Sunday, August 24, 2014

As I…; You!

As I…; You!
  • 2 Timothy 2:13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.
No matter how badly or how often we fall in the weakness of our flesh, God is always faithful. All we are in Christ is a gift of His grace. God will be God regardless of what we do!  His perfection, love, righteousness, holiness, mercy, generosity, etc. are not soiled or diminished by our imperfections!
As I bend my knee and tremble before Your righteous perfection;
          You lovingly lift my spirit above the heights of Zion!
As I beg for meager scraps from Your bountiful table of grace;
          You provide a plentiful portion from the main course!
As I struggle to grasp the significance of eternal fellowship with You;
           You offer sufficient grace for the challenges I face today!
As I battle the weakness of my flesh and falter on the field of spiritual warfare;
          You test and further perfect me through each fiery trial!
As I wallow in self-pity, taking for granted how blessed my life is;
          You smile and speak comfort through Your Living Word!
As I seek happiness, meaning and fulfillment in temporal activities and pleasures;
          You provide eternal joy found only in a relationship with You!
As I work to satisfy my own sense of unworthiness in Your Holy Presence;
          You offer rest for my soul through Your work on the cross!
As I pursue the things that I want and the riches of this world;
          You supply all that I need at just the right time!
As I distort my priorities and place myself at the center of my universe;
          You gently yet firmly insist that it’s all about Christ!
As I elevate my view of me and dress in the soiled rags of self-righteousness;
          You wash me clean and cover me in the robe of Your righteousness!
As I humble myself before You and praise Your Holy Name;
          You provide refuge under Your wings!
As I obey and submit to Your Word and the conviction of Your Holy Spirit;
          You provide the increase by bringing forth fruit for Your Glory!
Our failures are countless; His faithfulness is timeless. Our needs are endless; His provision is limitless. His love is greater than the sum of all humanity’s obedience and failures combined!
  • Psalm 103:10-14 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities. 11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. 13 As a father pities his children, So the Lord pities those who fear Him. 14 For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.

Heavenly Father, I praise You and thank You for all that You are. You always do the exact right thing at the exact right time. Nothing is a surprise to You. What we view as evil or bad, you allow and ultimately use for Your glory. Thank You for loving me perfectly. Thanks You for Your grace and mercy. I love You. In the glorious name of Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

What Grows in the Dark

What Grows in the Dark
  • Galatians 6:7-8 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.
Whether you realize it or not, you spread seeds every day of your life. And obviously, what you will reap is based on what you have planted. Are you sowing to your flesh or to the Spirit? What grows in your ‘life’s garden’ affects everyone around you; there are eternal implications for how you live your life.
In Galatians Chapter 5, Paul gives us some specific details about ‘works of the flesh’ and ‘the fruit of the Spirit’.
Works of the Flesh
  • Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
    • Driven by Selfishness – Focused on satisfying one’s own desires and perceived needs.
    • Characterized by Disobedience – An unruly spirit that ignores the testimony of creation, God’s Word and the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
    • Ripens in Darkness – Like a fungus, thrives in the damp, dark recesses of fallen humanity.
    • Ends in Corruption (Decay) – Results in spiritual death; eternal separation from God’s grace.

Fruit of the Spirit
  • Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
    • Evidence of Selflessness – Finds joy and satisfaction in helping others.
    • Distinguished by Obedience – Led by the Holy Spirit in faithful submission to the truth in the Bible and in acknowledgment of the glory of God’s creation.
    • Blossoms in the Light – Beautifully displays the love of Christ through acts of service and sharing the truth about sin and salvation.
    • Leads to Eternal Life – Culminates in an eternal relationship with the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost in Heaven.
What grows in the dark is that which cannot stand ‘The Light’! But there is Hope!!
  • John 8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
  • The Apostle Paul was commissioned by Christ ‘to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’’ (Acts 26:18)
Consider your garden. Are you planting in the dark or in the light? Read God’s Word to get a clear understanding of your future harvest. It’s not too late. Run from the dark into the light! Run to Christ!
Father, may the truth of Your Holy Word convict hearts and change lives. Thank You for not leaving us groping in the darkness and guessing as to the implications of how we live our lives. Through salvation in Christ, we can live a life honoring to You. I pray for Your Light to shine on those diligently seeking after you. I pray in the holy name which is above all other names, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Fidelity Factors

