Choose To Focus On All That Is Good

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Choose To Focus On All That Is Good

Mark 14:38 “Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.”

Temptation is linked directly to what we think upon, Hebrews 11:15. Temptation has to be entered into. We can avoid temptation by avoiding thoughts that generate temptation, Proverbs 23:7. Since it is impossible to not think, we cannot just try to reject the negative thoughts in this world, but we must choose to think on the positive truths of God. This is where prayer comes in.

In prayer, we have our minds stayed upon God and therefore, are not receptive to thoughts that conceive temptation. Temptation or sin must be conceived, James 1:14-15. In the physical realm, the easiest way to avoid an unwanted birth is to avoid conception, so it is in the spiritual world.

It is easier to avoid being tempted by being in constant communion with God, than it is to overcome temptation once it has been conceived.

Paul admonishes the Philippian believers to reflect and meditate upon eight positive principles of thinking that will lead to a victorious Christian life, Philippians 4:8. These are things that are “true,” that is: honorable, truthful and upright. Things that are “honest,” that is: honorable, truthful, genuine, not characterized by deception or fraud. Things that are “just,” that is: in accordance with what is right, or right conduct; any circumstance, fact or deed that is right. Things that are “pure,” free from defilement or impurity.

Things that are “lovely,” pleasing, agreeable, inspiring love or affection. A “good report,” that is: a saying or report that is positive and constructive rather than negative and destructive. “Virtue,” which is moral excellence, righteousness and goodness. “Praise,” or what is praiseworthy; expressing one’s esteem of a person and his virtues. We need to focus on the good in every area of our lives. Recognizing God’s hand in even the smallest things will bring peace and keep our hearts and minds following hard after the Lord.

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His Fathomless Pain

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His Fathomless Pain

Luke 22:44 “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”

It is interesting that Luke is the only one of the gospel writers to mention that Jesus’ sweat was as great drops of blood. This is probably because Luke was a physician, Colossians 4:14, and therefore, this had special significance to him.

There have been documented cases of people actually sweating drops of blood under extreme emotional pressure. This might explain why Luke is the only writer to mention the angel strengthening Jesus. Just as when Jesus encountered Satan during His forty days of fasting and temptation in the wilderness and the angels ministered unto Him, Mark 1:13, so here, He needed supernatural strength to endure His sufferings.

The use of the words “as it were” might also mean that the sweat of Jesus was only comparable to blood in consistency or size, but it certainly underscores the effect Jesus’ agony had on His physical body.

Jesus’ sufferings for us were more than just physical. In the garden, before He suffered physically, He suffered emotionally, almost to the point of death. As Luke records, an angel had to come and give Him strength or the emotional struggle alone would have killed Him.

All that Jesus did was motivated solely by love. It was for the joy that was set before Him that He endured going to the cross. He didn’t do what He did to save us out of pity or a sense of obligation as our Creator. He did it because He loves us.

~He Is Our “ABBA”

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He Is Our “Abba”

Mark 14:36 “And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.”

Although God was referred to as our Father in the Old Testament, Jesus’ frequent use of this title brought a whole new understanding of our relationship with God. Jesus referred to God as His Father, and He spoke of God as being our Father as well. This infuriated the religious Jews of Jesus’ day who considered it blasphemy to call God their Father, because they understood that to mean they were equal with God.

We are instructed to call God our Father, revealing the kind, gentle, loving nature of our God. The term “Abba” is an affectionate term that a young child calls his father, which corresponds to our term “daddy.” It is a term used to express intimacy and affectionate fondness. It removes the idea of God as a strict judge and carries the image of Him as a loving Father who cares, understands, and is our best friend. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:…”, 1 John 3:1.

We are sons of God by adoption. Jesus was the Son of God by nature. As Jesus said to the Jews, ye are of your Father the devil, John 8:44; Ephesians 2:3.

However, Jesus purchased us and made us adopted sons of God.

We are not just heirs, we are joint-heirs with Christ. To think that we share equally with the one who has inherited everything God is, and has, is beyond comprehension.

 

Seek The will Of God

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Seek The Will Of God

Luke 22:42 “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

Jesus knew it was the Father’s will for Him to be made an offering for the sins of the world. This is true because He prophesied His death and resurrection many times before. However, because of His unique relationship with God, Jesus was asking God to accomplish His will some other way, but at the same time affirming His commitment to do His Father’s will and not His own.

