It's in His awe-inspiring hands.

16Rejoice always, 17pray continually, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
19Do not quench the Spirit. 20Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22reject every kind of evil.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 (NIV)

God wins.

Every day we have a choice, a semblance of choices. We can choose God’s will or our own. Not choosing God’s way, can be a sense of duty … another’s opinion … our own selfish desires. Whatever we choose sets the tone and trajectory for life continuing.

We can choose His way, consistently and reach our destination quickly and with ease. Or we can waver and be confused, and not really seem to ever go anywhere. Lastly, we can rebel, and run in any direction except God’s will. When we do this, sometimes God comes after us and we get aligned … and sometimes the rebellion is strong that it leads to death.

Always, always choose what is right. Choose to do what is best in His eyes. As I learned as a young child….God is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient. He is everywhere, knows everything and is all-powerful. It’s kind of irrational to go any way, except His way! 😉

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28

Some verses about God’s will for us : Bible Hub #beencouraged!

 

Faith In The Son of God

1 John 5
(NLT)

Faith in the Son of God

1Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christa has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. 2We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments.3Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. 4For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. 5And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

6And Jesus Christ was revealed as God’s Son by his baptism in water and by shedding his blood on the crossb—not by water only, but by water and blood. And the Spirit, who is truth, confirms it with his testimony.7So we have these three witnessesc8the Spirit, the water, and the blood—and all three agree. 9Since we believe human testimony, surely we can believe the greater testimony that comes from God. And God has testified about his Son. 10All who believe in the Son of God know in their hearts that this testimony is true. Those who don’t believe this are actually calling God a liar because they don’t believe what God has testified about his Son.

11And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.

Conclusion

13I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. 14And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. 15And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.

16If you see a Christian brother or sisterd sinning in a way that does not lead to death, you should pray, and God will give that person life. But there is a sin that leads to death, and I am not saying you should pray for those who commit it. 17All wicked actions are sin, but not every sin leads to death.

18We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them. 19We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one.

20And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God.e And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life.

21Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.f

Let Us Not Take For Granted..

For in one place the Scriptures say, “What are mere mortals that you should think about them, or a son of man that you should care for him?
Hebrews 2:6

Just before this verse, the chapter is warning people to listen carefully to the truth so as to not drift away. Also, that escaping isn’t really what happens if we ignore the salvation offered to us by Jesus. Wow.

Such warnings!

But then.. the thought as in this above verse, that mankind is somehow so important to God. Somehow unique and so special to God.

Let us not take for granted the gift of eternal life offered to us .. and the authority that we have been given “over all things”. [Hebrews 2:8]

Measuring Self

For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think reasonably, as God has apportioned to each person a measure of faith.
Romans 12:3 (World English Bible)

The chapter that this verse comes from, is titled “A Living Sacrifice to God” Romans 12 (NLT), which I strongly recommend reading prior to studying the PerspectiVerse above. The chapter describes how we are to worship God by giving ourselves to Him, that He may transform us by changing the way that we think. It is a chapter about humility and using the gifts that we have as best that we can. The chapter concludes with the concept that the Lord will revenge the evil done to you (verse 20) and that rather you should focus on conquering evil by doing good. (verse 21).

What I have found interesting is the concept of looking at self-value in regards to the measure of faith in verse 3, in regards to not being prideful or thinking more highly of oneself than one should. Verse 3 (the PerspectiVerse) (click the link to see verse 3 compared to multiple translations) is translated in the NLT as: “Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.”
– Some translations start the verse with the fact that one should think of oneself with “sober-judgement”, (NIV, ESV, Berean Study Bible, ISV, and more). The Holmann Christian Standard Bible says to think “sensibly”about one’s value.
– The latter part of the verse is translated in many different ways, and after reading the Greek translation, I was personally most drawn to the World English Bible translation. We also read the following verses which encourage each person to use their gifts “with as much faith as God has given you” (verse 6).

I studied New Testament (Koine) Greek and enjoy looking at the text to further understand.


“Measure” is Strong’s Greek 3358
 : μέτρον (transliteration : métron). It is a noun meaning a measure or standard. It is uncommon in the bible, and is included in the following verses:


Luke 6:38
NIV – “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
NLT – “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full–pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

Mark 4:24
NIV – “Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you–and even more.”
NLT – Then he added, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given–and you will receive even more.”

