Good Morning, Saint!

Good morning, Saint!

Now, insert your name: Good morning, Saint [your name]!

How many of you cringed at that?

The world’s definition of saint is not the Biblical definition of saint. The world says a saint is an “extremely virtuous person.”

The Bible says a saint is a believer, one who believes Jesus Christ is the Son of God, trusts Him for salvation, and has received Him as Lord and Savior.

In six of the nine epistles written by Paul to churches (rather than to individuals), Paul addresses his letter to the saints.

Saints are Righteous in Christ Jesus

We, believers, are not “extremely virtuous,” but God declares we are righteous in Christ Jesus.

Take a deep breath.

Another translation: [Your name], holy one of God.

Paul Prays We will Know

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. (Ephesians 1:18)

A Few of the Riches for Saints

We have received revelation from God.

The mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints… (Colossians 1:26)

Our prayers are incense to God.

When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. (Revelation 5:8)

We will receive the kingdom

But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come. (Daniel 7:18)

We will judge

Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? … Do you not know that we will judge angels? (1 Corinthians 6:2–3)

Saints Are Called and Have a High Calling

We are saints.

We are saints, not because the world says so.

We (believers) are saints because God says so.

So there!

Let’s not be embarrassed. But let’s live up to it.

~~~~

Grace and peace to you, Saint [your name]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re Warned

 

She heeded no voice, she accepted no instruction. She did not trust in the LORD, she did not draw near to her God. (Zephaniah 3:2)

We’re Warned

That warning is to a city, but—oh my!—it pertains to us as individuals as well.

I know I have acted against the voice of the Lord. I know I have failed to act when I’ve had a nudge (or more) from the Lord.

Recently, I wondered about the security of a valuable item, but didn’t mention it to the owner. And it was stolen! Some time ago, I had a nudge to call a friend, and didn’t. Shortly after, she died! Oh no! I lost my chance to talk with her until eternity. (And, of course, there are much worse examples in my own life.)

You can probably remember times you didn’t heed the voice of the Lord and acted against, or failed to act on, His instruction.

Don’t Despair

Make Sure You’re a Child of God

If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. (Romans 10:9–10)

Confess

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)

Believe He Forgave

BELIEVE Him. He is faithful and righteous. He says He forgives if we (children of God) confess.

The Remedy to Avoid Future Failure

Draw near to God.

Discover who He is.

Learn about His sovereignty, His love, His faithfulness.

Make sure you’re “prayed up.”

Find out what He wants.

Trust in the Lord.

Follow His instructions!

Obey His commands!

How?

The best time for me is at the start of the day, to read the Word of God, pray, and get centered in Him. At that time I can commit my ways to Him, ask Him for the day’s priorities (my cherished “to do” list!), and determine to trust Him for whatever.

What are you doing?

Experiential Learning

Experiential learning: The process of learning through experience.

I was impatient with corporate “team building,” which often included “experiential learning” that had, to me, little applicability. The value of a ropes course totally escaped me. (Well, I did learn that I didn’t want to do that again…)

To be fair, I can recall a few exercises that illuminated both knowledge and action. But…not the ropes course!

And, given my many years in school, my love of education, what I often really want is to know what spiritual course I’m in, when the test is scheduled, and to receive a letter grade. And, then, to neatly store my books and notes.

I want to know when I’ve completed the basics and moved on to a higher-level course. I want to be tested on what I know.

Multiple choice tests would be fine; essay exams okay.

But practical exams?

Growth Requires Experiential Learning

However.

Our growth as Christians requires experiential learning.

And God, who knows everything about us, who knows how He is shaping us, is the all-knowing, all-powerful experiential learning master teacher.

God is “into” experiential learning. That isn’t to say knowledge is unimportant, because it is. We are to grow in the knowledge and love of God. And there is nothing so practical as good theory, as good theology.

But if we don’t put what we know into practice, we have failed.

Understanding is only evident when there is action.

Faith without works is dead. (See James 2:14-26)

The mark of a mature Christian is partly knowledge, being able to handle the word of God accurately (2 Timothy 2:15), but is shown, is proved, through behavior.

We will come to the judgment seat of Christ where we will receive awards based on what we do in this life. What we do. It won’t be a theological exam, but a review of many practical exams. (2 Corinthians 5:10)

Knowledge-Doing Link

“You get to know the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit by studying God’s self-revelation, the Bible, and following Him. His Word says as we obey, we grow in knowledge. A wonderful cycle is one of the blessings of obedience: Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord [so you] please Him in all respects [so you] bear fruit in every good work [so you] increase in the knowledge of God. (Colossians1:9-12) Then we know Him better, and because we know Him more, we love Him more, so we keep His commandments better. And then because we are keeping His commandments, we know Him, more.” (page 16, When Storms Come: Will You Be Ready?)

“If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself.” (John 7:17)

Testing is an Experiential Learning Exercise

There are examples in both the Old and New Testaments of testing, and at least hints about the results.

Abraham

Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, … and said to him, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” (Genesis 22:1,12)

Israel in the Wilderness

Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin.” (Exodus 20:20)

the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deuteronomy 13:3)

Philip

This He was saying to test Philip, for He Himself [Jesus] knew what He was intending to do. (John 6:6)

Outcomes of God-Designed Experiential Learning

Christians are being refined as silver

The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the Lord tests hearts. (Proverbs 17:3)

For You have tried us, O God; You have refined us as silver is refined. (Psalm 66:10)

Improved Endurance

The testing of your faith produces endurance. (James 1:3)

Glory to God

[Trials] so 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. (1 Peter 1:7)

Action Plan

We must gain knowledge and practice applying the knowledge of God in our lives.

  1. Ask for experiential learning!

