Undisturbed Peace

Aside

I’m given to getting “worked up” when I have troubling problems or circumstances. That is, I am until I recall my Spirirtual resources. I often have to stop in the middle of difficulties (my wife reminds me of this, sometimes) and remember that nothing can touch me unless it first passes through the permissive will of God. If He causes it or allows it, He has a purpose; a good reason. (God is concerned about our problems. He is even more concerned about our responses to them). These reasons may include discipline, building trust, making us an example of faith, giving us opportunities to witness to His sustaining grace or to teach us valuable lessons. We may not know His reason(s) until much later. Hindsight will confirm His wisdom and love because “….we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” (From Romans 8:28). When we trust, even when we don’t understand or it doesn’t make sense to us, we discover that “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee” (Isaiah 26:3). Failure to learn and live by God’s principles guarantees the absence of peace, while conversely “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them” (Psalm 119:165). Selah! Paul’s life and ministry was loaded with danger, suffering and other severe problems but his constant trust enabled him to testify, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God,and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). Undisturbed peace is ours for the trusting. Ron

Gaining Control

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Before we can deal with a problem, we have to recognize that there is one. Most people don’t think of their “thinking” being a problem. All too often, it’s whatever pops into their minds. I’m indebted to a missionary friend for some valuable insights in facing up to the fact that what we allow into our thinking can indeed be a problem. He shared this question: “Where does that thought come from?” He went on to explain that thoughts come either from God or from Satan. Very insightful and a good question by which to test the source of what we are thinking. Having said that, some might ask, “How would we know?” God has provided a wonderful means to build discernment into our hearts and minds. Being increasingly knowlegeable in God’s Word provides a way to identify the source of our thoughts. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). Disciplining ourselves to think Biblically is commanded in Philippians 4:8. We are told, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Can we do this? Yes! With the Holy Spirit’s enabling. He is identified in II Timothy 1:7 as “….the Spirit….of a sound mind.” The key to Spiritual maturity and discernment is what fills our hearts. The pathway to the heart is through the mind. If we allow carnal thoughts to linger in our minds, their abundance will fill our hearts. Conversely, if we think Spiritually, Spiritual abundance will fill our hearts. Matthew 12:34 spells this out: “….out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Selah! Therefore, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” Ron

Out of Control?

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It’s amazing to me that most of us are so prone to let our minds run us, instead of us controlling our minds. How many decisions are made as a result of impulse or emotion (both of which are alright under proper restraint)? Advertisers and marketing experts make ample use of impulse and emotion to sway us to act as they want us to act. Too often, we allow them to get away with it. I wonder how much they would sell, if they appealed only to logic and reason. It can result in financial problems when we don’t master our easily swayed minds. It is especially damaging in the spiritual realm. How many decisions in this realm are based on “feelings,” impulse and wrong desires, without thought to the Word of God. If we are born again, our decisions must be based on solid Scriptural principles. This means that we take control of our minds and use them to conform our lives to God’s will. This requires dependence on the Holy Spirit to enable us to understand the Bible and to foster in us the desire to apply it. The results are many blessings. Without this kind of mind discipline, we are at the mercy of Satan, who knows how to use emotion, impulse and desires to damage us spiritually, physically, and financially. The bottom line is this: Will we allow distractions, emotions and impulses to have free reign or will we make a cast-iron decision to reign our minds in and bring them under the authority of God’s Holy Word? “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 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 (II Corinthians 10:4-5). Note: We won’t always do it right but when we fail, start over with renewed determination. Selah! Escape spiritual shipwreck. Take charge of your mind and bring it under the control of Scriptural principles. Your life will be mightily enriched.   Ron

Missing Persons?

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If we find that someone who is very important to us is missing, it causes concern. If they continue to be missing, we become alarmed. Have we ever stopped to think how God views it when one of His children are not where they are supposed to be? Of course, He knows where they are, but what if it is not where He wants them? Among Jesus’ last words was a a commission to His disciples and by extension to us. He said, “….Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (From Mark 16:15). Obviously, the few disciples who heard Him could only do this within the limits available to them. The implication is that every child of God has the responsibility to carry out his or her part in obeying our Lord’s directive. Many think of a missionary as someone who signs up to go to a foreign country or to an area away from their present surroundings. This is an assignment for many and thank God for those who are faithful in carrying out their assignment . What about those who do not go far from home? Are they non-missionaries? I don’t recall anyplace in Scripture that speaks of witnesses and non-witnesses. All disciples are witnesses. We are all on mission. We all have a sphere of influence. Our mission is to work where God has placed us or sent us. For some it is “Jerusalem” (i.e; where we are). For others it is further away and for still others, it’s to “the uttermost part of the earth.” We are all in this together! Don’t be a missing person! Selah! Soldiers who are missing from their assigned positions can be the cause of a failed mission. Let’s be where God has placed us or sends us, doing, being, saying and thinking as He expects of us. Let’s not be a “missing person!”    Ron

