Tag: stand firm

Love and grace are essentials

Scripture reading for September 15th: Isaiah 56-59, Psalm 70, 1st Corinthians 16

1st Corinthians 16: 11-12, 21 “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act as men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. . . . I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. If anyone has no love for the Lord; let him be accursed. Our Lord, Come! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.”

Paul closed this letter of encouragement and teaching to this church family with simple words of truth. Watchfulness was needed because of the false teachers who sough to draw them away from the Gospel truth. They must stand firm in their faith yet show love to all–even to those who might be opposed to them and the truth of the Gospel. But loving our Lord was not an option, but an essential. Paul reminded them that anyone who did not love Jesus and claimed to be a believer was under a curse. God’s grace is a gift to be received and held on to. Paul assured them of this and of his own love for them as he wrote this letter of correction and instruction as their father in the faith.

Isaiah 59:19-21 “”So they shall fear the Name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun; for He will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the Lord drives. And a Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression,” declares the Lord. “And as for Me, this is My covenant with them,” says the Lord; “My Spirit that is upon you, and My Words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children’s offspring,” says the Lord, “from this time forth and forevermore.””

Prayer: Father in heaven, thank You for Your love shown to us in Jesus Christ, Who laid down His life for us. Thank You for the Gift of the Holy Spirit to abide in us always and release Your love in us and through us to a lost world. I love you and pray for grace in my children and grand-children and all offspring to know You and be filled with the promised Holy Spirit. Let it not depart from them forever! Amen!

Psalm 70::4-5 “May all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You! May those who love Your salvation say evermore, “God is great!” But I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God! Your are my Help and my Deliverer; O Lord, do not delay.”

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Standing firm in victory!

Scripture reading for May 31st: Ephesians 6

Key Scriptures: Ephesians 6:10-13 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against the flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”

Paul is closing his short letter with words of faith and encouragement. Believers are the strongest when they simply allow Christ and His Word to indwell them. Our strength is puny and weak in ourselves, especially when it comes to fighting against the schemes of wicked forces of evil in the heavenly realm. That fight is for God and His power and He has already won! We can stand firm in God’s victory through Christ by spiritually putting on the “whole armor of God”. Each piece of armor is a reminder of Jesus Christ and the finished work He provided on the cross to defeat Satan and the hosts of evil. After clothing ourselves with Christ, our armor is complete and all we do is stand in His total victory.

Romans 13:12 “The night is far gone; the day is at hand, So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, You are my full armor! You are the Truth, my righteousness, the Gospel of peace for my feet, the Author and Finisher of my faith, my Helmet of salvation, and the Word of God made flesh, full of Spirit and life eternal. Give me grace to honor You as I stand secure in Christ’s finished work.

Ephesians 6:23-24 “Peace to the brothers and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.”

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Called to Freedom!

Scripture reading for May 20th: Galatians 5

Key Scriptures: Galatians 5:13-15 “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but though love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.”

There was conflict in the Galatian church between the Jewish false teachers and the believers. Both sides were conceited and judgmental of one another and lacked love, a basic fruit of the Holy Spirit. Paul instructed them on those attributes that were not of God, warning them that those who practiced the works of the flesh would not inherit the kingdom of God. He encouraged them to keep in step with the Holy Spirit Who lived inside them. The Spirit’s fruit would effectively deal with the flesh and those still trying to earn righteousness through law. In fact, loving your neighbor as yourself fulfils the whole law of God! The Spirit of the Lord brings God’s love and true freedom!

Galatians 5:22-26 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control; Against such things as this there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Fill me again today with Your Spirit and let love for my neighbor and for You flow out of my life in every relationship and contact, to Your glory! I want to keep step with the Spirit today and walk in the freedom of fulfilled law.

Galatians 5:1 “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

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Guard the “good deposit”!

Scripture reading for October 2nd:  Isaiah 18-21, 2nd Timothy 1

Key Scriptures:  2nd Timothy 1:12-14 “But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.  Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.  By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.”

Paul encouraged Timothy with a strong statement of faith.  He was convinced that the Lord was able to keep him in faith, even though he was facing probable execution in the near future.  He encouraged Timothy to stand firm as well.  It would be in the power of the Holy Spirit that the good deposit of faith in Christ Jesus would be kept.  God would help those who looked to Him.

Isaiah 18:4 “For thus the Lord said to me:  “I will quietly look from My dwelling like clear heat in sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.”  

Prayer:  Lord, thank You for Your amazing promises and personal encouragement to help us in troubling times, keeping us safe.  Fill me with the ‘cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.’  Amen!

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Standing firm with confidence!

Scripture reading for August 31st:  Psalm 140-142 and Philippians 1

Key Scriptures:  Philippians 1:27-30 “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the Gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the Gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents.  This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.  For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in Him but also suffer for His sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.”

Paul was in prison and not sure whether he would live or die for the Gospel.  He wrote to the church at Philippi to encourage them to stand firm in their faith and not be afraid.  Faith in Christ often involves suffering for His sake.  There is a spiritual conflict that comes with belonging to Him, but we can have great confidence in our final outcome.

