Sunday, October 3, 2010

What are you doing today?

What Are You Doing Today?

God has given you today, what are you going to do with it? Take your mind off tomorrow and leave yesterday behind - where and what has the Heavenly Father called you to today?  

Matthew 6:33-34 (HCSB)
But seek first the kingdom of God  and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don't worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

God has established that He will take of you. He has provided so the worry can leave your heart. You have been freed from it. Your schedule has been cleared. Where have you been called today so that you may seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness (right doing)? What is holding you back?

Hebrews 12:1-2 (HCSB)
Therefore since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God's throne.
We know that sin can hold us back. Take this time to claim His promise of forgiveness:

1 John 1:9 (HCSB)
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

What about that weight that holds you back. A weight is not necessarily sinful, but it can hold you back. The Greek word used for "weight" is also used for "anchor." How do we run with an anchor? 

Somebody else may have put that anchor there. You now have to decide whether to drag it or to lay it aside. Do not embrace resentment for this anchor, but embrace resolve to keep your eyes on Jesus to go where He has called you today. Seek His righteousness (right doing) and rejoice, for there is joy in doing right in obedience to our great God.

Don't skip church today - be with your brethren today.
Listen and apply to the pure Word of God given to You today.
Praise the Lord with all your heart!

"This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!" 

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Shedding of Blood

Hebrews 9:22 (ESV)
Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

Sometimes I think we forget the last statement here: “…and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” All of us can be extremists at times: either taking lightly the sacrifice of Jesus too lightly (Galatians 5:13; Hebrews 6:4-6) or we beat ourselves up over past sins that have been confessed (Psalm 103:12).

Christ shed His blood for us: to purify us; to forgive our sins; to reconcile us to the Father. How can we lightly take the freedom He gave us and consciously sin? If we forget the shedding of His blood on Calvary, it’s easy enough to go against the Father and later come back like a dog with its tail between its legs asking for forgiveness. Consider God Himself on the cross in agony saying “It is finished.” How can we continually abuse ourselves over the past when He took our punishment?

If you have any inclinations to lean to either extreme, please consider the price for your freedom – the shedding of His blood.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Rest From Work

Hebrews 4:9-10 (ESV)
So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, [10]for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

Where do you draw the line on a day of rest without becoming legalistic? We are to rest from our work as God rested from His.

Mark 2:27-28 (HCSB)
Then He told them, “The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. [28] Therefore the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

Jesus throughout the Gospels that doing good on the Sabbath was not violating the intent of the Sabbath. In that case, do we just cease work that brings us profit one day a week. Why a Sabbath?

Exodus 35:2 (HCSB)
For six days work is to be done, but on the seventh day you are to have a holy day, a Sabbath of complete rest to the LORD. Anyone who does work on it must be executed.

…a complete rest to the Lord. God knows our frame (Psalm 103:14). He knows we need time to stop, rest and encompass ourselves with Him (Psalm 46:10). I know very few people who are able to keep up a 7-day work week without eventually breaking. And when we break we take it out on those close to us or on God. When we do that we break the most blatant of the commandments: to love God and to love our neighbor (Matthew 22:37-40).

So why not cease striving and take that day of rest where you rest and recharge in God and in His word. (And yes, please continue to do good – love your neighbor with action).

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Exhort One Another

Hebrews 3:12-19 (ESV)
[12]Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. [13]But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. [14]For we share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. [15]As it is said,
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
[16]For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? [17]And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? [18]And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? [19]So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

What is your responsibility to those whom you worship with? What is your responsibility to those who are playing church? In my opinion, I believe there are many who claim to be Christian, yet who have not believed in Jesus. Verse 12 talks about there might be any among you with an evil, unbelieving heart (Romans 10:9 gives the basis of salvation as confession and belief). These who are playing church may even lead us to fall away: so what do we do?

