Friday, October 23, 2015

Being Strong and Stable

       Upon reading the following verse I felt led to encourage you with it. 1 Peter 5:10 -“But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” In the first part of the verse is the phrase “God of all grace”.  One of my favorite definitions of the word grace is, “God’s ability in me to do that which I don’t have the ability to do.” I like that! It reminds me that the things I cannot do in my own strength, God will help me to do. Of course, we have to ask for his help.
        What I really want to focus on today are the last four key words in the verse – perfect, establish, strengthen and settle.

PERFECT“…but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18
     The word perfect in the Greek this word means “to mend (what has been broken or rent), to repair, to complete, to fit out, to equip, to put in order, to arrange, to adjust, to fit or frame for oneself, to prepare or ethically, to strengthen, to perfect, to complete, to make one what he ought to be.” (Emphasis mine)
    Imagine that, God desires to make us all that we ought to be!  In other words, God wants us to mature. He wants us to allow him to make the necessary changes in our lives so that we can be a reflection of him for others. This reminds me of Philippians 1:6 which says, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” What a promise! He WILL complete the work he has started in us!
ESTABLISH/CONFIRM- “But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.” II Thessalonians 3:3
     Establish in the Greek means “to make stable, to place firmly, to set fast, to fix, to strengthen, to make firm, to render constant, to confirm (one's mind).  The idea here is that God wants to build your life and character so that when the storms of life hit, you will have firmly placed in your mind and heart the promise of God’s protection and grace to get you through that time.
STRENGTHEN – “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the LORD.” Psalm 31:24
     The meaning of this word is pretty basic - “to make strong, to strengthen; used of one's soul.”  Simply put, the Lord wants to make you stronger in your character and in your walk with him.  In times of difficulty as we turn to God for help he promises to strengthen us. Some of the ways we can gain strength is trough a bible study with other believers, by being part of a local church and most importantly by our time spent in the presence of God through prayer, praise and worship.
SETTLE“Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times, and the strength of salvation; the fear of the LORD is His treasure.” Isaiah 33:6
     This word means to “lay the foundation, to found, to make stable, to establish.” The word I want to focus on here is stable, but before I do that let’s consider the word establish in this definition. For those of you that are Christians you may be trying to find “your place” in your local church. You know you want to serve the Lord. You may even feel called to a particular area of ministry but you can’t see how it will ever come about. Let me encourage you with this thought. (I have to remind myself of this often!) Be patient. God will establish you where he wants you in your local fellowship. We’re all part of the body and we each have our particular function that God has designed for us. We just need to be willing to do what he wants us to do, not what we want to do.
     Now, getting back to the word stable or stability. What I want to focus on here is that God wants to make you a stable person. If you call out to him, as the above verse says, he will be the stability of your times. Jesus Christ is the only person that can give us true stability in our lives! The truth of the matter is that your life will never be ‘settled” until Jesus Christ has come into your life.
     What troubles you today?  Look at what Psalm 37:5 says, “Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.”  You see, that’s the key. We must commit everything to the Lord. We have to have settled in our heart and mind that no matter what we’re going through in our life, we are going to live for him.
Commit everything unto the LORD, and He will establish your thoughts. Do things His way; do them unto Him; turn them over to Him in prayer; and trust Him for the results. He will take care of you. If you’re going through a struggle at this time contact a leader in your church or someone that you know who is a mature Christian and ask them to pray with you.
     Until next time, be strong in the might of the Lord!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Magnify His Name!

Image result for praise god pictures        Recently I found myself humming the chorus to a song we used to sing at my former church where I used to live. The words go like this: “I’m free to worship, I’m free to praise, I’m free to lift up holy hands and magnify His name.” Intimacy, that is something our Lord so desires that we have with him. Are you free to worship him? I once heard someone say; “That praise and worship stuff if just a bunch of emotional hype for Pentecostals and Charismatics.” Oh my goodness, that is so far from the truth!
     All throughout the bible we find commands to praise and worship the Lord. Here are just two scripture passages of dozens found in the bible: “Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD.”  Psalm 134:1-2 This next one was a real eye opener for me at one time. “Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, and His praise in the assembly of saints. …this honor have all His saints. Praise the LORD!  Psalm 149:1 & 9 (Emphasis mine) Do you see that? ALL God’s children have the awesome privilege of praising him. Let’s see how we can magnify his name together!
Mention His Name“ And in that day you will say: "Praise the LORD, call upon His name; declare His deeds among the peoples, make mention that His name is exalted.” Isaiah 12:4
     One way we can magnify the Lord is to be a witness for him. Give him praise by sharing with others what he has done for you.
Abide in His Presence - "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”
Acts 3:19
     Friend, when you need some refreshing in your life, the best thing to do is to spend time in the presence of the Lord. The Holy Spirit can do in seconds what it will take a counselor or doctor days, weeks or years to do.
Give Him the Glory“But "he who glories, let him glory in the Lord." 2 Corinthians 10:17
     When God moves through your life to minister to someone else, don’t take the credit for it. Give all the glory to God. We must never forget that it is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that we can do anything for God.  See Zechariah 4:6
No One Else - "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12
     We must remember that it is through Jesus Christ that one is born-again and gains eternal life. Our church, our pastor, or our denomination…nothing can save us but the shed blood of Jesus. We can’t even depend on the relationship our family members have with God. We must have our own relationship with him.
Intimacy“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…” James 4:8
     The Lord is waiting for us with open arms to come to draw close to him. If your parents weren’t like that, know that God is. He loves you and wants to spend time with you.
Freedom - "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32
    When you walk in the truth of God’s word you will be free to worship. You see, when we have things in our lives that we know are not right, it’s often difficult to enter into God’s presence & praise him. When things aren’t right we often let pride get in the way. Don’t’ run from God, run to him!
Yearn for More of Jesus“I spread out my hands to You; my soul longs for You like a thirsty land. Selah”  Psalms 143:6
     “Selah” means to “pause and consider this”. In other words, think about it, if we don’t spend time in God’s presence and in the bible, like the land without rain, our soul will become dry. Are you thirsty for more of Jesus? Cry out to him and he will fill you.
     Just knowing that he has saved you is worth praising him. Let me close with one of my favorite songs - “When I Think about the Lord/ How He saved me/ how He raised me/ how He filled me, with the Holy Ghost/. How He healed me, to the uttermost. When I Think about the Lord/ how He picked me up and turned me around/ how He placed my feet on solid ground/ It makes me wanna shout, Hallelujah, Thank you Jesus, Lord, your worthy, of all the glory/and all the honor/and all the praise... “
     Until next time, MAGNIFY his name!