A New Year's Prayer


Prayer for Spiritual Power

“For this reason I kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. I pray that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power in the inner man through His Spirit, and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith.

I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. • Amen.” 

Ephesians 3:14-21 HCSB

The Word Sets You Free

I am preparing the new blog site to go live. With that, I find myself needing to write the most important things I have written yet. Therefore, I will temporarily be turning my energy away from the study of Hebrews, and towards the new blog project in order to give it my full attention.

This seems like the perfect opportunity to run a repeat of the most popular posts on this blog of all time. This updated post titled The Word Sets You Free was originally published on Friday, October 19, 2012:

I know all too well what it means to not be free. I grew up in an alcoholic home. I went through a divorce while I was pregnant with my only child because my husband was physically abusive.

When my daughter was born I read a story that made me realize how badly I did not want her to grow up the way I did. I asked God to show me how to give her a better life and I dedicated her to His care.

She never met her biological father. I raised her with the belief that God would be her Father. One-step at a time, as I read the Bible, went to church, and read books He showed me the way.

When she was in elementary school, she won the award for being the best student in the Dare to Keep Your Kids off Drugs program.

When she graduated from high school, she received an award chosen by the faculty for the one student out of the class (over 300) who displayed the citizenship, community, and common sense characteristics that make them a quality individual.

She just graduated from college, Summa Cum Laude (with highest honors), a first generation college student. She is a beautiful young woman, full of virtue.

I give all praise to God for her abilities. I could not have raised her to her full potential without His Word, His power, His Spirit working through me. Transforming not just our lives, but our bloodline as well.

This comment from the Spirit Filled Life Student Bible was one of my original inspirations for this blog:

God is a good God, and He has a good plan for us. When we read His Word, we find in it a handbook for life. The Word of God can be heavy and serious; it can convict us of our sins and press us to our limits, but it can also give us hope and reason for rejoicing. As we put God’s Word into practice, we are freed through our obedience to be all God wants us to be (Romans 8:1-8).

Hebrews 4:12 teaches us that ‘the Word of God is living and powerful.’ The Word of God is charged with supernatural energy, because the Spirit works with the Word to inspire faith (Romans 10:17). When it is read and we obey it, it can both heal and cleanse us.

The Bible is a powerful and liberating force that sets people free at every dimension of life when they live by its instruction. As people get the chance to read it and understand what it means through practicing its teachings, they are moved by divine possibilities.

Selah.

Brokenness On The Path To Freedom

I am preparing the new blog site to go live. With that, I find myself needing to write the most important things I have written yet. Therefore, I will temporarily be turning my energy away from the study of Hebrews, and towards the new blog project in order to give it my full attention.

This seems like the perfect opportunity to run a repeat of the most popular posts on this blog of all time. This updated post titled Brokenness On The Path To Freedom was originally published on Thursday, August 16, 2012:

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." Matthew 5:8 ESV

I had been wrestling with the transition from the first to the second Beatitude, but finally realized there is a natural progression. Once we fully recognize our spiritual poverty repentance will follow.

Brokenness seems to be part of the framework for mourning. I found this discussion by Nancy Leigh DeMoss on brokenness that deserves a place in our study. You can find the entire article on her website hereThis is an excerpt of the discussion:

Proud people focus on the failures of others, but broken people are overwhelmed with a sense of their own spiritual need. Proud people are self-righteous. They have a critical, fault-finding spirit. They look at everyone else's faults with a microscope but their own with a telescope, and they look down on others. But broken people are compassionate. They can forgive much because they know how much they have been forgiven. They think the best of others, and they esteem all others better than themselves.

Proud people have an independent, self-sufficient spirit, but broken people have a dependent spirit and recognize their need for others. Proud people have to prove that they're right, but broken people are willing to yield the right to be right. Proud people claim rights and have a demanding spirit, but broken people yield their rights and have a meek spirit. Proud people are self-protective of their time, their rights, and their reputation, but broken people are self-denying.

Proud people desire to be served, but broken people are motivated to serve others. Proud people desire to be a success, but broken people are motivated to be faithful and to make others a success.

