SETTING THE MIND ON CHRIST – – Part 3


Colossians 3:1-5 – “If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. 5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.”  NASB

As we continue this journey let me suggest that there is a genuine problem in all of this.  Can you relate and say, “Why is it that we can relate when it is argued that it is too high and lofty a goal and it does not work in normal life?”   We can because we failed to move to verse 3 and gain the needed understanding.  We became so thrilled with the promise of verse 1 that we forgot that verse to informed us that it is imperative that we ‘change our thinking.’

Inside the believer’s heart, Jesus lives and brings His infinite wisdom, understanding, and joy.  He is ‘in’ us.  Our problem is that we continue to think the way and about the things we used to think.  We still evaluate things the way we used to evaluate them.  We still consider life the way we used to consider it.  We are stuck in Stinking Thinking.

That is a real problem.  We are not the person that we used to be, but we still have an old head or thought process at work.  We have a ‘new heart’ but an ‘old head’ and that is a problem.  We continue to think about and in the manner of the person that used to live in this tabernacle, but that person is dead and doesn’t live there anymore.  We have a heart that is crying out, “Let me be who I really am.”  That presents a real problem.

It would serve us well to remember in Proverbs 23:7, “…as a man thinks in his heart…”  How one thinks is reflective of how he is and how he lives, but as a ‘new person’ in Christ, we don’t want to continue in that kind of thinking.  That brings to mind the words of Paul, “Oh wretched man that I am.”  We, have a battle inside that cries out, “what is wrong with me?”  We don’t want to think that way or live that way because we have experienced Christ in the new birth, but we do.  Something is terribly wrong, what do we do?

I agree with the declaration of the apostle Paul that ‘because’ we have been raised with Christ and because He ‘is’ our life and His inexhaustible sufficiency is ‘within’ us we can do this.  We are enabled by the Holy Spirit to begin the process of reprogramming our minds and developing Kingdom Thinking or Christ Thinking.  It is a process and it is up to us to determine that we are going to direct our thoughts along different paths.  We choose to ‘set’ our minds on things above, the Kingdom of God, and Christ.

The Christian has a different mental outlook from the world.  The Believer has a certain way of thinking biblically.  Before the Christian life becomes a Way of Living it must be a Way of Thinking.  Christ must become the Lord of our thoughts!

I have had people, push back, and insist, “I can’t help the way I think.”  I say that is wrong!  God says, “set your mind on things above.”  That is a command, not a suggestion!  God never commands us to do something that we cannot do, that would be diabolical, and He is not diabolical.  Therefore, when anyone argues, “I cannot help what I think” that is the wrong position. 

I contend that all the Old Testament prophecies spoke of the miracle of salvation and identified that it would affect the mind.  It would not be written in stone but in the heart and the mind.  That opens another thought that we will address in a couple of days but until then, I pause and pray that you will have a fantastic Independence Day!

Have a Great Day in Jesus!

SETTING THE MIND ON CHRIST – – Part 2


Colossians 3:1-5 – “If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. 5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.”  NASB

I hope you were able to digest what we began to unearth in the last session and will join me as we embark on the next leg of our spiritual journey.  In light of the fact that we are dead to the old and alive to the new in Christ and He is our life we now adjust our thinking.  That’s the ‘therefore’.  Therefore, you do this you reprogram your mind and begin to disallow some thought patterns of the past.  Your focus changes and in that change your actions change too.

That brings us to another word found in verse 5, “Consider.”  Consider what?  He says, “Consider the members of your earthly body dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed.”  We are to think a different way now that we are ‘in Christ’ and we are to ‘set our minds on things above’ not on earthly things as before.  The focus is no longer us but Him and His Kingdom.  We are dead to sin and alive to God. We are new persons and Christ is our life.

I am not speaking to everyone but to a certain classification of people. I am speaking to the believer, the Christian, the born-again.  Because, unless a person is ‘born-again’ there is not as significant a benefit in thinking differently.  All the self-help books in the world tell us we can ‘change our lives’ just by ‘changing how we think’.  I contend that they left out the most important element, I do not begin in my thoughts, I begin in my spirit!

Thus, if I have a dead spirit (dead in trespasses and sin), all the positive thinking in the world will do nothing but leave me positively dead.  Positive but still dead.  It won’t change me or make me whole. 

I hope that resonates with everyone.  It is because we are the people who have been ‘raised up with Christ’ that we have hope.  It is because we are now ‘dead to the old’ and ‘alive to the new’ that we have hope.  Christ is now united to our spirits and we are joined to Him as “One Spirit.”

