Archive for August, 2010

SALVATION AND MORE

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Day 181

“I have given you an example to follow.
Do as I have done to you”
John 13:15

There is no question that God’s salvation is the greatest gift anyone could receive. It has set us free from sin and death, made us new, partakers of His nature, His children, personal friends of our Lord and Savior and residents of a greater kingdom than any other on earth or in the heavens. What we’ve gained is endless. The height and depth of it is not measurable. His love is the foundation and basis for this great salvation.

Christ’s love that brought us salvation is not a one time act. The power of His love equips us to not only live, but grow every day in Him. He has given us the means to make our salvation rich and full. How? “Do as I have done to you,” He said. And He showed us how by example. It could not be seen more powerfully then at the last supper when He girded Himself and became a humble servant washing the feet of the very people He created!

How is God glorified; by walking in His love with humility. “We should please others” [Romans 15:2]; “Live a life filled with love for others” [Ephesians 5:2], “You must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy … You must make allowances for each other’s faults … the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony” [Colossians 3:12-14]. Oh, how rich and full our salvation is by loving Him and our brethren!

“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because
He laid down His life for us, we ought to
lay down our lives for the brethren”
1 John 3:16

OUR FATHER’S HELP

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Day 180

“Thou art my help and my deliverer”
Psalm 40:17

Deep in our nature there is a great desire to be accepted. It is the nature of love. Sin has twisted this in a way that we deeply struggle with these issues. Consider how much the word ‘self-esteem’ pervades discussions today. The wrongful expression of these deep desires leads to sin.

God greatly desires our love. He created us to love and know Him. And He longs to have our whole being and heart to love Him. But, how can we love God with our sin, faults, imperfections, failures, etc.? We are blinded by our own flesh. Even the best of our intentions, all our self-strength, strongest will, best efforts will not cleanse us or make us right. We may express our desire and say we love God, but our lives often seem to prove otherwise.

God is our helper. He can do what we cannot do. He can do what is not possible. That’s why He first loved us. Then He shed His love abroad in our hearts so we can love. And He promises to circumcise our hearts – cleanse us and make us right. He is a Father who looks upon His children with tenderness and will do whatever it takes to make us clean. He will lead, direct, and take us through life to accomplish His purposes. He is a glorious God full of grace and mercy for us, His children.

“The Lord will cleanse your heart …
so that you will love Him with
all your heart and soul”
Deuteronomy 30:6

THE POWER OF LOVE

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

Day 179

“Overwhelming victory is ours
through Christ, who loved us”
Romans 8:37

God is love. God’s power is the power of endless love. How do we know this? Because He first loved us when we were unworthy and unable to love Him. Incredible as it may seem, God brought us His love in humility, gentleness and servanthood.

Christ’s kingdom and all its power is manifested by love. It is love that brought Him, the second Person of the Trinity, the Son of God, to take on the nature of us on this earth. It is love to have lived among us for His 33 years. It is love that called twelve men and made them the first leaders of His church. He invested His life to train and show them God the Father. And it was love that brought Him to the cross to die for us.

And how was this love demonstrated? With great power, thunder, lightening? No, it was in servanthood. The Last Supper told it all when He girded Himself as a servant and washed the feet of His disciples. The Son of God, Lord of Lords, King of Kings, girded Himself as a humble servant to wash the feet of men! And He instructed us to do the same. Here is His glory: we are more than conquerors in Him who loved us.

“I am persuaded that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers,
nor things present, nor things to come,
No height, nor depth, nor any other
creature, shall be able to separate
us from the love of God, which is
in Christ Jesus our Lord”
Romans 8:38-39

SET FREE FROM CAPTIVITY

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

Day 178

“Be free from your captivity!”
Isaiah 48:20

Why God even concerns Himself with sinful people is a marvel! He has redeemed us, unbinding, setting free and releasing us from our sins. Yet, redemption goes much further than we imagine. It isn’t, ‘o.k., you are free and if you get back into sin and captivity you are left to your own devices’ His sacrifice gave us forgiveness for the past, present and future. The truth is we are not sinless and many do go back into captivity. What then?

