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Security

1. freedom from danger or risk; safety.
2. freedom from care, anxiety, or doubt.
3. something that protects, shelters, or makes safe.
Where is your security? Have you believed your security was in your job? Your strength? Your talents? Your spouse? The country you live in? Or is it in any of the other benefits, privileges, or circumstances in your life? If you’ve believed this, then you’ve had a false security all along, and at any moment you could lose it. If our security is in this world, our heart also is for this world and the things in it.

”Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:15-17

Jesus Christ Himself is your only true security!

Maybe right now you are about to lose or have lost all your security. Perhaps you’ve lost your job, your health, or things around your world are crumbling, that you relied on for a feeling of security. You can’t fight it. You can’t change it. It’s beyond your control. There seems to be no way out. It seems hopeless. You dread what the future may hold.

God showed me, more surely than ever, this week, where my security lies. At times God removes those things He Himself gave us or allowed into our lives, so that we can know He alone is our security. We trusted them, but it was He Who provided them. Now we are forced to look away from them and cry out to Him.

This week some financial circumstances in my life, my own physical weakness and inability to work, and other seemingly insurmountable problems in our family, all came down on me threatening to drown me. I felt a dread of the future, and hopelessness, and really wished I could just lay down and die. I saw no way out. As I was lying in bed praying, the Lord spoke to my heart, “Be strong, Ginny!” When the Lord speaks that to you, you know it’s Him because as He gives the command, He also fulfills it in you. Immediately, I was strong in my inner being. I had a new inner strength and was no longer afraid. I felt like I could do anything. I knew the Lord, Himself, was my security, not anybody or anything on earth could be that.

Are we guaranteed prosperity, health, family, home, food, etc.? What if as His disciple we are called on to give it all up or lose it?

Mat 8:19 ”And a certain scribe came, and said to him, ‘Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest’.” Mat 8:20 ”And Jesus saith to him, ‘The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head’.”

What if terrorists destroy what we have? What if our stand for Jesus means losing all? Is our security in believing God won’t let anything bad happen to us? But there are many Christians all around the world who have already lost home, food, even children and spouse’s because of their stand for Christ. Where’s their security? What if His calling to follow Him means for you to have less, and give up your comfort?

See, I found out myself, personally, that night that no matter what I face I face it with Jesus Christ, my Lord, living in me, and I know He is able to sustain me, keep me, care for me, and strengthen me. No matter where I end up, or what I have or do not have, I am secure in Him as His child. My security isn’t in what He gives me, but in He Himself in me.

”Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isa. 41:10

The fear is usually in losing those things we trust in and have been privileged to have. We are afraid we cannot face life without them. But we need to surrender them all to the cross in order to be free. I found a freedom and release in doing that and I’m not afraid anymore! I don’t know what the future holds but I know the One Who holds my future and I have found rest in His perfect care. Can you trust in His love and goodness? Can you trust that you are His workmanship (Eph. 2:10), and He has your life cared for and planned from beginning to end? Can you trust His perfect will for you?

There is such peace and rest in surrendering your own will and care of your life to His cross. That’s how Paul could say, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.” Phil. 4:11-13

Let me repeat that last verse - verse 13 in the amplified Bible, ”I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].”

When we take our eyes off Jesus and put them on our circumstances it’s almost impossible for us to have faith. It’s like Peter, when he looked at the wind and waves coming at him as he stepped out on the water to walk to Jesus. At first, with faith in Jesus he was able. But looking at that big wave coming at him, and the storm raging he must have thought to himself, “Who am I trying to kid? This is impossible! I’m going to drown!” And he started to sink. But he did the right thing. He called out to Jesus to save him. Immediately Jesus gave him the ability to walk back to the boat with Him on the water.

Are you looking at impossible, hopeless circumstances today? Surrender them all to His perfect love and care of you, His precious child, whom He redeemed with His own blood. Call out to Him and let Him take you by the hand. Trust Him to lead you through them all and be all you need to hold you up, even as the storm is raging. Let Him be your security and rest. He will never leave you or forsake you. (Heb. 13:5)

Our security must be in Him alone or it is no security at all. ”For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.” Heb. 13:14

I’ll end by praying with the writer of Hebrews, ”Now may the God of peace Who brought up our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, the great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ to Whom be glory forever and ever, amen.” Heb. 13:20-21


Rest

To some of us the word brings relief for our weary souls. To others, it troubles them, because they feel, as Christians, work and rest don’t mix. “Just believe”, “rest in Him” – these phrases are troubling because they seem to be saying we are to be passive and neglect our work for the Lord.

