Saturday, October 14, 2017

trusting...just as i am

artwork by Liz Lassa, creator of Spiritual Circle Journal

Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus
this precious old hymn page, captured in this beautiful work of art by Liz Lassa, creator of Spiritual Circle Journal, inspired me as I listened this morning to Matt Maher’s anointed new rendition of Just As I Am…precious memories swirling in my head and my heart . . .

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.
 

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].


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.

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.

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!"

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!”


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.”

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.”

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.


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

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_____________."

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.

* If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ

Weekly LinkUps

Saturday, October 7, 2017

simply say "Daddy"

artwork by Kimberly Simmons

This beautiful work of art by Kimberly Simmons on the Artful Story Journaling Facebook page was so inspiring to me, as I focused on God’s great love for each of us.

Because I was so loved by my own sweet Daddy, Eston Willis, who led me to a saving faith in Jesus Christ, and introduced me to an in-depth study of Romans Chapter Eight, I felt compelled to do a word study of Abba, Father from Romans 8:14-15

Amplified: For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in [the bliss of] which we cry, Abba (Father)! Father!

NLT: For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”

Phillips: All who follow the leading of God’s Spirit are God’s own sons. Nor are you meant to relapse into the old slavish attitude of fear—you have been adopted into the very family circle of God and you can say with a full heart, “Father, my Father.”

Wuest: For as many as are being constantly led by God’s Spirit, these are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery again with resulting fear, but you received the Spirit who places you as adult sons, by whom we cry out with deep emotion, Abba, [namely] Father.

Young's Literal: for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God; for ye did not receive a spirit of bondage again for fear, but ye did receive a spirit of adoption in which we cry, `Abba—Father.'

Abba is transliterated as Abba into English from the corresponding Aramaic word which was used in the everyday language of families as a term addressing one's father. Children, as well as adult sons and daughters, used Abba when speaking to their fathers. And so Abba conveys a warm, intimate sense. Abba emphasizes the warm, intimate, and very personal relationship which exists between the believer and God. In Abba, filial tenderness, trust, and love find their combined expression.


Pastor Wayne Barber explains, “Abba is Aramaic and comes from the first word that a little child ever says…like our English "Da Da". The disposition of fear of punishment is gone and replaced by a reverential awe. And now our spirit can cry out Abba…Father…"I need help. Daddy…I'm going through a difficult time." This is a beautiful picture for every son (and daughter) of God. This truth ought to affect your attitude (and acceptance) regarding whatever the Lord is allowing to transpire in your life. You are a child of God and He is control of everything that you are experiencing…and you can cry out to Him and run to Him and He is always there."

Pastor Ray Pritchard writes, “This (that we can cry out "Abba! Father!") is truly good news. You don’t have to scream at God to get his attention. You simply say, “Daddy,” and He hears your voice. You whisper His name in the darkness and He comes to your aid. When we come to Christ, God sends the Holy Spirit into our hearts to give us new life and the assurance that we are God’s children. This is the “still, small voice” of God that speaks to the soul and whispers, “You are now a child of God.” That same Holy Spirit within us cries out “Abba, Father.” The word “Abba” comes from an Aramaic word that little children would use to speak to their fathers. It is an intimate, personal word of endearing affection. In English you might say “Dad” or “Daddy” or “Papa” or “Dear Father.” It’s a very tender way of talking to our Heavenly Father. No longer is He some distant God up in the sky. Now he is our “Heavenly Daddy.”

Pastor Charles Haddon Spurgeon has said: “Oh, blessed, blessed state of heart to feel that now we are born into the family of God, and that the choice word which no slave might ever pronounce may now be pronounced by us, “Abba”! It is a child’s word, such as a little child utters when first he opens his mouth to speak, and it runs the same both backwards and forwards,—AB-BA. Oh to have a childlike spirit that, in whatever state of heart I am, I may still be able to say, in the accents even of spiritual infancy,” Abba, Father!"

