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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Monday, April 27, 2009

Bearing The Burden's Of Others

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Gal 6:2 Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.

I was working with a fellow employee today that I have seen over the years in the crew room but have only worked with one time in 5 years. We didn't know each other very well so as we were going over the necessary paperwork for our duties of the day we were discussing all of the trivial things people usually start out with... How is the weather, looks like the Portland Trail Blazer's are going to lose another playoff series, and do you want to stop for coffee before we get out to the train?

As we were driving to the train I could tell that my engineer was someone I connected with and since he was wearing a Washington Nationals baseball cap I figured that once we got on the train we would at least be able to talk baseball. After four hours of getting our train built and all of the proper people being contacted we were on our way south.

So here goes, at least 6 hours in a locomotive with someone I hardly know and a lot of time to either sit and stare out the window or strike up conversation. There are many trips where I don't connect at all with my engineer and those trips are incredibly difficult. This was not one of those trips. Within a couple of short hours we discovered that we have many things in common. Little League baseball, kids doing dumb things that we just go "hello?" about, and wives who had breast cancer the same year going through treatment at the same time in the same hospital.

After our short 7 1/2 hour trip I could see that the conversation was incredibly beneficial to the both of us. This trip was spent talking about a variety of life events and how we feel going through them. It got deep on many occasions and when the trip was over and we were heading to our hotel rooms we both kind of laughed. My engineer commented that after a trip like that, what was left to talk about now. I told him that I was sure there would be far more we will be able to discuss on the return trip home.

Rom 15:1 Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves.

Sharing good conversation in the right environment with someone you can trust can be quite healing. I could tell from our conversation last night that my engineer just needed to talk and he was able to share all kinds of personal struggles that have obviously been a burden on him for some time. God gives us opportunities to be available to others and it is our responsibility to discern when those times arise. Not only was I blessed by the opportunity to listen to a fellow worker share some of his burdens, but I was able to share a little bit about how God has helped me in my walk through my own struggles.

Look for open doors and listen to those around you who might be dealing with a load that they can't carry alone. And if you are burdened beyond what you can carry then I encourage you to look to Christ to lighten your load. Bearing one another's burdens is great when there is someone to share with. But from time to time when there is no one around but you and God, He wants to hear your struggles too. The only reason I was able to encourage and help my fellow worker bear his burdens was because I know that mine are being carried by a God who can handle all of my needs.

Psa 55:22 Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Life Can Change In An Instant

Jas 4:13 Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit."
Jas 4:14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.
Jas 4:15 Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that."

I was in the crew office at work the other afternoon when it came to my attention that a fellow employee was back at work. He is a great guy and gets along well with everyone. He has a wine making business on the side so he is the local supplier of wine to those around my work who partake.

He has been with the company for over 35 years and in January and February he took all of his vacation days and personal days off and made plans to plant more grapes, buy more oak barrels, and up his wine making capacities. He is going to retire and spend his retirement doing what he loves to do... make wine. While on his time off he discovered something new about his health... he has lung cancer and now he is back to work and fighting this new found stumbling block. He needs the insurance benefits so he is now unable to have the time off to pursue his passion and dreams.

A week ago news spread quickly that two kids were walking adjacent to a fast moving freight train waiting for it to clear the tracks so they could cross and get to school on time. Just two young kids with headphones on walking to school enjoying a beautiful spring morning. Unfortunately they were standing in the middle of another main line and there just so happened to be a passenger train barreling down on them at 79 miles per hour. Within an instant they were dead. No recognizable body parts to be found other than dental parts.

Life has a funny way of throwing us a curve ball in an instant. We all have been there. One day you think this is going to happen and then something else takes place. It shouldn't be a surprise to us that life is unpredictable and may not go the way we think it is supposed to. There are a lot of promises in the Bible but I can't remember any that say life is going to go just the way we planned it.

James shares a sobering truth that is real in all of our lives. Verse 14: Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. A vapor, a mist, or a wisp of fog. We don't have a clue what tomorrow is going to bring, yet we live as though we have it all planned out. James says in the next verse that such is boasting and arrogance. Making plans for our life is a good thing, but I believe God wants us to include Him in those plans. Otherwise they are just empty boasting and that boasting is evil.

Now all the circumstances that change our plans in life in an instant aren't always bad things. Sure bad things do affect our lives instantly on many occasions, but the Bible also shares stories of hope that show that sometimes we have things change our life instantly for the good too.

