Saturday, August 18, 2012

Free Indeed

"So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed." 
John 8:36

We can live in a free country and still be enslaved. Perhaps not politically, but certainly spiritually. Many people are enslaved to sin and its consequences, and don't even realize it. Our culture has become so desensitized to the word "sin", and so much of what the Bible calls sin has become acceptable to our populace, that we pretty much go through this life thinking we're all okay. And in that thinking we have lost more freedom than we can possibly comprehend. But here's the amazing thing: "While we were yet sinners Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). See, Christ doesn't wait until we realize we're sinners to save us. He already did it. That's why He came to earth. That's why He died and rose again. To conquer sin and death and set us free. But we need to recognize that we are enslaved and admit to Christ that we need the freedom only He can give. He is the Key that unlocks the chains that bind us. Once we receive Him as our Savior we will be free indeed. Until then we're hopelessly enslaved.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Light-filled Lives

"The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light."
Romans 13:12

The time for salvation is running out. When Christ the Messiah came He ushered in the light, and all those who have received Him as Lord and Savior live in that light. But unbelievers still live in darkness and need to see the Light we possess. It is up to us to live in such a way that they see the Light. When people meet us, talk to us, spend time with us, they should notice something very different about our lives. Perhaps it's time for us to examine ourselves and ask the Lord to reveal to us where we are living outside His will (2 Corinthians 13:5), and therefore may be a stumbling block to those who have not yet come to Christ. In the power of the Holy Spirit we can live Light-filled lives. We can lay aside the darkness of sin and shine with the pure light of Christ that covers us.  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Six Words I Long to Hear

 "His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’"
Matthew 25:21

There is nothing in the Bible that speaks of reincarnation. In fact, Hebrews 9:27 tells us it is appointed for every person to die only once and after this comes judgment. We only go through life one time. No second chances. So the spiritual decision we make here on earth has eternal consequences. Those who reject Christ will face an eternity separated from God. Those who receive Him will live forever in the light of His presence. Living the Christian life isn't easy. Christ never told us it would be. But He promised to walk with us and help us through this life into the next. And when our time is over and we've remained faithful to Him we can be assured of hearing Him say to us, "Well done, good and faithful servant." I don't know about you, but those are the six words I long to hear more than any others. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Crucified with Christ

"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, 
who loved me and gave Himself up for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, 
for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”
Galatians 2:20-21

This is the gospel. That Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, should die for you and for me. That He should fulfill the law by living a perfect, sinless life. The law was given to show us our sinfulness and need for a Savior. And the grace of God in giving HIs Son to die for us shows His incredible love for us and to what lengths He would go to keep us from Hell. What's more, it shows us the undeniable love Christ has for us; to obey the will of His Father and complete the work required of Him. And on the third day, when Jesus rose from the dead, Satan and death were defeated. Only when we accept Christ's sacrifice as sufficient and receive by faith that He paid the penalty for our sins can we say with Paul, "Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." If Christ is your Savior, praise God! Your old sinful self has been crucified with Christ and your new righteous self lives because He now lives in you!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

God's Got Your Back

“When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you. When you are approaching the battle, the priest shall come near and speak to the people. He shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, you are approaching the battle against your enemies today. Do not be fainthearted. Do not be afraid, or panic, or tremble before them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’"
Deuteronomy 20:1-4

The Lord encouraged Israel with these words and it is just as applicable to us today. When trouble comes you can be assured of this: God's got your back. The floods may come, you may have to walk through a fiery trial, but He is with you (Isaiah 43:2). God's got your back. Storms may come and threaten to sink your fragile boat, but Jesus Christ is the Master of the storms (Luke 8:22-25). God's got your back. A thorn in the flesh may come and torment you as it did Paul, and as with the apostle the Lord might not remove it. But His grace is sufficient for you to endure it. God's got your back. "Do not be faintheared. Do not be afraid or panic, or tremble before [your troubles], for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your [troubles], to save you." God's got your back.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Worship God Alone

"I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. But he said to me, 'Do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God.'”
Revelation 22:8-9

When John falls down to worship the angel, the angel rebukes him (this is the second time this has happened, for John did a similar act in Revelation 19:10). Angels are not to be worshipped. They are created beings -- created by God Almighty -- and to worship them is idolatry. When the angel Lucifer set himself up to be worshiped God cast him out of heaven (Isaiah 12:14-17, Luke 10:18). No doubt John knew this, but he was overwhelmed by what he had been shown and lost himself in praising the messenger. We can be in danger of doing this, too, if we become awed by those who deliver God's word in a sermon or message and put them on a pedestal. There is only One worthy of our awe and worship. Only One who is awesome. The Triune God. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Pearl of Great Value

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it."
Matthew 13:45-46

For the one who seeks eternal life Jesus Christ is more valuable than anything else. Although salvation can never be bought, when the Savior is found by the seeker he or she would gladly give up everything to possess a relationship with Him. Paul wrote in Philippians 3:8 "I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ." Jesus is the pearl of great value. 
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