Covered Footbridge over Escanaba River, Gwinn MI

All of 1 Peter 1 is an incredibly rich tapestry of the Life prepared for us: conceived and planned by the Father, purchased in blood by Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, stretching across history, predicted by prophets, and announced by first-century preachers; concerning grace, peace, fullness, mercy, hope, protection, salvation, eternal life, joy, praise, honor, love, glory, revelation, belief, faith, angels, and mysteries.

I am grateful for the grace that enables us to enter in to this magnificent journey with God, and to stay the course, if we are willing.

Bridge

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In or Not?

I am grateful for being a new creature! I thank you for opening the way to beholding this promise more clearly.


Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:17

 

As I meditated on this verse, I became mindful of all the (many) times since “accepting” Christ as Savior, that I have engaged in bad behavior.  I was reminded that at no time does the Lord override my free choice.  I have to recognize that “in” is not a state that is permanently imposed upon me, it is an invitation.  He has done His part.  Will I come in?  Will I stay?

“Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap; (Luke 21:34)

 

The price for my freedom has been paid.  Choosing to stay free requires vigilance.

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Gwinn MI Clock Tower

What is to Come

Though the world would otherwise be a (very) scary place, I am grateful for this promise; not just that in You, Lord, I can get by. I can actually have peace! I am grateful that the courage that I am encouraged to “take” is by faith in You and not something in me that I have to somehow live up to.


These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

Steadfast of Mind

 

The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock. – Isaiah 26:3-4

Me:
Good morning Father!

ABBA:
Good morning Jon!

Me:
It is not easy being steadfast in mind.

ABBA:
I spoke to you about that yesterday by My Holy Spirit.

Me:
You said to be mindful of what I focus my attention on.

ABBA:
I did. I Am able to see all. I see the beginning and the ending, for I Am the Alpha and the Omega; the First and the Last (Revelation 22:13). I Am unconstrained by time, for time is of the physical realm and I Am Spirit (John 4:24). I do not look only on the outward appearance, but upon even the thoughts and intents of the heart (Psalm 44:21).

You do not see as I see. I designed your mind to be able to focus. I am mindful that you are but dust (Genesis 2:7, Psalm 103:14). I Am not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). Instead, I bring order out of chaos (Genesis 1:2).

I intend You to seek Me for today (Hebrews 3:15). I gave a picture of this when I provided manna for the Israelites. I satisfied their hunger in the wilderness. They were instructed to gather what they needed for the day, plus some extra the day before the Sabbath, when they were to simply rest in Me. If they tried to store it up, the manna would spoil (Exodus 16).

Jesus told you not to worry about tomorrow, for each day has enough trouble of it’s own (Matthew 6:34). That does not mean you should not plan, only that you should not worry. Worry is focused on trouble. Proper planning focuses on achievement (Luke 14:28).

Me:
Thank You Father! Help me keep my eyes on Jesus my Example and my Savior (Hebrews 12:2) and to set my mind on things above (Colossians 3:1-2). Let my ears be attentive to Your Word and my hands ready to do your calling from the heart! I love You!

ABBA:

You are welcome! Those are prayers that I Am willing to help with, obviously, for I have told you to do these things for your own benefit; because I love you!

Prayer-Refiner’s Fire

Me:
Good morning Father!

ABBA:
Good morning Jon!

Me:

Father, in Ephesians 6, verse 18, it says this: “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,”. What would You tell me further about this?

ABBA:

There is the possibility of doing anything either in the Spirit, or in the flesh. Do everything in the Spirit, especially prayer, which is of particular importance.

1 Corinthians 3:9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.

10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. 11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.

18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, “He is the one who catches the wise in their craftiness”; 20 and again, The Lord knows the reasonings of the wise, that they are useless.” 21 So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas [or yourself] or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, 23 and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God.

I Am telling you, this is why it is of prime importance that you pray; “all things belong to you” means you have authority over all things – and therefore responsibility. This responsibility is the charge of a steward, for all comes from My hand. This means that you are representing My authority and not that which is within your flesh. The authority of the flesh was given away in Eden. The authority of the Spirit was given under a new covenant at the cross to any who will be bound to it. I Am Spirit. It is not possible to discharge your stewardship in the flesh, as all things done in the flesh will prove to be wood, hay and stubble. Only things done in the Spirit will prove to be gold, silver, or precious stones.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. 2 Peter 3:10

Things done in the flesh, even for the wisest and strongest, are therefore useless. They will not pass the test. The things done in the Spirit will only be further clarified as the Refiner’s fire purges all vestiges of corruption.

Me:
Thank You Father! I ask You to help me learn how to carry out my charge in the Spirit at all times. Let me remember to allow the Spirit to have complete sway by faith. I am grateful also, for the myriad ways that You have given for us to sense whether Your Holy Spirit is the Power operating in our hearts at any moment or whether we have given place to the corruption of our rational minds. I am grateful that You are transforming my mind and have given Your Truth and your many great promises with which to occupy it, even in the sense of an armed force occupying territory in war. Thank You that You are Jehovah Nissi, God our Banner, God our Victory! I love You!

