January 27, 2015: 8:25 pm: Sanctification

Colossians 2:13-15

13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record that contained the charges against us. He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross. 15 In this way, God disarmed the evil rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross of Christ.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

For those who believe, the penalty of sin died with Christ on the cross. God has declared us not guilty and we no longer live under the control of sin and death. But God does not take us out of this sinful world; we are to live as Christ Jesus did with God fully in control of His life. Jesus Christ functioned fully as a Man with a complete filling and power of the Holy Spirit under the complete direction of the Father. At salvation, our sinful nature is subdued and God imparts to us the righteousness of Christ. We now have the Holy Spirit of God living in us and working His plan to make us like Jesus. Before we were saved, we were slaves to our sinful nature, now we just have to surrender it to God. He has freed us from the power of sin and death. Even though we still have desire to sin, we are no longer under sins control. We can seek the power of God to overcome. God never promised us that we would not desire to sin, only that He has made a way for us not to. 1 Corinthians 10:1 tells us, “But God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” God has a way of escape, we just have to choose it.

Have a God Day!

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January 26, 2015: 8:06 pm: God in us

Hebrews 11:1-6

What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see. 2 God gave his approval to people in days of old because of their faith. 3 By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen. 4 It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. God accepted Abel’s offering to show that he was a righteous man. And although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us because of his faith. 5 It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying-“suddenly he disappeared because God took him.” But before he was taken up, he was approved as pleasing to God. 6 So, you see, it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that there is a God and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Faith is the conviction based on past experience that God will be who He said He was and that He will do the things He said He would. Without faith it is impossible to please God. He wants our complete faith in Him. We do not always see all that God is doing in our lives or around us. But His Spirit is always working in us to make us more like Christ. If we are open to Him. Being open means trusting Him and knowing Him. We have the evidence of what has been done in the lives of those who loved Him in His Word. All we have to do is read and we will see that God is a God of His Word. As we read about those in the past who trusted Him, we can be strengthened. God does reward those who seek Him. The reward is knowing of His love and having peace in our lives. Faith means trusting in God and doing what He wants, regardless of the circumstances or consequences. What are your trusting today? Are you trusting in your own ability to provide or are you trusting in a God who can do more than you can understand? Outside of God there is no peace and there will be nothing but what the world can give. Do you really want to put your faith in a world that has never been able to deliver anything but pain? Read about all of the people who trusted God and see what a difference it made in their lives. He can do the same for you, but you must believe Him.

Have a God Day!

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January 23, 2015: 8:34 pm: Sanctification

Ephesians 4:17-24

17 With the Lord’s authority let me say this: Live no longer as the ungodly do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their closed minds are full of darkness; they are far away from the life of God because they have shut their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They don’t care anymore about right and wrong, and they have given themselves over to immoral ways. Their lives are filled with all kinds of impurity and greed. 20 But that isn’t what you were taught when you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard all about him and have learned the truth that is in Jesus, 22 throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception. 23 Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes. 24 You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God’s likeness-righteous, holy, and true.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

When you look back over the last year do you see a progression of change toward better thoughts, attitudes and actions? Change may come slowly, but it must come if Christ is truly living in you. We know Christ is in us if we are becoming more like Him, even if it is at the pace of a snail. Accepting Christ’s gift of salvation is both a one time decision and a daily conscious commitment. Our old way of life before we believed in Christ is completely in the past. We must put off the old nature that is driven by self interest and greed and put on the new nature, which is Christ Jesus living in us. We have a new direction and a new nature. Is it showing? If not, go before the Father and ask Him to teach you, to show you how to live Christ. Learn more about God’s Word and then pray for the Holy Spirit’s power in your life to move you forward to becoming more like Christ. Because in Christ, we know the best is yet to come.

Have a God Day!

