God’s Will

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The best way to find God’s will is to say, “I will” to God.

God may give you your choice, but He alone knows what is best, so you’d better ask Him what that is. How do you find God’s best? The first requirement is having no will of your own. According to the Scripture, you need to surrender your life, your mind, and your will, and not be conformed to this world:

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).

Ask God to lead and guide you. Ask Him to open your heart and mind to His truth. Ask Him to help you to understand it and follow it. Be willing to yield to His will, whatever it may be, and then you’ll find out—you’ll know—because then you’re in a position for God to show you. If you’re His child and you’re letting Him do the choosing, what’s He going to choose for you? He’s going to choose that which is the best for you.

He knows, He loves, He cares,
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives His very best to those
Who leave the choice with Him.
—Author unknown

 
The secret of success: Choose and yield to God’s will.

God has given us a free will, but to be successful for Him or even as happy as He would like to make us, we have to continually yield that will to Him. We have to find out from Him what His will for us is—what He knows is best for others and us—and then choose that.

Once you have found and chosen God’s will, He will reach down and take ahold of you and move you where He wants you to go. Everybody has their place and job for the Lord, like the pieces on a chessboard. Chesspieces have no will of their own. When a player picks up a chesspiece and moves it to another square, the chesspiece doesn’t protest; it yields and goes where it’s sent, right? Well, you’re in the hands of the Master Player and He’s going to put you wherever He wants you, so trust the Lord.

You don’t have to make all the decisions; you only have to be yielded to His moves and let Him do the thinking and the choosing. You’ve got very limited vision, but He can see the whole game, the whole chessboard and all the pieces. It’s wonderful to let God decide, because He always has our best interests at heart and He knows what’s best.

 
Don’t trade the best for something merely good.

A lot of people try to get away with what they call “God’s second best.” They desert God’s highest calling because they aren’t willing to pay the price.

But we shouldn’t even consider second best because as far as God is concerned, there’s only one best—the “high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14 KJV). If we take second best, it’s not really His second best; it’s our best.

What is sin? It’s missing the mark, missing the target, missing the bull’s eye. It’s not really doing the most important thing that God wants us to do. So “let us lay aside the weights and the sins” (Hebrews 12:1)—anything that keeps us from doing God’s highest and His best, anything that keeps us from being where He knows we’ll be of most use to Him and the biggest blessing to others.

(Prayer:) Lord, bless and keep us all in the center of Your will. Keep us single-minded, single in purpose. We have no idea how great Your purpose is, but we’ve answered Your call. Do help us to do Your best—the best we can, and nothing less.

 
The first place we look for the will of God is in the Word of God.

God’s written Word is the known, sure, absolute, revealed will of God. So when you aren’t sure what to do or how to go about it, look in His Word at all He’s said before. If God never tells you another thing, if you never get a revelation, if you never see a vision, if you never receive a message from Heaven in prophecy, if you never have the gift of knowledge, if you never have wisdom, if you never have discernment, if you never have the gift of healing, if you never have the gift of miracles, if you’ll just operate according to the written Word of God, you’ll accomplish a whole lot.

Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Matthew 24:35). The Bible also tells us: “Forever, O Lord, Your Word is settled in Heaven” (Psalm 119:89). When God speaks to you right from His Book, you know it’s right. There’s no question or any doubt about it! It never fails!

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled!
—John Rippon, A Selection of Hymns from the Best Authors, 1787

 
The safest place in the world is in the center of God’s will.

No matter where you are, or how you are, or what you are, or what’s against you, God will keep you safe if you are in the center of His will. It’s a charmed circle where you live a charmed life. “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe” (Proverbs 18:10). “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1).

Don’t run outside that circle of God’s will and protection, or God may allow Satan to give you problems. We can suffer sometimes for our sins of carelessness, prayerlessness, haste, and disobedience to the Lord. God is bound by His own rules and laws, and He can’t protect you when you violate the rules. When you’re out of His will, He may even allow you to fall prey to the snares of the Devil.

