Thursday, March 29, 2012

+DEV+ A Permanent Priest

Date: March 29, 2012 9:45 PM
Topic: +DEV+  A Permanent Priest

A Permanent Priest

"The former priests were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds his priesthood permanently."  (Hebrews 7:23-24 ESV)
Scripture Focus: Leviticus 16, Hebrews 7:11-28

I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to be an Old Testament Israelite. Clearly, there are the obvious drawbacks that come from living in a pre-industrial age: no refrigeration, no automobiles, no healthcare, etc. But perhaps the biggest downside that does not often come to mind is having to worship God through impermanent priests. Think about it. The one in charge of representing you before God could never guarantee he would be there tomorrow, or the next day, or the next, when you might have really needed him. His mortality made him ultimately unreliable.

But things have changed. A permanent priest who will never fail to represent His people perfectly in God's presence has replaced the impermanent priests. When, we sin, His blood always intercedes. When we pray, He always hears. When we are tempted, He always helps. And, best of all, He will never die, because He already has died and received an indestructible life in return. In a world that is passing, Jesus gives us permanence.

"Before The Throne My Surety Stands/Before The Throne My Surety Stands/My Name Is Written On His Hands!"  (Charles Wesley, 1707-1788)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

+DEV+ Daily Worship

Date: March 28, 2012 11:44 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Daily Worship

Daily Worship

"Impress [my commandments] on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." (Deuteronomy 6:7)
Scripture Focus: Deuteronomy 6, Daniel 6

One of my favorite stories about daily worship is in Daniel 6. A conspiracy is hatched to kill 80-year-old Daniel, a Jewish exile from the Promised Land. The political leaders of Babylon figure that the best way to catch Daniel who was known as a worshiper of Yahweh is to establish a law against worshiping anyone but the king. According to the injunction, anyone caught worshiping or praying to another god would be thrown to the lions.

When news of the injunction reached Daniel, Scripture tells us that he "got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before" (Daniel 6:10). Daniel worshiped daily. Not even the threat of being fed to the lions would keep Daniel from showing devotion to his God!

Where did such courage come from? Was Daniel just a spiritual superhero? No. Daniel simply knew his hope did not lie in the present evil age, but in the God who held his future. His confidence in the God of promise fanned his devotion in the midst of great threat.

Insight: The Prophets Were Actually Serving Us Through Their Writings
(1 Peter 1:10-12). Does The Reason Behind Daniel's Persistence In Daily Worship Encourage You?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

+DEV+ Confession in Worship

Date: March 27, 2012 10:11 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Confession in Worship

Confession in Worship

"I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the LORD' - and you forgave the guilt of my sin."  (Psalm 32:5)
Scripture Focus: Psalm 32, Mark 2:1-12

Confession is not an easy thing to do. When we have sinned and we know it, rationalizations begin to flood our minds as to why hiding this sin from the Lord and from others would be far better than coming clean. "No one will ever know." "It didn't really hurt anyone." "I won't do it again." The list goes on.

But while hiding our sin may seem like the easiest road at the time, spiritual subterfuge will ultimately kill our ability to worship. Confession, on the other hand, has the power to ignite the most fervent worship we've ever known. Our reading today is a prime example. When David hid his sin, he wasted away (vs. 3). Yet when he acknowledged it to the Lord, he and his companions were able to rejoice and shout for joy again (vs. 11).

We can only enjoy the freedom of confession when we know God will forgive us, and when we bring our sins to Him. So, Christian, hear the words of Jesus, your Lord: "My son, your sins are forgiven" (Mark 2:5). Let those words of comfort soak in.

Insight: Our Reading Of Scripture Should Always Lead Us To a Confession At Some Level. Where Is God Leading You To Confess Today?

Monday, March 26, 2012

+DEV+ Giving as Worship

Date: March 26, 2012 10:12 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Giving as Worship

Giving as Worship

"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich."  (2 Corinthians 8:9)
Scripture Focus: Acts 2:42-4:37, 2 Corinthians 8-9

Since its inception, the church has, in some form or another, taken up an offering. In our day, however, while the practice has not died, the rich, theological meaning behind why we give as an act of worship has fallen on hard times. Often writing a check for the offering basket is done in the same perfunctory manner with which we write a check at the grocery store.

