Archive for June, 2013

June 25, 2013: 9:59 pm: Sanctification

2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
13 But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, 14 to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. 16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.
The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

As a believer in Christ, we must put aside sinful desires.  But doing so is a by-product of our new life in Christ, not the reason for our new life.  Our salvation does not depend on our own discipline and rule-keeping but on the power of Christ’s death and resurrection.  Keeping rules and requirements cannot change a person’s heart.  Only the Holy Spirit can do that. Still we should not expect instant maturity in our walk with Christ or in others who have stated this journey.  The process of having our soul (mind, will & emotions) being fully sanctified only begins at being fully justified by believing in Christ.  We should not expect instant maturity in ourselves or others.  Christian growth is a life long process.  Although we have a new nature, we don’t automatically think all good thoughts and have all pure attitudes when we become a new person in Christ.  But if we keep listening to God we will be changing all the time.  The more of God we know, the more of Him will show in our lives.  As you look over the last year, what changes for the better have you seen in your thoughts and actions?  What attitudes have changed?  Change may be slow, but your life will change significantly if you trust God to change you. 

Have a God Day!

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June 24, 2013: 10:44 pm: God in us

James 1:17-27
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. 26 If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are just fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. 27 Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

God is in control of your situation today.  No matter what it may be, He is there with you and He is working things out for your good.  But we are also required to act in our situation.  We cannot understand how God can be in control and the need for us to move into action, but both are true.  God chooses to work through those willing to act for Him.  We should always pray as if all depended on God and act as if it all depended on us.  In other words, we are to believe that God can do all things for our good, but act or move into the things we can. God will not just take care of your need without your involvement.  We are required to move into the direction He is leading to meet our need.  God wants us to act on our faith in Him and not just sit back and let Him do it all.  The events that have brought you to this place and time are not just a coincidence, they are the result of God’s sovereign control over your life.  This is a call for you to move into action.  Do the things that you can and pray about everything.  If God does not want you to move into a certain direction, He will provide another way through His Word or other godly people in your life.  But you must move, you must take action and believe that God will direct you.  Keep looking steadily into God’s perfect Word and do what it tells you to do. God’s Spirit will lead and direct you as move forward into living what you know is true from His Word.

Have a God Day!

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June 20, 2013: 9:14 pm: God in us

Job 19:25-27
25 “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and that he will stand upon the earth at last. 26 And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God! 27 I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL:Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

The Book of Job teaches us four lessons; 1.) God is sovereign. We cannot understand His workings by rational thinking alone; faith must rest in God’s love and our knowledge of Him. Sovereignty means that God is all-powerful; He knows all, He is everywhere and His decision is final. God is the author of all the powers of the universe. 2.) We understand ourselves and our lives in direct relationship to our understanding of the character and workings of God. When we understand that God’s will toward us is good, and that God cares and communicates His caring to His children, as He did to Job, this changes everything. Faith must have a resting place. When deep suffering threatens the foundations of faith, as was the case with Job, an assault on our faith can destroy us unless we are firmly rooted in these truths. 3.) In times of tragedy we face the temptation of making God our adversary instead of our advocate. We can declare our innocence and question the judgment of God, or we can bow in humility and wait for God to reveal Himself and His purposes to us. 4.) The struggle of faith is a personal one. We each must test the strength of our belief in God against uncontrollable forces and win our own individual victories. There will be times when family and friends may be taken from us and we must stand alone with only our faith in our Redeemer. But we like Job can stand under all circumstances and say, “I know that my Redeemer Lives!”

Have a God Day!

