Thursday, February 16, 2017

God Meets Our Needs

Philippians 4:19

19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.  
NIV Bible Gateway.com

    Our heavenly Father has promised to provide everything we need. Let's consider some of the good gifts that are ours in Christ Jesus.
   One universal human need is love. Through faith in Jesus, we've been adopted as the heavenly Father's beloved children. But before this could take place, God's justice had to be satisfied. You see, we were all born with a sinful nature that is bent away from the Lord. Because of the Father's great love, He sent Jesus to take our place and experience judgment for our sin. Out of deep compassion for us, Jesus willingly suffered and died so we might become part of God's family and experience His rich affection for us (John 3:16). Through our relationship with Him, this need for love is fully met.
   In fact, by means of salvation, our Father also provided for two other basic needs - companionship and security. When we accept God's offer of forgiveness, the Holy Spirit comes to live within us, fulfilling Jesus' promise never to leave us (Heb. 13:5). This new relationship is permanent. What Jesus accomplished on the cross was fully accepted by God as payment for our sin debt. Furthermore, Christ Himself  promised that no one can ever snatch us out of His hand (John 10:28). Therefore, we can rest in the knowledge that we are God's children forever. That is true security.
   Our deep need for love, security, and companionship is satisfied in an intimate relationship with the Lord. Have you trusted Christ so you could be permanently adopted into God's family? 
Stanley, Charles F. "God Meets Our Needs." In Touch: Daily Readings For Devoted Living September 2016. Atlanta: In Touch Ministries. page 32.

Monday, February 13, 2017

What Is the Christian Life?

Titus 3:4-7

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.  NIV  Bible Gateway.com

   The Christian life is just that - a life, not simply a set of rules. Sadly, a lot of churches preach Christianity as a list of dos and don'ts. Then faith looks like a formula: Jesus' saving grace plus doing good things minus doing bad things equal righteousness. Most of us have enough problems without worrying about whether we're following the extra-biblical rules of a church.
   A man-made formula for righteousness runs counter to scriptural teaching. Not only did Jesus condemn the Parisees' heavy-handed religion, but He Himself offered liberty through grace ( Matt. 23:1-4; John 8:36). Neither keeping God's law by self-effort nor adhering to extra rules makes a person free. Legalistic believers are in bondage and growing ever weaker.
   When a person accepts the saving grace of Jesus Christ, he or she receives a new life. (See Rom. 6:4.) This is not an uptight lifestyle of doing good works. A believer is a changed person - the same body but a transformed mind and heart. Christ lives through you. His Holy Spirit flows into your spirit just as sap runs in a grapevine. It's like getting a spiritual blood transfusion! Strength pumps into places where weakness once prevailed. Why rely upon your frail self when the courage and power to follow God's will are available through Christ?
   ... Depend upon Him to change you from the inside out, and trust that He will. Jesus is your life. He will never get tired of transforming you.
Stanley, Charles F. "What Is the Christian Life?" In Touch: Daily Readings For Devoted Living September 2016. Atlanta: In Touch Ministries. page 31.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Unconditional Love of God

1 John 4:7-10

God’s Love and Ours

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  NIV Bible Gateway.com

   One of the biggest struggles many people face is a feeling that the Lord couldn't possibly love them. Yet, today's reading clearly tells us He does. Far from just saying so with words, God has also given us ample proof. Creation itself is an expression of the awesome way he cares for us. He designed this earth as the perfect habitation for humanity and provides us with the necessities of life. But the highest expression of His love is manifested in His provision for our eternal needs. He sent His Son to redeem us from sin so that we could be forgiven and reconciled to God - and then live with Him in heaven forever.
   Why, then, with all this evidence, do so many of us still doubt His love? Perhaps the reason is that we are looking at it form our own limited perspective: Since human beings cannot love others unconditionally, we doubt that the Lord can. After all, worldly logic considers it reasonable to be loving towards people who measure up to our standards but to hold ourselves aloof from those who don't.
   Or maybe we just feel unworthy of His love. Well, I have news for you: No one is worthy. God's love is based not on whether we are deserving but on His character - we need to understand that love isn't simply something God does; it's who He is (1 John 4:8).
   Divine love is a demonstration of God's commitment to our greatest good. It's like the ocean's tide. You can stand on the shore and say, "I don't believe in waves," but that doesn't stop them from coming. Likewise, nothing you do or feel will stop the Father's love from washing over you.
Stanley, Charles F. "The Unconditional Love of God." In Touch: Daily Readings For Devoted Living September 2016. Atlanta: In Touch Ministries. page 6.