But giving financially to our churches - both in times of abundance but especially in times of economic need - is one of the most practical ways in which the Gospel impacts our life. At its heart, the Gospel is a gift from God: the gift of Jesus Christ to us that secures us an eternal home which our money could never buy. It is a gift of righteousness (Romans 5:17) that secures our favorable status before God. To the extent that our worship services draw our minds and our hearts to the magnitude and worth of that inexpressible gift, our hearts will be compelled to give as an act of worship to the great Giver, the one who has given us eternal life.

Do You Ever Think Of Your Money As Something Without Much Spiritual Importance? How Does The Gospel Change Your Perspective On Giving?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

+DEV+ We Are What We Worship

Date: March 25, 2012 9:37 PM
Topic: +DEV+  We Are What We Worship

We Are What We Worship

"Those who make [idols] will be like them, and so will all who trust in them."  (Psalm 115:8)
Scripture Focus: Psalm 115

The psalmist in our reading today makes what is, in effect, the spiritual equivalent of our common saying: "You are what you eat." By claiming that those who worship idols will take on idol-like characteristics, he is saying: "You become what you worship."

This truth carries with it a profound warning as well as a quickening hope. It warns us by revealing the life-shaping consequences of valuing, trusting, serving, pursuing, desiring, and devoting ourselves to the "idols" of our age. Those who worship power will become tyrants. Those who desire control will be controlled by that desire. Those who rely on their own strength will be proven weak.

Yet this principle also contains great hope. Those who have been rescued by the living God from serving idols will become like Him! As we, through God's empowering and transforming grace, grow to value, trust, and serve our Lord, we will begin to take on His characteristics. As we worship His holiness, we will be holy. As we esteem His wisdom, we will be wise. As we trust His strength, we will be strong.

Insight: In What Ways Do You See Your Life Shaped By What You Value Most?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Did you notice who Obama Threatened?

Did you notice who Obama Threatened?

It's incredible that 42% of Americans think that this unqualified,
incompetent, dishonorable, ego-driven fraud is doing a good job.
Take a moment. Admit it to yourself. You know who his supporters are.
They are the people that YOU support.

From now thru November 2012 this should be required weekly or at least
monthly reading BY ALL WHO VOTE!!!

Did you notice who Obama threatened when he wasn't getting his way on
raising the debt ceiling? He threatened to not pay:

- Social Security Retirees, Military Retirees, Social Security
disability and Federal Retirees.

- Now..let this sink in really good

- He did not threaten to stop payments to illegal aliens

- He did not threatened to take frivolous benefits such as Internet
access away from violent inmates

- He did not offer to fire some of the thousands of unnecessary
federal employees that he hired

- He did not offer to cut down on his or his wife's frivolous
gallivanting around

- He did not threaten to not pay the senators and representatives or
any of their staff

- He did not threaten to take benefits away from welfare recipients

- He did not threaten the food stamp programs

- He did not threaten to not pay foreign aid

- He did not threaten to cut back on anything that involves his base voters

- The list could go on and on. He is in full political re-election mode!

• Why are we allowing this person to destroy this wonderful country
with his selfishness and his lies?

• His type of change is killing our country. He needs to be stopped
and only our votes can stop him.

• Do not forget about his tactics when it's election time. Vote Obama
out of the Presidency in 2012.


We the people are coming

Only 86% will send this on. Should be a 100%. What will you do?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

+DEV+ Vain Worship

Date: March 22, 2012 8:47 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Vain Worship

Vain Worship

"They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men."  (Mark 7:7)
Scripture Focus: Mark 7:1-13, Ephesians 2:11-22

This was certainly the last thing they wanted to hear. Everything to which they were devoted, everything about which they were passionate, and everything they did in service to God was futile, purposeless, vanity. In essence, this was Jesus' charge against the Pharisees who, on the outside, appeared to be resolutely devoted to God and His ways. Yet while they honored God with their lips, Jesus, invoking the words of Isaiah, regarded their worship as vain because their hearts were far from Him.

Naturally, we all tend to worship like the Pharisees. We want to approach God on our terms. We think as long as we outwardly say and do the right things, we can keep God at arm's length. Indeed, our hearts are far from Him. Yet God Himself provides the antidote to vain worship. Those whose hearts were once "far away, have been brought near by the blood of Christ" (Ephesians 2:13). The death and resurrection of Christ alone has the power to change our worship from vain to vibrant.

