Faith at Newtown Blog

Humility

There is a known fact that as soon as you think you have gained humility, you have lost it! God demands of us to walk humbly with him. I love this verse: “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)

In a message I just preached, we learned that God placed Moses in a desert tending sheep to get his attention, provide him protection, and to empty him of his pride. It was a period of obscurity for 40 years of his life. Moses came out of it a changed man.

God had to humble Moses’ words, his will, and the welfare of his life. Moses needed to surrender all. Moses needed to submit to the protection and power of God.

Your greatest battle, if you are honest, is pride. You must surrender your will to his will! When Jesus walked here upon the earth, he had one purpose: “to please his Father and to do the Father’s will.” In the Lord’s Prayer he states, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)

I encourage you every day to surrender. Submit to his will. Live to please him. Find your satisfaction in him. Jesus said in Matthew 10:39 “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

May each of us, every day of our life, humble ourselves to walk in his ways!

Studying the People of God

I find it very interesting that in the lives of various Bible characters there is a common thread.  For most all the characters we are told about in the Bible, the thing that is common to all of them is “trouble.” For some it was self-created, such as with Peter in his denial.  Abraham, in his failure to believe God long term, took the promise of God into his own hands and believed he could create the solution, instead of waiting on God.  For others such as Paul, trouble was provided.  God would not take Paul’s thorn in the flesh away, but promised his all-sufficient grace.

That prompts this question: Why do we shy away from trouble?  So often, trouble is the very crucible that God chose to refine us!  I trust that we may look at every situation and circumstance in life, that a Sovereign God knows and is handling what he thinks is best for us!  Yes, it is hard to live.  But, we serve a loving, compassionate God that has thoughts higher than ours!

Job said, “Though he slay me, I will hope in him” (Job 13:15)

And again in Job 23:10 “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.”

Giving Thanks or Worry?

As I studied this Thanksgiving sermon, I was amazed to discover a truth from verses I know so well.  It isn’t a new truth, but one the Lord reinforced in my life.  Philippians 4:6-7 state, 6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”  7 “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

There are four nouns that are to replace, that you are to put in place of, anxiety and worry. They are prayer, supplication, requests, and all done with thanksgiving.  Two principles come out of these two verses when we extract the truth of Scripture.

1. Prayer and thanksgiving remove the impurities of your life. (v.6)

2. Prayer and thanksgiving produce peace and protection for life. (v.7)

If you need God’s peace, you must pray, supplicate, request, and wrap it all in thanksgiving! If you worry, replace it with these four items, and the peace of God will fill your life!

 

 

The All-Surpassing Power

Having come through a series on 2 Corinthians 2-4, I was greatly impacted by this verse.  “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”  (2 Corinthians 4:7)

I have always loved this verse but never really studied it out. When you place it in context, it truly gives commentary on the life of a Christian.  The Apostle Paul is giving explanation about the hard, difficult life that a believer goes through. He explains how this life is a struggle. Several times he uses the phrase, “we groan.” You hear him speak about the perplexities of this life, the hardships, the breaking down physically, and the way death is always working in us. The Bible is so relevant!

But in the midst of all this trouble and trial that a believer faces, God allows us to go through them to display his power! The believer in Jesus Christ reacts differently to the troubles of this world, than one without Jesus Christ. That is the all-surpassing power of God on display!

The difference is that the Holy Spirit lives inside the believer! He can make the difference in ones life! You cannot show God’s power on your own. But, a useable vessel, an old ordinary clay pot which contains the third person of the trinity can make the power of God in you known to others!

Let the Holy Spirit control you, and allow his all-surpassing power to be seen in your life!

Joy & Rejoicing

Philippians 3:1a “Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord.”

The Apostle Paul gives this command. It is something that we do now and continue to do. It is an active command.  Due to Paul’s circumstances, there is no way that he was in a situation that caused joy. He is sitting in a prison. He has desires to travel and share Christ. He is writing because of his burden for the church at Philippi. But he says to rejoice. Therefore we can conclude that Circumstances Can Never Dictate Your Joy!

The second thing we recognize in this command is the next three words. “In the Lord.” Your Joy Can Only Be Found in a Relationship With Jesus! Paul had joy sitting in a prison, because he had a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ. If your relationship with Christ is a continual daily exercise, then no situation and no circumstance will rob you of your joy!

Joy and rejoicing is a choice! A choice to build your relationship with the one upon whom your joy rests.

 

Genuine Christianity-Genuine Love

Philippians 1:27 “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ …”

Christianity is so easy to talk the talk, but not walk the walk.  The Apostle Paul’s admonition to the believers at Philippi, was to live your life worthy of the gospel!

Every thought, every word, every deed, must be captured and surrendered at the foot of the cross! He died for our selfish ambitions. He died for our sinful desires. He died so that we might have life!  Yet, we continue to turn back to our own ambitions and desires.  Sometimes, we even fail to see our unrighteous behavior and cloak it in self-righteousness.

But, he loves us!  But, he forgives us!  But, he keeps bringing us back to his grace and mercy!  Jesus Christ is a merciful, gracious, and loving LORD!  Keep returning to his open arms!

Abigail

Abigail is a lovely name.  I love to hear when a parent calls their daughter “Abby.”  After preaching 1 Samuel 25 this past Mother’s Day, I will appreciate the name all the more!  She is a godly example!  What a woman she was!

The godly characteristics that stand out in her life are many.  I will share just three of them.

1.) She did not act as a “victim” in a difficult and horrific circumstance.  No where in this chapter do you hear a grumble or a mumble.  She accepted the plight she was in.

2.) She interceded on behalf of others.  This may be her most godly trait.  She went out of her way, worked hard, and went to intercede for someone who had done her and the household wrongly.  It was Nabal her husband.  But she interceded on his behalf when he did not deserve it!  That is a gracious woman!

3.) She was a peacemaker!  She did what she could to create peace.  She got in-between two hard headed men and made a difference.

May we learn from Abigail and her example!  What a godly woman she was!

Read 1 Samuel 25 and put in your life the characteristics she displayed!