When trials come, it is easy to default to the “O Lord get me out of this mess,” sort of posture. It is an automatic response to want difficulty to go away. However, God does not see the struggles the same way that we do. Rather than a chance of us being pulled under, He sees struggles as an opportunity for His strength to be shown. Paul, who had some sort of ongoing affliction, asked the Lord to take it away. Three times He asked God to take it away, and alas, God did not. “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Though Paul’s initial request was for the Lord to take the affliction, the very struggle that hindered him away; when the Lord answered him, Paul’s perspective shifted. What he had viewed as a hindrance, he began to see as an opportunity to show the Lord’s strength. Once he recognized that it was only by God’s grace that he could do anything that the Lord was asking, he was empowered to embrace his weaknesses as opportunities for Christ’s strength to shine.
The challenge is how are we to do this practically? I have seen brilliant examples, as faithful warriors press on and pursue all that God has for them, despite the obstacles that life throws their way. Their resolve is deep-rooted in a firmly established relationship with the Father. Each of them fix their eyes and hearts securely on Him, and trust in His unwavering faithfulness. We are called to press in and persevere, regardless of what comes our way. As our roots run deep, His strength becomes more evident, even when we are weak.
somewhere off the shore;
some simply adrift,
while others want more.
Some paddle, pursue,
a course set afar;
and some are content,
to float where they are.
Both will endure waves,
and boats will be rocked;
and one faith unlocked.
Both will come to know,
their own sense of need;
one calls on the Lord,
allowing Him lead.
For in our weakness,
His strength clearly shows;
may we boast in Christ,
as we daily grow.
May His power rest,
that all who draw near,
will see Christ in me.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your grace is all that we need to get through our greatest challenges. Thank You that Your power is made perfect in our weakness. Thank You that You utilize every challenge as an opportunity to grow us in Your grace, and make Your presence and power known. Forgive us for somehow thinking that You are not enough to carry us when we are unable to stand. Give us wisdom to know when to ask for You to remove something and when to have Your strength come and carry us. Teach us to trust You completely, so that we are completely aware of Your will in all things and at all times. May we love as You love us, and may many come to know the power and presence that is available through the gift of Your grace. Be glorified as we go forth today, and be the strength of our lives. Amen.
© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.
Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78
“Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” – (2 Corinthians 7:1)
The promises that Paul was referring to, were mentioned only a few verses earlier in the previous chapter. “…I will be their God, and they will be my people.” – (6:16b) “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” – (6:18) Reminders that we are His, not only as His people, but as His own children, both promises to which we can cling.
To purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, is a two-part process. It requires us to both turn away from the sin that entangles us, and turn to God, who is our help and our hope.
Perfecting holiness is not something that we can do, but rather is what the Lord does in us, as we operate our very lives out of reverence for God. To live in reverence for God, is to be in ongoing awe of Him. The more we seek to know Him, the more we come to realize just how worthy He is of our deep respect and awe. May we turn from all that would ensnare our souls, and cling to Christ, who is our help and our hope, forever.
promise for all time;
in Christ we are Yours,
and by faith, You’re mine.
Not only as Lord,
but as Father too;
You call us Your kids,
sons and daughters, new.
May we purify,
our lives from the things;
peace that Your truth brings.
Help us turn away,
and cling unto You,
God of faithfulness.
May we stand in awe,
forever in You;
our Hope and our Help,
the God of all truth.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your promises. Thank You that if we come to You and place our trust in You, that You will be our God, and that You call us Your people. Thank You that You go beyond that – that You call us sons and daughters. Thank You that You help us turn from the sin that entangles us, and draw us unto Yourself. Forgive us for trying to do things on our own, thinking that we somehow are strong enough to stand. Teach us to turn to You, and to trust completely, as You alone are our Source. Help us to love as You love us, and lead many to come to know You as not only their God, but as a loving Father too. Be exalted in our every word and deed. Amen.
© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.
Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me.
- Psalm 69:16
As Paul was coming to the close of his letter to the people of Corinth, he gave some basic instructions. One small verse spoke volumes, both at the time, and still today. “Do everything in love.” – (I Corinthians 16:14)
What would that actually look like? If EVERYTHING we said and did was motivated by love, imagine the peace in our households, our neighborhoods, our churches and beyond… We need not look too far to find evidence of how a life lived this way, practically played out. Jesus was our perfect example of doing everything in love. When He approached people, He loved them where they were. They felt His acceptance, and found His love brought life, healing and opportunity that they had never known. Christ’s ability to love through all that He said and did, brought life where it had not previously been found.
