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Posts Tagged ‘Psalm 27:5’

The Capacity to Regress

July 28th, 2014

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do.” Romans 7:15 NIV.

Your capacity to regress to unprofitable behaviors is a besetting temptation.

My thoughts and comments today are about “the capacity to regress.”

At times, I am bewildered by how little I really understand about myself. While feeling proud of my progress, I am puzzled by the ease with which I revert to ways and habits I previously found unworthy. As old as I am, that still perplexes me, as it did Paul, “I do not understand what I do.” Romans 7:15 NIV. I surrender progress achieved with much effort and diligence, and find myself closer to where I was than where I need to be. My capacity to regress to unprofitable behaviors is a besetting temptation.

When where you have been still holds attraction, the path of progress can be challenging. Read James 1:12-15. Temptation alone is not sin, but spiritual maturity and Godliness are measured by your recognition and rejection of any temptation to regress to familiar yet ineffective ways of coping with everyday life.

You will never find confidence or growth by returning to options once familiar and places formerly comfortable. As danger threatened or opposition arose, Israel looked over their collective shoulder with misplaced fondness for what they left behind in Egypt. “In their hearts they turned back to Egypt.” Acts 7:39. Read Nehemiah 9:9-17.

Before judging Israel harshly, consider your own temptation to return to negative emotions, old prejudices, wrong attitudes, unworthy appetites, unholy ambitions, or unhealthy habits. Paul encouraged and warned the Galatians, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1.

Let me suggest some Biblical examples of regression and suggest their causes, (1) Complicated discipleship, “From that time many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him.” John 6:66-69. (2) Competitive affections,Demas has forsaken me having loved this present world.” 2 Timothy 4:10. (3) Confusing circumstances, After Jesus’ death and reports of His resurrection, Peter and other disciples returned to fishing. See John 21:1-5. A vulnerable time is when disappointment in people or situations and the resulting discouragement dissuade you.

Maybe today you identify with the Apostle Paul in his struggle with bewilderment. Paul wrote, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I allow . . for I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing.” Romans 7:15-21 NIV.

In the succeeding verses, Paul confessed his despair over his spiritual frailty.  “Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 7:24-25 NLT. I suggest three spiritual practices that bring clarity during bewildering times: God’s Word, (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV), Jesus’ example, (Hebrews 4:14-16), and the Holy Spirit’s empowering, (Acts 1:8/Romans 15:13). In your panic, the answer may first appear to be running back to your weaknesses; God’s answer is fleeing to a safe refuge – into the arms of God. See Proverbs 18:10/Psalm 27:5/91:1-2.

Today, my prayer for you is to set progress as your highest, spiritual priority.

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Shelter in a Storm

September 26th, 2013

“You have been . . a shelter from the storm.” Isaiah 25:4 NIV.

You should prepare for storms you can neither predict nor prevent.

My thoughts and comments today are about “shelter in a storm.”

Weather forecasting has become quite a science. Satellites, meteorology science, computer imaging, and an accumulated history of weather patterns allow fairly accurate predictive warnings of dangerous storms, though the best meteorologists still cannot prevent the storms they predict.

Though of another nature, there is a different kind of storms that intrude into lives that you can neither predict nor prevent; these storms occur in the realm of emotional, mental, financial, physical, relational, or spiritual upheaval. You cannot predict when such storms will impose themselves into your life, but you can certainly predict that they will. How foolish to live as though your life will be immune from such disturbing times.

You should prepare for storms you or others can neither predict nor prevent. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV. People more often quote that than reference His important preface to those words, “In Me, you may have peace.” Before the storm comes, know where you will find safe refuge. “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust’ . . For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle.” Psalm 91:1-4/ 27:5 NIV.

Better late than never, but the midst of the storm is the worst time to begin your search for shelter. Isaiah wrote, “O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt and praise Your name, for in perfect faithfulness, You have done marvelous things . . You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.” Isaiah 25:1/4 NIV. Distress, storm, or heat – whatever the description of your circumstance, God Himself is your sufficiency – refuge, shelter, and shade. God does more than just provide you shelter; He becomes your shelter. God and His Word are a safe refuge when storms rage whatever their origin. Proverbs 18:10 NKJV/Matthew 7:24-27 NLT.

Matthew, a disciple of Jesus, recalls a frightening storm, alarming enough to make fisherman fear for their lives. “Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat.” Read Matthew 8:23-27 NIV. With just a word from Jesus, the wind and seas calmed, leaving the fearful disciples amazed and asking, “Who is this that even the wind and waves obey Him?” Yes, the wind and waves that may threaten and frighten you must obey His command. Solomon observed, ”When the storm has swept by . . the righteous stand firm forever.” Proverbs 10:25 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you will be safe and sheltered in Jesus when storms come.

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