Posts Tagged ‘ jesus christ ’

June 27, 2017

June 27, 2017

PSALM 74-77

Focus Verse: Your way, O God, is holy;
What god is great like our God?
Psalm 77:13

 

God’s way isn’t just right. His way isn’t just what’s best for us. His way isn’t just better than our way. God’s way is HOLY because He is holy. Interesting translation point here, the Hebrew root used here for ‘holy’ is qodesh, but the actual Hebrew word used here is baqqōdeš, which is commonly translated as “holy place” or “in the sanctuary”.

 

Isn’t that an interesting translation? God’s way is in His holy place. God’s way is in His sanctuary. God’s way is in His temple.

 

So let’s mash some verses together (while remaining exegetically responsible of course). 1 Corinthians 6:19 tells us that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 6:19 tells us that our hope is an anchor of our soul, one that holds us within the veil. The veil was what separated the rest of the temple from the holy of holies. So our anchor holds within the holiness of God. I listened to a sermon by Mark Batterson just this morning (isn’t God timing great!) about how the technique the writer of Hebrews is talking about here doesn’t have as much to do with stopping a ship from moving as it does navigating a ship through treacherous waters. If that’s the case, then our navigating anchor holds within God’s holiness.

 

So let’s land this plane. You are a temple of the Holy Spirit the minute you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. So inside of you there is THE SOURCE of holiness – the Holy Spirit! Inside of this temple is also the way of God…God’s will. The will of God is not a mystical path that you need to find! It’s not some ‘fountain of youth’ or other hidden treasure that God keeps burying somewhere else to keep you searching forever. The will of God is INSIDE of you!

 

His way is completely perfect. His way is completely holy. And his way is completely attainable. As long as you are following the Holy Spirit, God’s way is INSIDE of you. How can you know whether or not you’re following the Holy Spirit? Is Jesus your Lord and Savior? Are you listening to Him and willing to do what He asks of you? Then you’re in it! Let His will carry you.

June 26, 2017

June 26, 2017

PSALM 70-74

Focus Verse: Until I came into the sanctuary of God;
Then I perceived their end.
Psalm 73:17

Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For, behold, those who are far from You will perish;
You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You.
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works.
Psalm 73:25-28

 

Psalm 73 is one of those Bible verses that you read and wonder whether or not God really meant to put it in the Bible. Kind of like a lot of the book of Ecclesiastes. I read some of those passages thinking, “Does God realize how bad this sounds for Him? This is terrible PR!” But God isn’t worried about His reputation, so we shouldn’t be worried about defending it. He will do that if and when He sees fit…and eventually, every knee will pay Him the honor due His name.

 

I think one of the keys to this is found in this chapter of Psalms. The writer spends the first part of the chapter debating whether or not it’s even worth it to be good. So many bad people prosper doing wicked things and never seem to get punished for it, so what’s the point in trying to behave morally?

 

Then everything changes in verse 17, and this is where everything changes for us as well. The writer takes his eyes off of the wicked people and things going on around them and puts them on God. Once he steps foot into God’s presence, his perspective starts to change. Just merely stepping into the presence of God opens his eyes to everything that God is – and perhaps more importantly, everything he is not.

 

He continues in the last stanza of the psalm about how he now sees that God is everything that he needs, that he wants nothing other than God. He sees now that even if everything else falls away, God will always be there for those who trust in Him. He realizes that if he goes all in for God, that God will go all in for him and there is nothing else in this world that can top that.

 

So what’s your perspective today? Do you need to step into God’s presence and change that perspective? It’s not going to happen reading a book or listening to another sermon…GOD’S PRESENCE is the game changer. Hit His presence and you’ll see what God doesn’t need to worry about His reputation or PR.

 

It’s all in His presence!

June 25, 2017

June 25, 2017

PSALM 66-69

Focus Verse: A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.
God makes a home for the lonely;
He leads out the prisoners into prosperity,
Only the rebellious dwell in a parched land.
Psalm 68:5-6

 

This is a great description of who God is. And you know what really sticks out to me in this description? God never leaves anyone out. Everyone is included in the kingdom of God. God searches for and finds the lonely, the ones no one else includes. I’m not talking about the cool, hipster, lone wolfs (God does love hipsters too though). I’m talking about the ugly, the rejected, the mocked, the scorned.

