This I know

Psalm 56:9

…This I know that God is for me.

 

 

There are very few things in life that I can be certain of.   I am certain of the fact that my parents and family love me.  I am certain of the fact that I love them.  I am certain of the fact that if I eat too much sugar I get a bad headache and I get grumpy.  I am certain of the fact that I love God and will serve Him the rest of my life.  I am certain of the fact that I want His will.  Beyond this, there are a myriad of things that affect my certainties.   Usually my emotions and my circumstances have the greatest affect.

 

The Psalmist says, “This I know that God is for me.” He speaks with certainty about this fact.  As I have meditated on this I have come to understand that in this walk of faith, this is the fact that the enemy comes most consistently to impact our ability to believe this.  

 

The constant question I find in my soul when I am feeling defeated or overwhelmed in anything in my life is, “God, where are you?” as if He has left or is momentarily unreachable.  The Bible says that He is constant and unwavering (Hebrews 13:8), therefore the above thoughts cannot be true of Him. Yet, I FEEL this way all too often.  Why?  I believe that it is because if the enemy can convince me that I am alone and abandoned by God, then he can get me into a place of desperation where I reach for anything but God.

 

If God is not for me there is no one but myself to lean and rely on.  There is no power but my own to get me through to the fulfillment of my dreams.  Which in reality is no power at all.  I am as a boat left on the water without anchor, without sails, without any means to get where I am going but to spend my life in despair, anxiety, disappointment, and regret.  If that is my lot in life, then why oh why should I not give up? Why not live for the moment and despise the future? And that is what the enemy wants me to do above all else. If he can get me to give up, based always on my own inadequacies which are many, and if he can keep me there, ever sliding deeper and deeper into despair, then he will have succeeded in the thing that he is after – to keep me from experiencing the fullness of God in this moment and fulfilling my purpose on this earth.   John 10:10 says, “The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy; I came that (you) may have life, and have it abundantly.”

 

God’s purpose for me is that I might have ABUNDANT life.  Not just in heaven, but right now in my current moment of life.  He came to see that I experience fulfillment of the dreams He has placed in my heart (Psalm 37:4); He wants to empower me to run and not grow weary (Is. 40:31) as I move with purpose through this life to attain the prize of the upward calling of God in my life (Philippians 3:14)! But that is not possible if He is not for me.  Therefore, I must settle this truth in my heart as the Psalmist did, that I might be able to say with confidence, THIS I KNOW.

 

It is written in the Bible over and over that He will never fail us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6), that He is with us and will do what He promises us (Genesis 28:5); that He is the shepherd and guardian of our soul (1 Peter 2:25); the He will do immeasurably more than all we could ask or desire or imagine (Ephesians 3:20); that He longs to be gracious to us and waits on high to have compassion on us (Is. 30:18); that He will accomplish what concerns us (Psalm 138:8).  He gives us ample evidence that of what He will do for us in His word.  Not only will He do all this, but His love and mercy cover us every step of the way!  So if He has given us plenty of evidence to see and know that this statement is true, why is it so hard to know?  Because it is by faith. 

 

The Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please Him, that those who come to Him must BELIEVE that He IS and that He IS a God who REWARDS those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Knowing as fact that He is for me comes down to an act of faith in my heart.  A faith that says, I will believe despite of what I feel.  Declaring, I believe You are who You say You are, and I will believe that You are for me and will do what You said You will do.  It is an act of faith that overrides our emotions.  That overrides what our circumstances make us feel and give us a path where there is none.  He is for us beloved.  May we come in faith to declare this statement in the face of every difficulty and every point of joy: This I KNOW that God is for me!

The Knowledge of Him

by Amber Bonasso

 

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.

 

                        2 Peter 1:2-3

 

 

I find that as I mature in life, my need for grace and peace exponentially increases.   I cannot quite remember the things I used to be able to remember, I get impatient more quickly, I find stress waiting for me at every turn, and I often find anxiety to be a constant companion.  Even now as I sit here writing this my frustration levels are rising because my computer and internet are going slower then I ever thought possible! Now, the enemy would love to convince me that these feelings disqualify me from everything, that I am a bad believer, and that a real person of faith wouldn’t feel these things.  But that couldn’t be more wrong!

