1993 (c) N.A.Collins- Do not reproduce - Limited copy permission for one copy
One of my favorite verses in Scripture is found in 1 Corinthians 10:13. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. I see three key thoughts in that verse, upon which to meditate. First of all, there is the incredible thought that as difficult as the present trial may seem, I'm definitely not the first person to experience such a problem. Secondly, it is the faithfulness of our God that limits the intensity and duration of the trial to our specific level of endurance. Thirdly, tied directly into those facts, He provides a way of escape, to enable the bearing of that trial. If you are thinking through those three thoughts, I suspect that you have come up with a common question, "What is the way of escape?" Let's think theologically through that together. Ultimately, His all- sufficient grace gives us the answer to that question. In what ways might we see the grace of God applied to our individual lives, as a way of escape, enabling us to bear a difficult trial? Certainly, the acrostic of GOD'S RESOURCES AT CRISIS ENCOUNTERS brings us clarity. HIS strength, HIS joy, HIS peace are the gifts o His grace to us. James says that as we draw nigh to God, He will draw nigh to us (4:8). Therefore, in times of trial, as we keep our mind on Him, He gives us perfect peace. (Isa. 26:3) In the final analysis, the way of escape in any trial is simply biblical behavior. That simply means that following repentance, we restructure our former sinful habit patterns into new ones of righteousness, ordering our steps according to His Word. As we walk to please Him, He brings helpers to bear our burdens with us. He provides physicians, pharmacists, and other medical personnel to walk along beside us to answer questions and give guidance in health matters. It is from His good hand that just the right people cross our paths, as needed, in matters of finance, plumbing, electrical dilemmas, etc. So what is the way of escape? It is the faithful promised provision of God to His children, so that they have His ability to endure the various trials with His joy. In so doing, He is glorified and others are pointed to the onmniscient, ommipotent, omnipresent, all-wise, sovereign Lord. May God help you today, in whatever trial you may face, to remember His faithful promise to provide a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
1993 (c) N.A.Collins- Do not reproduce - Limited copy permission for one copy
Proverbs 18:21 teaches us that death and life are in the power of the tongue. In Psalm 19:14, the psalmist prayed that the words of his mouth, and the meditations of his heart would be acceptable (pleasing) to God Who was his strength redeemer. Words - they give an external picture of our internal state, showing our heart to others. Luke 6:45 reminds us that it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth therefore, it is the better part of wisdom for us to re-assess the righteous communication that pleases God. One biblical factor that enters into our consideration is the Ephesians 4 principle of edifying communication (which builds up)in contradistinction to evil or corrupt communication (which tears down). Since Matthew 22:37-39 gives the 2 commandments of loving God and others, there is a two-directional emphasis concerning our words, That is, they ought to both please God and profit others. The yardstick for our communication excellence should be the very heart of God. He has assured us, and demonstrated for us, that righteous responses can actually diffuse the anger of others. Reactive words only inflame an already unrighteous direction in a verbal exchange. Our words to others should illustrate an extension of the grace He has freely shown to us. Gentleness, peaceableness, and tender-heartedness ought to be the demonstration of the blood-bought believer in every situation. Remember the goal is never to glory ourselves,, but always to exalt Christ and edify others.
(c) 1993 N. A. Collins. Limited copy permission for one personal copy
God has taught us in 2 Corinthians 5:18 that He has reconciled us to God and given us the word/ministry of reconciliation. Since we have the word of God in our hands, and the Spirit of God in our hearts, we have all that pertains to life and godliness, according to 2 Peter 1:3. 1 Corinthians 2 and 3 outline the 3 categories of people as being natural, carnal and spiritual. The words lost, wayward and faithful are conversational words that we use, depicting those 3 positions around the cross. Evangelism is our goal to the lost, exhortation to the wayward, and encouragement to the faithful. Initially, I recommend that you ask God to lay individuals on your heart. Then you would both pray for and begin to minister to a lost lady, a wayward lady, and a faithful lady. The necessary ingredient for a competent ministry to others is KNOWING the Word of God!! Without that, we will not communicate biblical hope effectively! A good method of preparation is to take those 3 categories, and begin to jot down those Scriptures that apply from the heart of God for each area. This effort is, of course, progressive, but it needs to be that upon which we work on a continuing basis, not something that we hope to do or plan to do in the future. It should start today, if it has not begun in our lives before. We are ambassadors for Christ, and are to speak HIS mind, will and purpose from His Word, not our own opinions, ideas, or even general principles that we have extrapolated for our study. Hebrews 4:12 makes this point so very clear, that it is impossible to miss it: For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. God bless you as you know and use His Word!
