The Intrepid Traveler: An Allegory

Forward

If you are friends with me on Facebook, then you are aware of my latest series of mini posts on analogies written by high school students. The analogies list, entitled “The 56 Best/Worst Analogies Written by High School Students” originated, as best as I can tell, with a 2007 blog1, though that now is a broken link. A list of 25 winning entries exists elsewhere as the “Worst Analogies ever written in a High School Essay Contest” in the Washington Post Style Invitational found on The English Teachers Network.2

Most of these analogies are quite funny, some are just plain odd, while others illicit hilariously disturbing Gary Larsonesque images. And while the Nightmare on Analogy Street officially reached “viral” status some years ago, it nevertheless underscores something so vital to our psyche that it must be hidden in one of the gazillion yet to be discovered genetic codes comprising our human existence – the deep yearning for laughter and, hence, joy.

I believe the need for joy stems from an inner desire we all are born with to be at peace and at rest. Remember when you were a child, how easily you turned on tears of joy, or laughter, as if there existed somewhere on your childhood physique invisible buttons with which to do so? Okay, maybe I’m the only one on the planet who played with melodrama as a child, but I am willing to wager otherwise. And before you lay your bets with me, allow me to humbly point out that my own husband is in need of a bank loan to repay all the lost wagers he made with me over the years.

My secret?

Never bet unless it is a sure thing. But I digress.

Children are natural born actors. Does this by extrapolation mean that professional actors are people who failed to grow up? Not really, although some might argue that point. Simply put, actors are people who either have mastered “the fake” or are those who never forgot where the invisible buttons are hid.

So what does all this have to do with the Intrepid Traveler?

Quite a lot, actually, because right next to the invisible Tears of Joy Switch and Laughter Button is a lever called Everlasting Joy and Peace. The unique quality of this lever is that it can only be opened through a Divine exchange. But when the valve opens, it produces rest and contentment, joy and peace.

Watch out if all three activate simultaneously! The Laughter Movement of the 1990s demonstrates what may result. Secular psychologists and psychiatrists of the day labeled the behavior in this movement psychotic and irrational. Why?

Because it defied the dignity of the norm.

Secular psychologists, psychiatrists and those who consider themselves intellectuals do not understand the Laughter Movement because for them, life is all about control. And that, my friends, is where our story begins…

The Intrepid Traveler

An Allegory

By Érin Elise 

Der Wanderer über dem Nebelmeer (Wanderer above the Sea of Fog) by Caspar David Friedrich, 1818, oil on canvas, 94.8 x 74.8 cm, Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Deutschland. Public Domain.

Somewhere, somehow, on our journey into adulthood, most of us forget.

We forget how to be childlike.

It begins with the Tears of Joy switch which deactivates when we master holding our feelings inside. The Laughter switch then spikes, for a delicate balance must be maintained between the two switches. If left unchecked, its fuse will burn out, rendering Laughter a useless function. Oh, we might fake it out of pride to cover our malfunction, but there you have it. A series of other events may lead to Laughter failure, but when the switch defaults and after we have faked it long enough, we enter the wilderness of Forgetfulness.

Photo courtesy of Jon Sullivan. Public Domain.

The wilderness of Forgetfulness is a vast desert covering an entire continent. It is dotted with lush oases, and connecting these to each other is the road of Distractions. A desert possesses many attractive qualities, not the least of which is the feeling of time standing still, for this is the one place which naturally prevents the use of a compass.

Photo courtesy of Daniel Csörföly, Budapest, Hungary. Public Domain.

It is the universal magnetic attraction of the place, however, that prevents the compass from functioning in the first place. And it is this feature alone which draws the Traveler to seek out Distractions as a means of reaching different oases, for the lack of a moral compass acts like a drug in the system and blurs consequences in the minds of Travelers.

Desert Oasis. Public Domain.

Some Travelers live their entire life in forgetful bliss at one such oasis.

Desert Traveler. Public Domain.

Other Travelers, those who find the thrill in adventure, pursue what is beyond the horizon in a never ending exploration. These are the ones who ask “Is this all there is to life?”

Emergency Phone Roadside Sign. Public Domain.

They recognize that in Forgetfulness any relief they initially felt was, in fact, nothing but a mirage. But rather than go back to the beginning for an accurate compass reading, the Travelers push onward until profoundly lost, disencumbering self of Being, in favor of Doing. And Being?

It is unwittingly tossed aside on a road called Unrest, an artery that inevitably leads into the land of Sorrows.

Photo courtesy Joseph Beatty / CC By SA 3.0

Once in Sorrows, we discover to our dismay that any vestige of rest or peace once possessed is gone. In its place now is a general sense of unease, for we do not remember how we landed in the country, only that we now are in Sorrows. And we have no idea how to leave.

Photo courtesy of Petr Kratochvil. Public Domain.

In our efforts to regain the glimpse of utopia once experienced as children, we wander down the boulevards of Hurt, Hardship, Unfulfilled Expectations, or Unrequited Love.

Knowledge of such childhood utopia is today more and more unheard of and, in the land of Sorrows, children only read about it in the increasingly rare book.

Photo copyright 2011, Érin Elise 

Sad to say, none of these boulevards bring us any closer to the desired Everlasting Joy and Peace.

Hardest of all is witnessing those few who do find their way to Everlasting Joy and Peace. We want it. Oh, how we want it! But unwilling to humble ourselves and return to what it is like to be a child, we are unable to participate in the Divine Exchange.

 

 

Castle drawbridge. Public Domain.

And this is the only way to fill the Void, a birth defect in all hearts and a prerequisite to flipping the lever which lowers the draw bridge to Everlasting Joy and Peace, for this realm has but one entrance. Like a prize unattainable, the knowledge of the Void only makes matters worse, so we deny its existence.

When the Traveler realizes, if only for a fleeting moment, that were he to participate in the Divine Exchange, he would not only find Everlasting Joy and Peace but also rediscover his Laughter and Tears of Joy switches, he does not do the expected. You see, many Travelers at this point, rather than embracing the heart of a child, choose instead to relocate to the hub city of Bitter Envy.

Mabuse, from the 1927 German Silent Film, Metropolis. Public Domain.

All roads lead to the metropolis of Bitter Envy, but of those thoroughfares, only two are toll roads, and these are the turnpikes of Disappointment and Cynicism.

“Spaghetti Bowl” interchange. Public Domain.

The interchange of Unforgiveness connects them all in asphalt, a spaghetti bowl of exits and turns, functioning much like a grotesque spider’s web. The main arteries of the Unforgiveness interchange branch off all roads, for the purposes of funneling traffic onto the turnpikes of Disappointment and Cynicism, and ultimately, into Bitter Envy.

Night in the City. Public Domain.

The megalopolis, Bitter Envy, is the city that never sleeps.

It is the capital of the our world, Hardness of Heart. This world is unique, in that only one road leads away from its terraced, luxury pavilions. So sure are its residents that the wayfarer will not want to leave, once its cobblestone pleasures are experienced, that they pretend the original road never existed. Proof of this time-tested conviction lies in the fact that Hardness of Heart in recent times has witnessed a great migration. New home construction booms while laborers scramble to provide for the population explosion.

But the vastly ignored solitary exit route remains the last unimproved dirt road in all the land. It is more of a path, really, for grass now grows across the tracks of the King’s Highway. Long forgotten and little used, not many today know of its existence, for a duplicate freeway built long ago bears the same name.

Photo courtesy of Alex Needham. Public Domain.

This second King’s Highway is a much traveled route which directs traffic in Hardness of Heart to each of its gilded cathedrals,

Photo courtesy of Luca Galuzzi / CC By SA 2.5 / http://www.galuzzi.it/

where the residents worship each Saturday and Sunday, and most nights of the week.

 

 

Photo courtesy of “Whiteafrican” on Flickr / CC By Sa 2.0

No one intentionally moves away from Rest for such a new world order, not at first, anyway. But after venturing down the road of Forgetfulness, it seems to be the thing to do. If the Traveler could go back in time with hindsight, he would find ample evidence of the virus, Worldly Cares. Insidiousness and virulence are hallmarks of this virus, which perpetually mutates until it slips through a tiny chink in the Traveler’s armor.

Painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, c.1526. Public Domain.

Once lodged inside, it lies dormant for many years, until a trigger of some kind awakens it. Then it quietly replicates until, by sheer size and brute force, it is able to wear down its host, overload his immune system and devour him from the inside out. It likes to attach itself to young teen Travelers when Pride and Worldly Knowledge are first discovered.

Photo courtesy of Joseph Beatty / CC By SA 3.0

And for a period of time, it appears to enable the Traveler to carry his own burdens, thus leading to a general misunderstanding of its apparent usefulness. But like all lies, the virus, Worldy Cares, finds its strength in deception.

Photo courtesy of Joseph Beatty / CC By SA 3.0

The Traveler tackles greater and greater responsibilities in life and the loads and expectations from others increase until one day, he awakens to the pain of unrelenting fear, ulcers, high blood pressure, angina, or a host of other stress related ailments.

Bridge photo courtesy of Tony Emptage / CC By SA 2.0

Some of us, fellow Travelers, participate in the Divine Exchange early on in our lives then stumble through Rocky Roads, where Worldly Cares choke out what we once possessed of Everlasting Joy and Peace. The unique thing about Everlasting Joy and Peace, however, is that it is by nature everlasting. Feelings have nothing to do with it. But when we lose those feelings, we lose our way, for our eyes turn down Inward highways.

The all consuming habit of focusing Inward can happen a number of different ways, not the least of which are the previously mentioned inroads, Hurt, Hardship, Unfulfilled Expectations, or Unrequited Love, all which lead to Sorrows.

