If God Is For Us

255_IF GOD IS FOR US.jpg

If you have a big brother, did you ever, as a kid, have him fight some of your battles for you? If so, you may agree that during your childhood, and maybe even your adult life, that by simply knowing your big brother is around, you feel a bit of added confidence or security around others. In your mind, you might have been thinking that “if anything happens to me, I can always call on my big brother and he’ll handle things for me.” With that kind of security, what is there to worry about? Well, I feel that kind of security magnified by a million when I think of our God. Romans 8:31 says:

“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

When we have God on our side we should have total confidence in all things, much like you may have had at school when your big brother was around. I encourage you to keep thinking on that verse; “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Paul says this after explaining to the Romans that “all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” With words like these, what is there to ever be worried about? Even if there are real threats that you face, or long-term consequences that are in your midst, what is it to God? Is it too big for him? Certainly not. If God is for us, who can be against us? We have the ultimate protector, and that should give us ultimate peace and confidence if we are in step with him.

---

“If God is for us, who can be against us”? There is a song we sing at my church with those lyrics, and it is currently my favorite song. It is a powerful song because this truth is so profound. If you are a believer, then you are on the winning team. How do I know? Because God made the rules, he even made the game, and he has your best interest at heart just like a good father has their children’s best interest at heart. As you think on the scripture, “if God is for us, who can be against us?”, I challenge you to think about any problems, anxieties, or challenges you face in life. God loves you. And the more you are in step with his word, the more of his ear you’ll have. Just tell him what’s up. He has your back. If God is for us, who can be against us? I never get tired of saying that.

Be Ready

254_BE READY.jpg

You may have heard the phrase, “there’s no rest for the wicked”. But I submit to you, in many respects, that can also be said of the righteous. Don’t misunderstand, I realize that we do find rest in the Lord. Jesus encourages us to find rest in him. But what I’m saying is that we never really take a break from being ready for the Lord’s return. We can never let our guard down, or lay down our Christian walk for a season. Luke chapter 12 verses 35 through the first part of 37 says: 

“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes.”

These are the words of Jesus. And a little bit further, in verse 39 he says: 

“But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. “

Being ready can be easy if it becomes your lifestyle. But it can be difficult if you still have a foot in the world. I encourage you to be less and less like the world, and take on more and more of the character of Jesus. I believe that the more we become like Jesus, the easier it is to be ready for his return. Becoming more like Jesus is a sign of spiritual maturity; a sign of spiritual growth. We, as believers, shouldn’t stay in the same place with our Christian walk year after year. We should be growing. And the more we grow, the less scary this portion of scripture will seem because being ready will become second nature.

---

Jesus tells us that we need to be ready for service, like men waiting for their master to return. He says that it will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I’m convinced that the more we become like Jesus, the easier this task will be to accomplish. Being ready isn’t so much a mindset as it is a lifestyle. I’m sure you can identify habits in your life, whether good or bad, that have become so much of who you are that you keep doing those things without even thinking. Even still, those things that have become easy for you, may be incredibly difficult for someone who hasn’t made it a part of their lifestyle. Growing in the Lord is a process that continues to transform our lifestyle. So I encourage you not to stay the same. Continue to become more and more like Jesus. If you do, your lifestyle will be such that you’ll always be ready and watching with less and less effort over time.

Ready For Work

253_READY FOR WORK.jpg

Every believer will agree that God made all of us. And most would agree that God made us for a purpose. There is a difference between being made for noble purposes as opposed to ignoble purposes. We may not be able to choose if we’re made of “gold or silver”, or if we’re made of “wood or clay”, but in a way, we can choose whether we’re used for noble purposes because it says in second Timothy chapter 2 verses 20 and 21:

“In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.”

What I get from this is that it is within our power to be used for noble purposes by the Master. It says that if a man cleanses himself, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. I don’t know about you, but I would love to be used for noble purposes, made holy, useful to God and prepared to do any good work. So, I encourage you to be cleansed. You can’t do this on your own. Only with the Holy Spirit can this happen. To be cleansed is an act of repentance, submission, obedience, and brokenness before the Lord. It is allowing the Spirit to fashion us into the likeness of God’s son. And we know how greatly he was used for noble purposes.

