Posts Tagged ‘contentment’

February2008 037

Do you realize that God has plenty to say about how we live our Christian lives?  He wants us to obey Him in every area.  We will look at the Bible and see some of the scriptures that shows us that.

2Co 13:5 NASB  Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test?

God tells us to examine ourselves to make sure we are truly Christians. If we have Jesus Christ in us, then we are a new creation.  We should be able to look back on our lives and see a transformation since we were saved. 

The way our lives become transformed is by the study of the Word.  We can then apply it to our lives as we live in obedience to it.  That changes us.

God talked about obedience back in the Old Testament.

Deu 7:9 NASB  “Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;

God is faithful and keeps his promises, and lovingkindness.  But, note, it is to those who love Him and keep His commandments. 

Neh 1:5 NASB  I said, “I beseech You, O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments,

Here the Psalmist says that he delights in God’s commandments and actually loves them.  Can you say the same?  Psalm 119 is an awesome Psalm.  It would be good to go ahead and read the whole thing.  There is so much in it about God’s Word and how it is sweet as honey.

Psa 119:47 NASB  I shall delight in Your commandments, Which I love.

Here Christ tell’s us that if we love Him we will keep His commandments.  That is the acid test of our love of God.  Do you love Him?  Do you obey Him?

Joh 14:15 NASB  “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

Look at this next verse.  It is wonderful!  If we keep God’s commandments it shows that we love Him.  It says, if we love Christ we will be loved by His Father.  Not only that, but Jesus will love us and actually disclose Himself to us.  Yes, He does that as we read and study the Word.  He allows our minds to be opened to take in and understand what He wants us to know.

What a privilege it is to be loved by Jesus and God.  What a privilege to have a personal relationship with the creator of the universe!  (If we obey Him.)

Joh 14:21 NASB  “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”

Again, “if” we keep His commandments, we will abide in His love.  Jesus Himself set the example as He obeyed His Father’s commandments, even to death on the cross.  Could we do that? 

Joh 15:10 NASB  “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

When we love God and obey Him, we also know that we love other believers in Christ.  God’s love is this:  We keep His commandments, and they are not burdensome.  In other words, we are pleased to keep them.  The older I become as a Christian the more I see the wisdom in God’s commandments.  They are given to us for our own good.  The only thing that could keep us from obeying them is our own pride.

1Jn 5:2-3 NASB  By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments.  3  For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

And to say it again.  We show our love of God when we obey Him and follow His commands. 

2Jn 1:6 NASB  And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.

I pray this little study in obedience has helped you realize that you are not your own.  He is our Lord and has every right to command us in our walk.  He owns us; He died for us; He paid the penalty of our sins.  We are His and as such we must bow the knee to his Lordship over our lives.  If He tells us something is wrong that we are doing we’d better pay attention. 

Trust and obey, for there is no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

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Mourning Dove

March2008 008

In my last post we looked at different kinds of fears.  We saw that they were the fear of man, the fear of death, and the fear of the future.  A lot of our fears fall under these groupings.  These are all sinful fears. 

Today I want to address some good kinds of fears.  Yes, there are good fears!  Our goals should not be to eliminate all fear but to distinguish between what are the good kinds and what are the sinful ones.  After all, God made us with the ability to fear. 

Natural Fear:

Proverbs 22:3 NASB The prudent sees the evil and hides himself, But the naive go on, and are punished for it.

This shows that man sees the danger ahead and takes steps to avoid it.

The fear of falling off a cliff, for example, is a natural kind of fear.  It is healthy to prevent us from taking that next step when we come up to the edge of the cliff.  Also, the fear of a wild animal is a natural good kind of fear.  It helps our bodies rev up so that we can run and escape. 

However, when we have  a panic attack our bodies go into this kind of fear when there is no real danger. This is not healthy. There could be many reasons why this happens the first time.  I’ve talked about that in a previous message where we talked about the physical side of panic disorder.  The problem is that our bodies get sensitized when we continue to have panic attacks and it is easy for us to slip into this kind of fear at the drop of a hat.  The way out of having panic attacks is to make more time between the attacks, by not pushing ourselves, resting, and let our bodies readjust.

Isaiah 7:25 NASB As for all the hills which used to be cultivated with the hoe, you will not go there for fear of briars and thorns;

This is saying one would fear the briars and thorns as they will cut and scrape you and be painful.  That is natural fear.

Wayne Mack says in his book, The Fear Factor, “The problem is, our sinful nature takes this good, helpful emotion and twists, perverts and distorts it.  As a result, it’s no longer productive but paralyzing, no longer natural but sinful.”

Holy Fear:

Proverbs 1:7 NASB The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 14:27 NASB The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, That one may avoid the snares of death.

Psalms 31:19 NASB How great is Your goodness, Which You have stored up for those who fear You, Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You, Before the sons of men!

Again I would like to quote from Wayne Mack because this is so good.  Here he shows the differences.

