Posts Tagged ‘Christ

22
Mar
17

Husbands And Wives

The Bible calls for a special relationship between husbands and wives that sometimes creates controversy and hurt feelings. Paul says:

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. – Colossians 3:18 (NIV)

A wife is to respect her husband because she loves and submits to God first. This is God’s expectation of a wife in her relationship to her husband. Was Paul a male chauvinist pig? Not at all! In the next verse he says:

Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.  – Colossians 3:19 (NIV)

A husband who loves his wife sacrificially and unconditionally and is patient with her will find that he has a wife who respects him. The husband’s job is not to make his wife submit. The husband’s job is to love her as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). How did Jesus love the church? He died for the church. Husbands, if you are not willing to die to yourself daily for your wife, you are not loving her the way God intends for you to do.
31
Mar
16

Jesus First

Luke 8:19-21 (NIV)

Jesus’ Mother and Brothers

19 Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. 20 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.”

21 He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”

Luke 8:19-21 is one of those interesting passages that make you scratch your head and say, “What does Jesus mean?”  It sounds like He is being harsh and is rejecting His family.  He is not doing that, but is making an important point about the family of God.  Our biological ties are very important, but the ties that bind us spiritually are even more important.  Jesus made a similar point in Luke 14:26 (NIV):

If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.

Does Jesus want us to hate our parents, siblings and even our own selves?  Not at all!  Jesus wants us to love Him most.  He wants us to love God most.  Our ultimate allegiance is not to family, country or even ourselves.  Our greatest allegiance is to Jesus.  Why?  Because He suffered and died for our sake.  He gave up His very life on the cross to bring us the joy and hope of eternity.  Without Jesus we are lost.  Without Jesus we have no hope.  We have no promise of eternal life.  We are lost and dead in our sins.  Jesus wasn’t rejecting His biological family in Luke 8.  He was expanding His family to those who hear God’s Word and obey it.  If we are not willing to do put Jesus above everything in full surrender and devotion, we are not truly following Him.  Jesus has to come first.  Period.
PRAYER: Help me to put Jesus first in my life today, O Lord.  I cannot thank You enough that He put me before Himself when He went to the cross.  Give me the strength to put Him first.  In His name I ask this, amen.
21
Dec
15

Word Became Flesh

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. — John 1:1; 14 (NIV)

As the Living Word of God, Jesus was God in the flesh.  The one true God put on skin and bones and came to dwell among humans.  The Creator became like His creation.  He breathed real air and shed real tears.  He felt real pain — emotional and physical.  Imagine, the God of the universe contained in a human body.  The God who spoke the world into being humbled Himself and came to earth as a tiny baby.  That’s what Christmas is truly all about.  God becoming like us.

He could sympathize with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15, NIV).  He could feel what we feel.  He was “tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin” (Hebrews 4:15, NIV).  Why would He do such a thing?  For what reason would God choose to humble Himself and become like us?  His great love for each of us compelled Him to do it!  It was only through the one Man, the second Adam, that God could reconcile us to Himself.  It was only by sacrificing Himself that forgiveness was possible.  He had to become like us to save us.  Bulls and goats were insufficient to take away the sins of the world.  An unblemished human sacrifice could do it.  Jesus was the One who sacrificed so much for our benefit.  All because of God’s great love for His creation.  Praise be to God for His willingness to become flesh!

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for sending Your Son to become like me.  Help me today to become more like Him.  I love You and I thank You for loving me and calling me Your friend.  Amen.

13
Oct
15

The Cross’ Power

…the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. – 1 Corinthians 1:18 (NIV)

I love the Greek word for “power” in the New Testament.  It is the word dunamis.  It’s the word from which we get our word “dynamite”.  God’s mighty power is unleashed in the cross of Christ.  The world may look at Christians as though we are fools.  The world may look at Christianity and think that it is a crutch for the simple-minded.  Those who are dying in their sin may see the cross of Christ and the grace of God as foolish.  But to Christians, the cross is the dynamite God uses to blow up sin!

