16. 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. 17. 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.18. 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. 19. We love, because He first loved us.
“I had to be STRIPPED of it.” This is a quote from a friend of mine who recently posted a piece on her blog entitled “The Blessing Is In The Pain.” I was leaving a comment when the inspiration to write this piece showed up.
No human being likes to lose. Losing anything from a wallet, to a bet, to a track meet, to a loved one (OR EVEN A WELL-PUBLICIZED COURT DECISION) is never something to get happy about. (at least in the early stages of the loss anyway!) Let’s state the obvious here, “LOSING SUCKS.” It is painful beyond words. Yet it is in the pain that God reveals the POWER OF THE RESURRECTION AND THE GLORY HE IS DUE.
Your human nature is NEVER going to buy into this spiritual truth. The only way to arrive at a place of inner humility under His mighty hand is to SUFFER. In our suffering GOD GOES IN DEEP and begins to excavate through all of the sin that is exposed in our human nature and renews us through His Spirit, HIS WORD, HIS PLAN, HIS POWER all at work IN US!!!!!
Philippians 3:10 My aim is to know him, to experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his sufferings, and to be like him in his death, 3:11 and so, somehow,to attain to the resurrection from the dead. NET
As God begins to strip us of our cushions of materialism, idolatry, pride/ego, etc., you begin to mourn the loss. The pain increases in this God-ordained cycle. However, at the point when you realize you had to be stripped, as Portia so wonderfully wrote, the blessing is in the pain. In that moment your gratitude for God’s OMNISCIENCE has bloomed through all your suffering. Then you can see how GOD will change you as you continue to humbly surrender to His SOVEREIGNTY on a daily basis. YOU BEGIN TO LOVE THE RESULTS of being “more than a conqueror through Him that loves us.” The Conqueror Lifestyle is achieved and your winning begins. YOU NO LONGER HAVE TO TRY TO FIX UP WHAT HE HAS ALLOWED TO BE BROKEN. TRUE HUMILITY IS REVEALED IN YOUR WILLINGNESS TO RELY ON GOD’S ABILITY TO PUT YOU BACK TOGETHER AGAIN, PUT THAT LIFE BACK TOGETHER, THAT BROKEN HEART BACK TOGETHER, THAT HOME BACK TOGETHER, THAT CAREER BACK TOGETHER………. Ultimately the losing is your catalyst to surrender which is the gateway to REAL WINNING!
Paul’s aim to know Christ intimately was a direct result of intense suffering. The suffering revealed God’s POWER in Paul’s life in a mighty way. This SAME power is available to you and I. ConquerorShots was born out of intense suffering. I am so grateful for all He has done and ALL HE IS UP TO IN ME AND THE LIFE HE HAS CALLED ME TO. ARE YOU??????
Consider the comment I was compelled to share with Portia. God bless you my sister. THANK YOU LORD FOR KNOWING HOW DEEP I NEEDED YOU TO GO !🙂
Romans 8:15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”(NASB)
I have a friend who I met a few years ago. It was at a time when I was devastated by the effects of separation from my wife and kids which ultimately led to divorce and continual estrangement from my children. During the first year of our friendship he would listen to me as I became willing to share my pain, misery, heartache and despair that plagued me daily. He too knew the suffering associated with a life dream of marriage bliss becoming a nightmare of perpetual horror disguised as divorce.
He listened.(Thank you Lord for giving me a friend who understood and listened!) He offered very little verbiage to the phone conversations at first. As I began to hear the words that were describing my issues, he would then share his awakenings with me. I had no idea how to begin to process any resolutions. It seemed that my ability to think rationally was completely destroyed by the constant barrage of emotional torpedoes that simultaneously connected to the unimaginable bull’s eye attached to my heart by my trials and tribulations. He instinctively knew when I was rid of the debris. Every time I had the wisdom to listen to his experience I opened myself to the origins of HEALING HOPE.
