August 29, 2014: 9:21 pm: Christian Love

2 Timothy 1:6-9

6 This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 8 So you must never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for Christ. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the proclamation of the Good News. 9 It is God who saved us and chose us to live a holy life. He did this not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan long before the world began-to show his love and kindness to us through Christ Jesus.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Timothy was experiencing great opposition to his message about Christ and Paul urged him to be bold. We like Timothy must also be bold in our message about what Jesus Christ has done for us. When we allow people to intimidate us, we neutralize our effectiveness for God. The power of the Holy Spirit in us can help us over come our fear of what some might say or do to us, so that we can tell them about the grace of Christ. There will be no excuses when we stand before Him for the things we did or did not do. If God has lead someone into your life, it is for a purpose. It is for the purpose of telling them about the love of God and the gospel of Christ. That is the purpose of the life of all who believe and serve Him. God will lead people into our lives for this purpose. And it is our mission to bring this information to those around us. We do this through living a holy life and by telling them about what Christ has done for us. It is only through our witness that they will see Him. It is only in your living for Him that they will believe. Others will serve Him when they see Him in you. You do not have a spirit of fear, but One of power, love and self discipline living in you. Work with the Spirit of God and do not let the sprit of this world hold you down. Because greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.

Have a God Day!

 

 

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August 28, 2014: 9:16 pm: Sanctification

Hosea 10:12

12 I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of my love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.’
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Hosea repeatedly used illustrations about fields and crops. Here he is comparing a stony field to our stony hearts. But this field has been plowed and is no longer hard. And this is what happens to our heart when we submit to the Lord. The hardness of our hearts can be broken by acknowledging our sin and receiving God’s gift of forgiveness. The Holy Spirit comes in and plows the hardness of our heart. This process happens layer by layer and the work will not be done until we are with Him. It is not a once and for all process. We allow sin back into our lives and our hearts will become hardened again. We will need the continued work of the Holy Spirit as long as we live on this earth. But as a mature Christian, we understand this and we keep seeking God to expose those areas of our life that are not completely submitted to Him. God will gently work with us to impart His righteousness to us. This helps us to understand Philippians 1:6 more, “And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again.” Repent from your sins and let the Holy Spirit continue the work of sanctification in your life.

Have a God Day!

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August 27, 2014: 9:13 pm: Grace

Jeremiah 29:8-14

8 The LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says, “Do not let the prophets and mediums who are there in Babylon trick you. Do not listen to their dreams 9 because they prophesy lies in my name. I have not sent them,” says the LORD. 10 “The truth is that you will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me. 14 I will be found by you,” says the LORD. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and bring you home again to your own land.”
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Thousands of years later, people are still seeking what the future holds from every source except God. More people are going to every other god to learn what is in the future for them. But God the Father has always been very clear about what the future holds for all of us. He has laid out a very detailed map. And today that map is still the most published Book in the world. These words spoken through Jeremiah so many years ago are still relevant today for each and every one of us. God knows what our future holds, He know what the future of the world holds. And for those of us who acknowledge Him as Lord, the future always looks good because we will be with Christ. For those who will not accept His great gift of love, the future is uncertain. God wants only the best for you and He will make it happen in all circumstances. Even in our suffering God is working for our good. It is always difficult to see that when we are in pain, but our faith can remain strong because we have His Word on it. In the struggles you face, repeat this promise given to us by God our Father and trust that Christ Jesus has already suffered and knows exactly what you are going through. Look to no other source than God and the Word that He has given us.

Have a God Day!

 

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August 21, 2014: 4:37 am: God in us

Galatians 2:17-21

17 But what if we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then find out that we are still sinners? Has Christ led us into sin? Of course not! 18 Rather, I make myself guilty if I rebuild the old system I already tore down. 19 For when I tried to keep the law, I realized I could never earn God’s approval. So I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ. 20 I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I am not one of those who treats the grace of God as meaningless. For if we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

How have we been crucified with Christ? Legally, God looks at us as if we had died with Christ. Because our sins died with Him, we are no longer condemned (Colossians 2:13-15). Relationally, we have become one with Christ, and His life becomes ours. Our Christian life began when, in unity with Him, we died to our old life (Romans 6:5-11). In our daily life, we must regularly crucify sinful desires that would keep us from following Christ. This is also dying with Him (Luke 9:23-25). But the focus of Christianity is not dying but living. Because we have been crucified with Christ, we also have been raised with Him (Romans 6:5). Legally, we have been reconciled with God (2 Corinthians 5:19) and we are free to grow into Christ’s likeness (Romans 8:29). And in our daily life, we have Christ’s resurrection power to help us to remove and refuse sin (Ephesians 1:19-20). We no longer are alone, for Christ lives in us, He is our power for living and our hope for the future (Colossians 1:27).

