Archive for March, 2015

Daily Devotion: Be Imitators Of God

message by Wil Pounds

 

Daily Devotion: Be Imitators of God
“Be imitators of God” (Ephesians 5:1).

Those words are startling, upsetting, impossible. It is “the ultimate ideal.”

“Be imitators of God.” There can be no higher standard than that. The apostle Paul boldly tells us if we are to be like God we must imitate Him.

How is it possible for us depraved sinners to possibly imitate the sovereign LORD of the universe?

Once we get over the initial shock we realize that as children we are to imitate our parents. We should behave like them assuming they are godly role models.

Since we were born into God’s family as His legitimate children when we repented and placed our faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior, we therefore should be an imitation of God (John 1:12-13).

Let it be clearly stated that “imitating God” has nothing to do with trying to merit eternal life. It has to do with our sanctification. We are to grow in godliness. The supreme example of this idea of imitating God is in the life of Jesus Christ.

The apostle Paul used the word mimetai from which we get our English word to “mimic.” The idea is to copy closely, to repeat another person’s speech, actions, behavior and mannerisms. Paul is saying get to know your heavenly Father so you can echo His speech and behave the way He behaves.

How do we “imitate” our Father? We know that the apostle is not telling us to try to imitate God’s sovereignty. He alone is and ever will be self-existent and self-efficient. That is absolutely beyond our means. He alone is eternal, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, etc. Those are non-communicable attributes of God. He alone is God.

We are “to be imitators of God, as beloved children” (Eph. 5:1). Not childish attitudes and behavior, but as His children.

Ephesians 5:2 explains how the believer is to imitate God. We are to “walk in love.”

Jesus sacrificed His life for us. As the Good Shepherd He gave His life for the sheep (John 10:11, 15). Jesus “gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God, and our Father” (Galatians 1:4).

God took our sin seriously and He dealt with it fully in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. On the basis of that death God chose to forgive you and me (1 John 4:10; Rom. 5:8; Gal. 2:20; John 15:13; 3:16).

Christ “gave Himself up” for you and me. He surrendered Himself to death by execution for our crimes against God. He died in our stead, i.e. in our place. That is how great His love is for us.

Christians can imitate God by loving others, even to the point of death if necessary (1 John 3:16).

“We are to walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma” (Ephesians 5:2).

“Walk in love” is a constant ordering your behavior within the sphere of love. The child of God is to order his behavior within the sphere of this divine, supernatural love produced in his heart by the Holy Spirit. After a while it becomes a good habit, and we be become more and more like our heavenly Father.

Let’s be careful to note the context of the admonition. A couple of verses earlier he wrote, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (4:30). How do you grieve Him? The next verse says by bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander, and malice (v. 31). Let’s put it away from us because it causes pain, grief, and distress to the Holy Spirit of God.

We can please Him by being “kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you . . .” (4:32-5:2).

How do you please Him, rather than causing Him grief? Act the way He acts; behave the way your Father in heaven behaves; “be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Therefore, be imitators of God . . .”

How did our heavenly Father treat us? He dealt with us in kindness, compassion, forgiving. Praise God that He has not dealt with us with what we deserved. In grace He has chosen to love us and forgive us of every sin. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us of all our sins. That is love. That is how God treats us.

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children . . .” Act like the Father. Love like the Father. Forgive like the Father. Be kind to one another like the Father. “Just as God in Christ has forgiven you.” “Walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us.”

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily Devotional: Behold the Glory of God

 

Daily Devotional: Behold the Glory of God

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Behold the Glory of God

Have you beheld the glory of God?

The experience of all believers in Christ is expressed in the words of the apostle Paul, “We, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Jesus Christ came that men might see His glory and believe on Him (Jn. 20:31). At the miracle in Cana of Galilee, Jesus “revealed His glory, and His disciples put their faith in Him” (John 2:11). The disciples saw His glory during the day of His flesh, and believed that God had visited them.

“We beheld His glory.” What was it they saw? John testified, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (Jn. 1:14).

