Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Acceptable Time

"Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation”—"
2 Corinthians 6:2

Paul is writing in regard to Isaiah 49:8, where God is speaking of the Messiah and of His time to save the Jews and the Gentiles -- "the day of salvation". Paul is telling the Corinthians that the Messiah has come; the time spoken of by Isaiah has arrived. God through the Lord Jesus is willing to show compassion, to hear the prayers of the unsaved and to have mercy on them. The "acceptable time" is now. Now God will hear you, now God will receive you, now God will show grace. "The time will come when it will not be an acceptable time with God. The day of mercy will be closed; the period of trial will be ended; and people will be removed to a world where no mercy is shown, and where compassion is unknown" (Barnes). "Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation," (2 Corinthians 5:18). "Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up to us!’ then He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from.’" (Luke 13:25)  Dear one, If you have not yet made the decision to receive Christ as your Savior, now is the acceptable time. Don't wait.

Friday, June 29, 2012

That's My God!

"Then I will go to the altar of God,
To God my exceeding joy;
And upon the lyre I shall praise You, O God, my God".
Psalm 43:4

God is ever present in the life of a Christian. To "go to the altar of God" means we humble ourselves and admit our dependency upon Him. When we do this and open ourselves up to His presence we find joy. For He is a personal God and He delights in us (Psalm 18:19, Zephaniah 3:17). The psalmist calls Him "my God". And when we can say God is "my God" we can also say He is "my exceeding joy". Exceeding = extraordinary, great, huge, vast, enormous, superior, excessive, exceptional, surpassing, superlative, pre-eminent. Wow! That's my God.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Raging Battle

"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 
for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, 
but  divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses."
2 Corinthians 10:3-4

The world may scorn our spiritual weapons, but it only does so because it doesn't understand the battle that rages around all of us daily. A battle not of earthly hands, but of the hands of Satan and his demons. It sounds so odd and dramatic to unbelievers to say such things, and that's just the way the enemy wants to keep it. As long as he can convince the world that he doesn't exist and that Christians are foolish to think he does, he keeps his strongholds intact. We who belong to the Lord don't fight spiritual battles with earthly weapons. We fight with the spiritual weapons Paul listed in Ephesians 6: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. Against these divinely powerful weapons no fortress of evil can stand.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Call Home Frequently

"But the news about Him was spreading even farther, 
and large crowds were gathering to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 
But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray."
Luke 5:16

Jesus' ministry was growing rapidly and so He called in a business consultant to help Him with the next steps. Wait! No, that's not right. Jesus didn't call in a consultant. He slipped away and prayed. Often. Too many times we fail to follow the Lord's example. We don't pray often. And prayer is the last thing we do when we need help, instead of the first thing. We only slip away to pray when we're not pressed for time. But wasn't Jesus pressed for time, too? You bet He was. However, Jesus had His priorities straight. He didn't let the demands on His time prohibit Him from keeping first things first. I don't know about you, but I need to remember this each and every day. I may not be able to close the shop and slip away to pray, but I can certainly turn my thoughts to the Lord and lift up simple prayers throughout the day. "The greater your responsibilities, the more often you need to check with God even when it seems like you have less time than ever to do it. The daily rush? Well, it can quickly push you right out of the mainstream of the will of God. But take it from a Dad who's traveled. You can't afford to be out of touch for long. So, make frequent calls home." (Ron Hutchcraft)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Seek the Face that Satisfies

"Seek the Lord and His strength;
Seek His face continually."
1 Chronicles 16:11

Americans, as well as many other people around the world, seem to continually seek after things that have no eternal value. I certainly fell into that category for the first third of my adult life. The desire for material things was more important to me than my Savior. I thought a bigger home, a nicer car, better clothes and more "stuff" would satisfy me. But they didn't. They never do. It's like physical hunger; no matter how much we eat today, tomorrow we'll be hungry again. I think that's why Jesus called Himself the "Bread of Life". He satisfies our soul -- our very life. We go after stuff because our souls are hungry. So it really comes down to making a choice. What is more important to us? God or things? The Lord said we can't serve two masters, we'll end up hating one and loving the other, or we'll be devoted to one and despise the other. We can't serve God and wealth. (Matthew 6:24) Now that doesn't mean we have to be poor to serve God. Lot's of wealthy people serve God, using their money to further His kingdom. No, it's when we love money more than God that our souls starve. But when we seek the Lord and look to Him for satisfaction (which He supplies by His mighty strength), when we allow Him to continually fill us with His love, then we know peace, and joy, and contentment.  "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:11-13)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Our Covenant God

"As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; 
you will be buried at a good old age."
Genesis 15:15

God had given Abraham a vision of his descendants' future: “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions." Then he went on to tell Abraham that he himself would join his forefathers in peace and be buried at "a good old age" (175 years sounds like "a good old age" to me).  God gave Abraham a special look at what was to come. It was all about the covenant that He was making with Abraham and his descendant Israel. An everlasting covenant. God kept His promise, He is keeping His promise and He will keep His promise to Abraham. Our God is a covenant God. What He says He will do, He will do. "Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;" (Deuteronomy 7:9)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

How We Ought to Walk

"the one who says he abides in Him ought himself 
to walk in the same manner as He walked."
1 John 2:6

Have you ever known someone who professed to know Christ as their Savior, yet lived in total disobedience to the word of God? Now it's not up to you or me to pass judgment on another person's faith. God will do that and believe me He's much better at it than we could ever hope to be. He can see right into the heart of a person. Saved or unsaved. We can never hide from God what we really believe or who we really are. He knows. Having said that, God's word is absolutely clear on how one who claims to "abide in Christ" -- who claims to be a Christian -- will behave. He or she will "walk in the same manner as [Jesus] walked."  And how did Jesus walk? He walked in submission to the Father. Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner." Christians will never walk perfectly -- as Jesus our Savior walked perfectly -- as long as they are on this earth, but they ought to have the desire to do so. And when they don't they ought to feel convicted. That is the work of the Holy Spirit within. He plants the desire in us to walk in obedience and when we don't He convicts us of our sin. And when we feel convicted we ought to confess our sin to the Lord and ask for forgiveness, and ask for His help to walk in obedience. If we belong to Christ, our greatest desire will be to love Him. And we show our love by following Him in thought, word and deed. "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments" -- Jesus Christ (John 14:15).

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