The War Inside

Each of us experience turmoil.

We have to make personal choices and decisions, there’s conflict in a family or with our neighbor, co-worker stuff, church stuff, and friendship stuff. On top of that we are all impacted by global strife in ways we realize and ways we may not.

In this week’s video study we focus in on James 4:1-5 and talk about the nitty gritty of wars raging in and how we push those wars to the outside because they are so uncomfortable. Christ declares us righteous and holy in Him through all of it!

Find the archived link here on the I Love My Shepherd YouTube channel:

I look forward to hearing from you in the comments section here or on YouTube.

21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:21-25a


Questions from this week’s study:
Where do you see the war inside of you come out?
What hope does knowing you live as both sinner and saint offer?
What useful questions can you ask yourself or others in this struggle?
What kinds of things do you want and covet?
What things do you see people quarreling about? Is it about Jesus or just stuff?

 

Notes:

simul justus et peccator – whatdoesthismean.org

simul justus et peccator – ligonier.org

Love Your Life Not Theirs by Rachel Cruze

But now in Christ…

Day 4 – But now in Christ…

Peace is something we don’t necessarily notice until it’s gone. It’s easy to take for granted, until it dissipates in a moment.
My husband told the story, in a sermon recently, of Horatio G. Spafford. Mr. Spafford was a businessman that put pen to paper to express his sorrow and trust through the hymn, “It is Well.” The story is heart wrenching and true. But when you sing it, knowing the life behind the song gives it so much more depth and richness. Every person has a life, every hymn writer, every pastor, every businessman, every fast food worker, every unemployed anyone, every single one of us. Every person has a story, and in taking time to hear it, we also hear God’s work, in the darkness and in the joy.
Mr. Spafford, after losing his fortune and his son, sent his 4 daughters and wife to Europe for a time of relaxation and rest after struggle. He was to join them, but was detained by business and forced to take a later boat. The boat holding his heart- his wife and daughters – was struck and sunk in a matter of minutes. His wife survived. All of his daughters drowned.
Can you even imagine? As he traveled across the sea to meet his wife, he pinned the words to “It is Well.”
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
One thing I have learned from Mr. Spafford is this: the time for peace does not always look like peace to the world around us. As Christians, we know this in truth. Let’s solidify it in some Word.
The word for peace in Ecclesiastes 3:8 is probably familiar – shalom. In other places in Scripture it is also translated as “be at ease” (Genesis 43:23) and, get this, “it is well.”
We know where our peace lies- securely in Jesus. And He never changes. In Judges 6:23-24, God assures Gideon of His work in His life…
 But the Lord said to him, “Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.”Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it, The Lord Is Peace. To this day it still stands at Ophrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites.
Isaiah 9:6 tells us that the very name of God is peace…
For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Jesus’s arrival brings “a time for peace” into any situation! What assurance!
Ephesians continues this theme in Ephesians 2:13-14. Highlight the first four words of the passage below in your Bible…
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility

But now in Christ…”

This is what Mr. Spafford knew. This is what we know and learn and grow in, as God does His work in our lives and heart.
But now in Christ, we have peace at all times in our hearts.
But now in Christ, we rest in Him. But now in Christ, with the victory won, we trust that all of it, the good the bad, the dark, the light, the love, the hate, the war, and the peace will work together for the good of those that love God (Romans 8:28).
Shalom, sisters. Take a deep breathe. In and out. Peace lives in you. Now is your time for peace in Christ.

Discussion questions:
When do you find it most difficult to embrace “peace”?
What do you do or where do you go when you are in need of practical peace?
Who can you share God’s shalom, God’s peace with in a note or a phone call?

A time to kill: Putting the Old Testament in context

Week 3 –
Day One: A time to kill: Putting the Old Testament in Context
Day Two: The healing touch
Day Three: A time to break down
Day Four: A time to build up
Day Five: Laying foundations one home at a time


Heart verse:
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
Ecclesiastes 3:1,3


Photo by http://www.melissasphoto.com/




Day One – A time to kill: Putting the Old Testament in context

Yikes! Now there’s a Bible study title!

Killing is not something we chat about around the dinner table. It’s a horrific word that has a hard time rolling off my tongue. I do well in my current cultural context, where war is not my daily reality, and I can avoid the homicide report on the 11 o’clock news by going to bed early. (Thank you, Eastern Standard Time.)

The Old Testament makes us uncomfortable. It is full of killing, that almost always relates to battle or sacrifices. It can be a hard pill to swallow. 

We are commanded “Do not kill” in the 5th commandment. Yet, it’s a huge part of our history as the people of God on this earth. How do we reconcile it? The answer may be easy for you, but don’t forget your neighbor. It may not be as simple for them and part of the reason that we study and grow and learn in the Scriptures is to bring the Word to those dear ones around us. Most of us don’t open an evangelism message with “You see there were all these killings and sacrifices that lead up to Jesus…”


Let’s look at that Old Testament context:
Leviticus 14:24-27 – First, the killing of sacrifice…
And the priest shall take the lamb of the guilt offering and the log of oil, and the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the Lord. And he shall kill the lamb of the guilt offering. And the priest shall take some of the blood of the guilt offering and put it on the lobe of the right ear of him who is to be cleansed, and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot. And the priest shall pour some of the oil into the palm of his own left hand, and shall sprinkle with his right finger some of the oil that is in his left hand seven times before the Lord.” 

