Casting

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear. 1 John 4:18

Most fishermen know all about casting, but some take it very seriously. In 1881, the first casting championships took place in the outskirts of London; this event led, over time, to the founding of the International Casting Sport Federation. Today, the Federation organizes championships around the world for all ages. Casters are judged by distance and accuracy.

Christ-followers know a lot about casting too. Psalm 55:22 says, “Cast your burden on the LORD, and He shall sustain you.” Proverbs 22:10 says, “Cast out the scoffer, and contention will leave.” Ecclesiastes 11:1 says, “Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days.” Ezekiel tells us to cast away our transgressions (Ezekiel 18:31). Jesus told us to cast out our nets for a catch (John 21:6); Paul told us to cast out the works of darkness (Romans 13:12); and Peter told us to cast all our care on Him, for He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).

The apostle John, who was, after all, a fisherman, added a special word in 1 John 4:18. We should remember how much God loves us, he said, and that love will cast fear from our hearts. “Perfect love casts out fear.”

The chains of love are stronger than the chains of fear. William Gurnall

The Expression of Faith

Mark 11:20-24

If you made a request of God and then time passed without results, it is understandable you might start wondering if He ever heard you at all. Do you remember thinking, What happened, Lord? You said that if I asked in faith, You would do it. Didn’t You hear me?

Stop to consider this question: Can you think of a time you brought a petition to the Lord and it apparently went unanswered? What was the situation? What did you pray about it? What did you say to others about it? What did you do about it?

I believe one of the most common reasons we experience a crisis of faith is that our words and our attitude get out of line with each other. We tell ourselves that we are praying to the heavenly Father, seeking His will, and requesting His intervention, but what we’re really doing is just complaining to Him.

We say, “Lord, I really messed this up” or “I don’t deserve this.” We might pray, “How did this happen?” Or perhaps we even cry, “How did You let this happen?” We moan about the situation, reveling in every ounce of anguish, and then petition God to fix it. Is this a prayer that honors God?

In Mark 11:24, Jesus explains that if we ask for something, we should believe in our hearts that it has already been granted. This level of faith is found not in our whines but in our praises. God absolutely wants us to cry out to Him and to lay our petitions at His feet (1 Pet. 5:7). But we must be careful to do so in a way that focuses on God’s glory—not our own.

God’s Grace For Us

“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)

Although Christ has set the believer free from legalistic bondage, he is now under a still higher law—the law of Christ. It is also called “the law of the Spirit of life” that has made us “free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2).

The law of Christ does not consist of many detailed ordinances that we are duty bound to obey. It is a law that we want to obey out of love for Christ. “Therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10). Paul says that “the end of the commandment is charity [that is, Christian love] out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned” (1 Timothy 1:5). James calls it “the royal law,” defining it simply as “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (James 2:8).

Instead of a law bringing us into bondage, it is “the perfect law of liberty” (James 1:25), setting us free from slavery to sin. It not only gives us the desire to please the Lord but also the will and the ability to do so.

It is not as though we are now without law and thereby free to indulge our carnal appetites. Paul explains his own new nature thus: “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more . . . (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ)” (1 Corinthians 9:19, 21).

In Christ, “the righteousness of God without the law is manifested,” and He is “the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Romans 3:21; 10:4). But though we “have been called unto liberty,” Paul commands us to “use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). Thus, to believe in Christ is also to obey Him. HMM

“Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel.”

1 Samuel 23:1-13

In the passage which we shall now read, we shall see an instance of David’s patriotism. Although he was persecuted in his own country, he did not cease from loving his nation, but took a deep interest in all that concerned it. When he found that the Philistines were plundering the granaries of Keilah, he marched with his little army against them.

1 Samuel 23:1-2

Here we see the deep religiousness of David: he would do nothing till he had waited upon God. O for more of this holy caution.

1 Samuel 23:3

Brave as they were, they judged this to be a rash enterprise, for they would have two enemies to fear—the Philistines and the soldiers of Saul. David listened to his men courteously, but he was not ruled by them. He turned to Ids God again for direction.

1 Samuel 23:5

This was a gallant action, and received a reward as far as the spoil of the Philistines was concerned, but the treachery of the people whom David had rescued from their enemies was disgraceful, and shews how base a thing is human nature.

