Be Still

“Be still and know that I am God”
How hard it is this way to trod
I seek to be still and to know
But what happens is there to show

That my mind wanders far away
And I realize I’m not still today.
I grow flustered and on edge
Even though, once anew, I pledge

To not let it happen again
Wouldn’t you know it then
It happens once more to me?
I think it does so I will see

That I need to depend on Him
So I won’t go with just any whim.
I’m so thankful to His Word
He is always undeterred.

He knows what He’s doing
And He’s always accomplishing
What is needed in my heart
Since it takes trials to impart

That stillness to know He alone
Is always on His eternal throne.

Violet Inez
7-2-17

What Happens When…

What happens when
The hard times come and go?
Do we turn to the Lord?
Do we even want to know?
Do we remember and
Do we seek to grow?

Does the pain o’ercome us
In such a way
That we seek the Lord
And make Him our stay?
Or does our attitude
Become bleak and gray?

Do we spend some time
Each day in His Word?
Do we seek to pray
And His armour do we gird
On so that our hearts
Will use the Sword, God’s Word?

Do we remember that we
Should learn to trust
The Lord and wait on Him?
This is truly a must
Because in His time
He, Who is truly just,

Will help those who trust Him through
The times of deep pain.
His children who love Him
In the midst of the rain
Of adversity and our hearts
For His will He does train.

Violet Inez
6-17-2014

Discerning Believer

We live in a time of beginnings of peril within our country. The church is falling apart and grows more apostate each day, our culture, which was built on the Word of God, hates true believers and is willing to sacrifice them on the altar of tolerance. We are regularly put into a position of either stand for the Lord or stand with the world. People we thought loved the Lord have fallen prey to the lies of Satan and some may even have turned on true believers. We see children, who’ve been raised their whole life being taught the Word of God, stray to churches that teach sweet little nothing’s and tickle their ears.

We are in the midst of that time where Amos tells us, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:” There is a famine in the land and it’s not a physical one. We have a famine of God’s Word but it doesn’t have to be that way. We have the Word of God available to us so we can read and study it daily. We aren’t so far gone that we can’t know what is said.

As we go through each day we are called upon to make decisions based on the Word of God, we are called to be Berean Christians. We are called upon to discern right from wrong and good from bad. Sadly, we see more and more people dropping out of true Christianity to lie in bed with the deceiver and his minions. Sometimes we ask ourselves, “What is happening? Who can we trust? How do we know who is right and who is wrong?”

When this blog was first started it was named Defending Contending, which was very appropriate as it was begun so false prophets posing as true prophets would be called into question and revealed for what they truly were. Yet, the question should be asked, “Why don’t true believers know and discern who is a wolf in sheep clothing and who is truly the man of God?” Sometimes even we, as true believers, are fooled by someone who, we think, is truly loving and serving the Lord. The truth is that we won’t always know who is true and who is a tare. Some of them will be hidden for a time until the great harvest.

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Yet we find that the Word of God is very clear. Heb 5:11-14, “Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” We are a people who refuse to study the Word of God. We “pay those people” to study it for us and, heaven forbid, that they should say something we don’t want to hear.

Brothers and sisters, it is our responsibility to study God’s Word to find out if what we are being taught is according to God’s Word. Even on this blog now called Truth in Grace, it’s important to realize that we are all sinners and can be led astray. We are in the midst of that time where Amos tells us, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:” There is a famine in the land and it’s not a physical one. We have a famine of God’s Word but it doesn’t have to be that way. We have the Word of God available to us so we can read and study it daily. We aren’t so far gone that we can’t know what is said.

Granted, there are grey areas within the Word of God that aren’t clearly known so some things can be believed one way or another. When it is clear and concise, though, it’s important for us to realize that God expects His children to follow His commands. Obedience with joy is very important for true believers. We can’t be obedient if we don’t know what the Lord tells us to do. It’s time for each of us to find out and learn to be discerning not just wait for someone else to do it for us.

Ortho-what?

Orthodoxy is defined “in the Christian sense” to mean “conforming to the Christian faith as represented in the creeds of the early Church.” This word comes from the Greek orthos meaning correct and the Greek doxy meaning opinion.

Orthopraxy is defined as “correctness or orthodoxy of action or practice.” The word comes from the Greek orthos meaning correct and the Greek praxis meaning deed or action.

It is often stated in many circles that doctrine divides. Doctrine does certainly divide but the belief or conformity to the Christian faith is a lofty ideal that many hold to unswervingly. The average person may not fully understand all the words or theological terms, but they have no issue repeating the creeds or stating that they believe just like their church believes.

The problem is NOT with too much orthodoxy in the church. Orthodoxy is easy to fine in most evangelical churches. Creeds grace the walls of many sanctuaries. Hymnbooks contain creeds or doctrinal statements that encourage the reader to understand what his or her chosen congregation believes. Bulletins include calls to recitation of orthodox doctrine. Books line the walls of the libraries found in the pastor’s study or the church lending room. Many of these books are a basis or a foundation of what can be expected in regards to doctrine. Pastors and teachers speak each week and many messages are based on a particular aspect of Christian doctrine. In essence, they are standing to share the “correct opinion” of what the Word of God has to say to the hearer.

