Our Duty to All People, part two; Rom. 12:15

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

Continuing with Paul’s instructions in chapter 12, we see our close identification with one another in that we are to rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Our first reaction to this imperative could be, “Oh, I can do that. It’s got to be easier than blessing my enemies, right?”

Well, the rub comes when someone else, for example, gets the promotion at work we thought we had deserved. Would it be a snap to rejoice with someone who “took your place?” The flesh easily springs up in such circumstances.

“…when another person’s blessing and happiness is at our expense, or when their favorable circumstances or notable accomplishments make ours seem barren and dull, the flesh does not lead us to rejoice but tempts us to resent,” (John MacArthur commentary on Romans, vol. II, p. 197).

A good example in Scripture of this type of resentment is Cain (Gen. 4:3-8), who resented God’s acceptance of Abel’s offering but rejection of his because of disobedience. His envy and jealousy drove him to commit the first murder, that of his own brother. The power of these emotions of jealousy and envy and hatred should be dealt with carefully, like nitro, and given over to the Lord!

The bond of tears,” comments William Barclay, “is the strongest of all. And yet it is much easier to weep with those who weep than it is to rejoice with those who rejoice. Long ago Chrysostom wrote on this passage: ‘It requires more of a high Christian temper to rejoice with them that do rejoice than to weep with them that weep. For this nature itself fulfils perfectly; and thee is none so hard-hearted as not to weep over him that is in calamity; but the other requires a very noble soul, so as not only to keep from envying, but even to feel pleasure with the person who is in esteem.’ It is, indeed, more difficult to congratulate another on his success, especially if his success involves disappointment to us, than it is to sympathize with his sorrow and his loss. It is only when self is dead that we can take as much joy in the success of others as in our own.” (Barclay Romans Commentary)

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, etc. A general truth is in the third place laid down — that the faithful, regarding each other with mutual affection, are to consider the condition of others as their own. He first specifies two particular things — that they were to ‘rejoice with the joyful, and to weep with the weeping.’ For such is the nature of true love, that one prefers to weep with his brother, rather than to look at a distance on his grief, and to live in pleasure or ease. What is meant then is — that we, as much as possible, ought to sympathize with one another, and that, whatever our lot may be, each should transfer to himself the feeling of another, whether of grief in adversity, or of joy in prosperity. And, doubtless, not to regard with joy the happiness of a brother is envy; and not to grieve for his misfortunes is inhumanity. Let there be such a sympathy among us as may at the same time adapt us to all kinds of feelings” (from Calvin’s Bible Commentary).

Alternately, we must not rejoice in another’s misfortune. Proverbs 17:5 directs: The person who rejoices at calamity will not go unpunished. Rather, Mac comments, “It is distinctively Christian to rejoice in the blessings, honor, and welfare of others—especially fellow believers—no matter what may be our personal circumstances,” (p. 197).

“rejoice”-“Share the happiness of those who are happy” (Phi) The Christian should be able to share in both the sorrows and joys of others. Why is it that some Christians can never be happy and others can never be sad? (1 Corinthians 12:25-26)

‘Is there anything more refreshing than the absence of jealousy in one who sees the good fortune of another? Our world is so full of envy and the grudging spirit. The world is so full of heartache, broken promises, failures and despairing people. Shouldn’t we be glad when someone wins? Don’t detract from the joy of the occasion by a cross face.’ (McGuiggan p. 372; Dunagan Commentary).

Weep with those who weep.

We believers have a responsibility to others, especially brethren, to be empathetic, sympathetic, and sensitive to their suffering. One of the tenants of the counselling profession is that we should be subjective enough to identify with another’s pain while remaining objective enough to help with the solution, if one is called for.

Many times, identification is the solution. Talk to them, listen to them, reassure them of God’s love for them. Don’t just observe stoically from the outside, but get into the sinking boat with him and bail water.

Mac observes, “Compassion has in the very word the idea of suffering with someone. God is called a compassionate God (Deut. 4:31; Neh. 9:17; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2).

“He is so compassionate, so tender toward His people, that His compassions never fail (Lam. 3:22). James speaks of Him as being full of compassion (James 5:11). We see this compassion, sympathy, and tenderheartedness of God in the tears of Jesus over the grave of Lazarus. He mingled His tears with those of Mary and Martha (John 11:35),” (Mac p. 197-198).

Paul directed, So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (Col. 3:12).

One of the sweetest verses of Scripture to illuminate this is Psalm 56:8: Put my tears in Thy bottle. God keeps our tears in a bottle, like treasures. “If we are to be like our Father and His Son, we, too, must enter into the sorrows of others,” (Mac p. 193).

One of the most poignant moments in Jesus’ ministry is when He wept over the holy city: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those sent to her, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were unwilling! Look, your house is left to you desolate.…, (Matt. 23:37). It is a call filled with pathos, lament, and almost unbearable pain for His people, who were about to be left desolate because of their unyielding sin.

We are to feel for and identify with the pain of others just that deeply. Filled with His Spirit, we can. We can also rejoice at the good benefit of another, no matter what it may cost us personally. This is what God equips us to do and what we must do.

Until next time, Lord willing, glad tidings to you of exceedingly great joy in the gospel of our God and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ…mike.

 

Our Duty to All People; part one; Romans 12:14

Bless those who persecute you; bless and curse not. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation, (12:14-16).

