Illuminations

Today’s post is simply a selection of seven entries from my quiet time journal (2002-2008)—things the Holy Spirit has illuminated as I’ve prayed and read the Bible. It’s always such a blessing to go back and re-read my prayer journal. It helps put things in perspective—God’s perspective—as I read about problems that seemed to loom so large at the time, but that God has now solved through answered prayer. Seeing the past through the lens of the present is probably not far from how God views us at all times. We despair as we wait and wait and wait for God to move. But for Him, past, present, and future is always just…the present. He is not confined to time. We must remember that as we wait on Him.

God’s Cable Connection

It’s a whole lot easier to be sure about God’s will when it’s something the flesh doesn’t want, like the call to ministry. But when it’s something the flesh likes and wants, like a new house, you wonder if it’s the Spirit or the flesh spurring you to do it. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) It’s not that I don’t want to trust God. It’s that I don’t trust me, my God receiver. Sometimes the static of the flesh makes it hard to get a clear signal. Lord, give me a direct, high speed, cable connection to You. Then, give me the willingness to act on what you tell me. The Bible is that direction connection, but there’s so many “channels,” it’s hard to find the right one at the right time. At that point you’re helplessly left to the mercy and grace and love and faithfulness of God. Just pray and ask for the Cable Guide, the Holy Spirit. Special thanks to the Cable Installer, Jesus.

I want to be someone who…

  1. Quotes Scripture in conversation
  2. Is more excited about Jesus than anything else
  3. Is a constant soul-winner
  4. Meek, yet not afraid to speak
  5. Has break-through ideas
  6. Never wastes a moment
  7. Never misses an opportunity
  8. A bright Christian, personable, positive
  9. Wise
  10. Remembered as someone who loved God, loved family, loved people
  11. Made an eternal impact
  12. Thinks pure thoughts

Oh, how short I fall.

How to Recognize the Kind of Wisdom That Comes from the Lord (James 3:17-18)

  1. Pure, undefiled
  2. Peace-loving
  3. Considerate, gentle, courteous
  4. Submissive, reasonable, yields to reason
  5. Full of mercy, compassion
  6. Full of good fruit
  7. Impartial, unwavering, whole-hearted, straight-forward, unfeigned
  8. Sincere, without hypocrisy, free from doubts

Seven Truths About Sin

  1. Sin is destructive.
  2. Sin is deceptive.
  3. Sin is attractive only because it is a lie.
  4. If we knew, agreed with, and trusted (knowledge, assent, trust—KAT) the truth, we wouldn’t believe the lie, and sin would lose its attractiveness.
  5. We should seek to know the whole truth.
  6. We should agree/assent to it.
  7. We should trust God and decide not to sin, but to choose the truth, which will result in our good and His glory.

Therefore, to the degree that we know, agree with, and trust absolute truth, we will not sin.

Saturate your mind with God’s Word, the only source of absolute truth.

Staying Clean

Sometimes it’s easier to resist temptation? Why? I’ve noticed that it’s at times when I feel clean and confessed up before God. It’s like right after you’ve taken a nice shower. You don’t want to do anything that will make you sweat or get dirty. But when you’ve just mowed the grass, you’ll dive into any dirty ol’ job. Holiness breeds holiness. And sin breeds sin. One good decision fosters another. And one bad decision fosters another. The Bible will keep your from sin. And sin will keep you from the Bible. So stay clean and confessed up and next to God. You won’t want to get dirty.

Christ Is the Door

I’ve always heard things like “Christ is the answer,” that He Himself is the solution to overcoming sin. I always thought that was just Christian rhetoric and jargon. But I heard an illustration about a shepherd being the sheep gate, that the shepherd literally lays down in the gap in the fence and himself becomes a living gate. Christ Himself is the Door. (John 10:7-9) How? When you’re tempted to sin, don’t try to focus on the “do“—performing the right behavior. Don’t focus on the “be“—having integrity and character and purity. Focus on Christ Himself. Know that He loves you and will never let you go, no matter how repulsive your sin, no matter how repetitive. His unconditional love is motivation like no other to do right and be who we should be in Christ. Call on His resources, His power to overcome temptation. Appropriate it. Let Him fight for you. He is the Doorway. He Himself is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is.

God’s Love and God’s Favor

There’s a distinction between God’s love and God’s favor. Just like there’s a distinction between joy and happiness. Joy is unconditional and results from the awareness that God is the sources of all that is good. Happiness is conditional on happenstance. Likewise, God’s love is unconditional and flows from the endless sources of His holiness and devotion as our Creator and God. God’s favor is conditional on our obedience, the raw material from which He fashions blessings. I want to please and grow in favor with God. “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:52) Imagine that…there was a time when God had less favor for Jesus than He does today. But God’s favor with Jesus never decreased. It only increased because He never sinned. Oh, that I could be more like Jesus.

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