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, August 3, 2009

Sealed In Our Salvation

Eph 1:13-14 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation--having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory. (nasb)

Paul wants the people of Ephesus to understand that they are sealed in Christ. There is no greater assurance of the Christian faith than the assurance of salvation. 2Cor 1:22 He seals each one of us in Christ by putting the Holy Spirit into our hearts as a deposit for the redemption of our souls. First we heard the gospel of our salvation and then we believed the gospel of our salvation. Then we become sealed with Christ by the Holy Spirit of Promise. 2Cor 1:21-22

What an amazing gift we are given in Jesus. We are sealed in Him forever. The Holy Spirit was pledged by God before the foundation was set in place as an inheritance to His children. When God makes a promise He keeps it. Acts 2:33, Gal 3:14 This is not like any human pledge that can be broken but is assured because God tells us it is. Be praise and glory to Him.

Do you have assurance in Him today? Jesus makes it very clear that when we answer the call of salvation we are never in jeopardy of losing it. It is awesome to follow our Lord and live in His will knowing that there is nothing that can snatch me out of His hands.

Joh 10:27-30 "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. "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. "I and the Father are one." (nasb)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Till Death Do Us Part... Part Two

In my first posting of Till Death Do Us Part I shared from the book of Matthew that when a couple becomes married they become one flesh. "The two shall become one flesh." I believe that when both the man and the woman truly discover in their heart what it means to become one flesh then they are better equipped to keep the marriage in tact. Divorce rates are staggering in this country. 50% of first marriages, 67% of second and 74% of third marriages end in divorce, according to Jennifer Baker of the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri.

In this post on marriage God has laid on my heart a little different topic regarding our relationship as husband and wife. It goes hand in hand with what Paul shares in Ephesians chapter 5, Eph 5:21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. In the world the idea of mutual submission appears to be quite foreign. Go to any bookstore and you will find on the shelves book after book instructing couples how to have a successful marriage. The list of ten do's and don't's, books about how to fulfill each other's needs, and even books on how to have sex for dummies. Don't get me wrong, there is a need for good Bible based information to help us maintain a healthy and fruitful marriage, but they should never take first place over what God's Word tells us.

1Co 7:1 Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. 1Co 7:2 But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband. 1Co 7:3 The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 1Co 7:4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. (nasb)

In the book of 1Corinthians Paul explains to us that each man is first and foremost to have his own wife. This concept is becoming foreign these days. To have one wife doesn't only mean don't be a polygamist, it means that our devotion is to be to one woman or one man. When things aren't going so well in the relationship (and at times things will not be well) we are to remember that we are committed to one person and one person only. Next, he instructs the husband to fulfill his duty to his wife and each woman to fulfill the duty to her husband. Mutual submission. Marriage is a state of mutual obligations and we must, as husband and wife, yield to what those obligations require. I don't find it coincidental that Paul instructs the man to fulfill his duty to his wife first. As the husband we are called to lead our family and the best kind of leadership comes from our example to our family. We can tell our wife or children how to be, but, living out our life in the ways of God is far more effective than just barking out orders. Giving ourselves to our spouse out of mutual obligation is not only Biblical but it allows us to bless each other with unselfish intentions.

The next verse (1Cor 7:4) I found quite perplexing. To be told that we don't have authority over our own body goes against everything we are taught in today's pop-culture psychology. Nobody can tell me to give of myself if I don't want to! Well, Paul instructs married couples that our body no longer belongs exclusively to ourselves. We make a covenant to one another at the alter and part of that covenant is that we shall become one flesh. As one flesh we are mutually submitting to the authority over our bodies for sexual pleasure one to another. Of course there are those who take things out of context and use such verses as a way to demand that their needs be met. Paul understands this and that is why verse 3 comes first. If we are unselfishly fulfilling the needs of each other in the marriage then verse four is simply an expression of this. (Disclaimer:There are so many things that could be said about this verse. The very first thing I feel that should be cleared up is that when a marriage isn't going well or lines of trust have been broken, it might not be a good idea to jump right into the "your body is mine" mode... this verse is not intended for one member of a marriage to get his or her needs met in spite of the difficulties that may be occurring. When a couple is mutually submitting one to another and trust has not been broken then what Paul is saying to us makes sense)

Marriage is for a lifetime. When we make our covenant with God to each other it is understood that it is forever. Mat 19:6 "So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate." For we are no longer two, but one flesh. We have common goals, common desires, and we are joined together by God. We shall not separate but by His doing. Every trivial thing that comes our way should be used to strengthen the marriage rather than tear it down. When the wind blows through the mighty oak tree, branches may twist and break but the tree becomes stronger. Eventually there will be new branches growing and scars from where the old ones broke off. Our marriages should be a collection of broken branches and twisted gnarly limbs. When we weather the storms, people can look to our marriage and see the glory of God manifested through them. This gives hope.

Where are you today in your marriage? Have the winds come and blown over the tree or are you getting stronger? Sometimes we need someone to help us trim some loose branches and I encourage you today to cry out to Jesus and ask Him where you need to be pruned so that your marriage can be as fruitful as He intended it to be.

Thank you Lord for the gift of marriage. You knew it was not good for man to be alone so you created a help mate suitable for him. I know that you gave me my wife because she fits all of my needs and I fit hers. Thank you for the struggles that we have gone through and will go through. I know that they will make us stronger and when we look back on them we will see how you have used them for our good. Please continue to strengthen us. In Christ, Amen

Saturday, August 1, 2009

What Does It Mean To Be In Christ

What does it mean to be "In Christ."

