Psalms 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
The Bible should be very precious to us. The Bible is God’s heart and mind on paper. I truly believe it is the ultimate way God speaks to his children. The Bible guides us to His will, it protects us from harm, and it corrects us when we do wrong. It is our sword through spiritual warfare. Going through life without God’s Word is like going on a journey without a map.
This week the focus has been on “considering” Jesus. It is the idea of involving Jesus in our decisions, our desires, and our daily activities. The concept of considering Jesus means we look toward his character and attitude during difficulty. If we were honest we would all agree that life gets really challenging. The race mentioned in Hebrews 12:1-2 can become grueling. The instructions we are given through this race is that we keep our eyes, minds, and hearts set on Jesus. When we consider Jesus it reminds us that Jesus was able to do what He did for us (with Joy), so therefore, we should continue running our race.
It is going to be really hard to run our race while considering Jesus without God’s Word being a major factor throughout this race. If we are to maintain the mind of Christ and create an environment that brings a desire for God’s presence in our lives then the Bible must play a major role in this process. In other words, it is impossible to consider Jesus without allowing God’s Word to be our source of knowledge. There is no way we can know the mind of Christ outside the Word of God. We must go to God’s Word, get God’s mind, and run our race. The key to continuing is knowing God intimately. We cannot know God apart from His Word.
We are running this race in a world of darkness. Yes, it is like a night run. Without light we will stumble and fall. Without light we will lose our direction. God’s Word is that light. Today, we need to turn on the light by opening His Word and doing what it commands us to do. Today, we need to be doers and not just hearers.
Colossians 1:16-17 “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”
There is nothing that was created without God’s hand. When you study the origin of all things; all of it dates back to God. God is the origin of everything. The key to believing the Bible is believing the first verse in the Bible – “In the beginning God…” Matter of fact, if you want a great understanding of the word “origin” then it could be just as well that we use “God” in its place.
The reason many of our young people are falling out of Church today is because they are not getting their facts straight. We have built an educational system that emphasizes evolution as more “fact” than “theory”. While at the same time we have created a spiritual system that emphasizes Biblical “history”, Biblical “accounts” as nothing more than a “story”. Bottom line…We go to school to hear the “facts” about our origin and we go to church to hear “fairy tales” about our origin. There are three foundational principles that Christians must begin to bring back into the structure of its discipleship in order to see a radical change in our future.
- God Created All Things: The things in heaven, earth, visible, invisible, thrones, dominions, principalities and powers were all created by God. God created us and everything around us. It is not just a fairy tale; it is a God given fact found throughout the Bible that God created everything.
- God Claims All Things: All things were created by God, but at the same time, all things were created for God. This principle helps us remove the selfish mindset that many of us have toward our possessions. While God has allowed us the authority to rule over these things, He still reminds us that these things were created for His good pleasure. If it is not for His glory then it is all in vain.
- God Controls All Things: We quote it often, but I am afraid we rarely believe it. Everything is in God’s control. Sure, man has a free will but the things created by God are the things controlled by God. The movement of the earth, the storms, the stars in their sockets, the sun and its orbit, and everything else though of is under the control of God. So before we go giving Satan more credit than He deserves we must remember that God is ultimately in control. Personally, I would rather give God the glory than give Satan the credit.
Today’s Challenge: This is more of a life-long challenge than a “today-only” challenge. We must begin to lay these three foundational principles in the backdrop of all our discipleship if we are to save this next generation.
Philippians 3:10 “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his suffering, being made conformable unto his death;”
The verse begins with a desire to know Christ. It begins wanting a very intimate relationship with the Lord. Our relationship with Christ is leveled throughout this verse. Throughout life we work diligently to connect to certain individuals or even certain groups. We contemplate how we can connect in such a way that we develop a great relationship with them. We build such relationships by figuring out areas where we can relate to one another. However; I am afraid that we have completely failed in the area of relating to Christ. We have failed because we think He relates to things in our life that He does not have much experience. If we are going to connect to Christ then we must embrace the following principles:
- Salvation – no one will ever connect with Christ without first experiencing the resurrection power through salvation. Our religious experiences are not going to be what connects us to the Lord. A personal relationship through saving knowledge of Christ will be what connects us to the Lord. Christ can definitely relate to defeating death, hell, and the grave. Those that accept Christ as Savior will really be able to connect on the same grounds.