We will deal in this study with verse 14. We as believers, with the love of Jesus flowing through our spiritual veins, are to bless those who persecute [us]; bless and curse not. As a stone dropped into a still pool creates ever widening ripples, our influence of caring now widens even to the whole world (see John 3:16).

But to actually call down blessing on those who are actively persecuting us is a tall order, not prepared for the faint of heart or wobbling faith. We must be strong in the Lord and the power of His might if we are to have success here.

“The obedient Christian not only must resist hating and retaliating against those who harm him but is commanded to take the additional step of blessing them,” (John MacArthur commentary on Romans, vol. 2, p. 195).

“Bless them which persecute you,…. It is the lot of God’s people in this world to be persecuted by the men of it, in some shape or another, either by words or deeds; either by reviling and reproaching them, and speaking all manner of evil of them; or by hindering them the free exercise of religious worship, by confiscation of their goods, imprisonment of their persons, by violently torturing their bodies, and taking away their lives; under all which circumstances they are taught to bless them; that is, to pray for them, that God would show them their evil, give repentance to them, and the remission of their sins; which is the order Christ gave to his disciples, Matthew 5:44; and encouraged to an observance of, by his own example, Luke 23:34; and has been followed herein by his disciples and apostles, Acts 7:60 1 Corinthians 4:12. Moreover, by “blessing” may be meant, giving them good words, mild and soft answers, “not rendering evil for evil, railing for railing”, 1 Peter 3:9; but, on the contrary, blessing in imitation of Christ, who, “when he was reviled, reviled not again”, 1 Peter 2:23, “bless”,

“and curse not: to have a mouth full of cursing and bitterness, Romans 3:14, is the character of an unregenerate man, and what by no means suits one who names the name of Christ; for blessing and cursing to proceed out of the same mouth, is as absurd and unnatural, as if it should be supposed that a fountain should send forth sweet water and bitter, or salt and fresh, James 3:10. The imprecations upon wicked men, used by David and other good men, are no contradictions to this rule; since they were made under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, and were predictions of God’s vengeance, which in righteous judgment should fall on them, and are not to be drawn into an example by us,” (Gill commentary on Romans).

Of course, this is the very commandment of the Lord: I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you, (Luke 6:27-28; cf. Matt. 5:44). This is agape love, the quality of devotion Paul describes in verse 9.

Jesus gives His people further direction in Luke 6:29-30: Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone wo asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back, (Luke 6:29-30).

Jesus goes on with His challenge: If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same, (vv. 32-33).

“This level of loving is impossible for any who are not “all in” for Christ. Call down blessings on your persecutors–blessings, not curses” (NEB) (Luke 6:28; Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60). “To curse does not mean to use ordinary profanity; it is a call for calamity to befall a person.” (Whiteside p. 253) Pray for their salvation, instead of their damnation! We don”t need to “call down curses” upon the enemies of Christ, for their own sins already condemn them. Evil is coming upon our persecutors, there is no need to call it down. (Matthew 25:41; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). Our desire should be for the salvation of all. (1 Timothy 2:4; Acts 26:29)

“bless”-i.e. pray for them (Matthew 5:44)

“Don’t tell me we can’t live that way. Tell me we don’t; tell me we won’t; but don’t tell me we can’t…Rees cuts to the bone when he parodies: ‘I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please, not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep..just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine. I don”t want enough of him to make me love a black man…I want ecstasy, not transformation; I want the warmth of the womb, not a new birth. I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack. I would like to buy $3 worth of God please.’” (McGuiggan p. 371) (Mark Dunagan, Commentary on the Bible).

William Barclay notes the following: “Paul offers a series of rules and principles wherewith to govern our relationships with our fellow men.

“(i) The Christian must meet persecution with a prayer for those who persecute him. Long ago Plato had said that the good man will choose rather to suffer evil than to do evil; and it is always evil to hate. When the Christian is hurt, and insulted, and maltreated, he has the example of his Master before him, for He, upon his Cross, prayed for forgiveness for those who were killing him.

“There has been no greater force to move men into Christianity than this serene forgiveness which the martyrs in every age have showed. Stephen died praying for forgiveness for those who stoned him to death (Acts 7:60). Among those who killed him was a young man named Saul, who afterwards became Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles and the slave of Christ. There can be no doubt that the death scene of Stephen was one of the things that turned Paul to Christ. As Augustine said: “The Church owes Paul to the prayer of Stephen. Many a persecutor has become a follower of the faith he once sought to destroy, because he has seen how a Christian can forgive,” (Barclay Commentary on Romans).

Our supreme example of blessing our persecutors is, as noted above, Jesus Christ Himself. As He lay dying in horrible torment on a cruel wooden cross His thoughts and concerns, as always, were for others. He prayed blessings on the very men who were murdering Him! Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing, (Luke 23:34). Incredible! Agape love in its purest form.

For you have been called for this purpose, Peter wrote many years later, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously, (1 Peter 2:21-23).

The key is there; do you see it? We are to [keep] entrusting [ourselves] to Him who judges righteously. One day God will judge and punish the guilty and work justice for his sons and daughters. If we firmly resolve in our minds and hearts that He will set everything right, our faith not shaken, we can and will follow our Lord’s example, even when surrounded by enemies out for our blood! For us this is not the end, but just the beginning.

Bless and do not curse them.