We are the people to whom Jesus Christ has come by His Spirit.  Jesus sits on His throne in Heaven and we are His Body on this earth.  He is ‘in us’ by the Holy Spirit.  He is the comforter and teacher.  He is our guide into all things true and right.  It is to that group of people that God says, “Change Your Thinking!”

Being united to Christ means that we are united to Love Himself.  Love lives on the inside of us and flows out of us.  We are united to Gentleness Himself and we are wise as serpents and harmless as doves.  We are united to Joy and Peace through our being united with Jesus.  We are no longer on the long religious road looking for virtue we have been united to Virtue Himself.  We have Joy, Peace, Patience, Gentleness in the Person of Jesus Christ living in us.  We are ‘new persons’ in Him. 

Now, that we are that new person we need to develop some thoughts that go with that new person, new spirit, and new life.  We have become new and now it is time to be new! 

It is time that we begin thinking of ourselves as who we really are – United with Christ!  Stop thinking of yourselves as how and what you used to be, that person is dead.  Get a whole new set of thoughts and an entirely new pattern of thought.  Because “if” Christ lives “in” me there is nothing to difficult for me.  This is a new life that can face any situation and handle any difficulty.  We have that ability because it is “Christ in us.”  We can forgive the unforgivable.  We can do the undoable.  We can dream the impossible dream and walk in Perfect Peace and Be Who God Says We Are!  No more moaning, groaning, and complaining.  We now embrace life and live it to the fullest because we are learning to “Change our Way of Thinking.”

I will deal with this again, but for now, I will pause and hope this resonates with you and enables you to abandon some deadly or stinking thinking and embrace the newness of life.  May you bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ through the Holy Spirit.

Have a Great Day in Jesus!

SETTING THE MIND ON CHRIST…


Colossians 3:1-5 – “If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. 5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.”  NASB

I want to venture into a subject that some, in various Christian circles, avoid like the plague fearing drifting into mysticism or missing the theological mark and falling into doctrinal error.  What is that subject?  The Christian mind and how we learn to set our minds on Christ and meditate on spiritual things productively. 

I consider this passage in Colossians incredibly interesting.  I would invite you to join me in examining some of the words used.  Words link sentences.  That is a basic principle and I have no desire to attempt a lesson in English grammar.  However, I believe God uses ‘normal language’ to communicate with us.  In that communication, He uses grammar and obeys the laws of grammar.  Therefore, sometimes it becomes very important to note the grammar of various texts for clarity in understanding.

Two words that I bring to the table for consideration are ‘for’ (v.3) and ‘therefore’ (v.5).  Both are incredibly important words here and in the English language.  They are important because they link us back.  It is very interesting how sometimes even the smallest things hold a vital key to understanding.

I ask that you walk through the passage with me as we consider these words and use them as a springboard to our subject.  He said, “If then you have been raised with Christ…”  If that is the case, there is a truth to be gleaned.  This is not an ‘if’ of question but an ‘if’ of since this is the case.  Let’s translate it, “Since you have been raised with Christ.”  If that is the case, then, the question is “What are we to do?” 

In verse 2 we have a powerful injunction and instruction.  If we have or since we have been raised with Christ, we are to ‘Set our minds on things above not things beneath.’  If we have been born again, raised with Christ spiritually, if that is the case, then there is something for us to do.  We keep praying for God to do it all for us, but He frequently enjoins us to our part in the process.  Here we realize that we are expected to ‘do’ the work of setting our minds on things above.  This is something we do not just something He does for us.  We are not robots!

The word ‘for’ indicates that this is not a new idea or a new super discovery.  The word ‘for’ brings us face to face with the question, “Do we know why we must set our minds on things above?”  The ‘for’ here is ‘because.’  We do this because we have died and now our lives are hidden with Christ in God.

I hope you are tracking with me.  When Christ, who is our life, comes to us in this relationship He says this is what you must do.  You are expected to change your thinking because you have a different life.  You do not think the old way because you are no longer that person.  You are a new creation, a new person, therefore, start thinking differently.  For, you have died! 

You left spiritual Egypt and have passed through your Red Sea.  You have died.  You said farewell to the world.  You announced your burial.  You have been buried and that life is over.  You are now alive with God in Christ Jesus and Jesus is now your life.  You are united with Him. 

