Friday, February 2, 2018

God lives with us

February 2

Daily Bible Reading: Exodus 29 – 30

Verse of the Day: Exodus 29:45 – “And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God.”

In this verse, God makes a marvelous promise to live among the Israelites and to be theirs. He is referring to the Tabernacle (later the Temple) as His place of residence.

In the New Testament, God takes up residence in the person of the Holy Spirit in each believer. He promises to abide with us, to dwell in us, to be a very personal part of us – for all eternity. In return, we as believers need to maintain our Temples (bodies) pure and set apart for God. Yes, we will sin, but He is faithful to cleanse and restore us (1 John 1:9). 

Therefore, do some “house-cleaning.” Meditate and seek to have any sin brought to your attention, then confess it, forsake it, and receive the cleansing from God.

Prayer: Father, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: Try me, and know my thoughts.” Amen. (Psalm 139:23)

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

True Freedom (Special Post)

2 Cor. 3:17 (CSB) - "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."

Today in America, we celebrate the anniversary of our freedom from the bondage to England. America is 241 years old today - Happy Birthday, America. However, our freedom was not free, it was paid for with a great price. Many of our Forefathers gave up everything to achieve this. Many people gave their life-blood to provide the freedom we now often take for granted. Over the years many more gave their all, their life-blood to maintain this freedom we enjoy. You might say that our freedom as Americans was "blood-bought."

In a much greater way, we need to remember today that Jesus Christ came, lived, died, rose again, ascended, and is coming again that we might enjoy the blessings of our spiritual freedom. In God's plan, through the shed blood of Jesus, we have been released from the bondage of sin. I other words, we have a true blood-bought freedom. 

Today, as you celebrate this special day, remember a deeper and greater freedom that was bought by blood for us. Enjoy the time with family and friends. Enjoy the food and festivities. Ooh and aah at the fireworks, parades, and concerts. But be sure to take time to celebrate the great release, restoration, and freedom achieved by the Blood of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Thank God I am Free! Not only in America, but that my body, soul, and spirit has been set free by the marvelous Grace that You provide. May I never take for granted either freedom that I am blessed with. Amen.

(Watch for the return of the regular blog in a short while).

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Biblical Cycle of of Rest

Mark 6:31 (CSB) - "He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest for a while.” For many people were coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat."

Have you ever felt like, "I give so much, but what's in it for me?' or "I'm tired and what I'm doing isn't really appreciated?" We may feel like we need to shut down because of being overly pressured, criticized, or constant worry. We become ill or depressed. We find ourselves being tempted with a little something for ourselves. The temptations are everywhere in many ways. This could be warning us of being on the edge of burnout. Jesus understood and as a man lived a life that was designed to be one of renewal and refueling.

In our culture, we work and then relax. We get things done and then play. But, as we study the Bible we see that God's plan is slightly different. The Biblical day begins with the evening rest and then we awaken in a world in which God is already at work. we can then join Him. Jesus lived this rhythm of life. His first priority was intimacy with Abba and so He would take times and seasons of solitude and silence to pray. His second priority was His ministry to others and this was a natural outflow of His time of abiding in Yahweh. Jesus didn't try too hard, He didn't strain, He didn't over-exert Himself in ministry. We see that the Savior of the World didn't try to be the hero - He sought to bring Glory to the Father.

If Jesus lived this life, shouldn't we? We need to assess and order our thoughts, works, and very being in this Divine cycle of rest and work. We shouldn't think we are able to live any better than our Master and Savior did. Spending time of rest with the Father is vital to maintaining our full functioning ability. If Jesus, as a human, needed to live this way - so do we!

I am very involved in a vast multitude of ministries, and as God has made clear to me, there are seasons that we need to step back, sit down, rest, and take the time to listen to Him. So, I am going to take a short Sabbatical from writing this daily blog in order to re-order my life. Please watch for my return in a couple of weeks. There will be a special posting on July 4th to celebrate true freedom. 

I will return to writing more of what God places in my heart by the middle of July. I encourage you to muse about your life and see if you need to spend a day or longer in abiding in God. Take time not to just talk to Him, stop and listen to Him. Be held in the arms of the loving Father who will accomplish all that really needs to be done through you in His power. Pray for me as I rest and listen to Him.

See you in a couple of weeks. God bless.