In 14b Paul wants to make sure we are clear that “true blessing of those who persecute us is comprehensive and permanent. Not only are we to bless them, we are not at all or ever to curse them,” (Mac). MacArthur continues with these observations:

“Because of the general tone of religious freedom in modern western society, physical or political persecution for one’s Christian faith is rare. Our temptations to curse are more likely to be in reaction to hostility that does no life-threatening harm but causes us inconvenience or embarrassment. Some studies have indicated that much high blood pressure and other anxiety-related disease is caused not by serious, long-term problems and life-threatening pressures but by persistent attitudes of resentment and hostility that eat at people who habitually react negatively to unpleasant situations and people. It is often a host of ‘little foxes’ that do the most damage in our spiritual and emotional ‘vineyards’ (Song of Sol. 2:15),” (Mac p. 196-197).

Until next time, blessings to all in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus, who is the Christ…mike.

 

 

The Resurrection: Our Assurance!

1 Peter 1:”18-19– …knowing  that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

Taken from Charles Stanley’s In touch Dailey Devotions, April 16, is the following:

“Despite appearances, it had been no ordinary crucifixion. Passersby may have thought three men were simply paying the penalty for their crimes, but events of cosmic import were taking place: Sin was judged and Satan was defeated. Yet that wasn’t all– the cross was also the scene of the greatest purchase in history. It was there that Jesus Christ shed His blood to pay for the salvation of all mankind.

“This transaction occurred at great cost to the purchaser and great benefit to the purchased– you and me. But you might ask, How can I know God the Father accepted Christ’s blood as an atoning sacrifice for my sin? In other words, How can I be sure that the Savior’s death fully paid the debt I owed?

“The answer lies in the resurrection. Jesus had repeatedly said He would rise from the dead (Matt. 16:21; John 2:19; 10:18), and fulfilling such a prophecy is no small accomplishment. Imagine the reaction of all those who witnessed His cruel death– and then saw Him alive.

“Christ’s return to life was the Father’s way of showing He accepted the offering made on our behalf. It was God’s proclamation to the world that the sin debt has been paid in full– and all who trust in His Son are free forever from the power and penalty of sin. What’s more, the resurrection is our assurance that every promise God has made can be trusted.

“Easter is wonderful news: God has broken the power of sin and death, and all who place faith in Christ will enjoy the Lord’s presence throughout eternity. Hallelujah! What a Savior!”

What a Savior indeed! If He is not yours, claim Him now by faith in His awesome finished work on our behalf…mike.

 

 

Supernatural Living; Duty to the Family, part 2; Romans 12:12-13

Be devoted to prayer…

One of the surest ways God’s people are driven to pray is when we realize how much we need Him actively working in our lives. Clarity on this issue can become very murky very quickly if we are not devoted to prayer as a matter of holy habit.

MacArthur comments, “The believer who has the strength to persevere in trials, afflictions, adversity, and misfortune- sometimes even deprivation and destitution- will pray more than occasionally,” (Mac commentary p. 192). The Lord will often put these trials in our lives to strengthen and purify us.

Consistent communion with our Lord will give us the strength and fortitude and patience to come through any trial successfully. But we are to rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you, (1 Thess. 5:16-18).

Proskartereo, devoted, means to be strong toward something, as Mac relates, and it also carries the ideas of being steadfast and unwavering. We are to be committed to prayer, which is our intimate communion with the Almighty.

The early Christians are a pattern to follow here. Both before and after the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the early church fully devoted themselves, especially the leaders, to prayer, and to the ministry of the word, (Acts 1:14; 2:42; 6:4).

“We are to persevere in prayer. Is it not the case that there are times in life when we let day add itself to day and week to week, and we never speak to God? When a man ceases to pray, he despoils himself of the strength of Almighty God. No man should be surprised when life collapses if he insists on living it alone,” (William Barclay, Romans Commentary).

“When we find ourselves going to God less frequently in prayer, it means that we are becoming too self-sufficient and independent. We have lost sight of the fact that we will fail miserably without Him!” (Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible).

Mac notes that prayer should be as much a natural part of our spiritual life as breathing is our physical life. “The victorious Christian prays with the spirit and…with the mind (1 Cor. 14:15). As he prays with his own spirit, he also prays in the Holy Spirit (Jude 20; cf. Eph. 6:18). He prays without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17). Paul therefore admonishes Timothy to have the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands (1 Tim. 2:8),” (Mac p. 192-193).

Contribute to the needs of the saints…

“take an interest in, share-give or contribute a share (Arndt p. 438). “This is more than talk of “giving”; it involves feeling their need..and doing something about it.” (McGuiggan p. 369) Paul was already in the process of such a “contributing” when this letter was written. (Romans 15:25-28) (James 2:15-16; 1 John 3:17).

This is a quality that our Lord so beautifully exhibited in His own life and ministry. As He said of Himself, He came to serve, not to be served. Paul showed us this in his life also. One doesn’t need to read far in his letters to realize that his whole existence was about glorifying God and serving people.

“The flow of the supernatural life is outward, not inward, and meeting the needs of fellow believers is more important than meeting our own,” (Mac p. 193).

Contributing has its root meaning from the Greek word, koinoneo, often translated “fellowship,” which means to share in or share with. The essence of community is to share in common goals, interests, dreams, aspirations.

Mac states further, “The basic meaning is that of commonality or partnership, which involves mutual sharing…believers after Pentecost were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayer…And all those who had believed were together, and had all things in common [koina] (Acts 2:42, 44; cf. 4:32. Peter used that term in speaking of our sharing [koinoneo] in the sufferings of Christ, (1 Peter 4:13),” (Mac p. 193).

