HIS SOUND MIND
The beauty of the Amplified version of the Bible is that it magnifies – amplifies – the meaning of a verse to such a degree that you cannot miss what it is trying to convey. The following verse is a perfect example of this truth:
Hebrews 13:5 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)
…for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake you nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]
He always has a purpose for what He does – it is never a whim – and it is always for our good.
Romans 8:28 We are assured that ALL things work together for GOOD to those who love God and are called according to His design and purpose.
Genesis 50:20 As for you (our enemies), you thought evil against me; but God meant it for GOOD.
2 Corinthians 4: 17 -18 (LB) These troubles and sufferings of ours are, after all, quite small and won’t last very long. Yet this short time of distress will result in God’s richest blessings upon us forever and ever!
These are some of my favorite verses, and there is a great deal of much deeper meaning to them as you study the original words that I’ll share with you when we cover trials and suffering in future months. They show God’s purpose in our lives but also give us the right perspective in our troubles.
2 Timothy 1:9 (LB) “It is He Who saved us and chose us for His holy work, not because we deserved it but because that was His plan long ago before the world began – to show His love and kindness to us through Christ.”
See how He really has planned it all out and how that plan is absolutely for good!
Look back up at Isaiah 14 in the “His Power” section and notice the words “purposed” and “planned.” He leaves nothing to chance.
Psalm 12: 5-8 (LB) ” The Lord says, ‘I will arise and defend the oppressed, the poor, the needy. I will rescue them as they have longed for Me to do. The Lord’s promise is sure. He speaks no careless words. All He says is purest truth like silver seven times refined. O Lord, we know that You will forever preserve Your own from the reach of evil me
OUR SOUND MIND IS PROMISED TOO
Psalm 94:19 (Amp) “In the multitude of my anxious thoughts, Your comforts cheer and delight my soul.”
Isaiah 26:3-4 (LB) ” He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in Him, Whose thoughts turn often to the Lord. Trust in the Lord God always, for in the Lord Jehovah is your everlasting strength.”
Proverbs 1:33 ” But all who listen to Me shall live in peace and safety, unafraid.”
All of Psalm 46 describes the worldly and natural calamities at work to bring us into a state of worry, anxiety and fear. Yet it constantly reminds us of He Who is our “refuge and strength, a tested help in time of trouble.” In recent years verse ten’s meaning has become misinterpreted in a variety of ways through the Contemplative and spiritual disciplines groups as they have taken it out of context. It reads:
Be still and know that I am God. The Lord of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Many years ago I did a study on the word “still.” The word comes from the root word “rapha” in the original language. In the Old Testament there were many different names for God that revealed His true character. One of these names is Jehovah Rapha.
Jehovah Rapha means “The Lord Who Heals Us”. From this verse I have discovered the way the Lord would have me be when I am in physical or emotional difficulties. I am to be still: to cease from “spinning my wheels” in my head with worry and anxiety. I am to be still and to remember and think on only one thing: that He is the God Who loves me, Whose power is towards me always, Who does everything for my utmost good. He has never failed me; and He can never fail you – for God can never fail (we simply have to trust Him that what He is doing is for good in our lives and from His love). There is a song – “I know there will be tests, but I know You know what’s best. I trust You. Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the cares of this world will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”
As soon as you feel the anxiety, tension and fear beginning to build inside you, stop. Be still. Remember the verses you have hopefully memorized, prayed on and reflected on. If you can, go to your prayer closet and pray. If you do not have that luxury because both the dogs are barking and all three kids under the age of three are crying, just cry out to the Lord. The important thing is to stop so that you don’t let the anxiety build, remember and pray those comforting verses He has given you. Lean on Him. He will hear; He will answer; He will comfort; He will be forever faithful. Now when fear tries to invade – and of course it will – I have a hiding place, a place to rest. It begins with knowing His Word. Yet there is a next step…knowing Him more deeply.
SOMETHING I LEARNED AS TIME WENT BY
Please do not misunderstand what I will share with you next. I named this blog very carefully – holdinghiswordhigher – because I highly esteem the Word of God. Jesus prayed to the Father:
John 17: 17: Sanctify them by the Truth. Your Word is Truth.
John 1: 1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself.
The Word in the Bible – the printed Word – and the Person go together. They complete and complement each other. You cannot have one without the other. Both Jesus and His Word speak Truth. That means I can trust them and put my whole confidence in them.
