Interceding For Us

Sunday, July 14, 2013, 6:28 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with this song:

Nothing Can Separate Us / An Original Work / March 28, 2013

Based off Romans 8:28-39

Nothing can separate us
From Christ’s love now within us:
Not trouble, hardship, nor famine,
Nor danger, nor sword.
No, in all of these things
We are more than conquerors!

For your sake we face hardship.
We are sheep to be slaughtered.
I am convinced that death,
Nor life, nor anything else
Will separate us from
The love of God now in Christ.

What, then, shall we say to this?
God for us: who against us?
He who did not spare His Son
But gave Him for us all –
How will He not, with Him,
Graciously give us all things?

Who brings a charge against us?
God justifies His chosen.
Who is He that condemns?
Christ Jesus; died, rose again.
He’s at the right hand of God,
Interceding for us.

Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 2 Corinthians 10 (NIV):

By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” toward you when away! I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.

You are judging by appearances. If anyone is confident that they belong to Christ, they should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as they do. So even if I boast somewhat freely about the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than tearing you down, I will not be ashamed of it. I do not want to seem to be trying to frighten you with my letters. For some say, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.” Such people should realize that what we are in our letters when we are absent, we will be in our actions when we are present.

We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the sphere of service God himself has assigned to us, a sphere that also includes you. We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you, for we did get as far as you with the gospel of Christ. Neither do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others. Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our sphere of activity among you will greatly expand, so that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you. For we do not want to boast about work already done in someone else’s territory. But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.

The standards of this world

Paul was being accused by his opposition of being bold toward the believers when far away from them, i.e. through writing, perhaps, yet timid when he was with them face to face. The goal of the false teachers, who were standing in opposition against Paul, was to discredit him and to bring into question his apostolic authority. If they could get the believers to doubt Paul’s calling of God, and his teaching, then they could possibly lead the followers of Christ to follow them, instead, and to adhere to their way of teaching and believing.

Paul, too, was being accused of living and ministering according to the standards of this world, and by people who were comparing him and were measuring (assessing) him by themselves and by their own standards, behaviors, thoughts and attitudes. I think it is probably not uncommon for those who don’t understand us, and why we do what we do, to evaluate us based upon their own reasons for doing what they do. Yet, this is not wise, and it is certainly not just or fair. We don’t all think alike, and we are not all motivated by the same things. Just because one person does something for the wrong reasons does not mean that everyone else who does the same thing also does so for the wrong reasons.

For instance, if someone is sold out to Christ; committed to his service, desirous to obey him in all things, obedient to his or her calling of God, and passionate, enthusiastic, persistent, faithful and dedicated to the Lord and to the spread of his gospel, he or she might be tagged hyper-religious, insane, having addictive personality disorder, full of him or herself, prideful, arrogant, a know-it-all, wanting attention, and/or of doing so out of habit or routine (like a ritual). Or, what he or she does may be minimized and trivialized as unimportant. Those who make such accusations do so often because they can’t identify with the person in his passion for God, and so they judge those servants of the Lord by their own thoughts, behaviors and motivations, or by the standards of society as a whole.

Then there are also those who think we SHOULD be living by the standards of this world, and of the worldly church. They think we should join the world in doing some of the things the world does just so we can connect with them, have something in common to discuss with them, and just so non-believers don’t think we are holier-than-thou kind of people, even if it means taking in a little “dirt” every now and then. So, we are judged, too, when we take a stand for Christ and decide to come out from the world (of sin) and be separate.

Not as the world does

Paul’s response to these accusations was to explain that, although we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. In other words, we are not all manipulative, deceitful, addictive, prideful, arrogant, full of ourselves, conceited, or desirous of human attention just because we follow the Lord Jesus Christ in obedience, and in the power and strength of the Lord Jesus within us we allow Christ to live his life out through us each day. It is truly possible that there are believers who honestly, sincerely and with child-like faith obey their Lord out of pure love and devotion for him and not for some devious or addictive reasons. Not everyone has an angle. Not everyone is trying to give some hidden message. There are many, like Paul and Timothy, who just love their Lord and they want to obey him because they love him, and because they love their fellow humans and they want them to have eternal life with our Lord Jesus, too, and to grow in their faith and to turn from sin.

So, instead of waging war against Satan and his evil forces the way the world contends with their “competition,” or the way in which the world tries to win “converts” to whatever it is they are trying to win people over, we use spiritual weapons of warfare (See Ep. 6:10-20). We use love, kindness, honesty, sincerity, integrity, truth, the word of God, Christ’s righteousness, the gospel of Jesus Christ, faith, and the hope of our salvation to fight off Satan’s attacks and to win people to faith in Jesus Christ. We don’t use gimmicks, deception, and emotional manipulation, and we don’t do so for some type of ego trip. We tell people the truth in love about their sin and what the word of God teaches about our need to turn from sin and to walk in faithful obedience to Christ, only as empowered by the Holy Spirit of God working within us in transforming us into Christ’s likeness, as we cooperate fully with that work by yielding the control of our lives over to Jesus Christ.

So, if there is anyone reading this who is presently being judged of others in such an unfair and unjust manner, as was Paul, I would encourage you to just keep trusting in the Lord Jesus. Take every thought (fear, trouble, etc.) captive and make it obedient to Christ, i.e. don’t let Satan get the best of you, and don’t be disheartened by false accusations, rejection, persecution, and/or abandonment. If we are truly Christ’s disciples, then we have his promises that he will never leave us or forsake us, and that nothing can ever separate us from his love. In fact, we are more than conquerors through him who loves us and who died for us, so we never have to fear humans or what they think or say about us. We need to not believe Satan’s lies, and we need to listen to the voice of truth. Nothing can happen to us but what God has allowed it for a purpose, and he will use it in our lives for our good – to strengthen, encourage, and mature us in our faith, so that we will persevere in following Christ Jesus despite all opposition Satan throws our way. So, be encouraged!

Do Not Fear / An Original Work / June 2, 2013

Based off John 14

Do not let your hearts fear.
Trust in God. Trust in Christ.
“In My house you will find
Many rooms I have
Prepared for you,
And I will come back
And take you to heav’n.”

“I will take you to be with Me;
You’ll be where I am.”

“I am the way and
The truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father,
Except he comes through Me,
So put your faith in Me,
And do all of what I command.”

“Whoever has My commands
And obeys them loves Me.”

“I did not leave you as orphans.
I sent you the Counselor;
The Holy Spirit to live in you.
He teaches you all things,
And He reminds you of Me.”

“My peace I give to you,
So do not fear, trust in Me.”