Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Thought of the Day !!

We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.  Romans 6:6-7 (NLT)

Paul says that we died with Christ.  When we turn our lives over to him, giving him control and accepting his sacrifice as our way of becoming right with God, we are said to have died with him.  Our old selves die and we become a new being.
        
This new being is actually freed from two things.  Here Paul tells us that we’re freed from the power of sin.  But we’re also freed from the penalty of sin.  Because of Jesus’ death on the cross, we are not longer bound by the curse that has been put on this world because of Adam and Eve’s original sin.  The punishment for sin is death, but if we accept the sacrifice of Jesus’ life, that penalty has been paid.

Secondly, we are freed from the power that sin has over our lives when we die with Christ.  Our old selves were dominated by sin’s power over us.  It was this sinful nature that controlled us (and still does those who’ve not repented and turned to Christ). 
        
No longer are we controlled by our sinful nature, that part of us that’s rebellious, prideful, and self-serving.  We now have a choice to allow the old self-rule, living our lives for ourselves, by our own guidelines that we determine is best for us, or to submit to a better way for ourselves and all those around us.  We have a choice between us and God.  It’s really that simple.

Though the choice is that simple, I don’t want to pretend that there is no struggle.  Paul, himself, will go on in the next chapter to discuss how it can be hard giving up our sinful nature.  He admits that he does what he doesn’t want to do at times.  Our sinful nature has a pull on us, but it is not as powerful as the Spirit of God in us.  So even though we will fall to it at times, we are not lost to the Holy Spirit of God.  He protects us and calls us back when we stray.  He truly is the better way in this life. 

In the love of Christ,

greg

Monday, August 31, 2015

Thought of the Day !!

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
                           Romans 8:28 (NIV)

Notice that Paul doesn't say that in some things...or in good things...or in righteous acts...or when we're good...or when things are going well...or when we go to church...God works for the good of those who love him.  Instead this Scripture tells us that in "ALL" things God works for the good of those who love him.  God is always working for our good even when we seem to be messing things up.  I've witnessed people come back to the Church because they experienced God's Holy Spirit in such a loving way through others in a time of trial.  I've witnessed people who went through divorce (something truly bad) only to be helped by the God that they loved to find a new and even better life. 

My point is that God doesn't create the disasters in our lives.  Either we do...or they just happen.  But God is there always.  For those who love Him, God will weave His love and goodness into their lives in some form or fashion.  Often times we're blinded by the disaster though and do not see the good that can come out of it.  Hopefully though, later on we can look back and see where God was at work. 

In the love of Christ,
greg


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Thought of the Day !!

"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."
                                     Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

God has had amazing plans for you.  He knew you before you were born and called to you before you even understood what was going on.  His plan to be in a relationship with Him through His Son Jesus is the same for all of us.  His plans for how we will live this relationship out and how we will be blessed, as well as be a blessing to others, are different for each of us.  But there is no doubt that He does have plans for us. 

It's up to us to choose His plans for our life over our own.  His plans are plans to prosper; plans filled with hope and a future.  Our own plans are not always bad plans.  But when they don't allow for the plan God has for us, they will ultimately lead to disaster.

In the love of Christ,

greg

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Thought of the Day !!

God has called us to be holy, not to live impure lives. Anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human rules but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
                           1 Thessalonians 4:7-8 (NLT)

Think about your own life.  What's in it that is impure?  What would you not want your grandmother to know about you?  What would you most like to hide?  What is most detestable to God?  Can you think of any habit or ways of thinking that you've allowed to go on even though deep down you know that they are wrong?  Are there desires in your heart that are impure?

God has called us to live as holy people, who are righteous...or right with God.  We are unholy, or unrighteous when we defile our lives with the things that the devil loves to see in us and that God hates.  

Living impure lives means more than simply messing up from time to time or making mistakes or poor choices.  Living impure lives means that we allow the ugliness in us to remain without lifting a finger to do anything about it.  

So can you think of any ways you might be rejecting God by allowing impure thoughts, motives, words, actions or lifestyle choices to persist in your life?

If these remain, they can slowly rot away at you.  But if you choose to ask for help, God will help you remove the rotteness from your life.

In the love of Christ,

greg

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Thought of the Day !!

Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.
                                 Matthew 11:29-30 (HCSB)

How many of us are always complaining about our lot in life.  "My struggles are so bad."  "Nobody knows what I go through."  "Woe as me."  And our struggles in life bog us down because we allow them to become our focal point.

Maybe you've heard the story of the room of crosses where someone is complaining to Jesus about how his cross (burden) is too heavy to bear.  Jesus opens a room filled with crosses and tells the person to pick out any other cross he would prefer to bear.  They are many and varying in sizes.  He looks and looks and after a while he sees the smallest one in the room, only to notice that it's the one he carried in with him. 

Maybe our burdens are too heavy because we're carrying them all alone.  We complain to others, but they can't carry them for us.  They can't take away the pain.  I will admit that Jesus has given me people close to me to help when I've needed a shoulder to cry on or a listening ear to hear.  But what we need more than anything, no one but Jesus can give to us.  He's the one that offers peace and assurance and true rest.  Come to him and take up his yoke, and He will give you the help you need with yours.  Then both will become bearable, and joy will be found...even in the pain and hardship. 

That's what Jesus does.  Instead of taking away the pain, he gives us a way to joyfully suffer for His sake and grow from it.  We can choose to complain about everything, or we can choose to grow into Christ and become strong enough to get through anything (because He's with us).

In the love of Christ,

greg