The problem in much of what passes for American Christianity is that the orthodoxy rarely translates into orthopraxy. “Correct opinion” of the Word of God is not being seen as “correct deeds or actions” either within the church or outside of the church.

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Orthodoxy vs. Orthopraxy means:

  1. We believe God’s Word is sufficient for all that pertains to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3), AND we practice this in each aspect of our daily walk.
  1. We believe the law of Christ (Luke 10:27), AND we show that we love God and our neighbor through daily interaction.
  1. We believe we are to have godly families (Ephesians 5 & 6), AND we show to those closest to us that our correct opinion translates into correct actions.
  1. We believe we are to be lights to a dark, sin-sick world (Matthew 5:16), AND we strive to share the truth of the Gospel by reaching out to those around us.
  1. We believe church is to be a fellowship of true blood-bought believers (1 Peter 1 & 2), AND we practice fellowship by desiring to spend MORE time than just 1 hour and 20 minutes on a Sunday morning each week.
  1. We believe church should be a representation of the fellowship we will enjoy together for all of eternity, AND we work diligently not to let minor things separate us.
  1. We believe covenanting together in Christian unity (Acts 2), AND we stop shopping for the next big fad on the Christian church horizon.
  1. We believe pastor-teachers are called to edify and exhort and encourage the local body of Christ (Ephesians 4), AND we refuse to compare them with the latest and greatest speakers on TV, radio, or internet.
  1. We believe pastor-teachers are to protect the flock (1 Peter 5), AND we take comfort as they lead us in straight paths instead of looking for reasons to leave.
  1. We believe we are to bear one another’s burden (Galatians 6), AND we take an active interest in the lives of those we have covenanted together with to ensure that needs are being met (including emotional and spiritual needs).
  1. We believe Christ died for His Bride (Ephesians 5), AND we take delight in loving and forgiving those for whom He died.
  1. We believe Christ forgives us of our sins (1 John 1), AND we do not hold unforgiveness or bitterness in our hearts toward those who can NEVER wrong us to the degree that we did to Christ before He saved us.
  1. We believe strife and contention are not part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5), AND we refuse to take needless offense when others don’t respond JUST like we do or JUST like we expect them to do.
  1. We believe prayer is vital in the life of every true believer (James 5:16), AND we learn to discipline our lives and the life of the church to pray without ceasing.
  1. We believe only Christ is Perfect (1 Peter 1), AND we encourage each other to become more like Christ daily instead of demanding perfection from imperfect sinners saved by grace.
  1. We believe the Scriptures are infallible and inspired by God (2 Peter 1:21), AND we stop running to the local so-called Christian bookstore for the latest drivel that makes vain attempts to make us feel better about ourselves.
  1. We believe we are not to be conformed to the world (Romans 12), AND this means we will stop liking and loving what God hates. Wizardry, witches, demonology, vampires, titillating reality shows, etc. are NOT what God likes. In fact, if you can love these things of the world, 1 John makes it clear that the love of God is not in you and you are NOT a true believer.
  1. We believe we are but sojourners in this world (Hebrews 11), AND we strive to keep our focus on things of heaven and to have a continual perspective of eternity.

These are just a few ways in which we must grow in our spiritual walk if we are to make a difference in the world. All of the orthodoxy (or correct opinion) of God’s Word will never change you or those who know you unless it can be seen that such orthodoxy transforms you into having a biblical orthopraxy (or correct deeds).

The church has no business even claiming they believe correct orthodoxy if they do not also believe and strive to practice correct orthopraxy.

So, the question is this for each of us to consider today and every day – does your orthopraxy proclaim your orthodoxy or does your orthodoxy get in the way of your orthodoxy?

Praying in Jesus’ Name

And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13).

Many use this verse as a way to convince God that He must answer their prayers since they are praying in Jesus’ Name but Scripture is very clear that, if we pray according to His will, He hears us (1 John 5:14).

God is not obligated to answer every selfish prayer we pray but, as we draw closer to Him, our desire to please Him grows, and that is when our prayers our answered because they are finally in line with His will.

prayer

There are some things that we can pray without wondering if it’s His will. For instance, God’s Word says that He is not willing that any should perish but instead desires that all come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Therefore, we can, in faith, pray for the salvation of our loved ones.

There are times when I feel like it is God’s will to heal a friend or family member. I will then pray wholeheartedly for their healing. Sometimes, even if I’m not sure what God is doing in a person’s life, I will pray for their healing, trusting God to have mercy and hear my plea but knowing that, if He chooses not to answer in the way I desire, He has a greater plan. Faith goes beyond believing my prayer will be answered; it is knowing that God knows what is best and trusting that He is still at work even when I don’t understand.