Psalm 140:12-13 “I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and will execute justice for the needy.  Surely the righteous shall give thanks to Your Name; the upright shall dwell in Your Presence.”  

Prayer:  Lord, empower me today to stand firm in the conflict and suffering that comes to those who believe.  Thank You for the encouragement of Your Word and past apostles and saints.  Amen.

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Thankful for escaping with life!

Scripture reading for August 31st:  Jeremiah 45-49

Key Scriptures:  Jeremiah 45:2-5  “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to you, Baruch:  You said, ‘Woe to me!  The Lord has added sorrow to my pain; I am worn out with groaning and find no rest.'”  The Lord said, “Say this to him:  ‘This is what the Lord says:  I will overthrow what I have built and uproot what I have planted, throughout the land.  Should you then seek great things for yourself?  Seek them not.  for I will bring disaster on all people, declares the Lord, but wherever you go I will let you escape with your life.”  

Baruch was Jeremiah’s faithful scribe.  He had been through all the derision and persecution and God had heard him lamenting the hard times he was experiencing and longing for something for himself.  God spoke to him about His plans for judgment on the land and the futility of seeking great things on earth.  He promised him escape from death and judgment–something eternal and lasting!

Stand firm for life:  Jesus warned His disciples:  “You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death.  All men will hate you because of Me.  But not a hair of your head will perish.  By standing firm you will gain life.”  (Luke 21:16-19)

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Thankful the Battle is the Lord’s!

Scripture reading for April 28th:  2nd Chronicles 17-21

Key Scriptures:  2nd Chronicles 20:15, 17,  “He said:  “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem!  This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.  For the battle is not yours, but God’s.  . . You will not have to fight this battle.  Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem.'”  

King Jehoshaphat was in a hard place militarily.  He was outnumbered and did not know what to do, so he prayed to God and looked for His help.  God answered with this prophetic word of victory and encouragement.  The battle was not Israel’s to fight, but God would bring the victory as they stood in faith!

Rejoicing in God’s Victory:  “But thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”  (1st Corinthians 15:57-58)

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On Your Guard!

Scripture reading for July 27th:  1st Corinthians 16

Key scriptures for over-comers:  1st Corinthians 16:13-16 “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.  Do everything in love.  You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they devoted themselves to the service of the saints.  I urge you, brothers, to submit to such as these and to everyone who joins in the work, and labors at it.”  

Because of the pressures of life in a hostile world, the pull of the flesh, and the wiles of Satan, believers must maintain a watchful and yet positive mode of faith in living for Jesus and fulfilling His mission.  Courage is the strength to live positively and aggressively for Christ in spite of opposition.  Paul encouraged the church to live in this manner and do all in love!  He then uses a specific household, that of Stephanas, as examples of those devoted to serving the saints and doing the work of the church.

Observations for over-comers:  Watchfulness with strength, courage, and love is the simple instruction for victorious living in the last days.  We work at blessing the Lord’s people and workers and watch for His return!  “David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous and do the work.  Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you.  He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.”  (1st Chronicles 28:20)

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We have the Victory!

Scripture reading for July 26th:  1st Corinthians 15

Key scriptures for over-comers:  1st Corinthians 15:55-58  “”Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?”  “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”  

The “sting of death” is sin in a person’s life that has not been repented of and confessed to Christ Jesus, our Lord.  This “sting” is eternal death and separation from our Lord forever in the Lake of Fire made for the Devil and his angels but not intended for man!  The “Law” of God, the Ten Commandments, powerfully reveals sin in each human heart, but it cannot save or deliver from sin’s sting.  But thanks to God sending His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ to fully obey the law and offer Himself as payment for man’s sins, we have the victory!  Not only that, but we can fearlessly do God’s work and know we will receive a reward of eternal life that is “out of this world!”

Observations for over-comers:  Over-comers stand firm in the truth of the Gospel and nothing moves them away from faith in Jesus Christ.  They stand firm in the victory of Christ’s cross and resurrection!  “He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.  You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great.  You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.  I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed.”  (Psalm 18:34-37)

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Christ our supreme example!

Scripture reading for September 30th: Philippians 1:27-2:18

“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ.  Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the Gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.  This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved–and that by God.” (Philippians 1:27-28)  Paul wanted these saints to stand firm and live for Christ no matter what happened to him.  There was no need for fear because God had promised to take care of His own.  As they stood in unity without fear, this would be a sign to those who opposed them that God was with them and that they would be destroyed!  God used some interesting signs!

The ultimate example of faith and trust in the face of suffering was Jesus Christ.  Paul reminded the Philippians to imitate Christ’s attitude. “Who being in the very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in the appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:6-7)  We are placed here by God to serve and obey Him.  This was Christ’ attitude and it should be ours!

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out you salvation with fear and trembling,  for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.” (Philippians 2:12-13)   Our obedience is not dependent on pleasing men, but God.  Choices are required each day to cooperate with God in accomplishing His purposes.

Paul was concerned with this church’s witness after he was gone.  He did not want them to back off from their commitment to Christ if he was martyred or if they might also be martyred.  He was very aware of the temptations of the culture of that time.  He wanted them to let their lives shine for Christ and continue to reach the lost.  How much like Christ was Paul!  May we imitate our Lord as well!

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