His Will, His Work, His Way

I have had this battle cry going through my head for a few months now. I really don’t even think too much about it most of the time, it’s just been there. “His will, His work, His way.” Sometimes I say it out loud, sometimes it just rolls through my noggin, and sometimes I hear it in my Spirit as that mind shattering call, with sword drawn and raised, with banners flying, heart pumping, and an assurance of victory. Occasionally, I read something that answers the call, or as in last Sunday’s service, hear something over the pulpit that causes me to voice in under my breath with a nod and an Amen.

So, what’s it all mean?

His will; not ours, we lay down what we think we want and need and instead pick up what He has to offer. It’s always better in the long run.

Ephesians 1:11-14 (NIV), “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”

His work; that’s seems pretty straight forward, and at first I thought so. We lay down our work and again pick up His. We don’t quit our jobs, unless He tells us to, but we do our work unto Him. Find His purpose for us there. We also use our gift and talents to do it, you know the ones He gave us. But, it also means letting Him work in us and through us. His work is always to do good, to bless, and to mold us into the image of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 2:13 (HCSB), “For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose.”

His way; His path, let The Spirit of God, that lives on the inside of you, lead you. Let His word illuminate the way. Find His path and walk in it.

II Samuel 22:29-40 (NASB), “For You are my lamp, O LORD; And the LORD illumines my darkness. For by You I can run upon a troop; By my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is blameless; The word of the LORD is tested;  He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. For who is God, besides the LORD? And who is a rock, besides our God? God is my strong fortress; And He sets the blameless in His way. He makes my feet like hinds’ feet, And sets me on my high places. He trains my hands for battle, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, And Your help makes me great. You enlarge my steps under me, And my feet have not slipped. I pursued my enemies and destroyed them, And I did not turn back until they were consumed. And I have devoured them and shattered them, so that they did not rise;  And they fell under my feet. For You have girded me with strength for battle; You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.”

Now that my friends sounds like a battle cry! Shout it with me, “HIS WILL, HIS WORK, HIS WAY!”

Go Out Fighting

Ephesians 6:10-18 (HCSB), “Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word. Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.”

We are in a war. Sure maybe not with other people, but that doesn’t make it less evident. In fact it is even more important that we understand what we are fighting and who our enemy really is. Satan loses. God is very clear in His word. And he knows that his ultimate dwelling place will be hell. However, he won’t give up and if he has to go to hell, he wants to take as many of us with him as he can. Why? Because God loves us and he hates God. He wants to hurt Him by hurting us. If the old serpent can’t get us to hell, due to the applied blood of Jesus, then he will do everything he can to delay, distract, and discourage us. He wants us to think that we have to wait until we die to see heaven. He wants us to live sick, worn out, lives filled with anxiety and poverty. Or he wants things to look so good in the world that we choose to walk away from God and His path and plans for us.

Pretty simple. God is good and He is for us. He knows and wants what’s best for us. He already did everything needful to give us a blessed life. Satan is evil and is against us. He wants our lives to get smaller and smaller. He will try anything to get us to lose heart.

So what do we do? We find out who God is, who we are, what He says about us, how He wants us to live from heaven right now, and we STAND. We can’t just stand there in our undies. We have to put some things on.

Isaiah 61:3, 10 (NIV), “and provide for those who grieve in Zion– to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendorI delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”

Ephesians 4:24 (NLT), “Put on your new nature, created to be like God–truly righteous and holy.”

Romans 13:14 (NASB), “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”

We need to clothe ourselves with garments of salvation, robes of righteousness (clothing He made), and we “put on” the new nature (the nature of God), and we have to “put on” Christ! We are in Him, and He is in us. And finally over all of those glorious garments, we put on the armor of God from Ephesians 6.

Clearly we are living in the last days. It’s the final round. Let’s go out fighting! “Occupy until he comes.” Occupy means to work, gain ground, keep what you have, dig in, etc. Jesus already won the victory. We just have to keep fighting and STAND against everything the enemy throws our way and we don’t fight alone! We have mighty warring angels fighting for us, and the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us. Pretty encouraging, yes?