Matthew 7:2
NIV – For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
NLT – For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.

The three verses above show μέτρον in terms of giving, listening, and judging. What they have in common, is that depending on how you use or do them, they will be returned to you, and even more. The focus is not on the amount or measure given, but rather on the person’s usage of the measure. Instead of being focused on thinking highly (or lowly) of oneself, or even thinking of the size of measure given … we should be concerned with how well we are using the measure. As we use what we have, it will increase.

This concept keeps reminding me of the parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30. The master gave each of his servants a portion of silver “dividing it in proportion to their abilities” (verse 15)(NLT). This relates to how the concept of how μέτρον is used in the above verses, where the amount is not necessarily equal. More likely, it is different for each person… given as God sees fit.
When the master  returns from His trip,  he meets with each of the servants that he left silver with. After meeting with the last one who did nothing with his silver except bury it to keep it safe, comes verse 29 “To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.”(NLT)

This is a very interesting concept, where people are entrusted with something … whether it be bags of silver or listening closely. In both circumstances we are expected to do something with what we have been given, as well as we can. 

As with “The Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids[Virgins]” (Matthew 25:1-13), let us not be caught unaware or unprepared. Though the word μέτρον is not utilized here, each of the bridesmaids had oil to keep their lamps burning. Some were prepared and had the oil they needed, the others did not. Those who were not prepared had to get more oil … but by the time they were ready, it was too late. The bridegroom had left with the ones who were prepared,  to the wedding feast.

Matthew 25, which included both parables of the Talents and the Bridesmaids, concludes with Jesus returning and explaining that when people do or do not help ” the least of these” they are doing the same to Jesus(Verse 40 & 45). The final verse reveals eternal life for those who help [they are righteous], and eternal punishment for those who do not. (See post on Righteous Life).

In warning people from thinking too highly of themselves in the PerspectiVerse (see NLT), we see a similar concept displayed in the previous chapter. Romans 11:20-22: “Yes, but remember—those branches were broken off because they didn’t believe in Christ, and you are there because you do believe. So don’t think highly of yourself, but fear what could happen. For if God did not spare the original branches, he won’t spare you either. Notice how God is both kind and severe.” Intense. The fear [respect] for God is here, along with a healthy dose of humility.

Let us not take for granted the things that God has given us. Rather, may we be diligent and focused on doing the best we can with what we have.

Dear Lord, I choose to put my focus on You and on being led by the Holy Spirit. I repent for anytime that my focus has not been in line with Your will.  I choose to use the faith and gifts that You have given me. Thank you!

Choose Well!

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)

Context: This chapter begins with “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”(verse 1)(NLT) . It goes on with how once we belong to Christ, sin has no power over us because we have been set free – Christ fulfilled the Law of Moses which we could not overcome. We Have Been Set Free!!! 

This is one of my favorite verses in my life. It describes how God will continue loving us, and how nothing can keep us from that love. Except, our own choice to separate ourselves from His love for us.

Going back to the PerspectiVerses we look at the term “to separate” translated in verse 38 from the word “χωρίζω” in New Testament greek. What caught my eye is the intensity of this word… where it “refers to divorcing a marriage partner who vacates the relationship in soul or body” (HELPS Word-studies). This is a very serious removal. It is not a maybe kind of a situation .. it is a definite I have drawn the line and am very sure about this decision.

CHOICES
We have the freedom to choose OR reject YHWH and Jesus Christ as the resurrected Lord and Savior. Not only that, but we have another choice after that of how to live.

After choosing Christ (become Christian) .. we have a choice of whether to follow the Spirit or the flesh (sinful nature). As the GOD’S WORD® Translation puts it “So, brothers and sisters, we have no obligation to live the way our corrupt nature wants us to live.”(Romans 8:12). That leaves us with two options, according to Romans 8:13 (NIV):
Option 1 : For if you live according to the flesh
Consequence 1: you will die;
OR / BUT
Option 2: if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body,
Consequence 2: you will live

Verse 4 starts the explanation of how we can follow the Spirit (which becomes the assumed preference once we choose Christ) or we can follow our sinful nature. Romans 8 continues: Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. (verses 5-8) (NLT). Wow!

