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Works Versus Grace

Friday, July 13, 2012

Romans 7:6 AMP But now we are discharged from the Law and have terminated all intercourse with it, having died to what once restrained and held us captive. So now we serve not under [obedience to] the old code of written regulations, but [under obedience to the promptings] of the Spirit in newness [of life].

If we can really grasp what the Lord is saying in this verse we can be set free from a “works” mentality and liberated to walk in the grace of God, by the direction of the Holy Spirit!

Discharged – according to Noah Webster's 1828 dictionary it means unloaded; let off; shot; thrown out; dismissed from service; paid; released; acquitted; freed from debt or penalty; liberated; performed; executed.

Through the work that Jesus did on the cross of Calvary we have been freed from the debt of the Law. The Law called for an eye for an eye; performance to the highest standard; strict adherence to the Ten Commandments; the requirement to live a perfect life. But through the blood of Jesus we have been set free from the requirement of working to be accepted through keeping the Law. We can now live by the Spirit, according to His promptings. We live by the grace of God through faith in Christ Jesus!

Intercourse – a running or passing between. Communication; commerce; connection by reciprocal dealings between persons or nations, either in common affairs and civilities, in trade, or correspondence by letters; intimacy through sexual relations.

We often think of intercourse as in the sexual intimacy between a husband and wife and it is that, but we can also think of it as any type of intimate communication such as: we have an intercourse with neighbors and friends in mutual visits and in social concerns; nations and individuals have intercourse with foreign nations or individuals by an interchange of commodities, through the purchase and sale of such things, and through treaties and contracts.

What I'd like to point out from the use of the word “intercourse” in the Amplified Bible's translation of this verse is that we no longer are tied to an intimacy with the Law in being required to fulfill all its requirements because Christ Jesus did that for us; He came not to destroy the Law but to fulfill it:

Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.

In His fulfilling the Law, He opened up a new way for us to achieve righteousness with God. It is now no longer necessary for us to work to obtain right standing with the Father, but instead we “receive” the work that Jesus did on our behalf by faith, and so we are set free to “be” who He created us to be instead of working to attain the perfection of the righteous requirement of the Law.

Romans 8:1-4 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

You see, Christ Jesus set us free from having to try to attain our righteousness through fleshly efforts. He broke down that wall of separation between God and man through His work on the Cross for each one of us.

Romans 7:6 AMP “...... So now we serve not under [obedience to] the old code of written regulations, but [under obedience to the promptings] of the Spirit in newness [of life].”

Now that we've been set free from trying to obey to the Law, we can live by the promptings of the Spirit! Praise the Lord! We don't have to try to keep every rule that was required by the Law. We can live by the Spirit of God within us as He directs us and prompts us. We are free to “be” instead of chained in bondage to a set of rules and regulations! The rules are still there as guidelines, but are not requirements for acceptance by God. When we live by the prompting of the Spirit He will always bring back to our remembrance what pleases God, in living a life of integrity, but our acceptance is no longer based on what we do; it is based on who we are in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:13,14 NLT But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When He was hung on the cross, He took upon Himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” Through the work of Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing He promised to Abraham, and we Christians receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith.

Father, I thank You for giving Your Son to die for me that I might be free from the law of sin and death! Thank You for making it possible, Lord Jesus, for me to have eternal life through Your sacrifice on the cross on my behalf. Thank You, Lord Jesus for taking the curse of the law for me and giving me life through the Holy Spirit in its place. Father, may we fully understand all that You have purchased for us in salvation. Help us to understand; give us revelation knowledge of all that we have and are in Christ Jesus. Open the eyes of our hearts to see what You see and understand Your great plan for us. Thank You, for giving us new life in Christ Jesus and for Your Spirit Who lives within us directing us and prompting us to live according to Your principles. Thank You for blessing us, Father, and for making us a light shining into the darkness to lead others to You. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FERGSGIRL2 7/13/2012 7:56PM

    Thank God for HIS grace, and love! thank you for the blog!

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BABY_GIRL69 7/13/2012 4:13PM

    What a mighty blog you have written here!! Thank you for sharing this with us & reminding us of God's love for sending His Son Jesus.

God bless you & Amen.

Dee

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EDITOR 7/13/2012 2:10PM

    I love the details that you put in your message and lesson for the day, Avanell. Words are very important. Thank God we are free to commune and walk with Christ and witness the supernatural happen.

