Thursday, June 23, 2022

Total Forgiveness by Dr. R. T. Kendall


Dr. R. T. Kendall shares regarding his life message, “Total Forgiveness”

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I will tell my secret (if there is a secret): it is literally practicing what I preach regarding total forgiveness – and not grieving the Holy Spirit by bitterness. 

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These twin teachings – (1) totally forgiving every single person in the world who has not been very nice plus  (2) the teaching of not grieving the Holy Spirit by anger and bitterness – are the secret to my writing books. 

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Total forgiveness enables the Holy Spirit to flow freely and unhindered in me. The result: thoughts come, words flow and God opens the doors.

He will do this for you. 

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Total forgiveness is the secret to the anointing and is available to all who will let people off the hook who have been hurtful or injurious. A forty-day fast will not do it, neither will a thousand people laying hands on you. The secret is totally setting your enemy free and praying for them – sincerely – that God will bless them.

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In my 57 years of ministry the most talked about sermon I have had the privilege to come up with has been TOTAL FORGIVENESS.

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Whenever I preach Total Forgiveness I get the greatest response of people coming forward to forgive. What is more, I suspect I could go back to the very same congregations two or three weeks later, then preach the same sermon again and get the same response!

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Why? Because totally forgiving people that have hurt us is the hardest thing in the world to maintain. People do it instantly. But later forget. Fall back into the same old trap of “telling what they did,” pointing the finger, throwing up the wrongs. 

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This is why I preach that total forgiveness is a “life sentence”: you have to keep doing it – on and on and on. A good way to maintain this is sincerely to pray for these people – every day. Every day. 

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Just to remind you, we know we have totally forgiven when:

(1) we don’t tell “what they did”;

(2) we don’t let them be afraid of us;

(3) we don’t let them feel guilty – or wait for them to be sorry;

(4) we let them save face;

(5) we protect them from their darkest secret;

(6) we remember it is a life sentence – that is, you do it as long as you live; and

(7) we pray for them – that God will bless them.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

I can only imagine…


Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.—Ephesians 3:20

When I am feeling stuck, engaging in what some call, “analysis paralysis,” I find it helpful to apply the power of our God-given creative imagination for inspiration and problem-solving.

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Imagination is a powerful entity. It can cause the hair on the back of our neck to stand up, our spirit to soar, or our face to blush. Imagination is the power that holds our beliefs together; we believe with our imagination. Imagination is the wellspring of faith and hope. Our biggest and best dreams for ourselves and others rise from the imagination.

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When we have been hurt, our imagination is wounded. As a result, alienation and belief in bad news replace belief in good news. We may have...

  • feeling response that can become frozen into resentment. 
  • an anger response that can become frozen into negative reactions of rage or passivity. 
  • an interpretation response that can become frozen in negative attitudes, perceptions, biases, and beliefs. 

As a result, our imagination becomes paralyzed. Attending to our wounded imagination is a path through forgiveness. Forgiveness expands our horizons and invites us to retrieve the positive and work through the negative. Is the glass of water half-full or half-empty? The answer depends entirely on how you see it. “How you see it” is called “perception.”

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There is the story about the blind men and the elephant. Each man named and described the animal according to his experience of touching only one part of the elephant’s body. The man who held the trunk “perceived” the elephant to be a large snake; the man who held the leg “perceived” the elephant to be a sturdy tree. In the same way, we “perceive” life—depending on what our experience is.  Our experiences generate our expectations and our perceptions. We interpret life experiences, and we form expectations and perceptions, attitudes, and assumptions.

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All of this activity is the work of the imagination.

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It is also the work of the imagination to reinterpret and reform repeated assumptions and expectations. Forgiveness demands that we take another look so that our imagination can reframe our narrow interpretations. Forgiveness includes the decision to refocus or enlarge the context…walk a mile in another’s shoes. When we enlarge the context, we refocus, or we see it through a wider lens.

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Imagination is the work of seeing through a wider lens.

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If we remain stuck in a negative interpretation of an old offense, we will experience resentment whenever we think about it, or about the offender. We will never be able to grieve and let go; we will seesaw between rage and resignation; we will never allow anger to surface and put us back on the journey of forgiveness. If we insist on telling and retelling our bad news stories of the past, we simply recycle the bad news and pass it on to the next generation. We pollute the emotional environment; we remain stuck in lifeless memories instead of looking for a more positive side of things long past.

