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Examining Biblical Scripture

No more fear

How to beat fear in 3 steps: Most of us are afraid of something aren’t we, but it isn’t an enjoyable way to live.

Ready: Would you like to end fear creeping into your life forever? God’s love has already wiped it all away.

Set: The Bible says ‘fear not’ 365 times… that’s once for every day of the year. Why? Because it’s natural for us to fear. Except now that we are alive in Christ, we no longer have a reason to fear. We are supernatural beings! Fear is beneath us. How then, do we stay on top of fear? It’s through love… for when we experience perfect love there is no room for fear.

The opposite of fear is not courage; the opposite of fear is love. Fear can only get a grip on us when there is a lack of assurance that we are loved. The perfect antidote to fear is God’s love – because God is in charge of the universe and He has promised to bless any who make Him their God (Genesis 12, 17).

Steps to Beating Fear:

1. Acknowledge the Sovereignty of God: There is nothing that escapes God’s gaze or His power. All circumstances flow from his desire to bless His children.

2. Embrace the perfect love of God, who knows you intimately (Psalm 139:14) and will protect, defend, guide and teach you in all things, through the Holy Spirit.

3. Press forward, into God’s purposes. ‘Straining forward and focusing on what lies ahead’ enables us to overcome the temptation to fear.

Go:

Choose to walk in the knowledge that God loves you and is in charge. He knows the beginning from the end. There is nothing to fear.

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Examining Biblical Scripture

Worry Free Living

How can we avoid worrying? Isn’t it just a part of life? No, actually, with Christ it doesn’t have to be.

Ready:

In Christ, your identity is sure and your purpose is secure. Your living spirit has overcome worry. Whether you have a long ‘to do’ list, major surgery or a pile of unpaid bills, you can ignore those things concerning you and get on with life. Believe-it-or-not, Jesus didn’t worry. And so we don’t have to either.

Set:

Perhaps one of the most famous passages of Jesus’ teaching is his word about worry, from the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 6:25-34 reads: “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?…” (NKJV)2 Swan on a Cold Day

We who believe in the Father and the Son can trust the Holy Spirit’s power to enable us to overcome the habit of worry. It robs us of the joy and freedom that Jesus died to give us. Here are four steps to accomplish this:

1. Decide to dwell on life-fulfilling thoughts. As Paul wrote in Philippians 4, ‘Whatever things are true, whatever things noble….. just….. pure….. lovely….. meditate on these things.’

2. Praise God, listing some of the things you are thankful for and some of the promises He’s made.

3. Read a passage from the Bible. Read it again. It’s amazing how our spirit will rise up when we feed it the Word of God.

4. Allow fear and control to slip away from you. At the root of fear is the desire to control… to protect ourselves. But when we have the Creator of the Universe watching over us, what more protection do we need?

A little self-discipline and a lot of the Holy Spirit enables us to overcome.

Go:

poss for website 2When we recognize our worries, we can give them up. Trading them in for God’s promises is definitely an upgrade!

 

 

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Examining Biblical Scripture

How to have a Stress Free Life

How to keep the Stress Out of Life: Your spirit made alive by your faith in Jesus is a key to living a peace-filled life.

Ready: 

We want abundant life, as peaceful and free from stress as the life Jesus led. But we don’t generally experience that, do we? Why not? And if not, how can we get to the sort of peaceful existence Jesus lived?

Our flesh is powerful. The mind, and in particular our will, doesn’t always want to cooperate with God’s Holy Spirit. When we are surrendered to God the day runs smoothly; when we choose to control our day, it can be rough. We don’t live in a vacuum; we can’t control our circumstances nor everyone around us. Control is an illusion and trying to maintain it is like rolling a very large boulder up a very steep hill. Trying to stay in control creates stress. On the other hand, surrendering our will to the supernatural sovereign God of the Universe allows for His timing and His encounters. In my experience, I’ve accomplished more and had a more satisfying close to the day when I’ve lived with a plan that is surrendered to God.

Set:

We can say we surrender… but how do we stay surrendered to God beyond a moment of prayer in the morning (or the night before)?

Fortunately we are not on our own. We stay surrendered, “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the LORD of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6)

Try this:

still water1. Select a passage of God’s Word and read it. It might be a single verse or a chapter; the length doesn’t matter.

2. Rest in His Word. Read it and read it again.

3. Fight an urge to resist “resting” by telling God – out loud – that you surrender your will to Him today.

4. Recognize a key step….

Did you surrender your will to your spirit and then your living spirit to God’s Holy Spirit? We have a soul and we have a spirit. Your spirit and soul are not the same thing… Here’s how: Our soul is our mind: will, intellect and emotions. But our spirit is another part of us – the part of us that makes us different from animals. It is what completes us in God’s image.