When we feel weak and powerless, we must remember that we have dynamite at our disposal!  The power of God that raised Jesus from the dead is the same power that dwells in us in the person of the Holy Spirit.  The power of God that conquered sin and the grave is the power in us to overcome temptation and sin.  There is no power like God’s power!  The power of the cross can overcome ANY sin and can save ANY sinner who will accept God’s gracious offer of salvation through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.  Believe (Ephesians 2:8-9), repent (Acts 2:38), confess (Romans 10:9-10) and be baptized (Acts 2:38)!  The dynamite of the cross of Christ will break the power of sin and the bonds of slavery to it.  The power of God will save you from sin and give you the promised inheritance of eternal life with Him!  Hallelujah, what a Savior!

​PRAYER: Thank You, Father, for the power of the cross of Jesus.  I cannot be saved by anything else other than Your grace applied to my faith in Him.  Today I claim the power of His cross to overcome the sins and struggles in my life.  Fill me with the power of the cross today.  Amen.

25
Aug
15

The Night Is Almost Over

The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.  The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.  Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.  Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. — Romans 13:11b-14 (NIV)

I have a friend who says something to the effect that “nothing good happens after midnight”.  And when you think about it, he’s just about right.  When there is light shining, people behave more appropriately.  When there is darkness, there are all kinds of evil.  As Christians, we are to “walk in the light, as He is in the light” (1 John 1:7, NIV).  Jesus is “the light of the world” (John 8:12, NIV).  If we are going to clothe ourselves with Him (Galatians 3:27), we must step out of the darkness and into the light of His glorious presence.  We must reject the darkness of evil and sin and instead, we have to allow Christ to shine His light into the dark places of our souls.  His light will expose everything that is evil and then it can be done away with.  May His light shine in the darkness in and through us today.

PRAYER:  Father God, help me to walk in the light today.  May I seek to live in such a way that I do not need to hide my life in the shadows of darkness.  Remind me that I am clothed with Christ by Your grace.  Remind me that I represent Him everywhere I go.  May I shine His light in the darkness today.  I praise You in the holy name of Jesus, amen.

13
Aug
15

Favoritism Divides

James 2:1-4 (NIV)
My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
We’re all equal in God’s eyes.  In the church of Jesus Christ, every believer is on the same level.  In the church, we will find people of every socioeconomic status as well as gender, race and age.  Playing favorites based on these differences must not be tolerated.
For example, the opinions of those who are wealthy should not be more highly valued than the opinions of those who are not as high on the economic ladder.  Someone of a different race or ethnicity must not be shunned because of the color of his or her skin.  A woman must not be disregarded because of her gender nor a man given preference because of his gender.  Paul said in Galatians 3:28 (NIV):

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

We are one in Christ!  Jesus died to remove the barriers that divide us.  He died to make us one in Him, just as He and the Father and the Spirit are one.
This does not mean that we can ignore our differences.   God made us different and unique.  We should celebrate our uniqueness and rely on one another’s strengths to accomplish our God-given mission to make disciples of all nations.  When we show favoritism to anyone, we deny the unifying power of the cross.  We create unnecessary hostility between classes, genders, races and generations.  Let us do away with favoritism that divides and instead, be united in Christ.
14
Jul
15

The Satisfaction Of Serving

Freedom in Christ is so hard for me.  On the one hand, I don’t want to go too far into sin and on the other hand, I don’t want to live as a slave to the law.  I don’t want to indulge my sinful nature, for as Galatians 2:20 (NIV) says, “I have been crucified with Christ…”  My sins have been forgiven and through the sacrifice of Jesus, I have been set free from the consequences of my sin.  Not only that, but I have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Christ’s very Spirit lives within me now and I, as Paul says in verse 16, must “walk by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16, NIV).  If I do that, I “will not gratify the desires” of my sinful nature (verse 16).  These two competing forces – God’s Spirit and my sinful nature – are in constant battle with one another.  I know the good I should be doing, but I don’t do it.  I know the wickedness I should be avoiding and yet it comes so naturally to me.  The habits and sins that I swear off each morning, dog me all day long.  The things I do, say and think are incompatible with the reality of the Spirit dwelling within me.  How I need His mercy and grace!
What does Paul say is the key to overcoming the sinful nature?  Love.  Loving one another as we love ourselves.  It is when we are so focused on ourselves that we indulge our sinful nature and we gratify the desires of our flesh.  There is no satisfaction in sin, only temporary gratification.  Then the guilt and shame set in as you realize what you’ve done.  Satisfaction comes from serving Christ by serving others.  If you want to be truly satisfied, you must serve God and others in love.

Galatians 5:13-18 (NIV)

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.




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