RSS

Monthly Archives: November 2014

Day 4: The Gift of Grace

28 Days of Christmas Devotions: The Greatest Gift-The Gift of Christ

 “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 NASB

Paul begins Ephesians two by reminding us in the first verse that, “You were dead in your trespasses and sins.” Romans 6:23 tells us that, “The wages of sin is death.” There are three types of death mentioned in the bible. The first type of death is what Paul is referencing here, being dead in sin. Our sins separate us from God. They have trespassed the law of God. For this reason our sin keeps the Holy Spirit and Jesus from residing within us. Because of this we are spiritual dead, separated from God. One who is spiritual dead is physically alive. Their hearts are pumping, their blood is flowing, and their lungs are breathing. The Dr. might tell them that they are a picture of health. However, they are spiritually dead.

The second type of death is physical death. Hebrews 9:27 says, “it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.” Unless we are caught up in the rapture, we will all die physically one day. If one dies while spiritually dead he will then enter into eternal death separated from God in hell with no hope of redemption. Revelation 20:14, 15 says, “Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

Spiritual death, physical death, and eternal death are all the wages of sin. Death is what we have earned and death is what we deserve. We have all sinned; therefore, we will all pay the penalty of sin-death; unless of course someone pays the price for us. Fortunately for us, God chose to send His Son Jesus to die in our place. We deserve to pay the price for our sins with death; yet, God chose to send His Son to die in our place as a gift, a gift of grace.

We cannot earn the gift of salvation. We have already earned death and condemnation. We certainly don’t deserve the gift of God that was paid for through the death of Jesus. Again, we deserve death. God would be completely just in giving us what we have earned. But praise be to God He chose to offer us grace. Grace has been described as the unmerited or undeserved gift of God.

The Word of God is extraordinarily clear that we are saved simply by placing our faith in the person and works of the Lord Jesus Christ. By faith we believe that the blood Jesus shed and the death that He died cleanses us from all unrighteousness, freeing us from the power of sin and death giving us everlasting life. By faith, and faith alone we receive the grace of God. Can you think of a greater Christmas gift than the grace of God? I can’t. Truly, Jesus is the greatest gift.

This is part 4 of 28 devotions that will go through Christmas Eve. If you would like to subscribe to my daily devotions please PM me your email. Also, please share.

Merry Christ-Mass

Undeserved-Banner-Final-Smaller-628x250

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 30, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Day 3: The Gift of Us

28 Days of Christmas Devotions: The Greatest Gift-The Gift of Christ

 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,  just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.” Ephesians 1:3, 4 NASB

Does the title confuse you a little? How can God give to us the gift of us? Are we a gift? Not exactly. However, the fact that God created us is a gift. One of the greatest foundational truths in scripture is the fact that God created. Why else do you think Satan so adamantly attacks this truth with non-scientific theory and philosophy? We are not an accident. We are not by chance. We didn’t morph out of a blob or evolve from a big bang. We are, “fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 118:14). We are intentionally made by God himself. Uniquely and individually designed by the Master. God deserves to receive the glory for His creation.

The amazing part about God creating us is that He knew us before He created us. God is omniscient, (all knowing), therefore, He knew everything about us prior to laying down the foundation of the world. He knew what we would look like, he knew what we would sound like, He knew how we would walk, He know how many hairs would be on our head and how many days we would have on this earth. He even knew that our hearts would become morally corrupted by sin separating us from Him.

God knew prior to creating us that He would have to send His Son to die for us. I Peter 1:20, referring to Jesus, says, “He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.” What was Jesus Chosen to do? He was chosen to come to this earth to become a sacrifice for sin for all mankind. Revelation 13:8 tells us that our names were written in the Lambs Book of Life from the foundations of the earth. Does this mean, as some would suggest, that God chose before He created who would be saved and who would not? Of course not. That would make God an unjust God. He has clearly given everyone a free will to choose Him or reject Him. He simply has the foreknowledge of who will receive His free Gift of salvation and who won’t. His clear will is for all to come into repentance. (II Peter 3:9).

