Friday, July 30, 2021

"Road of Departure"

"For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God." Psalm 18:21

Not only was the verse above the testimony of the Psalmist, it's the key to not departing from the Lord. Sadly, some have departed from the Lord going back to their old ways- Paul even addressed this in his letters to the churches. "For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:" (Philippians 3:18) He also gave a warning that in the last days some would depart from the faith. "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." (1 Timothy 4:1)

So what is this key? How do we keep from departing from the Lord? How do we continue to stay close to Him? By "keeping the ways of the Lord". His "ways" literally means- to go in His direction and follow His path. We do this through keeping His commandments and submitting to His will.

You can't obey and disobey the Lord's commandments at the same time. You can't keep His ways and your own ways at the same time. You can't follow His will and your own will both at once. His will will always take you in a different direction than the will of your own flesh. So you will either have to go in one direction or the other. Physically speaking, I can't go to the left and right at the same time. When I get in my car and start driving, I can't go north and south at the same time. I either have to drive in the direction of north or south, but not both. It's the same in dealing with our spiritual life. We can't do both- we can't go in God's direction and our own at the same time.

If you feel yourself getting further away from the Lord it is because you are not keeping His ways- you are going in another direction and that direction, since it is not His direction, is leading you away from Him. The solution is to repent, turn around, then start following His direction. You will find that when you do, you will be getting closer to Him and off the road of departure from Him.

Have a great day. Following the Lord's direction will keep us from departing from Him.

For further reading:
Proverbs 4:4; 3:1; 7:2; 5:7

Thursday, July 29, 2021

"Equipped With Strength"

"It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect." Psalm 18:32

Stop saying you are weak! Stop saying that you can't do it- that you are just too weak and don't have the strength! "Let the weak say, I am strong; strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might." (Joel 3:10; Ephesians 6:10) Yes, in and of yourself you are weak and can do nothing, but as a born again child of God you are no longer too weak to do any task that He sets before you. You are no longer too weak to stand before the enemy. Why? Because He "girdeth" you with strength. (Translated- He equips you with strength.) He equips you with the strength that you need to "run through a troop", to "stand and face your Goliath"; to "preach the gospel", to "lay aside every weight of sin that would beset you". This means that you can now do "all things through Christ which strengthens you".

We have been equipped with everything we need to live victoriously- including strength. The strength that He has equipped us with is His very own strength. It is the same strength that was in Jesus when He stood against the devil's temptations in the wilderness; when He went about doing good; when He was daily confronted by His accusers; when He humbled Himself in Gethsemane and surrendered to the will of the Father. It is the same strength that caused Him to endure the shame and the pain in order to pay the price for our sins on the cross.

We do not have to cave in to weakness because not only is His strength available to us, it is part of what He has equipped us with in order to live the life that He has called us to live. Do we have moments when we feel weak? Yes, we do. But in those times we can't give into the weakness and just stop or give up. We have to look to the One who "infuses" us with His strength and get our strength renewed. "I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency]." (Philippians 4:13- Amplified Bible) And when we go to Him for renewed strength, He promises us that we will receive it. "For my strength is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9)

If this describes you this morning, you do not have to be weak, the Lord has equipped you with His strength. And you won't be weak if you will "put on" the strength that He has equipped you with.

Have a great day. We have been equipped with the Lord's strength so we aren't weaklings.

For further reading:
Psalm 18:29; 39; 138:3
Hebrews 12:1
2 Timothy 4:17

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

"Noticeable Difference"

"As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:" 1 Peter 2:2

If you have ever watched a baby grow you have noticed that there is a transformation that takes place in them. As you watch the baby day after day you will soon see that it goes through many changes. You'll notice it putting on weight, its little legs start getting longer, its head gets bigger, its features start developing, and so on. How does this transformation take place in its little body? Does it happen by leaving the baby alone in its crib every day? Does it happen because you sit and rock it for hours at a time? Does it just automatically happen through the course of nature? No, to all of the above.

What causes the transformation in the baby's physical appearance is the milk/formula it takes in. When a baby drinks its "food', it takes in certain nutrients from that food. The nutrients that are in it are what causes the change. As those nutrients get into the muscles, organs, cells and tissues in that baby's body those nutrients start bringing about a change in its body. The more nutrients it takes in the more noticeable the change, until it no longer resembles a baby and eventually changes into an adult.

