“For by grace you have been saved through faith; AND THIS IS NOT OF YOURSELVES, IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD; NOT A RESULT OF WORKS, so that no one may boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9 NASB, Emphasis added)
Dear friends, in this life it’s obvious that humans have to work to earn their living and care for their families and households. But in terms of how we are to view all of that activity, we dare not become humanistic and self-centered. We are not the source and origin of our abilities and accomplishments. We must remember what we are and where we come from. The Truth is, that nothing we’re able to be, or have, or do is the result of our independent self-effort, strength, or devices. The Origin of everything that concerns us, including our eternal salvation and right standing with God, is forever beyond the reach and scope of our will and independent initiatives!
So God is the one who supplies us with everything. And, once He saves us, He doesn’t pat us on the back and send us off to go our merry way to live our lives as well as we can. Simply put, we can never fend for ourselves! Every one of our thoughts, heartbeats, brain waves, talents, abilities and accomplishmentscome to us from our Creator who is the Source of all that! We’ll never be able to independently pick, choose, decide or manage anything for ourselves. God tells us we’re completely helpless and bankrupt in every area and on every level!
“Now no shrub of the field was yet on the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground. But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground. Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and (thanks entirely to God and His initiative) the man became a living person.” (Genesis 2:5-7 NASB, Amplification and emphasis added)
Beloved, God created the entire physical universe, and every creature in it, out of nothingness! We all live and breathe and have our being by His choice and initiative! After deciding what He wanted to create, He spoke His Word, and by His Word’s Infinite Authority and the Omnipotent Power of His Spirit, all that is came into being! And everything God reveals, does, and promises comes into being by and through His Living Creative Word. And as far as we creatures are concerned, God’s Word is Everything to us!
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him not even one thing came into being that has come into being. In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of mankind. And the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not grasp it.” (John1:1-5 NASB, Emphasis added)
“He is the Image of the invisible God, the Firstborn of all creation: for by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or rulers, or authorities—ALL THINGS HAVE BEEN CREATED THROUGH HIM AND FOR HIM. HE IS BEFORE ALL THINGS, AND IN HIM ALL THINGS HOLD TOGETHER!” (Colossians 1:15-17 NASB, Emphasis added)
We must comprehend this, despite the delusions that rebel angels and fallen Sin-damaged naïve humans entertain about how radically independent and Self-sufficient and Self-asserting they think they are. God blasts their arrogance to nothingness with these words:
“Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself but must remain in the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me. I am The Vine, you are the branches; the one who remains in Me, and I in him bears much fruit, FOR APART FROM ME YOU CAN DO NOTHING!” (John 15:4-5 NASB, Emphasis added)
God Created Everything That Would Exist In Time And Space!
So beloved… the entire universe was foreseen, created, blessed, and put into the totality of God’s immense and majestic Plan before any part of Creation even came into being! But our created, extremely limited perceptions and spheres of conscious awareness can’t begin to comprehend and contain all of this. Only God’s Mind, Will and Plan can contain and comprehend it all! So the reality is that whatever any creature will ever need has already been provided, redeemed, and fully restored by God in advance!
“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:7-8 NASB)
This is how Perfect, All-Sufficient, Good, Faithful, and Reliable He actually IS! And this is why we can all trust, rely, rest, and depend upon Him with airtight, unbreakable faith! And apart from Him we cannot be, or do, or have, or aspire to anything!
John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because He was before me.’” Out of His FULLNESS we have all received grace in place of grace, already given. For the Law (the written Torah) was given through Moses; (but God’s freely given) Grace and Truth came (to Abraham, Israel, and the entire world) through (the Living, Creative Word of God made flesh) Jesus Christ” (John1:15-17 NASB, Amplification and emphasis added)
“At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent, and have revealed them to infants. Yes Father, for this way was well pleasing in Your sight. All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son determines to reveal Him.” (Matthew 11:25-27 NASB, Emphasis added)
Remember that Genesis tells us that God’s Word created us humans from a pile of helpless dust! So He holds the Preeminence over everything about us in every area and every level. In ourselves we can’t be, do, or have anything through our independent effort! There’s nothing in our nature and DNA that doesn’t completely originate from, and totally depend on, our Creator for absolutely everything! So God’s Word must continually be supplying us… from moment to moment… with every breath, heartbeat, brain wave, insight, and capability we will ever have! And, if He should stop doing that… we would immediately blink off and disappear into oblivion! That’s how much we must rely upon our awesome God!
