Staying the Course

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“Encourage the exhausted,

and strengthen the feeble.

Say to those with anxious heart,

“Take courage, fear not.”

Isaiah 35:3-4, NASB

According to Job, chapter 4, Job reached out to the weary and those about to give up. He spoke words of encouragement to his neighbors in times of trials. But only one came to Job’s rescue. And yet, he failed to recognize the voice within him strengthening him to be able to say,

“He knows the way I take;

When He has tried me,

I shall come forth as gold.”

Job 23:10, NASB

Job’s three friends, who came with the intent to comfort him, failed in their mission. The only comfort we find them giving happened at the beginning of Job’s testing when they kept silent.

In trying to encourage or comfort the tired, weak, and fearful, we can take a lesson for Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar and know when to speak and when to keep silent.

So often we don’t know what to say to the hurting—

  • that’s when we keep silent and just be with them.
  • Let them talk if they need to and learn to listen not judge.
  • Wait with them.

When the Lord gave Habakkuk a vision to strengthen and encourage him, He told Habakkuk words we can take to heart.

“For the vision is yet for the appointed time;

It hastens toward the goal,

and it will not fail.

Though it tarries,

wait for it;

For it will certainly come,

it will not delay.”

Habakkuk 2:3, NASB

When it’s time to talk, speak the word of God. It is certain and is being performed in the waiting.

In the waiting, God’s word encourages us as He did Joshua and the Ephesians—

  • “Only be strong and very courageous;
  • be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you;
  • do not turn from it to the right or to the left,
  • so that you may have success wherever you go …
  • Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might.
  • Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” Joshua 1:7;  Ephesians 6:10-11, NASB

How do those who are exhausted in their trials muster  energy to stand, to put on the armor of God, be courageous, and do anything? Ask, simply ask.

“For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father,

from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,

that He would grant you,

according to the riches of His glory,

to be strengthened with power

through His Spirit in the inner man;”

Ephesians 3:14-16, NASB

If we are too weak to pray,

  • the Spirit knows what is in our heart.
  • He will take it to the Father on our behalf.
  • Ask others to pray with us,
  • speak God’s word to us,
  • and thank God for his promises.
  • He will be our strength to stay the course.

“For thus says the high and exalted One

Who lives forever,

whose name is Holy,

“I dwell on a high and holy place,

And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit

In order to revive the spirit of the lowly

And to revive the heart of the contrite …

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man;

and God is faithful,

who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able,

but with the temptation

will provide the way of escape also,

that you may be able to endure it.”

Isaiah 57:15; 1 Corinthians 10:13, NASB

We have God’s word on it—He will come to our aid whether we need comforting or are the comforter.

“FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE WHILE,

HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME,

AND WILL NOT DELAY …

You too be patient;

strengthen your hearts,

for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”

Hebrews 10:37; James 5:8, NASB

And when the Lord does come, he will reward our patient faith with the promises of Israel.

“The LORD your God is in  your midst,

A victorious warrior.

He will exult over you with joy,

He will be quiet in His love,

He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.”

Zephaniah 3:17, NASB

You are in my prayers often, asking our Father to give you strength and encouragement to stay the course. God bless.

The Eyes of God

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“Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her,

“Thou art a God who sees …”

Genesis 16:13a, NASB

The spring water soothed her parched throat and carried her flood of angry tears away. How dare Sarai treat her like a slave. True she served Sarai, but now she carried Abram’s child within her. Hadn’t that changed who she was? Her shoulders drooped. Yes, it had. Hagar had usurped Sarai’s place and Sarai would not stand for it.

Hagar let the spring water filter through her fingers. Now what? She couldn’t return to Sarai nor could she flee to Egypt. The wilderness clothed her. No one saw and no one cared.

At that point, the angel of the Lord appeared and gave Hagar instructions to return to Sarai and promised her good. That’s when Hagar proclaimed—

“Thou art a God who sees …”

In our last post, Job asked, “dost Thou see as a man sees?” Thankfully, the Lord sees far more than we do.

  • He sees with eyes of understanding, wisdom, and compassion.
  • He sees the end from the beginning.
  • He sees the good and the evil.
  • He sees the depths of our hearts and the thoughts never spoken.
  • He sees all.