It is by the grace of God we are saved and not by works lest anyone should boast. Your prayer is so right. It is revelation knowledge that we need to understand the Bible and freedom in Christ Jesus. We walk in great grace.

Thank you for lessons, goodies and personal notes to rally the troops on.

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SLIMLEAF 7/13/2012 12:51PM

    I want to say a Giant AMEN to that prayer!

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JUDY1676 7/13/2012 10:42AM

    Thanks for sharing and thanks be to God for sending us His son.

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GOLFGMA 7/13/2012 9:09AM

    Marvelous Grace! emoticon

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GABY1948 7/13/2012 7:16AM

    AVANELL, I totally understand what you are saying...I spent 14 years in a "denominational" church THINKING I was saved without truly knowing what that meant...I realized at a later point I was not SAVED at all...just following the doctrine ("say this statement and you are saved for all time") until the Holy Spirit SHOWED me the truth by way of the excellent Teacher that became my husband! I did not know what TRUE REPENTENCE was! My point...I now know the difference in WORKS and followiing the Holy Spirit! Thank you again, for the wonderful and lovely blog! I CALL you Blessed and Loved!

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Stepping Stones of Opposition

Thursday, July 12, 2012

1 Corinthians 16:9 For a great and effective door has been opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

Have you ever known that you were supposed to do something but everything seemed to being going against you? Paul recognized the opportunity ahead of him, but he also saw the opposition. With every opportunity there will always be opposition and obstacles placed in our path to try to detour us from what we are trying to accomplish. We feel the calling and are excited at the new opportunity placed before us, but we often cave in when opposition appears. However, the obstacles that are placed in our path are simply stepping stones on our path to success!

Paul talked about so many different obstacles that had been placed before him in Acts 20 and in verses 22-24 he tells us how those oppositions affected him:

Acts 20:22-24 “And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, “except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

Paul knew that opposition awaited him everywhere he went, but he had learned to overcome it; to not allow it to stop what he felt he had been called to do. Reaching the goal at the end of his life was bigger than the fear of what the opposition could do to him.

You may think that this doesn't apply to you; that you are not on the same level with Paul. He was a great preacher and apostle called to the work of ministry. But whatever you feel you have been called to do, whether it is to take a new job, make some changes in your lifestyle or health, get married, or go to college, there will always be obstacles to face and overcome. With every new endeavor there are new challenges! If we will take the proper attitude towards the opposition we will find that it will actually work for our good.

The difference in whether we achieve success or not is in how we view the challenges placed before us. We can go into them knowing that, as a believer, we have God's support and empowerment to win; to achieve the desired goals; or we can look at the obstacles and back down because of the size of them, not having the faith that we can do it or that God is for us and will help us. The size of the obstacle is not really what is important; it is our attitude towards the obstacle that either causes us to win or lose. We win or lose by what we think about what we are up against. The battle is in the mind. Attitude is everything! You can either soar with the eagles or be confined to the ground with the chickens. Which would you prefer?

Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

Jesus saw that the disciples had met opposition in their ministry to the child with a mute spirit. They were not able to free him of the demonic control that was constantly throwing him into convulsions. Their inability to set the child free affected the faith of the child's father. Jesus then told the father that his problem was not that the disciples failed in ministering freedom to the child, but that it was an issue with his faith. We must believe in order to receive! Once the father had the problem identified he was able to call on the Lord to help him.

Mark 9:24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

Sometimes we are at a certain level of faith, but we need an extra boost to be fully assured that what we are believing for will come into manifestation. I know that when I started to college I believed that God had asked me to do that, but the 4 month time frame that I had to complete 10 courses became an obstacle to me. I constantly had to go the the Lord with this same attitude as the little boy's father; “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” I was at a certain level of faith, but needed the assurance that God was there, helping me to overcome the obstacles. It was a walk of faith, not of sight; I needed to trust God to help me achieve my goals.

Do you trust God to see you through to whatever it is that you are trying to accomplish? Do you believe that He is for you and will help you? The disciples thought they needed more faith so they ask Jesus to increase their faith and He responded by saying this:

Luke 17:6 So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree. 'Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.”

