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Blessed Assurance

I tend to believe the relevant word for the year 2021 is “Uncertainty”! Everyone has reached their limit of tolerance for the pandemic, wearing masks, social distancing, lockdowns, and pressure to be vaccinated. With a new President and administration, people are wondering what impact their policies will have on daily life. There is so much division and hatred and violence being demonstrated from every side. We know as a nation, we have enemies like China, Russia, North Korea and Iran that would love to destroy us. What will the next few weeks, months bring? Where will it all end? As Christians, what should we be doing? Well, I would like to put forward three things the Bible says we should always be doing:

 1). TRUST:

Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

 How big is our God? Did He not promise to always be with us? If your hand is in His, you can walk through the darkest night without any fear. As David said in:

 Psalm 23:4-5: “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.”

 Psalm 18:1-2: “I love you, Lord; you are my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my Savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.”

 One thing we can always be confident of, is that He loves us and always has our best interests in mind. So many times I lean on this, my “life-verse”.

 Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them”.

 I know from experience that this is not always immediately apparent until we get down the road a ways and look back. Then we can see how God was always working to rescue us, build us, teach us, and lead us into a deeper understanding. Another “rock” of my foundation is found in:

 Psalm 91:1-7: “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you”

 2). WAIT:

I know! We don’t even like the sound of this word. We like “fast-food,” a 2-day maximum delivery on orders, we don’t care for “waiting lines,” or traffic jams, or any unnecessary

delay in our lives. Whatever it is we want—we want it NOW!! As adults, we know there are times that we don’t have a choice (i.e. license bureau). We must learn that we cannot put God on OUR schedule—God is going to do things on His schedule.

 Isaiah 55:8-9: “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

 Many times we pray and make requests of the Lord, and then we give up and think He isn’t listening because it has been a few days and our prayers are unanswered. Rest assured, He always hears our prayers; He even knows our every thought. Sometimes He grants our request, other times He says “No,” and there are times He says “Wait!!” There are promises for those willing to wait; as in:

 Isaiah 40:31: “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

 Micah 7:7: “Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.”

 And one of my favorite promises!

John 14:1-3: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

 3). WITNESS:

This word means telling what you have seen or experienced. Has God been good to you? Tell somebody! Has believing in Jesus made a change in your life? Tell somebody! Tell them who you put your trust in (not politicians, not armies, not in man at all, but in Almighty God)! A personal testimony can reach someone. They may be able to relate to your background and are searching for an answer. Your life itself should be a witness. Show love rather than hate, show peace and contentment rather than anxiety, and show joy rather than depression.

 Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

 “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine!

Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine.

Heir of Salvation, purchase of God,

Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood!

This is my story, this is my song,

Praising my Savior, all the day long;

This is my story, this is my song,

Praising my Savior, all the day long”!

Posted by Dan Hubbell with
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 “The Greatest Commandment is______________.”

 I’m certain if I asked for a show of hands of those who can finish this verse…we would all have our hands in the air.  Yes…the answer is LOVE THE LORD GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND LOVE OTHERS.

If you have spent any time reading God’s Word, you are undoubtedly familiar with the “love chapter” found in I Corinthians 13.  In this chapter, God teaches us the most valuable life lesson we can learn—what true love really is.  God teaches us to “put on love” in Colossians 3:14. That means we make a conscious choice to love God and others and to walk in this love. It is a choice we make every moment of every day of our lives.

 We use the word love in so many different ways.  We love ice cream, we love our pets, we love the Cardinals, we love going on vacation and, of course, we love our families.  Now that we are in the month of February, we are inundated with “symbols” of love—cupids, hearts, poems, cards, boxes of candy, balloons, etc.  But, we need to know how God, the author of true love, defines what love really is—that is the only love that will produce eternal changes.

 In 1 Corinthians 13, God teaches us how true love should be displayed in our everyday lives. (I’m going to focus on verses 4–5).

