Sunday, December 17, 2017

A Sign of Spiritual Maturity

The book of James is so practical. It gives us so many commands and insights to help us live the Christian life well. James said that the tongue is a fire, and no one can tame the tongue. Of course, he was saying that no human being can tame the tongue, but God can tame anything. Then, he said that we all stumble, but if we do not stumble in what we say, we are perfect, or mature, so that we can bridle the whole body, as well. (James 3:2) This is a fabulous lesson for every believer.

Many Christians have not learned how to allow the Holy Spirit to empower them to bridle their tongues. In fact, many think that is impossible, so they do not try. They simply try not to do too many sinful things with their bodies. However, they will fail in that, too, because they must know how to allow the Spirit to empower them for that, as well. Therefore, James says, if we learn how to tame the tongue by God's power, we can tame the whole body. That makes the tongue the gauge of our spiritual maturity. If we are able to bridle the tongue we are spiritually mature enough to bridle the whole body. So let's start with the tongue, submit it to the Lord for Him to tame, and then, let's give every part of our bodies to Him, so we can live the Christian life as He desires.

Tomorrow, I intend to read James 4-5 and I Peter 1.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Continual Praise and Thanksgiving

God is very specific in His Word about the importance of praise and thanksgiving. Basically, we are to be praising Him and giving thanks to Him all of the time, not just on Sundays or special occasions. (Hebrews 13:15) It is much easier when we have clean hearts that are set on Him all of the time, but it is a challenge for all of us with our busy lifestyles. It is definitely something we must intentionally cultivate and make a priority, because of the impact it makes on us and on others.

The Bible says we are to enter God's presence with thanksgiving and praise. We should do that every day, as we have our special time set aside to speak with Him and to seek His will. We are to worship Him with praise and thanksgiving, whenever we worship. That is through singing, and through every part of worship. Then, there are the times when we should praise Him as we go through our day, as a witness to others, and as a reminder to ourselves of how wonderful He is and how many times He blesses us. Praise and thanksgiving keep us on track, even as we pray about our burdens. We should have a heart of thanksgiving about Him during our greatest trials. That is the attitude of heart God blesses. I hope we all can see how important it is to continually thank and praise the Lord with our lips each day.

Tomorrow, I intend to read James 1-3.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Love and Good Deeds

The writer of Hebrews explains so well how Jesus is our High Priest, and we can be assured of our salvation when we trust Him. However, that is just the beginning of the Christian life. When we are saved we enter the long race of the Christian life. It takes perseverance, as we continue to trust Jesus every day. In fact, we hold on to our faith without wavering, and we go on to grow in love and good works. It is not enough for us to grow in the Lord, we are to stimulate other believers to love and good deeds, too. (Hebrews 10:23,24) How are we doing running our race?

Faith in Christ is not a one time thing, just to ask Him to forgive our sins. He is Lord, so when we trust Him, it is forever. Those who are truly saved hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering. That does not mean we are perfect, or we never have any doubts. It means we never give up trusting the Lord and having our hope in Him alone. Then, as we hold on, we grow in our love for one another and all people, so that we do good deeds to glorify the Lord and serve Him. That is why we are commanded to help the other believers do the same thing. We all need encouragement in our Christian life. The church exists to build up each other and to go out to share the gospel. Let's do it faithfully every day.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Hebrews 11-13.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Saved Forever by Jesus

When we have our sins forgiven by trusting Jesus as Lord and Savior, we call it being saved. We are delivered from our sins. We are saved from Satan's clutches, and we are safe in the arms of Jesus. However, some believers are not sure they are secure in their salvation. Jesus wants us to know we are saved forever once we trust Him in repentance and faith. (Hebrews 7:25) He does not want us to worry about it, but to know He is watching over us all of the time.

