How Secure Do You Think You Are?

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, 5For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; 6Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” Philippians 1.3-6

As Paul writes to these Philippian believers, he speaks words of great encouragement to them. He begins by telling them that he thanks God for “every remembrance” of them. God puts it in the hearts of those who serve Him in leadership positions to pray for those they are leading. We take that responsibility seriously. This responsibility fills Paul with joy.

His joy was found in their fellowship that was created when they came to Christ for salvation. Now we read the principle thought found in these verses: “6Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Paul’s confidence was not in THEM but in the God who saved them. It is a somewhat common question raised among Christ-followers: “How do I know that God will not leave me? If I commit some egregious sin, will He still take me to heaven?” Paul answers that question with great confidence: “Being confident of THIS very thing … ” There is NO DOUBT in Paul’s mind, nor should there be in ours, that questions God’s ability to keep us safe “until the day of Jesus Christ:

Since we KNOW that God is omnipotent, we must conclude that He is ABLE to keep us. I like the words of Jesus in John 10:28-30: “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall NEVER perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 30I and my Father are one.” You will note in the KJV that the word man is italicized, meaning it has been supplied to clarify the meaning. But if I read, “neither shall any one”, that would include Satan too. The same is true for both uses of the word man. So, take note, we are ABSOLUTELY safe in God’s hand and He WILL keep us “until the day of Jesus Christ:” Just my thoughts …

The Great Acceptance!

All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6.37

Those of us who have already come to Christ for salvation realize the truth of this first statement. The Father’s desire is for all men to be saved (2 Peter 3.9) and He does not override our will. He could make us robots and we would not have any say in the matter, but He gave Adam a free will and He did the same for us.

I want us to look closely at this second phrase: “him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” Over the years I have heard so many people make this statement: “How do I know that God will save me? Just asking seems so simple.” In Romans 10.13 we read: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” That is as clear as God can make it.

But let’s think for a moment about the phrase, “I will in no wise cast out.” There is no need to worry whether or not we are going to do something that will cause God to be so angry with us that He puts us out of the family. In fact, as I have stated before, there is nothing we can do to make God love us more and there is nothing we can do to make God love us less. His unconditional love for us was clearly demonstrated at Calvary. No one ever came to God for salvation and heard Him say, “Your sin is too great. I can’t save you.” On the contrary, we read these words from Paul’s pen: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of who I am chief.” (1Timothy 1.15) The conclusion that you and I draw from this is simply that God is willing to take anyone who is willing to accept Christ’s payment for his sin. Every sinner qualifies. Not all sinners are willing to accept Christ’s payment. Just my thoughts …

When Was the Last Time You Were Alone with God?

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen. I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46.10

Remember hen you were a kid and your mom used to say, “Would you just be still?” That was especially effective if she used my full name. Well, in this verse God is saying to us, “Be still, and know that I am God:” The fast pace of our culture seems to make it difficult for us to just be still for anything. But if we are going to LISTEN to God when He whispers, we really need to “be still.” Do you have a time anywhere during the day when you are alone with God – just God and you? Before someone has a heart attack and wants to tell me how busy they are, I get it. But you CARVE OUT time to do anything else you want to do.

If God is nothing more than a divine errand boy, you don’t have a God at all, you have a servant. That brings us to the next phrase: “I will be exalted among the heathen.” You ask, “How is God going to pull that off?” and my answer is that I don’t know, but He says, “I will …” and I know He will. But WHY can’t He be exalted in our lives? Are we so preoccupied or unwilling to grant God permission to be glorified in us? IF I am God’s child (and I am), then any changes that need to be made in order for God to be exalted in me must be changes that I am willing to make. God is just waiting … and waiting … and waiting for us to get things together.

Finally, this final phrase: “I will be exalted in the earth.” WOW, I don’t know about you, but I want to be a part of what God is doing on this earth to glorify Himself. I want to be a vessel that He is willing to use to execute His plan. You and I know that God will not use a dirty vessel, so it is OUR responsibility to keep our vessel clean and available to God. Once again, these are just my thoughts …

How Big Is YOUR God?

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” Ephesians 3.20-21

What is the hardest thing you ever asked God? Was it something you knew He could do or was it something that you thought He might not be ABLE to do? I love the words of v. 20: “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us … ” Not only is God ABLE to do “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think”. He is also willing.