It's not that we need more faith, but we need applied faith. We just need to believe what God says and then act on it in order for our faith to be activated! Strong faith comes from having a strong foundation based on God's word:

Matthew 7:24-27 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock; “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

You see the wind and rain come to all of us, but Jesus said the key to withstanding the storms is having a firm foundation based on His word and then acting on what you know that He has said. The key to standing strong is basing your life on what God says, not what you see happening around you. If God said you can do this, then believe it and act on it. It is when we ignore what God has said to us that we fall.

Paul said in Philippians 4:13 that he could do all things because of the strength that he received through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:13 AMP I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency].

Can you say, as Paul said, that you are ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who fills your inner being with strength? He recognized his inability, but he was convinced that he could do it through Christ's sufficiency. He believed that even though there were obstacles and opposition, through Christ's strength he could accomplish his goals. When I look at this scripture I get a picture in my mind of Jesus standing over me with a funnel on top of my head pouring His strength into me. It's as if He is filling me up so I will be sufficient for whatever I'm going through, not in my own sufficiency, but in His.

God said in 1 John 4:4 that when we meet up with spiritual opposition we can know that we will win because “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

The greater One lives in you and me! How can we lose if God Himself is living and moving through us as we meet up with opposition?

Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Romans 8:37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

There is no opposition that can stop us when God is for us! He is on our side and He makes a way where there seems to be no way. We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us! Begin to see yourself as God sees you. He sees you as a winner, not a loser. He doesn't see you struggling to make it through the difficulties; He sees you rising above them and conquering them! In order to win you must change the way you think about opposition!

Romans 12:2 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.

Renew your mind to the truth of God's word and the obstacles in your path will become the stepping stones to your success!

Father, I thank You for making me more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus! You have made it possible for me to always be a winner! Thank You, Lord Jesus, for strengthening me for whatever lies ahead of me. I know that I can do all things through Your strength, Lord! You are my strength and my salvation. It's in You that I live and move and have my being. Praise Your holy name! Father, I lift my friends up to You this morning that may be struggling with opposition in their lives. I ask You to show them the way over the difficulties so they may also be more than conquerors in their life's endeavors. Help them to see themselves as the victors that You have created them to be. May they devour Your word until the Spirit of God brings it to life within them so that they know they are the winners that You have created them to be. Thank You, Father, for hearing and answering my prayers this morning. In Jesus name. Amen.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GABY1948 7/12/2012 12:03PM

    Lovely prayer as always, and you always hit your mark with me in making me see myself! And as always, I am reminded to "renew your mind" as I should! Thank you for your faithfulness, AVANELL! God Bless you!

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SLIMLEAF 7/12/2012 10:32AM

    Amen.

This has come at a good time for me. I have been fearful and dreading various things but this blog post has given me courage. Thank you for reminding me of the truth. It seems that I have a very short memory, so need frequent reminders!

God bless you, my friend.

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EDITOR 7/12/2012 8:54AM

    That truly is an opportunity when everything goes wrong. We face each day with a spirit of calmness and trust or fear and frustration. Either way, others really do see us.
Paul was my biblical hero, and although a woman who has heard that Paul was prejudice against such, he was not. He rallied me on when I wanted to quit. He shot straight from the hip although he faced opposition and threat of death. He had a vision given to Him by Christ and he stood his ground.
No matter what our level of faith is, we have to ask for more so we can be effectual!
This blog was excellent, Avanell, and I pray others realize the power that you wield in bring Christ to others. Thank you.

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Human "Being" or Human "Doing"?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Luke 10:38-42 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

We are human “beings”, not human “doings”. Martha was distracted from “being” by her need to be “doing” something. She wanted to please the Lord, to make Him welcome in her home and comfortable at her table, and there is nothing wrong with that, but there had become an imbalance in her relationship with the Lord versus her serving Him. She had become distracted and had lost her focus on what was the most important in her life. Jesus pointed out that her problem was not that she had too much to do but that she was troubled and worried and that caused her to try to over-compensate by doing. Mary, on the other hand, had learned the secret of “being”. She chose relationship over service. She knew the value of being close to the Lord, of listening to His voice and following His directions. Jesus commended her for choosing that good part of life; that which could not be taken away from her.

Worried – Greek word merimnao – means “to divide into parts”. The word suggests a distraction, a preoccupation with things causing anxiety, stress, and pressure.