And that is why we can trust him to lead us in every circumstance. There is no place we can go that God does not see. The Psalmist understood this truth when he wrote Psalm 139.

  • “O LORD, Thou hast searched me and known me.
  • Thou dost know when I sit down and when I rise up;
  • Thou dost understand my thought from afar.
  • Thou dost scrutinize my path and my lying down,
  • And art intimately acquainted with all my ways …

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;

It is too high, I cannot attain to it.

Where can I go from Thy Spirit?

Or where Can I flee from Thy presence?

If I ascend to heaven, Thou art there;

If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, Thou art there …

Even the darkness is not dark to Thee,

And the night is as bright as the day.

Darkness and light are alike to Thee.”

(1-3,6-8,12, NASB)

In the New Testament Jesus sends us out to teach all nations the gospel, and he promises,

“I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:20b

We are assured he is with us, and he see us wherever we are. And because he sees us, we can know he is watching over us.

We, who are God’s children, can come and go in peace as we follow him. That doesn’t mean the trail will always be smooth, but it does mean the Lord will be our strength through whatever comes.

“For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro

throughout the earth

that He may strongly support

those whose heart is completely his …”

But do beware for He also sees when—

“You have acted foolishly in this.

Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars.”

2 Chronicles 16:9, NASB

“For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the LORD,

And He watches all his paths.

His own iniquities will capture the wicked,

And he will be held with the cords of his sin.

He will die for lack of instruction,

And in greatness of his folly he will go astray.”

Proverbs 5:2 1-23, NASB

God is love. He is also holy. He doesn’t sit on his throne waiting for us to do wrong so He can punish us. The Lord watches us so

He can warn us, draw us, and forgive us, as well, as to encourage, protect, and deliver us when we seek him with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.

God longs to extend mercy not justice—but when mercy is not received justice will come.

As Jesus came to reveal the Father to us, He also came to let us know he sees and understands our trials, our weaknesses. He wants to be our strength for He will—

“strongly support those whose heart is completely his …”


Does it bring peace or angst to your heart knowing God sees all? Why?

The Writer’s Heart: Relationships

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“so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. And since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let each exercise them accordingly …” Romans 12:5,6a, NASB

Many relationships evolve on a writer’s road to publication—

  • the characters to the author,
  • the characters to one another,
  • the authors to other authors, writers, editors, and publishers,
  • authors to their readers,
  • and for Christian authors our relationship to Christ.

Each relationship helps clear the path of obstacles and pave the way to our destination—which isn’t only about publication, but includes fulfilling our purpose for writing.

Building a connection between the author and fictional characters differs from that of nonfictional characters.

With nonfiction, our characters come with built-in personalities and experiences. These provide the story of how the relationship grew to be what it is.

RGB72_Nazarene'sPriceIn fiction, we create the characters’ personalities drawing from people we have known, observed, and found in ourselves. In my novel, The Nazarene’s Price, Rebekah, Simon Peter’s daughter, relates to my personality­—a tendency to “speak before engaging the brain,” and having a temper that she’s learning to temper, as well as, a desire to freely worship the Lord.

Developing relationships between the characters in our stories challenges us to connect the various mindsets and hearts in believable interactions, providing conflicts to resolve, aiding in the story-line.

Seeing our readers relate to our characters brings a reward for all the hard work. When our readers unite with characters there is a bond of trust built between the author and the reader. The reader comes to trust the author to produce a work that will speak truth and encouragement into his/her life.

The world of writers provides a unique opportunity for relationships of understanding, encouragement, and learning. A oneness happens based on what we have in common. Like the body of Christ, writers are to,

“have the same care for one another.

And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it;

if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”

1 Corinthians 12:25b,26, NASB.

Writers cheer each other in success, encourage one another when disappointment comes, and offer help in reaching our destination. We don’t walk alone on this road.

Jesus walks with us each step. The union of the believer to Christ is our most important relationship. For he equips us—

“for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:12b.

As we write and live, the Lord tells us—

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth,

but only such a word as is good for edification

according to the need of the moment,

that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Ephesians 4:29, NASB

The Lord has called us to his work. He will lead us in it to bring him glory. Ours is to plant and water his word. He will bring the increase.

The scriptures tell us to share what has been given to us. I have been given much help on my road to seeing The Nazarene’s Price published. For this I am thankful and want to offer help to others. Let me know what you need and if possible, I will help. Until then, for fun, what character have you created or read of that resonates most with you? Why?