The very same power that equipped Jesus to “do everything in love”, dwells in the hearts of all who believe. We too have the capacity, through Christ, to “do everything in love”. It is merely a matter of surrender and ongoing dependence. Have we surrendered all that we are unto Him? Do we depend on Him daily, in all things and at all times, to be our help and our hope? Each of us are a work in progress; moving toward our heavenly home. The more we invest in our relationship with Christ, the more readily we will respond in love. All that we do is a reflection of Him who dwells in us. May we be a radiant reflection, as we love well.
may our eyes fix above;
as we work and play,
may all be done in love.
When we interact,
let our deeds point above;
and grace guide each word,
as we speak too, in love.
When trials do come,
let our hearts get rid of;
all doubt and all fear,
and hold fast to His love.
As day draws to close,
may all praise point above;
for another day,
He’s granted by His love.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are LOVE. Thank You that because You sent Your Son, You made the way for us to draw near and know Your perfect love, personally. Thank You that You equip and empower us to move in love in all that we say and do, if only we are willing. Forgive us for attempting to rely on our own strength rather than Yours, and help us to trust You more so that we may do all things in Your love. Lead us and guide us to love as You love. May many come to know You as the Lover of their soul, and know the hope that is held forever in You. Be exalted through our love. Amen.
© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.
When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14
“…I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” – (I Corinthians 9:22b-23)
Paul is telling us a plethora of important principles in but a brief statement. First, we must find common ground with those around us. That does not mean we are to partake or indulge in sinful stuff, but rather we must take the time to invest in the lives of those around us, and love them well, where they are at, if we ever hope to have a voice in sharing what matters from our own hearts. Second, we cannot have a know-it-all attitude. Humility is the only way we will ever be heard. Another necessary element in the process is to assure those around us that they are accepted, right where they are. There are no requirements of “cleaning up” to come to Christ, but rather it is a matter of a sincere heart that is seeking Him. We must be sensitive to the needs and concerns of those around us, and do what we can, practically, to help meet their needs. When there is a relationship of trust established, opportunities to share what Christ has done for us personally, will be presented; we need only be available and willing to share.
(Italics above are paraphrased from NIV footnotes for 9:22-23)
we need open our eyes;
take time to invest,
in other people’s lives.
For if we’re not known,
why would they lend an ear?
No one will listen,
’til another draws near.
We must first listen,
hear each heart and each voice;
notice what’s needed,
sincere service our choice.
When we invest time,
and let love be our choice;
our heart will be heard,
despite chaos and noise.
Let Love lead the way,
be faithful to the Lord;
people will notice,
His light can’t be ignored.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came and showed us the way to love others well. Thank You that You came near to all, and made everyone who came near feel accepted and loved. Thank You that You were always concerned about the needs of those who came, and touched lives as You transformed hearts. Thank You that You sent Your Spirit, so that we too, have the capacity to love, accept, help, and share in such a way, that people may see You. Forgive us for not investing time, or not being sensitive to those around us. Help make us aware of the needs around us, so that we might be Your hands and heart to those who need Your touch, or word of encouragement. May we learn to find common ground with everyone we meet, and allow You room to move as You see fit. May many come to know You as their Savior and King. Be exalted in everything we say and do. Amen.
© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.
They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness.
- Psalm 145:7
Few of us are called to formal full-time ministry positions as an occupation. However, each one of us are all called to serve and be a witness, wherever we are, regardless of our title or position. We can show His love to those around us as we teach children, manage households, check groceries, pick up garbage, sell insurance, prepare and serve meals, enforce the law, volunteer and so on. Our occupation does not limit how God can utilize us for His glory, right where we are, currently.
“Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him.” – (I Corinthians 7:17)
“Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him.” – (I Corinthians 7:20)
“Brothers, each man, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation God called him to.” – (I Corinthians 7:24)
When repetition occurs in scripture, I tend to take notice. Three times Paul said nearly the same thing to the people of Corinth. Though his words were in the specific context of marriage, I believe it applies to every area of our lives. God will use us wherever we have been called, right now, not when we obtain a certain status or position. What He calls us to, He will use us to work through, if we are willing and available to be obedient to whatever He asks of us. There are days when it seems impossible that He could utilize me to reach another, yet it is in those spots of the strongest struggle, that His strength is shown and progress is made known. May we trust Him where we are, and be open to opportunities to touch lives as we love as He loves us.
to serve where we are;
no need to wait,
He’s brought us this far.
