Human effort vs the Spirits power

I came across a great question in my study today, “Could a person do the same activity with human effort as he could with the Spirit’s power?” This is a great question and after some deliberation I decided to share my response with you.

No, definitely not, our human nature is to sin.  I notice it when I am not reading/immersing myself or if I surround myself with “bad”/sinful things—-truthfully it is really just filling myself with things that don’t reflect God and His love—my attitude goes, I become selfish, lazy, moody, unloving, uncaring, etc. When we try to accomplish anything without the Spirit we may be able to do a little, but we will quickly get discouraged, run out of energy and fail. When we have the Spirit and are fueled by it, when we reach those moments where we think we can’t do anymore, we find ourselves accomplishing many more tasks and we can honestly say, “how did I do that?” and “that wasn’t me.” My point is in the flesh we fail and have limits; in the Spirit we have limits yes, but they are so much farther out there that we don’t understand how that could possibly be and we praise God for it.  The Spirit gives us fuel and a fire and takes us farther than we could ever imagine. It takes us beyond the limits of our flesh into the realm where it is obviously not us completing this task but God working through us.

Faith in Christ

While doing a study I came across a question that state “define faith in Christ without using the word believe (because in greek, faith is simply the noun form of the verb to believe).”  This question is based off of the previous questions I answered about the meaning of faith from Rom 4:18-21 and Heb 11:1-2,6; and what are we supposed to have faith about from John 14:1, Acts 2:36, Rom 10:9-13, and 1 Cor 15:1-7, 14, 17.

This is actually very difficult to do and this is what I came up with….

Having faith in Christ is trusting in God and Jesus, what they say and what they had written about themselves.  This faith in them also covers and exceeds the limitations of humanity and this life (i.e. what we can see, understand and fathom) and instead reaches out to God and Jesus and trusts/holds on to them as truth; knowing, that the things we see here on earth are limited and God is limitless; that the bounds that hold us to earth will pass away and we will be bound no longer to a death but will get to be with God and Jesus in heaven forever because of our faith.

Handling stress

I heard this in church the other morning and just had to share it with everyone. (It was taught by Tom Shrader at Redemption Gilbert)

Stress. Who doesn’t have it and how to survive it. Being the wife of a student, holding a full time job, plus normal housewife duties is stressful to say the least. Not to mention the added stress from my husband’s school, and health issues. Life is stressful, and in the day and age we live, there is no end to it, there is just the constant addition of stress.  There is no escape, and the feelings of hopelessness and fear we feel everyday because of it is very difficult to handle. When Tom taught this it was amazing. He didn’t speak anything that I didn’t already know, just put it in a way that clicked and gave me a refreshing jolt of the bigger picture.  Here goes; 5 things you can know to reduce stress.

1. God is in Control–Colossians 1:15-16–“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.”

Psalms 139:15–“My frame was not hidden from you, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.”

2. God forgives sin–1 Corinthians 6:11–“And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”

1 John 1:9–“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

I can have the peace of God because I am at peace with God

3. God is our only hope, life is temporary–2 Corinthians 4:16-18–“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not see are eternal.”

1 Thessalonians 4:14-18–“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

4. God causes all things to work together for good–Romans 8:28–“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

5. God does NOT change-James 1:17–Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”

Malachi 3:6–“For I am the Lord, I do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.”

Hebrews 13:8–“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Our hope is rooted in the character of God, the sovereignty of God, the faithfulness of God and the promises of God

All of these start with God. Our life is based on the very being of God. He created it, He sustains it, He retains it; it belongs to Him. Since these things are true, then why would we try to deny God the right to be in our lives.

When we are feeling stressed, afraid, unsure, I have found great comfort in reminding myself who God is what I am here for.  Ultimately I am here for God, as an ambassador of sorts to those who do not know Him.  I am here to show my husband/family/friends the love of Christ.  To encourage them to continue to fight the good fight and to continue the race until the end.  The reward will be great, and quite frankly the reward of getting to be with God, my heavenly Father, is by far the greatest most wonderful thing I could ever imagine.  God is the center of my life, and when I keep Him as the center things never look so bleak that I cannot overcome.  When He slips from the center the despair and fear are insurmountable.  I fall below the waves of life and am drowning.  Only when I once again reach for Him am I above the waves in breathable air swimming again for God’s shore of eternity.

If you wish to listen to the entire sermon you can click here.

 

 

In All Things

2 Corinthians 6:4-10

“But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers to God; in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by longsufferings, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the Word of Truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”

I have been stuck on these verses for a while, and every time I read them they strike me more and more. To help me understand what it means I looked up the word minister. I found two things. One, it means to wait on, to serve, or to attend; two, the Hebrew word is shârath meaning to serve, to minister, to attend. Shârath refers to the tasks to which the closest servants of God or the king are assigned.

Wow, so this applies to me as well because I am called a child of God (Romans 8:16), and I choose to serve Him as God and King.  This set of verses also has three sections. The first says how we are to commend ourselves to God through situations by using the word “in”, the second section says how we are to do this by using the word “by”, the third section uses the word “as”, and tells us how our attitude and heart should feel.