“ … exceeding abundantly above … ” Think on those words. I don’t think most of us have even come close to asking God for the difficult things. Paul tells us here that God is able to more than we can even THINK to ask. And He does that through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us: “according to the power that worketh in us … ” Just about the time I think I am beginning to understand who God is, I read a verse like this and I think, I don’t know the extent of how much God wants to help me at all. I can’t recall a time when I have challenged God with something I thought was really big, and the Holy Spirit reminded me, “God’s Got This! Just watch!”

We must not overlook v. 21: “21Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus … ” Did you catch that? “be glory in the church … ” God is to be glorified in our churches through the person of His Son – and how long is that to be? “ … throughout all ages, world without end. Amen … ” And when you have said “Amen” you can’t say anymore. Just my thoughts …

Just Believe It!

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.” John 14.1

When we hear someone say, “I have heart trouble”, we immediately think they are talking about that organ in their body that circulates their blood. And that would be right. But when Jesus says here, “Let not your heart be troubled … ”, He is referring to that spirit that lies deep within each one of us that allows us to express emotion. Jesus is coming to the end of His earthly ministry shortly. Soon He will be taken by the Roman government and falsely sentenced to die. In the preceding chapter Judas has betrayed Jesus and very soon He will be arrested. Jesus has been trying to tell them that He is going away, but they are reluctant to hear what He has to say.

This verse opens the door to many spiritual and practical truths. In the succeeding chapters He is going to tell them about the coming of the Holy Spirit who will “lead (them) into all truth.” But they are troubled by the truth that they will no longer be able to SEE Jesus and talk with Him as they have in the past. So He says: “ye believe in God, believe also in me.” He had always been truthful with them, and the promise He is about to make in verses 2 & 3 should reassure them. “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, 3 And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that WHERE I AM, there ye may be also.

“ … ye believe in God, believe also in me.” So here it is in nugget form. Just believe God. Jesus did go away. Jesus is coming again. He is preparing a place for us. And we DO get to go and spend eternity with Him. Let’s just believe it and live each day like we believe it. Just my thoughts …

When Was the Beginning?

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1.1

Have you ever wondered when the beginning was? Genesis 1.1 says: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Our finite minds struggle with things we cannot comprehend; at least mine does. The evolutionists would have us believe “In the beginning there was nothing and something somehow made something out of nothing.” I can’t comprehend that either. Whether or not we believe Genesis 1.1 and John 1.1 or what the evolutionists say happened, both of those positions require faith. Believing that “the Word was God … “ and that He created everything requires a lot LESS faith that the other position.

A little further on in John 1 we read: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us. (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full od grace and truth.” It is essential that we link these two verses together, because they bring us to the place of realizing that the son of God became the son of man so that sons of men could become sons of God. THAT gives significance to the Bible, not just certain verses in the Bible.

I may struggle with understanding the attributes of God that help me get a small picture of Who and What He is, but I do not struggle with accepting His love, His mercy, His grace, His peace, and His joy. For me, these are the elements that allow me to keep on going day after day. FYI here are God’s attributes to consider: Omniscience, Omnipotence, Omnipresence, Justice, Sovereignty, Holiness, Love, Truth, Immutability, Mercy, Immensity, and Jealousy. I challenge you to work through these attributes until you at least understand something about each one. It WILL enhance your view of God. Just my thoughts …

 

Search My What?

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139.23-24

When was the last time you said to God, “Search me … ”? The psalmist was crying out to God for a relationship that was totally authentic. If God were to search your heart today, what would He find there? (1) an attitude of ‘I don’t care’; (2) some idolatrous something that you have put before Him; or (3) a heart with a longing for Him that cannot be satisfied with anything less than total surrender, total transparency, and total unveiling of your heart to Him?

The issue is not does God know what is in my heart, but rather do I care that God knows what is in my heart. The psalmist made some deliberate statements: (1) search me, (2) know my heart, (3) try me, (4) know my thoughts, (5) see if there be any wicked way in me; and finally, (6) lead me in the way everlasting. As I read through these statements, I try to put myself in the psalmist’s place. Am I willing to come to God with such transparency and such authenticity that I open myself up to allow God to do in me, to me, and through me anything He chooses?

Look at this last phrase: “lead me in the way everlasting.” Does that seem a little frightening to you? The danger for most of us is that we are not sure we can TRUST God to always make the best choices for us. Are you willing to begin each day with this simple declaration: “Lord, I believe you always have my best interests at heart, and I am willing to TRUST you even when I don’t know where the next step will lead or what Your ultimate goal is for me. This one thing I do know Lord, ‘As for (You), (your) way is perfect.’” That is the way I want to begin each day! How about you? Just my thoughts …

 

We ARE Blessed Indeed!

Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” Romans 4.6-8

I encourage you to read the verses preceding this for context. Paul’s words here bring great comfort to every believer who will read them and believe them. Consider this: “the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works.” How many people do we know who still believe they need to do some kind of “works” in order to get to heaven? David, back in Old Testament times said that the man is blessed to whom God imputes righteousness WITHOUT works. The work that Christ did on Calvary is what God imputes or puts on our account.

David continues: “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.” Forgiveness of sin is only possible when a perfect sacrifice has been offered. That was Christ. Sins can only be covered when the blood of that perfect sacrifice is applied to the mercy seat and God says, “That’s enough!” Christ’s blood has covered ALL my sin and ALL your sin … because we have received Him as personal savior.

Finally, verse 8: “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” Again, why would God NOT impute MY sin to my account? The blessed truth is that Christ did everything that His Father required to pay for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2.2). HIS payment for MY sin allows me to be a blessed man –why? Because God the Father imputed my sin to Christ and Christ did all that the Father demanded for sin to be covered. God the Father forgave me because His Son PAID for my sins. I am BLESSED indeed! And so are you! Just my thoughts …

Where Doe YOUR Contentment Lie?

Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.” Proverbs 15.16

What is your great pursuit in this life? Is it the accumulation of “stuff”, or piling up a lot of money, or achieving a position of power so you can tell other people what to do? You may be saying to yourself, “None of those things has ever become my goal in life.” If such is the case, then I say Praise the Lord. But there IS something for which you have a deep longing.

Let me pose the question like this … is your daily pursuit in life “the fear of the LORD”? The man who penned these words certainly one who had “great treasure”. Anything Solomon wanted he got. So what is the point of this verse? When a man of Solomon’s caliber makes a dramatic statement like this, I am interested in his “why”. In verse 3 he said: “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.

Perhaps we should determine what it is to fear the Lord. The phrase “fear the Lord” may conjure up a myriad of thoughts for you. To fear the Lord is to stand in awe of who He is. We just returned from a vacation that included 2 trips to see the Grand Canyon. It is impossible to wrap your head the inherent beauty of what God has created there. Not only do I stand in awe of that indescribable work of God’s had, but I stand in awe of the God who created it. Solomon declares: “Better is little with the fear of the Lord … ” If I am able to “fear the Lord,” then it doesn’t really matter what else I have or don’t have in this life.

I am sure the conclusion of this verse is a reflection of some of Solomon’s life experiences: “ … than great treasure and trouble therewith.” When one is able to accumulate “great treasure,” it won’t be long before someone wants you to give him or her some of your “great treasure.” I have seen enough winners of state lotteries to know that “easy come – easy go” is true. I want to be able to say with Solomon, “Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.” I want to be able to find my “contentment” in Him and Him alone. Nothing else in life really matters. Just my thoughts …

How Much Do We Really Know?

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.” Proverbs 21.1

Isn’t it funny how we convince ourselves that WE know what is best for us, no matter what anyone else says, EVEN God? Solomon has some words of counsel for us regarding that. Let’s take a look: “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes … ” Solomon should know. Even thought he was called a wise man (and he was), he made some serious blunders. He allowed some of his Gentile wives to turn his heart away from Jehovah God to the gods they worshiped in their country of origin.

Examine this phrase: “is right in his own eyes … ” When we are unwilling to seek the counsel of another, we are bound by our own limited knowledge. I jokingly have said in the past: “Those people who THINK they know everything are a real insult to those of us who DO.” Now remember that is a joke – I don’t think I know everything. But the point is this: each of us is limited by life experience. We haven’t EXPERIENCED everything and we never will. So again, we are bound by WHAT we have experienced.

Here is the truth: “but the LORD pondereth the hearts.” What does that mean? To ponder is “to think about something carefully.” God already knows EVERYTHING – the possible as well as the actual. He is constantly considering what is in our hearts. The quicker we learn to yield our hearts to Him in absolute surrender, the quicker we free ourselves of the limitations imposed by what we have experienced. Can we agree that what SEEMS right to us is a judgment call on the basis of what WE know, but when we allow God to not just know what is in our hearts but to put His truth in there, we are far better off than we would have been? Just my thoughts …