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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 14: The Gift of No Condemnation

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

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” Romans 8:1-2

In the first 3 chapters of the book of Romans Paul made it abundantly clear that all humanity is guilty of breaking the law of God. He summed up this argument in Romans 3:23 stating, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We are all guilty. Since we are all guilty, we all stand condemned before God.

But, praise be to God that, “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). Jesus stated God’s intent for the world in the next verse when He said, “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”

The word “judge” found in the NASB, can also be translated, “condemn” as it is in the HCSB and the KJV. Since we are guilty lawbreakers, to be judged by God is to be condemned by God. Being judged or condemned by God isn’t something to be taken lightly. Hebrews 10:31 says, “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

Fortunately for us God gives us the choice of grace or condemnation. Next, Jesus said in John 3:18, “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” By placing your faith in Jesus you are making a choice to receive the grace of God and are freed from you guilt. The result is, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Their sins are forgiven. Those who make the choice to reject God’s grace by rejecting His Son stand condemned already. For they are still in their sin. If they die in their sin, they will be eternally condemned.

Those who accept the grace of God are given the privilege to walk, talk, live, breath, and exist in this life, and eternity to come in the unmerited favor of God. They are free from the condemnation of the law of sin and death and free to walk in the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. Because of the gift of God’s Son, “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Truly, we have received the greatest gift the world has ever seen.

This is part 14 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 10, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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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

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

 

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Follow Me

Repentance means to turn away from something. It is making a u-turn, going the opposite direction from where you were going. Repenting from sin is turning away from the sin. Biblical repentance not only requires us to turn from sin, it calls us to turn to Jesus. Repeatedly throughout the gospels Jesus says, “Follow Me.”

Biblical faith in Jesus isn’t simply believing facts about Jesus, it is also following Him.  James 2:19 says, “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.” Although Satan probably won’t admit it, he believes in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. He was there. He saw it. Too many people today have a Christmas and Easter type of faith. They believe the facts of Christ but have never committed their lives to following Him. I am a huge Mustang fan. For this reason I know all kinds of facts about men who influenced Mustangs like, Lee Iacocca, Carroll Shelby, and Steve Saleen. Yet, I have never met any of them. I have never had a personal relationship with them. I do however know Jesus, because I have committed myself to following Him.

Romans 10:9 tells us, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”  Clearly we need to believe the facts about Jesus. God did raise Him from the dead and that should be our foundation of faith. However, that alone isn’t good enough. Along with our foundation of faith we are to confess Jesus as Lord. This is our statement of faith. If Jesus is Lord over our lives we follow Him every day in every way.

In the tenth chapter of Mark we find one who obviously had great respect for Jesus. He came to Jesus knelt before Him and called Him “good teacher.”  He inquired of Jesus what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus told him that he needed to keep the law. The young man quickly responded to Jesus that he has kept the law since his youth. Jesus then told him to go sell everything you own, give it to the poor, and follow me. Jesus was showing him that he hasn’t really kept the law. Although he had respect for Jesus, he was unwilling to obey Jesus and unwilling to follow Him. Many people in our world today have great respect for Jesus, yet they too are unwilling to obey Him and follow Him.

Matthew 16:24 says, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me” Notice that He said “you must.” The requirement for following Jesus is denying yourself and taking up your cross. We need to remember that the cross was an instrument of death. It was the form of execution for the day. In other words, just as we talked about in being born again, Jesus is saying if we are going to follow Him we must die to self and follow Him. We need to have more than just respect for Jesus. We must have total surrender; a surrender that leads to denying ourselves and obedient service of Him. Jesus said we must.

While sharing the gospel with the lost we must make it abundantly clear that if they choose to accept Christ as their savior and Lord they are entering into a lifetime commitment. We need to make it clear that this walk should impact and influence every area of their lives. We have way too many Sunday-go-to-meetin Christians in our society who don’t mind going to church on Sunday morning but won’t allow Jesus to impact their daily lives.