Nocturnal Worship

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 Many of us are awake during the night hours. This may be brief or extended and it may be several times. Sometimes, it may be intended. What happens? Are we in a stupor? David had night experiences. He records one in Psalm 119:62. “At midnight will I rise to give thanks unto Thee because of Thy righteous judgments.” Imagine thanking God for righteous judgments. In Psalm 42:8, we read, “….in the night His song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.” The point that I’d like to make is this: Are we so filled with love for and devotion to God that, even moving around in the night, we find our hearts reaching out in prayer, song and thanksgiving? We may not be thoroughly awake but our hearts respond in these ways to the One Who means so much to us. Selah! This kind of worship comes from much fellowship with Him in the Word and prayer. Are we growing in this kind of worship?   Ron

  “I know I shall see in His beauty the King in Whose law I delight; Who lovingly guardeth my footsteps and giveth me songs in   the night.” (“Redeemed” Fanny J. Crosby)

Coping with Anxiety

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Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee(Isaiah 26:3). We are prone to look at circumstances and they can be overwhelming. Peter walked on water when he kept his eyes on Jesus; when he shifted his gaze to the waves, he started to sink. Sometimes, we look at people and fear how they might betray us, fail us, hurt us or say bad things about us. Consider what God inspired David to put into Scripture: What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee. In God I will praise His Word, In God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me (Psalm 56:3-4). For a child of God by the new birth, what is the worst that can happen? Death? Paul testified, “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21). Suffering? “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Romans 8:18). Abandonment? Psalm 27:10 reassures us, “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.” Our Lord is also is a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” Selah!The bottom line is that He is there for us in every trial of life. He has suffered, and then some, in every way known to us and He gives the Comforter in abundance to those who trust Him and we need not succumb to fears.    Ron

Antidote to Anxiety

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Worry, fear and anxiety are not to be the experience of the true Christian. Yes, there is legitimate fear (such as don’t put your hand on a hot stove). Worry and trust cannot co-exist. Anxiety is worry intensified. Countless admonitions from Scripture remind us that God is in control. Nothing can touch us unless it first passes through the permissive will of God. If He causes or allows it, He has a purpose. He may allow us to understand or He may allow us to trust by not showing us His reasons. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart…,” Proverbs 3:5 reminds us. Worry is assuming responsibility God never intended us to bear. When we learn to trust wholeheartedly, there is a peace that passeth all understanding. Our Heavenly Father designs to build Spiritual strength, character and confidence in His children. He will use various means to shape us but He gives His Word, His Spirit and prayer to calm us amidst the turbulence of daily life. We do not need to wait until the storms are past to have calm restored. We can be calm in adversity and in blessing. If it were up to us, we could legitimately be very anxious. However, it isn’t up to us. Our God will order and provide. If we have violated Biblical principles, our troubles are of our own making. Line up with God’s principles and He will see us through. “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need” (Philippians 4:11-12). “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (II Timothy 1:7) Selah! You are not alone! Millions upon millions have been in heart-wrenching situations and have emerged with faith increased and vibrant testimonies to God’s sustaining grace. Thoughts on coping tomorrow, God willing.     Ron

Encountering the “Presence!”

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How easy it is to slip into a habit without much, if any, thought. I’m convinced that this is common practice for many Christians. When we read the Bible, do we really sense God speaking to us? When we pray, do we realize that we are closeted with Almighty God? We are in His Presence and He listens to us. Do we have an undue familiarity with Him or do we worship in reverent awe? When we assemble, are we aware of our honored status as part of the bride of Christ? Do we sense God speaking through His Word, through the preacher? Do our hearts overflow in wonder, love and praise? Are we truly thankful and grateful for God Himself and His blessings? Does it amaze us to be granted such an encounter? Are we ever astonished that God would choose to indwell us poor but redeemed human beings? Isn’t it time to evaluate and see if we are just carrying out a habit or are we living in the glory of such an incomparable experience with our Creator and Savior? For all who know Jesus as Lord and Savior, let’s not lose the splendor in unthinking habitual activity. Selah! Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His Presence with singing” (Psalm 100:2). “Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His Name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (Psalm 29:2). “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen” (I Timothy 1:17).     Ron

One Book-Two Openers

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Many people open the Bible but for many it is a closed book even after they open it. “It’s boring.” “All those begats and begotten – who cares?” “I don’t understand it.” “That archaic English is beyond me.” These are a few of the complaints of many who venture to peruse its pages. Interestingly, these folk can only appreciate the Bible as literature, poetry or history. Maybe some might look at it as philosophy or as a moral guide. In situations like these, the Bible is little different than any other book. However, hidden in its pages is another dimension. This is only available to those who have been born again, those who are not are blind to the Spiritual dimension. Scripture reveals that Satan blinds the minds of those who have not received salvation. For those who have, Psalm 119:130 reminds us that “The entrance of Thy Words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” What does that mean? It means that the Holy Spirit, who enters us at the moment of genuine conversion, brings the ability to comprehend the Spiritual dimension of God’s Word. God’s light dispels Spiritual blindness. For those who experience this, the Scriptures come alive with unending discoveries. More and more life changing Truth emerges from its pages. It changes us inside and out. The bottom line is that without the Holy Spirit, we could never appreciate the Word of God as He intends for it to be appreciated. “But the natural (unsaved) man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (I Corinthians 2:14). Selah! If you don’t find the Bible exciting, this is the time to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. Then your exposure to the Spiritual dimension will yield increasing understanding and gratitude that God has spoken….to you!    Ron