Have a God Day!

 

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August 20, 2014: 3:22 am: Love

Mark 9:33-37

33 After they arrived at Capernaum, Jesus and his disciples settled in the house where they would be staying. Jesus asked them, “What were you discussing out on the road?” 34 But they didn’t answer, because they had been arguing about which of them was the greatest. 35 He sat down and called the twelve disciples over to him. Then he said, “Anyone who wants to be the first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.” 36 Then he put a little child among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes my Father who sent me.”
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

God’s great paradox is; we are called to a life of faith where elevation comes through being humbled, blessing comes through denying self, we receive and gain our lives by laying them down. This lesson for the disciples is relevant for us today. When Jesus chose His inner circle of disciples, He did not go to the religious leaders, who were very educated in the scriptures. Instead He went to the uneducated, the ignorant. More than likely the disciples did not even know how to read when Jesus chose them. Everything about the coming of the Savior was very humble. He never demanded to be treated as God or as the King He really was. During His ministry, He never had a home nor did He accumulate wealth. Instead Christ showed us a way to live according to the love God offers to us. We are to give up our “right” to have our way. Only by dying to self will we ever understand the love of God given to us through Christ Jesus. Only by denying ourselves will we ever receive the only thing that will matter on the Day when we stand before God. The next time you find yourself in a difficult situation, think about giving up your “right” to have your way. Choose to give it up and humble yourself. Seek to act as Jesus would by denying yourself and allowing the Holy Spirit to work through you.

Have a God Day!

 

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August 19, 2014: 12:58 am: Grace

Matthew 14:25-33

25 About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came to them, walking on the water. 26 When the disciples saw him, they screamed in terror, thinking he was a ghost. 27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. “It’s all right,” he said. “I am here! Don’t be afraid.” 28 Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you by walking on water.” 29 “All right, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he looked around at the high waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. 31 Instantly Jesus reached out his hand and grabbed him. “You don’t have much faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” 32 And when they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Living in this world is like walking on water. The storm rages around us with so many problems and hurts. So many people are hurting today because of sin in the world. Not necessarily their sin, but because there is sin in this world. As we come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we begin our walk with God in us. We are walking on water with Christ as our head. But all around us the storm rages. We are not unaffected by the storm and sometimes experience the rage. We start to sink when we take our eyes off Jesus. When we begin to look at ourselves and the entire storm around us, we begin to sink into the water. We loose our perspective of who we are as a child of God. When our focus is on ourselves and our pain, we hinder our relationship with Christ. So keep Jesus Christ as your focus and remember that He has called you to be in the world but not of it. So even though we have to walk through the storm of this life, we do not have let it sink us. It is only as we keep God first in our lives that we experience His blessings and peace. If you find yourself sinking into despair as Peter did, look to the One who can keep you afloat. Reminds me of this song by Bryan Duncan

Have a God Day!

 

 

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August 18, 2014: 2:26 am: Your mind

James 1:12-18

12 God blesses the people who patiently endure testing. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. 13 And remember, no one who wants to do wrong should ever say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else either. 14 Temptation comes from the lure of our own evil desires. 15 These evil desires lead to evil actions, and evil actions lead to death. 16 So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God above, who created all heaven’s lights. Unlike them, he never changes or casts shifting shadows. 18 In his goodness he chose to make us his own children by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his choice possession.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Temptation comes from evil desires within us, not from God. God will never tempt anyone to sin. It begins with an evil thought and becomes sin when we dwell on the thought and then put it into action. It is like a snowball rolling downhill, sin grows and becomes destructive the more we think about it and then do it. The best way to stop a temptation is before it becomes stronger in our mind by putting the thought out. We stop it before it grows and becomes an action. The thought is not the sin unless we continue to dwell on it. We can resist the temptation to sin by turning to God for strength and choosing to obey His Word. 1 Corinthians 10:13, tells us, “When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.” God will always make a way of escape; no one will be forced to give in to temptation and sin. It is completely our decision. So when temptation comes into your mind, as a thought, remember God has made a way of escape and turn to Him to show you. Trust God and He will help you.

