Friday, September 25, 2015

Things That Cannot Be Shaken


  Hebrews 12:25-29 (NIV)

25 See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.
28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”
Bible Gateway

   Television news is often filled with interviews and images of people who have suffered some unimaginable tragedy. One day we're shown tornado survivors whose homes were torn apart by powerful winds. Another day we may see massive floods sweeping through an unsuspecting neighborhood. Occasionally, we even view homes that are swallowed whole by terrible earthquakes. The expressions on the faces of those who have suffered loss can be haunting.
   Losses like these always draw our attention toward the fragility of those things we hold most dear - such as our homes, families and careers. We seldom like wake-up calls that remind us of the inherent instability of earthly life.
   But in a world that oftentimes seems to be falling apart, believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have the privilege of sharing the best news imaginable: We have something that is stable, something that is completely secure. There is a rock on which we are able to stand, and it cannot be shaken. That foundation, of course, is almighty God.
   The Lord gives us other immovable truths as well. We can trust that Scripture is His unchanging, relevant truth for all time. We can forever depend on a secure eternal relationship with Him though His Son. And we can be sure that an everlasting heavenly home awaits all those who place their faith in Jesus Christ. We can have stability, even in this unstable world.
   Do you have someone in your life who needs this life-saving good news - someone who is drowning, desperately needing you to throw a lifeline? Don't wait; share it today.
Stanley, Charles F., Things That Cannot Be Shaken, In Touch Daily Readings for Devoted Living, Atlanta, GA: In Touch Ministries, August 2015, page 36.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Mind of Christ

"The Mind of Christ"
1 Corinthians 2:12-16

1 Corinthians 2:12-16New King James Version (NKJV) from Bible Gateway

12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy[a] Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?”[b] But we have the mind of Christ.

   The best life you could possibly live is the one your Creator has designed for you. He has given believers everything they need to become more like Him and to achieve all He has planned for them. Since the way we think is vitally important in this process, the Lord has given us the mind of Christ. Now we have the capacity to think as He does and to see situations from His perspective.
   This marvelous ability to align our thoughts with His is a gift that we receive from God at the moment of salvation. However, the practice of it is our responsibility. We all come to Christ with minds that are already "pre-programmed" to one degree or another. For example, a child who grows up hearing demeaning comments will probably incorporate them into his concept of who he is and what he can accomplish. Also, this world's system is constantly attempting to fit us into its mold, and Satan tries to inject his lies into our thinking.
   If we are to experience the abundant life the Lord wants us to have, old thoughts that do not agree with God's Word must be replaced with truth. Then we need to screen the ideas that bombard us each day. As we cooperate with God in this ongoing process, our lies will be transformed.
   Compare your thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs with biblical teachings. If they don't match, reject wrong patterns of thinking, and fill your mind with corresponding truths from Scripture instead. Since the Lord has empowered believers to think right, let's cultivate the mind of Christ within us.

Stanley, Charles. In Touch, Daily Readings for Devoted Living. "The Mind of Christ." June 9, 2015. page 14.

Friday, September 11, 2015

"Love Covers"by Paul Billheimer


Love Covers
By Paul Billheimer
   “If all born-again people are members of the same Body, should not all born-again people fellowship with one another regardless of positions on nonessentials? This is a basic question… (John 13:34-34; John 17:20-23)
   “If you are scripturally born again you are a member of the Body of Christ and a son of my very own Father. As a member of the same family, you are my own brother, whether you realize it or acknowledge it or not… if you are born again, we still are members of the same family and organic parts of the same spiritual Body. I may think some of your beliefs are as crazy as a loon (as you may think some of my beliefs are crazy too), but if I have sufficient love for God, agape love, I will not reject you as a person.

He drew a circle that shut me out,
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout;
But Love and I had the wit to win-
We drew a circle and took him in.
Edwin Markham

