Archive for December, 2013

December 30, 2013: 10:03 pm: God in us

Romans 8:26-30

26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn, with many brothers and sisters. 30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And he gave them right standing with himself, and he promised them his glory.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

God works for our good in all things. Not just some things or the things we can understand but in all things. There is nothing that happens to you that God is not working for your good. This does not mean that all things that happen to us are good, but that God is able to work good out every situation. That includes the evil we do or that is done to us. We may not see immediate good, but it all has a purpose and a plan by our God. He is not working to make us happy but to fulfill His long range plan for us. And this is the place that we find peace and joy. Note that this promise cannot be claimed by all but only those who are called. It is for those who belong to Him. For those of us who belong to God, He gives us a new understanding and a new mind set. He gives us the mind of Christ. And it is here that we learn to trust Him. Faith does not waver in pain and trials because we know that God is with us and is working for us.

Have a God Day!

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December 20, 2013: 8:31 pm: God in us

Romans 12:2-8

2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is. 3 As God’s messenger, I. give each of you this warning: Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you. 4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are all parts his one body, and each of us has different work to do. And since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others. 6 God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out when you have faith that God is speaking through you. 7 If your gift is that of serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, do a good job of teaching. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, do it! If you have money. share it generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, lnc.) 1996.

Paul is laying the foundation for emotional health to the Romans in this letter. You will find no better place for instruction on emotional health than the Word of God. Dr. Gary Chapman has laid out 5 principles for what he calls reality living that applies to how we react to the world around us. These principles are based on the Word of God.
1. I am responsible for my own attitude.
Attitude has to do with the way you decide to think about things. If we focus on the negative, things will get worse. If we focus on the positive, things will be better. Your attitude can have a profound effect on your emotional well being for the good or for the worse depending on what you choose!
2. Attitude affects actions.
Attitudes affect our behavior and words. You may not be able to control your situation but you can control your actions and words. Your are responsible for what you do within your environment!
3. I cannot change others, but I can influence others.
Our attitudes and actions are contagious. Every word you say and every action you take will influence people around you for better or for worse. But the same is true for those around you. Don’t let others decide for you how you will respond. Go against the grain and respond to meanness with love and kindness.
4. My actions are not controlled by my emotions.
In our thoughts, we interpret what we experience around us. Our thoughts will become emotions or feelings. Eventually, we take actions, based on our thoughts and emotions, we do something. Our action will enhance or destroy our relationships. Our actions are far more important than our emotions. So think before you act.
5. Admitting my imperfections does not mean that I am a failure.
To admit your own past failures does not mean you are taking all the responsibility for the trouble in your relationships. It simply means you are taking responsibility for where you have failed.

Have a God Day!

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December 18, 2013: 7:48 pm: Christian Love, God in us

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.

This is one of the strongest statements about the divine nature of Christ found anywhere in scripture. Jesus is not only equal to God, He is God. He is the exact representation of God and He reveals God to us. Christ is completely holy and He has the right to judge the world. He is the head of the body and as Christians; we are to be connected to Him. Because Christ is holy and is God, we can trust Him to direct our lives. Everything is held together, protected and prevented from total chaos by Christ. And because Christ is the sustainer of life, none of us is independent from Him. If you are not connected to the body of Christ, you are not a part of Him. As Christians, we cannot act independent of Christ or His body. We are to be connected to our brothers and sisters in Christ, as we are connected to Him. There is no such thing as a lone Christian, if you are a part of Christ; you are a part of His body of believers. We need to function together with each of us using the skills He has given us to grow the body. This is the function of each Christian, with Christ as our head.

Have a God Day!

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December 17, 2013: 7:19 pm: Sanctification, Your mind

Romans 12:1-2

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice-the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask? 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

What is it that God wants you to do? Isn’t this the question we are always asking ourselves? I have heard many Christians say, “If I only knew what God’s will was for me, I would do it.” Outside of the great commission, left for us by Christ, there is no other answer. Jesus told us exactly what God’s will for everyone was in Matthew 22:37, “Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.'” The answer to our questions are all in the owners manual given to us by God. It’s in the Book! Paul tells us in Romans not to copy what we see the world doing but to let God transform us into a new person by changing our thinking. You are what you think you are. As you fill your mind with the truth God has given us in his Word, you will begin to think like Christ. As you think like Christ, you will act like Christ. And as you act like Christ, you will become like Christ. Whatever it is that you think about the most is the thing that is most important to you. Follow the instructions in Philippians 4:8, “Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right.” As you read the Word and fill your thoughts with the truth of God, you will know God’s will for your life. You will love the Lord your God with all of your heart and all of your mind, everything else after that is just minor details. Don’t get stuck in the minor details, but focus on the One who made you for His own pleasure and think on Him!

