This Is God’s Word

Holy Bible

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

“This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” – Romans 13:1-7

Amen and Selah

The Myth of Fear, Part 2

two_questions

I have two confessions about this week’s blog: First, it is a week late. Second, the reason Jill and I chose the topic of fear for the month of October had little to do with Halloween and everything to do with the election.

Read Part 1 here.

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” – Romans 8:31

Choices to Make

I don’t know how else to be more clear than to say this: as Believers, we have three choices before us this election year:

  • Donald Trump
  • Hillary Clinton
  • Our Lord Jesus

And according to Scripture, the first two don’t count:

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. – Colossians 3:1-4

This is a stunning passage in a stunning section of a stunning letter written by Paul. And it has everything to do with our lives today.

The Two Choices

To put this in more practical terms, this letter, like all of Scripture, is saying we have two choices. And only two choices:

  • Faith vs. fear
  • Love vs. hate

We can choose to fear the next President, the supporters (our neighbors?) of the next President, the next Supreme Court nominees, the Stock Market, ISIS, AIDS, and all the literally millions of things that could happen and could kill us. Or, we can choose to believe the fact that our lives are “now hidden with Christ in God” and that he has disarmed all powers and authorities and has “made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross (Colossians 2:15).”

We can also choose to hate and attempt to use it to change everything I mentioned in the last paragraph OR…we can choose to read further in Colossians 3:

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” – Colossians 3:12-14

Note the word, therefore. It means that if we will believe we have died with the Christ that has had complete victory over everything, we can Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

This Matters

Please know that I am not calling anyone to task nor am I holding myself up as a stellar example. Nor am I saying don’t vote or get involved.

I am calling us – all believers – to recognize God has told us how to be involved and affect real, lasting change in His world:

“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” – John 17:22-23

Put your hope in God today, next Tuesday and every day we are alive. “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.” – Colossians 2:9-10

Let’s live from fullness.

The Myth of Fear, Part 1

elefant

In last week’s post, A Fear Based Month, Jill gave us all a lot to think about: October, courage, heart and God to name a few. And the key word was, thinking.

Thinking About Fear

As Jill said, we live in a fear based world. Bad news fills the headlines, it always travels fast and it often dominates our conversations, and sometimes our lives.

  • We fear the loss or lack of money because it’s how we buy much needed food.
  • Will we get sick or fall and break a bone or two?
  • Will what seems like a minor skirmish somewhere in the world escalate into a broader war?
  • Are there terrorists in our midst waiting for a signal to strike?
  • What if we die tomorrow?
  • What if so-and-so is elected?
  • And what about our loved ones and friends in all of the above?

This list could go on and on and it is all logical and sensible. In fact, NOT being fearful of these things is considered foolish and immature.

But as Believers…well, let me stop right there.

What Do We Believe?

In Colossians 2:15, Paul tell us that Christ has disarmed powers and authorities. That, “He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” Right before this triumph, Jesus himself said, “…In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33).” And let’s not forget 1 Corinthians 15:55: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

I titled this post The Myth of Fear because in light of these Scriptures, and hundreds and hundreds more, our fears are nonexistent.

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” – Romans 8:31

What Shall We Say?

None of these Scriptures imply that our fears won’t seem real. On the contrary, almost every passage includes some sort of, ‘when you are scared…’ message. Nor do they say we shouldn’t prepare for life’s challenges in tangible ways (see 2 Thessalonians 3:6-18 for one example).

What all the Scriptures clearly state, however, is that we are to respond with faith and belief in God.

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:5

Our fears are nothing more than arguments and pretense. And myths.

I encourage you to put your hope in God.

A Fear Based Month

fear

Since October is here, I thought it might be a good time to talk about the biggest message of the season: fear.

A Fear Based World

Wouldn’t you agree that we live in a fear based world? You know, a world where bad news travels fast and good news doesn’t travel at all? It’s not that we’re not living in troubling times that cause legitimate fears for the future of our nation, our world, and our families. And perhaps you, like countless others, have had your courage tested by the anxieties and fears that are an inevitable part of living in this 21st century.

Take heart and remember that God is in heaven and on the throne and is not distracted by any of this. God is not just nearby, He is here! As Believers, we have every reason to live courageously. After all, the ultimate battle has already been won on the Cross! Our part is to remember and trust and not shoulder all of the doubts that life can hand you.

“Fear is a self-imposed prison that will keep you from becoming what God intends for you to be.” – Rick Warren

Faith not Fear

Fear embeds itself in the mind. This is why taking our thoughts captive is so important (2 Cor. 10:5). It is not our job to “handle” it. It is our job to hand it over to the One who will (and wants to) carry it for us.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

As Pastor Bill Johnson says, “Any thought that does not inspire hope is not coming from heaven!”

