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Friday, August 29, 2014

I hold these truths to be self-evident....

There are times when we just need a reminder of certain things.  I know I experience times when I need someone to remind me I can do whatever lays before me because I have done it before and this time won't be any different. I also think we need the encouragement of those who act as our "reminding" friends to never forget God's presence with me when we go through the stuff we go through.  There are moments when we might just lose sight of the purpose of our lives, or the "perspective" becomes a little "collapsed" because of all the other "cluttered thoughts" coming in around us.  These are the times when we need to stop for just a moment and consider the truths about God's consistent, compassionate, and caring character.  What can we say about God's character?  To be honest - we cannot say enough!


What can we say about all this? If God is on our side, can anyone be against us? God did not keep back his own Son, but he gave him for us. If God did this, won’t he freely give us everything else?  If God says his chosen ones are acceptable to him, can anyone bring charges against them?  Or can anyone condemn them? No indeed! Christ died and was raised to life, and now he is at God’s right side, speaking to him for us.  Can anything separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble, suffering, and hard times, or hunger and nakedness, or danger and death?  It is exactly as the Scriptures say,  “For you we face death all day long.  We are like sheep on their way to be butchered.” In everything we have won more than a victory because of Christ who loves us.  I am sure that nothing can separate us from God’s love—not life or death, not angels or spirits, not the present or the future,  and not powers above or powers below. Nothing in all creation can separate us from God’s love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord!  (Romans 8:31-39 CEV)


Here's what we CAN say with assurance:

- If God is on our side...no one, no thing can stand against us.  Back in the day when I played sports, one of the things we'd do is "choose sides".  We'd divide into teams because sports are competitive - one side is pitted against the other.  I don't think this walk with Christ is much different for us today. We have "chosen sides" when we put in our lot with Jesus.  We entered into a "contest" of sorts where one "side" is pitted against the other.  The hope and assurance we have is the fact we have already been declared to be the "winners" in this walk!  No thing and no one can change that declaration of fact, for that "fact" is established by the death of God's own Son!

- If God gave his own Son to us, why would he withhold other things we have need of in our lives?  This would be inconsistent with his nature, so it is impossible for him to withhold whatever it is we need today.  I didn't say he'd give us all our "wants", but those things we have "need of" in our lives are as certain as his provision for our salvation (Christ Jesus).  So, why do we resist or delay in asking God for what it is we have need of?  Maybe it is this thing we call "pride" - the desire to "save face" and not admit we stand in need.  If there is one thing I have learned as I have grown a little older in this life, it is this fact of laying down my pride to ask for help.  I don't always get it right, but I have learned a great deal of what stands between me and the place I need to be is nothing more than dealing with my reluctance to ask!

- God has declared you and I "acceptable" in his presence.  No one can declare us otherwise.  "We" are among the "no one" in that statement - for even our declaration of our "worth" or "acceptability" in God's eyes is not to be contrary to what God has already declared to be true of each of us.  When I was younger, I had a bumper sticker I plastered onto my guitar case.  It read, "God said it.  I believe it.  That settles it."  Now, at first that may seem a little "elementary", but try living that out in how it is you "view" yourself in terms of "acceptability" before God and it becomes a little more than "elementary", doesn't it?  The truth is - if God says something is one way, no matter how hard we try to argue it is another, we will still be wrong!

- We know these facts to be evident simply because of where Christ is today - seated at the right hand of God the Father.  His purpose there - to talk to the Father about and on behalf of each of us.  To bring our needs before him - in order for them to be met as only he can meet them.  To bring our frustrations into God's presence - so he can settle our hearts and bring assurance of his watchfulness over our lives.  Get this inside your hearts, friends - Jesus and God the Father are having regular and consistent conversation about each of us!  No wonder "no thing" and "no one" can separate us from his love, grace, and provision!

Much will come our way to attempt to separate us from the "assurance" of God's love and protection of our lives.  Much will attempt to dissuade our peace and commitment to his purposes.  Much will stand against - but the evident truth God wants us to understand above all this resistance is:  No one and no thing is bigger, greater, stronger, more powerful, or more important than God in our lives!  Get this straight in your minds - have your heart follow suite - and before long, you will begin to perceive the truth that no thing and no one will be able to stand against you!  The waters may be a little murky at times, but only one thing purifies and settles the heart - God himself.  The thoughts may get a little mixed up at times when stressors are high, but only one thing brings peace and orders chaos - God's presence.  Stand upon this truth and no amount of taunting from your enemy will ever get you down again!  Just sayin!