Stewardship Daily | Overcoming Sin

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In this post: Good Friday, the joy of salvation, and overcoming sin.

Good Friday

This paradoxical term always causes me to pause and think: how could something so terrible be so good. And yet, the cross is the pivot of human history from death into life. On this day, we remember the sacrifice of Jesus, who being tortured to death on our behalf, defeated the power of sin and reconciled us to the Father. Everything that happened on that day was horrible, even grotesque. But still, we remember that day, when Jesus was overcoming sin for us, as good.

The Joy of Salvation

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

-Hebrews 12:1-2

The letter to the Hebrews encompasses many topics, but perhaps chief among them is endurance in the face of persecution. In these two verses, the Author encourages his audience to press on in the race of life. We are encouraged to slog our way through the weight of this life.

But why? Why should believers endure?

Because the same Jesus who endured being tortured to death sneered at the shame of the cross, endured it all, and emerged victorious, forever claiming the right to site at the right hand of the Father. This Jesus is the one who initialized our faith and has promised to see it through to completion. The joy of our salvation comes from recognizing that the same Truth seated at the very center of all power has promised that we too shall overcome.

Overcoming Sin

A stewardship is a trust. The transfer to the kingdom of heaven also comes with new responsibilities. These responsibilities come with our trust -our stewardship.

Overcoming sin is part of the stewardship of life set before us. Jesus canceled the power of sin over us at the cross. Believers are forever justified before God. Believers must overcome sin because this is how the Author has written it. Believers can overcome sin because this is also how the Author has written it.

Overcoming sin takes a reality check. In fact, overcoming sin requires Light. Light that shines in the darkness reveals the truth about what is in the darkness. Scripture provides that light. The light reveals a risen Savior victorious and ruling on the throne of Heaven. The light reveals that Jesus is our example, our inspiration, and the Initializer and Completer of our faith. In Him, overcoming is possible.

 

 

Stewardship Daily | Overcoming Fear

Whom Then Shall I Fear Banner

In this post: when should we be afraid, what does overcoming fear look like, and what does fear have to do with stewardship.

When Should We Be Afraid?

Tell me if you’ve heard this phase before: “Well, I would be afraid that…”

I’ve heard that phrase all my life from more folks than I can count. That little phrase sums up the sober relationship so many of us have to the unknown: immediate fear because it is unknown.

What causes us to fear? Consider the following from Wikipedia:

Fear is a feeling induced by perceived danger or threat that occurs in certain types of organisms, which causes a change in metabolic and organ functions and ultimately a change in behavior, such as fleeing, hiding or freezing from perceived traumatic events. Fear in human beings may occur in response to a specific stimulus occurring in the present, or in anticipation or expectation of a future threat perceived as a risk to body or life.

Article on “Fear” from Wikipedia.org

Fear comes from the perception of what can harm us. We learn what to fear through experience. However, we do not have to be in danger to experience fear — just the anticipation of danger is enough to trigger a fear response.

When I say to myself “I would be afraid,” I’ve come to realize that I’m indulging two dangerous attitudes about when to be afraid:

  1. That it is alright to be afraid because an event/thing/person/etc. is uncertain (i.e., unknowable and uncontrollable).
  2. That it is alright to be afraid ahead of time (i.e., to worry).

These attitudes are dangerous because they don’t reflect the reality in which believers walk. Uncertainty does not always correlate with Murphy’s Law. Likewise, the future is not a smorgasbord of chaos about to unfold on your front door, especially in the face of Jesus’ assurances that he is in control.

Overcoming Fear. Upgrading Your Truth

Fear is learned, and rightly so. Fear keeps us alive. Proper fear is healthy and normal. However, living in constant fear and worry is not normal or proper (at least for believers). Overcoming fear requires learning a new lesson.

Scripture reveals a reality that we would not otherwise apprehend, especially about God. Experience teaches us that the unknown will harm us. Scripture teaches us that God knows and is in control of everything. Experience tells us that we can only rely on ourselves. Scripture reveals that God is faithful to our every true need. Experience teaches us to put our faith in people and objects of power. Scripture repeatedly calls us to fear God alone, and to trust Him in the face of uncertainty, pain, and persecution.*

What Does Fear Have to Do with Stewardship?

A stewardship is a commission to a servant to manage something on an owner’s behalf. When we fear men, circumstances, or uncertainty, we will not discharge the calling that God has placed on our life with the same vigor or effect as one who fears God alone.

I have seen this in my own life. As one called to minister to the church, I am often tempted to be fearful of what church members will do. My experience with several church conflicts tempts me to worry and “hedge my bets” when it comes to ministry. But I’m continually learning to go to the Lord with this fear first, because my ministry –my stewardship– is usually at its least effective when I am embroiled in fears about the people that I serve.