That’s why you ‘set’ your mind on things above.  The fact that you have set your mind on things above, therefore.  Therefore, always looks to discover what it is there for.  What is therefore there for?   It is to call our attention to our part in the process.  However, we must never lose sight of the reality that God will help us through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.  He will help us to bring every thought captive and into obedience to Christ Jesus.  The renewed mind is not automatic at conversion, it is a process.

I want to deal with this more but will tap the brakes here and put this on hold until the next devotional. 

God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!

DIVINE GUIDANCE – – Part 3


Isaiah 35:8 – “And a highway will be there, a roadway, and it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, but it will be for him who walks that way, and fools will not wander on it.”  NASB

In considering the Four Basic Principles of Divine Guidance we must not omit that enjoying God’s Divine Guidance demands a clean break from all other forms of guidance.  The Bible identifies that all attempts to know the future by any means other than the direct revelation of God is unacceptable to Him and He calls it sin.

It is troubling for some but that includes rejecting all forms of spiritism, seances, fortune telling, card reading, crystal ball gazing, astrology, horoscopes, Ouija boards, palm reading, spirit handwriting analysis, biorhythms, ESP, clairvoyance, mind reading, parapsychology, science of the mind religions, and other related methods. 

We are informed in James 3:15 – “This [superficial] wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic.”  Then in James 3:17, we are told, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.”  

Therefore, all impressions, leadings, or words MUST be subjected to the test of God’s Word.  The Bible is the final judge.  The Bible must take precedent over our emotions, feelings, impressions, signs, or leadings we feel we may have received.  If the revelation does not agree with God’s Word and pass the test of James 3, we can know that our source of wisdom is not from above but beneath and must be rejected.

A powerful directive is found in Romans 8:14, “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.”  Notice he said, ‘being led’ and that implies a continued experience.  When we allow ourselves to be disciplined and trained by the Holy Spirit, we are demonstrating a maturity that will lead to greater guidance. 

I encourage you to focus on the Four Basic Principles of Divine Guidance and allow the Holy Spirit to help you learn to hear God clearly and plainly.

  • Divine Guidance is not Automatic.
  • Divine Guidance is a skill to be developed.
  • Divine Guidance is not a Formula.
  • Divine Guidance is personal and demands the development of a personal relationship with God.

God desires to guide us into all truth and can only do that if we reject the counterfeit of the devil and pursue God with our whole heart.  It is of no benefit to God to have a will for our lives and us not be able to discover or discern it.  He wants us to know what He wants and to guide us each day and in every way.

God bless you as you enjoy this day in Jesus!

DIVINE GUIDANCE – – Part 2


Isaiah 35:8 – “And a highway will be there, a roadway, and it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, but it will be for him who walks that way, and fools will not wander on it.”  NASB

Let’s consider the process of achieving God’s Divine Guidance.  Suppose you have accepted Jesus, received the Holy Spirit, and committed ourselves to read and study the Bible more and more and accept it as truth.  Congratulations, that is a great first step.  Does that mean you automatically have ‘tuned out’ the Wisdom from Below and ‘tuned in’ the Wisdom from Above?  Does that mean you will automatically begin to hear God and receive His divine guidance? 

Unfortunately, No!  One of the problems is we do not always realize or discern that we are being exposed to counterfeit wisdom.  We do have a clear promise in the Bible that we can know the mind and will of God in any matter.  However, there is also a warning that we must beware of false guidance.

Sadly, I am aware of well-meaning Christians who have turned to dangerous sources and methods seeking guidance.  They have been deceived into turning to what the Bible calls ‘familiar spirits’ in their pursuit of truth and guidance.  I refer you to Deuteronomy 18:10-13 for consideration. In that, we find the mention of people and places we are instructed to avoid. 

Let me list them for your benefit.  Divination is fortune-telling.  Observing the times is astrology.  Enchanters are real magicians.  Witches which includes sorcery.  Charmers which includes hypnotism.  Consulter of familiar spirits which is to receive a medium as a guide.  A wizard which includes the clairvoyant and psychics.  The necromancer or those who consult the dead.  I know that I may be stirring a hornet’s nest for some, but I challenge you to examine the text and the original language.  God’s prohibitions are for our benefit, not our hurt.

Those are supernatural sources but not the Holy Spirit.  The information they bring may sound good and detailed. The information may be things we wanted to hear and because it is clear they are from a supernatural source they are often accepted as being from God.  Paul warned us in 2 Corinthians 11:14, “…and no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” 

Another problem in receiving Divine Guidance is the trickery we encounter in our own mixed-up human emotions, the impurity of our motives, the flaw of our prejudices, and patterns of thought and action. 