The story of Joseph in the book of Genesis tells us of a younger brother who was favored by God. But that didn't mean that difficulties didn't come his way. He was hated by his brothers, thrown on the side of the road and left for dead, sold into slavery and eventually put in prison for two years unjustly. But throughout all of the struggles he never lost his favor with God and ultimately the struggles he went through equipped him to be Pharaoh's right hand man. You see, one morning he woke up in a prison and that evening he went to bed in a palace. It is an amazing story of God's faithfulness to those he calls to Him.

Gen 41:14 Then Pharaoh sent and called for Joseph, and they hurriedly brought him out of the dungeon; and when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came to Pharaoh.
Gen 41:15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I have had a dream, but no one can interpret it; and I have heard it said about you, that when you hear a dream you can interpret it."

So Joseph interprets the dream and look what happens next.

Gen 41:40 "You shall be over my house, and according to your command all my people shall do homage; only in the throne I will be greater than you."
Gen 41:41 Pharaoh said to Joseph, "See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt."
Gen 41:42 Then Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph's hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put the gold necklace around his neck.
Gen 41:43 He had him ride in his second chariot; and they proclaimed before him, "Bow the knee!" And he set him over all the land of Egypt.
Gen 41:44 Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Though I am Pharaoh, yet without your permission no one shall raise his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt."
Gen 41:45 Then Pharaoh named Joseph Zaphenath-paneah; and he gave him Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, as his wife. And Joseph went forth over the land of Egypt.

There are many stories of God's people going through difficulties and struggles that change there life in an instant. And many stories of hope and redemption of others who's lives are changed for the good in an instant. We don't know what tomorrow is going to bring us so God wants us to cling to Him today. Ask yourself today, "Do I have the favor of God on me today?" If you don't know then turn to Him and accept Him as your Lord and Savior. He wants to have an intimate relationship with you and is waiting for you to turn your face towards his.

If you are in God's favor today then praise God. Even though times might seem brutally difficult right now He wants us to remember that He is shaping us to be all that He is preparing us to be. We are but a vapor on this earth and when our focus is on Him and our eternal life then the struggles we have down here can't hold a candle to the magnificence of knowing Him.

Lord, thank you for your Word. It brings forth truth and understanding every day. You are an awesome God and I praise you today for showing me that my plans are subject to you and your guidance. Please show me the plans you have for me.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Comfort During Times of Loss

Whenever people close to me and my family pass away I inevitably wonder about their eternal situation. Lori had an aunt pass away today and she is filled with mixed emotions. She feels sad for her mother, since her aunt was close to her, but she also feels joy for her aunt because she has proclaimed for many years to know Jesus.

I also wonder sometimes if people can hold on to life for a little while longer until the one's they love are around them. Lori's cousin is a pastor and he rushed to see his mother this afternoon. It was as if she was lying in her bed awaiting his arrival. After a few minutes of them embracing and praying together she took her last breath. As if to say, "It is well now."

I think the most difficult part of death is finding the right words to say to those in mourning, especially when the one who died doesn't proclaim Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. I learned a long time ago that sometimes the best thing to say is nothing at all.

In the second chapter of Job, his news of great suffering spread around until it reached his closest friends. They traveled from afar to see him and to be with him.

Job 2:12-13 When they lifted up their eyes at a distance and did not recognize him, they raised their voices and wept. And each of them tore his robe and they threw dust over their heads toward the sky. Then they sat down on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights with no one speaking a word to him, for they saw that his pain was very great.

They spent seven days and nights and never said a word to him. Friends taking the time to just sit quite and comfort, pray for, and weep with their friend. How many times do we feel the need to toss out a scripture reference or a funny remark to lighten the mood when the spirit inside of us is just saying to be still and say nothing?

The writer of Romans tells us that eternal life is a gift from God given to us freely in Christ Jesus. Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. I know that everyone isn't going to receive this free gift and it boggles my mind. Eternal life for me is the hope that keeps me going each day when the wheels eventually fall off the cart. Spending eternity with a loving, caring, magnificent God is the most awesome gift we could ever receive.

Therefore, while I am here on earth, I can give a little bit of Jesus to those around me when they are going through times of loss and grief. I have Him inside of me so I can comfort those with His love and compassion.

2Co 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.

I encourage you today to turn to Him for your eternal security and human comfort.

