“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
II Corinthians 7:1 NKJV
Children today receive trophies whether they win or not. While I realize it is important to nourish a child’s self esteem, I personally feel this fosters a sense of entitlement, rather than true pride in their accomplishments.
I can’t help but wonder if this same sheltering hasn’t spilled over in the Body of Christ, the Church. I believe the love of God is what draws man to repentance, but the experience of spiritual birth is just a beginning. From there we begin a growth period, feeding on the Word of God to develop spiritual maturity.
My parents didn’t expect the same things from me at two years old as they did at ten. I didn’t doubt their love because they disciplined me. I had a healthy fear (respect) for their authority. I knew if I disobeyed, I would face the consequences. God’s grace offers forgiveness of our sin, but it doesn’t shield us from the consequences.
God’s Word says, “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) Grace doesn’t just save us – as amazing as that is; it empowers us to overcome the strongholds in our life.
Hide God’s Word in your heart. It is the key to spiritual growth and conquering sin. We will never perfect Holiness in this life, but that doesn’t give us an excuse to stop trying. God understands our struggles, but He expects us to partner with Him in the ‘renewing’ of our minds. (Romans 12:2)
“Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Psalms 37:4 NKJV
For most of my life when I read this verse I interpreted it to mean God would give me MY desires if I delighted in Him. I love how you can read a verse over and over and one day a light suddenly explodes to expose a completely different perspective.
For years I dreamed of being in ministry and yet I constantly questioned my motives. Was this dream out of a sincere desire to serve God and others? One day the Holy Spirit, spoke to my heart about this verse. It was one of those moments I will cherish forever. He told me the truth of this verse is, when we delight in God He will plant HIS desires within our heart.
His desire becomes our desire because we have moved from being motivated by selfish ambition to finding our (delight), gratification and satisfaction in Him.
“Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.”
Psalms 63:3-4 ESV
King David had such a way with words. The depth of his relationship with God is evident in his praise and adoration. The revelation that God’s steadfast (unfailing) love is better than life itself is difficult for our carnal minds to comprehend. It is a natural instinct to cling to life, even though as Christians we know it is far better to be with the Lord.
How then, do we come to the place where we echo David’s proclamation? It is through praise itself. When we feast our eyes on the goodness of God over the cares of the world we rise above the limited view of this life and step into the presence of God. One glimpse of His Glory is life changing.
Prayer: Father, nothing this world has to offer can compare to Your love. How can we help but respond with praise? When I allow the cares of this life to weigh heavy on my heart Lord, remind me that this life is simply the womb of eternity. In Your presence there is fullness of joy! Everyday is a celebration because it brings me one step closer to life everlasting with You.
“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him,
the help of my countenance and my God.”
Psalm 42:11 (NKJV)
We generally think of November as a month to reflect on all we have to be thankful for. When I compare my trials to those around me, I cannot help but recognize how blessed I truly am.
November was a hard month. I watched three families say goodbye to a loved one. Men who were husbands, fathers, brothers and uncles. It breaks my heart to see the sting of death on those left behind. The holidays will be hard for those families this year.
And yet, there is coming a time when there will be no more death and a great reunion will take place with those who have gone before us. What a day that will be for those who have put their hope in God’s redemption.
Prayer: Father, thank You for the gift of eternal life and the knowledge that death is a temporary separation from those we love. Speak hope into the hearts of the hurting. Lift their countenance and give them joy in the midst of their sorrow.