Thursday, August 21, 2014

Salvation Belongs to the Lord

Psalm 3:8 - "Salvation belongs to the Lord; Your blessing be upon Your people! Selah."

Redemption is God's gift to all mankind through His Son. However, comparatively few will accept His great gift. Salvation can only be wrought in a man, woman, or child's heart through divine grace. Christ redeemed us all, yet salvation has to be "worked out" in our hearts by the Holy Spirit and through our cooperation (Philippians 2:12-13). Just as redemption cost Jesus His life, salvation will likewise cost us our life. To give any less is to come up short of God's desire for His sons and daughters.

The Psalmist tells us in another passage how salvation can never be divorced from its source. He lifted up the "cup of salvation" in gratitude, understanding the true ownership of saving grace (Psalm 116:13). He knew His own efforts were feeble and incomplete and without God he was doomed.

We are not our own, beloved of God. Nor will we ever possess anything we can give back to God except the time we use to worship and serve Him. May we always understand there is salvation in no other than Jesus Christ. His redemption made this possible, as God's salvation continues to save us daily, becoming conformed to the image of our Redeemer.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Vigilant Partnership

Nehemiah 4:17 - "Those who were rebuilding the wall and those who carried burdens took their load with one hand doing the work and the other holding a weapon.

We should never think we can rest on our proverbial laurels once we give our lives to Jesus. While He has completed the inner work within our hearts, the outer workings of our broken lives often need much restoration. Redemption through Christ's blood can never be more complete in our lives. However, living the life of a builder and a warrior will be our heritage until we one day meet the Lord. While God's temple within is now inhabited by the Holy Spirit and we are forever holy in God's eyes, we must partner with Him by building the walls of our fortress that will stand against the enemy of our souls.

We must be vigilant knowing that we cannot just build God's kingdom in our lives, our families, our ministries, etc. without the ever present threat of the enemy attacking us. He will always hit us in our most vulnerable place at the most opportune time. Often, these are not great sins he tempts us with, but small compromises. As the enemies of Nehemiah sought to "partner" with him in rebuilding the walls, we must never allow the flesh or the devil to have a part in God's work. Unless the Lord builds the house (or the walls of our lives through sanctification), we labor in vain when we partner with another.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Take Your Seat!

Psalm 1:1 - "How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!"

Often, the first place of compromised faith is perpetuating Satan's question to Eve, "Did God really say ...?" (Genesis 3:1) Once he can get us to question God, then we begin to scoff at His directives. Once firmly seated in unbelief, we will find ourselves standing at the crossroads of God's way or “in the path of sinners." Many have lost their way as they begin down this path. The road is broad with multitudes to counsel with along the way. Surely, those who continue down this path state that "there is no God" by both their words and actions (Psalm 14:1).

Not so for the humble of heart who choose to seat themselves with Christ (Ephesians 2:6). By submitting ourselves to the wisdom of God rather than our own perceived "knowledge," we shield our hearts from sitting, standing, and then walking away from God. Beloved, our ultimate fate will depend on where we decide to rest today – either in the seat of scoffers or with Christ through His redemption.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Power of Praying for Others

Job 42:10 - "The Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord increased all that Job had twofold."

We can be set right with God, and yet we can fail to enter into all He has for us due to a narrow focus. God wants to take care of us and our needs. There should be no doubt of this certainty. However, He also desires to rocket us into another dimension of blessing by caring for others. Job's restoration was only complete when he prayed for his friends. He needed to look beyond himself and concern himself with his friends in the same manner God cared for them.

In the first book of Chronicles, we see a perfect example of the somewhat cynical prayer, "God bless us four, and no more!" In I Chronicles 4:10 we read: "Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, 'Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!' And God granted him what he requested." Out of His great love for us, God will often answer our somewhat selfish prayers. However, God desires to not only sustain us but also to obtain for us His double-blessing. We must simply look beyond ourselves, seeking the welfare of others in our time of prayer with Him.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Returning to the Source

Job 42:5-6 - “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees You. Therefore I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes.”

Knowledge is not the same as wisdom. While the former may lead to the latter, there is no guarantee this will occur without God and how He chooses to reveal Himself. When we finally start to understand the Lord in a particular area, it becomes a wisdom epiphany that often changes our entire paradigm of belief. For instance, we might tell ourselves that we must be more patient with others. However, until God starts working that part of His character through us, we have only known it in concept. The reality of God is always demonstrated in action.

Repentance always results in returning to our source. Since our flesh and bone are made from the dust, we might revert to "dust and ashes" as Job did in our new found awareness. If nothing else, we may bow low and prostrate ourselves under His revelation. Even as our body relates to its origin, our soul will fall toward God as its source. Much like the law of gravity will always take effect when a weighted object is dropped, we too will return to our Center which is God when we allow His law of love to enlighten our knowledge with His wisdom.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

God's Ownership

Job 41:11 - “Who has given to Me that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is Mine."

God Almighty, the one and true God, has never sought repayment for sending His Son the Lord Jesus Christ to die for the sin of mankind. This is what makes Him unique amongst all other religions. Every other belief in God, other than Christianity, demands repayment of some kind. These faiths conclude that we must be like God, so therefore we must work to attain to His character. Or, that we strive to recompense Him in some way for all of His benefits toward us.

Truly, the only thing we can give back to God is ourselves, which He already owns. One of the truest expressions of this is giving Him our time in worship. Devotion takes on many forms, but it should never be looked at as something that makes God like or love us more. It is impossible for Him to love us more than He already does, which is infinitely. All we can truly do as believers is accept His great gift and say thank you. When we expend time in this manner, we acknowledge we can do nothing further in the grand plan of redemption.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Jesus' Lordship

Psalm 16:2 - "I said to the Lord, 'You are my Lord; I have no good besides You.'”

When we come to the place of David, confessing Christ's Lordship and really believing it, then great things begin to happen. We recognize how His righteousness is the only thing that can ever be "good" in our lives. Religion is replaced by relationship and romance toward the Lover of our souls. Like David, our hearts will rise in praise and thanksgiving when we truly recognize He is Lord and Master of our surrendered hearts.

The Savior tells us in the Gospel of Matthew that many will say "Lord, Lord" on that final day. Jesus further explains how He will disown those who have practiced lawlessness (Matthew 7:21-23). Christ is not talking necessarily about just the Ten Commandments. He is speaking about a love for living the character of God which is embodied in the law. The law of liberty has set us free from the bondage of the law, beloved (James 1:25). Jesus is truly our Lord when we instinctively live His commandments. This is true freedom that demonstrates itself in love for God and mankind.