I have seen God’s hand at work so many times so I suppose it is pretty easy for me to trust the Lord. In spite of what some believe, God still saves, He still heals, He still cares. I don’t know about tomorrow but I know who holds my hand.

Finding God’s Will

The last few nights, I have not slept well. Last night, I was really tired but I expected it was going to be another long night. I was thinking of different things I could do to help me relax and rest my mind. I was thinking of turning on some music when I thought of Times Square Church. I used to listen to their messages when I couldn’t sleep but I’ve not done so in a while. I went to my website and saw the title of Pastor Carter Conlon’s message, “Finding the Will of God.” I knew then that it was definitely God who directed me, and I highly recommend this message to everyone who is willing to take 45 minutes to hear a message from the Lord.

Recently, I have been evaluating my life: laying hold on what I know is God’s will and praying for wisdom in areas I’m not sure about. Sometimes I think I am so obsessed with knowing God’s will and scared of stepping outside of it that I become paralyzed and end up wasting time that I could spend just following Him. That probably sounds stupid if you’ve not experienced that feeling, but a couple years ago, I realized God’s will is not always as complicated as I think it is. Last night, I was reminded that God’s Word is very clear what His will is for His people. It may not tell us where we are to work or who we are to marry but it tells us how we are to live. If I am not doing that, I am kidding myself to think that God will entrust me with greater things. If I am living the life He has commanded me to and drawing near to Him on a daily basis, I must trust Him to direct me. Until He does, I continue to do what I know He has called me to, at least for the time being.

gods-will

I think one of my concerns is that it’s easy for me to get in a rut and do things just because that’s what I’ve been doing. I do not like change and so I tend to fight it. God has brought me a long way in the 23 years I’ve been serving Him but I am still constantly learning and hopefully changing. I desire to take the whole written Word and apply it to my life so that I can hear His voice when He desires to redirect my personal life.

I encourage you to focus on this too. No task is too small. “Little is much if God is in it.” If you’re doing what He has called you to, it is important, and all He requires of you is to do the best job you can. Your calling may be to raise children who are going to impact the Kingdom in a powerful way. It may be to do the behind the scenes work for a ministry that God is using in a mighty way. Maybe you are not the one speaking and writing but you handle the schedule, filing, mail sorting, whatever. This is not small in God’s eyes. It takes the whole Body working together to accomplish God’s work.

The world measures success by how well you’re known, how many degrees you have, etc. God measures success by how faithful you are in the work He gave you to do. That is what He has equipped you for.  Nothing else is important to Him, and He is the only one you have to please.

Take some time this week to study what the will of God is for every Believer. If you have been wondering what God’s will is for your life, this is a great place to start. If you are settled in knowing that you are doing God’s will, it still won’t hurt to make sure you are in His will in every area of life.

God, Have Mercy On America

A reader of my personal blog recently made the following comment: “Now to the Christian. Quit praying for God to bless America or any other country that does not honor God. Start praying for God to have mercy. Have mercy on the professing Christians who are being overcome by the cares of this world.”
This is something that has been on my mind for a while. I love the song, “God Bless America,” and yet America has turned her back on the Almighty God, so how can we continue to expect His blessings?
714Prayer
 I am thankful to have been born in this country, and I’m grateful for the freedoms I have; yet, one by one, those freedoms are being taken away, and I believe this will continue to be the trend.
I am praying fervently for this country. I pray for God’s mercy on this next election. More than anything, I pray for a leader who fears God and will seek Him. At the same time, I realize God may not answer my prayer. You see, many of those who call themselves Christians have forgotten their first love. They have allowed television, business, relationships, family, activities, even ministry to replace the God they used to love. They no longer have time for Him because there are too many other things that consume their time. How can God bless a country when His own people are no longer living Godly lives?
As I write this, I am close to tears. I am so burdened for the state of the Church in America and, yes, I know that Revival must begin with me. I am not pointing fingers. I too have been guilty at times of “serving God” while neglecting the God I serve; yet I realize that, if I am going to survive in this ever-changing world, I must cry out to Him now like never before. I can’t afford to “relax.” This is a battle but one which, ultimately, must be won in the Spirit.
This weekend, while I thank God that I can still worship freely in the church of my choice, I am also sober-minded as I realize the day may come when this is no longer an option. In spite of Lee Greenwood’s assumption, they CAN take our freedom away, and I believe they will continue to do so if God doesn’t intervene.
thomasjefferson
So, this weekend, I am praying, “God, have mercy on America. Draw Your people back to You. Continue to show me the areas in my life that don’t please You so that I can be a better witness and a Light while you give me breath. Help me not to waste my days but to spend them giving glory and honor to You and drawing ever closer to You continually. Thank You for allowing me to be born in this country. Please grant us a leader who will make decisions based on Your Word. Put our priorities where they need to be, with You at the center of everything we do, say, vote on, etc. Thank You, Father. You are so good to us, and I know that whatever happens in this next year or two will be for our eternal good and Your ultimate glory. Amen!”