Proud people desire for self-advancement, but broken people desire to promote others. Proud people have a drive to be recognized, to be appreciated. They're wounded when others are promoted and they are overlooked. Broken people have a sense of their own unworthiness. They're thrilled that God would use them at all in any ministry. They're eager for others to get the credit, and they rejoice when others are lifted up.

Proud people have a subconscious feeling, 'This ministry is privileged to have me and my gifts.' They think of what they can do for God, but broken people have that heart attitude that says, 'I don't deserve to have any part in this ministry.' They know that they have nothing to offer God except the life of Jesus flowing through their broken lives.

Proud people feel confident in how much they know, but broken people are humbled by how very much they have to learn. Proud people are self-conscious, but broken people are not concerned with self at all.

Proud people keep others at arm’s length, but broken people are willing to risk getting close to others and to take the risks of loving intimately. Proud people are quick to blame others, but broken people accept personal responsibility and can see where they were wrong in the situation.

Selah.


Human Trafficking Enslaves


I am preparing the new blog site to go live. With that, I find myself needing to write the most important things I have written yet. Therefore, I will temporarily be turning my energy away from the study of Hebrews, and towards the new blog project in order to give it my full attention.

This seems like the perfect opportunity to run a repeat of the most popular posts on this blog of all time. This updated post titled Human Trafficking Enslaves was originally published on Thursday, September 5, 2013:




Human trafficking enslaves more than 30 MILLION people every year.
Please do not turn a blind eye.
There are ministries working in difficult and dangerous conditions that need your support.
And most importantly, they all need our prayers.
We can all do something.

Click here for my page with the organizations links



God Delights In Mercy

I am preparing the new blog site to go live. With that, I find myself needing to write the most important things I have written yet. Therefore, I will temporarily be turning my energy away from the study of Hebrews, and towards the new blog project in order to give it my full attention.

This seems like the perfect opportunity to run a repeat of the most popular posts on this blog of all time. This updated post titled God Delights In Mercy was originally published on November 9, 2012:

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” Matthew 5:7 NKJV

It is a miracle. The liberty issue we were fighting for in the recent election actually won. All the odds were against us. I am amazed, and thankful beyond words.

Looking back, I wish I could say that I always took the high road in the game. I had never been involved in anything political before, and this was a nasty argument. Widely publicized debates, editorials, press conferences, and letters to the editor abounded with each side accusing the other of misrepresentation, lies, and emotionalism.

My husband was in the public eye and was attacked personally in many ways. I was handling it pretty well. However, as the pressure mounted things were spiraling out of control. Then finally, I broke. I wrote a comment to post on a website. I sent it to my husband and he approved it. My heart was racing as I posted the comment, but I did not believe I was unjustified in making it. And I wasn't. 

However…I was not merciful. Even though I did not slander anyone personally, and I was careful to not say anything out of anger, it was not merciful. And it left me sad, and honestly ashamed. I could no longer say that for the most part I acted with complete integrity.

I do not believe that God has asked us to do anything that He will not empower us to do. The things that happen to us that are the most unjust will not be possible for us to forgive in our own strength. And while victory is sweet in an election, there is no greater victory than being in the center of God's will.

The following quote from Barnes Notes on the Bible sheds more light on the divine subject of mercy: 

Nowhere do we imitate God more than in showing mercy. In nothing does God delight more than in the exercise of mercy, Exodus 34:6; Ezekiel 33:11; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9.

To us, guilty sinners; to us, wretched, dying, and exposed to eternal woe, He has shown His mercy by giving His Son to die for us; by expressing His willingness to pardon and save us; and by sending His Spirit to renew and sanctify our hearts.

Each day of our life, each hour, and each moment, we partake of His undeserved mercy. All the blessings we enjoy are proofs of His mercy.

If we, then, show mercy to the poor, the wretched, the guilty, it shows that we are like God. We have His Spirit, and shall not lose our reward. And we have abundant opportunity to do it.

Our world is full of guilt and woe, which we may help to relieve; and every day of our lives we have opportunity, by helping the poor and wretched, and by forgiving those who injure us, to show that we are like God.

Selah.


Sorrowful Yet Always Rejoicing

I am preparing the new blog site to go live. With that, I find myself needing to write the most important things I have written yet. Therefore, I will temporarily be turning my energy away from the study of Hebrews, and towards the new blog project in order to give it my full attention.