Spurgeon continues, “Indwelling the believer, the Holy Spirit bears witness "with our spirit, that we are the children of God." The witness of the Spirit is in the Word of God, and because the believer has accepted His witness as to redemption, he knows therefore that God is His Father, and, being born again, that he is in the family of God. He produces in the believer the consciousness of being a child of God, as well as the affections of a child. "We have this testimony in our hearts in our relationship with God; but the Holy Spirit Himself, as distinct from us, bears this testimony to those in whom He dwells. The true believer knows that he recognizes in his heart God as his Father, but He also knows that the Holy Spirit bears the same testimony to him. That which is founded on the Word is realized and verified in the heart."

Spurgeon concludes, "The witness of the Spirit is more than "a good feeling," it is the deep consciousness produced by believing the Word, in the power of the Spirit of God, that we are the children of God. The Spirit brings about a response in our hearts to the love of God that cries out, "Abba! Father!" The witness of the Holy Spirit that you are a child of God is not a testimony to a neutral heart with no affection for God's fatherly love; so that your neutral heart can draw the logical conclusion that it is a child of God and then try to muster up some appropriate affections. That is not the picture. No. The witness of the Holy Spirit that you are a child of God IS the creation in you of affections for God. The testimony of the Holy Spirit IS the cry, "Abba! Father!"

Abba Daddy, sometimes I feel abandoned when I can’t fix my circumstances. Please help me to trust You, to place this situation in Your hands, for You can see this circumstance from a perspective that I do not have. Lord Jesus, though I feel weak, I know that I am strong as I lean on Your strength rather than my own. Thank You, Lord, that we can simply say, "Daddy," and You hear our voice, and You meet us right at the point of our need . . . Praise Your Holy Name! In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Look Up—meditate on Romans 8:14-15 … pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

Look In
—as you meditate on 
Romans 8:14-15 … 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_____________."

Look Out—as you meditate on 
Romans 8:14-15 …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.

* If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ

Weekly LinkUps

Friday, September 29, 2017

righteousness...be still & know

artwork by Liz Lassa, creator of Spiritual Circle Journal

Liz Lassa, creator of Spiritual Circle Journal
, described the meaning behind this beautiful work of art…Did you know this was the original cover to the Spiritual Circle Journal? The one I created and shared with 27 ladies in a friend's home right before I realized God was up to something bigger than I had imagined. It hangs in my quiet time spot/creative space. There is so much significance in the art. We are to be like the tree, staying rooted by the flowing river of Living Water. The rough edges around the picture of the tree represent our rough edges that the Lord wants to smooth off like the pebbles below. The three glass circles in the sky represent the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The sparkles in the river represent the nuggets that God wants to teach us when we get still and spend time with Him. The whole point of the Spiritual Circle Journal is to help people love their time with God and crave it more often. To grow closer to God, to know Him, to love Him, and to do His will.

I was inspired to dig a little deeper for some of those “nuggets that God wants to teach us” through a word study of the word, righteousness, from Romans 8:10-11


Amplified Bible: But if Christ lives in you, [then although] your [natural] body is dead by reason of sin and guilt, the spirit is alive because of [the] righteousness [that He imputes to you]. And if the Spirit of Him Who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, [then] He Who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also restore to life your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies through His Spirit Who dwells in you.

NLT: And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, He will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

Phillips: Now if Christ does live within you His presence means that your sinful nature is dead, but your spirit becomes alive because of the righteousness he brings with him. I said that our nature is “dead” in the presence of Christ, and so it is, because of its sin. Nevertheless once the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead lives within you he will, by that same Spirit, bring to your whole being new strength and vitality.

Wuest: But, assuming that Christ is in you, on the one hand the body is dead on account of sin, but on the other hand the [human] spirit is alive on account of righteousness and assuming that the Spirit of the One who raised up Jesus out from among the dead is in residence in you, He who raised from among the dead Christ Jesus, will also make alive your mortal bodies through the agency of the Spirit who is resident in you.