~~~Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way. (Psalm 139:23–24)

  1. Gain knowledge with the intent to apply it.

We gain knowledge by studying the Bible. It is there that God reveals Himself, where we can learn about Him, His character, His ways of doing things, His instructions to us.

And it is there we can see how others have behaved, successfully—or not—applying the knowledge and love of God. We see models to imitate and behaviors to avoid.

Plan to apply your knowledge of God and His instructions. One of the put downs of college professors is that they live in ivory towers, meaning that they are full of knowledge that they haven’t put into action. There are a lot of Christians trying to live in ivory towers, but God won’t let us get by with it. Either we apply it or we don’t.

  1. As you develop our “to do” lists for the day (See What Are Your Plans Today), add plans to demonstrate your faith.

Think about, for example, how you can, this day, show your love for other Christians, or how you can, this day, calm your anxious heart by relying on God’s loving sovereignty.

Deliberately, purposefully, intentionally, practice applying your knowledge of God.

 

Praise the Light

 

Have you been on a tour deep in a cave when all lights are extinguished? Total darkness! You can’t see your hand right in front of your face. Everyone becomes quiet. Some become unsteady, lacking visual references to keep their balance. And then it gets quieter still. When the tour guide turns on the smallest light, there is such relief!

Spiritually, we are in darkness…unless Christ, the Light of the world, brings us into His marvelous light.

Jesus Christ, the Light of the world and the world to come

Jesus Christ is the Light of the world.

While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world. (John 9:5)

Jesus Christ is the Light in the world to come.

And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. (Revelation 21:23–24)

And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them. (Revelation 22:5)

Ezekiel, Daniel, and John, when they saw His face like lightning, and His eyes of flame, fell on their faces.

The Light, Jesus Christ, gives us glimpses of His glory, His majesty, so overwhelming our only proper response is to fall at His feet and worship Him.

Christ, The Light of the World

It’s not that He gives off light, but He IS light. He is the source of all light.

For us, His followers, children of God:

He takes us out of the darkness:

I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness. (John 12:44–46)

He has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)

He enlightens us, giving us a lighted path and hope:

I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life. (John 8:12)

He is our source of revelation:

A Light of revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel. (Luke 2:32)

[We were given] the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:3–6)

He makes believers sons of Light, children of Light

While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light. (John 12:35–36)

Children of Light have responsibilities

You were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:8–13)

For the world:

Christ, The Light, Exposes Evil

This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. (John 3:19-21)

