Thursday, March 14, 2019

Suffering for His Sake

Suffering for His Sake

Philippians 1:27,29 
Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake...

Paul, a citizen of heaven, wants the Philippian church to realize that the world around them can only see the true Gospel by what they view in their lives. We are to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ. The most powerful weapon against the enemy of Christ is the consistent life of a believer living out the Gospel day after day.  

The sufferings of the Philippian Christians were mentioned more than once by Paul in his writings.  If we suffer for Christ’s sake, we are to consider it a precious gift from Him. We are to labor together for the Gospel’s sake and not against one another. We are to be of one spirit and one mind, standing against any opposition of the Gospel Satan may bring (Matthew 5:11-12). 

Paul is encouraging believers that when they stand for the sake of the Gospel they will suffer persecution. He instructs them to be consistent in living their lives worthy of the Gospel and in the end, they will receive a great reward. “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:” (II Timothy 2:12 KJV). Paul instructs the people that there is an enemy that wants to steal this treasure from them and cripple the ministry of the Gospel; but God gives the grace we need to go through any trial and enables us to have joy in the midst of every battle.

Lord, may I ever walk worthy of the Gospel of Christ though trials may disrupt my path and obscure my way. 

Friday, March 8, 2019

Are You Fearful?

Are You Fearful?

                              Proverbs 29:25 

“The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.”

The Definition of Fear: An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. A feeling of anxiety concerning the outcome of something or the safety and well-being of someone.

How often do we experience the crippling effect of fear? What circumstances or situations send us into uncontrollable waves of anxiety? Can we let go of this overwhelming fear or, are we afraid of what might happen? Does the fear of man have such power over our lives that it paralyses us to the point of despair? We are encouraged through the Word of God to depend upon the power of God which keeps us from the fear of man. 

May I assure you that God is working in and through every aspect of your life. You can trust Him with all that He has allowed to come across your path. It is not easy to trust God in times of adversity because no one enjoys pain or suffering to be sure. Having such a relationship with a God that allows you to walk through any trial with confidence, gives assurance that He is there with you through every situation. God never walks away and leaves you to chance or random circumstances, but moves in your life to accomplish His purpose and bring glory due His name.

We must not fear the unknown, nor sickness, nor the loss of life, nor any unfavorable experience laid at our feet–––for with all adversity comes a deeper relationship with our God. His faithfulness sustains us for we are not independent of God but dependent upon His continuing power to give us life and breath. 

Lord, may I trust Your Word in knowing that You are with me no matter what fear or trial may come my way.

FRIDAY, MARCH 17, 2017

Friday, March 1, 2019

Sign of True Conversion

November 24

Signs of True Conversion

I Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV
. . . Christ died for our sins. . . was buried, . . . He rose again the third day . . . 

The assurance of our salvation is a reoccurring joy on the basis of the continuing work of the Holy Spirit, fellowship with Christ and the Father. This is  a crucial part of our so great salvation. The person that is truly saved will be sensitive to sin in his or her life and cry out as Paul did in Romans 7:24, “O wretched man that I am!” True believers are to, . . . walk in the Light as He is in the Light,” (I John 1:7), confessing and forsaking sin as it is made known to them. If we say we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness of sin, we are lying to ourselves and are not practicing the truth–––Light and darkness do not coexist.

God gives us the confidence to know that we have eternal life not based on feelings or experiences but on the truths of Scripture. If this is true, then there is never a reason for any of us to live a ho-hum Christian life. We are to live our lives experiencing His exceedingly abundant grace and mercy by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and what He has done for us on the cross.

Suffering rejection because of your faith is a painful test but you are not to be surprised by this persecution (I Peter 4:12,13). If you are being persecuted by the world and have experienced rejection, bitterness, hostility, and alienation, then this may bring clarity to whom you belong and whose name you bear. 

It is the Christian’s blessed hope that one day Christ will return and we will see Him face-to-face. Our citizenship is in heaven and one day we will be transformed from this frail, sinful body into a glorious body bearing “the image of the heavenly” (I Corinthians 15:49b). Our longing to see Christ indicates the wonderful reality of eternal salvation.

Lord, thank You for saving grace.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Don't Violate Your Conscience

Don’t Violate Your Conscience

Acts 24:16 
In view of this, I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men.

Have you taken great pains to have a clean conscience before God and man or, have you allowed the world to instruct you to ignore your guilt feelings and make your conscience weak? This is a dangerous way to live your life as a Christian.

God has graciously given you something within that is powerful to assist you in the struggle against sin. He gave you a conscience, and that conscience can bring you real pleasure and freedom. Examining your guilt feelings in the light of Scripture and then confessing and forsaking your sin will cleanse your conscience. Dealing with sin immediately is a continuous quality or aspect of the Christian life. It is a privilege and joy to walk before God with a clear conscience.

Sometimes people think their guilty conscience will just clear up over time without dealing with it. But, guilt feelings can remain for long periods of time, and appear in other areas of life causing one to feel guilty and not knowing the reason for it. This could be a sign that something is definitely wrong spiritually (Titus 1:15). A weak conscience that is easily grieved is a result of a lack of knowledge and understanding of the Word of God. You need to respond to your conscience, even if it's weak and continue to learn from God's Word. It would be wise to never ignore your conscience or to live by your feelings only (Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 8:26-27). The Spirit of God helps us in our weaknesses, our infirmities, and searches the heart of man.