There are been some glaring failures in the church causing some, even entire churches, to turn their back on Divine Guidance as a valid pursuit for today.  I have been told, “We have the Bible, that’s all we need.  God no longer speaks today.”  I have been told by the other side of the equation, “I hear God, so I don’t need the Bible.”  I believe both are wrong.  God does speak today and even if we hear Him, we need the Bible.

I see Four Basic Principles to be learned and followed by anyone who honestly desires to be guided by God in their daily lives. 

Divine Guidance does not come automatically.  You cannot push a button, flip a switch, open a Bible randomly, or listen for voices and automatically hear God. 

Receiving Divine Guidance is a skill to be learned.  I have learned to hear God by learning how I do not hear God or trial and error.  That requires a measure of spiritual adventurism and the exercise of faith. 

Receiving Divine Guidance is not a set of methods or a formula.  However, it is based on obedience to a specific set of biblical principles. 

Finally, Divine Guidance is intensely personal.  It involves and demands a relationship.

I want to take this another step but will wait until the next devotional.  I ask that you muse on those four basic principles and we will reopen this in the next devotional.

Have a Great Day in Jesus!

DIVINE GUIDANCE…


Isaiah 35:8 – “And a highway will be there, a roadway, and it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, but it will be for him who walks that way, and fools will not wander on it.”  NASB

I believe in practicality in biblical truths.  The theoretical has a place but when it comes to our relationship with God and His guidance we need to move beyond theoretical to practical.  I have been on a quest to discover and teach people how to discern or know the guidance of God in our daily lives.

I have encountered two extremes regarding God’s guidance.  One group says, “God told me” regarding everything even things that are blatantly lacking biblical foundation.  The other says, “God does not speak anymore.”  I consider both extremes and detrimental to the Body of Christ and the Kingdom of God.  They have both been instrumental in causing some to discard the wonderful truth of “Divine Guidance.”  The response has often been like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. 

The passage in Isaiah 35 is a beautiful promise.  The picture of a highway in the wilderness that is so clear and straight that even the simple can follow it.  I believe that God wants to guide us today.  Jesus said in John 16:13, “When He, the Spirit of Truth is come, He will guide you into all truth…”  Who is this?  Who is He dealing with?  What is He going to do?  How much truth?  All valid questions.  This guide of John 16 is the Holy Spirit.  He is a person and can never be reduced to a method or theory.  But He is guided by some clearly revealed principles in scripture.

Our objective is to learn to distinguish God’s Guidance from the confusion of our own desires, prejudices, preconceived notions, and impulses.  We also need to learn to distinguish the counterfeits of the devil.  I like to say, “Nobody gets lost on a straight road.”  In my years of Christian ministry, I have found that many are fixated on finding a ‘surefire’ way to know what direction or action to take in life.  We want to be ‘on target’ and not ‘miss the mark.’

Those who do not know Jesus sometimes seek many forms of guidance including psychics, prognosticators, astrologers, market analysts, etc.  We encounter ‘experts’ in every field and there is frequently great disagreement and confusion produced in the ‘truth-seekers.’  Why?  Basically, it is because they believe that all wisdom comes from the same source.  That is wrong! 

The Bible teaches that there are two sources of wisdom.  There is Wisdom from Above and Wisdom from Below.  We have God’s Wisdom and the faux wisdom that comes from the devil.  The Wisdom from Above is Truth and the other is False.  One causes us to “hit the mark” and the other to “miss the mark.”

God’s Provision for Guidance is first and foremost the Lord Jesus Christ.  He saves us and enables us to be reestablished in a right relationship with God thereby opening the door to Light and Life.  Secondly, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  We see that in Acts 2:38, John 16:13, and Luke 11:13.  Thirdly we have the Holy Scriptures.  The Bible is the written revelation of the will and purpose of God.  John 8:31-32 – “Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Everybody lives by some authority and Jesus said that if we make God’s Word our authority we will never be put to shame.

There are a Process and a Progression that is needful for us to understand but I will wait until the next devotional to address that.  Therefore, we will pause here and pray that the LORD will guard and guide you through this day.

Have a Great Day in the Love and Light of God!

THE DOOR IS OPEN, and THE DEVIL IS MAD – – Part 2…


1 Corinthians 16:9 – “for a wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.”  NASB

Last time we consider, briefly, the reality that the devil fights the work of God, the believer, the church, and the Kingdom using opposition from the outside.  Today I want us to consider the other side of that coin and the reality that the devil uses Opposition from Within to hinder us as well.