The apostle John literally says, “He pitched His tent among us.” He “tabernacled” Himself among men. John has in mind the Jewish tabernacle in the wilderness, or the portable “tent of meeting” which was the center of worship in the Hebrew nation.

The tent that housed the tabernacle was about 45 feet long and 15 feet wide, and was divided into two rooms, called the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. The Ark of the Covenant was the only piece of furniture in the Holy of Holies also called the Most Holy Place.

It is important to keep in mind that everything about the tabernacle centered on the worship of the LORD God. But it served a greater purpose of pointing to the coming of the Son of God who would pitch His tent among us so we could behold His glory and worship Him.

The tabernacle was the center of worship in the Old Testament. Today we gather around the person of the Lord Jesus Christ and worship the LORD God. “It is through Jesus alone that we have access by one Spirit unto the Father” (Eph. 2:18).

The tabernacle symbolized the dwelling place of the LORD God. The divine glory in the Holy of Holies symbolized the holy presence of God with His people.

The second person of the Trinity became a human being and “pitched His tent among us.” God became man and lived among us. In Him man could behold God’s glory.

The tabernacle was the center of Israel’s camp in the wilderness (Num. 2:17). Everything centered around it. It is highly significant that Jesus Christ “is the center of the Christian encampment. He is our gathering place,” notes Boice. Jesus said, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself” (Jn. 12:32). “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20).

The tabernacle was where the testimony of God’s self revelation was preserved. A copy of the Law of Moses was preserved in the Ark of the Covenant.

Jesus Christ came to fulfill the law completely. “Do not think that I came to abolish the law or the prophets; I do not come to abolish, but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17). He came to bring the law to full completion, perfection and give complete obedience to it. In deed, Jesus was the complete fulfillment of its type, prophecies and payment of the penalty of sin.

The apostle John saw that God had been revealed in the flesh of His unique Son and declared, “We have seen His gory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father.” Jesus replaced the ancient tabernacle of God. In His flesh He is the manifestation of God’s presence and power on earth. God meets with man today and speaks to him in the second tabernacle. Instead of a limited revelation of Himself as was given to Moses (Ex. 33:20), we have the full, revelation of God, “the exact representation” of the invisible God in His Son (Heb. 1:30.

The old tabernacle was the place where the sacrifices were made reminding the people of Israel “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin” (Heb. 9:22).

There is no other name given among men were by we must be saved (Acts 4:12). There is no salvation except through faith in the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 9:11-14). “The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin” (1 Jn. 1:7).

The perfect sacrifice of the Lamb of God was offered up to the LORD God in the tabernacle of His own flesh at the cross of Calvary. Have you put your faith in Him and beheld His gory and worshipped Him? Yes, you can “behold the glory of God” today.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily Devotion: Be Filled With The Holy Spirit

Daily Devotion: Be Filled With The Holy Spirit

 

Message By Wil Pounds

Be Filled With The Holy Spirit
The greatest need of the born again Christian is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. When we are under the control of the Holy Spirit, we will always glorify Jesus Christ. He will be exalted in our speech and in our behavior.

The apostle Paul issued an imperative command when he wrote, “Be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).

It is our duty and responsibility to be under the constant influence and control of the Spirit of God.

Paul used a verb in the imperative and issued a command that every Christian believer to be “filled with the Holy Spirit.”

Because the Christian life is a supernatural life, the only way to live it is by means of supernatural power. No one can live the Christian life in his or her own power and natural strength because we are dead in our trespasses and sins. God must empower us to live with His power. He brings us to life, and then He indwells us and enables us to live His kind of life. When we obey His command, He gives us His presence without limit. The filling of the Holy Spirit is His enabling.

It is from this divine enabling that God the Spirit produces in us love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, meekness, faith, self-control, etc. He produces in us the likeness of Jesus Christ.