Have you ever been distracted from your focus on the Lord because of being worried about something? Martha's need to do something for the Lord caused her to be worried, distracted, divided in her devotion to the Lord. Sometimes the need to “work for the Lord” takes precedence over “being with the Lord” and we get off balance, out of spiritual kilter, so to speak. Martha had reached that place of imbalance; she had run off into the ditch of “works”.

This morning as I was walking.....and praying, the Lord gave me a picture of me up in His lap resting my head on His chest, totally enveloped in His arms, being jostled up and down on His knees, just being a child in her Daddy's arms. What a relaxing, restful picture that was. Peace washed over me and the thought of everything that I had to “do” faded out of the picture. He reminded me of the scripture in Mark 10:13-15:

Then they brought the little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”

Jesus said the kingdom of God is like little children coming in total dependence upon their Father. He wants us to come to Him as little children, being who we are, not striving to work to gain His attention or love. He loves us because He is love! He can't do anything but love us and nothing we can do or not do will change His love for us. We are His children!

As a parent I love for my children to call me or come to spend time with me. That happens less and less since I live some distance from them, and I feel left out of their lives if they don't communicate with me. Imagine how God feels, as a parent, when we don't spend time with Him. We become so busy with the details of life, and trying to run the universe on our own so we can work for Jesus, that we fail to come into His presence and just “be” with Him.

Matthew 18:1-5 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. “Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.”

We can't even begin to see what God has in store for us in His kingdom without humbling ourselves as little children and being being born again, thus establishing a relationship with Him. All the work that we do for Him does not even compare with the greatness that we have as His children! We can never work enough to earn God's love and favor, or a place in His kingdom. It is ours for just being His children. We are the greatest in His kingdom, not because of some work that we do for Him, but simply because we are His children! He places all of us on the same level playing field. Our stance in His eyes is simply that of being a child.

Are you trying to please God through works? Has your “doing” taken the place of your “being”? Do you get so busy with your day that you forget to come to the Lord for strength and direction? All of these are indications that life has become out of balance and needs an adjustment to bring things back into their proper places. But it's a simple adjustment; simply a tweaking of priorities!

Father, I thank You that You love us even when we become out of balance. Thank You for making the way possible for us to come back to You. Please forgive us for getting caught up in “doing” things for You instead of “being” with You. Help us to prioritize our relationship with You and choose that best part like Mary did. Bring us back into balance, Lord. Help us to give You the best of our time, our life and our abilities. As we yield ourselves to You, Father, please show us the important things that you would have us do and how to discard the unimportant things. Open our eyes to see what You see that is important. Give us Your vision, Oh Lord! Thank You, Father, for forgiving us for our failures and weaknesses, and for restoring us to a right relationship with You. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GABY1948 7/11/2012 3:37PM

    Oh, AVANELL, again you hit the nail on the head...and I am ashamed to say I was always Martha...until I hope a few years ago. I can still get going inside with "all that has to be done" but when I think of the long way down the road I realized just what IS important. We are not promised another minute but we DO know there will always be eternity...ONE way or the OTHER. So that is what I have to keep focus on to keep myself in check! Again, thank you for an awesome message!

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SLIMLEAF 7/11/2012 9:53AM

    Amen

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EDITOR 7/11/2012 7:25AM

    Always a big difference between worry and concern.
Thank You, Lord, in control that we have an example in Christ that was fully human and fully God. Thank you, Avanell for your prayer and explanation today.
Oh Lord, indeed!


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SHERMOR13 7/11/2012 7:11AM

    Avanell - I've always loved the Bible passage about Martha & Mary - how often we have in fact been so busy with the "work of the Lord" that we've ignored the "Lord of the work". It's always a good reminder that we will always have Martha's yelling at us to get busy; get in the kitchen & help - while Mary basks in the presence of Jesus. God help us all to be intentional in our sitting at His feet!

