Message: Merely Preferable?

For centuries Christians held the Bible in high esteem and feared (in a healthy way) the Holy Scriptures. Every little fragment of the word of God was preserved down to the finest detail for perfect accuracy. This mindset was far more common in previous generations, but in recent times things have changed. Jump forward in time to our present postmodern world, and you have a general disregard for Scripture among the majority of people. In most circles today, the Bible is simply a great book of suggestions from God to live the best life possible. But these circles would never dare to say that the Scriptures have divine right to rule and control your life. Here lies the big question of this devotional… are the commands laid forth in Scripture merely something God prefers? Or are they here to direct and rule our lives?

What you believe regarding the answer to this question changes your life dramatically. If the Scriptures are simply something God prefers, then you have the right to pick and choose what listen to. However, if the Scriptures have authority to rule your life, then no matter what you come in contact with in your study, you must bring your life into alignment with the word of God.

Date: March 13th, 2012
Subject: The Bible’s Authority
Approximate Runtime: 23 Minutes
Message: Merely Preferable? – Morning Devotional 3-13-12

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Message: Nothing of Myself

In the book of John there are many fascinating parallels between how Jesus lived His life in relation to the Father, and how we’re called to live our lives in relationship to Jesus. This devotion covers in a small way, the important and high calling of living a life that is completely given to Jesus Christ. As Christians we’re called to be so given to the life of Christ, that what He is doing, becomes what we’re doing. The only things that should be flowing out of the Christians life is that which Jesus is doing. The calling is high, and each of us must come before the Lord and let Him point out what must change in order for us to fulfill this calling.

Date: March 6th, 2012
Subject: Our Relationship With Jesus
Approximate Runtime: 22 Minutes
Message: Nothing of Myself – Morning Devotional 3-6-12 

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The Motive Behind What We Do

Think.

Simple isn’t it? How hard could it be to think? Well apparently by looking at the world around (and even at our own lives) the argument could be made that we don’t think enough. Many times we go through our daily routines and our weekly church activities without even stopping to think why we’re dong what we’re doing. Sounds simple I know, but we simply don’t realize how much we’ve let a numb mind creep into the church, where we mindlessly go through the motions of prayer, study, and worship. If we don’t have intentionality in what we do, we likely won’t be glorifying God through it.

The following devotional was given at Ellerslie Leadership Training on January 30th, 2012.

Date: January 30th, 2012
Subject: The Christian’s Motives
Approximate Runtime: 21 Minutes
Message: The Motive Behind What We Do – 1-30-12 

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Wherever Christ Leads

Christ has a calling on your life… have you ever thought of that? The very King of the universe has a calling upon your life. You have been offered life eternal if only you will deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Christ. (Luke 9:23) And the question must be asked, are you willing to go wherever Christ leads, no matter where that might be?

Do you know where Christ wants you? Are you seeking His will? Sometimes there’s a temptation to not seek Christ’s direction because we’re afraid of what He might ask of us. But remember, as stated in last weeks post we are to be “Living Martyrs”. It’s critical that we get to the point where we can say along with Paul that “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:” (Galatians 2:20a)

Our life must belong to Christ, and if our life belongs to Christ, then what He wants is what we must do. That means wherever Christ leads we go… it doesn’t matter if it isn’t a “wise” choice in the worlds eyes, for we don’t live by the worlds standards, we live by faith in the Son of God. It certainly isn’t an easy road to follow Christ, but although it may be narrow, it leads to life! (Matthew 7:14)

So here’s the question, will you go wherever Christ leads?

This is a question that must be pre-decided upon, because it can’t be something that is based on feelings or the emotions surrounding a situation. If you’re a follower of Christ it’s very likely that you’ll eventually be called to do something that you aren’t naturally comfortable with. This is why it’s so important to be a “Living Martyr”, you can’t be getting in the way of what Christ wants to accomplish through you.

I’ll conclude with this statement from Paul, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1) We have the privilege of giving ourselves to the calling of our Lord, to follow wherever He leads. But it would be an ugly sight to behold something half sacrificed on the alter to the Lord with the other half trying to cling to it’s own right to decide where to go. So where do you stand? Have you given your life completely to the will of God? or are you half on the alter and half off, flailing about trying to filter what you do with what God’s asked of you?

Are you ready to go wherever Christ leads? It’s a decision that must be made.

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The Living Martyr

At first glance, the title of this post seems to be somewhat of an oxymoron, because you generally don’t see the words “living” and “martyr” in the same sentence. For a martyr is someone who dies for their religion or belief; and yet the title is “The Living Martyr”… why is that?

Here is the reason, in John 12:24-25 Jesus says, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.”

There’s a misconception floating around implying that dying to yourself and your old way of being is optional. But listen to these words of Jesus very carefully, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” (Luke 9:23-24) It’s clear that this idea of dying to oneself is not optional, but actually mandatory in order to follow Christ.

