Yesterday, I prayed Romans 8:37 over my family. "...in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us."
We've all been feeling captive to a situation right now that we have absolutely no control over, but God's word reminds us in this passage from Romans that we are:
MORE than conquerors. Not simply conquerors, but MORE than conquerors in Christ Jesus.
We can rest and have peace in the TRUTH that Jesus has already won every victory for us.
We have to remember to trust - His Will His Purpose His Plan.
So today, I read out of John chapter 8, led there as I was reviewing our Pastor's sermon from Sunday. And it was SO GOOD. It was so good that I looked up verses 31 and 32 in three different versions. It was so good that I have to share what I found.
"So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."" - John 8:31-32(ESV)
The English Standard Version says:
"abide in my word"
Meaning, we need to camp out there.
Sit down and stay awhile in the truth of God's word.
In order to know the character of God and to be able to know His will, His purpose and His plan, we have to know HIM.
You've heard it before, you can't know someone unless you are spending time with them. And the more time you spend with them, the more comfortable, the more familiar, the more relaxed you become.
And you become comfortable enough to just be yourself.
God wants us to spend time with him, getting to know the truth of who he is and being real with him.
Not for his sake - he created us, he already knows everything about us - but for OUR sake.
Because when we can be real with God, we can be real with ourselves - and that's where he can use us for his glory.
"abide in my word"
"To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."" - John 8:31-32 (NIV)
The New International Version says:
"hold to my teaching"
We must not only spend time getting to know the truth of God through his word, we must be willing to live out his instruction found there - trusting it.
And isn't that so hard to do?
We are desperate for truth, we search for it everywhere.
But when we find it, don't we question it?
There's always that little voice that says "Are you sure?"
God is not unclear here - we are to hold on to his teaching. His truth.
Seeking and knowing His will.
But let's be honest - seeking his will, knowing His will and DOING His will are very different things.
It's the difference between disobedience and obedience.
"hold to my teaching"
"Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings.And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”" - John 8:31-32 (NLT)
The New Living Translation says:
"remain faithful to my teachings"
We must Know God.
We must Trust God.
We must also Obey God.
We must not waver in our obedience to his word.
The enemy already whispers doubt into our ear, speaks lies to our hearts about the truth of who God is and what is found in his word; we must stand firm against his lies.
Our trust in and obedience to God are an engraved invitation to the enemy to attack us. And he is relentless.
Have you felt it?
So many times we allow our tough times, our trials, the attacks of the enemy to confuse us.
We allow them to lead us away from the very truth of the One who has fought our battles and won our victory already.
Being faithful to his teachings means being steady - trusting in the truth of what we know of Jesus.
Remaining faithful is a daily struggle -
but what else can we do when He did ALL for us?
His faithfulness, his sacrifice, his mercy and grace are all gifts we don't deserve. But when we remain faithful to his teachings he promises us that we will find truth. And the truth will set us free. "remain faithful to my teachings" "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." - John 8:36
I can't tell you the number of times I've read these verses in James, but I can tell you there are two colors of highlighter on them in my Bible and those first few pages of his letter are pretty dog-eared.
As often as I know I've read them, I've always glossed over the word MANY.
If you've memorized these verses does it go something like this in your head? --
"consider it pure joy when you face trials of any kind..."
Well, maybe it's just me.
Some folks get hung up on the "consider it pure joy" part.
And that makes sense - it's HARD to find joy, much less dwell on it when you're in the middle of a mess.
We pretty much dwell on the mess, right?
But think about that word here - MANY.
Don't we often encounter hard times on top of difficult circumstances in addition to out of control situations?
You know, piling on of the worst kind.
Trouble always seems multiplied and maybe it's because when we are in the middle of a mess, anything else that goes wrong seems all the worse because it's
"just one more thing."
Truth is, God is working in all of it.
We may hate these times, feel overwhelmed by them - but we have a God who is never daunted by our tough times.
Ooh, that's good - I'll repeat it:
We have a God who is NEVER daunted by our tough times.
He weeps when we weep.
He hurts when we hurt.
His heart breaks for His children.
He knows that if we trust Him,
rest in Him,
and breathe deeply of the peaceful air He offers -
we will be changed for the better when we come out on the other side of heartache.
Multiplied mess becomes multiplied JOY when we allow the trials of life to shape us and not break us.
"Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."(v. 4)
"You guide me with your counsel,leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth.My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever." - Psalm 73:24-26
It's been a while since I've met you here. 24 days to be exact.
24 days that life has overtaken me and I've allowed my circumstances to dictate my actions.
24 days of silent time.
The enemy and I have been in a battle, he and I, and I've been losing. Giving in to thoughts and feelings that at times have threatened my existence in the victory I know I have in Christ.
I hate this battle.
Hate these times that I just can't shake the voice of the one who calls me 'less than'.
As a child of God, I'm supposed to be able to rebuke him. To brush him away like a crumb from my sleeve.
But it's not always that easy.
He knows my weaknesses. My soft spots. The places in my heart that are still vulnerable to his lies about who I've been, who I am now and who I'm destined to be.
"I'm a mess." I confessed to a dear friend earlier this week, pain spilling out of my heart and onto the table between us.
The good news is that even when we don't feel the presence of God, can't sense His tangible force that guides us, He is always with us.
And He makes sure to connect us with the ones who can speak the most pertinent truth into our lives at the time.
My friend knows me well, we "get" each other spiritually and emotionally, having walked some of the same paths over the years. And God being God, He gave my friend the exact words I needed to hear.
Words that would allow me to find my victory in Christ again and kick the enemy to the curb.
"Robin, you need to remember that there are people out there who need what you have to offer. Who need to hear and read what God has put in your heart to share. You need to get back to work."
And with three simple statements, I remembered once again who I am.
More specifically, WHOSE I am.
And the work that He's given me to do.