Whose Side Are You On?

The US civic scene is chaotic! Democrats versus Republicans. Strife within each party. Protests of all sorts, some violent. Demonstrations by different advocacy groups. Name calling. Insults. Aspersions on motives and character.

Inability (and/or unwillingness) to agree on facts. Different conceptions of where we should head. Diverse opinions on next steps.

Alas.

Whose side are you on?

Joshua wanted to know that too.

Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” He said, “No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the Lord.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, “What has my lord to say to his servant?” The captain of the Lord’shost said to Joshua, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.(Joshua 5:13–15)

The challenge for us, Christians, is to follow Christ. We need to determine what it means to love the Lord our God and love our neighbors as ourselves during this turbulent time.

Participation in politics or current issues may be the Lord’s path for you. Or not. If you participate, how you participate is critical. The essential is that our lives must reflect our standing in Christ.

If you look back over the last few weeks, where were your energies? Your thoughts? Are you okay with how much time you spent on current issues?  How did your words and actions line up with your beliefs? Did your beliefs influence your reactions? Are you okay with how much time and energy you devoted to the Lord?

Did you love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength? Did you love your neighbor as yourself?

What has my lord to say to his servant? (Joshua 5:14)

What does your Lord have to say to you?

 

Praise the Corner Stone

 

Jesus Christ is the cornerstone, the perfect stone that controls the accuracy of a building’s angles and lines.

Behold, I [the LORD God] am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed.(Isaiah 28:16)

Jesus was rejected and crucified

Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead … is the stone which wasrejectedby you, the builders.Acts 4:10-11

The resurrected Jesus Christ became the Chief Corner Stone

The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone. This is the Lord’sdoing; It is marvelous in our eyes.(Psalm 118:22–23)

Christians are living stones, being fit in the building with Christ as the Cornerstone

You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house [with Jesus Himself being the corner stone—Ephesians 2:19-22] for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.(1 Peter 2:5)

Cornerstone or Stumbling block: People have a choice

Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, aprecious cornerstone, And he who believes inHim will not bedisappointed. This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, “The stone which the buildersrejected,This became the very cornerstone,” and, “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.” (1 Peter 2:6–8)

Praise the Corner Stone

Lord Jesus Christ, we praise You, the perfect Cornerstone, who sets the growing building of believers into a dwelling that glorifies God. And we praise You for being the cornerstone in each of our lives so that we may be set in proper alignment with You. Thank You that You never disappoint. Thank You for Your perfection. Thank You for the privilege of being a living stone in Your building.

You Are Adequate

God has made you and me adequate.

God … made us adequate as servants of a new covenant.(2 Corinthians 3:6)

He has given us  abundance for every good deed.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.(2 Corinthians 9:8–10)

So … do you feel adequate? Do you think you have an abundance for every good deed?

I don’t. You probably don’t either.

We know God’s Word is truth. But we don’t see ourselves as adequate or having abundance for good deeds.

This is a case of what is termed “Already-but-Not-Yet.” We already are saved. We already have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us.

The “Not Yet” part is that we are in the process of being saved from the power of sin (sanctification). We are in the process of learning to walk in the newness of life. We are being transformed into the image of Christ. We’re getting there, but we are not there yet.

Our adequacy is a truth, but it is also a process.  It is an example of “Already- but-Not-Yet.”

Already

We are saved (John 3:16)

We are children of God

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.(John 1:12)

We have access to God’s throne (Hebrew 4:16)

The Holy Spirit lives in us

The Holy Spirit who dwells in us …(2 Timothy 1:14)

Christ is praying for us (See Jesus is Praying for You)

The Holy Spirit is praying for us (See The Holy Spirit is Praying for You)

We have God’s Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

But Not Yet: We Must Become More Adequate

Pray! We can approach God with confidence. In order to serve Him and meet our challenges we must pray.

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  (Hebrews 4:16)

Rely! We are not adequate in ourselves, so we must learn to rely on God and not ourselves. Be humble.

Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God.(2 Corinthians 3:5)

Learn! God’s grace is sufficient. When we don’t rely on ourselves, when we know we’re weak and He is strong, we learn His awesome power.

My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.(2 Corinthians 12:9–10)

Grow! We must grow in the knowledge of God. Knowing His Word, the Bible, is key. Determine to study the Bible regularly and deeply.