(c) 1992 NA Collins - Limited copy permission for one personal copy
It seems that one of the most frequent problems we have concerns the issue of how to accomplish biblical change. If we look at 2 Timothy 3:16, it is clear that the profitability of the inspired Word of God is to give us direction in doctrine, refproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. Therefore, from Scripture, we learn what is right and wrong, that we are to respond in repentance with turning from unrighteousness, then follow through with the instruction in righteousness which is given. Many times, it seems, we struggle with the question of how-to-do what we know to do. Let's look at the biblical construction of that spiritual exercise unto godliness about which 1 Timothy 4:7 teaches.
If we struggle with hurt, perceived or real rejection, lack of appreciation or acknowledgement for efforts, being misunderstood, or mistreated, we are counseled from Scripture to take a fresh look at the Person of Christ. Our standard of measurement and comparison must be His character and nature. His thoughts and ways are above ours, and our thoughts (which are the source of our ways) are to be brought captive to His mind.
If we battle with control issues, find ourselves having unrealistic expectations, or being impatient and inflexible, critical, harsh and discontented, we must see God as He is and see ourselves as He sees us. In both scenarios, the steps to biblical change certainly demand our knowledge and understanding of Scripture, as well as obedient application.
Initially, we must remember that Romans 14:12 teaches us that each one of us is individually responsible to God. Romans 12:19 reminds us that vengeance is not ours, but God's. We must be sure to leave things solely in the hands of our Sovereign Lord. Additionally, it is imperative to recognize that our personal responsibility is to fill that emptied out spot of unrighteousness with righteousness. (Remember in Luke 11:24-26, how the swept out place became re-inhabited with wickedness, simply because righteousness had not replaced the original sweepings?)
We have clear instruction in Ephesians 4:22-24 with regard to not only putting off old ways of sin, but having our mind renewed by the Word of God, and then to put on new ways of righteousness. In that same passage, there are three very clear illustrations. In verse 25, we are to override lying with truth; in verse 28, we are to work and give in opposition to the former practice of stealing; in verse 29, we are to restructure our speech so that edifying words of grace take the place of the former patterns of evil speaking. In each case, wickedness is displaced by righteousness.
In the final analysis, we are to be like Jesus, since in Romans 8:28-29, we have confidence in that bring the directed goal of God for our lives in ALL things. In Philippians 2:5-8, we know the life characteristics exemplified by Christ were those of sacrificial submission and sacrificial service. Those same qualities are exactly the ones described by our Lord Jesus in Matthew 22:37-39, as well. When Paul wrote to the Galatians, in ch 6, he re-affirmed these very thoughts, when he taught us that if we walk in the Spirit (live righteously), we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh ( live unrighteously). May God help us today to both know and do His will, according to Hs Word.
(c) 1993 N.A.Collins - Limited copy permission for one personal copy
This topic is one that is encouraging to the heart, even before it is discussed. What a blessing to know that Christ has won the victory for us over sin, death, hell and the grave. However, in terms of a practical application of that victory, the question that comes to my mind, as a counselor, is "How is it realized or accomplished?"
We know, in all aspects of life, that obedience requires action and application includes effort. We know that Christ has won the victory, and has called us to obedience to His Word.
If you are a student of the Bible, you are more than aware of some critical passages written to the believer concerning the blessing of victory, in opposition to the burden of defeat. 1 Corinthians 15:57 reminds us "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ". John 14:15 clearly teaches the direct
correlation between love and obedience when the award of God states
"If ye love me, keep my commandments." In John 13:17, Jesus reminds us "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." Thus, in the light of Scripture, we know that blessing and victory are available as we say "YES" to the divine design of God for our lives, and "NO"to the destructive desires of the flesh. Once again, the question is "How?"
I am repeatedly reminded of the Scripture in Galatians 5:16. "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." If we think righteous thoughts, walk in righteous ways, speak righteously and make righteous decisions...all on the BASIS of Scripture, it will absolutely prevent our thinking, walking, talking and making decisions in the flesh. It is an absolute impossibility to travel simultaneously in 2 opposite directions.
If there is a particular are of spiritual defeat which is a recurring problem in your life, ask God to show you His mind from His Word in regards to that area, then employ it faithfully through the 1 Timothy 1:7 principle of spiritual exercise into godliness.
I like to use the acrostic of SPA, which reminds me of a workout room. That involves a review of the S: SCRIPTURE of pertinence, then P: PRAY in agreement with that Scripture, then take the appropriate A:ACTION necessary to
obey that Scripture. When those steps are taken, you'll find victory over-riding defeat, since according to 1 John 4:4, "he that is in us is greater than he that is in the world."
Will the temptation recur? Well, we live in the flesh, and have served the flesh many years, so Satan is desirous to bring those long standing old nature habit patterns back to deter us. When it recurs, however, repeat the same
scriptural process time after time after time. As you faithfully do so, you will notice the frequency as well as the intensity of the temptation will diminish.
I trust this is a help and blessing to you in your continuing growth process. May God bless you richly as you live a life of obedience to His Word.
© 1993 N A Collins Limited copy permission for one personal copy
All articles are (c) 1993, 2012 N. A. Collins - Limited copy permission for one personal copy