The Ultimate Joy » A Journey in Intimacy with God

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What Do You Need Today?

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What do you need today? Wisdom for a decision, or perhaps direction for a project? Love for someone acting unlovely? Joy amidst a trial? Whatever the need, would you be willing to let go of your own resources — whether it’s wisdom, determination, willpower, talent, or more — and receive what you need from God?

If you’re willing, God has an amazing promise for you in Philippians 4:13:

God will empower you for all things through Christ who strengthens you.

Philippians 4:13 may be one of the most widely used, yet underutilized verses in the Bible. It’s well known and frequently quoted, but its meaning is often not fully understood. It doesn’t mean we give “it” — whatever the it is — our best effort and ask God to bless it. The verse means that instead of giving it our best effort, we expend our effort in seeking God. We give our best effort to:

Behold Him  

and 

Believe Him

We behold God by spending time in His Word. We go to the Scriptures and give God the opportunity to reveal Himself, to reveal the truth. Then, we work to believe what He has said. Jesus stated this so clearly in John 6:28-29. When asked by a group of people, “‘What must we do to do the works God requires?’ Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent.’”

When you work to behold and believe God, you will receive what you need from God. God’s given you another promise:

“My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

What do you need today? Obtain it God’s way:

Behold Him        Believe Him      Receive from Him

 

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Without A Vision, The People Perish

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“Where there is no vision, the people perish.”  (Proverbs 29:18 KJV)

Is there any limit to the application of this verse? Nations have formed, wars have been fought, and great sacrifices of all manner made because people had a vision. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream of the end of racism in the United States was a God-given, Scripture-based vision. This vision drove him through seemingly impossible obstacles and hardships. It was a vision for which he sacrificed greatly. It was a vision that cost him his earthly life.

Of all the visions we could discuss, I’m narrowing in on one:

Do you have a God-given, Scripture-based vision of who God says you are?

You need one! It will carry and sustain you through seemingly impossible circumstances — ones bombarding you from within as well as afflicting you from without. It will be a vision to direct your daily life.

Where there is no revelation (an accurate knowledge of Scripture backed by a firm belief in its truth) of who we are in Christ, “we cast off restraint” (Proverbs 29:18 NIV). In the Hebrew language, “restraint” is translated “go back to.” And that’s what we do.  Though saved, we go back to thinking and acting in ways not ordained by God, ways based on lies and focused on our flesh. We struggle and suffer unnecessarily, especially in the areas of worth and significance. Furthermore, we exhaust ourselves striving to become someone we already are:

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come”                   (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Whether or not we feel “new,” we are. We are new creations – fully accepted and fully loved. The old sinful ways of thinking, feeling and acting are gone, their power lost. A new person with a new way of thinking, feeling and acting has come. The change that occurred immediately in our standing before God becomes evident in our lives as God changes our old way of thinking and acting to match our new, true identity. Without a vision, this doesn’t happen.

I want my God-given identity to determine how I act, instead of letting unrestrained actions determine who I become. In this quest, two passages have become paramount. The first one, from Colossians 3:12, contains three words that describe WHO God says we are:

Chosen      Holy     Beloved

What these words say about us is amazing!

Chosen: selected, picked out, decided upon, marked with favor

Holy: consecrated, set apart, made pure, made whole

Beloved: dearly, greatly loved

How radically different would our lives be, how great the peace, what confident assurance, what clear direction would we have if we truly believed those three facts?

The next passage, Galatians 2:20, tells us HOW. I’ve put the Scripture first, following it with what has become my daily mantra:

“I have been crucified with Christ.”  Done!

“I no longer live.” Done!

“Christ now lives in me.” Done! Praise God!

The verse continues: “The life I live in the body, I live by faith.” This is our ongoing choice! Will you believe the truth of who God says you are? I implore you: embrace way #9 of 52 ways to glorify God:

 

Get a vision — a literal, mental picture of who God says you are.

 

When you do, consider the glory that is given to God:

We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God, and not from us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).

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Believe God

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My car has high performance tires. When purchasing it I gave no thought to the type of tires it had. I simply liked the way the car felt when I drove it. Come to find out, the feeling I liked was largely due to the high performance tires. I’ve also discovered other benefits. In a major ice storm, I was able to safely navigate treacherous roads while other cars slipped off the road. In drenching rains, I don’t hydroplane; on steep and curvy roads, I hold safely to the path.

Believing the Word of God is like driving with a set of high performance tires. No matter the conditions, relying upon God’s Word enables us to travel through all kinds of circumstances, steady and secure. Nevertheless, high performance tires can be punctured. Lies from the enemy are like nails that flatten our tires. They have an uncanny ability to stop us dead in our tracks, even when we simply encounter one strategically placed hazard. Sometimes, we’re not even aware that we’ve been “nailed” until we realize that we’re limping along.

I ran over a “nail” like that recently. It completely deflated my peace. It wounded my heart. I’m amazed at how quickly it happened. But lies are like that. Whether they come as sharp objects of warfare or we drive over them carelessly, lies rupture and deflate our peace and joy. They turn our focus from God and others to “it’s all about me.”

To live a life that glorifies God, it is imperative that we believe Him. Consider what Jesus said when Satan tempted Him to believe and act on lies:

“It is written, ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4).

Jesus was quoting Moses who, speaking for God, also said to the Israelites:

“Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today so that you may live and increase and possess the land that the Lord has promised on oath to your forefathers” (Deuteronomy 8:1).

They sought a physical land, one with God’s protection and abundant provision. As New Covenant believers, our promised land is freedom, the freedom we have as we live in Christ. No wonder Jesus also said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32). The result of believing God is freedom. We place ourselves in unnecessary bondage every time we believe a lie. Satan’s primary line of attack is the lie that God cannot be trusted. He used that in the Garden of Eden, and continues to do so today.

Way #8 of 52 Ways to Glorify God is simple, but deeply profound and requires a constant pursuit and battle:

Believe God!

To believe God we have to KNOW God’s Word. We have to study it, meditate on it, and memorize it.  We must ask God to take His Word from an initial intellectual knowledge and implant it, through revelation, deep within our hearts.

In the “ways” ahead, we’ll get more specific about areas in which we must believe God. For this one, I challenge you to consider the whole of God’s Word as something to be passionately embraced, something you must resolve to know and fight to believe. Take a minute and profess: I can’t live only on food today; I must live on the words of God.

 

Matthew 4-4

 

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