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January 22, 2015: 8:53 pm: God in us

Romans 3:21-28

21 But now God has shown us a different way of being right in his sight-not by obeying the law but by the way promised in the Scriptures long ago. 22 We are made right in God’s sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done. 23 For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet now God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins. 25 For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to satisfy God’s anger against us. We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us. God was being entirely fair and just when he did not punish those who sinned in former times. 26 And he is entirely fair and just in this present time when he declares sinners to be right in his sight because they believe in Jesus. 27 Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on our good deeds. It is based on our faith. 28 So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

When by faith we believe in the work done by Jesus Christ, we are declared not guilty by God. He then gives us the righteousness of Christ. Only by faith do we receive the righteousness of Jesus Christ. It is available to all and there is not one person who is not able to receive what God has given us. But all will not receive, only those who believe, only those who have faith in God’s plan laid out in His Word. Living in this world of sin and darkness it is hard to “feel” this righteousness. Even as Christians we struggle against our old nature and turn to our own ways and sin against God. Sometimes, we “feel” so far away from God, it is difficult to believe it is so easy to be forgiven. It never ceases to amaze me how the faithfulness of God holds true. No matter how far we have turned from Him, no matter what our sin, His love is always available for us. Jesus Christ stands in the gap and takes the punishment for our sin. The pure wonder and joy of the simple truth of the Gospel is truly amazing.

Have a God Day!

 

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January 19, 2015: 8:53 pm: God in us

Psalm 91

1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”
3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence.
4 He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you.
8 Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.”
The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

This is one of my favorite Psalms when I need to “feel” the presence of the Lord. Sometimes when we are going through a very dark and long valley all we need is to know that God is with us. The Psalms are an excellent source of comfort for our “feelings” when we are troubled. God has heard it all before! And He can take any of our frustrations and fears. Just express to Him what you are going through. He already knows and cares and is there with you in the valley. He has been with you the entire time and He is not unaware of your pain. It is in your trusting in His plan that you grow in the valley of your pain. Trust that God knows what He is doing and that He is with you and will bring the situation to be used for your good because you love Him. Keep Him as your focus and remember that you will not always be in the valley. You will not always “feel” this way. Use your head and think about the things God has already done for you and thank Him. Praise Him in your despair and thank Him for the opportunity to grow in your faith. Dwell in the secret place of the Most High and stay in His shadow. Only there will you find rest and peace.

Have a God Day!

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January 16, 2015: 7:41 pm: Grace

1 Timothy 4:7-16

Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Spend your time and energy in training yourself for spiritual fitness. 8 Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the next. 9 This is true, and everyone should accept it. 10 We work hard and suffer much in order that people will believe the truth, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and particularly of those who believe. 11 Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them. 12 Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. 13 Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them. 14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecies spoken to you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you. 15 Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right, and God will save you and those who hear you.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

In our society, a lot of emphasis is placed on physical fitness, but spiritual fitness is even more important. Our physical health is susceptible to disease and injury, but our faith can sustain us through when our bodies can no longer function as they should. To train ourselves to be godly, we must develop our faith by using God-given abilities in the service of His church. Highly skilled athletes lose their abilities if their muscles aren’t toned by constant use. We will also lose our spiritual gifts if we don’t put them to work. Our talents are improved by use, and failing to use them will also cause them to waste away from lack of practice and use. Everyone of us has been given gifts (talents) to be used for God’s purposes in this world. God has a function for everyone in His kingdom. If you are not sure what your gifts are, ask Him. Seek His Word and know Him. He will lead you to the work before you. Then use what He has given you to do His work. Practice your skill and know His Word and you will become strengthened in times of trouble.

Have a God Day!

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January 15, 2015: 7:59 pm: Grace

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Our troubles should not diminish our faith. There is a reason and a purpose for our suffering, even though we may not see it at the time of pain. God is more interested in our spiritual growth then our physical comfort. He is not the author of our pain and troubles, but He does use them to grow us into the image of His Son. So we never give up, we continue on being renewed every day. Our ultimate hope when we are experiencing terrible illness, persecution, or pain is the realization that this life is not all there is. There is life after death and this life is lived in preparation for that life. What we learn now will determine what we do then. And these bodies will not live forever, but each of us in Christ will receive a new body that will. This is the goal we keep our eyes on and remember when we suffer that He suffered too. The focus to help us in our deep pain is to remember that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us! (Philippians 4:13)

Have a God Day!