ABBA:

You are welcome! I Am indeed transforming You by the power of the Spirit and of My Word. No Word which I have spoken returns to me unfulfilled. Instead it accomplishes that which I send it to do. Therefore you can absolutely count on My promises and in My restoring all your mind and all your heart and all your strength to the purposes and to the joy and to the fulfillment of their original and perfect purposes. I love you!

Rest and Responsibility

Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

Me:
Good morning Father!

ABBA:
Good morning Jon!

Me:
This is not the first time lately You have instructed me to rest in You.

ABBA:
I know that it is difficult for you. I made you with a high sense of responsibility. What I need you to see is that the most responsible thing for you to do is to recognize that it is My doing that makes all the difference.

Me:
How do I properly put that sense of responsibility that You put in my makeup to work in a way that it fulfills its proper function and does not just end up producing stress?

ABBA:
One thing to recognize is that the enemy knows you. He may not truly understand My purposes, but he knows how to pull your strings, so to speak.

Me:
I want to learn how to be all that You intend me to be and also how not to give him any latitude for manipulation. What You intend for good should never be subverted for bad! Not even to produce stress in myself.

ABBA:
You have heard the secret to the martial art of Judo is to use the momentum of an opponent against him. In the spiritual realm, think of striving as momentum and resting in Me as a perfect counter to the very principle that gives the enemy the ability to use your own energy against you. True achievements are enabled in My power. The voice of the enemy will encourage you to glory in successes as though they were your own; ever striving for the next one. I remind you of Paul’s words of admonishment to the Corinthians: … so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other. For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? [1 Corinthians 4:6-7]

Me:
Are You telling me that my sense of responsibility is a gift that I have received?

ABBA:
A gift, and also one aspect of being made in My image (though every one is unique). Like every spiritual thing bestowed upon My children, it is a power for good when exercised in Me and powerfully destructive when operating apart from Me. This is the nature of power. Moment by moment, breath by breath, the heart focuses on things above or on things below. This is so because I have determined that you shall determine your way, whether you will walk with Me or not. I know you have heard the quote attributed to Francois-Marie Arouet (Voltaire), “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Me:
Yes, I have heard it. I have heard that he was disturbed by the abuse of power and privilege while the poor and downtrodden suffered.

ABBA:
He was exactly right about the linkage between power and responsibility. The power which I bestow can only be properly exercised in Me. It is the responsibility of the bearer of the gift to present it for My purposes, else it will putrefy under the direction of self-interest and produce only rottenness.

Me:
Voltaire had pretty mixed opinions about things of faith.

ABBA:
Do not all men? He saw the misuse of power in the church as well as in the government. Still, his reasoning was not without its flaws. This is the nature of reason.

Me:
I suppose we do. I want to know You in all Your ways and learn to miss-step less often.

ABBA:
Then keep looking to Me, as I Am the One to guide you. I have given Jesus as Example and the Holy Spirit as Enabler.

Me:
I am grateful for Your guiding hand in my life. I would obviously not have any hope of enjoying all that You have promised except You teach me to walk in the Truth. I love You!

ABBA:
You are welcome to all the guidance you will accept. I love you!

Grace Until…

He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God? [Micah 6:8]
 
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. [Romans 12:2]
 
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him [Hebrews 11:6]
 
And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. [Mark 10:18]
 
Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. [Matt 5:48]
 
Me: 
Good morning Father!
 
ABBA:
Good morning Jon!
 
Me: 
One could get the impression that You want us to seek to walk with You, having faith that You can change us into what You want us to be.
 
ABBA:
Imagine that…  Have you considered how Jesus’ words about no one but God being good squares with these other verses telling you not only to be good, but to be perfect?
 
Me: 
I believe Jesus was trying to convince us that we are incapable of being good enough on our own to live up to the standard required to have a rewarding relationship with Holy God.  I have often wondered, though, about Jesus question “Why do you call Me good?”, since He is good.
 
ABBA:
The answer to “why” is because He is God and I Am good.  The one he was questioning did not get that, either.  
 
Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy and that is what you are.  [1 Corinthians 3:16-17]  This is the secret to the paradox in these verses we are considering together.  Having accepted Jesus and received the Spirit, you can say with Paul:
 
But if while seeking to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have also been found sinners, is Christ then a minister of sin? May it never be! For if I rebuild what I have once destroyed, I prove myself to be a transgressor.  For through the Law I died to the Law, that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.  I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly. [Galatians 2: 17-21]
 
So then, you have grace to walk with Me while you are submitting your life to the transforming power of the Truth.  You still have the choice today: be transformed by the renewing of your mind, or destroy the temple of God with the things of the world. If you did not have this choice, would I have given you so many helps to aid you on your way?
 
Me: 
Thank You Father, for patiently explaining the scriptures and for sharing Your heart to save us.  Thank You for the grace to walk in Christ that all is not lost at any misstep!  I love You!
 
ABBA:
You are welcome!  I love You!  I have gone to great lengths to show you that I Am your loving Father.