(Prayer:) Help us to stay close to You, Lord, in the center of Your will. Then we know we have nothing to fear because we’re also in the center of Your provision and protection and blessing, and can trust You utterly because we know we’re being obedient and doing Your will. Amen.

 
God’s will for you is what He made you for.

Believe it or not, God has a special and unique calling for you—something that only you can do. He is the One who designs both the jobs and the tools to get those jobs done. He knows what kind of tool you are. He knows which job you’re best suited for and what He wants to use you for, so you’d better do what He knows you can do best. Find the job that God has gifted you for, and then stick to it.

If everybody would only be willing and satisfied to fulfill their calling and not want any more or any less, God could greatly use them and make them very happy. But we sometimes make ourselves unhappy by being dissatisfied with what God has given us to do for Him because we haven’t learned, as the apostle Paul did, to be content in whatever state we’re in (Philippians 4:11). We all need to learn to be satisfied and thankful for the place and ministry God has given us.

“Make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall” (2 Peter 1:10 NIV).

* * *

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God
–Romans 12:1-2

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
–Philippians 3:13,14

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;
–Hebrews 12:1,2b

Make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall.
–2 Peter 1:10

Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto Thee.
–Psalms 143:8b

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.
–Proverbs 3:5,6

Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done.
–Luke 22:42

Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
–1 Samuel 15:22

If ye love Me, keep My commandments.
–John 14:15

Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
–John 15:14

Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.
–Ephesians 6:6

 
 

Copyright © The Family International. All Rights Reserved.

Anchor

When Unorthodox Meets God’s Plan

By Maria Fontaine

free-bible-studies-online-anchorBreaking with the norm of what is expected can be seen as unconventional and eccentric, and yet those unorthodox people and methods can have a powerful, life-changing impact for good—including in the realm of witnessing.

I love it when people are unafraid to follow God’s leadings, even when He’s showing them to do something a bit different, because they consider the results to be worth any sacrifices! It’s wonderful to see and hear about individuals who do what the Spirit leads them to do, in order to help someone to understand the Lord’s love. It’s inspiring to see the lengths that some people will go to in order to save someone’s soul, to convince them of the veracity of their faith.

Sometimes the key may be for people to see you just like one of them, yet with that extra “something” of God’s Spirit. At other times, an unconventional or bold move on the part of a witness can be just what someone needs in order to help them dare to believe.

While I was pondering these thoughts, I ran across a couple of personal experiences from Tony Campolo that show how different methods of witnessing that can seem a bit “out there” can, in fact, be effective in their own unique way in winning souls to Jesus.

Witnessing is about being willing to do what Jesus asks us to do and to rejoice for all the ways He designs His love to be manifested to meet each need—whether it’s the out of the box and unorthodox, or the traditional and accepted, or anything in between. The method we use will be blessed by Him if it’s what He has shown us to do in a particular situation, and is in line with His Word and its values.

Tony’s personal accounts made me think. Maybe they will do the same for you. Here’s what he shared:

As my wife and I strolled along Waikiki Beach in Honolulu we came upon a very strange-looking man standing with a Bible in one hand and waving his finger at every passerby with the other. He was barefoot and wearing a T-shirt and tattered trousers. To everyone who passed he pronounced the judgment of God on those who would not accept Christ.

As we passed him I said to my wife, “It’s guys like that who are an embarrassment to the kingdom of God. People look at weirdos like that and get turned off to the gospel. Guys like that leave me a bit disgusted.”

An hour or so later we were heading back to catch the bus to the airport, and we came upon this same man. To my surprise, there were two very normal-looking, properly dressed men standing with him. He had his arms around their shoulders, and as I passed I could hear that they were saying a prayer, surrendering their lives to Christ.

My wife looked at me and simply asked, “Well? How many people did you lead to Jesus today?”