Complacency is My Enemy

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Complacency is My Enemy

Someone who is complacent has become overly content — the junk-food-eating couch potato might be feeling complacent about his health. The literal meaning of this word’s Latin root is “very pleased,” but even though complacent people may seem pleased with themselves, we are rarely pleased with them. They are unconcerned by things that should concern them, and they may neglect their duties. A complacent person might be heard saying, “Ehh, don’t worry about it!” — when there really is something to worry about. (vocabulary.com)

Have you ever felt like you just don’t care? Like you couldn’t work up or fake interest even if your life depended on it? Maybe you grew tired of life, or weary of well-doing. Maybe Satan boxed your ears and you were completely blindsided by the attack. Or, maybe it wasn’t too much bad, but too much good. You finally made it, have the trophy wife, 2.3 children, white picket fence, and that dream job. What else do you need? Right. Maybe it was all of the above and like King Solomon, decided it was all vanity, pointless. Has serving God become too much bother, too much of a chore, or not enough fun?

Consider one of the signs of the last days.

II Timothy 3 (NASB), “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

The word complacency isn’t used here, however… A person stagnant in their spiritual growth, person complacent with their life, exhibits some of those behaviors. When King Solomon allowed complacency and apathy to rule his life, he led his family and a whole nation astray.

Any living thing is a growing thing. When you stop growing, you are dead. Where would you rather go fishing, in a freshwater lake, or the Dead Sea? A stagnant pool isn’t conducive to life, but a spring fed one sure is. It takes a long hard winter to make the trees roots go deeper into the ground to anchor itself. It takes resistance of weights to build up muscle tissue. Sure we all want an easy life. We dream of the day when we don’t have to work so hard. Sometimes getting our flesh to submit is like trying to get wrestle a greased pig. But an easy life doesn’t force us to change, to build up muscle, to rely on God and His strength for us. We stay carnal Christians, or spiritual babies.

James 1:2-15 (NIV), “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business. Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

Blessed is the one who perseveres, who battles uphill, who swims upstream, and who allows God to change them, the one who is truly alive in Christ. There is a saying, “any old dead fish can float downstream”. There is only one acceptable form of “death” for a Christian.

Romans 6:11-14, (NIV), “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.”

One of our Pastors used this example from the Movie “Wall-E”. If you haven’t seen this animated movie, you should! There is so much a Christian could learn from it. In case you haven’t let me just explain a bit. Wall-E is a robot, the last functioning one on earth, which is devoid of all life. His job is garbage duty. Every ancestor from earth is living in space, it’s been hundreds of years. Those humans are all attached to a bed, think of our modern hover-rounds, and look like blobs of flesh. They don’t do anything, but look at their screens, suck fluids out of big cups, and move on their “beds.” No struggle, no stress, everything handed to them and they never lift a finger. The result? A vain existence, or as Solomon said, “Vanity, Vanity.” They were way past complacent, until this little robot sneaks on board to save his love. The chaos that ensues causes them to take a look around them at what they have become.

Trials strengthen us in so many ways. Mostly by building our faith in God, in His loving care for us.

Don’t be complacent, complacency is your enemy

 

Don’t Be A Victim

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Some people have a victim mentality.

They are always being attacked, provoked, short-changed, overlooked, underappreciated, ridiculed, and the list goes on, and the world owes them something. Sometimes all they want is an excuse, a reason for their less-than-perfect lives, or why they can’t hold down a job, why they drink too much, eat too much, abuse drugs and other people, why they are lazy, or sick, or broke. Other times they want compensation for what they consider their they were robbed or cheated of, and even more astounding, they want someone to support them, to take care of them, and to be a leach off of the hard work, or spiritual maturity of others.

I know some of those people. I am still frequently amazed when I find out exactly what they are supposed to be a victim of. I am often reminded of something our Senior Pastor jokes about when he mentions people like that. He says, “My mama put me on a cold potty when I was two and I never got over that.” We all laugh, partly because it can be pretty accurate.