The first time we spoke in this manner I asked him to pray for me. I had no prior knowledge of his prayer life but I knew he possessed an awareness and relationship with the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth. To my surprise, gratefully so, he obliged. It is not uncommon for me to appeal to others for prayer particularly when I am too weak to pray earnestly for myself as in those prior months. Yet I was ALWAYS mindful of my personal need for prayer – even if the words were simply, “Lord, have mercy. In Jesus name Amen.” There were many times when that was ALL THAT I COULD SAY……… My friend however, was primed and ready to offer prayer on my behalf. He began in the most prolific and personable manner – “DADDY!”
I sat straight up in the chair as he yelled with conviction this opening to prayer that was soul-stirring. His tone of assurance that God, HIS HEAVENLY FATHER, was listening and ready to attend to the specific needs he would offer which included a particular instance of thanksgiving that soothed my battered heart. My friend knew how fragile my spirit was. He was also aware of the constant associations that were in my immediate surroundings that intensified the matter. The manifestations of fear and bondage had greatly overtaken me then. His prayer reminded me of the depths of “ABBA FATHER aka DADDY.”
Ephesians 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. It is for these results spiritually, mentally and physically, which are the direct result of my personal salvation, that I can call Him Daddy.
Calling God “Daddy” helps me get in touch with His Fatherly love for me. I was not fortunate to know a healthy human father/son relationship. I struggled greatly with the identity of this necessary human dynamic. It is no coincidence that God would ultimately have to demonstrate His Fatherly qualities to me over the course of my life – specifically my teens, twenties and thirties It was during these years that I became a father myself. I remember the concerns I had as my oldest son was born and I realized how inadequate I was to be called his father. It was then that I became personally acquainted with the HEALING HOPE associated with “where sin abounds, grace does much more abound.” This is true even more so as God reveals His Heavenly designs of fatherhood in my life. God allowed for ALL my deficiencies in order for HIS SUFFICIENCY to have weight and depth IN my life.
HEALING HOPE is an extraordinary gift from God that originated in the beginning. Hope is Eternal when we realize how Heavenly salvation really is. However, knowing “DADDY” also provides HEALING HOPE when life happens.
God gave us the cogent example of the Pharisee in the Gospels to demonstrate how human wisdom and human interpretation of God’s word leads to spiritual blindness. The Pharisees were experts in the letter of the law but they did not have a clue about the significance of Christ – whose identity originates in the Old Testament to prophets like Moses, who wrote the Torah.
Consider the lesson contained in the reaction Christ demonstrates towards the Pharisees.
If you too are so focused on keeping your outside clean for others to think you have it all together, yet you continue to neglect God’s goodness to your spirit, through his love, forgiveness, grace and mercy at Calvary, then, like the Pharisees, you too are guilty of hypocrisy.
Matthew 23:23 "Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You give a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, yet you neglect what is more important in the law — justice, mercy, and faithfulness! You should have done these things without neglecting the others.
23:24 Blind guides! You strain out a gnat yet swallow a camel!23:25 "Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites!You clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.
23:26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside may become clean too! (NET Bible)
Are you aware of what false teaching sounds like? When you hear someone who is “making sense”is the message lining up with scripture or human ideology? How do you know when to tune someone’s message out or when to readily receive it?
Finally, when words are “sounding good” and you are inclined to consider spiritual application, do you “consider the source” of the message being from The Word of God or the word of man?
1 Timothy 6:3 If someone spreads false teachings and does not agree with sound words (that is, those of our Lord Jesus Christ) and with the teaching that accords with godliness, 6:4 he is conceited and understands nothing, but has an unhealthy interest in controversies and verbal disputes. This gives rise to envy, dissension, slanders, evil suspicions, 6:5 and constant bickering by people corrupted in their minds and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a way of making a profit. 6:6 Now godliness combined with contentment brings great profit. 6:7 For we have brought nothing into this world and so we cannot take a single thing out either. (NET Bible)
These verses are the "flashing light" of caution against false teachings that are designed to attract human interests rather than genuine Godliness.
The Apostle Paul was extremely familiar with how humankind IS predisposed to deny any behavior that is “Godly.” His epistles to the Corinthians, for example, consistently spoke against the Church trying to “understand” the gospel and God’s will in their flesh. His writings expose the elements of a Godly lifestyle and how the life of a child of God – one who is born again through the belief and acceptance of the finished work at Calvary – does not mirror a life of one who is in the flesh and living in the world.