No true “work for the Lord” can ever be done through us unless we are doing it form a place of resting in Him. If we are working to earn favor with God or working for God outside of that rest, our work is wood, hay, and stubble and will be burned up. It is vain and useless, and can never be pleasing to God. “For without faith it is impossible to please Him.” Heb. 10:6

Easy believism? What does that mean? Is just “believing” in Jesus too easy? Well, apparently it isn’t as easy as one would think because our pride seems to continually tell us it is not enough and we must earn our merit with God. So many fail to find that child-like rest in God alone, and His works because of pride, unbelief, or because they see God’s requirement of a holy life and think they must attain it in their own strength, by their works.

So what does it mean to believe? In the Greek the word means to adhere to, to rely on, to trust in, to cling to. It does not merely mean to give mental assent to something as it is often used for in the English. One can “believe” in (give mental assent to) Jesus, that He lived, died, and was risen from the dead for their sin, and even pray a prayer to Him without “believing in Him” to be their Savior because of His shed blood for Him. The moment they rely on, cling to, and trust in His blood alone to be their cleansing from sin, and rely on, trust in, and cling to Him to be their Savior, completely by His grace, and come into their heart to dwell by His Spirit, they are in a new position. They are born again by His spirit. He then begins a work in them of sanctification and they become “His workmanship” created in Christ Jesus for good works which He prepared beforehand for them to do. Eph. 2:10

Notice first we must believe our position in Christ – we must rest in what He alone has done. Out of that He prepares works for us to walk in.

If we believe in Him just as a branch abides in the vine – fruit will result. His life giving Spirit will flow through us. Out of this rest we have faith to overcome the world and the enemy…

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith.” 1 John 5:4

Ephesians 6:10-18 talks about our spiritual armor. It is simply the “rest” of our position in Christ, where we stand. From here we defeat the enemy.

Heb. 11 talks about the heroes of faith. All the works they accomplished, temptations they overcame, and enemies they defeated were from a “rest” of faith – believing God was Who He said He was and would do what He said He would do.

When one believes something, he acts according to what he truly believes. If a person believes God cannot forgive Him, he acts as one who is not forgiven, in guilt and defeat. If he believes God’s Word, that if He asks forgiveness, God will be faithful and true to forgive and cast no one away who comes to him, then he will act like a forgiven person – cleansed of sin, in thankfulness to his Savior. If one takes God at His Word when He says He will come into His heart and make all things new, then he will have peace and fellowship with God, and God’s Spirit is able to abide in Him.

Paul warns severely in his epistles not to rely on our own works, or to fall back from trusting in Jesus alone for our salvation.

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” Gal. 5:1

“You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” Gal. 5:4

The book of Hebrews tells us to be diligent to enter this rest of belief…

“Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. Heb. 4:11

What was that “disobedience” he was talking about? The disobedience of unbelief which the Israelites fell into when they would not trust God to bring them into the promised land and give it to them, because of the giants they saw in the land, though God had said He would give it to them Because they thought they must do it in their own strength, and it looked impossible, they failed to enter in. Their unbelief was disobedience.

“For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said, ‘So I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest’…” Heb. 4:2

Today we can obey God by believing Him to bring us to that rest in Him. If we are not held back by looking at what we must conquer in ourselves and this world, but instead put our full trust in His promise that if we believe in Him alone, in His power, in His blood, in His works alone, we may enter in to the rest of His salvation by grace, no longer depending on our ability or losing heart at our inability, but depending on His justification and His power to work it in our lives, make us new, and make us His workmanship, now leading us in the works He already, before the foundations of the world created us to walk in.

From this “rest” in Him we truly work. In fact now we are able to work fervently, with a passion as His power works in us mightily. We are free from condemnation. We are free from fear of judgment. We have peace with God. He has blessed us in the heavenlies with every spiritual blessing. And from this rest, we work diligently, filled with His Spirit, and His fruit flows forth from our lives. There can be no true work for God from any other position. And we can never attain this position in any other way but through the narrow way Jesus provided – Himself. As we put our faith in Him there will be no boasting in our own works, but, as Paul said, “Therefore I have reason to glory in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to God. For I will not dare to speak of any of these things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed… Rom. 5:17-18

May His love and life now fill your hearts through faith in Him as you read His Word and believe it.


