Friday, June 24, 2016

Fighting the Battle Against Sin

1 Corinthians 10:1-13
13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. RSV

   God established protective boundaries for His children because He knows the dangers of disobedience - for both the transgressor and others affeected by the sin. His Word warns us not to give in to temptation but to follow Jesus Christ in a life of sacrifice, which is the only way to true contentment.
  In contrast, the world says satisfaction is found in acquiring goods, wealth, status, and friends. Satan whispers the lie that gratification comes from self-indulgence. His goal of turning us away from God stated with his temptation of Adam and Eve. The Creator had given them access to every tree in the Garden of Eden except one. The first man and woman stepped outside the limit set by the Lord, ate the forbidden fruit, and became separated from Him. Satan used doubt ("Has God said?"), deceit ("You surely will not die"), and self-delusion (You will be like God") to achieve his aim (Gen. 3:1-5). He made rebellion against God - which is the root of all sin - seem very attractive. And the enemy's methods are the same today.
   Clear your mind of any distractions, and allow the Lord to speak to you through His Word. He has much to tell you.
Stanley, Charles F. In Touch: Daily Readings for Devoted Living. February 2016. Atlanta. page 31.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Our Relationship With God

Psalm 119:33-40

33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes;
    and I will keep it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, that I may keep thy law
    and observe it with my whole heart.
35 Lead me in the path of thy commandments,
    for I delight in it.
36 Incline my heart to thy testimonies,
    and not to gain!
37 Turn my eyes from looking at vanities;
    and give me life in thy ways.
38 Confirm to thy servant thy promise,
    which is for those who fear thee.
39 Turn away the reproach which I dread;
    for thy ordinances are good.
40 Behold, I long for thy precepts;
    in thy righteousness give me life! RSV

   By trusting in Jesus Christ, a person enters into a lifelong relationship with the heavenly Father. As believers, we have a responsibility to keep that connection healthy.
   First, we must learn about our new family. As essential and ongoing part of family life involves knowing and being known by he other members. In the Bible, God gave a detailed description of His attributes, values, and thinking. And since Jesus came to earth, we can better understand His Father's divine character, which was demonstrated in a human life. As we meditate on Scripture, our sense of connectedness to God will grow.
   Second, we should stay in close contact with the Lord through prayer and study of His Word - and resist the temptation to put people, work or pleasures ahead of Him. Remember: Relationships thrive with consistent interaction but wither if they are neglected.
   Third, we must respond to what He has communicated to us. He provided instructions for living and explained what pleases Him. In healthy families, people pay attention to each other. We are to heed our Father's warnings and obey His commands.
   Finally, we're to grow in likeness to God. Relatives can resemble each other in subtle and obvious ways. As we cooperate with the transforming work of the Holy Spirit, we will start to think and act like our heavenly Father.
   The Father provided salvation through His Son, who died so we could be spiritually alive. Jesus set an example of loving, obedient service, and God's Spirit sanctifies us (1 Peter 1:2). Do your part to keep the relationship healthy.
Stanley, Charles F. In Touch: Daily Readings for Devoted Living. March 2016. Atlanta. page 40.