 

~~~

Praise The Light

I praise You, Christ, Light of the World. You, the Light, illuminate sin and righteousness, and guide us to all truth. I praise You, the Light for the world to come, that You are all we need. I praise You that You made me a child of light, that You have taken me out of darkness into Your light. I praise You for Your revelation of Yourself, the Father, and the world to come.

 

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This was the twelfth in the Praise series. Here are the previous eleven:

Praise the Abider

Praise the Bread of Life

Praise the Creator

Praise our Defender

Praise the Everlasting God

Praise our Father

Praise the Giver

Praise the Holy Spirit

Praise Immanuel

Praise Jesus Christ

Praise our Keeper

 

Show and Tell

Show and Tell

When I was in first grade, I bragged about my brother who could drive a car and fly an airplane. Naturally, my classmates thought I was a liar.

My lovely teacher solved the problem by having my brother come to show and tell!

And my brother came!

It was true!

It definitely wasn’t enough to tell my classmates about my brother, he had to show up.

God Shows Up

God does that, too.

God shows up—He demonstrates–to help us understand, to believe.

Sometimes He tells us before; sometimes He tells us afterwards.

When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am… (John 8:28)

~~Told, then showed, then (maybe) belief

The signs He did showed… But the people often didn’t understand what the signs meant, so they were told.

~~Showed, then told.

By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us. (1 John 3:16)

~~Showed, then understood (maybe)

Do We Show Up?

Do we show our faith by our works? By acting out our faith? (James 2:14-26)

If we don’t show our faith, our words have no power.

We have to show and tell. (Not just tell.)

 

For more on how God shows us His love see chapter 8 in  When Storms Come: Will You Be Ready?

I Don’t Know

 

I don’t know what is going to happen.

Of course I don’t.

I can—and should—do all I can to have the situation come out “right,” but I should—I must—trust almighty God, who is in control of all things, and who loves me.

Oh my.

I’m still human. I don’t know the future. I can do everything I can, and the future might—or might not—be what I want.

You can fill in the blanks with your own personal issues. My specifics are really irrelevant. It is the same general dilemma for us all.

WE HAVE A CHOICE

We may be in difficult situations.

We may be facing a scary future. Or not. I don’t know. You don’t know.

We do have a choice about how to face the future and how to handle the present.

Jesus says:

Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. (John 14:1)

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. (John 14:27)

If we, as children of God, are troubled, we have allowed ourselves to be.

But how can we prevent being troubled?

We have a choice between trusting God, believing the truths He has given us, OR allowing ourselves to ignore those truths and becoming mired in our own view of the issue.

When I sense I’m becoming troubled, or, even better, when I see the choice between believing God and allowing myself to become troubled, I am determined to review God’s truth.

WHAT WE DO KNOW

This is a great prompt to review what God’s children know.

We–those who believe Jesus Christ is God, died, and rose again, and who trust Him for our salvation—know:

We are God’s children. We are His beloved.

See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. (1 John 3:1)

We are Christ’s brethren.

Jesus said … go to My brethren and say to them… (John 20:17)

We are promised eternal life.

Whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. (John 3:15)

We are promised the Father’s presence, Christ’s presence, and the Holy Spirit’s dwelling within us.

You, Father, are in Me and I in You, [that] they also may be in Us. (John 17:21)

In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:13–14)

We are promised that Christ intercedes for us with the Father, and that the Holy Spirit prays for us in accordance with the Father’s will.

Christ Jesus … is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. (Romans 8:34)

The Holy Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:27)

We are promised that our prayers, if consistent with who Christ is and what Christ wills, will be answered.

Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. (John 14:13–14)

We are promised that God will work everything that happens to us for good, making us into the image of His beloved Son.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:28–29)

WE ARE TO ACT ON THE TRUTH

Given all that, we are responsible to act on those incredible—true—truths, and not be afraid.

It, like so much, comes down to a choice.

Do not LET your hearts be troubled.

Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. (John 14:1)

Instead of being troubled, we are to believe.

HELP!

Lord, help me. I chose to believe the truths in YOUR Word. I chose to trust You.

Help me not let my heart be troubled.

Reassigned

He brought us out from there in order to bring us in, to give us the land which He had sworn to our fathers. (Deuteronomy 6:23)

In order to get new orders, the Lord has to end your current assignment.

Reassignments

Moses was reassigned from shepherd to deliver Egypt. Someone else had to take over the sheep.

Joseph was reassigned from favored son, to slave, to prison, to Pharoah’s second. Huge change!

Paul was reassigned from missionary to prisoner, where he continued to be a missionary! He wrote much of the New Testament while he was a prisoner, and, when he was in prison, he even reached Caesar’s household with the gospel.

I was reassigned from a job I loved to retirement, with all the challenges and opportunities inherent in that. I couldn’t both work and retire.

Losses, Opportunities, and Stress

Any move from one assignment to another (whether “bigger” or “better” or “smaller” or “worse”) has costs. You probably know about “change points,” that list of questions assessing your stress level. In that assessment any change, “good” or “bad” comes with stress points.

And there are always losses, even when the change is for the “better.” Moses probably didn’t care that he didn’t speak well when all he had were sheep. But he didn’t want God’s new, lofty assignment, because he was slow of speech and tongue. If I were placed back in the work force, I’d lose precious, unscheduled time with family and abundant time to read and study.

Have you been reassigned?

Take a moment and think about some of the reassignments you have had. Did the reassignments bring welcome challenges and opportunities, or did they seem mainly to involve loss? Looking back, can you see the Lord’s hand?

For us, children of the King, we need to be conscious that we are still in His service, He just changed our assignment.

And, even for the King, He has to take us out of the old place in order to bring us into the new.

Principles of Reassignment:

We are in the King’s service and it is His sovereign choice whether to reassign us, and give us new orders. We are still in His service, and must seek to do His will.

The change in our area of service is a great opportunity to recognize our shortcomings, our total inadequacy, and humble ourselves before our great and awesome God. This is a time to learn how to be humble.

Any reassignment is a call to humility. If you’ve been reassigned to what you believe is a lower, or much lower, position, it is an opportunity to humble yourself. If you’ve been reassigned to what you see as a higher, or much higher, position, it is an opportunity to see your inadequacies and humble yourself.

Our new role is also a time to learn from Him. “How do You want me to go about this?” “What is Your path for me in this new situation?” “How can I glorify You in this change?”

He prepared work for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). Your new assignment includes God-given work.

And, always, thank Him for His work in your life, and rejoice.

 

 

 

Praise Our Keeper

Keeper

The Dictionary tells us what “keeper” means:

  1. One that has the charge or care of something;
  2. One that holds, guards, supports;
  3. One that retains possession of;
  4. One that maintains for use or for service;
  5. One that adheres to, fulfills.

All are true of our Lord, Yahweh the Keeper, and so much more.

Yahweh Our* Keeper

Keeps His Word

O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments… (Daniel 9:4)

Keeps—holds, guards, supports– God’s children, Followers of Christ

The Lord keeps all who love Him. (Psalm 145:20)

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

Keeps us* safe

Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled. (John 17:11–12)

I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. (John 17:15)

Keeps us* in His love

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. (John 10:27–29)

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38–39)

[We*] are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:5)

[We*] are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ. (Jude 1)

