The thing with Christianity is that it does not eliminate troubling times, it helps you process through them. Passing the test simply means that you do not give up your hope or your faith when in the midst of uncomfortable situations and circumstances in this life.
The old phrase, “hang in there” means just that, do not give up, do not give in, no matter what life looks in the face of the prevailing circumstances.
HOPE - FAITH VICTORY
A year and a half ago a friend of mine was faced with a life-threatening disease and passed away a few weeks ago. Watching him in his final days was a grand testimony of faith. His hope and faith was not about his life in the here-and-now, it was nestled in the Lord. His love for the Lord did not falter. His hope and faith focused on the promise of everlasting life.
It is my hope that we can all demonstrate such faith, not just during our trials but everyday.
￼Many of us, like Paul in the scripture, feel we have a pure heart and do not understand some of the circumstances that exist in our lives because we are assuming a perfect heart cannot result in negative circumstances. The truth is, we have sinned so frequently we no longer consider them, or ever considered them, sins, acts if wrongdoing.
-~ Lisa Blair
None of us are pure at heart. Through the knowledgement of our sinful, or if you prefer – our carnal nature, we possess the ability to justify our wrongs and redress them as right. This is why this scripture is important, because before we can improve, we must learn what is faulty and needs to be eliminated. In asking God to show us what He finds offensive identifies that we can correct what is wrong and be led to an everlasting light life.
In the case of this scripture Paul who has been through a lot, still thinks that he has a pure heart and cannot figure out why so many people were out to destroy him. So, in the scripture he’s appealing to God with an attitude of having a perfect heart, asking God to show him what is in him that has upset so many people because it certainly is not true.
However, the only pure at heart is Jesus who took our sins and died for them. This is why we need to do internal searching on a daily basis and ask for God’s help to identify those things that we seem to be blind to, and operate under every day.
I am certain that Paul was truly shocked and disturbed when the Lord showed him his cardinal experiences in life. We cannot and should not be shocked because we know our carnal experiences, we know those things we do that are wrong and maybe reprehensible, we know the things that we do and don’t tell anyone thus living in the shadows, we know the difference between right and wrong and choose often wrong over right because it provides greater immediate satisfaction.
I encourage everyone to read the scripture and begin asking yourself frequently, or daily, what are the things that should be peeled from our, yes our offensive, personality and behavior to help us become obedient to God.’s Word.
There is a lower case ‘h’ – holy. We who have been reborn, Christians, learn to live in holiness.
~ Lisa Blair
When people hear the word holy, whether it be with a capital or lower case h, we think of something unattainable, something that dilutes the concept of fun and living a fun life, something beyond our reach. But holy, lower case, simply means the established relationship between our Holy God and his children. (Holy, Holiness. Biblestudytools.com)
The person without the Spirit 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 Corinthians 2:14 NIV. biblegateway.com
“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.” Galatians 5:16-17 (https://bible.com/bible/116/gal.5.16-17.NLT)
As Paul writes in Galatians, these two forces are in contrast battle. They are the forces of good and evil. Our former carnal life is a life of sins, self indulgence and satisfaction. Our new self is that of love and looking for the good we can share with others. Once we are renewed, we acquire the characteristics of Christ. We begin to envelope them into our being, we become holy. We no longer absentmindedly hang out, drink until we are drunk, do drugs, curse, or other things of the flesh, Galatians 5:19-21); you begin to walk the line between sin and holiness leaning towards holiness. You begin to evolve. Once you receive Christ as your Lord and Savior you begin your walk with Him. You acknowledge the Holy Spirit nestled in you, and you receive His guidance, you are led by the Holy Spirit. You put down the old and pick up the new. You become a new being. It is the Holy Spirit who nudges you, who whispers in your psyche, who causes you to feel uneasy or guilty for little things such as telling a lie to a friend or loved one, taking advantage of people, taking office supplies, to making an illegal u-turn, or more noteworthy sinful actions. You begin and develop a new life embedded in the fruit of the spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control; against such there is no law. Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-26. https://bible.com/bible/1171/gal.5.23-26.MEV)
As born again Christians, we already have been washed clean, but that is not the end. Once washed clean we must absorb the characteristics of Christ and become holy, set apart from our past, our carnal life.
Scriptures – being washed clean.
“Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin.”
“Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me— now let me rejoice. Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.”
Our Lord sacrificed his life to free us from sin. The crucifixion can be considered an emergency rescue.
~ Lisa blaIr
This can be the day of your emergency rescue. Emergency, as defined by the online dictionary, has two meanings, both of which apply here. The first definition is a sudden, urgent, usually unexpected occurrence or occasion requiring immediate action; the second is a state, especially of need for help or relief, created by some unexpected event. There is a time in life when we were comfortable in our sin and then something unexpected happened and we were seeking a way out. We were looking for relief that was often created by an unexpected event that compounded the sin and caused excruciating pain.
When we feel lost one of the first things we do is cry out to God, please help me, save me from those things that are attempting to destroy me. We are asking for an emergency rescue. One that the Lord through his grace and mercy will provide because we have received him as our Lord and Savior.
Why an emergency rescue may ask? When Adam and Eve ate the apple and were evicted from the Garden of Eden that was the onset of sin. We became, at that very point, sinners doomed to a life of eternal sin. God’s love for us was greater than sin and thus the birth of Christ, who would become our rescuer through his death.
I would venture to say, all rescues are the result of unknown human calamities. The loss of our health, loss of a job, the loss of a home, the loss of a family member, the loss of your wallet, loss in general. The calamity may be an accident, it may be an animal, such as a cat, stuck in a tree. The calamity is defined by its action that is not a norm. These are temporary life events however, when Christ was crucified, the rescue was not of a life event, but rather an eternal event. Christ rescued us from eternal sin to that of eternal life.
At some point in the life of each Christian, when we received Christ as our Lord and Savior, we were crying out, ‘rescue me Father from a life of eternal sin to that of eternal life in your presence’.
Crying out for rescue is no small thing. It is a cry that separates you from death to eternal life. Our God is an awesome, gracious God. Receiving Christ as your Lord and Savior is the beginning of the most loving relationship you’ll ever experience. If you have not received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you can recite the scripture below and He will receive you this very day.
“If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. (https://bible.com/bible/116/rom.10.9-10.NLT)
Fear the Lord in reverence, not anxiety of retribution.
~ Lisa Blair
I attended Sunday Bible School and Vacation Bible School like so many reading this post. As a teen and young adult, I attended Sunday service and Bible Study. The Word seemed so demanding during that period of my life, which caused hesitancy. I could find no sense of Free Will. Our Lord seemed to allow no breath of discovery. I felt He was saying, fear me or else. I only knew one fear and that was carnal fear. The Online Dictionary defines it as, a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, leading to anxiety, and that is what I felt when the Word said, ‘fear the Lord’. I was instructed to fear the Lord. So, while I loved the Lord, I also hesitated for fear of retribution if I did not get it right.
I believe that all too often we share the Word but do not define the importance of the words (in the scriptures) to our youth or new believers. We leave to much to the imagination, our carnal perspective. Biblical terms often do not mean what we think they mean. They represent a heavenly perspective. They represent a different truth. They define a relationship like none other, yet left to the untrained mind, we suffer setbacks because the Word can seem harsh. The Word is love. Let’s share that love by explaining, or defining terms as God has defined them. When those around us understand the terms, they open their minds and are eager to learn more about our Salvation and relationship with the Lord, our Savior.
The daily message below is a good explanation of what it means to fear the Lord and follow him. It is a great message to share with youth and new believers.