There is Opposition From Within.

In Acts 13:8 we encounter a magician named Elymas who was opposing Paul and the disciples.  That was opposition from the outside connected to someone on the inside.  But, if we look further, we see in Acts 18:5-6, the opposition by the religious crowd and the recognized prophets of religion.

Then in 2 Timothy 3:8 Paul reminded the church that opposition from within was not uncommon and unexpected.  He cited the opposition to Moses by Jannes and Jambres.  Paul used that to reveal how there were those in the present church opposing the work of God and were following the depravity of mind and had rejected the truth. 

He encountered opposition from groups and sects within the church.  Some of it was the result of spiritual indifference and a desire to live with ease and in a state of compromise.  It resulted from spiritual laziness where people lost their desire and commitment to ‘seek first’ the face of God and do the will of God.  Self had become the center of their universe again and that brought about opposition to the move of God. 

There was the fear of failure, social reproof and rejection, and loss of power and position.  Some can find nothing right with the church but can find everything wrong.  Some desire to allow things done but never find the time or desire to invest themselves in the work.  They complain that things are lacking but make no commitment to resolve the problem.  In that, they oppose the leaders and bring about confusion and discord.  Some stir up strife because they are not the chief puppy in the liter. 

But God has opened a door for us in the Church and in America today.  We have been given the opportunity to launch forth into the harvest and see a move of God beyond anything we have ever witnessed.  We also have the opportunity to complain and criticize, point fingers, and stir up strife.  The choice we make will determine the success or failure of the work of the Spirit of God in our lives and in our local congregations.  We can press forward into victory.  What will we choose? I choose to go through God’s Open Door.  

May your day be prosperous and joyous.

SUFFICIENT GRACE – – (Part 3)


2 Corinthians 12:6-10 – “For if I do wish to boast I shall not be foolish, for I shall be speaking the truth; but I refrain from this, so that no one may credit me with more than he sees in me or hears from me. 7 And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me — to keep me from exalting myself! 8 Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”  NASB

We have considered that this Grace is sufficient for Salvation and sufficient in time of Tribulation and today I want us to move one step further in considering the sufficiency of God’s Abundant and Amazing Grace.

This Grace is Sufficient to Carry Us Home.

I love the way the apostle Paul addressed this in 1 Corinthians 15:5-52 – “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.” 

We are reminded and need to keep reminding ourselves that Jesus is coming back just like He promised.  He is coming for the faithful.  He is coming for those that watch for His appearing.  In Hebrews 9:28 we read, “so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.”  John phrased it powerfully in 1 John 3:3 – “And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” 

This is a race, a journey, a trip, a battle that must be completed for us to receive the prize of the high calling of God in the consummation of salvation.  I believe that Jesus is not only coming but coming soon.  I believe that His Promise to never leave us nor forsake us is real and valid.  I believe that no matter what we experience in this life, God is there watching over His word to perform it for us.  He is desirous to show Himself strong on our behalf.  We are not left to fight this fight alone!

Therefore, no matter what we face we have the comfort and promise of Sufficient Grace.  The writer of Hebrews 13:8 that Jesus is never changing.  He is the same past, present, and future.  What He did, He does.  What He was, He is.  He is not going to fail us now. 

The Grace of God is Sufficient for Salvation.  It is Sufficient for Tribulation and it is Sufficient to take us Home to Heaven.

So, as you face whatever trial you face, look up and I would encourage you to make Psalms 91 your daily devotional in time of trial.  Memorize it and quote it to yourself and to the devil repeatedly.  Rejoice in the Promises of God and live in the Sufficient Grace of God.

Have a fantastic day in Jesus!

SUFFICIENT GRACE – – (Part 2)


2 Corinthians 12:6-10 – “For if I do wish to boast I shall not be foolish, for I shall be speaking the truth; but I refrain from this, so that no one may credit me with more than he sees in me or hears from me. 7 And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me — to keep me from exalting myself! 8 Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”  NASB

            In our last devotional, we considered that this Grace is Sufficient for Salvation.  Today, I want us to move to the next consideration of the sufficiency of this grace of God.

This Grace Is Sufficient in Tribulation.

In America and some other sectors of the world, persecution is not something we are accustomed to experiencing.  However, the Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 3:12 – “And indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”  That is not a suggestion that it might happen but a warning that it will happen.  Jesus warned us that the world will hate us and hate always seeks to persecute.