Satan uses inappropriate fears to drive a wedge between the people we are called to love and the God who calls us to love him. Fears and anxieties are real, but contrary to the temptation, they are not insurmountable. Fear can be overcome. Though Satan may call us cowards, we are more than conquerors in the Lord.

 

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*Ref: Matthew 10:28; Luke 12:4-5; Hebrews 13:6

 

 

Stewardship Daily | Overcoming the World

Overcoming the World. "And every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." -1 John 4:3-4 ESV

“And every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
-1 John 4:3-4 ESV

Scripture never suggests that anyone can defeat the Evil One on their own. He is indeed greater than any mere mortal. But the will of God in the life of the believer is much greater than the power of the Evil One. It is by the power of God, and God alone, that we overcome.

Satan commands unfathomable dark power. He bends rulers and armies to his will. He stirs up confusion, misery, and death wherever he goes. His mission is to usurp God off of His throne and destroy anything in which God delights. And yet, Satan is not all-knowing or all-powerful.

Overcoming the World Takes a Greater Will

By ourselves, we cannot defeat Satan. He is able to overcome any human will. Even the Christian’s.

Perish the thought?

Scripture is chocked full of warnings for believers who would step out of God’s will. Yes, believers.

This thought is stinging, but true. We are all easily tempted and led astray. Our apprehensions of truth apart from the fortifications of Scripture and submission to the Holy Spirit do not long last against the temptations and schemes of the Evil One.

Overcoming the world only happens one way: abiding in the will of God. Satan is certainly strong, but the will of God is greater than the will of Satan. As John teaches us, overcoming the world is a natural outflow of the Spirit who is in us. When our thoughts, actions, and attitudes move in concert with the will of the Holy Spirit, then we have the victory.

 

Time: The Most Precious Stewardship

a watchThe Most Precious Stewardship

Time is the most precious of resources. There is no way to regain spent time. Next to the Gospel, it may be the most precious stewardship we can undertake.

Soon, I will return with a new series: Evangelism and Stewardship. I’ve been outlining it in my head and will soon be ready to put it to digital paper. Between the giant math word problems, day job restructuring, and Mercy Clinic work, blogging has had to take a back seat.

However, it is not for forever!

Until then think on this:

“You then, my child,
be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus,
and what you have heard
from me in the presence
of many witnesses
entrust to faithful men
who will be able to teach others also.

Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits,
since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.
An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.
It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.
Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.”
-2 Timothy 2:1-7

 

100 Verses about Peace | What Does the Bible Say About Peace?

Annunciation by Leonardo Di Vinci

Annunciation by Leonardo Di Vinci

100 Verses about Peace | A Reflection for Advent

Our modern notions of peace are only a shadow of what the Bible describes about peace. Peace in our time is generally viewed as the absence of war and crime where we can focus on solving the long-term problems that plague mankind, namely how to keep our species alive. The Bible is replete with verses about peace, and the absence of conflict is only one small part of it. The peace found in Jesus is more than that. Here are a few things I noticed:

  • The peace of God is everlasting.
  • The peace of God only comes through union with Him.
  • The peace of God is a powerful ordering of the universe.
  • The peace of God is an expression of His sovereignty.
  • The peace of God can not be defeated, but we can depart from it.

Without further ado, here are 100 verses about peace:

