Dead man walking

Posted: April 6, 2017 in Thoughts on God

For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the body may be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, since a person who has died is freed from sin’s claims. (Romans 6:7-8 CSB)

The born again believer has a union with Christ in both His death and His life. Therefore, if you are a true believer, you have died, and you need to reckon this fact as true.

You are a dead man walking. You freely gave up your life to become a bondservant of Christ when you surrendered at the cross. You freely gave up your life when you died to self in the waters of baptism. And now, you are His.

“What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” Romans 8:31. I quoted that verse for someone, and they answered “Satan.” Sure, Satan is against you. The world is against you. People will be against you. Their weapons will be formed, but they cannot, will not, prosper. There is no affliction, no pain, no suffering, no man, no demon that can stand against those in Christ.

If you have freely given up your life, then no one can take it from you. Even if they kill your physical body, they cannot take your soul! WHOM SHALL YOU FEAR? The answer is NO ONE, NOTHING, because not a thing can stand against you. Do not retreat in the face of opposition! David stood against Goliath. It’s the most opportune time for God to work mightily.

A dead man fears nothing, not even death.

Faith versus feeling

Posted: April 4, 2017 in Thoughts on God

For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (Romans 8:24-25 ESV)

“I do not feel like it.” Ever heard those words? Typically it’s from a kid when you’re trying to get him to do something. Yet, I hear it a lot among Christians who are led by their feelings.

Feelings. Nothing more than feelings. It’s become the great excuse for so many evil things. The reason for divorce, “I didn’t FEEL in love anymore.” The reason for skipping out on the things of God, “I didn’t FEEL like getting up and praying/ reading my Bible/ going to church.” Or “I don’t feel like forgiving.”

Our feelings and our fleshly heart are deceptive. “The heart is desperately wicked,” therefore, cannot be trusted. What can be trusted then? Jesus can be trusted. His Word can be trusted. The Holy Spirit can be trusted.

See, many people who follow their feelings don’t actually know what God’s Word says, or really who Jesus is. They’ve fitted Him together with all their feelings about who God is and should be. We shouldn’t trust in God based on how we feel. We trust Him because we have faith and hope that He will do what He said He would do.

Your faith is not in things seen! It’s in an almighty and awesome God who watches over His Word to perform. He is a good God that says what He means and means what He says. He will never fail you nor forsake you in your weakness. What a great and mighty God we serve!

Father, we understand our feelings are deceptive, and so we cast those things aside that appear so real to us, but are deceptive according to Your Word, and we trust in you to bring the victory, in Jesus name!

A place called home

Posted: April 3, 2017 in Thoughts on God

They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. (John 17:16 ESV)

We live here, we walk here, we eat and drink here, but may we never call it home. The ground beneath our feet and sky above our heads are the scenery we enjoy momentarily, but they will pass away (Matthew 24:35).

Our family is more than people with the same last name (Mark 3:35), as believers we are united by blood, literally the shed blood of Jesus the risen Savior. We, the family, walk as sojourners (1 Peter 2:11), as travelers, loving and serving the people around us, all the while remembering we will one day be home.A home that has been prepared for us (John 14:3), where we will live in ever increasing joy.

Our lips will never again say, “It was fun while it lasted,” as the smile fades from our faces. In our home there is no sorrow, there is no disease, there is no end to joy (Revelation 21:4). In our home our treasure does not fail, there is no thief to steal, no moneybag to grow old (Luke 12:33). In your heart, and in your head, where is your treasure and your home? For “there will your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34).

Where is your home?

Sins of our fathers

Posted: March 30, 2017 in Thoughts on God

But because our fathers had angered the God of heaven, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed his house and carried away the people to Babylonia. (Ezra 5:12 ESV)

The Israelites had been back in Jerusalem from Babylonian captivity for about twenty years. They had returned to rebuild the temple and God’s great city, Jerusalem. As they continued their work, they were questioned by Persian officials as to the authorization of the building project. The Israelites’ response was that it was originally validated by king Cyrus (Ezra 1) and that they were exiled because of their fathers’ sins.