I have heard declarations of ‘suffering for Jesus’ and realized that the suffering being described was not having the lavishness of life rather than real suffering.  Paul suffered for the cause of Christ.  The world demands compromise, but Paul said, “No.”  The attitude exhibited in Queen Esther was in Paul and the other disciples, “If I perish, I perish.  Who shall we obey, God or man?” 

In today’s world and some of today’s churches, the demand is to have inclusion to the point that we compromise our convictions and ignore God’s directives.  I have been told that we have to modify our message and tone it down in order to attract the world.  My attitude is the attitude expressed by the early church and declared by Jesus.  “If He is lifted up, He will draw people to Himself.”  We do not need to move toward the world but present an answer to the problems, ills, troubles, and battles of life.  We need to be people who are different and demonstrate the Grace of God in all things and at all times.  We do not need a new definition of morality; we need a new commitment to God’s call for us to be Holy as He is Holy.

The only time an army ‘strikes’ or takes down its colors (flag) is when it is defeated or on the run.  We are neither so we must never let down our standards and seek Him above all and in all. 

Paul made a powerful declaration in 1 Corinthians 10:13 – “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.” 

Sickness may come, but God’s Grace is Sufficient.  Grief may strike, but God’s Grace is Sufficient.  Poverty may become a present reality, but God’s Grace is Sufficient.  Soul sickness may surface, but God’s Grace is Sufficient.  Never lose sight that “My Grace is sufficient for you…”

In all of Paul’s sufferings, he never lost sight of the vision God placed in his heart.  He not only had hope in this life but was confident of God’s promises and faithfulness.  He knew that God’s Grace would carry him through everything he faced and transport him to heaven at the end of his journey. 

I want to address this more, but for now, I encourage you to look up if you are battling difficulty and hold to the reality and promise that God’s Grace is sufficient.

Have a Great Day in Jesus!

SUFFICIENT GRACE…


2 Corinthians 12:6-10 – “For if I do wish to boast I shall not be foolish, for I shall be speaking the truth; but I refrain from this, so that no one may credit me with more than he sees in me or hears from me. 7 And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me — to keep me from exalting myself! 8 Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”  NASB

As we study the New Testament, we quickly realize that Saul of Tarsus was a terror to the newly established Christian church before he became the apostle Paul.  He persecuted the Christians with no remorse because he believed he was doing God’s work.  He considered the Christians a blight on God’s Truth and proper religion.  After his conversion, he became more zealous to promote Christianity than he was to destroy it.

Paul’s encounter on the Damascus Road brought him face to face with the one who was the foundation for the Christian message.  The experience he had that day was one that he would often relate to those to whom he was ministering.  He would say, “I was on the road and I saw a light from heaven.”  He found that God’s grace was sufficient and abundant.

God’s Grace is Sufficient for Salvation.

There are several things I believe beneficial for us to consider.  We need to go back to the beginning and to the Garden of Eden and rehearse the Fall of Man.  Then we need to realize that the Law given to Israel could not save.  We are reminded repeatedly in the Bible that ‘without the shedding of blood there is no remission for sin.’  In our walk through the Bible, we realize that man, without Christ, is bound for an eternity in hell.  Then we come to the incredible declaration in John 3:16 of God’s incredible Love and Gift to man in the life and death of Jesus.

This Cross was an expression and demonstration of Love that is beyond human comprehension.  It is Grace beyond measure!  It is unmerited and impossible to earn or deserve.  It is God’s Gift!  If we received what we deserved we would spend eternity in hell, but God desires that none perish.  Because of that desire and God’s incredible Love he offers us a path to escape that eternal punishment and torment.  It is not automatic but provided if we will receive it.

It is because of God’s incredible Love we can sing, “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me.  I once was lost but now I am found.  I was blind but now I can see.”  Why?  The Grace of God is Sufficient!

God’s provision of Grace is our only hope of living eternally in His presence in heaven.  Jesus is the only road to heaven.  He is the Door.  He is the Way.  He is the Truth.  He is Life. 

I would never suggest that the Christian life is a life of ease or a bed of roses.  The apostle Paul suffered incredible persecution and tribulation.  He endured more than most could withstand.  He seemed to be a man of steel and super-human.  What was his secret?  God’s Grace!

I want to dig a little deeper into God’s Sufficient Grace but will pause here and ask that you muse on the greatness and abundance of this Grace.  Rejoice in the fact that Jesus loved us enough to die for us and now we have an open door to the Father through the Son.

May the LORD bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!