Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. ~ Romans 12:12
Have you sensed the shift? Now is not the time to fall back, nor to give up. Now is the time to stand up in our confident hope in the Lord, in all that he is, and all that he has promised us. We can be sure that he will not abandon us, nor let us down.
As we stand firm, we can see our King Jesus, radiant in glory, leading the way to victory. The weapons we fight with are peace, compassion and joy. He tells us to be vigilant, not to let our guard down, and to keep praying and moving forward. He has the strategy to release us from discouragement, trauma and pain. He is the God of all comfort (2 Cor.1:3) who wraps our wounds and releases us from the grief of what and who has been lost.
We are told not to stay focused on the battle around us, but the join Jesus in making smooth the Highway of Holiness (Isa.35:8), removing the rocks and boulders so others can follow us out of the Valley of Weeping (Ps.84:6) into a place of refreshing abundance and blessing.
Use your spiritual eyes to see what God has prepared for us who believe. It is radiant with new life, hope and joy. And it is ours, as we stay focused on Jesus and invite others to join in the triumphal procession (2 Cor.2:14).
As we go, let us choose to sing a new and joyful song of praise to him who loves us and saved us. (Ps.33:3)
Dear friend, may you be filled with confident hope as you meditate on all that Jesus is and has promised. Rejoice as you join others of like heart and mind and see what the Lord is preparing! Amen.
Mary Sumner, July 19, 2020
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil.
He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8
Have you ever thought that the invisible virus that we are battling right now is a picture of the invisible threat we face daily in the spiritual realm? Just as we can be lulled into complacency and dullness to the danger of being infected by Covid19, we can be distracted and dulled to the threat of temptations and corruption to our spirits.
How many times have we heard, “Wash your hands, wear a face mask, maintain distance and avoid crowded places.”? We can tune it out and get tired of wearing a mask and decide that the threat of sickness and death cannot touch us. But it can!
In the same way, we can become immune to the warnings against rebellion, not relying on God alone and selfishness. Sin feels good at first. Nothing seems to happen at the beginning. Then, we find ourselves caught in that invisible net of the enemy. It gets harder and harder to get out of the bad habits that hurt us and those we love, and gradually separate us from God.
Good habits of hygiene can help prevent coming down with Covid19. Good spiritual habits can create a safe barrier from contamination from sin. Confess sin as soon as you are aware of it. Receive the Lord’s forgiveness and cleansing (1 Jn.1:9). Avoid known temptations. Be alert to what you allow into your mind and heart and out of your mouths. Stay close to Jesus. Spend meaningful time with him and in his Word.
The times are dangerous. This is not a time to be complacent about sin. It will be as dangerous to ourselves and our families as allowing the virus to infect us. God needs all of his people to be alert and ready for battle. We are safe in the victory won by Jesus as long as we obey, stay close and are prepared.
Where have you allowed an opening to the enemy?
Dear friend, may you rest in the safety and security that the Lord provides to those who love him, stay close to him and obey his commands. Be blessed with growing confident hope in who you are and who God is to you. Rejoice! Amen.
Mary Sumner, July 15, 2020
For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. Galatians 5:13
Were you thinking about our freedom on July 4th, as we were on “lockdown” because of the virus? Will there ever be true freedom in this dark and fallen world? What does the Bible mean when it talks about freedom?
Freedom must be important to Jesus, since he died to set us free. In Romans 8:2 we read, “And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” Do you belong to Jesus? Then his life-giving Spirit has set you free from the power of sin. The devil can no longer make you sin. You have the ability to get out of the ruts of rebellious, negative thinking that keep you chained in depression and anger. You have been given spiritual sight, and God, who lives in you, gives you the ability to resist temptation and all forms of selfishness and corruption. But you still have to believe you have that power and choose to resist and stand firm in love and truth.
So, in Christ, we have freedom from sin, the power of Christ’s victory in us to resist and defeat Satan and the fallen worldview. We also have freedom to live by faith in Jesus, and, by doing so, come to truly know God and live daily in his presence. Jesus called himself the truth (Jn.14:6) and promised in John 8:32, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Let’s get to really know Jesus, not just about him, so that we can live in true freedom.
In his presence, we are filled with God’s love and peace, that leaves no room for fear and anxiety. Filled with his Spirit we have the power and authority to overcome every problem and the strength to keep going. His perfect freedom drives out the fear of death, for he has overcome it.
Why are we waiting? Let’s come out of the darkness of this day and into the light of Christ’s presence and the perfect peace and freedom he offers.
Dear friend, may you experience true freedom as you learn to rest in your relationship with Jesus. May the Lord fill you with his deep peace and joy as you linger there and invite others to join you. Amen.
Mary Sumner, July 8, 2020