This seems like the perfect opportunity to run a repeat of the most popular posts on this blog of all time. This updated post titled Sorrowful Yet Always Rejoicing was originally published on April 22, 2013:

“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while 
you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.” 1 Peter 1:6 NIV

If you know anything about me at all, you know that I am battling cancer and the reason I started this blog is to leave a footprint for my daughter. Not because I feel that I will not survive cancer, but because we all leave this earth one day.

Many parents write heartfelt letters to their children as they battle a dreaded disease, hoping to give them guidance and comfort in the event of their absence. However, the thing that remains most important to me is leading her to the fullness of the One who can be her everything in my stead. Fullness beyond anything she could ever imagine.

With the entire recent calamity in the present world, and with my last post suggesting that we deeply consider the call to mourn as a pathway to comfort, I feel it is necessary to highlight one of the sweetest graces of the Christian life.

If you have read many of my other posts, you know that I speak a great deal about joy. How is it that we can live out our lives mourning and rejoicing at the same time? How is it that I can be facing a life-threatening disease with its overwhelming physical, financial, and relational consequences and still have immense peace and joy?

The following illustration by F. B. Meyer titled Joy in Heaviness offers an explanation:

They say that springs of sweet fresh water well up amid the brine of salt seas; that the fairest Alpine flowers bloom in the wildest, ruggedest mountain passes; that the noblest psalms were the outcome of the profoundest agony of soul. Be it so.

And thus amid manifold trials souls which love God will find reasons for bounding, leaping joy. Have you learnt this lesson yet? Not simply to endure God's will, nor only to choose it, nor only to trust it, but to rejoice in it.

Of such joy there are two sources: first, the understanding of the nature and meaning of trial; second, the soul's love and faith in its unseen Lord. There is enough in these two for unsullied and transcendent joy; in fact, we may question whether we ever truly drink of Christ's joy till all other sources of joy are eliminated by earthly sorrow, and we are driven to seek that joyous blessedness which no earthly sun can wither and no winter freeze.

Selah.

Introducing Frank Viola

I am preparing the new blog site to go live. This is not my new blog design. I was forced to update the look here on Blogger due to technical difficulties, which is fine because I love the new look.

I find myself needing to write the most important things I have written yet. I will temporarily be turning my energy away from the study of Hebrews, and towards the new project in order to give it my full attention.

This seems like the perfect opportunity to run a repeat of the most popular posts of all time. This post titled Introducing Frank Viola was originally published on September 1, 2013:

If you have never heard of Christian author, blogger, teacher Frank Viola, then I would like this opportunity to introduce you to him. He is a strong presence in my life, and even though we have never met personally, I consider him not just a brother in Christ but also a friend.

Here is a little bit about Frank from his own website:

Most Christians know that something is wrong with contemporary Christianity. They want to break free from the tyranny of the status quo. The two alternatives that dominate Christian culture today is spiritual complacency on the one hand or performance-based religiosity on the other.

Modern-day Christianity is 10 miles wide and one inch deep.

You can read more about him here:


Here are a handful of his most recent popular blog posts:

Bono on Jesus


The Rick Warren tragedy


John Lennon on Jesus


Don’t believe everything you hear


An interview with N.T. Wright


And my personal favorite:

Why Calvinists live like Arminians & Arminians pray like Calvinists



You will now be able to find him on my links page as well.

True Love To Jesus Will Produce Obedience

I am preparing the new blog site to go live. With that, I find myself needing to write the most important things I have written yet. Therefore, I will temporarily be turning my energy away from the study of Hebrews, and towards the new blog project in order to give it my full attention.

This seems like the perfect opportunity to run a repeat of the most popular posts on this blog of all time. This updated post titled True Love To Jesus Will Produce Obedience was originally published on June 13th, 2012:

“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me.
And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father,
and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” John 14:21

This is one of my favorite verses. Jesus promises to manifest Himself to the person who keeps His commandments, and loves Him. This word manifest, (in the Greek) is emphanidzo (em-fan-id-zoe). The term means:

to cause to shine
to appear, to come to view
to reveal, to exhibit
to make visible
to present oneself to the sight of another
to be conspicuous

A beautiful summary of this manifestation is found in an excerpt from Alexander MacLaren’s article titled Love to Christ:

The extraordinary boldness of that majestic saying: "If a man loves Me, My Father will love him." God regards our love to Jesus Christ as containing in it the germ of all that is pleasing in His sight. And so, upon our hearts, if we love Christ, there falls the benediction of the Father's love.

