KEEP Knowing Him Better

“For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.  I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better” (Ephesians 1:15-17, NIV84).

Who has the Lord Jesus placed in your life’s path to encourage in the faith?  Has someone come to mind?  In his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul expresses his earnest affection for his readers.  “I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers” (see verse 16).  Why?  So that they might “know Him [Jesus Christ] better” (see verse 17).

In the Christian community, saying that one came to “know Jesus” tends to be used to refer to the moment in which one repented and believed in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  I used to have this perception that “leading someone to know Jesus” meant having them repeat a prayer in that moment to repent and believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  But here’s the thing, I had never realized that coming to “know Jesus” is an ever deepening relationship (i.e.: to KEEP knowing Him BETTER).

The person or persons the Lord Jesus has placed in your life’s path to encourage in the faith may (or may not) have already come to repent and believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior in that moment.

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Then how can we encourage those in the faith if they’re already in-the-faith?

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Don’t stop giving thanks for them, remembering them in prayer!  Paul KEPT asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, might give the Ephesians the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that they might ever know Him better!   

“Lord Jesus, I pray today for those You have placed in our life’s path to evangelize, equip, and or encourage to keep knowing You better. May their faith increase!  May they have a truly ever deepening relationship with You, Jesus!  May You give them more and more wisdom to see You and to hear You as You continue to reveal Yourself to them.  Thank you for this privilege You have given us to expresses our earnest affection for You and those You have placed in our life’s path!  And thank you for them!  Amen.”      

In Christ,

Victoria

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The Storm…the Savior

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“Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away.  And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray.  Now when evening came, He was alone there. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.  Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.  And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!”  And they cried out for fear.  But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer!   It is I; do not be afraid.”  And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”  So He said, “Come.”  And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.  But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”  And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”  And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.  Then those who were in the boat came andworshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.” (Matthew 14:22-33, NKJV82)

I know that I have written about this particular passage of Scripture in previous posts.  But I have to tell you that no matter how many times I encounter this passage of Scripture I am no less intrigued and captivated in absolute awe of Jesus Christ!

In the past I have tended to focus extensively upon the segment of this passage about Jesus and Peter walking on the water…after all, when has walking on water ever been the norm!?!  This time, however, the segments about Jesus’ disciples really caught my attention.

Listen to this…

“Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. (v. 22).  Jesus made His disciples go before Him!  Have you ever ventured out in the direction Jesus has appointed for you to go, but feel like you’ve been put out on a limb and wanted to question: “Lord, You’ve sent me this way but I don’t see You and I can’t feel You; are You sure this is where I am supposed to be?”

“And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray.  Now when evening came, He was alone there. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary” (vv. 23-24).  The Gospel of Mark explains that the disciples were “straining at the oars” (Mark 6:48, NIV84).  Jesus was alone on the mountain while His disciples were in the middle of the sea fighting against the waves and the wind!  Have you ever felt like you’ve been in the in the middle of a storm but left to fend for yourself and wanted to question: “God, EVERYTHING is against me and NOTHING is going for me; are You sure that this is where I am supposed to be”?

“Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.  And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!”  And they cried out for fear.  But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer!   It is I; do not be afraid” (vv. 25-27). The Gospel of John explains that “[t]hen they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going ” (John 6:21, NKJV82).  Jesus walks out on the sea, passing the disciples who are so fearful of the storm that they do not recognize that it is Him!  Have you ever been so consumed with the storm that you could have missed the Savior?1

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“Pass me not, O gentle Savior,
Hear my humble cry;
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by.
Savior, Savior,
Hear my humble cry;
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by.”

(Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior, Fanny Crosby and W.H. Doane)

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“And when they [Jesus and Peter] got into the boat, the wind ceased.  Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God”” (vv. 32-33).  Then, THEN those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him!  Have you ever wanted to question in the midst of the storm, “Why am I in this storm?”  “Is it really necessary for me to endure X, Y, and Z?”  “I am struggling but getting nowhere, how come I cannot get any relief?”  Because…sometimes we would have never truly known Jesus as the Son of God if it had not been for the storms.