These were the reasoning I have heard: Their ancestors were slaves…their parents didn’t want them, love them, or were abusive…they had an alcoholic parent…they were bullied in the sixth grade…their husband, or wife, left them…and on it goes.

I am not belittling any of those things. I have experienced most of those. However, we don’t camp out in those awful experiences. We certainly don’t live there. So many times I have wanted to give this sound and loving advice to those who are stuck, “Get over it!” I have given a softer, nicer, more politically correct version of this.

Our prisons, our welfare system, and our schools are full of “victims.” It’s a shame. God’s chosen people were taken out of slavery in Egypt and they were led by God, personally, to a land flowing with milk and honey. Yet, they couldn’t shake that slavery mentality. They saw themselves as victims of Moses, who they accused of trying to kill them, and of God, who they said had led them out just to let them starve and die in the wilderness. Do, a trip that should have taken days, took forty years! That’s what a victim mentality will do, rob you of your inheritance and delay the promises. Aren’t God’s blessings, his provision, better than a “free ride,” better than any so-called entitlements?

God calls us His children, those of us who have accepted Jesus as Lord. He says that we are Kings and Priests. We are chosen, blessed, redeemed, saved, delivered, Holy, righteous, loved, and accepted (and those are just a few things He says about us.) How can we ever perceive ourselves as being a victim? “But, Satan keeps attacking me,” you say. Sure he does, that’s his job, it is who he is. Satan wants to keep you a victim. Don’t listen to him, or any other voice that tells you that junk, whether it is a family member, a teacher, a friend, or even the President of the United States, listen to God. His job, who He is, is love. He is our Father. He’ll protect those that are His like a mama bear protects her cubs. He is a Mighty Warrior King!

I know people who have gone through some stuff, but they chose to live as His children, and they are productive, generous, loving, and unselfish people. They give, they don’t expect to receive. Some of those people have been raped, sexually assaulted, abused, were raised by parents who were addicted to drugs, alcohol, or food, they have made bad choices, messed up their lives, but they have moved on. Others, life has dealt them some blows, sickness, broken bones, broken hearts, and broken marriages. Yet, they choose to persevere, to fight the fight of faith, to trust God.

My husband is one who refuses to be a victim. The day after school got out his junior year (way back in 1973) he was out drinking with some buddies on some logging roads in Washington State. Those roads are steep, gravel or dirt, have mountain on one side and a drastic drop off on the other, and worst of all they corkscrew up the mountain. Their bad choices resulted in a horrible car accident where my husband broke his back in seven places. He shattered vertebrae and is still missing two. He spent three months in the hospital and six months in a body cast. That was the end of high school wrestling. The doctors told him he would never walk again and his limitations if he did were numerous. God had preserved his life, even at a time when Eddie was not serving the Lord. Now, so many years later, he is now fifty-eight, he still works hard. He refused social security disability all of those years ago, preferring to work and support himself and his family. He still has pain but works, every day, sometimes even sixty hour weeks in a factory. When I met him, he had already been married and divorced twice. He could have played the victim, and lived a life lonely and bitter. We have been married for thirty years this summer. He has never seen himself as a victim.

Another man I know was raised by an abusive mother, had little affection, hardly any money growing up, and lived out in the middle of nowhere. He later made some poor choices and ended up a drug addict. Did he camp out there? Is he a victim? No, he happens to be that Senior Pastor I mentioned. He has traveled the world and had preached to thousand at a time. He has decided to put his trust in God and has let his past be a stepping stone, not a stumbling block. He chose to forgive and love his parents and got to personally lead them to the Lord before they died. He ministers as a covering over dozens of churches and ministries all over the world. He refuses to be a victim, so He is used by God in a big way.

There are many other stories to tell. I am sure you know some of each mentality, two ways of thinking, victims and fighters. Victims lose, fighters win. Adding God into the equation makes our victory sure!

So, what will it be?

Victim or Victor?

II Corinthians 2:14 (KJB), “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.”