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When you enlarge your perceptions using your creative imagination, you at least allow for the possibility of healing. You give yourself the opportunity to turn from the negative aspects of your past, to get rid of the excess baggage, and to face the journey into the future with hope.

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When I served as the Florida Department of Education State Consultant for Gifted Education, I was frequently asked to provide technical assistance to school districts regarding strategies to improve creative and critical thinking skills for students.  I have identified some of those strategies here to inspire us to think creatively using our God-given imagination.

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The formulation of a problem is often more essential than its solution, which may be merely a matter of mathematical or experimental skill. To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old questions from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.—Albert Einstein.

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The formulation of a problem determines the range of choices:  the questions you ask determine the answers you receive. Write the problems you want to solve as a question. Use the phrase, “In what ways might I…?” to start a problem statement. This keeps you from settling on a problem statement that may reflect only one perception of the problem. Keep asking this open-ended “In what ways might I…?” question allowing your creative imagination to flow.

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You will be amazed at how your continual re-wording of the "In what ways might I...?" question will increase your creative thinking skills of Fluency, Flexibility, Originality, and Elaboration—the four primary strategies for developing and improving creative thinking or imagination:

  • Fluency is the ability to think of many answers to a question, to list many possible solutions to a problem, or to generate a number of responses. Fluency is being able to think of lots of plans or ideas.
  • Flexibility is the ability to change your way of thinking about a problem or situation. It is the ability to think of alternative ideas and to adapt to different situations. 
  • Originality is the ability to think of fresh or unusual designs, ideas, responses, or styles. People who are original are independent and creative in their thoughts and actions. They create things that are new, different, or unique. 
  • Elaboration is the process of expanding an idea by adding detail. To elaborate, you must understand the original idea and see a way to clarify or improve it by adding specific details. You are elaborating when you add to, enlarge, enrich, or expand descriptions, designs, drawings, explanations, instructions, reports or stories. 

Jesus used parables to help people imagine what His point was. Bible-centered imagination paints a picture of something new. It shows you the potential of what could be. Imagine how you will feel as a result of kicking a heart-hurting habit to the curb. 

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Use the blessings of God’s Fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22–23) as a carrot incentive to act differently...even more than what you’ve imagined, God can do. Imagine God smiling down on you as you trust Him with the scary things of your day. See yourself leaning on Him when you feel you can’t stand. Praise His name and feel Him smiling back at you through your suffering. Imagine who God has created you to be and what He has created you to do. Imagine how you feel as you let go of all that has held you back. When you set up God to rule over your life, no doubt, your heart can’t help but rule over your head.
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Lord Jesus, I can only imagine what it will be like to see Your light fully for the first time and bask in the light of Your glory. Your light has changed my life, given me wisdom, and helped me find my way out of dark places. It has illuminated Your Word and comforted me and taught me. I can only imagine what it will it be like one day to walk in a city where You are the light! In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
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Look Up—meditate on Ephesians 3:20 ... pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.
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Look In—as you meditate on Ephesians 3:20 ... pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."
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Look Out—as you meditate on  Ephesians 3:20 ... pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.  

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Let the Peace of Christ rule in your heart

Word Study inspired by I Thessalonians 5:23-24:


I Thessalonians 5:23-24--May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.

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I Corinthians 6:17--But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit..

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I Corinthians 3:16--Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?

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II Corinthians 6:16--What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."


Colossians 3:15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

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Scripture teaches us that humans are made up of three components: spirit, soul, and body. My body may have been hurt and my soul—the seat of emotions—may have been injured, but my spirit—the innermost part of my being, where the Spirit of Christ dwells—cannot be touched. Therefore, what defines me most has never been touched. God taught me that the more I allowed the Spirit of Truth dwelling in me to take authority over my body and soul, the more the wholeness of Christ would overtake every part of me. In other words, God taught me to live from the inside-out. I seek to allow the strongest, most invincible part of me—the spirit—to have dominion over all else, thereby sanctifying them (setting them apart as holy) just as I Thessalonians 5:23-24 suggests. Now I live most consciously out of my healthiest part—the Spirit. Through the years, the health of my spirit has been gloriously contagious to my soul and even to my body. According to I Corinthians 3:16 and II Corinthians 6:16, our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. In some ways, broken temples can be rebuilt. The Spirit of Christ dwelling within me has overtaken my whole being.

