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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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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 13: The Gift of Victory

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

 “We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.” I John 5:18

Whether by race, culture, economics, education, or politics the world loves to divide people into groups. In God’s realm, there are only two divisions; those who are born of God, and those who aren’t. I have already made it clear that God has given everyone a choice as to whether or not they will accept Him. Regardless of your race, education, economics, culture, or political views, if you are born of God you are a child of God. The, those who are born of God’s side, is inclusive for all who will call on the name of Jesus.

If you are then born of God you have died to all of the ways of the world. Your identity is now found in God. You have died to your former identity of sin and now that you are born of God, “We know that no one who is born of God sins.” The bible doesn’t teach that a Christian cannot sin, however, it is abundantly clear that a Christian will not live in sin. If one calls himself a Christian and lives in unrepentant sin, He, “lies and does not practice the truth.” (I John 1:6). His identity isn’t found in sin, or anything else of this world, it is found in God, and God alone.

If our identity is found in God we are belong to God. We are after all His redeemed children. John tells us how we have overcome sin and the world in I John 4:4 when he said, “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” Through Jesus we have, past tense, overcome the world. It is already done; we simply by faith need to walk in it.

Satan is the one who is “in the world.” John said in I John 5:19, “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” Fortunately for us, those who are born of God are not of the world, they are of God. Yet, so many Christians walk in constant fear that Satan is going to distract them or deceive them. Yet, the bible is clear, “the evil one does not touch them.” He can’t. The bible teaches us that those who are in Christ have His victory. We see this in I Corinthians 15:57, “but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ,” and again in Romans 8:37, “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” Satan, the evil one, is already defeated.

We have also clearly established that God is the Father of all who have accepted His Son. With this in mind Jesus said in Like 11:11-13,  Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” If we are truly seeking God He will not allow the evil one to slip through the back door and still the victory. God has us. He protects us. He provides for His. He has already given us the victory. Truly, we have the greatest gift the world has ever seen.

This is part 13 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 9, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 10: The Gift of Friendship with God

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

“No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15 NASB

Wow! What an amazing statement that we have from Jesus. If we are His disciples, we are His friend. Not just that we have befriended Jesus but He has befriended us. Jesus said, “I have called you friends.” Jesus is the master and we are His servants, yet, He has allowed us to come into His inner circle by accepting us as His friend.

To be friends with Jesus means that we know Him and He knows us. I have a multitude of “friends” on social media that I have never met and others that I seldom see. Although I am glad to be connected with them that is not true friendship. A true friend is someone you know. Someone who is there for you. Someone you have invested your life into and they have invested their life in you.

Within the lingo of social media, Jesus is the one who sent us a friend request and asked us to follow Him. Prior to us accepting that request we were friends with the world which made us an enemy of God. Jesus sent us a friend request by leaving the glories of heaven and becoming a man. He is God who took upon flesh. Colossians 2:9 tells us that, “In Him (Jesus) all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” This is the purpose of Christmas. God becoming who He created to walk among us, to sympathize with us, and to saved us. Colossians 1:16 says, “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things have been created through Him and for Him.” Yet, He became one of us.

We’ve all had those friendships where it seemed as though we were putting forth all of the effort and the friend was always in need. There is no doubt in our friendship with Jesus that we are always the one in need. Philippians 2:5-8 tells us that the purpose of Jesus becoming a man was to die on the cross. Jesus is the perfect friend. Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man of too many friends comes to ruin, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” He is always there for us and will always provide for us. I can’t think of a greater friend, can you? Truly, we have received the greatest gift the world has ever seen.

This is part 10 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 6, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 9: The Gift of Being a Child of God

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

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” John 1:12 NASB

Since God is the creator of all, everyone is technically a child of God. However, this text of scripture specifically tells us, “But as many as received Him.” To be a child of God we must receive the gift God has for us. If we receive the gift, we become His children. Most men can biologically father a child. Unfortunately, not all men father their children. I Timothy 5:8 says of those “men”, “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” God, however, will take care of all His creation. Jesus said in Matthew 5:45, “He (God) causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” For God to truly be our Heavenly Father we must accept Him. Most of God’s created children have rejected Him. Only those who by faith receive Jesus are His adopted Children.

Through Jesus, we are legally adopted by God and therefore become His children. Paul starting with a short narrative of the Christmas story explains this in Galatians 4:4-7 saying, “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.”

We are not slaves we are sons. Sons and daughters of God that are joint heirs of God. Sons and daughters of God who can call God “Abba Father” which is the most intimate and loving expression a child can offer to their father. Sons and daughters of God that will one day inherit the Kingdom of God as joint heirs in Christ Jesus. Jesus will eternally be the Master of the Kingdom but we will eternally enjoy the blessings of the kingdom with Him.

