Striving to be like Jesus
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God (Ephesians 5:1-2 NLT).
Being like Jesus is an impossible task, but the rewards for trying have a wonderful outcome.
Lord, help us to be more like Jesus today than we were yesterday. Help us love and forgive others as He loves us. We pray this in His mighty and matchless name. Amen.
Sharing the Relationship
We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too (1 Thessalonians 2:8 NLT).
As Christians, sometimes we forget how important it is not only to share the gospel with people but the need to share ourselves.
God wants a relationship with each of His children, so why do we not understand that God also wants us to be in a relationship with each other?
God's perfect plan is all about having a relationship with each of us, through His Son, Jesus Christ. So my brothers and sisters, don't stop at just sharing God's glorious good news with people. Go farther, share yourself and your life with them.
Father God, help us to be bold and stand tall on Your Word. Help us to proclaim the gospel from the byways and highways, from the valleys to the mountain tops. Help us, Father, to never back down from Your truth. In the mighty and matchless name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20 NLT).
Every one of us has a sinful nature. We are broken people, living in a broken world. Some of us realize that we need Jesus quicker than others. Some of us think we know Jesus, but we aren't living as we do. Some of us are determined to do it “our way.”
I'm thankful that my “old self” died on the cross with Christ. Christ lives in me now, and I do my best to glorify His name. But many times I also fail miserably at that attempt. I'm not perfect, by any means, but I know the One who is and He died for me so that my sins would be washed away. I am talking about All Sin, from my past, present and future sins. He died for your sin, too.
We can't out-sin the grace of God.
That said, we have to note this fact: IF we are living with Jesus in our lives, and when we slip up and make sinful mistakes, then the Holy Spirit brings conviction which should bring us to repentance.
Repentance asks for forgiveness of our sin and then doing our best not to return to that sin. In John 8: 1-11, Jesus addresses sin, repentance, and forgiveness. The story about the prostitute whom He rescued from the sure death at the hands of her accusers illustrates this. After saving her from death, Jesus told her to “go and sin no more”.
If we are living in continued sin, we must do a soul check on ourselves and see if we find Christ. The dark side of unrepentant sin cannot co-exist with Christ.
The good news is that when we have Christ, we will do our best not to sin, but when we mess up (and we will), we have a Savior that died for that sin.
Lord God, thank You for Your ultimate sacrifice for our salvation. It's in Your Holy Name that we pray. Amen.
Do God's Work, Our Time is Short
Then David continued, “Be strong and courageous and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work related to the Temple of the Lord is finished correctly" (1 Chronicles 28:20 NLT).
I don't know about you, but I sure needed to read this Scripture today. It seems the older I get, the more that I'm aware of my aging body. I also become more aware of the fact that I'm closer each day to the end of my life on this earth and closer to my heavenly rewards. I don't mean to be morbid here, it's just the fact that when we take our first breath, we will also have a final breath on this earth. I think everyone at my age begins to realize we are mortal and there is an end to our lives here. As Scripture says, “A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest” (Ecclesiastes 3:2).
My point in the devotion today is that we have a short time on this earth. God has granted us with much more than we deserve. He created us to be a vessel for His glory. We know time is short, albeit, we don't have a clue to when our lives might end. This makes it more urgent than ever before to make disciples of all people, to share the gospel with everyone we meet. We must let them know that Jesus loves them, and He desires them to be part of His kingdom. We don't have to “preach” the message, we should just show the gospel in how we live and what we do.
God has blessed us. What are you doing to bring others to the good news of an eternity in heaven?
Dear Lord, help us to be bold, courageous and strong. Help us to not be afraid or discouraged. Lead us, Lord to those who need to see the love of Jesus in their lives. ask and pray in the mighty name of my King and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
God Releases His Great Light
The people who walk in darkness will see a great light.
For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine (Isaiah 9:2 NLT).
A great light shone upon the people, but many did not see it. They were so busy living in their brokenness and sin, they didn't notice there was a Light available to illuminate their path.
The reason they didn't see the Light of the World was that they didn't want to see it. They didn't want to seek that Light. Jesus said, “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you (Matt. 7:7).
But many people did see that Light and found a life that is far better than can be described by human understanding. That Light is found by faith. That Light lives today. That Light is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Open your eyes, lost children, the great Light is among us. Seek Him, knock on His door. It is promised that if we seek, we will find, and if we knock, the door will be opened. Do it and change your life, in the present situation and for eternity.
Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life” (John 8:12 (NLT).
Thank You, Lord God, for saving us from ourselves. In Jesus' mighty and matchless name. Amen.
The Key to a Long Marriage
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” (Galatians 5:22-23 NLT).
I feel after 43 years of marriage, this is the key to success. No, it hasn't been easy, but when things were going bad, I can reflect that it was because we weren't living this Scripture.
May each of you read and place these verses in your heart. Not only for dealing with marriage issues, but also in dealing with fellow man. May God bless each of your marriages as He has blessed ours – with more love for each other even as our love grows for God.
Dear Lord, etch these verses in our hearts. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Silence is not Golden
But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea (Matthew 18:6 NLT).
"Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
If we lead people into an area of their lives that causes them to stumble and fall, we are going to be held accountable by God. Our leading people astray might be by our actions or it could be because of our inaction. When we know people struggle with a particular sin, don't be an enabler to them by telling them it's okay, or for that matter, not speaking up and telling them the truth.
I especially call out to pastors on this matter. If you call yourself a pastor, you had better be preaching the entire counsel of God and not just the feel-good parts that people want to hear. Each of us needs to be reminded that God's standard is exact, and there aren’t any gray areas. What God's Word says is the truth. For a pastor to not speak this truth to their congregations is, in effect, being silent. No, it's not fun to tell people the truth about what is destroying their lives, but it is what we are called to do.
The way we deliver the truth is a consideration. We must do it in the love of Jesus Christ, but we must be frank and to the point. We will be, at times, hated and persecuted for speaking God's truth, but we can know that the argument that the persecutors have is really with God and not with us. We, pastors and Christ-followers, must make sure that we know what God's Word says, so we will be informed and ready to answer when the attacks come.
Sin is sin, and God hates the sin that destroys His children's lives. We also should hate that sin and help our brothers and sisters. I know it's an overused statement, but "Love the sinner and hate the sin." Even so, we must remember what R.C. Sproul tweeted about how God doesn’t send just the sin to hell. We must share the full gospel in love and truth. Thank you, Lord God, for your inerrant Word. It's perfect and is our road map to life. Amen.
Dear Father God, help our church leaders speak Your truth. Let them not sugar coat Your Word. Let them stand firm in delivering Your message without fear. Let them speak Truth, with Your love. In Jesus' way and His mighty name. Amen.
Written by Rob Gardner. This is part of an ongoing series of weekly devotionals appearing on The Stand.