Lord, thank you for the example of Job's friends to me. Help me to be a comfort to other's by allowing your love to flow through me in times of need. You have provided me with all of my desires and I praise you today for the gift of eternal life. Thank you Lord for allowing me to know you.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

When Does One + One = One?

Ok, what kind of math is one plus one equals one? Well, it isn't the math that the world understands. I believe that it should really be one plus one plus one equals one.

Husband + Wife + Jesus = One.

Gen 2:18 Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him." ...

Gen 2:22-25 The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, "This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man." For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

One of the greatest blessings that has ever occurred in my life was the day God placed my wife in front of me. That day resonates in me as if it were yesterday and probably always will. We were on a singles retreat and I never imagined that God would lay before me the most beautiful woman I have ever laid eyes on.

I was hanging out in the dusty gravel parking lot with a couple of friends and in pulls a Chevy Blazer with a couple of ladies with bicycles in the back. Being the good Christian man that I was I walked over to the vehicle to offer my assistance. It was a perfect summer afternoon and the sun was shining high. The trees were just slightly blowing and a hint of pine whispered with the breeze. I greeted my passenger friend and was quite intrigued with the driver. She was a thing to behold... that was what went through my mind.

I assisted them with the bikes and made it a point from that moment on that I was going to get to know this girl. As the weekend went on I took every opportunity I could to spend time wherever she was at. And little did I know, she was doing a little evaluating of her own. After the retreat we all went to a mutual friends for swimming and some fast food. After that weekend I went my way and she went hers. Since we were members of the same church I knew there would be opportunities to see her again.

A month or so went by and we were spending time as a group of friends around a lake in the area. I was involved in a pretty difficult situation that weekend and she unselfishly stepped up to the plate to help me. It was at that moment that I realized I wanted to spend a lot more time with this gal. We have never left each others side since.

God has an amazing way of bringing people together and an even more amazing way of keeping them together. I would love to say that our relationship has been like a Disney fairy tale, but as we soon discovered... we both have issues! She was beauty and I was the beast... We are fallible human beings and we are subject to sin and failure. Without the covenant of marriage and the strength of Christ we were doomed for extinction.

So what does it mean that the two shall become one? To me it is quite a mystery. Just like the virgin birth, the Trinity, or the resurrection of Jesus, becoming one flesh is a concept that was difficult for me to grasp. Becoming one flesh requires that two people give up their needs as individuals and look to the common need of the relationship. This was a painful process for me to do in the beginning of our marriage and is still a work in progress. As I would get closer to her I began to feel more vulnerable and would start to pull away. This pulling away would cause damage to our relationship as if to pull apart a piece of flesh from the bone. After a little pain I would draw closer again and the pattern would continue. Because we had a covenant relationship between us and Christ we stayed together. Once we realized that our house was being built on sand, we turned from our selfish ways and committed to begin rebuilding our marriage on the Rock of Christ. This is when we began to thrive.

Mat 7:24-25 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. "And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.

I believe that the scriptures clearly lay out for us the ingredients for a successful marriage. As marriages are being attacked more and more, the one's who find their foundation in Christ and stay committed to the covenant will prosper. The Bible has many verses to help us stay faithful, pure, and committed to one another and if they are followed then every marriage can stand the test of time.

1Co 7:2-3 But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband. The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband.

As we began to give up our own selfish desires we started looking more and more to the health of our marriage. Lori and I got tired of being right, tired of being frustrated, and tired of defending our own ground. I remember the day it all changed. God revealed Himself to us in a way that not only changed our marriage, but changed our lives as individuals. The words we heard stopped us in our tracks and we started down a difficult road of repentance and healing. The main thing I discovered as a husband was where I fell short as the leader of my family. Oh, it was easy to blame her for everything, after all, wasn't it Eve who caused Adam to sin in the garden (tongue in cheek). The more we learned about ourselves the more I understood the words of Ephesians 5.

Eph 5:28-30 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.

It all started with me and my role before God as a husband. The most amazing part of this whole transformation for me was, as I started to look at her unselfishly, the things I thought I needed changed. My fulfillment started to come from Christ and not my wife. And as I was being filled with the richness of Christ I was able to then be fulfilled in the relationship. And the needs I did have in my marriage started to be filled as well.

It is kind of like when I was a builder and we would pour a foundation on an addition to a home. If the forms were laid correctly then the foundation would be level. Once we had a level foundation then the rest of the structure went up with great ease. On occassion my concrete guy would pour a foundation and the top would need to be shimmed, or it didn't match the existing home, or it wasnt't perfectly square. When the foundation was wrong the entire framing process became more difficult.

