Promised Clear Guidance …

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Ephesians 4 (KJV)

People are saved when they trust Jesus Christ as Savior and choose to follow Him.

Right then, most Christians realize that they will dwell with Him forever in heaven. But many don’t understand what they can expect for the remainder of their lives on earth.

One benefit that’s available immediately is a growing relationship with the Lord.

The Father’s oneness with Jesus (John 10:30) illustrates the intimacy God wants to have with His children. He had this type of closeness in mind at creation—a relationship with man is an avenue for Him to express His love and for us to worship and understand our Maker.

Another advantage is that Christ followers are promised clear guidance through God’s Holy Spirit.

Decision making is a part of everyday life. It is impossible for a mere human to know every variable and nuance before choosing which path to take. But the Lord knows all things—past, present, and future. With godly wisdom available, it’s hard to understand why anyone would prefer to trust his own hunches.

Provision is yet another blessing guaranteed for believers.

There will be hard times, but God gives Christians everything necessary for following Him (Phil. 4:19). And His grace will always prove more than sufficient (2 Cor. 12:9).

How abundantly God gives to His children!

One word of caution, though: these gifts are effective only when believers walk obediently with Him. Sin can stifle them.

The heavenly Father desires that all of His sons and daughters have these blessings; if you’re living in obedience before Him, they are available to you.

Is anything getting in the way of your total submission to Him?

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How We Respond To Our Circumstances…

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 Acts 17:22-31 (KJV)

22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.
23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.
30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

The apostle Paul told the Greeks on Mars Hill that in God, we live and move and exist.

He was saying that we forever remain in the Lord’s presence, which is a blessed reassurance to those who know the Savior.

The reality of the Lord’s presence is this: God is complete, and He exists in His fullness wherever He is.

Psalm 139 tells us that there is no place on the face of the earth in which God does not exist: “If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will . . . lay hold of me” (vv. 9-10).

This means that God is not at one place in His mercy and at another in His wrath.

He is not at one location with His forgiveness and at another in His rebuke. Rather, He is whole—and wholly holy—wherever He is. His fullness exists wherever His presence exists.

This should affect how we act, what we believe, and how we respond to our circumstances.

If we believe God is always perfect, this conviction should impact our words, thoughts, and actions. It should certainly also strengthen our faith.

If God is perfect and He calls you His child, could there be so much as one single moment in which He is not looking out for your best interest?

Is there ever, for one instant, the chance that something will slip past Him and into your life? Does the Enemy of your soul have even a nanosecond’s opportunity to destroy you?

The answer is emphatically no! Trust in God’s presence and know that He is with you every second.

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Learning to Wait…

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Proverbs 16:9 (KJV)

9 A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.

No one likes to wait, but have you ever wondered why?

It’s because delays show us that we are not in control. Someone or something else is calling the shots. Although we may be able to identify the immediate cause–like a traffic light or the long checkout line–ultimately the One who controls all our delays is the Lord.

Since He is sovereign over everything in heaven and on earth, even our time and schedules are in His hands.

This means that in every delay, we are actually waiting for God in one way or another.

You might have thought that the expression “waiting upon the Lord” applies only to seeking guidance from Him or an answer to prayer. But it can mean so much more when you remember that He controls all your day-to-day inconveniences and frustrations.

In the Christian life, learning to wait is vitally important because until you do, you’ll never be able to walk in obedience to God, have an effective prayer life, or experience the peace of resting in His loving sovereignty.

We must learn to trust His judgment–about not just the big events in our lives, but also the trivial ones which cause us to become irritated, impatient, or even angry. If we’re sensitive to His instruction, each delay has a lesson.

The next time you face an unexpected or unwanted wait, remember that it comes as no surprise to God. He wants to teach you patience and increase your faith.

He’s more interested in developing godly character than He is in making sure your schedule runs according to your plans.

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Emotional Imprisonment and Divine Pardon…

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 Luke 15:11-24 (KJV)

11 And he said, A certain man had two sons:
12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.
13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

11 And he said, A certain man had two sons:
12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.
13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

If we have an unforgiving spirit toward another person, we ourselves experience a form of bondage.

An even worse type of emotional imprisonment can result from guilt over wrongdoing and the belief that God must condemn us for our sin.

If that’s your situation, you don’t understand divine pardon.

The Bible teaches that forgiveness belongs to God.

Today’s reading drives the point home with the parable of the prodigal son. In this story, the younger of two brothers took an early inheritance and wasted it foolishly. Eventually, he had nothing left and had to work among pigs, a despicable job for a Jewish man. When he returned home in despair, his father welcomed him with open arms and a celebration.

The son had done nothing to earn his father’s pardon or joyful greeting.

If we are to understand forgiveness, we must realize that God’s motivation for pardoning sins is found only in Himself and His love.

Like the prodigal son, we can do nothing to earn it.

The wayward son “came to his senses” (v. 17); that is to say, he began to think the truth about himself and the situation he’d created. We do the same when we repent—we agree that our wrongdoing was sin and decide to turn away from it.

Our forgiveness was fully taken care of at the cross, and it was applied to each of us personally when we received Jesus as Savior.

But our fleshly patterns aren’t extinguished all at once.  So anytime you sin, confess that your behavior was wrong (1 John 1:9).

Then you won’t be burdened by guilt, and you can enjoy fellowship with your heavenly Father.

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Weathering Storms With Supernatural Calm…

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 Isaiah 26:2-4 (KJV)

2 Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in.
3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
4 Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength:

Your home offers protection from the elements.