  1. Psalm 4:8 – In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.
  2. Psalm 29:11 – The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.
  3. Psalm 34:14 – Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
  4. Psalm 37:11 – But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.
  5. Psalm 37:37 – Consider the blameless, observe the upright; a future awaits those who seek peace.
  6. Psalm 85:8 – I will listen to what God the Lord says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants— but let them not turn to folly.
  7. Psalm 119:165 – Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.
  8. Psalm 120:6,7 – Too long have I lived among those who hate peace. I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war.
  9. Psalm 122:6-8:
    Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure.
    May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.”
    For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.”
  10. Psalm 147:14 – He grants peace to your borders and satisfies you with the finest of wheat.
  11. Proverbs 3:1-2:
    My son, do not forget my teaching,
    but keep my commands in your heart,
    for they will prolong your life many years
    and bring you peace and prosperity.
  12. Proverbs 12:20 – Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy.
  13. Proverbs 14:30 – A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.
  14. Proverbs 16:7 – When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them.
  15. Proverbs 17:1 – Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.
  16. Isaiah 9:6,7:
    For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
  17. Isaiah 26:3 – You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
  18. Isaiah 26:12 – Lord, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us.
  19. Isaiah 32:17 – The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.
  20. Isaiah 32:18 – My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.
  21. Isaiah 48:18 – If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.
  22. Isaiah 48:22 – “There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.”
  23. Isaiah 52:7 – How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
  24. Isaiah 53:5 – But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
  25. Isaiah 54:10 – Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
  26. Isaiah 54:13 – All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace.
  27. Isaiah 57:2 – Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.
  28. Isaiah 57:18-21:
    I have seen their ways, but I will heal them;
    I will guide them and restore comfort to Israel’s mourners,
    creating praise on their lips.
    Peace, peace, to those far and near,”
    says the Lord. “And I will heal them.”
    But the wicked are like the tossing sea,
    which cannot rest,
    whose waves cast up mire and mud.
    “There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”
  29. Isaiah 59:8 – The way of peace they do not know; there is no justice in their paths. They have turned them into crooked roads; no one who walks along them will know peace.
  30. Isaiah 60:17 – Instead of bronze I will bring you gold, and silver in place of iron. Instead of wood I will bring you bronze, and iron in place of stones. I will make peace your governor and well-being your ruler.
  31. Isaiah 66:12 – For this is what the Lord says: “I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees.
  32. Jeremiah 28:9 – But the prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the Lord only if his prediction comes true.”
  33. Nahum 1:15 – Look, there on the mountains, the feet of one who brings good news, who proclaims peace! Celebrate your festivals, Judah, and fulfill your vows. No more will the wicked invade you; they will be completely destroyed.
  34. Haggai 2:9 – ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”
  35. Zechariah 8:19 – This is what the Lord Almighty says: “The fasts of the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months will become joyful and glad occasions and happy festivals for Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.”
  36. Zechariah 9:10 – I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the warhorses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.
  37. Malachi 2:5-6 – “My covenant was with him, a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this called for reverence and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin.
  38. Matthew 5:9 – Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
  39. Mark 5:34 – He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
  40. Luke 1:76-79:
    And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
    for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
    to give his people the knowledge of salvation
    through the forgiveness of their sins,
    because of the tender mercy of our God,
    by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
    to shine on those living in darkness
    and in the shadow of death,
    to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
  41. Luke 2:14 – “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
  42. Luke 7:50 – Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
  43. Luke 8:48 – Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
  44. John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
  45. John 16:33 – “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
  46. John 20:21 – Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
  47. Acts 9:31 – Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.
  48. Acts 10:36 – You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.
  49. Romans 2:10 – but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
  50. Romans 5:1 – Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ
  51. Romans 8:6 – The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
  52. Romans 12:18 – If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
  53. Romans 14:17-19:
    For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval. Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.
  54. Romans 15:13 – May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
  55. Romans 15:33 – The God of peace be with you all. Amen.
  56. Romans 16:20 – The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
  57. 1 Corinthians 1:3 – Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
  58. 1 Corinthians 14:33 – For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.
  59. 2 Corinthians 1:2 – Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
  60. 2 Corinthians 13:11 – Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
  61. Galatians 1:3 – Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ
  62. Galatians 5:22-26:
    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
  63. Galatians 6:14-16:
    May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God.
  64. Ephesians 1:2 – Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
  65. Ephesians 2:13-18:
    But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
  66. Ephesians 4:3 – Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
  67. Ephesians 6:23 – Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
  68. Philippians 1:2 – Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
  69. Philippians 4:4-7:
    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.
  70. Colossians 1:2 – To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.
  71. Colossians 1:19-20:
    For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven,by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
  72. Colossians 3:15 – Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
  73. 1 Thessalonians 1:1 – Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace to you.
  74. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24:
    May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
  75. 2 Thessalonians 1:2 – Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
  76. 2 Thessalonians 3:16 – Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.
  77. 1 Timothy 1:2 – To Timothy my true son in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
  78. 1 Timothy 2:1-4
    I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
  79. 2 Timothy 2:22 – Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
  80. Titus 1:4 – To Titus, my true son in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
  81. Titus 3:1-2 – Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.
  82. Philemon 1:3 – Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
  83. Hebrews 7:2 – and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, the name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.”
  84. Hebrews 12:11 – No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
  85. Hebrews 12:14 – Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
  86. Hebrews 13:20-21:
    Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 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.
  87. James 2:16 – If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?
  88. James 3:17 – But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
  89. James 3:18 – Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
  90. 1 Peter 3:11 – They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.
  91. 1 Peter 5:14 – Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.
  92. 2 Peter 1:2 – Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
  93. 2 Peter 3:14 – So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.
  94. 2 John 1:3 – Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.
  95. Jude 1:2 – Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.
  96. Revelation 1:4 – John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come
  97. Revelation 6:4 – Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword

98-100. John 3:16-18:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.