Friday, September 27, 2013



For a 'Christian'
  • One who has surrendered their life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ

the 'gospel message'
  • Christ’s sinless life, sacrificial death on a cross to satisfy God’s wrath towards sin, resurrection from the grave, and bodily ascension into Heaven

means freedom from the repeated, lasting and aggravating results of 'sin'
  • Offending God by rebelling against or inability to meet His standards.

A Christian is delivered from:
  • The Everyday Control of Sin
    • Romans 6:17-18 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
      • Although in practice we still fall short of God’s perfect standard and sin in the weakness of our flesh, having accepted the free gift of salvation, Christians are positionally perfect through Christ’s righteousness and empowered by the Holy Spirit to overcome sin.
      • In our daily lives, we are no longer under the control of sin.
  • The Eternal Consequences of Sin
    • Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
      • Because of our sin we deserve the ultimate punishment; eternal separation from God. Yet through Christ we have forgiveness of our sins and the promise of everlasting life with God. 
      • In Christ we are no longer condemned by sin.
  • The Exasperating Contamination of Sin
    • Revelation 21:4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
      • Even as we mature in the faith and sin less over time, we are disappointed by our own sin and frustrated by the pervasiveness of sin in the world around us. But one day we will be freed from the presence of all sin. 
      • In Heaven we will no longer be surrounded by sin.

The sinless Son of God delivered Himself into the hands of sinners to be unjustly executed so that we could be delivered from the rightful punishment for our sins.

Never stop giving Him praise and thanks and worship and all that you are in response to His precious gift of salvation.


Father, I thank You for salvation. I thank You for dealing with sin according to Your perfect will. I know that I do not deserve the forgiveness given to me. I pray that I honor You with my life. I yearn for the day I am in Heaven and no longer tempted by or surrounded by sin and its devastating effects. I praise You and love You. In Christ name I pray, Amen.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Dare to Be Different

Dare to Be Different
As we live out our Christian lives in this fallen world, desiring to complete the work that God has planned for us, we sometimes encounter and interact with powerful, or even hostile entities (individuals, organizations, businesses, governmental agencies, etc.). Whether they are Christian or not, we must always Dare to Be Different. We cannot react to situations the same way unbelievers do. We are to bring glory to God in everything we do regardless of the circumstances.  
When Daniel and his three friends were captured and taken to Babylon, they modeled the behavior we must adopt in our lives.
  • Daniel 1:8-9 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. 9 Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs.
Here are three important lessons we can take from Daniel’s experience and example:
  • Commit to living a life that honors God
    • As you engage the world, don’t compromise the holy life God has called you to live.
      • 1 Peter 1:16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
  • Seek support to fulfill your commitments to God
    • When needed, ask for support or permission from those who can help you achieve your Godly goals.
      • Nehemiah 2:4-5 Then the king said to me, “What do you request?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5 And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.”
  • Trust that God will give you favor in the sight of others as you move forward in His will
    • Be confident in obtaining approval/permission for your plans. If God has ordained it, it will come to pass.
      • Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.
Don’t be tempted to compromise what and Who we stand for by presuming ‘the end justifies the means’.  
  • Christ is our beginning, our ending and our means!
    • Revelation 1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
    • John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Heavenly Father, Your word contains so many powerful examples of failure and success in being faithful to You. Out of love, You have provided these historical accounts, parables and proverbs to impart knowledge and wisdom to us. I thank You for giving us the opportunity to learn from history and truth rather than always having to learn from trials and troubles. Thank You for including the example of Daniel in Your Holy Word. Please empower me, give me the desire, knowledge, humility, courage and wisdom to live a life that honors You. Enable me to live out what I believe and fulfill any commitments to You regardless of the circumstances or opposition I may face. May my life be an effective witness for You and the truth of Your Word. In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Keeping an Eternal Perspective

Keeping an Eternal Perspective
As Paul was nearing the end of 1 Corinthians he included some instructional encouragement. He started with:
  • 1 Corinthians 16:13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.
    • Stay alert
      • We have an adversary
        • 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
    • Continue in your reliance upon and assurance in Christ
      • We have a faithful Savior
        • 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.
    • Act courageously
      • We have been equipped to overcome fear
        • 2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
    • Increase in strength
      • We have the Holy Spirit’s power
        • Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
But in the weakness of our flesh, we are in danger of:
    • Letting our guard down
    • Worrying rather than trusting
    • Focusing on our fears
    • Relying on our strength rather than God’s

In 2 Corinthians, Paul provides a great strategy to guard against these vulnerabilities:
  • 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
    • We honor God by Keeping an Eternal Perspective:
      • Our temporary sufferings serve much greater purposes and have eternal implications
      • Don’t be blinded by the temporary things that you see, focus on the eternal truths revealed in faith
As with so much of our daily walk with Christ, it comes down to faith.
  • Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
  • Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Father, please help me to keep an eternal perspective. Guard me against pride when things are going well. Lift me out of despair when life gets tough. Keep me focused on You and Your eternal plans and purposes regardless of my personal circumstances. Help me to remember it is not all about me. Use my weaknesses to show Your strength. Make me an encouragement to others. Enable me to comfort others with the comfort You have given me. Your word is truth because it stands, unshakeable, unchanging, for all eternity. May I rest in Your truth. I praise You, I seek You, I pray to You, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Challenged or Changed

Challenged or Changed
  • Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
  • James 4:4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
As children of God, we know it is His will that our lives be different from those who don’t know Christ as Savior.
Hopefully, each time you come to church, the worship, preaching, giving, teaching and fellowship challenge you to become the man or woman that God has planned for you to be. The Holy Spirit uses these aspect of our corporate gatherings to convict you and prepare you for daily life as a Christian (growing closer to God, showing everyone the love of Christ, and completing the specific work He has for you).
However, when you walk away from church each week, excited by the challenge of what you experienced, but then you don’t put forth the effort to evaluate and apply what you were exposed to, you will never experience true change (transformation).
If you are a Christian, you are changed. You went from being an enemy of God to being a child of God. Your eternal destination changed from hell to Heaven. And so much more change than can be listed here (read Genesis through Revelation repeatedly for more insight).
The change that God is telling us about in Romans 12:2 is focused on your daily life as a Christian (what you desire, what you think about, what you say, what you do, where you go, etc.). This verse if focusing on the day-to-day changes that result in you becoming more and more like Jesus Christ.
For the Christian, change starts with the challenge of knowledge:
  • What you are exposed to when you are active in a Bible believing church.
But change is realized by the personal actions that result from that knowledge:
  • What you do every day after you have been challenged at church and convicted by the Holy Spirit!
    • Demonstrated Obedience to God’s Word
    • Ongoing Submission to the Indwelling Presence and Immeasurable Power of the Holy Spirit
    • Daily Personal Bible Study
    • Frequent Personal Prayer Time
    • Relentless Pursuit of Holiness in Every Area of Your Life
God has a plan for you. He uses His Church to prepare you for and propel you towards fulfilling that plan.
  • Ephesians 4:11-12 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
LORD, I pray that through Your power, patience and provision that I am changing daily into the man of God You have planned for me to be. I know I fail often. Yet I pray that your sanctifying work is fulfilled as I diligently seek You. Thank You for the work of the church in my life. Thank You for the passion You have instilled in me to pursue You every single day. My life is Yours. You are my Lord and Savior. I love You! Amen.