Welcome To Daily In Christ Devotionals

Psalm 119:10-11 With my whole heart I seek you; let me not
wander from your commandments! I have stored up your
word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Table

Mat 26:26 While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is My body." Mat 26:27 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you; Mat 26:28 for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.

With the Holiday's upon us at full speed, how often do you find yourself gathered around the kitchen table? The smell and taste of wonderful food and the experience of meaningful interaction between loved ones. It is a place where family and friends join together for a common interest, to be fed. The joy of eating and sharing stories during this time of the year can't be compared.

The twelve disciples reclined around the table with the ultimate dinner guest two thousand years ago. Along with breaking bread and drinking wine, I am sure they shared several stories of their time together. But this table was different. It was the last time they would eat and share together as a group of men following their Lord.

Jesus had a purpose for this last supper together. "This is my body," He said as He broke the bread before His disciples. The bread as a symbol represents the body of Jesus offered for us, "a beautifully simple, pathetic, and poetic symbol of his death." (Bruce) And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins."

Here are the words of Matthew Henry regarding the writings in the book of Matthew chapter 26.

This ordinance of the Lord's supper is to us the passover supper, by which we commemorate a much greater deliverance than that of Israel out of Egypt. Take, eat; accept of Christ as he is offered to you; receive the atonement, approve of it, submit to his grace and his government. Meat looked upon, be the dish ever so well garnished, will not nourish; it must be fed upon: so must the doctrine of Christ. This is my body; that is, spiritually, it signifies and represents his body. We partake of the sun, not by having the sun put into our hands, but the beams of it darted down upon us; so we partake of Christ by partaking of his grace, and the blessed fruits of the breaking of his body. The blood of Christ is signified and represented by the wine. He gave thanks, to teach us to look to God in every part of the ordinance. This cup he gave to the disciples with a command, Drink ye all of it. The pardon of sin is that great blessing which is, in the Lord's supper, conferred on all true believers; it is the foundation of all other blessings. He takes leave of such communion; and assures them of a happy meeting again at last; “Until that day when I drink it new with you”, may be understood of the joys and glories of the future state, which the saints shall partake with the Lord Jesus. That will be the kingdom of his Father; the wine of consolation will there be always new. While we look at the outward signs of Christ's body broken and his blood shed for the remission of our sins, let us recollect that the feast cost him as much as though he had literally given his flesh to be eaten and his blood for us to drink.

As we gather around the Christmas table and celebrate the Lord's birth, let's not forget this simple message of forgiveness and redemption this year. Christ gave Himself up for me so I could live eternally with Him forever. There is no better gift I could ask for this Christmas and all the year long.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Blessing Of Trials

Jas 1:12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

Trials and temptations, we all go through them. No one is immune to difficulties in their life and James describes here that the man who perseveres under a trial is a blessed man. Not only is he blessed, but he will receive the crown of life. I certainly do not feel blessed while going through trials, in fact often times I feel as if the Lord has moved farther away from me rather than closer. So when I am feeling this way I need to remember to turn to God.

When trials and temptations come, isn't it easy to blame God? If He was with me then this trial wouldn't happen, or maybe if God had stopped this event from occurring I wouldn't be in this mess. Well, God isn't the author of chaos nor does he cause our conflicts and trials.

Jas 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.
Jas 1:14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.

Lust, evil desires, greed, and other fleshly decisions are what cause me to get into the trouble and difficulties I face. Owning the responsibility for the trials is the first step to understanding God's grace. If we fix our blame on God then we are no longer accepting that maybe we have some responsibility in this difficult time. God has a way of getting our attention a bit more acutely in difficult times if we allow Him to. Open your heart to Him and He will show you what is in it.

Pro 19:20 Listen to counsel and accept discipline, That you may be wise the rest of your days.
Pro 19:21 Many plans are in a man's heart, But the counsel of the LORD will stand.
Pro 19:22 What is desirable in a man is his kindness, And it is better to be a poor man than a liar.

God wants us to learn His ways during our difficulties and the first step to doing that is to get into His word and spend time learning them. The Psalmist tells us that being afflicted turns us to God. Psa 119:71 shows me that it is good to be afflicted because in the end I will have learned more of what God would have me to know about Him.

