Archive | January, 2013

Week Twelve: Face-plant

29 Jan

 

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

Romans 3:23

Look up the word perfect in the dictionary…seriously, look it up. I’ll wait…

 

…What do you see? I bet it says phrases like “entirely without fault or defect” or “satisfactory in all requirements” or even “legally valid”. Let me translate those phrases for you: they mean everything that you are not. I don’t know about you, but I have plenty of faults and defects. I am pretty sure that I don’t always fulfill the requirements that God or life throw at me. And in regards to the law…sometimes I break commandments and don’t use my turn signal when I drive. But God knows this and still loves me and wants to use me. And that goes for everyone. But if you don’t believe me, I’ll give you some examples from the Bible. Look at Rahab, David, Peter, and Paul. Rahab was a prostitute. David kept running away from everything and then committed adultery when he finally let God prosper him. Peter had trouble understanding Jesus’ teaching, didn’t know when it was appropriate to speak, lost faith quickly, and denied Jesus three times before He was crucified. And Paul, before his conversion, was a legalistic Jew whose life work was murdering Christians. These are real people, who lived through real difficulties, and who God used for His glory. Rahab helped the children of Israel infiltrate Jericho. David ruled Israel mightily and wrote a majority of the psalms. Peter served God with fervor and spread the Gospel with such faith that he became a martyr. And Paul is the author of most of the New Testament and founded churches all across Eurasia. All of these people, at one point or another, have not just fallen, but have face-planted into sin. But God has plans for us. We just have to run towards Him and although we may stumble, He will catch us before be biff it too badly. Trust that God has your back even when you fail and that you have been redeemed by the One who really is perfect.

 

Pray: God, thank you for being who you are. You are so good to me even though I sin against You. Thank You for the cross and Your sacrifice that has given me a new start. Strengthen me that I might not sin against You.

 

Ask Yourself: Am I caught in some unrepentant sin? Do I really accept that Christ is as forgiving as He says He is? Am I committed to striving towards His perfection?

 

Apply: If you are currently stuck in unrepentant sin, seek the Lord and turn away from it. Ask for forgiveness and run back towards God. Realize that you will never attain perfection on this earth and just keep running after His perfection.

Week Eleven: Pre-Game Jitters

21 Jan

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.”

Colossians 3:1

How often do you think of eternity? I feel that sometimes, we forget that our life on earth is the pre-game and that heaven is the real deal. We think of life and God in such a small way that we get pre-game jitters and just want to quit because things don’t always go according to plan. But guess what? Earth is not our home. It shouldn’t be comfortable and Jesus warned us that it would be hard. But the majesty and the glory that awaits us with Christ in heaven is something that we as believers should hold fast to. It’s something that we should think of when we share the gospel. It’s also something that we should remember when it comes to Christ descending into our midst, to die on a cross, and to defeat death. He left everything that He deserved: All of the glory, honor, praise, and worship to be born in a manger, surrounded in scandal, and  live  a perfect and humble human life. Instead of remaining in glory, He endured the most painful and shameful death imaginable after being brutally beaten, mocked, and deserted. And as if all of this weren’t enough, in Romans 8:34, the Bible clearly states that Jesus is still interceding for us. Out of the depths of our sin and depravity, He gives us redemption if we call upon His name and follow Him as Lord. No matter how many times you mess up, He is still fighting for you! He loves you and wants you to spend eternity with Himself in heaven. God wants His salvation to go out to everyone.  He doesn’t want anyone on the sidelines, to suffer hell and eternal separation from the Father. So with all of this being said, we need our hearts to be set on God. On His will for salvation, on His call for each person, on His peace that surpasses all understanding, on His love that covers our sin, and on the fact that Christ won the victory and that no one can take that away. When Christ defeated death and rose from the dead, He broke the chains of death and sin that were holding us! So share His gospel to people who don’t know Him yet! Stop getting frozen with pre-game jitters, because you already know the outcome. For now, just work to stay at the top of your game and recruit some new teammates.

Pray: Lord I pray that my heart would be set on You and Your kingdom. I pray that no matter the circumstances that surround me on earth, I focus on You and remember that You are interceding for me with the Father as You sit at His right hand. Thank you for being such a loving and amazing Savior, Lord, and friend.

Ask Yourself: Am I letting my circumstances get the better of me or am I keeping my heart fixed on Christ, His kingdom, and His glory? Am I really accepting that Christ is seated at God’s right hand, interceding for me and inthroned in glory? Or am I letting the jitters get the best of me?

Apply: Just think about Christ being seated at God’s right hand. The glory and beauty that that scene is. As you try to fathom that unfathomable image in your mind, think of the staggering reality of Christ coming down to Earth. Now let that truth resonate in your being that Jesus loves you enough to leave all of that majesty to die for you on the cross. He is the God worth giving everything to and serving with everything. So set your mind on Him and His kingdom and let the rest melt away.

Week Ten: He Is The Lord!

13 Jan

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.”

Isaiah 40:28

A couple of years back when I attended Calvary of Albuquerque, Pastor Chuck Smith came to teach and he said something that has stuck with me, and will probably continue to stick with me, for years. When we encounter LORD in the Bible, we are to think of when God revealed Himself to Moses at Mt. Sinai in Exodus 34:6-7. This is what that passage says of the Lord: He is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in mercy and faithfulness extending mercy to thousands; forgiving rebellion, wickedness, and sin. So take all of that and add what else this verse has to say. He is without end, He created absolutely everything, He does not get tired or weary, and He has unlimited understanding. How beautiful is the Lord? He is literally unfathomable. He is absolutely immeasurable in every way. He never gets weary at all, which also means that He doesn’t get weary with us. I love this verse because it always challenges me to look past theology and doctrine and religion and just see God. The Creator, the Father, the Savior, the Friend, and I could go on and on. And not only do I get to see God but I get such strong reassurance of my faith because I know that He is all of these things and so much more! Never lose sight of who God really is and never stop praising Him for it!

