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.

Come by and see our complete Updated Website

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hope For A Dying World

Psa 31:24 Be strong and let your heart take courage, All you who hope in the LORD. (nasb)

Do you ever look around and feel like there is just no hope? Today was one of those days for me. I wasn't feeling hopeless for myself, but for those around me who don't know Jesus or who seem to have fallen away from Him. We are surrounded by heartache, disease, sexual perversion, and struggles of many kinds each and every day and they seem to be more numerous as the hours go by. The world is literally "going to hell in a handbasket" and nobody seems to take notice, let alone care.

I think the thing today that has really struck a chord in me is the rampant sin that goes on in people's lives. It is certain to bring about eternal destruction and we, as Christians, are forced to stand by and watch for fear of being labeled hate mongers, hypocrites, or bigots. Our pastor made a comment today that Christians get lulled into becoming "Politically Correct" rather than promoting a lifestyle that is "Biblically Correct." I have come to the conclusion that the world just doesn't want to hear it anymore. So how do we find hope in this world when those we love are giving into sin and following the lusts of their heart rather than the ways of God?

Rom 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.
Rom 1:25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (nasb)

For me to find hope, I first need to trust that God is doing a work in the lives of those around me that I love and care about. Rom 1:24 says that God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts... God is not only sovereign over the good things that occur in our life, but he is sovereign over our sin as well. God gives Satan a leash on each and every one of us and how long that leash is will be determined by God. When our loved one is tempted to live a life of homosexuality, God has allowed it. When one of our children or friends gives into the temptation of drugs and alcohol I need to remember that God is working in that situation as well. Even when a friend or family member is caught in the sin of adultery God isn't taken by surprise.

Somethings in life seem to be a mystery to me. The why question comes up often and many times it goes unanswered. Why does the Lord allow me to struggle with sin? Why does God allow Satan the freedom to cause so much chaos in people's lives. Why do those I care about that claim to know Jesus keep going back to their addictions and lies? Sometimes it is just a series of why, why, why... Well, God doesn't promise in His Word to answer the why question for me, therefore I am forced to look at what He does say. In regards to the sin I see in my life and the lives of the people I love, I look at this verse in Isaiah. I am able to see a God who is filled with compassion and love and will restore those who turn back to Him.

Isa 55:6 Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. Isa 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. (nasb)

God will pardon those who have turned from His ways when they call upon the Lord and return to Him. When we exchange the lie of the world for the truth of God we again will find hope. 1Cor 10:13 tells us that God will provide a way of escape when we are tempted beyond what we can bear. He is the only source of hope to a dying world. When the temptations of fleshly desires creep into our life and we turn away from the truth, God will give us a way out. Knowing this gives me comfort, but the question still comes to my mind, "why are so many of those close to me not choosing to find that way of escape?"

The answer to this question will probably be a mystery to me for a very long time. I may never fully understand why people won't turn from their sin and follow Christ. Remembering what the rest of this passage in Isaiah says helps me to understand the mind of God a little bit better.

Isa 55:8 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD.
Isa 55:9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts. (nasb)

God's ways of working in the lives of human beings are not the way you or I might deal with them. His ways are not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts. I can't see the big picture the way He can, so when someone close to me is living in sin, God may be doing a thousand things in their life that I may never see. When we look at the life of King David and his adulterous relationship, we see God's hand of restoration working from the beginning.

The story of Jonah is another good example of the hand of God being sovereign over man's sin and working out all the details ahead of time. Jonah disobeyed God and decided to try to flee from Him and do his own thing. However, God had a plan to save a group of people and he intended for Jonah to fulfill that plan. In spite of Jonah's sin against God, God was planning and preparing before Jonah even knew what had hit him. God had prepared a boat ready to sail, a storm ready to blow over the sea, and a big fish in place to swallow up Jonah when he was thrown overboard. And when Jonah finally repented and came back to God he turned the entire nation of Nineveh to the Lord.

God's ways are not our ways and there is hope to be found in understanding that He is sovereign over the sins of me and those I care for. He is sovereign over the sins of this nation and the people who live in it. God isn't taken by surprise when a large group of people march through the city streets celebrating gay pride, so neither should I. He doesn't say "oops, there goes another one" when a loved one turns away from Him and lives a lifestyle that is contrary to His ways. God knows it and allows it because He is doing something that we may never understand. The hope for me comes from the promise that He makes to you and me in verses like Romans 10:13.


