Sunday, October 30, 2016

Not Ashamed

Psalm 34:1-5, Contemporary English Version:

I will always praise the Lord.  With all my heart, I will praise the Lord.  Let all who are helpless, listen and be glad.  Honor the Lord with me!  Celebrate His great name.  I asked the Lord for help, and he saved me from all my fears.  Keep your eyes on the Lord!  You will shine like the sun and never blush with shame.

 I have led a life that is far from perfect.  I have sinned, sometimes unintentionally, and sometimes deliberately.  I've had experiences that filled me with intense shame.  But even the worst of it all fades away when my eyes are fixed on Him.  When my gaze is steadily on Him, His glory and holiness and the love He has for me over-rides my own perceptions and beliefs, and I see myself as He sees me.  I am redeemed, chosen, called.  I am his child.  And most of all, I am loved.

People can tell when I've got my eyes fixed on Him.  When my attention is on God, and His love for me, my face changes.  During those times, I get told repeatedly by others that I look so good, that they can tell I'm doing well.  When my gaze shifts, and I'm looking at the world or myself, people ask me what's wrong.  It's a spiritual principal with natural, tangible, visible evidence.

Where is your attention?  Where are your eyes fixed?  How can you tell?

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Friday, October 21, 2016

I'm Alive

Ephesians 2:1-10, NIV

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts.  Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.  But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

This passage means so much to me.  I don't know about anyone else, but I know that I personally slip into legalism sometimes.  I'll do something I shouldn't do, or I'll neglect something I should do, and I'll start to feel un-saved.  It's just a feeling, but I know that if I don't counter it with scripture, it will take root in my heart, invade my thoughts, and if it continued unchecked, I would convince myself I was no longer saved at all.  My salvation causes obedience.  Obedience does not cause my salvation. 

What distortions do you battle in your own life, and what scripture do you use to contradict them?

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Friday, October 14, 2016

It's Not About Me

I have a confession to make:  I have been chugging along, moving through life, and slowly, a lie has crept in.  That lie?  "I have sinned, therefor I am no longer blameless in God's eyes."  Yes, that lie really did try to find a place in me.  I wasn't aware of it; I just knew I had a vague discomfort and lack of trust.  It's only been through reading my Bible that that lie has become clear. 

Two verses really spoke to me, and are what made it clear to me that I've let an untruth start to take root.  1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 says,

God Himself - the God of peace - has sanctified me through and through.  My whole spirit, soul, and body will be kept blameless at the coming of my Lord Jesus Christ.  The one who calls me is faithful, and He will do it.
Did you catch that?  God Himself has sanctified me.  Not me.  It's not my works, it's His.  Don't let the devil sneak in and alienate you from God who loves you.  Don't be ashamed; be bold.  Know that HE will do it.

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