Of course, our Lord here is not beginning at the very beginning of everything. "We love Him because He first loved us" digs a story deeper down than the words of my text. That being understood, here is a great lesson. It is not all the same to God whether a man is a scoundrel or a saint. God's love is a moral love; and whilst the sunbeams play upon the ice and melt it sometimes, they flash back from, and rest more graciously and fully on, the rippling stream into which the ice has turned. God loves them that love Him not, but the depths of His heart and the secret sacred favors of His grace can only be bestowed upon those who love Christ and obey Him.

If, then, we seek to know that dear Lord, the path is plain. Walk on the way of obedience, and Christ will meet us with the unveiling of more and more of His love. To live what we believe is the sure way to increase its amount. To be faithful to the little is the certain way to inherit the much. He gives us His whole self at the first, but we traverse the breadth of the gift by degrees. The flower is but a bud when we get it, and as we hold it, it opens its petals to the light.

Selah.

Sanctification Produces Power

I am preparing the new blog site to go live. With that, I find myself needing to write the most important things I have written yet. Therefore, I will temporarily be turning my energy away from the study of Hebrews, and towards the new blog project in order to give it my full attention.

This seems like the perfect opportunity to run a repeat of the most popular posts on this blog of all time. This updated post titled Sanctification Produces Power was originally published on April 11th, 2012, and is the most popular post yet:

In Joshua 7:13 we read, “God told Joshua to sanctify the people, because if he did not, they would be defeated before their enemies.” Defeat is certainly one of the biggest reasons to seek the freedom that Christ died for us to have.

The following definition of sanctification is found in the Spirit Filled Life Student Bible:

Sanctification is a process in which God is invited to possess every dimension of your personality. For the NT believer it means completely opening yourself up to the cleansing stream of God’s delivering power in your life and allowing the Holy Spirit to make you completely His.

Sanctification is the pathway to release and power. We allow the Lord to sanctify us when we stop playing games with Him and say in our hearts, 'Okay, Lord, I want You to make me completely Yours.' We then give Jesus Christ full permission to enter every dimension of our personality and set us free.  

As a Christian, more than anything else our lives should be characterized by victory not defeat. Learning to live in victory is one of my goals for this blog.

The following excerpt is taken from the updated version of Oswald Chambers My Utmost for His Highest, titled Complete and Effective Divinity, and speaks of the process of sanctification in another way:

The resurrection of Jesus has given Him the authority to give the life of God to me, and the experiences of my life must now be built on the foundation of His life. I can have the resurrection life of Jesus here and now, and it will exhibit itself through holiness.

The idea all through the Apostle Paul’s writings is that after the decision to be identified with Jesus in His death has been made, the resurrection life of Jesus penetrates every bit of my human nature.

It takes the omnipotence of God— His complete and effective divinity— to live the life of the Son of God in human flesh. The Holy Spirit cannot be accepted as a guest in merely one room of the house— He invades all of it.

And once I decide that my 'old man' (that is, my heredity of sin) should be identified with the death of Jesus, the Holy Spirit invades me. He takes charge of everything.

My part is to walk in the light and to obey all that He reveals to me. Once I have made that important decision about sin, it is easy to 'reckon' that I am actually 'dead indeed to sin,' because I find the life of Jesus in me all the time (Romans 6:11).

Selah.

Set Pastor Saeed Free

This is the most crucial week yet in the battle to save Pastor Saeed, a U.S. citizen imprisoned in Iran – facing life-threatening abuse – for his Christian faith. You can read about it here.

This week Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, visits the United States, and he may meet with President Obama.

This week there will be prayer vigils across the U.S. and across the globe for Pastor Saeed.

This week marks one full year in captivity for Pastor Saeed – one full year in chains for the Gospel.

We have already written 77,000 letters to Iran’s president, asking that he save Pastor Saeed. But now we’re setting a new goal: 104,000 letters – 2,000 for each week in prison.

