Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Tim 1:6-7 (NKJV)
It all started with the fall of man. Adam and Eve were afraid...and we've been running scared ever since. Afraid of outside forces--afraid of things that cause physical damage--afraid of what others might think of us--afraid of what others might say--afraid of the future--afraid of reaping from the past--afraid of failure... This is the general state of the fallen. We treat our fear with pleasures, with vices, with distractions, with self-help books; looking to overcome something that is deep-seeded in the collective psyche of the human race. There is no natural cure, but there is a supernatural cure.
The Apostle Paul reminded Timothy of the cure. It is the "gift of God which is in you." Jesus also spoke of the cure, He said, "You will know Him, for He will dwell with you and will live in you." (John 14:17) Both Jesus and Paul were referring to the Holy Spirit. Make no mistake about it, the Holy Spirit is the cure for fear. Here is the premise: The power that created the universe is living inside of you as a Believer. There is no other force equal to this power. It is why the Bible declares: "Greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world."
When you understand who is living in you, you can say with King David, "The Lord is my shepherd I shall not fear!" The Lord has replaced our natural fear with His Spirit, and His Spirit establishes within us a sound mind and fills our lives with the power to overcome. This does not mean that we are now naive concerning the "real" dangers that exist in the world. We recognize the danger, but are not filled with worry or fear, realizing that whatever we experience, both the good and the bad, God is with us!
Author's Note: Even as a young child I had a sense of well-being. A belief that "all things would work out for my good." That God was with me. It's not as if life isn't happening, with its challenges and affronts. In spite of "everything" I feel wrapped and surrounded by God's love. Trusting in God is as secure as it gets on planet earth! RJD
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NKJV)
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. Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)
No question about it--the battlefield for each individual's soul is located in the mechanisms of our thought life. Think of your thought life as the normal processes and thinking patterns that have been established over time. These well-established patterns are now in control. The question is this: Who has established the thinking patterns and what thinking patterns are being established right now? These thinking patterns will exert a great amount of control over your future actions, so what are the primary inputs of information being fed into your brain? Please note: All input counts!
Most of the input that shapes our thinking comes through what we "see" and what we "hear." (But addictions are also developed through what we taste, smell and feel as well) What are you watching and what are you hearing? What are your primary sources for education, entertainment and social development? What movies do you watch? What TV shows do you enjoy? What music do you listen to? What books do you read? What friends do you listen to? What advice do you receive at home, school and work? What sites do you visit on the internet? The list go on and on... We are being shaped by what we feed into our brain on a regular basis. This indeed is the battlefield.
Paul gives us two strategies for the battle: 1) Let our knowledge of God and our Christ-centered values be the standard by which we evaluate the input. If the ideas, values, thoughts and arguments do not met the "God-Standard" they need to be brought into captivity. What does that mean? That we simply do not give audience to ungodly thinking. We don't allow secular thinking to take root in our brains. 2) Secondly, we need to pro-actively pursue Godly input. We need to expose our brains to books, music, conversations, teaching, fellowship and communion with God; that is full of "things" that are noble, just, pure, lovely, of a good report, virtuous and praiseworthy.
Author's Note: This would probably make a better subject for a book than a devotional, but I wanted to draw attention to the ongoing battle. We live in such a sensual, feel-good, me-centric, humanistic, nihilistic, post-truth world, where the lines between right and wrong are blurred and the wrong values are being championed. It is hard not to be influenced or tainted by the exposure. The Church will need to become increasingly counter-cultural. We need to stop worrying about being relevant and start being the light. Please note: A Church full of God's light will always be relevant to the purposes of God. RJD
Christmas, arguably represents one of the three most important events in the history of mankind. In fact, the three greatest events in history, all center on "One" Jesus Christ. On good Friday, we remember Christ’s atoning work, where our Savior was crucified and died. On Easter, we celebrate the risen Christ, the One who conquered death, hell and the grave. And finally, there is Christmas, a sacred holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ.
Why is Jesus at the center of human events? Why is Jesus the most famous person who ever lived? Why is a man who lived and died over 2,000 years ago, still relevant to people today? The writer of Hebrews gives us a good answer to that question when he describes Jesus as the “Author and the finisher of our faith.” Please understand, for those who believe in Jesus, He is not only at the center of human events, He is living in the center of our hearts.
During the Christmas season, we join the worldwide celebration of Christ’s birth; but our celebration is not limited to a day in December—we celebrate the abundant life that we have in Jesus Christ every single day of the year! For Believers, Jesus is the Prince of Peace; The Everlasting Lord; The Alpha and Omega; The Bread of Life; The Chief Cornerstone; The Lion of Judah; The Light of the World; The Lamb of God; The Resurrection and the Life; The Door; The Way; The Word; The True Vine; The Risen Lord; The Redeemer, Our Rock—our Savior—our King!
Christmas has something in common with every other day of the year...every day that this Believer lives and breathes, "It's All About Jesus!"
Author's Note: In such a time of ugly political rhetoric, economic reversals, racial tension, random terrorist events, and a world that seems to be bent on its own destruction; I cling to THE SOLID ROCK! It's true...all other ground is sinking sand. Can I seriously lay claim to an optimistic outlook when all the data my brain is receiving is shouting negative things at me? For me, I've had to turn off the television; refrain from watching the news; dig into God's Word; rejoice in the fellowship with my church family; and live in the "real" reality--that God is in control! RJD
This is a blog of devotional thoughts and my "Christian" perspective on a pop culture gone mad. RJ