Archive for September, 2008

September 30, 2008: 5:53 pm: Daily Scripture

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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September 29, 2008: 5:32 pm: Daily Scripture

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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September 26, 2008: 5:14 am: Daily Scripture

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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September 25, 2008: 5:09 am: Daily Scripture

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 is 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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September 24, 2008: 5:08 am: Daily Scripture

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 keep 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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September 23, 2008: 5:27 pm: Daily Scripture

Job 2:4-10
4 Satan replied to the Lord, “Skin for skin-he blesses you only because you bless him. A man will give up everything he has to save his life. 5 But take away his health, and he will surely curse you to your face!” 6 “All right, do with him as you please,” the Lord said to Satan. “But spare his life.” 7 So Satan left the Lord’s presence, and he struck Job with a terrible case of boils from head to foot. 8 Then Job scraped his skin with a piece of broken pottery as he sat among the ashes. 9 His wife said to him, “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.” 10 But Job replied, “You talk like a godless woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” So in all this, Job said nothing wrong.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Many people think that believing in God protects them from trouble, so when trouble comes, they will question God’s goodness and justice.  But the message of Job is that you should not give up on God because He allows you to have bad experiences for His purposes.  Faith in God does not guarantee prosperity and lack of faith does not guarantee troubles in life.  If this were so, people would believe in God simply to get blessed and avoid pain.  God is capable of rescuing us from any kind of suffering, but He may allow suffering to come for a purpose we cannot understand.  It is Satan’s strategy to get us to doubt God when trouble comes. Job is showing us a perspective that is broader than seeking our own personal comfort. God is not always interested in our comfort, He is interested in our becoming more like Him.  And if that means we have to go through some pain, it will happen.  Our focus should always be on His will and not our comfort.  God is interested in everything that happens to us, but He wants our faith in Him to come from a heart that loves Him and not a heart that gets what it wants.

Have a God Day!

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September 22, 2008: 4:21 pm: Daily Scripture

Romans 7:18-25
18 I know I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn, I can’t make myself do right. I want to, but I can’t. 19 When I want to do good, I don’t. And when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway. 20 But if I am doing what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing it; the sin within me is doing it.  21 It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another law at work within me that is at war with my mind. This law wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Are there days you feel this scripture more intensely?  Sometimes, we just can’t do anything right or at least it feels that way.  Thank God, He understands.  God knows that our best intentions are just that.  So many times we fail more than we succeed.  But the key is that at times, we do succeed.  We don’t always fail and that is what we need to remember.  I love what Paul writes, he is so in touch with himself and he has helped me so many times.  When life is taking you down a road of failures, remember that others have been there too.  And there is hope; we are not destined to always fail.  God understands that we are just made of dust and many times we fail.  But when we take our pain and failures to Him, He will work out all things for our good because we love and trust Him.  The answer really is Jesus Christ; it is only through Him that any of us will have victory.  Only through Christ Jesus will any of us be sanctified.  Remember who you are the next you fail and then get up and continue on.

Have a God Day!

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September 19, 2008: 5:33 am: Daily Scripture

Ephesians 2:8-10
8 God saved you by his special favor when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Because we are saved by God’s special favor, we become His masterpiece.  We are a new creation when we accepted Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior.  It is nothing we have done or can do that saves us from eternity without God.  It is because we believed God.  Once saved, we have a work to do.  We did not get our salvation by working for it but once we are saved, God has a work for us to do.  Our purpose is to serve God by serving others.  God made us to make a difference in this world.  The work we do here is preparation for the work He will have us do in eternity.  1 Peter 4:10 states, “Each one should use whatever gift he’s received to serve others.”  There is no way we can serve God if we do not serve others.  That is our purpose as God’s children.  We are to give to others what He has given to us.  If you are not doing something for the body of Christ, you are doing nothing for God.  Look at the abilities He has given you and start doing a work for others.  God will work through your effort to bless you and those you help.

Have a God Day!

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September 18, 2008: 5:31 am: Daily Scripture

Matthew 20:25-28
25 But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that in this world kings are tyrants, and officials lord it over the people beneath them. 26 But among you it should be quite different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must become your slave. 28 For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many.”
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Being a child of God means learning to serve like Jesus served.  First we must be available.  If you read about a lot of the miracles Jesus did, He was always on His way to do something else.  But He made Himself available to those who called on Him with a need.  He was willing to be interrupted to do the will of God the Father.  To be like Christ means being willing to be interrupted by the Spirit of God to minister to a need.  It may mean giving up your plan and changing direction.  To be like Christ, we should be willing to forget our needs to meet the greater need of our neighbor.  All around us there are people in need.  Be open to the pain around you and be willing to serve as Jesus served.  Do it because you love Him and because He served you first when He died for your sin. 

Have a God Day!

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September 17, 2008: 5:27 am: Daily Scripture

1 Corinthians 15:54-58
54 When this happens-when our perishable earthly bodies have been transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die-then at last the Scriptures will come true: “Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. 57 How we thank God, who gives us victory over sin and death through Jesus Christ our Lord! 58 So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord’s work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Serving like Jesus means being faithful until the end.  Life now is not all there is, you are being prepared to live for eternity.  As a believer in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, you will live forever with Him.  But until that time, you are to remain faithful to the work of Christ.  Nothing you do is too small for Christ.  If Christ has called you, do it with enthusiasm and faithfully.  Nothing done for Christ is a waste of time.  He will not forget the work you do in His name.  If you even give a drink of water to a worker of Christ, you have given it to Christ. The true story is told of an usher years ago feeling like the work he did was not important.  At a revival meeting, he noticed two young boys come in and there was no place for them to sit and they turned to leave.  He went over to them and found them a seat.  At the service those two young boys committed their lives to Jesus Christ.  One of those boys was Billy Graham.  That usher because of his work will have a reward waiting for him because of all the millions of people that came to the Lord through the preaching of Billy Graham.  Don’t ever think what you do is too little, just do it for Him and remain faithful to His call.

Have a God Day!

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