Comfort And Peace

Comfort and Peace

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The ringing wouldn’t stop. Finally, it breaks through my sound sleep with a start. I don’t want my babies awakened by the racket. I push my husband awake. “If this is another one of those prank calls …” No. I hope it is.

Tom races to answer the phone. I can barely hear his voice. Dread chokes my heart. My lips grow dry as I walk into the kitchen. Tom’s face is ashen as he replaces the receiver. “They think Randy’s been killed in an accident.”

Tragedy bursts into our lives like an unexpected explosion. We are told in God’s word to expect it. Yet, when it comes we are taken by surprise. Job, in the Bible, faced several tragedies in one day with the loss of livestock, servants, and his children. What was his response and what can we learn from him?

Job’s Response:

‘“Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head,

and he fell to the ground and worshiped.

And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb,

And naked I shall return there.

The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.

Blessed be the name of the LORD.”

Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.”

Job 1:20-22, NASB

Job’s response shows

  • complete trust in his God’s fairness and authority over all that came into his life.
  • He remembered who blessed him with all he had
  • and must have given it all back to God before this day of mourning came to him.
  • Job’s possessions did not own him. They were given by God’s hand and his to take.
  • He even saw his children as a gift from God, loaned to him for a time.
  • Job didn’t rail on the Lord but worshipped him.

Tom’s younger brother was killed that night by a drunk driver. The family mourned the loss of one so young, one we loved. Some accused God because they didn’t know the Lord. Some worshipped. Tom’s mom worshipped in her mourning.

Another mother received a call that night. She mourned. My mother-in-law comforted her. We had a hope that gave us peace and comfort.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

the father of mercies and God of all comfort;

who comforts us in all our affliction

so that we may be able to comfort

those who are in any affliction with the comfort

with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

2 Corinthians 1:3,4, NASB

Jesus told us trouble would come in this life, but He is our comfort and our peace.

“Peace I leave with you;

My peace I give to you;

not as the world gives, do I give to you.

Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful …

The things you have learned and received

and heard and seen in me,

practice these things;

and the God of peace shall be with you.”

(John 14:27; Philippians 4:9, NASB)

Stay near to the Lord before tragedy or trials come and he will meet you in your place of mourning with his peace and comfort.

The First Commandment: Strength

The First Commandment: Strength

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“HEAR, O ISRAEL; THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD: AND THOU SHALT LOVE THE LORD THY GOD WITH ALL THY HEART AND WITH ALL THY SOUL, AND WITH ALL THY MIND,

AND WITH ALL THY STRENGTH:

(from Mark 12:29,30)KJV

He ripped apart a lion with his bare hands, killed thirty men, and killed another thousand with the jaw bone of a donkey. He possessed strength of body but weakness in heart, soul, and mind, which resulted in the loss of his physical power. In his death, by God’s grace, Samson’s physical strength was renewed, and he brought the house down on his enemies, killing more in his death than in his life.

Over a thousand years later, another man stood unimpressive in physical strength and suffered much in the weakness of his body. But what he had, the apostle Paul offered to the Lord, along with all his heart, soul, and mind.

“And he trembling and astonished said,

Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?

And the Lord said unto him,

Arise, and go into the city,

and it shall be told thee what thou must do.”

Acts 9:6, KJV

The Lord chose Paul to bear his name to the nations, kings, and the children of Israel. He would suffer much in this mission.

Paul labored through the whippings, the prison stays, near death experiences, and adverse elements of nature. He endured beatings, dangers by thieves, Israelites, and false brothers. He knew weariness of body, mind, and soul; pain, hunger, thirst, and want. He bore the responsibility of the churches he had planted. And he says,

“Who is weak, and I am not weak? 

Who is offended, and I burn not?

If I must needs glory,

I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.”

2 Corinthians 11:29,30, KJV

When Paul asked the Lord to remove the thorn or weakness he suffered from, the Lord answered him,

“My grace is sufficient for thee:

for my strength is made perfect in weakness …

Paul’s response—

“Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities,

that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches,

in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake:

for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

2 Corinthians 12:9,10, KJV

Paul knew the Lord’s strength, his power, would enable him to be God’s chosen vessel of the gospel. What strength he had, Paul traded for the power of the Lord. He could say,

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

Philippians 4:13, KJV

When facing his death Paul told Timothy—

“For I am now ready to be offered,

and the time of my departure is at hand.

