The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

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The road we walk is self-selected, but we are not doomed to walk the wrong path, God gave us a choice.

~ Lisa Blair

This is a long post, please bare with me.

Lisa Blair, designed using Word Swag

As Christians, we listen to God speak to us and then reinterpret what He said to continue down the path of self-interpretation. In short, we change how we should do what He said to soften the outcome. God’s primary command is to obey Him, yet we often choose to ignore His commands for our lives, thus the quote, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Our intentions are good but fall short of following His precept to be obedient. Obedience a requires 100% response. You cannot be 50%, or 75%, or 99.9% obedient. You are either obedient or you are not obedient, no matter the intention. God speaks to us, we either respond obediently or we disobey.

Take the case of Saul in Samuel 15.

Saul Disobeys the Lord

One day, Samuel told Saul:

The Lord told me to choose you to be king of his people, Israel. Now listen to this message from the Lord: 2 “When the Israelites were on their way out of Egypt, the nation of Amalek attacked them. I am the Lord All-Powerful, and now I am going to make Amalek pay!

3 “Go and attack the Amalekites! Destroy them and all their possessions. Don’t have any pity. Kill their men, women, children, and even their babies. Slaughter their cattle, sheep, camels, and donkeys.”

The Kenites left, 7 and Saul attacked the Amalekites from Havilah[b] to Shur, which is just east of Egypt. 8 Every Amalekite was killed except King Agag. 9 Saul and his army let Agag live, and they also spared the best sheep and cattle. They didn’t want to destroy anything of value, so they only killed the animals that were worthless or weak.[c]

The Lord Rejects Saul

10 The Lord told Samuel, 11 “Saul has stopped obeying me, and I’m sorry that I made him king.”

Samuel was angry, and he cried out in prayer to the Lord all night. 12 Early the next morning he went to talk with Saul. Someone told him, “Saul went to Carmel, where he had a monument built so everyone would remember his victory. Then he left for Gilgal.”

13 Samuel finally caught up with Saul,[d] and Saul told him, “I hope the Lord will bless you! I have done what the Lord told me.”

14 Then why,” Samuel asked, “do I hear sheep and cattle?”

15 “The army took them from the Amalekites,” Saul explained. “They kept the best sheep and cattle, so they could sacrifice them to the Lord your God. But we destroyed everything else.”

16 “Stop!” Samuel said. “Let me tell you what the Lord told me last night.”

All right,” Saul answered.

17 Samuel continued, “You may not think you’re very important, but the Lord chose you to be king, and you are in charge of the tribes of Israel. 18 When the Lord sent you on this mission, he told you to wipe out those worthless Amalekites. 19 Why didn’t you listen to the Lord? Why did you keep the animals and make him angry?”

20 “But I did listen to the Lord!” Saul answered. “He sent me on a mission, and I went. I captured King Agag and destroyed his nation. 21 All the animals were going to be destroyed[e] anyway. That’s why the army brought the best sheep and cattle to Gilgal as sacrifices to the Lord your God.”

22 “Tell me,” Samuel said. “Does the Lord really want sacrifices and offerings? No! He doesn’t want your sacrifices. He wants you to obey him. 23 Rebelling against God or disobeying him because you are proud is just as bad as worshiping idols or asking them for advice. You refused to do what God told you, so God has decided that you can no longer be king.”

24 “I have sinned,” Saul admitted. “I disobeyed both you and the Lord. I was afraid of the army, and I listened to them instead. 25 Please forgive me and come back with me so I can worship the Lord.”

Idlehearts.com

26 “No!” Samuel replied, “You disobeyed the Lord, and I won’t go back with you. Now the Lord has said that you can’t be king of Israel any longer.”

27 As Samuel turned to go, Saul grabbed the edge of Samuel’s robe. It tore! 28 Samuel said, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel away from you today, and he will give it to someone who is better than you. 29 Besides, the eternal[f] God of Israel isn’t a human being. He doesn’t tell lies or change his mind.”

30 Saul said, “I did sin, but please honor me in front of the leaders of the army and the people of Israel. Come back with me, so I can worship the Lord your God.”

31 Samuel followed Saul back, and Saul worshiped the Lord. 32 Then Samuel shouted, “Bring me King Agag of Amalek!”

Agag came in chains,[g] and he was saying to himself, “Surely they won’t kill me now.”[h]

33 But Samuel said, “Agag, you have snatched children from their mothers’ arms and killed them. Now your mother will be without children.” Then Samuel chopped Agag to pieces at the place of worship in Gilgal.