Tony tells of another experience he had, sitting at a table with a group of sophisticated intellectuals, who, as their conversation progressed, began to make fun of evangelical Christianity. At one particular point, he had had enough and decided that he had to speak out in defense of evangelicals. He said:

You guys have got the wrong idea! You judge evangelicals on the basis of some stupid displays of zeal. For instance, at every Super Bowl game there’s some crazy guy in the stands who holds up a big sign citing some Bible verse. He expects that somebody will look up that verse, fall under conviction, and be saved. You think that’s what we’re all like, and you judge us by that kind of stupidity.

When Tony had finished his forceful declaration, one of the men at the table took the pipe he was smoking out of his mouth, set it down, and said:

Interesting you should mention that. Three years ago I was watching the Super Bowl. It was just before halftime when the Cowboys kicked an extra point. Behind the goal post was that man that you were talking about. He held up a sign that read “John 1:12.” I didn’t have anything else to do during halftime, so I reached up on the bookshelf of the den, pulled off my old Bible, and opened it to John 1:12, just out of curiosity. When I opened it, there were some old notes from a Bible talk I had heard at summer camp many, many years ago when I was a teenager. I read over those notes and remembered what I had forgotten and forsaken. I got down on my knees, there and then, and gave my life back to Jesus. (Stories from Let Me Tell You A Story, by Tony Campolo)

This was a good reminder to me of staying open to the possibility that the Lord may ask us to say or do things that may seem odd to others or may be criticized by others, because He knows it’s what is needed for the sake of someone He is reaching out to. Or, on the flip side, He may ask someone else to do something a bit different, which we may be tempted to criticize.

Most of us have experienced how God can show us to do things in ways that seem to run contrary to the usual or the expected, and we’ve seen the benefits for ourselves and others when we’ve obeyed. If we don’t do what He shows us, we may miss opportunities to bring people to Him.

So let’s not despise the unconventional or unusual or out-of-the-ordinary methods of witnessing if that’s what Jesus shows someone to do. Our part is to be open, to be willing to do what He asks of us.

My prayer is that we will never lose two of the beautiful qualities that have brought us thus far. They are what we’ll always need in order to stay in step with what the Holy Spirit is doing through us: the humility to look to Jesus and His Word for direction, and the willingness to do what He asks us to do, any time, any place.

I’m encouraged when I hear about innovative ways that people are finding to build their connections with others and influence their lives for good, wherever they are. I pray that we will continue to embrace what the Lord may ask us to do, even when His leadings may be unexpected.

We need to maintain a balance so we can relate to others without allowing what people think of us to overrule the voice of the Holy Spirit and the leading of God’s Word in our lives. The key is in being yielded to what Jesus asks us to do in the way He wants us to do it.

 
 

Copyright © The Family International. All Rights Reserved.

Anchor

Light at the End of the Valley

By Maria Fontaine

free-bible-studies-online-anchorHave you ever faced something that seemed totally hopeless; you felt like there wasn’t any way out of your difficulties and everything looked lost? Or maybe you’re in one of those places right now where the situation seems impossible and it looks like it’s going to go on and on, and there’s no hope in sight.

Maybe you seem all alone and feel like no one else is going through such intense and painful circumstances, like you’re encircled on all sides with no place to run. You can’t seem to hear God speak to you, and nothing seems to indicate that He’s there.

Maybe it would help to remember that there have been some pretty well-known people who have felt the same way—those who experienced great adversity. If you think I’m going to tell you that they slid by basically unscathed with great joy and victory in their hearts, no, I’m not, because that’s not what happened.

Here are a few examples of men in the Bible who suffered incredibly. We are given little glimpses into what they went through, but a few words on a page can scarcely convey the enormity of the struggles and battles that they had to fight.

We all know about Job. It wouldn’t hurt to go back and read the very vivid accounts of what he went through. He was in such anguish and distress that he bitterly blamed God for even letting him be born. He was at the point where he begged God to end his life.