Photo layering by J.D. Fischer, 2011 from originals, courtesy of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and US Fish and Wildlife Service, Public Domain.

But inroads are not the only way.

We might happen upon Imposters foraging through the realm of Everlasting Joy and Peace,

 

 

Photo courtesy of Anna Cervova. Public Domain.

 

or upon Wounded Travelers who, through Forgetfulness, have lost their own way.

Photo courtesy of Joseph Beatty / CC By SA 3.0

If we allow the experiences of Imposters or fellow Wounded Travelers to adversely influence us, we may ourselves fall into the ruins of Delusion, thinking we never left Everlasting Joy and Peace, when in actuality we moved lock, stock and barrel into in its slums, Spirit of Fear,

Photo courtesy of HaHaStop.com. Public Domain.

Religious Spirit, Legalism,

Photo courtesy of Joseph Beatty / CC By SA 3.0

or into its sister borough, Worldly Pursuits.

Every Traveler experiences what it is like to on occasion be sidetracked, even derailed, for that is the nature of life on earth. Good intentions often have a way of being thwarted. Some Travelers know from experience what it is like to visit the slums of Religious Spirit, Legalism, or Worldly Pursuits and, miraculously, stumble back onto the original King’s Highway, thereby finding their way home to Everlasting Joy and Peace. But it is the exception, rather than the norm.

Photo courtesy of the Department of Defense. Public Domain.

A great host, an army of warriors from Hardness of Heart guards its entrance, so that few ever find it.

 

 

 

But the good news is, some do. They discover the key so simple most cannot believe it will work – die to self and simply ask. One touch of the Master’s Hand renders the Traveler’s armor impervious and invisible to the darts from the enemy host. And when The Master whispers His heart in the Traveler’s ears, he is whisked back to childhood days with renewed Tears of Joy and Laughter. And what was it The Master whispered from His heart of Grace to the weary Traveler?

Five simple truths:

You are loved.

You are accepted.

You are secure.

You are significant.

You are free.

Photo courtesy of Joseph Beatty / CC By SA 3.0

And the Traveler is no longer alone, for when the Master’s Hand touches the Traveler’s heart, He sends His Comforter to be his lifelong teacher and companion on the road of life.

The greatest reward awaits the Traveler in the end, when he kneels before The Prince of Peace and receives his crown in Glory.

But in the meantime?

Photo courtesy Joseph Beatty / CC By SA 3.0

The Traveler, so overjoyed is he by the Comforter, so compelled by His encouragement and the words of The Master, that he shares The Good News with anyone who will listen, knowing in his heart that this was how he himself discovered the Master’s Hand and the entrance to Everlasting Joy and Peace, on his journey to Glory.

Photograph courtesy of Lauri Kosonen, Savonlinna, Finland / CC By SA 3.0

Conclusion

My hope is that all of you, my fellow travelers, discover the key to everlasting joy and peace. Some call it “the believers’ Sabbath rest.”

Photo courtesy of Graham Bould. Public Domain

Many of my life’s years passed before I understood what the believer’s Sabbath rest truly meant, even though I experienced the Master’s Touch as a young child. You see, we by nature tend to muck up the simplicity of the gospel. It is simple, but for most of us it is not easy. The reason for this is that in our heart of hearts, we carry one or two deeply felt beliefs. The first is the knowledge of our unworthiness, and the second is a resentment that we cannot receive any of the credit for our “saving.”

Out of these two beliefs most religions of the world are formed.

But Christianity is different.

Christianity is founded on an intimate relationship with our Creator through the only perfect man, Jesus. But what the world does not understand is that, when Jesus’ blood covers our sins, it does not magically remove our character imperfections. What Jesus’ blood does do is eradicate sin from our spirit. When we realize experientially that we can never atone for our mistakes, it leaves us free to be like Mary, to sit at the feet of Jesus and allow Him to conform the rest of our flesh into His image.

So it is this that I offer to you, though I cannot give it, only Jesus,

for only Jesus is The Prince of Peace.

~

 This is not the end… this is only the beginning.

Photo courtesy of NASA. Public Domain.

 1THEREFORE, WHILE the promise of entering His rest still holds and is offered [today], let us be afraid [to distrust it], lest any of you should think he has come too late and has come short of [reaching] it.

2For indeed we have had the glad tidings [Gospel of God] proclaimed to us just as truly as they [the Israelites of old did when the good news of deliverance from bondage came to them]; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because it was not mixed with faith (with the leaning of the entire personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) by those who heard it; neither were they united in faith with the ones [Joshua and Caleb] who heard (did believe).

3For we who have believed (adhered to and trusted in and relied on God) do enter that rest, in accordance with His declaration that those [who did not believe] should not enter when He said, As I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest; and this He said although [His] works had been completed and prepared [and waiting for all who would believe] from the foundation of the world.

4For in a certain place He has said this about the seventh day: And God rested on the seventh day from all His works.

5And [they forfeited their part in it, for] in this [passage] He said, They shall not enter My rest.

6Seeing then that the promise remains over [from past times] for some to enter that rest, and that those who formerly were given the good news about it and the opportunity, failed to appropriate it and did not enter because of disobedience,

7Again He sets a definite day, [a new] Today, [and gives another opportunity of securing that rest] saying through David after so long a time in the words already quoted, Today, if you would hear His voice and when you hear it, do not harden your hearts.

8[This mention of a rest was not a reference to their entering into Canaan.] For if Joshua had given them rest, He [God] would not speak afterward about another day.

9So then, there is still awaiting a full and complete Sabbath-rest reserved for the [true] people of God;

10For he who has once entered [God's] rest also has ceased from [the weariness and pain] of human labors, just as God rested from those labors peculiarly His own.

11Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience [into which those in the wilderness fell].

12For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.

13And not a creature exists that is concealed from His sight, but all things are open and exposed, naked and defenseless to the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do.

14Inasmuch then as we have a great High Priest Who has [already] ascended and passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession [of faith in Him].

15For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning.

16Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it].3

 ____________________________

1 “The 56 Best/Worst Analogies of High School Students.” 19 June, 2007. The Lost Eyeball. http://www.losteyeball.com/index.php/2007/06/19/56-worstbest-analogies-of-high-school-students/ (Accessed 8 December 2011.)
2“Worst Analogies ever written in a High School Essay Contest.” Washington Post Style Invitational. The English Teachers Network. http://www.etni.org.il/farside/analogies.htm. (Accessed 8 December 2011.)
3Hebrews 4:1-16. Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958,  1962,  1964,  1965,  1987, by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.lockman.org)

Copyright © 2011, by Érin Elise

Copyright © 1978 – 2014 Great Awakening Project, LLC. All rights reserved.
Applies to all text and images on this website unless specifically noted otherwise herein.
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Book Update

Perhaps the seasons where you live embrace a gentle change. Not so in The Rockies. Our summer likes to argue with autumn until a massive weather system rolls in and decides the matter once and for all. The abruptness is typical of Colorado’s changing weather. 

Uncompahgre Gorge, Colorado. Public Domain.

Now that autumn is in full swing, I thought it appropriate to update you on my first novel, er, novels. Yes, it is being split into two books. So the challenge now is how best to accomplish this with story threads from two different centuries and have the first book in the hands of my publisher by year’s end or early 2012. Several maps are also in the works, so it looks like I will be busy.

Thank you for your patience as I finish these while home schooling. Believe me, I am as eager as you are to read the first installment. When my publisher gives the green light, I will post the title to book one here on my website and in a subscribers’ update, along with its projected date of release. Volume two will follow later on.

Some have asked me what my book is about. It is about 186,000 words long (smile!) Seriously, and in brief, the overarching theme is how we are connected to past centuries through the unchanging Word of God and how it transforms lives.

Columba Bidding Farewell to the White Horse, by John Duncan, 1925. Public Domain

On the news front: I learned two days ago that a movie is being filmed, or rather at this point screened, on two of the men who figure in the 6th century story thread of my book. Then I discover another author, one with a doctorate in Medieval History and numerous nonfiction books under her belt, who is writing about the same two men in a fiction series centered around one of them. Now today, I learn of a successful lawyer publishing a book which gives even further insights into one of these men.

I have never been one for “coincidences,” so I find it intriguing that three authors and a filmmaker are tackling the same historic personalities at the same point in time. And I suspect the insights and perceptions of each will present differing interpretations of personalities so old they now are enthroned in legend.

What a delicious correlation!

The movie is entitled The End Time. The title role is being played by Jeremy Irons. No, I do not expect it to be a Christian epic. Hollywood at its best tends to portray Christianity as some weird sort of mystical asceticism. But that is because they do not know what it means to be free in Jesus. When interviewed, director Norman Stone said Iron’s portrayal would be a “warts and all portrayal.”¹ Interpretation: emphasis on the warts, or as a follower of Jesus would put it, emphasis on the old man.

Frosty autumn leaves. Public Domain.

One of the drawing points for me to the insular Celts in early medieval times was their fierce independence. This is curious, since Irish pagans practiced slavery. Perhaps it was precisely because they practiced slavery, for the desire for freedom is innate in everyone. God created us to be free. So when Christianity came to Ireland, and then to Scotland, this independent spirit translated into a form of Christianity that embraced the individual’s freedom in Christ. By contrast, the masses in Europe were forced to conform to a set of rules made by the Roman institution. Such control, the traditions of men, was never the intent of the gospel. Jesus came to bring liberty.