Insight: Do You Ever Feel You're Just "Going Through The Motions" In Worship? Let The Gospel Transform Us When We Feel That Way.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

+DEV+ Worship: Not an Individual Sport

Date: March 21, 2012 9:33 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Worship: Not an Individual Sport

Worship: Not an Individual Sport

"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching."  (Hebrews 10:25)
Scripture Focus: Nehemiah 8:1-8, Acts 2:42-47

It is often said, "If you want something done right, do it yourself." The more people involved, it seems, the more complicated, confusing, and confounding any project can become. (If you've ever served on a committee, you are particularly aware of this phenomenon.) It is tempting at times to adopt this same attitude in our Christian lives, especially when it comes to worship. More people in your church means more opinions and musical preferences; hence more "worship wars." Accordingly, many Christians today choose to retreat to more private forms of worship for their primary spiritual bread.

Yet there is a special place in God's salvation plan for the gathered worship of His people, without which our worshiping lives are incomplete. Complicated and awkward as it may be at times to worship alongside other sinners, the gathered worship of God's people paints a rich picture of the kind of unity for which Christ gave His life. Only gathered worshipers can show themselves to be a people "from every tribe and language and people and nation" (Revelation 5:9).

Insight: Though The Lord Encourages Private Worship As Part Of A Living Relationship With Him, Never Allow That To Eclipse The Importance Of Regular Corporate Worship.

+DEV+ Let Us Sing to the Lord

Date: March 20, 2012 12:45 AM
Topic: +DEV+  Let Us Sing to the Lord

Let Us Sing to the Lord

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God."  (Colossians 3:16)
Scripture Focus: Psalm 95, Colossians 3:1-17

Often when I think of singing in worship, I think of the words I sing as primarily being my words - my response to what God has done. While there is certainly good reason to see our singing in that way, the Apostle Paul, in our reading from Colossians for today, provides a somewhat different perspective of singing in worship.

Singing, according to this passage, is one of the ways in which we "let the word of Christ dwell in (us) richly." There are a few things worth noticing here. First, it is the Word of Christ that is to dwell richly within us through our singing. Singing is one way God draws us closer to Christ and His Word. Second, the "you" in the passage quoted at the top of the page is plural. (We would say “y’all” in Missouri!) This means God has designed our singing as a way not only to let His Word dwell within us, but as a way we can help that same Word to take root in our fellow Christians. What a tremendous privilege! God's gracious and many-faceted gift of music allows us to sing out in praise and awe of Him.

Insight: What Is Your Favorite Hymn Or Spiritual Song? What Aspect Of The Work Of Christ Does It Center Upon? If You Can, Sing It Now!

Monday, March 19, 2012

+DEV+ A Meeting with Heaven

Date: March 19, 2012 10:59 PM
Topic: +DEV+  A Meeting with Heaven

A Meeting with Heaven

"But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God."  (Hebrews 12:22)
Scripture Focus: Hebrews 12:28-29

The author to the Hebrews makes an astonishing claim here about worship under the new covenant. He's writing to a congregation of Jews tempted to return to the visible, tangible worship of the old covenant. So he contrasts that kind of worship with the heavenly worship of the new covenant in order to persuade them of the superiority of Jesus. In essence, he claims that when new covenant Christians come to worship, they take part in the heavenly gathering of all God's people who have ever lived to worship the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

How might such a perspective change the way we view and experience worship in our churches? I admit that getting to church (and paying attention) is not always an easy thing on Sunday morning, especially for those with kids! But might not the truth that when we get there, we will commune with God Himself and with the whole gathering of God's people in heaven serve to motivate us to make a greater effort? May God grant us that perspective every week!

Insight: Our Worship Is Heavenly Because The Savior We Worship Now Sits In Heaven At God's Right Hand. Praise God Today For This Amazing Truth.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

+DEV+ The Holy Spirit in Worship

Date: March 18, 2012 9:33 PM
Topic: +DEV+  The Holy Spirit in Worship

The Holy Spirit in Worship

"[The Spirit] will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you."   (JOHN 16:14)

Scripture Focus: John 16:4-15, Philippians 3

I imagine Jesus' disciples would have slumped a bit in their seats at the news. Jesus, their companion and teacher for the past three years, would soon be leaving them. What were they to do in His absence? How would they have the courage or strength to continue the work He had charged them to do? Not only that, but how would a band of Jewish tradesmen who routinely missed the significance of Jesus' message during His earthly ministry ever become the founders of the church and authors of the New Testament?

Jesus' answer to such apprehension is the Holy Spirit. The "Helper" whom Jesus would send to His church would be the one who would "guide them into all the truth" (John 16:13), and "convict the world of sin and righteousness and judgment" (16:8). In other words, the Spirit would point them to Jesus. Like flood lights on the front of a mansion whose purpose is to draw attention to the beauty of the house, the Holy Spirit illumines our Lord to us when He seems far away. Let's give praise to the Spirit today!

Insight: Does Jesus Ever Loom Small On The Horizon Of Your Life Or Worship? Ask God To Illumine You With His Spirit So You Might See More Of Jesus! 

Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship and Bible study groups.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

+DEV+ Worship the Son

Date: March 15, 2012 9:42 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Worship the Son

Worship the Son

"Then the man said, 'Lord, I believe,' and he worshiped him."   (John 9:38)
Scripture Focus: Psalm 2

It certainly would have raised a stir. Since their wanderings on the plains east of Egypt, the Israelites would have known to worship the one true God and the one true God only. This would explain, of course, the outrage that ensued when a Jewish rabbi repeatedly - without hesitation or rebuke - received worship from men and women. Foreigners fell down and worshiped Him days after His birth (Matthew 2:11). His disciples worshiped Him when they saw Him command the wind and waves (Matthew 14:33). A man born blind, seeing Jesus for the first time, fell down and worshiped Him (John 9:38). Who is this Man who receives worship?

He is no mere man. He is the very Son of God who took on human flesh. He has existed from all eternity (John 1:1). He created the world (1:3), and sustains it by His power (Hebrews 1:3). He is equal to the Father (John 10:30). Yet in history, He took on a human nature only to lay it down in death and take it up again in eternal life. Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!

Insight: Jesus, As Much As The Father And The Spirit, Is Worthy Of Our Worship. Let His Work For You Inspire And Encourage Your Worship This Day.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

+DEV+ A Response to Grace

Date: March 14, 2012 11:21 PM
Topic: +DEV+  A Response to Grace

A Response to Grace

“How much more, then, will the blood of Christ cleanse our conscience from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!"  (Hebrews 9:14)
Scripture Focus: Hebrews 9:11-22

The common view of religion today suggests that worship is something humans invented and performed to get God on their side. "If I pray enough, give enough, or serve enough, then God will bless me." Yet true worship never begins with us. Rather, true worship is always a response to the initiating grace of God. For the old covenant people of God, the exodus was the event that inspired countless songs of praise and devotion (see Exodus 15; Psalm105). For generations to follow, the elderly would remind the younger that all their service to God - worship included - would not have been possible without God's redemption (Deuteronomy 6:20-25).

But now the greater exodus has come. Jesus Christ, the true Passover Lamb, has delivered us not from earthly servitude, but from the wrath of God, through the sacrifice of Himself on the cross. Far from requiring our worship to atone for our sins, God inspires our worship by atoning for them Himself through the work of Christ. Is your worship flagging? Then remember all that God has done!

Insight: Do You Ever Feel Unworthy To Worship God? Remember Today That God Has Qualified You Through Jesus.

+DEV+ Triune Worship

Date: March 14, 2012 12:11 AM
Topic: +DEV+  Triune Worship

Triune Worship

"Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, 'Abba, Father.'"   (Galatians 4:6)
Scripture Focus: Galatians 4:1-7

As Christians, we have the great privilege of worshiping a God like no other. One aspect of our God that today is often acknowledged but rarely makes much practical difference in our worship is His triune nature. The God of Scripture is one (Deuteronomy 6:4), but He exists eternally in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. What difference should God's triune nature make for our worship of Him? To ask such a question is to plumb the depths of Christian theology and worship.

In short, we offer praise to each member of the Trinity for His role in our salvation. And as we draw our minds and hearts to one, they will irresistibly be drawn to the other two. As we remember the Father's plan to redeem us, we can't help but think of the execution of that plan in the sending of the Son. As we remember the Son, we think of the "Spirit of his Son" sent into our hearts. And as we think of the Spirit, our hearts cry out, "Abba, Father." Give praise to our triune God!

Insight: Our Worship Will Inevitably Reflect The God That We Know. How Does Your Worship Reflect The Triune God?

Monday, March 12, 2012

+DEV+ God is Looking for You

Date: March 12, 2012 10:33 PM
Topic: +DEV+  God is Looking for You

God is Looking for You

"Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks."   (John 4:23)
Scripture Focus: John 4:1-26

If anyone is on the outside, she is. This Samaritan woman's promiscuous lifestyle has led her to five different husbands during her lifetime. Her mixed Samaritan blood also keeps her outside the pure Jewish circles that surround her. So she chooses to draw water during the hottest time of the day, when she is sure to encounter no one.

