What? A miserable soldier? But I am In Christ…
2Tim. 2:3 Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
Hardship: distressed, miserable: —wretched – all are part of original meaning of hardship in this verse
We all suffer (endure) hardship of various times, but those who are In Christ are instructed how to endure being distressed, miserable, wretched…
With me. (Christ speaking)
That makes an amazing difference for me, because there are times I feel
Distressed (experiencing decline or difficulty in some area of life)
Miserable (being in a pitiable state of distress or unhappiness as from want or shame)
Wretched (deeply afflicted, dejected or distressed in body or mind)
When I am Distressed – I am experiencing decline or difficulty about or in some area of my life. But I am not alone. I find this exceptionally comforting for the scripture says about my distress:
1Pet. 1:6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials… Rejoice? I cannot do that of myself. When I am distressed I am empty. Then I remember I am not alone. I am In Christ – and He is in me – with me! Even in distress. Maybe especially in distress.
When I am miserable – in a pitiable state of distress or unhappiness, scripture seems to indicate that there is only one reason for that – and that is if I am looking for hope in this life only.
1Cor. 15:19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
Are some of these battles only to be resolved in eternity then? If not – I realize looking at the end of the verse again – if not, then I would have hoped in Christ in this life only and would of all God’s creations, be most to be pitied. To have been shown that He is with me – for and into eternity and to reject that like a toddler stamping my foot that I want resolution now…how foolish.
How wretched. I look at with me again and am shocked to see the meaning behind with – it comes from hagnos meaning purely – without sin
So it is like Christ saying, I understand you will get angry, but do not sin.
I understand you will be greatly distressed, but endure it purely, without sin. With me.
As a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
Good, I wonder. Who is good? But when I look at that meaning I see means capable of producing desired effect or effectual. I’m capable, I know because God has given (all who are In Christ) everything needed for life and godliness. (2Pet. 1:3)
A soldier is not a person of privilege – a soldier is an enlisted person, one who contends (fights) and serves (submits – gives obedience or homage) to God.
Word study helps me to work through the fog of oppression. It shines light on the enemy tricking me with accusation that if I am distressed, I am alone and hopeless and a wretched soldier, unfit for the work of God.
IF I get distressed? God’s word says I WILL be distressed, but I will not be alone, for Christ is with me.
If I am miserable? Gods word says if I believe the lies of the accuser I will be miserable for I will lose sight of the eternal hope.
If I am wretched? I can step out of it AS who I am in Christ – a soldier fit and completely provided with full armor and all that is needed to overcome.
If you, too, experience that place of panic – depressed, distressed, miserable or wretched – know that you can turn from the enemy’s lies and claim His grace and your victory:
Victory: (from the Message)
II Cor 4 – we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken.
Every detail works to your advantage and to God’s glory: more and more grace
So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace!
Note: The above picture happened when I was exhausted, distressed, miserable and wretched about my life’s circumstances. I’d been sorting a room full of papers for over 20 hours and crying out to God, crying that I was losing hope, asking, “What good is all this, how can anything good come of all this emotional garbage….” when this yellow paper slid out from a handful of envelopes, swirled down and landed on the huge throw away pile – face up. In my face. WATCH GOD WORK!
My weekend experience enlightened me on all three of the aspects of this verse.
Many of you know that I’ve been God’s delivery girl before, delivering a message, a gift, or an encouragement, but this was the first time I’d dreamed about the recipient before the incident.
I know that when I move/share/act in obedience to God’s Word and His Spirit’s direction, I am doing so as His fellow-worker. (As in 1Cor. 3:6 where one planted, and one watered…” but God was causing the growth.” While I am confident I can do all things IN CHRIST, I know without His power and direction I can do nothing.
Paul, in these verses, called those to whom he ministered God’s field and God’s building. While true, God’s field in my weekend experience was not only the two young ladies to whom I was able to minister with a God-sent gift, but myself as well. The meaning of the word field explains: cultivated – prepared for planting. We had each been prepared for the planting of God’s personal teaching.