The emphasis here is on the “giving” side of sharing. Society, especially in this “me” generation of selfies and lavish self-indulgence, would tell us to constantly claim our rights of ownership on virtually everything. But the gospel tells believers that we really own nothing- it is all God’s. We are but servants, stewards, taking what the Master has given us and using it responsibly in His service and under His direction. And one of our most important stewardship responsibilities is to faithfully contribute to the needs of the saints.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus made clear that we have a responsibility, to the best of our ability, to help anyone in need whom we encounter. But we have a still greater responsibility to serve  fellow Christians. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith (Gal. 6:10),” (Mac p. 193).

Just yesterday my wife and I were at the doctor’s office. It was pouring rain outside. My wife told me there was a lady trying to start her car, but she needed help. She had volunteered me to go outside and help the woman, which I gladly did. We jump started her car with cables, but it didn’t start right away. We both got soaked and she thanked me profusely when her car finally started. I came away wet but with a smile that I could help someone out. That’s the way we should be as Christians, always ready to help in things big or small.

Practice hospitality…

“given to hospitality”-“Practicing” (NASV). “The idea is that Christ”s disciple is not to passively wait till hospitality is unavoidable, but he is to be aggressively hospitable, seeking the opportunities.” (McGarvey p. 498) (Hebrews 13:2; Matthew 25:35; Luke 14:12-13). “Make a practice of hospitality” (Mof).

“But hospitality is more than bringing someone home and feeding them. It springs from a heart which cares for others. One which renounces reclusive ways and opens itself toward people. There are few things more painful than lost opportunities. So many are lonely and need to be reached for.” (McGuiggan p. 370).

“This is more than ‘entertaining, open house or paying someone back’. Literally, the word means ‘a love of strangers’. We are to open up our homes to more than just our family or relatives.” (Mark Dunagan Commentary on Romans)

“The Christian is to be given to hospitality. Over and over again the New Testament insists on this duty of the open door (Hebrews 13:2; 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8; 1 Peter 4:9). Tyndale used a magnificent word when he translated it that the Christian should have a harborous disposition. A home can never be happy when it is selfish. Christianity is the religion of the open hand, the open heart, and the open door,” (William Barclay).

Taking again from Mac’s writing, the literal meaning is “pursuing the love of strangers.” In other words, we are not to simply wait for circumstances to place someone in need of hospitality in our laps, but we are to go out and find the need, to look for opportunities to help. Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.’ (Luke 14:23) Love must be active, moving, ever searching for the lost sheep to invite them into the Father’s house. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it, (Hebrews 13:2).

Paul here is speaking to all believers while pointing out that leaders are to set an example. Elders are to be hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, (Titus 1:8). This is to be done without hypocrisy, Mac continues.

Jesus gave this counsel: When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return, and repayment come to you. But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous (Luke 14:12-14).

In ancient times there were not many inns or other places to stay for people who were travelling. And the few that did exist could be dangerous places. Many itinerant preachers and other Christians would need a safe place to stay as they travelled. So the need was great for loving believers to open their hearts and homes to these sojourners.

John commended Gaius for doing just this. Beloved, you are acting faithfully in whatever you accomplish for the brethren, and especially when they are strangers; and they bear witness of your love before the church; and you will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. For they went out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support such men, that we may be fellow workers with the truth (3 John 5-8).

Our attitude should be one of happy service, not heavy drudgery when ministering to the saints, for God is much pleased with this. Peter said, …be hospitable to one another without complaint (1 Peter 4:9). Onesiphorus is a beautiful example of this when he ministered to Paul in prison: He often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chains; but when he was in Rome, he eagerly searched for me, and found me- the Lord grant to him to find mercy from the Lord on that day- and you know very well what services he rendered at Ephesus (2 Tim. 1:16-18).

Until next time, love to you all in Christ’s name; enjoy the memory of His Passion and Resurrection. Have a blessed Easter…mike.

 

 

 

 

Supernatural Living; Duty to the Family of God pt. 2; Rom. 12:10-13

Be devoted to one another…fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation…(12:12).

“Whereas diligence pertains mainly to action, being fervent in spirit pertains to attitude.” (Mac p. 190)

It’s not so much the idea of boiling over, out of control, but rather, like a well-maintained steam engine- slow, steady, powerful, persistent- chugging reliably to the desired end. It is “having sufficient heat to produce the energy necessary to get the work done,” (Mac).

“We must keep our spirit at boiling point. The one man whom the Risen Christ could not stand was the man who was neither hot nor cold (Revelation 3:15-16). Today people are apt to look askance upon enthusiasm: the modern battle-cry is ‘I couldn’t care less.’ But the Christian is a man desperately in earnest; he is aflame for Christ,” (William Barclay, Romans Commentary).

Indifference and lack of enthusiasm are responsible, it seems, for more unfinished worthy goals and tasks than anything else. “I just don’t care,” is a common mantra for much of today’s societal ills. “Fervency requires resolve and persistence, not mere good intention. Let us not lose heart in doing good, Paul admonishes, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary, (Gal. 6:9),” (Mac p. 190-191).

“Do nothing at any time but what is to the glory of God, and do everything as unto him; and in everything let your hearts be engaged. Be always in earnest, and let your heart ever accompany your hand,” (Barnes Notes on Romans).

No one in the early church more personified being fervent in spirit than the Apostle Paul. He said this of himself: Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim, I box in such a way, as not beating the air, (1 Cor. 9:26). Paul didn’t waste a second of his reborn life making excuses or procrastinating. God gave him a commission and Paul fulfilled it to the max! So can we!