 

Maybe you would put yourself in that category. You go to church, school, work, everywhere it would seem, and sit by yourself. No one asks how you’re doing, except the person at the grocery store, but you know they don’t really care. God makes a home for you.

 

And how can we be ultra-sure of that? Because His own Son didn’t come to earth as one of the cool kids. Jesus didn’t hang with his parents in the palace, He wasn’t born among kings and princes. He was born in a filthy manger with animals. Isaiah 53 tells us that there was nothing in Jesus’ appearance that would make Him attractive…He was ugly. Jesus became ugly and unpopular here on earth so that we could be made beautiful and popular in heaven. He came to make a home for the lonely, to be a Father to the fatherless and to bring justice for the widows.

 

Now here’s the thing for us: if this is WHO God is…then this is also who we are called to be! This means that when you go to church, when you go to school, when you go to work, it is part of who you are to make sure that no one is left out. Does this mean you have to talk to some awkward people? Yes. Does this mean that you have to get uncomfortable? Yes.

 

There was no one who Jesus wouldn’t talk to. There is no one whom Jesus doesn’t include in His salvation. Therefore, there is no one who should have to walk through this life alone. Do your part today to make a home for the lonely. Include them. Bring them into your group of friends. You just might find yourself becoming more and more like Christ!

June 24, 2017

June 24, 2017

PSALM 58-65

Focus Verse: Once God has spoken;
Twice I have heard this:
That power belongs to God;
And lovingkindness is Yours, O Lord,
For You recompense a man according to his work.
Psalm 62:11-12

 

What are your core truths? I don’t think that we think about our core truths enough. This can have devastating results too, and it doesn’t always have to do with us not having any strong beliefs. I have heard of so many people who end up walking away from Christianity over “less than” core truths. Not to say that these things aren’t important, but I wouldn’t consider them “make or break your faith” worthy. Sometimes, not having core truths doesn’t mean that we don’t believe in anything, it means that we major in the minors and minor in the majors.

 

Here, King David identifies two things that, if you don’t have any core truths yet, I would highly consider making core truths in your life.

 

First, God is strong.

 

Second, God loves you.

 

You add these two things together and there is nothing you cannot do! I talked about something very similar to this two days ago – that God is strong and He is very present. Add to those two that God loves you (which God is very present implies) and you have just become invincible! You’ve just become more than a conqueror! You’ve just realized that nothing could ever be strong enough to separate you from the love of God. Ok…maybe you should just go read Romans 8.

 

But you get the point. Get these two truths down to the very core of who you are. Let them define YOU. Say them out loud over yourself every day if you have to. I’d suggest writing them down on a piece of paper (or chalkboard, posterboard, etc if you’re super artsy) and put it somewhere where you will see it every morning first thing when you wake up.

 

God is strong and He love YOU!

June 23, 2017

June 23, 2017

PSALM 51-57

Focus Verse: Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners will be converted to You.
Psalm 51:10-13

 

Psalm 51 is the perfect summary of the Gospel. Written after David’s fall into sin with Bathsheba, it summarizes the human condition of sin and the complete dependency on God to blot out our transgressions against Him.

 

This passage hits on that dependency from even before the first step of our salvation process. Before we even ask for forgiveness, the Holy Spirit is working on us, convicting us of our sins and softening our hearts so that we will have a willing spirit, ready to give up the past and turn to God’s intended future.

 

I really love verse 13, “Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will be converted to You.” Are you saved? Have you experienced God’s salvation and forgiveness? Then who are you telling about it? If you have been completely forgiven of your sins – if you truly realize how lost and broken you were – then you won’t be able to shut up about His grace and mercy in your life! You ought to be screaming it from the rooftops! I would challenge you, if you don’t feel that way about God’s forgiveness, you need a new revelation of how lost you really were. I would be so bold to say that you have too low an opinion of how bad you were really lost in your sins.

 

Jesus teaches in Luke 7:47 about the woman who anoints His feet with oil “For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” If you find yourself lacking in love, ask God to reveal to you how lost you really were before He called you into His marvelous light. It will rock your world.