“Holy fear and sinful fear are opposites.  Sinful fear destroys; holy fear enlivens.  Sinful fear is a terrible affliction; holy fear is a great benefit.  Sinful fear shortens our days; holy fear lengthens them.  Sinful fear is a source of misery; holy fear is a spring of joy.  Sinful fear leads men astray; holy fear puts men on the right path.  They only way to overcome sinful fear is to replace it with holy fear.”

There you go.  We are back to “put-offs,” and “put-ons.”  We have to put off the bad fear and put on the good kind of fear. 

You may ask, what is this holy fear you are talking about?  It is the fear of God.  There are many scriptures that talk about the fear of God.   

Results of Holy Fear:

1.  It produces a fear of sin.

Philippians 2:12 NASB So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;

Working out our salvation with fear and trembling means that it is a serious business.  We shouldn’t take it for granted.  We need to keep studying the Word and learn how we can obey what God says.  We should not take sin lightly.  We recognize it for what it is and repent and get right with God.

2.  It produces a fear of God’s Word.

Proverbs 16:6 NASB  And by the fear of the LORD one keeps away from evil.

The only way we can know God and know what he expects of us is to read and study the Bible.  As we do we will realize many things that God wants us to change or do in our lives.  We obey out of high respect and honor to God.  He first loved us, and now we love Him.  We should have a heart attitude of pleasing Him.  When we do this we will not fall into sin.

3. It produces knowledge and wisdom.

Proverbs 1:7  NASB “The fear of he Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” 

Proverbs 15:33  NASB “The fear of the Lord is the instruction for wisdom.

True wisdom and knowledge are found in the Word of God.  We learn what the Bible says and then wisdom gives us the ability to apply it to our lives.

Psalms 119:11 NASB Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.

That is wisdom.

4.  It produces joy and contentment.

Proverbs 15:16 NASB  Better is a little with the fear of the LORD Than great treasure and turmoil with it.

Isn’t that the truth?  I’d much rather have little of this world’s wealth then be rich and have all the problems that it entails.  People talk about winning the lottery and they’d be happy.  I don’t think so.

As you can see the Bible is where we need to turn to discover how to live our lives in a healthy and blessed way. 

The Fear Factor: What Satan Doesn’t Want You to Know by Wayne and Joshua Mack can be found here:

www.mackministeries.org

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Morning Sunrise  

A New Day

When we become Christians we can aquire a renewed mind.  Just as dawn bursts   forth with a new day, we can have a mind that is at peace with the world.

Philippians 4:6 (NASB) Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

God doesn’t want us to be anxious about anything.  Our minds are precious to Him and he wants us be at peace.  He tells us not to worry but to pray. We can ask God for anything that is in His will.  He also, say that we must be thankful in our prayers.  We have much to be thankful for.  When we pray and give thanks and then petition God we will want what He thinks is best.  Then, we can leave the problem at His feet and rest in peace.

When we do He goes on to say: 

Philippians 4:7 (The Amplified Bible) “And God’s peace (be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace) which transcends all understanding, shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

Wow!  I think we’d better meditate on that for awhile, don’t you?  These verses are loaded with help and hope for us who are anxious and worry warts.

Wouldn’t you like to have that peace deep down in your soul?  We can be assured that we are saved through Christ and know that He is in control of all things.  We can learn to be content in whatever situation we are in.  This kind of peace can’t even be comprehended in our own finite minds.  This kind of peace will actually guard our thoughts when we are in Jesus Christ.

If we can attain to these scriptures, and we can by the power of the Holy Spirit, we will be living in peace with God and with ourselves.  Anxiety and fear will not have a grip on us anymore!

Then he goes on in verse 8 of Philippians  to tell us what we should think about instead of worrying and fretting.  I will quote this too from the Amplified version of the Bible, as it is so good.

“For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things—fix your minds on them.” 

When it says, “fix” you mind on them means to get a tight grip on them.  Hang on to them, don’t let them go.  They are actually a good prescription for our mental health. 

Do your thoughts line up with the above?  We have to examine our thoughts and practice to think God’s way in order to renew our minds. It always amazes me to contemplate the fact that God loves us so much that he even cares about what we think.  Isn’t that amazing?  I mean do we really care about what others think?  Or, if we did, do we have any way to know what someone else thinks?  I’d like to know what my husband thinks sometimes, but then again it is probably better that I don’t.

God tells us to “renew our minds.” 

Romans 12:2 (NASB) And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

You see if you work on what you think about you will renew your mind.  And if you keep reading and studying the Word, you will renew your mind.  We all need a mind makeover.  We don’t need to worry and be anxious.  That is not a part of what God wants for us.

Philippians 4:9 (NASB) The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Paul says to practice what you have learned, received and heard and seen in Him.  He had taught them and was an example and role model for them.  And he says to model your way of living in it and then the God of peace—which is of untroubled, undisturbed well-being–will be with you. 

I think the key word in the above verse is “practice.”  You see it doesn’t happen automatically.  We must practice just as an athlete practices and trains for an event.  Practice what you think about and how you think and it will become a habit.  You will be truly blessed by God with peace that passes understanding.

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