by David Brenneman
"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things." Philippians 4:8 NASB
Exodus 12:14 NASB "'Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance." Exodus 12:24 NASB "And you shall observe this event as an ordinance for you and your children forever."
Back in the earlier chapters God had said that it would take 430 years before they would leave Egypt to enter the land promised of God to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. "Now the time that the sons of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. And at the end of four hundred and thirty years, to the very day, all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt." This also is the lead in to the Ordinance of the Passover...verse 42 says that the Lord Jesus told them to do this throughout all their generations...in earlier verses He tells them to be ready to explain this to their children when they ask "Why are we doing this?".
Chapter 13 of Exodus Verse 8-9 "You shall tell your son on that day, saying, 'It is because of wht the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.' And it shall serve as a reminder on your forehead, that the law of the Lord may be in your mouth; for with a powerful hand the Lord brought you out of Egypt."
Even in these two chapters there's an implied command to take note of the things that God's done for you because later on in life when things aren't going so well you have those things to remember. We are indeed a forgetful people. It doesn't honestly take much in the way of burdens and trials to bring us to our knees both emotionally and physically let alone spiritually.
We quite often forget of what it says in Ephesians 6:12 NASB "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers, against the rulers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.".
In more places than just Matthew 16 verse 4, Jesus says this in response to questions from the Pharisee's and Sadducees "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah." And He left them and went away." That sign of Jonah was what Jesus taught of what would happen concerning Himself. That it would be Him who would be the one who would die on a cross be in the grave for 3 days and then to arise from the dead. That same sign is what all generations have been given since....yet even today people want more. They want their own sign, their own proof, that Jesus is real that the need for the cross is real that salvation is through no other.
We're reminded in Ephesians 6:12 of what it's really about. This world points everyone towards physical and psychological cures to what ails us. Towards emotion healing. Towards all kinds of things except that which we need which is what is found in the Word of God. It was faith in God that healed those whom Jesus healed. On several occasions we can read that Jesus saw that someone had the faith to be made well. It's also highly evident that demonic activity was rampant in Jesus's day. Do you honestly think that it's not in our world? Consider it well that the Old Testament says that 1/3rd of the host of Heaven fell with Satan. That's a LOT of demons. Only a select few were already sentenced to eternity in Hell right away. Some were reserved for the judgments to come in the book of Revelation. The rest are in this world in which we live. Note that the "Legion" that was in the possessed man asked to be sent into the swine and so they did. The swine ran headlong into the water and died. It did NOT kill the demons. They left for other places. They were not sent to Hell. Look at the other times Jesus cast out demons often He instructed them not to enter into them again.
We read in the book of John of people loving the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.
These too are reminders of TRUTH.
We need to remember what's TRUE. Philippians 4:8 NASB "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there's any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think about these things.".
We need to remember our positive faith history because we really are no better than the first generation of the children of Israel. We are prone to forget when the going gets tough. We're prone to forget when the unexpected happens. We are prone to forget when it was Jesus who said they hated Me they will hate you also. We will take it personally, we will want to run the other way when people relentlessly criticize us. We will.
When attacks come, and they will, we need to be reminded not just of truth but God's truth. Our perceived truth may not be the same. We can easily think that the path we are on is what God wanted...but since we didn't wait on Him...we're now going down the wrong path. Our emotions will wreck us. Remember Satan loves to mimic God's activities....with a twist. He began with "Did God really say?". Look at what's recorded of his interactions with Jesus in the wilderness. What did Satan bring up? How did Jesus answer? How did Jesus answer the Jewish Leaders?
Satan tried to destroy Jesus at the cross...he failed.
Satan tried to destroy Peter before Jesus went to the cross...Jesus reinstated him after the resurrection.
Satan tried to destroy the Church...Jesus took Saul and Paul was born...and the Church grew.
Satan will try to get you to believe anything and everything...EVEN IF...it's so miniscule that it's hardly perceived...just a pebble can change the course of a river downstream. It's very important to remember all the good that the Father has done for us, to us, through us in Jesus's Name.
Jesus often got away to pray. He was teaching by example that you can't go through life draining your well within. He prayed because of who and what His, and now our, Father is. He needed that continued intimacy and so do we. Prayer helps us to stay grounded in God's truth. The more we grow in Christ the more our prayers will align with what God's doing and wanting to do in our lives. When our wells are running dry we find ourselves in situtions where we make emotional decisions which aren't going to be the right ones. We begin the "If only"'s. If only I could get away for a bit I'll be ok. If only this would happen then I would do...
Trust in the Lord with all your heart...this implies that we need to remember what's true...Philippians 4:8.
So what are you focusing on? What are you relying on? Please don't let it be your feelings and emotions. If left to ourselves we will run the other way from those things that we need to go through. We're promised to not go through life alone when we're in a relationship with Jesus as He is our Savior, our Shepherd. Psalm 23 shows and tells us much of what Paul taught later. That life is going to have highs and lows, valleys that are dark mountain tops that are brighter and more beautiful than imagined. Jesus had Paul write of the fact that He came to give us life, and not just life, but life more abundant. As Mark Lowry spoke of in one of his video's...it will be filled with higher highs and lower lows than we ever imagined. But it comes with a reminder. What's high and good and what's low and not so good...will pass. Mark said in the video that his favorite verse in fact he called it his life verse was "And it came to pass." It didn't come to stay.
It came to pass. Think on that. As he says before he sings a song about it in the video...it came to pass. Life is in motion life wasn't meant for us to stay in a moment albiet a good moment or a bad one. We're going to go THROUGH things not sit in them. We need reminders to look at that show us where God took us THROUGH things and we came out on the other side.
We need daily reminders of our positive faith history in order to tell Satan where to go. For him to get away from us because our faith history says that God loves us, God has a plan for us and He will see us through whatever it is.
Think on these things Paul wrote in Philippians 4:8. Are you?
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