- Suffering – not the part of Christianity we want to accept, but it is definitely a reality. Jesus knows very little about the blessings of homes, money, or friendships. He knows a lot about suffering. Our suffering connects us to Christ on a level unlike any other. It is through our sufferings that Christ fellowships with His children
- Sacrifice – conforming to his death, means we must accept the principle of sacrifice within our lives. In other words, those things we normally count as a loss, God counts them as gain. Sacrifice is the ultimate connection point with Christ. None can Sacrifice the level of Christ, but when we sacrifice for Christ or because of Christ then we are bringing our relationship with Christ to a higher level.
Today’s Challenge – Which connection level do you see yourself? Embrace a relationship with Christ through these three experiences.
Philippians 2:12 “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
Many times we approach God with a very…well…”whatever” type mentality. The attitude that we are deserving of God’s presence must be removed immediately. So much of our ideas, beliefs, and decisions are made without God’s view or heart. Fear and trembling should be the way we approach God.
- We Must Make Our Decisions With Fear And Trembling – We would be way better off approaching God with reverence and respect. Each decision must be made with the judgment of God in the backdrop.
- We Must Establish Our Beliefs With Fear and Trembling – We should be willing to overlook what everyone else believes in order to establish a Bible based faith. Just because our Grandparents and Parents believed it, does not make it the right belief
- We Must Create Our Ideas With Fear and Trembling – If not careful our sinful imaginations will create ideas that our false.
Today’s Challenge: Keep God’s Judgment in the backdrop of every belief, decision and idea. It will help keep us all in check!
Ephesians 4:26-27 “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.”
I had to ask the Lord if this was really possible. If we were all honest, we would come to the conclusion that the majority of our anger is because of sin. The reason the majority of our anger is sinful is because we become angry out of selfishness. The Lord desires that we remain under control. God is not looking for self control, but he is looking for sovereign control. We must desire to remain under the control of the Lord. The basic rule is that we steer clear of sin when we become angry. Honestly, the majority of our anger usually ends in repentance. Then we see a principle about anger. Even in anger we must be sure not to go to bed with it. How many times have we to bed with anger in our hearts? God specifically says to make sure we not allow the sun to go down on our wrath. When we go to sleep angry it gives room for the devil to do a work in our lives. We must realize that anger is a tool of the devil. God can only use the anger that is not tainted with sin. The devil will use all anger in our hearts to cause severe devastation and destruction in our lives.
Today’s Challenge: Assess your anger. Determine if it is tainted with sin or if you have lived in it for an extended period of time. If so, then please repent and seek reconciliation.
Galatians 5:14 “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
When we think of “The Law” we could consider the 10 Commandments, the 613 Mosaic Laws, or the entire Bible. That is a lot to obey. If we were honest with ourselves we would openly admit that obeying all these individually would be overwhelming impossible. However; the Lord decided that He could take all these laws and simplify it down to one simple, yet powerful word – LOVE! When the Bible defines God, we find that God is defined in this one simple word called “Love”. God has given us the one commandment that not only covers the entire law, but it encompasses the essence of who He really is. We are to love God, as well as love others. If you and I would were to study all these laws addressed in scripture we would realize that if we simply loved God and others then it would totally keep us from breaking God’s laws. For example:
- When you love God and People then you don’t have to worry about putting anything before Him.
- When you love God and People then you don’t have to worry about using His name in vain.
- When you love God and People you don’t have to worry about other graven images
- When you love God and People you will keep the Sabbath Day holy by attending Church
- When you love God and People you don’t have to worry about murdering them.
- When you love God and People you don’t have to worry about honoring your father and mothe
- When you love God and People you don’t steal from them.
- When you love God and People you won’t commit adultery.
- When you love God and People you won’t lie against them.
- When you Love God and People you will not find yourself coveting.
You see? All we must do is operate in love and it handles all the rest. No wander it is called the Great Commandment!
Today’s Challenge: LOVE!!!!
Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
This is one of the most power pieces of Scripture in the Bible. The victories we experience in life our products of our obedience to the principles found in this verse. This verse teaches us the source of a Christian living out the Life of Christ. We see that there is an importance in being dependent up on the Savior. The verse teaches us of how we are identified with Christ. We are crucified with Him, but live by Him. We identify with His death, but at the same time we can also identify with His resurrection. The ability to experience victory over sin is not controlling situations yourself, but it is learning to allow Christ to live out His purpose through you. We also see that we are indwelt by Christ. Christ lives in us! Christ also lives through us! The Christ-life is essentially a complete life of faith. Most of the time we refuse to allow Christ to live through us. We compartmentalize Him and refuse to die to our self. We must understand that in order to completely surrender to Christ we must operate on the basis of faith.