I have fought a good fight,

I have finished my course,

I have kept the faith:

Henceforth

there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness,

which the Lord the righteous judge,

shall give me at that day:

and not to me only,

but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

2 Timothy 4:6-8, KJV

Two men:

  • Samson the weakest strong man, whose life and death leave us with questions.
  • Paul the strongest weak man, whose life and death leave those who love the appearing of Christ with living hope.

Ours is to offer the Lord all the physical strength we have, be it little or much, and he will multiply it by his strength for his glory.


When has God’s strength been evident in your life?

The First Commandment: A New Mind

The First Commandment: A New Mind

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“HEAR, O ISRAEL; THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD: AND THOU SHALT LOVE THE LORD THY GOD WITH ALL THY HEART AND WITH ALL THY SOUL,

AND WITH ALL THY MIND …

(from Mark 12:29,30)KJV

Tears of joy flowed down the face of the humbled man. He wiped the moisture with the sleeve of his cloak, hugged Paul, his father in the Lord, and planted a kiss on his cheeks. “I am free, Master Paul. I am free.”

The apostle Paul placed his hands on Onesimus’ shoulders and looked up into his eyes. “You have only one Master now.”

The bible tells us little about Onesimus and his earthly master, Philemon, but what the apostle Paul writes of them speaks volumes about the change Christ makes in the heart, soul, and mind of those who receive him. Like Onesimus we are all born slaves to sin. It’s in our DNA to serve self. Our minds have been deceived to believe life is what we make it. We need a new mind—the mind of Christ.

“For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”

1Corinthians 2:16, KJV

Being born anew we have Christ living in us.

“I am crucified with Christ;

nevertheless I live;

yet not I, but Christ liveth in me;

and the life which I now live in the flesh

I live by the faith of the Son of God,

who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Galatians 2:20, KJV

Our challenge comes in learning how to rely on the mind of Christ we’ve been given instead of the mind we have been accustomed to following. It takes diligence to replace the dead matter of our minds with the living matter of Christ’s mind—his thoughts, his wisdom, his understanding. It is a daily process of change—

“And be not conformed to this world:

but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,

that ye may prove

what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Romans 12:2, KJV

Renewing our minds, reprogramming the mind to reflect the mind of Christ in us happens over time as we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord. Since this change of mind is God’s desire for us, all we need to do is ask—

“that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will

in all wisdom,

and spiritual understanding;

That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing,

being fruitful in every good work,

and increasing in the knowledge of God:”

Colossians 1:9b,10, KJV

We are told in James’ letter if we need godly wisdom to ask God for it, and he gives it to us. In this world, we need spiritual weapons, godly wisdom, to stand against the vain philosophies seeking to fill our minds with humanly manufactured thoughts opposing to God. Filling our minds with the knowledge of our heavenly Father helps us in—

“Casting down imaginations,

and every high thing that exalteth itself

against the knowledge of God,

and bringing into captivity every thought

to the obedience of Christ;”

2 Corinthians 10:5, KJV

Obedience to the word of God reflects the mind of Christ in our lives. He is our example of a mind set on things above. We are told—

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus …

And being found in fashion as a man,

he humbled himself,

and became obedient unto death,

even the death of the cross …

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence,

work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

For it is God which worketh in you

both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

Philippians 2: 5,8, 12,13, KJV

Submitting our thoughts and understanding into God’s hands requires a trust in God. He knows what is best in every circumstance, he desires our good, and performs both in us. We are told to—

“be renewed in the spirit of  your mind;

And that ye put on the new man,

which after God

is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

Ephesians 4:23, KJV

In receiving Jesus Christ as our Savior, we receive his Spirit in us who gives us a new heart, soul, and mind of righteousness and true holiness. We are a new person, our heart loving as the Lord loves, our soul reborn in his image, and our mind renewed in truth. We are not the person we use to be. We—

“have put on the new man,

which is renewed in knowledge

after the image of him that created him:”

Colossians 3:10, KJV

Onesimus proved the change of his heart, and soul as he labored for Paul, a prisoner of Rome. No longer an unprofitable runaway slave, but a free man in Christ, the time had come for Onesimus to leave Paul and make things right with his earthly master. His return showed the new mind born in him with the new heart, and soul.

