Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Devotions: Choosing Sides

For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.
2 Peter 1:8-9 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Having these qualities (faith, morality, knowledge, self control, perseverance, godliness, affection and love) ensures that we will be fruitful. Having these provides a zeal within us to seek to serve, to continually strive to be more Christ-like. At the same time, zealously striving to be more Christ-like produces these qualities in us. It builds on itself. We have this assurance, if we desire to glorify God and be like Him, if we are seeking to serve and to grow, we will not be unfruitful or useless. It is a surety. On the other hand, those who do not truly possess them (regardless of how much they pretend to) are blind. They cannot see anything beyond this physical world. They cannot look forward to heaven, are not eternally minded. They live for now and as a result work for now and are unable to really grow. We have to have that heaven-mindedness to be able to grow heavenward. These people are also incapable of learning from past failures or of moving beyond past sins. They may pretend to have these things, but their motives and immediate reactions will reveal where their hearts truly lie. There is no middle ground. We are either heavenly minded and striving to serve and grow; or we are worldly minded and not growing. Which side are you on? Ask God to help you grow, to give you that zeal and diligence necessary to be on His side.

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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Devotions: Add Love

and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.
2 Peter 1:7 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

While we are striving to be like God, we need to have brotherly kindness, literally love for the brethren. The book of 1 John talks about how God is love, and we are like God if we love also. We cannot say that we love God if we do not have love for other believers because they are His children also, our spiritual family. We cannot be godly if we don’t love our family because that is what God is. Along with love for the brethren, we are also to have love for mankind as a whole. The word translated love here is agape, which is the highest form of love, the kind God has for us and it is unconditional and complete. We should not look down on those who don’t believe, but rather have compassion on them, desiring that they hear the truth and be saved. This is the heart of God, and it should be central to our hearts as well. It is why Jesus came to earth. We are not special. He didn’t come for us and not for them. He came for all, and we should share that desire and heart. Do you love others? Do you desire their salvation? Do you have affection for the family of God? Ask God to grow that in you.

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Monday, November 18, 2019

Is the Law for Us?

Many modern Christians reject the Old Testament as necessary scripture, saying we are no longer under the Law so we don’t need to obey it. They even go so far as to say that the God of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New Testament. What is true? If we are not saved by the Law, does it really apply to us? Do we need the Old Testament?

Monday, November 11, 2019

A Break

I am making a last minute trip this week and will not have time to write. Thank you for understanding! Have a blessed week!

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Devotions: The Race

and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness,
2 Peter 1:6 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Once we have faith, virtue and knowledge, or begin down that road in them, we must add self control to our knowledge. Knowing God, being with Him, demands that we live virtuous, holy lives, and that cannot be done if we are controlled by our passions, desires, emotions, or sin. Self control is a fruit of the Spirit, it is not something natural to mankind. It is in our nature to take all we can, to gorge ourselves. But God says it is not to be that way for He has given us a spirit of love, power, and self control (2 Tim 1:7). We are to be like God, and He is completely in control of Himself, so we must strive to be so as well. In our self control, we must have perseverance. Perseverance is striving on, pushing toward the goal, never giving up. Yes, we will falter at times. No one has perfect anything, especially self-control, but when we fall, we must get up and keep going. We cannot throw the towel in. We have to keep going, keep fighting. In our perseverance we must have godliness, which is being like God. That is what we are striving toward, making ourselves more like God every day, moving past mistakes and mess-ups and pressing on as an athlete running to the finish line. We need to stay in the race no matter what happens, but to reach the finish line of godliness we need to have self control and perseverance. These are things that we work toward ourselves, but they are also things that the Spirit grows in us, so while we are working on them, we must pray and rely on the Spirit to help us achieve them. We need His strength to accomplish our goal. How are you running the race? Where do you need to work harder, and where do you need to rely more on the Spirit?

