Sunday, October 16, 2016

Wrapped in Righteousness

We all know that we fall short of God’s standard of righteousness, right living.  Our conscience  speaks of our guilt. Rather than listen to our conscience we try to drown it the best we can.
After all, what can we do about our wrongs?  We can’t erase what we’ve done.  There are no do-overs. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could cover our sins so God couldn’t see them? Hide all our mistakes, and wrongdoings, our sins?
Instead, we try to forget. We fill our lives with lots of activities: tv watching, alcohol, drugs, etc. But, when all is still and quiet, we still know that we are guilty.
Sometimes we admit we are guilty, but think God is not fair and we are angry about it. Angry at God for being so demanding. After all, we are only human, right?
Yes, God does demand righteousness, but he also provides the righteousness as a gift.  Does that not seem fair?
When we were away from God (his enemies) he reconciled us to himself by the death of his son. Romans 5:10 God wraps us in righteousness and reconciles us to himself.
It costs us nothing. It cost God everything. Jesus, his son, was sent to give his life that we might have forgiveness... if we want it. It doesn’t automatically fall on everyone.  Each person has to receive this gift for himself. Jesus told a very good man that each person needs to be born again, allowing his life to be birthed in us. This gives us the right to be called the children of God. John1:12
When we accept his gift, we receive forgiveness and are clothed in his righteousness. Our sins are covered.
Psalms 130:3-4 “If you, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with you, that you may be feared.”
Psalms 86:5 “For you, Lord, are good and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon you.”
Psalms 85:2 “You have forgiven the iniquity of your people; you have covered all their sin.”
Psalms 32:1 “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.”
Isaiah 61:10 “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness.”

Thank you, Lord, that you are ready to forgive.  Thank you for clothing us with your robe of righteousness and covering us with the garments of salvation.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Another Life in Us

After King David died his son Solomon became king. King David had made plans and had materials gathered for the building of a permanent temple for God. Now King Solomon had the temple built. It was a magnificent temple. (When the Hebrews were taken captive their beautiful temple was destroyed. After seventy years they were allowed to return to their homeland and rebuild their temple, but it was not what it had been.  Haggai 2:3)
So we know from this that it was a building of great beauty.  When the temple was completed, the ark of the covenant was placed in the Most Holy Place, and when the priests came out a cloud filled the house of the Lord so that the priests could not continue their ministry.
What does that have to do with us?  Apostle Paul tells us in his letters to the church in Corinth that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. And, “For you are the temple of the living God.”
It is not just us living in our bodies, but for the born again believer, we have another entity living in us - the Holy Spirit of God. The same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in every believer. Romans 8:11.
This is a life changing truth that begs us to take time to let it become real to us.  If we marinate in this truth for a whole week, it will change us.  If we marinate in this truth for a year, imagine what it will do to us.
What does this truth mean to us?  
When we are tempted to sin, live for self, etc. his abilities to resist it are available to us.
When life is difficult his abilities, to not only cope, but to fly above the difficulty, are ours.
When doubts come our way, we can look to him as Peter did and rise above the frightening circumstances.
We have Jesus living in us. What more do we need? He has everything we need for life and godliness. 2 Peter 1:3
If we will remember who we have living in us our lives will be different.
Lord, help us to let this truth simmer in us until by faith it becomes a reality. With you living in us nothing will be too hard for us, for we know that nothing is too hard for you.
1 Corinthians 6:19