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God created us as to be whole creatures made of three different components: body, soul, and spirit. As long as we see God as Lord of our spirits alone, we will continue to live in areas of defeat. God is as surely Lord of our souls and body as He is our spirits. It’s all His turf. In fact, take a refreshing look at I Thessalonians 5:23-24. “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” 

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First of all, please celebrate the glorious fact that God Himself is the One at work in you and through you. He hasn’t just assigned you a mighty angel. God is thoroughly interested and involved in every single part of you: body, soul, and spirit.

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Second, notice that the verse identifies God specifically as the God of peace. The Word of God is perfectly inspired; therefore, every identification of God, every name He is called, is in perfect context. In this case the inference of the title is that the believer will be awash with God’s peace when every part of the life—body, soul, and spirit—is surrendered to His wise, loving, and liberating authority. I know far too well how distant the peace of God is when we refuse to bow a part of our lives to His rule. 

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Peace is the fruit of authority. God’s authority. As Colossians 3:15 says, “Let the peace of Christ rule. Christ brings His peace where He is Prince. That’s what the title “Prince of Peace” represents.

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Third, don’t miss what God Himself desires to do. I Thessalonians 5:23-24 proceeds to tell us that this glorious God of peace wants to sanctify us “through and through.” The original Greek word for “sanctify” is hagiazo, meaning “to make clean, render pure…to consecrate, devote, set apart from a common to a sacred use…to regard and venerate as holy, to hallow.” In other words, God deeply desires for us to grant Him total access to set apart every single part of our lives—body, soul, and spirit—to His glorious work. Always keep in mind that anything to God’s glory is also for our good. The two concepts are never at odds. God’s inclusion of the physical body is proof among many others in Scripture that He cares deeply what happens to these tents of flesh in which we dwell. Indeed, our physical bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit.

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For just a moment, let’s think of ourselves like triangles. Imagine each point of the triangle being labeled as body, soul, or spirit. If the triangle is sitting on its base, only one point is “up.” Imagine that point being the one in present control of us. For instance, when distinguished from the spirit as in I Thessalonians 5:23-24, the soul represents the seat of our emotions and our personality. 

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If the “soul” is in the upward, authoritative position in our lives, then we are ruled by our feelings and our personality types. All of us know what kind of trouble results from being under that kind of authority! Our feelings and personalities are given to us by God, but they are not meant to control us. 

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Now picture that the “body” is in the upward position and momentarily ruling over our triangular selves. We don’t have to be terribly bright to imagine what can happen because we’ve all experienced the upheaval firsthand: our fleshly appetites and physical drives and habits take over. Our “appetites” become our masters. Certainly, our physical bodies are gifts from God “fearfully and wonderfully made,” but when they control us, the result is bondage. Also understand that one area exerts tremendous influence over the others. As you know, our feelings can drive our physical appetites just as our physical appetites can drive our feelings.

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The “point” we need in the upward position to live in victory is the Spirit. All of us were born with a “spirit.” When distinguished from the soul, it represents the part of us created in the image of God to know Him and enjoy His fellowship. It is the primary component in us that sets us apart from all other creatures. Until we are redeemed and inhabited by Christ (Rom. 8:9), our spirits are no better off than our souls and bodies. But, glory to God, when we receive Christ, His Spirit takes residency in ours! 

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I Corinthians 6:17 speaks of this supernatural consolidation: “he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.” The key to victory as we occupy this triangular temple is to bow daily, perhaps a half dozen times daily, to the control of the Holy Spirit over our lives. Our bodies and our feelings and personalities are wonderful components sanctified by God when the Spirit is in control. I am convinced that a huge part of wholeness in the life of a believer is when God has been allowed to sanctify (take over and set apart) our whole spirit, soul, and body. 

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The question of authority is one we are challenged to answer every single day. The concept of rededicating our lives to Christ only at infrequent revivals or conferences can prove disappointing and defeating. Joshua 24:15 suggests a far more workable approach: “Choose this day whom you will serve.” Christ repeated the concept when He called us to take up our crosses daily and follow Him. 

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Do you want to know something wonderful? A daily recommitment is not to ensure that we’ll never fail, but to help us develop the mentality that every single day is a new day—a new chance to follow Christ. Obedience to God is not some diet we suddenly blow. It is something to which we recommit every single day, no matter how we blew it the day before. 