There is a lot of Christian lingo that gets spread around in our culture and one of the phrases I hear quite frequently is the phrase "in Christ." I decided today to look into the phrase "in Christ" and try to understand what it means to me as a Christian.

I began by doing a word search for the phrase in my esword bible software and found the term to be throughout the New Testament at least 88 times. It is mainly used in the writings of Paul, but I also found it in the writings of Peter and Luke in the book of Acts (Acts 24:24).

So what does it mean to be "In Christ?"

The best place for me to begin is 2Cor 5:17. Just as I was a new creation at the moment of my human birth, I am now a new creation in my spiritual re-birth in Christ Jesus. 2Cor 5:17 tells me that I am a new creature, or creation. The old things have passed away and new things have come. Being one who is in Christ starts with us being transformed and living a new life from our old ways and habits. Christ died for us to have a new birth in His resurrection. Old passes away, new has come. But making the transition from old to new can be quite difficult from time to time since we are sinful and the old nature wants to creep back in and sabotage our walk with Christ.

Fortunately we were not left alone to accomplish our Christian journey on our own. God gave us the Holy Spirit as a pledge of our inheritance. (Eph 1:14, 2Cor 1:22, Acts 19:1-6) With the help of God through the Holy Spirit I am able to accomplish all things through Christ. Not by my own merit, talents, or ability, but because God has granted it to me. My faith comes from God through Christ. My grace comes from God through Christ, and all that I am is because of Christ. When we begin to understand that Christ is our source for all that we are, the fountain will never run dry. Too many times I try to love someone by my own strength. Eventually I get frustrated because I don't see love in return. When I forgive and the person offends again I find it quite easy to hold a grudge. When I rely on my strength and human ability I will fall short every time.

Being "in Christ" is to be intentional. One can not truly claim to be a Christian and not desire the ways of Christ. (Eph 4:1, 1Thes 2:12, Col 1:10)The old has passed away and the new has come. Being in Christ is coming to the throne daily and crying out to God for more of Him. More faith, more love, more grace... God gives abundantly according to His riches in glory in Christ. (Php 4:19)

For me to be "In Christ" means that all that I am, all that I have, and all that I do is done through and for the glorification of Christ. When I love someone I love them as Christ. When I show someone grace it is done like Christ. Even when I spend time at my job I am working as though I am working for Christ. (Col 3:23-24) Being "In Christ" is not just a pledge that hangs over one's door, it is a way to be. Christianity is not about following rules, doing the right thing, or trying to be good. It is about being one with the Savior and out of that oneness flows more blessings and love that one can imagine
  1. Our faith is - In Christ (Acts 24:24)
  2. Our redemption is - In Christ (Rom 3:24)
  3. We are made alive to God - In Christ (Rom 6:11; 1Cor 15:22)
  4. We have eternal life - In Christ (Rom 6:23)
  5. There is no condemnation - In Christ (Rom 8:1)
  6. We are set free - In Christ (Rom 8:2)
  7. We can not be separated from God's love - In Christ (Rom 8:39)
  8. We are all one body - In Christ (Rom 12:5)
  9. I have reason for boasting in God - In Christ (Rom 15:17)
  10. We are approved by God - In Christ (Rom 16:10)
  11. We are sanctified - In Christ (1Cor 1:2)
  12. I experience God's grace - In Christ (1Cor 1:4)
  13. God chose me - In Christ (1Cor 1:30, Eph 1:4)
  14. We are resurrected from the dead - In Christ (1Cor 15:18-21)
  15. I am triumphant - In Christ (2Cor 2:14)
  16. The veil has been lifted - In Christ (2Cor 3:14)
  17. I am a new creation - In Christ (2Cor 5:17)
  18. We are reconciled to God - In Christ (2Cor 5:19)
  19. We have liberty - In Christ (Gal 2:4)
  20. We are justified by faith - In Christ (Gal 2:16)
  21. We are sons of God - In Christ (Gal 3:26)
  22. We are all one - In Christ (Gal 3:28)
  23. We are blessed with every spiritual blessing - In Christ (Eph 1:3)
  24. We are raised to heavenly places - In Christ (Eph 2:6-7)
  25. I am created for good works - In Christ (Eph 2:10)
  26. I have been brought near to God - In Christ (Eph 2:13)
  27. I can partake in God's promises - In Christ (Eph 3:6)
  28. I have been forgiven by God - In Christ (Eph 4:32)
  29. I place no confidence in my flesh - In Christ (Php 3:3)
  30. My righteousness comes through faith - In Christ (Php 3:9)
  31. My heart and mind is guarded by God's peace - In Christ (Php 4:7)
  32. All my needs will be supplied according to God's riches - In Christ (Php 4:19)
  33. I am complete - In Christ (Col 1:28)
  34. My faith remains stable - In Christ (Col 2:5)
  35. I will give thanks in everything - In Christ (1Thes 5:18)
  36. I am called to salvation by grace not by works - In Christ (2Tim 1:9)
  37. I endure all things for the sake of others - In Christ (2Tim 2:10)
  38. Persecution will come to the godly - In Christ (2Tim 3:12)
  39. Those who revile me because of my faith will be put to shame - In Christ (1Pet 3:16-17)
  40. We will be strengthened and established after suffering for a little while - In Christ (1Pet 5:10)