The building speaks of a costly building that has been not just purchased, but lovingly restored and specifically designed – as a temple immediately draws one to think of the God it represents.
I am unable to separate these teachings and my experience from Ephesians 2 – especially “ you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
While it is neat to think of being God’s temple, I am reminded that a building is made up of many stones, that it is an honor to be In Christ and to be a part of that building (God’s dwelling place). We are growing together, and being built together in the Spirit.
Even though I have been a believer, a Christian, a child of God – IN CHRIST, for over 40 years, I marvel daily as God directs me to pray for someone, or go to someone on His behalf. (OR sometimes be the recipient of someone God sends to me, or has pray for me)
It seemed foolish that since God had confirmed to me with an inner assurance so many times before at the last moment of ‘delivery’ that this person or that is the one I should share with, that I would be so uncertain this time.
When God told me to put something in my purse for this weekend, I wondered to Him how I would know who it would be for. I felt Him saying you will know by the look on her face. Then I dreamed of the young woman and saw the look on her face. It was the same look, I felt, when I awakened that must have been on the face of the young boy who held out his lunch of 5 loaves and 2 fish on that hill of 5,000 so long ago. It was a look that said this is all I have, but…here.
That morning I was surrounded by women, and one conversation next to me did not register until a young woman turned and said, “This is all I have…” When I looked into her face, and saw my dream take reality, I gasped, “You’re the one!” while quickly grappling in my purse to find the carefully bundled little packet.
I explained as I always do that I’d been carrying something for God that I was sent to give – and she was the one. It was hilarious in a way because it’s hard for the recipient to try to thank someone who is jumping up and down, as excited as they are, to be a part of the mysterious workings of God!
As always the recipient was eager and grateful to hear the message that came with the gift and the focus remained, as it should, on God, the sender, the supplier, the builder.
Together we rejoiced and gave God the glory that he cares for every detail in our lives, and that In-Christ I can say,
I am God’s Fellow-Worker, God’s Field, God’s Building
And some days,
I am also God’s Delivery Girl!
I am His Vessel
Last time you saw how we become a temple when Christ comes into our lives – a place where Christ resides. The vessel contains the temple.
So the vessel is our body? Yes – it is of the earth, as explained in Genesis – God made us of the earth, and yet because God made us it is so much more.
We are compared to an earthenware vessel that was MADE, PREPARED, DESIGNED, CREATED by the Master Creator to be used in His service.
I have been made, prepared, designed, created to know Christ, to be His Temple, and to be useful in His service.
I would venture that most of God’s creation has experienced the verse from Isaiah 45:9 saying if only…you had made me…prettier, smarter, more talented, whatever. Moses is probably the best-known example from scripture of someone who felt that God had created his vessel with an inadequacy: Remember what he said? Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past…
I know I too have pleaded with God – no, not that, I am not made for that, I cannot do that. Anything but that.
Othertimes I’ve foolishly looked at other vessels and thought, oh, if only that were my situation. I had a friend who knew there was nothing she could change about her vessel, and focused on her home…always dreaming that if she found the perfect home, her life would change. Media today amplifies that natural-man-argument with our creator saying don’t be satisfied with who and what you are..change! Change your hair, or your cosmetics, or your shoes, or your investments and you can be who you want to be.
Wouldn’t we rather be who God wants us to be. Who and what He designed us to be.
Complete and fulfilled for the Master’s use.
Is. 45:9 “Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker —
An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth!
Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’
Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands’?
Rom. 9:21 Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use, and another for common use?
I am earthen. I am clay. I’ve been prepared as a vessel for the Master’s use.
