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Our Anchor

Heb 6:16-19 ”For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil”

Anchor: 2. [Anything that holds] — Syn. support, mainstay, ballast, safeguard, stay, security, protection, hold, tie, pillar, staff, fastener, grip, defense, protection, foothold, belay.

What greater support, mainstay, safeguard, etc. do we have than God’s own promises given to us in His Word? What is more sure and reliable than His own Word? Nothing!

So many times in our life there are storms, there are confusions, there are things that knock us off course and we lose our focus. There are times when our feelings are inconsistent and times when we are distracted in our spiritual life. But always Jesus is our anchor. He never changes, and His Word is steadfast and unchangeable. He will never lie to us. Our own minds, our feelings, our circumstances can tell us things are hopeless, or depressing, or whatever – but we have an anchor that is sure that we can always go to during those times to steady us and remind us where we are. The storm clouds can look so black that without that anchor we could easily drift to who knows where! But our anchor holds onto us and keeps us from drifting.

When I fought depression and irrational fear in my life, His Word was my anchor. It healed me and steadied me, and kept my focus on the One Who was my life. It brought me back to reality, which is what God says it is, written to us in His Word. I flooded my mind with His promises. They held me steady.

No matter how “spiritual” you may consider yourself, or how long you have known the Lord, you will never do without your anchor. Without it you will drift for sure. These precious saints understood their anchor, and learned to depend on Him regardless of circumstances or feelings…

"Our Father wants us in the place where we do not depend upon feelings; where, though we do not behold Him, though we do not sense Him, we shall 'endure as beholding Him who is invisible.' He wants us where we can trust Him through darkness and apparent separation, as unflinchingly as in light and fellowship; where we know that His banner, Love, is always floating over us, though it is so dark that we cannot see it.

"There is no grace in delighting in the presence and favor of the Father when they are resting consciously and continuously upon us; for this rejoicing comes from sight and feelings. But there is precious grace in that delight which is not dependent upon His favors, nor upon our enjoyment of them; but which is wholly dependent and has its source in the Father's explicit Word, and His eternal faithfulness." – Charles Henry Macintosh (1820-1896)

“When circumstances seem impossible, when all signs of grace in you seem at their lowest ebb, when temptation is fiercest, when love and joy and hope seem well nigh extinguished in your heart, then rest, without feeling and without emotion, in the Father's faithfulness; abide in the fact that He loves you infinitely, and even now is working in you faithfully; and honor Him, and put the enemy to flight by taking to yourself the words of Job: 'Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.' 'I have prayed for thee' (says the One who ever lives to make intercession for us) 'that thy faith fail not.” – David Tryon

The hardest lesson of my life, being a person that is very emotional by nature, was to learn to trust in the Anchor of my soul regardless of what else may seem to be. My early Christian life was up and down, like a roller coaster ride, based on how I felt. But so many things can affect our feelings. Sickness, circumstances, hormones, and the words of others – none of these things should throw us off in our walk with the Lord, because we have an anchor that holds us steady.

Learn to rely on, cling to, trust in, and adhere to that anchor! On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand…remember that song? It was one of the first songs I learned in Sunday school after I gave my heart to the Lord. It said to me I could always depend on Jesus. I couldn’t always depend on myself, or people, or feelings or even a religious system, but I could always cling to my Savior and I could always count on His Word, that His promises were sure and what He said He would do, and He would never fail me or forsake me. So many things have come into my life to shake me since that time. But my Anchor has never failed me! He has always continually pulled me back to my place in Him.

Are you relying on anything else through your storms and dark clouds? Nothing else will hold on to you but your Anchor!

Be Still My Soul

Psa 42:5 ”Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.”

There are so many things in this life to cause our souls to be “cast down”. Sometimes we have to say to our soul, “Be still! Hope in god! He has a plan, He has a purpose, I’m His, and I will yet praise Him for His help!”

I love the old Hymn, “Be Still My Soul” as Selah sings it—

Be still my soul
The Lord is on your side
Bear patiently
The cross of grief or pain
Leave to thy God
To order and provide
In every change
He faithful will remain

Be still my soul
Thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through stormy ways
Leads to a joyful end.

Be still my soul
The waves and winds still know
Still know
His voice Who ruled them
While He dwelt below

What a comfort we have in Jesus, when the winds and waves are overwhelming. Stress can be one of the greatest enemies to our health, causing much damage to our immune system and nervous system. Ongoing stress with no break can even cause death. How does one escape, in this day, all the damaging affects of stress? No wonder God’s Word tells us to “be anxious in nothing, but by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let our requests be made known to God.” (Phil. 4:6). And no wonder He tells us to ”Cast all our cares on Him, for He careth for you.” (1 Peter 5:7).