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How do I know if I have faith?  When was the strength (and weakness in the case of the ill built house on the sand without a foundation) of the well built  house on the rock, a solid and unshakeable foundation realized (See Luke 6:46-49)?  When the floodwaters rose and broke against the house…

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Take-aways:  If you have ventured (are venturing) in the direction Jesus has appointed for you to go, be at peace for you are in His will!  Even if it seems that everything is against you and nothing is going for you, God is for you (Psalm 56:4, 9b-11; 118:6)!  Do not be consumed with the storm that you miss the Savior!  Call upon His name, the name of the Lord Jesus!  You can worship Him in the midst of the storm…knowing that the Master of the wind and waves is with you– a solid, unshakeable Rock to be founded upon!  And He will bring you through– “He who calls you is faithful, He will surely do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, ESV01)!

Calling Upon HIS Name,

Victoria

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1. This went for Peter too!  “And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”  So He said, “Come.”  And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.  But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”” (vv. 28-30).  He let the storm get to him rather than trusting the Savior!  “And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?””  The problem– too much fear, too little faith!

 

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where there’s a will, there’s a way…

Know the saying, “where there’s a will, there’s a way”?  It usually means that if someone is so determined to do something even if that something is difficult they will still find a way to do it.

Take Bethany Hamilton for instance.  When Bethany was thirteen years old, she was attacked by a shark while surfing in Kauai!  According to her biography, “The attack left Bethany with a severed left arm.  After losing over 60% of her blood, and making it through several surgeries without infection, Bethany was on her way to recovery with an unbelievably positive attitude.  Lifeguards and doctors believe her strong water sense and faith in God helped get her through the traumatic ordeal.  Miraculously, just one month after the attack, Bethany returned to the water to continue pursuing her goal to become a professional surfer.”1  What determination!

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Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

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I came across a quote earlier this week that caused me to thinking about this saying with another perspective.

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“I assure you, if you are supposed to do something, God will make you able to do it.  You do not have to feel able, and you do not have to have experience.  All you need is a right motive and a heart full of faith”.2

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The “another”  perspective: where God’s will guides you, He provides the way for you! 

Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not belittling determination at all!  I am just asking you to consider the providence of God.  “For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart Him?  His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?” (Isaiah 14:27, NIV)  It is the other side of the coin, if you will.  When God has purposed for you to do something, He will make you able to do it!  We must be determined to do God’s will (right motive).  We must believe that God who calls us is able to see us through (heart full of faith)!

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“My strength came from my relationship with Christ…knowing that God loves me and has a plan for my life that no shark can take away is like having solid rock underneath me.”– Bethany Hamilton3

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Are you determined to do God’s will?  Even if it is difficult?  Do you believe that where God’s will guides you, He provides the way– the strength, the ability, the determination– for you?

In Christ,

Victoria

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1. Bethany Hamilton, “Biography, BethanyHamilton.com, 2010.

2.  Joyce Meyer, Never Give Up: Relentless Determination to Overcome Life’s Challenges (New York, NY: FaithWords, Hachette Book Group, 2008), p. 40.

3. Bethany Hamilton, Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family and Fighting to Get Back on the Board, (New York, NY, Simon and Schuster, Inc., 2004).

 

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Confessions: Lacking to Lavished

Gee, where to begin!  I have happened upon a new season in my life.  It’s exciting!  And I’m thrilled!  But I must confess that it has been terrifying too!  The accompanying feeling as I found myself treading where I have never been before– considerable inadequacy.

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Inadequacy (inˈadikwəsē) — lacking confidence that you have what is required.

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“What if I don’t have what it takes to do this well?” “What if I’m not able to make it?”  Now there’s a place I have been many-a-time, a place where these and like questions rush in like crashing waves to overcome me.