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Victorious living is not an instant arrival. It is the pursuit of one victorious day at a time until the sun sets on enough to begin forming victorious habits. 

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So, are you just about to give up? Good. Give yourself up to God, to the authority of His Holy Spirit. Both Galatians 5:22 and II Timothy 1:7 tell us that self- discipline is a work and a quality of the fruit of the Spirit. Stop feeling guilty because you don’t have any self-discipline on your own. Neither does that together-looking person next to you. None of us can master ourselves. Some yokes may be more obvious than others, but all of us have had them. God is the only One who can sanctify and make every part of us whole…“and He will do it.” All He wants is our trust, our belief, and a little time…For without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5) and with Him, we can do anything (Phil. 4:13).

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II Timothy 1:7--For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 

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Galatians 5:22-23--When the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. 

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Suppose you wanted to start an apple orchard. In early spring you carefully cut dozens of twigs from an apple tree and stick them in the ground twenty feet apart. You water and fertilize and watch and wait. But in the fall, you have no apples to pick. Why? Because those twigs could not mature and bear fruit once they were not rooted in the tree they came from. The same is true with spiritual fruit. It is only when we belong to Christ and stay close to him that his Spirit lives in us and produces the virtues, or “fruit,” listed in Galatians 5:22-23.

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Self-effort won’t produce this fruit. Good intentions won’t produce love, joy, peace, patience, or kindness. Instead, as we yield ourselves to Christ, his Spirit lives and moves freely through us and touches others through our lives. We express his gentleness as we respond to children, his great patience as we encounter difficult people. We demonstrate his faithfulness as we keep commitments, and we share his goodness and kindness as we bless others. 

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Corrie ten Boom writes: “I have a glove here in my hand. The glove cannot do anything by itself, but when my hand is in it, it can do many things. True, it is not the glove, but my hand in the glove that acts. We are gloves. It is the Spirit of Christ in us Who is the hand, Who does the job. We have to make room for the Hand so that every finger is filled.”

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LORD, teach me to yield to the authority and control of the Spirit of Christ Who dwells in the innermost part of me. How I realize that none of the virtues reside within my flesh. But this understanding is a gift from You that enables me to humble myself before You and rely wholly on Your Spirit rising up within me. Do so, Lord, and may the fruit You produce draw others to You! In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

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Look Up—meditate on I Thessalonians 5:23-24… pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

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Look In—as you meditate on I Thessalonians 5:23-24… pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."

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Look Out—as you meditate on I Thessalonians 5:23-24 … pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.

 

Friday, March 11, 2022

Do not throw away your confidence


God has been there all along. He speaks to us everyday through His Word. Thank you, Lord, for giving us eyes to see and ears to hear You when You speak to us…

Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised—Hebrews 10:35-36

It was spring break of my senior year in high school. My friends from Sebring and I drove to a camp near Ocala to attend a Young Life retreat along with several other students from inner-city Jacksonville. We shared our testimonies and prayed together. My heart was open as we went outdoors to find our individual places for prayer during our quiet time. I took my Living Bible and sat down under a tree. I looked up to the heavens and began to pray. When I looked down, I saw that my Bible had fallen open to Romans 8, and a bright ray of sunlight shining through the tree seemed to highlight verses 24 & 25. It contained a powerful message to me that day, but even more so as the Holy Spirit inscribed it on my heart for years to come…leading me to this word study on the word “trusting” from Romans 8:24-25:

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Living Bible: We are saved by trusting. And trusting means looking forward to getting something we don’t yet have—for a man who already has something doesn’t need to hope and trust that he will get it. But if we must keep trusting God for something that hasn’t happened yet, it teaches us to wait patiently and confidently.

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Amplified:  For in [this] hope we were saved. But hope [the object of] which is seen is not hope. For how can one hope for what he already sees? But if we hope for what is still unseen by us, we wait for it with patience and composure.

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NASB: For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

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Phillips: We were saved by this hope, but in our moments of impatience let us remember that hope always means waiting for something that we haven’t yet got. But if we hope for something we cannot see, then we must settle down to wait for it in patience.

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Wuest: For we were saved in the sphere of hope. But hope that has been seen is not hope, for that which a person sees, why does he hope for it? But if that which we do not see, we hope for, through patience we expectantly wait for it. 