The Author and Finisher of Our Faith

“…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb. 12:2

One lesson I have learned over the years of my Christian walk, and am still learning, is that Jesus is the author of my faith and He also is the One Who will bring it to completion. He continues to show me what that means in my life in new ways. It’s not for me to even know how He will do this or what He is doing.

So often we think we know what God wants to do in us or work in us, so we set about to help Him out. Or we think we know our “calling” so we set about to fulfill it. Or we have a spiritual pursuit – something we desire God to do, and try to manipulate God and our circumstances to bring it about or make it happen the way we think it should and in the time we think it should.

As I was seeking God this week asking Him to please show me what He was trying to do in my life at this time – what His purposes were in my trials, He made it clear to me that it is not for me to know or understand what He wants to do in and through me, through them, or how, but only to yield to His hand and trust Him alone to bring it about. There is nothing I can do to bring His purposes about myself. He will do that as I trust and yield. It’s enough to know He holds my future in His hands and has planned my way, and will bring it to completion.

“…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Phil. 1:6

I’ve learned the hard way not to say, “This is what God is doing in my life.” I would rather now leave that up to God. If God truly is doing a work in my life, I won’t have to tell anybody about it, bringing the focus to me, but it will be evident and others will see God’s work in me and through me and the attention will be brought to Him. I would rather talk about Him, and let Him do the rest.

I have seen the consequences of people trying to manipulate God’s hand, thinking they know what He wants to do. In the charismatic groups it is manifested in false signs and wonders. In non-charismatic groups it is manifested in church movements and programs that take the place of the work of the Holy Spirit. But what is flesh is flesh, regardless of which kind of Christian group it is in. We are to yield to Him to be His vessel to flow through as He wills, not as we will or try to make happen.

Our faith cannot grow any faster by trying to find short cuts to spirituality. There are no short cuts. There is one way – the cross. As we yield ourselves to His cross – our author and finisher, by the power of that cross works it in our lives, to put to death our flesh and perfect His work in us. We are His workmanship. If it is our workmanship it is good for nothing in His eyes.

Sometimes, we find challenges to our faith in God’s Word, such as scripture verses that challenge our understanding or our walk with God. They trouble us and our faith wavers. Maybe they don’t seem to be true in our lives. It is God’s Spirit challenging us, I believe, to dig deeper, to seek Him more, to ask Him to make this more than a dead letter – but a living Word in your life. We are challenged to trust Him, though we don’t understand, and let Him work it out in our life. It seems to come up again and again. You are challenged to believe it or not to believe it. You agonize over it. You can’t except the pat answers anymore. You want to know it for yourself and walk in it. The author and finisher of your faith is working a true and deeper faith in His living Word into your being in such a way that it will forever live in you and will not leave you. You will not only know His Word in your head, but it will become a part of you and be grounded in you forever. He is fulfilling His promise…

“This is the covenant I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” Heb. 10:16

It’s such a relief to quit trying to be the author and finisher of our own faith! What a blessing when we give up ourselves to Him to be that for us. Many times our frustrations and strugglings and strivings come because we struggle against His yoke, trying to be the author of our own faith, instead of yielding to His leading. He said His yoke is easy and His burden light – yet if we struggle to go the way we think we should or want – even spiritually, without His leading, we find a very hard yoke, as we pull one way and Jesus the other.

Don’t try to judge your own “spiritual level” or walk with the Lord. Leave that up to God. Only He really knows what His purposes are in your life and what He wants to make you. You cannot know that. About the time you think you have arrived to being something you will find you were really nothing. Let Him judge that and let Him bring you where He wants you, not where you want to be.

We fret because we thought God was working something out a certain way in our life and it doesn’t turn out that way. We thought He was giving us a certain ministry and we neglected the little things and people in our lives daily trying to fulfill it ourselves. Leave it to God! Yield to Him every day as He brings opportunities and people into your life – yield your vessel to Him and let Him work out your faith. As we are in a hard place, recognize even this is of the author and finisher of your faith, as He is working His Word in you and building a purified faith, that is pure as gold. What you thought was faith will fall away…and only pure faith in Him will remain. You may feel as though you have lost your faith. Many works and experiences you thought were real will turn out to be wood, hay, and stubble. You may feel that the rug has been pulled out from under your feet. But what you lost was not true faith at all. You had to lose it, so you could find true faith in Him. He alone can work that in you. Trust Him to do it. Don’t be afraid when you see it happening but surrender it all into His hands and let Him do it. God may be more at work in you when you think you are weak in your faith than when you think you are strong.