BUT

…then I’m reminded of HIM whom I must have confidence in and HIS promises!  “This resurrection life I received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life.  It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?”  God’s Spirit touches my spirit  and confirms who I really amI know who He is, and I know who I am: Father and child (Romans 8:15-16, MSG02).*  I “[s]ee what great love the Father has lavished on me, that I should be called a child of God! And that is what I am (1 John 3:1, NIV84)!*

So my confidence is in Jesus Christ who has called me into this new season for such a time as this.  I know that He has and will continue to provide me with what is required to do well!  I trust that He is full able to and will “[s]trengthen (complete, perfect) and make me what I ought to be and equip me with everything good that I may carry out His will; [while He Himself] works in me and accomplishes that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ (the Messiah); to Whom be the glory forever and ever (to the ages of the ages).  Amen (so be it)” (Hebrews 13:21, AMP87).*

Confident In Christ,

Victoria

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* I have edited the pronouns to the singular form in these verses.

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God’s Best…?!?

“How do I know what God’s best is?  How do I know if I’m settling for less than it?  How do I know if I’m passing it up?” 

Have you ever wondered— okay, let me call it what it is– worried about this?  I have.  Because if God’s best is knowable, then I want to learn how I can know it.  Wouldn’t you?

I have good news– God’s best is knowable!  In fact, He wants us “to learn what is pleasing to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:10, NIV84).

So what is God’s best?

“God’s best for our lives…is simply the acceptance of His perfect will and the recognition of His authority in every area of our lives.”1  Simply, SIMPLY…don’t you love that?!?  If Osbeck (the guy who’s quote that is, check the endnotes) were here, I’d be initially tempted to duke it out with him…”WHAT DO YOU MEAN TO TELL ME THAT KNOWING GOD’S BEST IS SIMPLE?!?  TELL ME, HAVE YOU LOST SLEEP OVER THE COMPLEXITIES OF FIGURING OUT WHAT GOD’S BEST IS…HAVE YOU, HAVE YOU, HAVE YOU?!?”  But then I’d have to concede…because he is right.  Knowing God’s best is not complicated at all.

God knows what is best.

We believe that God knows what is best.

So we seek Him and His best.

He reveals Himself and what is best.

And we respond.

You see, the key is faith.  “When [we] walk by faith, [we] will claim all that God has for [us]; but unbelief is always content to settle for something less than God’s best”.2  Not having faith (unbelief) is doubting that God knows what is best— it’s refusing to accept His perfect will and recognize His authority in every area of our lives.  After all, when we doubt God we tend to turn to ourselves and our own rationale and feelings to determine for ourselves what is “best”Don’t we?  And it more often than not it doesn’t stop there…because when we determine for ourselves what we think is “best” we start giving suggestions to God.

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“Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or as His counselor has informed Him?  With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding?  And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge and informed Him of the way of understanding?” (Isaiah 40:13-14, NASB95)

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God’s best is God-determined!  And what He has determined will come to be.  He “works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will” (Ephesians 1:11, NIV84).

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“Many Christians see God at work in their lives yet they still wonder, “What if I blow it?  What if I do something wrong and God gets angry or impatient with me?  Will all His promises fail me?  Will I have to settle for something less than His best?”  No– never!  If your heart is right before God, if you keep returning to Him and seeking Him with all your heart, nothing will change His plans for you!”3

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Do we believe it?  Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (NASB95).  Do we believe that God is God?  Then it is necessary for us to believe that He knows what is best and is faithful to His promise that as we seek Him and what His best is for our lives He will light the way and walk with us step by step!

Believing and Seeking,

Victoria

 

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1. Kenneth W. Osbeck. Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications. 1996. 261.

2. Warren W. Wiersbe. Be Strong. “Be” Commentary Series. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books. 1996. 88.

3. David Wilkerson. “God Knows What Is Best For Us!” Daily Devotional. November 3, 2011.  Available from http://wwww.davidwilkerson.com/en/view/devotions?page=48.

Samaria…

Photo: BiblePlaces.com. BiblePlaces.com Image Library. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software (2009).

Photo: BiblePlaces.com. BiblePlaces.com Image Library. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software (2009).