2 Corinthians 6:16

Sunday, October 2, 2016


Sometimes we don’t feel very good about ourselves, like we don’t quite measure up. We wish we could just be accepted for who we are.  
Perhaps we suffered from abuse as a child.  It could only be verbal abuse, but that kind can be very destructive.  
Words like - “You won’t amount to anything.”
“It doesn’t matter what you want.”  
Or... “Why can’t you be like ______?”         Those words inflict a lot of pain.
It could be that you only observed such behavior from your parent to  another sibling.  That, too, can leave the impression that if you didn’t measure up, you would hear the same words.  
Your life was spent trying to be good to avoid being the victim of such abuse.
We can be extremely grateful that God is not like that.  It is true that God hates sin, but he has provided a way to make us acceptable to him.  
His plan was to send his son to  pay the price that would make a way to reconcile us to himself.
We were that important to Him.  
You are that important to him.  
And Jesus loved his father so much that he agreed to come to earth to fulfill his father’s plan.
We don’t even have to be good for him to  love us.
In Romans 5:8 it says, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Once he completed his mission a way was opened to come to the Father without fear.  
By believing in him we are made acceptable.
He offers us forgiveness for all wrongdoings. When we allow Jesus to live through us in our day to day lives we are made acceptable everyday.
Remember this - God loves you.
He is for you.
He wants to give you a life of peace, joy, and acceptance.

Ephesians 1:6 “...He made us accepted..”
Colossians 1:12-14 “ thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into  the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”

Lord God, thank you for your love for us. Open our spiritual eyes so we can see that you accept us, that you have always loved us.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Choosing God

In the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve had the complete approval of God.  After he created them, he said, “It is good.”  They could walk and talk with God without being afraid of him..
When they sinned by ignoring him and listening to Satan, that bond was broken and they found themselves afraid of him.  Yet God still wanted to reconcile the human race to himself.  
He had a plan.
This was not something we begged of him or
  that he reluctantly agreed to.  
No.  It was his idea all along.
He wanted to reconcile us to himself.  And only he could do it.
We are helpless to achieve it with our own efforts.

This was his plan from the foundation of the world - In Ephesians chapter one it tells us that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. He took the penalty of sin, as well as, our tendency to sin upon himself and bore it on the cross that darkest day of his life.
We cannot fix ourselves.  There is not one thing we can do to make ourselves acceptable to God. Jesus did it all. There is nothing more to be done.
We are lost…...stained…….sinners.
We cannot be good enough.  Jesus told a very religious man of his time that unless he was born again he could not see the kingdom of God.
There is one catch.  Yes, one.  We have to make a decision.
We have to choose to receive Christ.  
Believe in him with a faith that is more than mental assent.
It requires a belief that is a converting faith.
It is our choice.  He wants us to be his children, but he does not force us.  He has given us the free will.  He is hoping that all will choose him.

Who will you listen to?  
Do you want to control your own life and destiny?
Do you want to place your faith and trust in Jesus Christ?  
He has a wonderful future planned for you.

Lord God, our Redeemer, help us to see our destitute condition apart from you and choose to accept your gift of life.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Coping vs. Freedom

Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.
Once a drug addict,always a drug addict.  
Once an addict of anything, always an addict.
At AA meetings people introduce themselves saying, “ I am so and so, and I am an alcoholic, even if they haven’t had a drink in 25 years.
Why is that?  
They acknowledge that they have no power to truly free themselves.
They will carry that problem to their grave.  No freedom, just coping.
They are powerless to get free.
The best they can do is modify their behavior, change their habits.
Real change is humanly impossible.
But, there is good news. Nothing is impossible with God.
And it is the best news.  
You don’t have to do anything to better yourself.
All you need to do is yield yourself to God and allow him
to work that change in you.
Jesus did it all.  When he died on the cross, we died with him.  
When we are born again, we learn that we were in him when he died.  Our old self, the alcoholic, drug addict, etc. died with him.
We are no longer slaves to that sin or any sin.  Once we are born again with the life of God in us and truly see that our old person is dead, we don’t have to be slaves to any sin.  We can truly be free.
If we recognize our old self is dead, we are free.
Nothing can bother a dead person, right?
Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, your are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. And if the Son sets you free you will be free indeed.”