Once I took to heart that Christ was my true, level, and perfect foundation I began rebuilding my marriage and my own life over again. I finally understood that I was to be the framing that was laid on that foundation and my wife and family were to be the rest of the home. Without a good foundation built on the Rock and solid framing, a home will never stand.

The Lord has been faithfully working in our lives for many years. He is faithful to complete the good work He has started and that includes our marriage as well. I thank Him daily for the gift of marriage and the beautiful woman he gave me that day. I can truly say that she is more precious to me today than when I first laid eyes on her... and I attribute that to God. But it has taken work. Lots of hard, grueling, heart wrenching work. And it has been worth every painful and glorious minute.

Lord thank you for opening my eyes to my sin. Thank you for showing me where I fall short and keeping me faithful to turn to you for guidance and truth. You have been faithful to me in spite of my selfishness and Lord I pray that I can always look to you to help me be the man I need to be to the woman that you have given to me.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Spirit vs. Flesh... And The Winner Is?

Rom 8:6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,
Rom 8:7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,
Rom 8:8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

I would have to say that one of the biggest wrestling matches in my life is the one between me and my flesh. Not a day goes by where something doesn't trigger me and my fleshly desires want to take over. There are a ton of things that cause this, and reading God's word helps me to see that I am not alone in this battle.

1Pe 2:11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.

Eph 2:3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

Luk 21:34 "Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap;

The more I dive into God's word the less I struggle with the desires of the flesh that battle within me. Being enslaved to the bondage of sin is a miserable place to be and the freedom from the slavery of sin is the freedom that can only be found in Christ. So, as I meditate on these verses today I am encouraged in several ways.
  • First: I am not alone in my struggles against the flesh.
  • Second: I will be victorious when I set my desires in the things of the Spirit.
  • Third: Christ has set me free from the "yoke of slavery."
Gal 5:1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

Gal 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
Gal 5:17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.

2Ti 2:22 Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

Lord, I pray that you will protect my heart from fleshly desires. I want to be a pleasing vessel to you. I know sometimes I will trip up and I ask for you to please forgive me when I do. Thank you Lord for being patient with me and loving me in spite of my stupid choices.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Are You A White Washed Tomb?

Mat 23:25 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence.
Mat 23:26 "You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.
Mat 23:27 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness.
Mat 23:28 "So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Whoa! What an accusation made by Jesus to the scribes and Pharisees. Hypocrites, blind men, appearance of righteousness, full of dead men's bones, unclean. These are some pretty strong words coming from Jesus to a group of people who spent a lot of time in God's word studying the scriptures and leading the people. But leading them to what?

Where do such accusations come from? I was reading through Matthew recently and I am amazed every time I see Christ lay accusations on people and how they respond to it. Sure, it is easy to say that if I was in their sandles I would repent and turn immediately to Christ... But who can say that? In Matthew 23 verse 13 Christ says to them, "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in."

Christ abhors wickedness, but I believe He is even less fond of men who keep His people from entering into the kingdom of heaven. And that is exactly what these men were doing. They were self righteous men who did not embrace the doctrines of Christ and in doing so they hindered others as well.

So, what is God speaking to me through these passages of scripture seemingly written to a group of religious leaders 2000 years ago. Certainly I am no religious leader. And I am definitely not a scribe or a Pharisee. So, as I read these passages over and over I asked God to reveal what Jesus might be saying to me today.

The first thing that stands out to me is the word hypocrite. However it was described (hypocrite, blind man, fool) it really means one thing: One who feigns to be what he is not; one who has the form of godliness without the power, or who assumes an appearance of piety and virtue, when he is destitute of true religion.

For me, the first lesson out of Matthew 23 is "Don't be a hypocrite." There is a great price to be paid for appearing to be something you are not. Mat 23:38 "Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! Christ tells them that they will be left to their own devices, abandonded by God. When we claim to be Christians and live like we are not, then Christ will allow us to continue on until we end up in ultimate destruction.

The next thing I saw is that they were more worried about the outside appearance than the inner man and being right with God. Mat 23:28 "So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. So the second thing I got from this passage was that what is on the inside is far more important than what is on the outside.

