Walk in the Light

Eph 5:8-14

For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

There was a time that I walked inn darkness.  I did not know Jesus even though I had been raised in the church.  I knew about Jesus, but I did not know Him.  I did not know about His power to save.  I did not know that He died for me.  I did not know He took the sins poof the world on His back.  I did not know His wounds healed me.  There was so much I did not know.

But light was shed on my path.  Once the light dispelled the darkness, I could see Jesus for who He really was.  And once I knew that, I had a choice to make.  Choose darkness, or choose light.  To me, that was an easy choice.  I chose light.  So now I must walk in the light.  I must allow the truth of the gospel to show me the way to live.  I am a child of that  light, and I must listen as  a child listens to their parents.  The light will guide me to better things in God, and that is what I desire.  The Spirit will lead  me as I  walk in the light, and will guide me to  what is good, and right, and true.  That is the only way I can prove what is acceptable to the Lord.  And I have a call to prove that, so the world will know  what is acceptable to the Lord.

11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

Fellowship means friendly association.  I have no right to associate with the works of darkness any longer.  And I should have no desire for those things.  Remember, darkness cannot exist where light is.  Reprove means to reprimand or to correct a fault.  When I find these things in my life, I must take action to rid myself of them.  The works of darkness need to be eradicated from my life.  Unfortunately, I still have a level of pride within me that  says I can have those things, God won;t care.  I need to guard against that attitude on a continual basis, and make sure if my pride gets the better of me, that I now only put that down, but also put down any other area of darkness that might creep in.  This is a continual vigil.

We must keep our mind and thoughts clear of these  things.  That is why Paul tells us not to even speak of such things.  He knows what we speak has power and can infiltrate our minds very easily.  The darkness that is in this world seems to get darker all the time.  More eyes are blinded to the light by our enemy.  They cannot even see the light dimly in the distance, they are so encased in the darkness.  Those who can’t even get a dim view of God need our prayers.

13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

When we correct those things in our life that don’t belong, the light will shine on them for what they truly are.  We will see the error of our ways, and realize that once again, by His mercy, He has spared us.  Many times it may take a trial or a test to make us aware there is  something in our lives that is displeasing to Him.  He is so gracious that He will allow us to see it in the midst of the storm, and then He will calm the storm around us.  He s patient with us, and allows us time to work through those things from the darkness we were once in that may still influence our lives.  What a loving God we serve.

Lastly, Paul tells us to awake from sleep, and arise from the dead, and He Jesus will give us light.  When we come to realize what is holding us back from fully  committing to Him, we wake up.  We start to allow Him greater access to our life – we open the doors in our life and allow Him to shine His light in.  Once His light shines in that room, there is no turning back.  We must deal with that area of our life that He is asking us to give Him.  We need to be in the Light!  This is an old one, but a good one!

 

 

 

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God Will Do What?

Philippians 4:19

19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

 

Paul is a master at using the right words.  Here, I love the fact that he says “My God”.  He does not say our God, or your God or just God.  You might say why is that a big deal?   Here’s how I see it.

The Philippians knew that Paul’s God had delivered him from Prison right there in Philippi.  They knew that his God knocked him off a horse and blinded him on the road to Damascus in an amazing conversion experience.  They knew that Paul had been beaten and stoned and shipwrecked, and his God had kept him in every situation.  They knew that Paul trusted his God without question.  Paul was always taken care of by his God.

Now they had heard Paul talk about his God, and those in the church had accepted his God as their own.  But they had no personal experience with this God, not like Paul had. Oh, some may have experienced healing, or answered prayer, but not like Paul.  So Paul lets them know that his God, the one that had been faithful to him, would supply all their needs.  If Paul had said your God, they might not have had as much faith to believe, but they know what Paul’s God had done.

It makes me wonder if I shouldn’t use that term with people who have little faith.  Right now, I might say God will hear your prayers.  But if they have little faith, will they believe God can do that?  Whereas if I share what God has done for me, and tell them My God can do it for you, will that strengthen their faith?  Something to ponder!

The second things about this verse is that God will supply our needs, not our wants.  I see a lot of Christians use this verse to claim God’s provision on things that clearly are not needs.  To me, this is very presumptive.  Isn’t God graceful enough without presuming He is just some magic machine that will give us whatever we want?  People use Psalm 37:4 the same way “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give the desires of our heart”.  I believe this verse means He will give you His desires in your heart, not that he will give you whatever your heart desires.  Matt 6:33 tells us that is we seek first the kingdom of God and Hs righteousness, all these things (he necessities of life) will be added to us.  Nothing about wants – just needs.