Psa 119:71 It is good for me that I was afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes.
Psa 119:72 The law of Your mouth is better to me Than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

God, please help me to avoid my sinful desires and always turn towards you. I know that I make decisions that separate me from you, and I pray for your forgiveness. Please keep me walking upright in your Word that I might receive the crown of life which you have promised me.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Listen To The Small Voice

Psa 73:23 Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand.
Psa 73:24 With Your counsel You will guide me, And afterward receive me to glory.
Psa 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
Psa 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psa 73:27 For, behold, those who are far from You will perish; You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You.
Psa 73:28 But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works. (NASB)

"With Your counsel You will guide me, And afterward receive me to glory. God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

Sometimes I have to ask myself if I really believe that. My heart and my flesh may fail me but God is the strength of my heart.

During some of the most trying times it is easy for me to rely on my old nature to take charge of a situation. And as I have learned over the last 40 + years, sometimes my heart and my flesh give me the wrong answers.

But God is faithful to me. He is there to answer the difficult questions that arise from circumstances in our lives. One such event arose this evening where I was put into a situation. I needed to make a decision to please another person and possibly protect them from harm due to a poor decision that was made on their part, or go with my gut instinct and say "no, I can not help you in this way." As I contemplated all of the scenarios I began to allow fear and frustration tell me what I was going to do rather than the voice of God. All along God was right there nudging me to say "no, I can't help in this situation, but I can help you in another way."

My options began to weigh heavy on me. It was as if I had a bridle on and was being pulled from one side to the next. I finally made my decision... I was going to go against my gut instinct and decided to go with my flesh. The decision seemed wrong, but I felt it would help out the person better than the decision that felt right.

God is a God of great mercy and grace. He will enlighten our spirit to His ways but still give us the freedom to choose our own. And whatever we choose, He will always be there for us afterward. It was an incredible learning lesson for me. And when the evening was over, the right way did come to be the way we chose. As I was beginning to make the decision and follow through with it a situation came up which didn't allow me to follow through with my wrong choice, so my default choice, the right one, become the only choice. Isn't God amazing...

Psa 37:24 If he stumbles, he's not down for long; GOD has a grip on his hand.

So what did I learn from this? I learned that to save my integrity with men I must make the right choice when it is presented to me. And to save my closeness to God I must make the right choice as well. Verse 25 tells me that I desire nothing on earth besides God. I was trying to please another person today rather than please God and He was gracious enough to remind me of that this evening.

Thank you Lord for being patient and kind. You are above all things and are always there to guide my decisions. Please help me Lord to remember to listen to You when You nudge my spirit and please forgive me when I forget.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Living By His Strength

Isa 41:10 'Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.' (NASB)

There is something amazing about a physically strong person. To become strong, one must continually work out the muscles, eat proper nutrition, and dedicate much time to the pursuit of strength. It is considered by many to be a noble undertaking. There are all kinds of ways to describe strength in a person. Moral strength, emotionally strong, or even someone who has strong character traits.

But what about our spiritual strength? What does it take to be spiritually strong? Spiritual strength is quite similar to physical strength in that one must exercise the spiritual muscles daily and keep them fit. Prayer, Bible reading and fellowship are as important to our spiritual strength as daily workouts and proper nutrition are to our physical strength. But what happens when we just can't go on in spite of our best efforts? When we become weak and tired and held down by the burdens in life? Or even beaten down by sin and disappointment. God gives us His strength.

Isa 40:29 He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power. Isa 40:30 Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly,
Isa 40:31 Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. (NASB)

Regardless of our circumstances, God will sustain us in our trials which will allow us to resist the temptations of Satan and the corruptions of our humanness. With His strength in our souls, we are able to perform His duties, resist temptations, exercise grace, withstand corruptions, bear afflictions, suffer persecutions, and do His great and mighty work, according to His will. If God is our strength, then we need not be afraid of any persons or things.

Ask God for His strength today as you go about your business. Consider for a moment what your day could be like if you just relied on Him rather than your own efforts. He will never fail you, He will never let you down, He will never leave you hanging...

Psa 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (NASB)

Do you believe God can strengthen you today? Just ask Him to...

Lord, thank you for your everlasting strength. I know that if I try to conquer my battles or get through my day alone I will grow weary and fail miserably. The anxieties that come from relying on myself are too much to bear. Please Lord, give me your strength and help me to see your mighty hand working in my life.