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Monthly Archives: December 2014

Day 23: The Gift of Bearing Fruit

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

“You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.” John 15:16 NASB

As we saw yesterday, we have the great privilege in abiding in Christ. As we abide in Him, we bear fruit thus giving the Father glory. When we give God glory through bearing fruit our joy is made full, or complete. A part of the joy we find in Christ comes from serving Christ through the fruit we bear. Apart from abiding in Christ, we cannot bear fruit.

Whereas the source of bearing fruit comes in abiding in Christ, the ability to bear fruit comes through praying in Jesus name. Jesus said, “whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give it to you.” He also said in the twelfth verse of the previous chapter, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” We are not greater than Jesus, but we, the church, the children of God, will do greater, or more works than Jesus. We are doing more works since we have been doing works in His name for the past 2000 years by spreading the gospel to all the earth. Jesus said we could do these greater works since He has gone to be with the Father. Jesus is there at the right hand of the throne of the Father making intersession for those who are abiding in Him. When we abide in Him and praying in His name, we have direct access to the throne of God enabling us to bear fruit.

Bearing fruit is spiritual works in our lives that bring glory to God. All Christians are called to bear fruit. Not bearing fruit is a sign of being dead, while bearing fruit is a sign of having life. Jesus said, any branch that does not bear fruit is taken away and cast into the fire. If we have life in Jesus, by abiding in Jesus, we will bear fruit.

How then is bearing fruit a gift to us? First, it is a sign of life to us. Second, Acts 20:35 says, “In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” When we bear fruit we give to God by ministering to the hurting and the lost. Every Christian is called to share the gospel with the lost and minister to the hurting. When we give this spiritual fruit we are blessed. We give a blessing and in turn, receive a blessing. Jesus came that first Christmas morning as a gift to the world. A gift that continues to give through our faithful service empowered by Him. Truly, we have received the greatest gift the world has ever seen. And, we are blessed to freely give it to the world as it was freely given to us.

This is part 23 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. To see all of these devotions visit rustykuhn.com

Merry Christ-Mass

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Posted by on December 19, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 22: The Gift of Joy

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

“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” John 15:11

The shepherds, who were tending their flock by night, were afraid when the Angel of the Lord appeared to them. The Angel of the Lord then said, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11). Jesus is the good news of great joy. Throughout the scriptures, we see people who receive this good news have great joy. We see that the first church worshiped with gladness in their heart. (Acts 2:46). When the gentiles discovered that the gospel was available to them, they rejoiced. (Acts 13:48). The bible tells us to consider our trials a joy knowing that we will become stronger, through Christ, because of them. Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!”

True joy is found only in the person of Jesus. In the eleventh chapter of John, Jesus tells us that He is the vine and we are the branches, He tells us that the Father prunes us and that the word of God has made us clean. Since Jesus is the vine and we are the branches, we understand He is our source of life. Jesus lets us know if our life source is not found in Him we are dead and will be thrown into the fire.

He also tells us that apart from Him we can do nothing. Ten times in this text of scripture Jesus uses the word abide. When we abide in Christ we bear fruit and honor God. If we are going to accomplish anything in life, anything eternal, anything that matters, we will only accomplish it by abiding in Christ. In Him and through Him we bear fruit. When we bear fruit, we bring glory to the Father. If we are truly in Christ, bringing glory to the Father will give us great joy and our joy, through Christ, will be made full. Truly, Jesus is good news of great joy. Truly, we have received the greatest gift the world has ever seen.

This is part 22 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

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Posted by on December 18, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 21: The Gift of a New Citizenship

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

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 3:20 NASB

There is a great old gospel song that reminds us, “This world is not my home, I’m Just passing through. My treasure are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.” As Christians, we rejoice in the fact that this world is only a temporary residence. This world with all of its tears, trials, and tribulations will one day be a thing of the past. Some people fear this truth. As Christians we can rejoice over it.

When we lose a loved one who is in Christ we don’t “grieve as do the rest who have no hope.” (I Thessalonians 4:13). That doesn’t mean we don’t grieve. Even Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus. (John11:35). It means, we don’t grieve without hope. We have hope through the promise of everlasting life in Christ; the hope that Paul told the church of Thessalonica to comfort one another with. (I Thessalonians 4:18).