34 Samuel went home to Ramah, and Saul returned to his home in Gibeah. 35 Even though Samuel felt sad about Saul, Samuel never saw him again. (1 Samuel 15, CEV.Biblegateway.com)

The Lord spoke to Samuel and instructed him to speak to Saul. Samuel told Saul to “Go and attack the Amalekites! Destroy them and all their possessions. Don’t have any pity. Kill their men, women, children, and even their babies. Slaughter their cattle, sheep, camels, and donkeys.”

When Saul reported back to Samuel, Samuel asked if he completed the mission as commanded. Saul said ‘yes’, but as my pastor said, Samuel could hear the sheep in the background. Samuel asked again and learned that Saul killed all of the Amalekites except King Agag and the best cattle and sheep. This was an act of defiance, disobedience. Best intentions?

In verse 22, Samuel said, 22” “Tell me,” Samuel said. “Does the Lord really want sacrifices and offerings? No! He doesn’t want your sacrifices. He wants you to obey him. 23 Rebelling against God or disobeying him because you are proud is just as bad as worshiping idols or asking them for advice. You refused to do what God told you…”

Rlfwc.com

When we begin to manipulate what God told us to do, the outcome is not the outcome God planned for us. Think back to when you were a child. Your parents told you to clean your room and then you can go out to play when you are done. Sound familiar, what did you do? Your friends are waiting for you, so you smoothed out your bed spread and pushed clothes and toys under your bed or in the closet. You called your mother, who entered your room and looked around, but since it only took a few minutes, knew something was amiss. She opened the closet, looked down and saw something sticking out from under the bed and turned around to address you. The result was not as planned, you were grounded and could not go out and play. The story is not about being grounded; it is about partial obedience. The moral of the story is that partial obedience does not result in the outcome you expected.

Faithfellowshioministries.net

This is the case when God instructs us in what to do. We try to get around the full request. Sometimes, it is because we are afraid. Sometimes it is because it may cause slight discomfort, and sometimes it just does not seem to be the answer we wanted, again like Saul who tried to justify his decision to only follow part of the instructions he had been given. All too often our intention to obey is lost in self gratification. You cannot receive the intended outcome if you fail to follow the full instructions.

Verse 24 reads, ““I have sinned,” Saul admitted. “I disobeyed both you and the Lord. I was afraid of the army, and I listened to them instead.” We often listen to our inner voice. The inner voice is our carnal voice governed by Satan. It is the same voice Eve heard in the Garden of Eden. The intention of this Post to remind us that we must discern the voices, who are we listening to, the voice of God or the voice of the evil one, the great impersonator.

I will go out on a limb and say, when we alter God’s instructions to fit our needs, we reap the results that look nothing like the intended outcome, instead we reap the consequences of being disobedient. We, like the child, find ourselves in a predicament we created by our defiance to do what we were told.

When we disobey the Lord, we are walking down the road paved by our good intentions, but it is not the road to heaven, it is the road to hell.

But this is not the end. The Book of Samuel is part of the Old Testament and Christ had not yet visited earth or had been crucified. The New Testament informs us that Christ died for our sins, and we have been freed from eternal, no escape, sin. We are not destined to walk down the paved road that leads to hell. God gave us the freedom to choose. We can follow Him if we choose or deny Him and live our lives relying on our own decisions, good intentions. I choose to live in a relationship with the Lord. Do I sin, certainly, I do, we all do, that is, until Christ returns to redeem us.

Life lessons provide wisdom to follow our Lord and live by His Word. As we mature, we more readily repent of the sin we committed and over time, no longer adhere to our old habits. We can choose to travel down the road paved by good intentions, or we can obey the Lord and change lanes from the road that leads to hell, that is – self affirming, manipulated intentions, or to coin another phrase, we can ‘begin to walk down the straight and narrow’ the best we can.

God tells us, ‘not to look to the left or right’. Why you ask, enticement resides on the side roads to the left or right. Do not veer. Walk straight ahead with blinders if needed, God is leading you down the paved road to heaven. Proverbs 4:27 NKJV warns us, “turn not to the right or left; Remove your foot from evil.” The NLT version reads, “Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.” And, the EST version warns, “Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.”

