Supreme Ruler

I want to share something from my journal this morning. God is in control of all things in our lives. The trials that He allows are His purpose, His will, His excellent counsel for us. There are three metaphors I want to use: pruning, fire, light. Severe pruning yields abounding fruit. Trials purify the genuine metal of our faith. Light exposes all darkness. Consider these verses:

John 15:2 says, “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” 1 Peter 1:7 says, “That the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” John 3:21 says, “But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

John 15:5 says, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” Be pruned, being tested by fire, and walking in the light are all part of abiding in Him.

1 John 1:7 says, “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” Paul says it another way in 2 Timothy 2:20-21. “But in a great house there are not only vessel of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.”

Pruning, fire, light are the Supreme Ruler’s tools of preparation. It is all part of our being set apart for God (sanctification). He has a plan. Nothing can thwart His purpose. When we resist His work, He prunes back the saplings of our own strength, the fire reveals more dross, and He brings circumstances that illuminate the darkness we are seemingly unaware of. His desire is that we will become more like Him. He was yielded to the Father in all things.

We Speak What We Believe

 

2 Corinthians 4:13 says, “And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, I believed and therefore I spoke, we also believe and therefore speak.” Do you hear what you are speaking?

Matthew 12:34 says that what we speak is the outflow of our heart. Therefore what we are believing in our heart comes out our mouth. What do you believe about your present circumstances, about the folks around you, or about yourself? If you listen to what you are saying you will understand what you are believing in your heart.

Haggai 1:2 says, “Thus speaks the Lord of hosts, saying, This people says…” The Lord helped the people hear what they were believing through what they were speaking. They were disobeying His word to rebuild. The Lord knows what is in our hearts. Ask Him to help you discern what you are believing because of the evidence of your words.

Ephesians 4:15 says to speak the truth in love. The only way we can do that will be from a heart that is first thinking about how we love the person we are speaking to. Love in our heart will result in our speaking truth in love, not with criticism, negativity, or derision.

Peter helps us understand the practicality. 1 Peter 1:21 says, “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart.”

He further explains in 1 Peter 3:9. It says, “Not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.” The Amplified says, “…blessing (praying for their welfare, happiness, and protection, and truly pitying and loving them).”

Sincere love comes from pure thoughts. Don’t entertain negative thoughts. When you have a negative thought come into your mind, don’t give it another thought. Immediately thank the Lord for that person, for the moment, or the circumstance. Let it be a reminder to focus on the Lord. Instead of reacting in your flesh, cooperate with the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 5:16 says, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” When we react in our flesh we are opposing the work the Holy Spirit wants to do in our heart and theirs.

Living in the flesh, or dwelling in the past is like drinking stagnant water. Ugh! There is no life in the Spirit, no light, no peace, and no grace. The flip side of that is to live in and be directed by the Spirit into the things the Lord has prepared for you. His word is pure water, like a free flowing artesian well. Are you thirsty? Come drink. John 7:37-38 says, “…If anyone is thirsty, let him to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

Supreme Ruler

It is good to remind ourselves often Who the Lord is, and who we are. Job 40 did that for me this morning. Verse 10 bent the knees of my heart instantly. In the Amplified it says, “(Since you question the manner of the Almighty’s rule) deck yourself now with the excellency and dignity (of the Supreme Ruler, and yourself undertake the government of the world if you are so wise), and array yourself with honor and majesty.”

Shortly after this Job spoke about how God’s words affected him. Job 42:2-3 says, “I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. You asked, Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge? There I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.”

The Lord will fulfill His purpose in our lives. It may not look like we would think. It may not be what we would want. However it is His perfect plan and purpose for us. We are created to glorify Him. He works all the things in our lives according to His will not ours.

Years ago Francis Schaeffer wrote a book entitled: How Then Shall We Live? 1 Peter 1:17 says, “And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear.”

The word ‘conduct’ has been in my journaling’s the last few days. What does it look like? Ephesians 4:22-24 says that we are to ‘put off’ the things we are thinking and doing that would not glorify the Lord. Then renew our minds with His truth on how He wants us to  conduct ourselves. Then we can ‘put on’ our new man that was created according (in the same measure) to His righteousness and holiness.

Here is a new song that bubbled up after I read Job 40:

I bow before You Lord. You are great and awesome in power. There is none like You, no one Your equal. You alone are Ruler Over All. To You I offer my praise. You alone are worthy. I’m created to glorify You, through a life yielded and true. All that I have is from You. They are gifts from above, showered upon me in loving mercy. You never change, remaining the same: Faithful and True, and Gracious. My purpose is to glorify You, in all that I say and do. Every word from my mouth, every action and plan, it’s all through You and for You. I am nothing in myself.

Stilling Anger

I love this verse in the Amplified. Proverbs 29:11 says, “A (self-confident) fool utters all his anger, but a wise man holds it back and stills it.” A fool vents with words spewing out. A wise man does the opposite. How do we ‘still’ anger?