Have a God Day!

 

 

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August 11, 2014: 10:11 pm: God in us

John 15:5-14

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. 9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey me, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you. 13 And here is how to measure it-the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends. 14 You are my friends if you obey me.”
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

These are some of the most powerful words spoken by our Lord. He clearly tells us to be connected to Him. Anyone who is not connected to Him is lost. Apart from Christ we can do nothing. Jesus not only tells us to stay connected to Him but He tells us how. His words are to remain in us. We start by reading His Word, and then we study it and remember it. We think about it and make His Word the way we live. Our lives are lived in obedience to His Word. Jesus then goes on to tell us that if His Word lives in us, we will have great joy. He didn’t tell us we would not have problems but that we would have joy. If your life is lacking a little joy today, look at your connection to Jesus Christ. Maybe you are a branch that is a little severed, or maybe you have broken away completely. You can still be grafted back to Christ by coming to Him and asking for His help. Confess your sin and turn back toward Him. The answer is here. Read the Book of John and pray, ask God for wisdom and He will give you peace. Peace that only comes from knowing that you are connected to the one true Branch of God.

Have a God Day!

 

 

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August 8, 2014: 10:06 pm: God in us

James 1:22-25

22 And remember, it is a message to obey, not just to listen to. If you don’t obey, you are only fooling yourself. 23 For if you just listen and don’t obey, it is like looking at your face in a mirror but doing nothing to improve your appearance. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you keep looking steadily into God’s perfect law-the law that sets you free-and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Our ability to fully understand the truth of God is greatly flawed. Each of us has our own preconceived ideas about who God is and how He works. Some of our understanding comes from how other people have treated us. If you did not have a loving earthly father, it will be difficult for you to fully trust that our heavenly Father loves you. It will be difficult but not impossible. There are no obstacles from our past that God cannot overcome. Our ability to understand God’s love is not perfect, but His love is. As we listen and read God’s Word it penetrates our minds and hearts. As we obey the Word it begins to grow and take root. The more we understand and the more we obey the deeper the roots. God nourishes the garden of His Word in our hearts as we move in trust. We trust His Word to be true even though we cannot fully understand it. We know His truth is perfect and trust Him to love us and meet our needs. When the Word becomes clear to you, move in obedience to that Word and let your roots grow deep. The more you obey, the more truth will be revealed to you by the Spirit of God.

Have a God Day!

 

 

 

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August 7, 2014: 9:24 pm: God in us

Numbers 9:15-23

15 The Tabernacle was set up, and on that day the cloud covered it. Then from evening until morning the cloud over the Tabernacle appeared to be a pillar of fire. 16 This was the regular pattern-at night the cloud changed to the appearance of fire. 17 When the cloud lifted from over the sacred tent, the people of Israel followed it. And wherever the cloud settled, the people of Israel camped. 18 In this way, they traveled at the LORD’s command and stopped wherever he told them to. Then they remained where they were as long as the cloud stayed over the Tabernacle. 19 If the cloud remained over the Tabernacle for a long time, the Israelites stayed for a long time, just as the LORD commanded. 20 Sometimes the cloud would stay over the Tabernacle for only a few days, so the people would stay for only a few days. Then at the LORD’s command they would break camp. 21 Sometimes the cloud stayed only overnight and moved on the next morning. But day or night, when the cloud lifted, the people broke camp and followed. 22 Whether the cloud stayed above the Tabernacle for two days, a month, or a year, the people of Israel stayed in camp and did not move on. But as soon as it lifted, they broke camp and moved on. 23 So they camped or traveled at the LORD’s command, and they did whatever the LORD told them through Moses.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

The Israelites traveled and camped as the Lord guided them. They did not make a move before the cloud did. When you follow God’s guidance, you know you are where God wants you to be. So many times we are looking for God to guide us into what we should be doing next or where we should be going, but every one of us is at some place right now. Instead of praying, “God, where do you want me to go?” ask, “God what do you want me to do while I’m right here?” Direction from God is not moving you from one place to another or one job to another; it is understanding that He has a purpose to use you right where you are now. It doesn’t matter if you are in the valley or on top of the mountain; God has a purpose for you right where you are. Begin to understand God’s purpose for your life by doing His will right where you are at this moment!

Have a God Day!

 

 

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