Not by our strength,
but rather, by His;
trust Him to lead,
He’ll do what He says.
In all we do,
to God, let it be;
we too were bound,
’til He set us free.
Let His love lead,
and His Spirit guide;
with hearts open,
His peace realized.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to the spaces where we are, even when they don’t always make sense. Thank You that You are our strength in the struggle and our help and hope. Thank You that You use us for Your glory, regardless of our lot in life, if we are willing to serve You. Forgive us for thinking we have to reach a certain position or knowledge base, or for being fearful of mankind. Teach us to trust You to give us wisdom, words and all that we need, to love and serve, wherever we are called to be. May we touch lives and transform communities through faithfully serving where we are called, and may all glory and honor be given to You. Thank You that You love us where we are, yet continue to grow us more deeply in You. Amen.
© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.
Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41
Exciting news has always found way to spread quickly. In Ephesus, during the time of Paul’s ministry, there was no exception. “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.” – (Acts 19:11-12) There were some Jews who were jealous of both the power and influence that God had given Paul, and they were going around driving out spirits, using both the name of Jesus, and Paul’s name, in attempt to make something happen. These men soon learned that it required more than the use of His Name to overcome evil spirits, as the fellas were beaten within an inch of their lives, and ran away.
As word of this occurrence spread, both Jews and Greeks gained a proper perspective of the power of the Lord, and held His Name in high esteem. Many who had come to believe, came and confessed their sins and began to rid their homes and lives of things that were in direct violation with the ways of the Lord. The depth of their commitment to Christ was further solidified, through the hearing of His awesome power.
What sort of news do we spread? How do we impact people with the power of His Name? Are we making others aware of His awesome power and great love, or are we “talking heads” without the depth of commitment? Paul’s ministry was powerful only because his priority was to love God, and to love people. His love compelled him to share of all that the Lord had done in him, and allowed the power of the Holy Spirit to move through him. God moves mightily through us when we are willing vessels.
let hearts be ablaze;
as people come,
to follow Your ways.
Let willing hearts,
be Your hands and voice;
so all might know,
of redemption choice.
Yes and amen,
shall be our reply;
let others know,
You alone supply.
Be lifted high,
through our word and deed;
may we love well,
as You meet each need.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the news of You has traveled far and wide, providing opportunity for us to come to know You as our Savior and King. Thank You that You love us so much, that You have granted examples of the faithful to show the way, and have provided miracles, to move the hearts of those who need to see to believe. Forgive us for the times that our words and actions have not aligned, or our hearts have not held fast to the truth in trust. Teach us to trust You more, and help us to be living examples for those around us. May we be people who are not just hearers of the word, but rather doers of the word. May our very lives be living testimonies of Your faithfulness and truth to all whom are within our sphere of influence. May many come to know You as their Savior, as we faithfully love and serve You and one another. May You be honored in all things. Amen.
© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.
You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence.
- Acts 2:28
Acts 15, for me, has two terrific take-aways. The first, is when there is a question or dispute about what is right according to God’s will, seek the word and the wisdom of godly counsel. Second, if there is a point of disagreement that seemingly has no resolution that is not foundational in our faith – agree to disagree and move on.
It was brought to the attention of Paul and Barnabas, that some men from Judea and Antioch were teaching in such a way, that they were attempting to place the yoke of the old law upon the necks of Gentile believers, rather than recognizing that the inner working of the Holy Spirit in their lives was more than enough. “This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.” – (Acts 15:2) After meeting with the counsel of elders, who examined the scriptures, they recognized that there was no longer a need to place the former regulations required for Jewish believers upon the neck of the Gentiles who had come to Christ. Instead, they were given a few simple instructions to follow that were to protect their physical and spiritual well-being.
Paul and Barnabas were great friends and brothers in Christ. They had traveled many miles together, and shared miraculous moments that the Lord had provided both through them and in them along the way. After they had met with the counsel, the two men disagreed about whom they should bring along on the next leg of their journey. Ultimately, they parted company and each took a new traveling companion, thus doubling the ministry teams that were sent out. Both men had very effective ministries, that were eventually reunited and ultimately combined (as the point of contention had been over bringing Mark along, and Mark later became a vital part of Paul’s ministry).
seek that which is true;
first God, then the word,
then wise counsel, too.