Young's Literal: and if Christ [is] in you, the body, indeed, [is] dead because of sin, and the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness, and if the Spirit of Him who did raise up Jesus out of the dead doth dwell in you, He who did raise up the Christ out of the dead shall quicken also your dying bodies, through His Spirit dwelling in you.


Righteousness in Greek is dikaiosune (from dikaios) which means being proper or right in the sense of being fully justified (being or in accordance with what God requires); it is the quality of being upright. In its simplest sense, dikaiosune conveys the idea of conformity to a standard or norm.

Dikaiosune is rightness of character before God and rightness of actions before men.  Righteousness of God could be succinctly stated as, all that God is, all that He commands, all that He demands, all that He approves, all that He provides through Christ.


Righteousness comes from a root word that means straightness. It refers to a state that conforms to an authoritative standard. Righteousness is a moral concept. God’s character is the definition and source of all righteousness and this is exactly what Paul is referring to in the context of the present verse. God is totally righteous because He is totally as He should be. The righteousness of God could be succinctly stated as that which is all that God is, all that He commands, all that He demands, all that He approves, and all that He provides (through Christ).

Dikaiosune here refers to the divine action by which God puts a person right with Himself (in the act of justification which here equates with imputed righteousness). The original use of this word group (dikaiosune, dikaios) was in the law courts where a judge declared an accused person "not guilty" and henceforth "right" before the law (righteousness was thus the opposite of a declaration of "guilty" with subsequent condemnation).


Pastor Ray Pritchard describes dikaiosune in this application: “If you want righteousness, you can have it. Let me go out on a limb and make a bold statement. Whatever you want in the spiritual realm, you can have if you want it badly enough. I don’t think we appreciate the importance of that truth. Most of us are about as close to God now as we want to be. We have about as much joy as we want, about as much peace as we want. For the most part, you are where you are right now because that’s where you want to be. If you were hungry for something better from God, you could have it.

If you want it, you can have a close walk with God.
If you want it, you can have a better marriage.
If you want to, you can do God’s will.
If you want to, you can grow spiritually.
If you want to, you can become a man of God or a woman of God.
If you want to, you can change deeply-ingrained habits.
If you want to, you can break destructive patterns of behavior....

When Jesus says, “You will be filled,” He means “You will be filled with Jesus Himself!”

If you are hungry, come and eat of the Bread of Life.
If you are thirsty, come and drink of the Water of Life.
If you are weary, heavy laden, come and find rest.
If you are guilty, come and be forgiven.
If you are far from God, come back home again.

The French philosopher Pascal said that there is a “God-shaped vacuum” inside every human heart. Since nature abhors a vacuum, if we don’t fill it with God, we will fill it with something else. So many of us have filled our hearts with the junk food of the world, it is no wonder we are so unhappy.

Augustine explained both the problem and the solution: “O God, You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in You.” You will never be happy until you put God first in your life. And you can never do that until you surrender your life to Jesus Christ once and for all.

In the kingdom of God, everything begins with a seeking heart! Salvation begins with a hungry heart. If you are tired of the life you’ve been living, you can make a new start. Whatever you want in the spiritual realm, you can have if you want it badly enough. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. “Are you hungry? Are you thirsty? If you are, you can be filled. This is the promise of God to hungry hearts and thirsty souls.”


Lord Jesus, daily as I long to “be still and know,” I picture You, my Shepherd, by the still waters and the green pasture of the 23rd Psalm. I bring whatever concern I have, or person for whom I am interceding by the hand. I walk out to You in the green pasture, and I place my concern, or the hand of the person for whom I am interceding in Your nail-pierced hands . . . knowing that You are sovereign, You love me, and You love the person for whom I am interceding more than I do. You have a plan, a hope, and a future for each of us. I walk away, thanking You for how the Spirit of Christ is flowing through me and how You are at work in my life and in the lives of those for whom I am interceding. I know and believe that I am the righteousness of God in Christ. I experience Your peace that passes all my understanding. Praying as Catherine Marshall prayed, “Lord Jesus, I trust You, You know what You’re doing, I relinquish my will to Yours.” In Jesus' precious Name Above All Names I pray, amen.