But certainly to her disappointment, someone is already there. A man. A Jew. A rabbi. It could not be worse. But the news He brings her is unlike any she has heard. He offers her water that will quench an eternal thirst. Yet perhaps even more surprising than this, He tells her that God the Father is seeking people who will worship Him in spirit and in truth.

What a shock this must have been for a woman used to being on the outside, to know that God Himself was looking for people like her - not to judge, not to condemn, not to punish, but for the purpose of worshiping Him. May God find what He seeks in us also!

Insight: God is still seeking worshipers today. Has He been looking for you?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

+DEV+ Larger than Life

Date: March 11, 2012 11:50 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Larger than Life

Larger than Life

"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field."    (Matthew 13:44)
Scripture Focus: Matthew 13, Hebrews 12:1-2

Worship is the native language of the kingdom of heaven. And if the kingdom is as Jesus describes it here in these parables - that is, something so valuable for which we will joyfully lose all other things - then worship ought to be characterized by profound joy. Yet, I think if we're honest, our worship often is not saturated with the "solid joys and lasting treasures" which none but Zion's children know. At times, worship for me can become merely cerebral, a transfer of information rather than a joyful encounter with the living God. Other times, what I mistake as true joy in worship escapes my heart quickly after the benediction. The weight of everyday life descends yet again.

How can we become more joyful worshipers? What we need is a re-evaluation of our lives. If we value the kingdom of heaven above all else, then we will rejoice to speak its native language. The kingdom must be larger than everyday life. When you're known by Jesus, the Man who "sold all he had" and bought you, your joy is larger than life.

Insight: An Unhealthy Preoccupation With Life's Concerns Will Dampen Worship. Remember, You Are "Seated With Christ In Heaven." Let That Truth Saturate Your Worship.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

+DEV+ Warped Worship

Date: March 8, 2012 10:17 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Warped Worship

Warped Worship

"They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator - who is forever praised. Amen."    (Romans 1:25)
Scripture Focus: Romans 1:18-32

Bob Dylan got it right when in 1979 he wrote, "You're gonna have to serve somebody." The question is not whether you worship, but what you worship. Often we live under the illusion that if we're not worshiping God, then we must not be worshiping anything at all; but the truth is that we all worship something. We all have ultimate allegiances. We all live for something and are devoted to something. Indeed, you're "gonna have to serve somebody."

It's often tempting to see the struggles in our lives as simply a matter of what we do or don't do. But Scripture diagnoses our problem as something much more fundamental - as a matter of what we worship. Therefore, if we have any hope of beginning to live for God, then what we worship must be changed. We must begin from the inside out. And that is exactly what the Lord promises to do in the Gospel: "I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols" (Ezekiel 36:25).  Let's put Jesus Christ at the center of our worship.

Insight: Scripture Claims That Everyone Worships Something Or Someone. What Do You Worship? Ask The Lord To Increase Your Desire To Worship Him Alone.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

+DEV+ Worship: Expressing the Worthiness of God

Date: March 7, 2012 12:32 AM
Topic: +DEV+  Worship: Expressing the Worthiness of God

Worship: Expressing the Worthiness of God

"Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name." (PSALM 96:8)
Scripture Focus: Psalm 96

What does it mean to worship? In many Christian circles today, the word "worship" has simply become synonymous with "singing." I would like to suggest a fuller definition to be used throughout these devotionals. Our English word, interestingly, does not have roots in the Bible. Rather, it comes from an Anglo Saxon root meaning literally "worth-ship." In other words, at its heart, to worship means to ascribe greatness or worthiness to someone or something.

This definition highlights the essential God-centeredness of Christian worship. God is most worthy to be praised. God is the greatest treasure that exists. He is most holy, most gracious, most wise, most compassionate, most jealous, and most glorious. Therefore worship begins and ends with God Himself - ascribing to Him the glory that is due His name.

Who is God? What is He like? Who am I compared to God? What has God done? What has He still promised to do? Answering such questions is at the heart of what it means to worship and "ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name."

Insight: In What Ways Do We Make Worship More About Us Than About God? Consider Who God Is And What He's Done. Praise Him For It!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

+DEV+ Resisting the Devil

Date: March 6, 2012 12:42 AM
Topic: +DEV+  Resisting the Devil

Resisting the Devil

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin."  (Hebrews 4:15)
Scripture Focus: Matthew 4:1-11

The Bible likens the devil to a "roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8). He is the great deceiver who cunningly hunts his prey. He lies in wait looking for opportunities to steal, kill, and destroy.

