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Set Apart for Christ!

A blog by Norman and Jean Rawlings, authors of the book: “On the Way: Basic Christian Training”. Check out our web site for information on our book and more encouraging Bible based blogs. Fill out the: “contact us page” on our website to receive a free copy of a chapter of our book, click here:    

Christ’s sacrifice of his life gained much for us as Christians; forgiveness (Col 1:13-14), salvation (Rom 5:9), new life (2 Cor 5:17) and redemption from the effects of sin and evil in our lives (Gal 3:13-14). Wow, we could stop just there.

The bible also tells us that Christ’s sacrifice won sanctification for us (Heb 10:10). To be sanctified means to be holy, to be set apart for God, to be like Christ. Although Jesus sanctified us, most of us would not claim to be entirely Christ like.

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord”. (2 Cor 3:18; KJV). This scripture tells us that we can be like Christ but that the process of transformation (sanctification) is a process (Heb 2:11).

As we press into God and his word, the Holy Spirit will reveal more of God and his word to us (John 15:26). The word causes our faith to grow (Rom 10:17), which allows the Holy Spirit to work in our lives and change us. The Holy Spirit develops good `fruit` in our lives: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law”. (Gal 5:22-23)

As we become closer to God and more like him, He can move in greater power in our lives releasing all he has for us and wants to do through us. That’s what I want, how about you?

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Walking in Inner Peace

A blog by Norman and Jean Rawlings, authors of the book: “On the Way: Basic Christian Training”. Check out our web site for information on our book and more encouraging Bible based blogs. Request a free download of a chapter of our book by using the comment section of our web site. 

"Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them." (Ps 119:165 KJV). Peace of mind can be an elusive state to pursue. God told us that the peace he gives us is so very different from anything the world has to offer (John 14:27). The peace the world talks about is usually a very transient state, when circumstances and situations around us allow us a time of tranquility. The peace God gives us is a state of inner peace and well-being in Christ, when we rest in him regardless of the turmoil around us.

Jesus said: "come unto me, all ye who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt 11:28). Jesus goes on to tell us to take his yoke and learn from him (Matt 11:28-30). Yoked to Jesus he bears the load and we can learn from him how to walk beside those still waters and lay down in green pastures, with our souls restored (Ps 23:2-3).

How do we walk in God's peace and cease striving in our own strength? In Isa 26:3 we are told we can have perfect peace if we stay our minds on God and trust him. How do we: "stay our minds on him"? Well, we need to immerse ourselves in his word and let it renew our minds (Rom 12:2). As we spend time with God in praise, worship and meditating scripture; inner peace, stillness and tranquility return. God doesn't bring confusion (1 Cor 14:33), he brings peace and a sound mind (2 Tim 1:7). When Peter stepped out of the boat to walk on the water, his eyes were initially fixed on the author of peace (Matt 15:28-29). Peter lost his peace when he lost focus and saw the turmoil around him. Keep your eyes on Jesus, the word, and let peace reign in the storms of life. Jesus can quell the storms (Mark 4:39).

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God Calls Us to Change

God calls us to change, to move from glory to glory (2 Cor 3:18), holiness to holiness (1 Peter: 15-16), to press in (Phil 3:12), draw closer to him (James 4:8) and to put off the old man and put on the new (Eph 4:24). Change is exciting, new vistas and adventures in Christ.

Why do we find change so hard, why don’t we change? I once heard a preacher say that one thing he most noticed about people that claimed to be Christians was there resistance to change. Over the years, as a Christian, I have struggled with change. It was only when I applied myself to receive revelation from God’s word on issues demanding change in my life (John 14:26) and sought clear direction from him (Prov 4:5-6) that I could move on. I also needed to learn to cast all my cares on him (1Peter 5:7), rest in him (Ps 37:7)  ask him to change me and allow the power of the Holy Spirit to bring about change in me (Rom 8:11). Believe me, I am still working on receiving change, but I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil 4:13). Wrestling in the flesh never worked.

These principles apply to groups as well. I know of churches that grew in God and moved on with him only to get stuck on some doctrinal issue or resisted God’s challenge to change. Sadly, I have seen vibrant churches, flowing in the Holy Spirit that stagnated and went back to a religious formality.

We need to cry out to God for the revelation and freedom that comes from his word (John 8:32). We need to allow the Holy Spirit to illuminate our spirit with the word (John 14:26). We must cast down thoughts and imaginations that are contrary to the word of God (2 Cor 10:5) and allow the Holy Spirit to bring change.

Change can be hard; God’s discipline is not always pleasant at the time (Heb 12:11).

In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Brutus says: “There is a tide in the affairs of men. Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries” (Julius Caesar, act 4, scene 3, 218-224).

Embrace God’s change and his call to move closer (James 4:8). The fruit of change is the experience of victory and moving on with God. Paul the Apostle would have said “I press in” (Phil 3:12).

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Victory in Christ

“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death” (Phil 3:10). Paul says that his goal in life is to know Christ and the power of His resurrection. 

Think what power (Greek dunamis) was needed to raise Jesus from the dead (Eph 1:19-20). We get our English word dynamite from the Greek word dunamis. That same power dwells in us (Rom 8:11), brings life to our mortal bodies, empowers us to be witnesses for him (Acts 1:8) and in fact, makes us like Jesus (2 Cor 3:17-18). Wow and double Wow. 

Eph 1:19 also indicates that Gods power (Greek kratos) in us is the power of dominion or authority. As born-again believers in Jesus we walk in the authority of Jesus over the devil. Jesus took back all authority from satan through his (Jesus) death and resurrection (Eph 1:21-22). What a victory we have in Jesus. 

But Paul does go on to say, in Phil 3:10, that we must also be willing to fellowship in Christ’s sufferings and death. We have to die to self and live for Christ, no matter how much persecution or difficulty this may bring; are we willing?

Don't Worry, Be Happy!

In 1 Peter 5:7 it is written: "Casting all your care on him; for he careth for you". A very similar verse in the Old Testament is Psalm 55:22: "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved". 

God does not want us to worry and he invites us to give him all of our cares. I understand that if you are going through very stormy waters this can be very hard to do. We may attempt to cast our cares only to pick them up again later. However, every time we pick them up we need to cast them back on the Lord; we may have to do that many times. 

The reason we can cast our cares on the Lord is because: "he careth for us" and because he cares for us he will: "sustain us". Wow, what an amazing, loving God we serve. Related scriptures: Phil. 4:6 – 8; Matt. 6:25 - 34.

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