 

The Bible says that “He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust” (Psalm 103:14); that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). David talks often about his soul being “disturbed within” him (Psalm 45:5, 11, 43:5) so that leads me to conclude that these sometimes overwhelming feelings are not out of the ordinary.  Besides, why would God extend grace and peace to us if we weren’t supposed to need it? 

 

Doesn’t it say that we are to “draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need(Hebrews 4:16)? So the enemy loses on all fronts when he comes to condemn us in our need.  The Bible says that we will need and that we can approach the throne of Grace to get what we need.  I need grace and peace multiplied to me.  I need that daily not only for myself but also so that I can extend it to others.  So how does this promise work?  What struck me is the phrase in the second part of verse 2 – in the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.  Lets look at a couple definitions from the BIblehub.com, they have an exquisite treasure trove of Greek and Hebrew and I highly recommend them if you want to study the Bible.

 

Grace in this scripture means God freely extending Himself to us, leaning towards us in favor, enabling us through His power and the essence of His nature to be able to overcome and conquer everything in life.  Peace means wholeness, when all essential parts are joined together.  These are unequivocally what I need.  According to this verse these both become multiplied to us THROUGH the knowledge of God and the Lord Jesus.  This word knowledge is the key.

 

Knowledge as it is used here is a Greek word which means gained through first-hand relationship, contact-knowledge, first-hand, experiential knowing.  Thus the process through which grace and peace are multiplied to me is through my first-hand, experiential knowledge of God and the Lord Jesus.  As I fix my eyes on Him (Hebrews 12:2), seek to know and understand Him (Jeremiah 9:24), and love Him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:20), He promises that He will be found by me (Jeremiah 29:14).  And as I find Him in deeper and deeper ways, the grace and peace from yesterday become multiplied in my soul.  And every day that I do this, the multiplication continues.  Because the simple revelation in this is that the grace and peace I long for are found in who He is not in the circumstances that surround me or how I feel about anything.   Who He is is accessible to me through His word, through spending time with Him, and coming to know the One who unchanging (Hebrews 13:8).  The one who holds all things together (Colossians 1:17).

 

2 Peter 1:3-4 goes on to say that His divine power has granted to us EVERYTHING pertaining to life and godliness.  As my father says, what part of EVERYTHING don’t we understand?  The key point here is that His person is what generates the grace and peace we need.  His power brings us near to Him, extends to us everything that we NEED, we must simply approach His throne of grace, pursue experiential first-hand knowledge of Him and we will find grace and peace multiplied to us.  And beloved, that multiplication never stops!  Daily it multiplies on into eternity. The deeper our relationship gets with Him, the more we trust Him, the bigger the mountains He takes us to, the greater the miracles we experience, and the more we need Him and all that comes to us through the knowledge of Him.

 

So today, in the midst of circumstances that are often all at once harrowing, frustrating, defeating, disappointing, stressful, anxious, emotional, and any number of other things, let us draw near to Him.  Let us reach for Him and find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). Cast our cares upon Him and be sustained by Him (Psalm 55:22).  Let us seek to know and understand Him that we might be held together in Him (Jeremiah 9:24/Colossians 1:17).

Endurance

 By Amber Bonasso

 

For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.

‘For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay.

But My righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back my soul has no pleasure in him.’

But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.

 

Hebrews 10:36-39

 

 

I have been meditating on this scripture lately.  The word destruction doesn’t exactly mean that we shrink back and are destroyed as a result.  It actually means a falling short of the goal, settling.  Persevere means to get to the fullness of.  I believe that it is the Lord’s delight to give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4) and to bring about miracles in our lives that far surpass anything that we could have ever hoped for (Ephesians 3:20).   Yet there is this sticky word “endurance” in this process. 