 

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June 18, 2013: 10:27 pm: God in us

2 Peter 1:5-10
5 So make every effort to apply the benefits of these promises to your life. Then your faith will produce a life of moral excellence. A life of moral excellence leads to knowing God better. 6 Knowing God leads to self-control. Self-control leads to patient endurance and patient endurance leads to godliness. 7 Godliness leads to love for other Christians, and finally you will grow to have genuine love for everyone. 8 The more you grow like this, the more you will become productive and useful in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ 9 But those who fail to develop these virtues are blind or, at least, very shortsighted. They have already forgotten that God has cleansed them from their old life of sin. 10 So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Doing this, you will never stumble or fall away. 
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

We are saved by faith and not by works, but once saved, God starts to make us into His image. God gives us the tools to become His righteousness but we have to pick them up and apply them. The tools are His promises. God will not make us walk a holy life, we have to apply the benefits of His promises to do so. Once we apply His promises by faith, we operate under the power of the Holy Spirit.  Every promise of God starts with our faith and then requires action on our part. Once we step into action, the power of His Spirit enables us to complete the work.  Applying faith to His promises produces moral excellence, self-control, endurance and love. Take the first step, know what the Word of God promises and then apply those promises to your life and the process of sanctification (being made into the image of Christ) will continue to show in your life.

Have a God Day!

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June 17, 2013: 10:10 pm: God in us

Exodus 14:19-28
19 Then the angel of God, who had been leading the people of Israel, moved to a position behind them, and the pillar of cloud also moved around behind them. 20 The cloud settled between the Israelite and Egyptian camps. As night came, the pillar of cloud turned into a pillar of fire, lighting the Israelite camp. But the cloud became darkness to the Egyptians, and they couldn’t find the Israelites. 21 Then Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the Lord opened up a path through the water with a strong east wind. The wind blew all that night, turning the seabed into dry land. 22 So the people of Israel walked through the sea on dry ground, with walls of water on each side! 23 Then the Egyptians all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and charioteers followed them across the bottom of the sea. 24 But early in the morning, the Lord looked down on the Egyptian army from the pillar of fire and cloud, and he threw them into confusion. 25 Their chariot wheels began to come off, making their chariots impossible to drive. “Let’s get out of here!” the Egyptians shouted. “The Lord is fighting for Israel against us!” 26 When all the Israelites were on the other side, the Lord said to Moses, “Raise your hand over the sea again. Then the waters will rush back over the Egyptian chariots and charioteers.” 27 So as the sun began to rise, Moses raised his hand over the sea. The water roared back into its usual place, and the Lord swept the terrified Egyptians into the surging currents. 28 The waters covered all the chariots and charioteers the entire army of Pharaoh. Of all the Egyptians who had chased the Israelites into the sea, not a single one survived.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

The children of Israel were stuck between the mountains and the sea and Pharaoh was coming to return them back into slavery. And the Lord told Moses to stop praying and to start moving. There is a time for prayer and a time for action.  And Moses needed to move into action even though there seemed to be no way out. Sometimes we find ourselves caught in a problem and can see no way out. We need to move into action as Moses did and trust that God can make a way where there seems to be no way. Don’t let your circumstances keep you from receiving the answer God has sent. It may not look like the direction you should go, but trust that God can see the whole situation from beginning to the end. And He knows what will happen and what would be best for you. Pray first and then move into the direction God leads you and watch the power of God resolve your problem.

Have a God Day!

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June 4, 2013: 10:36 pm: Sanctification

James 1:21-27
21 So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the message God has planted in your hearts, for it is strong enough to save your souls. 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. 26 If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are just fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. 27 Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Many find it easy and comfortable to maintain the appearance of being committed without a deep and sincere loyalty to God. Religious acts or rituals can help you to understand God, but without a sincere commitment to doing His will, they mean nothing.  That is why God instituted circumcision and the sacrificial system in the Old Testament and baptism and the Lord’s Supper in the New.  But religious ritual is helpful only if it is carried out with an attitude of love for and obedience to God.  If a person’s heart is far from God, ritual will become empty mockery. God doesn’t want your “acts” of religion; He wants your actions of His will. Hosea 6:6 states, “I want you to be merciful; I don’t want your sacrifices. I want you to know God; that’s more important than burnt offerings.”  God told the Old Testament people that He did not want their sacrifices, He wanted their heart.  Because a heart that loves Him is a heart that will obey Him.  The actions that come out of a heart that loves Him will be for Him and not to Him.  Pretense of love is not love at all.  God desires your sincere love and the relationship that comes out of that love will keep you safe within His love.  Don’t just go through the motions of serving Him.  Search your heart and read His Word to know Him and you will love Him because of His great love for you!

Have a God Day!

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