Be heard. Become part of one of the greatest letter-writing campaigns in history.

Be heard for Pastor Saeed and the persecuted Church.

Please spread the word.

Donate to support his rescue


A Complete Atonement

“According to the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Hebrews 9:22

Today is Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement is the most solemn and important holy day of the Jewish calendar. I sincerely hope that you will click on the link provided and read the brief history of this holy day from a Christian viewpoint.

Rabbis teach that God’s love is so great that He hears us every day of the year, but on Yom Kippur, He is closer to earth. The Lord is our God every day of the week, but on the Sabbath, everything multiplies. On Yom Kippur, everything multiplies again.

Since I observe the Sabbath from my heart every week all year long, naturally this particular Sabbath makes me more determined than ever to seek the face of God. This week I set out to understand the atonement in Christianity.

It took me far longer to reach an understanding than I anticipated, however I am delighted in what I finally discovered. I believe this to be a special gift from God for this "High Holy Day." And with that, new direction for the next phase of our research on freedom in Christ. I have a hunch it may just be the most important research yet.

For now, I leave you with this beautiful illustration by Andrew Murray from his classic book The Holiest of All. It is titled Even the First Covenant, Not Without Blood:

Not without blood! This is the wondrous note that rings through all Scripture, from Abel's sacrifice at the gate of paradise to the song of the ransomed in Revelations. God is willing to receive fallen man back again to His fellowship, to admit him to His heart and His love, to make a covenant with him, to give full assurance of all this; but—not without blood.

Even His own Son, the Almighty and All-perfect One, the gift of His eternal love, even He could only redeem us, and enter the Father's presence, in submission to the word, not without blood.

But, blessed be God, the blood of the Son of God, in which there was the life of the Eternal Spirit, has been given, and has now wrought an eternal redemption! He did, indeed, bear our sins, and take them away. He put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

The life He poured out in His blood-shedding was a life that had conquered sin, and rendered a perfect obedience. The blood-shedding as the completion of that life, in its surrender to God and man, has made a complete atonement, a covering up, a putting away of sin.

And so the blood of the new covenant, in which God remembers our sins no more, cleanses our heart to receive His law so into it, that the spirit of His law is the spirit of our life, and takes us into full and direct fellowship with Himself.

It was in this blood of the eternal covenant that God brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus: the blood had so atoned for sin and made an end of it that, in its power, Christ was raised again. lt became the power of a new life to Him and to us. With it He opened the way into the Holiest for us; the way into our hearts for Himself.

Selah.


Human Trafficking Enslaves


Human trafficking enslaves more than 30 MILLION people every year.

Please do not turn a blind eye.

There are ministries working in difficult and dangerous conditions that need your support.

And most importantly, they all need our prayers.

We can all do something.



Introducing Frank Viola

If you have never heard of Christian author, blogger, teacher Frank Viola, then I would like this opportunity to introduce you to him. He is a strong presence in my life, and even though we have never met personally, I consider him not just a brother in Christ but also a friend.

Here is a little bit about Frank from his own website:

Most Christians know that something is wrong with contemporary Christianity. They want to break free from the tyranny of the status quo. The two alternatives that dominate Christian culture today is spiritual complacency on the one hand or performance-based religiosity on the other. 

Modern-day Christianity is 10 miles wide and one inch deep.

You can read more about him here:


Here are a handful of his most recent popular blog posts:

Bono on Jesus


The Rick Warren tragedy


John Lennon on Jesus


Don’t believe everything you hear


An interview with N.T. Wright


And my personal favorite:

Why Calvinists live like Arminians & Arminians pray like Calvinists


You will now be able to find him on my links page as well.

Released Into Fruitfulness

“And where the Spirit of the Lord is - Wherever this Gospel is received, there the Spirit of the Lord is given; and wherever that Spirit lives and works, there is liberty, not only from Jewish bondage, but from the slavery of sin - from its power, its guilt, and its pollution.” Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Wow. I never imagined that going back through the beginnings of this journey would be so moving. My first impression is how much my writing has improved. Since one of my goals for this blog was to develop my writing skills, I am thankful for progress.