Abraham is another one who could hardly bear the excruciating pain when God asked him to send away his firstborn son, Ishmael. It’s painful to even think about the indescribable agony he went through when he was faced with sacrificing Isaac, his son of hope, his son of promise, the one to carry on the family line, the one to support them in their old age, and the one he loved so very dearly.

I imagine Moses got pretty disheartened (to put it mildly) when the people he was giving his life to help turned against him and became vindictive and critical, constantly finding fault and barraging him with their grievances and assailing him with their verbal abuse. They leveled serious charges against him, repeatedly accusing him of bringing them into the wilderness to kill them, until at one point he cried out to God desperately, saying, “What am I going to do, Lord? These people are getting ready to stone me.”

David lost some of his sons, he lost his kingdom, he lost his health, and he lost a whole series of battles against his enemies. It’s hard to imagine the torment and trauma he must have endured for long periods. His feelings of woe and despair spilled over into his writings in Psalms. Listen to this one: “Will the Lord turn away from us forever? And isn’t He going to be kind to us any longer? Is His unfailing love gone permanently? Has His word come to nothing? Has He forgotten to be compassionate? Is He withholding His tender mercies because He’s angry with us?” (Psalm 77:7–9) It sounds like he was at the end of his rope.

I think Jeremiah must have felt deeply discouraged. It could hardly get any worse than this: Very influential people were plotting to kill him. He was rejected, he was mocked and despised, he was thrown in jail, and he was dumped into a well that had no water in it, only deep mud into which he sank.—Thank God, or that would have been the end of him! So there are always things to praise God for. But I have a feeling he must have gone through some major depression over all that, deeper than the pit he’d been thrown into and the mud he was mired in.

And Joseph! Poor Joseph! He must have faced intense discouragement and times of depression. He was sold into slavery, and then as soon as things began to look up, as most of you know, he was unjustly thrown into prison with no hope of getting out. Hopeless. Helpless. Impossible.

Peter was evidently ready to give up his calling after he denied Jesus. Think about what kind of feelings that must have brought with it. Having denied knowing his own Savior, not once, but three times, how could he ever want to show his face in public again, much less be trusted as a leader of the early church?

Even Paul, who mostly tried to present his victories in his letters of encouragement to the churches, felt hopeless and despondent at times. In 2 Corinthians 4:8 Paul voiced the well-known verse, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed. We are perplexed, but not in despair,” and yet in the same epistle, he also said, “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.” (2 Corinthians 1:8 NIV) It just shows that we can still have faith in Jesus even when things are so bad that it seems like it would be better not to even be alive.

These men are some of God’s greats. If they passed through such terrible anguish of spirit in their lives for God, why should we think it strange that we, as God’s children today, have our times of desolation and even despair when we can’t see anything good coming from our lives? We can’t see the rewards. We can’t always see the fulfillment of His promises. It often just looks like failure.

Everyone goes through the valley of weeping and mourning at some point. David described it as the “valley of Baca,” meaning literally weeping, lamentations—a vale of tears. (Psalm 84:6)

The key is that we go through it, and as we do, we can, as the Bible puts it, “make it a well.” It can become a place of refreshing springs.

In the previous two verses, David states that those who are praising God find their strength in Him. In their hearts are the ways of those who, passing through this valley of tears, make it a well. (Psalm 84:4–5) We can tend to equate praising God with something we do when we feel all warm and happy and content, but one thing that all these “men of faith” have in common is that they continued to praise God through their valleys of Baca, their misery and suffering. They were in agony.

Sometimes they were enduring such intense suffering or despair that all they could do was cry out for the Lord’s mercy, but even that was a praise because it was acknowledging God’s total control and their faith in His mercy and power to deliver.