If disputes arise,
try first to resolve;
let not opinions,
true friendships dissolve.
For there will be times,
when it will be best;
lay down, put to rest.
If we truly love,
then we’ll be okay;
if not eye to eye,
in every way.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You provide us with Your wisdom through Your Holy Spirit and through Your word. Thank You too, that there are godly men and women around us whom we can seek together, when questions arise, or answers seem unclear. Thank You that You create us for community so that we may learn and grow with one another. Thank You too, that as humans, it is okay to disagree on some things. Forgive us for attempting to make snap decisions without seeking You and further counsel when necessary, and also for not being okay with others having opinions that differ form our own. Please grant us the wisdom to know to always seek You first, and to know when we are meant to seek further counsel. Help us to know when it is okay to agree to disagree. May we live in the light of Your love, so that those who know You not, might come to see the goodness and grace that is available through a relationship with You. May many choose to live for You. Be glorified in all that we say and do. Amen.
© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23
“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient.” (2 Timothy 2:24)
Patience and gentleness are invaluable Christian virtues in any occupation. Teaching, however, involves other attributes as well, and these are effectively set forth by Paul in the second letter to young Pastor Timothy. Consider just four of these important exhortations to God-called teachers.
“Be straight.” Soundness in doctrine is absolutely essential, the most vital criterion of all. “Hold fast the form of sound words. . . . Shun profane and vain babblings. . . . Preach the word . . . Exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. . . . Endure sound doctrine” (1:13; 2:16; 4:2-3). Straight doctrine is the basis of everything.
“Be strong.” One can, of course, be strong and gentle at the same time, and this is what God requires. “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2:1). A non-gracious Christian leader is adis-grace to his calling.
“Be studious.” The Lord has given us His inspired Word, and a “sound mind” with which to study it, as well as “the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us” (1:7, 14) to illuminate it, and He expects us to be diligent in its use. “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2:15).
“Be steadfast.” As he concludes, Paul foresees the awful spiritual and moral conditions of the last days—surely enough to intimidate and discourage any Christian. “But,” he then says “continue . . . in the things which thou hast learned” (3:14). This exhortation is followed by the strongest passage on the full divine inspiration, authority, and sufficiency of the Scriptures to be found in the Bible. Regardless of circumstances, a Christian teacher must maintain sound doctrine, be both strong and gracious, be diligent in handling the Scriptures, and just “live there” in the Word of God. HMM
King James Version (KJV)
19 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.
4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
“But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:10)
The apostle Paul was, by any measure, one of the most dedicated and fruitful Christians who ever lived. If any man had a right to be proud of his writings, or his works, or his life in general, it was Paul. No doubt he, like others, had to wrestle with the sin of pride, reminding himself again and again that all he had done he owed simply to the grace and guidance and provision of God.
He could well have boasted, as noted in our text, that he had labored more abundantly than any of the other apostles, but then he brought himself up short with the remonstrance: “Yet not I!” All of his work and success therein he owed completely to the grace of God.
This phrase occurs just two other times. The first is when Paul is giving out his advice and wisdom concerning that most basic of all human institutions, marriage. “And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband” (1 Corinthians7:10). As wise (and even divinely inspired) as his words may have been, he must remind his readers that, after all, this was Christ’s command, not his!
The last occurrence is in Paul’s great testimony concerning his new and changed life in Christ. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20). The transformed, holy, powerful life he was living was not his own accomplishment, but due solely to the indwelling Christ. And surely, if Paul must so remind himself and his listeners, then we should never boast of our own life or works or words. Not I, but Christ—that is to be our testimony! HMM
First day in the villages!!
We went to Ramnagar to see construction on church by Fairlland
Assembly of God. Church is coming up well, and plaque looks nice, but
in Oct. when we shared and gave for church, a villager gave double the
land and so instead of a small church, this is coming up much
bigger–seat 150-200. Pray they have enough to complete it. A joy
was the woman, Elishamma that came to Christ and we were there when
she held hands with her husband and he also accepted Christ.
Both are in church and growing stronger!
Cherlagoraram Village- We sit in front of simple home of people who
break stones for 4 rs each and the whole village is stone breakers.
The first believer in the village is Inkula, now 60 and has 6
children. They have all come to Christ and are now about 30 believers
of 1000 in village, but growing and good spirit!!
