PERSERVERING

January 9th, 2011 by steve

Day 287

“you are only visitors here . . .
your real home is in heaven”
1 Peter 2:11

We are visitors, pilgrims, aliens, foreigners, and travelers. We do live in this world and its order. In fact, we live in the midst of a rebel territory whose prince is the devil, the god of this age. A majority who follow him surrounds us. Sounds scary. It is not. Paul says, “we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).

Even though we walk this earth and are subject to the constant barrage of its darkness causing a weariness of the pace, Paul is telling us do not look at that, it is temporary. We are encouraged to look at Jesus, the Lamb of God, who was crucified in our place and defeated the enemy and raised gloriously from the dead and ascended to the right hand of God where He intercedes for us. We need to keep our eye on him, refreshing ourselves as to who we are and what are calling is.

All of history is arranged for us. There is not one event or circumstance in our life that occurs outside of God’s will. God overturns nations and empires for His people. All of Egypt was overturned for the sake of Israel. God says, “The last shall be first, and the first shall be last.” We have a God who is a Father to us and our time here is a preparation for the great glory we shall know. Nothing can touch a child of God unless He has permitted it. So, do not be caught up in the temporal of what may be seen, but look to our Father who is preparing us for that day of final rest.

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him”
James 1:12

GOD’S KINGDOM

January 8th, 2011 by steve

Day 286

“For the Kingdom of God is . . .
righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”
Romans 14:7

Imagine if you had the opportunity to work and practice your future career while you were growing up. Then one day you stepped into your position as an accomplished person achieving everything that is expected of you. You would then reap the fruits of your work the rest of your life. In a sense, this is already true for you as a Christian.

The kingdom of God is a present day reality for those who yield their lives to the rule of the Spirit. We have been transferred into the kingdom of His beloved Son (Colossians 1:13) and given the opportunity be a co-worker bringing the kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven. We can reap peace and joy as the fruit.

“Thy kingdom come” of the Lord’s Prayer is the Father’s will to be done on earth, as it is heaven. It is a prayer for God to reign and to manifest His sovereignty and power through us. The kingdom of God is also a future event when there, “will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:11). It is a day when, “the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matthew 13:43).

“What is the kingdom of God like? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew, became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches” Luke 13:18-19

GOD’S JUDGEMENT

January 6th, 2011 by steve

Day 285

“He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of His power on the day He comes to be glorified in His holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed.”
2 Thessalonians 1:8-10

The final judgment of God magnifies His glory. This may be a difficult statement to understand. To us it is frightening, troublesome, sad and difficult to accept that the lost will suffer an eternal fire. The final judgment will reveal that God’s fire has two sides – one that purifies His saints and the other that executes justice. In the end, we will see the fullness of His great grace, mercy and compassion that he gave to mankind.

God is patient and gives us much time and many opportunities to know Him. Many Christians often wonder why the wicked prosper and live long lives. This is His way. Jezebel is described as a false prophet and one who misleads God’s servants into sexual immorality and other sins. Yet, in the midst of this wickedness, God said, “I have given her time to repent of her immorality” (Revelation 2:20-23). No person on this earth will ever stand before God and be able to lay a charge against Him for not knowing or having opportunity.

And, to us, vessels of mercy, a great happiness is bestowed on us. God will bring justice for the many who have suffered and been persecuted. He will be glorified when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in a blazing fire with His powerful angels.

“We constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of His calling, and that by His power He may
fulfill every good purpose of yours and
every act prompted by your faith.”
2 Thessalonians 1:11

WHY GOD CHOSE YOU

January 5th, 2011 by steve

Day 284

“For He chose us in Him
before the creation of the world”
Ephesians 1:4

Have you ever wondered why God chose you and not your relatives, friends or others? The answer is found in Romans that states, “It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.”

You are a manifestation of God’s mercy.

There is nothing that you have done or can do that caused God to select you. God did not look ahead and see that you would be ‘good’ or would be a great person and then choose you. In fact, the scriptures state that you were chosen before the creation of the world.

“I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious”(Exodus 33:19)

Here is the core of God’s decision: all the reasons for mercy are taken from within Himself. He chooses whom He chooses and He does so out of mercy so that those who are chosen becomes vessels of grace and glory. He dispenses His gifts to whom He will, without giving us any reason, all according to His own good pleasure so that you will be the praise of His glorious grace.

“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy”
Romans 9:14

GOD OF THE DESERT

January 4th, 2011 by steve

Day 283

“They entered the desert . . .”
Deuteronomy 19:2

The desert is a place of testing and eventually the Lord will lead us to it. These periods in our life often lead us to believe that the Lord has ‘turned His back’ on us, or even abandoned us, making them spiritual droughts. However, there is a purpose to these times and it is to reveal what is in our hearts. Since the Lord is all knowing, the purpose isn’t for Him, it’s for you.

Maturity does not come by knowledge. We must live what we know. Our works and actions (and reactions) reveal the heart. For instance, to know we love our brethren does not make it a reality in our lives. We first must lay down our life and serve in humility holding others in higher regard than ourselves. When that becomes our way of life, we know we are expressing the very love of our Father that was given to us. The desert will tell us if we are there yet.

God is in the desert. Although He may let us be hungry, He will feed us with His manna and when He let us thirst, He will give us drink from His water. In the midst of our dryness, we find a new way to live – by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord (Deuteronomy 8). He is a good Father, training us to know what is in our hearts and then learning how to live leaning upon Him and not our flesh.