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Young’s Literal: for in hope we were saved, and hope beheld is not hope; for what any one doth behold, why also doth he hope for [it]? and if what we do not behold we hope for, through continuance we expect [it].

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Trusting, then years later, the same message from this Scripture in the same Living Bible...

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But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day! Habakkuk 2:3 TLB

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The word, trusting, comes from the Greek word elpízō, the verb form ofelpís, which means to hope, to hopefully to trust in, joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation. It means to look forward with confidence to that which is good and beneficial. It is in the present tense which expresses continuous action, constantly, habitually. It pictures this attitude as the believer's lifestyle, which is one of hope, where hope is defined as the absolute assurance that God will do good to us and for us in the future.

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It is interesting that elpízō and elpís do not appear in the Gospels. And yet the concept, this truth expressed in the word elpis does appear in First Timothy 1:1 as the Apostle Paul writes, it is "Christ Jesus our Hope." Hope is not just an ideal, but is a Person, Jesus Christ, our Peace, our Life, our Hope.

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Pastor John Piper explains: “There is no sweeter message of hope in all the world than to hear God announce that when you get up in the morning miserable and depressed with a sense of guilt and estrangement before a holy God, you can go to bed that very night—this very night—with a quiet and peaceful heart knowing that every sin you have ever committed and ever will commit is forgiven, and you are reconciled to the Almighty by the death of his Son. That’s the free offer of the Gospel!"

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Pastor John Stott has said, “We wait for it patiently, that is, for the fulfillment of our hope. This whole section is a notable example of what it means to be living ‘in between times,’ between present difficulty and future destiny, between the already and the not yet, between sufferings and glory. ‘We were saved in hope’ brings them together. And in this tension the correct Christian posture is that of waiting, waiting ‘eagerly’ with keen expectation, and waiting ‘patiently,’ steadfast in the endurance of our trials. The combination is significant. We are to wait neither so eagerly that we lose our patience, nor so patiently that we lose our expectation, but eagerly and patiently together. Yet it is hard to keep this balance. Some Christians overemphasize the call to patience. They lack enthusiasm and lapse into lethargy, apathy and pessimism. They have forgotten God’s promises, and are guilty of unbelief. Others grow impatient of waiting. They are so carried away with enthusiasm that they almost try to force God’s hand. They are determined to experience now even what is not available yet. God give us a patient eagerness and an eager patience as we wait for his promises to be fulfilled!”

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Pastor Charles Spurgeon writes, “This is our present position, patiently waiting for “the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ,” patiently waiting for “the manifestation of the sons of God,” for “it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” If we could be all we should like to be, there would then be no room for the exercise of hope. If we had all that we are to have, then hope, which is one of the sweetest of the graces, would have no room in which to exercise herself. It is a blessed thing to have hope. I believe the New Zealand word for hope is “swimming thought,” because that will swim when everything else is drowned. Oh, happy is that man who has a hope that swims on the crest of the stormiest billow.”

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Pastor George H. Morrison illustrates, “One might take the instance of Zacchaeus, that outcast from the commonwealth of Israel. He had been taught there was no hope for him, and he believed it until the Lord Jesus came by. And then, like the dawn, there came the quivering hope that his tomorrow might differ from his yesterday, and in that new hope the saving work began. In the movements of the soul, hope may be the forerunner of faith. And our Lord, bent on evoking faith, that personal trust in Him which alone saves, began by kindling hope within the breast. That is how He often begins still. He does not begin by saying, "Trust in Me." He begins by kindling these hopes of better things that are lying crushed in every human heart. Despair is deadly. It is blind. It cannot see the arm outstretched to help. Our Lord begins with the quickening of hope.”

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Thank you, Lord Jesus, for kindling these wonderful words of hope in my heart that day under the tree at the Young Life camp, I have never been the same . . . We are saved by trusting. And trusting means looking forward to getting something we don’t yet have—for a man who already has something doesn’t need to hope and trust that he will get it. But if we must keep trusting God for something that hasn’t happened yet, it teaches us to wait patiently and confidently . . . I am trusting You . . . just as i am . . . presently, actively waiting—patiently and confidently—looking forward to Your return and my eternal Home with You. In Your precious Name Above All Names I pray, amen.

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Look Up—meditate on Romans 8:24-25 … pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

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Look In—as you meditate on Romans 8:24-25 … pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."