AND, of course, as a children's pastor, I completely love how Jesus blessed the children & then told us to be like a child, with pureness of faith! I particularly work with babies, toddlers & preschoolers and just love how they are like sponges to gather up our love and what we say to them. I remember a Mom of a particulary challenging 3 year old coming to me & sharing how her son, after we had had the story of David & Goliath that Sunday, had come home with such excitement over how David, a young boy we called him, had been brave enough with God's help to step & fight that giant. For our craft we had decorated burlap pouches & put "paper" rocks in them as a reminder! She said he asked her to re-tell him the story, then to read it to him out of his children's Bible. In preschool we only went as far as David killing Goliath with the slingshot & stones; but of course, we know that he also lopped off Goliath's head with a sword - that part we omitted. When she read that part to him in the story, he jumped up and yelled, "Hold it right there Mom! That's not true - Pastor Sherli would have told me." SO open & believing......

Sorry for going on & on, but I wanted to say thanks & share! Bless you today!!!

Sherli

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Do You Need a Little R & R?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Matthew 11:28-30 AMP Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh; hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.

Do you ever feel overburdened? Has life become hard for you because of the pressures of adversity? There is a place where you can find rest and relief. It is in the presence of the Lord. He is waiting for you to come and unload on Him.....that's right UNLOAD. Trade your heavy load for His light one.

This morning as I was praying the Lord spoke to My heart:

"Come to Me, Child. Come to Me and rest. Come and lay your head on My chest and rest in Me. You can't carry the burdens of the world on your shoulders, but I can. Release your cares to Me for I am a loving Father who longs to relieve His children of their burdens. Don't try to carry them by yourself. Yield them to Me and I will sustain you. Cast your cares on the One who cares for you. Come unto Me and rest."

There are times when we become lost in life. It moves too fast for us and we feel like a hamster running on a round wheel; running, running, running, trying to keep up but getting nowhere fast. Have you ever felt that way?

There is a place of refuge and safety from the busyness of life. It is in the shelter of the Most High.

Psalm 91:1 AMP He WHO dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand].

In the secret place of the Almighty you remain stable and fixed! No power can come against you when You are dwelling in the presence of the Lord. The winds of adversity become light, gentle breezes. He is a refuge and a fortress away from the storms of life. We each need those times of respite; of rest and refreshment. Are you spending time with the Lord, unloading your cares and problems on Him? If not, you will reach the place of burn-out. You can't sustain carrying a load that is too heavy for you. It will eventually break you down.

When we go into our pre-service prayer times at church before our Sunday morning service, our Pastor will often tell us to unload whatever cares we've brought into that room on the Lord so He can fill us anew and afresh. We can't minister to others if we are over-loaded with our own cares; so we take a few minutes to “unload” on the Lord.

Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden on the LORD, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.

Cast – Hebrew word – salak – means “to throw, fling, cast, overthrow. The word is used of the “throwing” or “casting” of anything tangible.

When I go fishing with my husband we “cast” our lines out into the water to try to catch a fish. We use a “casting rod and reel”. The object is to throw it out there a long ways so you can reel it back in and have it be noticed by a fish as being a “bait fish” swimming through the water. When he was teaching me to fish he would constantly tell me to cast it out further. You can't get much swim action if you don't get it out there a long ways. So I have learned to throw or “cast” it out there with much strength so I can have a good, long cast. When I think of casting my cares on the Lord I often think of using the same power as when I cast my line out in the lake to catch a fish. Casting your cares on the Lord is not a halfhearted endeavor. God intends for us to get rid of our cares; to throw them off onto Him.

1 Peter 5:7 NIV Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

Cast – Greek word epiripto – “to cast upon”, as “of casting garments on a colt,”.

Here we see again in the New Testament that God intends for us to “throw” our anxiety on Him because He cares for us. My friend, don't carry around a load that will eventually break you down and cause you to bend over under the heaviness of it. Don't just “release” them to Him; throw them; get rid of them as if you are trying to see how far you can throw them. Throw them onto the Lord. He loves you and cares about your ability to withstand the pressures of life. Then run into His presence and just relax; rest in Him and know that all is well when you are being cared for by your Father.

There is a place of quiet rest, of safe refuge. It is in the presence of the Lord; hidden under the shadow of the Almighty.

Psalm 91:2-5 AMP I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust! For [then] He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. [Then] He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings shall you trust and find refuge; His truth and His faithfulness are a shield and a buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror of the night, nor of the arrow (the evil plots and slanders of the wicked) that flies by day.

There is no foe that can touch you when you are safe in the Refuge of God. Lean and rely on Him, trust Him to handle those problems that you have no answer or solution for. You shall not be afraid for He cares for you.

