Friday, September 30, 2016

When We Feel Helpless

Psalm 50:15

and call on me in the day of trouble;
    I will deliver you, and you will honor me.

NIV from www.biblegateway.com

In adventure movies, we often see people trapped and helpless, frantically looking for a way to escape. Real life can sometimes feel that way for us, and as we begin to look for a way out, our prayers become filled with requests for rescue - physical healing, changed circumstances, additional provision. 

   Did you ever consider that even more important than physical rescue is spiritual liberation? (See Eph. 6:12). First and foremost, Jesus Christ delivered you from the power and penalty of sin. As your living Savior, He also knows your continued helplessness in the face of sinful habits, uncontrolled emotions, and ungodly thoughts. He wants to free you from these sins. So seek out His offer of spiritual rescue every day - whether or not a physical crisis looms over you.

   Follow the example of the psalmist, who cried out to God for deliverance. Psalm 50:15 says, "Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor me." Start by admitting your helplessness to the Lord and to yourself. Confess any fears, unbelief, or self-reliance that you might detect in your life. Surrender all further attempts at change that are done apart from the heavenly Father. Then turn your gaze toward Him. Think about His relationship with you, who He is, and what He desires. Let the Holy Spirit fill your spirit with the truth of God's Word. Meditate on it. Commit yourself to following His way. Then trust God, and wait on Him to change you from the inside out. A day will arrive when the helpless feeling will leave to be replaced by the joy of being free. When it does, give God the glory. 

 Stanley, Charles F. "When We Feel Helpless." In Touch: Daily Readings For Devoted Living. April 2016. page 31.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Praying the Promises of God

Isaiah 40:8

The grass withers and the flowers fall,
    but the word of our God endures forever.

  Jesus made it clear that we would endure many hardships in this life. But God provided amazing tools to keep trials from overwhelming us. For instance, He placed His Spirit inside each believer to guide and empower. In addition, He gave us prayer so we could not only communicate and stay connected with our Father but also bring Him our requests.

   Today I want to focus on yet another one of His marvelous gifts: the Bible. Scripture is the actual Word of God Almighty. It is truth. It never changes. It enables us in all circumstances, so we have a sure foundation on which to base our lives and decisions.

   There are thousands of promises in the Bible - countless assurances that we can rely on with perfect confidence. God wants us to learn them so we won't miss out on blessings He wants to give. And wise believers will turn His promises into prayers, which they express as the cry of their heart.

   Let me give you a example that relates to difficult decisions. Psalm 32:8 states, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you." We can pray God's words back to Him, saying we believe that He will teach us and reveal His path - and that He'll remain by our side as our caregiver through the entire situation.

   When hardships arise, we need a solid foundation on which to stand. Otherwise, our emotions could easily lead us astray through faulty thinking. God is faithful and unchanging, so we can trust in His promises, which enable us to rest confidently and act boldly.

 Stanley, Charles F. "Praying the Promises of God." In Touch: Daily Readings For Devoted Living. April 2016. page 30.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Qualifications for Sainthood

1 Corinthians 1:1-9

Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,
To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge— God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
NIV from biblegateway.com
    Many people hold an unbiblical view of sainthood. Their idea of a saint is one who has led such an exemplary life that he or she is venerated by the church, but God's Word presents quite a different picture. The Corinthian church struggled with all sorts of ungodly behaviors, yet Paul describes them as "those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling" (1 Cor. 1:2).
   Sanctify means to set apart from common use to a sacred use. Throughout the Bible, the Lord has sanctified days (such as the Sabbath), places (the tabernacle), things (the arch of the covenant), and people. A saint is simply a person whom God has set apart for His purposes. This means that every believer is a saint.
   Before you were saved, your position relative to God was one of enmity (Romans 5:10). But the moment you trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, the Lord changed your position and set you apart for Himself. You were born again and are now his child. He forgave your sins an declared you righteous. A saint is not a perfect person but one who is in a right relationship with the heavenly Father. Although our position of sanctification is not predicated on good behavior, the Lord expects us to live in a manner that honors Him.
   Just think - God set you apart for a sacred purpose. That means you are here, not to live as you please but to bring glory to Him. He calls us to live according to our new position in Christ. When we accept this responsibility of sainthood with gratitude, we bring joy to the Father's heart. 

Stanley, Charles F. "Qualifications for Sainthood." In Touch: Daily Readings For Devoted Living. April 2016. page 28.