“And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began thinking to himself, saying, ‘WHAT SHALL I DO, since I have no place to store MY CROPS?’ And he said, ‘THIS IS WHAT I WILL DO: I WILL TEAR DOWN MY BARNS and build larger ones, and I WILL STORE ALL MY GRAIN AND MY GOODS THERE. And I WILL SAY TO MYSELF, “You have many goods stored up for many years to come; relax, eat, drink, and enjoy yourself!”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is demanded of you; and as for all that you have prepared, who will own it now?’ SUCH IS THE ONE WHO STORES UP TREASURE FOR HIMSELF, AND IS NOT RICH IN RELATION TO (the realization that, in all things, he is continually dependent upon) GOD!”
And He said to His disciples, “For this reason (since you know your Father has already covered and provided you with everything… and has all of it waiting for you in His Eternal Dimension), I tell you, DO NOT WORRY ABOUT YOUR(utterly unreal independent) LIFE, as to what you are to eat; nor for your body, as to what you are to wear. For life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. (God is your Life and He is Everything to you! Apart from Him, you can’t be or have or do anything!)
Consider the ravens, that they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! And which of you by worrying can add a day to his life’s span? Therefore if you cannot do even a very little thing (by yourself and for yourself), why do you worry about the other things? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither labor nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. For all these things are what the nations of the world eagerly seek; and your Father knows that you need these things. BUT SEEK HIS KINGDOM, and these things will be provided to you. Do not be afraid, little flock, because your Father has chosen TO GIVE YOU THE(entire Heavenly) KINGDOM!” (Luke 12:16-32 NASB, Amplification and emphasis added)
Beloved, those of us who are to serve our Master as His Last Days disciples will need to be completely grounded in this awesome Reality. We’ll have to know this at much deeper levels than any previous generation has managed to do! We must be well aware of the fact that we have a tremendous advantage over our demonic enemies because they refuse to see themselves as being totally dependent on their Creator. They insist on entertaining the delusion that they can be radically independent agents in themselves. So, since we have this mind-blowing inside information, we must train ourselves to think, imagine, and react from this God-given eternal perspective at all times. And whenever we encounter temporary earthly tragedies, disasters, demonic attacks, and personal unfortunate occurrences, setbacks, disappointments, losses and betrayals in this earthly life, we can be assured that God has us completely covered and provided for… and we can afford to rejoice in Him, as He abides and works from within us, at all times!
Knowing that the Perfect, All-Sufficient God lives and operates from within us, as our Eternally Faithful and All-Sufficient Shepherd and Covenant Champion, is what enables us to rest and relax in total Peace! No matter what happens or doesn’t happen on this fallen Earth, our Heavenly Father already has us perfectly covered by and through His Eternal Perfect acts of Creation, Redemption, and Restoration! And He is always available to those who know Him, and who therefore tremble at the awesome Authority and All-encompassing Lovingkindness that is in His Living Word! (See Genesis 1:31; 2:1-3; and Isaiah66:1-2; and Hebrews 4:1-7) So… let your knowledge that Almighty God is always with you and for you, serve as your personal, Rock-solid, underlying foundational Disciple Assurance:
NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS TO YOU, OR AROUND YOU HERE ON EARTH DURING THE LAST DAYS COMBAT WITH THE POWERS OF DARKNESS… KNOW FOR SURE THAT, THANKS TO YOUR EVER VIGILANT AND FAITHFUL COVENANT LORD, THE TOTAL VICTORY OUR LORD HAS ALREADY GAINED IS YOUR AIRTIGHT PROTECTIVE COVERING AND THE EVERLASTING ASSURANCE OF YOUR SAFETY AND TOTAL FULFILLMENT!
Allow this to soak into your heart as deeply as possible! Train and condition your mind, heart, imagination, and reactions to reflect His Perfection! Rivet HIS REALITY into your conscious and unconscious mental focus. Develop a laser-like warrior-level absolute assurance of our ultimate victory! Our Lord commands us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds(and the rewiring of our brains, as we see in Romans 12:2-3). So our job is to remain perpetually fixed on how Great our God eternally is! We must know what Stephen knew even to his last breath! He was not in the least bit anxious, fearful, or worried! He realized to the end how totally blessed and fortunate he was to be wearing his Messiah’s uniform and to be able to abide under His All-Sufficient Protection and Provision that would take him safely into Eternity!
“So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; FOR IT IS GOD(Himself) WHO IS AT WORK IN YOU, BOTH TO DESIRE AND TO WORK FOR HIS GOOD PLEASURE!” (Philippians2:12-13 NASB, Amplification and emphasis added)
“You will not be afraid of the terror by night, or of the arrow that flies by day; of the plague that stalks in darkness, or of the destruction that devastates at noon. A thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not approach you. You will only look on with your eyes and see the retaliation against the wicked.
