Blog In Audio:
Well, I have had another week of learning technology to be able to stay connected in a world that is affected by a mandate to socially disconnect. I hope you are finding ways to remain connected while being forced to remain apart. We received a great challenge yesterday from Pastors Jonathan and Danie to take the iniative in giving love and hope in creative ways to one another and to the world. I believe that our expectancy, creativity, and purpose are being challenged to rise to another level in a time of testing.
God wants us to be established in our relationship with Him and it is through our personal relationship with God in life that we become established as men and women who bring life to our world. God is the one who establishes us. It is in Him that we live, move, and have our being. He is the source of faith, hope, and love. It is by these three things that we can stand in all things. The process that allows these things to become true in our lives is a process of grace. Grace is the manifest presence of God working in our lives. God is the One who establishes us. It is about a relationship with Him that is made manifest by faith. The testimony of true faith is the manifest evidence of the power of God’s grace working in our lives.
Romans 5:1-5 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Tribulations are the pressures of life. At the writing of this Scripture by the apostle Paul, that tribulation was a matter of life and death. In some parts of the world this is true today. For those of us in the west it is not the tribulation of life and death, but the tribulation of life that challenges our faith in God. It is hardly a comparison, but it is true for most in the western church culture. In any case, the pressures of life lead to the perseverance of our faith. The Greek word used hear, implies two ingredients. It contains the ingredient of endurance and it also contains an ingredient of cheerfulness. It is cheerful endurance. Cheerful endurance is the key to activating the character of Christ within us. If we decide to be miserable while in the midst of our circumstances we appeal to the old nature of the flesh, but if we stand with cheerful endurance, we draw on the life of Christ within us. This manifests the character attributes of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22, 23). These are the substance of the fruit of the Spirit within us. When this happens, we manifest the testimony of Christ in a measure of His glory. This is the testimony of hope. Christ in us is the hope of glory.
The Body of Christ wears the reflections of the Father’s heart, because she knows how to endure the pressures that oppose His character within her. When we face pressures in life, it is not a sign that the devil is having victory over us. The pressures of life are the very things that reveal the hidden truth within us. Christ in us is the hope of glory! If Christ is in us, then the pressures of life should manifest the testimony of Christ in us to the world around us.
God wants us to seek Him in all things. He wants us to find Him in all things. He wants us to come alive in Him and to be transformed by Him in all things. He wants us to move forward in our lives from every today into every new tomorrow. This process involves finding God’s wisdom every day. God’s wisdom in our lives is empowered by the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of wisdom in our lives. This is what empowers faith in our hearts. For this reason, the apostle James wrote that if anyone lacks wisdom, they must ask God who is always willing to give us what we need today in order for us to walk a life-giving path that leads to our tomorrow.
James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
The book of James is a testimony of faith that is made known by the actions of our lives. Our actions won’t give us faith, but true faith always inspire actions. Those actions will be life-giving actions to the world around us. They will be actions that bring life to our world. The testing of our faith and the overcoming process of grace working in and through us is so we will be givers of life to our world.
People in the world are moved by the circumstances and situations of the world. That is the natural sight around them. It creates an environment where they are tempted to be afraid. Fear becomes the motivation of their actions. This is the mindset of the world. We cannot have a mindset of the kingdom of God and a mindset of the world and expect to clearly see the path to our true future in Christ. God is the One who gives us our future.
Ted J. Hanson
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