Saturday, February 24, 2018

Overcoming

Overcoming


Dear Follower of Jesus:

Are there things in your life you need to overcome for God’s glory? The honest answer for all Christians is yes.

Below is a Biblical exhortation for Godly living. This is a call to loving obedience to God, a reminder of our righteous position in Christ, a clear statement of man’s sinful nature, a rallying cry to overcome temptation and experience victory over sin, a mandate to stand in God’s strength (not our own), a teaching on how a Christian should think and live, a celebration of salvation and sanctification, and a prayer for God’s blessings and work in our lives in and through Christ Jesus.  Enjoy, embrace and exercise these eternal truths in every part of your life.


Walk worthy of the calling with which you were called. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. The works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?


Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world. Because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

Be imitators of God as dear children. Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. It is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.


May the Lord bless you and keep you. I pray that you are overcoming the temptations and sin in your life – all for God’s glory.

Your Brother in Christ


Note on the ‘Biblical exhortation for Godly living’ (paragraphs in italics above):

Every word in the exhortation above has been taken directly from God’s Word (New King James Version – see scripture references below). However, I want to point out that piecing together scripture that has been ‘plucked’ out of the Bible and used without the context of verse, chapter and book can be a tricky and a quite dangerous practice. The context of all scripture is vital in understanding the truth God intended it to impart to us. Using small portions of scripture to communicate a message can lead to overemphasizing certain points, neglecting others, or even twisting scripture’s true and eternal meaning.

I have endeavored to include all the scripture in the exhortation above in a manner that honors the overall context of living a God-honoring life through salvation in Christ and by overcoming temptation and sin through the truth of His Word, the power and presence of His Spirit, and the victory over sin and death won by Christ at Calvary.


Scripture References

Paragraph 1
  • Ephesians 4:1, Mark 12:30, 1 John 5:3-5, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 10:14, John 3:17
Paragraph 2
  • Isaiah 64:6, Romans 7:19, Galatians 5:19-21, Matthew 15:19, Jeremiah 17:9
Paragraph 3
  • Romans 8:37, 1 Corinthians 10:13, Galatians 5:22-23,      Galatians 5:16, Philippians 1:6, Philippians 2:14-15, 1 John 4:4
Paragraph 4
  • Ephesians 5:1, Ephesians 6:10, Colossians 1:10-11, Romans 12:2, Philippians 2:13
Paragraph 5
  • Philippians 4:8, Romans 12:9-12
Paragraph 6
  • Romans 5:1-5, Romans 12:21
Paragraph 7
  • Hebrews 13:20-21 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Are You Waiting on God?

Are You Waiting on God?


Are you waiting on God? Have you asked Him for:
  • Sight for the blind
  • Healing for the sick
  • Food for the hungry
  • Faith for the doubter
  • Salvation for the lost
  • Freedom for the slave
  • Peace for those at war
  • Comfort for the hurting
  • Clarity for the confused
  • Wisdom for the reckless
  • Homes for the homeless
  • Sobriety for the addicted
  • Hope for the discouraged
  • Forgiveness for the guilty
  • Work for the unemployed
  • Direction for the misguided
  • Protection for those in danger
  • Or anything else only He can do?

What does it mean to wait on God? In summary, it means to trust Him.
  • Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
But let’s dig deeper. To wait on God is to:
  • Confidently move forward with faith, peace and endurance.
  • Completely abandon arrogance, vengeance and selfishness.
  • Continually trust in His righteous nature, sovereign rule and divine care.
As we wait on God, we are to focus on Him and surrender our cares and worries to Him.
  • Matthew 6:33-34 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Here are a few examples from the Bible that show us both successes and failures from people who were waiting on God.

Abraham and Sarah
While waiting for the promised son, they executed their own plan.
  • Genesis 16:1-2 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar. 2 So Sarai said to Abram, “See now, the Lord has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai.
    • Even those with great faith can make bad decisions when they lose sight of God’s promises.
    • We must keep our eyes on Him and trust His timing.
Joseph
While waiting to get out of prison, he used the gifts God had given him.
  • Genesis 40:9-13 Then the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, “Behold, in my dream a vine was before me, 10 and in the vine were three branches; it was as though it budded, its blossoms shot forth, and its clusters brought forth ripe grapes. 11 Then Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand; and I took the grapes and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand.” 12 And Joseph said to him, “This is the interpretation of it: The three branches are three days. 13 Now within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your place, and you will put Pharaoh’s cup in his hand according to the former manner, when you were his butler.
    • Even in the most difficult times, God is working to fulfill His purposes.
    • We must bring Him glory by continuing to use the gifts He has blessed us with.
Peter
While waiting for Christ to deliver Israel, he could be impulsive in his speech.
  • Matthew 16:21-23 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. 22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” 23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
    • Even when we don’t understand what God is doing, His ways and plans are perfect.
    • We must submit our attitudes and words to Him and trust that all He does is good and right.
Paul
While waiting to die for his faith, he looked forward to the glories of being with Christ in Heaven.
  • 2 Timothy 4:6-8 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
    • Even as we see the end of our lives approaching, the realities of His eternal promises come more clearly into view.
    • We must stay focused on the present as we confidently look forward with faith, peace and endurance.

As always, our ultimate example of how to live a God-honoring life is Jesus.

Jesus
While waiting for His humiliation and death:

He completed the work He was given.
  • John 17:4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.
    • Even though Satan and the religious leaders did all they could to stop Him, Jesus faithfully moved forward in obedience.
    • We must obey Father God in all things at all times if we are going to complete the work He has given us.
He submitted to the Father.
  • Matthew 26:39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
    • Even as His betrayal, arrest, torture and death approached, Jesus surrendered everything to the will of His Father.
    • We must see beyond our present circumstances and what may appear to be failure in our lives and surrender to the timing, ways and outcomes of His perfect plan.
He loved those who would kill Him.
  • Luke 23:33-34 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. 34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.
    • Even as He was dying on a Roman cross, He lovingly prayed for those who put Him there.
    • We must be willing to sacrifice everything to demonstrate genuine Godly love for others.

In all things we should glorify Father God. Whatever we are waiting on Him for (no matter how seemingly insignificant or obviously all consuming), we must continue to focus on, surrender to, and trust in Him.

As you wait on God, genuinely, desperately, passionately, earnestly, confidently and faithfully pray that He will help you to:
  • Love Him
  • Trust Him
  • Seek Him
  • Obey Him
  • Praise Him
  • Thank Him
  • Follow Him
  • Appeal to Him
  • Confess to Him
  • Avoid offending Him
  • Humble yourself before Him
  • Use the gifts that come from Him
  • Complete any work ordained by Him
  • And seize every opportunity to honor Him.

Isaiah 40:31
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.


Prayer

Dear Lord, help us to wait on You in ways that honor You. Please help us to see beyond our present circumstances to the future realities that you have promised and secured. Your way is always the best way. Your timing is always just right. Your love never fails. Your truth sets us free. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen