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, February 24, 2009

I Have Been Crucified With Christ

As I was folding the endless mounds of laundry this afternoon I couldn't shake a scripture that kept rattling in my head. Any time a scripture just keeps running through my brain it is a good thing and this time seemed to be no different. It usually means God wants me to stop what I am doing and meditate on Him for a bit... So that I did.

I stopped folding laundry and cooked me up a plate of Lori's infamous leftover chicken enchilada's. After plopping on a spoon of sour cream and dousing them with my "use for everything" hot chili sauce I was ready to not only fill my spirit, but my belly as well.

Turning to Galatians 2:20 I continued to recite the scripture in my head again and again... I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. The more I meditated on this verse one thing stood clear to me today. I have been crucified with Christ.

I began to imagine what that would be like. The more I pondered on this the more difficult it became to even imagine. The bloodied beatings, the nails penetrating the hands and feet, the humiliation. It made me so thankful that I have a Savior who took the cross for me. One who bore the sin of all mankind..

Jesus gave Himself up for me. He knew full and well what He was accomplishing that day and selflessly sacrificed His body for my soul. And now I am asked to live my life for Him. I am honored and humbled to be called a follower of Jesus Christ.

Thank you Lord for your sacrifice for me... I do not deserve it.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

in Him is no darkness...

1Jn 1:5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
1Jn 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;

God is Light and in Him is no darkness... This is the true foundation of our saving faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. God is Light. He is pure and holy, perfect in every way. No darkness, or evil, can be found in Him.

When we give up our lives and seek after the heart of God, what are we really pursuing? Nothing other that the definition of true perfection. God, holy and just, came down from His high place to save us from ourselves. He became light so we could be free from the darkness that we have chosen to live in.

If we claim to be in fellowship with Him, to be walking in the divine nature of God and yet are filled with any sort of darkness, then we are pretending to be a follower of God and we are a liar. Where He is there can not be any darkness. Just as a small amount of light fills a dark room, so Christ must fill those dark places in our hearts.

Examine my heart oh Lord and see if I have any darkness within me.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

In The Beginning... God

Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

The existence of God for me is very difficult to dispute. I marvel at his workmanship daily as I look around at all of creation. I am awestruck by all of the details that have gone into this existence we have come to know.

A few weeks ago I was talking to my youngest son about his teacher going on a rabbit trail while teaching American History. He is in the fourth grade and has given his heart to the Lord and has been baptized. His teacher went into the history of life on this 5 minute detour and talked to the kids about evolution and that we are descendants of apes...

Well, my first response was to say to myself, I am going to meet with him and let him know that he needs to offer an alternate perspective... mine. Well, as my son continued on with his story he shared that when some of the kids met up on the playground later, they had an opportunity to discuss this whole evolution thing. Five fourth grader's who come from Christian backgrounds were able to come together and talk about God. That helped to solidify my suspicion that God does His handy work even with our children. They knew the truth, and no matter how much their teacher was going to tell them about his opinions of the birth of our existence, they knew better.

After this demonstration to me of God's hand working through our kids, I understand the importance of training up our children so that when they are confronted with alternative stories of our existence they are able to come out boldly and say... I don't think so mister fourth grade teacher.

A Shout Out To Give

I am appealing to your heart's this morning and asking you to look deep inside of yourself and find out what you are really made of. I shared a video a couple of days ago of Sam and Esther, two starving and poverty stricken children in Uganda. They are only a glimpse of the struggle that many people in this world face each day.

As I shared this video I asked myself, "Keith, what is your cause?" I really couldn't answer that question. My family volunteers a few hours a month at My Father's House, a homeless shelter here in the Portland area, and we go to church. I have been involved with a few things here and there over the past 20 years, but there has never been a real burning to completely surrender all that I am for any particular cause. I believe those times are changing and look forward to what God is preparing for me and my family.

God placed a fire in my heart to do more after seeing these two children starving to death. So I am going to promote this project until it is seen complete. There is a place on earth that needs our help and some kids in a village that are hoping that you can give.

Please click on the picture below and donate. If everyone gives a little bit this project can be accomplished in a few short days.

Your generosity and sacrifice will be blessed.

