Mar 282014
 

Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. Psalm 84:10 NIV

Oh how Satan wants to deceive us into believing that if we follow Jesus we will be missing out on so much that life has to offer. Such a wicked, horrible lie. It’s like convincing a child to eat a mud pie rather than a chocolate one. Oh! The delights we will taste if we will just follow Jesus! It is better to wash our righteous King’s feet than to die at the table of the wicked.

Mar 272014
 

I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life. Psalm 119:93 NIV

I’m a rule follower. Not that I never break (or bend) one, but they make sense to me. I think we need them in order to have a civil society. But even if you agree with me that rules are needed, we still have to figure out and agree what the rules are if we want to maintain that society. How should we decide? Are your ideas about right and wrong better than mine? Who has the authority to make the rules? How did they get that authority? Do you and I grant them this authority, or is it the only way it could be?

We decide what is right and wrong by going to the one who created us for a purpose and ask Him how He meant for us to behave. He has the authority to determine what is correct behavior for us not only because He is before us and above us but also because He knows how He intended for us to live. He has given us these precepts (or “rules”) so that we may have the life He designed for us to live. By them, He preserves our lives. The psalmist has determined he will not forget them. Have you made that same choice? Are you living in them? God preserves the life He intended for you though them.

John 1:9

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Mar 262014
 

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. John 1:9 NIV

Because of the way we have been created, we require light to be able to see anything. Light allows us to see not only all the beauty around us, but also imperfections. Have you ever worked on a project inside and them taken it out in the daylight and it doesn’t look quite as good as you thought? At that point there are only two things you can do: 1) fix the problems in the daylight, or take it back inside to the darker room and hope no one notices the flaws.

We can do this same thing with our lives. Jesus is the True Light who has come into our world so that we may see things more clearly. If we will come into His true light we will be able to see our lives with the clarity of truth. We will see ourselves as we really are. We will see our imperfections. The choice is then upon us: will we stay in the light and work on those imperfections, or will we go back into the darker room where we looked better?

Mar 252014
 

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Ephesians 6:10-11 NIV

Be strong in the Lord. That sounds like a good idea. But, really, how do we do that? I think maybe it’s about resigning our own power and doing things our way, and instead live exactly as He’s asked us to live, trusting that, no matter what it looks like right now, God is in control. The verse that comes to my mind is: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” [2 Cor 12:9] when we give up trying to handle things with our skills, our talents, our strengths, that is when His glorious power can shine through us. He goes on the say, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” [2 Cor 12:10]. Be strong in the Lord, and in His mighty power.

Mar 242014
 

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. Galatians 5:13 NIV

Serve. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 (NIV)

One another. “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35 (NIV)

Humbly. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3 (NIV)

In love. “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:16 (NIV)

Mar 232014
 

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:8 NIV

Training. Who can argue about the value of training? It’s the only way we get good at something. Doing it over and over again. Practicing it until we get it right. We do it with a musical instrument. We do it with innumerable games so we might be paid millions of dollars to play the game in front of thousands of wannabes who didn’t have the skill or practice as hard as we did. Train. Train. Train.
But what about your godliness? Is that worth putting a little time into? Would you spend as much time training for your spiritual life as for things in your physical life? Paul says both can be profitable, but only one is eternal. Both have value, but one is priceless.

Mar 152014
 

“Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” Hebrews 7:25 NIV

Two things I notice about this: 1) He is able to save completely, and 2) He lives to intercede. His salvation is not partial. He doesn’t save mostly. He saves completely. We have assurance of salvation, not because he is there to supplement our efforts to save ourselves, but because He will completely save us. And this is not a one-time thing. He is continuing to save us by interceding for us, even at this moment. Jesus can do this because He is alive. He arose from the dead and still lives today, saving us from our sin. We can come to God through Jesus our Lord. Take a minute or two to be thankful right now for your Savior.

Mar 142014
 

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 NIV

God works. Did you see that? Not only does He work, He works for someone. Who is it that He works for? Those who love Him. He works for the GOOD of those who love Him. Wow! These people have a pretty awesome ally. I want to be one of them. I want Him to work for my good. So I have to live within the purpose that He has called me. I (We) must be living for His purposes as well as love Him for this verse to apply to me (us).

But notice what He uses when He’s working for those of us who love Him and are called according to His purposes. He is using ALL things. He is using good times as well as hard times to work good in our lives. He uses all the events of our lives to work good in our lives. It’s easy to take the good things in our lives as working for our good, but the bad things? That’s a little harder to swallow. But we can believe it. He uses those things to mold our character into the image of Christ.

Mar 132014
 

“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.” Psalm 130:5 NIV

I do not like to wait. I want what I want, and I want it now. If there is a problem to be solved, I want the solution. If I need an answer, I want it yesterday. Waiting is not fun. It seems like a waste of time. But this verse tells me that my hope needs to be in God’s promises, not the solution or the answer. My hope is in His Word. Therefore, my whole being will wait. And in the waiting I will grow. I will grow in patience. I will grow in my understanding of God. I will grow in my dependence on Him. I will wait, and I will be better for having waited.