If you chose victor, then get in the word and find out what God has to say about who you are! If you are not sure where to start, google it. Modern technology can be used for good. Get off all those social network, log off that game, and go to one of these great sites. You can search just about any topic and find out the truth.
http://biblehub.com/revelation/18-12.htm
http://www.biblestudytools.com/search/?q=be+content&c=&t=niv&ps=10&s=Bibles

God, how awesome is it that you have already won the victory through the shed blood of Christ. I accept what You have already done. I am not fighting for a victory, but from Your Victory!

By Many Or By Few

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I Samuel 14:6 (NIV), “Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few.”

I Samuel 14:20-23 (NIV), “Then Saul and all the people who were with him rallied and came to the battle; and behold, every man’s sword was against his fellow, and there was very great confusion. Now the Hebrews who were with the Philistines previously, who went up with them all around in the camp, even they also turned to be with the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. When all the men of Israel who had hidden themselves in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines had fled, even they also pursued them closely in the battle. So the LORD delivered Israel that day, and the battle spread beyond Beth-aven.”

It doesn’t take a great army to destroy the enemy. It does take a great God and a willing heart.
Jonathan, King Saul’s son, took it into his heart to allow God to use him, and when he told his armor bearer, the young man was willing to follow. When they did, God came through in a miraculous way. There was so much confusion in the enemy camp, that even to this day, the word “Michmash” still means utter confusion and chaos. By the time Saul showed up God had already thrown the enemy into disarray.

What happens when a few willing souls step out in faith? Others follow. They come out of the enemy’s camp and fight on the side of good. They come out of hiding, out of the dark woods. They lift their heads up out of despair and have hope. They join the battle.

Never despise small beginnings. God uses the small things and the foolish things. He uses us! That’s how He gets the glory. Nobody in their right mind would ever think that we could do it. It has to be God. It doesn’t matter what those around us are doing. Saul was a mess. He was in direct disobedience with God. He spoke curses over his troops, forbidding them even to eat. Yet, Jonathan stood up for what was right and just. No wonder he later backed David, and the two young men became fast friends. Jonathan knew in his heart that God would save by many or by few.

Never feel alone! So maybe you don’t have an armor bearer, then be one for someone else. Say to that man or woman of God, “do what seems right to you, I am with you.” Follow those who follow Christ. Be a Jonathan, or be an armor bearer. We may not know that armor bearers name, but he has been remembered all of these years. God made sure he would be written into the scriptures for our example.

We have work to do, and a battle to fight. The victory is ours, the outcome is sure. The joy of the Lord is our strength. Psalm 3:3 (NAS), But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head. Our battle cry is “LOVE.”
Will you join us?

Jesus, You are my Mighty Warrior King. You go before me and make a way where there is no way. You set the enemy in confusion on my behalf, yet You give Your soldiers perfect peace!

His Splendor

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Your splendor covers the heavens,
Your radiance is like the sunlight.
You rode with your horses on your chariots if victory and deliverance.
The sun and moon stood back, at the light of your arrows,
at the radiance of your gleaming spear.
You have come out for the salvation of your people.
For you, Lord, are my strength and my invincible army.
You will defend my cause and plead my case!

Book Review for “Flame of Risistance” Fiction

http://www.amazon.com/Flame-Resistance-Tracy-Groot-ebook/dp/B007V69DKY/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

I read a lot of books and the majority of them I enjoy. I really like several and love quite a few. Then occasionally I read something that deserves more than a “loved it”. Those books deserve a spot on the top shelf. Flame of Resistance was one of those books. It was a book I got for free on Amazon and it was not only the best free book I have ever read, but one of the best books ever. Set during WWII, in occupied France, this story will grab you right from the beginning and keep you all the way through. A story of hope, freedom, evil and good, and a story of despair. Due to some mature content matter, I would only recommend for high school and up. But I think it is a must read for all of us born after the war. Though it is fiction, it has the truth written all the way through it. Great job Tracy Groot! I’d give it 6 stars if I could.