Amplified Bible (AMP)
20 I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
In Christian circles we hear a great deal about dying to self, living unto Christ, counting the cost (as in giving our lives up, even mortally, if God sees fit to martyr us), YET if you make a “Christian” mad you can see just how alive THEY are! Suddenly we hear words like, “I had every right to the way I felt, I had a right to be mad, I had every right to be offended”! But the truth is, no you don’t if you are truly born again.
You gave up the natural for the supernatural when you got saved. In the natural, you deserved hell, you deserved to live a life of penance for your sins, you deserved to be sentenced for every wrong you ever thought of doing, for to think it is the same as doing it! When we heard the message of grace, forgiveness, no longer being under the curse but under the blessing, we were all to eager to leave our natural lives behind and step into the supernatural things of God…until someone ruffled our feathers, so to speak! Suddenly we are all to eager to grab hold of the natural things, the very things we wanted and knew we needed to be saved from. Suddenly the words “count the cost, die to self” are words of yesterday…today is TODAY!
I am amazed at people who are all too quick to pull out the scriptures about blessings and living in health and healing, protection, victory, but are so quick to live a life that is not much different from those who have little to nothing to do with God. They have RIGHTS, and you better not violate them!! They have no concept that when they reached back into “fallen living” they placed themselves in a place where God CANNOT bless them, no matter how badly He wants to do just that!
When God says, “Keep your lips from speaking guile and long life will be yours”, we grab “long life will be yours, but forget there is a condition to that long life! Let us take a good, hard look at Psalm 34!
12 What man is he who desires life and longs for many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Depart from evil and do good; seek, inquire for, and crave peace and pursue (go after) it!
15 The eyes of the Lord are toward the [uncompromisingly] righteous and His ears are open to their cry.
Suddenly, when we have been made “rightfully” mad or “offended” we forget the Bible says to seek peace, not vengeance! We want to see them get theirs and then we don’t want to see them at all! They deserve to be “unfriended” from Facebook, they deserve to not be spoken to, they deserve the cold shoulder, they deserve for others to know what was done by them, they deserve to PAY for upsetting us! Oh, yeah we know Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” right down to an undeserved crucifixion and slow agonizing death, but He was deity! God certainly cannot expect that of a “Christ Ambassador” or a “Christian” or someone who stepped down to an altar and said, “Use me God!! I’ll count the cost! Unless, it isn’t comfortable…then the cost may be just a little too much. I mean we are only human! We live in the natural, but God don’t disappointment me by not giving me the supernatural moves and blessings You promised! We don’t want YOU to look bad!”
We are quick to forget the part where He says, “The eyes of the Lord are toward the UNCOMPROMISINGLY righteous and His ears are open to their cry.” What is ‘compromising’? It is where one gives a little and the other gives a little, but neither fully have their way. Compromising with God instead of being uncompromising will get you “little”. You will have little grace, little blessings, and little power. It is not worth it to live to ourselves! In the end, the short-term pleasure of flesh unleashed is incomprehensible to all we could and would have gained by choosing to live (as hard as the choice was, it was still a choice) unto Christ and His way of doing and being!
“Choose ye this day whom you will serve” doesn’t just mean decide if you are going to choose salvation over hell. It means are you going to choose to do things God’s way as His Word commands (not suggest!) or live as seems good to you. Leaders, you are judged at a higher standard, so choose wisely and cautiously what realm you want to live and function in! (James 3:1)
Have I fallen short of the glory of God? Yes, I have and for that I ask forgiveness of my Father and of others. Will I remember next time I am tempted to exercise the ‘rights’ I gave up when I asked Jesus to live in me and through me so that I no longer live for myself, but for Him…I certainly will, because the One Who truly lives (Jesus) in me doesn’t forget, either!
1 Why do the nations assemble with commotion [uproar and confusion of voices], and why do the people imagine (meditate upon and devise) an empty scheme?
3 Let us break Their bands [of restraint] asunder and cast Their cords [of control] from us.
4 He Who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord has them in derision [and in supreme contempt He mocks them].
5 He speaks to them in His deep anger and troubles (terrifies and confounds) them in His displeasure and fury, saying,
6 Yet have I anointed (installed and placed) My King [firmly] on My holy hill of Zion.
7 I will declare the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, You are My Son; this day [I declare] I have begotten You.
8 Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations as Your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth as Your possession.
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them in pieces like potters’ ware.
10 Now therefore, O you kings, act wisely; be instructed and warned, O you rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with reverent awe and worshipful fear; rejoice and be in high spirits with trembling [lest you displease Him].
12 Kiss the Son [pay homage to Him in purity], lest He be angry and you perish in the way, for soon shall His wrath be kindled. O blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) are all those who seek refuge and put their trust in Him!
Amplified Bible (AMP)
21 [Therefore, I do not treat God’s gracious gift as something of minor importance and defeat its very purpose]; I do not set aside and invalidate and frustrate and nullify the grace (unmerited favor) of God. For if justification (righteousness, acquittal from guilt) comes through [observing the ritual of] the Law, then Christ (the Messiah) died groundlessly and to no purpose and in vain. [His death was then wholly superfluous.]