They spoke up quickly that 1 of 10 stones broken belong to God. All
children have come and “Naga Raju”, “snake King, now called Daniel, 25
was the last to come 2 years ago.
It was blessing to hear and see a large family sitting on the mat in
front of the house sharing how God has changed their life since coming
to know Him. The debts and misery are gone since they have learned to
tithe and give… Daily, the whole family sits and reads the Word of
God together. The younger ones whoa can read, read to all.
We look where they have been building a stone church the past 5 years,
but have no more money. Publicly we stood and committed among
themselves, one by one to give 24,000Rupees, then we matched it and a
nice church will be complete.
The joy is this pastor, Paul, who came 9 years ago was only 20, but
has led them and 3 other villages to Christ. These are the only
churches in the villages.
Paul, we helped with his first village church in RA Nagar in 2011.
Dr. Mast and I pulled up early AM in Feb 2011 and no one met us and
small concrete stone church. Today, we visit and the church regularly
has 80 members that totally overflow the church and is growing so so
6 took baptism today. One woman who was Laxmmama and is now “Saramma”
stepped in for baptism. She is about 26 and the power of God hit her
and she shook and cried as she went under. Then she shared how 1
month ago, she worshipped hannamun, the monkey. She got a tumor and
had no hope, but a brilliant light filled the room she was in and a
man stood there that she came to know was Jesus. She said “all I
could do was shout HALLALEUJAH and shake”. Jesus healed her last
month and now she follows in baptism.
She stood with her 2 small 2 year old boys, tears streaming down her
face and thanking the Lord for all He is doing in her life!! We named
Christ is revealing himself to many in this way. Miracles are
happening and so many are coming to Christ!
Another man, Ramalu, 28, rode motorcycle, wanted baptism. After he
took baptism, his name is now Phillip. He shared this one year since
accepting Christ, everything he does is prospering, even as Phillip
kept being blessed and prospering everywhere he went…
We had an easier day today. JUst 4 villages after the drive from
Hyderabad.!! Our team of Jeff Oaks, Melody, “superwoman” Mauldin and
myself!! We are blessed and so so thankful for your prayers!!
With so much thanks, prayers and joy to serve the Lord,
Kerry, Melody and Jeff
Without fear of challenge Jesus could say: “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). His claim does not surprise us in the least. What is surprising, however, is that he should then say to his disciples, and so by implication to us: “Ye are the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14). For he does not exhort us to be that light; he plainly says that we are the world’s light, whether we bring our illumination out into places where men can see it, or hide it away from them. The divine life planted in us, which itself is so utterly foreign to the world all around it, is a light source designed to illumine to mankind the world’s true character by emphasizing through contrast its inherent darkness. Accordingly Jesus goes on: “Even so let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” From this it is clear that to separate ourselves from the world today, and thus deprive it of its only light, in no way glorifies God. It merely thwarts his purpose in us and in mankind.
It is true that, as we saw earlier, the career of John the Baptist was rather different. He did in fact withdraw from the world to live austerely in desert places apart, subsisting, we are told, on locusts and wild honey. Men went out there to seek him, for even there he was a burning and a shining light. Yet we are reminded that “he was not that Light.” He came only to bear witness to it. His testimony was the last and greatest of an old prophetic order, but it was so because it pointed forward to Jesus. Jesus alone was “the true Light which lighteth every man, coming into the world”; and he certainly “was in the world,” not outside of it (John 1:9, 10). Christianity derives from him. God can use a John crying in the wilderness, but he never intended his Church to be a select company living by the principle of abstinence.
Earlier we saw how abstinence-”handle not, nor taste, nor touch”-was merely one more element in the world system, and as such was itself suspect (Col. 2:21). But we must go a stage further than this, and once again the apostle Paul comes to our help. In Romans 14:17 he shows how the Christian life is something removed al. together from controversy about what we do and what we don’t do. “The kingdom of God is not eating.and drinking”-not, that is to say, to be conceived in those terms at all-”but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost,” which are in a realm wholly different. The Christian lives, and is guided, not by rules specifying just how far he may mix with men, but by these inward qualities which are mediated to him by God’s Holy Spirit.
Righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost: It may be good for a moment to direct our attention to the second of these. For peace, we find, is a potent element in God’s answer to his Son’s prayer that he would keep us from the evil one (John 17:15).