Look Up—meditate on
Romans 8:10-11 … pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

Look In
—as you meditate on
Romans 8:10-11 … 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_____________."

Look Out—as you meditate on
Romans 8:10-11 …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.

* If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ

Weekly LinkUps

Friday, September 22, 2017

prodigal grace

artwork by Cherry Ashen Fargo
When I saw this beautiful work of art, Extravagant Grace, by Cherry Ashen Fargo, it took me back to a recent Chris Tomlin concert where we heard a short message by pastor Louie Giglio on the parable about our Heavenly Father found in Luke 15. He explained that the word “prodigal” means “extravagant or lavish,” although the son was extravagant in his lifestyle, our Heavenly Father portrayed in this parable was also extravagant in his grace, love, mercy, and forgiveness. This drew my heart to do a word study on the Truth contained in Romans Chapter Eight . . . scripture passages I wrap around my heart, like the Loving Arms of my Savior Jesus Christ.


I remember a Bible study
my Daddy, Eston Willis, taught on Romans 8, in which he had us repeat several times at the beginning of each session these opening words: There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.


Romans Chapter Eight is uniquely the chapter of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is mentioned in Romans 8 no less than 19 different times. No other chapter in the New Testament contains as many direct references to the Holy Spirit. Romans 8 is also the chapter of Christian assurance. As theologian Frédéric Louis Godet said, Romans 8 begins with "no condemnation" and ends with "no separation” . . . which draws me to a word study of the word, condemnation…

Romans 8:1-3 . . .

Amplified Bible: Therefore, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice].

NLT: So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.

Phillips: No condemnation now hangs over the head of those who are “in” Jesus Christ. For the new spiritual principle of life “in” Christ lifts me out of the old vicious circle of sin and death. The Law never succeeded in producing righteousness—the failure was always the weakness of human nature. But God has met this by sending his own Son Jesus Christ to live in that human nature which causes the trouble. And, while Christ was actually taking upon himself the sins of men, God condemned that sinful nature. So that we are able to meet the Law’s requirements, so long as we are living no longer by the dictates of our sinful nature, but in obedience to the promptings of the Spirit. 

Wuest:
  Therefore, now, there is not even one bit of condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit, that of the life in Christ Jesus, freed you once for all from the law of the sinful nature and of death. For that which is an impossibility for the law, because it was weak through the sinful nature, God having sent His Son in likeness of flesh of sin, and concerning sin, condemned sin in the sinful nature, in order that the righteous requirement of the law may be brought to completion in us who, not as dominated by the sinful nature are ordering our behavior but as dominated by the Spirit.

Young’s Literal:
 There is, then, now no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit; for the law of the Spirit of the life in Christ Jesus did set me free from the law of the sin and of the death; for what the law was not able to do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, His own Son having sent in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, did condemn the sin in the flesh.


Condemnation from the Greek word katakrima. It comes from katá which means against or down, and krino, which means to separate from which the idea of discriminate, distinguish, and then to judge or pronounce sentence against. This word appears only in the book of Romans. The idea literally is of judgment coming down on someone. The Apostle Paul says God’s judgment is not going to come down upon us as believers, not now, not ever! Those in Christ are not condemned, because Christ was condemned in our stead. There is no punishment for us, because Christ bore our punishment. The word condemnation may also be translated judgment. There is no judgment for those who are in Christ because sin has already been judged in the substitutionary atonement of Jesus. 

Katakrima 
means 
to judge someone as definitely guilty and thus subject to punishment, which accounts for the literal translation of "adverse judgment and resultant punishment." It is a legal technical term for the result of judging, including both the sentence and the execution or the sentence followed by a suggested punishment (The suffix -ma makes it the result of judgment). Katakrima is always an adverse verdict. Stated another way,katakrima (condemnation) relates to the sentencing for a crime, but its primary focus is not so much on the verdict as on the penalty that the verdict demands.