Thank you, Jesus, for being the author and finisher of our faith – One that we can count on to finish the work that You began in us. No matter what our lives look like around us, help us to trust You to do this in our hearts and lives.


What Compels You?

”For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus; that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” 2 Cor. 5:14,15

What would compel the Son of God to give up His place of glory in Heaven to come to this earth as a humble man, born to a poor family in a stable? What would compel Him to go into a wilderness for 50 days and face severe temptation from the devil and hunger? What would compel Him to allow Himself to be spit on, beaten, ridiculed and blasphemed by those He had come to save and show His grace to? And what would finally drive Him to carry His cross down a long, lonely road, with barely any strength, to a hill where He would be hung on that cross and crucified. What kind of love is this?

This same love compelled Paul to suffer persecution after persecution, deprivation, hunger, shipwreck, and betrayal. It compelled many in the early church to give up their lives and suffer at the hands of unbelievers unspeakable suffering and death. What kind of force is this that compels people to do this?

We suffer in the world one way or another, but the thing that compels us is what determines why and how we suffer, and what that suffering will do to us.

What compels you, impels you, urges you on, constrains and motivates you? What is the driving force in you that gives you a reason to get up every morning and do what you do, no matter how mundane, or how difficult, or what you have to face?

Sometimes I’m too weak to get up in the morning so I’ve had to ask the Lord to put His motivation, and His reason in me to fight my weak body, push myself one more day, and do the tedious mundane tasks of my day. Is the pain worth it? Maybe you’re wondering that right now in your life. It would be easy some days for me to just stay in bed but the love of Christ has been shed in my heart when I received Him as my Savior. This love compels me on with meaning to even the mundane tasks in life assuring me that He is using them all, and in them all. If He has chosen for me to get up and go on, it is enough reason. That love is in you if you are His and will not fail to compel you and urge you on, when you feel like quitting, when you feel there is no more meaning in your life, when you can’t face another day, when all your dreams are gone. His love compels you and gives you the reason.

Many things in this world can compel us - the instinct for survival, the desire for achievement, our love for someone else and their dependence on us, etc. But what about when our own motives, love, reason, and hopes are gone? When it comes to the point of self – sacrifice, sometimes I wonder – deep down – what is the thing that constrains, or compels me. Will it keep me going when I want to give up? Will it enable me to face the worst in life? I believe Jesus Christ is there in us, in that time of testing when we’re asked to give up our selves to the cross, just as the Love of God compelled Him out of the Garden of Gethsemane and down that road to the cross, I believe His love is great enough in our Gethsemane to bring us all the way to the cross and beyond to resurrection, just as it did Him.

Are you faced with the cross? Are you in your own Gethsemane? Don’t be afraid of it, and don’t shun it. Don’t be afraid of His love though it compels you to walk down that road to the cross. Let it compel you on and trust Him. You may long to say, as Jesus, “Father, take this cup from me! Isn’t there any other way?” But you know if there were another way He would never bring you there. Let His love compel you on to say, “Not my will but Yours be done!” If it ended there at the cross, and all we saw was the suffering, the death, it wouldn’t make sense – but there is a joy set before us – a resurrection!

“He, for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb. 12:2

I have decided whatever I face in this life, I want the love of Christ to be my compelling force. Do you ever wonder why some people can make it through the worst odds in life, suffer cheerfully, make tremendous self-sacrifice, and lives around them are changed for the better? The love of Christ is their compelling force. They can endure it for the joy set before them. They see themselves seated with Christ in the heavenlies.

Yet, some fall quickly over every small trial and become bitter over life. What is their compelling force? All of us must decide to let go of the selfish ambitions of our heart that have driven us, and let our lives and the cares of this life go at the cross, giving them up into the hands of the One Who died for us and longs to fill us with His life. We must now let that life compel us and no longer our own. Those who refuse to, end up destroyed by their own bitterness, and never satisfied by their own desires. But the love of Christ that compels us also gives us life, and sustains us and brings us ultimately to share in His glory. What are the sufferings of this life compared with that?

Abba, when we are brought to the end of our own reason to go on, our own hopes, dreams, ambitions and our own love, I pray Your love will constrain us, control us, and urge us on through whatever road you have chosen for us in this life, until it finally leads us home at last, in Your presence.


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