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.(2 Timothy 3:16–17)

Praise God

For the opportunities He gives us to serve Him,

For the challenges He gives us to rely on Him,

For the grace He gives in abundance.

 

A New Name

A New Name

You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas (which is translated Peter).(John 1:42)

The gospels and Acts show Simon’s development into his new name, including times of failure when the Lord again called him “Simon.” (See John 21:15-17)

Our New Name

We also are growing into a new name that will be given to us in heaven.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.(Revelation 2:17)

Our Growth

Our growth into a new name started when we came to saving faith in Christ.

1. New Creatures

We, Christians, are new creatures

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.(2 Corinthians 5:17)

2. Being Transformed

We are being transformed

Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.(1 Corinthians 6:11)

3. Learning to Walk

We are learning to walk after Christ

and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.(Ephesians 4:24)

and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him—(Colossians 3:10)

4. God is Working on Us

God will keep working on us until the day of Christ

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 1:6)

Be Encouraged

What encouragement! We are not like we were before coming to faith in Jesus Christ. God is working in us, making us ready for our new names.

Hallelujah!

 

 

Waiting for the Cloud to Move

Waiting for the Cloud to move

When the Israelis were delivered from Egypt, a pillar of fire followed them and a cloud led them. When the Cloud stopped, they made camp and they did not move again until the Cloud did.

Throughout all their journeys whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the sons of Israel would set out; but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out until the day when it was taken up. For throughout all their journeys, the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and there was fire in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel.(Exodus 40:36–38)

God made it clear He was with them, when to stop, and when to move.

How long did it take to break camp? How long did it take to set up the tabernacle and then ready it for a move? Was there any warning?

Since they didn’t know how long they would be at that location, what did they do?

Are you waiting for the Cloud to move?

There are similarities for us. My mom was ready to move to a retirement home about six years before my dad was ready. He wasn’t ready until the sprinkler system broke! She had to wait.

And you are or have been in a season you knew would end but didn’t know when. Maybe your house is for sale. Maybe you are on an (endless) waiting list for something.

As a believer, know for sure that God is with you. If you are sensing the need to move, pay attention. If you aren’t being told to move, wait.

How do you wait?

Surrender the timing to the Lord.

Thank Him for your situation, knowing that He is working. He is giving you a rest period. He is teaching you. He is giving you a place of service.

Be ready when the cloud moves, but until then, strive to live each day in the newness of life. Redeem the time.

Don’t start taking down the tabernacle until the Lord directs!

But then

But, then, move, and wait for the Cloud to stop…

Praise our Banner

Banners

The opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics feature athletes proudly displaying their countries’ flags.

The ongoing conflicts we see on the news—both domestic and international—display flags/banners carried by various parties. We can now readily identify the flags and goals of various groups.

If you are caught in a demonstration, you can judge which way to move by the banners you see.

Yahweh is our Banner

Eternally important is that for us, believers, our flag, our banner, is our Lord.

Moses built an altar and named it The Lord is My Banner [Yahweh-Nissi].(Exodus 17:15)

Our Salvation

When we came to saving faith in Christ, we were placed under God’s Banner. We became part of His army, one of His possessions.

And I [Jesus], if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself. (John 12:32) (See also Numbers 21:8-9)

Then in that day the nations will resort to the root of Jesse, who will stand as a signal [NLT: banner of salvation] for the peoples; And His resting place will be glorious.(Isaiah 11:10)

Our Identity to Display. Our Protection to Claim

You have given a banner to those who fear You, that it may be displayed because of the truth. That Your beloved may be delivered. (Psalm 60:4–5)

