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How nice of you to drop in and visit my page. It's actually not really about myself, but about the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a place you can come, should you find time, and find encouragement and free resources for spiritual growth. I pray you will be blessed and provoked to follow on to know the Lord intimately yourself. Seek HIM and HIS Face for HE alone is WORTHY!! He alone is lovely! Most of what is written on this blog is written by myself, during my study time with the Lord unless otherwise stated. If it's otherwise, the author's name will be included.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Truth That Makes Us Free

Php 3:1  Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not troublesome, but for you it is safe. 

 Sometimes it's hard to rejoice in the Lord because we find ourselves plagued with life's problems. We have a natural tendency to think and operate in our own strength and understanding which are always insufficient to the task of ordering our own steps in the right way. Sometimes we do all we know to do and things still don't work out right, and we end up frustrated, tired, and discouraged because we expected more of ourselves than we should.

Things around us in this violent, evil and selfish world are disturbing with no peace to be found. He warned us there is no peace to the wicked. They are tossed about like waves of the ocean with no rest. Why is there no peace for the wicked? (Isa_57:20-21) That word peace actually means safety, prosperity, rest of the soul, and inner peace that comes from knowing Him who is our Peace. They may appear to prosper financially or have worldly fame, but inwardly they are never satisfied, never at rest. As for the word 'wicked' that simply means people who are morally wrong, who are condemned because they are guilty of violating the law of God and refuse to accept the sacrifice for their sins of His Son. He offers us HIS life but many reject Him because they prefer to be their own god.

He told us in Joh_16:33 that in this world we would have tribulation, trials, suffering, problems. But in HIM, not in ourselves, not in this world, not in this world system, but in HIM we would find peace. We can rejoice because He knows us, saved us, is saving us, and wants to reveal Himself to us. He's everything we need. He's everything good and pure that you will never find in this world, or in any human being. Regardless of what goes on around us, in our environment, we can rejoice in Him if we have our thoughts and hearts stayed on Him. He promises that He will keep them in perfect peace whose minds are stayed on or fixed continually on HIM. These are those who remember God is in control when it looks like everything is out of control.  These are they who trust Him, think on Him, depend on Him, love Him, and know He will not fail. They prefer His life, His truth, His way to their own. They refuse to be overcome by the evil around them because greater is HE who is in them and they are learning by His Spirit to refuse that frustrated flesh the opportunity to express its displeasure with the way things are going. They are better able to resist their own impulse to fall apart and instead fall on Him. Only the power and leadership of the Holy Spirit can take us to this place and teach us how to do this.

Even though there is darkness, wickedness, corruption and violence all around, we can rejoice in the LORD. He is holy, pure, kind, merciful, faithful, honest, righteous, just. We can rejoice in His absolute fair justice, His loyalty to us, His truth, His light, His way, His selfless compassion and goodness. I myself haven't felt much like rejoicing for so long. I've had my eyes on the situations too, instead of on my glorious Savior. Lord forgive me and thank You for not giving up on me when it would have been so easy to have given up on myself. We can find comfort in the Word of God if we will present ourselves to this Word and depend on, ask the Holy Spirit to minister it to our troubled hearts. He only has the Word of life. Where else is there to go? There is such a difference when HE teaches and ministers the Word to us! Why would we ever want to sit down with the Bible and try to read it ourselves without Him? It would not profit us at all. 

Php 3:2  Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.

Make sure you are careful to avoid, protect yourselves from such. Consider them, examine them, know what they are. What is the concision? Literally it means mutilators. The Jews hated the Christian faith as much as they hated and rejected Jesus Christ. It was so offensive to them who were in darkness, spiritually blind to the truth, to be told the only way to be saved was to believe in and accept HIM. They had all this religion of the law pounded into their heads from birth, by non-spiritual men. They had been fed a dead letter by unregenerate men and it had made them harsh, contemptuous, arrogant and unkind. They took pride in the suffering of their flesh, the cutting off of the foreskin. They saw it as a badge of honor, a mark of acceptance of God. It was after all the symbol of the covenant God had made with Abraham. 

Still, they did not obey God or follow after God, or have an intimate relationship with God as Abraham had. They did not walk as he walked, they took it forgranted. I'm circumcised, I'm a Jew, I know the law, I'm saved. How many people today have with their mouths professed to believe in Jesus Christ, and because they were told if you believe on Him you're saved, and people take it forgranted they are saved, yet in their hearts do not know Him at all? They are unchanged in their hearts. These are just as lost as a sinner who avoids the church like the plague. Considering what Jesus Christ went through on the cross how can we sanely think we can take how we live our lives and sin forgranted? 

In Rom_2:17 Paul addresses this attitude that apparently lingered in those who had been born again into the church. He said, Look, you are called a Jew, and you still rely on the law and brag on being accepted of God because of this? You know His will and you know what matters, being instructed out of the law. You are sure that you are one who can lead the blind into truth, that you are a light to those who are in darkness. It's not enough to know the law and will of God, you must be a doer of this. You must be the message you preach to others about. You are still relying on the fact that you have the mark of the circumcision, that covenant God had with Abraham. 