So when a storm rolls in, you seek shelter within the safety of those four walls. The same principle applies to life’s storms. If we’ve built a solid house on a foundation of faith, then we’ve got a haven to run to when dark clouds gather and anxiety threatens to overwhelm us.

Let’s suppose a problem is worrying you, and your stomach is in knots. Friends and family try to be understanding, but they’re growing weary of you taking your heartache out on them. You are so focused on the issue that it feels as if your shoulders are bearing a heavy weight.

Now listen to the liberating alternative God offers: “Cast your burden upon [Me] and [I] will sustain you” (Ps. 55:22).

He doesn’t erase the ills that invade this life. Instead, He shields us from the weight of worry by taking situations into His own hands.

However, the call to a free and peaceful life goes unheeded unless a person has confidence in the Lord. Trust is built through relationship—praying during daily trials and triumphs, seeking biblical guidance for decisions, and testing God’s Word to see that it is true and practical.

That’s how a house of faith is constructed brick by brick on the solid rock of Jesus Christ.

A believer who trusts in the Lord receives the peace that Isaiah 26:3 promises. But unshakeable peace isn’t instantaneous; it is cultivated through a consistent relationship with God.

A lifestyle of dependence upon Him is the key to weathering storms with supernatural calm.

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Gratitude, Even in Difficulty…

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Ephesians 1:3-14 9 (KJV)

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Everyone experiences difficulty in life.

During painful times, we may feel as though God is not blessing us. But even then, we are experiencing many of His amazing gifts, despite the fact that they might be escaping our notice.

Below are several examples of blessings we can enjoy on bright or dark days:

• We are assured that our almighty God chose us before the foundation of the world (v. 4).

He predestined us to be adopted as His children (v. 5). We can feel special and wanted because the Sovereign of the universe selected us.

• Jesus provided our salvation through His death and resurrection (v. 7).

He redeemed us from sin that causes separation from God and ultimately leads to death. As a result, we receive a brand-new nature and daily forgiveness of iniquities (2 Cor. 5:17; 1 John 1:9).

• The Holy Spirit resides within us.

He guides, warns, and fills us so we always have access to counsel or comfort. And because He also seals us, our eternity is secure (Eph. 1: 13).

• Our Father prepares an inheritance for us that is imperishable (1 Peter 1:4).

We may experience momentary troubles, but we can look forward to living eternally in God’s presence, where there is joy and no suffering.

In painful situations, you might be tempted to conclude that the Lord’s hand isn’t resting on your life.

But believers have wonderful spiritual blessings at all times. Without the four permanent gifts listed above, fear and emptiness would be overwhelming.

Ponder these benefits, and express gratitude, even in difficulty.

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His Indwelling Spirit…

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Hebrews 4:14-16 (KJV)

14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Almighty God is righteous and just. Romans 3:23 tells us that all people have sinned and are inadequate to be in His presence.

As a result of His wrath against sin, we were doomed to eternal separation from Him.

But thankfully, the story doesn’t end there.

In His love and mercy, God sent His Son to walk among us.

Jesus experienced the hardship and temptation common to all people, yet He never sinned. The Savior chose to die a gruesome death in our place, paying the penalty for our wrongs.

There is no deeper love, Scripture tells us, than a man who gives up his life for a friend (John15:13).

Jesus went even farther—dying for us while we were still His enemies (Rom. 5:10). In fact, He would have sacrificed Himself even if you were the only person ever to exist.

Promising forgiveness and eternal life, Christ asks sinful man to believe and follow Him.

When we trust in Jesus, we are adopted as God’s children and receive His indwelling Spirit, who blesses abundantly with joy, peace, and guidance. Always welcome before the Throne of Grace, believers have access to converse with the Father at any time.

He promises to hear and respond to our seeking, repentant hearts. And Jesus intercedes for us, praying on our behalf.

We don’t deserve the Lord’s invitation to have an intimate relationship with Him. Yet in His grace, He is loving and compassionate toward us. What a privilege to be able to approach the King’s throne, knowing He listens, understands, and cares.

Rest in God’s love, and enjoy sweet fellowship with Him.

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Truth Gets Cultivated…

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John 4:34-38 (KJV)

34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
35  Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
36  And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.
37  And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.
38  I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.

Think about everything that contributed to the story of how you came to know Christ as your Lord and Savior.

It’s probably not possible to fully count all those spiritual seeds that God used to draw you to Him. And not all the people who sowed good seed into your life knew what the outcome would be.

We also have the opportunity and privilege–every single day–of sowing seeds into the lives of others, such as our friends, co-workers, children, grandchildren, or even strangers.

God takes what you plant and adds to it. He leads others to sow further seed or “water” the ground. Little by little, truth gets cultivated in their lives. What greater thing could you do?

Conversely, you might focus on providing your kids with plenty of material security and send them to the best schools and colleges–and yet it would count nothing for eternity. But when you sow into their lives the things of God and the qualities of Jesus, you’re feeding their spirits.

The seeds that affect their hearts, view of God, and desire to make a difference for Him in the world are what will produce genuine, lasting fruit and a great harvest in their lives.

Whether or not you ever see the results, the Lord is using you profoundly when you sow this kind of crop.

God sees all the little things you do; He’s interested in more than just “big” things. The fruit of His Spirit–such as kindness, patience, and self-control–often manifests itself in quiet ways that others may never give you credit for.

But such spiritual seeds accomplish powerful work in His kingdom.

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