And His Declaration of Love

And his banner over me is love.(Song of Solomon 2:4)

~~~

Praise Our Banner

God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—we praise You for revealing Yourself as our Banner. We praise You for drawing us to Yourself, for placing us under Your Banner, making us Your own. We praise You that You show us Your direction, protect us through Your infinite power, and lead us to Your presence. Please help us understand You as our Banner, help us display Your holiness, and lead us in ways everlasting.

 

 

The Holy Spirit is Praying for You!

Leonid Regheta Facebook Post

The Holy Spirit is Praying for You!

The Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He [God the Father] who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He [the Holy Spirit] intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.(Romans 8:26–27)

Are you worried whether you have the resources to successfully fight the battle you’re in? Do you know you need help? Do you want the “big guns” on your side?

The Holy Spirit is praying for you!

Jesus Christ is praying for you! (See Jesus is Praying for You!)

We don’t always know what to pray for. A non-specific “HELP!” is often my first thought. But the Holy Spirit knows exactly how to pray. And He is praying even when we don’t.

We are weak in fighting our spiritual battles. The Holy Spirit is God, all powerful, infinitely wise and He is praying for us.

We are guaranteed glory, and the intercession of Christ, our Advocate, and the Holy Spirit, make that sure.

If we lose a specific battle, we have an Advocate (1 John 2:1), and we have a promise of forgiveness when we confess (1 John 1:9). Going forward, both Christ and the Holy Spirit are praying for us.

Rejoice, believer, and know your immense privilege of God the Son’s and God the Holy Spirit’s prayers for you.

Hallelujah!

 

 

Jesus is Praying for You!

Jesus is Praying for You!

I’ve asked Christian friends to pray for me. And people have asked me to pray for them. Praying for each other is a blessing within the family of God, and we should be deliberate in intervening for others.

Even better, even more, the Son of God is praying for you and me! Imagine! Jesus Christ, God’s beloved Son, our Lord, is interceding for us at the right hand of the Father.

Right now, He is praying for you, for me! Right now!

Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.(Hebrews 7:25)

Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.(Romans 8:34)

Thank You for the immense assurance that I am not alone as I strive to walk in Your way. Thank You that You are praying for me, even right now.

 

Take Courage

Take Courage

It takes courage to PRESS ON.

In the Christian life, we need courage to act, courage to endure, and courage to wait.

We need to take courage. Courage isn’t something you have or you don’t, it’s an active process to take courage, to gather up courage.

The Bible gives us reasons for courage and promises results from acting courageously in the Lord’s will. Reasons and promises combine into conviction, which results in our ability to take courage in all aspects of life.

Reasons Underpinning Courage

God is with us. Christ overcame the world.

Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lordyour God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.(Deuteronomy 31:6)

These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.(John 16:33)

Courage for the Sake of…

Be strong, and let us show ourselves courageous for the sake of our people and for the cities of our God; and may the Lord do what is good in His sight. (2 Samuel 10:12)

Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before Him. (Hebrews 12:2)

Results of Courage

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.(Joshua 1:7)

But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work.(2 Chronicles 15:7)

It also Takes Courage to Wait

Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.(Psalm 27:14)

Courage isn’t automatic

Build up your conviction, your reasons to act, endure, or wait with courage.

Remind yourself of God’s promises of His presence and your future.

Make your conviction stronger than your fear.

Joseph of Arimathea came, a prominent member of the Council, who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God; and he gathered up courage and went in before Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus. (Mark 15:43)

PRESS ON!

 

See also Do It Scared.

 

 

 

 

Don’t Get Used to the Dark

Don’t Get Used to the Dark

Have you ever been seated in a very dark restaurant? Your eyes have to adjust to the dark before you can read the menu.

Getting used to the dark is a problem if what you are getting used to is not good.

Deviating from Standards

Pilots have detailed procedures prior to flight. They carefully “walk around” the airplane checking for any problems. They have a checklist to assure they have all the instruments and flight controls correctly set.

Suppose one day they forget to do something and the flight works out well. The next time they also omit that item and everything is fine. Pretty soon, that item is no longer on the check list. They have gotten used to deviating from the safety routine. Deviating from the standard has become normal.

That is true in society as well. We now accept behavior that would have horrified our grandparents. Many (most?) of our movies and TV shows use sin as entertainment. A recent review described a book as “deliciously wicked.” Oh my.

Do We Blush?

Were they ashamed because of the abomination they had done? They certainly were not ashamed, and they did not know how to blush. (Jeremiah 8:12)

Do we blush? Are we light in the world?

Challenge:

When you watch a movie, consciously review what you see against God’s standards, His commandments and precepts.

Pray God shows you when you accept behavior in yourself or others that is not acceptable to God.

Pray to know when to speak about the sins our society accepts.

Pray to be light and salt. (Matthew 5:13-16)