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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Friday, April 29, 2011

Does God Really Love Me?

I was recently having a conversation with a young person and the question came up about the love of God. "How do I know that God really loves me?" she asked. "That is a very good question," I responded. It brought about some stimulating dialog. Unfortunately, I am not sure she went away from this conversation convinced.

Life's trouble can often get us distracted from the amazing Love of God. And, as a Christian, I can't understand how a person can not see God's love around us every day. I can't understand how anyone can go through life without the hope of eternity with Jesus. And I can't even conceive what life would look like if I had to go it alone... At least at this stage of my life I can't understand it.

There was a time when I was this girl. (Figuratively speaking of course) I had no hope in the afterlife. Streets paved with gold. Eternity with Jesus. No more pain and no more tears. This all seemed like a fairy tale to me at one time in my life. But then something changed. I would love to boast that the day I was converted some 20+ years ago was when I discovered all of His love. However, it wasn't until just a few years ago that all that God had taken me through began to sink into my thick skull.

"How can that be?" you ask. "If you were a Christian a very long time ago, how did you just discover the Love of God a few short years ago?"

I am glad you asked...

We assume as Christians that everyone who claims salvation is filled with God's Love. That's not to say He isn't there to fill us. On the contrary. We often just don't have the capacity to receive it. In my case, I was consumed with the pain and struggles of my past difficulties. The concept of true forgiveness, unconditional love, and peace were as foreign as learning a new language.

I had no doubts about my salvation, I just didn't understand the concept of God's Love and Grace.

So rather than writing about His Love here in this post, I decided to post some links to previous posts regarding the Love of God. If you are like this girl I spoke with recently, then I encourage you to take a couple of minutes and read each post. It helped me to solidify in my heart the Love of God as I read through them to re-post.
I pray that you can discover the love of God in your life today.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Time For Worship - Creed

I shared this video with some of my Facebook friends this past weekend and I wanted to post it here as well. It is an amazing version of Creed by the late Rich Mullins.

I hope it speaks to your heart today as you spend time worshiping Him for who He is.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My First Encounter With God

When I was growing up I had several friends. One friend in particular comes to mind when I think about my relationship with God. I wasn't especially close to him, but we did do things together occasionally. We attended the same school from kindergarten through much of high school, but that entire time I don't think I ever stepped foot inside of his house.

One major event stands out in my mind that will always be a part of my life. In about the third grade he invited me to Sunday School at Mt Tabor Presbyterian Church. It was early on a warm summer morning and I remember walking to Sunday School on my own and meeting him there. His mother was the teacher and I was so excited to be a part of something big. What I'm talking about here is my first time realizing that I am going to meet God, and at a Church that has been around for over 100 years. To an eight year old, this was good stuff. This was important. I was being called to bigger things... and I felt it.

The winding flight of stairs ended in a large hall. We entered the classroom and I remember seeing all the other kids. I didn't know any of them. I had lived in the neighborhood for most of my life, (all seven or eight years by this point) and I didn't recognize a single kid in my neighborhood church.

I don't recall much from that Sunday other that this. God met me there. I know now that He formed me in my mother's womb and created me before the beginning of time, but to me right then... He finally met me. I never went to Sunday School with my friend again. Or if I did I really don't recall it. But I knew God and He knew me. And that was enough for now.

Do you have a story of meeting God you would like to share. Feel free to leave it in a comment.

I would love to hear it.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Hidden Christian

mp3 audio file

Do you remember the "Where's Waldo" books that were a phenomenon several years back. I remember spending hours on the couch with my kids trying to find that elusive little striped fellow. The challenge often got too difficult and the kids or myself would give up and move onto other things.

As I was praying and spending time in the Word this week the image of "Where's Waldo?" came to my mind. Not because I was curious where the striped little man was, but because it related to what I was reading in the Word. I began to think about my life and how reflective of Jesus I am to the rest of the world. Am I a light set on a hill or, like Waldo, hidden in a crowd only to be seen by those who are really looking?