Have a God Day!

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December 16, 2013: 11:15 pm: Christian Love

Matthew 7:1-5

Stop judging others, and you will not be judged. 2 For others will treat you as you treat them. Whatever measure you use in judging others, it will be used to measure how you are judged. 3 And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? 4 How can you think of saying, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Isn’t it always easier for us to see what is wrong in someone else than in ourselves? Families are very good at this. We like to fix what is wrong in our loved ones before we fix ourselves. Sometimes we can be like the group of turkey vultures I saw once. They were grouped by the road as I was driving and suddenly one of them jumped in front of a truck and was wounded. I watched the others quickly go to him. I thought, how nice that they care about their brother. But to my horror, they went to finish him off so they could eat him! Then I thought I’ve been to some family reunions like that. It seems even Christians are better at judging others when they are down instead of looking at what is wrong in their own life. We judge those getting divorced while our own marriage is in a shambles. Or we say the sick must have sinned, while we continue in our own secret sin. These words of Christ are for the church more than they are for the world. As Christians we should be taking care of our own sin and not judging or trying to fix those around us. Be very careful, as Christ has warned us. We will be judged by Him with the same measure that we used to judge those around us. I want the smallest measure of judgment when I stand before Him. (Christians stand before Him for a judgment of our works, not sin.) Whenever I want to judge or fix, I think about what needs fixing in my life first and if there is nothing there, then I can go forward with judgment. I have never reached that point and none of us will, which tells us we have no right to judge.

Have a God Day!

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December 13, 2013: 9:20 pm: Sanctification

Romans 5:1-6

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. 3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us-they help us learn to endure. 4 And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. 5 And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. 6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.
There is a two sided reality to living a life for Christ. On one hand, our spirit is complete in Christ when we accept His free gift of grace by faith. Because of our faith, we are given the highest privilege of sharing God’s glory. On the other hand, our soul (mind, will and emotions) are continually growing to become more like Christ. We have the status of royalty and the duties of slaves. We experience both the presence of Christ and pressure of sin. While we enjoy the peace that can only come from being made right with God, we also struggle with temptation and pain. Remembering our double nature in this world will keep us from becoming discouraged while we continue to work with Christ to complete the process of sanctification of our soul. We keep our eyes focused on Him and the prize of eternity with Him. Remember, we are friends of God and that He is working to draw us closer to Him and not to condemn us for our mistakes. God is slowly building our confidence and character for higher responsibilities for the work of His kingdom. Remember who you are in Christ and let the power of the Spirit of God within you lead you through your trails and temptations to become the royalty you are.

Have a God Day!

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December 12, 2013: 9:14 pm: God in us

Numbers 13:30-33

30 But Caleb tried to encourage the people as they stood before Moses. Let’s go at once to take the land, he said. We can certainly conquer it! 31 But the other men who had explored the land with him answered, We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are! 32 So they spread discouraging reports about the land among the Israelites: The land we explored will swallow up any who go to live there. All the people we saw were huge. 33 We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. We felt like grasshoppers next to them, and that’s what we looked like to them!

14:1 Then all the people began weeping aloud, and they cried all night. 2 Their voices rose in a great chorus of complaint against Moses and Aaron. We wish we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness! they wailed. 3 Why is the Lord taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and little ones will be carried off as slaves! Let’s get out of here and return to Egypt! 4 Then they plotted among themselves, Let’s choose a leader and go back to Egypt!
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Why is it that a dog will always return to it’s vomit (Proverbs 26:11) and Christians who have lived in Egypt, want to return? Looking back it is always easier to want what we have known, even it has not always been the best. And sometimes the idea of functioning under faith in a God we cannot see, sends us running back to the world, we were saved out of. Because we cannot see with our limited senses what God is doing in our lives, we doubt and fear. We see ourselves as grasshoppers in a land of giants. The battle is lost before it began. The Israelites with this mind set died in the wilderness because of their lack of faith and vision. Focusing on what we can do under our own power will destroy the work God has set before us. We need to have the attitude of Joshua and Caleb who stated in Numbers 14:9, “The Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!” When you are comparing what you lack to what others have, you function under intimidation and not confidence. Let Proverbs 3:26 (For the Lord will be your confidence, And will keep your foot from being caught) be your determination to move forward.

