Sunday, August 2, 2015

Divine Recognition

Acts 4:13 - "Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus."

Have you ever recognized someone as having been with Jesus? They aren't difficult to spot. As the Pharisees witnessed, the hallmark of these folks is their immovable confidence in what they believe. How does confidence of this type manifest itself? Well, it starts in secret and spills out publicly. It oozes out of believers that truly believe their Lord and desire to spend time with Him. It comes by searching out His Word, and then living it to the best of their ability. It comes by living out the Great Commission and spreading the love of Jesus Christ to their communities, counties, states, countries, and finally to the world. Godly confidence is something that cannot be self-created but is a by-product of living and breathing the Lord Jesus Christ on a daily basis.

Do you want to provoke amazement as the Pharisees experienced? They merely acknowledged the confidence of Peter and John, that they were uneducated but yet they recognized the Lord Jesus in them. Confidence in one's standing with the Lord only comes by getting into that secret place with Him -- to pour out one's heart and to pour over His word. Then, when we come out into the public light, there will be little to mistake any of us from having been with our Risen Lord.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Flee Immorality

Genesis 39:7 - "It came about after these events that his master’s wife looked with desire at Joseph, and she said, 'Lie with me.'”

Lust will always lie, telling us it has something to give but it always seeks to steal everything of God within. Joseph understood the paradigm of lust and resisted it vehemently. The sin which sought to enslave him was only the catalyst which propelled him toward another kind of enslavement. However, the latter incarceration was part of God's plan to raise Him up in due season.

Paul tells us in I Corinthians 6:18 to "Flee immorality." Often, however, when we flee temptation, we are placed in a situation where it seems we are being punished for our resolve. When we consecrate ourselves from sin and the lusts thereof, God will sanctify us in time and reveal Himself to us in new ways. Like Joseph, we may not understand immediately in our obedience how we will be made holy and placed above our enemies. However, if we stand strong and not give in to despair, He will open up our proverbial jail cell to the expanse of His blessings.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Times of Refreshing

Acts 3:19 - "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord."

Some may have bought into the idea that salvation from sin allows one to enter into a life filled with blessing. In truth, this is a fact. However, it is often not perceived so. There are still the problems of life such as the car needing fixing, the boss is being unreasonable, and the kids are acting out at school. Jesus tells us each day will have its own troubles (Matthew 6:34). However, unlike our lives without Jesus, we now can draw upon His presence. The simplest way to do this is to enter His presence with praise and thanksgiving.

Times of refreshing will come in our time of need. This begs the question of how much do we need Him? He desires to allow a cascading waterfall of His presence to drench us daily. However, this comes only by faithfully praising him during the highlights and the lowlights throughout our day. All of us who know the Lord Jesus have the opportunity to turn from our problems and turn our face towards His in adoration. The more we do, the more we will experience the refreshing, restorative power of His presence.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Synonymous Expressions of God

Job 28:28 - “And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; And to depart from evil is understanding.’”

God often uses synonyms in scripture to help us understand His nature. Paul tells us in I Corinthians 1:34 that "love is patient." It is the natural outworking and expression of love to be patient. Similarly, John tells us that "God is love" (I John 4:8). Therefore, we can surmise that everything God does is out of a nature of love as He never fails to express it.

Of great importance regarding how God protects His children from evil is to understand how the fear of the Lord and wisdom are inextricably linked. They are one in the same, for one cannot exist without the other. As patience is the natural outworking of love, the fear of the Lord is the logical conclusion of wisdom. When we simply pray, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” we are displaying the synonymy of the fear of the Lord as it is bound with wisdom. This, my friends, is a splendid place to dwell.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Victory Over Death

Acts 2:24 - "But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power."

If we are in Christ, the agony of death has been broken in our lives. We can truly say with Paul, "O death, where is your sting?" (I Corinthians 15:55). Though our old man is dying daily and our physical body will one day cease to be, we will all take on immortality when we are transfigured into His glorious image.

Until then, we must know and understand that death cannot hold us in its power because we have the life of Christ. We can rejoice that we no longer have to sin but we can live, every day and every moment, in the power of life. What was once the agony of defeat has become the joy of victory in the Son. He has triumphed over death, sin, and devil for all eternity.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Fearing God and Not Man

Matthew 14:5 - "Although Herod wanted to put him to death, he feared the crowd, because they regarded John as a prophet."

Our flesh, that old man that often refuses to die within us, is like Herod of old. The sin nature's character is one of self-serving and fear of everything else besides God. However, like the old saying "when push comes to shove," the flesh will always struggle to survive when faced with submitting to God or dying to its selfish will. In similar manner, Herod sought to save face when he murdered John the Baptist. His fear of the crowd eventually won out over his minimal fear of God.

The Holy Spirit, or the prophetic voice of God within, will never bow to the will of our flesh. That is why the old self must die within the life of every believer. Shall we be as Herod this day and behead the Son of God within, disallowing Him to reign? Or, shall we humble ourselves and fear God rather than the crowd of this world? Our choice will determine our destiny this day, the day after, and for all eternity.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Embracing Our Destiny

Genesis 35:18 - "It came about as her soul was departing (for she died), that she named him Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin."

It is significant that directly after Jacob's name is once again confirmed as Israel (Striven with God) from Jacob (Deceiver), Rachel then dies. She was the love of his heart and the desire of his eyes.  Interestingly, Rachel named her son Ben-oni, which means "son of my sorrow." Yet, his father named him Benjamin, "son of the right hand."

Often, when God does a paradigm shift in our lives, it is to redefine our legacy. Then, it is our responsibility to not allow the death of the old life to distract us from our new destiny. We must not look with sorrow at what God could have done, or should have done through us before our sanctification. Instead, we must rename our outcomes in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, taking hold of all in which He has called us to be. Change, beloved, is difficult and especially if we have grown fond of our old ways. However, God desires to rename the "Benjamins" in our lives and make these outcomes prodigies of the strength of His right hand.