Paul had continuous stressors in his life, but learned to “rejoice in the Lord always”, and “give thanks in all things”. David encouraged himself in the Lord. He also quieted his soul and said, “Be still”—reminding himself God was still his help, He was in control, and would not fail or forsake him.

We have a sure hope in Jesus, no matter what the circumstances. We can’t change the stressors in our lives. We have no control over them, but we can change how we react to them. We can choose faith in God and His unfailing love for us, and His perfect plan for us. We can choose to praise Him, and trust all that has come into our lives through His nail-scarred hands.

Be still my soul—when the world is crazy. Be still—when terror strikes. Be still—when finances fall apart and you lose everything. Be still—when you are rejected, misunderstood, and mistreated. Be still—when sickness strikes. Be still! Know thy God! Know that He is God, and that none of these things can defeat Him or His love for you. Be still! Know that you are more than conqueror through Christ, Who loved you and gave Himself up for you. Be still! Know that nothing can separate you from His love. Be still! Know that through even this, He is working for your good. Be still, and know that soon you will see the glory of God. This too will pass. Now is your time of sorrow, but your time of joy will come in the morning—a joy that no one can take from you—a joy unspeakable and full of glory—a joy that will never end for all eternity. There are times we just hang on for the ride until it passes, trusting God, knowing there is nothing we can do but endure as a good soldier.

Be still my soul—He won’t let you down!

The Hope of Our Inheritance

1Pe 1:3-7 ”Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”

No matter what we face in this life, we have as believers, assurance of a hope, and inheritance, that is beyond corruption, that is beyond theft, that will never, ever fade away. We have a sure hope, not as the world has, but one that no one can ever take from us. They may persecute, torture, hate, ridicule, or do whatever they wish to us, but they cannot take away our hope. This is what keeps us through our trials. This is what keeps us keeping on when we have nothing left of health or worldly treasures in this earth. This is what nourishes and strengthens us for whatever difficulty we face ahead. This is what we rejoice in when there is no reason in this earthly life to rejoice. This is the strength of our inner being. Matthew Henry’s commentary says it well…

"Hope, in the world's phrase, refers only to an uncertain good, for all worldly hopes are tottering, built upon sand, and the worldling's hopes of heaven are blind and groundless conjectures. But the hope of the sons of the living God is a living hope; not only as to its object, but as to its effect also. It enlivens and comforts in all distresses, enables to meet and get over all difficulties. Mercy is the spring of all this; yea, great mercy and manifold mercy. And this well-grounded hope of salvation, is an active and living principle of obedience in the soul of the believer. The matter of a Christian's joy, is the remembrance of the happiness laid up for him. It is incorruptible, it cannot come to nothing, it is an estate that cannot be spent. Also undefiled; this signifies its purity and perfection. And it fadeth not; is not sometimes more or less pleasant, but ever the same, still like itself. All possessions here are stained with defects and failings; still something is wanting: fair houses have sad cares flying about the gilded and ceiled roofs; soft beds and full tables, are often with sick bodies and uneasy stomachs. All possessions are stained with sin, either in getting or in using them. How ready we are to turn the things we possess into occasions and instruments of sin, and to think there is no liberty or delight in their use, without abusing them! Worldly possessions are uncertain and soon pass away, like the flowers and plants of the field. That must be of the greatest worth, which is laid up in the highest and best place, in heaven. Happy are those whose hearts the Holy Spirit sets on this inheritance. God not only gives his people grace, but preserves them unto glory. Every believer has always something wherein he may greatly rejoice; it should show itself in the countenance and conduct. The Lord does not willingly afflict, yet his wise love often appoints sharp trials, to show his people their hearts, and to do them good at the latter end. Gold does not increase by trial in the fire, it becomes less; but faith is made firm, and multiplied, by troubles and afflictions. Gold must perish at last, and can only purchase perishing things, while the trial of faith will be found to praise, and honour, and glory. Let this reconcile us to present afflictions. Seek then to believe Christ's excellence in himself, and his love to us; this will kindle such a fire in the heart as will make it rise up in a sacrifice of love to him. And the glory of God and our own happiness are so united, that if we sincerely seek the one now, we shall attain the other when the soul shall no more be subject to evil. The certainty of this hope is as if believers had already received it."