God in His foreknowledge, knew before He created us, that He would have to one day send His Son to die for us and He chose to create us anyway. He didn’t have to. He chose to. “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law” (Galatians 4:4).  Truly, we have the greatest gift through Christ the world has ever seen.

This is part 3 of 28 devotions that will go through Christmas Eve. If you would like to subscribe to my daily devotions please PM me your email. Also, please share.

Merry Christ-Mass

earthday_vgiftbox_large

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 29, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Day 2: The Cost of the Gift

28 Days of Christmas Devotions: The Greatest Gift-The Gift of Christ

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?  For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” I Corinthians 6:19, 20 NASB

Today the Christmas season has officially started. It has started on a day most call Black Friday. A  long and tiresome day many will spend looking for a value. The value of a gift isn’t always determined by monetary value. In fact , I have received many gifts over the years that are worthless as far as the world is concerned. To me however, they are priceless. They are priceless because of who gave them. Because of who gave them they are among my greatest treasures. Yet, if a stranger were to give me a gift my personal value of the gift would only be its monetary value. Although I would be grateful for the gift I wouldn’t treasure it in my heart. Since there are no emotional ties to the gift giver, the gift itself would not have any emotional value.

Some of the greatest emotional gifts are gifts given by people who love you. Because they love you they poured their heart into the gift in which they gave. In my opinion the greatest of these gifts are gifts they crafted with their own hand. Some of the greatest monetary gifts are gifts that were created by the original masters craftsmen and artist. An original Picasso painted by Picasso is worth much more than  a copy. Knowing that you have in your position the very piece that the craftsmen poured his heart and soul into brings great value.

We have received a gift from not only the master craftsmen of a piece of art or a particular object, but, the Master craftsmen of all-God Himself. James 1:7 says, Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights” He is the master craftsmen of all. He said, “Let there be light, and there was light” for this reason He is the Father of Lights. He is the Father of “every good thing given” and “every perfect gift.”

The gift that He gave us in creation was for a singular purpose. God is eternal, therefore He existed in eternities past prior to creating the earth. However, God chose to create this earth to populate it with people of whom He desired to have a relationship with. God’s singular purpose in creation was to have a relationship with mankind.

Unfortunately, just after God created a perfect world man corrupted it with sin. Man didn’t only corrupt the world with sin they corrupted their own hearts with sin preventing them from fulfilling the purpose in which God created them for, the purpose of having relationship with Him and therefore living a life that brings Him glory.

This leads us to the greatest gift the world can ever receive. A gift given by the master of all. A gift given by one who loves us more than all. A gift given with which He poured His heart and soul into. A gift given at a great personal cost to Himself. The gift He gave was His own Son, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). The high price He paid was His Son’s life, “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:7). Truly, the greatest gift was given at a great cost.

This is part 2 of 28 devotions that will go through Christmas Eve. If you would like to subscribe to my daily devotions place your email in the follow tab on the right. Also, please share.

Merry Christ-Mass

00025484_h

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 28, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Day 1: Giving Thanks for the Greatest Gift-The Gift of Christ

28 Days of Christmas Devotions: The Greatest Gift-The Gift of Christ

              Christmas time to me is the greatest time of the year. Whether rich or poor, or young or old Christmas brings joy to all who celebrate. I however, am one of those traditionalist who believe that the Christmas season doesn’t start until the day after thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a also a very important holiday that should never be overlooked. Thanksgiving is an important day for family and friends. Giving thanks is a biblical principle that runs throughout Scripture and should be practiced daily. Why then talk about Christmas on Thanksgiving? Because Christmas is all about Jesus and Jesus is our greatest blessing of which we should be the most thankful for.

When Joseph, who was engaged to Mary, discovered that Mary had conceived a child he desired to secretly divorce her. However, the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream telling him of the plans of God. At that time the Angel of the Lord told Joseph the very purpose of Christmas. He said, “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21). The purpose of Christmas is Jesus, the Son of God, God with us, coming to this earth to save His people from their sins.

Romans 6:23 tells us that, “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” For those who have been saved from their sins and brought out of death and into life, I cannot think of a single thing to be more grateful for on this day of Thanksgiving. Psalm 118:21 says, “I shall give thanks to You, for You have answered me, And You have become my salvation.” Therefore, rejoice in your salvation and give God thanks!

