Archive for March, 2014

March 31, 2014: 7:22 pm: Christian Love

Philippians 4:11

11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

The thing about life is that it is so daily. We keep doing the same things over and over. Life can become gray and without purpose if we are not careful. And life always looks better in someone else’s playground. Stop looking at what you don’t have and start learning how to be content with where you are. This is the lesson from Paul, learn to be content, no matter what you have or where you are. Living in America it is easy to forget that so many in this world live in need. Try to image life for the 40,000 people who die from starvation each week. It cannot be comprehended in the land of plenty we live in. We are bombarded by advertisers that tell us we will not be happy or beautiful or content without their product. And we buy, buy and buy but never reach a level of contentment that satisfies. That is because we are looking at things to make us content and only through God living in us and the knowledge of His love will we find contentment. Paul had learned how to be content in every situation. I don’t know about you, but this is how I want to be. And it is sometimes a daily struggle, but I keep on working at it. I keep on reading the Word to keep me focused on who I am in Christ. And I think on what is true and what is honest and not on the lie this world would have me believe. Focus in on Christ Jesus and not on this world and contentment can be yours.

Have a God Day!

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March 27, 2014: 10:00 pm: God in us

Romans 6:1-11

Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more kindness and forgiveness? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? 3 Or have you forgotten that when we became Christians and were baptized to become one with Christ Jesus, we died with him? 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. 5 Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised as he was. 6 Our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. 7 For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. 8 And since we died with Christ, we know we will also share his new life. 9 We are sure of this because Christ rose from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. 10 He died once to defeat sin, and now he lives for the glory of God. 11 So you should consider yourselves dead to sin and able to live for the glory of God through Christ Jesus.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

As a child of God, what is your relationship with sin? Now that you have accepted Christ as Lord and have received forgiveness for your sins, what power does sin have over you? According to Paul, sin has lost its power to control you. It does not mean that you will not sin again; it just means that sin has no power over you. Without the blood of Christ over you, sin has complete control. It is like swimming into a whirlpool, once in it, you have no control except to go through the whole thing and be spit out at the end. Sin is like that for those without Christ. Taking that first step into sin, will pull you deeper into it and it will lead to complete destruction. As a Christian, we will sin but the power of the Holy Spirit will bring it to our mind and we will seek forgiveness and have the power to step out of it. The Holy Spirit will also work to bring it to mind before you step into sin. God will provide a way out so you do not sin. 1 Corinthians 10:13 applies to sin in our life, “No trial has come to you but what is human. God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it.” Once you confess your sin, he is faithful to forgive you and will provide you power to step out of it. We are not bound by the sin we have stepped into. Our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin would lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. We are free to do the will of God the Father through the direction of Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Consider yourself dead to sin and go out and live for the glory of God through Christ Jesus.

Have a God Day!

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March 26, 2014: 7:12 pm: Christian Love, Grace

Matthew 5:17-20

17 “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to fulfill them. 18 I assure you, until heaven and earth disappear, even the smallest detail of God’s law will remain until its purpose is achieved. 19 So if you break the smallest commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be great in the Kingdom of Heaven. 20 “But I warn you-unless you obey God better than the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees do, you can’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven at all!”
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Jesus is saying that those who would listen needed a different kind of obedience altogether (out of love for God), not just a copy of what the Pharisees’ did out of obligation. Their obedience was out of the glory they received for being “holy.” It was not from a heart that was grateful for love received, but out of what they could personally receive. Our obedience must come from what God does in us, not what we can do by ourselves. It must be Christ centered, not self-centered. It should be based on reverence for God and not approval from people and it should go beyond just keeping the law to living by the principles behind the law. Which is the love received makes a redeemed heart grateful and wanting to do His will. A changed heart is a vessel that God can work through because of His love and His grace given. It is not out of what can be gained, but what can be given. Obedience to God is given because of what He gave. What does your walk for Him show to the world? Does it show the work He has done in you or does it show the work you have done? Remember only the work He has done in you will go into eternity with you and everything else will be burned away. Let your appreciation for grace received show in all that you do.

Have a God Day!