Have solid, godly goals, and persist with zeal in meeting them. That will change both you and others for great good!

Serve the Lord…

This also has to do with perspective and priority. “Everything we do should, first of all, be consistent with God’s Word and, second, be truly in His service and for His glory. Strict devotion to the Lord would eliminate a great deal of fruitless church activity,” (Mac p. 191)

“Paul was saying to his people, ‘Seize your opportunities as they come.’ Life presents us with all kinds of opportunities–the opportunity to learn something new or to cut out something wrong; the opportunity to speak a word of encouragement or of warning; the opportunity to help or to comfort. One of the tragedies of life is that we so often fail to grasp these opportunities when they come. ‘There are three things which come not back–the spent arrow, the spoken word, and the lost opportunity,'” (Barclay).

Barnes states: “Ever considering that his eye is upon you, and that you are accountable to him for all that you do, and that you should do everything so as to please him. In order to do this there must be simplicity in the Intention, and purity in the Affections.”

We all have a foundational mission; Paul never lost sight of his. It was to serve God in [his] spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His Son, (Rom. 1:9). We must not lose sight of ours either. We, the church, are to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, (Matt. 28:19).

“In Romans 12, Paul uses three different words to describe Christian service. In verse 1 he uses latreia, which is translated, ‘service of worship,’ and emphasizes reverential awe. The second word is diakonia, which pertains to practical service. In verse 11 he uses douleuo, which refers to the service of a bond-slave, whose very reason for existence is to do his master’s will,” (Mac commentary p. 191).

Serving the Lord with everything he had was Paul’s passion. But even one as gifted as Paul knew that the source of the power to serve God came from God as well. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me, (Col. 1:29).

Rejoice in hope…

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Here is the essence of hope realized. Jesus was able to endure all the shame, all the pain and torture, and even death itself, because His hope rested in His Father.

“Without hope we could never survive,” (Mac). For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; (Rom. 8:24). Hope then also needs faith to anchor it in the object hoped for. We Christians have faith that God will one day fulfill all our hopes, which rest in Him and His promises to us.

We are to rejoice in hope, keeping steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, [knowing] our toil is not in vain, (1 Cor. 15:58). Then, in hope rejoicing, we can look forward to our Lord one day saying to us, Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord, (Matt. 25:21).

Also, in the future there is laid up for [us] the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to [us] on that day; and…to all who have loved His appearing, (2 Tim. 4:8).

Persevere in Tribulation…

The fact that we can rejoice in hope actually fuels our ability to persevere, even in tribulation and suffering. We know that there is an end of pain and that our God will heal every wound, Faith and hope in God’s love for us and our ultimate deliverance produces perseverance, divine patience in the midst of suffering.

This is why Paul, who suffered so much for Christ, could confidently proclaim, we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us, (Rom. 5:2-5).

Until next time, may we appreciate how God lavishes His love on us through Christ Jesus our Lord!…mike.

 

Supernatural Living: Duty to the Family of God; Rom.12:10-13

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. 

This second phase of supernatural living makes a wider sweep, being comprised of our relationship to Christ’s church wherever we may encounter it. Paul lists ten “family” obligations beginning with this:

Be devoted in brotherly love (12:10a).

Be devoted and brotherly love, as John MacArthur points out, are synonymous ideas. “Devoted translates philostorgos, a compound of philos (friend, friendly, friendship love) and storge, (natural family love, which is not based on personal attraction or desirability). Brotherly love translates philidelphia, another compound- phileo (to have tender affection) and adelphos (brother). We are to have a loving filial affection for one another in the family of God,” (Mac commentary p. 188).

William Barclay reads the passage as, We must be “affectionate (a familial rendering) toward one another…because we are members of one family…[and] because we have the one [common] Father, God,” (William Barclay commentary on Romans).

Barnes Notes tells us this: “The word used here occurs no where else in the New Testament. It properly denotes tender affection, such as what subsists between parents and children; and it means that Christians should have similar feelings toward each other, as belonging to the same family, and as united in the same principles and interests. The Syriac renders this, “Love your brethren, and love one another;” compare 1 Peter 2:17.”

Being devoted to one another in brotherly love and affection is one of the prime ways the world will know that we belong to Christ, and it will also witness the indisputable power of transformed lives! By this, Jesus said, all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another, (John 13:35). This love, as Mac relates, is not optional; it is required of all saints: …whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him, (1 John 5:1). Jesus asked the Pharisees how they could claim to love the Father when they hated the Son?

John carries the truth further when he states this: If someone says ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen, (1 John 4:20). Regarding generosity, John writes, But whoever has the world’s goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. We shall know by this that we are of the truth, and shall assure our heart before Him, (1 John 3:10, 17-19).

Prefer one another in honor (12:10b)

This should naturally follow as a direct result of being devoted with brotherly love. The virtue of humility, spoken of earlier in 12:3 would lead us to give preference to others, being willing to sacrifice our own wants and needs to promote those of others. This is how Jesus lived His life, who came not to be served, but to serve, (Matt. 20:28).

Proegeomai (give preference) carries the basic idea of going before or leading by example. Again, Jesus is our light post here. After He had washed the disciples’ feet during the Last Supper, an act of lowly servitude, He said this to them: Do you understand what I have done for you? …Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you, (John 13:12-15).

