Saturday, April 9, 2011

You Can't Take It With You

"For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either."
1 Timothy 6:7

There's an old saying, "You'll never see a hearse pulling a U-Haul." We can spend our time and money acquiring things, but when the time comes to leave this earth, we won't be taking any stuff with us. There's nothing wrong with owning a nice home or car, or other items. But when we make them the object of our devotion, instead of God, we open the door to greed, covetousness and discontent. Instead, 1 Timothy 6:11 tells us to "flee from these things" and "pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness." When we shift  our primary focus from owning material things to acquiring these spiritual virtues, we bring glory to God. And in this, we find true joy and contentment. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Standing Blameless

"Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen."
Jude 1:24-25

I’m so glad my entrance into God’s presence doesn’t depend upon my own “righteousness”. If it did, I’d be sunk. For there are far too many times when I fail to live up to His standards. But praise be to God for Jesus Christ, my Savior. He is able to help me stand firm against the weapons of the enemy, that cause me to stumble. And one day I will stand blameless before God the Father. Not because of anything I’ve done, but because of what Christ did on my behalf. This is all for His glory, and yet the benefits to me are incredible: eternal life; power to live victoriously over sin as I submit to the Holy Spirit, peace in the midst of turmoil. Even now I feel great joy in this knowledge, and it makes me love our majestic God all the more. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Touch God's Heart

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
         O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer."
Psalm 19:14

Jesus said, "But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man." In light of His words, it's wise for us to consider our speech. Does what we say reflect a heart surrendered to our loving heavenly Father? David called the Lord his "rock" and "Redeemer". Although he was far from a perfect man, God called David a "man after my own heart". No doubt David's submissive spirit touched God's heart. I want to touch God's heart, too. How about you?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Stay Teachable

"He is on the path of life who heeds instruction,
         But he who ignores reproof goes astray." 
Proverbs 10:17

Much of the wisdom I thought I had as a young person turned out to be quite foolish. If I had heeded the advice of the more mature, I would have avoided the pain of poor choices.  By the grace of God, one of the greatest lessons He taught me through my stubbornness is to remain teachable. I don't want to be just a hearer of His word, but a doer" (James 1:22). This, I know, is the path to joy and peace in my life.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Giving Up Control

"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh."
Galatians 5:16

What does it mean to "walk by the Spirit"? In the original Greek, the word for "walk" is peripateo and it is in the present tense, meaning a continuous action, a habitual way of life. Christians should make it a habit to live the way Jesus lived. Of course, as humans it's impossible to live the perfect life of our Lord. But He is our example, and we set our hearts and minds on becoming more like Him each day. The more we yield to His spirit living within us, the more closely we resemble our Savior. As we study the Bible, we learn what it looks like to yield to the Spirit, and we find ourselves more aware of when we don't do so. It is in those times that we "carry out the desire of the flesh". Martin Luther said, “I do not deny that the lust of the flesh includes carnal lust. But it takes in more. It takes in all the corrupt desires with which believers are more or less infected, as pride, hatred, covetousness, impatience.” When I consider how habitually impatient I become when a traffic light doesn't change as quickly as I think it should, then I know how much I daily need to let the Spirit control me.

Monday, April 4, 2011

What's Your Story?

"but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;"
1 Peter 3:15

My relationship with Christ began 38 years ago when a handful of Christian college students shared their personal testimonies with me. I had a lot of questions about the Christian faith, and they were able to answer them with gentleness and respect. I had never before seen the kind of love those young people had for God, nor the hope they possessed through knowing Him. Each Christian has a story of how they came to know Christ, and we should be prepared to share it at any time. But more than this, we need to know what we believe and why, so that we can lovingly answer questions others may have. We never know when God may place someone in our path whose life could be changed eternally, just by hearing about our faith and how the Lord has changed our lives. Do you have a story? Always be ready to tell it.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Never Alone

"Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?"
Romans 8:35

Here in the mountains the weather can change rapidly. This morning a blue sky disappeared, within minutes, behind dark clouds. Wind and rain followed, driving me to find shelter. Circumstances in life can suddenly change, too. The death of a loved one, divorce, illness, a natural disaster, or other misfortune can threaten to undo us. Friends and family come along side us to provide comfort and assistance, and we thank God for them. But even the best of friends and the most loving family members can't be with us every minute. That's when we need someone from whom we can never be separated. We find that someone in the person of Jesus Christ. If we have a relationship with Him, we will never be alone. Not ever.

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