Verse 6 in the original text then goes on to tell us a beautiful secret. According to Strong’s Concordance, the phrase that the King James translators translated as “the rain also filleth the pools” in the original Hebrew can also be translated as “The Teacher (referring to God, the Great Teacher) overshadows with blessings.” What a beautiful interpretation, and how fitting it is.

So as we pass through the valley of tears and suffering and hardships, yet still praising Him, we can make that desolate valley of suffering into a spring of refreshing, and our Teacher overshadows us with blessings.

The water that becomes a fountain of refreshing can turn our journey of life—that would otherwise be gloomy and sad—into joy; turn our mourning into dancing, and give us comfort and beauty. (Psalm 30:11) And later when we’ve come through the valley, we can look back with gratitude, realizing that these things have given enrichment and enhancement to our lives. Our Great Teacher will have enveloped us with priceless blessings of spiritual growth and a deeper understanding of Himself, and a heart that comes to resemble His own more and more.

 
 

Copyright © The Family International. All Rights Reserved.

Activated

The Seasons of Life

By Mara Hodler

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“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”
–Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV

This is a big life lesson. It is really good news … and not such great news at the same time. Regardless of how you may feel at the moment, what season of life you are currently living through, you can probably expect a change at some point, because, as we know, seasons come and go.

When King Solomon wrote the preceding scripture, he gave a lot of examples of the seasons and ways our lives can change:

A time to be born and a time to die
A time to plant and a time to uproot
A time to kill and a time to heal
A time to tear down and a time to build
A time to weep and a time to laugh
A time to mourn and a time to dance
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them
A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing
A time to search and a time to give up
A time to keep and a time to throw away
A time to tear and a time to mend
A time to be silent and a time to speak
A time to love and a time to hate
A time for war and a time for peace.
–Ecclesiastes 3:2–8 NIV

One of the most beautiful promises in the Bible is given in the same chapter: “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV)

I like the part that says “no one can fathom.” When I was a teenager, I had so many plans and ideas of what I wanted my life to look like. Most of the ideas I had were good, or at least okay. I wasn’t (only) dreaming of being a celebrity or millionaire. I also wanted to be able to rush to anywhere in the world that needed help. I wanted to help orphans and wipe out poverty. If and when I had kids, I wanted to raise them in an African village where we all worked together to help a community thrive. That’s what I wanted. It really sounded like a good dream; it still does sometimes.

But God had a plan for me that I did not fathom.

I’m still watching that plan develop, but I’ve learned enough to know that God’s design is so much more far-reaching than anything I could fathom. I’ve learned that God is present in both times of sowing and times of reaping. And something else I’ve come to realize is that both seasons are repeating.

A farmer plants his crops every spring and harvests them every fall. Each year. He doesn’t get upset that he’s planting again another year. He doesn’t scream out in frustration, I just did this last year! Why again? In the fall when it’s time to gather in the crops, he doesn’t tell himself, Yay! I’ll never have to do that again! The farmer knows the cycle will repeat every year, and he’s okay with that.

In that way, we should all make peace with the seasons in our lives. There is a time to laugh, and a time to cry, a time to sow, and a time to reap, a time to give, and a time to receive. It’s all gonna happen.

In Texas, where I live, the weather is crazy. One day you’re in shorts. The next day you’re pulling out your winter gear because there’s a cold front coming through. On the blistering hot days, of which today is one, it’s hard to remember that it also gets cold around here—even freezing cold.

It’s the same with the seasons of life. When the sad times come, it’s hard to remember that there’s also a lot of happiness. When things disappoint, it’s easy to forget about all the things that have worked out smoothly.

To God, one season isn’t more precious than another. He can use each season in our lives to bring about His design. Sometimes I think that God is smiling on me when things are going great, and that a trial or misfortune means I have fallen out of His favor. But experience has taught me that this is not so. A great artist will use lovely, bright colors—reds, yellows, purples, and blues—to convey inspiration, but not without the contrasts of black, the muted grays, and the blurred whites.