1 Oppose my opponents, Lord; fight those who fight me. 2 Take Your shields—large and small— and come to my aid. 3 Draw the spear and javelin against my pursuers, and assure me: “I am your deliverance.”
4 Let those who seek to kill me be disgraced and humiliated; let those who plan to harm me be turned back and ashamed. 5 Let them be like chaff in the wind, with the angel of the Lord driving them away. 6 Let their way be dark and slippery, with the angel of the Lord pursuing them. 7 They hid their net for me without cause; they dug a pit for me without cause. 8 Let ruin come on him unexpectedly, and let the net that he hid ensnare him; let him fall into it—to his ruin.
9 Then I will rejoice in the Lord; I will delight in His deliverance. 10 My very bones will say, “Lord, who is like You, rescuing the poor from one too strong for him, the poor or the needy from one who robs him?”
11 Malicious witnesses come forward; they question me about things I do not know. 12 They repay me evil for good, making me desolate. 13 Yet when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth; I humbled myself with fasting, and my prayer was genuine.[a] 14 I went about grieving as if for my friend or brother; I was bowed down with grief, like one mourning a mother. 15 But when I stumbled, they gathered in glee; they gathered against me. Assailants I did not know tore at me and did not stop. 16 With godless mockery[b] they gnashed their teeth at me.
17 Lord, how long will You look on? Rescue my life from their ravages, my only one from the young lions. 18 I will praise You in the great congregation; I will exalt You among many people. 19 Do not let my deceitful enemies rejoice over me; do not let those who hate me without cause look at me maliciously. 20 For they do not speak in friendly ways, but contrive deceitful schemes[c] against those who live peacefully in the land. 21 They open their mouths wide against me and say, “Aha, aha! We saw it!”[d]
22 You saw it, Lord; do not be silent. Lord, do not be far from me. 23 Wake up and rise to my defense, to my cause, my God and my Lord! 24 Vindicate me, Lord my God, in keeping with Your righteousness, and do not let them rejoice over me. 25 Do not let them say in their hearts, “Aha! Just what we wanted.” Do not let them say, “We have swallowed him up!” 26 Let those who rejoice at my misfortune be disgraced and humiliated; let those who exalt themselves over me be clothed with shame and reproach.
27 Let those who want my vindication shout for joy and be glad; let them continually say, “The Lord be exalted. He takes pleasure in His servant’s well-being.” 28 And my tongue will proclaim Your righteousness, Your praise all day long.
Having an attitude of peace and calm is priceless. It’s an attitude that says, “I’m trusting God,” and it speaks powerfully to people. But it takes time, focus and the grace of God to be consistently peaceful.
One way to develop consistent peace is to learn to live “in the now.” We can spend a lot of time thinking about the past or wondering what the future holds…but we can’t accomplish anything unless our mind is focused on today.
The Bible tells us that God gives us grace for each day that we live. I believe that grace is the power, enablement or energy to do what we need to do—and He gives it generously, as we need it.
We need to make a decision every morning to say, “God has given me today. I will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Too often our stress level is tied up in our circumstances. You could be stressed because you’re always busy or you’re struggling financially or because you’re not getting along with someone you love.
It could be a number of things, but what’s interesting is that these situations are not the cause of your stress. Stress is really caused by your reaction to each situation.
We don’t have to work at trying to get rid of every stressful situation. We need to learn how to embrace peace.
I believe that one of the keys to maintaining peace in your life is to take small steps toward peace every day. Here are a few tips for having a more peaceful lifestyle.
1. Be selective with how you spend your time. You may be trying to do too many things and end up doing none of them well. Hurrying is trying to do more than the Holy Spirit is leading you to do. Be led by the Spirit.
2. Be prepared to say no nicely. Sometimes we take on things we know we shouldn’t, just because we’re uncomfortable saying no. If you feel this pressure, ask God to put your spirit at rest and give you loving words to speak that will take away the unnecessary awkwardness of saying no.
3. Resist the spirit of procrastination. It’s the attitude that says I’m going to sit here and wait until I feel like doing what I need to do. But God’s Word tells us to exercise self-discipline. Do what you need to do now so you can fully enjoy your times of rest.
4. Eliminate key distractions. If you know you are easily distracted, set some guidelines for yourself. Don’t let them keep you up late at night so you oversleep the next morning and end up setting yourself up for a hurried, stressful day.
5. Set appropriate boundaries for interruptions. Life is full of interruptions, but we can learn to set boundaries that help us manage them in healthy ways. Schedule times when you are “off-limits.” Let your calls go to voicemail, turn off your email, and decide to get back to people after your “off-limits” time is over. Trust the Holy Spirit to tell you when there is a true emergency.
6. Modify your life. Ask God to show you “out-of-the-box” ways to save time and trouble. For instance, when I don’t have time to do the dishes, I use paper plates. And if I’m having a birthday party for one of my kids and don’t have time to make a meal, we just have cake and ice cream.
7. Listen for the Holy Spirit. If you can see that your plan is not producing peace, go back to God; pray for peace and for wisdom to make changes that will benefit your life.
If you can learn to trust God “in the now,” receive His grace as you need it, and you can become a truly peaceful person. Now that’s powerful!