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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Be Strong in the LORD...

We are instructed to "be strong in the LORD and in the Strength of His Might" (1 Corinth.16:13; Ephesians 1:19; 6:10). We are commanded to "put on the full Armor of God that we may stand firm against the schemes of the devil" (Ephesians 6:11).

We are reminded "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, (carnal men) but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against spiritual "forces" of wickedness in the heavenly places. We are commanded to "take up the whole Armor of God, to resist the evil day, and stand firm" (Ephesians 6:12-13).

Here are some additional thoughts, upon which you may wish to focus, and some actions we, as believers, can do to keep a balanced, eternal perspective, and maintain a state of single-mindedness:

We know, from the Scriptures, He ever lives to intercede for us. (Heb 7:25) He may allow storms, at times, to deepen our trust, our relationship, and our reliance upon Him. We know the Lord has given us His "tools" (His Armor, His Word, His Spirit) to weather such experiences, and that in the midst of the storms, He always responds to our heartfelt cries for help! (Remember, Peter's heartfelt, and "panicky," prayer when he stepped out of the boat!)

We know He has promised to never leave nor forsake us. (Heb 13:5) We know that there is nothing that can separate us from His love. (Ro 8:35-39) These are promises He has provided for each of us. He teaches us to claim these promises and to rightly apply them to our individual circumstances. (2 Tim 2:15) His Word and His promises are, as seeds, to be tended and fully cultivated in our lives.

When we are challenged, we are also admonished to hold fast and to deepen our knowledge of Him. He is our ultimate reality! Stay in His Word! We are to remember that, in times of need, we are to keep Him as the sole focus of our greatest attention and affection. This is to be our "cultivated" response in any trial. We are to "count it all joy." (Ja 1:2-4;12) Why? Because, from the eternal perspective, He is conforming His own children to be a reflection of Himself -- to be a witness to His demonstrated Glory before all Creation. That's a worthy goal for any life!

Let's, also, seriously consider the "storms" the LORD experienced on our behalf. Let's study His faithful responses, and the very character of this Man we are to imitate and faithfully follow. Let's seriously consider some questions as "food for thought" for today:

• What sort of man, ever born of a woman, could or would, willingly take upon Himself the total penalty, reproaches, pain and rightful punishment for the sin of the entire human race? (Isa 53)

• What kind of man would willingly endure the shame, dishonor, taunts, slander and lifelong persecutions of his own family, friends and neighbors, without any form of retributive acts of malice, or offer, even a single word of self-defense in response to such relational breaches? (Ps 69:7-12; Jn 8:13-59)

• What sort of man would willingly endure and identify with the griefs, sorrows, rejection, and forsakenness of "self-serving" men who despised Him, counted Him unworthy, illegitimate -- without any form of esteem or value? (Isa 53:1-12)

• What kind of man would willingly, and boldly confront, the tangible and intangible forces of evil, rebellion and spiritual blindness in this earth with the Word of Truth and the fullness of the enabling power and presence of the Holy Spirit? (Jn 8:44; Mk1:13; 24; Math 4:3-10)

• What kind of man would be so zealous, in love and obedience -- so unselfishly willing to honor, and do the Will of His Father, that He would voluntarily forfeit His own sinless life for those who were helpless, ungodly, sinners; and willful enemies of God? (Jn 8:16;49; Ro 5:6-10)

• What sort of man could be so motivated by His love and faithfulness that He would sacrifice His own Righteous life that the Grace and Truth of God could be poured out, in exchange, for the lives of those so alienated from Himself? (Jn 1:14;17; Ro 3:22;26)

• What sort of Man, is this indeed? Our LORD, Jesus, Christ is His Name -- the True Light of this World. (Jn 8:12;20:31)

Let us consider Him -- the Author and Developer of our faith. (Heb 12:2) Let us consider the Eternal and High Priest of our profession --the Mediator of the New, Everlasting Covenant. (Heb 8:1;9:15) Let us consider the eternal results of His Shed Blood.(Heb 9:26; Heb 10:12)

Let us consider the scope and ultimate aims of this Man's achievements -- not just the perfecting of our lives, but consider Him, now seated at the right Hand of the Throne of the Universe, and on our behalf. (Heb 1:3;13;8:1) This is the "meat" of His Word, and given to the spiritually mature. (Heb 5:14)

Let us consider the Kingdom Age to come, when He will reign, until, He has put all enemies under His feet. Let us consider the "eternal moment" when He submits Himself, and His Kingdom, to the "Father of Spirits" that God may be all in all. (1 Cor 15:24-28)

Weathering our daily storms, or even those on the horizon, are often His best, "teaching" moments. What we learn from these moments can reveal the measure of Christ's life and character development in us. We may often need to ask ourselves -- what kind of spiritual fruit are we allowing Him to produce for His Kingdom and to what extent? Let's remember, many of the storms we encounter are for our benefit -- "learning seasons" --- to deepen our relationship with Him, and to consider the treasures of our full inheritance in Him.

This a critical season to remember we must not, willingly, forfeit any portion of our eternal rewards in Him. Let's not ever forget Him, or what He's done, and is doing for, and in us. Let's keep Him, the primary focus, in each of our lives! Let us consider Him, His character -- His achievements -- His plan of Redemption. I can't even begin to grasp the scope of such plan!

Even with our limited understandings -- there is the hope of something much greater planned for us, and a perspective far beyond what we what we can now see. Therefore, let us remember -- the very essence of our lives and our greatest source of hope is in Him!

Let us magnify the significance of His achievements, learn to imitate and focus upon Him. (especially in the midst of our storms) Let us bear witness to His Preeminence and the demonstrated fullness of His Glory. Let us, forever, praise and exalt the Majesty of His Holy Name! Amen!

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