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Remain True to the Lord

9 Jul

Senseless killings. Political unrest. Election outcomes. Economic upheaval. Serious illnesses or other difficulties of family and friends. Water heater replacements. Waiting on insurance adjusters to say what you’ll get on your wrecked car. … With all of these circumstances and the emotions that go with them swirling inside me, I read these words from Acts 11:23

“Then when he [Barnabas] arrived and witnessed the grace of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with resolute heart to remain true to the Lord.”

pathWhat an exhortation – “remain true to the Lord”! But what does that mean? And better yet, how do I do remain true when it looks like all around me is failing, that things will only get worse, that God doesn’t care or isn’t acting to correct it, that there is no hope, or when I’m tempted to get off the path?

To remain means to persevere, to hold fast, abide. The very word carries with it a resolution of mind and heart to carry on, to follow through. It is an intentional decision one makes to stay the course.

Barnabas came alongside the Christians in Antioch to strengthen their faith. He wanted them to continue to acknowledge what God had done for them through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, to continue to surrender their lives to Him, to continue to let the conduct of their lives be changed by the power of His Holy Spirit in them. He wanted them to continue pursuing the object of their faith – God Himself, resting on Him alone. He encouraged these growing Christians to remain true even in the midst of persecution and difficulty.

This idea of remaining is found in other places in the Bible, and each instance indicates how to remain true.

  • Acts 11:23 –I must make an intentional decision to do this with my whole heart.
  • Acts 13:43 –To continue in the grace of God I need to remember that I did nothing to deserve God’s unmerited favor, that He is doing a work in my life, and will empower me to do what He asks.
  • Acts 14:22 – I need to continue in the faith knowing that difficulties will come but are used to make me fit for the kingdom of God.
  • John 8:31 – I must continue in God’s Word, letting it teach me, discipline me, nourish and encourage me.
  • John 15:4-6 – I must abide in Christ. He is my source of life.
  • John 15:9-10 – I must abide in His love for me, confident that nothing can separate me from His love.
  • Colossians 1:23 – I must not move away from the hope of the gospel, but be firmly established and steadfast in the faith.
  • Jude 3 – I must contend for the faith – to fight for it with a sincere passion for its truth and its purity.
  • Jude 20-21 – I must continue to be built up on this “most holy” faith. It’s my foundation.
  • Hebrews 10:23-25 – I must hold fast the confession of my hope. The reason – God is faithful. Again, it’s resting on Him and not me or my circumstances. Staying in close fellowship with other believers will help in this as we encourage each other in love and good works.
  • Hebrews 10:35 – I must not throw away my confidence because of the reward that is mine – Jesus! (vv.36-38)

The world you and I live in is getting very troubling. Circumstances are grim. But God’s Word encourages Christians to remain true to the Lord, to our faith in Him, to our only hope – Jesus. I pray this will be the resolve of our whole hearts until He returns.

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”           (Jude 24-25)

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Obsessive Worry

16 Jun

I have been making a concerted effort of late to regularly review scripture verses learned over the years – something my dad had me start as a teenager – but which I’d fallen out of the habit of keeping fresh in my memory. Some of the verses have come back easily, others have left the recesses of my mind and are returning ever so slowly. But it’s been special to have God bring many to mind just when I need them. It happened again today.

WorryI have been experiencing several days of worry over a myriad of topics, why I don’t know, but it’s been bothersome, distracting, and wrong! Last night and this morning I was literally obsessing over the fact that I couldn’t find the charger for my cell phone. Perish the thought that I would not be able to send and receive text messages, check email, look at Facebook, play a game, Google search, ad nauseam! It even affected my sleep, for crying out loud!

As I was getting ready, I began telling the Lord that I was concerned by my obsessive worry. I knew I was being distracted and asked for His help. A verse came to mind that encouraged me to rely on one of God’s resources – His peace.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 KJV)

I confessed my anxiety, made my requests known to Him – my missing charger being one of them, and thanked Him for His peace.

When I finished getting ready, I had a few minutes before my husband and I were to leave, so I used the time to review a few verses. BAM-BAM-BAM! God hit me with three more verses to convict me and encourage me.

For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly. (Psalm 84:11 KJV)

This I declare, that He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I am trusting Him. For he rescues you from every trap and protects you from the fatal plague. He will shield you with His wings! They will shelter you. His faithful promises are your armor. Now you don’t need to be afraid of the dark anymore, nor fear the dangers of the day; nor dread the plagues of darkness, nor disasters in the morning. (Psalm 91:2-6 TLB)

[S]he does not fear bad news, nor live in dread of what may happen. For [s]he is settled in [her]his mind that Jehovah will take care of [her]him. That is why [s]he is not afraid but can calmly face [her]his foes. (Psalm 112:7-8 TLB)

Even my morning Bible reading started out with “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me” (John 14:1 NKJV)

It was quite obvious God wanted to deal with my obsessive worry. God used His Word as only He can – “for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16 KJV).

I was so overcome. I read the verses to my husband through tears and said, “I’m such a sinner in need of a Savior!” I’m so grateful He is my Savior.

P.S. I also found the phone charger a few minutes later!

Wherewithal shall a young man (or a not so young woman in my case) cleanse [her]his way? By taking heed thereto according to Thy word. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee. (Psalm 119:9,11 KJV)

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