March 26, 2018
This week is known as “Holy Week.” What does it mean to be “holy?” Is it possible for us to become “holy?” “Because it is written, Be holy, for I am holy,” (I Peter 1:16).
Augustine is considered to be one of the greatest theologians of church history, but his lifestyle before coming to Christ was rebellious and sensuous. He was known to be “the life of the party.”
One day, after becoming a Christian, he was walking in front of a bar he used to frequent. In front of him and walking toward him was a prostitute, smiling as she assumed Augustine had finally returned after his ridiculous little phase of religion. As they approached each other, Augustine continued to look forward and passed her without even looking at her.
“Augustine,” she said. “Don’t you recognize who just walked by? It’s me!” For a moment, he stopped, turned to her and simply said, “Yes – but it is no longer me.”
In 2Corinthians 7:1, Paul writes, “Since we have these promises, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” In other words, God’s promises should affect our behavior.
Holiness is really an internal quality perfected or completed in our lives by claiming God’s promises of our new identity and possessions and by allowing the Holy Spirit to change our behavior. We begin to become holy when we allow His exceeding and great and precious promises paint the picture inside of us of who we really are; “the righteousness of God in Christ.”
March 19, 2018
“Your outcome in life doesn’t depend on your income, but rather on how you overcome.”
There has been and always will be a constant battle or struggle between good and evil, between the works of the flesh and the Spirit of God. Even the Apostle Paul talked about his struggles in the seventh chapter of Romans. “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do” (Romans 7:14,15)
He then continues to talk about his “struggles” and finally concludes, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Romans 7:25).
In other words, Paul did not and could not experience victory in his life as long as he relied only on his own strength and power. Only when he completely yielded his life to the Spirit of God did he experience victory over sin and self.
How about you? Have you been experiencing victory in your daily walk with God? Have you been relying too much on your own strength and will power? Or, have you completely surrendered your will and life to the Spirit of God? That is a personal choice and an everyday decision we all must make. Rely on self, or rely on the Spirit of God? What will you do?
March 12, 2018
I was visiting a family in their home recently. For the first few minutes, I listened as I was being informed of “all their troubles.” After a few minutes one family member asked me, “Well, how are you doing today? Before I could speak someone said, “He probably was doing well until he came to this house!”
I responded by saying, “I’m always doing well!”
How’s your attitude and outlook on life been lately? Has your attitude been “upbeat” or does life have you “down in the dumps?” I’m sure we all have experienced both emotions.
Because of our faith in Christ and belief in His Word, we can experience an attitude of joy in spite of the difficult circumstances we may be facing. Joy is not the absence of problems, rather joy is the very presence of God in the midst of problems.
In spite of negative circumstances we can be joyful because…
- God is with us. “When you pass through the waters I will be with you,” (Isaiah 43:2).
- God has a plan for you. “I want you to trust Me in your times of trouble,” (Psalm 50:15).
- God will help you. “Why are you cast down? Trust in God,” (Psalm 43:5)
I believe that joy is experienced by knowing and understanding the truth. It was the Lord Jesus who said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free,” (John 8:32). And the truth is that God loves us and has a wonderful plan for our lives. When things seem to be “crashing in” on you, learn to trust God’s plan. As we trust we will experience the presence of God, which is joy.
“He brought out His people with joy, His chosen ones with gladness.” (Isaiah 105:43)
March 5, 2018
“Speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ” (Ephesians 4:14).
The truth is a requirement for spiritual and emotional health. Why? Because God is truth and His Word is truth (John 17:17). Most of our unhappiness is caused by the lies we tell ourselves. The truth sometimes is painful to face. For that reason, we sometimes ignore it. But in the end, the truth is always revealed. The truth always comes to the surface eventually.
One day C. H. Spurgeon was walking through the English countryside with a friend. As they strolled along, the evangelist noticed a barn with a weather vane on its roof. At the top of the vane were these words: GOD IS LOVE. Spurgeon remarked to his companion that he thought that was a rather inappropriate place for such a message. “Weather vanes are changeable,” he said, “but God’s love is constant.” “I don’t agree with you about those words, Charles,” replied his friend. “You are misunderstanding the meaning. That sign is indicating a truth: Regardless of which way the wind blows, God is love.”
No matter which way the “wind is blowing” now in your life, speak the truth.