What would a father do? Can his sons and daughters cease to be his children? Can he cast them out and forget them? The fact is fathers rescue their children all the time from foolishness and even when they willfully get themselves in trouble. And when the father comes he releases them from their captivity. The children find peace, safety and comfort in the powerful actions of their loving fathers.

Earthly fatherhood is a pattern of our heavenly Father. We are created in the image and likeness of God. And our God is the Father of fathers. And although earthly fathers are imperfect, He is perfect. He knows how stubborn, obstinate, unbending, hardheaded, and rebellious we are [His own words, Isaiah 48, NLT]. That’s why His redemption goes further than we ever imagined. He continues to rescue us again and again because of His unconditional love. Who is a God like Him?

“He will rescue you again and again
so that no evil can touch you”
Job 5:19

DIVINE SCHEME

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Day 177

“My thoughts are completely different from yours,
My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine”
Isaiah 55:8

We like to have everything tied up neatly. Our doctrine, beliefs, liturgy, time, etc. Most of all, we like our understanding of God all wrapped up and packaged so as not to disturb us. Peter, James and John ran into this problem. He was transfigured before them by His face shining and His clothes becoming white as light. Then Moses and Elijah appeared talking with Jesus.

Peter immediately spoke to Jesus about putting up three tabernacles (shrines), one for each of them. Here they were witnessing a miraculous manifestation of Christ and the heavenlies and Peter wanted to capture it. But, God had another plan – and His voice came out of the cloud surrounding them saying, “This is My son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!” They were scared and fell facedown, but tender Jesus came to them saying, “Get up, don’t be afraid.”

Isn’t this the way we are? We like everything packaged, but God will always break out and move in a way we don’t think or know about. Why, He even reaches right down into our wicked, sinful lives and takes us unworthy people and suddenly sets us free! He comes suddenly and unexpected. He overcomes us with His love. He delivers us. Who is this God? He is the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world that pursues us with love.

“God will rejoice over you”
Isaiah 62:5

CALL ME FATHER

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Day 176

“Now you can call God your dear Father”
Galatians 4:3

There is something very intimately personal about the name ‘father.’ It is a personal name. A child has an explicit and unreasoning trust in his father. When a child expresses his father’s name, he is expressing that deep and knowing relationship. In His deepest hour of need, Jesus called on His Father using the Aramaic term ‘abba.’ It was the term used in everyday life of the family and Jews, out of reverence, avoided using this familiar word in addressing God. Not Jesus. It was ‘Abba Father.’

It is an amazing thing that we now can call Him our dear Father! If there is anything that stands out of the whole word of God outside of Christ’s sacrifice, it is this deep, intimate and personal relationship that God wants with us – and it starts by calling Him ‘Father. In fact, Jesus died on a cross so that we may have a right relationship with His Father.

How extraordinary! What a privilege we have been given. And not just a privilege, but an adoption as His child. It is the fulfillment of the basic desire and need in our nature. We are loved, cared for, given grace and covered by His mercy and compassion. And with all this He has made complete provision for us for all of our life. Yes, “abba, Father.”

“I have love you deeply”
Malachi 1:2

FOOLISHNESS AND THE IMPOSSIBLE

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Day 175

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than
man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God
is stronger than man’s strength”
1 Corinthians 1:25

Peter was a fisherman, Matthew a tax collector, Paul an eloquent statesman. Moses murdered a soldier in anger. David was a very young teenager, Gideon was farmer, Ruth a foreigner whose husband died, Rahab a prostitute. The list goes on, but each person was chosen and called of God and the end result was He used each one in a way that was opposite of who they were at the time He called them.

We are always trying to put God in a box. He will escape every time. We become victims of our own nature by believing we know everything. Our doctrine is perfect, theology correct and practice consistent, but in the end we know only in part and all of our wisdom is foolishness. We believe ourselves invincible and self-sufficient, but in the end all our strength is weakness.