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Devotions: Diligent Faith

Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge,
2 Peter 1:5 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

God has given us everything we need for life and godliness. He wants us to succeed and has given what we need to do that. He has promised them, as well as promising to be with us and to help us as we work toward the goal. We will face trouble and temptation, but God has given us what we need to deal with them. Because of this we need to be diligent in how we live, faithful to live a life honoring to God. He has given us faith, but with faith we need to add moral excellence, or virtue. We need to live moral, virtuous lives. We can’t just live however we want. Our lives are no longer ours, but His. That is what happens at salvation when we “give our lives to Christ.” That is literal not figurative. We submit to His Lordship and give our lives to Him because He bought them with His blood, so instead of being slaves to sin, we are slaves to God. In our virtue we need to add knowledge. This is a personal, intimate, experiential knowledge of God, not just of the Bible. We need to know what the Bible says, but we also need to know God personally and intimately. Knowledge without relationship leads to legalism. We need to know God so that we will know what true virtue is, so that our faith can guide us, so that we know what God’s will for our lives is. Are you living diligently? Do you have faith, virtue and knowledge? What do you need to do to get it?

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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Devotions: All We Can Do

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.
Romans 5:9 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

God showed us His love by sending Jesus to die in our place when we were still His enemies. When we were still stuck in our sin, before we knew or loved God, He made a way for us to be saved. That is the extent of His love. That is grace. We are justified not by what we do, but by the blood of Christ. As a result, we are saved from God’s wrath. God hates sin, His holiness demands that. He cannot be in the presence of sin. That is why Jesus had to die, to make a way for us to be with God. We had to be washed by His blood in order to be clean enough to be in God’s presence. It is all through Jesus, because of Jesus. Without Him as our sacrifice, there is no salvation. Only God Himself could do that. No other person or being could accomplish it. We cannot earn or deserve it. All we can do is accept and believe and live a life of gratitude for what He has done for us.

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Monday, November 4, 2019

And That is Enough

I have often felt like I was not enough. I have been discouraged many times because I felt like I did not measure up with what was expected of me, or with what I expected of myself. What defines who we are? Who decides our worth? These are questions many ask, and few find the truth, choosing instead to listen to the voices that are wrong which leads us down a road of pain, confusion and discouragement. What is the truth?

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Devotions: Not Like Other Gods

Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.”
Matthew 1:23 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

God is not like us in many ways. He does not change, nor is there any evil in Him. He is also unlike any other god, because He is with us. No other god cares for people as ours does. No story of false deities can rival the truth of our God. He is not like us. He has every right to reject us for our sin, but He doesn’t. And not only does He not reject us, but He made a plan of redemption so that He could be with us. Instead of waiting for us to come to Him, He came to us first. Instead of requiring impossible feats for us to earn our way to Him, He made the way for us to be together. He forgave our sins. He had mercy and grace. Grace is a completely Christian idea, found in no other religion on earth. It is solely a trait of Jesus Christ. That is what separates Him from all other gods; His grace and love. He chose to give up His place in heaven so that He could be with us. What other god is worthy of our worship and devotion? Does He have your whole heart? Is He with you?

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Devotions: UNhuman

God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent;
Has He said, and will He not do it?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
Numbers 23:19 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

We often assume, at least subconsciously, that God is like us. We expect Him to act the way we would, or the way we have seen our fathers act. We anticipate the same answer or reaction we would give. But God is not like us. For one thing He cannot sin. There is no evil in Him. Nothing He does is wrong. (If it seems that way it is because we have misunderstood.) Because of this, He never lies. He never needs to repent for anything. For another, He has all knowledge and wisdom, where we only have partial and ours is tainted by sin. God knows everything that has and will happen. He always keeps His promises. He is completely and always faithful and trustworthy. That does not mean that He answers immediately, however. Sometimes His promises are long in coming. The Israelites waited 400 years to be released from captivity in Egypt. Abraham waited 25 years after God promised him a son (he was 100 when the child was born), and he never saw the Seed he was promised, because Christ came almost 2000 years later. If God has spoken, He will make good on His promises. He doesn’t lie. He doesn’t go back on His word. He does what He says. Trust God. He will fulfill His promise to you. He is faithful. Wait for Him to make good on what He has said.

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