The key terms are: turn not, sidetracked, or swerve. They all lead to good intentions and are unfruitful. They lead us down the path of disobedience, coined the path to hell.

Heavenlytreasuresministries.org

The thing we all must remember is that good intentions or bad intentions, both driven by self gratification are not a form of obedience. Both lead to hell. There is no justification for our actions as seen in the story of Saul. His hell was the loss of being king and possibly the eventual aftermath. Repentance is the catalyst, obedience is the key in moving forward.

Resources: biblegateway.com; biblestudytools.com; biblehub.com. Images: Google Images, sites noted below the image.

STOP EVALUATING PEOPLE FROM A HUMAN POINT OF VIEW

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If we are new people in Christ how can we degrade those who are not yet new creatures, and may never be because you slipped back into your old human nature.

~ Lisa Blair

Bible.com

So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” (2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:16-21‬ ‭NLT‬‬. https://bible.com/bible/116/2co.5.16-20.NLT)

We are God’s ambassadors. We were given this role when we became reconciled to Christ. We became new people, and our old human nature was washed away. So you say, how can my old man be relinquished and replaced. The moment you received Christ as your Lord and Savior you were washed clean and freed from sin, and you received freedom in Christ. In Paul’s letter to the Galatians he wrote, ”so Christ has truly set us free. (Galatians 5:1)

To explain to the title, we have an old nature and a new nature. We possess both because we are human. The beauty is, when we became new people in Christ, we could push down the old creature. Paul wrote in Galatians 5:13-14,

“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.””
‭‭(Galatians‬ ‭5:13-14‬ ‭NLT‬‬. https://bible.com/bible/116/gal.5.13-14.NLT)

We no longer find it necessary to satisfy what our old nature craves. Again, Paul warns that our sinful nature wants to do evil. This part of us finds it easy to criticize others, to evaluate others, to belittle others. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are no longer obliged to succumb to the whims of your sin nature. We possess new qualities, replacement qualities.

Galatians 5:22-26 first tells us what new qualities we possess. Paul informs us that our evil, sinful nature was nailed to the cross and crucified with Christ. He further wrote to the Galatians and us, stating that

Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.”
‭‭(Galatians‬ ‭5:22, 24-26‬ ‭NLT‬‬. https://bible.com/bible/116/gal.5.22-26.NLT)

We are in a cultural melee that has pitted people against each other. Communities neighborhoods, states, regions, and nations are in a state of upheaval. People are acting out of their human, carnal, sin nature. We are evaluating and judging people rather that loving and respecting people. We focus on the human point of view that cares little about compassion, joy, love patience, peace, kindness, self-control, goodness, gentleness, or faithfulness. We are at a crossroads. Do we break away from our sin nature and follow Christ, or do we drown in the muck and mire of this earth? It is time that we open our eyes, recognize that we are not acting as if we were reconcile to Christ and chose a different path. It is time to stop evaluating people from a human point of view and begin loving our neighbor whoever they may be.

Freed to Love (Post, Desiring God)

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One of the most jarring sentences in the Bible goes like this: “If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:3). It jars us because Jesus said, “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13); and he taught that one of the ways to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us and bless those who persecute us is to give freely of our possessions (Luke 6:27–30). But here Paul says you can give everything away and even lay down your life and yet not be acting in love. You can make the final sacrifice and be lost for ever.

A Biblical Critique on All Our Activism 

This means that right wing and left wing Christian political activity must be exposed to a radical biblical critique. On the right we are summoned to work for the rights of unborn humans, a strong defense, nuclear superiority, prayer in public schools, the support of Israel, family values, balanced budgets, etc. On the left we are summoned to work for a more just distribution of the world’s goods, nuclear disarmament, the end of interventionist politics in El Salvador and Nicaragua, ERA, programs to combat poverty and unemployment, etc. The Christian right and the Christian left are summoning us to action—and rightly so! If there is one thing Jesus cannot be accused of, it is indifference to the needs of people.