1 Peter 5 goes on to say that if we resist the devil and stand firm in the faith, the God of all grace will restore us and make us strong, firm and steadfast. But how do we resist this roaring lion? By looking to Christ.

When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He met Satan's twisted words and empty claims with The Holy Word; "It is written." Satan skewed Scripture in a futile attempt to get Jesus to sin, but Jesus refuted him with Truth. It is imperative that we be students of God's Word so we can recognize when Scripture is used out of context or misinterpreted. We cannot depend on our own strength to resist Satan's enticements; we will surely succumb. Our only hope is to lean on the same omnipotent power of God's Word that our great High Priest used.

Insight: "I Write To You because You Are Strong, And The Word Of God Lives In You, And You Have Overcome The Evil One."  (1 John 2:14)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

+DEV+ The Transforming Word

Date: March 4, 2012 11:52 PM
Topic: +DEV+  The Transforming Word

The Transforming Word

"The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart" (Psalm 19:7-8A)
Scripture Focus: Psalm 19:7-14

Have you ever met someone who radiated Christ in their countenance so much so that you knew they were a follower of Jesus - even before they opened their mouth to say a word? Psalm 34:5 says that those who look to the Lord are radiant because the shadow of their shame has been removed. They are transformed by the Gospel of grace, and their lives produce those blessed fruits of the Spirit because they abide in the one True Vine (John 15:5, Galatians 5:22).

As Christians, we are called to "put off the old self" and to be renewed in the thoughts and attitudes of our minds. In fact, we are told to let our minds dwell on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). The law of the Lord is the embodiment of all these attributes! It revives us, makes us wise, gladdens our hearts, enlightens our eyes, warns us, and brings great reward. As God's Word takes root in our hearts, it transforms us from the inside out, until we are radiant for Him.

Insight: "Do Not Conform Any Longer To The Pattern Of This World, But Be Transformed By The Renewing Of Your Mind."  (Romans 12:2)

Friday, March 2, 2012

+DEV+ By Grace: To Stand and to Fall

Date: March 2, 2012 3:32 AM
Topic: +DEV+  By Grace: To Stand and to Fall

By Grace: To Stand and to Fall

 "If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself." (Galatians 6:3)
Scripture Focus: Luke 18:10-14

Are you aware of how much you need God's grace every moment of every day? As you walk through the minutes and hours of your life, you make momentous decisions about whom and what you will worship, often without much thought or care. Many times each day, you will either turn toward God in faith and trust to worship Him, or you will sell your soul to the god of that moment, the idol you think you must appease to get what you want.

If you stand in the moment of temptation and resist the tones of the tempter, you will need the gospel to survive your own obedience. You need to know that your goodness is not your own - it is a gift from God - or you will become proud of your obedience and sink into self-worship. If you fail miserably and sin badly, you need the gospel. Remember that your sin is your own fault, but it has been paid for in full. Your sin is buried in the fountain of redeeming blood and every act of obedience performed by your Savior, Jesus Christ, is credited to you! Through grace you stand, and when you fall, it's into His gracious arms you go.

Insight: "Believers dare not ascribe anything to themselves, gladly acknowledging [defeat] if Jesus had not been their Savior, shepherd, and shield." (John Newton)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

+DEV+ The True Mirror

Date: March 1, 2012 12:45 AM
Topic: +DEV+ The True Mirror

The True Mirror

"But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it - he will be blessed in what he does." (James 1:25)
Scripture Focus: James 1:19-27

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father" (Matthew 7:21). The Lord of all creation cannot be fooled by lip service, for He looks straight into the heart. Only those who confess their sin, repent of it, and trust in the finished work of Christ for salvation will be saved. True faith in Christ yields holy fruit in the believer's life.

In the same way, we are told in James 1:22 to not merely be hearers of the Word, but doers. The Word of God is a true mirror that never lies. It does not flatter the one who takes time to study it; rather, it accurately reveals the stains of sin. Then it points to the only hope a sinner has of being washed completely clean: the blood of Jesus.

Let us not eye God's Word with a fleeting glance. Instead, let us stoop down and peer into His perfect law, beholding its freedom, and pursue living it out with joy, faith in action!

Insight: May Our Faith Show Itself In Humble Obedience To The Lord Out Of Our Gratitude For His Wondrous Gift Of Salvation Through Christ.