2 Corinthians 3:17 (AMP)

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (emancipation from bondage, freedom).²

Rules such as when to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection and how a monk must tonsure his hair were issues of great debate until the Synod of Whitby in A.D. 664, when Celtic Christianity surrendered to the Roman Church. Insular Celts were not under Rome’s control in the 6th century, however, so their priests and monks followed various levels of self-imposed asceticism, never placing burdens on others to do so. An example of this would have been that, though monks did not, the Irish priests married and had children. 

Autumn at Trout Lake, Colorado. Public Domain.

I love the Amplified Bible as a study tool. Take a peek at this passage, for the author of Romans clearly states that we are free in how we observe days, as well as what foods are good to eat.

Romans 14:5-17 (AMP)

5One man esteems one day as better than another, while another man esteems all days alike [sacred]. Let everyone be fully convinced (satisfied) in his own mind. 6He who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. He also who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; while he who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.

7None of us lives to himself [but to the Lord], and none of us dies to himself [but to the Lord, for] 8If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or we die, we belong to the Lord.

9For Christ died and lived again for this very purpose, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. 10Why do you criticize and pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you look down upon or despise your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.

11For it is written, As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God [acknowledge Him to His honor and to His praise]. 12And so each of us shall give an account of himself [give an answer in reference to judgment] to God…

14I know and am convinced (persuaded) as one in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is [forbidden as] essentially unclean (defiled and unholy in itself). But [none the less] it is unclean (defiled and unholy) to anyone who thinks it is unclean…

17[After all] the kingdom of God is not a matter of [getting the] food and drink [one likes], but instead it is righteousness (that state which makes a person acceptable to God) and [heart] peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.³

Feeding Gray Jays in the Colorado Rockies. Amazing. Photo copyright 2011, James Fischer.

Lest any reader think I am trying to ride the coattails of an upcoming movie, I am not, especially in light of the fact that these two sixth century characters are not major players in my story. But you have to admit it is an interesting coincidence, given that these men from early medieval times aren’t what anyone would term “high profile.” That, and the fact that I began writing my novel waaay back in 2006.

It must be something is the air.

__________________
¹ Exclusive: Jeremy Irons to star in new film about St Columba. Mike Merritt. Sunday Mail. November 8, 2009. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/showbiz/celebrity-news/2009/11/08/exclusive-jeremy-irons-to-star-in-new-film-about-st-columba-86908-21806551/ (accessed November 16, 2011)
² 2 Corinthians 3:17. Scripture quotation taken from the Amplified®Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission.” www.Lockman.org.
³Romans 14:5-17. Scripture quotation taken from the Amplified®Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission.” www.Lockman.org.

Copyright © 2011, Deborah J. Fischer

Copyright © 1978 – 2011 Deborah J. Fischer. All rights reserved.
Applies to all text and images on this website unless specifically noted otherwise herein.

 

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Embracing Grace: From the Heart

Note: I am taking a sabbatical from writing the blog to edit two manuscripts for publication. See you later on this year, when Embracing Grace: A 365 Day Devotional Journal resumes. Check back with www.erinelise.com for progress reports on the publishing of these books. In the meantime, enjoy your summer!

A 365 Day Devotional Journal

Day 90

Scripture: Proverbs 4:23; Colossians 3:2-4.

Photo courtesy of Sharee Basinger. Public Domain.

The last ninety days primarily have been spent talking about the condition of the heart. No surprises there. Solomon, the wisest man that walked the earth, instructed his sons to

“Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.”1

I always loved the poetic quality of this verse, never questioning its deeper meaning. My heart kind of knew what it was getting at. The Hebrew word, towtsa’ah, תוצאות, actually represents the entire phrase, “for from it flow the springs,” and according to Gesenius’s Lexicon it refers to “the place from which (any person or thing) goes forth, hence a gate, a fountain,” but “also the place of the exit or terminating of any thing.”2

Okay, that makes sense, as in the eye gate, ear gate, mouth gate, heart gate, etc. I’ve heard this before. I grew up on Vacation Bible School songs such as “Be Careful Little Ears What You Hear.”

Any place that something flows in or out of is a “gate” or a “fountain (spring)”. But when we talk gates, aren’t we referring to places of authority, as in “the gates of hell?” In Old Testament days, the city elders sat at the gates of the city and it was from there that they conducted affairs, settled disputes, made important community decisions, granted dispensations, etc. This makes sense, too, because no one has greater authority over my thoughts and actions than me.

Photo courtesy of Vera Kratochvil. Public Domain.

I like the way the New Living Translation puts it:

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.3

I sit at my gates and determine the course of my life.

The pressure level within water flow can determine the course of a river. During times of severe flooding, not only are the banks overflowed, but the path of a river can be permanently changed. Waters do not always recede to their original path. The same is true in times of prolonged drought. The path of the river disappears underground. The same is true with the heart. Wrong choices in thoughts lead to a change in destiny if the path is followed long enough. Ask any recovering drug addict, alcoholic, or rehabilitated ex-convict.

So much emphasis was placed on the heart in this first volume because without dealing with my heart, I may as well quit my half-hearted attempts at godly living. Without dealing with my heart, any attempt at godly living is half-hearted at best and at worst, self-deceived, for true godliness begins in the heart.

So I embrace grace for the journey.

And this is more than simply words.

It is Life, my Life, and I am hidden with Christ in God.

Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.4

______________________

1Proverbs 4:23.  Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
2 Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for towtsa’ah (Strong’s 8444)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm? Strongs=H8444&t=NASB (accessed June 13, 2011.)
3Proverbs 4:23. Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. www.tyndale.com
4Colossians 3:2-4. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com

Copyright © 2011, Deborah J. Fischer

Copyright © 1978 – 2011 Deborah J. Fischer. All rights reserved.
Applies to all text and images on this website unless specifically noted otherwise herein.
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Embracing Grace: Passing the Test

A 365 Day Devotional Journal

Day 89

Scripture: Isaiah 61, Luke 4:14-32, John 14:11-12, 15:4-5; Hebrews 10:26-27, 31; James 5:17-18; 1 Corinthians 10:11-12. 

Ruins of the synagogue in Sardis, present day Turkey. Photo courtesy of Atilim Gunes Baydin. Public Domain.

Jesus was praised and honored throughout the region long before He declared His mission publically. That was when He went into the synagogue in his hometown of Nazareth and read from Isaiah 61. After He finished speaking to them, however, Scripture records that all the people in the synagogue were enraged. It wasn’t that He was rude to them, nothing like that. In fact, even when He had finished reading from Isaiah 61 and had told them that these words were fulfilled in their hearing, they still praised him.

“And all spoke well of Him and marveled at the words of grace that came forth from His mouth; and they said, Is not this Joseph’s Son?” 1

I’ve never heard anyone point to anything in this verse except in terms of derision. But if you examine it closely, the tone appears more to be one of marvel, not condescension. So if it wasn’t a result of Jesus reading from the book of Isaiah, and if it wasn’t His saying that HE fulfilled these verses, thereby declaring Himself to be God, then what was it that caused this group of apparently devout homeboys to go from speaking well of Him to being so enraged they tried to hurl Him headlong off a cliff?

“Then Jesus went back full of and under the power of the [Holy] Spirit into Galilee, and the fame of Him spread through the whole region round about. And He Himself conducted [a course of] teaching in their synagogues, being recognized and honored and praised by all. So He came to Nazareth, [that Nazareth] where He had been brought up, and He entered the synagogue, as was His custom on the Sabbath day. And He stood up to read. And there was handed to Him [the roll of] the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened (unrolled) the book and found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon Me, because He has anointed Me [the Anointed One, the Messiah] to preach the good news (the Gospel) to the poor; He has sent Me to announce release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth as delivered those who are oppressed [who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity], To proclaim the accepted and acceptable year of the Lord [the day when salvation and the free favors of God profusely abound. Then He rolled up the book and gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were gazing [attentively] at Him. And He began to speak to them: Today this Scripture has been fulfilled while you are present and hearing. And all spoke well of Him and marveled at the words of grace that came forth from His mouth; and they said, Is not this Joseph’s Son?”2 
 
 

According to Luke, on the day of this FIRST miracle, Jesus was preaching near the Lake of Genesareth (Sea of Galilee), when he saw two boats. Boarding the boat of Simon (Peter), and moving out a little from shore Jesus preached to the people from the boat, and said to Peter, "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch." To this, Peter answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets." But to everyone’s surprise, "they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break," and they had to seek help from another boat. Seeing the huge haul of fish which filled both boats almost to the sinking point, Peter fell at Jesus' feet and said, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!" Jesus advised Peter and his partners James and John, "Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch men," after which the men left everything and followed Jesus. Painting by Raphael, circa 1515.

Jesus was widely accepted as a man with great wisdom and authority from God. So when He declared the words of Isaiah to be fulfilled in their hearing, they must have already sensed a Divine exchange going on. This was a much loved passage of Scripture. Isaiah was most likely speaking of himself when he wrote it, not a coming Messiah. But it is the nature of prophecies to be applicable in more than one way or timeframe. So when Jesus read this passage and then sat down (as was the custom before teaching in a synagogue) to speak, declaring the prophecy fulfilled, the people there probably still did not get it. Scripture does state that they regarded Him well, while marveling at His words. So what was it that created the sudden change in their attitude and subsequent behavior?

I’d like to interject that it is obvious as the story progresses that the people did not in their hearts really believe Jesus, but even disbelief was not the cause of offense. Their offense came when Jesus stated that both Elijah and Elisha, great prophets of old, were men who performed great miracles for people who were not of the house of Israel – people who were Gentiles. The widow lived in Sidon, and Naaman the leper was a Syrian. The unspoken extrapolation they got from Jesus listing these examples was a loud “I, too, will perform miracles for the Gentiles, not for you.”

Photo courtesy of Travel Space. Public Domain.

