Thursday, February 24, 2011

My Utmost for His Highest- February 24 "The Delight of Sacrifice"

These have become my favorite devotionals lately!

I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls . . . —2 Corinthians 12:15

Once “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit,” we deliberately begin to identify ourselves with Jesus Christ’s interests and purposes in others’ lives (Romans 5:5). And Jesus has an interest in every individual person. We have no right in Christian service to be guided by our own interests and desires. In fact, this is one of the greatest tests of our relationship with Jesus Christ. The delight of sacrifice is that I lay down my life for my Friend, Jesus (see John 15:13). I don’t throw my life away, but I willingly and deliberately lay it down for Him and His interests in other people. And I do this for no cause or purpose of my own. Paul spent his life for only one purpose— that he might win people to Jesus Christ. Paul always attracted people to his Lord, but never to himself. He said, “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22).

When someone thinks that to develop a holy life he must always be alone with God, he is no longer of any use to others. This is like putting himself on a pedestal and isolating himself from the rest of society. Paul was a holy person, but wherever he went Jesus Christ was always allowed to help Himself to his life. Many of us are interested only in our own goals, and Jesus cannot help Himself to our lives. But if we are totally surrendered to Him, we have no goals of our own to serve. Paul said that he knew how to be a “doormat” without resenting it, because the motivation of his life was devotion to Jesus. We tend to be devoted, not to Jesus Christ, but to the things which allow us more spiritual freedom than total surrender to Him would allow. Freedom was not Paul’s motive at all. In fact, he stated, “I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren . . .” (Romans 9:3). Had Paul lost his ability to reason? Not at all! For someone who is in love, this is not an overstatement. And Paul was in love with Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Faith or Disbelief

If you knew the horrors of the potential judgment that hangs over us–if we really believed in what is coming–how differently we would live. Why aren’t Christians living in obedience to God? Because of their unbelief. Why did Eve fall into sin?
Because she did not truly believe in the judgment–that death really would come if she ate what God forbade. This is the same reason many continue in lives of sin and disobedience. - K. P. Yohannan

I was challenged by this question from a class I am taking... "what was the purpose of Jesus coming to earth?" Simple right? So many great reasons... to set captives free, to free us from our sin, to show us the image and character of God, all for love, to abolish sin. Jesus answers this questions directly in the book of John.. ready for this? "For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world- to bear witness to the truth." John 18:38 It's so cool that the truth is linked to freedom. I mean when I think that Jesus came to bear witness to the truth, I see that His truth set us free from sin, death, and hopelessness. "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:31-32 If Jesus is the truth, it implies that everything outside of what the Jesus says is a lie.
I'm reading this book on faith. It is impossible to please God without faith- our works won't please Him. Faith is trusting in what the Word of God says, and then walking in application of it. So if faith pleases God, than disbelief has to sadden the Lord. When we are not resting in the promise of the Lord, it shows that we really don't believe what we say we believe. This meditation was a challenge to my heart to examine how of much of the truth is applied in faith in my life. Look today for new promises of God to trust, and then walk in faith that what He says is really the truth!

Friday, February 18, 2011

On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord...'

I've been thinking and meditating on this word 'Lord' lately. It's a very well-known word use in prayer and used in accordance to Jesus. Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines it like this: 1. one having power and authority over others, 2. a ruler by hereditary right or preeminence to whom service and obedience are due.

The truth is many have come to know Jesus as their savior, their redeemer, their friend, their healer... but He has also become to some a slave and a genie. For someone to be Lord over us sounds like a trapping thing. To think of Jesus as our Lord is an easy thing to claim in words, but would you believe that there is freedom when we come to the deep understanding of Jesus as Lord over our lives: Lord over our decisions, over our emotions, over our dreams, and Lord over our thoughts. Freedom sounds like a funny word to use when you read those definitions again, doesn't it? But what if we understood lordship in the sense of a battle and our Lord was the one leading us into victory? He is leading us triumphantly into victory, where with Him as our leader, we are destined to win! There is a pretty high confidence to know that you are on the winning team and the end result is already known!
We have been saved by grace through faith... We are saved from the captivity of our sin and saved from the lies of this world that entangle us. Jesus was the one who released us from our captivity... and He is our Lord! When we understand what Jesus has released us from, we understand that Him as our Lord means Him as our Savior! Read those definitions again... ask Jesus to have Lordship over every area of your life... it's only when He is Lord that you will find the most freedom to know that you are headed toward victory!
"If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is LORD and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved." Romans 10:9-10
"Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is LORD, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:9-11
"Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the LORD, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving." Colossians 2:6-7
"In your hearts regard Christ the LORD as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you." 1 peter 3:15