This is how to what? This is how to live above and receive exhortations. As we begin, I want to exhort you in this: You are God’s joy and His crown! Living above and beyond expectation is possible when we live in exhortations. This causes us to stand firm.
What’s an exhortation? It’s an encouragement. It could be a word of hope, to strengthen or uplift, to help us see and walk above our circumstances. We see differently! Not only do we see differently, but we may feel differently. It’s a known fact that the air is lighter on higher elevations. Air pressure decreases as you climb higher.
Can I use this as a spiritual analogy? The pressures of life decrease as you live above life circumstances. So the next time someone accuses you of “Living in the clouds,” Tell them, “Yes, it’s lighter up here; less pressure and more God-breathed air is needed.
We all need to be exhorted from time to time, so Paul is speaking that forth. He says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4: 4)
- Some things are just worth repeating.
Can we rejoice when things are doom and gloom in our life and world? Yes, we learn to rejoice IN THE Lord. Even in disappointment, loss, and suffering, we choose to rejoice in what God has done. Each and every day we get a new day. We are alive and breathing.
I know, I’m one of those annoying people who wakes up early, opens the blinds, and is happy, even without the morning cup of coffee yet. The first thing I do when I awaken is look up, ask the Lord to direct my steps for the day, then go to my window blinds to open and let the light in. Even if it’s still dark outside, I must let the light, the breaking of dawn, come forth! I must allow and purpose the light to shine upon the dark rooms of my house.
- Make it a lifestyle to purposely shine the light into the darkness.
What’s Paul instructing the believers to do next? “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” (Philippians 4: 5)
- People are drawn to sweet and gentle spirits more than loud and brutal people.
Is gentleness a sign of the Lord being near? Do you let Him near? Is that an invitation to us? Yes, He delights in being near. He wants to be near to us in character as well.
Are you anxious? “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4: 6-7)
Every day we must choose not to worry and not allow anxious thoughts to enter. Take everything to prayer and give it to God, continually. Yes, this is not easy. It’s a discipline that we should train ourselves to live by.
We get a kickback from this type of release. What’s the kickback? “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4: 6-7) Who doesn’t want peace?
What’s transcend mean? It means to surpass. Your peace will go beyond your human understanding. It serves to guard our hearts and minds, where most of our battles are. Remember, we are IN Christ Jesus.
Here’s the summation of his message: “Brothers (sisters) whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–any anything is excellent and praiseworthy–think about such things.” (Philippians 4: 8)
- My “whatever” has just been redefined.
- We have to put into practice these things.
If we haven’t responded to bad situations or life in this manner, it’s ok. Practice makes perfect! Choose to practice to live and respond in this way and then it will be done automatically.
(Shared from Philippians 4, Modified)
Called To Be A Sign
Ezekiel, the prophet, called to be a sign to the Israelites. His wife dies, which God informed him of prior. God told him not to grieve, weep or cry. My first thought about this was, “C’mon God! What are you doing here?” I don’t get it. God then tells him to “Groan quietly, do not mourn for the dead.” (Ezekiel 24: 17) His private moaning and groaning were allowed by God, He didn’t want him to display it publicly.
In his obedience, Ezekiel did as the Lord commanded. See, I told you, the life of a prophet is a life of total obedience, even if you don’t understand it. Actually, the life of every believer should be a life of obedience.
Take note: Ezekiel’s wife died the same day as the temple was burned down.
It starts to make sense now. God had told Ezekiel that his life would be a sign. “You will be a sign to them, and they will know that I am the Lord.” (Ezekiel 1: 27) Being a sign, prophetically, meant acting out what God had said.
- Signs and wonders follow those who believe.
God’s been giving signs since creation.
- We have the sign of the covenant. (Genesis 9: 12)
- The Lord Himself will give you a sign. (Isaiah 7: 14)
- He is an everlasting sign. (Isaiah 55: 13)
- A sign to you. (Luke 2: 12)
Paul had said, “These things mark an apostle, signs, wonders, and miracles, were done among you with great perseverance.” (2 Corinthians 12: 12)
- Never discount a sign.
- God still uses them today.
- You are a sign and a wonder.
Isaiah is calling forth an awakening, “Awake, awake, O Zion, clothe yourself with strength; put on your garments of splendor.” (Isaiah 52: 1)
- How we awaken and clothe ourselves is important.
- Maybe it’s time to open up the blinds.
“Shake off the dust…Free yourself from the chains on your neck, O captive daughter of Zion.” (Isaiah 52: 2)
“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation.” (Isaiah 52: 7)
- God is calling His people higher.
- Living higher reduces pressure.
Promise Of Glory
“What they are told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.” (Isaiah 52: 15)
- Jesus has accomplished this through the cross.
- The gospel shall go forth, what we’ve been told.
- Signs and miracles are what we will see and understand, by the power of the Spirit.
- Those who haven’t seen yet, nor heard, will see and hear. Amen!
The suffering of Jesus, the one who was a sign, was raised and lifted up. At the cross, “His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and His form marred beyond human likeness.” (Isaiah 52: 13-14)
That’s our Jesus–A sign and a wonder to behold!
- Signs point us in the right direction.
- Signs are still pointing others to Him.
(Shared from Isaiah 52, Modified)
UNBROKEN LOVE SERIES
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