“To honor is not to flatter, to give hypocritical praise in hope of having the compliment returned or of gaining favor with the one honored. Again, the very opposite is in mind. To honor is to show genuine appreciation and admiration for one another in the family of God,” (Mac commentary on Romans, p. 189).

“More than half the trouble that arises in Churches concerns rights and privileges and prestige. Someone has not been given his or her place; someone has been neglected or un-thanked. The mark of the truly Christian man has always been humility,” (William Barclay Rom. Comm).

Do not lag in diligence (12:11a).

This could be rendered, as Mac has it, “not lazy in zeal and intensity.” There is nothing easier to do than to be lazy in the work of the Lord. After all, no one’s here making us do anything, and who’s going to notice? And Jesus is so forgiving, right? Of course these are sorry excuses, and there are thousands of them.

But all slackers should remember what Jesus said: I know your deeds; you are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were one or the other. So because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of My mouth! (Rev. 3:16)

“Whatever is worth doing in the Lord’s service,” states Mac, “is worth doing with enthusiasm and care. Jesus told His disciples that He must work the works of Him who sent Me, as long as it is day; night is coming, when no man can work, (John 9:4). Paul advised the Galatian churches, So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith, (Gal. 6:10; cf. 2 Thess. 3:13).

“We must not be sluggish in zeal,” admonishes William Barclay. “There is a certain intensity in the Christian life; there is no room for lethargy in it. The Christian cannot take things in an easy-going way, for the world is always a battleground between good and evil, the time is short, and life is a preparation for eternity. The Christian may burn out, but he must not rust out,” (Barclay commentary on Romans).  

“Not slothful – The word rendered “slothful” refers to those who are slow, idle, destitute of promptness of mind and activity; compare Matthew 25:16.” (from Barnes Notes on the Bible)

“There is no room for sloth and indolence in the Lord’s work. Whatever your hands find to do, Solomon counseled, verily, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol [the grave], (Eccles. 9:10). Slothfulness in Christian living not only prevents good from being done but allows evil to prosper,” (Mac p. 190). “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing,” (Edmund Burke).

Hebrews 6:10-12 provides a beautiful promise to those who serve the Lord with diligence and zeal: God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Until next time, God bless all in the Beloved…mike.

 

 

Supernatural Living, part three; Romans 12:9

Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.

The use of the term agape love was very rare in the cultures of Paul’s day. This type of love- giving, generous, self-sacrificing- was even viewed by many if not most as a sign of weakness. But in the New Testament, as MacArthur comments, it was regarded as the supreme virtue.

God Himself is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him, (1 John 4:16). Evil is the exact opposite of this supreme love, and, therefore, the opposite of and against the Lord God. Thus, believers are to abhor what is evil.

 Any Christian who genuinely loves God and people will also hate evil. Thus, the Psalmist exhorts, Hate evil, you who love the Lord, (Psalm 97:10). In Psalm 101:4, David intends that a perverse heart shall depart from me; I will know no evil. Evil is that which aligns itself against the Almighty. It desires its own selfish will rather than God’s, and is fully intent on doing all that is unrighteous and ungodly.

Even Paul, the great apostle to the Gentiles, struggled with sin. We covered these struggles in Romans chapter 7. Sense his mighty inner battle here: I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For that which I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate…For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish. But if I am doing the very thing I do not wish, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wishes to do good, (Rom. 7:14-15, 19-21).

Jude warns us that we can get sucked into the sins of others if we are not extremely careful: But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh, (Jude 20-21, 23).

It has been said that the only security against sin is to be shocked by it. It is very hard to be shocked by anything in our generation. Our senses are constantly bombarded “through TV, newspapers, magazines, movies, and books, not to mention the internet and social media, with immoralities,” (Mac), perversions, violence, hatred, and on and on.

The danger is in rationalizing that all this evil somehow doesn’t affect us, that because we belong to Jesus we are immune. It just isn’t true! To think so and to be careless with our purity is to court evil. Sin lieth at the door, (Genesis 4:7).

MacArthur quotes Alexander Pope:

“Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,

As to be hated needs but to be seen;

Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,

We first endure, then pity, then embrace.”

Paul warned the Corinthian church, who by all standards resided in “sin city,” to flee sexual immorality and idolatry, which were so rampant there. Evil is never to be accepted, condoned, reasoned with. Don’t try to convert it or change it. Flee from it into the protective arms of God as righteous Lot fled from the destruction of Sodom. His wife, who, for an instant, looked back, was turned into a pillar of salt, (Genesis 19:26).

Paul counsels his son in the faith, Timothy, to Flee youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart, (2 Tim. 2:22).

MacArthur teaches, “It is impossible to pursue righteousness while we tolerate evil,” (Commentary p. 187). Mac tells the story of how to boil a frog. Put the frog in a pan of cool water. Turn the flame on low. As the heat slowly rises in the water, the frog adjusts, tolerating the changing norm. By the time the water reaches boiling the frog realizes too late that he is in big trouble. That slow burn will ultimately destroy! Tolerating evil works the same way!

“Greater exposure to evil should invoke greater resistance to it, no matter how often or how intensely we are confronted by it. We must examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good [and] abstain from every form of evil, (1 Thess. 5:21-22). Because we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16), we must, like Him, love righteousness and hate sin (Heb. 1:9). We are to love what He loves and hate what He hates,” (Mac p. 187).