For the next 27 days, from now until Christmas Eve, I will post daily devotions sharing about the Greatest Gift, the Gift of Christ. I will focus on who we are because of the gift of Christ. Please share this with others. PM me your email and I will add you to my subscribers list. Happy Thanksgiving!

giving-thanks-to-christ

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 27, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Pay Close Attention to Yourself

“Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you” (I Timothy 4:16).

If we are going to be effective tools for the Lord, we must take heed to the words of Paul and pay close attention to ourselves. With this in mind we should continually examine ourselves. We examine ourselves through the Word of God and through prayer. Psalm 139:23-24 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.” This should be a continual prayer from our heart.

Psalm 66:18 says, “If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear.” If God will not hear us, he certainly will not use us. Therefore, as we examine our heart we must ask God to reveal any wickedness we may have hidden in our heart. One may say, “I have no need for this, for my heart is pure.” That is pride, which is in every way, wickedness. Remember, “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling” (Proverbs 16:18). The Pharisees were prideful in what they perceived to be their righteousness, but, Jesus called them sons of Hell.

Iniquity and wickedness is sneaky, hiding in the darkest corners of our soul, unwilling to show itself for what it is, so it can control your will and manipulate you into thinking you are right with God. Some iniquity could have been lingering in the darkness for years while we are clueless of its power over us. Other forms of wickedness could have recently crept in trying to take root. For this reason we must pay close attention to ourselves and seek God for revelation of any form of wickedness hidden deep within.

Wickedness can come in many forms. It is found in the heart that is unloving and selfish. It is found in the soul that is self-centered and self-seeking. It is found in the heart of the prideful trusting in their own power rather than God’s. It is found in the heart of the prejudice thinking they are better than the other. It is found in the vengeful, spiteful, resentful, and unforgiving spirit. It is found in the one who is seeking his own kingdom with worldly ambitions, rather than the advancements of God’s. It comes in many forms and in many ways, but the worst form of wickedness is the stubborn soul that refuses to repent and submit to God.

As we pay close attention to ourselves, we are sure to find flaws in our character that do not line up with God’s. We first trust in His grace and receive forgiveness, then we seek His transforming and renewing power, trusting that He will restore us into right relationship. We realize that we never reach the pinnacle of maturity as a Christian. We are perpetually learning and growing. For this reason, if we are going to be effective workers for His Kingdom, we must perpetually seek the power of God in our personal lives, submitting ourselves to His will, and His ways.

In order for us to achieve this spiritual success we must be devoted to the Word of God. Not devoted only to enhance the ministry in which God has called us, but first and foremost devoted to the Word of God for our own spiritual growth and well-being. We must be seekers of God, continually seeking Him through His Word. At the same time we must pray without ceasing. Again not only for the purpose of the ministry, but as seekers of the Lord, allowing our lips to never cease praising Him, and never cease requesting His presence in our lives. Not for what we can get from Him, but for the simple purpose of having Him central and exalted in our lives.

If Jesus is not central and exalted in our lives, we open the door for wickedness to enter in, and close the door for the power of God to work through us. Therefore, when we pay close attention to ourselves, the main question should always be, “Is Jesus central and exalted in my life?”

Recruiting_Tools-_10_Candidate_Sourcing_Tools_You_May_Not_be_Using

 
3 Comments

Posted by on November 25, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

We Are Tools for the Kingdom

Have you ever heard someone say after looking at a beautiful sculpture, “That artist must have some great carving tools?” Or, have you heard someone say after seeing a beautiful building, “Those construction workers must have had some amazing tools?” Of course not. There’s never an emphasis on the tools. The artist or the architect always receives the praise. God is the artist and the architect of the Kingdom. He is the master designer and we are simply the tools. Therefore, He deserves all the glory and honor.

That being said, every worker regardless of their trade knows the value of good tools. Poor quality tools or tools that are not functioning properly can be very frustrating to work with, hindering the progress of the project. For this reason we need to make sure we are a properly prepared tool that will be used to enhance the work of the Kingdom, instead of being a hindrance. Paul said to Timothy in I Timothy 4:16, “Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.”