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January 13, 2015: 7:48 pm: God in us

John 15:1-8

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned for greater fruitfulness by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful apart from me. 5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who parts from me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you stay joined to me and my words remain in you, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted! 8 My true disciples produce much fruit. This brings great glory to my Father.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Conflicts and trouble in this life are a part of what everyone experiences. But sometimes there are Christians who keep on struggling with the same issues over and over. It would appear they are stuck, but what is actually happening is they are trying to fight a spiritual battle in their own strength. Lack of victory in the life of a child of Christ shows a lack of understanding of the divine resources available. It is the inability to move beyond the problem, the inability to get past the failure that keeps you in spiritual defeat. If Satan can keep you focused on the problem and keep you focused on your pain, he can keep you from being usable for God. And this position is a place of discomfort. You are not really sure what the problem is, but you just don’t feel like life is going your way. Or sometimes you are in extreme pain and fail to look to the One who can move you beyond your failures. Satan’s plan is so subtle and so deceiving you don’t even notice that he is keeping you in a perpetual circle of frustration that keeps you from growing in God and being at peace in your heart. You are apart from Christ. There is no evidence of fruit, peace, joy or patience. You still belong to Him, but you are ineffective for Him. For the child of God this is not a very good place to be, because you will only struggle here and will continue to have your heart and mind stabbed with the darts of the enemy. And Satan has you right where he wants you, ineffective for Jesus Christ. Victory is found in dependence on God. Only when you turn to Him will you get out of the rut of pain you are in. Go back to Him and to His people. There is strength in being connected to Him through His body. Don’t fight Satan with your power, you have none. The answer is only through the Word of God. And it takes an angel to fight an angel. So turn to Christ and ask for spiritual help to get you moving forward for His purpose. Jesus said He would never leave us and He never will, so He is always there waiting to hear from you and mold you into a useful vessel for His love. Only doing His work, for His purpose, and through His power will you find peace.

Have a God Day!

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January 12, 2015: 7:14 pm: God in us

Galatians 3:1-5

Oh, foolish Galatians! What magician has cast an evil spell on you? For you used to see the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death as clearly as though I had shown you a signboard with a picture of Christ dying on the cross. 2 Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by keeping the law? Of course not, for the Holy Spirit came upon you only after you believed the message you heard about Christ. 3 Have you lost your senses? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? 4 You have suffered so much for the Good News. Surely it was not in vain, was it? Are you now going to just throw it all away? 5 I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law of Moses? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ.

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Oh, foolish Christians! Was it not God who saved you from death and destruction and brought you into His presence by the power of the Holy Spirit? Do you not stand before Him as white as snow without spot or blemish because of what Christ has done for you? Paul could be saying this to any of us today. “Have you lost your senses? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?” When we committed our lives to Christ, we took a back seat on the bus of life. Christ is the driver and we are passengers. But sometimes we think we know more than God and take the wheel. Get to the back of the bus and let God drive! All we can do is get on the bus and God takes over from there. We get on the bus by faith in believing that He died for our sins. Then we get to know Him and we read His directions for life. The Word is planted deep in our minds and we begin to have the mind of Christ. We cannot become perfect by our own human power it is only through the power of the Spirit of God working in us that we will be Christ to the world around us. Philippians 1:6 tells us, “I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Christ will complete the work He started in you.

Have a God Day!

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December 26, 2014: 8:20 pm: Grace

Colossians 1:18-23

18 Christ is the head of the church, which is his body. He is the first of all who will rise from the dead, so he is first in everything. 19 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, 20 and by him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of his blood on the cross. 21 This includes you who were once so far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions, 22 yet now he has brought you back as his friends. He has done this through his death on the cross in his own human body. As a result, he has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. 23 But you must continue to believe this truth and stand in it firmly. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed by God to proclaim it.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

There is no worse condition than being separated from God. Those who are not connected to Him are lost and without hope. Only those who are holy will be a part of God and will be with God. But none of us are holy, Romans 3:23 tells, “For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Because God is holy, He cannot accept anything or anyone to Himself who is not also holy. Jesus Christ is the remedy for our problem. He came to reconcile us to God. And Christ was without sin because He was fully God, And because He was fully human, He could become the perfect sacrifice for our sins and die. Without a perfect sacrifice, there can be no reconciliation to God. In Christ grace and reconciliation are available to everyone. There is no one who is not able to receive the grace given by Christ to be reconciled to God. Even though it is available to all, not all will accept it and receive it. Only those who believe it will receive it and become a part of the Body of Christ. For those who refuse to accept the grace of Christ will be permanently separated from God for eternity. Be a part of the few who believe and receive. Be holy and blameless by accepting the grace given so freely by Christ.

Have a God Day

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