God made us in His image (Genesis 1:27, 2:7) and it is our spirit which enables us to live and move and have our being in Him. It’s a huge topic for future posts. But here I’ll split a hair… (for more see LarusWalk post The Soul and Spirit within)

Just as through our faith in Jesus we have been given eternal life, so our spirit has been given new life. The Holy Spirit is God’s comforter, helper and convicts us when we need it. In between our soul and God’s Holy Spirit is our living spirit, surrendered to God and empowered by Him. Our spirit is unique to us, ready to enable us to walk, not by might nor by power but by His Spirit. Surrendering our will to our spirit is a key to walking in Life, Love and Peace – daily. So, knowing this…..

5. Surrender your will to your spirit, and your spirit to God. Inviting your spirit to have leadership over your soul makes surrender a whole lot easier.

6. Wait. Listen internally for God’s prompting. Perhaps during the waiting you’ll feel a spontaneous urge to sing or to praise Him in some way; go for it! Or maybe there will be a sigh. It is all a part of your private surrendering process.

Go: Now go, give your day to the LORD, and see how easy the day – even with all it’s responsibilities – can be.

 

 

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Examining Biblical Scripture

How to Be Super Spiritually Fit

How to Become Super Spiritually Fit

Ready:  How can you find and sustain intimacy with God so your mind is renewed and your spirit is toned to lead you? There is no formula to use to become more intimate with God, but it is intimacy with God that will keep you super spiritually fit. You will never deepen your relationship with Christ by filling your brain with my words. So, I’ll keep it short to give you the time to go away and apply – that is spend time with God – so He’ll renew your mind and transform you with His Spirit, so you become more like God. Psalms

Set:  Start with God’s Word. Choose a scripture and spend time with it… Try Psalm 23 or Philippians 4:13 to start with.

1. read it 2. roll it around in your mind

3. focus on whatever part of it jumps out at you asking, ‘what does this mean for me today?’

4. chew it – memorize a phrase or listen to your inner heartbeat: that part of you that knows that you know that Jesus Christ is the most real part of your life.

5. Ask God to reveal Himself to you… and wait.

6. Thank Him – just thank Him for being who He is and for anything else that is bubbling up inside of you.

7. Stay as long as you like – or go if you must – but go knowing the God of Heaven, Creator of the universe is filling you with His Holy Spirit to make you strong.

Go:  Now go! Choose a peaceful physical space and go into the Word of God. From this moment forward, settle for nothing less than intimacy with your Heavenly Father.

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Examining Biblical Scripture

The Two Keys to Victorious Living

“But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

There are two keys in this life that I have found that help me to I walk – ultimately to soar – in spiritual victory, so that I am able to rejoice in all circumstances. These two keys are worship and warfare.

Knowing when to worship and when to fight in prayer, knowing how to do both of these things, are vitally important to all believers, so that we are all able to fight the good fight and to finish the race set before us.

To live a life empowered by God, discovering and fulfilling God’s call on our lives, is a task of hard work and surrender. But in all things we are more than conquerors. As we are sanctified, so are we prepared to stand in the front line, to live the spirit-filled life, ready and able to do that which He has willed and purposed in us to do.

I have found tremendous help in my journey from key experiences, ministries and individuals. From time to time I will make direct reference to them. Rod and Julie Anderson, Founders of the Prayer Foundation, I’d like to thank you straight up for being great teachers, friends, and mentors. Your word to me to ‘keep a sweet spirit’ has been instrumental in my growing and deepening relationship to the LORD.

Food for Thought:

Who has God placed in your life that has helped to bring you to this point in your life right now?

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Examining Biblical Scripture

The Soul and the Spirit Within

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be 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 12:1-2; bold – mine)

When God created man, he created him in his own image. That means we were created with a body, a soul (intellect, emotions, will) and a spirit. The difference between human beings and all other animals, birds, reptiles, fish, is that unlike any other, we have a spirit. There is no question that animals have a will; just consider dogs and cats for a moment. Dogs want to please their masters – that is their will; cats want to be pleased by their masters – that is their will (for the record, I’m very much a cat lover). As to intellect, animals – whether by instinct or intelligence – can care for their young. And all creatures have emotion, witnessed by the grieving of a dolphin or a dove that loses its life’s partner, or the soulful mourns of a coyote at dusk. But animals do not have a spirit.

The soul is often called the mind. The spirit is that which comes only from God and which was ‘lost’ in Adam’s sin. Those who are born again in Christ have their spirits renewed, and receive the Holy Spirit, who is our comforter, our counsel and who convicts us of our sin. Often in scripture the spirit is referred to as our heart, just as the soul is referred to as our mind.