Are you “under the influence?” What characterizes your life? The idea behind the word “fill” is “control.” The indwelling Spirit of God is the One who should continually control and dominate the life of the believer. The present tense calls for a habitual and continual direction. The passive could be permissive passive, “allow yourself to be…” We are commanded to be filled with the Spirit. We do not fill ourselves; the Holy Spirit does the filling!

The idea Paul has in mind is “be constantly controlled by the Spirit.” The Holy Spirit is the Agent (Gal, 5:16) and Jesus Christ is the content of the filling of the Spirit (Col.3:15).

“There is no such thing as a once-for-all fullness. It is a continuous appropriation of a continuous supply from the Lord Christ Himself. It is a moment-by-moment faith in a moment-by-moment Savior, for a moment-by-moment cleansing and a moment-by-moment filling. As I trust Him, He fills me; the moment I begin to believe, that moment I begin to receive; and as long as I keep believing, praise the Lord, so long I keep receiving,” said Charles Inwood.

When we are under the control of the Spirit of God, our thought life, imagination, volitional choices, and behavior will be occupied with Jesus Christ. When we are under the influence of the Holy Spirit, we go deeper and deeper into our understanding of the ways of God. Our communion with Christ is deeper and closer with each day. He will be constantly controlling our mind, emotions, and will.

When we are under the control of the Spirit, our prayer life is transformed, and we pray with the heart and vision of a righteous man (James 5:16).

When the Holy Spirit is in control, we are of the same mind with God. We are humble before God and man (Phil. 2:1-8).

When we are filled with the Spirit, we have the mind and thus the attitude of Christ (Phil. 2:5). We reproduce His likeness (Gal: 5:22-23).

When we are under the influence of God’s presence, nothing really matters but Jesus Christ.

When we are filled with the Spirit and therefore under His control, we live holy lives (Gal. 5:16-18).

We have all of the Spirit, but does He have all of us? Am I yielded to Him? Do I “keep on being filled”? Has this command become a blessed habit to me?

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily Devotional: Because Christ Lives

Daily Devotional: Because Christ Lives

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Because Christ Lives

God supplies all of our spiritual needs through His infinite resources. The Holy Spirit indwells us with His power; therefore, as we walk in the Spirit, we shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. As we are occupied with Christ, we are kept from sin and thus “saved by His life” (Rom. 5:10).

“He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25). This permanent priesthood of Jesus gives Him the capacity to carry His saving work to completion. He can see them through every trial and difficulty right to the end of the road “because He always lives to intercede for them.” In saying this, the author reverted again to a truth he had already enunciated (4:14-16) where he had invited the readers to avail themselves boldly of the mercy and grace accessible to them through Jesus’ priesthood.

Therefore, the living Christ is in the presence of the Father interceding on our behalf and the Holy Spirit is in our hearts bringing us to repentance, confession of sin and reconciliation with God. We are saved by His resurrection life as we walk in the Spirit.

He saves completely, forever, all who put their faith in Him. Because He is our High Priest forever, He can save forever. “Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us” (Rom. 8:34).

One day we will stand before God complete in Christ and forever saved from the presence of sin. We will be in God’s presence and will never again be tempted by sin. In the fullest possible sense we shall be “saved by His life” forever.

God has taken us out of the category as “enemies of God” and has placed us in His family as sons and daughters. Because we are no longer enemies of God and are now members of His family, Paul reasons that He is certainly going to save us from the final outpouring of His wrath on the Day of Judgment. If He has saved us while we were enemies, He will certainly keep on saving us now that we are His children. Because we are now His friends God is not going to change His mind and cast us aside. He forever remains the same. Yes, there is a “wrath to come,” but no true believer will experience it (1 Thess. 1:9–10; 5:8–10).

We rejoice in the “hope of glory of God” because our living Savior guarantees our glorification. There is much more in store for the believer. Moreover, the greatest demonstration of the power of God was displayed at the cross of Calvary when Satan and his hosts were defeated.