As the years went by and more and more troubles came along, I discovered something very interesting: the words themselves on a printed page were not completely sufficient. What I needed was to know deeper the Jesus His Word spoke about. I don’t know if I can make the distinction but I’ll try.
I learned that I needed to spend more quiet time with Him and His Word. I needed to learn how to rest in Him. It was the resting not the proclaiming the victory that brought me peace. Why do I have to proclaim a victory He has already won? I finally realized that. Somehow, proclaiming – not just resting – made me more anxious and exhausted. But praising Him, resting in His love, His care over me, knowing I was in His Hands always – that brought me peace.
Now when fear tries to invade – and of course it still does – I will look at the accompanying verses as a reminder of His great care and think of Him and His great love and power…and rest.
I will tell you a story. About two and a half years ago I got the flu (the vaccine wasn’t effective). I got it so bad that I became physically violent. I had to be admitted to the hospital where we discovered I had lost my memory. To every question the doctors asked me, my answer was – I don’t know. What’s your last name? I don’t know. What holiday was last week? I don’t know. (It was Christmas). They asked a few more questions and every time I answered the same. I became frightened because I had no memory. They admitted me and the room wasn’t big enough for John to stay with me. And there was something “creepy” about the room or so I thought. I was so upset I couldn’t sleep and of course they couldn’t give me anything for that. I laid there, frightened, with no memory…and the strangest, most wonderful thing happened. Almost 40 years ago The Lord had prompted me to memorize the 23rd Psalm. As I was laying there with no memory, the Lord had me start remembering the entire 23rd Psalm!😌 When I got to this verse something totally joyous happened: “Yey, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for Thou art with me.” I stopped and said it again and again. I need not fear. He was with me. I wasn’t alone. I fell asleep completely at peace. The next morning I was so completely better, they released me and couldn’t believe I had recovered so fast. But it wasn’t the healing that was so marvelous to me. It was the one more proof that I need not ever fear – for He, the Living Word, my Precious Loving Savior is with me at all times.
Please do not mistake this for a mystical experience. I see it as the Word of God having become so much “imprinted on my mind and engraved in my heart” (Hebrews 8:10) that it was now a part of me. So deep had the words become over the years – decades – that when I most needed them they were there within me. How then can I fear – His Word and He are with me.
“Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us that we should we called the children of God.” 1John 3:1
Here is an astonishing thing. It is not the fact that God loves, but how God loves. What manner of love is this! Literally, the Greek for what manner is of what country is this! It is an exclamation of astonishment, of surprise. What kind of country is this, what foreign land is this, that is represented in love like that! It is the strangeness of God’s love that is in view in this whole thing. How is God’s love strange? Well, John says, in that it makes us the children of God.
Perhaps some of you are thinking, You may be surprised at this, but I’m not. Why shouldn’t I be a child of God, like anyone else? If you think this, then you do not understand righteousness. Romans 5 reveals to us how God saw us when He found us: When we were still powerless, when we were helpless, when we were unable to make any contribution to the redemption we desperately needed, when there was not a thing we could do about it, and even our good was tainted with self-interest so that we could make no contribution whatsoever, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly,—for us (Romans 5:6). But it does not stop there: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). While we were still sinners, or while we were proud, overbearing in our attitude toward God, treating Him with condescension and indifference. When we were this way, Christ died for us. Even this does not exhaust His description.
He goes on a verse or two later to say, if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son… (Romans 5:10). If, when we were God’s enemies; not only without strength, not only sinners, proud and prickly in our attitude, but also when we were absolutely opposed to God, enemies of His grace, treacherous, hateful, resenting what God was doing and resisting every attempt He made to reach us. Now, John says, what amazing love! God flings the bloodstained mantle of His love over us and calls us His children. And He not only calls us this, but He actually makes us so: And that is what we are (1 John 3:1b)!
Isn’t that amazing? Do you ever think of yourself as in this condition when God found you, and you would still be like that if God had not found you? What kind of pride is it that makes us think of ourselves as some kind of special catch that God has made? How fortunate He ought to feel that we have consented to join his side! No, Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called sons of God.
That is the extent of God’s love. God desires that His enemies should become His children and that his children should become mature sons and daughters.
Lord, I echo these words of John: What manner of love has been bestowed upon me, that I should be called a child of God; and so I am. I know it is true, even though I do not always act like it. Teach me to live as Your obedient child.
<p>Excerpted with permission from The Power of His Presence; The Most Amazing Thing; May 14: 2021by Ray Stedman Ministries. All rights reserved.