Welcome To Daily In Christ Devotionals
wander from your commandments! I have stored up your
word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
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Thursday, July 23, 2009
When I became a Christian I never realized that there would be such trials and tribulations. (Eph 6:10-12) I didn't imagine that life would be bliss and all difficulty would be removed, but I thought I would be following a God that would spare me from most of my pain and troubles. Have you ever been there? I guess I just thought God was now on my side and everything was going to be much better than before.
Well, everything is better than before but it took many years for me to understand what God's Grace really is. For me it was something that was supposed to spare me from pain, but when pain occurred in my life I was questioning my faith and my God. I have come to understand over the years that I have a Savior that helps me endure difficulties rather than having to handle them on my own. God's grace doesn't always keep us from hardship. It does however sustain us to be able to walk through them in His strength.
Here is a simple poem Piper wrote for this sermon:
Not grace to bar what is not bliss,
Nor flight from all distress, but this:
The grace that orders our trouble and pain,
And then, in the darkness, is there to sustain.
I encourage you to download this mp3 file and listen to it for yourself. An amazing message regarding God's Sovereign Grace.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
1Pe 2:10 for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY. (nasb)
I was studying in the book of Ephesians this evening and God led me to this passage in 1Peter. What a marvelous piece of scripture.
As followers of Christ we are:
- God's possession.
- A chosen race.
- A royal priesthood.
- A holy people.
- Able to receive mercy.
- In His marvelous light.
- Out of the darkness.
Him who has called us.
Lord, Thank you for choosing me before the foundation of the world. Because of Jesus I am a person of great worth and I know that you first loved me before I could ever love you. Praise to you today not because of what you have done, but because of who you are. I pray that I will continue until my last breath to proclaim your excellencies.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
It is with a very very sad heart that I let you know that Matt Lembke has passed away as of a couple hours ago. (07-10-09)
He is no longer in pain and is in a much better and peaceful place. PLEASE continue to pray for Claudia and family during this extremely tough time.
Thanks again for all of your thoughts and prayers.
Google News Alert for: matthew lembke
OregonLive.com - Portland,OR,USA
by Julie Sullivan, The Oregonian Cpl. Matthew Lembke was on his third tour of duty when he was fatally injured in Afghanistan. Cpl. Matthew Lembke ...
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Matt's family has established a website for anyone who would like to follow his progress during this difficult time.
www.semperfimatt.com or www.marinematt.com
The local paper here in Portland, OR has written a nice article about Matt.
Please take the time to remember Matt and his family in your prayers.
John 15:12-13 "This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. (nasb)
Monday, July 6, 2009
I live in a community that is incredibly diverse and tends to be far more liberal than I desire. It is inhabited with people from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds as well as those who choose a variety of sexual preferences. The city seems to be enamored with strip clubs, adult video stores, and sex shops throughout. There are street people begging on every interstate off ramp and one can not go far without being asked for some spare change, a cigarette, or something to eat.
As I ponder these verses I can't help but ask myself how I am doing when it comes to loving my neighbor. I live on a decent street in an alright neighborhood so loving my immediate neighbors isn't such a challenge. But, once I venture out beyond the borders of my comfort zone I encounter the "unlovely" people and my commitment to love my neighbor as myself is far more challenging.
This story in Luke is a reminder to me that my neighbor is not defined solely by the people in close proximity to my house. It is anyone I come into contact with or who crosses my path. The lawyer asks Jesus in verse 29, "who is my neighbor?" His motive behind this question was to justify his own actions by finding himself in accordance to this command of "love your neighbor as yourself." He is a good man with elevated status in the community so loving those who are his friends and neighbors would be quite simple. But Jesus shows him the true meaning of what the scriptures are telling us.
To love those who are less fortunate than we are takes guts. It also requires humility and actions that are intentional. We need to purposefully act on our love rather than walk on the other side of the street and try to avoid any contact with those in our community that we find difficult to love. The Samaritan's first response was to have compassion. This is generally not my first response when beggars walk up to me or I see someone downtown lying on the street. My first response is more like the priest or the Levite. If I walk on the other side of the street maybe then I won't need to acknowledge that this person even exists.
Once the Samaritan bound up the injured mans wounds he took him to an inn and cared for him. When it was time for the Samaritan to leave, he left money with the innkeeper to allow the injured man to be cared for until he could return to check on him. The Samaritan was merciful. He is the example of what Christ means when He tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Luk 10:25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Luk 10:26 He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How do you read it?" Luk 10:27 And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." Luk 10:28 And he said to him, "You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live." Luk 10:29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" Luk 10:30 Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Luk 10:31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. Luk 10:32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. Luk 10:33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. Luk 10:34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. Luk 10:35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.' Luk 10:36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" Luk 10:37 He said, "The one who showed him mercy." And Jesus said to him, "You go, and do likewise." (esv)
Lord, help me to be like the good Samaritan. I know that there are people around me daily that I could show your love to but I am too busy, too prideful, or just too lazy to reach out. Forgive me for not taking my time and resources and using them effectively for those who are less fortunate than myself. You are the God of Love and you call me to show that love to others. Please give me an opportunity to do that today. In Jesus precious name, Amen.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Where is your hope today? Biblical hope is the assurance that God is in charge and there is certainty in Him and the things we hope for in Him. Worldly hope can be compared to a wish. Something we hope for that we want to happen or come true that may or may not occur.
As a Christian I am blessed with the promise that God is my hope in all things. When I am cast down and my soul is in turmoil I have hope in God. When the world is coming against me and it appears that all of my dreams are being shattered, I have hope in God. This hope allows me to have strength against temptation, encouragement and joy during trials, and assurance of eternal life.
When we have this hope we are able to share with others the strength that is in us. Many people we know are going through difficulties and trials with our recent economic times. I had a friend share with me this week that his 18 month old grand daughter was hospitalized. The same day his grand daughter was hospitalized he lost his job due to cutbacks. Here is a quote from an email he sent me after we shared together regarding his difficulties. "As I said, losing my job paled in comparison to having to see our granddaughter in the hospital. I’m just thankful that she is going to be fine. But, again that type of situation really has a way of aligning what is truly important in life. I don’t have any idea where I may end up in the immediate future but I’m confident that we will land on our feet eventually and we will look back and understand the reason for it all."
He has hope. I shared with him that we will be praying for him and his family and it has given me the opportunity to share God's hope with him. Peter instructs us to give account for the hope that is in us. Opportunities come up every day for us to share our hope with others
1Pe 3:15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; (esv)
Where is your hope today? Is it in Christ or in your own worldly efforts? I pray that if your heart is downcast and you are full of turmoil you are able to seek God today and find your hope in Him. He will give you all that you need and strengthen you to overcome.
Lord, thank you for the hope that is in me. Thank you for giving me all that I need to endure hardship and difficulties. You are the strength of my heart and my portion forever.