Archive for February, 2010

A BLANK CHECK

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

Day 17

“To the praise of the glory of his grace,
wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”
Ephesians 1:6

Imagine someone giving you a blank check to an account that had endless money in it! You could draw whatever you needed, whenever it was needed. It surely would change your life, wouldn’t it? That is exactly what we possess as followers of Jesus Christ. His grace has made us acceptable to the Beloved. We belong to Him. We have access to Him and have been given everything we need to prosper in Him.

Peter says that, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness.” Paul says in 2 Corinthians, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” There are no reservations in these statements. God has equipped us with grace for everything. It is endless. Not one of us is without supply!

And the ultimate purpose of this is the glory of God. We have been made holy and blameless before Him. The Father has imparted this grace freely to us through His Son, Jesus Christ, the Beloved. It is the Beloved Jesus who earned every spiritual blessing for us through His death. He wants us to have what He earned. And so, it is because of the Beloved that the Father would grant us whatever we need.

“He that spared not His own Son, but delivered
Him up for us all, how shall He not together
with Him graciously give us all things”
Romans 8:32

GIVING GRACE TO THE HUMBLE

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

Day 16

“Gives grace to the humble”
1 Peter 5:5

It doesn’t take much Bible-reading before we encounter scriptural directions that seem paradoxical. One is humility; it is contrary to our nature, culture and age to be humble. After all, we have rights. We are to told be aggressive and ‘make our way’ in life. We are to set goals and achieve them.

Jesus said the rich fool was not rich toward God. We probably do not think we fit that story, but this man did not know himself either. He was selfish, thought himself in control of his life, slaved to gain possessions, and did not look to the needs of others. What about us? The man who really knows himself and his own heart will never be a proud man. He will count himself unworthy of the least of all God’s mercies. In other words, the proud man, like the rich man, is an ignorant man and the humble person is in the know because he strives to know God.

Here is the freedom Christ purchased for us: in lowliness of mind, he will esteem everyone else to be better than himself (Philippians 2:3). Walking in that freedom is to walk in humility by serving others – and in that we find God. Jesus, on the last night before His death, washed the feet of His disciples as a servant. He forever set the way we are to live by this example.

“You, my brothers, were called to be free.
But do not use your freedom to indulge
your sinful nature, rather serve
one another in love”
Galatians 5:13

UNLIMITED PATIENCE

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Day 15

“I was shown mercy, so that in me, the
worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might
display His unlimited patience”
1 Timothy 1:16

Paul said he was the chief of sinners and ranked himself less than the least of all God’s people. He made these statements as a Christian and used the present tense. He walked in an attitude of humility, knowing his own sinfulness.

Consider these people of God. Moses committed murder and got angry at God’s people. Jacob was a liar. David committed adultery and murder. John was self-righteous. Jonah ran from God and after finally doing what God told him to do he sulked! Gideon and Thomas doubted. Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal. Elijah was burned out. Martha was a worrier. Noah got drunk. Peter denied Christ and later reverted to his old ways. The list goes on and on. So you get the picture; are we any different?

All this demonstrates God’s unlimited patience towards us. He makes a public display of His grace and mercy towards us. He is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. That love and patience brings change to those who love Him. This unfailing love brings and shows God’s glory.

“My tongue will sing of Your righteousness”
Psalm 51:14b

PERMITTING FAILURE

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Day 14

“Then Joshua tore his clothes and
fell to the earth on his face”
Joshua 7:6

Joshua had just experienced a crushing defeat where 36 of his men were killed in an attack on Ai. He tears his clothes and throws himself on the ground before the ark of the Lord, and puts ashes on his head. Then he prays saying, “Sovereign Lord, why did you even bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us?”

Make no mistake about it – Joshua was depressed and in self-pity that resulted in his accusing God of leading them into defeat! That is equal to Adam blaming God for causing him to sin through “the woman” given to him by God! Pride, arrogance, and self-assurance led to defeat and loss. And, God permitted it to happen. Why? We need to understand that it is not by strength that things are accomplished, but by the Spirit of the Lord. God permits failure in our lives to teach us the balance between ourselves and Christ in us.