What is your conscience trying to say to you? Can you respond with Paul in saying, “I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day” (Acts 23:1)? Christians need to fight to keep a pure and good conscience every day. 

Lord, may I keep a clear conscience that is right before You and others.

Friday, February 15, 2019

When God Says, "No!"

When God Says, “No!”

II Samuel 7

Up to this time, David’s life has been filled with war, bloodshed, and trouble. David is now resting from his enemies, and a thought comes to mind, a desire to build a special dwelling place for the Ark of the Covenant. The prophet Nathan is introduced in Scripture for the first time and will later record many of the events surrounding David’s life.

We must remember that Nathan is human––like the rest of us and the proposal David gave him sounded great. Nathan would have a new “church” in which to worship the Lord in, so he responded quickly. How did Nathan know God would want a building? Had Nathan talked to God about it? Maybe he reasoned as many of us do. “If it’s in the name of God, it must be okay.” That night as Nathan lay down to sleep, the LORD spoke to him and Nathan realized that he had spoken too soon, and would now have to go to David to admit that he had been wrong. 

Though God had said, “No” to David’s dream of building the temple, He did give to David many blessings. One blessing would be that his son, Solomon, would be allowed to build the temple. We, as children of God, do not have the same promises as David did. But, God has promised that when we hurt, He will be there, when we cry out, He will hear our voice and when we believe and call upon His name, we will be saved. 

What has happened in your life? Has God told you “No” to the most important desires you have longed for? Did that answer make you bitter against Him or are you better because of God’s sovereign work in your life (Romans 8:28)? I pray you will allow the Maker of this universe to do His work in your life even when He says, “No” to your heart’s greatest longing, and the things you treasure and hold so dear. 

Lord, my heart’s desire is to do Your will.

Friday, February 8, 2019

The Depth of Love

The Depth of Love

Ruth 1:16,17 

As the love story of Ruth unfolds, picture three women traveling along the road toward Bethlehem. Their hearts are broken by death, they’re in despair and most likely afraid. Naomi stops them on their journey and lovingly reminds them of the reality of their devastated lives. She relays to them that she has no more children for them to marry and if she would have children, they would be too young to marry. They would be better off going home to their families than to continue with her.

Ruth said to Naomi, “Do not urge me to leave you or to turn back from following you. I want to go where you go, and live where you live. I want your people to be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I want to die and be buried. May the LORD do to me and more, if anything but death parts you and me.” (Paraphrased).

Orpah shows her love for Naomi, kisses her mother-in-law good-bye and walks away back to her gods. Ruth is grieved and weeps as Orpah disappears forever out of their sight. With already so much tragedy and heartache they have endured, to know Orpah would cease to exist in their lives from this time forward, would seem unbearable. Ruth cleaves to her mother-in-law, expressing words of love and devotion to Naomi and to her God. Her words confirm her devoted love for Naomi but most importantly, they show Ruth’s obvious conversion from worshipping Chemosh to the God of Israel, JEHOVAH.

Have you ever wondered how God could save such a sinner as you, as Ruth, or anyone? You will never understand the meaning of the cross, or why Jesus had to die until you begin to appreciate the depth of love shown in His extreme sacrifice. He was willing to give His life for your eternal soul, an everlasting love that will not let you go.

Lord, thank You for a love that will never let me go (John 10:28).

Friday, February 1, 2019

I Am Nothing Without Love

I Am Nothing Without Love
Read I Corinthians 13

We need to ask ourselves this question, “Are we loving?” That could be a hard question to answer. Maybe we should ask, “Are we patient? Are we kind? Are we trusting?” These types of questions are more a matter of the heart. Can we measure ourselves according to these qualities of love? The Word of God says, “If we don’t have love, we are nothing.” 

Jesus said in John 13:35 KJV, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Making the choice to love others is a command given by our Lord to those who would call themselves Christians. 

The Bible never defines love but describes it. Love is an action word and love is only love when it acts. The true Christian is one who loves when he is hurt, wounded, or taken advantage of without seeking revenge. Abraham Lincoln made a lot of friends, and he also made some enemies during our great Civil War. Edwin Stanton, Secretary of War, during President Lincoln’s administration was said to be; rude, explosive, dogmatic, and obstinate. Yet, Lincoln chose him for that particular job.

History teaches us though Stanton was rude and abrasive, he couldn't resist the patience that Lincoln showed him. Stanton couldn't resist the non-retaliating spirit of the man called, Lincoln. Love forgives seventy times seven when it has been wronged.  Long-suffering endures the insults and injuries of others and kindness pays them back only with deeds of goodness, and unfeigned love.

The night of Lincoln’s assassination, in the little room where the President's body was taken there stood Stanton. He was peering down into the silent face of the President in all its ruggedness and is reported to have uttered this famous remark, "Now he belongs to the ages." Stanton knew the kind of man President Lincoln was and appreciated the kind-hearted spirit he shared with those that served with him.

Lord, may I learn to share my love by what I do and not only by what I say.