Our spiritual growth happens the same way- it comes through the "nutrients" we receive from God's word. When we take His word in, it is like taking "spiritual growth hormones". But I am not talking about just casually reading it and then being a "forgetful hearer" of what you read. I am talking about letting His word get down into your spirit and putting it into practice in your life. The putting it into practice and letting it govern your life is what brings about transformation in us. As we read the word and apply the word a transformation takes place in our spirits and there begins to be a noticeable difference in us. If we continue daily to read God's word and live our lives by it the more noticeable that difference will be. So noticeable that we will eventually come into the "measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." (Ephesians 4:13) In other words, we will come to spiritual maturity and look like Christ.

Have a great day. Our spiritual growth comes from the nutrients we receive from God's word.

For further reading:
James 1:22,25
1 Corinthians 3:1-3
Hebrews 5:14

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

"You Are Not Too Bad"

"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief." 1 Timothy 1:15

In sharing the good news of Jesus' love, salvation and forgiveness of sin, there is one attitude/belief that I encounter from people more often then others. It is the belief that they are "too bad" for God to forgive them. They hear what you are saying and they want to believe it but they can't get past something they have done. Their own heart condemns them and will not allow them to believe it. To them the message is just "too good to be true".

I remember going through this same thing. When I was a young girl, I was in a store one day and saw something that caught my attention. I didn't even know what it was, it was very tiny and didn't cost a quarter but I stuck it in my pocket. I knew I had done wrong. A few years later, the Lord began to deal with my heart to come to salvation. I went to the altar to pray and receive Jesus into my life but I could not get past the fact that I had stolen that item years before. I wanted God's forgiveness. I wanted to be saved. I wanted to give my life to Him, but that "wasn't" possible- I thought- because of what I had done. Thankfully, my cousin came to the altar, who was a Christian and older than I was, to pray with me. I could not get past the guilt of what I had done. I just knew I could never be forgiven. I shared what I had done years before with her. I remember saying these exact words to her, "But I stole something, I can't be forgiven." Again, thankfully, she knew the truth of God's word. I don't even remember what she told me, but before I got up from the altar I was convinced that God's love for me was greater than anything, or any sin that I had committed, and that Jesus died for my sins so I could be forgiven. I left the altar a brand new person- forgiven of my sins.... ALL of them.

Our own hearts will condemn us and tell us we are too bad for God's forgiveness. The devil will condemn us and tell us that we are too bad for God to forgive. But neither is true. The truth is that we are all "too bad" to be forgiven- even at our very "best". We are all sinners- no matter what we have done. Whatever you have done- you may have stolen something, you may have committed adultery, you may be a drug addict, you may be addicted to something else, you may have murdered someone. What you think is too big or too bad for God to forgive is not. The love of God covers a multitude of sins. The shed blood of Jesus at the cross can wash away every sin regardless of what it is.

Don't believe the lie that your sin is too big or you are too bad for God to forgive. Believe His word, which is- He loves you, He wants to forgive your sins, nothing you have done is too big or horrible for His forgiveness, and He is waiting for you to come to Him and receive His love and forgiveness.

Have a great day. You are not too bad for God to love, and your sin is not too big for Him to forgive.

For further reading:
John 3:16,17
Romans 5:8
1 John 3:20
Romans 3:23

Monday, July 26, 2021

"Sure Foundation"

"For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 3:11

Everyone is building their lives on some sort of foundation. It may be ambition, dreams, hopes or a wide variety of many other things. But there is only one sure foundation upon which we can build. There is only one foundation that offers lasting "support" for our lives. There is only one foundation that can stand the test of time, withstand the storms of life and remains solid. The foundation that I am talking about is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

When Jesus is the foundation of our life, that foundation is not a temporary one, it is an eternal one. It isn't a weak support, it is a strong one- we don't have to worry whether it is going to support our lives or not. This foundation will stay firm through all the storms- even tsunami size ones- that come our way. It will stand firm when "earthquakes"- those things that try to shake us to our very core- hit our lives.

If you are building your life on any foundation other than Jesus, you are building it on the wrong foundation. One day that foundation will give away and you will be left without a foundation under you. So are you going to build your life upon the one and only sure foundation, or build it on something that is faulty and temporary and hope that it will be able to support you?

Have a great day. There is only one solid foundation upon which we can build our lives-- Jesus!

For further reading:
1 Corinthians 3:10-12
Matthew 7:24-27
Isaiah 28:16
Ephesians 2:19-21