Keep in mind that the lamb always points to Jesus, the Sacrifice for all of us, but reading the Old Testament ritual…intense.

Judges 3:26-30 – Second, the killing of battle…
Ehud escaped while they delayed, and he passed beyond the idols and escaped to Seirah. When he arrived, he sounded the trumpet in the hill country of Ephraim. Then the people of Israel went down with him from the hill country, and he was their leader.And he said to them, “Follow after me, for the Lord has given your enemies the Moabites into your hand.” So they went down after him and seized the fords of the Jordan against the Moabites and did not allow anyone to pass over. And they killed at that time about 10,000 of the Moabites, all strong, able-bodied men; not a man escaped. So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest for eighty years.”

10,000 people killed. Israel rejoicing. Granted at the end of this passage we have a glimpse into the seasonal aspects of war, but when you read the Old Testament these are the stories you cannot help but see.

Again, as New Testament believers we can embrace that the Sacrifice is paid and we can understand the sacrificial system as a giant red blinking light pointing the way to Jesus.

Ephesians 2:14-16 tells us
For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.”

We have peace! Our life as Christ followers looks so much different from the Old Testament, that it becomes hard to wrap our heads around.

Look carefully back at verse 16 “…thereby killing the hostility.”


In the New Testament context, God talks about killing in His Word, surrounding whatever divides us from God. The death toll, the turmoil, the killings of the Old Testament, all necessary for us to understand that

We don’t live that way anymore!

Praise the Lord!
Glance back up to the Ephesians 2 passage. Dividing wall, gone. Hostility between us and God, killed. All that stuff that kept Israel separated from God, longing for His temple and sacrifices to appease Him, destroyed, and lifted up in the death of Christ Jesus on the cross.

Deuteronomy 32:39 below, says it so beautifully. We cannot take God in pieces that we like, that are pretty. We may not fully understand Him, but we take Him at His Word, for Who He is. I’m so thankful that I don’t live in the context of the Old Testament, sister. But I am thankful, for a God who does things in fullness and gives even killing beauty in His work.

“‘See now that I, even I, am he,    
and there is no god beside me;
I kill and I make alive;
    

I wound and I heal;    
and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.”

He is in charge, but He is also a God that broke down every wall, killed every bit of hostility within us and between us for our benefit. Praise Him today for the parts of Him you have yet to quite understand, thanking Him for simply being God.




Discussion questions:
What stories of the Old Testament are harder for you to hear?
Do you ever remember being sacred of something in the Bible when you were a child?
What kinds of hostility have you seen God kill, in your life or in the lives of others?




Defying Shame

Those who look to Him are radiant; and their faces are never covered in shame.

                                           Psalm 34:5
 
Shame. It’s often described as a blanket. It kind of wraps around you. The devil fools you thinking it’s comfortable, it’s where you belong. 
 
We experience shame for any number of things. Our past haunts us, our marriages feel like they’re failing, we never measure up. Sometimes we put shame on ourselves. The guilt sits long enough and we don’t even notice it’s there. The devil tricks us into believing that it’s part of who we are, what we deserve. That it may be, what we deserve. But that’s not grace and it’s not the way we were intended to live.
 
Shame is all around us. It’s so much a part of our culture that we normalize it. We judge ourselves in accordance with what the person next to us is doing. We’re either “not as bad as all that” or “I’ll never measure up to that.” We turn on the tv and judge our bodies based on false images, and feel the shame creep in. We hide our whole selves, only letting pieces out, because we know that judgement eventually looms with each person we meet. 
 
Shame is worst when it comes from a brother. How often do we give someone the benefit of the doubt, or see the story behind the pain. People everywhere are afraid to walk into churches (including Jesus-loving, church girls…even pastor’s wives), because shame waits.
 
Half of it is a lie of the devil, and half of it is a lie of our culture. Church isn’t for looking a certain way or getting it together so we can meet with God. Church is for the abused and the abuser. Church is for the faith-filled and the faithless. Church is for the hurting and those who have hurt. 
 
It’s time to throw off the shame. It’s time to defy it. As a person, as a church, as a culture. 

As a woman, I have a battle with shame. I don’t feel beautiful enough, smart enough, good enough, or just plain enough. So, I get up each morning and defy shame. You are not a part of me, shame. You are not invited to this party. Christ promises me in John 8 and Romans 8 that he doesn’t condemn me and who else should? No one. I’m throwing off the blanket and letting my whole self out. I’ll mess up, as I have in the past. I’ll say words that should have been more careful, but relationships will be healed because I will be real. I’m not enough, but Christ in me is. 

He looks on me and I am radiant. He tells me I will never be in shame. I’m going to believe His promise.


* This is my good friend, Erin. Who lovingly reminds me everyday that shame has no place in my life. We all need an Erin.