Christianity 201

March 13, 2021

Fixing It

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:36 pm
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Today’s is a shorter post, but I felt there was someone out there who needed to hear this; or perhaps hear these verses of scripture.

It all has to do with the word fix and its variants. What does it mean when we’re fixed on Jesus?  The site BibleResources.info offers this:

The Greek word “fix” contains the idea of concentrating your gaze; to focus all of your attention on one object. Paul explains that if we concentrate on Jesus, we will be able to avoid sin and experience peace. When Jesus walked on the water, the disciples were terrified. Peter, however, was able to walk on the water by keeping his eyes on Jesus. He faltered when he lost his concentration and looked away!

Let’s look at the texts when this word is searched in the NIV on BibleGateway.com:

Hebrews 12:2
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Deuteronomy 11:18
Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.

Psalm 141:8
But my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign Lord; in you I take refuge—do not give me over to death.

2 Corinthians 4:18
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Hebrews 3:1
Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.

When I think of the word fixed I think of affixed, the idea of being stuck like glue!

Let’s return to the page at BibleResources:

If we actively focus on Jesus through Bible study, prayer and service – Jesus will become the center of our attention, and we will not fall. Deuteronomy 11:18 tells us to fix “his words in our hearts and minds”. Proverbs 3:5-6 enjoins us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (ESV). Proverbs 4:24-31 reminds us that if we focus and “fix our gaze before us, making level paths for our feet in ways that are firm without swerving” (distractions), that we can “keep our feet from evil”.

Isaiah 26:3 promises “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee…”. If we keep this focus, we will not “be anxious about anything…And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

If we keep our focus on the Lord as our “light and my salvation… the strength of my (our) life; of whom shall I (we) be afraid? (Psalms 27:1) We will not fear, “…for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”. (Isaiah 41:10)

With our eyes, thoughts, hearts and words fixed on Jesus we will be able to be “strong and courageous- all you who put your hope in the LORD! (Psalms 31:24)


Keep my Eyes on You by Graham Kendrick:


Monday is Devotional # 4000 here at Christianity 201. If you’ve been helped in any way by these readings, let us know.

 

July 30, 2013

Your Heart Will Live: Hope After a Suicide

On Sunday, Rick Warren returned to the pulpit of Saddleback Community Church in Orange County, California, for the first time following the suicide of his son Matthew. As both he and his wife Kay shared speaking duties, he made it clear that Saddleback is going to be devoting resources and attention to mental health issues in the weeks to come.

As I went through the process of looking for new sources for Bible study and devotional material, I came across the blog Love Truth: Hope After Suicide, written by Jean Ann Williams, and knew that I had to post something from that blog. If this issue has touched your life at some point, there are over 130 blog posts similar to this one available to read. I simply chose one of the recent ones. You are encouraged to click the link to read Your Heart Shall Live.

Dear readers,

King David writes:

“The humble shall see this, and be glad: and your heart shall live that seek God.”

What is David saying here?

First we must take into account that King James (my version of Bible) added words and those words are italicized. So, the word “this” can be taken out and it reads, “The humble shall see, and be glad: and your heart shall live that seek God”.

We  can’t see what God wants us to see and do with no humility in our lives. Dear readers, prideful, boastful thinking can’t live inside of our hearts. Be humble. Do not take revenge.

Example: take those hurtful words someone just now spewed at you and give them to God to take care of.

You will know glad, in another word: peace. :))

What does “your heart shall live” mean? I believe this means eternal life in heaven with our Lord God. How do we seek God to attain this? Studying His Word (the Bible) every day and pray, pray, pray. Ask God’s Holy Spirit to guide you on personal issues. He will, and you’ll see changes like never before.

Of course at some point, we must do the acts of being saved and to walk with God as directed in the Bible: confession that we are sinners, accepting Christ as our Savior and immersion in water to spiritually wash away our sins.

Already a saved child of God helped me after Joshua died, for I had accepted Christ as my Savior at age eighteen. God had proven His power to me for decades. Even at that, in my darkest days, weeks and months after Joshua’s death by suicide, I had to work hard to seek God.

Let me tell you, it’s exhausting to seek God when you don’t feel like it.

I learned to wake in the mornings and say good morning to God to begin my day on a spiritual foundation.

I assure you, dear readers, there is never any calm like what the Lord can give. I also assure you, I would not still be alive if it were not for my Lord. He saved me from myself. How? I kept reading encouraging scriptures, but I also read the book of Job in the Old Testament. That made me feel better that someone else had not only lost a child, but all of his children.

In my search for scriptures, I found two verses, Philippians 4:8 & 9, and memorized them to ease my torment over losing my youngest child to such a horrific death. God’s Word made me humble and glad. He gave me rest from my own misery. I was in misery, but with God I sensed His peace.

Dear readers, I tell you the truth. What I write in each post has happened to me, and God did save me from my own self. Today, I am healthier in mind, body and spirit, because of my spiritual Father in Heaven.

Lord, I am grateful for Your loving comfort of Your holy Word. In Jesus’ holy name. Amen.

Until next time . . . read the Bible and live.

 

Need Help? National Hopeline 1.800.784.2433

September 30, 2011

Praying Through The Tough Times

Filed under: Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:23 pm
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A few different things today…

First, I want to thank those of you who were praying for me.  Today I got my medical report and it was good, and we are very grateful to God for answered prayer.