Can you imagine? The inability to please God, because you CHOOSE to let the sinful nature lead you. #SHOCKED. yes. Verse 7 and 8 said that. Yet His grace is so amazing – that all we need to do is to trust Him! (more about that in my previous post called “Love & Trust”).

Verse 14 “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of Godand thus co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). So amazing! Co-heirs with Christ, in God’s eyes! Not because anything we have done, but because of His blood, the grace and love of God. 😀 And it is available for all! “So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (2 Cor 5:9-10)(NIV)

Sometimes, because of choosing Life I forget that some people still do not choose everything that God has for them. Don’t be one of those people who doesn’t choose Option 2! Some people say, I believe in Jesus, that He is the Christ. .. but they do not change their lives around! They don’t clean up their speech, or their actions. Do it! Choose today!! #BeDiligent #checkyourself. Put sinful nature, to death. Say “Goodbye!”

This reminds me of Revelations 3:16 “But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!” (some translations replace spit with vomit! … make God feel sick .. yeach.)

In conclusion, the only thing that can separate us from God’s love is our own choice to not choose Him. Choose Him and choose to follow the Spirit…”And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3:17)

Lord, help us to choose well. To choose You, to choose Life! Help us in the areas where we give in to sinful nature … may You strengthen us and protect us. I choose to follow the Spirit in every word and deed . 🙂 In Jesus name, Amen.

Love & Trust

You love Him even though you have never seen Him.  Though you do not see Him now,  you trust Him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.
1 Peter 1:8 (NLT)

In this chapter, Apostle Peter expresses praise and joy for the resurrection of Jesus Christ through which we are given “new birth into a living hope” (Verse 3) (NIV). Becoming born again requires faith, belief, complete trust in God, and His power to redeem our lives.  Then we learn that by faith/trust/belief we are shielded …and then how trials that come so that faith may be proved genuine (Verses 5-7)(NIV).

Faith is defined in Merriam-Webster dictionary as :

  • : strong belief or trust in someone or something
  • : belief in the existence of God : strong religious feelings or beliefs
  • : a system of religious belief

 

Trust. What makes us trust in someone  or something? Is it not Faithfulness? Or consistency?… perhaps it is knowing that you can depend on that person or object…. trustworthiness. Does that mean that if you know God loves you,  is all-powerful and places you as a high priority. .. that you are able to trust Him..more? However,  I do not believe that the belief is enough. .. rather, that it is God’s consistency in following through … His real, near, tangible love..as seen through action …His actions seen in relationship…be it through personally experienced blessings,  miracles,  answered prayers. .. even in testimonies of His goodness to others. Tangible love,  in action.

A cross reference to the PerspectiVerse is given as Ephesians 3:19: May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Experience His love. The love of Christ. His love is creative…His love is healing …His love completes us. Wow.

The verse that follows the PerspectiVerse says “The reward for trusting Him will be the salvation of your souls.” (Verse 9) (NLT). Some translations do not disconnect verse 8 and 9 into separate sentences.

Thus,  we see in John 3:16 that all we need to do is trust Him, in order to receive His love. We are used to reading this one : For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life(NIV). I found 2 Bible translations of this verse that use the word “trust”,  rather than the often seen “believe“, and they are the Weymouth New Testament and the Aramaic Bible in Plain English. The Aramaic Bible says : For God loved the world in this way: so much that he would give up his Son, The Only One, so that everyone who trusts in him shall not be lost, but he shall have eternal life.

And it is available to everyone! He isn’t hiding anything from us. .. It is all available to anyone.  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. (NIV). His transparency with us,  as a close friend, promotes trust. Our trust in God’s love allows us to receive grace for eternal life. Incredible! What an amazing equation! What a gift!

Dear heavenly Father, I want more of you! More of your love,  and to see and experience You so tangibly in the world around me. I want to share Your love with those around me. ..I want to experience Your love ..want to trust You more. I trust You, thank you for being so faithful,  even when I don’t understand what is going on. .. thank  you for standing with me.  Amen.