Can we learn to be content with our needs met?  Or must we have a God who meets our wants as well?  For me, I prefer to be happy when He supplies my needs – that is gracious enough.  I don’t really deserve anything from God!

All of this is according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  It is Christ who made it possible.  Jesus Christ paid the price at Calvary when He willingly laid down His life to redeem me from my sin.  if I want this verse to apply to my life, I need to accept that sacrifice as a substitute for me and my sin, and allow Jesus to be Lord of my life.  Th promise of this verse is BY Christ Jesus, meaning that Christ is an integral part of the promise.  By Christ Jesus means that He is the vehicle through which these needs will be supplied.  I need to have Him active in my life to claim this promise.  What an awesome God we serve, that He would take time to meet my needs!

Just Do It!

Philippians 4:9

Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

 

Now that Paul has done his best to get the congregation thinking the right way, he gives a final admonition on what they should do. It’s almost worth going back and looking at the different ways he tells them to think.  I know we spent a lot of time on this but there’s nothing more important than getting our thought life straight. So the things were going to think about are things that are true, honest, just,  pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy. If you  missed the posts on each of these characteristics, please go back to the last 8 posts and enjoy them

With that in mind, let’s look at the things that Paul says here that they need to do now that he has them thinking the right way.  First, they need to do the things that they’ve learned. As we look back at the Philippian Church, they learned about salvation, they have learned about the Holy Ghost, they have learned about deliverance (remember Paul was delivered from prison in Philippi), they have learned how to pray, and the power of prayer, and they have learned humility. Now they need to do these things.

What have they received? They have received salvation. They have received the Holy Ghost. They received several of Paul’s co-workers to help minister the gospel. They most likely received immeasurable blessings from the Lord. So they need to do these things. How did they do these things? They share them with others. That’s how we do the things that we receive – we give them away. When was the last time you prayed for somebody to receive Christ.  I have to admit it’s been awhile for me. I need to give away some of the things that I’ve received.

And what if they heard?  They heard the gospel message. They’ve heard about humility. They’ve heard about their thought process. They’ve heard about sacrifice. They’ve heard about being like-minded. They’ve heard about deliverance from prison. They’ve heard about the power of prayer. Now they need to do these things. It’s not enough to just go to church and hear the sermon.  When we hear it, we should do it. When was the last time you acted upon a sermon that your pastor gave? You might say to me that he’s not a very inspiring speaker.  He hasn’t inspired me to go out and do things. I’ve heard it said that Jonathan Edwards was not a very fiery preacher either but people would feel like they were burning in hell as he sat in the chair and delivered his message.

When it comes to hearing and doing it’s up to you. The pastors job is to deliver the message God has given Him for that  day.  I am a firm believer that if I am sitting in that congregation, God has something for me in that sermon, and it’s my responsibly to listen and act upon it.  It’s not up to your pastor to put it in some dainty little package. It’s up to you to act on the word of God. So stop paying attention to how it’s delivered and pay attention to the word that’s given.

Lastly he says to do the things that they’ve seen in him. What have they seen Paul do?  They’ve seen him give his life for the gospel.  They’ve seen him worship and praise the Lord while he was in prison.  They’ve seen him traveling all over the place to minister the word.  They’ve seen him not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. These are the things I need to do.  And, as a side note, would I be comfortable telling people to do the things they have seen in me?  How about you? I’ll leave that as a rhetorical question.

Paul then leaves them with this thought: if they all do these things God will be with them and He will give them peace. I don’t want to be questioning whether I’m doing what God wants me to do or not. I can have peace with God by just doing the things that I’ve learned, received, heard and seen others do. I think I better get busy.

Wonderful Peace

Philippians 4:7

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

As a worship leader, I come across a lot of songs that just stick in my head.  During difficult times, this is a wonderful thing, because I can call upon them at any moment, and they encourage me over and over again.  I am reminded of one such song now – Wonderful Peace.  The chorus and second verse are most touching to me when I think about the peace of God:

What a treasure I have in this wonderful peace,
Buried deep in the heart of my soul,
So secure that no power can mine it away,
While the years of eternity roll!

Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above!
Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray
In fathomless billows of love!

 

This peace that God gives us is something that people can see on the outside if we truly walk in it. They won’t understand it, but they sure will observe it. It is a peace that surpasses anything this world can offer. Jesus said that He leaves His peace and then our heart should not be troubled or afraid (John 14:27). We can look at Jesus life and notice this peace while He was on this Earth.  He had peace about Him in every situation, even on the cross. And He said He was going to leave His peace with us. We can walk through life the same way He did. Nothing will bother us and we will live in harmony with God.