Mat 5:16 "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Jesus calls us to let our light shine before men. So often we are hidden Christians and our light is more like a dim flicker of a candle on a windy night. We spend more time blending in with the crowd than we do standing out in the crowd.

What if you decided right now to quit being a hidden Christian and become bold in your faith? What if your life was a little less like Waldo's and a whole lot more like Jesus? What if you stopped allowing fear, anxiety, and lack of trust rule your heart? Would your life look different? Would your neighborhood look different? Would our nation look different?

Living a nice comfortable hidden Christian life is safe, but isn't Biblical.

Luk 9:24-26 "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. "For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

What good is it for us to gain our own comfort and security and lose our soul in hell? Are you a hidden Christian? Do you relate more to Waldo than to Jesus?

What can you do today to allow your light to shine bright before those around you? When you get to the throne of God and stand before Jesus will He tell you He couldn't even see you mixed in the crowd, or will he say to you, "Well done good and faithful servant."

Where are you today?

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

What if... I Stopped Grieving The Holy Spirit...

Last night I completed the first chapter of Francis Chan's book - Forgotten God. It is a book that focuses on the person of the Holy Spirit and how we, as Christians, should be transformed because of Him.

He posed a question in this first chapter... "How would your life look if the Holy Spirit left you?"

I really thought long and hard over that question. Unfortunately, after thinking about it, I embarrassingly admitted to myself, "probably not a whole lot different."

It did lead me to ask myself a similar question posed slightly different. "Does my life even look that different because I do have the Holy Spirit?"

Do I live like I have been transformed by the Spirit of God or do I live like everybody else? My wife and I had this talk a month ago. Her answer was that we need to be different as Christians. Our lives should look more loving and compassionate than the next guy. (Pretty much the Chan take on the subject) I had a little different take on it.

I figured since I am saved by grace, and for the most part, a pretty messed up guy, then I should measure my level of the Spirit in me not by whether I look different than the next guy but whether I look different than I would have I not been renewed by God. If I compare myself to the next guy I will always find someone, Christian or not, who appears to be more godly than I am. There will always be people who build hospitals for children, feed the hungry and the poor, care for widows, etc... and not know Jesus. So comparing was a difficulty for me.

So here's my "what if." What if the Spirit of God left me today? Right now! Would I act differently? Would I start living for myself at the expense of others? Would I forsake God? Would I start drinking, driving too fast, cussing, acting unbecomingly? Would I quit being nice to people? Would I divorce my wife? I often think that we assume that only Christians have the ability to keep it together and non Christians lives will just fall apart without God.

So, back to the original question... What would my life look like?

I think I can see where the next chapters in Forgotten God are going, and knowing the way Francis Chan communicates I would imagine he is going to head down the path of, "why does your life not look different since you possess the Spirit of God?"

And that is the question I ask myself today.
  • What if I lived obedient to the Spirit of God in all things?
  • What if I prayed in the Spirit each moment of the day?
  • What if asked the Holy Spirit to intercede on my behalf?
  • What if I trusted Jesus when He said it would be better for me to have the Holy Spirit?
  • What if I stopped quenching the Holy Spirit? (Eph 4:30)

Would my life look noticeably different?

What if...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dealing With An Oops!

From time to time everyone encounters an "oops!" You know what I mean. The car won't start, the refrigerator is left open and the food spoils. Some oops are bigger than others. There are also oops of gigantic proportion. These oops often occur to our health and our jobs.

How do you deal with the oops of cancer or of your house foreclosing? Or the oops of a sick child?

You have stories in your life that are similar to mine. You have stories that are unique as well. We all could sit down and share a story or two, or forty... of things that we could consider an oops.

Telling our story doesn't help us deal with the oops of life but it does give us opportunity to reveal the common thread in all of our lives. That thread is intertwined from person to person, generation to generation. It is seamlessly woven from the beginning of time until now. It has never had a time throughout history where the thread has ever been broken.

