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, July 25, 2014

The Reason For Missions

2Co 4:15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and 
more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. (esv)

If someone where to ask me, "What is the reason for missions?" I would probably say something like this... "to reach the lost people of the world and share with them the good news (Gospel) of Jesus Christ and the redemption of sins in order to bring them into a right relationship with God." In fact, that is exactly what I believe the purpose of missions is. But as I studied in Corinthians recently I encountered this verse in chapter 4. I believe this is the true meaning of missions. "To extend God's grace to more and more people and in so doing that we increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God."

As I thought through this verse I came to the realization that missions, as with all of our Christian life, is ultimately about the glory of God. When we are truly alive in Christ, we long after God's glory. When I realize that my role in reaching lost people is not about them and all about God, it completely changes the way I look at it. Now I am striving for, hoping for, and praying for what He is most worthy of - His Glory! Rather than being compelled to only reach the lost for the sake of their eternal well being (which is still a vital part of missions) I am seeking sinners for the glory of God.

God is worthy of thanksgiving and glory from all mankind. Every one of us was created to glorify God. However, we have turned other things into the object of our glory. Rom 1:22-25 tells us that in our foolishness we have exchanged the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, an other things. We have exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worship the creation rather than the creator. We are giving other things our Glory and missions is to bring people back to their true purpose... to bring Glory to God. Rom 3:23 says this:  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. It doesn't say for all have sinned and aren't going to spend eternity in heaven. The ultimate issue with our sin is that it steals away the glory that is supposed to be reserved for God alone. Heaven is the reward for a faithful life on earth serving God and bringing Him glory. It is not the end in itself, it is the means for us, for all of eternity, to do what we were created for.

With an understanding of the true purpose of missions, for me, it helps with so many objections when I share my faith. Christianity is not a "private faith." When Jesus was resurrected from the grave he made himself public for all to see. He told his disciples to go and preach the good news. Paul reminds us, if we read all of chapter 4, that we are going to encounter hardship and trouble when we share our faith. Look at the outcome of the life of Jesus, it ultimately ended in his death for his claim of Deity. But the glory of God is our motivator. When we encounter an atheist, a Muslim, a Hindu, or anyone else who is not honoring God, it should motivate us to show them the way. If I believe that Jesus it the path to the One True God, then how can I stay silent and watch those giving false god's the glory and thanksgiving that is due Jesus knowing that their ultimate end is eternity apart from God in hell... forever? Forever is a very long time by the way.

So how do you view missions? As a believer in Christ, what is your role when it comes to reaching the lost people of the world? All of us should be concerned about the fulfillment of the Great Commission. (Mat 28:16-20) However, not all of us are called to go out and preach to all the nations. But I believe we are all called to participate and whether you are a sender or a goer, bringing thanksgiving and glory to God should be our ultimate purpose in everything we do.

Be Blessed,

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Who Do You Say That I Am? ~ Mat 16:13-16

Mat 16:13-16 ESV  Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Who do you say that I am? 

How we answer that question in our life is of the utmost importance. Often we read Bible stories of people who have turned away from God and traveled down their own path. They identify with the things of this world and leave God in the distance without a care or concern. I can be just like that. But when the question comes to me and I need to answer it, I hope to be able to identify with Peter. "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Many people today will say that Jesus was a prophet. Others might say he was a good moral teacher or a great religious leader. Still others will tell you he was a made up person and never existed. It is a sad thing that we have come so far away from the truth.

The Bible reveals that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the Son of the living God. And whether one believes it right now is crucial to their eternal well being. One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. (phil 2:10-11) So how we answer that question will truly determine the outcome of our eternity.

So, the question begs to be asked. If you answered today with Peter, "you are the Christ" - then how are you living your life? Do you live your life daily as if you really believe it? Jesus tells us that if we confess Him as Lord and are his disciples then we are to pick up our cross and follow Him. A true follower does everything he/she can to become like the one they follow. How are you doing with that today? Living Daily in Christ means we are to identify with Christ in all that we think, say, and do. It is more than an exercise in knowledge, it is how we live each day of our short life here on earth. Loving one another, praying for our enemies, serving those in need, giving of our resources, trusting in Christ for our forgiveness and salvation. Having the knowledge that Jesus is the Christ is futile if we live as if he isn't.

Who do you say Jesus is? If you say He is the Christ, then I pray today that you live your life as his follower and identify with him in all that you do.

Be Blessed,

Saturday, July 12, 2014

What Does "Serving God" Look Like?

Recently Lori and I have been talking about what it means to completely "serve God." We ask each other all sorts of questions and go back and forth, sometimes feeling like our point hits the nail on the head while other times we feel like we aren't even hitting the target. Eventually, we realize that the conversation leads to more questions and we wind up on an endless circle of conversations that travel down many paths.

We enjoy these times together immensely. It is during these moments when the Bible pages are flipping back and forth faster than a deck of cards in the hands of a Vegas poker dealer and our thoughts and hearts are completely stimulated by God's Spirit. We are fully engrossed and united in one thing... discovering what God has to say on a particular subject.

So what does it mean to serve God? What does it look like in your life and mine? Often we think that if someone flies off to another country and gives up their normal way of living then they must truly be serving God. Or when a couple starts a church, or a ministry, or feeds the homeless... that's when they are serving God. Those things are good things and He definitely calls us to this or that. But, I see that the acts of service that many of us call "serving God" are really just a response rather than what the Bible teaches us about serving God. Let me explain...

Act 17:24-25 ESV The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, (25) nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.

Though we may think just the opposite, God does not need our service. He doesn't enlist a man or woman to go forth because He can not get a task accomplished without them. The reality is that God desires our heart. He desires our affection and love. So to serve Him really isn't about going out and doing something to show God and others how faithful we are to Him. Serving Him is simply submitting your life to Him and seeking after the truth of the Gospel message in your life no matter where you are at.The Gospel is as much for the saint as it is for the sinner. When we look at the message of Paul to the Romans, in chapter one he is explaining to the brothers and sisters in the church that he is eager to preach the gospel to them. At first glance that seems a bit odd. Haven't they already heard the gospel and aren't they a part of the faith? The answer to that is absolutely 'yes.' But Paul realizes through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that salvation is not a one time decision after you hear the gospel message. It is not a get out of hell free card as many may believe. Rather, it is an ongoing process in the believer. Later in Romans 5, Paul tells us that "we shall be saved from the wrath to come."

Living the gospel is what "serving God" looks like. Eating, sleeping, breathing the gospel message is our service to God. We distract our hearts and minds with endless nonsense and wonder why it is hard to serve others. We try to find new techniques to free us from the fear of evangelizing when it would come naturally if our life looked different than the rest of the world and we were sold out ourselves. It is much easier to share a conviction when that in which you are sharing is already a part of you. We are constantly saying no to the next "big thing" because we are consumed with so many non-essentials.

Serving God is not about "doing" for God. It isn't limited to the select group of people who step out in faith and go beyond what looks ordinary. Serving God is simply seeking Christ moment by moment and giving Him the place of honor and glory in our life. When the Gospel of Christ is so intertwined into the fabric of our life, then going out and performing acts of service for God is just a natural response to the love that we have for Him.

Be Blessed,