We need to clearly communicate the fact that entering into a relationship with Jesus is a onetime decision. It is a death to self and life in Christ decision. Paul said in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” At the same time we need to clearly communicate the fact that following Jesus is a commitment that is renewed daily. Paul also said in I Corinthians 15:31, “I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.”

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Posted by on November 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Praying for a Great Awakening in America

My heart is to see revival in our churches leading to a great awakening in our nation. God has stirred in my heart to call on all Christians to pray and fast for 40 days seeking God for revival in our churches and a great awakening in our land. The prayer and fast will begin on February 18th and go through March 29th, Easter Sunday. I am asking Christians to pray for 30 minutes a day during an agreed upon time. My hope is to have intersession being lifted up to the throne of God 24 hours a day for 40 days. During that time I will email those who commit to this challenge a daily prayer guide along with a daily devotion that will coincide with the prayer guide. America is in desperate need of revival and revival will not happen unless we humbly seek the face of God and pray. (II Chronicles 7:14). There is power in numbers. So, will you join us? If you feel God calling you to participate in this email me at reclaimingtheland@ilovejesus.net and write prayer in the subject box. If your heart is for revival share this information with everyone you know.

In the name above all names, Jesus

Rusty Kuhn

For more information about the heart of Reclaiming the Land Ministry visit: www.reclaimingtheland.com

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

 

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Repentance Required

            After the resurrection, Jesus spent forty day’s with His disciples opening their eyes to the scriptures teaching them the reason He came so they could proclaim the gospel to all creation.  Jesus told them that one of the requirements of accepting the gospel message was repentance from sin. Jesus said in Luke 24:46-47, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”

What did Jesus mean when He said “repentance for forgiveness of sin?”  When we believe on Jesus we believe on all of who He is, all of what He has done, and all of what He has taught.  Jesus preached repentance of sin and holy living. True faith in Christ requires repentance from sin.

After Peter preached the first gospel message just after he was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit the crowd was pierced to the heart and asked Peter, “What shall we do?” They wanted to know how they were to respond to the gospel. Peter said they needed to repent. (Acts 2:38).

Sin hinders our relationship with God. It was our sins that Jesus went to the cross to pay for. When we choose not to repent we are telling God that we are not truly interested in a relationship with Him and that we would rather live our lives our own way through our own strength and wisdom. Make no mistake, people who refuse to repent refuse relationship and fellowship with God. John said in I John 1:6, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” In other words, if we say we are walking with God yet we are living in open rebellious unrepentant sin, we are liars.  However, I John 1:6 says, “but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”  We walk in the light when we have repented of our sin and received the cleansing power of the blood of Christ that paid for our sin.

Paul went so far as to tell us not to associate with any “so-called” believer who is unrepentant and living in sin.  He said not to even eat with such a one. (I Corinthians 5:11). Associating with an unrepentant individual only gives them a false since of salvation.  If there is no repentance, there is no salvation.

In the next chapter, he gives a non-comprehensive list of those who will not inherit the kingdom of God.  In I Corinthians 6:9-10 Paul said, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.” Does this mean that anyone who has ever been drunk or stolen anything will not be saved? Of course not.  Paul is declaring their identity. This is who they are and how they live. This is the identifying mark of their lives. They are identified as a drunkard or a thief or whatever the life of sin is that they have not repented of.      Paul went on to say in the next verse, “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” Such were some of you, but not anymore, for they had repented and were washed with the blood of Christ. The Christians identity is found in Christ-not sin.

Does this mean that those who slip into sin from time to time are not saved? Galatians 2:11 tells us that Paul opposed Peter to his face because he stood condemned. Peter was being a hypocrite acting one way in front of the gentiles and another way in front of the Jews. Was he condemned to hell for his hypocrisy? Of course not.  Peter was very much a saved man that loved Jesus with his whole heart. He was eventually martyred for his faith. He however, slipped into sin and needed someone like Paul to help set him straight. Those who are indentified with sin due to their lack of repentance are not saved. Christians can and will slip into sin from time to time. However, since they have a relationship with God, they will be convicted of their sin and repent. An unsaved person will live in sin with absolutely no conviction or remorse and be perfectly happy it.