Pastor F. B. Meyer
 explains katakrima this way, “Our standing in Christ is present: "Now." If we are in Christ, we need not wait in doubts and fears for the verdict of the Great White Throne. Its decisions cannot make our standing more clear, or our acceptance more sure. We can never be more free from the condemnation of God's righteous law than we are at this present. There are some who live on a sliding scale between condemnation and acceptance. If health is buoyant and the heart is full of song, they are sure of their acceptance with God; but if the sun is darkened and the clouds return; when the heart is dull and sad, they imagine that they are under the ban of God's displeasure. They forget that our standing in Christ Jesus is one thing; our appreciation and enjoyment of it quite another. Your own heart may condemn you; memory, the recorder of the soul, may summon from the past evidence against you; the great Accuser of souls may lay against you grievous and well-founded charges; your tides of feeling may ebb far down the beach; your faith may become weak and lose its power and grip; your sense of unworthiness may become increasingly oppressive--none of these things can touch your acceptance with God if you are in Christ Jesus.”

During a recent hurricane
 in the Gulf of Mexico, a news report highlighted a rescue device used on the oil rigs. In case of fire or hurricane, rig workers scramble into the bullet-shaped “
bus” and strap themselves into their seats. When the entry port is shut, the vehicle is released down a chute and projected away from the rig. The seat belts protect the occupants from the impact with the water. The capsule then bobs in the sea until rescuers come to pick it up. The device parallels the theological truth of Romans 8:l—There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. Justification does not mean our world always stops falling apart. The rig still may topple in the hurricane. The storm will take its course. The welfare of the workers depends on whether they are in the rescue device . .  . those in the right place, whether a rescue module, or spiritually, believers in Christ, will weather the storm and be carried safely to the shore. Praise His Holy Name!

Lord Jesus, Thank You for this encouraging Truth from Your Word, that there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. Thank You for the free gift of salvation, that we are justified on the basis of Your finished work on the Cross. Thank You that, right now, we are under the completely sufficient imputed righteousness of Christ. Because we have placed our trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ, we are redeemed by Your precious blood. The threat of failure, judgment, and condemnation has been removed. Knowing that God’s love for us and approval of us will never be determined by our performance is the most encouraging promise to which we cling. We love You, Lord. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.


Look Up—meditate on Romans 8:1-3 … pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

Look In—as you meditate on Romans 8:1-3 … 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_____________."

Look Out—as you meditate on Romans 8:1-3 …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.


* If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ


Weekly LinkUps…

Friday, September 15, 2017

filled to the brim

artwork by Cherry Ashen Fargo

When I first saw
this beautiful work of art by Cherry Ashen Fargo, my eyes were riveted on the word, “trust,” and the symbolism of the lighthouse. The structure itself, rising tall in the sky, lifts our eyes to the heavens and God—a towering signpost to guide the way and warn of danger. The beacon, shining out over the roughest and stormiest of seas, is a symbol of salvation and direction, leading those in danger to safety and security, whether it be physical danger or spiritual and moral trials and tribulation.

Trusting God always draws my heart back to a study of God’s Word. Today, it is a word study on fills or fullness from the last two verses in Ephesians Chapter One.


Ephesians 1:22-23

Amplified Bible: And He has put all things under His feet and has appointed Him the universal and supreme Head of the church [a headship exercised throughout the church], which is His body, the fullness of Him Who fills all in all [for in that body lives the full measure of Him Who makes everything complete, and Who fills everything everywhere with Himself].

New Living Translation: God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is His body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with Himself.

Phillips: God has placed everything under the power of Christ and has set Him up as head of everything for the Church, for the Church is His body, and in that body lives fully the one who fills the whole wide universe.

Wuest: and all things He put in subjection under His feet, and Him He gave as Head over all things to the Church, which is his body, the fullness of Him Who is filling the all in all.

Young's Literal: and all things He did put under his feet, and did give him—head over all things to the assembly, which is his body, the fullness of Him who is filling the all in all.