Heb 13:14-16 For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come. Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Here is a portion of a comment I received from Laurie Kroll yesterday.

"... Sam, Esther and Jane are three of more than sixty kids we serve there...providing meals, educational opportunities, medical care and love to children while they live not in an orphanage setting, but with extended family in their home villages. Sam, Esther and Jane are thriving. Our other children, who began their time with us over the last five years fearful, withdrawn and discouraged are happy, silly, brave and normal kids with big dreams!"....

With his richest blessings,
Laurie Kroll
van project started by Milan Ford http://thepewview.typepad.com/

Please give...


Monday, February 16, 2009

Am I Fit For Battle

Eph 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Eph 6:13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

Satan is on the prowl and our first defense is to understand that when we are being used by God for His kingdom, Satan is going to try to dampen our fire, and if possible, extinguish it for good.

One of the benefits of having a military force like the United States has is that we are prepared for battle. A good soldier is always ready. He prepares himself daily for the enemy to attack and is skilled in his defenses. A soldier spends hour upon hour preparing for a moment that may never come, but if it does, he instinctively knows how to make the right decisions.

We miss the fact that we are at war with the enemy if we don't understand that we are even fighting a battle. If we aren't daily fighting a spiritual battle, then we should be preparing for one. I think of the days of the Kings and the mighty warriors fighting great battles with their hands and swords. After days, weeks, and even months of preparation, some of the warriors lives came to a sudden end with one piercing of a steel sword or a razor sharp arrow.

We need to face the inevitable truth that Satan is a prepared warrior ready for battle. He has legions of combatants ready to devour our ability to fight at any moment. He is a mighty adversary... But we are equipped with an even greater Allie. God himself, the creator of the heavens and the earth is on our side. He has all of the resources at His disposal to defeat the enemy and is giving them to us to be prepared. Grab hold of Him during your battle.

But remember, the preparation must begin long before the battle ever takes place. So many times we face the enemy ill prepared. Our swords are dull, our armor is cracked and rusty, and our helmet and shield are lying in the corner full of dust. Pick up the Saviors tools for war daily and be prepared. If you plan on being used mightily by God and you aren't in a battle today... then be patient... because you soon will be. Be Prepared!

1Pe 5:8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

Lord, please show me the resources you have for me to be strong and to fight against the enemy. Thank you for preparing me for battle and not making me face my adversaries alone.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Husbands Love Your Wives...

Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, Eph 5:26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, Eph 5:27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

With Valentine's day drawing to a close, I began to ask myself, "Did I really do everything in my power today to show my wife how much she is truly loved?" I have never been a big gift giver and Valentine's to me seems like another way for the corporations to market their goods. I have read the history of Valentine's and I understand that it has been around for many years, but just like many of our holiday's, it has been taken over.

So this year I made a dvd for my wife. Nothing too fancy, just a photo slide show of pictures of her and her children and set it to some really good worship music. She really enjoyed receiving it and took it to work to show her co-workers... The only problem is that I am such an impatient person that I gave it to her a week ago. OK... I fell short this Valentine's day I admit it...

Now everyone is in bed and it is time for me to have my quiet time. I was reading through Ephesians and read about my role as a husband. To love my wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. I wondered as I read this, "what have I given up for her lately?" I guess not a whole lot really. We both have busy schedules with work and kids and all of the other things going on. So this Valentine's Day I am making sort of a New Year's Resolution. I am going to really give more of what my wife needs in 2009 that I did last year. There, I said it... now I am committed.

I am going to give myself up for my wife and see what happens. I want to see her blossom to her full potential and this year with the Lord's help, I know she will feel like a Valentine each day of the year...

For me, this starts with Love....

I hope all of you had a fabulous Valentine's Day...

Friday, February 13, 2009

How Would You Respond?

After showing the video of the starving children of Uganda to Lori and Grayson this afternoon I just had to drop a quick note. (see video here if you missed it)

Lori has been really looking, over the past couple of years, at the option of adoption. She is well informed as to the struggles that go on in the many of the third world countries. She knows which one's are closed for adoption, open, etc... She spends time looking at the children and praying for God to reveal what He would have for us in this area.

I asked Grayson this afternoon what he would think of us selling all we owned and going over to Uganda and helping the villagers that live there.

His response was priceless... "Well dad," he said, "I don't think that would be such a good idea because then we would be the one's homeless and starving and then they would probably have to help us."

He makes a good point...

Remember to pray for those outside of this country as they faithfully serve our Lord.

The Strength of A Child

Check out this message on my photo blog... I believe it will touch your heart


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How Much Does God Love Me?

Rom 8:38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
Rom 8:39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I was reading this scripture last week and found it quite reassuring. I decided to break it down in my mind and then try to see exactly what it meant to me.

As I go through the struggles of my life I find it troublesome once in awhile that God seems so far from my reach. As the day goes on I begin to tell myself that He doesn't really care about my struggles or that maybe He is just too darn busy to care about what an insignificant person such as myself might be going through. Even better, He must be looking down at my circumstances and saying to me, "Well, there you go again, screwed up again didn't you!"

Well, nothing could be further from the truth.

Verses 38-39 of Romans 8 help me to realize just how difficult it would be for His love to ever be apart from me. There is absolutely nothing that can separate me from His love. It has always been there for me, is there for me now, and will continue to be there for me as long as eternity exists.

So what does that mean exactly? If His love for me is eternal and will never leave then that must say something about His character. The issue isn't about God, it is about me. How do I perceive the character of God and His love? That is the question I must ask myself. If God has assured me that nothing will ever separate His love from me then that must mean to me that there is something about God that allows Him to remain consistent in His dealings with man, and especially in my case, with me.

So I started with the beginning. "For I am convinced"... well, here is a problem right from the start. I am not always convinced, that is the problem. My emotions go up and then they go down. Sometimes they even go sideways... I guess the first step to understanding Gods love starts with me... I need to work on the "convinced" part. Not just when it feels right, but daily by diving into the Word and seeing His consistent nature and how He deals with me and others just like me.

Next, "that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing,"... now that is a lot of things. God has assured me that my own death and life can't change Gods love for me. Principalities can not separate me from His love, so Satan, be gone! Now things today nor tomorrow can't change it so that gives me confidence that no matter how tomorrow goes, He will still love me just the same. Powers, height, depth, nor any other created thing... wow, that pretty much covers the full spectrum of things now doesn't it. Virtually speaking; nothing, nada, zippo!

"Nothing" will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. The Love of God. What an awesome thing. The creator of the heavens and the earth loves me and assures me that nothing can can separate His love from me.

Back to what I was saying earlier about His character. So what is so great about the Love of God anyway? Well, let me just start with the cross. Jesus. God loved me so much that He allowed His own blood to spill on the cross for my transgressions. He took my punishment for my sin. How amazing is that? I have many children of my own and if God came to me and asked me to give one of them up for the sins of all humanity I am sure He would probably have to pry one of them out of my hands. He allowed Jesus to go and Jesus allowed himself to go... the perfect model of free will. (that topic will come another day)

John 3:16 tells me that He loved me so much He gave His only son for me. And John 15:13 tells me that there is no greater love than to lay down your life. And in the book of Romans it tells us again in chapter 5 verse 8, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

So God gave His son for me and I am completely in debt to Him for that. And if I look at 1Corinthians chapter 13 verses 4-8 I get just a glimpse of what Gods love looks like:

1Co 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
1Co 13:5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
1Co 13:6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
1Co 13:7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1Co 13:8 Love never fails

So back once again to the character of God. He loves me so much that He was willing to give His son. He also loves me like it shows in Corinthians. Wow, that means that He really does care about my struggles and the things I go through every day. Not just a little bit but to the point where He will never lead me astray and will always give me direction on where to turn next. He will be patient with me when I mess things up. He will not take into account a wrong suffered. He will believe in me and endure my hardships with me. He will bear my burdens and will rejoice with my victories. He will never fail me.

God loves me far more than I could ever imagine. When times are good or times are difficult His love for me never changes and will never depart from me. There is so much comfort in that.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Can I Be Given More Than I Can Handle?

I heard it said recently, "God won't give you more than you can handle." I have heard this on numerous occasions from well intended Christians who are trying to comfort in the midst of difficulty. I have even said it to myself and others when the timing seemed appropriate. But the question I ask myself today is, "Is that really true?"

I look back on some very difficult times in my not so distance past and when I measure them up to this statement I find it hard to believe that I will not be given more than I can handle. And what does it mean exactly? I know the Biblical scripture reference that is used when this statement is made, (1Cor 10:13) but after careful examination I have come to the conclusion that, on occasion in my life, I will be given more than I can handle. And I believe there are several very good reasons why.

If we are never given more than we can handle then many things can happen.
  • First and foremost we would become reliant on ourselves. Our strength, out resources, our capacities. The Christian faith is about our dependence on Christ and Christ alone. Not dependence on our might to get through difficult times. As Christians, unless we are allowed to be given struggles that are more than we can bear, we would have no need for God's strength to get us through. He walks with us during those times of trials and renews us in the midst of them.
1Pe 5:10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
  • If we were never given more than we could bear, then we would have no need to share our struggles with others. The strength in the Christian community comes from the fellowship with others. When we go about our struggles on our own we are more vulnerable to the enemy and we are more likely to have far worse difficulties from it. Romans 15:1 tells us: "Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves." And Galatians shares the same message in chapter 6:2... "Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ." We miss out on the blessings that come from sharing with our fellow brother's and sister's in Christ when we keep the burdens we are bearing to ourselves. Allow the prayers and strength of others to gird you up during times of trial.
  • For many of us, it took a burden heavier than we could carry to bring us to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. I remember lying on my bed as a younger man and crying out to God for strength. I had never given my life to Him, but knew deep inside that I needed God to help me through my difficult time. If we had the capability to handle life's challenges on our own, then there would be no need for us to cry out to the Savior to give us strength and hope.
So what about the scripture: 1Corinthians 10:13: No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

This verse is dealing with the subject matter of temptation. Temptations that lead us into sin against God. Sexual immorality, idolatry, greed, etc... It occurs when we desire to give into the lust of the flesh more than we desire the sweet communion with our Savior. God will always provide a way of escape, or distraction from sin, when we are turning to our flesh. He promises a way out, an opportunity to say "NO" to sin, but many times we are just too weak to choose it.

When thinking about not being given more than I can handle I look to the Bible. From the book of Genesis all the way to Revelation I am reminded of men and women who were given far more than they could bear alone and in the midst of it turned to a loving and gracious Father who walked along with them every step of the way. We will never be given more than we can bear along with His strength.

So when you hear someone tell you, "You will never be given more than you can handle." Remind them that you probably will, and because you were given more than you could handle you turned to God and were saved. Then, in a loving and gentle way, inform them that we will never be given more than HE can handle.

Lord, thank you for my struggles for they cause me to turn closer to you. Romans 5:3 tells me to rejoice in my sufferings, so Lord, I pray that you will give me a spirit of rejoicing when hard times come. Please give me your strength because I am not able to do it on my own.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Old Testament

Have you ever looked at the Old Testament and asked yourself, "what on earth is going on here anyway?" I have asked myself that question several times throughout my Christian walk and the answer was always the same... "I am not really sure."

I am in the middle of a study of the OT and I am seeing God's grace on His people being shown each time I open the Book. As I read through the OT study, I am understanding more clearly how and why it was written. I am intrigued by it each time I open it up.

When I became a Christian I was encouraged to read the book of John and other gospels and then I began to dive into the letters. I tried understanding the OT books but could never get a real grasp on them. Sure, I read through the Bible once, but it was for the purpose of just that, reading through the Bible.

But this time is different. Understanding the chronology of the Book and when and why it was written gives me an entirely new perspective on it. And then the stories that unfold as I read it... Murder, redemption, sacrifice, adultery, and human struggles. Hollywood can't create stories as fascinating as this.

God tells me in 2nd Timothy 3:16 that:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, ...

All scripture. Not just the stories of Jesus in the new testament or the letters written to God's people. I am encouraged by my new found enthusiasm regarding the Old Testament writings and I look forward to seeing more of God's beautiful grace displayed as I once again read the stories contained in it.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

How's Your Heart Today?