Have a God Day!

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December 11, 2013: 9:14 pm: Return of Christ

Zephaniah 3:14-20

16 On that day the announcement to Jerusalem will be, Cheer up, Zion! Don’t be afraid! 17 For the Lord your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty savior. He will rejoice over you with great gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will exult over you by singing a happy song. 18 I will gather you who mourn for the appointed festivals; you will be disgraced no more. 19 And I will deal severely with all who have oppressed you. I will save the weak and helpless ones; I will bring together those who were chased away. I will give glory and renown to my former exiles, who have been mocked and shamed. 20 On that day I will gather you together and bring you home again. I will give you a good name, a name of distinction among all the nations of the earth. They will praise you as I restore your fortunes before their very eyes. I, the Lord, have spoken!
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Zephaniah is telling us about the day when Christ will rule on earth. God is not done with Jerusalem and even though it may look bad for the Jewish nation today, God is not done. His promises for this city will happen. And just as God returned His people to Jerusalem before the first coming of Christ, so He has returned His people to this city before Christ comes again. After the Babylonian exile, the Jewish nation returned to the homeland and rebuilt the temple. It was almost 500 years afterwards that Christ came as a Babe to save the world. Today the Jewish people are again back in their homeland and the temple will once again be rebuilt before Christ returns again. This time He is coming as Judge, the Lion of Judah. But we can rejoice with gladness because we have His Word that God rejoices over us with gladness and with His love He will calm our fears. Christians are His people both Jews and Gentiles, anyone who accepts His gift of grace will be calmed by His love. No matter what is happening today. So rejoice that God is in control and know that we have His Word that He will come again. He did it once, He will do it again!

Have a God Day!

 

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December 10, 2013: 7:15 pm: Love, Sanctification

Colossians 1:15-17

15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before God made anything at all and is supreme over all creation. 16 Christ is the one through whom God created everything in heaven and earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see kings, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities. Everything has been created through him and for him. 17 He existed before everything else began, and he holds all creation together.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Have you ever wondered why you were created? So many times in this life, we wonder how we got here. When it seems that the bad out weighs the good, no one can blame us for wondering what is our purpose for living. But God is always faithful and answers our questions when we ask. Everything, absolutely everything was created by Christ and finds its purpose in Him. It is in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for and we are part of the overall purpose He is working out in everything and everyone. God created everything through Christ Jesus and He is the reason we live. Even in our pain, even in the times of our life when we wonder if anything could ever be more difficult, He is our purpose. He is our hope, He is our peace, He is joy, and He is our everything. And it is only through Him that we will ever be complete. Because we were created by Him and for Him, it is only through Him that we understand. Knowing God results in greater understanding and endurance through the trails and pains of this life. Because we know He is with us and will bring us through anything that happens to us. We know that He is working His purpose in us through our trails. Then we can stand, as Paul did in Philippians 4:13 and say, “I can do all things through Christ.”

Have a God Day!

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December 9, 2013: 11:26 pm: Sanctification, Your mind

Philippians 2:5-11

5 Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. 6 Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. 7 He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. 8 And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross. 9 Because of this, God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name that is above every other name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Every morning when we wake up we have a choice. We can decide to take on the attitude of Christ or we can take what ever attitude we are feeling. But we are not at the mercy of our attitude or our feelings. The decision is ours to make. Paul is telling us to take on the attitude of Jesus Christ. Even though He was God and lived in glory, He chose to make Himself a humble man. He suffered and died as a criminal on the cross. But because He made the choice to obey God, at the name of Jesus every knee will bow. We should think about the attitude we are projecting and then if it is not in line with the attitude of Christ, make an adjustment. Think about the attitude you are showing to the world around you and change it. You have the power within you to change the attitude you have by remembering all that Jesus went through to give you this freedom.

Have a God Day!

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