Romans 6:6-11  “..6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
7 For he who has died has been freed from sin.
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.
10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Lord God, we are so grateful for the life-changing work Jesus did on the cross for us. Help us understand by faith what exactly happened to us in that work so you can create in us a brand new person that will bring honor to your name.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Our Daily Choice

Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross
daily, and follow me.”  Luke 9:23
Taking up our cross is simply saying no to ourselves,
to give up all rights to control our life.
The question each day is of who do we serve?
Do we serve ourselves or do we serve God? If we serve ourselves,
we are in control and are dominated by our unbelieving natural person.
If we choose to serve God, we can depend on his power to
enable us for whatever the day has in store.
Paul admonishes them that just as they presented themselves to sin,
so now they are to turn from that life and present themselves to God.  
Paul explains in the letter to the Roman believers that they were not to
present themselves as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but to
present themselves to God as being alive from the dead.
We can be dead to the world and all its effects on our life.
Flesh, the natural person, is of no use to God. Only newly born, spiritual, is of value. No natural abilities or talents are of use to God until they have gone through death.
Without passing through death there is nothing to offer God.
Paul explains in Romans 6 that we died with Christ.  When we are born again we are born into the life of Jesus Christ so that
when he died, we died with him.  
When he arose we rose with him to a brand new life.
Now it is a simple matter of who we yield to.  
We are to know that we are dead.
Romans 6:6, 11, and then reckon it(count it)so.
We are to know that we are alive
Romans 6:9, 11,  and then reckon it so.
So, who we present ourselves to is a daily choice.  What will be your outlook today?
To yield to God or control you own life?

Lord, Help us to understand that as believers we died when Jesus died and to yield ourselves into your loving care.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Christian Rebellion - Living our own lives

Are we truly the Lord’s people?  Or do we live in rebellion when we choose to go our own way instead of being obedient to our Lord?
It might not be anything big,
but if it is us insisting on doing what we want instead of being yoked together with Christ… is rebellion.

We try to minimize the importance of our actions.
It is a small thing, unimportant. Like a white lie.
No matter the color we give the lie, it is still a lie, and
independence is still independence.

Independent living not only affects our relationship with God, but it affects the body of Christ.
           We act like our lives do not affect other people
We choose to think that the life we live does not matter to the person sitting across the aisle at church.
But, it does. Being a Christian reaches farther than ourselves.

When we become a Christian we become part of the body of Christ.
When we live in rebellion we are preventing Christ from using us.
We are hindering part of his body from functioning properly, like he has designed.

No wonder we are ineffectual as a church. We are a group of people loosely connected, but not functioning as one because we are too busy living our own lives.
Is it any wonder that the youth are leaving?  We say we are one thing, but don’t live it.
Is Sunday morning worship all we have?  
How do we function as a body if the only time we are together is for church sponsored    activities?  

What about the other days of the week? Are we connected to others during the week?  
Who do we care about on Monday or Tuesday?
Are we mindful of others? Does anyone need us for something on Friday?

Maybe we are content to be saved….. Period.
Making it to heaven is all that concerns us. We don’t want the corporate responsibility of belonging to the body of Christ.
Is this what we are telling Jesus Christ by our choices, lifestyle, how we spend our time? Are we saying, “Thanks for saving me, but that is all you get from me. Bless me, but don’t ask me to be available to you  to be part of your body, your family. I don’t want the responsibility.”?

One more thought - do we realize that we are part of his body in this nation?
Part of his body worldwide?
How does our lives affect someone in another state, another country?

Maybe we could make Colossians 1:9-12 our daily prayer for other individuals, churches, and bodies of Christ in other nations.
Lord, help us to expand our lives, to make room for others, to be aware of the needs others may be experiencing, and to make ourselves available to you to use to pour out your love and compassion. Help us to always be available for you to break into our lives for your purposes.
1 Corinthians 10:24 Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.
Philippians 2:4  Let each of you lookout not only for his own interest, but also for the interests of others.
Romans 15:5-6  Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 12:4-5  For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.