We are in a spiritual battle. Therefore, if we are going to be successful we need to set ourselves up spiritually to use the divinely powerful weapons of warfare God has available for us and the spiritual gifting God has given to us. If we attempt to do the work of the Kingdom in our own strength and power, we will utterly fail. Paul said in I Corinthians 2:4, “My message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” The flesh will always fail us. But, when we align ourselves up with the power and anointing of God, we will have success far beyond what we can hope for or even imagine.

Paul said to Timothy, the pastor of Ephesus, “Pay close attention to yourself.” Before we can effectively minister to others we need to examine ourselves and make sure we are right. The best way to stay in tune with God is to keep close fellowship with Him. We must daily seek God’s presence in our lives. Not just His presence for the anointing of the work in which He has called us to, but His presence for our close and personal fellowship with the Him. We must be active, consistent, and persistent seekers and worshipers of the Lord.

Colossians 3:1-2 says, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” If we are focused on the things of this earth, we will be easily susceptible to falling for earthly and fleshly ways and be conformed to this world. Thus, our ministry will follow that same path. However, when we are focused on the things above, we are led by the things above and our ministry will likewise follow that same path.

A tool that is dull, dirty, or rusted is an ineffective tool. Therefore, pay close attention to yourself. Are you allowing God to sharpen you, oil you up, and clean you? If not, you are an ineffective tool for the Master. If you are daily seeking and submitting yourself to God, you are allowing Him to sharpen you, oil you, and clean you, so you can be used greatly for His glory. God is unlimited in His abilities. However, God chooses to use us as His tools. Therefore, we need to offer Him the quality of tool He deserves.

135878908

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 24, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Our Authority

Paul wrote in I Corinthians 4:6, “Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other.” In this verse he is telling the church of Corinth that he and Apollos have made a standard for themselves not to exceed what is written. He is now telling the church of Corinth to follow their example. What was written? The scriptures. Clearly the Word of God is our authority that we are not to exceed or go beyond.

Paul also wrote in II Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” When one looks at this text in its original language they will see that the literal meaning of “inspired by God” means “God breathed.” God used many men to write down His word but all Scripture comes directly from the breath of God. It is God’s word not mans. II Peter 1:20-21 says, “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” For anyone to go beyond what is written is arrogant, boastful, and blasphemous. God has given to us His word “So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.” (I Peter 1:19).

Paul said that Scripture is profitable. He then listed several things it was profitable for. Since it is profitable we will gain and increase through the study of the Word of God which is God breathed. The end result we gain from Scripture is “that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” Through God’s word we have everything we will ever need to be thoroughly equipped for service unto Him.

Paul first mentions that Scripture is profitable for teaching. When we are taught, the teaching must be centered in Scripture. When we teach, our teaching must be centered in Scripture. He then says that scripture is profitable for reproof. To reproof someone is to call them out for an error or a wrong. When calling one out for being wrong or for an error in their lives or teaching we must use Scripture. Our opinions are always susceptible to being wrong. However, Scripture is always right. Paul then said Scripture is profitable for correction. Correction is restoration to an upright position. We don’t want to be reproved and not know how to correct the error of our way. Scripture brings us back into the right path, out of the error. It corrects us.

Paul then tells us that Scripture is profitable for training in righteousness. Romans 3:10 tells us that, “there is no one righteous, not even one.” Most everyone will admit that they are a sinner. However, not everyone knows the guilt of their unrighteousness. Scripture makes it clear. Romans 3:22 then tells us that we receive righteousness by placing our faith in Christ and Romans 3:26 tells us that faith in Christ justifies us-makes us right with God. Yet, how will we or anyone else know these truths apart from the authority of God’s word? We won’t. And, apart from Scripture, how will we grow in righteousness? We won’t.

Whether it is for our personal growth, or teaching others, we trust in the authority of God’s breathed word. Paul said not to go beyond what it written. If we were to go beyond what is written it will profit us nothing and more than likely will cause great harm. However, when we trust in the authority of the written word that was breathed from God with our lives and our ministry we will be adequately equipped for every good work. In other words, we will be lacking in nothing.

12858_173635305958_173634495958_2990062_3049209_n

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 21, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,