Today’s Challenge: Remember that God can do more with you on accident that you can do with you on purpose. Let Him live through you!
Galatians 1:6 “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:”
I, like Paul, find it amazing how Christians have been swayed by the message of other gospels. It is important that we realize that if we can get a lot of things wrong and still be okay. However; if we get the Gospel of Jesus Christ wrong it ruins everything. The Gospel is the most important message in the entire Bible. If we preach the wrong gospel then, according to verse nine we are preaching a curse upon ourselves. We must be very mindful of how we preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I want to look for a moment at some of the gospels that we normally encounter. That way when we hear them we can mark them and then avoid them.
- There is the Wrong Gospel: Any message that avoids the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the wrong message. Anyone that teaches that there is another way to Heaven outside of Jesus Christ is teaching the wrong gospel. An example would be if you hear someone that says “It does not matter what you believe, as long as you are sincere.” Danger! Sincere people will end up in the Lake of Fire.
- There is the Water Downed Gospel: It is the message that accepts Jesus Christ, but does not stress it. The watered down gospel is the idea of easy believism that is being preached from many American pulpits. It is a message that avoids teaching on changed lives, repentance, and other controversial events that are suppose to take place at the moment a person is saved. It avoids the controversial issues involved in salvation and never reveals a person’s sinful condition.
- There is the Works-based Gospel: This gospel emphasizes works over faith. It believes that as long as you are performing your religious duties such as attending church, tithing, and serving then you are automatically destined for Heaven. Nothing could farther from the truth. Works never produce faith, but faith will always produce a work.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ teaches a person places their faith and trust into the Lord Jesus Christ by Repenting of their Sins, and turning their lives over to the Lord. Salvation involves repentance, and faith. Without either of these, we are living by the wrong message.
Today’s Challenge: Examine the message that you are preaching and the message that you have received. Have you been removed from the real Gospel message?
2 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves, Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
The Bible is clear that we are to examine ourselves. Typically, we are more out to judge or examine others before we are to examine ourselves. The Lord gives us to simple instructions:
- Examine Yourselves
- Prove Yourselves
There are some principles that would be good to highlight in order to learn to do a self examination.
- Make Jesus Christ Your Mark: We have a habit of comparing ourselves to others, when we are to make Jesus Christ our standard. Remember, if you don’t look like Jesus then you don’t have any business judging others.
- Make The Bible Your Mirror: The Bible is not just a composition of stories and fairy tales, but it is a mirror that reveals to us all our impurities. Reading the Bible requires us to align and adjust to it, rather than making it adjust to us. Allow the Bible to be the device that shows us our imperfections.
- Make The Holy Spirit Your Mentor: There is no greater accountability partner than the Holy Spirit. Allow Him to work in your life by giving Him complete access to your heart. Trust me; the Holy Spirit will definitely be a truthful physician in the examination process.
Today’s Challenge: Do a Self Examination using these tools and see what happens.
2 Corinthians 11:3 “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”
We have many tendencies to complicate things that God meant to be real simple. We call things hard, that were intended to be real easy and we get confused about things that are supposed to be real easy to understand. We are reminded that Satan’s intentions are to keep us from obeying the Lord. The Lord makes His directions real clear, but Satan is the one that tries to confuse us. When we give place to the Devil we are allowing ourselves to be pulled away from Christ. The intentions of Satan is basically to corrupt our minds from the simplicity of Christ. When give ear to Satan we are allowing corruption to enter our minds.
Satan will corrupt the mind in order to confuse the mind.
God did not intend for the Christ-life to be difficult or confusing. Sure there are difficulties and hard times, but God offers relief, rest, and revival for those that bring those difficulties to Him. Man has tried to complicate the Bible while God intended for it to be quite simple. We must remember the simplicity that is in Christ.
- Christ had a Simple Message – Believe on Christ and you will be Saved
- Christ had a Simple Command – Follow Me
If you think about it, everything about Christ and the Christ-life is real simple. Just do what He says and it will not get complicated. However; we question, we doubt, and we rebel against the very simplest of lifestyles.
Today’s Challenge: Quit complicated things through unbelief and start believing in the simplicity that is in Christ.