Onesimus’ standing in the world remained the same. But the truth in his mind freed him to be who the Lord made him to be. He served freely. He had a new way of thinking. He knew the truth:

“Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.” Proverbs 3:13.

Onesimus found his happiness in the Lord. The Lord invites us to do the same.

“taste and see that the LORD is good:

blessed is the man that trusteth in him.”

Psalm 34:8, KJV

The new mind

  • is humble as Christ was humble,
  • is growing in the knowledge and wisdom of God,
  • gains spiritual understanding,
  • trusts God,
  • is obedient to the Father,
  • and is blessed.

May you be blessed by the new mind that is ours in Christ Jesus.

A Cry for Truth

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In his novel Pudd’nhead Wilson, Mark Twain wrote, “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.”

As writers of fiction no matter how outlandish the tale, the reader needs to be able to believe the story is possible—even if the world is make-believe. God’s truth transcends the believable and includes the impossible. Gabriel gave testimony of it to Mary as did Jesus to his disciples.

“For with God nothing shall be impossible …

But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them,

with men this is impossible;

but with God all things are possible.”

Luke 1:37;Matthew 19:26

The writer of Hebrews, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, tells us that God’s unchanging promises and oaths show us lying is the only thing impossible to God.

“That by two immutable things,

in which it was impossible for God to lie,

we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge

to lay hold upon the hope set before us;

Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul,

both sure and stedfast,

and which entereth into that within the veil.”

(6:18,19)

We have the whole of scripture and numerous fulfilled prophecies proving the truth of God’s word.

  • He created all,
  • He delivered the  son of promise to Sarah when she was ninety years old and Abraham one hundred,
  • He made Abraham into a nation,
  • He parted the Red Sea,
  • He raised the dead,
  • and He has given life to all who will believe.
  • Truth is our comfort and sure, steadfast hope.

A Cry for Truth

“O send out thy light and thy truth:

let them lead me;

let them bring me unto thy holy hill,

and to thy tabernacles.

Then will I go unto the altar of God,

unto God my exceeding joy;

yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.”

Psalm 43:3,4

A Promise of Truth

“The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him,

to all that call upon him in truth.

He will fulfill the desire of them that fear him:

he also will hear their cry, and will save them …

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come,

he will guide you into all truth:

for he shall not speak of himself;

but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak:

and he will shew you things to come.

He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine,

and shall shew it unto you …

For the promise is unto you,

and to your children,

and to all that are afar off,

even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”

(Psalm 145:18,19; John 16:13,14;Acts 2:39)

With truth being a precious commodity in our world, we need discernment to recognize truth from error. It is time to cry out with the psalmist for the Lord to— send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; It is ours for the asking. We have God’s word on it, and as we already know He cannot lie. When we’ve asked and believed Him to be true, then we give—

Praise for Our Belt of Truth

“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,

and into his courts with praise;

be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

For the LORD is good;

his mercy is everlasting;

and his truth endureth to all generations …

I will praise thee with my whole heart:

before the gods will I sing praise unto thee.

I will worship toward thy holy temple,

and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness

and for thy truth:

for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

In the day when I cried thou answeredst me,

and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.”

Psalm 100:4,5; 138:1-3

Ask, believe His word, praise Him, and tighten your belt of truth to stand in the confidence and strength of the Lord.


If you are not familiar with the “belt of truth” you can find it Ephesians 6:14 and read more from my blog, “Truth Comes in One Size.”

Practicing Righteousness

Righteousness

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“Little children, let no one deceive you;

the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous;

the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning.

The Son of God appeared for this purpose,

that He might destroy the works of the devil.

No one who is born of God practices sin,

because His seed abides in him;

and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious:

anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God,

nor the one who does not love his brother.”

1 John 3:7-10; NASB

When a child, practicing the piano was torture. As a result, I didn’t come close to mastering the music. I didn’t come close to playing the music. I could read the notes, understand the fingering, and the tempo. But to get that information to cooperate and make music didn’t happen for me. Playing the music never made its way to my heart.