The Woman of Samaria (also known as The Woman at the Well) is one of my favorite testimonies in Scripture.  In the past I have always tended to look at this Scriptural account from the perspective of the woman.  When I read the account this time, however, I endeavored to look at it from the perspective of Jesus.

Jesus was a Jew and the woman of Samaria was, well, a Samaritan.  The Jews were historically known to abhor the Samaritans so much that they wouldn’t even pass through the region of Samaria to get to their destination (even though it was the shortest, most practical route).  Samaritans and Jews would have no dealings whatsoever with each other.  No communion.  No transaction.  No association.  They wouldn’t even dare to drink out of a common cup or well, let alone share a meal.  And they would especially have no religious dealings.

“HE left Judea and departed again to Galilee. But HE needed to go through Samaria. So HE came to a city of Samaria called Sychar” (John 4:3-5, NKJV82).

Jesus NEEDED to go through Samaria!?! Why did Jesus NEED to go through Samaria?!?

John 3:16 says, “For GOD so loved the world that HE gave HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON that whosoever believes in HIM should not perish but have everlasting life” (NKJV82).  Jesus went to Samaria because of who He is ―the Lover and Savior of souls in desperate need of Him.  There were souls in need of Jesus in Samaria.

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Is God asking you to go somewhere or do something you usually aren’t fond of going or doing for the sake of others?

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Jesus went to Samaria.  He was tired, weary, and thirsty from His walk.  He broke through gender and ethnic barriers.  He was in Samaria to do the will of His Father.  Glory to God!

The woman who came to the well day after day for water to quench her physical thirst did not know that particular day she would meet Jesus and receive living water to quench the eternal thirst of her soul.  The LORD met her where she was and she was forever changed so much so that she left her waterpot at the feet of Jesus and went into the city to tell others about the Man who told her all things that she ever did.

Jesus ―God Himself― went to the cross for us!  He was despised, rejected, pierced, crushed, wounded, oppressed, and afflicted (Isaiah 53).  He broke through the barriers of sin.  He did the will of HIS Father.  Glory to God!

What a wonderful Savior!  He is respecter of no persons― His Salvation is not dependant on whether we are a man or a woman nor Ethiopian or Arabian or Indian or German or Australian or Canadian or American.  “[T]he righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ [is] for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith” (Romans 3:22-25, NASB95).  “For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all” (Romans 6:10, NASB95).

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Is there a “Samaria” you NEED to go to?

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“Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:35, NIV84).

Mary

Licensed to Sin?

“God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were.  But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant.  So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:20-21, NLT96).

Then doesn’t that mean that we are licensed to sin?

That’s exactly the rhetorical question posed in response to the text in Romans 5.  Paul rhetorically asks in Romans 6:1, “Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of His wonderful grace?”  And the answer immediately follows…”Of course not!”  This unmistakably clarifies that the statements in Romans 5:20-21 should not be taken to mean that unmerited grace encourages or provides an excuse to sin.

Grace is not to be perceived as a “license to sin”.  In actuality, it should not encourage us to sin but quite the opposite. 

Because of God’s grace through life in Jesus Christ, enslavement to sin and death is removed from us.  Paul continues to explain that “sin is no longer [our] master, for [we] no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, [we] live under the freedom of God’s grace” (Romans 6:14, NLT96).

So doesn’t that mean that we can sin because we don’t have to worry about laws?

And that’s exactly the rhetorical question posed in response to Romans 6:14.  “Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning?” (Romans 6:15, NLT96)  The definitive answer yet again…”Of course not!”  For Christians, to be under grace does not mean the freedom from all restrictions.  Rather, to be under grace means that Christians divinely receive the ability to meet the standards of the law.

Christians are no longer condemned by failure to meet the law because being brought to a righteous standing under grace in Christ Jesus produces true obedience of their hearts to then abide by the law.