 I Corinthians 13:4–5 says “Love is patient (it endures, shows self-restraint, not giving way to anger), love is kind (is generous, having concern for others without expectation of praise in return).  It does not envy (does not resent someone else’s possessions/qualities), it does not boast (always talking about one’s own possessions, abilities, achievements) it is not prideful (displaying a high opinion of oneself).  It does not dishonor (disgrace, discredit, humiliate) others, it is not self-seeking (putting our own needs/welfare before others), it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs (to keep bringing up past behaviors/actions for the sake of shaming them). 

 If you will notice…God spends a lot of this verse teaching us what love ISN’T.  Why? The list of “do nots” has something in common—they are qualities/traits that put our focus on us not God.  In order for us to display God’s true love, we must first get our focus off ourselves and put it squarely on God.

 First, love is to be patient.  I’m sure if we are all honest, this is sometimes hard to display in our everyday lives.  It is an area that God continues to grow me.  I pray for patience…and then someone cuts in front of me in a line of traffic and that patience that I have been praying for God to cultivate in me somehow immediately flies out the window.  Why?  Because I took my eyes off God and put them on me instead.  I made a choice to display my “me-first” attitude instead of God’s love.  Being first in traffic has no eternal value.  The opportunity to pray for that person may have lasting benefits if instead of reacting with anger, I react with prayer for their salvation, safety and that God would bless them and show Himself to them today.  That action would bring a lot more peace into my life instead of frustration and bitterness.

 Second, love is to be kind.  When you have a moment to spend with someone, do they walk away feeling blessed, encouraged, uplifted and genuinely loved because of the time they just spent with you? Did they sense a true concern and interest in what is going on in their lives or did they just listen to you grumble, gripe and complain about what is going on in yours?   I pray daily that even in the few brief moments I might have with someone that they will sense the presence of Jesus and see the difference He makes in my life.  Genuine godly love and kindness will draw people to Jesus. Let our actions and our words always be kind, tender and full of love and mercy. 

 Third, to show God’s genuine love, we must not be envious, boastful, proud or self-seeking. When we display the characteristics on that list, it is a sad commentary that says we want people to notice us—not Jesus in us.

 Fourth, these next two may be the hardest for me.  God’s love is not easily angered…and it keeps NO record of wrongs.  Whew…sometimes that can be so hard for me!  I can honestly say it takes quite a bit to get me angered, but it’s not a pretty sight when I finally get there!  The words I speak and the “looks” I can give definitely do not let Jesus shine through me.  I know if I struggle with it, there are others reading this who are shaking their heads thinking, “Yep, I can relate.”  It brings to mind the saying, “whatever is inside a bottle will spill out when that bottle is tipped over.”  What a true statement that is of our lives!  Anger is definitely a heart issue—what is in my heart will come spilling out when someone pushes against me.

  I am a “just give me the bottom line” kind of person and so I love the book of James because he does just that.  In James 1:19–20, God tells us “my dear brothers and sisters, take note of this:  Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and SLOW to become angry, (WHY???) because human anger does not produce the righteousness of God.” You see, producing God’s righteousness in my life becomes easier when my heart is right, and my focus is on God—not me.  I NEVER want to be a deterrent to someone who doesn’t know Jesus.  No temper tantrum is worth hurting my testimony about Jesus in me. I want people to see the difference He makes in me—and being angry about issues that don’t mean a thing in the realm of eternity makes it hard for them to see the difference He is making.

 I feel like there is so much hate, anger, and division in our world today, and sadly even among believers, that I have to ask—are we (am I) making an impact for Christ in our world?  Are we (am I) a living, breathing testimony of Jesus’ love?  Or is the world hard pressed to tell the difference in our lives based on what they witness daily in our words, actions, and the love of Christ we display?  I pray it is not the latter.  We must continually grow by being in God’s Word daily.  If we are going to imitate Christ and mirror His love to those around us, then we must know intimately how much He loves us. Begin by asking the Holy Spirit to impart wisdom, understanding and discernment as you read about God’s love.  Then as you move about the world around you, let your life be a demonstration of that love. May our goal and our challenge this year be to love others to a saving relationship with Jesus.  Let’s make a true eternal difference in our world.

Posted by Beth Sweeney with 1 Comments

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