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March 19, 2014: 5:47 pm: God in us

2 Peter 1:2-11

2 May God bless you with his special favor and wonderful peace as you come to know Jesus, our God and Lord, better and better.3 As we know Jesus better, his divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life. He has called us to receive his own glory and goodness! 4 And by that same mighty power, he has given us all of his rich and wonderful promises. He has promised that you will escape the decadence all around you caused by evil desires and that you will share in his divine nature. 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. 11 And God will open wide the gates of heaven for you to enter into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Many believers want an abundance of God’s special favor and peace, but they are unwilling to put forth the effort to get to know Him better through Bible study and prayer. To enjoy the privileges God offers us freely, we must “come to know Jesus, our God and Lord, better and better.” The power to live a godly life comes God. Because we don’t have the resources to be godly, God allows us to “share in His divine nature” in order to keep us from sin and help us to live for Him. But faith must be more than belief in certain facts; it must result in action, growth in Christ’s character, and the practice of moral discipline, or it will die away. A life of faith means growing to know God better, self-control, patient endurance and loving others. These actions do not come automatically: they require hard work. But it is not an option if you belong to Christ. This must be your goal to become more like Him and have the way you life your live reflect Him. God does empower and enable us, but He also gives us the responsibility to learn and grow. How much does your life reflect Christ? Are you in the process of becoming more like Him? Those who love Him, will be like Him. Start today, get to know Him through His Word and let His Spirit guide you into living Christ to the world.

Have a God Day!

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March 18, 2014: 6:10 pm: God in us

John 14:1-4

“Don’t be troubled. You trust God, now trust in me. 2 There are many rooms in my Father’s home, and I am going to prepare a place for you. If this were not so, I would tell you plainly. 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. 4 And you know where I am going and how to get there.”
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Of all the world’s religions, none promises that their god will return. That is because all other religions are of man. Only Christianity has this promise and only Christianity has a God that is alive. Jesus’ words show that the way to eternal life, though unseen, is secure. He has already gone ahead of us and is right now preparing a place for each of us who know Him. The only issue that is unsettled is your willingness to believe. John gives us the words of Christ that describe what eternal life will be like. We will be with Him and we will all have our own place that has been prepared by Christ. He gave us these words to comfort us and to let us know that we would follow Him. We can look forward to eternal life because of this promise from Christ for all who believe Him. We may not have all the details, but we need not fear because Christ is preparing for us and we will spend eternity with Him. Do not let your heart be troubled, neither fear because Christ is with you and is waiting for you.

Have a God Day!

 

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March 17, 2014: 1:17 am: God in us

1 Peter 4: 1-3

So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you are willing to suffer for Christ, you have decided to stop sinning. 2 And you won’t spend the rest of your life chasing after evil desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God. 3 You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy-their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Most people live their life doing anything they can to avoid pain. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work. We all suffer pain in this life. No one is exempt from it. But that does not keep many running from it or living their life for the next good time. As followers of Christ our focus should be different. We should be willing and prepared to do God’s will and to suffer for it if necessary. When we can come to this point in our walk with Christ, sin loses its power to defeat us. If we focus on Christ and what He wants us to do, even if that means suffering for Him. sin has lost its power over us. When we are in pain or our life is in jeopardy, our real values clearly show, and sinful pleasures have no meaning. You will never hear a dying person say, “I wish I had spent more time drinking, or gambling or cheating my neighbor.” No, what you will hear is “I wish I had told you sooner how much you meant to me.” Or, “I wish I had spent more time with my family.” These are the things that are really important and the momentary pleasures of sin lose their appeal. So whatever it is that Christ is asking you to do today, or whatever pain it may cause you, do it! Your momentary discomfort will be worth the eternal joy of pleasing your Savior!

Have a God Day!

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March 14, 2014: 7:25 pm: 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.

Sin always brings death that is a fact as certain as the law of gravity. Jesus did not die for His own sins, He had none. Instead, by a transaction that we may never fully understand, He died for the sins of the whole world. He died for all past, present and every sin to ever be committed. There is not one sin that can be forgiven by the work that Christ Jesus did on the cross. When we commit our life to Christ and thus identify ourselves with Him, His death becomes ours. We are crucified with Him. Our sinful nature is nailed to the cross with Him. He paid the penalty for our sins, and His blood has purified us. And just as Christ rose from the dead, so we will also rise to a new life for eternal fellowship with Him. But while we walk in this world, we struggle with our sinful nature. It is sometimes a daily need to nail self to the cross and put Christ on the throne of our lives. We have to die to self and let Christ live in us and work through us. Until you are with Him, you must let Him live in you. To be His child is to live His life in your body by His power.