In Corinth there were matters of division, revelings, immorality issues, and an assortment of Christian error that was based in carnality, rather than heresy. Carnality in these books refer to Christians who continue to adhere to worldly principles and fleshly, human ideology rather than the Spirit of God, His Word and His will. Paul had to repeatedly design the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ to be palatable to the hearers who were looking to hear “a word” that was pleasing to the ear and that edified the flesh. His descriptions of love and the resurrection are eloquent renderings that depict the power of change that comes through the spirit and NOT the flesh.
The gospel that he taught, preached, stood for and lived was a message of hope that, when received, changed peoples’ lives from the inside out. This is the message that matters. It is the message that heals, delivers, restores and renews a Christian day after day. Paul knew that a life that was lived in the flesh was destined to do EVERYTHING possible to discredit Godliness. “So then they who are in the flesh can NOT please God.”
The message of the gospel is CRYSTAL CLEAR! It does not need to be reinterpreted through countless attempts to humanize it. These tactics to “tickle” the ears of listeners with “words” that “sound good” are so prevalent today. One must ALWAYS BE AWARE of God’s Word through personal Bible study. If you don’t study the Bible, you are not equipped to discern what messages mater most. If you don’t have a firm foundation originating from the TRUTH of God’s word IN YOU, the following scripture will be your experience:
Ephesians 4:14 So we are no longer to be children, tossed back and forth by waves and carried about by every wind of teaching by the trickery of people who craftily carry out their deceitful schemes.
I pray that your life’s experience lines up with a desire to “be filled with the Spirit” and realize true”spiritual discernment.”
I heard a sermon that climaxed with a message of perseverance. Life happens and we attempt to “do our best” to “help God out.” Our faith in God becomes superimposed by our human goals to handle circumstances with human interventions rather than relying on God’s Word.
It all starts out with a God-given blessing by way of a message of promise, Divinely ordained just for you to experience, whereby lives will forever be affected in a Godly manner and God’s glory is magnified. The problem arises when you have to contend with facts that obstruct a human understanding of how the particulars will happen. You become inundated with doubts, uncertainty and pessimism all because you can’t understand how the promise from God will become a reality. It is completely natural to rely on human intervention that can aid your heart felt desire to realize this dream that you now have. But if human intervention supersedes God’s power then you have mistakenly focused on the problem. The God-given dream you so desperately want to realize will not be fulfilled without FAITH. When you focus on the fact that God’s Word is ABSOLUTE, then you have unmistakably focused on the promise – by faith in HIM the dream becomes a reality.
SOVEREIGN FACTS:GOD NEVER FAILS! GOD MAKES THE IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE! GOD MAKES WAYS OUT OF NO WAY! GOD CAN DO ANYTHING BUT FAIL! GOD IS OUR ALL AND ALL!
The character in the Bible that personifies this life issue is Sarah. In Genesis 15 God promised Abram a son. He was old and she was old and barren. Fact! In Genesis 16 Sarah has assessed the facts and comes up with a plan that is devoid of faith in God’s promise but instead based in the prospect of human intervention. “An old man can still produce sperm. If I give my husband my hand maiden and they have sex then she will conceive the baby that God promised. THIS MUST BE WHAT GOD MEANT!” The message of how our minds take over what our spirits discern is truly telling for our personal spiritual maturity. This is why Paul writes in Romans 12 “be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…..” Sarah was an enterprising, beautiful woman as she utilized surrogacy way before it was politically correct. 🙂 But all of these efforts were contrived in her mind because she was focused on the FACT that she was old and barren. Her faith in God became superimposed by her human goals to problem solve with human interventions rather than relying on God’s Word.