    “‘Jesus said, ‘Judge not’ (Matthew 7:1).
   “‘Brothers, do not slander one another Anyone who speaks against his brother, or judges him, speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, by t sitting in judgment of it. There is only one Law-giver and Judge, one who is able to save and destroy. But you-who are you to judge your neighbor?’ (James 4:11-12)
   “‘Therefore, let us stop passing judgment on one another’ (Romans 14:13).
   “‘Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God’ (Romans 15:7).
   “Judgmentalism may be defined nontechnically as unfavorable judgment, criticism, or condemnation of others because of their conduct or supposed erroneous beliefs, wrong motives, or character. It is an arbitrary evaluation of another person’s worth. In the realm of religion it often results in the rejection of a person because of his opinion in nonessentials to salvation. It is the most frequent cause of division and fragmentation of the Body of Christ…
   “One cannot become judgmental without elevating himself-and self-elevation is Lucifer’s syndrome. It caused his fall and all of the sin and sorrow that followed in its wake… If a wrong has been done or a wrong decision has been made which threatens division, is God aware of it? If I know a thing is wrong and needs to be corrected, is it possible that an all-wise God does not? If a wrong decision has been made, only God can correct it.
   “There is only one answer to division over nonessentials and that is growth in love, agape love…I know of no other way except by a deeper work of the cross, a deeper death to all the life of nature and self. When we are truly willing, God will order the exact set of circumstances that will slay the flesh and increase growth in agape love. Love grows mostly by exercise…
   “The real question is not who is right-not even who is most nearly right. The Real question is: Do we recognize that God loves and accepts other members of the Body who differ from us in matters nonessential to salvation? Are we sufficiently mature in agape love to accept those who He accepts?..

Prayer is where the action is…
Prayer is our answer.

Prayer is the only thing that Satan cannot handle.

Blackmon, Selma, editor. The Exchanged Life News.

Friday, September 4, 2015

"Our times are in God's hands - not Satan's" Psalm 31:15

The book, Don’t Waste Your Sorrows by Paul Billheimer, gives new insight into God’s eternal purpose for each Christian in the midst of life’s greatest adversities.

   “Because tribulation is necessary for the decentralization of self and the development of deep dimensions of agape love, this love can be developed only in the school of suffering…” Romans 8:18, 5:3-5; John 16:33; 1 Thessalonians 3:3-4

Our Times Are in God’s Hands – Not Satan’s

Psalm 31:15
   “There is nothing accidental in the life of an obedient child of God. All born-again believers are in training for rulership. God Himself is personally supervising the training of His Son’s Eternal Companion who is to be His governing elite following the Marriage Supper of the Lamb… God Himself specifically chooses the tools and instruments which He knows are needed to fashion and qualify His Bride for the unique sphere of her operation and service in the eternal kingdom. Someone has said that the turning lathe that has the sharpest knives produces the finest work. When God makes a saint, He uses the sharpest knives on His turning lathe as well. He cannot shape one without pain, but He never uses needless pain...
   “When He laid down His life on Calvary, it was not for angels or archangels, cherubim or seraphim, nor for any of the other inhabitants of the unseen world, but for human beings made in His own image, who will constitute His Bride…
   “Marriage and the home is the center of all life on earth… It is a complete laboratory with all of the stresses and strains, trials and pressures packed under one roof… Everything needed to produce Christlikeness in us can be found in the home… Marriage is the most stressful fact of life. If the whole of life is stress, then marriage is the center of stress… most newlyweds have not yet learned the true meaning of unselfishness. They may be saved, sanctified or filled with the Holy Spirit, and still be unconsciously self-centered. One of God’s main purposes in ordaining marriage and the home is not primarily for pleasure, as is ordinarily supposed, but to decentralize the self, to teach agape love. The stresses of marriage and the home are designed to produce brokenness, to wean one from self-centeredness, and to produce the graces of sacrificial love and gentleness.
   “Because so few people understand the nature and purpose of marriage, when unexpected stresses and strains develop they are tempted to feel that they have made a mistake and perhaps have married the wrong person. The next step is to seek a way of escape by one means or another, sometimes through a professional marriage counselor or, more often, the divorce court…
   “If all born-again believers are in apprenticeship for rulership, and if a lofty dimension of agape love is the supreme qualification for high rank and authority in that eternal social order toward which the universe is moving, and if a high dimension of agape love cannot be achieved without suffering, could this explain why God permits many who seek healing to suffer on, even for a lifetime?
   “If God healed everyone immediately where would be the opportunity for character training? If God delivered everyone from conflict, oppression, and opposition at the first call, where would be the opportunity for the perseverance that creates character? If tribulation were lifted at the first cry, where would be the chance for exercise in patience which issues in heavenly character, the chief ingredient of which is agape love?” (James 1:2-4; Romans 5:3-5)

“If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” 2 Timothy 2:12 and “If so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” Romans 8:17

Blackmon, Selma, editor. The Exchanged Life News. Volume 3 Issue 21. May 25, 2003.