So today I find hope. I find hope in praying for my friends and family who have turned from Him and know that it isn't a surprise to God. I find hope in knowing that His hand is working even when I can't see it. And I find hope that He promises that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Thank you Lord for renewing my strength today when everything around me seems so hopeless. You are the door of hope this dying world needs. I pray that we, as Christians, can be bold in our faith, courageous in our walk, and proclaim you to those around us. Praise be to You! Amen

Friday, June 18, 2010

Rejoice When Others Are Rejoicing

Rom 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

I know there is a lot to be said about bearing the burdens of one another and sharing in pain, but what about our joys? Romans tells us to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep... What does that mean exactly? The Bible instructs us to come alongside someone who is weeping and weep with them, but what about our joys? How is one to respond when another is rejoicing?

We live in a culture where people find joy in a variety ways. To rejoice, in common terms, is to simply find joy in or to delight in a particular situation or thing. So when the Bible tells us to rejoice with those who rejoice I am curious what that means to me as a Christian and to us as a body of Christ.

Living in a materialistic society such as ours I find it commonplace to hear people getting excited about a new car or big screen TV that they have just purchased. Or those who have found the perfect job or new boyfriend that gives them all sorts of excitement... for the moment. I have to ask myself the question, "Am I supposed to be excited for these things with them even if I don't think they are of the Lord? Is this what Paul is talking about when he says to rejoice with others?"

When I study the Bible and look at the places it calls us to rejoice it generally is in context to the things of God or something He is doing. It also relates many times to us as a Christian body rejoicing with one another to have unity and completeness in one another.

Rejoicing when others rejoice may mean something different to some people, but I understand it to mean this: When one of us, as a member of the body of Christ, is rejoicing in the things of God, then the rest of the body will join in that rejoicing and together we give glory to God for the things he is doing.

2Co 13:11 Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

If we look on a little further in the passage in Romans it tells us to be of the same mind toward one another. Like minded believers rejoicing with one another and weeping with one another. As a body of Christ we have the privilege of sharing in the joys and burdens of others in Christ.

1Co 12:26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

When our joy is rooted in God's righteousness and truth, then I believe we are doing what Paul instructs us in verse 15. Sure it is cool when someone buys something nice or finds a new job or even gets into a relationship that makes them happy... And I believe it is probably just fine to find some pleasure in the things God has given us the ability to acquire, but when Paul calls us to rejoice with others I truly believe his intent is for us to rejoice in the things of God for the purpose of uniting the body and glorifying Christ in all things.

1Co 13:6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;

Luk 10:20 "Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven."

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Share In The Suffering Of Others

I recently posted a survey on the subject matter of suffering for the purpose of gathering some insight as to how people handle suffering in their life. It was an enlightening experience and I would have to say that though none of the responses surprised me, I was moved by the trials that people close to me have encountered in their life. You see, for the most part the ones who took the survey are all people I know pretty well. It was done anonymously so I don't know anything specific about any one particular individual, but what I do know is that there is a lot of pain and healing in and amongst those I am close to.

This brief survey caused me to ask myself a few questions and one of them I want to address in this post today. The question is "Why are we so reluctant to share our suffering with other people?" This passage in Romans says that if we share in the suffering of Christ we are indeed heirs with Him.

Rom 8:16-17 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

And Galatians tells us to bear one another's burdens. How can we bear each others burdens if we are reluctant to share them with one another?

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

I believe the motivation to keep our struggles and suffering to ourselves is complex and varies from person to person. However, I have found in my life there are two key elements that have kept me from sharing my suffering and struggles. One is pride and the other is fear.

Pride and fear are faith killers and keep us locked in the dungeon of self pity and the need for acceptance. I have gone through difficulties in the past and have been so afraid of what others might think if I shared that I would isolate myself. Ways of doing this were to stay away from the church and the friends and family I have there. To avoid getting close to people emotionally due to the fear that they might think of me as being weak for not being able to handle this particular difficulty at the time. Or even trying to pretend it isn't happening so I could get along without having to be open and vulnerable.

Pride and fear are to our spiritual health what cancer and diabetes are to our physical health. Left untreated they slowly destroy our spiritual lives and ultimately will lead to death.