When we share our faith with sinners, we must preach repentance.  A gospel proclaimed without repentance is no gospel at all. We are setting the hearer up for failure if we do not proclaim the need to repent. Not preaching repentance is as foolish as a patient going to see a doctor for a chronic cough. The doctor not wanting to pry into the patient’s personal life by telling him he needs to stop smoking simply gives him cough syrup instead. Smoking is clearly the root of his problem, just as sin is the root of our separation from God.

When preaching repentance we must do so with the love and compassion of Christ.  While preaching repentance we must have a heart of love desiring the sinner to turn from his sin and trust in Jesus. God will not bless the efforts of the self righteous who simply want to condemn the sinner for his sin. We must get the log out of our eye before we can get the spec out of others. Remember, such were some of us. We once were sinners in need of salvation. Who are we to condemn others for their sins? We repented and received grace. This too should be our heart. It most certainly is Gods.  For this reason out of an act of love and compassion knowing the destructive power of sin, we preach repentance.

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

 

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Faith Alone

            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. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “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.” By faith we believe that the blood Jesus shed cleanses us from all unrighteousness, freeing us from the power of sin and death, and gives us everlasting life. By faith we enter into relationship with God denying ourselves in pursuit of His will and His way as Lord of our lives. We walk by faith and not by site faithfully following Jesus on this earth knowing we are here but a short while awaiting eternal joy and bliss with Him and through Him.

There have been some since the beginning of Christianity that have tried to add works to the grace of God. Paul told both Timothy and Titus to speak out boldly against such false teachers. Paul also told the church of Galatia in Galatians 1:8, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!” Anyone who adds anything to grace as a requirement for salvation falls under the category of being accrued. God takes tampering with His gospel very seriously.

Even deeds of righteousness are not sufficient to save us. Titus 3:5 says, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.” If anyone adds any requirement for salvation above and beyond faith in Christ they are a false prophet. Even if it’s righteous deeds such as baptism, using spiritual gifts, church membership, or anything of the like. Yes, these are righteous deeds of God. However, they are intended for those who are saved; not a means to Salvation. “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).

Salvation by faith alone through grace alone is a fundamental truth for biblical salvation. It is what makes Christianity, Christianity. Every other religion in the world is rooted in works where people have to make their own path to God through their good works. However, the bible says that no one is good, not even one. For this reason Jesus came down to this earth to pay the price for us and lead us to the Father. He and He alone is our salvation. He is our way. Only by faith in Him are we saved.

When sharing the gospel we need to make this abundantly clear. If we are not carful we can lead people astray into a works based mindset by telling them that they need to go to church, read their bibles, and pray, but never share the fact that they need to believe in Jesus for salvation. Yes, we tell people of the importance of going to church, of reading their bibles, and of praying. We should even encourage it. However, we need to let them know that those things are not a means to salvation and that only faith in Christ saves us.

I have seen and heard many well meaning Christians lead people astray. They come across people who are hurting and searching for a way out of the mess that their lives have become. The Christian will then says something like, “You need to start going to church,” without ever communicating the gospel. Sure, they need to come to church. However, going to church will not save them. Yes, they can get saved at church. They can also sit in church for years without accepting Christ as their Savior thinking their works of church attendance is sufficient. After all, that’s all they were told they needed to do.  I believe this is the very reason many of our churches are full of unsaved people who are committed to church attendance but are not committed to Jesus.

I have also seen and heard well meaning Christians lead people astray that desire to be delivered from sin. The Christian will give the advice to the sinner that they need to read their bible more or pray harder. I have even heard Christians tell sinners that they need to think positive thoughts when they are being tempted. The bible is clear, only the blood of Jesus can deliver us from our sin. One needs to simply believe.

We are saved by faith alone. As Christians we do Christian acts, such as going to church, reading our bibles, and praying. We don’t do those things for salvation, but as a result of our salvation. Anything contrary will lead people into a false doctrine that is dangerous and deadly. We are saved by faith alone, through grace alone-period.

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Posted by on November 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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