~~~~~

Praise the Keeper

Praise the Keeper, who faithfully keeps all His word, who keeps all His promises, who keeps us* safe for eternal life. Praise You for Your trustworthy care, keeping us for Christ Jesus, keeping us from stumbling, and making us stand blameless before Your glory. Praise You—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—for keeping us in Your love, for keeping us for the day of salvation. All glory be Yours.

 

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See also: I’m a Kept Woman

*We/Us/Our: Children of God, followers of Jesus Christ

What are your plans today?

When I am asked, “What are your plans today?”, I usually have an answer. In fact, I maintain a “to do” list of projects and activities I want to finish today, this week, this season, next summer, this lifetime…

I know many don’t keep plans to this extreme, some lose their “to do” lists if they even make one, but nearly all of us have an idea what we’re going to do today.

Have you Inquired of the Lord?

The question is: “Have you inquired of the Lord?”

Saul

So Saul died for his trespass which he committed against the Lord, because of the word of the Lord which he did not keep; and also because he asked counsel of a medium, making inquiry of it, and did not inquire of the Lord. Therefore He killed him and turned the kingdom to David the son of Jesse. (1 Chronicles 10:13–14)

Saul:

Didn’t keep the word of the Lord.

Asked questions of the wrong person.

Didn’t inquire of the Lord.

Judah

So I will stretch out My hand against Judah and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the names of the idolatrous priests along with the priests. And those who bow down on the housetops to the host of heaven, and those who bow down and swear to the Lord and yet swear by Milcom, and those who have turned back from following the Lord, and those who have not sought the Lord or inquired of Him. (Zephaniah 1:4–6)

Judah:

Worshipped idols.

Turned back from following the Lord.

Didn’t seek the Lord or inquire of Him.

Our Privilege (and Responsibility) to Inquire

As Christians, we have the immense privilege of going directly to the Father with confidence. We have the honor of asking Him about “our” plans. We have the joy of hearing from Him.

We have the responsibility to inquire of our Commander.

One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate [inquire] in His temple. (Psalm 27:4)

Questions

Have you asked the Lord about your plans?

Does your “to do” list bring you closer to Him?

Is there anything you should do differently?

Prayer

Lord, hello me not relay on my own “wisdom, but on You. Help me consistently inquire of You.

Fire, Illumination or Silence?

The volume of public “discourse” is very high right now, accompanied by rancor, also at a high pitch.

There is a lot of fire, but much less illumination.

My reaction has been to limit my involvement, believing I cannot make things better. I’ve heard that a lot of people, on various “sides” are withdrawing from social media for a while.

Speak the Truth in Love

This has made me think about how Christians are to relate to other believers.

We are to speak the truth in love. (Ephesians 4:15)

It really isn’t hard, although it may take some courage, to speak the truth (as we see it).

But it takes the Holy Spirit working in us, and some skill, and some courage, to speak the truth in love.

We’ve all seen, and perhaps experienced, someone hammering at a fault, leaving the person in tatters.

On the other side, it’s common to ignore the problem, focusing instead on keeping a smooth relationship. This is an example of confusing love with tolerance.

We don’t love someone when we let them persist in a fault, in a sin, never hearing a reprimand or getting guidance and help to do better.

And people are much less apt to listen to a rebuke that isn’t presented with love.

Silence can be a Sin

Too often, we are just silent, seeing silence as the easy way out.

Silence, however, can be a sin.

For I have told [Eli] that I am about to judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knew, because his sons brought a curse on themselves and he did not rebuke them. (1 Samuel 3:13)

So now what?

Through the Scriptures, I’ve heard rebuke from the Lord, and know I need to do better. I know this will be a matter of prayer in the coming days.

What about you?