Sure and certain

 

Christ in you, the hope of glory.“

Colossians 1: 27

Christ died, one time for all time and for all who would believe. Those who receive His power, know Him and will repent and believe through every trouble.

This presence, this power, this perfection, is not ours, but a free gift from God. If His presence dwells within, we have a living hope for glory.  The felt knowledge of His presence and power is a strong encouragement and sign that we belong to Him.

Yet there are times when we do not feel or have assurance of our salvation. The passion has gone, and there is no sense that the Lord is with us. Doubt takes hold and we sink down into spiritual depression. What brings us to that place? The hope has gone and we are left with no hope and no future. We can be brought so low, that we start to question the reality of our faith. Our mind starts to unravel the experiences that brought us to Christ, and we interpret them in a negative way. the Scriptures that are brought to our mind, back up the negative mindset. We can be brought very low…

We doubt. We doubt ourselves. We doubt the Lord.

For the Christian, this is a painful place and full of tortuous thoughts and monumental blame. The doubt that you don’t belong to God, and are so distressed by this thought, is really the proof that you are His. But the blame game of the mind, precludes us from seeing this. It is a prison of the mind and only that healing of the mind can bring the heart and soul into a stable and secure place.

The fact that a person belongs to Christ, cannot be changed. We cannot belong and not belong. For the sufferer, we continue to trust and keep living, and wait for the deliverance which will surely come. God brings us through such trials, so that we will emerge strong and disciplined in our life with Him.

Our hope of glory may fade at some points in our lives, but we will overcome, if we do not give up. We persevere under the trial, until we get back that precious sense of His love for us and that we belong to Him. Although our hope of glory might seem to fade, we can never loose that glory, because we are kept by the power of God. Feelings are good when they cooperate, but so often, they do not. Faith does not depend on feelings. Faith holds on when all else falls away. Christ in us, by the power of His Spirit, will bring us safely home to where we belong.

 

Resilience

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“Count it all joy, my brothers , when you fall into various temptations…”     James 1:2

This is the attitude and thought processes of God in Christ. When troubles come, they are not considered problems or negative experiences, but positive. In fact, the attitude is an expression of joy. Joyful thoughts and feelings about the painful events in life, is not the natural human way. We would seek to avoid trouble and do everything in our power to get out of painful situations. The Christian is here encouraged to embrace the sufferings and as they lift their eyes to their father God, to be thankful. Even more to rejoice. Continue reading Resilience

Women standing

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When the centurion standing there in front of Jesus saw how He had breathed His last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

And there were also women watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, and Salome. These women had followed Jesus and ministered to Him while He was in Galilee, and there were many other women who had come up to Jerusalem with Him.”             Mark 15: 35-41

The women held to their courage and faith. Everyone else, except John, had run away and were in hiding. The women kept vigil through the darkness and distress, and kept their eyes on the Lord their God. They stood under the darkness of God’s wrath and watched Him bear it all away. They all gazed, transfixed, at a love not understood nor seen before. This the end of all dreams and wishes and desires; the peace they had longed for; a heaven now hopeless, as the darkness closed in.

Was it all in vain? The care, the love, the sacrifice… but now this one sacrifice made by Jesus, one sacrifice for sin forever…

They hoped beyond hope, though His body hang as a lifeless corpse. Surely there was no way back from this. The life of God, snuffed out with ease and jubilation. Even as they looked, their love comforted them. Maybe there is another love beyond theirs, a love that transcends all time, space, pain and disappointment. A love that purges sin away and has a power not of this world’s knowing. A love reflected in their continual standing.. waiting for the promise to be kept…

“Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”     Matthew 28:20

Chosen people

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.”.      John 15:16

This verse, when read and meditated on, is a terrible shock to many Christians. It is in no way passive in the demands for our response to it, though for some who lack insight, it might seem so.

No person comes to faith in Christ through their own efforts, whether those efforts are imagined belief, or good works that we think we do.

“Salvation is of the Lord…”      Jonah 2:9

This was true in Jonah’s day and the same in our day. Without the work of the Holy Spirit in our minds and souls, we will never comes to God. No matter how positively God is presented, we will never bow the knee to Him. We hear about the sacrifice Jesus our Saviour made for us, and we don’t want it.

“We will not have this man to reign over us..”     Luke 19:14

We think we hang on to some freedom to live our lives for ourselves and make our own choices, but we are caught in a web of sins that we cannot escape from. We think God will be pleased with us if we make an effort to be good, not realising how sinful we really are. God is holy, not mostly holy, but He will not look on sin at all. We do not see the sin in our lives, unless God points it out to us.

We turn from Him who holds our total forgiveness and a life with Him beyond our imaginings. Our minds are dull and we do not see His working in our lives, to bring us to faith. We think faith us something we can whoop up and fool God that we are for Him. We believe certain things about God, but then, so does the devil.

Unless God permits us to see and feel our sin, and understand what Jesus has done for us, we will not believe. We cannot see our need nor the amazing life God offers to us, because we rely on ourselves. We think we are good enough for God and we can help ourselves. This belief is not based on truth, but is the act of a human will trapped in a sinful mindset. To carry on in this way will lead us to destruction.

To be delivered from this state, we must pray that God will show us our need and allow us to see Him in all His love and beauty. When we understand what Jesus did for us, let us lay down our puny weapons and cast ourselves on Him. There will be a complete change in our inner selves, which will show itself in fruit for God. Whatever we do in His mighty name will bring great blessing. Whatever we ask for, we will receive, for we will ask rightly.

A Christian says goodbye to self and sin and enters the peace of God and the victory over all that troubles our souls..

Who is like you, Lord?

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“There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides across the heavens to help you and on the clouds in his majesty…

…The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms…

So Israel will live in safety; Jacob will dwell secure in a land of grain and new wine, where the heavens drop dew. Blessed are you, Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD? He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword. …”

Deuteronomy 33:26,28,29

The short answer is no one. But we need to know the details, because our minds are lazy and remiss about rehearsing the glories of the eternal God. The Scripture says that the eternal God will stop at nothing to help His people. They are His treasure and no sky is wide enough to keep Him from riding to the rescue of His beloved ones.

God Himself is the refuge of His people. Where ever they go, so no matter how high they soar into the heavens, God is right there to bear them up on His mighty arms. None can fall to destruction, or fail to fly high into the unknown blue. None of His children suffer loss that will be restored to them one day. Faith lays hold on this and walks forward in the strength of God.

God is our shield of protection and the ability to fight off all doubt and fear. The sword is with us and as we use it, we are made strong. We are as safe as we would be in the heavenly kingdom already. We rejoice and love in joy, which strengthens our souls. So many blessing and joys that only the forgiven ones know. The blessing of God is real and daily for all those who seek His face and find Him to be their refuge.

Burden bearers

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“I rejoice in what I am suffering for you…”

Colossians 1: 24

What an amazing comment to make to fellow believers. The Apostle Paul counts it a joy to suffer for the people in Colosse, and in all the places he has been, teaching God’s truth and love.

We can see how we may sometimes suffer for the gospel. We can see how God may permit us to suffer, to teach us God’s ways. But to suffer and bear burdens for other people, is a rare calling. The idea of inconveniencing ourselves for the sake of other people, is not part of our human psyche. So to be asked to suffer for the good of others,  is totally against our mindset, except we are getting something out of it.

Yet it was the mindset of Christ, and becomes the mindset of all who follow Him. Jesus did endure such ignominy and pain for our sakes, to make it possible for sinful humans to obtain eternal life, through His atoning sacrifice. We do not do this. To our human thinking it is a weakness to be that way- a bit of a loser.

God’s ways are definitely not our ways and we see this demonstrated over and over again. The devotion of Job to his Lord, meant for him to suffer every kind of tragedy and remain a faithful servant.

The friendship of Moses with his maker and God, which enabled him to lead a huge nation through a wilderness to find the promised land, is amazing to us.

The wisdom of Esther that took her into the palace hareem and to boldly pick her moment to set a plan to save the people of God.

Rehab, that amazing woman who trusted God on the promise of two spies. She saw God and found herself in His family and became an ancestor of the Lord Jesus Himself.

Daniel who faced the lions; Joseph who endured imprisonment; Deborah the judge and always wise and just in her judgments; John the disciple who loved Jesus; Mary who poured out her future to anoint her Lord and God.

Every Christian has a calling and we all wait for God to show us and give us the strength to do His will. We are all burden bearers and ready to make sacrifices for the sake of other Christians and also those who do not believe. We pray that God will bless and save the people, around us, and we are called to reach out to them.

To put ourselves down is a Godlikeness thing to do. To choose second best for the sake of other people, is not human nature. We must learn our lessons and become strong in the Lord. We must build courage to face enemies and pray for them. We suffer loss so that God’s message will be spread abroad to all who do not believe. This is our number one exploit.

Read the story of Paul in the New Testament and be amazed at his total devotion to his Saviour Jesus, and how it affected his life. Once we get a view of Jesus Christ, we cannot go back. We seek Him and to be like Him – the One who suffered ultimate loss so that we could live…

Are we prepared to be misunderstood and sidelined, so that we become more like our Saviour, and less and less of ourselves…?

Behind the hills

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“The precious things of the everlasting hills…”

Deuteronomy 33: 15

We here view the hills of eternity. They rise out of the plain and are forever sure. They radiate the majesty and security of the Lord Jesus Christ. They never fail and there is refuge for the Christian in the lea of the incline.

The hills on earth remind us to lift our eyes from the worldly things around us and remember that our help comes from the Lord who made these hills. We are forever safe in the place of communion and protected as we hide ourselves in the beauty of the Lord.

As we come to the end of our lives, we see ahead of us, those welcoming mountains towering above us in the plain of Beulah land. We are safe and as we leave this world behind, we fly to the hills that mark the entrance to the eternal kingdom. Every believer will reach their destination and behind the hills waits the Saviour who we love.

The precious things are right there. The majesty of God; the refuge of the mighty hills; the comfort of heaven and home; and above all, our Saviour will be there and will lead us into our eternal inheritance. No one who trusts in Him is left out. No faith will fail, or tragedy dull the glory that will be revealed.

It is not the hills that are precious, but the person of Jesus Christ. He is the one represented by these magnificent heights. He is the beautiful one, the crowning glory of heaven for the Christian. This world holds nothing to endear us or tempt our view from these everlasting hills and the everlasting Saviour who they stand for.

Jesus is the precious One in heaven and the precious One mirrored in earth’s beauty. We lift our gaze from earth and adore the majesty of Christ, that we might seek to be like Him and all earthly things be counted as loss.

Women who glorify God