Paul was teaching them how vain it was to trust in any accomplishment of the flesh, because the only circumcision that counts is the spiritual one done in the heart by the Holy Spirit of God. This one has been circumcised in the heart, they have had their own moral corruption exposed to them by the Holy Spirit. They know there is nothing good in them to bring to God that they are saved not by anything they could ever in their wildest dreams hope to achieve but it's by what HE did for them, what He does IN them, what HE IS that saves. We can't believe in ourselves, we have to believe even though we could never be good enough it's because HE is our righteousness, He is our holiness, our purity, our sanctification, our redemption, our wisdom, our access to God. He paid the price for our sins and it cost Him dearly. We have no right to take sin casually or take it forgranted that we can sin and confess and just keep doing that and get by with it. 

 In Rom_2:28 Paul explains he is not a Jew (spiritually speaking, which is God's elect or chosen) that is one outwardly. I know there is debate on who is God's chosen but He chooses those who obey Him, who follow Him wholeheartedly and submit to Him, depend on Him, commune with Him. They take nothing forgranted. He is their life and they know it. They are willing to lose everything but Him. Paul said neither is he a Jew who keeps the rituals and rules of the law that are external, or obvious to others. There were the religious Jews who kept the commands of the law that flesh could keep. They circumcised their males, dressed to the letter according to the law, washed their hands, refused to associate with those who were unclean, or not a Jew. They wouldn't eat anything the law declared unclean. Jesus called these religious folks like the Pharisees hypocrites, blind guides, fools, like whitewashed graves, so they appear to men outwardly to be righteous but inside they are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

They took pride in their religious appearance, even though the keeping of these things which flesh could keep was tedious, they did this and because they did it, they became arrogant,  proud, mean viewing others who hadn't arrived where they had with contempt.  They did it-and they took the credit for it. But the keeping of these laws did not make their heart pure or holy. It did not make them acceptable to God. 

Paul said he is a Jew-God's chosen, spiritually, not naturally, who is a Jew inwardly-whose HEART has been circumcised, in the spirit not in the flesh, who is not praised by men but by God. Circumcision of the heart is so much more painful and personal than that of the flesh. Only God can do this kind of cutting. What is the circumcision of the heart? It is the Spirit of God in us working in us to show us there truly is nothing in us naturally that God can use because what we are naturally is always going to resist and oppose Him. He is selfless but we are selfish by nature. He is pure and we are unclean inwardly, craving that which He considers abomination. We are taught from the cradle to be self sufficient, exalt self, promote self, improve self, help self, decorate self, please self whatever it takes or costs. And we have no problem with this, we can rationalize our own actions when our conscience troubles us to shut it up. 

He works in us to expose the inner workings of our natural self life that must be overcome, put down like a dog because in the kingdom of God it is not allowed. He cuts away the notion that we can bring our talents and abilities to God and expect Him to bless them and be grateful and think He can use any of it. We have nothing worthy to bring Him except our faith, which originates from Him, and our life, which also originates from Him. The key thing is that HE is to become our life, our Source, the One we are to follow and live for, depend totally on. 

He shows us the futility and error of our religious ideas. He has been very misrepresented by the greatest part of what professes to be the Church for so long. It comes as quite a shock to a seeking heart to find that this Great God when He draws you to Him and chooses to begin to reveal Himself to us by His Holy Spirit, we find He is nothing like we were led to believe. As someone raised Pentecostal, I have lived this. He is nothing like I was led to believe in church as a child and as a young Christian in the Lord. 

One of the most precious things He has to cut away, cut out of us is our own notion of who He is and how we are to serve Him. Pentecostals are taught for the most part a strict code of conduct and rules that are to govern their manner of dress, their external appearance and outward behavior. They don't see the wickedness of this. Dressing and looking different is not in itself wicked unless it competes with Him for preeminence. I believe in a decent, moderate dress. The wickedness is making those rules and external things the focus, the center of their doctrine, instead of Christ. So much emphasis is placed on these external things, while very little emphasis is placed anymore on the necessity of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.We must learn the leadership of the Holy Spirit and walk in dependence and obedience to the Holy Spirit who alone can make Jesus real to and through us. He alone is qualified to reveal Christ. AND THAT IS THE PURPOSE OF BEING A CHRISTIAN-to reveal Christ to a lost and dying world. But we must know Him ourselves first before we can be like Him and we can't learn Christ apart from the Holy Spirit ministering the Word of God to us in Spirit and in truth, not as a dead letter.  

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1 comment:

lisa said...

Amen! Glory to Adonai, Yeshua our Shepherd of peace, and His Spirit of truth! Thanks so much, what a blessing!