They were acknowledging the sins committed, not as a way to criticize, but to recognize what the cause of the captivity had been. We can learn a lot from our fathers’ sin when we aren’t afraid to admit or confess that sin.

However, if there is not an admission of previous sins, we cannot learn from them, and we will often repeat them. Are we afraid to admit past generations’ sins because they bare a striking resemblance to our own? If we humbly admit that we aren’t perfect and understand those who came before us weren’t, we can learn from their mistakes.

Don’t be afraid to admit your shortcomings to the younger generation.

 

Be a grace giver

Posted: March 23, 2017 in Thoughts on God

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14-15 ESV)

The question of genuine forgiveness is one of eternal importance. And why is it, you may ask, so crucial that Christians forgive? For starters, Jesus’ statement in today’s text is quite a compelling reason, for “if you do not forgive others…neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Suffice it to say then, we had better make sure we are forgiving “our debtors” (Matthew 6:12).

Here’s the bottom line: forgiveness is such a central element to Christianity that it is an indicator of salvation! Not that we are saved by any works of our own, such as forgiving others, but that when we are reconciled to God through Christ, our new life will be marked by grace giving and forgiveness.

Remember, our sin was exchanged for Jesus’ righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21), our wrong for His right, our injustice for His justice. God meets our rebellion and pride with grace in and through the person and work of Jesus. Those to whom grace is extended should also extend grace, and those to whom forgiveness is extended should also extend forgiveness.

Forgive as you have been forgiven. Not because it’s easy, but because it’s at the core of who you are in Christ.

Dealing with adversity

Posted: March 22, 2017 in Thoughts on God

“If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you are so trusting, what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan? (Jeremiah 12:5 ESV)

How do you handle adversity and great odds against you? Do you cower in a corner and hope it goes away? Do you operate in fear and worry, become fretful and overwhelmed? Do you break down and blame others making excuses?

Jeremiah was dealing with adversity in his life. In short, what Jeremiah endured at the hands of the evil priests who were plotting his death because he remained faithful to the Lord was nothing compared to the persecution to come. If he couldn’t handle persecution in peace time, he was going to fall when the real adversity came.

How are you responding to adversity and persecution now, because the real persecution will come to the believer.

Life is a set of mountains and valleys with a series of storms. You are either going into a storm, in the midst of it, or coming out of a storm, and there are various glimpses of blue sky in between. How are you responding? Do you really trust the Lord to see you through?

Today, get on your knees and cast out all doubt and unbelief! Get rid of fear and anxiety. You need to prepare your heart now for that flood of adversity.

Father, we are more than conquerors, so give us Your might and strength to overcome the flood when it comes, in Jesus’ mighty name!

The art of self discipline

Posted: March 21, 2017 in Thoughts on God

But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:27 ESV)

The experts say it takes twenty one days to form a habit. After reading this, you may think, “Just 21 days of waking up early to read my Bible and then it will be easy!” Many others have thought that way too, but it doesn’t work like that.

Spiritual self-discipline isn’t a pursuit that we simply force into habit; for if that were the case, there would be little need for the Holy Spirit in our lives. Remember Galatians 5 then, self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. We wouldn’t have it without the Spirit as it His gifting and work in us. This realization begs the question then: How do we become more self-disciplined in our spiritual lives?

Consider what Jeff Iorg puts forth in his book The Character of Leadership, “No fleshly effort will please God or build true discipline. Self-discipline refers to self as the object of discipline rather than its source. Even though discipline is learned, and self is the object of the discipline, the motivation and power to develop discipline comes from the Spirit.”

In order to become self disciplined, we need to stop trying to take on the Spirit’s role as the source of life-changing power and rely on the strength He will faithfully work in us. Paul told Timothy to be strengthened by the Grace of Jesus (2 Timothy 2:1). If our motivation isn’t coming from the Holy Spirit, then we will continue in vain and fail in the practice of self-discipline. Our motivation will be of an eternal scope when we press into the Holy Spirit, and He will give us the strength to “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).

Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to motivate and sustain you in the practice of self-discipline.