Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A "Put On" For God

Colossians 3:12-14 - "So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity."

Have we ever been accused of being a "put on"? Being two-faced is wrong if we are using our masquerade to fool others. However, if we are Christians and confess we are often two different people, then we then have the power through humility to be a proper put on. When we allow ourselves to think right about ourselves, we start to think right about others. What we then put on our minds about ourselves and others become expressions of our hearts that transform.

Beloved, exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit is a choice. It begins by choosing to put on the Lord Jesus Christ in our every thought. The miracle then happens as His character becomes ours with hearts expressive of Him.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Working Together for Good

Romans 8:28- "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."

This is one of the most misquoted verses in all of scripture. People often suggest that God causes all things to work together for good, regardless of the person, place, or circumstance. This is not the case, according to this verse. Paul tells us that He watches out to "cause all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” It is important to understand these stipulations in order to obtain this particular promise. The first and most important is love.

God first of all wants relationship before anything. He is certainly interested in what He has called us to do for His kingdom, but above all He wants relationship first. When our hearts are given to Him in loyalty and love, then He can shape our ministries around us for our families, communities, churches, etc. The dynamic of all things working together for good will then be everpresent in our lives when we first love Him and then care for others around us.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Restorative Power of God's Law

Psalm 19:7 - "The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple."

God's law has always been perfect. Thus, it is the ideal baseline to see our wickedness as a race of people that have shunned God's requirements. The law may look harsh and demanding from a fleshly viewpoint. However, it is actually full of the love of God that shows His perfect character. This, beloved, through Christ's fulfilling of the law, is able to restore our soul. Our stark need juxtaposed to God's provision is the perfect remedy for sin that ails mankind.

God's testimony is always one of lifting up His holiness. However, it is also one of mercy, as He extends His goodness to us through the gift of grace. The wise of this world will always be confounded by the simplistic wisdom of God's message. God's witness to our restored souls is one of righteousness through His law, yet the wisdom of His power that is saving us daily as we surrender.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Recognizing a Child of God

Romans 8:14 - "For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God."

The profundity of Paul's writings is not difficult to understand. The mark of a true Christian could be characterized by this one verse. If we are walking in God's Spirit, we will not carry out the desires of the flesh; therefore confirming we are sons and daughters of God. A school child could understand this logic because it is meant for those who would become children in their attitudes toward God. He wants to lead us by the hand in such a way if we will but allow Him.

Are we being led by God's Spirit? Or do we tug away from His loving grasp to run to our own desires? He will continue to seek us out ... for a while. However, that time will come when we will not be able to find our way back to His waiting grasp. May we hold tight now, knowing that doing so ensures our kinship with the Father.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The End of Sin

Romans 6:6 - "Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin."

The grand result of Christ's crucifixion is our privilege to be identified with His death so that we would "be done away with." The old man and the old woman have been "knocked off" by Jesus Christ as He took our sin nature on the cross with Him. He paid the penalty of sin because there was no way in heaven or hell we could ever atone for our rebellion. The great dilemma of redemption was solved in one instant when Jesus said, "It is finished!"

The finality of Christ’s crushing of sin means only one thing – that sin has lost its power. There is no longer any reason whatsoever to submit to sin the way we did in the past. Never confuse sinful habits with sin itself. The former is sin that has been practiced and is perfected in wickedness. However, these are merely habits that can and must be broken when Christ sets us free. The power behind the habit of sin is no longer there so we must resist and submit ourselves to the one who has truly set us free.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Our Passionate Guardian

Zephaniah 3:17 - “The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy."

As the prophet reminded Israel, we often need a greater awareness of the One who guards our souls. Our perception can become skewed when we see the Lord as a detached Guardian that reluctantly watches us as disobedient children. However, this verse tells us different. Nothing slips His eye, nor does He allow anything to separate us from the love of Christ. He is forever there to keep us in the presence of God with fullness of joy, if we will but allow Him to do so.

Just as God created us with emotions, so the love and joy of the Lord ebbs and flows in demonstration. Sometimes, we will sense the Watcher of our souls in a quiet sense of love for His beloved. At other times, we will experience the Lord's approval in joyous exaltation as He rejoices over us. In each and every instance, we experience a God that is multi-faceted in His affections but never diminished in the way He expresses them.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Broad Expressions of God's Love

Psalm 18:19 - "He brought me forth also into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me."

God delights in all of His children. He rescues us, not out of a sense of obligation, but one of deep desire for His beloved. Never let the enemy of our souls say that God wants to restrict our lives and keep good things from us. The "broad place" of His will is full of liberty and peace. Our only requirement is obeying Him as we would look to a loving Father.

Sin's pleasures will pass and leave us with an emptiness that will continue to increase over time. However, obeying God results in a continual filling of His goodness until we embody Christ's character. The wide expanse of God's blessings will never make us feel restricted. They are meant to give us boundaries, but at the same time remove any and all limitations regarding what He wants to do in our lives.