Father, I thank You for the secret place that we have in You. I thank You that we are safe from all harm when we trust in You. You are our Refuge and High Fortress and it's in You that we trust. Lead us to that safe haven of rest this morning, Father. Allow us to be relieved of the pressures of life. Help us to cast our anxiety and care on You and not take it back. It's not a casting line that we throw out to You and then reel it back in. Help us, Father, to throw these problems on You once and for all! We can't carry the load that was only designed for You. Father, I pray for my friends this morning, that they will find their rest in You. Thank You for loving us so much, Father! Thank You for relieving them of the stress of life. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAYYVAUGHN 7/11/2012 5:30AM

    It is wonderful that we have a place to cast our burdens.
Kay

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EDITOR 7/10/2012 5:16PM

    Praise God we know where that secret hding place is where we can meet with Jesus. He grants us rest from our labors and refreshes us so we can go forward.
How burdensome it would be to have to carry our own load day in and day out. Release all to Him for He cares for us.

Thank you for the goodies and personal notes, Avanell.

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GABY1948 7/10/2012 9:11AM

    I often think of this verse..."Come to me all you weary and laden"...pretty much sounds like today's world. Everything goes SO fast...how did it ever get to this? Well, when we consider whose domain it is right now it's no wonder...but not for LONG!

Thank you again for a lovely blog and more truth for today's lesson! I praise God for you!

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SLIMLEAF 7/10/2012 8:09AM

    Thank you - I needed this.

When life is getting too much for me to cope with I pray "Hide me under the shadow of your wings."

As you said in your blog - it's the safest most secure place to be.

The idea of 'casting' being a deliberate forceful action is a helpful one.

Lindsay

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Hearts Fail From Fear

Monday, July 09, 2012

Isaiah 55:5-8 AMP Behold, you [Israel] shall call nations that you know not, and nations that do not know you shall run to you because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for He has glorified you. Seek, inquire for, and require the Lord while He may be found [claiming Him by necessity and by right]; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have love, pity, and mercy for him, and to our God, for He will multiply to him His abundant pardon. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord.

Israel is God's chosen people and we see throughout the Old Testament His interaction with His people and how He lead them, protected them and provided for them. They are a type and shadow of the New Testament church. Those who believe in Christ Jesus and put their trust in Him for forgiveness of their sin become a child of God and a part of His Church. As such, we are His people and He always used His people as a witness to the unbeliever. As we look at Israel throughout the Old Testament God used them to witness to the surrounding nations of Who He was and what He wanted to be to them. As New Testament believers He wants to use us as a witness to those unbelievers around us. As we grow closer to the time of Christ's return it is imperative for believers to draw close to the Lord, to be filled with His Spirit and to be able to share with unbelievers the good news of Jesus Christ so they can enter into the family of God as well.

We do not know when the Lord will return, but He has given us enough information in His word about His return that we can look at the signs of the time and know that it is near.

Matthew 24:3-8 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. “For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. “All these are the beginning of sorrows.”

As we draw closer to the return of the Lord, people will be running to believers because they know Jesus and will be able to minister His love to them. It is as believers seek the Lord for His direction that they will be able to offer answers to those who are fearful about what is happening around them.

Luke 21:25-28 “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; “men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

We see so much happening around us already of which the Scriptures have spoken. We see wars and hear rumors of wars; there is unrest all over the world. There are earthquakes happening all around us and people are fearful of the future, not knowing how to live even in the present. The economy and the state of the nation has provoked fear in the hearts of the people. The word says that men's hearts will fail them because of fear. It is imperative that we as believers are able to give them hope, knowing that God is our Source and He will provide even in the midst of troubled times. People need to know that God loves them and wants them to be saved from the destruction that will eventually take place. We, as believers need to draw near to the Lord so we will have something to give out to unbelievers as they become fearful of the future. You can't give something away that you don't own for yourself. If you are filled with fear then that is what you will share with others. If you are filled with faith and know God's provision for your own life, then you will be able to share with others that He is faithful to provide for them as well.

1 Corinthians 2:1-5 And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God, For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Paul declared to the people Jesus Christ and Him crucified. He used His relationship with the Lord as a platform to preach the way of salvation to those unbelievers who were around him. He didn't share his own thoughts or feelings about their lives and situations, but he made sure that his preaching was a result of his dependence on the Holy Spirit so their faith could be placed in God and not himself. It is only the power of God that can eternally change people; it is only God that can save, heal, deliver and set free. Man under his own power can have no lasting eternal effect on another human being, but when man places his dependence on the Lord, he then becomes a living vessel through which God's power can flow.