Have a God Day!

 

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March 13, 2014: 7:20 pm: Sanctification, Your mind

Philippians 2: 12-16 

12 So then, my beloved, obedient as you have always been, not only when I am present but all the more now when l am absent, work out your salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For God is the one who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work. 14. Do everything without grumbling or questioning, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world, 16 as you hold onto the word of life, so that my boast for the day of Christ may be that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
The New American Bible, (Nashville, Tennessee: Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) 1997.

We are all three-part beings that consist of a body, a soul and a spirit. Your body relates to the physical environment around you. It likes to feel good and be comfortable with plenty of great food, sleep, relaxation and comfort. Your spirit is the part of you that relates to God’s Spirit. It wants a relationship with our Creator. When you ask Jesus Christ to save you, forgive you and wash you with His blood, your spirit is put back into relationship with the Spirit of God. A person will never find contentment if his spirit is not in unity with the Spirit of God. Your soul is a three-part existence of mind, will and emotions. When your spirit is in unity with God’s Spirit, it is your mind, will and emotions that strongly resists following or surrendering to God’s will. It is your mind that has been recording every wrong thing that has happened to you and every wrong idea and belief about God. You mind has stored all the pain of your past experiences and keeps them alive through the emotions they evoke when you think about past failures and pain. Your spirit tells you that God loves and cares for you and then your mind plays an old tape that says, “Ya right. Where was God when this happened or that happened?” Your soul will not surrender to God without a fight. Paul was addressing this un-surrendered soul when he told the Philippians to work out their own salvation. God will not cross the walls of your self-constructed inner strongholds, so they keep His grace and healing out. We must tear down these walls ourselves and allow God to come in and make new tapes of love and joy and peace. Satan can push your buttons anytime he wants just by getting you to remember an old hurt or painful experience. 2 Corinthians 10:4, 5 states, “We use God’s mighty weapons, not mere worldly weapons, to knock down the Devil’s strongholds. With these weapons we break down every proud argument that keeps people from knowing God. With these weapons we conquer their rebellious ideas, and we teach them to obey Christ.” Work out your salvation by tearing down the strongholds in your mind that are preventing you from becoming all of what God intended you to be.

Have a God Day!

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March 12, 2014: 7:18 pm: Salvation

Galatians 2:16-21 

16 And yet we Jewish Christians know that we become right with God, not by doing what the law commands, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be accepted by God because of our faith in Christ-and not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be saved by obeying the law.” 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.

By nature we presume to seek salvation by our works. It seems contrary to our flesh to believe we cannot. We want the control. If we could save ourselves by our own work and effort, we could take the credit because it is under our control and our power. We would be putting ourselves on the throne and this is the nature of mankind, to be in control. But the Word of God states it is offensive to Him for us to believe we can. Faith accepts God’s Word in a trusting, childlike manner. Salvation is a free gift, we can do nothing to earn it, it is a completely free gift from God and all we have to do is accept it. Further more, we need to understand that it is just as impossible to maintain our relationship with God through works. We maintain it by listening to and obeying the leading of the Holy Spirit. This may involve works, but it is not because of works. It is living in complete submission to His will. And we know His will by His Word. Put yourself aside and think as if you have put on the life of Jesus Christ like you are putting on clothing. Let Christ live freely through you by the power of His Spirit.

Have a God Day!

 

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March 11, 2014: 7:15 pm: God in us

Ephesians 3:16-19

16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. 17 And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

No matter how good we are, God could love us no more. And no matter how bad we are, He could love us no less. This is the heart of our relationship with God the Father through Christ Jesus. God loves us! It was because of His love for us that Christ came. It was because of His love for us that He endured the torture of the cross. Every person ever born can know the love of God, if they chose. It is not withheld from any. It is always there and nothing can ever separate us from it. It is the power of this love that propels us to become His image to the world. It is not us imitating Christ but Christ actually in us. Pope John Paul ll stated, “We are not the sum of our weakness and failures; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our capacity to become the image of his Son.” Let the world see the love of God through you as you grow to understand it. You be His expression of love to those who need it.

Have a God Day!

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