Suppose I have food poisoning and after seeing a doctor about treatment, I begin taking prescribed medicines and the like to get rid of the toxins and bacteria.  When the harmful toxins and bacteria have been killed and I no longer have food poisoning, I do not seek to deliberately eat undercooked pork or expose myself to toxins and bacteria that will put the toxins and bacteria right back into my system and give me food poisoning again just because I know that there is medication to treat itThat would be completely ridiculous!

I believe that is the same point Paul is making in Romans— the objection of justification by faith through grace because it seems to provide an excuse for sin is completely ridiculous.  The abundance of grace should not be perceived as an encouragement to sin all the more— it is NOT a “license to sin”.  Grace through justification by faith allows us to experience what it is like to be freed from the poisonous toxins of sin.  I believe that this very realization makes it clear to us that we should not have to go back to experiencing our previous state of sickness (or as Paul illustrated it, as slavery)In that regard, experiencing grace through justification by faith may be seen as a preventative of sorts because we know what it is like to be healthy.

Wouldn’t you rather choose to be healthy than sick?

Victoria

“The Reason Sinners Live”

SpurgeonGoldCover

I’ve been reading the book, “Spurgeon Gold: Pure. Refined.”, compiled by Ray Comfort. To appreciate the noteworthiness of this statement you must understand that there are not too many books beside the Bible that I have begun to read and have delighted to keep reading. And if you don’t believe me, just ask my parents -bless their hearts- who homeschooled me for nearly a decade! Anyway, the reason for mentioning this great read is that I would like to share with you a snippet from the passage, “The Reason Sinners Live”:

 “Remember that by a glance, we may commit adultery; by a thought, we may be guilty of murder; by a desire, we may steal. Sin is any want of conformity to perfect holiness, and that want of conformity is justly chargeable upon ever one of us…Instead of destroying offending [or sinning] man from off the face of the earth, the Lord comes near to us in loving condescension, and pleads with us by His Spirit, saying, ‘You have sinned, but My Son has died. In Him, I am prepared to deal with you in a way of pure mercy and unmingled grace’…Apart from the blood of atonement, you would now be past hope, shut up forever in the place of doom. But see how the Great Father bears with you! He stands prepared to hear your prayer, to accept your confession of sin, to honor your faith, and to save you from your sin through the sacrifice of His Dear Son.”

You may want to reread that. Astounding, right?!? We are undeniably sinners but not hopeless sinners BECAUSE Jesus Christ is undeniably Salvation!

Last week’s post, “What Kind Of People?”, largely emphasized our responsibilities to live in perfect holiness- distinct from the world and consecrated unto God. And if you are like me, you have come to learn that attempting to do so strictly and solitarily in and of ourselves is just not possible. Reiterating Charles H. Spurgeon, remember that perfect holiness may be compromised by a glance, a thought, or even a desire! Don’t get me wrong, the descriptions of holy living very much remain responsibilities for us, yet it is ONLY through Jesus Christ that such a life of holiness is possible…

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, though whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand” (Romans 5:1-2, NIV84).

“And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach— if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven” (Colossians 1:21-23, NASB95).

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His Glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen” (Jude 24-25, NASB95).

 -Victoria

sparrow…

‘HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW

AND I KNOW HE WATCHES ME’

What a profound thought!  If God cares for the littlest of birds, how much more does He care for us!  Jesus says, “…DO NOT WORRY…LOOK AT THE BIRDS OF THE AIR; THEY DO NOT SOW OR REAP OR STORE AWAY IN BARNS, AND YET YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER FEEDS THEM.  ARE YOU NOT MUCH MORE VALUABLE THAN THEY?” (Matthew 6:26, NIV84).  And He says again, “ARE NOT TWO SPARROWS SOLD FOR A PENNY? YET NOT ONE OF THEM WILL FALL TO THE GROUND APART FROM THE WILL OF YOUR FATHER …SO DON’T BE AFRAID; YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN MANY SPARROWS” (Matthew 10:29, 31, NIV84).