We are to exhort one another every day. “Exhort” can also be translated “encourage,” “invite” or “warn.” For myself, I find writing an excellent way to exhort: I am determined to let God have all of me (Romans 12:1-2) and to let His word change me (II Timothy 3:16-17). By writing these devotionals I am “inviting” others to let His word “encourage” them in their walk with the Lord and “warn” them about pitfalls that I experience.

The best way to exhort is to get involved with someone’s life. Instead of looking for their weaknesses so you can fix them (we know that it is only God who can “fix” them), we share with them how God’s word has transformed us in different situations. I, for one am, willing to put on the “counselor” hat a little too quickly instead of being an exhorter who trusts in the true Counselor (John 14:26) who uses God’s word to guide us.

So please, find a way to exhort those in your fellowship. Invite them to walk in God’s word with you as you share how He has transformed and is transforming you according to His word. Who knows - the one that is playing church may just come to full knowledge of God's saving grace through Jesus Christ.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Living in the Lord

Psalm 91:4-9 (KJV)
[4]He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
[5]Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
[6]Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
[7]A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
[8]Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
[9]Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;

Look at the promises in this portion of scripture: God will cover you and you will trust it; God’s word will be a defense for you; you will not fear (terror, weapons, disease, darkness, destruction or being left all alone). Because you make God your habitation (dwelling place; refuge).

What is your fear? God will take it away. Use His word as a defense against what is thrown at you and totally surrender to the Lord your God – make Him your habitation.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Turmoil of Temptation

Hebrews 2:18 (ESV)
For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Do you ever take lightly how much Jesus suffered when He was tempted? When we are tempted we are generally given two choices: 1) Trust in Jesus to overcome or escape the temptation (or) 2) Succumb to the temptation. Jesus had two choices too: 1) Follow the Father’s will (obey) (or) 2) Put His will first (disobey).

The choices are similar… but Jesus was not given a way of escape; if Jesus put His will first then there would be no redemption. Jesus understood and knew the consequences of His actions. He knew what He would have to face. Though Jesus was God, He was still man. Because He was man He suffered through temptation like we do (Hebrews 2:18; 4:15).

How do we act on this knowledge? Hebrews 4:16 leads us in this: “Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.” (HCSB) Jesus suffered that we might have grace. Jesus suffered that we may find help during temptation.

Jesus understands what you are going through. Jesus overcame what you are going through. Jesus will get you through. If He can save you from wrath and reconcile you with Almighty God, be sure that He can guide you safely through any temptation that comes your way.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Making the Most of What We Have

Psalms 90:10-12 (KJV)
The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
[11]Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath.
[12]So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

This passage reminds me to focus on what is important, because my days journeying on this earth are few. What is important you may ask? I am learning that I am a very simple person and that Matthew 22:37-40 sums up what I focus on: Love God and love others. How do I love God and others? John 14:15 answers the first part: I must learn and live God’s word. John 15:9-17 not only repeats walking in God’s word, but tells us to lay down our lives for one another – we show love to others like Christ showed love to us.

Jesus gave up His life for us so that we may be restored unto the Father. He knows the temptations we face (Hebrews 4:15) and still encourages us to put others first (Philippians 2:4). This is no easy task, but trusting in God is a great place to start. I try to stay focused (I did say try – not quite batting 100 right now) on what is important: Loving God (Learning the Word; Living the Word) and loving others (Teaching the Word; Preaching the Word) – Knowing Jesus and walking with Jesus. Daily submitting to Jesus through His word. Avoiding arguments and debates that distract from God’s word and gently restore those that deviate from His word (2 Timothy 2:14-26; Titus 3:1-3; Titus 3:9-11) in order that there may be repentance or salvation (1 Corinthians 10:23-33).

I encourage you (and myself) to take up Paul’s exhortation to the Philippians:

Philippians 3:7-16 (HCSB)
[7] But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. [8] More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ [9] and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ — the righteousness from God based on faith. [10] My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, [11] assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead.
[12] Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. [13] Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, [14] I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God's heavenly call in Christ Jesus. [15] Therefore, all who are mature should think this way. And if you think differently about anything, God will reveal this to you also. [16] In any case, we should live up to whatever truth we have attained.