January 20, 2018
- Sat Jan 20, 2018
A Gift with Purchase
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
God accepts only one currency for Salvation. Faith. Repentance and baptism are authentic expressions of faith in the person and work of Christ. The result: salvation and forgiveness of sins. Many of those listening to Peter must have been thinking - Sounds good to me - and they wanted in right there. But Peter continued forcefully: “And that’s not all.” With that one, sincere expression of faith, in addition to forgiveness of sins, God wants to give you a second gift as well. You will receive … (Drum roll please!) “The gift of the Holy Spirit.”
In that one day we have just gone from bunches of Christians to bushels. Over 3,000 people believed in the Lord. Acts 2:4
Under God’s direction Peter delivered what the French call the pie’ce de resistance, which refers to the best feature of something or some experience. It was good already right? Who doesn’t want forgiveness and permanent peace with God? But, just as a good number started making their way forward, Peter dropped the bomb — the pie’ce de resistance of God's salvation and transformation plan called the gift of the Holy Spirit. Just the idea of a mysterious gift tripled the anticipation.
Gifts are synonymous with anticipation and excitement. Gifts create hope and contain the mysterious “New”, that’s the nature of a gift.
Father, Thank you for the faith you have given me. Now fill me with the gift of your Spirit.
January 19, 2018
- Fri Jan 19, 2018
Accept God’s Process
There is a way that seems right to man, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12
God is not very product oriented. That’s a bummer for most men, including me. We like to look at what we’ve done. Walt Henrichsen puts it this way:
God is not as interested in how holy you are as in the degree that you are engaged in the process of application. If you are new in Christ with a great deal of carnal self still present in your life, but you eagerly seek to do his will, you are pleasing to God. If you have known Christ for years, but have ceased seeking to grow in Christ through the process of application, you are not pleasing to God.
When the timing and means is not what we would have it, or the results seem unjust and unacceptable, we tend to fight the process. Fighting an unjust process is not a bad thing. Fighting God’s process of making you the man he created you to be is disastrous. Avoiding the sink hole takes guts and a belief that God is more capable at deciding what’s best for you at any given moment.
For many years I trained myself to preempt, or deny theses growth opportunities into my life and I missed God’s process all together. He cornered me through circumstances until the pain exceeded my fear. Just remember this, nothing good happens to your character unless it passes from God to you and if it comes that way it comes with purpose — to make you like Christ.
Father, I will continue to pick up my cross and follow you. Your will not mine.
January 18, 2018
- Thu Jan 18, 2018
Sacrifice like Christ
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. Philippians 2:6-7
These famous words of martyred missionary Jim Eliot makes him the patron saint in my book: “he is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose”. In one sentence he captures the essence of what it means to risk spiritually. And while few of us will be called to give our lives, millions of us will be called to give our wills for his will, material wealth for spiritual wealth, earthly recognition for heavenly recognition, carnal appetites for Godly appetites, career dreams for God’s dreams, corporate ladders for family health and competent compromise for spiritual integrity. Sacrifice and suffering loss for the sake of our faith is what connects the God-Man and God’s man.
Jesus was made fit to lead us through suffering. Naturally, if he lives in you, God will make you fit by calling you to a sacrificial life. More importantly, sacrifice for Christ is what unites you more deeply with Christ. How else could the apostle Paul write, I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his suffering. Philippians 3:10
Men who dare greatly for their faith have asked and answered this question. Am I willing to sacrifice my agenda in order to be used for God’s agenda?
Father, Your risk was provided to help me risk, Thank you Jesus.
January 17, 2018
- Wed Jan 17, 2018
Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk with wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:17 -20
When we say yes to the Holy Spirit it is important to remember the decision — by default — is a no as well. Anytime we say yes to God, we are saying no to impulse, culture, man-pleasing, and the devil. It’s also a no to self-management. That’s the main issue when it comes to our relationship with the Holy Spirit, and to meet the changes and challenges we face. In the midst of life we have to ask: “Who’s the boss—really?” “Who’s calling the shots---really?” “Who’s in control—really?”
Remember the words of my instructor in the cockpit, “Don’t fight me”.
That is what the Holy Spirit is saying to you right now in some area of your life. The kingdom of God is intended to explode in and through you, but you have to make the transfer of control official. "What transfer?", you ask. The one where we say no to pride and self–sufficiency and say yes to humble and healthy dependency upon the Holy Spirit. Practically, that means you should ask yourself: Have I said yes to the Holy Spirit and asked him to fill me?
So now I encourage you to stop, ask the question, pause for reflection and issue your Declaration of Surrender.
Father, thank you for this life changing, power receiving, love giving promise – I accept the filling of your Holy Spirit.
January 16, 2018
- Tue Jan 16, 2018
Facing the Fact of Evil
“Be alert, be on watch! Your enemy, the Devil, roams around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” 1 Peter 5:8
There was a time before Septemer11, 2001, when counterterrorist agencies possessed good intelligence about a group called Al-Qaida. We knew who their leader was and where he was, we knew where their training facilities were, we knew how to “touch” them, and we knew the United States was the object of their Islam-o- fascist brand of hatred, and yet, with so many other higher-priority issues, international and domestic crises, and lack of “actionable intelligence.” We didn’t assign enough attention to this character Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network. The world knows the rest of the story.
Between foresight and hindsight is a crucial lesson in the battle with evil. When all you have is a fuzzy foresight, you must focus more attention and resources on the Enemy who wants your head on a platter. If you do, your hindsight will be much less painful.
We believed the terrorists were out there, but we acted like we sort of believed in Intel. Sort of believing in a real enemy and real threat produces a sort-of response that sort of gets people killed.
Satan wants you killed or at least neutralized (living but not a threat). The most tragic mistake a God’s man can make is to sort of believe in evil. Do you sort of believe you have an enemy?
Father, you have shown me that Satan is as real as you are. It’s not my power but your power that will defeat him.