1 Samuel 23:6

So that when banished from public worship at the tabernacle, the exiled hero was not without spiritual consolation, for the highpriest himself, and his breastplate of righteousness were with him. See how God provides for the faithful.

1 Samuel 23:7, 8

He ought to have honoured him for the eminent service he had rendered to the state, but malice is as a wolf greedy for the blood of its object.

1 Samuel 23:10

Observe David’s anxiety for the city rather than for himself Saul had destroyed Nob for sheltering him, and he might do the same to Keilah. Generous spirits cannot bear to bring evil upon others.

1 Samuel 23:11, 12

God so thoroughly knows men, that he can not only tell what they will do, but what they would do under certain circumstances. He knows us better than we know ourselves. Let us always consult his wisdom upon all occasions, and under his direction we shall not err.

 

Thou art near; yes, Lord, I feel it,

Thou art near where’er I move,

And though sense would fain conceal it,

Faith oft whispers it to love.

 

Then, my soul, since God doth love thee,

Faint not, droop not, do not fear;

Though his heaven is high above thee,

He himself is ever near!

 

Are You Going From Glory to Glory Or From Mess to Mess?

2 Corinthians 3:18

Most believers quote the verse above when they are facing a difficult challenge. I did the same thing for many years. I often told myself, “Soon this mess will be over, and when it is, we’re headed to the next level of glory that God has for us! This won’t last long. We’re going from glory to glory!”

But one day I was pondering this verse and thinking deeply about what it meant to go from glory to glory. Suddenly it struck me that it doesn’t say we are going from a mess to glory. It says we are going from glory to glory— in other words, from a current glorious place to another higher glorious place.

This clearly means that you and I won’t be promoted to the next realm of glory until the realm where we presently live is glorious. So if we want to go upward into a greater glory, we have to first make glorious the place where we are living and functioning right now.

When I saw this, it made me want to take a good, hard look at my life and ministry. I asked myself: Am I living in a glorious stage, or am I stuck in an ugly, messy stage of my life? I realized that according to this verse, I wouldn’t be moving upward into the next great and glorious phase God had for me until the situation I currently found myself in became glorious! Only then would God promote me to the next level of glory He had planned for my life.

So I began to ask myself:

  • Have I done all the Lord has told me to do right now?
  • Have I really completed the assignment as God instructed me to do?
  • Have I done it professionally and on time?
  • Have I made my present financial situation glorious, or am Hiving in financial shambles?
  • Have I done everything I can to make this present stage of my life a bright and shining example to others, or is this part of my life a dismal failure of which I’m embarrassed?
  • Have I brought this part of my life to a glorious finish?

Second Corinthians 3:18 says, “But we all, with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” I find it very interesting that the first part of this verse talks about us having “open faces.” The word “open” is the Greek word anakalupto, which means to unveil, to uncover, or to disclose. However, the Greek tense doesn’t refer to a one-time unveiling, but to a veil that, once lifted, remains lifted forever.

When I saw this, I immediately understood another very vital truth: We must be willing to permanently remove the veil from our eyes and to take an honest look in the mirror in order to truthfully acknowledge the condition of our present stage. Only after we have truthfully seen and acknowledged what we are can we make a sincere decision to change. A truthful recognition of the facts is part of the process that removes the veil from our eyes so the Lord can correct us, change us, transform us, and prepare us to move upward into the next glorious phase for our lives. That is precisely why the apostle Paul went on to say that we are “changed” after the veil is removed from our eyes.

The word “changed” is the Greek word metamorpho. It is a compound of the words meta and morphoo. The word meta carries the idea of an exchange, while the word morphoo is the Greek word for a person’s outward form. Together, the compound word means to transfigure or transform one’s appearance. The word metamorphoo is never used in the Old Testament Septuagint, and it appears only four times in the New Testament. It is used in Matthew 17:2 and Mark 9:2 to describe the transfiguration of Jesus. Paul also uses it in Romans 12:3 to tell us that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. And finally, Paul again uses the word metamorphoo here in Second Corinthians 3:18.

There is no doubt that the word “changed” speaks of an actual, real transformation of our minds and even our outward appearance. The Holy Spirit lets us know through Paul that we can actually exchange our present appearance, our current status, for one that is more glorious. If we sincerely desire it, we can move upward and into the glory that God has prepared for us!