In God himself there is a peace, a profound undisturbedness of spirit, which keeps him untroubled and undistressed in the face of unspeakable conflict and contradiction. “In the world ye have tribulation,” Jesus says, but “in me ye may have peace” (John 16:33). How easily we get troubled as soon as something goes wrong! But do we ever pause to consider what went wrong with the great purpose upon which God had set his heart? God, who is light, had an eternal plan. Causing light to shine out of darkness he designed this world to be the arena of that plan. Then Satan, as we know, stepped in to thwart God, so that men came to love darkness rather than light. Yet in spite of that setback, the implications of which we appreciate all too little, God preserves in himself a quite undisturbed peace. It is that peace of God which, Paul tells us, is to garrison our hearts and thoughts in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:7).
What does “garrison” really mean? It means that my foe has to fight through the armed guard at the gates before he can reach me. Before I can be touched, the garrison itself has first to be overcome. So I dare to be as peaceful as God, for the peace that is keeping God is keeping me. This is something that the world knows nothing about. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I untoyou” (John 14:27).
How utterly men failed to understand Jesus! Whatever he did was wrong in their eyes, for the light that was in them was darkness. They even dared to identify the Spirit that was in him with Beelzebub the prince of devils. Yet when they accused him of gluttony and drunkenness, what was his response? “Father, I thank thee!” (Matt. 11:19,25). He was unmoved, because in Spirit he abode in the peace of God.
Or recall that last night before his passion. Everything seemed to be going wrong: a friend going out into the night to betray him, another drawing a sword in anger, people going into hiding, or running away naked in their eagerness to escape. In the midst of it all Jesus said to those who had come to take him, “I am he,” so peacefully and so quietly that instead of him being nervous it was they who trembled and fell backwards. This was an experience that has been repeated in the martyrs of every age. They could be tortured or burned, but because they possessed his peace, the onlookers could only wonder at their dignity and composure. It is no surprise to us therefore that Paul describes this peace as beyond understanding.
How striking is the contrast Jesus draws between “in the world” where we are to have tribulation, and “in me” where we may have peace. If God has placed us in the one, to be thronged by its pressures and claims and needs, he has placed us also in the Other, to be held by him undisturbed amid it all. Jesus himself once asked, “Who touched me?” The believing touch of one in that Capernaum multitude registered with him. It matched his own heart of compassion, whereas the pressure of the rest crowding upon him had no such effect. All their impatient jostling did not touch him in the least, for there was little in common between them and him. “Not as the world giveth, give I unto you.” If our life is the life of men, we are swayed by the world. If it is the life of the Spirit it is unmoved by worldly pressures.
“Righteousness and peace and joy”: with such things is the kingdom of God concerned. Never let us be drawn away, therefore, into the old realm of “eating and drinking,” for it is neither the prescription of these things nor their prohibition that concerns us, but another world altogether. So we who are of the kingdom need not abstain. We overcome the world not by giving up the world’s things but by being otherworldly in a positive way: by possessing, that is, a love and a joy and a peace that the world cannot give andthat men sorely need.
Far from seeking to avoid the world we need to see how privileged we are to have been placed there by God. “As thou didst send me into the world, even so send I them into the world.” What a statement! The Church is Jesus’ successor, a divine settlement planted here right in the midst of Satan’s territory. It is something that Satan cannot abide, any more than he could abide Jesus himself, and yet it is something that he cannot by any means rid himself of. It is a colony of heaven, an alien intrusion on his territory, and one against which he is utterly powerless. “Children of God,” Paul calls us, “in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom ye are seen as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15). God has deliberately placed us in the cosmos to show it up for what it is. We are to expose to the divine light, for all men to see them, its God-defying rebelliousness on the one hand and its hollowness and emptiness on the other.
And our task does not stop there. We are to proclaim to men the good news that, if they will turn to it, that light of God in the face of Jesus Christ will set them free from the world’s vain emptiness into the fullness that is his. It is this twofold mission of the Church that accounts for Satan’s hatred. There is nothing that goads him so much as the Church’s presence in the world. Nothing would please him more than to see its telltale light removed. The Church is a thorn in the side of God’s adversary, a constant source of irritation and annoyance to him. We make a heap of trouble for Satan simply by being in the world. So why leave it?
“Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel” (Mark 16:15). This is the Christian’s privilege. It is also his duty. Those who try to opt out of the world only demonstrate that they are still in some degree in bondage to its ways of thinking. We who are “not of it” have no reason at all to try to leave it, for it is where we should be.