As we saw yesterday, our citizenship is already in heaven. If we are in Christ we have already been spiritually raised up with Christ. We can rejoice in knowing when our soul leaves these mortal bodies we will be with the Lord and that one day these corruptible bodies will be incorruptible, and so we shall be with the Lord forever. (I Thessalonians 4:17).

Jesus told the thief, who was being crucified beside Him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43). We often call certain places on this earth paradise. They, however, are not immune to pain, sorrow, or death. Therefore, they are not truly a place of paradise. Heaven is the only true place of paradise. There, we will never see pain, suffering, sickness, death, or sorrow. In heaven, there will only be eternal bliss with the one who came to this earth as a little baby born in Bethlehem to save His people from their sins and bring us home to be with the Father forever.

Paul said in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Today, in this world of suffering, we eagerly wait for our Savior to bring us home to heaven, a place He has prepared for us, a place of paradise. Truly, we have received the greatest gift the world has ever seen.

This is part 21 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

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Posted by on December 17, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 20: The Gift of Our Heavenly Position

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

“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.” Colossians 3:1-3 NASB

Once we become a Christian by receiving, by faith, the free gift of salvation, our spiritual position has changed. Our spiritual position is no longer of this earth. Our spiritual position is now in heaven with Christ. Ephesians 2:6 tells us that God has, “raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Colossians also tells us that we “have been raised up with Christ.” Our bodies are limited to this earth but our spirit has been, past tense, “raised up” with Jesus in the “heavenly places. Therefore, spiritually, we are residents of heaven.

Because of this wonderful truth, Paul tells us in verse four to, “Consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.” Immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, are all products of this fleshly world. Since we are citizens of heaven, we need to live as citizens of heaven. Since Jesus is the King of Glory, He should be our focus. Focusing on this world leads to idolatry. Focusing on Jesus produces holiness.

Truth be told, there is nothing good in this world. One day, everything in this world will pass away. For this reason Jesus said in Matthew 6:20, “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal” The people of this world are foolishly blinded into thinking the objects of this earth are treasures and have value when they are but temporary. Even if we were to live in the lap of luxury for one hundred years, what is that compared to the glories of heaven? James 4:14 says, “You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” However, as citizens of heaven, we are eternal. If we gain everything this world has to offer but never obtain heaven we have truly lost. If we lose everything this world has to offer but gain Christ, we have gained all.

People often say, “Don’t live with your head in the clouds.” Here, when Paul said to, “Set your mind on things above,” he is telling us we should live with our heads in the clouds; the heavenly clouds. When we’re focused on the things below we think and act fleshly, and worldly. When we’re focused on the things above we become godly. Through Christ, we can, and have overcome this world. As we stay focused on Him, we continue to overcome. Since we’ve been raised up with Christ, and seated with Him in the heavenly places, we have the ability to stay focused on the heavenly things; the things above. Therefore, we have the ability, through Christ, and our position with Him, to be heavenly minded. Truly, we have received the greatest gift the world has ever seen.

This is part 20 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

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Posted by on December 16, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 19: The Gift of God’s Seal

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

“In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.” Ephesians 1:13 NASB

In the ancient days a seal was of upmost importance. A seal was made by melting wax then making an imprint on the melted wax with a signet ring just before the wax cools. The seal was a sign of ownership, or authority. Only the owner of the seal was allowed to remove or break the seal. If anyone dare break the seal of the Roman government, other than those of authority, the punishment was death.

This wonderful verse tells us that we were sealed by the Father, in Jesus, with the Holy Spirit. The Father is the one in ultimate authority. We enter into the authority of His kingdom by placing our faith in the person and works of Jesus Christ. As God’s seal of approval and ownership of our lives, He seals us with His Holy Spirit.

Salvation is an act of God from beginning to end. We enter into this saving relationship by faith through grace and not of works. (Ephesians 2:8-9). Once we are saved Ephesians 2:10 tells us, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.” We are in His hands as His workmanship. As we have already seen, God finishes what He starts. (Philippians 1:6).