---

Second Timothy says, if a man cleanses himself, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. We have to be cleansed from the ignoble to be used for noble purposes. And the Bible teaches us that this is obtainable. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to help us. So, I encourage you, if you haven’t already, get right before the Lord with the help of the Holy Spirit that lives inside of you. One motivation is to be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

Don't Leave Naked

252_DONT LEAVE NAKED.jpg

You know, I’ve been guilty of it myself. Sometimes I get up in the morning and immediately go through my routine without thinking. I take a shower, watch the news, brush my teeth, and have some breakfast. And if I’m focused, I might pray for a few things that are on my heart, including the day ahead, which is a good thing. But as I’m in the process of putting on my earthly corporal clothing I don’t always stop to ask God to dress me. Ephesians talks about wearing armor. Paul calls it the “full armor of God”. There’s a belt and breastplate, helmet and shoes, sword and shield; everything we need to be protected during the day and even one tool for going on the offensive if we need to. Ephesians 6:13 says:

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

I don’t forget to take my vitamins in the morning which help protect my immune system. I don’t forget to put on my seatbelt when I drive to protect me should I get in an accident. Then why do I, and many other believers, forget to dress in spiritual clothes before we leave the house? Paul warns us to put on the full armor of God, not missing one piece. He says that we should do it so that we can take our stand against the devil’s schemes. The Bible reminds us that the devil is like a roaring lion seeking who he can devour. Just like if we don’t password protect our phones or important data it is more vulnerable to thieves, if we don’t protect ourselves by putting on the armor of God we are more susceptible to the schemes of the devil. So, I encourage you not to leave the house naked. Pray to God to dress you in the full armor of God so that you’re protected. The full armor of God; don’t leave home without it.

---

We need to put on the full armor of God every day. It may seem silly to literally ask God to dress us with armor, but when we do, somehow our minds and our spirit are automatically on guard. I used to visualize, in my mind’s eye, a knight in shining armor. When things were well with my spiritual walk, the knight was standing strong with armor polished and ready for battle. But when I fell, or was struggling, the knight would appear exhausted and beaten down with dented armor. But what I’ve learned over the years is that dented armor is better than no armor. When we are aware of the devil’s schemes, and have prepared ourselves with the elements of armor that Paul highlights, I believe that we can, and with the help of the spirit will, stand in the face of the devil. So again, I encourage you not to leave naked. Read Ephesians and learn about each element of armor, understanding that each piece has a role in our standing, fighting and ultimately winning spiritual battles.

Glorious Joy

251_GLORIOUS JOY.jpg

Do you ever consider the incredible faith it takes to believe in Jesus? For anyone who hasn’t been saved by his grace, the entire concept may sound foolish. But to those of us who believe, who know for absolute certainty the truth of the gospel, we are filled with inexpressible and glorious joy because we know that the goal of our faith is literally the salvation of our soul. First Peter 1 verses 8 and 9 says:

“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

That is what it’s all about isn’t it? The salvation of our souls. When we, as believers, understand that this life if fleeting and that the afterlife is eternal, we understand that our faith is not misplaced. Actually, we have found something that is more precious than anything life can offer, the love that God gave us through his son, Jesus. With faith to believe, we have been granted eternal life in heaven, not just 80 or 90 years of happiness on this earth which so many pursue, but eternity with our creator. That is why believers are filled with this inexpressible and glorious joy. It is almost as if we know a secret that the rest of the world can’t understand. First Peter says that “though we have not seen him, we love him. And even though we don’t see him now we believe in him”. It is faith like that which saves us, and a knowledge of what’s to come after this short time on earth that fills us with inexpressible and glorious joy.

---

Peter reminds us of what our faith in Jesus affords us, which should explain to those who don’t believe why we have this inexpressible and glorious joy. To me it is more of a peace, an anchor in my life that can’t be shaken. No matter what happens or doesn’t happen in life, I know the truth. The truth is that this life will end, so we should live it well by storing up treasures for our real life that we’ll spend in eternity with God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us that life on earth is like the blink of an eye in comparison to eternity. So, we can smile, having peace in our hearts and glorious joy of what is to come. Those who don’t understand may look at us as if we have some secret that we’re hiding in our hearts. They may even harbor bitter envy because they aren’t able to understand. But in actuality, this secret is too big and too important to hide. So, I encourage you to share this joy with others. Then they too can understand and experience this inexpressible and glorious joy. If you are reading this and have no idea what I’m talking about, I encourage you to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. He is the only one who can save you from hell. He is the only one who can guarantee eternal life in paradise. When you are sealed with his blood, forgiven of your sins and presented to God as righteous; not because of what you’ve done, but only because of your faith in the one who died, transferring his righteousness as a covering for you sin, then and only then, will you really appreciate this inexpressible and glorious joy. Don’t wait, I encourage you to believe in him today.