In Step with the Guide

In the marriage ceremony, two people become united into one. In the same manner the ‘ceremony’ of confessing Jesus as the Son of God unites the believer with God.

Meditation Thought: “ Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.” 1 John 4:15

In the marriage ceremony, two people become united into one. In the same manner the ‘ceremony’ of confessing Jesus as the Son of God unites the believer with God. The life – perhaps lives could be used – are changed; for the inter-relationship changes the life of the believer, but God is also doing differently than if that person had not confessed Christ as Savior. Once we accept Christ as Savior, and act as if we have a new relationship, we behave differently. Only people who have a similar relationship can truly understand! That is why believers often act incomprehensibly to non-believers, for they are ‘marching to a different drummer’.

But once we know God and recognize Him as Guide of our lives, we must obey Him, and not the usual order of society. We are out of step with the world, but more importantly, we are in step with God.

Refuge in Battle

…therefore we can live in hope and not in fear. 

Meditation Thought: “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.” (Nahum 1:7)

Just knowing that we have a stronghold (a refuge; a place that has been fortified so as to protect it against attack) to turn to gives us courage – so that we have more power as a result of knowing of our stronghold; we do not have to bear the burden of the battle without help.

However, we need to know where our stronghold is in order to use it, and to use it if it is to be of any value to us. We can learn to use our stronghold effectively if we search for it, become familiar with it, and practice using it. No matter what happens in our lives, we know we have that stronghold to protect us; therefore we can live in hope and not in fear.

Jeweled Crown

And so what appears to be death of self is actually the resurrection of self in new glory

Meditation Thought: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)

When we place our delight in the Lord, we will have constant delight – for the Lord is always loving, caring, helpful, dependable, powerful – and willing to fulfill the desires of our heart. When we learn to be adept at taking our delight in the Lord, we will rejoice in the fulfillment of our desires as a natural consequence.

The ability to become adept at taking our delight in the Lord, however, is one which must be rigorously developed and practiced. There must be time to learn His Word, to listen to His Counsel. There must be courage to act upon His instructions – and His instructions may well bring the ridicule of the world, and most devastatingly, even our loved ones. We must learn to seek truth and not accept face values, we must “fight city hall”, we must be active and not passive, we must put duty above pleasure, we must sacrifice ego to become God’s weak vessel into which He pours His strength.

When we are able to submerge ourselves into what we thought was a swallowing up of our identity into God’s will, we learn that miraculously the very burying of ourself in Him crystallized us into all we were meant to be: we are fulfilled in an unsuspected joy as we emerge more totally individual than ever before – a new creature in Christ, a jewel set off more brilliantly because of our placement in His crown. And so what appears to be death of self is actually the resurrection of self in new glory, the clay reworked by God into a new and beautiful vessel to be used by Him, to be delighted in by Him, a completion of His creative process.

 

Rays of Hope

Who is with us every second of our lives; who is constantly concerned for us; who seeks to help us? Our dear Lord –

Meditation Thought: “Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4

Who is with us every second of our lives; who is constantly concerned for us; who seeks to help us? Our dear Lord – when we rejoice in Him, He is always there – no disappointment that the one we wish to rejoice with and in has disappeared.

The Lord is our source of rejoicing – pouring out “rays” of love, peace, help, guidance; rescuing us in times of trouble with His energy and wisdom. But unlike the sun, which sends out heat and light, but receives nothing in return; we send our “rays” back to the Lord – rays of hope, of trust, of love, of obedience. There is constant exciting movement from one to the other; an inter-changing of rays to make the other glow with love and gratitude, and a sense of fulfillment. All of the rays are needed to make the relationship whole, to make both God and His creation whole, totally as we were intended to be when He created us to complete the outpouring of the love which He needed to express.

 

Blessed, Beloved, Pampered

So, too, we enjoy our early party here on earth, as our Father lavishes His care and gifts upon us, but it is only later that we will come to know what a truly great celebration He has for us with Him.

Meditation Thought: “Beloved, we are God’s children now, it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears, we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2

We are God’s children now. This moment. I am His blessed, beloved, pampered daughter. And yet what He does for me now is only a preparation for even greater joys later.

I’m thinking of the excitement of a child’s birthday. The child is so excited and happy at breakfast when the family gives him special attention and also gifts. He knows there will be a party later, and he anticipates it eagerly, but it is only during the party, that he truly realizes the difference in the quiet celebration in the morning, and the more intense one in the later hour.

So, too, we enjoy our early party here on earth, as our Father lavishes His care and gifts upon us, but it is only later that we will come to know what a truly great celebration He has for us with Him. We are forming, growing, while we are here – but when we join Him we will be His matured believer, having changed from sinners to forgiven sinners to His own beloved children formed new in His image, grown to be like Him.

 

 

A New Name

So a vital relationship with Christ can transform anyone

Meditation Thought: “To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power,  so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12)

In these few words, Paul describes the interchange and the reliability upon one another that constitute the relationship of God with His faithful people.

God does call upon us to do His work – and when we respond by faith, resolve and our efforts, He releases His power to aid us. What is difficult is the initiating of our own movement once we recognize we should make it.

Prayer is a great help in this, as is the trust that God will work good for us when we serve Him faithfully. Despite the troubles that have come to Christians, and do come to Christians, the joy of the Lord penetrates and uplifts – and is encouragement to the participants and to those who observe.

Paul also makes a point that as we glorify Christ, He glorifies us: that must be the key factor that gives strength and courage beyond the ordinary. I hadn’t thought about my being glorified in Christ – but to know of the changes that took place in the people who knew Christ, and believed Him, and the ones who have come to know Him through faith after His death and resurrection, does verify this statement. To know Christ and to follow Him is to change the personality – to enhance the God-reflective qualities of each facet, and to eliminate, or at least subdue the qualities that are selfish, unloving, uncaring, and cruel.

Several men were so changed that even the names were changed: Simon became Peter and Saul became Paul. Certainly if one met Simon when he was denying Christ, and fearful for his life, it would be difficult to recognize him as Peter the Rock, the brave, enthusiastic supporter of Christ after Christ’s death. And to know Saul the determined persecutor of those who followed Christ’s teachings, would make it difficult to reconcile Paul, – who went through all kinds of trials to preach Christ as Savior and to teach His Way, with the former Saul.

So a vital relationship with Christ can transform anyone: this is Christ “glorifying” us. We are made more recognizable as God’s children – and more important to others, we are ministers of Christ – healers, helpers, encouragers, strengtheners. We do not do these works for our own glory. Yet the power is a satisfaction to us as we perceive the good changes taking place. And we do experience joy as the love of Christ penetrates our hearts; it is in this way that He glorifies us. As we serve Him, He serves us, Christ ministers to the world – through us. And Christ ministers to us through the world (by the power of the Holy Spirit working in circumstances), as well as through others in whom His love and power flow – and overflow.

To realize this fact is to serve as the basis for a Simon becoming a Peter and a Saul becoming a Paul: to the glory of Jesus, to the glory of Peter and Paul and to the betterment of the world.

Key to Change

We must recognize the importance of our reaching to Him – it is the key to completing the circuit. That’s a lot of responsibility – but it is also the means to change the world, let alone change ourselves!

Just as there is no flow of electricity (no power) unless there is a “return” flow, our relationship with God must be one of a reaching out by Him and a reaching back by us or there is not a true “relationship”, at least one with true power, or complete power. Therefore, we must recognize the importance of our reaching to Him – it is the key to completing the circuit. That’s a lot of responsibility – but it is also the means to change the world, let alone change ourselves!