He was not at a loss to know God’s will and therefore, left this time of prayer trusting that whatever the Father deemed best for Him would happen.

He knew, when He began praying what the Father’s will was and He knew at the close of His prayer, that God’s will could not be accomplished any other way.

For us to pray, “Lord, if it be thy will” in response to a promise that God has given us is nothing but unbelief and is not even remotely related to what Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane. One of the foundational principles of answered prayer is that we must believe that we receive when we pray, Mark 11:24. There is no way that we can fulfill that condition if we don’t know God’s will in that situation. Praying, “if it be thy will” takes us out of the active position of believing and puts us in the passive position of waiting and letting circumstances rule our lives. If we are seeking direction in an area where God’s will is not already expressed through His Word, then we should pray James 1:5, and ask for wisdom. Then we can believe that we receive when we pray, and with that knowledge continue our prayer in faith.

We should not be ignorant but understand what the will of the Lord is, Ephesians 5:17.

The only appropriate time to pray, “If it be thy will” is when we are dedicating ourselves to the service of God, regardless of where or what that may be.

Fill Up With God

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Fill Up With God

John 17:23 “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”

God loves us the same as He loves Jesus. A true revelation of this will quicken our faith and allow us to walk in the fullness of God. God’s love is the key that opens the door to everything that God is. “God is love”, 1 John 4:8.

God’s love is not one dimensional. There is width, length, depth and height to it, which can only be comprehended through the revelation and knowledge of the Holy Spirit. Those who only have a superficial knowledge of God’s love are like a person who looks at a one dimensional picture of the real thing.

In Ephesians 3:19, Paul prays for us to know the love of God which passes knowledge. How can we know the love of God if it passes knowledge? This sounds like a contradiction. The Greek word that is translated “know” in this verse is GINOSKO, which is a verb expressing experiential knowledge. The Greek word that is translated “knowledge” is GNOSIS, which is a noun denoting the act of knowledge. Simply, Paul is praying that we will experience the love of God which passes mere knowledge of it.

Since a true revelation of God’s love makes us full with the fullness of God, then a lack of being full of God must mean that we lack understanding and experience of God’s love. The end result of having understanding and experiential knowledge of God’s love is that we will be filled with all the fullness of God.

 

One In Spirit

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One In Spirit

John 17:21 “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”

 

Jesus is praying for all believers to be one as He and the Father are one.

This goes far beyond what many promote as unity today. Paul besought the Corinthians to “all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”, 1 Corinthians 1:10. This is God’s standard of unity.

This oneness among believers is what Jesus said would cause the world to know that Jesus is the Son of God. This is the greatest tool for evangelism that the church has. The only way that Christ’s body will be one as the Father and Jesus are One is through God’s kind of love. No wonder Satan tries to get believers to go at each others’ throats. We spend billions of dollars a year on evangelism through television, radio, conventions and crusades, yet, the world is not evangelized because the body of Christ is not united in love.

There is very little unity among believers today. This has occured over thousands of years and it probably won’t be fixed over night. We must strive towards unity but not be overwhelmed by the problem. All Christians have already been joined to each other through the body of Christ, and God the Father sees us all as His children. All divisions among Christians are made by man, not God. For a brief period of time, the church enjoyed unity on earth. Regardless of what strife and division has occurred, all believers are still one in Christ and will live in perfect oneness throughout eternity. We are now one in Spirit. We just need to experience that unity here on earth.

“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven”, Matthew 6:10.

Give All The Glory To God

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Give All The Glory To God

John 17:18 “As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.”

We are not from the world. Through the new birth, we come from God and should constantly remind ourselves of this. It is not good to be too “at home” in the world. We are in the world but are not of the world. Great men and women of God have always had this attitude.

The primary reason that God chooses to use those who are nothing by the world’s standards, is so no one else can take credit for the great things that are accomplished.

If the Lord used those who had it “all together” in the natural, then they would share the glory that rightfully belongs to God alone. But when the Lord works miraculously through someone who obviously has no talent or ability, then everyone says, “This must be God.”

Not only does this keep others from misdirecting the glory that belongs to God, but it keeps the person who God uses from swelling up with pride. One of Satan’s greatest weapons against someone who is being used by God is to tempt them to think that the Lord is using them because they possess some superior virtue.

God uses “nobodies.” If we think we’ve become “somebody” (in our flesh), then we will cease being used. He will not share His glory with anyone else, Isaiah 42:8.