Jesus said this in John 15:4-8 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”

Jesus said the key to being fruitful and having something to share with others on a spiritual level is abiding in Him; living in His presence; praying and listening to His voice and then sharing with others what you have heard. It is a life lived in close communion with the Lord that bears fruit for His kingdom.

Isaiah 55:6 Seek, inquire for, and require the Lord while He may be found [claiming Him by necessity and by right]; call upon Him while He is near.

It is of utmost importance that we seek the Lord before the time of trouble is upon us so that we can be ready to share the help needed with those around us. Are you seeking the Lord as if He is a necessity in your life that you can't live without? Or is your relationship with Him a hit and miss type of thing? It is much more difficult to get answers to a problem when you are in the midst of the battle, but if you have tuned your spirit to hear the voice of God in times of peace when there is no turmoil in your life you will be prepared to hear Him when the pressure of adversity is upon you.

1 Corinthians 2:9-12 But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the hear of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.”

When we draw near to the Lord we can know what God has planned for us because He reveals them to us through His Spirit. Jesus told His disciples in John 16:13 that His Spirit would reveal to them those things that were yet to come, that would be happening n the future.

John 16:13 “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”

He will guide you, share what He hears from the Father with you and inform you of future happenings. It is through the relationship and fellowship that we have with Jesus through His Spirit that we learn the things that God has planned for us and what will happen in the future. If we do not spend time in His presence we will be unprepared for the future and of no use to those around us who are fearful because of the happenings leading up to the return of the Lord Jesus.

Will you be ready to help those around you? Or, will you be one of those believers who is almost like an unbeliever because you have not grown in your walk with the Lord? Will you be able to give out hope and the answers that are needed for salvation to the lost or will you be one who needs reassurance from other believers that things are going to be okay in your own life? Success comes through preparation, planning and activation in all of our life's endeavors.

Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law.

The word for revelation in this verse actually means “prophetic vision”. We receive revelation or prophetic vision from the Lord. With out it people run around like chickens with their heads cut off. They do not know what to do. But with God's vision we know what to do to carry us through the difficult days. We can be happy in living by His laws or principles set down through His word and revealed by His Spirit for success. We will have something to share with others that will bring hope and success in their lives as well.

Father, I thank You for Your word and for making it possible for us to come to You through interaction with Your Spirit to know the things that lie ahead of us. Thank You for revealing Your plans to us so we can share them with those around you that may be fearful of the future. Father, open our eyes to see the need for a close walk with You. Grant us the courage to come boldly before Your throne of grace before it is too late to get the help that we need. Father, impress upon our hearts the importance of developing a close and intimate walk with you. Draw us by Your Spirit and give us a hunger and thirst for You, Lord, that can only be quenched as we draw from Your heart. Thank You, Father, for hearing and answering my prayer this morning. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GABY1948 7/9/2012 4:48PM

    Avanell, I agree with what EDITOR said below...about the internet and Israel. God has given me such a loving heart for His people and I believe He has done the same for others.
I watch everyday for Jesus to come for us...yet so many I talk to say no, it won't be for a generation or two or three even. Read the Word and find out what has happened in the world that coincides with what Jesus told us would happen! Don't be left behind...it's so easy and rewarding to know the Word for oneself! THANK YOU

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SLIMLEAF 7/9/2012 11:20AM

    Amen

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BABY_GIRL69 7/9/2012 11:03AM

    Amen.

God bless,

Dee

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EDITOR 7/9/2012 10:01AM

    We are adopted and grafted in. America should honor Israel and enough said on that political statement. LOL

The sign of Christ's soon return was in 1948 so we should be alert and not weary in waiting for He will come like a thief in the night.

People are running to believers and the harvest is plentiful.

It is important that we know the Word and do not manipulate it for gain as we sometimes see on the Internet and in churches and higher learning facilities from certain insurgents and greedy persons.

We are grateful, Lord Almighty, for voices that ring the truth. Thank you for Avanell, and we lift her in prayer for those she touches that we cannot. Amen



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