As a wonderful assurance of our salvation we are sealed in the Holy Spirit. We are sealed in the Spirit as a sign of God’s Lordship of our lives. We are God’s and not our own. Since we are His we are branded as His with the seal of His Spirit, as sign to us and a sign to all. Since no one is more powerful than God, no one can brake God’s seal from our lives. For this reason, Paul said in Ephesians 4:30, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”

Today, we walk in our fleshly bodies in this fleshly world. As we live in this fleshly world God has given to us a sign, the sign of the sealing of His Spirit on our lives. A sign that He has us and a sign that the things of this world are only temporary. God has sealed us in the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption, the day we shall leave these mortal bodies and temporary world and reside with Him for all eternity. Truly, we have received the greatest gift this world has ever seen.

This is part 19 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

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Posted by on December 15, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 18: The Gift of Strength in Service

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

“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” II Timothy 1:7 NASB

Paul imprisoned, knowing he would soon lose his life for his faith and service to Jesus wrote these words of encouragement to Timothy. Paul knew that Timothy, the pastor of Ephesus, would face some of the same trials and persecutions that he faced. Paul wanted Timothy to know that despite what he faced God would be with him and strengthen him to face it.

We can rest assured the more we strive to serve God the more persecution will come our way. Paul also told Timothy, “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (II Timothy 3:12). Satan will stop at nothing to prevent God’s children from serving Him. But remember, “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” (I John 4:4). We have no reason to fear Satan or his persecution. Our fear should be of God and God alone.

Paul told Timothy, “God has not given us a spirit of timidity.” If God hasn’t given us a spirit of timidity, or fear, then where does it come from? Satan. Satan is a bully trying to scare us away from serving God. Satan knows once we start serving God through the power of the Holy Spirit we are a major threat to his kingdom. We are God’s; therefore, we have no reason to fear Satan, nor anything, or anyone else.

Despite trials, tribulation, or tragedy God has given us through His Spirit the power to serve Him. Let me ask you a silly question. What is more powerful than God? Nothing! If we are working in His power then who do we have to fear. Jesus told the disciples just before He ascended to be with the Father in Acts 1:8, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses.” The world has never, nor ever will see a greater power than God’s, and He has given to us a spirit of power, His power.

Not only has God given to us a spirit of power, He has given to us a spirit of love. Love is a defining characteristics of a Christian. I John 4:8 says, “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” It was love that motivated the Father to send His Son and love that motivated the Son to surrender. It is love, love of God first and of man second, that motivates our heart to serve. Paul asked Timothy in II Timothy 1:8 to, “join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God” What would motivate someone to serve God knowing that there is a great possibility they would suffer? Love! And, God has given us a spirit of love.

God has also given to us a spirit of discipline. This spirit of discipline is what motivates us to stay focused in our service and seek God for our strength. In essence, God has given to us through His Spirit an internal motivator to keep on keeping on. Through His Spirit we clearly see that God has given us everything we need to faithful serve Him. Truly, we have received the greatest gift the world has ever seen.

This is part 18 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

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Posted by on December 14, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 17: The Gift of Completion

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

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 NASB

Much to my wife’s frustration, I am notorious for not finishing projects. I will get involved in a project, get distracted, and start another leaving the original project unfinished. After a while, I will look around realizing I have a whole host of partially finished projects that need attention.

God is very much different. We are assured in this wonderful verse, once God starts His project, He will finish. Not only will He finish it, He will perfect it. We are God’s projects. When most people turn their lives over to Jesus their lives are a mess. The good news is, the moment we turn our lives over to the Lord, regardless of how much of a mess we made out of our lives, He will perfect us.

The bible is clear, God doesn’t expect us to straighten our lives out and then turn to Him. The fact is, we can’t. For this reason, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). Once were saved, God, through the blood of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit changes us from our mess to His glory. By faith, we turn to God and repent of our sins, and by faith we trust that God will keep us from our sin and keep us in Him.

Salvation is a onetime act of faith. We believe and therefore we are saved. At the same time, the saved trust in God daily to shape them and mold them into His image. Isaiah 68:4 says, “But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.” We must submit ourselves as the clay to the potter. When we do, we trust that the Master will make a masterpiece.

What God makes out of your life is to His choosing. Paul said in Romans 9:21, “Does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?” Whether God uses you as a vessel to bring revival to the nations, or a vessel where no one knows your name, you are His vessel, in His hands. Let your life be a vessel that brings glory to God by placing it in the potter’s hands.

