Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Thought of the Day !!

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
                                    Romans 8:15-16 (ESV)

What does it mean to call our God “Abba, Father”?  This term of endearment was first used by Jesus at the Garden of Gethsemane the night that he was arrested when praying to his Father.  It’s only seen two more times in scripture, both by Paul, once here and again in Galatians.

The word is an Aramaic word that would most closely be translated as “Daddy” or “Papa”. It was a common term that young children would use to address their fathers. It signifies the close, intimate relationship of a father to his child, as well as the childlike trust that a young child puts in his/her “daddy.”
           
Because we’re able to refer to God as our Abba, we are children of God and our lives are changed.  Before, we might have spoken to a foreign God.  Now we can have an intimate relationship with our papa.  As children we are redeemed from the curse of sin, meaning that though we will die once, it will not be an eternal death.  We will live life eternal.  This is the greatest gift a dad can give. 

Because we’re His children we are also disciplined from time to time.  Just as a loving daddy disciplines a small child when he/she does wrong, in hopes that it will keep them from making that mistake again, so does our Abba, Father.  The discipline that we receive often comes through our conscience.  We’re convicted of our sin by feelings of guilt.  This isn’t a self-loathing guilt.  It’s not a feeling of abandonment either.  It’s the Holy Spirit speaking to us trying to correct our path just as a daddy would do with his punishment of his child. 

Today you will definitely receive the gifts that your Abba in Heaven has for you.  It might even be the gift of discipline.  But give thanks for all He gives because each gift is something that will make you a better person.

In the love of Christ,

greg

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Thought of the Day !!

But you are not controlled by your sinful nature.  You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you.  (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)
                                                Romans 8:9 (NLT)

Paul tells the Roman Christians (and us today) that instead of being controlled by their sinful nature, they’re controlled by the Holy Spirit because they’ve accepted Jesus and His ways. They will still struggle and even loose battles with this sin at times.  But ultimately they belong to God and are controlled by His Holy Spirit. 

He also makes it clear that if the Holy Spirit is not in us, we do not belong to God.  Let’s put this another way.  If you don’t have the Holy Spirit within you, controlling you…if you’ve not said yes to Jesus and his free gift to you…if you’ve not allowed his ways to gradually become your ways…then you’re not saved. 

Salvation is not about a moral list of do’s and don’ts.  It’s not a 12-step program.  It’s not about saying a prayer or being baptized.  Salvation is not even a one-time event.  Salvation is a process.  We’ve come to see it as that point in time in history when we “got saved”.  But if truth be told, there are three phases to a person’s salvation.

There’s the time before they accept Christ and turn to Him, falling in love with him.  Then there is that moment of new birth when the Holy Spirit connects with us and our spirit…the time when Jesus is actually accepted.  Then comes the living with Christ part of our lives where we grow in him and become closer to him. 

May you live out your salvation guided not by your sinful nature, but by the Holy Spirit within you. 

In the love of Christ,

greg

Monday, January 26, 2015

Thought of the Day !!

You must crave pure spiritual milk so that you can grow into the fullness of your salvation. Cry out for this nourishment as a baby cries for milk, now that you have had a taste of the Lord's kindness.
                                              1 Peter 2:2-3 (NLT)

What does it mean to grow into the fullness of our salvation?  I see this as maturing as Christians.  When we are born again, we are changed in a miraculous way.  But at the same time, our behavior and thinking may not be totally changed. 

The new birth is just the beginning, not the end of our salvation story.  It is then that God justifies us...that He forgives us and makes us worthy of His redemption.  Then we are to begin a new life where we look at things differently.  We'll continue to have pitfalls, failures and successes.  We can learn from each one and grow in our relationship with God from each one.  These are the things that will build us.  And we should be able to look back daily and say to ourselves, "I'm not where I should be yet, but I'm much better off than I was."  

After we're born again, the goal is for us to continue to mature, or as Wesley put it, to go on towards perfection.  So what we must realize is that the new birth and/or baptism is not the end of our salvation story.  These are just the beginning.  Let us all crave the pure spiritual milk that God has to offer us and grow into the fullness of our salvation.

In the love of Christ,

greg

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thought of the Day !!

All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord's Supper), and to prayer.
                                                            Acts 2:42 (NLT)

These members who made up the beginnings of the Church were devoted people.  Devotion means to have a profound dedication for something.  It means making sacrifices or giving up things for whatever you're devoted to.  For instance, I was devoted to band for a few years in Jr. High and High School.  I gave up much of my time and social life for practice and performances.  A man and a woman who are devoted to each other and marry give up their single life and much of what goes with it because they see that what they're gaining is much better.  A person who is devoted to losing weight will give up certain foods that they love to achieve their goal.  

God wants us to become devoted to Him.  What are you willing to sacrifice, or give up, to become a more devoted believer?

In the love of Christ,

greg

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Thought of the Day !!

"You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?" declares the LORD Almighty. "Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house." 
                                          Haggai 1:9 (NIV) 

I came across this verse in another devotion and the question was asked "Do you spend as much time on God's interests as you do on your own?"  The author was trying to say that if God isn't a part of what we're doing, then it will all be blown away. 

This reminded me of another passage from the Gospel of Matthew where Jesus speaks of building houses on rock instead of sand.  The same question could be asked after reading this verse.  Do we spend as much time on God's interests as we do on our own? 

The verse from Haggai refers to God's people spending their time doing for themselves while the Temple (God's house) remained in ruin.  If we update this to today, it might speak to us saying that we spend so much time thinking about ourselves that we forget that the Church (not referring to a building, but the people of God) is in decline in many ways.   

So the question must be asked yet again.  Do we spend as much time on God's interests as we do on our own? 

In the love of Christ,

greg