Monday, September 28, 2015

“In the Presence of Enemies"

     Our Lord's present governance of His creation involve an overcoming rather than an absolute rule.

     "He must reign til He hath put all enemies under His feet" (I Corinthians 15:25).

     Such purposes necessitate challenges in the lives of God's trusting sons and daughters in the Lord Jesus Christ.  "When they had preached the Gospel to that city and taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and Iconium, and Antioch, confirming the souls of the disciples and confirming them in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22).  No challenge, no overcoming.  No overcoming, no present reign of Christ in the midst of devilish and human sins that are not His will, but through which He works nevertheless to reveal His glory and mature His children.  Thus, we must expect the difficulties, needs, obstacles, and attacks that grant ongoing opportunity to trust our Heavenly Father, and to see His ultimate victory in Christ manifested in the specific challenges of our lives.  "In all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us" (Romans 8:37).

     God does not determine the devilish evil and human sin that confront us.  By the time, they reach our doorstep, however, He has woven His purposes into the glory of Christ, our benefit, and the benefit of those to whom we minister Christ.  Perfect wisdom and foreknowledge can do such a wondrous thing.  Nothing will ever approach us that takes our Lord by surprise.  Nor will we face any challenge too great for His ability to work all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).  Such wondrous truth means that we view life in a very different way than the norm of human response to trouble.  "I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake" (II Corinthians 12:10).  Note that the Apostle Paul does not state that he "feels" pleasure, but rather than he "takes" it.  Trouble hurts the trusting no less than anyone else.  However, Paul realized that God offers a gift in our difficulties, the gift of knowing, trusting, and submitting to the Lord Jesus in such a manner that we see His victory manifested specifically in our challenges.  "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee.  When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee" (Isaiah 43:2).  God Himself comprises the gift that enables us to overcome - "I will be with thee."  Moreover, He promises a special dispensation of Himself when we must pass through the waters, the rivers, and the fire - "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1; emphasis added). 

    Those attacks upon us allowed by our Father provide opportunities for the revelation of His overcoming presence and power.  He invites us into His heart when we hurt.  Therein we discover the nature, character, and way of the Lord Jesus that the absence of trouble cannot offer.  The way is not easy.  By definition, overcoming requires difficulty.  But the way is blessed for those who realize that anything which provides opportunity to better know our Lord and understand His truth can become a friend.  Or, as David proclaimed, "Thou preparest a table for me in the presence of mine enemies" (Psalm 23:5).  It is up to us as to whether we will parkake or not.

"These things have I spoken unto you that in Me, ye might have peace.  In the world, ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer.  I have overcome the world."
(John 16:33)
"This is the victory which overcometh the world, even our faith."
(I John 5:4)

Weekly Memory Verse
    My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
(I John 3:18)

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