Pray: God thank you for being who you are despite who I am. For being not only a perfect Creator but also an amazing Father and loving Lord. You are everything that I could ever want or need and I thank you for Your amazing grace and compassion.

Ask Yourself: How am I approaching God? With reverence and awe or is it more like blah? When you hear that God loves you and died for you are you really thinking of the vast, weightiness of that statement?

Apply: Just take a step back and think about the Lord. Think about His attributes. Spend time just praising God for who He is, what He has done, and what He is doing now.

P.S: There are people who “do not know” and “have not heard” of the amazing God that we serve. Jesus calls us in Matthew 28 to make disciples of all nations. So spread the gospel this week because lives do depend on it. People are desperate and hurting and this God, who is everything that we could ever need, is the only hope!

Week Nine: Worrywart

10 Jan

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Matthew 6:33-34

We live in a society that seems to promote worry and stress. Every day we are faced with economic hardships, relational issues, and even spiritual concerns. We want a plan for everything and for that plan to be followed by the letter, but the moment that something isn’t going according to plan, we get worried. We ask ourselves: What will happen next? What can I do to fix it? Why isn’t this working? I don’t know what to do? This is my advice when those thoughts infiltrate your mind: just stop. Take a deep breath, pray, and be still. I feel that we forget that God is sovereign and perfect. He is our Heavenly Father who loves us and He has His hand over the situation. Once we allow worry to creep into our minds, we have kicked Christ out. It may seem harsh, but it’s true. The moment that you take your eyes off of what God has for you now and stop seeking His righteousness, worry becomes your god. We have to keep our priorities straight because the enemy wants nothing more than for us to lose our focus on Jesus. He loves useless Christians that give off a bad witness…don’t be what the enemy wants! Seek God at all times. He promises to not only to give you what you need but also the things that you desire if they are in His will. The beautiful thing about being in a relationship with Christ, is that the more you seek Him and trust Him, the more your thoughts and desires become like His. So just let it go. Whatever the thing is that you are worrying about. Is it money? A job? A relationship? A lack of relationship? Whatever it is, if it is a God-given desire, He will give it to you and if it is not, then with prayer and patience, know that the Lord will remove that desire. And just know this, God really does have perfect timing so don’t worry. He knows what you need, when you need it, and when to give it to you. So don’t be a worry wart, God’s got your back.

Pray: God, I pray that You would strengthen me as I seek You. Let me focus on You, Your kingdom, and on what You have for me today, not on what may lie ahead tomorrow.

Ask Yourself: Am I constantly worrying about things that I want, can’t do, or things that I think I need? Am I worrying about what tomorrow has in store, whether good or bad, or am I seeking Christ and His righteousness?

Apply: Just follow what the Lord says in this passage. Seek His kingdom, do His will, and seek His righteousness. Whatever the issue is that you are having will either melt away in light of His glory or He will reveal His plan in His time. Ask the Lord for peace in what ever areas that you are stressing over and focus on Jesus.

Week Eight: A Resolution Worth Keeping

1 Jan

“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

1 Corinthians 15:58

It’s the beginning of a new year, which for many of us means “New Years Resolutions”. Or as I like to call it, “A long list of things that you won’t follow through with because you were too ambitious and now you’re over it”. We seem to do this every single year. We get really excited and think that we will be able to do everything that we always wanted to do in one year just because we wrote it down on a piece of paper. Sometimes, it’s because we get lazy or the list was a bit unrealistic or way too lengthy. But let’s be honest, maybe the reason you didn’t follow through with your resolutions isn’t because they were unrealistic, maybe it’s because they just weren’t worth keeping. But here is a resolution that you can and should keep: stand firm and work. For us to be effective Christians in this world, we must have a strong faith in Christ and a firm foundation of what it means to be a Christian. We are to be the light of the world, but if you aren’t seeking Christ and growing in Him, you’re practically a wet match in a damp cave…not very useful. Seek the Lord in this next year with zeal and fervor so that you can stand firm in the face of trial and uncertainty. He will make you strong as you seek His face. Christian, in this next year, pull up your sleeves and work. People are going to hell and hearts are becoming hardened and we need to try as hard as humanly possible to keep people from eternal separation from Christ. Any work done for the kingdom of God whether it be leading a small group or greeting someone at church, is not work done in vain. If your work is for the Lord, you are building up treasures in heaven and you will hopefully lead people to Jesus. This life is short and the only thing that will last is what is done for Jesus.

 Pray: Lord, give me the strength to stand firm in the faith. Keep me from moving away from You and Your truth. Lord, let me work for You and Your kingdom with no hesitation and will my whole heart.

Ask Yourself: Are you standing firm in Christ or are you wavering in your faith? Are you applying His principles in your daily life, or are you shrinking back? Is your work for God’s glory or your own? Are you getting disheartened in your service to the Lord?

Apply: Stay strong! Christ is the Cornerstone, providing a firm foundation for us to thrive. Life has it’s rough patches but stand firm and know that He is God and He is stronger than anything that may be thrown at you. Plant this truth in your heart, because your work is not in vain. Commit to a resolution this year that will get you closer to God, whether it be reading through the whole Bible, joining a small group, or serving at your local church. Get involved and stay committed and He will bless your labor.