God has made it clear in His word that Fathers of this world are to take care of their children, tend to their needs, teach them, and provide for them. Our God is a righteous God. This means God will always do what is right. Even if our father of this earth was worthless and left us, we know that our Heavenly Father will always be there for us. God has assured His children numerous times throughout scripture in many ways, “I will not leave you nor forsake you.” For, He is a righteous Father.

Lastly, as we think about God desiring to be our Father enough to send His only Son to die for us we see the ultimate expression of love. God loves everyone, and wants everyone to be His child. We love Him because He first loved us. (I John 4:19). You may have never know the love of your earthly father. He may have been the most unloving man on earth. On the other hand, you may have had a wonderful, loving father. Regardless of your life’s experiences, nothing can compare to the love that our Heavenly Father freely offers to those who will receive Him. Truly, we have the greatest gift the world has ever seen.

This is part 9 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 5, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 7: The Gift of Union with God

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

 But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” I Corinthians 6:17 NASB

Prior to God sending us His Son Jesus, as the greatest gift, we were not only hopeless, we were also helpless. God’s clear standard for our lives is to be holy because He is holy. (I Peter 1:16). This presents for us a major problem. Apart from Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit we are unable to live holy lives. Ephesians 2:3 tells us that the nature of man is one of wrath. Since the unregenerate person is one of wrath he cannot be holy, he is a sinner.

Due to the unsaved persons condition of wrath, he is unable to even understand the things of God. I Corinthians 2:14 tells us, “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” The natural man is the unsaved man who is void of the Holy Spirit within his life. Apart from the Holy Spirit revealing God and His truths we are clueless, blinded, and helpless. For this reason, the things of God are foolish to the unsaved.

As we have already seen, the power of the blood of Jesus has cleansed us from our sins and restored us into a right relationship with God. However, that is not the end of the gift that God has given to us, it is only the beginning. In every other religion in the world the follower is left on his own to figure things out for himself. The Christian, however, is never alone. God sent us His Son, Jesus, who is also Immanuel which translated means, God with us. (Matthew 1:23). When we accept Christ as our Savior and Lord He is in us and we are in Him. (Ephesians 2:5, 6).

When we become a Christian, God not only brings us into communion with the Father and the Son but also the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:9 says, “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” In other words, if you have the Son you have the Spirit, if you don’t have the Son you don’t have the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit gives us life, empowers us to serve God, convicts us of wrongs, leads us to what is right and teaches us the mind of God. On our own we are utterly helpless and therefore hopeless. Fortunately, for us, God didn’t leave us on our own. He is with us, God with us, Immanuel. We are in Him and He in us. Truly, God has given to us the greatest gift the world has ever seen.

This is part 6 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 3, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 6: The Gift of Peace

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

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1 NASB

Those who reside in the domain of darkness have set themselves up to be at enmity against God. James 4:4 says, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” They are enemies of God because they have chosen to live for the world rather than repent of their sins and live for the Lord.

Fortunately for us, God has chosen to provide a way for those in the world to be reconciled with Him. II Corinthians 5:19 says, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” To be reconciled is to be restored into a right relationship. God’s means of reconciliation is the blood of Jesus. The blood of Jesus purchased for the world redemption. The world then receives redemption by faith and are then reconciled unto God.

When one has by faith been reconciled with God by being redeemed by the blood of Jesus he is then justified before God. To be justified is to be made right. His sins are now forgiven, blotted out, removed as far as the east is from the west, and remembered no more. (I John 1:9, Acts 3:19, Psalm 103:12, Hebrews 8:12). By his faith in Jesus he is now in a right relationship with God.

When one has been justified by God, made right, he now has peace with God. Paul is not talking about an emotion or a feeling of peace, nor is he referring to a sense of security that brings peace. Paul is talking about a practical peace; the type of peace between two warring parties that have called a truce. We were enemies of God yet we are now reconciled. We agreed to the truce God called by placing our faith in His provision of the truce-Jesus.

Being a nice person cannot bring peace between you and God. Being a generous person cannot bring peace between you and God. Being a religious person cannot bring peace between you and God. Being a good person cannot bring peace between you and God. Jesus said, “No one is good but God.” We were the aggressors in our hostility toward God. We are the guilty party. For this reason, we deserve God’s condemnation. Instead, God provided justification through the blood of His Son. By faith in Jesus we are justified. By faith in Jesus we are at peace with God. Peace is not a gift we deserve but a gift we are given by grace. Truly, Jesus is the greatest gift.

This is part 6 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 2, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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