Ephesians 2:4-5 New International Version: “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions….”
I was “dead,” but now God has made me “alive in Christ.” When I was spiritually dead, it was natural for me to do whatever I felt like doing, act like people in the world who don’t know the Lord, and listen to the devil’s lies.
For example, I see what a good wife and mother my friend is—so wise, faithful, enduring, loving. I wish I were more like that. When I look at these qualities in her, I think of my own failings and am tempted to be ashamed and think myself worthless, even though I’ve already received forgiveness for my past sins.
But that’s the old way of thinking. Now that I’m alive in Christ, I have a new nature. Those old ways are no longer “natural” for me. So God’s Word tells me to get rid of those old ways and think and act like the new creation in Christ which I am.
So because His Holy Spirit guides and empowers me to live my new natural way, I will do that. It brings glory to God and joy to His heart when His children walk according to His Spirit, acting from our new nature.
Dear loving heavenly Father, please help me walk in the light of Your love and forgiveness instead of in the dark of shame and despair. That old way of thinking no longer has any right to rule over me. You have transferred me from (delivered me out of) the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of Your dear Son—the kingdom of light. Let my life in Christ shine in all I do!
Jesus, when I’m tempted to despair, let me remember Your everlasting, perfect love. Amen. (See Colossians 1:12-13)
On my walk one morning, the Holy Spirit shined His light into a cobweb-covered corner of my soul. Suddenly I saw a grudge against a man whose name I couldn’t even remember. So I spoke aloud words of forgiveness for the man. I proclaimed that I released him from the debt of his offense since God through Christ had forgiven me for all my offenses.
Then I confessed my sin of holding the grudge all these years. From 1 John 1:9, I know that God is faithful to cleanse me when I confess my sins. That corner of my mind is clean and ready for refinishing (renewing, changing the thinking patterns).
Thank You, Holy Spirit, for shining Your light into me.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2 New King James Version)
“But have nothing to do with irreverent and silly myths. Rather, train yourself in godliness, 8 for, the training of the body has a limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:7-8 Holman Christian Standard Bible).
What are some spiritual exercises? I thought of the following possibilities:
1. Running to God. Running with patience the race of life set before me.
2. Resistance exercise Resist temptation.
3. Weight lifting Lift worries and cares to God and exercise trust muscle. Concentrate on the good and true things of Philippians 4:8
4. Push-ups When I sin/stumble, push up with confession and repentance
5. Crunches Forgiving others and humbling myself to ask forgiveness of others
6. Endurance training Set my mind and keep it set on things above where Christ is. Keep my eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of my faith. Take every thought captive to Jesus
7. Pull-ups –Scripture memory
8. Sword-practice Study and apply God’s Word.
9. Stretches –Praise and thanksgiving
10. Swimming through thoughts to take hold of truth
Dear Lord, please help me be diligent to do these things so I will grow more and more like Jesus. Amen.
Advertisers love to proclaim Christmas in July so we’ll buy more stuff. Now how about Thanksgiving in August? The official Thanksgiving holiday is over 3 months away, but I’ve decided to celebrate God’s goodness a few months early. After all, giving thanks to the Lord is always in season.
Let me share one of the things God has used to help me escape and stay out of the pit of a negative outlook on life. About a year and a half ago, our pastor challenged us to write down at least one thing we were thankful for each day from Thanksgiving to Christmas. I accepted the challenge, and wrote a few items down daily for which I was thankful. I decided not to stop at Christmas and have been keeping up my “thanksgiving journal” ever since. I’ve experienced much more of the Lord’s joy since starting this practice.
I hope you have never fallen into ugly habits like whining, complaining and self-pit-y, but they have been too much a part of my personal past. I do praise and thank God and also thank my pastor for helping me start this one simple thing that has made such a difference in my life.
“And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15, New Living Translation)
I almost got pulled down into that snake hole of regrets. Again. This time, though, I saw the way of escape. I said aloud to myself, “I am determined to forget what lies behind and to shut the door on regrets and lock it.
Today is real. I can live in today. The past is no longer a reality for me. I can’t live there. I am determined to live today!” (“Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again.”—2 Samuel 14:14 New Living Translation)
Then I thought maybe Jesus was saying, “Come. Let us reason together. Though your sins were like scarlet, now you are white as snow. Every sin was washed away in the blood of the cross. Those sins were removed as far as east from west, forgotten never to be remembered again. Even your poor choices have not interfered with My continued love for you and goodness to you.”
God has loved me with an everlasting love. His plans cannot be thwarted. He can use everything in my life to make me into the person He wants me to be. He doesn’t regret making me His child. Jesus isn’t sorry He died for me.
Thank You, Father! Thank You, Lord Jesus!
(See 1 Corinthians 10:13, Philippians 3:13, Isaiah 1:18, Psalm 103:12, Romans 8:38-39, Jeremiah 31:3, Job 42:2, and Romans 8:28.)
The next-to-last paragraph of this sermon really spoke to me where it says, “…when I sin, one of the underlying things going on with me is that I am not loving God, or my neighbor, or sometimes, either one. It isn’t just that I need to behave better externally (though that is true) – it is also that I need to love God and my neighbor more.” Also, “…I have learned to…ask God not only to help me not to sin, but also to increase the love I have for Him and for my neighbor.” Thanks, Pastor Tom.
We are to love God with all of our being. According to Jesus, nothing is more important than this. If we love God with our entire being and put him first in our lives, everything else will flow out of that in a way that fulfills what God wants. If we don’t love him, we are just a clanging gong; nothing. We are not to act religious for the sake of being religious. It is meaningless to follow Christian morality unless we do it out of love for God.
If you truly love God, and also your neighbor, you will fulfill, not ignore, the moral teachings of the Bible.
To listen to the sermon, click the play button:
To download, right click on the link (or do whatever you do on a Mac) and save it to your computer:
Download Matthew Part 80
Matthew #80 Matthew 22:34-45
The third question with which…
View original post 2,184 more words
Exodus 24:9-10 says that Moses, Aaron, Nadab and Abihu (Aaron’s sons) and 70 of Israel’s elders climbed Mt. Sinai and “there they saw the God of Israel.” Verse 11 says, “And though these nobles of Israel gazed upon God, he did not destroy them. In fact, they ate a covenant meal, eating and drinking in his presence!” (Quotes are New Living Translation.)
Verse 12 says that God told Moses to come up to Him on the mountain, so I guess at some point the group must have gone down to the people.
When Moses and Joshua climbed the mountain this time, Moses told the elders that Aaron and Hur were present, and if there was a problem, to consult with them. Moses was with God getting instructions for 40 days and nights.
Exodus 32 says the people got impatient and said they didn’t know what happened to Moses. They asked for gods who could lead them. So Aaron made the golden calf.
After Aaron and his sons and those elders had eaten and drank with God, how could they do that?! But don’t I do the same thing sometimes? I stumble off God’s path into my own way even after I’ve experienced Him in marvelous ways. I’m so thankful for God’s forgiveness and that He draws me back to Himself!
Oh Father, please help me watch and pray so I won’t enter into temptation. Amen. (See Matthew 26:41.)