To make the distinction between soul and spirit is going to be very important in coming weeks and months as we seek the renewing of our minds. I want for you; I desire that you discover the unique calling and purpose God has for you, both corporately and individually. It is God who renews our minds, and it is through His Spirit we receive counsel and revelation. What part does our spirit play? As we study scripture and digest its meaning – not by my revelation, for I am not a teacher of God’s Word – but by your own revelation from the LORD – we will learn and grow in preparation for God’s call on our lives. And we will discover that by surrendering our soul to our spirit and our spirit to the Holy Spirit, we will be better able to surrender our will for our lives to God.

As believers we have confessed our sinful nature, have made a commitment to follow Christ, and are doing our utmost to live lives worthy of the fact we’ve been called by God. But we stumble, we fail, we get up again. This will always be the way. And yet, as we study to show ourselves approved, as we surrender our will to our spirit, and our spirit to that of the Holy Spirit, we will gain and become more and more like Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. How will we know this to be true? The fruit of our lives will be changed.

So, as you go forward over the coming days, I’d like to encourage you to study the word, and choose to allow your spirit to overcome your thoughts, will, emotions at times of stress, inconvenience and challenge. Let the world see in you all that God has for it is Him we live and move and have our being.

Theological references:

  • Genesis 1:27; 2:7
  • Ephesians 4:23; 4:11
  • John 16:13
  • Hebrews 4:12
  • Luke 24:3
  • 2 Timothy 2:15
  • Galatians 5:22
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Examining Biblical Scripture

How are We Witnessing?

The Great Commission

Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.  And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:14-16).

We who love Jesus are called to ‘preach the gospel’. But our love and character are means to declare the saving grace of God, as well as our words.

I’d like to suggest that words are powerful, but so too are our actions, our behaviour and our demonstration of love. In some relationships, we have been clearly asked not to talk about God. Those minds and hearts appear closed. If it is God’s intention to open them, we must let God show the lead.

I’m not personally a great proponent of friendship evangelism… the notion that we befriend people so that they will eventually become Christians can be manipulative. However, we often meet people who are not open to the gospel but whom we connect with naturally, see regularly and have opportunity to befriend. I believe if it is not through words we are called to convey the gospel, than certainly it is through our character.

Our witness then is not only through our words, but also through our behaviour, our interaction with others, and the sharing of our perspectives. As our ways draw closer to God’s ways, as our thoughts become more like God’s thoughts, then others will truly see the reflection of God through us. That is one form of witness.

So, over the coming weeks, we’ll open up issues to look at what God’s Word says, or what lies up with scripture, so we walk as Christ walked, doing only as the Father bid him. Opinions may be crushed – but let those be our opinions being crushed by God’s revealed perspective. Let there be no room for legalism, condemnation or judgment for we are not to judge those who are unsaved but to walk in love so that they might see God.

Concepts mentioned:

  • The Great Commission
  • Personal character
  • Actions, behaviour
  • Showing love
  • Befriending unbelievers
  • God’s perspective on current issues
  • Legalism, condemnation, judgement
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Examining Biblical Scripture

A Time to be Whole

Everything Has Its Time

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;
A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;
A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

God’s Salvation brings us to a place of assurance and security. We know He loves us unconditionally, and forgives our rebellion and every other wrong we’ve ever done. Recognizing His sovereignty, we believe there is nothing that occurs outside of His will. He is ultimately in charge, and there is a purpose in everything that happens around and to us.

But we have lived in the world, experienced pain and disappointment. We’ve learned to think differently to God. So inevitably, there is thinking to be renewed, pain to be healed, and fear to be erased. God can do ALL things and there is nothing beyond His sight or understanding.

Though in an instant we are saved by God’s grace through our faith in Jesus His son, it can take longer to walk in the wholeness that Jesus offers.

As we look into God’s Word, and look into God’s mirror to see our reflection through His eyes, we are encouraged to love ourselves as He loves us. Then we become the whole person God created us to be. And then we can fulfill the purposes God has for us.

Over the coming weeks and months, may this blog be an encouragement to you, the reader, to grow in the likeness of Christ: fully restored in your mind (intellect, emotions, will) and with the unique personality and character God has implanted within you.

Concepts mentioned:

  • Unconditional Love
  • Forgiveness of Sin
  • Sovereignty of God
  • Healing of the soul/Inner healing
  • Renewing our mind
  • Salvation by grace of God
  • Likeness of Christ
  • Uniquely made for unique purpose
  • Wholeness