So there is no need for us to give up our secular employments. Far from it, for they are our mission field. In this matter there are no secular considerations, only spiritual ones. We do not live our lives in separate compartments, as Christians in the Church and as secular beings the rest of the time. There is not a thing in our profession or in our employment that God intends should be dissociated from our life as his children. Everything we do, be it in field or highway, in shop, factory, kitchen, hospital or school, has spiritual value in terms of the kingdom of Christ. Everything is to be claimed for him. Satan would much prefer to have no Christians in any of these places, for they are decidedly in his way there. He tries therefore to frighten us out of the world, and if he cannot do that, to get us involved in his world system, thinking in its terms, regulating our behavior by its standards. Either would be a triumph for him. But for us to be in the world, yet with all our hopes, all our interests and all our prospects out of the world, that is Satan’s defeat and God’s glory.
Of Jesus’ presence in the world it is written that “the darkness overcame it not” (John 1:5 margin). Nowhere in Scripture does it tell us of sin that we are to “overcome” it, but it distinctly says we are to overcome the world. In relation to sin God’s word speaks only of deliverance; it is in relation to the world that it speaks of victory.
We need deliverance from sin, because God never intended we should have any touch with it; but we do not need, nor should we seek, deliverance from the world, for it is in the purpose of God that we touch it. We are not delivered out of the world, but being born from above, we have victory over it. And we have that victory in the same sense, and with the same unfailing certainty, that light overcame darkness.
“This is the victory that hath overcome the world, even our faith. And who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:4, 5). The key to victory is always our faith relationship with the victorious Son. “Be of good cheer,” he said. “I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Only Jesus could make such a claim; and he could do so because he could earlier affirm: “The prince of the world … hath nothing in me” (John 14:30). It was the first time that anyone on earth had said such a thing. He said it, and he overcame. And through his overcoming the prince of the world was cast out and Jesus began to draw men to himself.
And because he said it, we now dare say it too. Because of my new birth, because “whatsoever is begotten of God overcometh the world,” I can be in the same world as my Lord was in, and in the same sense as he was I can be utterly apart from it, a lamp set on a lampstand, giving light to all who enter the house. “As he is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17). The Church glorifies God, not by getting out of the world but by radiating his light in it. Heaven is not the place to glorify God; it will be the place to praise him. The place to glorify him is here.
Many more wonderful sermons and writings, as well as audio and video at Sermonindex, it both a great resource and an amazing opportunity to read and hear the words of so many amazing pastors and even laypeople. God bless you!
Wow, I am honored by being nominated for the Reality Blog Award by Cristi at Simple.Interesting which I must admit, is one of my favorite blogs. Always it is Simply Interesting and it makes my day to view the many pictures that Cristi post. He does not limit himself to pictures though, please do take time to visit his blog. Believe me you will not be disappointed. Simple.Interesting! According to Crist, “You can decide what you would like to do and please take in consideration that there are no rules so you can follow this pattern or you can create another.” He did include five questions and nominated 20 blogs though. I am going to answer the questions for now and do the nominating a little later. God bless you all and thank you again Cristi!!!!!!
- If you could change something what would you change? LOL I am a woman, I would change my weight of course!!! Although good health would be better probably!!!!
- If you could repeat an age, what age would it be? I don’t think that I would choose to repeat an age, I like what I am and I would always be afraid that I would be different!
- What one thing really scares you? Not getting to heaven is what really scares me. I love God and want to be able to meet Jesus someday. I look forward to the rewards of heaven!
- What one dream have you not completed yet and do you think you will be able to complete it. I know that this probably sounds silly, but I always wanted to learn Italian and work on it occasionally, but sometimes wonder if I will ever succeed. My problem is my memory!!!!
- If you could be someone else for the day, who would you be? The apostle Paul is someone that I would like to have a personal viewpoint of I think. He was an amazing man with so many accomplishments. Perhaps I should be more humble and choose someone else but I truly would love to know him more and I surely can’t imagine being Christ for one day, I know that would be beyond anything I could even imagine!
Position of Liberty: “Stand Fast”
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.
And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law.
You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.
For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.
You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?
This persuasion does not come from Him who callls you.
A little leaven leavens the whole lump.
I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.
And I, brethren,if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased.
I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off!
- Not Legalism but Christ (loopyloo305.com)
For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you;
nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you,
not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us.
For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.
For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies.
Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.
But as for you brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.
And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed.
Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all.
The salutation of Paul with my own hand, which is a sign in every epistle, so I write.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
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