Saturday, October 15, 2011

Idols of the Heart

"Do not tremble and do not be afraid; Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it? And you are My witnesses. Is there any God besides Me, Or is there any other Rock? I know of none."
Isaiah 44:8

The Israelites had a problem with remaining faithful to God. Too quickly they forgot the promise of blessing that God had given to them. Too often they worshiped at the altars of false gods, preferring the cold idols of gold and silver, brass and iron, over the living God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God constantly had to remind them that He was the one true God. For who else could save them as He had? Or who else knew their future as God did? Instead of being God's witnesses, the Israelites fell in step with the idolators around them and cast God aside. Today we are prone to the same behavior as the Israelites. We set up idols of the heart, preferring them over the living God.

"Idolatry seems inherent in the heart of man. Today, men do not worship idols of gold and silver, and brass and iron, but every man who turns away from God sets up some kind of an idol in his heart. He either worships himself or some folly, pleasure, or fame." Harry Ironside

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Present Possession

"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 6:23

If you have accepted God's free gift of salvation by trusting Christ as your Savior, you have the promise of life after death. The last breath you take on this earth is simply an entry into God's presence. But here's something even better. Your eternal life began the moment you received Christ. Right now, at this very moment you are living in eternity. It's not something that will happen. It has happened. It's a present possession. But wait! There's more. Not only are you living in eternity, but Christ's spirit -- the Holy Spirit --  is living within you. You are in a relationship with Almighty God. You are living an eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord right now.  Knowing this should bring inexpressible joy to your heart. Rejoice!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Take Part in God's Work

"Then when he arrived and witnessed the grace of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with resolute heart to remain true to the Lord;" 
Acts 11:23

In Antioch, Gentiles were being saved through the preaching of laymen, Jewish believers who had fled persecution connected with Stephen. The church in Jerusalem, upon hearing this news, sent Barnabas to investigate. Don't you just love Barnabas? When he saw what had happened in Antioch he immediately rejoiced. He recognized that what had taken place was through the grace of God. The gospel no longer was just for the Jews, it was for the Gentiles, too. Then Barnabas encouraged the new believers to set their hearts to remain true to the Lord. Barnabas was a "good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith" (Acts 11:24). He was a man surrendered to Christ and walking in the power of the Holy Spirit. His faith opened his eyes to the fullness of God's grace and enabled him to see that God was doing something new in Antioch. Barnabas joined God in His work and the gospel spread like wildfire. How is your faith walk today? Do you see God doing something that you can take part in? 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Lord is My Lamp

“For You are my lamp, O LORD; 
And the LORD illumines my darkness."
2 Samuel 22:29

There is a kind of darkness of the soul that is very personal. It may come through death or a broken relationship. Through ill health, financial ruin or some other tragedy. In this pitch black darkness we have never felt more alone. If we were to name it, we would call it "my darkness." But praise the Lord that He is able to penetrate "my darkness" with His glorious light. He who agonized in the Garden of Gethsemane, in the shadow of Calvary, understands our pain as no one else can. "And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground" (Luke 22:44). Christ knows. He understands. He experienced the "my darkness" of death, but overcame it with the glorious light of His resurrection. Living in this truth we don't need to cower in the dark. Instead, we can say: The Lord is my lamp. The Lord illumines my darkness.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Soul Satisfaction

"For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good."
Psalm 107:9

Anyone who has come to the end of himself and found Christ, understands the words of this verse. One may consume the finest drink and choicest morsels at the world's table, but they can never satisfy the thirst and hunger of his soul. That's a spiritual desire that only God can fulfill. Christ calls the parched and starving soul with the words, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst." (John 6:35)  When we come to Jesus, He fills us with the goodness of His spirit and we experience the joy of a relationship with Him. It is soul satisfaction that can't be found anywhere else. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Know the Real Thing

"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world."
1 John 4:1

One of the most effective ways to recognize a counterfeit is to be completely and intimately acquainted with the real thing. People who recognize counterfeit money are deeply familiar with real bills. The way they feel, the intricacy of the artwork, the weight of the paper and the way the ink bleeds into it. In John's day, false teachers were leaving the church and drawing others to come after them.Today there are many teachers claiming to be followers of Christ who are teaching heresy. They have "gone out into the world", giving their false messages not only through their churches, but through the internet, books and TV. Sadly, many people are being led astray. John told his readers to "test the spirits." Behind every teacher there is either the spirit of God or the spirit of evil. So, how can we recognize counterfeit teaching? By comparing everything we hear to the real thing -- the truth of scripture. For example, Jesus said He is the only way to God (John 14:6). If anyone says there are many ways to God, they are not teaching the truth. Scripture is clear on this point and does not contradict itself. Don't take anyone's teaching as truth -- not even the writer of Mountain Manna -- without first knowing the real truth of the Bible. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

All for God's Glory

"Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone."
1 Chronicles 29:12

David said these words after a great amount of money had been given for the building of the temple. The offering may have come from the people, but David knew the true source of the funds. God is the owner of all. We tend to put people who have intelligence, commercial success and wealth on a pedestal, almost making them gods. It is wise for us to remember that it is only God Himself who is to be praised and exalted. He graciously chooses to give these things. They are not for man's glory, but or the glory of the Lord.
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