Some days are hard. I want to cry about my insecurities like Moses. I want to whine at my frailty as Patty Clairmont put it, I’m broken, cracked, so am I useless? But I come face to face with Paul telling me, along with the church at Corinth:
1Th. 4:4 that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor,
Possess my vessel? Possess means to overtake it – to dominate, control
And, he says, I know how to do it
In sanctification – set apart for God’s use. A “small” thing like pouring out water to feed …the animals, or rinsing off dirt from muddy feet…a “big” thing like bringing refreshment to important guests, or being used for a special occasion
In honor – What greater honor could there be than to be a child of God – to be IN CHRIST, and to be submitted to the creator for the opportunity to somehow bring Him glory
Is there a distinction with God according to what he calls us to be or to do? Romans 9:21 says not. Only the earthen see the differences. ALL vessels are equally honored when used by the Master.
I’ve experienced God speaking through me, filling in where I am inadequate. I’ve known God to do amazing things through me that I would never have dreamed of doing on my own, and I’ve had God promise in miraculous ways over and over that He chose me, created me as His vessel, and prepared His vessel to be of service to Him.
Janie Seltzer’s poem CLAY speaks to me:
Dizzy on the potter’s wheel, I reel –under the pressure of His hand.
Water splashes over me – I choke and gasp for air.
He cuts off softened chunks- Refines the shape- Remolds the inner core.
He whistles softly as He works.
I listen. . . to the soothing sound – and slowly learn
. . . Relax
And wait –
For the Sovereign shape
Imaged in His mind.
That’s YOU! That’s ME! What an honor.
Say it with me:
I am God’s vessel.
I am His temple
What a perfect reminder for the Daniel Fast I’ll be starting on Sunday. I have to chuckle at the way the Lord speaks to me in this verse:
1Cor. 3:16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
First, what is a temple? Temple – Sanctuary – a sacred inhabited place
A sacred inhabited place!
A sanctuary for God!
Did I not know that? No, it shames me to say I do know it – but I sometimes don’t live/eat like I know that. How could I set aside such an awesome truth?
Secondly, it seems I also forget that the Spirit of God lives within me. What difference would it make to EACH DAY that I remember this – would I have more victory? Would it change my thoughts?
Would I be thinking I can eat anything I want?
Would I be thinking I should punish myself and starve?
Would I believe the enemy’s lie that the body-battle cannot be won?
Would I be eating junk and ignoring Isaiah 55:2?
“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,
Hmmm isn’t that interesting. I’ve just been reading how I should eat MORE. More vegetables and fruit that is – more real food. God says if we eat what is GOOD, we can delight ourselves in abundance!
Both natural food and the Word of God are spoken of as tasting good. So if I sit at The Lord’s Table first and fill up on His goodness, I will experience delight in His abundance.
Psa. 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good;
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
Psa. 119:103 How sweet are Thy words to my taste
My body was created to be a sanctuary for God.
I am His Temple.
I am His Workmanship
Eph. 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
The Greek word workmanship comes from translates:
Accomplishment or achievement, to design and sculpture
Simply examining these words in Webster’s dictionary reveals so much:
Accomplishment: that which has been accomplished or completed
Achievement: success, triumph, quality and quantity of work
Design: to create, fashion, execute or construct according to plan – to create for a specific function or purpose
Sculpture: to form an image or representation; to shape
Pretty amazing. I have been formed, shaped, in His image. I am His triumph – a quality creation…completed in every way, and made for a purpose
The purpose is also exposed in this verse – created in Christ Jesus for good works (works which I don’t have to drum up or find – works that God has already prepared beforehand).
What are some of the good works for which God’s workmanship was created?
1Tim. 5:10 having a reputation for good works; and
if she has brought up children,
if she has shown hospitality to strangers,
if she has washed the saints’ feet,
if she has assisted those in distress,
and if she has devoted herself to every good work.
1Tim. 6:18 Instruct them to
do good, to be rich in good works,
to be generous
and ready to share
Just think that before God created me, he prepared some of those good works, knowing I would be chosen to “walk (continue, journey, grow continuously) in them.”
There it is. My purpose in life. Realizing as the clay, rather than saying to the potter, Why have you made me thus? I can truly say, Why, you have made me thus! Sculpted in His image. And then to continuously live in the realization, that I can live victoriously because:
I am His Workmanship.