Now, we can try to hide our heads in the sand and pretend that everything in our lives is glorious when it is not, but that does not make everything glorious. In fact, denial of the truth will just keep us stuck in the same hard place for a longer period of time. To move into the next phase of our life in God, we must be willing to lift the veil from our eyes and acknowledge that we need to be transformed!

If may be difficult on your flesh and pride, but eventually a time comes when you must look in the mirror to see what is really there! Self-deception is very costly. Telling yourself that everything is all right when it isn’t may temporarily relieve you from the pain of having to look at the facts head-on. But in the end, ignoring the facts will cost you so much more in terms of time, heartbreak, and defeat.

Truthfulness can be painful, but the pain is short-lived and in the end produces tremendous change. But the kind of change I am describing to you today is only initiated when you are willing to get honest with yourself and with God about your behavior, your attitudes, and the condition of every area of your life at this present moment. If you’re willing to remove the veil from your eyes and let the Holy Spirit really show you the areas where you need to be transformed, He will change you. And as this kind of transformation begins to work in you, you will become more and more prepared for upward movement and promotion in your life.

So establish this truth in your heart today: If the stage of life you are in right now is not glorious, you will be stuck in the current mess until you become willing to take off the veil, look honestly at your situation, and begin to make the changes that are required to make your present status more glorious! Once you’ve done that, God will be ready to move you upward and onward to the next more glorious place you are longing to experience!

Yes, it’s true that God wants to take you from glory to glory. However, He isn’t bothered if He has to wait until you correctly finish your current task. God has lots of time. But when you get serious about doing what is necessary to make your present situation glorious, you signal to the Holy Spirit that it’s time to open the way to the next glorious phase God has planned for your life!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I want to take the veil off my eyes and get honest about my situation. I can see that much of my present life is not glorious. I have wanted You to promote me from my mess to a new level of glory, but I see now that Your promotions always move from one level of glory to a higher level of glory. Show me every area in my life that needs to be changed, and help me give You complete liberty to transform those parts of my life. I want to go to a higher level of glory, Lord, so I am asking You to help me first make my present situation a glorious testimony of Your grace!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that by God’s grace, I am making my present situation more and more glorious! I have asked the Holy Spirit to open my eyes and to help me see those parts of my life that need to be transformed. As He shows me these areas, I will diligently pray about them and do everything I can to allow God to change me so this present season of my life can become glorious. Because the Holy Spirit sees my willingness to go through the necessary transformation process, He is preparing to move me upward into a more glorious phase in my life. I am going from glory to glory!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. What are the areas of your life that are not glorious—the areas you most need to work on?
  2. Now that you know God will not promote you higher until you have made your current status glorious, what changes do you need to make in your life right now to get ready for the next step upward?
  3. Write down the steps you are going to take to turn your messes into shining examples that will open the way for God to start the promotion process in your life.

 

Our Choices

By the time you notice this page, you may be already screaming through your day.

 

Pressure. The incessant telephone. Deadlines. Unsolvable issues. Perhaps a temptation or two. Today, as His follower, you and I are faced with choices on how we will respond to the pounding pace and pressure. The demand for decisions. And so I will choose:

 

I CHOOSE LOVE…

 

No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose to love. Today I will love God and what God loves. (1 Corinthians 16:14)

 

I CHOOSE JOY…

 

I will invite God to be the God of my circumstances. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical… the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God. (1 Peter 1:8)

 

I CHOOSE PEACE…

 

I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live. (Colossians 3:12-14)

 

I CHOOSE PATIENCE…

 

I will overlook the inconveniences of the world. Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I’ll invite him to do so. Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of clenching my fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage. (Ecclesiastes 7:8, 9)

 

I CHOOSE KINDNESS…

 

I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God treated me. (Ephesians 4:32)

 

I CHOOSE FAITHFULNESS…

 

Today, I will keep my promises. My debtors will not regret their trust. My associates will not question my word. My wife will not question my love. My children will never fear that their father will not come home. (1 Corinthians 15:58)

 

I CHOOSE GENTLENESS…

 

Nothing is won by force; I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice, may it only be in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If I make a demand, may it only be of myself. (Titus 3:1, 2)

 

I CHOOSE SELF-CONTROL…

 

I am a spiritual being. After this body is dead, my spirit will soar. I refuse to let what will rot rule the eternal. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my faith. I will be influenced only by God. I will be taught only by Christ. I choose self-control. (Titus 1:8)