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Look Out—as you meditate on Romans 8:24-25 …pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

They saw no one except Jesus

Peter, James and John caught a glimpse of the glory of God when Jesus was transfigured before them. The transfiguration came, not coincidentally, just after Jesus had asked the disciples, ‘Who do people say I am?’ (Mark 8:27). It revealed Jesus’ divine nature as the Son of God. The curtain of time was drawn aside and the disciples saw Moses (representing the Law) and Elijah (representing the prophets) clearly alive and alongside Jesus. The disciples would have known all about Moses and Elijah. But God is saying that Jesus is even greater than these two revered men.

When the disciples looked again, they saw only Jesus (Mark 9:8). Peter, James and John saw Jesus as we will see him when he comes again, with his glory revealed.

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The word used for ‘transfigured’ is the same word as is translated ‘transformed’ when the apostle Paul writes, ‘And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed [transfigured] into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit’ (2 Corinthians 3:18).

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I was encouraged by a Biblical word study from 2 Corinthians 3:18 indicating that we are God’s mirrors…

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And we, with our unveiled faces reflecting like mirrors the brightness of the Lord, all grow brighter and brighter as we are turned into the image that we reflect; this is the work of the Lord who is Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18 JB)

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But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18 NASB)

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One translation saysbeholding as in a mirror another says, reflecting like mirrors. The verb katoptrizo can be translated either reflecting or beholding...

“with unveiled face, beholding” (RSV)

“beholding as in a glass” (KJV)

“reflecting like mirrors” (JB)

“be mirrors that brightly reflect” (TLB)

“we . . all reflect the Lord’s glory” (NIV)

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It seems the Holy Spirit intentionally selected a verb that would remind us to do both—beholding our Lord Jesus Christ so intently that we can’t help but reflect Him.

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To behold a face in a mirror is to study, to stare, to contemplate. Jesus is the source; we are the glass. Jesus is the light; we are the mirrors. Jesus sends the message; we mirror it…reflecting Who we are beholding.

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“As He is, so are we in this world”...as we behold Jesus, we are unconscious of the change in us, we are reflecting His beauty, His love for us.

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We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.—1 John 4:16-18 

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When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus. (Matthew 17:8)

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This scripture concludes the passage on that glorious transfiguration day when suddenly Jesus’ face was seen to shine like the sun! The apostles would later describe Jesus' clothes as "dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them…as bright as a flash of lightning!" Then, the three apostles saw Moses, and Elijah standing there with Jesus, talking about the events which would take place in Jerusalem when he would depart from the earth. There was power of recognition--it was possible for Jesus and the apostles to know who Moses and Elijah were..."I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." Then, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, Whom I love; with Him I am well-pleased. Listen to Him!" What God said of His Son that day was not just a repetition of what he had said on the occasion of Jesus' baptism: "This is my Son, Whom I love; with Him I am well-pleased." It's those three additional words—“Listen to Him!"—that tell the tale. The voice from Heaven. The voice of God saying, "Listen to Him!"

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Lord Jesus, I want to know, see, and experience You in fresh ways so I can truly say that I desire You more than anything on earth! You and You alone are the strength of my heart. You are all that I need, and I am so thankful that You are mine forever. Nothing can separate me from Your love. Open my eyes, and grant me fresh vision to constantly see Your beauty and Your love for me. With each new day, speak to me out of the cloud. Let my face shine brighter and brighter with the light of Your face. May my own story end just as the apostles ended that glorious day...When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.

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Lord, help me today to spend time in your presence and to reflect your glory in everything I do and say. Heavenly Father, thank You for letting me behold the Savior! He has come and is coming again! Lord Jesus, thank You for being a light to reveal God to the nations so that more people can know and worship our Father. Thank You for bringing us out of darkness and into Your marvelous light. I want to shine Your light everywhere I go so that everyone around me will be drawn to You. I may not yet behold You with my physical eyes, but let the eyes of my heart be awakened to reflect You and to rejoice in You today. You are worthy of all of my praise and adoration! In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

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Look Up—meditate on Matthew 17:8 and 2 Corinthians 3:18 pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

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Look In—as you meditate on Matthew 17:8 and 2 Corinthians 3:18 pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."

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Look Out—as you meditate on Matthew 17:8 and 2 Corinthians 3:18 pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.

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