No man has seen God. No man knows God wholly. We know in part. He has given us His wisdom and His strength. We will walk in righteousness if we lean on this. And more than all, He has revealed His grace and mercy to us through love. What more could we ask? His glory is our resting in Him, living our lives through Him, knowing and relying upon His love.

“I no longer live, but Christ lives in me”
Galatians 2:20

GOD IS LOVE

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Day 174

“God is love, and all who live in love
live in God, and God lives in them”
1 John 4:16

It’s God’s love that overcame and conquered us. He poured His love into our sinful hearts. He pursued us down the alleys of life and was there in our darkness and rebellion. It mattered not where we ran and hid. It mattered not how wicked and vile we had become. He was there. He would not let go.

God is a God of love. He wills nothing but good. He yearns and longs for those He has chosen. The love of God is unfathomable. We cannot grasp it. His love is all that is right and perfect and all that makes happy. He revealed His love to win our hearts through His Son Jesus Christ. And Jesus willingly stood the shame of the cross to gain us. This is the heart of our Father.

Christ’s love controls us. He has poured that love into us through His Holy Spirit. And He gave us this love to give to others. Imagine that! He has entrusted us with His love. His great wisdom is that we pour out that very love He has given us so others will increase. And we will increase as we give that love. His glory is then known by this love.

“Whatever we do, it is because
Christ’s love controls us”
2 Corinthians 5:14

CHRIST IN US

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Day 173

“Christ is all that matters”
Colossians 3:11

When all is said and done, Christ is all that matters. But, we are so occupied with life, details, news, relationships, business, family matters and everything else, we get lost in it. Instead of focusing on Christ we focus on the temporal. Yet, Christ is the only issue.

God the Father sent His son to redeem us. He paid a great price that defies understanding. Why the God of the Universe, who can command the armies of heaven and legions of angels to do His bidding, lowered Himself into human flesh and lived in humility among us is beyond comprehension. And why He would even consider us wretched people to be His sons and daughters defies all logic and reason. But, He did. And He did it out of love.

And now to us who are weak, unworthy, untrustworthy, lacking love and sometimes just outright sinners, He sends Christ who lives in us. It wasn’t enough He did all this for us, but He chose to take residence in our hearts. And He doesn’t jump in and out of us according to our condition of life. Cold, dull, don’t care, sinful, He is living us. He’s ready to reveal Himself to us. He’s ready to strengthen us and give us power. He is ready to do the impossible and make all things possible. Yes, when all is said and done, Christ is all that matters.

“And be sure of this:
I am with you always”
Matthew 28:20

HIS MIGHTY POWER

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

Day 172

“Be strong with the Lord’s mighty power”
Ephesians 6:10

There is a very strong self-sufficiency in our nature. We believe there is strength and power to accomplish what we want. That self-sufficient sense of strength and power also leads us to believe we don’t need help. Here is the truth and reality about our life; we have no strength or power of our own. The end result often is failure.

So, where do we get true strength and power? Paul prayed that God give us the Spirit that we might know the greatness of His power which He displayed when He raised Christ from the dead [Ephesians 1:17-20]. This is the reality; that same power that raised Christ from the dead works in us! Yes – resurrection power! Sadly, many Christians do not believe it and don’t experience it. They focus on themselves and their problems. Christ said the flesh sees flesh meaning when you look at your self that’s all you will see. You will not see Christ.

Our Father has sealed our salvation by His Holy Spirit. With that seal He has given us everything pertaining to life, empowering us (strength and power). There can be no failure in Jesus Christ if you live in him, by Him and through Him. He has even given us His resurrection power to overcome the world, the devil, our own flesh and the trials and tribulations of life. What a great God that goes so far to give us HIS strength to live by!

“Now glory to God! By His mighty power, at work within us,
He is able to accomplish infinitely more than
we would ever dare to ask or hope”
Ephesians 3:20