We are all one body, the body of Christ. When one member is suffering or struggling with sin, temptations, or trials we all suffer together. And the fruit that comes from sharing our lives with one another comes through as rejoicing. When we all live together, pray together, cry together, and laugh together, then when we get through the time of difficulty and suffering, we can rejoice in the victory that God has done in our life... together!

1Co 12:26-27 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

Share your burdens, your struggles, and your suffering with those who are close to you. I know it has allowed me to open my heart, become vulnerable and honest, and given me the opportunity to understand what it means to share in the sufferings of Christ.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Why is Jesus called the Son of Man?

"Dad, what does it mean in the book of John
by the phrase the Son of Man?"

Joh 1:51 And He *said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."

We recently bought our twelve year old son a Kid's Life Application Bible from the church bookstore. When we got it home he was eager to open it up and see what it was all about. He has several other Bibles, but they are either "hand me downs" from his older siblings or "little kid" Bibles. This thing was the real deal and he was ready to sit back and savor God's Word.

About 3 minutes into it he had his name written nicely in the inside cover and he was suddenly at a loss. "Where do I start?" he asked inquisitively. Lori suggested the book of James and I informed Him that the book of John would be a good start. We looked at the books of the Bible, I showed him the breakdown of books in each Testament and he decided to begin reading the book of John.

About ten minutes into his reading he informed me that he was really glad to have a new Bible and that he had a question. "Dad, what does it mean in the book of John by the phrase the Son of Man?" Oh boy, here we go. I guess I didn't realize this early on the questions would start popping up. I muddled my way through an explanation that I thought would suffice an 12 year old and then realized that, for the most part, I was unable to clearly define the phrase satisfactorily for myself. So I began to look into it in my own study. Who would have thought that buying a Bible for a twelve year old would lead to a 45 minute study of my own?

After reading through many explanations and commentaries on the phrase I decided rather than writing an exhaustive study on this topic I would re-post an article I found that was written by John Piper titled "Why is Jesus Called Son of Man." I felt this was one of the better explanations and also has the audio so I was able to listen as well as read it which works really well for me.

So if you were ever curious why Jesus is called the Son of Man, now is your time to find that out... Enjoy!


Why is Jesus called "Son of Man"? - John Piper

Let me give a common understanding and then a more sophisticated historical understanding.

The common understanding is that "Son of God" implies his deity—which it does—and that "Son of Man" implies his humanity, which it does too.

He was a son of man, that is, a human being. And he is the Son of God, in that he has always existed as the Eternally Begotten One who comes forth from the Father forever. He always has, and he always will. He is the Second Person of the Trinity with all of the divine nature fully in him.

He is born of a virgin. He had a human father but he didn't have sex with this virgin until Jesus was conceived. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit in the virgin Mary. Thus he is human—fully human. The Bible wants to emphasize that he is fully human.

So that's the common understanding: he is both divine and he is human—two natures, one person.

The more sophisticated and important historical insight is that the term "Son of Man" doesn't merely align him with humanity. It is probably taken from Daniel 7. And if you read that chapter you'll see that the Son of Man is a very exalted figure: not just a human figure but an exalted figure. It was Jesus' favorite self-designation.

If you do a study of the term "Son of Man" in the Gospels you'll see that he didn't refer to himself most often as Son of God but as Son of Man. He said things like, in Mark 10:45, "The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many." So he calls himself Son of Man very often.

I think the reason he did so is because, on the face of it, Son of Man is an ordinary phrase for "human being." He was born of a man. And there's no offense there: who isn't a son of man? But those with ears to hear could hear Daniel 7, in which he was claiming a very exalted role in the history of redemption. And he meant to do it.

Jesus was very subtle in that he was always opening his identity to those with eyes to see, but he wasn't opening it so blatantly that everybody would come and make him king. He had to steer a very narrow course in disclosing his identity, not just openly saying, "I'm the Messiah, I'm the King of the World. Come and acknowledge me as King." He didn't talk like that.

He was quiet. He was subtle. And he would make claims that were explicit in certain settings and implicit in others. And only when the time was right—mainly when he was on trial for his life, and they said, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the living God?"—did he say, "I am, and you will see the Son of Man coming with great power and glory." So he confessed his open deity right at the point where he knew he would be crucified for it.

So I hope that helps. "Son of Man" has the double meaning of human being and, according to Daniel 7, exalted heavenly one. And Jesus means to communicate both of those.