In our blessed union with Christ, we stand with Him on the resurrection side of death. The work of Christ for us leads to His work in us to deliver us from the power of sin. We are in this sense saved by His resurrection life. We now live in union with the risen Redeemer who died for us and rose again. Life, peace and righteousness are ours in this new life in Christ. The very life which is in Christ in glory is also ours.

It is the living Christ, through His Spirit within us, who leads us, prompts our inner being, inspires us to holy purpose and molds our character to be conformed to His image. The more we make ourselves available to Him the deeper becomes our awareness of that intimate relationship with Him. The life we live, we live by faith in the risen Christ.

Because He lives, we are eternally saved (Heb. 7:23–25).

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

 

Daily Devotion: Baptized into Christ

Daily Devotion: Baptized into Christ

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Baptized into Christ

The word “baptized” is not the translation of the Greek work in Romans 6:3-4, but a transliteration spelling it out in English letters. The word in the original language means to dip. The figurative use of the word means to take on a new identification. After I dip a white shirt into red dye I no longer refer to it as the “white shirt,” but the red shirt. It has a new identification.

The apostle Paul wrote, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?” (v. 3).

The word Baptizo in Romans six means “the introduction or placing of a person or thing into a new environment or into union with something else so as to alter its condition or its relationship to its previous environment or condition.”

Paul is referring to the act of God when He introduces a believing sinner into a vital union with Jesus Christ. In this vital relationship the power of his sinful nature is broken and the divine nature implanted through his identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. The believer’s relation to his previous state and environment is changed and he now has a new environment which is defined as being “in Christ.”

God placed us in Christ when He died so that we might share His death and thus come into the benefits of that identification with Him. We were placed in a new environment, Christ. We have a vital union with Christ. Paul declares we re “in Christ.” In our new environment in Christ we have righteousness and life. Our condition is changed from that of a sinner to that of a saint.

The Holy Spirit baptized us into Christ. He placed us in Christ in order that we might share His death and be separated from the evil nature. He also placed us in Christ in order that we might share His resurrection and have His divine life imparted to us. The Spirit of the resurrected Christ imparts to us a new quality of life. It is a new source of life that God imparts to us. It is only through this new source of life that we have the ethical and spiritual energy to live the Christian life.

Why did God do this for us? We share Christ’s resurrection in order that we may order our behavior in the power of this new life. With the power of this new power we can consistently say no to sin and yes to the indwelling Christ. We do not have to sustain the same relationship to sin that we were in the habit of before we became Christians.

“Therefore we have been buried with Him, through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (v. 4).

Water baptism symbolizes the power of the sinful nature being broken, because we are dead in Christ, and the divine power that we have in our identification with His resurrection. We have now been permanently delivered from the power of sin. God has imparted to us a divine nature, new life, spiritual birth and we can now respond to it rather than sin.

The apostle Paul commands us to live “as instruments of righteousness unto God” (Rom. 6:13). We do not do this in our strength, but in His power of the resurrection.

It is a resurrection that restores the lost image of God, in which we were created by making us to awake in the likeness of Christ. We are new creatures in Christ Jesus.

One day when Christ returns we will stand with Him with resurrected bodies in glory. Our whole nature, body, soul and spirit” will be “made alive in Christ.” And if we are in our Lord, our physical restitution is assumed to us with equal certainty with our spiritual.

We enjoy the righteousness of Christ now and on the great day of the resurrection we will be clad in the incorruptible glory of redeemed bodies (Rom. 6:9; Rev. 20:6).

We share in the resurrection power today (Cot 3:1,3). The believer cannot deliberately live in sin because we have this new relationship and identification with Christ. We have died to the old life, and have been raised up to enjoy a new life in Christ. Because we are alive in Christ we are admonished to “walk in newness of life by abiding in Christ.”

Dead in Christ—risen from the dead—alive in Christ and free to walk in the newness of His life.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Quotes On Recovery

quotes on recovery

 

Inspirational Recovery Quotes

Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.
Oscar Wilde

When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.
Helen Keller

Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action.
Benjamin Disraeli

When you have come to the edge of all light that you know and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown, Faith is knowing one of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly.
Patrick Overton

Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right’. Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.
Napoleon Hill

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift; that’s why they call it the present.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

In God’s economy, nothing is wasted. Through failure, we learn a lesson in humility which is probably needed, painful though it is.
Bill W.