But there is a radical biblical critique which Christians on the right and Christians on the left must never forget: “If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” Or to put it very bluntly: you can go to hell fighting for poverty programs and you can go to hell fighting for a prayer amendment, because love can never be defined simply as mere deeds; it always involves the condition of the heart of the doer. If we want to bring the message of the Bible to bear on the problems of the world around us, we need to realize that the Bible is much more radical than the agenda of either the right or the left. It says to both, “Though you give your body to be burned in the service of your agenda and have not love, you gain nothing.” Love can never be equated with anyone’s agenda because no agenda is love unless it comes from a certain kind of heart. We might be impressed with a person who gives a million dollars to build a hospital in Bangladesh, but God looks on the heart and queries the hidden motives of the soul. Christianity is not primarily an agenda for political activity; it is primarily a power that radically changes the human heart.

The Command to Love and the Nature of Faith 

Last week we saw in Galatians 5:6 that the heart which is acceptable to God is not one which depends on its works—whether right wing circumcision or left wing uncircumcision—but rather one which trusts so fully in God’s grace that the result is a life of love. Love is an essential part of the process of salvation. It is not optional whether you love one another. No one can say, “I am saved by faith regardless of whether I love people or not.” For the only faith which saves is “faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6). Saving faith always gives rise to love and love gives evidence of genuine faith.

Today’s text picks up the theme of love from 5:6 and presses it home with a command in verse 13: “Through love be servants of one another.” Someone may ask, “Why should Paul command us to love if love is an inevitable result of faith (5:6), indeed, a fruit of God’s Spirit (5:22)?” The answer is that even though God is sovereign over his people and it is his Spirit that produces the fruit of love, nevertheless, God’s means of doing his work includes human exhortation. There is no contradiction between saying God brings about love in our hearts and saying that one of the ways he does it is to remind us of love’s importance with commands. But the fact that Paul has waited five chapters before he commands us to do anything, but trust God, warns us not to take this command as a “work of law” to be performed in our own strength to win God’s favor. Paul’s attack on works of the law has not been an attack on commands but on the teaching that we should try to fulfill commands in our own strength to earn God’s blessing. Commands are good and should be seen as a summons to have the obedience which faith produces. The command to love in Galatians 5:13 is a command to have the kind of free and confident heart that by its very nature has to love.

And I have found in my own experience that the Holy Spirit uses scriptural commands and especially the theological arguments for those commands to change my heart. And that is my aim as we look at 5:13–15. I pray that God will apply his Word to your mind and heart in such a way that love comes much more naturally and freely than it has before.

The logic of Galatians 5:13–15 is simple. First, Paul restates the foundation of the Christian life: “You were called to freedom, brethren.” Then, based on that divine call, he gives a twofold command. Negatively: “Do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh.” Positively: “Through love be servants of one another.” Then to support this twofold command he gives a positive and a negative incentive to love. Positively: “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” And negatively: “If you bite and devour one another take heed that you are not consumed by one another.” The main point of the text is, “through love be servants of one another.” If you do this, you fulfill the whole law; if you don’t, you destroy yourselves.

Loving Service and True Freedom 

Let’s focus first on the positive command in verse 13: “Through love be servants of one another.” Listen to what happens when you put this command together with the first part of the verse: “You were called to freedom . . . Through love serve one another.” You were called to freedom from servitude; now in love submit to servitude! Here’s the question we should ask: Why is love which serves the needs of others the only way Christian freedom can express itself? Why are the call to freedom and the call to love synonymous? When Paul says, “Don’t use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh,” he means that if you try, you lose your freedom. As verse 1 says, you “submit again to a yoke of slavery.” The works of the flesh and the fruit of love are not two different optional ways to live in freedom. When you live according to the flesh, you are in slavery. But when you serve each other in love, you are in freedom. Why?

Because love is motivated by the joy of sharing our fullness, but the works of the flesh are motivated by the desire to fill our emptiness. The meaning of “flesh” in the book of Galatians is not the physical part of man, but man’s ego which feels a deep emptiness and uses the means within its own power to fill that emptiness. If it is religious, it may use law; if it is irreligious, it may use booze. But one thing is sure: the flesh is not free. It is enslaved to one futile desire after another in its effort to fill an emptiness which only Christ can fill. So when Paul says in verse 13, “Don’t use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh,” he means, don’t surrender the freedom that you have in the all-satisfying Christ to return to the unsatisfying desires for mere physical pleasures or self-exaltation.