We need to trust the Artist. His work speaks for itself, and time and again, He has proven that He does indeed make everything beautiful in His time. Each of our lives is no exception to the high and low seasons. And neither is it an exception to the promise that it will be beautiful in His time.

 
 

Copyright © Activated Magazine. All rights reserved.

Conviction vs Compromise

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For God’s sake, know what you believe and stand up for it!

For life to have real meaning and purpose, we have to believe in something. Then we have to be ready to stand up for what we believe; we have to have conviction.

God likes wholehearted, stouthearted men. If He is what you believe in, have you got the guts to be one of these? If you’re going to serve God, know what you believe and serve Him no matter what anyone else says. Be prepared to take a stand of faith, like Martin Luther (1483-1546) did on the issue of salvation by grace before the religious council of his day: “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture, I can and will not retract. Here I stand. I can do no other. So help me God!”

You cannot stop the man of faith. You cannot dissuade him. You cannot divert him. He’ll go on with or without you or right over you, if necessary. He is determined to go on by faith because he has found the truth. He is of one mind, one heart, one soul, one spirit, one purpose, and will not quit!

 
Beware of compromise.

The Devil will do everything he can to tempt you to forsake God’s way. If he can’t get you to stop, he will try to get you to compromise. He tempts you with half-truths that make you doubt your convictions or not live up to them fully.

Most people don’t realize that if they hold one little thing back from God, if they make one little compromise, they are distancing themselves from God. One little disobedience leads to another, one little refusal and denial leads to another, and one bit of selfishness leads to more. You may think, “Oh, just this one little sin, just this one little thing, it’s not important,” but that crack in your armor is all the Devil needs. His gas of deceit begins to seep in and poison your mind because you disobeyed what you knew God wanted you to do, and pretty soon you’re totally off the track.

Don’t let that happen to you. Be faithful to the Lord. Be faithful to the voice of His Spirit when He tells you to do this or that, or to not do this or that. Be loyal. “Resist the Devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Don’t give him an inch, or he’ll take a mile—everything you’ve got. Give no place to the Devil (Ephesians 4:27).

 
“To obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22).

A lot of people try to go ahead in their own strength and their own wisdom and do what they think is God’s will and God’s work, but we can’t serve God unless we obey God. We can’t just do what we think is right, no matter how good it might be. Our best isn’t good enough; it takes God to really do the job right. Our best, your own human strength or supposed wisdom, is not sufficient.

Do exactly what the Lord tells you—no more and no less. King Saul thought he could do better than that, and he lost his job. He had God’s anointing and blessing as long as he obeyed and waited on the Lord, but when he started going his own way and disobeying, he lost it (1 Samuel 15:1-23).

There’s no “little” disobedience to God. Any disobedience is a big one. Nothing short of right is right. It’s either all or nothing at all with God. You’re either obedient or disobedient. God’s Word says, “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 5:19).

Wait and obey. That’s one of the most valuable lessons you can ever learn about serving the Lord!

* * *

I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air.
–1Corinthians 9:26

A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
–James 1:8

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot. I would that thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth.
–Revelations 3:15,16

Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of Me and of My Words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when He cometh in the glory of His Father with the holy Angels.
–Mark 8:38

For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto Salvation to every one that believeth;
–Romans 1:16

 
 

Copyright © The Family International. All Rights Reserved.

Everlasting Shame and Contempt!

by David Brandt Berg

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Since we believe that the Bible clearly states that once we become the Lord’s child, we will always remain His child. “I give unto them Eternal Life and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.” “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved” (John 10:28; 6:37; 1Corinthians 3:15)–I have taken this scripture in Hebrews 6:4-10 to mean that if they were truly saved and knew the truth and yet went back, fell away–and the Lord says in the Last Days there shall come a great falling away (2Thessalonians 2:3; 1Timothy 4:1-3)–they’re still saved, but “shall suffer loss.” They were really Christians, but misled, deceived or offended. Something caused them to fall away and they turned back.