 

When you realize how good God has been to you, you can’t help but share Him with those who are lost. But notice what David talks about sharing with them. He doesn’t start with God’s law, he starts with God’s ways. What are God’s ways? Kindness, mercy, forgiveness, patience, LOVE. We don’t jump straight to their sin – without giving God’s love first, sin is an impossible gap for us to cross – but when we open up God’s love to them and show them God’s ways in dealing with us, the HOLY SPIRIT (not us) begins to close that gap.

 

So how much have you been forgiven? And who are you telling about it?

June 22, 2017

June 22, 2017

PSALM 46-50

Focus Verse: God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.
Psalm 46:1-3

 

What do you believe about God? What do you really believe? Like the kind of belief that changes how you do things. I believe that my car needs the oil changed for it to run, but I don’t believe in the date or mileage the repair shop puts on my windshield. So I get my oil changed, but when it happens is a little more spaced out than what the sticker says. I believe in it, but not enough to really do what it says.

 

I think some of us treat God this way. We’ll even tell people that we believe everything He says in His Word, but we don’t live like it. This is one of those verses. You can’t just come at it, read it and kind of let it change you. So here’s what we need to believe (and act on) if this verse is going to change us:

 

First, God is strong. Second, God is present. Not just present according to this verse, but very present.

 

First of all, God is strong enough to be your refuge and strength in absolutely any storm. He’s bigger than the storm. He’s stronger than all of your worst days combined. And He has promised that His strength is working for you!

 

Second, He is there with you through your suffering. He is there with you through the good times. And He isn’t just hanging around in the background. As a parent, there are times when I am with my kids and times when I am present with my kids. I’m with my kids when they are in the room, but I’m checking Facebook (and let me take this quick break for a PSA: parents, PUT DOWN YOUR PHONES, TABLETS, COMPUTERS AND BE PRESENT WITH YOUR CHILDREN. I stink at this and need to be better…so let’s be better together!). I am present with my kids when we are playing wrestle or building with Legos or playing with “little guys” as my son like to call his action figures.

 

God isn’t on Facebook when He’s with you. He is VERY PRESENT. And that doesn’t change with your circumstances. That means that if you are struggling and fighting and clawing in your current situation, just trying to keep your head above water, God has a reason for it. He’s strong enough to pull you out…there’s no doubt about that. “THEN WHY THE HECK DOESN’T HE!!!” You scream. I can’t answer that. But He can. And I promise you, because I’ve walked through the same kind of thing, when you get through this season (and you WILL get through this season) you will see why He stretched you the way that He did.

 

And even though you may not see it now…believe it or not, you will thank Him for the storm because it made you more like Christ.

June 21, 2017

June 21, 2017

PSALM 36-39

Focus Verse: Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired;
My ears You have opened;
Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required.
Then I said, “Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the book it is written of me.
I delight to do Your will, O my God;
Your Law is within my heart.”
Psalm 40:6-8

 

I love this. God doesn’t want sacrifices and offerings – He just wants YOU! Hebrews 10:5-10 shows us how Jesus lived out these verses, and we are called to do the same.

 

It’s a beautiful thing, that God doesn’t want anything more than us. He doesn’t want your works, He doesn’t want your possessions, He just wants a relationship with you. That’s mind blowing. The God of the universe, the One who created everything you see around, everything you can imagine, wants nothing more than YOU and a relationship with you. That’s the most beautiful thing in the world.

 

At the same time though, this is a steep commitment. Let’s face it, it’s easy to offer sacrifices and offerings, then walk away and forget all about our “church life”. In the grand scheme of things, it is much more costly to offer up your life than it is to offer any offering or sacrifice. Offering your life to God is all-inclusive, your very life becomes the offering and sacrifice.

 

Paul summarizes this perfectly in Philippians 2:17 when he says, “Even if I am being pour out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I will rejoice and share my joy with you all.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer puts it this way, “When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.”

 

It is a dear price to pay, to give your life over to the will of God, but I can promise you that the cost is worth it. In the end, when you give the whole of your life to Christ, there is no question you will shout from the mountain tops, “I delight to do Your will, O my God”!