For you have made the Lord, my refuge, the Most High your dwelling place. No evil will happen to you, nor will any plague come near your tent.” (Psalm 91:5-10 NASB, Emphasis added)
It is because of this awesome, eternal, unchangeable Reality that our Messiah has brought us into that He can now, and forevermore, BE our Invincible indwelling Eternal Life andInfinite Inheritance! This is why not even the deaths of our mortal bodies can affect us! We are more secure than earthly conquerors could ever be! We’re fit and ‘good to go’ even when we must face the giants that serve the powers of Darkness! We can confidently invade their glitzy, impressive-looking Jericho-like walls and formidable entrenchments. We can continue to advance through whatever they may try to fire at us to try to stop our advance. Just like Stephen, we too can know that nothing they can do will ever deprive us of our Eternal Life and Inheritance in and with our God! This is why, knowing we’re equipped, prepped and briefed, our Commander now gives us these battlefield orders:
“Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
“For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many parts in one body and all the body’s parts do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually parts of one another. However, since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to use them properly: if prophecy, in proportion to one’s faith; if service, in the act of serving; or the one who teaches, in the act of teaching; or the one who exhorts, in the work of exhortation; the one who gives, with generosity; the one who is in leadership, with diligence; the one who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Love must be free of hypocrisy. Detest what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor, not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
“(Because of who you are and what I have given to you and equipped you with, you can even afford to) Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but (remember that you can always afford to love, care for and) associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation (the Spirit of God who indwells you is your Wise Battlefield Guide, Counsellor, Protector and Instructor).
Never repay evil for evil to anyone. (Since I’ve already given you My Total Victory, you can afford to be patient, forbearing, gracious, kind, and generous! So) Respect what is right in the sight of all people. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written: “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head…”
...DO NOT BE OVERCOME BY EVIL, BUT OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD!” (Romans 12 NASB, Amplification and emphasis added)
It is as if our Lord is telling us: ‘My Presence within you is your ever-reliable All-Sufficient Good! So fill your mind and heart with My Rock-solid perpetual indwelling Reality . Remember that My Holy Spirit continually fills you and always is at work within you… So allow Me to overflow from within you… into all of your situations throughout the dry, barren, desolate Sin-corrupted earthly wilderness that surrounds you!
This is how you are to be and what you are to do, no matter where I may choose to deploy you! You are no longer Godless rebels enslaved by our demonic enemies! You are now sons and heirs of your Heavenly Father! So you must no longer think, imagine, choose, decide, act, react, and interact like whipped, beaten, orphaned, hard luck, victim-child losers! Because I am your Eternal Life, you are God’s hyper-achieving conquering sons! So keep filling yourselves continually with My Spirit and He will continually fill you with My Presence! Let Me radiate out of you. Release Me… into everything… and everyone with whom you come in contact!… Do this, and you will surely persevere all the way across the Finish Line!’
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be as wary as serpents, and as innocent as doves. But be on guard against people, for they will hand you over to the courts and flog you in their synagogues; and you will even be brought before governors and kings on My account, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given you in that hour. FOR IT IS NOT YOU WHO ARE SPEAKING, BUT IT IS THE SPIRIT OF YOUR FATHER WHO IS SPEAKING (and manifesting ME… as I live and operate from with) IN YOU!
“Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all because of My name, BUT IT IS THE ONE WHO HAS ENDURED TO THE END (by drawing at all times, from what Holy Spirit gives to him and does through him. He is the one) WHO WILL BE SAVED!” (Matthew 10:16-22 NASB, Emphasis added)
Take note of what Holy Spirit said through the prophet Daniel about the days in which we live:
“And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.
AND THOSE WHO HAVE INSIGHT WILL SHINE LIKE THE GLOW OF THE EXPANSE OF HEAVEN, AND THOSE WHO LEAD THE MANY TO RIGHTEOUSNESS, LIKE THE STARS FOREVER AND EVER. But as for you, Daniel, keep these words secret and seal up the book UNTIL THE END OF TIME; many will roam about, and knowledge will increase.” (Daniel 12:1-4 NASB, Emphasis added)
God Himself Is Our Awesome Secret Weapon!
Even when we have to deal with apparent setbacks and dangers and apparently overwhelming opposition… as long as we know that He, in all of His Omnipotent Perfection and Faithfulness, is the Infinitely, Eternally Supreme Lord and Ruler over all things in Heaven or on Earth, who actually lives in us and is committed to cover, protect, and provide everything we’ll ever need, then… WE CAN AFFORD TO DO THIS:
“REJOICE in the Lord always. I will say it again: REJOICE!Let your gentleness be evident to all. THE LORD IS NEAR!
DO NOT BE ANXIOUS OVER ANYTHING, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (so He may transmit all that He has for you in Heaven, into you and through you, on behalf of all of your situations, circumstances, challenges and situations). And the Peace of God (who is Supreme Lord over all, and His Lovingkindness on your behalf), which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7 NASB, Amplification and emphasis added)
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32 NASB. Emphasis added)