So if you’re being challenged right now, lean on the character of God and His Truths. Trust in His Word and what He says. Scripture says we are to “Walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7)”  and “My yoke is easy, and My burden is light (Matt. 11:30).”

God’s character is to love. He is love, and He loves you.

Trust. Breathe.

Cast all of your anxieties about your challenges onto Him. He’s got this. He wants this. Seek Him.

He’s waiting for you to do so.

What We Do to Make Things Fit

26675112496_1c4ed7f221_b

I recently got a great deal on a pair of amazing boots at a local boutique. I was so excited! I got them on sale!

I’ll Figure It Out

There was only one pair left and I had to have them because of the great deal compared to their retail price. There was only one challenge…they are really too big for me.

But that’s ok (I told myself), I’ll figure it out. So I bought them. I now wear two pairs of socks and an insole insert to make them fit so my foot doesn’t slide around and give me blisters.

This morning when I went to put them on, I thought about how much I have to do just to make them fit. It really is ridiculous what I go through just to wear them. And even though I got them on sale, I still spent money on shoes that don’t fit!

As I sat thinking about how much I go through for a pair of boots it struck me that spending time with God, which doesn’t require near as much investment, seems so inconvenient.

Making Him Fit

Let’s break this down;

  • God sent us His Son to die for us so we could have an open communication with Him and it costs us nothing!
  • He is the real deal, not some cheap sale item. And yet we get more excited about an item on sale than we do about spending time and eternity with our Creator!
  • He is the perfect fit for us and all of our problems can be answered through Him. Yet we don’t try Him on. We avoid Him instead.
  • He knows our inner most thoughts and knew us even in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). We don’t have to go through an inconvenient routine to make Him fit into our lives. He’s already the perfect fit!

It’s amazing how God will show up to teach us things through the simplest of examples.

The Lord Woos in Unusual Ways

The Lord brought all these thoughts while I was putting on my boots. I’ll still keep ’em; I love them and I believe God delights in me having found them. But I will also remember what I learned from them too through the Holy Spirit.

Spend time with God through His Word, through Devotionals, through sermons. It is free, and will fit perfectly! You can’t ask for anything better.

photo credit: Here Comes Trouble via photopin (license)

Basic Instructions

theword

I truly love studying the Word of God! It is filled with so much. And the more deeply you dig into it, the deeper He takes you.

Dos, Not Don’ts

Now, you might be thinking the Bible is a book of “don’ts.”  It’s not. It’s far more a book of dos and a guide to learning how to behave. You’ll find that the more you seek Him, the deeper you will fall in love with Him. And the more you love Him, the more you’ll want to please Him. And you’ll change.

Approaching the Word, and Him

Right now, Steve and I are going through a real intense testing of sorts. God is in the middle of turning us inside out looking to put “new wine, into new wineskins” (Matthew 2:22). As God is doing His sometimes painful work in us, that doesn’t mean there are not lots of  tears in the process. I cry out to Him often.

But even now, I can see that I have changed in my approach to Him. There is more letting go and surrendering to Him than fighting Him. And if I fight Him, it doesn’t last as long as it use to. I surrender to His will sooner.

Talking through stories from the Bible helps Steve and I through. For example:

  • Courage – Sometimes God stacks the odds like He did with Gideon. God deliberately dwindled his army down to 300 people to take on thousands in the enemy camp. But Gideon chose to believe God would deliver, and He did and God got the glory! (Judges 6-8).
  • Comfort Zones – Sometimes God pushes our comfort zones like He did with Joshua and the impenetrable walls of Jericho (Joshua 6). Sometimes we need to step out of our comfort zone in order for God to work.

These are just two small examples, but there are many, many more. And they’re there so we can learn.

The BIBLE

Someone told me one time that the word “bible” is an acronym for B-asic I-nstructions B-efore L-eaving E-arth. There’s truth to that!

As Christians, we are instructed to love our Creator and to demonstrate our love by obeying His commandments. When we do, God promises to guide us and protect us, today and forever. Someday, we may all be confronted with a choice to do the easy thing or the right thing. The decision will be yours and yours alone. And the consequences of that decision will be yours and yours alone. Knowing the Word will help you choose wisely.

Wise Words

Corrie ten Boom said it best; “Study the Bible and observe how the persons behaved and how God dealt with them. There is explicit teaching on every condition of life.”

Oswald Chambers said, “Never support an experience which does not have God as its source and faith in God as its result.”

And the words of Peter:

“Therefore, get your minds ready for action, being self-disciplined, and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance but, as the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct.” – 1 Peter 1: 13-15

Get to know His Word and you’ll get to know just how much your Creator God loves you, and more importantly; how He wants you to know Him.

Close
loading...