The reason they were suddenly enraged was because they took Jesus’ words as a rejection of them personally. Jesus grew up in Nazareth. He was trained as a young man there. He grew in wisdom and stature, in favor with both God and man in Nazareth. Pointing out that Elijah and Elisha performed their miracles for Gentiles, rather than Israel, was taken as a taunt. It was as offensive as if Jesus had thrown his sandals at them, which is a Middle Eastern tradition to this day whereby you publicly shame someone by declaring them beneath you. After all, news had already reached Nazareth about His miracles performed in Capernaum. They surely had hopes He would impress them with signs and wonders also in Nazareth.

I imagine their thoughts ran something along these lines…

Why, I never!   

 
 

Photo courtesy of Caroline Steinhauer. Public Domain.

He behaves like this after all we’ve been through together – our fellowship, our breaking bread together, our friendship to Him for over thirty years?

What an ingrate, after all we’ve done for him!

Who does He think He is? He’s just a carpenter. There’s nothing special about that.

No doubt this was the context of these next remarks in Luke. And it most assuredly was in this context when the mob taunted Jesus at His crucifixion.

“So He said to them, You will doubtless quote to Me this proverb: Physician, heal Yourself! What we have learned by hearsay that You did in Capernaum, do here also in Your [own] town. Then He said, Solemnly I say to you, no prophet is acceptable and welcome in his [own] town (country). But in truth I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were closed up for three years and six months, so that there came a great famine over all the land; And yet Elijah was not sent to a single one of them, but only to Zarephath in the country of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. [I Kings 17:1, 8-16; 18:1.] And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and yet not one of them was cleansed [by being healed]–but only Naaman the Syrian. [II Kings 5:1-14.] When they heard these things, all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage.” 3

Tycho Brahe drew the construction of his two person sextant (SEXTANS ASTRONOMICUS TRIGONICUS PRO DISTANTHIIS RIMANDIS) used for measuring the angular distances between celestial objects. Circa 1598

It might well be said that anyone who steps out into something dramatically new, such as a new direction in ministry, school, business, or life change, will be opposed by those who find them too common or too familiar to respect what God is doing in them.

I know. It sounds ridiculous when I put it in black and white like this, but we do it all the time.

We hang out with our friends and enjoy their company until they decide that God has called them to do something bold, something dramatic, something new. That in and of itself doesn’t bother us. We are glad to see them walk in faith. This is what Jesus said we are to do. So we offer encouragement and praise them for daring to step out.

Until they make us uncomfortable.

Case in point, an old friend of mine some time ago stepped out in faith and wrote to me that she believed God was calling her into a healing ministry, asking me to pray with her about it. But I, in my shortsightedness, simply could not see her doing this. She and I were best friends in college, and I knew her. I knew her well. We were roommates. I got to see her humanity up close and personal. The problem came when I still viewed her through the lens of our past together. Because I was seeing her with eyes that looked backward, I failed to see the hand of God on her today, let alone what God may be leading her into tomorrow.

She was too familiar, too common, in my eyes for me to see how God could possibly move through her in such a wonderful, miraculous way.

The truth is I was jealous.

Ah yes, the green-eyed monster, the frequent ruination of friendships.

See, I have held close to my heart since childhood a deep and abiding hunger to move in the miraculous. But I did not need to be jealous, for God loves me just as much as He loves my friend. This kind of reaction stems from an insecurity that believes God will always do more for others than He will ever for me.

This is a lie straight from the pit of h – e – double – toothpicks. It is in God’s nature to be generous to ALL who call upon Him! The trouble for me came when I could not accept that God could move through my friend in this way.

Do you see the problem with this thinking? God wants to move mightily through each of us, but if we refuse to accept the reality that God in His wisdom may choose to promote our friends before He promotes us, how can we possibly expect Jesus to move through us?

Only the proud in heart judge another’s competence in Christ. The Doctrine of Grace has been so drummed into our western minds that we rarely think of the consequences of not walking in holiness before a Holy God who also is just:

“For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES… It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” 4

Man shaping pottery in Cappadocia, Turkey. Photo taken by Randy Oostdyk, and released under GFDL / CC BY 3.0

The simple truth is that Jesus works through imperfect earthen vessels. This is a mystery: Christ in us. We have no reason to fear He will not move in and through us, if we are willing to wait for His timing.

On the flip side, we also are all guilty of placing on pedestals people we admire from a distance but do not know well, people such as famous singers, preachers, or speakers – you fill in the blank. The problem here is two-fold: one, we place unreasonable expectations upon the idolized person which ultimately falls when we finally see their humanity, and two, we assume everyone else, who we are most familiar with, are incapable of having God move through them because we do see their humanity.

This is another fine example of FBC Syndrome, Familiarity-Breeds-Contempt Syndrome.

We call it “the old man,” but this is the human condition in its natural, fallen state.

We are called to go higher.

Elijah Raising the Son of the Widow of Zarephath, by Louis Hersent (1777-1862)

We are called to be sons and daughters of the King. The naysayer at this juncture might point out that only great men and women of God are capable of having God move through them in mighty ways. This, too, is a lie from the pit of hell that Satan has used against the Body of Christ for millennia:

Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.” 5

Everyone who desires to be used mightily of God must pass these two tests, and they come in this order:

  1. The test of success and advancement of others.
  2. The test of success and advancement of myself.

Both tests contain unique qualities found in every man or woman God chose to elevate in the Bible: true humility before God and genuine trust in God.

Jesus said that greater works than these (what He had done) we would do because He went to the Father. This statement of Jesus nixes the long held belief taught by many in the west today that all signs and wonders, including healing, tongues, miracles, etc., died with the apostles. If I truly believe the words of Jesus, I must accept that this, too, is true. And if I am not walking in signs and wonders, the fault lies with me.

“Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” 6

Want to be used of God like Elijah or Elisha, or, dare I say it, Jesus?

Photo courtesy rePublicDomain.com

A good place to begin is by dealing with the heart.

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.  I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” 7

~     ~     ~

“Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” 8

Read: Isaiah 61, Luke 4:14-32, John 14:11-12, 15:4-5; Hebrews 10:26-27, 31; James 5:17-18; 1 Corinthians 10:11-12. Journal your private thoughts.

God, Your love is so amazing! You are the kindest person I know. Thank you for keeping your goodness before my eyes so that I walk life of repentance. I choose to live every hour of every day focusing on You, trusting in You. Your unquenchable, passionate desire to see me become more like You in every way while in this life is all that matters. Thank you, Jesus, for paying the redemption price for me! Thank you for declaring the final Jubilee! Amen.

_____________________

1 Luke 4:22. Luke 4:14-22. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
2 Luke 4:14-22. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
3 Luke 4:23-28. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
4 Hebrews 10:26-27, 31. Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®,
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
5 James 5:17-18. Bold Emphasis mine. Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®,
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
6 John 14:11-12. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
7 John 15:4-5. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®,
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
8 1 Corinthians 10:11-12. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com

Copyright © 2011, Deborah J. Fischer

Copyright © 1978 – 2011 Deborah J. Fischer. All rights reserved.
Applies to all text and images on this website unless specifically noted otherwise herein.
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Embracing Grace: Exquisite Delight

A 365 Day Devotional Journal

Day 88

Scripture: Isaiah 55:1-3, 6-13; Proverbs 15:30; 13:4; Psalm 36:8-9, 37:4.

Photo courtesy of David Niblack / CC BY 3.0

“Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.  Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance.”1

Photo courtesy of Geoff Doggett. Public Domain.

The word translated in verse two as abundance is one of those Old Testament words that intrigue me. It is the Hebrew word, deshen, דשן [ Strong’s H1880], meaning fat ashes, as in the ashes of victims mixed with the fat (of the sacrifice). It can also mean fatness of fertility or blessing (fig.) Gesenius’s Lexicon says of Isaiah 55:2 that it refers to “fertility, abundance” and mentions that “ashes were also used by the ancients for fattening, manuring the fields. See Plin. Xvii. 9.” The noun derives from the verb root, dashen [Strong’s H1878], meaning “to be fat, grow fat, become fat, become prosperous, anoint.”2

(Remember the earlier devotionals on having a hearing ear? Matthew Henry’s Commentary on this passage states “The invitation is published with an Oyez-Ho, take notice of it. He that has ears to hear let him hear.”3)

Proverbs 15:30 states that “good tidings make the bones fat.”4

Say what? Who wants fat bones?

Photo courtesy of Jon Sullivan. Public Domain.

The ancients obviously had a different meaning attached to “fat” than we do today. Fat is considered a very bad thing today and is associated with gluttony and all sorts of other negative issues. In some circles, “fat” is treated like a cuss word. The obesity epidemic plaguing the United States and which is tied to a multitude of food marketing practices overshadows our ability to understand its original intent, but it was not always so.

Once upon a time, fatness referred to richness, fertility, or abundance.5 Fat in Proverbs 15:30 meant that good tidings fill the bones with marrow and impart strength, hence to anoint, as in Psalm 23:5.

Photo courtesy of Petr Kratochvil. Public Domain.

We have all heard of medical and news reports on the positive effects of laughter. It doesn’t take a whole lot to connect the dots: ”good tidings” preceeds laughter. On May 10, 2006, ABC News reported on a study done that showed laughing changes blood chemistry and helps to protect against disease and depression. According to the study, the subject group watching a comedy exhibited an increase of 27 percent in their beta-endorphins, and an increase of 87 percent in their human growth hormone when compared to the group not watching the movie. Beta-endorphins are the feel-good runner’s high and have been proven to reduce heart rate, blood pressure, and open up airways. Human growth hormone, which elevates during our sleep cycle, is one of those hormones that reset and optimize the immune system.6

When a burnt offering was pronounced “fat”, it meant that it was acceptable to God.7 This is the same word used in Proverbs 13:4 (and 28:25), “the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.”8

Photo courtesy of Jon Sullivan. Public Domain.