You become what you think about.
Earl Nightingale

I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish He didn’t trust me so much.
Mother Teresa

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our greatest glory is not in never failing but in rising up every time we fail.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you’re not sure where you’re going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else.
Anonymous

Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.
African Proverb

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
Mahatma Gandhi

The only thing that stands between a man and what he wants from life is often merely the will to try it and the faith to believe that it is possible.
Richard M. DeVos

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
Buddha

We will find only what we look for, nothing more and nothing less.
Anonymous

If you wait to do everything until you’re sure it’s right, you’ll probably never do much of anything.
Win Borden

Experience is not what happens to a man. It is what a man does with what happens to him.
Aldous Huxley

We are either progressing or retrograding all the while; there is no such thing as remaining stationary in this life.
James Freeman Clarke

Take heed: you do not find what you do not seek.
English Proverb

“I can’t do it” never yet accomplished anything; “I will try” has performed wonders.
George P. Burnham

Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them. Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it.
Rabindranath Tagore

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm … As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands. One for helping yourself, the other for helping others.
Audrey Hepburn

We lose the fear of making decisions, great and small; as we realize that should our choice prove wrong we can, if we will, learn from the experience.
Bill W.

People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.
Zig Ziglar

So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains and we never even know we have the key.
The Eagles

Some make it happen, some watch it happen, and some say, “What happened?”
Anonymous

Holding anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.
Gautam Buddha

A difficult time can be more readily endured if we retain the conviction that our existence holds a purpose – a cause to pursue, a person to love, a goal to achieve.
John Maxwell

Even if you may be down to the worst, the best is potentially within you. You only have to find it, release it, and rise up with it. This requires courage and character, to be sure, but the main requirement is faith. Cultivate faith and you will have the necessary courage and character.
Norman Vincent Peale

And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.
Abraham Lincoln

Dreams not pursued by action are simply that, dreams with little prospect of being attained. Action taken without a plan or direction is simply that– action with little prospect of success. Tie the plan and the action together and the dreams can become reality.
Julie V. Watson

Heaven never helps the man who will not act.
Sophocles

If you’re not sure where you’re going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else.
Anonymous

Yesterday is but a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision, but today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Anonymous

There is no scarcity of opportunity to make a living at what you love; there’s only a scarcity of resolve to make it happen.
Wayne Dyer

The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you choose, what you think, and what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny … it is the light that guides your way.
Heraclitus {535-475BC Greek Philosopher}

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.
Dr. Seuss

The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart.
Helen Keller

Love is a force more formidable than any other. It is invisible, it cannot be seen or measured, yet it is powerful enough to transform you in a moment, and offer you more joy than any material possession could.
Barbara DeAngelis

What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?
Vincent van Gogh

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
Mahatma Gandhi

A man is not old until regrets start taking place of dreams.
Anonymous

The successful person has the habit of doing the things failures don’t like to do. They don’t like doing them either necessarily. But their disliking is subordinated to the strength of their purpose.
E.M. Gray

It is never too late to live happily ever after.
Anonymous

Recovery Bible Verses

Recovery Bible Verses

 

Romans 8:1
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (KJV)

Psalm 121:1-2
“I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (NIV)

2 Corinthians 12:9a
“But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (NIV)

Isaiah 41:10
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” (NLT)

Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV)

2 Corinthians 5:17
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (NKJV)

Psalm 103:12
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” ~ KJV Ad.

***We should all remember to constantly encourage each other.

Hebrews 10:25a
“Let us not give up meeting together, …but let us encourage one another.” (NIV)

1 Thessalonians 5:11
“So encourage each other and give each other strength, just as you are doing now.” (NCV)

Isaiah 43:2
“When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.” (NLT)

Isaiah 40:31
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (KJV)

Psalm 34:4,5,8 NLT
I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!