Even if they were actually saved, they have just fallen away and that fulfills that scripture there in the 6th chapter of Hebrews. They’ve known and they’ve seen and they’ve even tasted of the Spirit.

What does repentance mean?–Change of mind. Metanoia is the word, literally. They’ve gone so far that they can’t change their minds, they can’t change their way, they can’t return to their former state of faith, dedication or helpfulness to the Lord and others.

And God’s Word says “some shall be raised to shame and everlasting contempt!” (Daniel 12:2). Think of it! That is perdition and punishment enough for a formerly dedicated Christian–or one who once had faith–to find that he has forever transgressed to where it is hard to make him change his mind and renew him to repentance, so that God has to let him go on his way.

God says they can be saved, but they can’t be renewed, they can’t be changed, they’ll never be brought back to the former state. They will have lost their reward; they will have lost all claim on many of the promises, etc. (Ezekiel 3:20; Revelation 3:11), and they will live in a constant state of shame and contempt. (See also Isaiah 66:5; 1John 2:28.) Imagine! Heaven would be terrible to those people, to have to live with God and God’s people! It would almost be torment! That’s punishment enough to realize what they missed, what they did, and how they are now the lowest of the low in Heaven.

God’s Word doesn’t say the backsliders are lost. In fact, He even says, “I am married to the backslider” (Jeremiah 3:14). It’s like a wife who has deserted her husband. They have deserted the Lord! They’ve known Him and believed in Him, but they have deserted Him and His work and His people. But the Lord says, “I’m married to the backslider. She’s a bad woman, she’s sinned against Me. But because she at one time received Me, I’m married to her and I’ll have to save her and not send her to Hell.” But she’s going to have some pretty unhappy times in Heaven, considering the shame and the reproach and the contempt she will have to suffer.

I don’t know what the state of those people is. Only God knows! But it certainly seemed as though they knew the Lord and had received Jesus, so maybe one of these days they’ll wake up in everlasting shame and contempt and realize how wrong they were.–And then when they have to live in Heaven, they’d almost rather be in Hell! Heaven will be Hell for some people to have to be that close to God.

So we don’t know now, but one of these days we’ll know, “even as also we are known” (1Corinthians 13:12). Praise the Lord!

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The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways.
–Proverbs 14:14

And many of them that sleep in the dust of the Earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
–Daniel 12:2,3

For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works.
–Matthew 16:27

For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
–Galatians 6:7

And all the churches shall know that I am He which searcheth the reigns and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
–Revelation 2:23  

And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
–Revelation 22:12  

And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
–1John 2:28

 
 

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Anchor

A Tranquil Heart

A compilation

free-bible-studies-online-anchor“A tranquil heart is life to the body …” The word tranquil here in the original Hebrew language in essence means a heart free from envy—with its emotions and passions under control. It is calm. Confident. Not fretful and frenzied.

Instead of letting our hearts grow envious … let’s ask God to help us cultivate a serene heart. Instead of riveting our eyes on others, let’s glance upward at God instead, asking Him to enable us to embrace our unique personalities and talents—even our shortcomings.

We cultivate a tranquil heart when we saturate ourselves with God’s Word, tucking His wisdom into our heart. Then we can retrieve His Word when we need it to speak to our situations and calm our sometimes out-of-control emotions.

We cultivate a tranquil heart when we make prayer a priority and watch God respond to our specific requests—in His always-perfect timing.

We cultivate a tranquil heart when we trust God with our circumstances, believe He has our best interests at heart, and purpose to play the specific part He has planned for us in this life.

