The Herald Weekly Vol XV : 18

“Embrace God Intimately”

What does “Embrace God Intimately” mean?

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at us from all sides. We know that under pressure, our faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So let us not try to get out of anything prematurely.
Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get His help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believing in faith, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open. When down-and-outers get a break, cheer!

At the very moment everyone is looking on in admiration, it fades away to nothing. Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty blessed. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life. Don’t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, “God is trying to trip me up.” God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one’s way. The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer. So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures,” Jms 1:2-18.

So “How does this help one to embrace God intimately?”

God is leading members of Christ’s body to consider these important points.

1) God has a plan and a purpose for members of Christ’s body.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end,” Jer 29:11. God has called us to be a light in the darkness and a voice of hope to a hurting world.

2) The enemy of God has a plan so beware.

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings,” 1 Pet 5:8-9.

Satan knows all the buttons to push to cause pain, hurt, and defeat in the life of a Christian. He knows that if he can focus our attention on other things, and other pursuits, we will not be able to be the church God intended us to be.

3) As individuals in the body of Christ, we must take a stand for righteousness.

“Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness,” Roms 6:18. 

We as individuals in the body of Christ cannot live a life of sin. We must begin to pursue the righteousness of God so that we can life according to the Spirit of God and according to His Word and not the flesh.

Steps to Righteous Living:

1) Repentance

“Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.after…: or, according to God. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death, ” 2 Cor 7:9-10.

We must live in repentance of our sin before God. We take sin too lightly. We believe that because God forgives us we have the freedom to sin and to do as we wish without any regard for the truth of Christ. That is what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called “Cheap grace.”

“Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves…the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism, without church discipline, communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in The Cost of Discipleship.

Yes, God’s grace is free and available to all, but it requires us to accept it on God’s terms and not our own. When we foolishly believe we can live any way we desire and Christ will be honored and glorified, we miss the process of maturity that God has called us to. “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,” 2 Tim 2:22.

2) Study of Scripture.

God’s word is designed to be the guide for how we are to live our life.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16).

God’s Word is the final authority for the actions and attitudes of our life.

3) Prayer

Prayer is the avenue by which we call upon the power of God and by which we overcome the attack of the enemy.

“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways,”
Jms 1:6-8.

“Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free,” Eph 6:18.

The enemy of God is attacking the body of Countryside. We are told in scripture that as we declare truth our enemy will attack. It is time of the individuals that make up this body take a stand.

A Call to Consider these questions:

1) Are you willing to repent of the sin in your life so that you can see your faith blossom into what God designed you to be?
What areas in your life are you not pursuing righteousness? Where are you living on “cheap grace?” Today is the day of decision.

2) Are you willing to obey the command of scripture and live a life of holiness? Are you going to put God’s Word in its rightful place and the standard of your life?

3) Will you pray? Will you pray for the purity and the righteousness of the body of Countryside? Will you pray that God opens our hearts to Him so that we can fulfill his word and lift him up in holiness and purity of hearts?
Will we pray as a church that God will keep us focused, even as we go through the trials and struggles of life in this body of Christ?

(Adapted with some editing from John Harvey’s message of the some title that was written on Sep 22, 2005 )

Pastor Bob Phee

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