On the other hand, I have a cousin who had the same piano teacher as I did. We were taught the same things, but what she knew made it to her heart, and her fingers responded. She didn’t practice the music, the music engulfed her. It became a part of what made her, her.

The righteousness the apostle John wrote about isn’t the righteousness that believers inherit in Christ when we enter God’s family. That is ours through faith by God’s grace. 2 Corinthians 5:21, NASB says,

“He(God) made Him(Jesus) who knew no sin

to be sin on our behalf,

that we might become

the righteousness of God in Him.”

Through Christ in us, we carry the stamp of God’s righteousness in us. We are declared righteous. Now comes in the learning to live out our new character in Christ—the righteousness that has been born in our heart. This is where practicing comes in.

Practicing the piano is like the righteousness John speaks of. People know what’s right, that it’s good to do what’s right, and even how to perform what’s right. But what people of the world know has not engulfed their hearts.

The Pharisees of Jesus’ day believed they had a corner on righteousness—and they did—self-righteousness. When we set our own standard of right, we become like the Pharisees—puffed up like a balloon full of our own hot air. Sooner than later, the balloon bursts into pieces revealing our motivation, self promotion. It leaves us deflated.

When our righteousness is of God, we fade into the background and Christ becomes our boasting, our glory.

“He who pursues righteousness and loyalty

Finds life, righteousness and honor.”

Proverbs 21:21, NASB

According to Proverbs we must intentionally pursue righteousness. According to Jesus we must hunger, thirst and seek righteousness.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

for they shall be satisfied …

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness;

and all these things shall be added to you.”

(Matthew 5:6; 6:33, NASB)

According to John, the righteous in Christ will practice it.

“the one who practices righteousness is righteous,

just as He is righteous;”

We have the power in us, through the Holy Spirit, to live out the righteousness of Christ—to practice righteousness moment by moment. Occasionally, we will hit a wrong note, showing us where God is still working to bring us to a piece of beautiful music reflecting His glory. After all, He is the conductor. He encourages us not to quit, but—

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

God will complete His work.

A Prayer: Heavenly Father, increase our hunger, our thirst, our passion to practice the righteousness of Christ before a world held in bondage to the devil, deceived by him. Help us live out the righteousness we have in Christ Jesus to your glory. Thank you, for the righteousness that is ours in Him.

For Thought: What promises are given to those pursuing, seeking, and practicing righteousness?

Keep Praising, Praying, and Believing

Keep Praising, Praying, Believingblog tombb796a201f64ff34f04fe09f604ff0ae4--easter-crafts-crafts-for-kids

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil …”

Matthew 6:13a, KJV

Job of the Old Testament knew it, Paul knew it, and we all know someone, if not ourselves, experiencing long term trials that Satan wants to use to make us doubt the goodness and love of our heavenly Father. But our God tells us—

“You are from God, little children,

and have overcome them;

because greater is He who is in you

than he who is in the world.”

1 John 4:4; NASB

The “them” in that verse refers to the antichrist spirits that belong to the “he”-Satan who is in the world seeking anyone he can convince— that God is not good. But the greater He lives in His children and gives us His promises He will deliver.

The devotional publication from, Mornings With Jesus, the Jan/Feb issue, included a piece written by Cynthia Ruchti. She began with a scripture which will be our first promise.

“When you pass through the waters,

I will be with you;

and through the rivers,

they shall not overwhelm you.”

Isaiah 43:2(ESV).

Cynthia followed it with a text image quote that said, ‘“I asked Jesus why He was taking me through troubled waters. He answered, ‘Because your enemies can’t swim.’” She went on to remind us of the account of Moses leading the Hebrew children through the Red Sea successfully, and the Egyptians drowning.

The Father’s Promises for Victory:

“No temptation has overtaken you

but such as is common to man;

and God is faithful,

who will not allow you to be tempted

beyond what you are able,

but with the temptation will provide

the way of escape also,

that you may be able to endure it.”

1 Corinthians 10:13, NASB

  • There are no trials we face that another has not faced—and endured.
  • God has the final say over the trials we face.
  • He will not allow one to come to us without providing a way out  before we would deny our faith.
  • His strength in us is that way.

“And He has said to me,

‘My grace is sufficient for you,

for power is perfected in weakness.’