So works of the flesh are motivated by a desire to fill our emptiness. But love is very different—it is motivated by the joy of sharing out fullness. “Love does not seek its own” (1 Corinthians 13:5). When we love, we are not enslaved to use things or people to fill our emptiness. Love is the overflow of our fullness. Therefore, love is the only behavior that we can do in freedom. When God frees us from guilt and fear and greed and fills us with his all-satisfying presence, the only motive left is the joy of sharing our fullness. When God fills the emptiness of our heart with forgiveness and help and guidance and hope, he frees us from the bondage to accumulate things and manipulate people. People who devote large hunks of their life to surrounding themselves with the comforts of this world testify that God has not filled the void of their heart to overflowing. When God is our portion and we are truly free, then we will serve one another through love. Freedom flows forth in love just as surely as a bubbling spring flows forth in a mountain stream. But the flesh is like a vacuum cleaner: it sucks and sucks and just the moment it starts to feel full, somebody throws the bag in the garbage. The book of Galatians is written to show us how to become a mountain spring that serves the valley with the water of love.

Love Your Neighbor as Yourself 

There is no more fulfilling way to live than to draw daily on God’s all-satisfying grace and let it flow through us to meet the needs of others. Verses 14 and 15 give us a positive and a negative incentive to live like this. First, verse 14: Live like this, “for the whole law is fulfilled in one word, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” In spite of all the negative things that Paul has said about “works of the law,” it is not a matter of indifference whether Christians fulfill the law in their behavior. The good news is that love, which is an overflow of God’s grace, is what fulfills the law. All God was after in the law was people who are so satisfied by his grace that their lives are a spill-spout of love.

There is a lot of confusion today about the self-love referred to in this verse: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The most common error is to assume that this is a command to love yourself and that self-love means self-esteem. Both of these assumptions are wrong. Paul and Moses (Leviticus 19:18) and Jesus (Luke 10:27assume that all people love themselves; they don’t command it: “You shall love your neighbor as you (already) love yourself.” And the self-love they assume is not self-esteem but self-interest: all people want to be happy, even if they often don’t know what will really make them happy. We can know this is how Paul understands this verse because of how he applies it in Ephesians 5:2829. “Husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church.” In other words, self-love means the strong interest you have in your own health and safety and happiness.

“Love your neighbor as yourself” is not a command to love yourself. It is a command to take your natural, already existing love of self and make it the measuring rod of your love for others. There is not a harder command in the Bible than this one. It means: Want to feed the hungry as much as you want to feed yourself when you get hungry. It means: Want to find your neighbor a job as much as you are glad you have a job. Want to help your fellow student get A’s as much as you want to get A’s. Want to help the person stalled on the freeway as much as you are glad you are not stalled on the freeway. Want to give the poor softball player a chance to play as much as you want to play the whole game. Want to share Christ with your neighbor as much as you are glad you know Christ yourself. 

Use all the creativity and energy and perseverance to do good things for others that you use in doing good things for yourself. Care about what happens to others as much as you care about what happens to yourself. Can you imagine what the church would be like if we were all like that: looking at the person to the right and to the left and feeling the same longing for their happiness that we feel for our own. Not only would the law be fulfilled, this place would be iridescent with joy, and the glory of God would be unmistakably present in our midst. And people would be converted! Let’s be like that in the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Tragic Alternative to Love 

For if we don’t, verse 15 gives the tragic alternative: “If you bite and devour one another take heed that you are not consumed by one another.” A church of people who do not serve each other in love will destroy itself. God has been good to Bethlehem to pour out a spirit of love upon this people for 112 years. And my prayer is that we abound more and more in love for one another and for all men (1 Thessalonians 3:12).

And remember, we can only love if we are free. That is, love is motivated by the joy of sharing our fullness, not by the desire to fill our emptiness. Is it a coincidence that verse 15 describes what wild animals do when they are starving, not when they are filled (empty instead of content)? “If you bite and devour one another take heed that you are not consumed by one another.” When you are not filled with God, it is sweet to eat your enemy.

But, brothers and sisters, God has called us to the freedom of fullness which overflows in love, not to the slavery of emptiness which bites and devours and is never satisfied. In Jesus Christ, God offers us forgiveness, daily help and guidance, and hope for the greatest future imaginable. And it is all free, purchased by the death of Jesus, received by faith alone. The secret of love is freedom, and the secret of freedom is utter confidence in the love of God.