Too often our lives, even as Christians are so wrapped up in this world that we forget our inheritance. We forget that we are only pilgrims in this earth. Every believer should know that this world is not his life, and that friendship with the world is enmity toward God. This world is not our heaven. This body we live in is only temporary. Every single detail of our life in Christ is provided by Him. That does not mean it will always go our way and we will always find pleasant pasture in this life. It does mean that we do not ever have to dread or fear a single thing that happens to us here because we have a permanent inheritance that is unspeakable and full of glory!! Hallelujah! We can walk now, in faith of that inheritance.

If that doesn’t change the way you think, the way you act and live and talk and breathe, then perhaps you do not understand at all what it is to be a Christian. Too many Christians are too attached to this world, forgetting we are not here to get whatever we can out of it. We are here only for Christ. If He wanted to give us heaven right away He’d take us home as soon as we were saved. But we are in this world for Him. There are others who need to have Christ shown to them and be saved from the world’s corruption. We are here as His representative. And as we go through good times and bad we show others what it means to go through it with the glory of Christ in our lives. We show them what it means to live with an incorruptible inheritance full of glory ahead of us, while walking this earth. If we act the same as they do when trials and difficulties strike, then how will we tell them that we have a hope that they don’t have outside of Christ?

But our hope is sure. It is not built on sinking sand. It is built on the solid Rock of Jesus Christ! Let us walk and talk accordingly, remembering our blessed hope that the world cannot ever take away!

Setting Our Affections

Col 3:2 ”Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”

5426 phroneo fron-eh'-o (affection) From Strong’s

from 5424; to exercise the mind, i.e. entertain or have a sentiment or opinion; by implication, to be (mentally) disposed (more or less earnestly in a certain direction); intensively, to interest oneself in (with concern or obedience):--set the affection on, (be) care(-ful), (be like-, + be of one, + be of the same, + let this) mind(-ed), regard, savour, think

Our affections can drive us one way or another in life. They can lead us down the wrong path or they can lead us towards God. Many think they have no control over their affections, their strong inner feelings and sentiments. So they let their affections drive them. Such are those spoken of here:

Phi 3:18-19 ”(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)”

Yet we are told in scripture to deliberately set our affections on things above. It is an act of our will, which we can choose to do, as believers. We are no longer slaves to our belly or the passions of our flesh.

When we come to Christ, we are given a new heart – a new set of desires according to the Holy Spirit. Without that born again experience of receiving the Holy Spirit and becoming a new creation in Christ, it is impossible for us to set our affections on things above. There is no affection in our flesh for the things of God.

Yet, now, if we are in Christ there is a new desire for God and what pleases Him. We are to purposely set our affections on those things that please God. Yet, we can so easily become complacent and let things of this world come in and take over our affections if we are not careful, pulling us away from the affection that belongs to God in our life. It happens so easily, doesn’t it? Before we know it – a few times of missing our prayer and devotional time with the Lord, a few more times in front of the TV or something else, that in itself seems harmless, but before we know it we feel a coldness in our hearts for the Lord. We no longer look forward to our devotional time with the Lord, but instead it now becomes a chore that we have to do. We hurry through it to get on with some of our other interests or pursuits, supposing we’ve appeased the Lord by spending a little time with Him.

What are you setting your affections on?

If we find that this has happened in our life, we need to purposely, once again, turn our affections to Jesus. It may mean for awhile setting aside all else until, once again, He takes first place in your affections.

Is it that important? It is to the Lord.

Rev 2:1-5 ”Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”

We may be serving the Lord, and doing everything else right, but if we lost our first love, God taking first place in our affections, then we are not really pleasing God at all. It is when that is in place that all our other affections are focused in the right direction and are fulfilled as the Psalms tell us…

Psa 37:4 ”Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”

Are you worried that you will not find happiness or fulfillment unless you pursue these things? He promised a greater fulfillment in your life if you set your affections on Him first. All our needs for satisfaction are met, not in the things of this world, or even in ministry, but in Jesus Christ.

The following is from Charles Andrew Coates (1862-1945)

"It is as we take the Lord Jesus by faith into the affections of our hearts that we make spiritual progress. It is as He occupies an enlarged place in our affections that we go on. The head may be filled with general theological information without producing one spark of heart-affection for the Lord Jesus, and the soul remains in a state of spiritual emaciation. Many have been misled by thinking that by reading the Bible you become like Christ–transformed; but you will find diligent students of the Word, who may never say anything incorrect in doctrine, yet who never seem to grow in grace and walk in spiritual reality. All blessings of this dispensation of grace are wrapped up in a Person, and, by means of the Word of God, we make spiritual progress as our hearts learn to find everything in Him–the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us."

It is a matter of choice where we will set our affections. Will we set them on this earth, or on things above. Will we make Jesus our chief love and joy? Will we seek to know Him intimately, as He also knows us and loves us?