There’s no way around it, everything we are naturally is at enmity with this Holy God. If we want to follow Jesus Christ we must die to ourselves. When God calls on us, we can’t have any hindrance of ourselves impeding on the calling that God is bringing us to. But if we have not died to ourselves, we (still being in control of our lives instead of Jesus) will hesitate, stutter, and ultimately only respond in what we’re comfortable with. But, if we can say along with Paul, “I die daily”, then we’re taking the first step in being useful to God. For now we’re moving past ourselves and into the realm of Christ.

Arriving at this place of death for ourselves at first glance seems sad if you’re looking at yourself. But if you take your eyes off yourself and behold Jesus and all that He is, you’ll see that sacrificing your life for Him is really no loss for you, but complete gain! Trust that being regenerated by the living God himself is worth the sacrifice of yourself, even though it will likely bring temporary discomfort. In order to go through this process and be transformed, we’ll need to continually rely on the enabling power of the Holy Spirit to work in us this change. But don’t be afraid of the process, for although it’s uncomfortable for the “old man”, the “new man” in Christ will be leaping spiritual hoops of joy in this new found life that is in Christ!

To become a living martyr for Jesus Christ, every area of your life must be opened up for examination and given to God. Nothing in your life can be held with clenched fists, it all belongs to Christ now. This includes (but is not limited to), your time, money, family, friends, relationships, reputation, abilities, dreams, desires, possessions, and career. Nothing can be held back from Christ, for remember, we must die to ourselves daily. This life is not ours to hold on to, it’s been bought with a price by Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 6:20), and we must give it up in order for him to receive the reward of His suffering.

May we be living martyrs, not taking a single thought for our lives, but rather, laying our lives down as an offering unto our Savior daily.

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Glory to God in All of Life

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
– 1 Corinthians 10:31

Is God simply wanting us to surrender our big decisions to Him, or is there more to the Christians life in bringing glory to God? Many times we look at the big things in our lives such as our career or family, and think that is what God’s after in our lives. It can be easy to overlook the small things in life and miss the significance it can hold in glorifying God with our lives.

For example, the way you take care of your home is an avenue that can bring glory to God. Simple things like making your bed and doing the dishes with excellence showcases attributes of God such as decency, honor, and respect for those around you.

Eating may also be done to the glorification of God by being appreciative and respectful in your manner. This can be an area where you can showcase great self-control and moderation, as you don’t over indulge on your appetite. You may also go the extra mile and not eat (or cook) a certain kind of food when you know that another person at your table is trying to cut back or eat healthier.

Everyday conversations can lift high the name of Christ or discount it, simply by the manner in which you treat others through your words. Even if the name “Jesus, or God” isn’t explicitly stated, you can still be an avenue in which Christ shines through.

Although these are seemingly small areas of life, know that we as Christians are called to do ALL to the glory of God. We aren’t here for us, we’re here for Christ, and this attitude of  surrender in every little (and big) thing in our life must be for the glory of God. Take some time today and prayerfully come before God with your life, surrendering the small and the big alike unto Him for His glorification. May He receive the glory that is due His name! You never know who will take notice of the little things you do (or don’t do), but one thing must remain, even if no person notices what you do, this must remain an offering of your life before the Lord. We don’t do this for the applause of others, but for the glory of God. May you be richly blessed as you press further towards Christ in every area of life!

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Only One Life

In the past week and a half, I’ve heard from friends about two car accidents that killed a total of five people. Both accidents involved alcohol, and in both cases, lives were lost. I knew two of the people personally and I’m sure they didn’t enter into the car that fateful night expecting it to be their last here on earth. Now their lives are over, and nothing can be changed about the choices that were made here on earth.

It’s the same with us, our lives could be over at any minute, and the choices we make now cannot be reversed.

In the light of these two tragic events, I wanted to share this writing from a great missionary in the past, C.T. Studd.

Only One Life
By C.T. Studd (1860-1931)

Two little lines I heard one day, Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart, And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one, Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet, And stand before His Judgment seat;
Only one life,’ twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice, Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave, And to God’s holy will to cleave;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years, Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its days I must fulfill, living for self or in His will;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore, When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way, Then help me Lord with joy to say;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep, In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife, Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn, And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone, Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, “twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one, Now let me say, “Thy will be done”;
And when at last I’ll hear the call, I know I’ll say ’twas worth it all”;
Only one life,’ twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

 

How true are these words from C.T. Studd! You will make countless decisions on how you’ll spend your days here on earth, in light of this reality, remember, “Only one life, ’twill soon pass, Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

Ask yourself this question, if your life were to end today, would Christ be glorified by the life and memories you left behind? May we live in such a way that exalts and lifts high the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ. It’s for His glory and His renown!

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