(1) Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. (2) For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. (3) For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.
Paul accurately records that the Israelites had a zeal, “but not according to knowledge.” They were confused. The apostle Paul before his conversion is probably the prime example of such misdirected zeal. What did his zeal do to him? It so preoccupied his mind that it forced him to perceive Christ and Christians as enemies of the faith of his fathers. He was responsible for throwing many of them into prison, and some were even put to death as a result of his zeal. His mind could not tolerate anybody who thought a little bit differently from the way he did. God had to strike him down on the road to Damascus.
Even today, the Israelitish nations are dotted with church buildings, and the vast majority of the people are truly sincere, even zealous. However, true knowledge is still lacking. However, there is a difference between the Israelitish zeal of today and the zeal of Paul’s time. The zeal in Paul’s time reflects the Jewish belief that a person is capable of justifying himself before God on the basis of merit. In other words, as long as a person did what was considered “good works,” he was earning “points,” and God was obligated to mark this to his account and, therefore, owed him something.
Today’s Israelites have gone all the way to the other end of the pendulum’s swing, largely having thrown out responsibility to law and substituted a specious faith. Justification is by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8), but that faith includes obedience to law, as Paul clearly shows (Romans 2:13; 7:7-12). If the law has been done away, then there is no such thing as sin—but sin certainly exists! James explains that the faith that is “living” obeys the royal law (James 2:8-12, 18-26). Thus, the faith that justifies—or is the basis by which God will justify—is an obedient faith. Most of Protestantism does not believe that way, holding to a “just-as-I-am” faith.
— John W. Ritenbaugh
Sometimes we have those days when we awaken almost dragging and hoping that the day will sail by quickly so that we can finish up and be done with it. The only problem is when we find ourselves in such a rut we will have to awaken again to the next day. Certainly this is not what our Savior was speaking of when He said; “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” -John 10:10 Truly we are human and we do live in a world that can sometimes be chaotic and even overwhelming. At times we look up when we are feeling at our lowest and we cry out… “Father I am only human”!
In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the HOLY SPIRIT within us, and by our SINCERE LOVE. We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense. We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed. Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything. – 2 Corinthians 6:4-10
Paul illustrates in these verses that there will be hardships and that there will be trials. In reading the verses above one must ask how could he transcend these thing with such joy? James wrote: “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” – James 1:2-3
The Truth in the understanding is FAITH. When our faith in the Lord is unwavering, we will endure everything that we encounter as an opportunity to increase our faith. Yet it is not by our own efforts that we can accomplish this. Paul clearly says we do this by the Holy Spirit working in us and we must abide in sincere love through all things.
Therefore now in Christ we have the power to seize each day no matter what it brings. Yes… even as we say, “Lord I am only human!”; we thank Him because He knows what we are made of: For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. ~ Psalm 103:14. We thank Him because we know that it is not us who endure these things alone but it is The God of Peace who ….equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. – Hebrews 13:20
My Lovely friend Jessica said to me last week… when troubles arise I no longer “look up”, but I look down because God raised me up with Christ and seated me with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus ~ Ephesians 2:6 I thought to myself; what a lovely perspective.
Don’t Give in to Your Fears
God is watching over you, so don’t listen to your fears. This is a choice. Trust God, and don’t give in to your fears.
2 Corinthians 1:10 says, “From such terrible dangers of death he saved us, and will save us; and we have placed our hope in him that he will save us again”
God’s promise to believers is that, no matter what happens to us, he is working for our good — if we love him and follow him. If you’re a believer, the Bible says all things are working together for good — not that all things are good but that they are working together for good.
That means we can stop listening to our fears. There is no difficulty, dilemma, defeat, or disaster in the life of a believer that God can’t ultimately get some good out of. There is no need to fear the future.
Your fears reveal where you do not trust God. Today, make a list of your fears, and ask God to help you identify why you have fear in those areas. Then, ask him to help you replace your fears with trust.
Now, this next step is important: Expect God to start helping you learn to trust him with each fear. Then, watch to see how he helps you.
This is just one of my NOT SO crazy thoughts:
If you preach democrat/republican/party politics in the name of Jesus, if you hate/lover Bush, Obama, Clinton, Reagan..etc and attach the name of Jesus are you rebelling against GOD’S Authority? I say YES! When did we become the bully and I do mean BULLY pulpit for deciding political matters and who should and should not be in authority in the name of God?
Do we REALLY believe that BIBLE???
Romans 13:1 says…. “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority EXCEPT THAT WHICH GOD HAS ESTABLISHED. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”
If we are brandishing our political biases and claiming they are sanctioned by God are we NOT rebelling against God Himself? Are we not saying that God doesn’t know what He’s doing and we know and can do better?
I am not always enamored with those in authority or their actions… but I’ll tell you what… I pray for ALL of them, while trusting that God is the ultimate authority and He is certainly in control. I have served this country as soldier and a cop… but I have ALWAYS pledged my Allegiance to GOD! Flags don’t save folks; that’s Jesus’ role
We should avoid being distracted by the cares, concerns and chaos of the world around us. It is imperative that we discipline ourselves to keep our hearts and minds focused on the Lord. Worry is a symptom of fear and when we are focused on Christ worry and anxiety is abolished by the POWER of His Love which is perfected in us, casting out ALL fears.
Luke 12:22-32— And He said to His disciples, “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.
Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters?
Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith!
And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.
A heathen philosopher once asked a Christian, ‘Where is God’?
The Christian answered, ‘Let me first ask you, Where is He not?’
We have talked, debated and looked for resolution regarding the woes of the world. My Sister in Christ Gay Goodman gave the most profound answer for every believer seeking a resolution:
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. ~ Philippians 4:4-9