Friday, April 24, 2015

Joy in the Gospel

Joy in the Gospel

Philippians 1:12 KJV
But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; 

Through Paul’s imprisonment in Rome, it was made evident, prison was meant to advance the gospel. In spite of the obstacles, dangers, and many disadvantages Paul experienced in prison, there was no hindrance to the spreading of the message of salvation. Paul experienced much sorrow in his journeys with Christ but he was unwavering in his devotion to the Lord. The chains he wore were meant to cause discomfort, pain and suffering but Paul perceived those bonds of iron as the joy of his salvation. His reason for living was summed up in one verse, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). 

Paul understood that if he died he would gain joyous fellowship with Christ but, the greatest need was to stay and continue in the advancement of the church. Paul lived a fruitful life encouraging the Philippian people to live joyfully in Christ no matter the situation. He taught them that Jesus Christ was working in their lives even though difficult circumstances were apparent in Paul’s life.

Where did Paul find such joy that would sustain him through the burden of being chained and imprisoned? How could the furtherance of the gospel be his sustaining joy? The real question for us might be in asking, “In what or in whom do we obtain our joy?” If our joy is not found in the person of Jesus Christ and what He has done for us on the cross, then we are men and women most miserable. Dear friends, we cannot be unhappy knowing God has revealed Himself to us personally through salvation. Christ has caused us to see Him as a Faithful Friend, a Helper of the helpless, the Lover of our soul and a continual source of abundant Joy.

Lord, may the joy of my heart be in sharing the gospel of Christ with those who are lost.

Friday, April 17, 2015

What If?

What If?
2 Timothy 1:7
        For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.     

Have you ever asked yourself the question, “What if...?” That question has the ability to generate all kinds of fears about the future. Philippians 4:8 commands us to think on things that are “true” and “real.” Events in your future can prove to be neither “true” or “real.” Filling your mind with questions like: “What if I never get married?”, “What if I lose my husband?”,  “What if I never have children?”, “What if my children rebel against God?” can too easily overtake our minds and keep us from loving God as He has called us to do. If we want to overcome our fears, we cannot think about the “What if...” God certainly doesn’t give us grace for our imagination and the thoughts about the future are, at best only guesses. Everything is in God’s hands.

The dread of the future is a thief of your joy. A great lie and deception from Satan is that you cannot enjoy your life in the midst of unpleasant circumstances. You can think you will enjoy life when your breakthrough comes. But, what about enjoying the trip? Can you enjoy the time waiting for God to answer? Can you benefit from the journey?

Laughter can make the journey endurable, and even enjoyable. It takes a conscious effort to keep your heart merry during a long hard journey, because Satan is always willing to steal or block your joy. Smiling and laughter are outward evidences of inward joy. Sometimes you have to notify your face that you are a child of the King, something to rejoice in. It is almost impossible for you to enjoy life and be fearful at the same time. Joy is a spiritual force that can help you overcome your problems and enables you to experience the peace, wisdom and strength God has for you each day (Nehemiah 8:10).

Lord, may Your joy resinate in my heart calming any fear that may come my way.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Ugliness of Envy

The Ugliness of  Envy

Galatians 5:24-26 
And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Have you ever thought, “I did all the work, and they got all the credit?" Were you needing the praise of men more than the praise of God (John 12:43)? The world loves the praise of men and they feel they get their credibility from being honored by men. Not so for Christians. We receive our “credibility” from the Lord. We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works (Ephesians 2:10).

Envy is the emotion when you want something someone else has and are discontented. Jealousy is the emotion when you fear you may be replaced in the affection of someone you love or desire. Jealousy and envy are emotions we all feel from time to time. But, if they are allowed to control our lives, they distort our perspectives, and in some cases, lead us to act out in negative behavior. Without question, jealousy and envy prevent us from growing toward spiritual maturity. I Corinthians 13:4-8a says that Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends or fails.

The Lord Jesus Christ is our greatest example. He humbled Himself and made Himself of no reputation, nothing, and became obedient to the death of the cross. Our lives are to consider others more significant than ourselves, and we are to do nothing from envy or jealousy, but in humility, having the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:3-8).

Lord, may I, for the Gospel’s sake, walk in the Spirit of Christ without envy or jealousy.

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Crucifixion of Christ

The Crucifixion of Christ
Matthew 27:27-37

The story of the crucifixion of Christ is the high point of redemptive history and the center of God's purpose for salvation. On the cross is where the Lord bears the sins of the world and  provides salvation to all who believe in Him. The cross demonstrates the grace, mercy, goodness and love like no other event in history can. Jesus is willing to suffer for sinners, to suffer not only the death on the cross but everything that comes with it. The agony is beyond belief. Christ, without rest or sleep, endures the trials, the beatings and the scourging without saying a word. “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7 KJV).

Let us never pass over the meaning of the death of Christ on the cross on the way to celebrating His glorious Resurrection (which is worthy of our celebrating). It is the cross that gives meaning to the resurrected Christ and why “Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (I Corinthians 2:2) is so very important and the very essence of the gospel message. The longing of every believer should be as Paul stated; “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11 KJV). 

If you don't know the Savior, if you've not come to Him for forgiveness, or embraced Him as Lord, today is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2). As He has been lifted up before you this day, see Him as the Son of God, the Savior of the world who died for your sins, accept Him by faith and trust Him as your Savior today.

Lord, thank You for the cross and the suffering You endured that I may have salvation.