Perhaps a better way to explain this word is to look at another Scripture using the same Hebrew word:

“They [the children of men] drink their fill of the abundance of Your house; And You give them to drink of the river of Your delights. For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.”9

It is easier for me to visualize Heaven and God’s Throne room as being a place of extreme abundance. And again, abundance here literally means “fatness.” So what this Psalm is saying is that I can drink my fill in the overflow of provision in God’s house, and that the Lord gives to me to drink in the river of His delights.

What are God’s delights? Is it everything that has to do with Him – His nature, His character, His presence?

It is that and more.

Photo courtesy of Anna Cervova. Public Domain.

The Hebrew word we translate “delights” here is ‘eden, עֵדֶן [Strong’s H5730]. It appears in the plural in two places – Psalm 36:8 and 2 Samuel 1:24 and means “luxury, dainty, delight, finery.”10 The word is related to ‘Eden [Strong’s H5731], meaning “pleasure” and which is the site of the Garden God planted for Adam and Eve. You may read about it in Genesis 2:10-14.11 Both of these Hebrew words come from the same root word, ‘adan, [Strong’s H5727], meaning “to luxuriate, delight oneself.”12

Returning to Isaiah 55 and applying this knowledge, I can see that lasting abundance is given when I content (delight) myself in the Lord’s pleasures. The Amplified puts it this way:

“WAIT and listen, everyone who is thirsty! Come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Yes, come, buy [priceless, spiritual] wine and milk without money and without price [simply for the self-surrender that accepts the blessing]. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your earnings for what does not satisfy? Hearken diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness [the profuseness of spiritual joy].”13

How does that delight-in-the-Lord verse go?

Photo courtesy of Anna Cervova. Public Domain.

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”14

While the Hebrew word here translated as “delight” is not the same, I cannot help but compare the two Psalms. Delight in this verse is ‘anag, ענג [Strong’s H6026], and is a primitive verb root meaning to “take exquisite delight.”15

The English word, exquisite, originates from the early 15th century meaning “carefully selected.”  It derived from Latin, exquisitus, meaning “carefully sought out,” therefore “choice.” The modern sense of the word is “of consummate and delightful excellence.”16 The word, delight, refers to “a high degree of pleasure or enjoyment; joy; rapture.”17

That old praise song from the 1970′s, the one pulled from Song of Solomon 1:4, said

“We will rejoice in You and be glad.

We will extol Your love more than wine.

Draw me after you and let us run together.

We will rejoice in You and be glad.”18

I find it of singular interest that the garden God planted in Eden, a place called pleasure, echoes the desire of God for us to take exquisite delight in Him. Do you see the interplay originally intended by our Creator? And do you find yourself, like me, wondering how in the world we managed to mess up something as beautifully simple as this divine exchange of delight?  

Photo courtesy of Anna Cervova. Public Domain.

 

Take

     exquisite

            delight.

 

When was the last time I took exquisite delight in the Lord?

Read: Isaiah 55:1-3, 6-13; Proverbs 15:30; 13:4; Psalm 36:8-9; Psalm 37:4. Journal your private thoughts.

Abba, Father, I choose to press into more of You, to take exquisite delight in You, not for anything You may choose to give me, but simply because of who You are. You have already freely give me eternal life. I love you, Lord. Amen.

_____________________

1Isaiah 55:2-3. Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
2Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for deshen (Strong’s 1880)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 23 Jun 2011.  http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H1880&t=NASB
3Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Bible. Isaiah 55:1-2. Public Domain. Bible Gateway. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=isaiah%2055&version=NASB (accessed June 23, 2011).
4Proverbs 15:30. ASV, public domain.
5fatness. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/fatness (accessed: June 23, 2011).
6ABC News: Laughter May Indeed Be the Best Medicine. Copyright © 2006 ABC News Internet Ventures. May 10, 2006. http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/print?id=1942224 (accessed June 23, 2011).
7Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for dashen (Strong’s 1878)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 23 Jun 2011. http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H1878&t=NASB
8Proverbs 13:4. ASV, public domain.
9Psalm 36:8-9. Parenthetical insert mine. Scripture quotation taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
10Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for `eden (Strong’s 5730)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 23 Jun 2011. http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H5730&t=NASB
11Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for `Eden (Strong’s 5731)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 23 Jun 2011. http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H5731&t=NASB  
12Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for `adan (Strong’s 5727)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 23 Jun 2011. http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H5727&t=NASB  
13Isaiah 55:1-2. Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
14Psalm 37:4. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org.
15Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for `anag (Strong’s 6026)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 23 Jun 2011. http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H6026&t=NASB
16exquisite. Dictionary.com. Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/exquisite (accessed: June 23, 2011).
17delight. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/delight (accessed: June 23, 2011).
18”We will Rejoice.” Author of W&M unknown. Copyright unknown.

Copyright © 2011, Deborah J. Fischer

Copyright © 1978 – 2011 Deborah J. Fischer. All rights reserved.
Applies to all text and images on this website unless specifically noted otherwise herein.
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Embracing Grace: Abundance and the Contented Heart

A 365 Day Devotional Journal

Day 87

Scripture: Genesis 27:27-29; Deuteronomy 30:5-10, 19-20; 1 Timothy 6:3-7; Proverbs 20:15, 24:1-6; Psalm 37:16-19, 52:7-8, 17:14-15, 49:20; 1 Samuel 18:30;  Isaiah 55:2-3; Ezekiel 28:15-17a.  

Photo courtey of Bobby Mikul. Public Domain.

The ancient Israelites understood the power of the spoken word and exemplified it in the father’s blessing. This blessing was spoken over the eldest son in the last days of his father’s life and preceded inheriting all that his father had accumulated on earth. But it was so much more than words. Take a look at the blessing Isaac spoke over Jacob, whom he mistakenly believed to be Esau:

“So he came close and kissed him; and when he smelled the smell of his garments, he blessed him and said, ‘See, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field which the LORD has blessed;  Now may God give you of the dew of heaven, and of the fatness of the earth, and an abundance of grain and new wine; may peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you; be master of your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be those who curse you, and blessed be those who bless you.’” 1

Isaac fulfilled the words of this blessing in his lifetime, and it was not just because his father said some ritual over the boy but because he gave to him the blessing of God: “Now may God give you…”

Photo courtesy of San Luis Obispo County Visitors & Conference Bureau. Public Domain.

In one sense, the blessing spoken over an eldest son before giving him his inheritance reflected the blessing Moses spoke over the Hebrew peoples when they were about to enter the land promised by God.

Then the LORD your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. Also the LORD your God will put all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you. And you will again obey the voice of the LORD and do all His commandments which I command you today. The LORD your God will make you abound in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your land for good. For the LORD will again rejoice over you for good as He rejoiced over your fathers, if you obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”2

Photo courtesy of U.S.D.A. photographer, Bruce Fritz. Public Domain.

These words precede the famous passage where God speaks through Moses, saying that He has placed before them both life and death and to choose life, that it may go well with them and their sons and daughters.

“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” 3

Now I know this is another “mathematical” equation, but I can’t help it. It just makes sense. This is the key to full abundance in the true knowledge of God:

Love the Lord + Obey His voice + Cling to Him = Life + Length of Days

You cannot experience life in its fullness apart from God. This is far more than mere prosperity. In fact, the Prosperity Gospel has gotten it all wrong. And apparently, this false teaching also plagued the early church. Take a look at this in 1Timothy:

Common Raven (Corvus corax) in Bryce Canyon National Park, USA. Image courtesy of United States National Park Service. Public Domain.

“If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” 4

Some people take this verse to mean that poverty is equated to holiness, and if you have (something that they do not have) you should give it to them. If you do not, then you are walking in greed. Do you see how convoluted such evil thinking is? Its entire purpose is to lay condemnation on the righteous to remove our freedom in Christ! That is not the point of these verses at all. The writer was saying that, in whatever state we are called, to be content, whether freed man or slave.

Photo courtesy of Yana Ray. Public Domain.

Solomon’s wisdom exceeded all others upon the face of the earth. God blessed him richly with earthly abundance because he asked for wisdom over wealth. He understood this principle from his heart.

“There is gold, and a multitude of pearls, but the lips of knowledge are a vase of preciousness [the most precious of all].” 5

Solomon equated men who trust in their riches, rather than in God, with evil. He understood that wisdom is found only in God, and that through wisdom and true knowledge man finds earthly increase:

“BE NOT envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them; for their minds plot oppression and devise violence, and their lips talk of causing trouble and vexation. Through skillful and godly Wisdom is a house (a life, a home, a family) built, and by understanding it is established [on a sound and good foundation], and by knowledge shall its chambers [of every area] be filled with all precious and pleasant riches. A wise man is strong and is better than a strong man, and a man of knowledge increases and strengthens his power; for by wise counsel you can wage your war, and in an abundance of counselors there is victory and safety.” 6

Photo courtesy of Petr Kratochvil. Public Domain.

David, who spent many years in lack and running for his life, understood that abundance was more than just things.

“A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous. The LORD knows the days of the upright, and their inheritance shall be forever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time, and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.”7

It is easy for us, separated by the passage of centuries, to forget that David was anointed King over Israel many years before he was crowned king and walked in physical abundance.

“‘Here is the man who did not make God his strength, but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness.” But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever.’” 8

Photo courtesy of Helen Bascom. Public Domain.

