Archive for February, 2011
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being” (Ephesians 3:16).
Plodding along each day in a world that bombards us with the negatives and impossibilities, you and I have something that the average “plodder” does not. Because we abide in Christ and Him in us, we have the assurance of God’s Spirit dwelling in us. Our plodding is with a purpose—to glorify the One who is even now transforming us and our circumstances. The difference between the impossible and possible lies in His presence.
Do something unusual today, if not impossible.
“Jesus said, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me’” (Luke 9:23).
For the three years of Jesus’ earthly ministry, He created a great deal of interest. This was especially so during the first 18 months; prior to His emphasis on the suffering servant role that He must embrace, and would be the theme of His preaching and teaching leading up to the cross. Because so many found His words to be hard, there was a great falling away during the latter half of His ministry. The words documented by Luke sum up clearly and succinctly the cost of discipleship—“Deny himself”…it’s not about you. “Take up the cross daily”…anytime you see “cross” think hard, difficult, painful, uncomfortable, death; not entertaining and compatible with how I want to live. “Follow me”…Study me, get to know me, duplicate me in your actions and attitude.
No matter how long you have been a follower of Christ, I think it healthy to revisit this statement by our Lord and be reminded of the significance of who we are, what we do and how we do it.
Blessings on your cross today.
“The fear of others lays a snare, but one who trusts in the Lord is secure” (Proverbs 29:25).
A fear of others is the by-product of one’s own insecurities. It emerges from a fear of rejection. On a daily basis individuals tend toward the compromise of their identity and distinctive personality because of the desire to “fit in” and be accepted by certain people or groups. Once trapped by this tendency, you not only lose touch with who you are but you deprive others the privilege of being impacted by your life and the unique God-given qualities that make you who you are. Don’t stoop to being a copy when God has fashioned you to be an original.
As you face the new day, remember that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Be Brave! Be You!
“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).
The Apostle Paul often uses athletic imagery to describe the attitude necessary to overcoming the present circumstance of pain, suffering, and adversity. The key to victory when these obstacles is to press on. No amount of complaining or crying out about the unfairness of life will make them go away. The only way to defeat these enemies is to “press on”…one more step; one more day; one more minute. Soon, and very soon, if we have pressed on, we will find ourselves having past the pain of the moment and arrived to the prize at the end.
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24).
Imagine yourself as one of eight runners at a track meet, crouched at the starting line, staring down the lane in front of you to the finishing tape that awaits the winner. Each runner is taut as a spring waiting for the gun to sound because each realizes that only one will win the race and take home the prize. When the gun sounds each runner gives maximum effort; straining every muscle, fiber, tendon, and sinew that they might run victoriously the path that is set before them.
As followers of Christ, we have the path set before us of how we ought to live. Through the power of God’s Spirit dwelling within us, we run this path with a greater passion, desire, and determination than any olympic athlete would run their race. This is because they run for a perishable crown and we an imperishable.
The prize is set before you. Each day brings a new leg of the race. Run well today.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:23-25).
The confession of our faith extends beyond the mere declaration of our lips to the action of our lives. One of the ways we stimulate and encourage others in their faith is by our presence in the assembly of God’s people. By our faithful, rhythmic, habitual worship
attendance and participation not only does it contribute to our growth, but we become agents for changing the lives of others. Our personal faith is never just about us.
Confess your faith by going to church today.
“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2).
Can there be any more significant words in scripture? Can any two words better communicate the significance of God’s loving grace and mercy? Is there any better combination of words to explore the future that God would have in store for us? NO CONDEMNATION! Though the Accuser would try, and while whispers of failures past might make lingering attempts, and while our enemies would certainly try, the work of Christ Jesus and the promise of His Word come to say, “NO!” “THERE IS NO CONDEMNATION!” In Christ Jesus there is only life. Live it! Experience it! Share it!
Blessings for another day of no condemnation.