What was God’s answer to this failure? “Rise up!” We must not wallow in our self-pity and religiosity. Rather, we should stand up before Him and confess yourself and move on. Joshua was overcome by defeat, and was more concerned about his own feelings of dismay than he was about striking the root of the problem. He lost perspective; forgot God’s promises and the great victories God had delivered into his hands. God was more interested in dealing with the problem.

Do not revert to your old ways. God does not forsake us, He gives us reassurance and He will lead us if we submit ourselves to Him. In this is victory and glory!

“Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go”  Joshua 1:9

FOR THE GLORY OF GOD

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Day 13

“We were also chosen . . . in order that we
…might be for the praise of His glory”
Ephesians 1:11-12

Salvation is not an end in itself. God works everything according to the purpose of His will, and that purpose is His own glory. We are created to live for and through Him.

Simply put, our lives will show His glory. The prophetic declaration in Isaiah confirms this; “this people which I formed for myself, that they might show forth my praise” (43:21)

His glory is in our salvation. The old has been put away and we are now new creatures. Our changed life demonstrates God’s power to redeem and change us. Then our daily lives reveal His glory in how we walk through life covered by God’s grace and mercy.

Has He not declared that not one of us will be lost? His glory is at work in every living minute of our lives. He is acting in all the details of our life toward one goal – His glory. We are made to be the praise of His glory.

“So that in all things God may be glorified through
Jesus Christ to whom belongs the glory and
dominion forever and forever”
1 Peter 4:11

KNOWING GOD’S LOVE

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Day 12

“God is love”
1 John 4:16b

How do we know this love?

Our first experience of this love was when Jesus laid down His life for us. He first loved us when we could not love him. That love meant dying for us, thereby redeeming us and making us His children. Our redemption comes with God’s love implanted in our unloving heart and creating a new heart filled with Christ. That is the beginning of knowing his love.

Now, as new person in Christ, knowing the love of God grows by our loving others. As He loved us while we were in sin, we are now called to lay down our lives for our brethren [1 John 3:16]. To love is a decision, not an emotion. God’s call for us is to live our lives for each other through action and in truth. When we do, the nature of God’s love grows in us. His love in your life is like a seed that can expand. When given freely, it brings a continued outpouring of God’s love that result in a confirmation of His presence in your life and makes His love complete within you.

Do you see this? It is so simple: He has given us His Spirit empowering us to love with His love, the very same love that caused Him to die for us! The very same love that first loved us when we could not love Him. We can know His love, grow and mature in it, and be made complete by practicing and living it in our lives. And doing so will give us the confidence and assurance of our future glory in Him [Romans 8:30].

“If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus
Christ, His Son purifies us from all sin.”
1 John 1:7

GOD’S CARE FOR US

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Day 11

“He Himself was asleep”
Matthew 8:24b

Most of the disciples were experienced and skilled fishermen. A journey by boat across the lake was routine, but in this case a fierce storm hit the lake, causing the boat to be swamped and putting it in danger of sinking. Make no mistake about it, this storm was sudden, violent, and life threatening. It was literally causing a sea quake. It was the equivalent of a hurricane. Jesus was in the boat, sound asleep, even during the raging storm.

This reflects what often happens to us. Unexpected storms occur in our life. They can create life-threatening havoc. We have similar reactions as the disciples; we attempt to control the storm, but when it overwhelms us our hearts fail. We then are filled with fear and even anger. We think that God is asleep, and remote from our trouble. We fear He doesn’t care about our situation. We want to know where He is.

But, God is where He always is – right in the boat with us! Asleep or not, He has sovereign control over all things, even the storms that rise up in our lives. We may be frustrated, angry and in fear. We may not see His hand in the situation. We may fall into a resentful, “You don’t care” attitude. But, these disciples didn’t know Him yet. When He awoke, He quieted the storm; demonstrating His sovereignty, for He does care about us.

“Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distresses. He caused the storm to be still,
so that the waves of the sea were hushed. Then
they were glad because they were quiet; so
He guided them to their desired haven”
Psalm 107:28-30

GOD’S SOVEREIGN WILL

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

Day 10

“But Jonah ran away from the Lord”
Jonah 1:3

Jonah believed that he could escape God’s presence, so instead of taking the 500-mile northeastern trip to Nineveh, he fled to Joppa. There he found a ship, paid the fare and headed for Tarshish. Is the story of Jonah unique in our history? Not at all. How often do we do the same? We avoid doing what we should, when we should and where we should. We resist the will of God.

Jonah knew God’s sovereignty, but he rebelled against it. He relied on his own thoughts and opinions and made a judgment that directed him away from righteousness. What Jonah did not understand was God’s sovereign will. One cannot run from God, as the psalmist says; “You hem me in – behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me” [Psalm 139:5].

God’s sovereign will prevails in all things. So says the word of God; “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” [Philippians 1:6]; and “Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him” [Hebrews 7:25]. We cannot save ourselves or make our way perfect. We are able to heed the word of God, obey His directions and do what is right. God did not leave us powerless or defenseless. He has equipped us with everything to live a life of godliness. It is only through God and His strength that this is accomplished, in spite of our failures, resistance, and imperfections. Not only is our knowing that we are secure in Him a great comfort to us, but His own glory is also magnified in that we ultimately serve and complete His will.

“In love, He predestined us to be adopted as His sons
through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure
and will – to the praise of His glorious grace”
Ephesians 1:5

GOD’S STRENGTH

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Day 9

“Rejoice always . . . in everything give thanks”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

One of the realities faced by Christians is that we suffer the same as other people. We face financial, marital, and other problems. We get sick, have accidents, and die. We are not exempt from the trials, temptations and travails of life. And, if we live a righteous life giving testimony and glory to God we may even gain additional suffering through persecution. So why are we expected always to rejoice, and in everything give thanks?

There is no question that some scriptures seem contradictory. Having joy in suffering seems to be one of those conflicting statements. Yet, joy is an attitude of the heart that exemplifies the greatness and glory of God. It is not the same as happiness, which is an emotion subject to the influence of circumstance. Joy is based on absolute truth. It endures pain and grief because God’s strength in us brings joy into being and that gives us strength to endure.

Our Lord has tasted the first fruits of His ultimate victory over the world, our flesh, and the devil. He entered heaven triumphant, and now sits at the right hand of God. He has chosen us in Him and assured us of our perseverance and His faithfulness. This truth is the basis of our joy.

“God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. And it was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ”

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14

GOD’S MEETING PLACE

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Day 8

“Gideon was threshing wheat”
Judges 6:11-12

God cannot be contained in a box. It is sad that some see Him only as a Sunday morning ritual. Others see God as ‘up there’, meaning distant. We try to interpret God by theology, doctrine, experiences and sadly make pronouncements as to what position God takes on matters.

God refuses to be contained by man. He continually breaks out of our preconceived concepts of whom He is and where He is. Look at how He met many in scripture:

• Adam met with God while taking an evening walk;
• Abraham first met with God when he was with his family, and   another time when he was sitting near his tent;
• Jacob met God in a dream, and later in life through a night of        wrestling in prayer;
• Moses first met God while working as a herdsman;
• Joshua met with God just before battle;
• Gideon was working at threshing wheat;
• Elijah and Elisha were out farming;
• Peter while he was at work fishing;
• Nathanael was meditating under a tree;
• Matthew was at his tax collector’s job; and,
• Two men met God while walking home.

God is looking to meet with you and He will meet you wherever you are. He wants to talk with you. Are you looking for Him?

“For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.'”

2 Corinthians 6:16