Your life today may not look like a masterpiece. To you it may still look like an un-worked lump of clay. Know that you are a work in progress. You are no longer your own; you are God’s. By faith know that God will perfect you. Paul said, “I am confident of this very thing.” Be confident, for God isn’t finished with you yet. Truly, we have the greatest gift the world has ever seen.

This is part 17 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

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Posted by on December 13, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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How Beautiful Are the Feet of Those Who Bring Good News

My newest book, How Beautiful Are the Feet of Those Who Bring Good News, is now available in paperback and ebook. It was written to equip and encourage believers to share their faith. You can order a copy through this link. https://rustykuhn.com/books-by-rusty-kuhn/

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Posted by on December 13, 2014 in Bible Study

 

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Day 16: The Gift of Security

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

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” Romans 8:31 NASB

Now that we know we are free from condemnation, protected from Satan, and have victory in Jesus, we begin to understand all the more, in Christ, we are in the greatest position we can imagine. Regardless of what’s taking place in the world we are in the best of hands-God’s. By faith we are God’s, we belong to Him, we are His children. Now that we are living for Him, He is for us. He is on our side since we have chosen, through Christ, His side. Be warned though, if you are not living for Him, you are living against Him.

With this thought in mind I can’t think of a more assuring promise in scripture, “If God is for us, who is against us?” This scripture doesn’t mean that Satan and those who stand opposed to God won’t try to stand against us; it simply means that they won’t be successful in their efforts. On our own, we are powerless against Satan and his allies, but through the power of God, “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper.”

Since we now belong to God, we are now under His authority. Jesus clearly stated that He has all authority. (Matthew 28:18). Since His authority outranks all and we are under His authority we are protected, and empowered by His authority. Think about it this way. What makes a 4000lb car stop for a 175lb police officer directing traffic? The individual wearing the uniform has no power to stop such a massive object on his own. Many times they are unarmed. So why do we stop? We see their badge and recognize the authority their uniform represents. Satan is much stronger than us. However, Satan has no choice but to respect God’s authority.

Paul continued to give us great assurances of our security and protection through the authority of God in the final verses of Romans 8. In verse 33 he asked, “Who will bring a charge against God’s elect?” The obvious answer is no one. The next verse he asked, “Who is the one who condemns?” Paul already answered that question in the first verse of chapter 8. Again, no one. Then he asks in verse 35, “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” In verse 37 he gives us the final answer to all of these questions, “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.”

Paul concludes this text with a great promise that nothing physical, or spiritual, temporal, or eternal can come against. He said, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39). Truly, we have the greatest gift the world has ever seen.

This is part 16 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

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Posted by on December 12, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 15: The Gift of God’s Continued Work

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

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

There was a time in my life when I could work from daylight to dark hop out of bed the next morning and do it all over again with no ease. Unfortunately, those days are long gone. Now that I am older and my physical condition has deteriorated I get tired quicker and my body requires a longer amount of time for recovery. Regardless of our physical conditions, we are all human and face this same reality.

            God, however, never tires. Psalm 121:4 says, “He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” God is perpetually at work. His work is often unseen or unnoticed but rest assured, He is at work. Often times we don’t see the hand of God at work until the work is completed. We then realize that God has intervened for us, comforted us, or supplied for us. Most people have perfect vision when it comes to hindsight.

As Christians, we have been given wonderful assurance of the hand of God at work in our lives. Not only in the work of salvation, although that is more than enough, but a continual work for those who are saved. As we look at the lives of individuals in the bible we see that they often faced very difficult situations. Paul continually faced trials in his life. With this in mind he said in Philippians 4:12, “I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” Paul was stating that he has experienced both the best and the worst life has to offer. He concluded this statement by saying in the next verse, a verse that is often taken out of context, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” In other words, Paul is saying that he can face anything life throws his way, good or bad, because Jesus gives him the strength to face it.

Just as God worked through Paul’s life He has promised that He will work through ours. The promise of Romans 8:28 is exclusively for those who love God and are called according to His purpose-His children. The promise is that God will work all things together for good. Not all things are good. Many things or horrible. God certainly doesn’t cause those horrible things, but He does cause good to come out of them. The promise is that whatever we face, “all things”, God will turn it into good. Truly, we have received the greatest gift the world has ever seen.

This is part 15 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

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Posted by on December 11, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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