Alone with God

 

In His public ministry, He never taught without using parables; but afterward when He (Jesus) was alone with His own disciples, He explained everything. (Mark 4:34)

God desires our fellowship. He wants us to be part takers of the good things that are found in His word. Although His word never goes out void, just like any relationship, if we only communicated with occasional, random texts, we would not have anywhere near the relationship that we would have by spending time alone with that person.
Through His word and prayer, we can know God intimately. It is where His truth comes alive in our soul.
When He was alone with His own, He explained everything.

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Sticks and Stones

But if you suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened (1 Peter3:4).

 We are fortunate in our country that our suffering for righteousness usually does not involve physical pain. But the mental anguish that can accompany intimidation or rejection can sometimes be very painful.

Various translations of this verse direct us to not be troubled, disturbed, shaken or upset.

It is hard to imagine calling someone in that situation “blessed.” But how do those physically suffering or how did the martyrs of the past stand firm and uncomplaining? There could be only one answer—God’s grace. He promised that it would be sufficient.

Refuge

The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him (Na 1:7a).

Fortunately, there have been very few times that I have needed a place of refuge–physically. Once, my young son and I encountered a bobcat in the woods behind our house. Defenseless in ourselves, we trusted God, and under His care, scurried safely into the house.

But mentally or emotionally—well, that’s another story. I waste so much time trying to come to grips with a very sick world.

His promises however, never fail. What comfort there is in the place described in psalms where we can find refuge in the shadow of His wing. How priceless is His unfailing love. He cares for the mind and soul and spirit and body of those who put their trust in Him.

The Root Cause

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling. (Prov 16:18)

It is said that pride is the root of every sin. Just think of the Ten Commandments in light of pride.  In each of the ten, arrogance or self-importance causes a person to think he can handle things without God, or puts his own wants before what God wants him to have.

What is sinful pride?

It is not the feeling of satisfaction after a job well done. And It is also not just an inflated sense of one’s own self worth. But in a biblical perspective, it involves our relationship with God. It is a self-righteousness that compels us to do or say things without first seeking Him.

It is pride when we:

handle a situation ourselves without pursuing His guidance.

think that our sins are not that bad.

compare our righteousness to others (who are “more sinful” than we are).

are blessed, and give ourselves the recognition (actually, when we credit ourselves instead of God, it is a form of idolatry—and I’m the idol!).

Lord, help me to seek You first, and acknowledge and give You the honor that You unquestionably deserve, and recognize and control my prideful spirit before I stumble or meet with destruction.

Comfort Him?

If anyone has caused grief…you ought to forgive and comfort him so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow (2 Cor 2:5a and 7) .

I would think that we have all been wounded at some time by another individual. It may be by an acquaintance, or a beloved family member, or even a spouse. Sometimes the wound is nothing more than an annoyance; sometimes it is life-affecting abuse.

Scripture tells us to forgive. This is especially hard when we are truly the innocent victim. But when we choose to forgive, God is faithful in giving the spiritual strength that eventually neutralizes our hurt. I am oversimplifying this amazing concept because it was discussed earlier (see The Tyranny of Unforgiveness—a most visited topic) and because I want to look at these words—“and comfort him”.

What a relationship mender! When we, the victim, reach out to comfort the oppressor, we start looking at that person in a whole new light.

Hurt people hurt people. It takes the strength that can only come from God, to reach out to comfort a hurtful, but hurting person.

Protect Your Mind

And take up the helmet of salvation. (Eph 6:17a)

When we accept salvation by faith, not only do we have assurance of our eternal destiny, but we also get a full, overflowing, enormous package of benefits.

The helmet of salvation is the spiritual armor that protects our mind. Negative thoughts and destructive imaginations can hold us back from functioning in the way God has planned for us. They can cloud our ability to discern the leading of the Holy Spirit.

But by prayer and faith, we can “take up the helmet” and recognize and resist the enemy’s lies which distort our ability to hear the loving, uplifting voice of the Father.