The opening statement for my mission was simply this definition given for freedom in The Spirit Filled Life Bible:

It is God’s desire to enter every aspect of a person’s life and fill it with Himself. A person is sanctified when he commits every aspect of his life exclusively to Jesus. A person who is sanctified by God’s Holy Spirit is set free at the deepest dimensions of his life and is released into fruitfulness.

Of course the main objective was to first define freedom in Christ and then to set out to attain it. Do you remember some of the questions I posed at the beginning?

Is there anything we can do to speed up the process?

Will it be painful?

I believe the answer to both of these questions is a resounding “yes.” I do believe we can speed up the process through deliberate bible study and prayer, and it will definitely involve painful changes in our mind, will, and emotions.

I also believe the level of difficulty depends on how much bondage to sin we find ourselves in, and just how much “its power, guilt, and pollution” have infected our very lives.

However, we can be confident that we have no reason to fear. The temporary pain we experience while God is purifying our souls cannot even begin to compare with the peace of heart and liberty that will follow.

I am adopting some new worship songs for our continuing march to freedom. This one is titled Whom Shall I Fear:




Whom Shall I fear
Chris Tomlin
Lyrics

You hear me when I call
You are my morning song
Though darkness fills the night
It cannot hide the Light
Whom shall I fear

You crush the enemy
Underneath my feet
You are my Sword and Shield
Though troubles linger still
Whom shall I fear

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side
The one who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

My strength is in Your name
For You alone can save
You will deliver me
Yours is the victory
Whom shall I fear
Whom shall I fear

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side
The One who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

And nothing formed against me shall stand
You hold the whole world in your hand
I'm holding on to your promises
You are faithful
You are faithful

Nothing formed against me shall stand
You hold the whole world in Your hand
I am holding on to Your promises
You are faithful
You are faithful
You are faithful

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side
The One who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side 

The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

Holy Before God

I am going back in time, only this time instead of going back to another century, I am just going back to 2012. I feel like it is time for a refresher course on what we have learned so far on this journey towards freedom in Christ.

I need to revamp some old posts and bring them back to life because some of the best teachings I have found on this subject are buried right here on my little blog.

So, this is a fresh repeat of a post titled It Starts With The Heart. Now more than ever I believe that to be true.

The following text is from the Spirit Filled Life Student Bible, in a commentary on Matthew 5:17-28:

Jesus Christ taught a revolutionary concept about what it means to be pure and holy before God. The Pharisees based righteousness upon keeping up outward appearances, but Jesus demanded that His followers allow His Spirit to produce true inner holiness. In other words, Jesus said, ‘Quit faking it!’

Jesus used two illustrations of unforgiveness, anger, and sexual lust to show us that it is the purification of our inner attitudes as well as our outward behavior that He wants to change. The lesson here is that we may put on a “religious act” in front of our friends, parents, and church. But God knows what is really going on in our lives.

Jesus doesn’t condemn us, but rather frees us from the bondage of inner sins. Jesus knows that the sin in our inner lives will enslave us if we don’t deal with it. God’s purpose for us is freedom from the burden of sin so that joy and victory can characterize our lives. 

I recently shared a testimony to encourage some younger women of faith in the trials of life they were struggling with. So many times we try to avoid the trials and the pain when sometimes we just need to let the trials do the work in us that God intends for them to do.

I can honestly say that even though I am battling huge giants in my present land, my life has never been better. You see it is as we struggle to overcome, that He gives us His life in exchange for ours, the more of Him, the less of me. And His life is the only one worth having.

You will see this quote by Oswald Chambers frequently around here:

If we are going to live as disciples of Jesus, we have to remember that all efforts of worth and excellence are difficult.  The Christian life is gloriously difficult, but its difficulty does not make us faint and cave in—it stirs us up to overcome. 

Selah.

The Perfect Will Of God

 “And be not 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

In an excerpt from the illustration Transfiguration, Alexander Maclaren brings to light a compelling realization:

One master word for the whole Christian life is sacrifice, self-surrender, and that to God. Paul here brackets, with that great conception of the Christian life, another equally dominant and comprehensive [concept]. In one aspect, it is self-surrender; in another, it is growing transformation.

The inner man, having been consecrated as a prince, by yielding of himself to God, is called upon to manifest inward consecration by outward sacrifice; an inward "renewing of the mind" is regarded as the necessary antecedent of transformation of outward life.

