Monthly Archives: December, 2016

Clothed in the Presence

There is something so awesome and indescribable, the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. People fall on their knees before Him. When soldiers encountered Him in the garden, and He said, “I AM He,” they fell to the ground. When the wise men heard of His birth, they traveled a great distance to fall before Him and worship. Yet, the Bible tells us to clothe ourselves with this presence of the Lord—to clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Instead of indulging own evil desires, instead of allowing our sinful heart to control our path, we are to clothe ourselves with Him. How can you be clothed in the Presence? How can someone like you or I be clothed in Jesus? It is because He freely, willingly, purposefully died for us that we can do this. It is because He did not die, but He died and rose again, that we have this great hope. It is because of the Resurrection that we are clothed in His righteousness.

It is because of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit among all believers that we have the power to put on His righteousness. When our deceitful hearts try to lead us, the Spirit moves freely within us and we can instead, clothe ourselves with Him. We let go of control. We let go of selfish desires. We let go of our will and say, “Your will be done.” As we are Spirit led, we will not only be clothed in Christ Jesus on the inside—but we will be light bearers to the dark world as an overflowing unto the outside. We will take the presence of the Lord wherever we travel. Today, check to see if you are clothed in His Presence before you start your day.

“Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.” – Romans 13:14 [NLT]

 

Placed by God

People are positioned by God. We don’t always understand what God is doing with the placement of some people; however, everyone is “placed there by God.” He is the authority and He is the One who allows authority of some over others. As a result, we are expected to “submit to governing authorities.”

God has a great plan. We have seen a lot of great leaders in our lifetime, and a lot of not-so-great leaders. But our faithfulness in God does not rest on these people. We trust Him no matter who is in authority and no matter what is happening around us. Because of our trust in Him, we are able to accept who He allows to be in control of our workplace, our school, our church, our home, our city, our state, and our country. All authority comes from God. Accepting the leadership is accepting who He allowed.

Today, embrace who God has placed in authority. Aim to support your leaders, trusting in God’s plan. You never know how God will use the leader for His glory.

“Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.” – Romans 13:1 [NLT]

Do Good

Do Good. It’s a simple phrase but it’s not so easy for us. We have bad within us. The Bible says that our hearts are evil. Jeremiah 17:9 says that the “human heart is the most deceitful of all things.” The heart is so deceitful we cannot even know how bad it truly is because it’s that bad. Jesus says that evil comes from the hearts of men (see Mark 7:21). So we have bad inside us but we must do good. What a quandary!?!

Romans 12:21 says, “Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” So don’t let the evil conquer you. Don’t let the evil control you. Don’t let all that evil within you be what guides your steps. Instead, do good and you’ll conquer the evil. How does this work? How can you do the good when the bad is within?

The Holy Spirit is called the Advocate for a reason. An advocate has a lot to do with support. The Spirit guides us, convicts us, teaches us, reveals to us, and more. The Fruit of the Spirit grows within us more as we continue to live in the Spirit, and allow Him to freely move within us. As He leads you to do good, you’ll find the more and more good you do will allow for less and less evil. What you put in, you get out. Then when the evil of the world comes at you, you will be filled with so much of the goodness that comes from God. You will be able to continue to do good despite the evil you are facing head on. If the evil doesn’t keep you from doing good, then there is victory. You can conquer evil by doing good. Start today. Do something good. Allow the Spirit to control your steps. The victory will come. Conquer the evil with good.

“Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” – Romans 12:21 [NLT]

Harmonious Living

Harmony is difficult. When it comes to music, each person must be in sync for there to be true harmony. When it is done right, there will be a sound pleasing to ears. When it comes to people, harmony means that we live with a peace, that we understand each other. This understanding is like an agreement and it requires integrity, humility, and respect of others.

Roman 12 mentions this pride that gets in the way of enjoying others. Some people get too puffed up to hang out or associate with certain people. This person may look down on others who don’t match up with their self-righteous standards. Thus, being around “ordinary people” is dreaded. The passage then warns not to consider yourself a know-it-all, because once again you’ll be puffed up. You’ll have this desire to make everyone see that you are right, even if it means hurting another.

We are to live in peace with everyone. We are to be peacekeepers. Jesus was always right, but He was also always humble. It was never about being right. Remember, harmony requires humility. Don’t worry about getting in the last word. Listen more. Speak less, and speak life when speaking. Take the time to invest in everyone, even the ordinary. God came among the ordinary. He loves the ordinary. You just may find that the company of the ordinary is a great blessing. Do all you can to try to live in peace with everyone. Harmonious living is the unity that Jesus desired for His bride.

“Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” – Romans 12:16, 18 [NLT]

Serve Enthusiastically

Growing up, I was taught the value of hard work. I am very grateful that my parents instilled this into me, and I hope that my children learn this as well. In Romans 12:11, we read, “Never be lazy, but work hard.” The verse continues to say, “Serve the Lord enthusiastically.” Wow! This is more than simply getting the job done.

Serve the Lord enthusiastically. Cheerfully. There should be excitement, enthusiasm, and eagerness. ENERGY. Energy people around you can feel. This enthusiasm is contagious. This enthusiasm points to our Father, the One we are serving.

This enthusiasm is in high demand; it’s hard to find.  It’s something special that is not on display everywhere you turn. Too many people get caught going through the motions. Friends, don’t get in a routine. Don’t lose your joy for service. Ask Him where He wants you to serve. Pour yourself into it. Remember that you are not alone. If you are doing what you were designed to do, the enthusiasm will be there. Keep walking in faithful obedience and as you grow where you are positioned, your excitement will be contagious.

“Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.” – Romans 12:11 [NLT]

Take Delight in Honoring

The Bible tells us that we are to honor people above ourselves. Some translations say that we are to “outdo one another in showing honor” (ESV, HCSB). This can also be translated as “excel in showing respect for each other” (GW). This respect or honor is not something we see often.

When you show respect to another person you are acknowledging them and showing that they matter. The verse tells us to “love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” Not only must we love with true affection, but we should be eager to honor one another. This requires humility and grace.

How have you honored something recently? How have you reached out to show someone that they matter? Today, consider how you can do this with both word and deed. Take delight in honoring someone.

“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” – Romans 12:10 [NLT]

 

Your Responsibility

The world tries to tell you that you are only responsible for yourself, and sometimes that even isn’t something that is taught. But the Bible speaks about an integrity the world does not understand. We have a great responsibility, as well as many responsibilities along the way. If we want to live for Jesus, we must be intentional. If we desire to walk in faithful obedience, we cannot ignore our responsibilities.

In Deuteronomy 22, we read about someone coming upon their neighbor’s wandering sheep or goat. The verse tells us that the person should take it and return it to its owner. This speaks of an expectation that consists of going above and beyond. It might require you to go out of your way. It might require you to spend some extra time to get it done. Part of you may justify just keeping the sheep, clinging to the phrase, “Finders keepers.”

Going the extra mile glorifies God. Not ignoring the opportunity to help bless someone glorifies God. Don’t ignore these opportunities that come your way. Consider this opportunity to be a gift. Go the extra mile and watch what happens.

“If you see your neighbor’s ox or sheep or goat wandering away, don’t ignore your responsibility. Take it back to its owner.” – Deuteronomy 22:1 [NLT]

No Poor Among You

I did not grow up with all the fanciest things, but I was provided for well. I had all that I needed and then some. I had too many toys than I could play with at one time. I had too many books than I could read in a day. I always had food every day; I don’t think I ever missed a meal. I have always had a place to lay my head and clothing on my back. Even though there were days when my pockets were empty, it was simply on those days that the bills were paid and there was nothing left over. I had just enough.

In Deuteronomy 15, it says that there should be no poor because God was going to bless the people in the Promised Land, and so He did. The command was to give generously, not grudgingly. God was going to bless the people. They needed to remember that God was the source of all, and live life with open hands.

Still today, we are to give generously. When we look around, it’s easy to see that there are poor among us. There are people struggling every day. There are people who are not able to have a warm meal tonight, while there are others tossing food in the garbage because they have too much. There are people who are hoping for a place to sleep tonight that isn’t outdoors, while others have numerous homes. There are some people who don’t have a place to call their own, while others need storage areas because they have too much to fit into their house. Give generously. Don’t hold back. If the Spirit is leading you to open your hands, open them and watch what He does. If we all opened our hands, just maybe there would be no poor among us. Just maybe what God has given us is enough for everyone.

“There should be no poor among you, for the LORD your God will greatly bless you in the land He is giving you as a special possession. Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the LORD your God will bless you in everything you do.” Deuteronomy 15:4, 10 [NLT]

The Trap

Boundaries are important. The Bible speaks out in warning of any alignment with non-believers. We read of not making treaties with outsiders. We read about not aligning with those who are non-believers, because if we marry a non-believer it is likely that we will be drawn away. Deuteronomy 12 warns us not to fall into the trap. This trap causes us to be led astray to worshiping other gods.

The Bible tells us to be careful. We read these words often. We must be able to balance our time between people strong in the faith and people who do not know Jesus. We must surround ourselves with these strong, faithfully obedient men and woman for support, encouragement, and accountability. But we also must be able to reach the world by building relationships with those who have not received Christ.

As you go through your day today, remember that there is a trap waiting. Be mindful of the way you spend your time. Make sure you have strong Christians in your life, people who are walking in faithful obedience and who will point you to Jesus Christ, desiring for you to grow deeper with Christ. Also, make sure you are building a relationship with some non-believers. Through your actions, may they be able to see Christ.

“Do not fall into the trap of following their customs and worshiping their gods. Do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations worship their gods? I want to follow their example.’” –  Deuteronomy 12:30 [NLT]

“When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, be very careful not to imitate the detestable customs of the nations living there.” – Deuteronomy 18:9 [NLT]

The Choice

We live in a world full of choices. Sometimes I stand before a menu or I look to make a purchase of coffee or gum, and I wonder what to decide. We have so many choices, so many options. But when we look at life, there is no gray area. We have life and death. We have a blessing and a curse. God’s Word is very clear. You have the choice. He paved the way.

Don’t complicate God’s Word. The options are clear. You can choose life or death, heaven or hell, a blessing or curse. The world tells you that God sends people to hell; that is a lie. People choose hell. God’s Word is very clear. Anyone who believes in Jesus Christ is saved (Romans 10:13). Anyone who chooses not to believe in Jesus Christ will be condemned.

Today, look at the big choice you have made. Have you made the choice of life or death, prosperity or disaster? Have you made the choice between a blessing and a curse? Do not think because you are good, that you are going to heaven. Only those who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ will find everlasting life. Know this truth. Share this truth. Don’t love your family and friends to hell. Tell them that there is only one way to the Father, and His Name is JESUS (John 14:6).

“Look, today I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse!” – Deuteronomy 11:26 [NLT]

“Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. For I command you this day to love the LORD your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy. But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy. Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” – Deuteronomy 30:15-19 [NLT]