God is interested in our heart and our mind, not what we have accomplished and how we appear to others... I wrote a few days ago about being a Living Sacrifice and I believe that Christ is telling me in this passage to be concerned about the inside... My heart and my thoughts regarding Him. Romans 12:2 says: "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."

And thirdly I see is a message of humility. Mat 23:10-12 "Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. "But the greatest among you shall be your servant. "Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted."

I see that the leader's described in Matthew 23 were not going to conform to the likeness of Christ. Their arrogance had blinded them so greatly that they missed the fact that the Messiah was right in front of them. Philipians chapter 2 tells of what we need to be like in order to achieve Christ like humility. Php 2:3-8 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

How would Christ speak of you if you were sitting in front of Him today? How would He speak of me? I certainly hope He wouldn't call me a whitewashed tomb or a blind man.

Lord, thank you for allowing me to learn from the lives of others. I know you want my heart and what is on the inside of me is far more imporant than the outside. Help me to grasp your goodness. Allow me to keep my mind in the word so I will not be accused of being like the pharisees. Show me what true humility looks like so I can be more like you every day.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Free Gift Of Salvation

1Pe 1:3-9 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.

As I was reading my Bible today I read over this passage in 1st Peter. I began to meditate on it and so many things popped off the pages at me so I wanted to share some thoughts.

First of all, the scripture itself needs very little commentary. It tells me a story of hope and redemption through Christ which is freely given and can not be taken away. Here are some key points that jumped out at me this afternoon that I really wanted to share.
  • Caused us to be born again. Left to my own devices I will always choose sin. God, in His infinite grace allowed me to turn from my sinful nature and see his offer of salvation.
  • An inheritance that is imperishable and will not fade away. Gods salvation is an inheritance and is permanent. It will never die and will never fade away and is stored up in Heaven for me and you. Nothing can separate me from Him, not even my own doing.
  • Who are protected by the power of God through faith. Protected by the power of God. When God is my protector there is no fear of ever losing my salvation. As I continue to be strengthened in the faith I am assured of seeing Him for all of eternity. (Joh 10:29 "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.)
  • In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials. Being a Christian never meant that I would be free from difficulties. But He allows me to be faithful even in my trails and I will rejoice in my struggles. It is a testament to my salvation.
  • Obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. What prize can be greater than the salvation of our souls. Eternity spent with Him because He has allowed me to persevere.
God has designed a perfect plan from the beginning to rescue us from sin and death. He offered His son Jesus Christ as our atonement for sin and we can be saved when we put our faith in Him. I encourage you to examine your heart today.

David, in Psalm 139 cries out to God in this way:
Psa 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
Psa 139:24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Living Sacrifice

Rom 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
Rom 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

What does it mean to present ourselves to God as a living sacrifice? Paul instructs the Roman's to live in such a way as to be a living sacrifice to God. In a nutshell it means that I need to die to my sinful ways and live my life holy before God. In verse two Paul helps me to see how this can be done. By not conforming to the ways of the world but by being transformed by the renewing of my mind.

I heard it said once by a pastor, "Why would anyone want to be a part time Christian? It is like being engaged... you have all the headache of being married and none of the benefits." That question has really been burning in me over the past couple of years and I am beginning to ask myself the same question more and more lately. Why would they? Why would I?

I think the answer is pretty simple actually. Because it can be difficult to understand what it means to have the transformed life that Paul is talking about in Romans 12:2. Conforming to the ways of the world is a pretty easy thing to do. Spending our time entertaining ourselves, engaging in the water cooler gossip, the pursuit of personal success and selfish gain are all ways that we conform to the ways of the world. And Paul says to the church, "come on guys, I am urging you, be different than that." And then to add the fact that as Christian's we still have to endure hardships, suffering, and trials, it can become easy to just throw in the spiritual towel and allow our old nature to take over and just keep on staying conformed to our old ways.

Unfortunately, once a person becomes a Christian nothing is going to happen without the renewing of their mind. It is a process that takes place as we embark in the journey of getting to know God. The only way to do that is to get into His word daily. I know that when I first met my wife I spent hours getting to know her. I longed to be in a relationship with her and the more time we spent together the more I began to fall in love with her. The same thing is true if we want to renew our minds and get into complete relationship with the Living God. We need to spend time with Him.

Psa 119:103 How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

So, I urge you my brother's and sister's , offer yourself to God as a living sacrifice and spend time renewing your mind daily. Taste and see that the Lord is good. (Psa 34:8)