I know that I’ve mentioned this time and time again but it becomes so relative when I’m doing these studies. I was diagnosed with cancer March 10th 2016. And it wasn’t a simple cancer like prostrate. It was multiple myeloma, which has a long recovery cycle. I’ve been afflicted by several things that we are not sure whether they’re related or not. My right shoulder is not working and I’m right handed. And I have terrible neuropathy in both feet and both feet have succumbed to drop foot.  So I have to wear braces on both feet in order to get around. I need to use a walker even in the house.

Am I frustrated with all this? Of course I am. Do I question God and ask him why? Of course I do. Do I have peace about it? Absolutely. I know God is on my side and I know he does all things for my good (Rom 8:28) and I know if he has a plan and it includes His peace and an expected end (Jer 29:11). I’m not trying to brag but other people look at me and are amazed at the attitude that I have in the midst of this struggle. There’s a peace about me that only God can give, and the world does not understand it.

I pray that you’re experiencing his peace today. You will know if you have it because nothing will bother you. the enemy could send 1000 devils your way and you would know that God is on your side and you cannot be defeated. Relax and enjoy this wonderful peace that only God can give

Always Rejoice – part 1

Philippians 4:4

“Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.”

 

Such a simple verse, packed with so much power.  I would dare say if we could learn to live by this one verse only, our lives would be more dynamic for the gospel, more energized in life’s pursuits, and we would be healthier all the way around.  We would be that light shining on a hill bringing glory to God.  And I can do this!  It’s really not that hard.

 

Let’s look at Paul’s life.  He’s the one telling us to rejoice always, so he must practice it as well.  Let’s venture over to 2 Cor 11:24-27.  Three times he was whipped 39 times, three times beaten with rods, stoned once, shipwrecked three times, in prison often, and more perils than we can imagine.  Yet Paul rejoiced in the Lord.  What am I going through that is worse than that?

 

This is a lifestyle choice.  It’s an attitude choice.  I am reminded of a quote I heard a long time ago from Chcuk Swindoll that says it well:

 

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

I am in charge of my attitude.  When I wake up in the morning, I decide if it’s going to be a good day.  I don’t let anyone else dictate that to me.  It is my decision, and mine alone.  So, I decide to rejoice in the Lord.  He has been so good and so merciful to me.  He has been gracious to me.  He has loved me when I was unlovable.  He has been right here with me all the way.

I have had a few people ask me how I can possibly feel this way.  After all, I have cancer.  Not just any cancer, but a cancer that takes 2 years of chemo and 2 stem cell transplants to defeat.  In the middle of treatment, my right shoulder decided to stop working (I am right handed).  Now I have neuropathy in both feet and half of both hands, and drop foot in both feet.  How ca I say He has been merciful, graceful and loving?

It’s really simple, my friend.  I still have breath, sight, hearing, an appetite, and wonderful wife taking care of me and so many other blessings I can’t begin to count them.  I am a child of the King!  I have no reason to be downcast!  I will rejoice in the Lord.

What about you today?  Are you rejoicing in Him?  Are you on top of the circumstances in your life, or are you under them?  Say it with me – “I will rejoice in the Lord – always”

More on this next time!

 

What Kind of Life Are You Living?

Philippians 3:20

20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ:

 

To fully understand this verse we have to understand that the word conversation has very little to do with the words coming out of my mouth or our ability to listen to somebody else. The word conversation means our behavior and our conduct. A lot of people call it a lifestyle. This changes the whole context of the verse.

When I first looked at this verse I thought it was talking about the fact that heaven will be our eternal destination and that is where our life is. I was going to write about the fact that we need to store up Treasures in Heaven instead of treasures on this Earth. Then I went to look up the word and I had something totally different to talk about

What this verse is really talking about is that life down here should be lived as if we are living in heaven. Our conduct and behavior should be the way we would want to carry out those things in heaven. Oh my, if that is true then I have a lot of work to do. There are times that I do things that I shouldn’t do, and say things I shouldn’t say, and walk places I shouldn’t walk. My conduct is not always heavenly.

In one of my other blogs I am studying to the Book of Psalms. One of the things I notice constantly is that David has no reservations about asking the Lord to judge him according to his righteousness. I’ve commented on that blog how amazed I am that David could easily ask God to do this. David must have been living a very good life, a righteous life, in order for him to feel that he could ask God this question. Over and over again David asked God to give him mercy. Over and over again David talks about the righteous Judgment of the Lord.

As I walk through my daily life from now on I am going to be more aware that my conversation is in heaven. I need to be living my lifestyle as if I’m already there. After all Jesus did say the Kingdom of Heaven is within us. Let my life be a reflection of that kingdom so that others will see it and want to take part in it.