Which gives us the clue (returning to our starting point) why a person can give away all his goods and deliver his body to be burned and yet not have love. Such a person may not be acting in freedom. He may not be motivated by the joy of sharing a God-given fullness, but only by a deep longing to fill his emptiness. In that case, he is not acting in love and God is not honored as the all-satisfying source of fulfillment.

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist and most recently Coronavirus and Christ.

Times Are Changing And We Must Too

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You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. ~ Galatians 5:13 NIV
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord [is], there [is] liberty.
~ 2 Corinthians 3:17 KJV

As I awoke and began thinking and praying this morning, this thought came to mind, God is a timely God. Our world is going through turmoil, especially the turmoil of the racial injustices that have operated in the dark and are coming into the exposure of the light of day leaving us, Black and White, determined to act and feeling anxious. Anxious in the way a women feels just before the birth of her child.

So many have observed the civil unrest over past several weeks and judged the unrest as the sole act of the latter part of peaceful protests, eager to condemn, choosing not to focus on the reason for the peaceful protests. To deny the right of a peaceful life to anyone is to deny peace for everyone. To deny justice for some comes home to roost on all. I believe the Lord is removing the veil that blinds us, which is difficult for many to see the injustices that prevail and destroy. When eyes are opened, change is underway.

As this process unveils, we must remember to rely on the Lord’s peace. The same peace he gave Moses as he lead his people out of Egypt. And, the same peace he gave Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela.

In this peace, we must re-evaluate who we are in the Lord. Charles Stanley shares Finding Peace, a 10 day devotional on YouVersion. Bible.com. Day Five reads:

How Your Thought Life Affects Your Peace

If we’re being honest with ourselves, most of us aren’t who or what we think we are. Our thinking is marred at best, off-track, and in most cases, needs to be changed.

How do I know this to be true? Aside from my experience pastoring so many through the years, God’s Word calls us to a “renewal” of our minds. That means trading in our old perceptions, opinions, ideas, beliefs, and self-centered attitudes for a new set of perceptions, opinions, ideas, beliefs, and attitudes that God develops in us. These godly responses are nurtured by regular reading of Scripture and meditating on what’s been read in the Bible. Christ’s followers are urged to avoid being “conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:2).

Out of a renewal of our thinking comes a change in our speech patterns and our behaviors. As our speech and behavior become renewed, our relationships with others become renewed. And as our relationships become renewed, our immediate world is renewed as well. It all begins in the mind with what we choose to think and what we choose to dwell upon.

You have the ability to determine what you’ll think. At any time, you can refocus your mind to a new topic, task, or problem to solve instead of negative thinking that will steal your peace and/or cause you to venture into rebellion or sin. You have the ability to say, “I choose to trust God,” in any situation you face or thought you have.

Furthermore, any child of God who takes a willful stand against thought patterns that clearly are harmful is going to be provided a way of escape from that circumstance. God will help you focus your mind on something other than your problem or bad thought pattern if you will make the initial step in His direction. 

When you guard your mind, you guard your peace. When you offer prayers to God with faith and thanksgiving—no matter what trials you face—He assures you inner peace (Phil. 4:6-7). And when you focus your thinking on what’s true, noble, virtuous, lovely, pure, and praiseworthy, you rely upon God with increasing faith and trust. 

You can never fully exhaust your ability to think about the goodness and greatness of God. Choose to respond to life the way Jesus responded. Guard your prayer life. Guard your thought life. Seek the Father and all that’s godly. His Word promises that when you fill your mind with what is virtuous and praiseworthy, “the God of peace will be with you” (Phil. 4:9).

Romans 12:2 says,

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

Philippians 4:9 NKJV reads,

“The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”

God is love. Love is not allocated to some and not others it is unconditional and uncompromising. Unconditional love yields justice and unity.

Resources: biblegateway.com; YouVersion.Bible.com; Google.com

Free Yourself From The Shackles

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Jesus humbled himself to the point of death to give us life. We should be able and willing to humble ourselves and, honestly, repent for our sins (stating what they are or were) and start anew (fresh). It is never too late, God forgives us when we repent, allowing us to move-on shackle free. Christ gave us the opportunity to rise above who we (presently) are. It is time to change our home location,  we are in this world, but not of this world. 

Go to a quiet place and speak to God, ask Him to forgive you. You choose the place. It could be in the midst of a train station, bar, standing on the corner in busy traffic. Just still yourself and pray. He will receive you wherever you are at the moment.

We belong to Christ. New Beginnings.

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