 

When we set out to lay hold of the promises of God for our lives, there is a season of holding on.  A season where everything beats against you trying to get you to let go of what you believe God has said to you or the path that He has set your feet on.  And the opposition gets intense.  A myriad of reasons begin to arise as to why you should let go: You didn’t hear Him right in the first place, you don’t deserve it, its been too long, He’s probably forgotten about you, you’re getting too old, the time has past, you’re not capable, you’re not able, you’ve screwed up too much, you‘ve made too many mistakes, there’s a perfectly acceptable alternative, maybe His promise isn’t necessarily for you.  The enemy is relentless in his determination to get you to let go, to settle for anything other than God’s best for you.  I have been there.  The torrent of thoughts and emotions that go with enduring is intense.  But beloved, the Bible says that endurance has a perfect work (James 1:4).  It has a job in our hearts, minds, and souls.  When we allow ourselves to sit in the season of endurance, holding on in spite of what we see, feel and hear something begins to be formed in our souls.  The density of our faith begins to increase.  Our ability to trust Him with all our heart leaning not on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5) begins to deepen.  We have need of endurance beloved, we need it to get to where God is taking us.

 

The step of endurance are simple.  Just do not let go of the promise of God.  Hold on to it.  Put your faith behind it saying, “I believe You Lord! I trust that in spite of what I may see or feel You are in control and this promise is for me and I will see it come to pass in my life.” All we have to do is believe.  It is that simple.  The hard part is not letting go, not shrinking back from the call to endure.  No matter how uncomfortable it gets.  No matter how fed up you might feel.  There will be days where you will get frustrated and maybe loosen a finger or two, or maybe you have all together let go of some hope, dream, or promise that you know in your heart was God breathed.  The great news is that it is never too late to pick it up again, fasten your grip, believe that He can and will, and determine to endure through whatever may come by the grace of God until you see it manifest into your life.

 

Lord, help us to lay hold of the Promises You have for us.  Help us to avail of your grace in the seasons of endurance so that we might persevere in faith and see Your hand of provision and plenty come to the desires of our heart.

As the Lord Lives

Then the king vowed and said, “As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my life from every distress…

                        1 Kings 1:29

 

 

One of the names of God in the Bible is “The Living God”.   It is a title that permeates throughout the entirety of the Bible.  God refers to Himself as the “living God”, the patriarchs of the faith on both the old and new testament speak of Him by this name, and what has caught my attention is not only that it is also a key phrase in His covenant making with us but how much comfort meditating on this brings.

 

Many times in the scriptures the heroes of the faith make statements like David does in the above passage, “as the Lord lives…” it is a statement that sets up the statement following it as absolutely binding in truth and action.  It is the way that God talks to Israel throughout the old Testament when He makes declarations to them.  But why is it such an important statement?

 

My sister wrote a song a long while back that sings the scripture above as the bridge.  I was playing this song on the piano the other evening having my own moment of praise and worship and as I sang those words my heart welled up within me.  He is alive and near to us.  He is actively reaching into the depths of our lives and with more concern then we could ever have for our well-being.  He is meticulously guiding, comforting, gracing, empowering, blessing, spreading Mercy over and enrapturing every part of our existence.   He lives.  He is the living God.  I know we are used to thinking about the fact that He lives in reference to the resurrection, but the Old Testament men of faith were actively using this name before the resurrection occurred.  He LIVES, now and forever.  And He predicates His promises to our lives on the fact that He is ALIVE.  There are so many passages where He says, “’As I live’, declares the Lord, “ and then He promises or exhorts and reproves.  I find myself stopping now and again to remember that He is alive.  He is the living God, not just on Easter morning, but now and forever.  He is alive and able to meet me in every moment of my life even when I am unable to lift my head and reach for Him.  Life flows from Him and into the depths of our being. His power is at work in us and toward us on a daily basis making us able to avail of His never ending lovingkindness.  All that makes up the promises of God and our destiny in Him hinge on the fact that He is the living God.

 

As I played that bridge and worshiped Him, I found so much comfort in this.  He is alive and He has and will redeem my life from every distress.  I pray that you might be encouraged in knowing that He lives and that His love for you is ever vibrant with life and power.  Praise the Lord!