Most gladly, therefore,

I will rather boast about my weaknesses,

that the power of Christ may dwell in me …  

But the Lord is faithful,

and He will strengthen and protect you

from the from the evil one …

then the Lord knows how to rescue

the godly from temptation,

and to keep the unrighteous under punishment

for the day of judgment …

 And after you have suffered for a little while,

the God of all grace,

who called you to His eternal glory in Christ,

will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you …

We know that no one who is born of God sins;

but He who was born of God keeps him

and the evil one does not touch him …

The Lord will deliver me from every evil deed,

and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom;

to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”

2 Corinthians 12:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:3; 2 Peter 2:9; 1 Peter 5:10; 1John 5:18; 2 Timothy 4:18; NASB

  • These promises are why those who have gone before us could rejoice in their trials—
  • they knew their faithful God would deliver,
  • their trial was not without purpose,
  • and their heavenly Father had supplied faith and strength to endure to victory.

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world;

and this is the victory that has overcome the world—

our faith.

And who is the one who overcomes the world,

but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”

1 John 5:4,5

For Us:

  • Praise God—deliverance is coming.
  • Pray for God not to let us enter into temptation but be delivered from evil by the grace of God which is your strength to endure.
  • Cling to the Promises of God and rejoice for He is faithful.

“FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE WHILE,

HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME,

AND WILL NOT DELAY.”

Hebrews 10:37

Deliverance Will Come

blogcross-792538__340“And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil …”

Matthew 6:13a

Do you have the same lack of understanding of this phrase as I have had? Hopefully, through this week’s post and your comments we will all come to understand it better. Vines Expository Dictionary explains temptation as—trials with a beneficial purpose and effect. Jesus is our perfect example.

The night held a darkness that could be felt as Jesus led eleven of His disciples across the Kidron Valley, past the distant smoldering fires of the Hinnom Valley where Jerusalem burned its refuse, then up the Mount of Olives to the Garden of Gethsemane.

“And when He arrived at the place, He said to them,

‘Pray that you may not enter into temptation.’

And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, Saying,

‘Father, if Thou art willing, remove this cup from Me;

yet not My will, but Thine be done.’”

Luke 22:40, 41; NASB

It would be sadistic to want to experience the trial Jesus faced that night and through the next day. One thing made it possible for Him to complete the work given to Him. He—

“for the joy set before Him

endured the cross, despising the shame,

and has sat down

at the right hand of the throne of God,”

Hebrews 12:2b

Jesus kept His eyes on the goal, the prize, the deliverance. Paul, the disciples, Job, Abraham, Joseph, the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace, Daniel in the lions’ den—were men who knew their Deliverer. Knowing Him they had hope, and their hope was not without merit.

Our Praise and Rejoicing:

“Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to Thee

in a time when thou mayest be found;

Surely in a flood of great waters

they shall not reach him.

Thou art my hiding place;

Thou dost preserve me from trouble;

Thou dost surround me with songs of deliverance …

Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call;

This I know,

that God is for me.

In God, whose word I praise,

In the LORD, whose word I praise.

In God I have put my trust,

I shall not be afraid.

What man can do to me …

Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden,

The God who is our salvation.

God is to us a God of deliverances;

And to God the Lord belong escapes from death.”

Psalm 32:6-7; 56:9-11; 68:19,20; NASB

In the trials that do come to us, we take our eyes off the suffering(which we despise) but look to the deliverance and the reward of endurance.

“Consider it all joy, my brethren,

when you encounter various trials,

knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 

And let endurance have its perfect result,

that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing …

In this you greatly rejoice,

even though now for a little while, if necessary,

you have been distressed by various trials,

that the proof of your faith,

being more precious than gold which is perishable,

even though tested by fire,

may be found to result in praise and glory and honor

at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

and though you have not seen Him,

you love Him,

and though you do not see Him now,

but believe in Him,

you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,

obtaining as the outcome of your faith

the salvation of your souls.”

James 1:2,3; 1 Peter 1:6-9; NASB

The joy doesn’t come from being in the trial but in knowing its end. So, we are to pray not to enter into the trial which may tempt us to lose hope and deny the One who will deliver and reward our faith. Instead we are to fix—

“our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith,

who for the joy set before Him endured the cross …”

For Thought: Jesus told us trials will come in this world. If we take a glance at our world, we know this is true. How will you be prepared to endure?