I would think that the story of oops began with the fall of Lucifer. Eventually leading to the sin of Adam and now, fast forward to today. It continues throughout the lives of all people who, apart from God are nothing.

So what is the correct response to oops? This may seem like such a ridiculous notion, but I see it to be rejoice. The idea of rejoicing during times that just don't seem to work out is not new. It is Biblical. Paul says in the book of Colossians that he rejoices in what had been suffered to them. In the book of Philippians he says he rejoices in all things.

There are more. However I think that all the verses in the Bible could be written on this page regarding this subject and unless one truly understands rejoicing in trials, they would just be that... words on a page.

The heart is a tricky thing sometimes. It brings us great joy and often turmoil. It helps us feel love and hatred. The heart, when desiring to please God, sees an oops as an opportunity to see His hand at work. If we believe Him, then we believe He is good and His ways are perfect.

Are you going through an oops right now. If not, just give it a few minutes. You will be. We all have circumstances that cause us to question God's goodness and if we allow it, every single oops will show us how he loves us and turns everything to good regardless of how it may appear at the time.
  • When you get the flat tire on the highway - Praise God
  • When you lose your job - Praise God
  • When you go to the hospital and are diagnosed with an illness - Praise God
  • When you neighbor brings you grief - Praise God
  • When you lose a child to a tragic death - Praise God
I am not talking about pretending that what happens in life is trivial and we shouldn't grieve. Absolutely we should. God loves to hear us cry out to him and acknowledge his goodness in times of trouble. He loves us so much that he will always comfort us and turn every oops from bad to good. From evil to righteous. From painful to healing.

How do we deal with an oops? By loving God, praising God, trusting God, and expectantly waiting to see His good and mighty hand work all things together for good for those who love him and area called according to his purpose...

That's how to deal with an oops.



Monday, April 11, 2011

What If... I Trusted God For My Happiness?

God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself,
because it is not there. There is no such thing. ~ C. S. Lewis

How often have you tried to find pleasure in the things of the world only to be eventually let down? Simple pleasures do bring temporary comfort and short term happiness, but they cannot compare to real happiness that comes only from God.

I read this quote from C. S. Lewis recently and it caused me to really assess where my happiness came from. Do I rely on the pleasures of this world to fill the space that was designed for only the Creator to fill? When I pursue worldly happiness I am, in a way, actually seeking after my own unhappiness.

I may "feel" happy for awhile, but that feeling will eventually give way to dissatisfaction. Therefore I will ultimately be unhappy and attempt once again to travel away from the path of God seeking pleasures that I know will ultimately not satisfy.

What if I sought after God whole heartily and was happy in Him? What would that look like?

It might take the shape of giving up some of the things of this world for eternal things. It may look like putting the needs of my neighbor before my own. It could, and should look like sacrifice in one form or another.

If Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before Him then, why can't I? Can I find joy in giving and sacrifice? Does God want me to be happy by holding the hand of a child or giving a cup of water to one who thirsts? What if I sought after True happiness?

What if I sought after my happiness in following Jesus?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

One Solitary Life

mp3 audio file

He was born in an obscure village, the son of a peasant woman.

He grew up in another village, where he worked in a carpenter's shop until he was thirty. Then for three years he became a wandering preacher.

He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a house. He didn't go to college. He never visited a big city. He never travelled two hundred miles from the place where he was born. He did none of those things one usually associates with greatness.

He had no credentials but himself.

He was only thirty-three when the tide of public opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. He was turned over to his enemies and went through a mockery of a trial. He was executed by the state. While he was dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing, the only property he had on earth. When he was dead he was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

Twenty centuries have come and gone, and today he is the central figure of the human race and the leader of mankind's progress. All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man on this earth as much as that One Solitary Life.

Dr James Allen Francis - 1926

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