Prayer: Jesus, You promised that if we come to You that Your Yoke, Your work is light as we realize that it is You doing the work, and I am just assisting You. Grant us Your peace, rest, and power. May we minister not in our strength, time, and power, but in Yours alone. Amen.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Living Free as a Bondslave #12

Galatians 6:14 - (CSB) - "But as for me, I will never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. The world has been crucified to me through the cross, and I to the world."

Paul concludes this letter by discussing his relationship with the Savior (6:11 -18). The Legalizers boast in the ceremony of circumcision (6:11-13). They are trying to make a good show while even they do not keep the Law. They want to show the Galatians off as a trophy of their accomplishment.

In opposition, Paul does not boast in earthly accomplishments. he only glories in the message of salvation – the Cross. Paul is stressing that the only thing that matters is if the person is a new creation or not. Then they will find true peace and mercy (eleos).

Paul then testifies concerning his sufferings for Christ (6:17-18). Paul said that no one could cause him concern or trouble because he knew who he belonged to. On his body, he wore the marks of his suffering for Jesus. This is called the stigmata. Stigmata is the plural of the Greek word στίγμα stigma, meaning a mark or brand such as might have been used for identification of an animal or slave. In other words, he was branded as belonging to Christ.

Paul then concludes this letter with the statement that they would have the Grace of Jesus in their spirits. He started this letter with a frustrated, angry tone. He has built argument after argument that there is only one Gospel - The Gospel of Grace.

Salvation is the Cross of Christ plus nothing, minus nothing. Living as Christians is the Cross of Christ plus nothing, minus nothing. Legalism is adding anything to the gospel to get saved or stay saved.

We are free to do as we want [want-to is changed] when we are covered by the blood of Christ.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, may I show the world my freedom in Christ by the truth of my "want-to's" have been changed. I accept that I am a bond-slave, may I now live like it. Amen.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Living Free as a Bondslave #11

Galatians 6:9-10 (CSB) - "Let us not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith."

Paul is writing his final instructions to the Galatian believers, reminding them of three laws. First, there is the Law of Sharing and Caring (6:1-5). Paul calls it the Law of Christ. Jesus said that we are to obey His commandments in John 14 and 15. I would say this is one that He meant for us to keep. Too often we as the church “shoot our wounded.”

Paul goes on to show the nature of this Law (6:1-5). Spiritual believers are to gently restore fallen believers back to fellowship. The word trespass means one who has a lapse or deviation from truth and uprightness – a sin, a misdeed  The word restore in the Greek means to make perfect, make one what they ought to be. It is in the present imperative tense. And this is to be in a spirit of gentleness – mildly and meekly. Nowhere are we justified in God’s Word to be overbearing or obnoxious in helping others. Why – because we open ourselves to Satan to be tempted in that very area! We become proud of what we are not (v.3). We are what we are spiritually only by Christ.

We are told to take upon ourselves the weights of others. We are not to place more weight upon the person. But, what about verse 5? Verse 2 is in the present imperative – we ARE to do this. Verse 5 is in the future indicative – it will happen in the future. When we help others to shoulder their burden, they will become capable of doing it themselves.

So, the Law of Christ is that we shoulder the burden of others and help them become what they ought to be.The second Paul talks about the Law of Receiving and Giving (6:6). Those who are taught the Word of God should fellowship with them who has taught them. We should encourage and share with those who have taught us. We should share with one another. We should enter into fellowship, make one's self a sharer or partner with each other. We should receive instruction and be willing to fellowship with the one who instructs. In other words – be generous and do good to those who take time to instruct.

Finally, Paul instructs about the Law of Sowing and Reaping (6:7-10). Paul tells them not to be led astray - God is not mocked – this is a simple statement of fact in the Greek. Interesting way of putting this in the Greek - "whatever a man sows" – tense is that it may or may not happen, "that he will also reap" – tense is that it will definitely happen.

He is stressing that those who sow only sinful desires will reap everlasting death (6:8a). What is good will reap a never ceasing life (6:8b). So, never quit – no matter what (6:9). So, whenever we can – do good, however we can – do good. (6:10).

Prayer: Father, may I follow these laws of my Savior. As a bondslave, I want to do only what my Master desires. Guide my steps in all ways. Amen.

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