Sunday, July 21, 2019

Jesus is My Sabbath

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

In the Law of Moses, the Sabbath Day was not only an observance, but a message God was communicating to His children; they were to find their true sustenance in Him, and not from the labor of their hands. God was their Provider, and He Himself was their Rest. All the promises of God were theirs as they believed, obeyed, and "entered in" to the fullness of His lovingkindness toward them. Sadly, they never came to understand what the Sabbath represented, because they did not hear or walk by faith. They preferred their ways over God's way, and we know where that led -- death.

The same choice is before believers today. Have you chosen to surrender all to God in Jesus Christ, or are you still trying to earn God's love and favor? Truly, the Father has placed everything He cares for in the hands of His Son Jesus, and He is the only way to receive anything at all from heaven. All our striving is an offense to the Lord, no matter how sincere. Jesus finished the work God gave Him to do, so our work is finished in Him. To believe God is to have the assurance of knowing that everything God requires has been satisfied in Christ, and therefore, He is satisfied with all those who trust in Christ. So, let your anxieties go, and enter into God's rest in Jesus Christ. He is the true Sabbath, the Rest of God.

Let's Pray
 - Father I find my rest and refreshment in Jesus today. He is my Sabbath rest every day of the week. Amen.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

To Kill a Spider

The spider skillfully grasps with its hands, and it is in kings’ palaces. (Proverbs 30:28)

Our lives are to be testaments to the saving and sanctifying power of our God and Savior, and our bodies are rightly called the temple of the Holy Spirit. We are the dwelling place of the Most High, and He expects us to do all He instructs to keep our hearts clean and suitable for His habitation. Yet, even in the most pristine, finely appointed and decorated rooms (hearts), one may find a spider on the ceiling or the wall. The spider is there without invitation, unwelcome, and dreaded indeed! But, there it is, and we are wise and prudent to put away our dread and rid the room of the spider, whatever it takes. This is a picture of the life and work of even the loveliest Christian. We must have a fierce and deadly attitude when it comes to dealing with the sin that seems insignificant and seeks to go unnoticed, while dwelling comfortably among the beautiful furnishings appointed by God.

Our enemy is ruthless and willing to take whatever ground we allow. Like a spider, he will silently weave his web. If we are not more determined than he is, Satan will make himself comfortable, and he will eventually be a nuisance and a snare to us. May the Lord give us understanding and determination in these matters.

Let's Pray - Lord, teach me and give me the courage to do everything necessary to live a holy life. May I offer You a clean heart to live in each day. In Jesus, Amen.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Last and First

Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called? If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. (James 2:5-10)

James is not saying it is a sin to be rich, but saints must first be rich toward God. Material wealth must never be our focal point or primary goal, nor does having earthly riches commend us to God. Our Father always looks at the heart, and our hearts must be filled with His Spirit of grace and kindness toward all -- especially toward the poor and needy. 

Understand clearly that the last will be first in the Kingdom. The forgotten will be remembered, those who weep will laugh, the poor will be provided for, the hungry fed, and the Lord will give beauty for ashes. We who are blessed and favored are not called to debase ourselves with some morbid display of lowliness, but we are instructed to humble ourselves and take every opportunity to share the love and blessings we have received without pride or prejudice toward anyone for any reason. God does not play “favorites” and neither must we. 

Let's Pray
 - Father, may we treat every man and woman as we desire to be treated. May prejudice not be found in our hearts or in your church. In Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Pride and Prejudice

My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,” have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? (James 2:1-4)

Pride will always manifest in our treatment of those we deem "other." You can tell the truth about a man by how he treats those who are not like him and can do nothing tangible for him. Our treatment of those who may have or know less than us is a deadly accurate test of Christian character, and God will judge us if we judge others. The attitude that pleases God manifests itself in thinking well of "the least of these," and in doing well by serving their needs and honoring their persons. The beauty of the Church of Jesus Christ is that she is not obsessed with herself, her beauty, or her prosperity, but that she is determined to be a blessing to those all around her. 

But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’ (Luke 13:27) 

It is to our shame that there is rampant pride and prejudice in the Church of Jesus Christ, and there is often no difference from the world in this matter. But God cannot and will not tolerate partiality in His house, and we are foolish to think otherwise. Rest assured, the Lord knows those who belong to Him and those who pretend. Our religion is to be pure and undefiled, and our love for one another, particularly the least of these, is the clearest sign that God is among us. True fellowship among believers must be impartial and free from judgment. That is what pleases the Lord, and that is when He dwells in our midst.