Beyond sparrows, these passages are also linked by a common theme of worrying.  Worrying in these passages is in relation to food, drink, clothing, threats, and death.  A parallel passage to the one recorded in Matthew 6 is found in Luke 12:22-31.  It is interesting to note that the word form used for worrying in Luke’s text is meteōrizomai, which means “to be very concerned about, with the implication of placing too much value upon something“. [1]  Jesus is telling us we need not be inappropriately concerned with things and thoughts that only cause anxiety.

But how does this start? And how can it be stopped?

Worrying and fear and anxiety occur when we fail to seek and revere Christ and instead seek and revere those things and thoughts which lead to such worrying and fear and anxiety.  “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’  For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:31-33, NASB95).

Remember you are valuable to Christ.  “[Cast] all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7, NKJV82).

Victoria

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1. Louw, Johannes P. &  Nida, Eugene Albert. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains, electronic ed. of the 2nd edition. (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996). 313.

her continual coming…

Luke 18:1-8 informs us that Jesus taught a parable about a persistent woman and an unjust judge.  In this parable, the woman  KEPT COMING to the judge and requesting that he protect and defend her against her adversary, literally,    d o   j u s t i c e.  “(4) And for a time he would not; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have neither reverence or fear for God nor respect or consideration for man, (5) yet because this widow continues to bother me, I will defend and protect and avenger her, lest she give me intolerable annoyance and wear me out by her continual coming…” (Amplified Bible).

I love the function of the conjunction “but” used in verse four.  It signifies a contrasting relationship between the immediate preceding and following text which it logically joins together.  This particular conjunction in verse four signifies a contrast between the happenings of a former time and those of a later time.  More than that, it represents the existence of a particular variable which caused the happenings of the former time to be distinguished from those of the later time.

In the former time, the judge would not grant the woman the protection, defense, nor justice she requested.  In the later time, the judge granted the woman the protection, defense, and justice she requested.  So then what exactly is the particular variable responsible for marking such a contrast?  Simply put: the persistence of the woman.

Her continual coming to the unjust judge hassled him to the point where his ability to persist in intentional ignorance of the woman’s plea entirely burst!

Jesus’ transition from the example into His explanation is phenomenal, He exclaims, “Listen to what the unjust judge says!”  It is quite like the explanation in the example Jesus shares in Luke 11:11-13 (and Matthew 7:9-11) where He says, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children,       h o w   m u c h   m o r e   will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” (NASB).

In similar manner, if the unjust judge ultimately (in the sense of eventually) renders a just decision,  h o w   m u c h   m o r e   will the Just Judge rule in ultimate (in the utmost sense) justice!  “[W]ill not [our just] God defend and protect and avenge His elect (His chosen ones), who cry to Him day and night?“(Lk. 18:7, Amplified Bible)

Did you notice that right there?  Do you see it?  DAY and NIGHT!  What!?! You mean to tell me now that in order for God to answer my prayers I have to kneel on my poor knees 24/7 to beg Him!?!  A response in the style of the Apostle Paul─ certainly not!

You see, the point is that God is NOT the unjust judge but IS the Just Judge.  He is NOT the unjust judge who cringes every time He hears the familiar voices of those who continually come before Him.  He is the Just Judge who IS perfectly Just, ruling in complete justice teaching His beloved through this very parable that He desires His Kingdom’s inhabitants, His people to personally and continually come before Him!

Isn’t that absolutely wonderful!  God wants you to personally and continually come before Him.  His desire for you is that you “should always pray and not give up” (Lk. 18:1, NIV84).  And do you know how and why this is possible?  “Because of Christ and our faith in Him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence” (Eph. 3:12, NLT).

Did you notice that right there?  Do you see it?  Because of persistent FAITH in Christ we can now COME boldly and confidently.  And such bold and confident access to the presence of God is not a right we gain to sing the wanna-wanna-blues.  So I conclude this post here with the very question Jesus poses as the conclusion to the parable He told: “when the Son of Man comes, will He find [persistence in] faith on the earth?” (Lk. 18:8, Amplified Bible).

Victoria