We believers are to also cling to what is good. This is the third personal duty. The verb, kallao, Mac notes, means to cling. It is from the root, kolla, which means glue. It could be used of any bond-spiritual, emotional, physical- and, in this context tells us that we are to bind ourselves like glue (a permanent bond) to what is good (agathos), that which is inherently right and worthy.

Have you ever watched a young child walking hand and hand with his parent? The child may wriggle and squirm, using his whole body in motion to try to dislodge his hand from his guardian’s grasp, to gain his “freedom.” We must not be so. The Lord has us firmly in His loving grip. Don’t squirm to get away; it is the safest place we could possibly be.

So how would we define what is good? …whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on [or cling to] these things, (Phil. 4:8).

All of this takes discernment, godly judgment based on careful evaluation of everything so that we know what to reject and what to cling to, (Mac). As we reject the world and its values our minds become transformed by being renewed, so that we may cling to that which is good and acceptable and perfect, (Rom. 12:1-2).

“As we separate ourselves from the things of the world and saturate ourselves with the Word of God, the things that are good will more and more replace the things that are evil” (Mac p. 188).

Until next time, by God’s profound grace, may the Lord bless you as you live out your faith by holding fast to His holy hand…mike.

 

What Does It Mean to Be “Saved”?

This short devotion by Charles Stanley on salvation was too good to not pass along. Please read Psalm 25 so that what he says below will make sense to you. In this psalm David pours his heart out to God, as a child to his loving Father. Only one truly connected to God, having a real relationship with Him, could write this way.

Dr. Stanley asks: “How does a person become acceptable to God? The path to redemption begins not with the decision to live a better life or to stop doing something wrong, but with the realization that we cannot correct our sinful nature.

“To find favor with the Lord, we must grasp that it is impossible to make ourselves righteous. Instead, we need to depend on the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf. When we trust in Christ as our Savior, God the Father applies the benefit of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice to our sin debt, thereby making us saved- that is, acceptable in His eyes.

“Your good works and righteous acts are of absolutely no value in the mind of God. Compared to others’ actions, your generosity and good works might seem like enough to bring favor with the Lord, but Scripture tells us salvation is not as a result of works, so that no one may boast (Eph. 2:9). When you stand before God, the only way you can be forgiven of your sins is through Christ and His sacrificial, substitutionary, atoning death at Calvary. The Savior came to give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).

“Jesus crucifixion was a public demonstration of God’s hatred for sin and immense love for mankind. He who was blameless bore the penalty for all in order that wicked, corrupt people could be made righteous.

“No matter what you have done, you can be cleansed of the stain left by sin. Confess any known transgressions to the Lord and turn from them. Then Jesus will forgive you and write your name in the Lamb’s book of life (1 John 1:9; Rev. 21:27). By trusting in Him, you are assured of eternity in His presence.” From Charles Stanley’s In Touch Daily Readings, March 19th.

Jesus said, And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me, (John 12:32).

At the very end of Scripture there is this poignant invitation: And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. (Revelation 22:17, 20-21).

  1. When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
    When sorrows like sea billows roll;
    Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
    It is well, it is well with my soul.

    • Refrain:
      It is well with my soul,
      It is well, it is well with my soul.
  2. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
    Let this blest assurance control,
    That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
    And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
  3. My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
    My sin, not in part but the whole,
    Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
    Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
  4. For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
    If Jordan above me shall roll,
    No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
    Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
  5. But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
    The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
    Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
    Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
  6. And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
    The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
    The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
    Even so, it is well with my soul.

 

Supernatural Living, part two; Romans 12:9

Let love be without hypocrisy. 

More practical commands for everyday supernatural living here in verse 9. This is one of several triplets in which Paul mentions three personal duties. The first duty is to let love be without hypocrisy.

The Greeks had four different words for love. This one, agape, is the highest Greek form. It carries the idea of a love that is totally selfless, completely giving; one having no mindset toward one’s own good, but solely for the good of others. This is divine love, the love Christ exhibited all of His earthly life, culminating in His sacrificial death on the cross, not for Himself (for He was sinless), but for us.

In his commentary on Romans, John MacArthur says this: “Agape love centers on the needs and welfare of the one loved and will pay whatever personal price is necessary to meet those needs and foster that welfare,” (Mac p. 184).

John says in 1 John 4:16, God, Himself is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. Jesus was unapologetic when He stated that the two greatest commandments, upon which all the law and the prophets hang, are that You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind and you shall love your neighbor as yourself, (Matt. 22:37-39, 40).

Paul admonishes the Roman church, Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another, for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law, (Ro. 13:8). We have been talking about spiritual gifts, which, when properly used, are crucially important to the life of the church. But no spiritual gift is as important as love.

1 Peter 1:22 teaches us that since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart.

From his daily In Touch Bible readings, Charles Stanley notes this: “While it’s hard to respond to unkindness with love, such godly behavior can lead to great blessing. First, God is pleased with us; this realization should bring His children joy, peace, and a sense of accomplishment. John 13:35 tells of another important benefit. Jesus said: By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. So think about the people you come in contact with throughout the week. Are you treating them the way Jesus modeled- with love?”

Paul prayed, May the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, (1 Thess. 3:12).

Peter teaches, Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins, (1 Peter 4:8). In 1 Corinthians 13: 1-3, Paul eloquently sums up what are text is saying:

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging symbol. And though I have the gift of prophesy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

He goes on in the rest of the chapter to describe the qualities and character of true agape love. Read chapter 13.