John 1:9-13 There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Being a child is a permanent designation. Biologically speaking, it matters not whether the mother and father who created the child are good parents or not, whether they are known or unknown, whatever the condition of their marriage or relationship, and whether the child is cared for, orphaned, adopted (changing the legality of parenthood), miscarried or aborted, the child will always be the child of it’s biological parents.
When one is born again (John 3:3), we are born spiritually – not by the will of man or flesh, who could change their minds, occasionally parent, or even abandon a child, but born “of God.”
When you look at the character of this parentage, you see PERMANENCE in Hebrews 13:5 where Jesus Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” and in John 10:28 when Jesus says “I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand.
This birth is by choice. It belongs to those who receive Him (Christ). Who is this one who would make me a child of God?
I am a child of God.
I am a child of the one true light. I am a child of the one through whom the world was made, the one who came into the world to enlighten every person to the depth of God’s love for us.
I am the child of the one who is not bound by time, the only one who could give eternal life.
I am the child of the one who will never change His mind, leave me behind or withdraw his support.
I am engraved on the palms of His hands. (Isaiah 49:16) He will not give me up, and no one can forcibly take me out of His hands.
I am God’s child.
Everyone searches for his or her meaning and purpose in life. Sometimes we scare young people by asking what they are going to do with their lives – as though their identity and purpose are defined by their college major or vocational direction. I’m well past those teen years and am relieved and excited to know that my purpose was defined before I was created!
That knowledge helps me to realize that no matter my age, my circumstances, or my physical condition, I can continue to find new and exciting adventures and goals in which God fulfills HIS purpose in my life.
Did you notice the difference in my discovery? When in tune with my creator and His manual of instructions, HIS purpose (what I was created and designed to do) is fulfilled. My purpose (The reason for which something is done or created – Webster’s dictionary) is to fulfill God’s purpose for me.
And that purpose is found here:
Acts 26:16 ‘But arise, and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you;
In this passage Paul is sharing his testimony of personal confrontation with Christ, his worship, and his regret when He realized how lacking he’d been when trying to fulfill, in his own strength, the wrong purpose.
Don’t we often feel that way? Complete abjection realizing our contemptible sin nature and its consequence. But what does God say?
Arise – Get up! Stand on your feet! We are instructed to change our posture – not just of our bodies, but also of the heart and attitude. The attitude is to be ready to witness to what we have seen God do in our lives, and to have an EXPECTANCY, because he says He will be directing us to other experiences in the future. The message is not that he might appear, or could appear to you, but WILL appear to you.
So I can expect, listen for, and note instruction through the things God has done in my life so I can share them and minister to others with the same needs as I once experienced. I can watch for God’s nudges, guidance and direction to share (His gifts, His ministration, His love, His words) with others, through which I fulfill my purpose – to be an instrument of God.
How do I get that instruction?
1Tim. 4:6 ¶ In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following.
When I am so constantly immersed in His Words, I can more easily recognize them in the still small voice that says to my heart – go – share – tell – minister to that one and that one and that one. They are expecting you.
I can do that – not because of a particular talent or strength, but because God created me with the ability to hear His voice, He chose me to be His minister and instrument to others. And oh, the joy, each time that purpose is fulfilled.
Those ministered to often say “that was a miracle” – and indeed it is miraculous – not that I, God’s instrument have done anything amazing beyond obedience, but that one soul’s need has been brought to God, and God has chosen to send another of His people to meet it.
The great I AM is the God of miracles – Today I am once again reminded of who I am as His child – an instrument to deliver His provision, and a minister of His very personal love and concern for each of His creation: sometimes delivering the miracle of God’s personal touch, sometimes receiving it. To God be the glory.
I am God’s possession
1 Corinthians 6:20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
Whoa! What a starter….to be reminded that I am not my own. I heard a woman at dinner this afternoon saying she wanted a piece of life…”I deserve it.” she firmly asserted. I thought hmmm – how often do I use those claims – I want…I deserve
Yet, I am not my own. I am God’s possession. Paid for dearly. Instead I forget that connecting, completing, confirming word – therefore.