Jesus is able to save us forever, because He is our High Priest who gave the sacrifice of Himself for our sins. God, the Father, accepted that perfect sacrifice, and He raised Jesus from the dead. Then, Jesus ascended back to heaven, where He is seated at the right hand of the Father, ever making intercession for us who believe. Since Jesus is an eternal High Priest for us, and since He ever lives to intercede for us to the Father, He can and does save us forever, once we draw near to Him in faith. There is no possible way Satan could ever devise a way to overcome Him and reverse our salvation. We are secure in Jesus forever.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Hebrews 8-10.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Source of Our Confidence

God does not want us to be confident in ourselves and our own abilities. We are fallible human beings. We are always subject to failure. Our confidence is to be in the Lord and His perfect power. However, we have even more reason to be confident in our prayers and our ability to do God's will. Our confidence stems from our High Priest, Jesus. Christmas is when we celebrate His incarnation, as He entered this world as a baby born in a manger. Then, He lived and died for us that we might be saved from our sins. Because of Him, we can approach God's throne with confidence knowing God will hear us and apply His grace to our lives for every situation of life. (Hebrews 4:15,16) Let me briefly explain these important verses.

Jesus came to earth to take on human flesh, so He could die and rise again for our sins. However, He also lived a sinless life. He was tempted in every way that we are tempted yet He never sinned. Therefore, He understands by experience all we go through. He is now seated at the right hand of the Father. We pray in His name, as He is our Savior and our High Priest. Then, He takes our petitions to the Father, with His understanding of our situations and His love for us, translating them to the Father. That means we can go to God's throne of grace with confidence, knowing He will get the message fully from our High Priest who knows our weaknesses and who knows just what we need. Then, He gives us just the guidance and help we need for each trial and need. Therefore, Jesus is the Source of our confidence before God and in God.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Hebrews 5-7.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Washing of Regeneration

Salvation is a remarkable gift from God. When He sees our humble repentance for our sins and our faith in Jesus as Lord, He bestows this great gift on us by His grace. He accomplishes our salvation my the power of the Holy Spirit to wash us from our sins and our past life and to renew us as new creations in Christ. (Titus 3:4,5) That is the greatest transformation possible for any person, and it enables us to follow Christ into having the abundant life.

The washing of regeneration does not mean we become perfect. It is like a new baby being born into this world. One of the first tasks is to wash the baby. Well, we we are regenerated or born again by the Spirit, He washes us as new babes in Christ. We get a new, fresh start on life without the baggage of sin. We are renewed, so that we are not destined to think according to the ways of this world, but we can seek the Lord, know His mind, and live in righteousness before the Lord, as we listen to Him and obey Him. What a fabulous gift which is available to all of us because of the kindness and mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Hebrews 2-4.

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Blessed Hope

I am not sure very many people today know what we are talking about when we refer to "the blessed hope." That is a Biblical way to refer to the second coming of Jesus Christ. For those who believe the Bible teaches that Jesus will "rapture" the church out of the world before the 7 years of the Tribulation," it is a reference to the rapture. In any case it is a blessed event that should bring us great hope, as we expectantly look forward to being with the Lord Jesus in heaven. (Titus 2:13) What could be any better than that?

My experience has been that many believers are not ready to go to heaven or to meet Jesus, mainly because they are focused on living here for as long as possible. They enjoy their families and the things of this world so much that thinking about being with God in the Most wonderful place is not a blessed thought for them. Others fear standing before the Lord, so they want to put it off in hopes they will do better for the rest of their lives. No matter the reason, if we are not looking for the blessed hope and appearing of Jesus, we are not living in the attitude Paul instructed Titus and other believers to have. When we long for heaven, it gets our minds and hearts on the things above, not the things here. That causes us to focus on the eternal things, instead of the temporary things. Also and most importantly, it gives us a sense of urgency about how we live and how we share the truth with others. I pray that all of us would live every day looking for the blessed hope, staying ready to see Jesus face to face. It could happen today.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Titus 3, Philemon, and Hebrews 1.