—Karen Ehman

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Lord, give me faith!—To live from day to day,
With tranquil heart to do my simple part,
And with my hand in Thine, just go Thy way.
Lord, give me faith!—To trust, if not to know;
With quiet mind in all things Thee to find,
And childlike, go where Thou wouldst have me go.
Lord, give me faith!—To leave it all to Thee,
The future is Thy gift, I would not lift
The veil Thy love has hung ‘twixt it and me.
When nothing whereon to lean remains,
When strongholds crumble to dust;
When nothing is sure but that God still reigns,
That is just the time to trust.
‘Tis better to walk by faith than sight,
In this path of yours and mine;
And the pitch-black night, when there’s no outer light
Is the time for faith to shine.
—John Oxenham

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While the world will one day know peace in the sense of an absence of war after Jesus’ second coming, the peace so often spoken of in God’s Word refers to the overall wholeness of individuals, both physically and spiritually. Scripture repeatedly states that such wholeness, tranquility, and shalom comes through having a right relationship with God, a relationship which is made possible through the Savior.

We can then possess the fullness of shalom: completeness, soundness, safety, contentment, tranquility, harmony, and peace of mind, which is the source of inner peace in the midst of the storms and challenges of life that we all face throughout our lives. It is this righteousness, through our salvation gained by Jesus’ sacrifice, that brings peace with God, which in turn is the foundation for true peace within ourselves.

We find peace in the Savior, peace when we love God’s Word, peace when our ways please the Lord, peace through the presence of the Holy Spirit, peace in faith, and peace when Christ rules in our hearts.

—Peter Amsterdam

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The Bible uses the word peace in several different ways. Peace sometimes refers to a state of friendship between God and man. This peace between a holy God and sinful mankind has been effected by Christ’s sacrificial death, “having made peace through the blood of his cross.” (Colossians 1:20) In addition, as High Priest the Lord Jesus maintains that state of friendship on behalf of all who continue to “come to God by him, seeing he always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25) This state of friendship with God is a prerequisite for the second kind of peace, that which sometimes refers to a tranquil mind. It is only when “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1) that we can experience the true peace of mind that is a fruit of the Holy Spirit; in other words, His fruit exhibited in us. (Galatians 5:22)

Isaiah 26:3 tells us that God will keep us in “perfect peace” if our minds are “stayed” on Him, meaning our minds lean on Him, center on Him, and trust in Him. Our tranquility of mind is “perfect” or imperfect to the degree that the “mind is stayed on” God rather than ourselves or on our problems. Peace is experienced as we believe what the Bible says about God’s nearness, (As in Psalm 139:1–12) and about His goodness and power, His mercy and love for His children, and His complete sovereignty over all of life’s circumstances. But we can’t trust someone we don’t know, and it is crucial, therefore, to come to know intimately the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.

Peace is experienced as a result of prayer. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6–7)

A peaceful mind and heart are experienced as a result of recognizing that an all-wise and loving Father has a purpose in our trials. “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

—From gotquestions.org

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If we understand our first and sole duty to consist of loving God supremely and loving everyone, even our enemies, for God’s dear sake, then we can enjoy spiritual tranquility under every circumstance.
—A. W. Tozer (1897–1963)

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Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.
—John 14:1

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What do you think of when you hear the word tranquility? There are many pictures that people associate with tranquility. Perhaps a calm lake where the water is like glass and there is no wind or waves. Perhaps a field of delicate flowers that are standing perfectly still. Or maybe you think of a winter’s day when the snow falls and shrouds the earth in peaceful silence.

However you picture tranquility, that is the way that I want you to be in your heart. I want your heart to be tranquil and at rest. I don’t want you to be troubled. In order to find this tranquility, take time to meditate on Me. True tranquility of spirit can only come from Me as you take time in prayer and meditation. So take the time and find the tranquility you need.

Let My Spirit flow through you. I am peace and calm, and you can savor My presence as you meditate upon Me and My Word. Let Me fill your thoughts with images of harmony and quiet, and praise Me for My peaceful, tranquil nature.

—Jesus, speaking in prophecy

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…Inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion. The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being.
—The Dalai Lama

 

 

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