“Who is this coming up from the desert leaning on her lover”
Song of Songs 8:5

GOD’S VICTORIOUS PLAN

January 3rd, 2011 by steve

Day 282

“They may have the right to the tree of life
and may go through the gates into the city”
Revelation 22:14

A romantic idealism pervades our culture. Essentially, it is the restoration of our earth and life to a ‘garden of Eden’ or ‘Paradise’ concept. We who know Christ need to be rooted in His truth about both the earth and this life.

Genesis describes a Paradise that was lost.

Genesis tells the story of fallen man who ran from God and hid. He sinned and lost his glory and a relationship with a Friend. We see the Tree of Life that he violated and lost.

Man is attempting to restore what has been lost because there is a great void in their lives. He does this through his own self-strength, but there is no satisfaction or fulfillment. Nothing completes him. Therefore, he wants to change our world so we can restore the earth. The emptiness does not go away.

There is an answer, a victorious plan by our God for those seeking Him. We can be satisfied and fulfilled. Christ has won a decisive victory that makes us more than conquerors. We are not only conquerors, there is a new heaven and earth that God will light and a Paradise restored with the right to come to the Tree of Life (Revelation 21:1; 2:7; 22:2, 14). Restoration begins with coming to Christ and then you are guaranteed an inheritance of all the above.

“Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here.’ And they went up to heaven in a cloud; while their enemies looked on.”
Revelation 11:12

HIS INVITATION

January 2nd, 2011 by steve

Day 281

“Come to Me”
Matthew 11:28

Can you imagine eating a specially prepared meal and never again being hungry in your life? Or drinking a specially prepared glass of water and never again being thirsty in your life?

Yet, Christ’s invitation is more real than that, and more profound because it changes our very nature.

It matters not who we are, what we have been or what we have done. If we answer His call, ‘Come to Me,’ we will never hunger or thirst again in our life. We will be satisfied completely and our nature will rest in Him. All our seeking, restlessness, and anxiety will end. Peace will become our state of life.

What a glorious One is He who loved us so much that He suffered and died for us. Even in the midst of our rebellion we were not looking for Him, not interested in Him, and not able to love Him. Yet, He loved and died for us while we were still sinners. He prepared a way for us and said, ‘Come to Me . . .’ He loved us first. What manner of love is this that the God of the universe reaches down into the mire and lifts us up, cleans us off, and places His robe of righteousness around us?

“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”       Revelation 22:17

TRUSTING THE SON

December 21st, 2010 by steve

Day 280

“All things have been handed
over to me by my Father . . .”
Matthew 11:27

People trust their own wisdom and strength. They trust what they know, and what they do not know, they do not trust. It is human nature. We rely on our own knowledge and experiences. This form of trust often leads to a narrow ability to choose the right course because of the relying on one self.

Jesus said that unless we “become as little children” we could never get into the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 18:3). Being a child means knowing our need to be utterly dependent on Him. True salvation comes to one who knows their need for a Savior.

The Eternal Father has handed all things over to His Son. He has authority over Satan and demons; over human sickness, handicaps; over life and death; over all physical things; over the present and future; over the church; and over our body and soul. He is the way, the life and the truth and can save us. He is our peace, light, life, love, and joy. All things are in Him and from Him flows the fountain of life.

He knows what you need now. He knows how to reveal Himself and His Father to you. The treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ. Turn to Him now for He knows you.

“And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:
Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any
thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God”
2 Corinthians 3:4-5

ENABLING GRACE

December 20th, 2010 by steve

DAY 279

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you…”
2 Corinthians 12:9

We are familiar that grace is God’s unmerited favor to us. Some call it saving grace because we have been saved by the gift of God, not of ourselves. In addition to this grace, there is another grace called enabling grace.

God does much more than save us. He fully equips us with everything we need in this life. He gives us the ability and power to live our lives in righteousness and holiness. And added to this is enabling grace to carry out the work of the Kingdom of God as seen in Stephen; “Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power …” (Acts 6:8).

Another definition of grace is help. God’s enabling grace is to help us desire extraordinary and excellence in running the race. Grace cannot function in us when we live in our own strength, ways and thinking. The old has to die and every day we must find God’s provision in our weakness – “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

HOW GOD SEES US

December 20th, 2010 by steve

Day 278

“Do not consider his appearance or height,
for I have rejected him. The Lord does
not look at the things man looks at.
Man looks at the outward appearance,
but the Lord looks at the heart”
1 Samuel 16:7

Self-esteem is the occupation of our culture. In fact, the word itself has taken on a new life and culture. You cannot number the books, media shows and other forms of expression that center on self-esteem. Eliab, Abinadab, Shammah and their other brothers probably would have run right out to get some self-help books, go on talk shows, and ultimately get into a self-help group over their rejection by the Lord. Why is there this occupation with the self?

Being accepted and rejected are real. Identity crisis hits young people early. Many enter and live in adulthood the same way. Natural man wrestles with his identity because of our sin nature. As a child of God we take on a new nature in Christ. Unfortunately, many Christians do not walk in this and start thinking God is rejecting them. Not true.

The entire bible is the story of God pursuing us. He tells us, that if even a mother forgets a baby at her breast, He will not forget us; “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands: your walls are ever before Me” (Isaiah 49:15-16). He made atonement for us, for the past, the present, and the future. He has given us life and then sealed (guaranteed) our salvation by imparting the Holy Spirit to live in us. He has prepared a place for us to dwell with Him in eternity.

“The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me;
Your love, O Lord, endures forever”
Psalm 138:8