MacArthur gives this warning: “Genuine love is so integral to supernatural living that John declares, We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death, (1 John 3:14). In other words, a person who shows no evidence of agape love has no claim on Christ or on eternal life,” (Mac p. 184).

The love must be pure, without hypocrisy. Genuine agape love is not tainted by self-interest or self-promotion. Hypocrisy is the polar opposite of true love. The best example in Scripture of the consummate hypocrite is Judas.

Mac says this about him: “He feigned devotion to Jesus to achieve his own selfish purposes. His hypocrisy was unmasked and his self-centeredness was made evident when he betrayed Jesus for the 30 pieces of silver. Commenting on this verse in Romans, the theologian John Murray writes, ‘If love is the sum of virtue and hypocrisy is the epitome of vice, what a contradiction to bring the two together,’” (Mac p. 185).

This agape love is from God. We cannot work it up or devise it. It is supernatural, not of this world, just as Jesus declared, My kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). It doesn’t come from within us, naturally, because the natural man is the person without the Spirit [who] does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit, (1 Cor. 2:14).

Going back to the beginning of this chapter, we are to give our bodies as a living sacrifice to God so that He can in turn pour His agape love into us and channel it out into a dying world.

He produces it, and we, through humble obedience, provide our bodies, our minds, our spirits as a living temple, a conduit through which the world can see the living Christ manifest in us, His church!  We are to be light (1 John 1:7), and our light is to shine forth into the darkness, which cannot overcome it! How exciting is that, brethren!?

By God’s loving grace we will bring our study further next time. Until then may the Lord bless you richly as you live for Him…mike.

Facing Our Fears

The following paragraphs are taken from Charles Stanley’s In Touch Dailey Readings, 3/3/17:

(Read Psalm 91:1-16) “Fear creeps into our life and wraps itself around our mind and heart. This can happen so subtly that we don’t recognize how anxiety has affected our decision-making, our health, and our spirit. Ultimately, many people miss God’s best because apprehension keeps them from stepping out in faith to do His will.

“The fear may seem unimportant at first, but left unchecked, it begins to interfere with our life. Physically, we may experience tension that keeps us from relaxing and enjoying the day’s pleasures. Anxiety can lead to health problems, especially if it is constant. Mentally, our mind may be clouded by fear, which can limit what we are willing to think about and consider. If that should happen, our dreams and creativity will almost certainly be stifled.

“But the mental paralysis that often accompanies unchecked fear is most dangerous to our spiritual life. Unless it is entrusted to God, a single fear can easily rule over us, coloring our attitude with a general sense of disquiet. We become indecisive, worried that we will make the wrong choice. So we are trapped, trying to avoid anything that will make us anxious. Consequently, we stop growing as Christians and are usually hindered in our work and family life, too.

“If you allow yourself to be paralyzed by worry, you cannot be placing complete trust in God and following Him wholeheartedly. Make an honest assessment of your life, and ask the Lord to reveal places where fear is holding you back.”

To give Jesus His rightful place as our first love, our all-consuming passion, will help powerfully to drive fears away. In that context I wrote the following poem.

Lord Jesus Christ:

You are my calmness, You are my absence of fear;

You are my fellowship, my companion, my good and constant friend;

Lord, You are my Bread- You fill me, and my Water- You quench my thirst;

You are my treasure- I sell all to have You alone;

You are the fulfillment of all my dreams;

You, oh Lord, are my Savior, my Master, my Shepherd, my Rock, the Bishop of my soul.

Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling, (Psalm 91:9-10). Read and meditate on this wonderful Psalm, which deals in depth with this subject.

Fear is one of the devil’s favorite tools. He used it on Adam and Eve in the Garden, and he has been using it against believers ever since. Scripture tells us we are to fear God alone- nothing and no one else, because if we belong to the Father, nothing that exists can shake us out of His hands! (see Ro. 8:37-39)

I believe that the words God spoke to Joshua in preparation for entering the Promised Land also apply with equal power to His sons and daughters of faith today:

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go, (Joshua 1:8-9).

Before I found the Lord as my Savior my life was a shambles. I was so lost and confused. I eventually fell into depression. The depression gave way to anxiety, which then morphed seamlessly into deep fear. Fear of the future, fear of people, fears of mental or physical illness, and on and on.

I had fear in the pit of my stomach all day long, day after long day, constant anxiety and dread. Even though I didn’t officially belong to Him yet, I believe the Lord led me to a book about facing anxiety. I’m not certain it was written by a Christian, but it helped me begin to heal from panicked, out of control fear.

Then the Holy Spirit guided me to start reading Good News for Modern Man. By the time I had read the book of Acts and was half way through Romans, I had given my heart to the Lord. All things were new.

Because I belong to God, I have never again experienced fear like I had suffered for so long. He delivered me and I praise Him. But I am still human, like you, and, as Charles Stanley warned, anxiety and fear can move in and steal way our peace or joy if we are not on our guard. But God will heal us if we let Him. It takes vigilance and trusting Him.

No matter what your fear(s), God can deliver you too. Go to Him, confess and repent of any known sins, and pour through His Word to find scriptures of solace and peace. They abound. Counsel with other believers, ask for prayer.

If you don’t know Jesus yet as Lord and Savior, confess your sins to Him right now; don’t wait. Ask Him to be Lord of your life, and then, by faith, give Him the reins of your heart to do just that. Your life will forever be changed for good, not evil, and He will help you conquer all your fears.

…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved, (Romans 10:9-10, 13).

To God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.

Hope this helped! Until next time, God bless all…mike.