Fidelity Factors
If you want to evaluate some of the qualities that indicate how well your life displays an allegiance with Jesus Christ, read on. The outline below contains a few internal and external Fidelity Factors to help you assess how bright your light is shining (Matthew 5:16). Just a note: this devotion is not about earning or keeping your salvation in Christ (you can’t earn it or work to keep it); it is intended to encourage those who have surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior to think and pray deeply about if their life truly manifests the miracle of spiritual rebirth.
  • Psalm 33:8 Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
    • In the Bible, the expression ‘fear the LORD’, means to have reverence and respect for God; to be in awe of Him. A genuine ‘fear’ of God cannot be manufactured. It is a natural response to believing who God is. 
      • See also Proverbs 9:10, Matthew 10:28
  • Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
    • Faith in God and His Word brings clarity to life (the truth is very liberating). Having an eternal perspective, love, hope, joy, peace, and much more, all come with accepting the precious gift of saving faith in Christ. Seeing is not believing; living by the hope of things revealed yet not seen is true faith.  
      • See also Ephesians 2:8-9, Matthew 17:20, Romans 10:9
  • Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
    • You will not experience the victory of living a Godly life for yourself and others if you don’t win the battle for your thoughts. To think Godly thoughts, which lead to a Godly life, you must hide God’s Word in your heart, seek God diligently in prayer, and live your life for His glory.  
      • See also Psalm 119:11, Hebrews 11:6, 1 Corinthians 10:31
Family, Friends & Foes
  • Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
  • John 13:35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
  • Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
    • Your relationships with other people are living testimonies to your relationship with God!
      • See also Matthew 22:36-40, 2 Corinthians 6:14, Philippians 2:3
  • Malachi 3:8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.
    • Every good thing we have comes from God. He blesses us so we can bless others. Worship God by joyfully giving to His Church, other reputable Christian charities and individuals in need.
      • See also James 1:17, 2 Corinthians 9:7, 1 Timothy 6:10
  • Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
  • Matthew 12:33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.
  • Romans 6:21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.
    • Your character, the tangible effects of your life, and what you reap in life reveal whether you are walking in the Spirit or living in the flesh.
      • See also Matthew 7:20, Romans 8:1, Galatians 5:19-21
Christians are meant to be Holy Spirit lead and empowered ambassadors for Jesus Christ. We are meant to draw others to Christ by demonstrating and teaching with our lives and His Words who Jesus really is and what His transforming love can do in a life. I pray that reading this devotion leads you to an honest evaluation of how well your life mirrors Jesus Christ to those who so desperately need Him.
Heavenly Father, my Lord, My King, my Savior: You have graciously given me the faith to believe in You and Your Spirit to teach, guide and empower me. You have brought me so far; yet I still fall infinitely short. I pray that I surrender myself fully to You so that You may use me for Your glory in the lives of others. How grateful I am for all that You have done and continue to do in my life. In the precious and Holy name of Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Too Many Words

Too Many Words

Most of the time I talk too much. God has recently used to following scriptures from the Book of Proverbs to speak to my heart about this.

  • 15:2 The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly,
    • But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.
  • 15:28 The heart of the righteous studies how to answer,
    • But the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil.
  • 17:27 He who has knowledge spares his words,
    • And a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.
  • 18:13 He who answers a matter before he hears it,
    • It is folly and shame to him.
  • 29:11 A fool vents all his feelings,
    • But a wise man holds them back.
Here is what I heard God saying to me:
  • Even if I have something relevant to say, I must prayerfully decide if, when and how to say it.
  • I can always say what’s on my mind; but carefully listening and thoughtfully deciding if and how to respond is a sign of wisdom.
  • I should always think before I speak.  
  • I want my words to be Godly.
  • A lot of words coming out of my mouth does not equate to intelligence.  
  • With the spoken word, often less is better.  
  • I should listen for understanding before I speak.  
  • I should let others finish what they have to say.
  • I don’t always have to say something.
  • My feelings are important to me; but I don’t always have to share them.  
  • Sometime it’s better to just keep my mouth shut.
  • Some things are not meant to be shared.
It’s actually pretty easy to listen when you are happy and you like what you hear; but even the rudest most selfish person can do that! How well do you listen when you are frustrated, angry, insulted, in the right, just trying to help, etc.?

My family, friends and so many others deserve for me to be a better listener. More importantly, God expects me to be a better listener. Good listening and carefully selected responses glorify our Heavenly Father. Being a great listener may even provide the opportunity for you to share the gospel message of Jesus Christ with someone!

If you don’t struggle with talking too much, I pray these verses will be an encouragement to keep up the good work. But, if like me, you talk more than you listen, I pray these verses will convict you to show others the love and respect they deserve by opening your ears and being more selective about the number, quality and tone of the words that come out of your mouth.


Father, You have been so very clear through Your Holy Word that I should be a better listener. I confess that I have fallen short in this area of my life and sincerely pray that You will help me to honor You by obeying Your Word. Please forgive me. I also pray for anyone reading this devotion that struggles with the same issue. I love You Lord and am so grateful for Your gentle patience. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.