Sunday, June 30, 2013
Hebrews 10:36 WEB
For you need endurance so that, having done the will of God,
you may receive the promise.
Promise #181: If you persist and do My will, you will receive what I have promised.
The KJV Bible says that we need patience, the NLT Bible says that we need patient endurance. The NIV Bible says that we need to persevere. In Hebrews 12:1-2, we are called to run the race uniquely marked out for each one of us. In light of eternity, it might be just a sprint. However, in the grind of daily life, it mostly feels like a marathon race that we are running.
That is why the writer of Hebrews encourages us to keep on persisting to do the will of God in order that we might receive all that He has promised. We know that we could never do anything to earn or deserve the free gift of grace that God has given us in Jesus Christ. So I do not believe that this Scripture is referring to self effort or human works.
Jesus told us that the work that God requires is that we believe on the One He sent. I believe that God is saying that if we will just believe in Him and obey His leading, that we will receive all that He has promised in His Word. So don't lose hope, don't give up! God's promise is true for both me and you! Keep running your race!
Saturday, June 29, 2013
2 Timothy 4:8 WEB
From now on, there is stored up for me the crown of righteousness,
which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day;
and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved his appearing.
Promise #180: There is a crown of life waiting for everyone who loves My Son.
The Apostle Paul is nearing the end of his life when he makes reference to his spiritual son, Timothy. He boldly proclaims that there is a crown of life/righteousness that is stored up in heaven for him that God Himself will place on his head on that special day.
He also says that there is not only a crown waiting for himself, but for all those who love the Lord Jesus Christ and look forward to His appearing. That makes me wonder if there is a literal crown prepared for each one of us that is in some heavenly storage case waiting to be presented on the day of Christ's appearing.
It is comforting for me to know that one day, I will stand before my God and Father and beside my elder brother, Jesus Christ, when the crowns will be handed out. Imagine what it will feel like to have the King of kings place a crown on your head that will never fade? While I have no ability to process such a glorious thought, it does cause my spirit to rise up in anticipation for that amazing day.
Saturday, June 22, 2013
Matthew 5:9 WEB
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.
Promise #173: I will bless the peacemakers and call them My children.
How do you think a father feels when he sees his children are fighting with each other in his home? As a father myself, I know how grieved I have felt when I have seen my children not getting along. A father's heart is for peace and harmony for his kids.
When I think of this promise, I am encouraged that there is a blessing for us when we love peace and we do everything within our power to live at peace with all those around us. Sometimes it is simply not possible, but as far as it is within our control, may we be a people that love peace. In today's promise, we read that the children of God will be peacemakers.
Since we have been made one with Jesus and one of His names is the Prince of Peace, may we love to bring peace wherever we go. May we be dispensers of peace in places of turmoil. May the peace that passes our understanding guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.
Friday, June 21, 2013
Romans 2:4 WEB
Or do you despise the riches of his goodness, forbearance, and patience,
not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
Promise #172: My goodness will lead you to a change of heart.
I love this promise. Romans 2:4 basically says it is the very goodness of God that leads people to repent. Many times, when we think of repentance, we think of it as a shame based response to some form of judgment in our lives. But really, it means to go in another direction or to change our mind.
When Jesus said, 'Repent for the kingdom is near', He was calling people to go in a new direction, a new way of thinking where they would know the truth and the truth would set them free. For too long, the word repentance has had far too many negative connotations.
There may be a place for a fire and brimstone, or a turn or burn message in the proclaiming of the gospel. But there is also a place when we simply proclaim God's goodness and His love and the result is that people will respond by going in a new direction... towards their loving Father through Christ. I believe that it is the love of God that will cause people to truly repent. In John 4:19, it says...We love because He first loved us.
God loved us while we were still His enemy. I believe it is the love of the Father that will melt the hearts of humanity and draw each one into His bosom through the free gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. It is our Papa's goodness that will lead us to change our minds and go in a new direction.
When I think of this promise in this light, it changes the way I see evangelism. It is the goodness of our heavenly Father that will cause the biggest transformation in a person's heart.
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Isaiah 61:3 WEB
to appoint to those who mourn in Zion, to give to them a garland for ashes,
the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
that they may be called trees of righteousness,
the planting of Yahweh, that he may be glorified.
Promise #170: I will give you a garment of praise in exchange for your spirit of heaviness.
Isaiah 61 is full of amazing promises from God that were fulfilled when Jesus came to the world two thousand years ago. Verse 3 alone contains at least 4 promises that we could take all day to talk about! But in this devotional, I will stick to the promise where God says that He will give us a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.
Many of the translations that I studied agree with the KJV that God promises a garment (or mantle) of praise for a spirit of heaviness (or despair - NIV). The Amplified version describes the spirit of heaviness as 'a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit' that God wants to lift off of us.
We all get discouraged. We all despair at times. Some of us struggle with this more than others. It is part of the human condition. I am thankful that modern medicine has helped us to better understand issues surrounding depression. Through the wisdom that God has provided, there are many helpful medical solutions to treat these issues. We need to be wise and continue to follow our doctor's advice if we are being treated for such a condition.
But what about those instances in life where a fearful thought or a discouraging thought makes us feel heavy and burdened? What can we do to combat these negative thoughts that come from the enemy of our soul? In today's promise, we read that God will give us a garment of praise in exchange for our spirit of heaviness.
I am not sure how it works for other people, but for me, when I take my eyes off my circumstances and begin to praise God, then I seem to get a new perspective on things. All of a sudden, my eyes are fixed upward rather than inward and my outlook on the problem starts to change.
My prayer today is that we would all see the bigness and greatness of our God and Father. I pray that we would all receive a supernatural perspective from heaven itself and the result would be that God would clothe us with a garment of praise in exchange for a spirit of heaviness.
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