Let's Pray
 - Father, prejudice and pride should not have a place in my heart or the heart of the church. Forgive us, and give us the heart of Jesus for others, no matter who they are or what their status. Amen.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Standing with Him

And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused Him. Then Herod, with his men of war, treated Him with contempt and mocked Him, arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe, and sent Him back to Pilate. That very day Pilate and Herod became friends with each other, for previously they had been at enmity with each other. (Luke 23:10-12)

The voices of evil seek to shape the context of every conversation and to bring about their own version of reality. The voices of envy, jealousy, greed, ridicule, and hypocrisy still seek to drown out the sweet sound of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Yet the answer is the same, "I Am." 
Jesus came into the world to save sinners, and to do so, He paid the cost for our sins -- and those of us who believe receive everlasting life in return for our faith. So, we must stand with Him, even in our most difficult moments -- for if we suffer with Him, we will also be glorified together with Him (Romans 8:17). Let the voices shout, but they are only for a moment. We must pick up our own cross and follow Him. Surely, He lives, and because He lives, so do we!

Proverbs 11:21 says, Though they join forces, the wicked will not go unpunished; but the posterity of the righteous will be delivered.

All the evil forces of the world may combine their efforts against the Lord's saints, but if we stand firm, no weapon formed against us will ever prosper. We must learn to consider it a privilege to be accused and spoken evil of because of our faithful witness of Jesus Christ. If friendship with the world is enmity against God, let us welcome their scorn. The Lord has promised us abundant life, and that without sorrow or regret. Let us walk more boldly in that promise day by day. The battle is the Lord's, and the victory is sure.

Let's Pray - Dear King, I will stand with Jesus, because He has stood with me through every storm and difficulty. Help me to walk by faith in Him, and I will be victorious in every season and through every trial. Amen.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Yes I Am

Immediately, in the morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council; and they bound Jesus, led Him away, and delivered Him to Pilate. Then Pilate asked Him, "Are You the King of the Jews?" He answered and said to him, “It is as you say.” And the chief priests accused Him of many things, but He answered nothing. Then Pilate asked Him again, saying, “Do You answer nothing? See how many things they testify against You!” But Jesus still answered nothing, so that Pilate marveled. (Mark 15:1-5)

Jesus committed Himself to the will of the Father, and He had no interest in defending or shielding Himself from the slanderous accusations of the Jews. He was fully reconciled to the plan of redemption and determined to take His place as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. There was no need to plead His case or promote His cause, and He did not open His mouth even once to tell His side of the story. There was only one question He took the time to respond to, and one point He found worth making - "I Am!" 
"Yes, I Am the Son of God." 
"Yes, I Am the Savior of the world."
"Yes, I Am the King of Glory."

To this very day, there are only two types of people in the world; those who acknowledge and receive the truth about Jesus and those who do not. What we believe about Christ is the only thing that matters to the Father, and faith in Him is the lone criteria for those He draws close versus those He rejects. We fool ourselves if we believe there is any other way to the Father, any other truth, or life in anyone else but Jesus. Worldly people may marvel, but we believe, and believing in Christ is all that matters to God.

Let's Pray
 - Dear Lord, we receive Jesus for who You say He is. He is our everything! Thank You for this life-giving revelation. Lord, we believe! Amen.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Confident and Strong

Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth! (Psalms 46:10)

Stillness is a powerful tool in the hands of a believer. It is the temper of mind that allows God to perfect us in the wisdom that comes to those who wait on Him. While activities and busy-ness may gratify our souls for a moment, we are never truly satisfied until we are standing on the Rock of Ages, quiet and still in His presence. The Psalmist says we are planted like trees by rivers of living water (Psalm 1). There we find the blessed assurance of His care for us and His sovereignty over all things concerning us. The saint who acknowledges the Lord as he should is sure to be found at the feet of Jesus, in confidence and strength.

We have to get to the point where we are sick and tired of ourselves and our own devices, because God will not move until we are. He will not partner with a believer who is not yet surrendered to His will; but the instant we are, the heavens are open to us. God must be exalted, not men. Therefore, we must cease from our activities (no matter how noble), yield to Jesus, and let Him lead. It takes longer than it should for us to learn this lesson.

Let's Pray
 - Father, I am firmly planted, and I have set my mind and heart on heavenly things. May I be in agreement with You, receiving Your guidance, wisdom, and counsel; refusing to be worried or afraid and following You closely each day. Amen.