, and on them were all the words which the LORD had spoken to you on the mountain from the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly.  Deuteronomy 9:10
Mount Zion
The other mountain is Mount Zion (found within the land given to the tribe of Judah).   Mt. Zion was sometimes called The City of David, and descriptions of Mt. Zion paint a very different picture from those describing Mt. Sinai:
  • Remember Your congregation, which You have purchased of old, The tribe of Your inheritance, which You have redeemed-This Mount Zion where You have dwelt.  Psalm 74:2
  • But chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion which He loved.  Psalm 78:68
  •  Those who trust in the LORD Are like Mount Zion, Which cannot be moved, but abides forever.  Psalm 125:1
  • And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, As the LORD has said, Among the remnant whom the LORD calls.  Joel 2:32
  • Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads.  Revelation 14:1

Paul makes the case for the two mountains in his letter to the Hebrews:

For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. . . . And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”)

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.  

See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.”  Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.   Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.  Hebrews 12:18-29

It is the same God of both mountains, so we should keep both mountains in view:

  • one where God laid down His law, a place of judgment.
  • one where God laid down His life, a perfect sacrifice, a place of love, grace, mercy and forgiveness.
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Here’s a great post written by a friend of mine from high school.  It offers encouragement to those who are facing difficult circumstances.

The Ultimate Rescue Operation

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Sometimes we are told to “Make a joyful shout to the LORD” (Psalm 100) and  “Praise Him with clashing cymbals! (Psalm 150)”  Other times, we can be quiet.

We can be quiet in His strength

In Matthew 11:28, Jesus says,  “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

The picture here is of oxen pulling a plow or a wagon.  The two animals would be yoked together.   A yoke is “a device for joining together a pair of draft animals, especially oxen, usually consisting of a crosspiece with two bow-shaped pieces, each enclosing the head of an animal.”  In order to be yoked together, animals must be comparable in size, stamina and desire to work.   This provides an important spiritual lesson to the believer.

When we are yoked to Jesus, we go where He goes (by necessity).  Because of the yoke, we must look at what He looks at, see what He sees.  By being joined together like this, we benefit from His wisdom and His strength, and we can just be quiet.  Sometimes it is good to just walk alongside Jesus, yoked to Him, quietly learning from Him.

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Will you be like Judas and serve Christ with a kiss of betrayal?

Do you come and “kiss the ring” on Sunday morning, serving God, worshiping with the people of God, nodding at the finer points of the  Pastor’s sermon and then live like a heathen the rest of the week?  Isn’t that exactly what Judas did?  Didn’t he walk daily with Jesus, watch the miracles, hang with the disciples and do the “spiritual” things like saying the previous oil in the alabaster box should be sold to generate money for the poor, and then didn’t he sell Jesus out to his enemies for 30 pieces of silver?  Is that you?  Pious with the church folks and down and dirty with the unsaved, passing off your church attendance as mere amusement, something you do for your parents, kids or spouse?  Be careful you don’t live like Judas, by the kiss.

Will you be like Peter and seek to serve the LORD by the flesh and the sword?

Maybe you are more like Peter.  God speaks to you and shows you His truth, but rather than wait on the LORD, you rush ahead in your flesh and cut off the ears of those who don’t yet know God.  Maybe you rely on your own wisdom to argue with the unsaved, driving them farther from Jesus.  Maybe when God draws you into the company of Godly men or women, all you can speak of is building a tent for them, forgetting about the close presence of God in your zeal to show partiality to men.  Be careful you don’t seek to serve Jesus by the flesh and the sword.  It will only leave you and those around you wounded.

Or will you be like Jesus, who when called to serve God, obeyed drinking the cup

The cup that Jesus drank from was no simple thing.  Three times He begged God to take it from Him always asking for God’s will first.  Will you be like Jesus?  Will you seek first God’s plan, God’s way, God’s purpose and despite the pain, discomfort or sheer terror you feel in the face of it, will you, like Jesus, drink the cup God offers you?  Will you be like Jesus, obedient to death, a death on the cross?  A death of torture and humiliation?  Will you then, in the midst of your torture and humiliation, count those for whom you suffer “joy”?  Serve God by drinking the cup.  Serve God by obeying Him with every fiber of your being, even your last breath.

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Given the pervasive nature of fear, it seems wise for us to consider more of what the Bible would teach us about fear and fighting fear.

On the nature of fear . . . 

  • There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.  1John 4:18
  • The love of God for us is perfect love.  When we walk in the love of God, in fellowship with Him, abiding in His word and living by His Spirit, we can experience a life free of fear.  In fellowship with God, the torment must flee and the Spirit of God brings peace, the peace that passes understanding.
On why we shouldn’t fear . . .
  • Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.  Matthew 10:26
  • Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”  Luke 12:32 (Jesus speaking)
Without fear, it is possible to have peace
  • You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.  Isaiah 26:3
With God, we have a remedy for our fear.  Look to Jesus, author and finisher of our faith.  Focus on what God has done, is doing and will do.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus . . . look full in His wonder face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

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