King David understood that God rains down on the just and the unjust, and that those whose portion rests only in the world do not live the better life. He recognized that the pursuit of anything apart from holiness to God was but a shadow of true abundance. He experienced the heavenly bread that Jesus spoke of.

“From men by Your hand, O Lord, from men of this world [these poor moths of the night] whose portion in life is idle and vain. Their bellies are filled with Your hidden treasure [what You have stored up]; their children are satiated, and they leave the rest [of their] wealth to their babes. As for me, I will continue beholding Your face in righteousness (rightness, justice, and right standing with You); I shall be fully satisfied, when I awake [to find myself] beholding Your form [and having sweet communion with You].”9

Photo courtesy of Petr Kratochvil. Public Domain

“Man in his pomp, yet without understanding, is like the beasts that perish.”10

When I read pomp, what pops into my mind is someone who is a frivolous fop or gentleman dandy. Maybe this is exactly what it means. The Hebrew word for pomp here is yĕqar, יקר [Strong’s H3366], and refers to “price, value, preciousness, honor, splendor.”11 It comes from the verb yaqar, which refers to something esteemed, prized, costly, or valuable.12

Of pomp, my dictionary states that it is a “stately or splendid display,” an “ostentatious or vain display, especially of dignity or importance.”13 The word was used in church Latin in “a depreciatory sense for ‘worldly display, vain show.’”14

Notice the next phrase, yet without understanding. Even while still a young man, David understood that wealth without wisdom is wasted on empty pursuits. He was known for his wise behavior long before God exalted him and bestowed physical blessings on him.

“Then the commanders of the Philistines went out to battle, and it happened as often as they went out, that David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul. So his name as highly esteemed.”15

The Hebrew word for esteemed here is the same root of the above word, pomp, and means something that is highly esteemed or prized, valued, precious.

John 3:16. Photo courtesy of Kevin Gardner.

Isaiah wrote these words of God, in which He reiterates what God spoke through Moses back in Deuteronomy 30 and which looked forward to the everlasting covenant:

“Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance. Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, according to the faithful mercies shown to David.”16

I believe the reason why God distinguishes between looking to things alone versus looking to Him as our source is because this is what caused Satan to lose his position as a covering angel and his place in heaven. Satan was the original fop: 

“You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created until iniquity and guilt were found in you. Through the abundance of your commerce you were filled with lawlessness and violence, and you sinned; therefore I cast you out as a profane thing from the mountain of God and the guardian cherub drove you out from the midst of the stones of fire. Your heart was proud and lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor.”17

 

Photo courtesy of Petr Kratochvil. Public Domain.

Wow.

See how everything leads back to and is tied up in the heart?

Satan takes everything good and perfect which comes from God, and tries to twist it, to pervert it, so as to get our focus off God. My task, therefore, is to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfector of my faith.

I see why it is so important to pursue true knowledge in God from the heart, looking to Him to supply all my need. Jesus told us to look at the birds, how the Lord provides for them and knows when each one falls. Will He not much more provide for me? He numbers the hairs upon my head which are constantly changing.

I know that the Lord loves me and will provide everything I need for life and godliness, for godliness with contentment is of great gain.

Read:  Genesis 27:27-29; Deuteronomy 30:5-10, 19-20; 1 Timothy 6:3-7; Proverbs 20:15, 24:1-6; Psalm 37:16-19, 52:7-8, 17:14-15, 49:20; 1 Samuel 18:30;  Isaiah 55:2-3;  Ezekiel 28:15-17a. Journal your private thoughts.

Father God, You alone dwell in splendor, yet Your love for me is so great You gave Your only Son so that I could live. Thank you, Sir. Thank you for Your many, many physical blessings and for giving to me a godly heritage. Thank you for sending Your Holy Spirit to fill me, to enable me to walk in godliness before you. Come, fill me anew, for Jesus’ sake, and for the kingdom’s, amen.

_____________________

1 Genesis 27:27-29. Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
2 Deuteronomy 30:5-10. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
3 Deuteronomy 30:19-20. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
4 1 Timothy 6:3-7. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
5 Proverbs 20:15. Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.Lockman.org
6 Proverbs 24:1-6. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.Lockman.org
7 Psalm 37:16-19. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
8 Psalm 52:7-8. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
9 Psalm 17:14-15. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.Lockman.org
10 Psalm 49:20. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
11 Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for yĕqar (Strong’s 3366)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 22 Jun 2011. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H3366&t=NASB
12 Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for yaqar (Strong’s 3365)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 22 Jun 2011. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H3365&t=NASB
13 pomp. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/pomp (accessed: June 22, 2011).
14 pomp. Dictionary.com. Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/pomp (accessed: June 22, 2011).
15 1 Samuel 18:30. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
16 Isaiah 55:2-3. Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
17 Ezekiel 28:15-17a. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.Lockman.org

Copyright © 2011, Deborah J. Fischer

Copyright © 1978 – 2011 Deborah J. Fischer. All rights reserved.
Applies to all text and images on this website unless specifically noted otherwise herein.
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Embracing Grace: Abundance Mindset, Part 2

A 365 Day Devotional Journal

Day 86

Scripture: Matthew 14:15-21; Luke 2:46-47; Matthew 16:1-12; Mark 6:37; 2 Peter 1:2-4 (Colossians 3:10; Titus 2:4; Titus 2:25-26; Titus 3:7; 2 Peter 1:8-9; and 2 Peter 2:20-21); Colossians 1:9-10; Colossians 2:1-3; Romans 1:28, 31a; Hebrews 10:26-31.

Humpback whale jumping in Chatham Strait, Alaska. Copyright © 2001 Peter Metcalfe.

Jesus walked in an abundance mindset and exhibited this character trait throughout his entire earthly ministry. Not only that and beginning with the disciples, He directed us to do the same.

When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food.”

But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained. Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children.1 

Kodiak, Alaska 400 lb. halibut. Copyright © 2000 Art Sutch.

I think all too often we skim through such passages as these without really getting the point of the message. Jesus did not have the reputation of being an idiot while he walked on earth. At the age of twelve, He was already confounding the temple priests with his wisdom and understanding.

Then, after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers.2

The religious rulers sought to entrap Jesus by His words later on, by way of testing Him. He told these men no sign would be given them but the sign of Jonah, thereby foretelling His death and resurrection. He then warns His disciples to avoid their teaching and in so doing implies that His demonstration of feeding the thousands was not just to feed them but to teach them how to walk in abundance (God’s provision), meeting the physical needs of others for the purpose of leading them to salvation. Notice how He correlates walking in abundance with faith:

Now when His disciples had come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”

And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have taken no bread.”

But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread? Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up? How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?—but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.3

The Gospel of Mark records this account to include the disciples questioning Jesus regarding their ability to feed the thousands.

Photo courtesy of Vera Kratochvil. Public Domain.

What this passage does not spell out is that a denarius was in Bible times the wages paid for a day’s work. They did not have this kind of money at their disposal. They were simple fishermen and laborers, with the exception of Matthew, the tax collector who left his position to follow Jesus. It is quite possible that whoever spoke these words asked a rhetorical question, perhaps even with sarcastic humor, not expecting Jesus to do anything but send the people away.

But He answered and said to them, “You give them something to eat.”

And they said to Him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?”4

The disciples did finally get it, but not until much later. Once they received the empowering of the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room, they went about demonstrating their understanding everywhere they went, adding to the church daily. Peter comes right out and states this in his second letter.

 
 

Caribou in Denali National Park and Reserve. Public Domain.

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5

Photo courtesy of Can Atacan. Public Domain.

My husband tells of a time when He had been prayed for by Rodney Howard-Browne, how he ended up on the floor in a vision with Jesus for over an hour. Jesus came over to Him, grabbed a stool, and sat with him. After some moments of silence, He said “You have everything you need, Jim,” repeating this statement several times.

This is Truth, but until we walk in the “true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence,” we will not experience it. Look back up at this passage from 2 Peter. Notice that the wording of this statement is past tense – “has granted.”

Photo courtesy of Johnson Cherian. Public Domain.

The phrase “the true knowledge” is here translated from the Greek noun, epignōsis, ἐπίγνωσις [Strong’s G1922], meaning “precise and correct knowledge.” 6 It comes from the root verb, epiginōskō, ἐπιγινώσκω [Strong’s G1921], meaning “to becoming thoroughly acquainted with, to know thoroughly…accurately…by sight, hearing, of certain signs, to perceive who a person is.” 7 Of this verb, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of the New Testament states that it signifies “to know thoroughly (epi, ‘intensive,’ ginōskō, ‘to know’), to recognize a thing to be what it really is, to acknowledge.” 8 The two words epiginōskō comes from, the root preposition, epi, ἐπί , [Strong’s G1909] meaning “upon” 9 and the verb, ginōskō, γινώσκω, [Strong’s G1097], meaning “to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of, perceive,” are significant in that ginōskō is the “Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman.” 10

Incidentally, Ginōskō is the same verb used in Matthew 12:23 and Matthew 13:11, with reference to a tree being known by its fruit and when Jesus told His disciples that to them it was given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. It is also the same verb used in Matthew 16:8 where it says that “Jesus, aware of this, said, ‘O ye of little faith…” And again, it is the same verb used in Mark 4:13, when Jesus said “Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?”

It is important for me not only to comprehend true knowledge but to grow into it. Throughout the New Testament, the importance of growing in true knowledge is referred to time and time again. Paul writes in Colossians 1:9-10, that being filled with this (true) knowledge is what enables us to be fruitful and fully please the Lord. He prayed for the Ephesians (in Ephesians 1:17-18) that God would grant them “the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him,” for the purpose of having their eyes and heart opened to receive experientially the hope of His calling and the riches and glory of His inheritance, so that we would know “the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,” toward us who believe.11

Photo courtesy of Vince Mig. Public Domain.

