Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Romans 1 - Evidence for God

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.” 
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
God has placed the evidence of Himself not only all around us in His creation, but inside of us as well.  Everyone of us has known the longing for that "thing" that is missing in life, but only the Gospel has the answer.  The missing piece is a relationship with God, the Creator of the universe.
Sin, which we have from the beginning of our lives, separates us from God.  He cannot have anything, other than perfection, in his presence, including us... But God desired us to have relationship with Him so much, that He made a plan to remove the problem of sin from us.  He send Jesus to live a perfect life, be unjustly murdered on the cross, in our place...He took on the punishment of our sin...and gave us in exchange His record of a perfect life.  All that was accomplished as a gift, something free to take, with nothing in exchange but our sin.  All we need to do is stop trusting in ourselves to fix the sin problem and rely solely on Jesus as our ticket into relationship with God.
That is the Gospel, the Good News!  Jesus paid it all...and God created us and the world around us to remind us that we need HIM!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Proverbs 12:8 - Twisted View

8 A man is commended according to his good sense,
    but one of twisted mind is despised.  (ESV)

8 A man will be praised according to his insight,
But one of perverse mind will be despised. (NASB)

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This verse is what my family looked at today as we ate breakfast.  It is simple comparative statement of the results of different mindsets. When I read this in the ESV version this morning the idea of a twisted mind really struck me.

We can so easily have our view of the world skewed in such a way as to respond in our flesh.  We get easily angered, view accidents as personal assaults or a myriad of other ways our pride takes over... and our actions/words display our heart condition.

The antidote is of course to "walk by the Spirit" (Gal 5:16).  What an incredible blessing that THE Holy Spirit dwells within us.  I think we hear this so often we forget His power to transform us.  Consider for a moment that the God of the Universe made His dwelling in me...so that by His power, He can change me to be more and more Christ-like.

Lord, help me to be "led by the Spirit", soften my heart to Your will, and change me to be your man...

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Acts 17- Made to Seek God

24 The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands;  
25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 
26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 
27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;

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Let me remove some of the description to help you see what jumped out at me:

24 The God who made the world and all things in it, ...26  He made ... every nation of mankind...27 that they would seek God,...

We all are chasing after something to fill that emptiness we feel.  Even when we know the truth of what Christ has done to restore relationship with the God of the Universe, we get distracted.  The Enemy of our soul and our fleshly desires come to us with an imitation of what only God can fully provide.  In our weakness we allow that temptation to capture out attention, which only draws us away from relationship with God.

We can see this most clearly as we look at our lost world.  Their seeking God often looks like lust, greed, power or sometimes being a savior to someone, or something else, anything that will give us purpose...

God, I pray that my life, my words and actions would be a lighthouse for You!  Use me to draw the lost and the distracted back to you...

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Luke 24- Praise: the Answer to Salvation

52 And they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple praising God.

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 After Christ was resurrected, His disciples saw him and understood all that He had previously told them.  They understood why they were left, to share the Gospel with all nations.  They believed all that He said and were saved...What was their response?  Continual praise...

Lord, help me to be actively praising you, always...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Acts 6- Mercy

27 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. 31 Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. 32 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

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 Who can say such things? Only a loving God...

Lord, help me to love you by my actions...  toward others, towards You and in myself.  What a sacrifice to give up justice and ourselves.  Allow this sacrifice to be joyfully given to You.  What incredible salvation you give us freely...the exact opposite of what I deserve! 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Mark 15- Christ Forsaken, Yet Our Separation Removed

33 When the sixth hour came, darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 At the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” 35 When some of the bystanders heard it, they began saying, “Behold, He is calling for Elijah.” 36 Someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink, saying, “Let us see whether Elijah will come to take Him down.” 37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last. 38 And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

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For the first time Christ feels the separation from the Father caused by sin that we all have known.  Only in the first and only time the relationship between the Father & Son is divided because of OUR SIN!  But just three verses later, the veil of separation is supernaturally torn in two...signifying that God would no longer reside in the Holy of Hollies but in each of us!  What a powerful moment in time...

Lord, cause us to run to you so that we will keep the relationship open and strong.  Help us to love you by keeping your commands!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Mark 7- Message Missed

32 They brought to Him one who was deaf and spoke with difficulty, and they implored Him to lay His hand on him. 33 Jesus took him aside from the crowd, by himself, and put His fingers into his ears, and after spitting, He touched his tongue with the saliva; 34 and looking up to heaven with a deep sigh, He said to him, “Ephphatha!” that is, “Be opened!” 35 And his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was removed, and he began speaking plainly. 36 And He gave them orders not to tell anyone; but the more He ordered them, the more widely they continued to proclaim it. 37 They were utterly astonished, saying, “He has done all things well; He makes even the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”

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Why would Christ command that they not tell anyone about the incredible things he was doing?  Because, when people were focused on what he DID they ignored what he SAID.  And for humankind the Message, the Gospel, is the only thing that matters.  It is foremost, of critical importance, unprecedented and ignored if we are only worried about our physical needs.

Lord, help me to share your Truth and protect me from loosing sight of the importance of the message amidst the success of the work you have us do!