Eze 36:26 "Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
Eze 36:27 "I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.

My oldest son and wife were having a conversation several weeks back about God. It was a good conversation regarding the heart. He mentioned to her that he never really felt one of those "God moments" in his life but really had a heart to desire Him more. He said he looks at some of the youth he grew up with in the church, and their heart for God, and he didn't really understand it so much. He asked her if she had ever had one of those moments and she was able to share a couple of them with him.

A couple of days later we found ourselves compelled to go to a Saturday night service at a large church a few miles from our home. It was the church my wife and I met at so we were familiar with its teaching and preaching, but we hadn't been there for a couple of years. But tonight seemed like the night to go.

My wife, two of my boys and a close friend of ours bundled up and piled into our Kia for a Saturday night we will remember for a very long time. They were performing a play that evening at the church, so the service was quite crowded. In fact, my friend and I had to stand for most of the service. The play was very enjoyable, but the message that was preached afterward was what changed my son's life.

The preacher spoke of God's forgiveness and redemption. He shared that God will be there for you regardless of the circumstances that you have gotten into and that He loves you just as you are. He spoke also of changing hearts and used the play as a great illustration of a man who had a change of heart. The main character in the play was Ebenezer Scrooge.

When the message was over and the crowd of people were exiting the sanctuary I could see right away that my son was experiencing one of those "God moments." His eyes were welled up with tears and he was needing someone to embrace him and encourage him and tell him that God loves him too and cares deeply for him. After a few minutes of tears and encouraging him we went down to the alter and found a man who is no stranger to difficulties who would pray for him.

Dr. Ted Roberts, the former pastor of the church sat with him for about ten minutes and prayed with him, encouraged and challenged him to be a man after God's heart. To seek God with all of his strength and gave him a gentle warning that the gates of hell with all of it's fury will be trying to take him back. Ted encouraged my son to write him and embraced him. Both men in tears.

It can now be said that my son has experienced a "God moment" that he had so eagerly longed for. God has taken his heart of stone and turned it into flesh. That night my son rededicated his heart to God in the same church he was baptized in many years ago.

Paul, on his way to Damascus in Acts chapter 9 had heart surgery too. Talk about a "God moment." He came face to face with our Lord Jesus and surrendered himself fully to God. It was a moment that changed his life forever and the lives of all of us who believe in His name.

Do you feel like you need heart surgery today? Cry out to Jesus right now and tell him... "Lord, please change my heart. Give me a heart of flesh and remove my heart of stone! I want you to be my Savior and I put my trust in you." He will forgive your sins and purify your heart.

Joh 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Joh 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Joh 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Would You Like Fries With That?

Jas 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. Jas 3:7 For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. Jas 3:8 But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. (NASB)

Sometimes the simplest of things remind me of God's word. The other day while I was traveling up the Columbia River gorge with a group of guys from work we went through a drive-thru at a hamburger restaurant. Since I am not a fast food eater for the most part, I didn't order anything for myself. Not only that, but I have never been very fond of the entire drive-thru process.

You pull into a long line of emissions spewing vehicles and wait until it is your turn to yell into a little box to some guy on a headset walking around a restaurant cleaning tables. Some fast food chains now have call centers in another state and electronically send your order to the burger restaurant you are ordering from. Not the best idea if you are looking for that individual service and quality eats.

So as the orders were being taken the inevitable question came across the loud speaker, "Would you like fries with that?" Being the sarcastic guy that I can be I proceeded to say to the guy next to me in the crew hauler, "Did I ask for fries pal?"

Oh, the things we will say to others when the opportunity presents itself. Fortunately I was not heard by the guy taking the order, but God placed a little bit of conviction into my heart about the words that I say. "Why are we so able to speak words of sarcasm or criticisms to those around us easier when we aren't face to face?" This was the question I asked myself.

Here was my reminder this week from God regarding the words that come out of my mouth.

Col 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. (NASB)

Lord, help me to speak words of grace and kindness to those I come into contact with rather than sarcasm. I want to reflect your ways in my heart to others and know that you will give me reminders throughout the day when I don't. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve you each day.