I discovered something in this that I never recognized before. If the master word for the Christian life is sacrifice, or self-surrender to God, then being self–protective is counter productive to the process of sanctification, which leads to freedom.

Some of us had to learn at very early ages how to protect ourselves from emotional and/or physical harm. The process of unlearning a behavior that was ingrained as a survival mechanism can be daunting. Especially because this same insecurity then breeds poor choices to eventually compound our pain.

Maybe you have learned behaviors through the circumstances in your life that are keeping you from fully surrendering to God as well. Thankfully, He has provided for our brokenness in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We can trust Him to be our protector.

Maclaren continues: 

Note, then, THAT THE FOUNDATION OF ALL TRANSFORMATION OF CHARACTER AND CONDUCT IS LAID DEEP IN A RENEWED MIND. Now it is a matter of world-wide experience, verified by each of us in our own cases, if we have ever been honest in the attempt, that the power of self-improvement is limited by very narrow bounds.

Any man that has ever tried to cure himself of the most trivial habit which he desires to get rid of, or to alter in the slightest degree the set of some strong taste or current of his being, knows how little he can do, even by the most determined toil…

Only one Christ presents itself, not as a mere republication of morality, not as merely a new stimulus and motive to do what is right, but as an actual communication to men of a new power to work in them…

If you want to change your characters — and God knows they all need it — change the deep convictions of your mind; and get hold, as living realities, of the great truths of Christ's gospel.

If you and I really believed what we say we believe, that Jesus Christ has died for us, and lives for us, and is ready to pour out upon us the gift of His Divine Spirit, and wills that we should be like Him, and holds out to us the great and wonderful hopes and prospects of an absolutely eternal life of supreme and serene blessedness at His right hand should we be, could we be, the sort of people that most of us are?...

The beginning of all transformation is the revolutionized conviction of a mind that has accepted the truths of the gospel.

Selah.


The Blessedness Of Doing


“But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but one who does good works--this person will be blessed in what he does.” 
James 1:25

When I first started this study on the word “perfect” in the biblical sense, quite honestly, it overwhelmed me. I was going through a particularly difficult time with my healthcare and did not have the strength to begin to fathom the ideas I was uncovering.

I was also a little intimidated by the subject considering that throughout history this has been a subject of great debate. However, I simply could not resist the in-depth pursuit of the scriptures in detail.

To say that I am thankful that I did would be quite an understatement. I am beginning to understand the emphasis and the necessity of this study and its relevance to our freedom in Christ.

First, I want to share a simply beautiful illustration by A. Maclaren, D. D., and titled The Blessedness of Doing (from James 1:25): 

To have the heart in close communion with the very Fountain of all good, and the will in harmony with the will of the best Beloved; to hear the Voice that is dearest of all, ever saying, "This is the way, walk ye in it"; to know "a Spirit in my feet" impelling me upon that road; to know that all my petty deeds are made great, and my stained offerings hallowed by the altar on which they are honoured to lie and to feel fellowship with the Friend of my soul increased by obedience; this is to taste the keenest joy and good of life, and he who is thus "blessed in his deed" need never fear that that blessedness shall be taken away, nor sorrow though other joys be few and griefs be many.

Finally, I would like to present a portion of commentary on the biblical context of the words “PERFECT; PERFECTION” written by W. L. Walker, titled The Christian Ideal that pretty much sums it up:

Perfection is the Christian ideal and aim, but inasmuch as that which God has set before us is infinite "Ye therefore shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48) absolute perfection must be forever beyond, not only any human, but any finite, being; it is a divine ideal forever shining before us, calling us upward, and making endless progression possible. … the perfect man, in the Old Testament phrase, was the man whose heart was truly or wholly devoted to God.

Christian perfection must also have its seat in such a heart, but it implies the whole conduct and the whole man, conformed thereto as knowledge grows and opportunity arises, or might be found.

There may be, of course, a relative perfection, e.g. of the child as a child compared with that of the man.

The Christian ought to be continually moving onward toward perfection, looking to Him who is able to "make you perfect in every good thing (or work) to do His will, working in us that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen" (Hebrews 13:21).