Second, I don’t know why, but I felt a really strong leading to post an old song here that was a popular church solo, I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked.  After looking at what was available, I went with this one by Larnelle Harris which you’ll find after today’s devotional.  (It’s actually recorded from a Gaither Music DVD; I guess I’m not cool/hip anymore!)  Again, I’m not sure why this is here, but if it’s for you, let me know.

Finally, that brings us today’s thoughts.  This has been an exhausting week, but this appeared at T.O.L. on Tuesday and I wanted to share it with any who might have missed it. This of course was written before item one above, so I modified it somewhat…

When I’m going through a period of intense personal pressure, I find myself wondering about the condition and authenticity of my faith in light of the anxiety I am experiencing. There, I said it. Scratch my name off your list of Christian superstars. Whaddya mean it wasn’t there?

I’m a worrier. A sometimes chronic worrier.

My mother often quotes Jeremiah 12:5 to me at times like this:

If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?

In the NIV it reads,

 “If you have raced with men on foot
and they have worn you out,
how can you compete with horses?
If you stumble in safe country,
how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?

In other words, if you panic and are stressed by a little pressure, what are you going to do when something serious happens? Except this week things were more serious. “The swelling of the Jordan,” so to speak.

I say all this to say that it is so easy to espouse certain positional truths in scripture, but it is another matter entirely to live out those things practically when circumstances require a response.

In other words, we generally have all the answers — for someone else. It’s easy to straighten out someone else’s life; it’s hard to accept God’s instructions when we are the ones under pressure.

Mind you, I can’t imagine not having God to turn to.

I walked today where Jesus walked,
In days of long ago.
I wandered down each path He knew,
With reverent step and slow.

Those little lanes, they have not changed,
A sweet peace fills the air.
I walked today where Jesus walked,
And felt Him close to me.And felt His presence there.

My pathway led through Bethlehem,
A memory’s ever sweet.Ah! mem’ries ever sweet
The little hills of Galilee,
That knew His childish feet.That knew those childish feet

The Mount of Olives, hallowed scenes,
That Jesus knew before
I saw the mighty Jordan roll,
As in the days of yore.

I knelt today where Jesus knelt,
Where all alone he prayed.
The Garden of Gethsemane,
My heart felt unafraid.

I picked my heavy burden up,
And with Him at my side,And with Him by my side
I climbed the Hill of Calvary,
I climbed the Hill of Calvary,
I climbed the Hill of Calvary,
Where on the Cross He died!

I walked today where Jesus walked,
And felt Him close to me.

March 9, 2011

Looking for Satisfaction

Today we join Trenton, Missouri pastor Doug Franklin at a blog whose title says it all: I Refuse to Play Church.  This item appeared on his blog under the title Satisfaction.

Do you ever feel like the old Rolling Stones song “Satisfaction“? The song says, “I can’t get no satisfaction.”

We all have a desire to be satisfied. We search out satisfaction through money, food, relationships, entertainment, jobs, hobbies, exercise, and all kinds of things that are both good for us and bad for us. We have a need to be satisfied and we try different things to satisfy the feeling of being unsatisfied.

No matter what we try we are left singing with Mick Jagger, “I can’t get no satisfaction.” This is because there is really only one thing that can truly satisfy us. The things of this world may give us temporary relief, temporary happiness, temporary highs but, they will never totally satisfy us. The emptiness that each of us have can only be filled by God. There is nothing in all of creation that can satisfy us completely, the stuff will always leave us unsatisfied. Satisfaction comes from the Creator of everything.

Psalm 17:15
“As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face;
when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.”

There is truly only one thing that can satisfy us forever and always. All other things leave us wanting more. They leave us empty. WE will continue to sing over and over, “I can’t get no satisfaction. But, I try. But, I try. I can’t get no satisfaction.”

The emptiness that you feel can only be filled by God. You and I will be satisfied, fully and completely by Christ. Seek him with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.

February 5, 2011

Graham Kendrick: Lead Me to the Cross

At the risk of sounding like a broken record (or a skipping CD?) I want to repeat my assertion that the best worship songs are those that focus on the cross of Christ.  There is no greater theme.

This is a late ’90s worship song by British worship leader and composer Graham Kendrick.  This is the only recording I could find of the song online, and the onscreen lyrics are not working and serve as a bit of a distraction.  Play it through a couple of times as an audio feed; and the lyrics are reprinted below from Graham’s website.  Flowing from above, all forgiving love, from the Father’s heart to mine.


How can I be free from sin?
Lead me to the cross of Jesus
From the guilt, the power, the pain?
Lead me to the cross of Jesus

There’s no other way
No price that I could pay
Simply to the cross I cling
This is all I need
This is all I plead
That his blood was shed for me

How can I know peace within?
Lead me to the cross of Jesus
Sing a song of joy again!
Lead me to the cross of Jesus

Flowing from above
All-forgiving love
From the Father’s heart to me!
What a gift of grace
His own righteousness
Clothing me in purity!

How can I live day by day?
Lead me to the cross of Jesus
Following his narrow way?
Lead me to the cross of Jesus

Graham Kendrick
Copyright © 1991 Make Way Music,
http://www.grahamkendrick.co.uk