Fills (pleroo) means to be completely filled (completed state—a net or a cup filled to the brim). It carries the idea of permeation, such as salt’s permeating meat in order to flavor preserve it. It also gives the idea of total control. The present tense means continuously fills. Pleroo means to be filled to the brim, to make complete in every particular, to cause to abound, to furnish or supply liberally, to flood, to diffuse throughout, to pervade, to take possession of and so to ultimately to control.


Pleroo is in the passive voice (subject receives the action—in this context the "divine passive") which points out the fact that as believers, we do not fill ourselves, but permit the Spirit of God to fill us (and control us). In other words, God discloses a knowledge of Himself. One cannot simply learn to know God. God is not like secular truths which may be learned. Divine truth must be revealed!

Pleroo also means to fulfill, to complete, to carry out to the full. Pleroo indicates more than just pouring water in a glass up the brim and has at least three shades of meaning that are helpful in illustrating the meaning. (1) Pleroo was often used of the wind billowing the sails of a ship and providing impetus to move the ship across the water. To be filled with the Spirit then to is to be moved along in our Christian life by God Himself, by the same dynamic by which the writers of Scripture were “moved by the Holy Spirit.” In the spiritual realm, this concept depicts the Holy Spirit providing the thrust to move the believer down the pathway of obedience. A Spirit-filled Christian is not motivated by his own desires or will to progress. Instead, he allows the Holy Spirit to carry him in the proper directions. Another helpful example of this first meaning is a small stick floating in a stream. Sometime in our lives most of us have tossed a stick into a creek and then run downstream to see the twig come floating by, propelled only by the force of the water. To be filled with the Spirit means to be carried along by the gracious pressure of the Holy Spirit. (2) Pleroo also conveys the idea of permeation as of salt’s permeating meat in order to flavor and preserve it.  God wants the Holy Spirit to permeate and flavor our lives so that when we’re around others they will know for certain that we possess the pervasive savor of the Spirit. (3) Plerooconveys the sense of domination or total control. It is used by the Gospel writers in various passages to indicate that people were dominated by a certain emotion.

Theologian Charles Spurgeon commenting on pleroo, says this involves an intimate, experiential type of knowledge, exhorting us to, “Let us try to know divine truth more and more intimately. You know a man, for you pass him in the streets with a nod; you know another man far better, for you lodge in the same house with him; you know him best of all when you have shared his trouble, partaken in his joy, and have, in fact, had fellowship with him by blending your two lives in one common stream of friendship. When you learn a spiritual truth endeavor to know it out and out; to know its foundation and up building; to know it by the application of the Spirit to your own soul so that you are filled with it.  You may have knowledge in the brain, but it may not run into your spirit, so as to penetrate, and permeate, and saturate your spirit, till you are filled therewith. Oh, to get the gospel into one’s entire nature, and to be like the water pots of Cana, filled up to the brim!”

Lord Jesus, develop in me a deep reverence of You that leads to life, wisdom, and greater intimacy with You. Open my heart to be teachable and to receive correction and discipline willingly. Grant that I would fear You and not my circumstances in the present or the what-ifs of the future. May I be so filled to the brim with Your love that faith would replace my fear. Many people have material goods and success, but they still search for something that is real and lasting. Thank You for joy that runs deep. Thank You for peace that only You can give. Help me not to take what I have been given for granted but to be filled to the brim with gratefulness. Restore my sense of wonder and awe as I look for You at every turn in my everyday walkaround life. Speak to my heart, and give me ears to hear. Open my spiritual eyes to see that You are working in the world around me. May I be filled to the brim with wonder and gratefulness at Your great deeds. Thank You for hearing my prayers . . . always! Even when my situation remains the same, grant me grace to trust You and to thank You for your listening ear and Your gracious help. Because of Your mercy, I will sing songs of thanksgiving to You. Because of Your help, may my heart be filled to the brim with joy! In Jesus name I pray, amen.

Look Upmeditate on Ephesians 1:22-23  …pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

Look In
—as you meditate on Ephesians 1:22-23 …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_____________."

Look Out
—as you meditate on Ephesians 1:22-23...pray to see how you might apply it to your relationship with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.


* If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ


Weekly LinkUps…

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