RSS

Tag Archives: encouragement

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

gold-gates-22655175

 
Leave a comment

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

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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

Sealed-with-the-Holy-Spirit

 
Leave a comment

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

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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

2-timothy-1-7

 
Leave a comment

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

 

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

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

potter

 
Leave a comment

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

 

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

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

Romans8-31

 
Leave a comment

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

 

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

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

il_340x270.446510469_2tz7

 
Leave a comment

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

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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

romans_8.1_esv_wallpaper

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 10, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,