It is, as the pastor said, there – for a reason!
I should take care of myself, yes.
I should fully live the life I’ve been given, yes.
But I need to remember that it is so precious because I DON”T deserve it, and I need to remember the divine purpose to all of God’s possessions – to glorify Him.
Being the romantic I am, I need not let the enemy change the intended meaning of this delightful word of love – possession.
The Greek word from which we get the word possession is potheo (to yearn for); to dote upon, i.e. intensely crave possession (earnestly) desire (greatly), (greatly) long (after).
Ken took possession of my heart in September of 1961. Webster’s defines that possession as: to cause to fall under the influence, domination, or control of some emotional or intellectual response or reaction. I’m willingly possessed by him because I am confident that he cares for me completely, wants only the best for me, and would never intentionally hurt me. As a matter of fact, I have to be careful not to abuse or selfishly take advantage of such love. I appreciate his tender protection and such love begets more love.
How much more do I appreciate the fact that the great I AM, the Creator of heaven and earth, has chosen me for His personal possession! How I am reminded that because I know I am His chosen possession, I need to fulfill that gift of selection by glorifying Him in my body.
Detox is a buzz word in the health arena these days, referring of course to the cleansing of the chemicals we ingest daily through food, water, and air including pesticides, antibiotics and hormones in food, chemicals from food packaging, household cleaners, detergents, food additives, heavy metals, pollution, drugs, and cigarette smoke. The cumulative load has been linked to hormonal imbalance, impaired immune function, nutritional deficiency, and an inefficient metabolism. Signs can include indigestion, poor concentration and sluggishness, headaches, bad breath, fatigue, poor skin, and muscle pain. (info from About.com)
Simpledown Health Hint for today is to avoid dehydration, reduce pain and other ailments resulting from dehydration, save on cost of energy drinks, and increase health and detox benefits. Whew – all that from Blue Moon.
Blue Moon…What is that? It is my choice of an interval timer. This little product (about $20) has a setting that repeats all day, and a gentle chime instead of a nasty beep or buzzer. It is a great reminder tool. Currently I have it set for every 30 minutes to remind me to hydrate. Each time it buzzes I drink ½ glass of water, and equally important, that action causes me to look away from the computer. In addition, every hour I need to get up and go refill the waterglass. At first, I thought I would have difficulty with train of thought interrupted so many times throughout the day, but it has not been a problem. I actually feel that I have more concentration and am accomplishing more. The additional water is speeding the detox, and adding oxygen with Nature’s Source chlorophyll or Oxygen drops (we prefer Cell Power) to the water every other day is invigorating and can enhance healing of inflammation. I also enjoy the taste of NS chlorophyll better than adding lemon or cucumber to the water. Oxygen is one of the most potent immune strengthener/balancer and natural anti-oxidant. Other health issues, such as physical movement can also be aided and encouraged by using the interval timer. Just set the timer at your choice of daily interval, and then get up and walk a certain distance.
Besides helping you to detox naturally, drinking water is a great tool for achieving glowing skin, optimal digestion, better immunity, weight loss, better concentration and mental clarity. Simple and inexpensive!
Although today’s hint is regarding an important part of health detox, couldn’t the information and logic be applied spiritually as well? Think of the toxic information we ingest daily through sight and sound – we are bombarded daily with suggestions and temptations that often replace our worship time and compromise our spiritual system. The cumulative load definitely has led to sin of all sorts, broken relationships, conflict, loss of fellowship and a sense of hopelessness. Signs are thought to include poor attitude, quick temper, holding onto bitterness, refusal to forgive, claiming one’s own “rights” instead of being other focused, etc. (info from personal experience!)
SimpleDown is making me more diligent to daily do both physical and spiritual detox (apply Eph. 5:26 “that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word” – a spiritual cleansing. It’s free – a complete detox, anytime I need it wherever I am ☺, and I don’t need to wait until “once in a Blue Moon” to find deliverance!