James 1:19-20 are great verses to store in our heart. They say, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not promote the righteousness that God requires.”

Ephesians 4:26-27 says, “Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.” There is righteous anger. It is the opposite of sinful anger. Verse 27 follows the comma after verse 26.

In other words we are to resolve the issue that is making us feel angry before we enter into sin because of it. We are not to let it simmer, or to stuff it, or to let it occupy our mind. “Do not let…” is our responsibility.

Going back up to verse 22 it says, “That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.” It may feel good to vent your anger because it feeds your flesh. Our flesh is hungry for revenge.

Verse 24 says, “And that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” NOTE. Sandwiched between verse 22 and 24 is verse 23 which which says, “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” If we miss this step our self-efforts will be fleshly and profit nothing (John 6:63).

Therefore we process our feelings of anger and still them BY putting off the anger, renewing our mind through the truth of God’s word, and then putting on His righteousness. Literally conforming our thoughts, purpose, and actions to His will through His word.

What is His will? Romans 12:18 says, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” Here is the other part. Verse 19 says, “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

Spewing angry words is avenging yourself. Instead, we are to give that place to the Lord. He is our Avenger. We sin against the Lord when we take His place. The principle: anytime we disobey God’s word we sin against Him.

The temptation is to sin in our anger. That is exactly how we give place to the devil (Ephesians 4:27) instead of giving place to the Lord (Roman s 12:19). Any temptation can be quenched by putting the above verses into practice. 1 John 1:6 says, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” Sin disrupts our fellowship with the Lord until we confess it and forsake it.

What Compels You?

Paul said that the love of Christ compelled him. 2 Corinthians 5:14 says, “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died.” The word compel means to hold together or to grip tightly.  Note in my Bible: …there is the sense of constraint, a tight grip that prevents all escape. The love of Christ leaves us no choice except to live our lives for Him.

Yesterday I was proof reading Victorious Heart. It said, “God’s living and powerful word hidden in our heart will pull down the strongholds the enemy set up.  Are you floundering or flourishing in your faith?  Are you allowing God’s word to wash away the debris buried in your unconscious, or are you resisting His promptings?  Are you meditating on God’s word day and night, or are you rehearsing the wrongs done against you?  Your answers to the above questions reveal your true heart.”

This morning I wrote some verses in my journal. Romans 5:17 says, “…those who receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” Verse 21 says, “…grace might reign through righteousness.”

What does reign mean? To triumph! Romans 6:12 says, “Do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.” Reigning over all my sin-thoughts controls how I live, and continuously compels me to obey His word.

We cannot conquer our flesh without the Holy Spirit’s empowerment. Any self-effort comes from our flesh which profits nothing. John 6:63 says, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”

His righteousness will have ruling power in our lives as we submit to His way. Walking in His righteousness (conformity to His will in our thoughts, purpose, and actions) will cause us to triumph over every temptation to sin!

Here is a great analogy. Joshua 10:16-27 is the recorded defeat of five enemy kings. I love verse 24. It is a great picture of how we conquer our temptations. It says, “…Come near, put your feet on the necks of these kings…” Verse 25 says, “…Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed; be strong and of good courage, for thus the Lord will do to all your enemies against whom you fight.” We wrestle down and subdue our temptations to sin, triumphing over them through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

Heart’s Picture Gallery

I’ve been proofing my paperback called “Victorious Heart.” Last night I read the section about the hallway full of pictures. What pictures do you have hanging in the hallway of your heart?

Are they old, faded, covered with dust and cobwebs? Are they images from your past that constantly remind you of sins done against you, sins you committed, or circumstances that caused emotional pain?

Are there scenes that you rehearse in your mind? Scenes of trauma, people who hurt you, rejections, angry outbursts, or abuse. Do you have pictures of fantasies in order to escape your present?

I had wrong pictures on the wall of my heart. I asked the Lord to take them down for me. They were in my unconscious. I could not access them but He could. It is a though He graciously took them down and poured His shed blood over them. He reminded me that He already paid the price for my sins and the sins done against me.

Then He began to redecorate my wall. First He brought in His light. The whole hallway was transformed from dark to light. He took down the death words, and hung signs of redemption in their place; words of life from His word. Here is one you will recognize

Old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new

Think about this verse. Isaiah 64:6 says that our righteousness is as filthy rags. Yet, at salvation He clothed us with His robe of righteousness! As He continues to redecorate the walls of your heart, you will begin to see yourself as He sees you. Your thoughts will begin to line up with His word.

Perhaps you felt shame as you walked down the hallway of your heart. He took that old picture down and gave you a true picture. Psalm  34:5 says, “They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed.”

I encourage you to ask the Lord to redecorate the hallway in your heart. He delights in setting us free from the painful images of our past. He wants us to walk in the newness of life that He purchased for us through His death on the cross. It is having our mind renewed through His powerful word’s of life and hope. Ephesians 4:23 Amplified says, “And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind (having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude).”