All the while God said what He said and the act was done. Ishmael was born. By Genesis 18 God specifically promises that Sarah will have a son. Sarah was eavesdropping and, motivated by her knowledge of the FACTS, she doubted God’s Word inwardly and laughed to herself. Be mindful of the elements of sarcasm today. God knows the intents of the heart along with His Divine plan. Sarah is confronted with the reality of this when she must consider the question, “is there anything too difficult for the LORD?” Her conclusion must have been NO because Hebrews 11:11 declares ” Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.” In Genesis 18 we see her move her focus from the problem (the facts). Her attempts to use her intellect and human intervention were designed to get her to accept in her heart and mind that if God said it He CAN do it! She focused on Him as the all powerful, all knowing Creator of the Heaven, the Earth and mankind. Her faith in the promise changed her life and is still changing lives today.
We contend with our human nature on so many levels. Consider this in response to the contention: God created you and ALL that is around you. He can not and WILL not be overtaken by a problem. He is the Creator who created something out of nothing – you were formed from the dirt of the earth. If you realize there is destiny for your life but the facts are overwhelming your belief in His promises, tell yourself, “self, there is NOTHING TOO HARD FOR THE LORD!
There is nothing better in life than getting the big payoff. All of the struggle, heartache, difficulty, uncertainty and sleepless nights become a learning curve when you get to the solution. What happens as a result of the payoff is the purpose of the perseverance. You learn that the very thing that you were struggling to realize – “winning” – and all the effort required was NECESSARY for you to grow. No matter what the test, if you hang in there and keep the faith, GOD IS USING EVERYTHING HE MUST TO MATURE YOU INTO WHO HE WANTS YOU TO BE.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Saying “I’m sorry” is the first act of humility that can bring about a life changing experience based in forgiveness. The person who you wronged may spend months, years, even decades desiring to hear these words. While waiting to hear these words, fueled by a spirit of anger, resentment, loss, fear and pain,his/her life can be greatly affected by the elements of negative behaviors – drugs, alcohol, crime, etc. Whatever the actions which brought about the wrong needing correction with an apology, the overall damaging affects can never be erased. There are no words that can efface the subsequent issues wreaking havoc in his/her life because of what you said, did or did not do.
How does silence help the healing in forgiveness? How can silence be a catalyst to forgiveness? Can there be a visceral response to inaudibility? Of course, the answer is yes! How? This question would likely follow. Here is what I know today. When there are elements of disconnect that create boundaries which prevent a needed verbal exchange of apology, silence is your best alternative. When you try to communicate to the best of your ability and all your efforts to apologize are not welcomed, silence is your defensive ally. When you have the opportunity to communicate remorse and you are quieted by his barrage of anger in reply to your effort to apologize, silence speaks forgiveness more than any words.
It takes an ongoing spirit of humility from a renewed heart that becomes willing to apologize for wrongdoings. However, your willingness to speak an apology must be met with a willingness to hear the apology. If the opportunity is constantly unavailable because of those boundaries the sufferer has positioned in his/her life as a means of protection from any additional pain from you, the solution is silent forgiveness- not from the sufferer but from you. You must be able to continue to “accept the things you can NOT change.” Silent forgiveness begins in you. The sufferer will become a recipient of your forgiveness of yourself for your wrongs and the sufferers actions that are fueled by fear, anger, hurt and pain that you caused. This is the epitome of love.
The best example I have to cite is the suffering of Christ. Here we delve into the sometimes controversial aspect of His Deity during His earthly ministry. We learned that at the time of His baptism, John the Baptist declared Him to be “the lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world.” That was His mission. At the time when the Hebrews rejected Christ, they turned on Him and supposed that His claims of being the Son of God was criminal. They wanted Him dead. But He was God in the flesh! He knew more than just what was seen at the time of His earthly ministry. He was on a mission and that was prophesied in Isaiah 53 – that of being crucified.
Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
All of the times when He made attempts to gain their faithfulness as a Nation, His desires went unmet. They took all they could get from Him but in the end they did not want Him around. Instead, they wanted Him to be nailed to a cross, hanging, bleeding, suffering unto death – the most horrible, degrading form of death known to them. And He did it willingly. He did not need to plead his case, retaliate against his opposition or “change their minds” about who He is. He was fulfilling a mission that was determined even before the world began. The essence of His “Silent Forgiveness” is realized when, while hanging on the Cross, He uttered “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Your silent forgiveness is motivated by the same source of love resting firmly in your spirit as a direct result of knowing who you are in Christ. Your willingness to make right the wrongs of your past to him/her is based in your love. You can not experience unfeigned, self love if you have not accepted Christ’s undying love for you and the sufferer. Acceptance of the “finished work” at Calvary and the resurrection gave you the opportunity to become a “joint heir” with Him today. You, a wretched sinner who inflicted pain and misery in loved ones’ lives because of your own selfish desires and the sufferers who have their own crosses to bear because of your actions, are ALLforgiven under the blood that Jesus shed at the Cross. God gave His only begotten Son to suffer, bleed, die and resurrect just for you! And not just for you but for all who would by faith believe in Him. That’s the love that every soul in need of a Savior desires and every spirit washed in the precious blood of the lamb experiences daily.
This love is the catalyst for a “new creation in Christ… old things are passed away and behold ALL things are new.” This is a process that overshadows any obstacles that sin can attempt to block God’s will. Therefore, since you have been redeemed by the precious blood of the lamb, you do NOT get to determine what actions you can give/receive forgiveness for and which ones that you will never be forgiven for. Forgiveness of sins is not on a sliding scale! At the Cross, ALL sin is forgiven once and for all! Silent forgiveness then is the act of receiving the forgiveness that resulted at Calvary and being willing to forgive others without ever speaking a word. In God’s time he/she will also forgive you. God is able! TRUST HIM AND LIVE AN ABUNDANT LIFE IN HIM!
Job 42:5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.
Job 42:6 Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
This month’s theme of Humility has truly been refreshing to my spirit. I must admit, this month’s life events have truly elicited personal character building and spiritual maturity. I lost a very dear loved one to death, other very dear loved ones to sinful circumstances beyond my control and still more loss that is just and pure.
Loss is a part of life. Try as we do to avoid the emotional and physical manifestations of loss, we must have these experiences.
Hopefully they will propel you towards the ever present luster of God’s faithfulness. There, alone in His presence, you will find His Amazing Grace materializing as blindness becomes sight, muteness gives rise to audibility and paralysis yields sensitivity to new strengths and sensations otherwise unknown. GOD IS ABLE……….
Here are some notes by Dr. Barnes on the scriptural reference above. Enjoy, be blessed and continue to stop by ConquerorShots.
RE 42:5 “Referring to the indistinct views which we have of anything by merely hearing of it, compared with the clear apprehension which is furnished by sight. Job had had such views of God as one may obtain by being told of him; he now had such views as are furnished by the sight. The meaning is, that his views of God before were dark and obscure.We are not to suppose that Job means to say that he actually “saw” God, but that his apprehensions of him were clear and bright “as if” he did. There is no evidence that God appeared to Job in any visible form. He is said, indeed, to have spoken from the whirlwind, but no visible manifestation of Yahweh is mentioned.”
RE 42:6 Wherefore I abhor myself: “I see that I am a sinner to be loathed and abhorred. Job, though he did not claim to be perfect, had yet unquestionably been unduly exalted with the conception of his own righteousness, and in the zeal of his argument, and under the excitement of his feelings when reproached by his friends, had indulged in indefensible language respecting his own integrity.
He now saw the error and folly of this, and desired to take the lowest place of humiliation. Compared with a pure and holy God, he saw that he was utterly vile and loathsome, and was not unwilling now to confess it. ‘And repent.'”
In dust and ashes: “The philosophy of this was – like the custom of wearing “black” for mourning apparel – that the external appearance ought to correspond with the internal emotions, and that deep sorrow would be appropriately expressed by disfiguring the outward aspect as much as possible. The sense here is, that Job meant to give expression to the profoundest and sincerest feelings of penitence for his sins.”
“A correct view of the character and presence of God is adapted to produce humility and penitence.
Such a view of the presence of God will produce what no argument can in causing penitence and humility.
A good man will be willing to confess that he is vile, when he has any clear views of God. He will be so affected with a sense of the majesty and holiness of his Maker, that he will be overwhelmed with a sense of his own unworthiness.”