Why would Paul write this if we weren’t supposed to walk in it? I am not talking about just the early apostles, but us, the collective body of Christ. This is who Paul was writing to.

Remember the church at Laodicea? They did not end up with a positive witness, according to John’s Revelation. Take a look at what Paul wrote concerning them in Colossians:

For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face, that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.12

Golden nut, photo courtesy of Petr Kratochvil. Public Domain.

I neither preach nor believe the distortions of the “Prosperity Gospel” which are founded in the love of money. Neither can I ignore the phrase, “the wealth,” in the passage above. It is translated from the Greek, ploutos, πλοῦτος [Strong’s G4149]. This word clearly refers to “riches, wealth, abundance of external possessions… a good i.e., that with which one is enriched.”13 Vine’s says that in this passage it refers to the spiritual and moral riches “possessed by God and exercised towards man,” yet when Jesus fed the thousands, the bread He gave them also was physical.14 If this passage only meant spiritual wealth, why did Jesus not only provide for the physical needs of others but tell us to go and do the same, unless the key to accessing God’s provision comes through the true knowledge of God?

I won’t belabor the point. You can read more about true knowledge in Colossians 3:10; 1 Titus 2:4; 2 Titus 2:25-26; 2 Titus 3:7; 2 Peter 1:8-9; and 2 Peter 2:20-21.

Photo courtesy of Petr Kratochvil. Public Domain.

Scripture warns us, however, that if we choose not to know God in this way, with true knowledge, in several of the above references and in this one quoted here, below, God will give us over to a deprived mind and allow us to have that which we prefer over Him, all unrighteousness:

And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper …being filled with all unrighteousness…” 15

The phrase “to acknowledge” is translated from two Greek words here: echō, ἔχω [ Strong’s G2192], and our now familiar word, epignōsis , ἐπίγνωσις. Echō means “to have (hold) in possession of the mind… to hold fast… possess.” 16 The implication here being that if I choose not to possess true knowledge of God, then I will be given over to a depraved mind.

Paul states that if we go on sinning willfully, as a rebellious, preconceived act of our will, we will not retain Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins but instead will reap judgment on ourselves:

For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The LORD will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 17

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of God.

This is why it is so important to walk humbly with Him, so that when we do stumble (and we will), we are willing to receive correction from Him.

Read: Matthew 14:15-21; Luke 2:46-47; Matthew 16:1-12; Mark 6:37; 2 Peter 1:2-4 (Colossians 3:10; 1 Titus 2:4; 2 Titus 2:25-26; 2 Titus 3:7; 2 Peter 1:8-9; and 2 Peter 2:20-21); Colossians 1:9-10; Colossians 2:1-3; Romans 1:28, 31a; Hebrews 10:26-31. Journal your private thoughts.

Father God, it is clear to me now that You place great importance on true knowledge. I am beginning to comprehend what You mean by this but ask for further insight and the wisdom necessary to walk in it. I want to fully please You and be fruitful. For Jesus’ sake, and the kingdom’s, amen.

_____________________

1 Matthew 14:15-21. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
2 Luke 2:46-47. Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
3 Matthew 16:1-12. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
4 Mark 6:37. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
5 2 Peter 1:2-4. Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
6 Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for epignōsis (Strong’s 1922)”. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 20 Jun 2011. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1922&t=NASB
7 Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for epiginōskō (Strong’s 1921)”. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 20 Jun 2011. http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1921&t=NASB
8 ibid.
9 Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for epi (Strong’s 1909)”. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 20 Jun 2011. http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1909&t=NASB
10 Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for ginōskō (Strong’s 1097)”. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 20 Jun 2011. http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1097&t=NASB
11 Colossians 1:9-10. Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
12 Colossians 2:1-3. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
13 Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for ploutos (Strong’s 4149)”. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 20 Jun 2011. http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G4149&t=NASB
14 ibid.
15 Romans 1:28, 31a. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
16 Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for echō (Strong’s 2192)”. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 20 Jun 2011. http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2192&t=NASB
17Hebrews 10:26-31. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com

Copyright © 2011, Deborah J. Fischer

Copyright © 1978 – 2011 Deborah J. Fischer. All rights reserved.
Applies to all text and images on this website unless specifically noted otherwise herein.

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OOPS

A thousand pardons to those of you who subscribe to Embracing Grace Blog. I accidentally pressed the “publish” button when I meant to press “save draft.” Embracing Grace: Abundance Mindset, Day 85 of a 365 Day Devotional Journal, is now completed with photos and may be viewed at : http://erinelise.com/?p=2709.

Thank you for understanding!

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Embracing Grace: Abundance Mindset

A 365 Day Devotional Journal

Day 85

Scripture: Proverbs 31:10-31; Philippians 4:8-13; Hebrews 10:38; Habakkuk.

Photo courtesy of Petr Kratochvil. Public Domain

An abundance mindset is more than mere assurance God will meet my needs.

It is walking in peace (an absence of fear) coupled with a thankful heart that despite how things look around me I know my God (who is Love) will walk beside me, bear my burdens with me and make a way for me where there seems to be no way, therefore I rejoice.

Now that was a mouthful.

True. I’m not always eloquent.

Now, if I were a mathematical person (which I am not, despite the occasional references to the stuff – I married a walking calculator, It rubbed off,) I would write it like this:

Abundance mindset = peace walk + thankful heart + (knowing God is with me x trusting Him) + rejoicing

Why don’t we take a look at the Word and see if it bears this out?

Photo copyright © 2011 by Deborah J. Fischer. All rights reserved.

My first thought is to peek into the life of the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31. This is not your average, run-of-the-mill kind of lady but one Solomon calls virtuous. Lest I scare off the more feminist minded of my readers, keep in mind that this was first and foremost instruction Solomon gave to his sons and if you look at it closely, you will see that Solomon is talking about her spiritual walk, not about her being some supersized-Suzie-homemaker…

A capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman–who is he who can find her? She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls. The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently and relies on and believes in her securely, so that he has no lack of [honest] gain or need of [dishonest] spoil. She comforts, encourages, and does him only good as long as there is life within her. She seeks out wool and flax and works with willing hands [to develop it]. She is like the merchant ships loaded with foodstuffs; she brings her household’s food from a far [country]. She rises while it is yet night and gets [spiritual] food for her household and assigns her maids their tasks.  She considers a [new] field before she buys or accepts it [expanding prudently and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming other duties]; with her savings [of time and strength] she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard. [S. of Sol. 8:12.] She girds herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] and makes her arms strong and firm. She tastes and sees that her gain from work [with and for God] is good; her lamp goes not out, but it burns on continually through the night [of trouble, privation, or sorrow, warning away fear, doubt, and distrust]. She lays her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She opens her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her filled hands to the needy [whether in body, mind, or spirit]. She fears not the snow for her family, for all her household are doubly clothed in scarlet. She makes for herself coverlets, cushions, and rugs of tapestry.

Photo courtesy of Yana Ray. Public Domain.

Her clothing is of linen, pure and fine, and of purple [such as that of which the clothing of the priests and the hallowed cloths of the temple were made]. Her husband is known in the [city's] gates, when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes fine linen garments and leads others to buy them; she delivers to the merchants girdles [or sashes that free one up for service]. Strength and dignity are her clothing and her position is strong and secure; she rejoices over the future [the latter day or time to come, knowing that she and her family are in readiness for it]! She opens her mouth in skillful and godly Wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness [giving counsel and instruction]. She looks well to how things go in her household, and the bread of idleness (gossip, discontent, and self-pity) she will not eat. Her children rise up and call her blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied); and her husband boasts of and praises her, [saying], Many daughters have done virtuously, nobly, and well [with the strength of character that is steadfast in goodness], but you excel them all. Charm and grace are deceptive, and beauty is vain [because it is not lasting], but a woman who reverently and worshipfully fears the Lord, she shall be praised! Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates [of the city]! 1

I absolutely love how the Amplified Bible phrases this passage and included the entire section simply because it so completely describes the abundance mindset and how it is something that cannot be “conjured” up out of thin air.

It must begin in the heart.

The heart, the heart, the schmeart. There you go harping on again about the heart.

I know. It is the foundation of our life on earth, where on earth God lives.

To the pure all things are pure. Photo copyright © 2011 by Deborah J. Fischer. All rights reserved.

Funny thing about the Amplified Bible. I cannot tell you how many people I have run into who for one reason or another seem to think it is beneath them to refer to or own an Amplified Bible. And of all the translations, transliterations, or paraphrases of the Word, it is the only one that literally took me years (as in nearly half a century) to fully appreciate and be able to sit down and read without growing impatient.

Hmm, that’s odd. Why do you suppose that is?

Well, I think it is because my eyes glaze over when I see all the unnecessary parenthetical inserts. It’s not like I’m stupid. I get it. I don’t need all that superfluous fluff.

Maybe.

Or maybe it is because the Amplified strikes a nerve most people cannot or will not deal with. Maybe it is because this version of the Bible is so abundantly clear that we now have no “fudge” room for sin.

Now don’t crucify me. It is just a thought. I’m in the same boat with you.

Back to Proverbs 31. In the New King James, it opens with “Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.”2

Copyright © 2007 Bureau of Land Management, Utah State Office.

Virtuous is the adjectival form of the noun, virtue. Virtue is “moral excellence; goodness; righteousness.” It is “conformity of one’s life and conduct to moral and ethical principles; uprightness; rectitude.”3 Virtue is “the quality or practice of moral excellence or righteousness.” It is “any of the cardinal virtues (prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance) or theological virtues (faith, hope, and charity.)”4 The word, virtue, in the early 13th century, meant “moral life and conduct, moral excellence,” originating from Old French vertu and from Latin virtutem (nom. virtūs,) manliness, courage, from vir, man. We derive the word virile from this Latin word.5

On a side note, I find it intriguing that a passage of Scripture seemingly directed at women opens with a word (virtuous) originating from, or taken out of the Latin word, vir, for man.

Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of Man.”6

My old friend, the humble dictionary, shows me that this usage of virtuous in Proverbs 31:10 clearly points to the spiritual walk of the person in question, in this case, the “virtuous wife.” Rather than taking apart this passage of Scripture phrase by phrase, I’d like to let it here speak for itself. Besides, my point today is to give you several different verses that demonstrate an abundance mindset, right?

Real abundance is a heart issue, as is our spiritual walk with God.

We’ve all heard the phrase “you become like what you focus on,” or something to that effect, and it is true.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.7

So to have an abundance mindset, I must first focus, or meditate, on that which I wish to become.

"O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary." Psalm 63:1-2, KJV. Photo courtesy of Petr Kratochvil. Public Domain.

The word, meditate, here is translated from the Greek word, logizomai  [λογίζομαι, Strong’s G3049] and means “to reckon, count, computer, calculate, count over, to take into account, a thing is reckoned as or to be something, i.e., as availing for or equivalent to something, as having the like force and weight, to reckon inward, count up or weight the reasons, to deliberate.”8 It is a word dealing in facts more than opinion.

A judge is said to “deliberate” over a case that is brought before him. To Logizomai, or deliberate (weigh the facts), is what he is doing. Vines says of this passage that “it signifies ‘to think upon a matter by way of taking account of its character.’”9 So when I deliberate on those things which are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, of virtue, of anything praiseworthy, I am promised the peace of God will be with me.

Will you take a look at that – if I focus on virtue, I become virtuous! Not only that, I have the peace of God and all these other things: truth, nobility, justness, purity, loveliness, a good report, anything praiseworthy.

Paul writes about this very thing in Hebrews. But he calls it something else.

He calls it Faith.

Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure in him.”10

The just.

This is the same word found in Philippians and is linked to virtue. Perhaps another mathematical sentence should be introduced into this equation, so to speak (pun intended):

Abundance mindset = faith

Paul was referencing Habakkuk 2:3-4 in his letter to the Hebrews. If any man knew how to walk in an abundance mindset while still experiencing difficult times, it was the prophet, Habakkuk. He knew that man’s relationship to God and his passion to walk rightly which comes from faith and is joined to faith hinges precisely on what he meditates. It is because of this revelation knowledge that Paul understood the importance of focusing the eyes of the heart on Truth:

Photo courtesy of Jerry Segraves. Public Domain.

Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls— yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.  The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills.

To the Chief Musician. With my stringed instruments. 11

It was from this revelation Paul could say he had learned how to be content with much or with little.

But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.12

Paul found the key to an abundance mindset.

Jesus.

Read: Proverbs 31:10-31; Philippians 4:8-13; Hebrews 10:38; Habakkuk. Journal your private thoughts.

Father God, You are the source my life and godliness. I praise You in all things as an act of my will, regardless how I feel. Thank you for peace and the promise that as I continue to focus on You, like You will I become. Amen.

_____________________

1Proverbs 31:10-31. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
2Proverbs 31:10. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
3virtue. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/virtue (accessed: June 16, 2011).
4virtue. Dictionary.com. Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/virtue (accessed: June 16, 2011).
5virtue. Dictionary.com. Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/virtue (accessed: June 16, 2011).
6 Genesis 2:22-24. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
7 Philippians 4:8-9. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
8 Dictionary and Word Search for logizomai (Strong’s 3049) Blue Letter Bible.com. Blue Letter Bible. Copyright © 1996-2011. http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G3049&t=NASB (accessed June 16, 2011).
9 ibid.
10Hebrews 10:38. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
11Habakkuk 3:17-19. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
12 Philippians 4:10-13. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
Copyright © 2011, Deborah J. Fischer
Copyright © 1978 – 2011 Deborah J. Fischer. All rights reserved.
Applies to all text and images on this website unless specifically noted otherwise herein. 
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Embracing Grace: Abundance

Abundance

Day 84

Scripture: 1 Timothy 6:1-16; Luke 6:45; 2 Peter 1:2-4; James 1:16-18; John 8:44; Revelation 11:15; 2 Corinthians 10; Mark 11:22-24.

Photo courtesy of Petr Kratochvil. Public Domain.

Why the prosperity movement became known primarily as one concerned with stuff is a phenomenon only some have fully grasped. I do not believe it began that way, for true prosperity begins in the heart.

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.1

Photo courtesy of Petr Kratochvil

The problem began when focus moved from the Giver of all good gifts to the gifts themselves. That was when people lost out on the meaning of true abundance. 2 Peter opens with a blessing to the reader then goes on to emphasize that all things pertaining to life and godliness have been given to us through the knowledge of Him, and that by partaking in His divine nature, we escape the corruption of lust that exists in the world.

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.2

God never intended for us to go without when we are in need, but that we remember to place Him first. I say this to point out that the areas in my life which currently are in lack do not have to remain that way. “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him”3 are not words to glibly say and then not believe. Or, to say, and then deceive myself into believing that “life and godliness” has just a spiritual application. Either we believe what the Word says or we don’t. Either God is Truth or He isn’t. Nothing in the kingdom of God is halfway.

For me, an area of lack in my life is my seeming inability to knock off the excess pounds that came with childbirth and aging. It isn’t that I do not eat right but that it just doesn’t come off. Now that we live in Colorado, I am more aware of my lack in this area than ever, due to the combination of collective athleticism in the state and the corresponding spoken or unspoken judgment that seems to accompany those who never had to deal with a weight problem.

Everybody’s a critic, the saying goes, and it generally is worse within the church. It must be human nature to become religious apart from the power of God. The church is so full of insecure people, it is a wonder any of us are free. When one of us receives revelation in one area, why we are so quick to get puffed up about it and proceed to first become an “expert” in the area and second to judge anyone who in our eyes falls short?

Because we have forgotten that every good and perfect gift comes from heaven and not from ourselves.

Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 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. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.4

I recently finished reading the book, Authority in Prayer: Praying with Power and Purpose, by Dutch Sheets. It was a gift from some dear friends who had been so blessed by the book they were compelled to pass the blessing on to others. One of the things I came away from the reading was the importance of speaking the Word over situations in my life that aren’t “right.” Maybe it is an illness, or a need for wisdom, or perhaps a grave financial issue, or a problem with weight loss. It doesn’t matter with God. He has promised me all things pertaining to life and godliness, not just godliness.      

Satan does not want us to grasp the importance of this truth. He would much rather we succumb to defeat. After all, he is the one who whispers those lies we fall for, lies that go something like these:

“You will never amount to anything in life.”

“You are such a loser!”

If God loved you, why did he let _____ die?”

“Your father died at 57, your grandfather died at 57, you will die at 57.”

“You have always had a weight problem.You will never get it off.”

“Why can’t you ever do anything right?”

“You can’t handle money, you never have and you never will.”

“You are such a freak – you will never have any friends.”

Have you heard any of these whispered in your ears?

He [Satan] was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.5

I recognize we are a society of the “quick fix.” If a perceived problem is not rectified quickly, we rush to judgment and assume the problem lies with the person involved. Now while that may be true some of the time, it does not take into account the full picture. We are in a war, whether we know it or not, a war for our minds, hearts, and souls.

Photo courtesy of Petr Kratochvil. Public Domain.

In my own personal life, I have found this to be true, particularly concerning the writing of books. Many people have the mistaken notion that an excellent book is not difficult to write and that if you are taking a long time, it is because you either are lazy or don’t have what it takes. They base their faulty judgment on incomplete knowledge. They haven’t a clue what it takes to write well. If I were to take a poll on how many have started writing a book, the percentages would be staggering when compared to those who actually finished.

So back on the book by Sheets. I have decided to put into action some of the applications he exampled in this publication. And I am implementing some of his recommendations. It is not that I haven’t spoken the Word over my life before, but that I gave up too soon. I don’t care if I feel foolish. It doesn’t really matter how I feel, anyway.

All that matters is obedience motivated from a heart that loves God and desires to put Him first in all things. 

So be encouraged to fight the good fight in those areas of your life where you lack, my friend. The battle has already been won. Have faith in God and speak to your mountain.

The seventh angel then blew [his] trumpet, and there were mighty voices in heaven, shouting, The dominion (kingdom, sovereignty, rule) of the world has now come into the possession and become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ (the Messiah), and He shall reign forever and ever (for the eternities of the eternities)!6

 

But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.7

Read: 1 Timothy 6:1-16; Luke 6:45; 2 Peter 1:2-4; James 1:16-18; John 8:44; Revelation 11:15; 2 Corinthians 10; Mark 11:22-24. Journal your private thoughts.

Father God, thank you for providing me all that I need for life and godliness. Thank you that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in You for the pulling down of strongholds and everything high that would exalt itself against the knowledge of You.8 Grant me wisdom to know how to walk in this, for Jesus’ sake, and the kingdom’s, amen.

_____________________

1Luke 6:45. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
22 Peter 1:2-4. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
3ibid.
4James 1:16-18. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
5John 8:44b. Parenthetical insert mine. THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. www.biblica.com
6Revelation 11:15. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
71 Timothy 6:11-16. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
8See 2 Corinthians 10.

Copyright © 2011, Deborah J. Fischer

Copyright © 1978 – 2011 Deborah J. Fischer. All rights reserved.
Applies to all text and images on this website unless specifically noted otherwise herein.
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