2 Corinthians 12:9
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (KJV)

Psalm 34:5
“Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” (NIV)

Psalm 34:15
The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. (KJV)

Philippians 4:6-7
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (KJV)

2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. (KJV)

John 5:14b
“See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” (NIV)

2 Thessalonians 3:3
“But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.” (KJV)

Bad News – Good News: A Grace Daily Devotional

 

Bad News – Good News: a grace daily devotional

This devotional I got permission to put on this site. It is from www.abideinchrist.com.

Bad News – Good News

One of the basic principles of sharing Christ with your friends is that you have to present some bad news before you can share the good news.

The Bible contains both bad news and good news. The bad news is that we have a very serious problem. The Bible says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NET).

The word that catches our eye is “sinned.” “All have sinned.” You can ask grammar school students what sin is and they can tell you in the flash of an eye what sin is. We sin when we lie, cheat, steal, lust, hate, gossip, murder, etc. But it is more than that; it is anything that does not glorify a holy and righteous God in our lives.

The “glory of God” is his standard for people. We keep trying to reach His standard and we come up short. A friend of mine said it is like trying to throw stones at the North Pole. No matter how hard you try you could never hit the North Pole with a rock. We always come up short when try to satisfy God’s righteousness. He is perfect, but we are imperfect. We are sinners by our attitudes, and our actions.

Now if that is not bad enough, our problem gets worse. The Bible says there is a penalty attached to our problem with sin. It is bad Benough that we are sinners, but the Bible says, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). The “payoff” of sin is death. The “wages” or “payoff” was used in reference to the soldier’s pay. “The soul that sins will surely die.” That is the payoff.

There is a big difference between working for a salary and receiving a free gift. If you work for a company your employer pays you a salary for the work you do. The Bible tells us that when we sin we earn a wage and it pays in death. It is a spiritual death that separates us eternally from God. The sad truth is we deserve it because we are sinners.

The barrier between God and us is so great that we cannot overcome it in our own power, good works, religion, philosophy, self-righteousness, etc.

However, there is some good news in God’s Word for us.

The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ died for us. “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. . . God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6, 8 NET).

This verse of Scripture tells us that Jesus Christ loved us so much that he was willing to die for us. Let’s suppose that you were guilty of murder, and the capital punishment by lethal injection is the penalty. That penalty is going to be paid. You must die. Out of grace I decide to take your punishment on myself and die in your place. You would then be set free because the penalty had been paid in full on your behalf.

The Bible tells us that is exactly what Christ did for you. Christ took your penalty that you deserve for sin, placed it upon himself, and died in your place (2 Cor. 5:21). There is no greater love than that.

The evidence that God accepted the full payment of your sin debt is that Jesus rose from the dead. The Bible says, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and thus has righteousness and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation” (Romans 10:9-10 NET).

Salvation is God’s fee gift to everyone who believes on Jesus Christ as their Savior. Again, the Bible says, “For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NET).

Jesus Christ is the only answer to the problem that separates us from God (Acts 4:12; John 14:6). This is why we must put our faith in Him alone to save us. You must put your trust in him just as you would trust a chair to hold you up and keep you from falling to the floor. You must trust in Jesus Christ to get you to heaven. Trusting in good works, religion, philosophy, keeping the law, going to church, etc. will not help. Salvation is not a wage God pays for your good behavior. It is a gift of His grace, freely given to the sinner who repents and believes on Christ to save him. When you trust in Christ alone, God gives you eternal life as His free gift.

Jesus said, “I tell you the solemn truth, the one who hears my message and believes the one who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned, but has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24 NET). Ask Jesus Christ to save you right now. Pray something like this if it comes from your heart: “Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner, and I deserve to be punished. I believe that you died for me on the cross to pay my penalty. I know that you are alive right now in heaven and that you are listening to my prayer. I trust you alone to forgive me of all my sins and give me everlasting life with you in heaven. Thank you for saving me. Amen.”

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

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