Friday, October 30, 2015

Emotional Baggage

"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
Matthew 11:29
Today, everyone you know is "poor" - or lacking - in spirit in some way. They may be brokenhearted over a trial or ruined relationship, captive to negative memories of the past, or disappointed by unfulfilled dreams. This emotional weight is not only a burden in their everyday lives, it's indicative that the enemy has a stronghold.
   Whether your heartaches, afflictions, and trials stem from external or internal causes, the pains are real. And unless you deal with them, they will keep on harming you. Those feelings, thought patterns, and past experiences will continue to traumatize you each time you recall them and will ultimately keep you from experiencing the freedom that Christ Jesus offers.
   Friend, do not be ashamed. All of us struggle. But you must turn your burdens over to Christ and allow Him to liberate you. He will teach you a different way to live. So do not be afraid or discouraged. Rather, trust Him and find rest for your soul.

Jesus, I am broken and poor in many ways.
Through Your Spirit, liberate me from my
emotional baggage so I may be truly free, amen.

In His presence . . . be free from your burdens.

Stanley, Charles F. "Emotional Baggage." Every Day in His Presence: 365 Devotions. Nashville: Thomas Nelson. p 313.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Deliverance Assured

2 Chronicles 20:12 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

12 O our God, will You not judge them? For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.” [bold by me for emphasis]
Bible Gateway

Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You. JEREMIAH 32:17 

From the confines of prison, the prophet Jeremiah clung to a single hope - the Lord's promise that He would release Judah from its captivity and bring the people back to the land after seventy years.
   This appeared impossible, of course. Although the Jewish people had ben restored to the promised land after their bondage in Egypt, it seemed unfeasible that it could happen again. No other people had ever successfully recaptured their territories after so many afflictions and such a long time away - especially a nation as small and weak as Judah.
   But God had made a promise. And because He had never failed them before, Jeremiah knew that the Lord would be faithful to fulfill it. And sure enough, after seventy years, the people were supernaturally released to reenter their nation.
   Friend, take this to heart. God can do anything in your life - even what looks absolutely impossible. So trust Him to keep His Word to you regardless of challenging your circumstances may appear.

Father, I trust You! Nothing is too difficult for
You. Thank You for delivering me, amen.

In His presence .. . appreciate who He really is.
Stanley, Charles F. "Deliverance Assured." Every Day in His Presence: 365 Devotions. Nashville: Thomas Nelson. 2014. p 282.


Friday, October 9, 2015

Salvation: The Work of Our Sovereign God

Made Alive in Christ

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 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—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 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. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:1-10 New International Version (NIV)   Bible Gateway

   Salvation refers to the freedom gained when God rescues someone from bondage to sin and makes that person part of His family. This deliverance is accomplished only through His Son Jesus, who died in our place so we might be reconciled to the Father (Colossians 1:22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—). This statement often evokes auestions:
   What if I try to live morally right, working and at my job and being good to my family-won't God accept me? Such questions assume that the Lord saves us on the basis of the way we live. But Romans 3:10 says, "There is none righteous, not even one." In God's sight, even our virtuous acts are like dirty rags (Isiah 64:6). Holy God will not have dealings with unrighteous people except through the Savior, Jesus Christ.
   Won't the Lord accept us because of His goodness? God is loving and good, but He is also just. He won't overlook sin, no matter how small we think it is. Pride makes us reject the idea that we need forgiveness or cleansing from sin.
   If we serve in our church or help the poor in God's name, aren't we part of His family? God works do not solve our sin problem or reconcile us to God. Only Jesus does ( Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,). Good works are an important result of salvation, as opposed to a basis for it.
   Salvation is a work of God's grace, not the product of man's effort. When we respond to the Spirit's prompting, believe in Jesus, and are born again as God's children (John 3:3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”), we can be assured of our place in heaven. How sure are you?
Stanley, Charles F. "Salvation: The Work of Our Sovereign God." In Touch: Daily Readings for Devoted Living. Atlanta: In Touch Ministries. September 2015. page 14.

Jesus the Way to the Father

 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. . . John 14:6 Bible Gateway

Friday, October 2, 2015

Love Through Forgiveness

"Her many sins have been forgiven -
as her great love has shown."
LUKE 7:47 NIV 

   There are many reasons why people fail to experience God's love, and one of them is unforgiveness. When we don't forgive, a barrier of bitterness grows and obstructs His love from entering in.
   Friend, are you harboring resentment? Then you're hurting yourself without reason. Jesus came to set the captives free ( Luke 4:18) - and He did so through His love on the cross. He came, not to injure you, but to heal your wounds. And He calls you to forgive those who've hurt you because it's a crucial part of liberating you fully.
   He asks you to have an accurate view of all you've been forgiven so you can understand others (Luke 7:47). You sinned out of pain, unawareness, fear and self-protection (Luke 23:34). The same is true for those who've hurt you - they sinned out of ignorance; they couldn't possibly know the full effect their actions would have on you.
   Friend, don't remain captive to your hostility any longer. Express Christ like mercy to your offenders and be free of the prison. Because then you'll be able to fully experience His love in return.

                                          Jesus, give me the strength to forgive so I can 
experience Your peace and love to the fullest, amen.

  In His presence. . . choose forgiveness.

 Stanley, Charles F., Love Through Forgiveness, Every Day in His Presence, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2014. page 258.