Saturday, June 19, 2010

Blessings for all

“… for He makes His sun to rise on bad and good…” – Matthew 5:45

Have you noticed how that lazy, stubborn, good-for-nothing bum breathes the same air that you breathe — for free?
Do you see how that loudmouth, backstabbing, slandering neighbor or classmate or officemate of yours get warmed by the same sun and showered by the same rain? Observe how all people are blessed by God every day. Why? Because God loves them all. God loves us all.

But here’s the catch.

Notice how loving, generous, forgiving, grateful, peaceful, prayerful and happy people seem to get “more of God’s blessings”? It’s because they are the ones who are more open to receive them.

But realize that God never stops blessing those who are seemingly “closed” to these blessings. Grace, mercy, healing, miracles are there for the taking — anytime — if they open themselves to God. In fact, many of God’s supply — like the air, the sun, the rain — just keep on coming. And only fools will close themselves to these. Which means God does not stop loving them.

Now why should you give up on them… or give up on yourself?

(KYRGMA Family)

Remember to forget

Where is another God like you, who pardons the sins of the survivors among his people? You cannot stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing mercy. Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean! (Micah 7:18-19, NLT)

Have you ever done anything that you’re ashamed of? Have you ever done things you wished you hadn’t? If you have repented of those sins and have turned your back on them, the Bible clearly teaches that you are forgiven.

There is something in us that wants to keep dredging up our sins. Maybe we feel that by doing so, we are somehow making amends for the wrong that we’ve done. Maybe by punishing ourselves, we think we are somehow appeasing God. But this is wrong—and thoroughly unscriptural.

The book of Acts tells us: “Brothers, listen! In this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. Everyone who believes in him is freed from all guilt and declared right with God—something the Jewish law could never do” (Acts 13:38-39, NLT).

Speaking of our sins, God said, “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins” (Hebrews 8:12, NLT).

In the verse that opens today’s devotional, the prophet speaks of God throwing our sins into the depths of the ocean. Have you ever lost anything in a lake or in the ocean? It’s pretty much a lost cause. Once it goes down, it goes way down. And that is what God has done with our sins: He has thrown them into the deepest part of the ocean. Simply put, our sins are G-O-N-E and you and I shouldn’t choose to remember what God has chosen to forget.

(Blue Ridge Broadcasting)

Just Getting Started

He has made everything beautiful in its time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

When I look back on my life at the things God has allowed me to do and the opportunities He has opened up, I can see the wisdom of His perfect timing.

Our tendency is to rush things. But just because something has never happened in your life today doesn’t mean it won’t happen tomorrow. And just because it doesn’t happen tomorrow doesn’t mean it won’t happen a month or a year from now. Maybe one phase of your life is ending and another is beginning. Maybe everything that has happened to you up to this point in your life has been preparation for what is still ahead.

Moses didn’t get going until he was eighty. Then there was Caleb, another Israelite who left Egypt in the Exodus. Along with Joshua, Caleb came back full of optimism and belief when they were sent to spy out the Promised Land. But when the Israelites believed the pessimistic report of the ten other spies, God was so displeased that He refused to allow them to enter the land.

Years later, when Joshua led a new generation of Israelites into the Promised Land, Caleb was among them. And at eighty years old, he said to Joshua, “I’m asking you to give me the hill country that the LORD promised me. You will remember that as scouts we found the Anakites living there in great, walled cities. But if the LORD is with me, I will drive them out of the land, just as the LORD said” (Joshua 14:12, NLT). Joshua gave him his little segment of land as was promised, and Caleb drove out all of its inhabitants. Caleb believed God’s promises, and God was faithful. We need to do the same.

(Blue Ridge Broadcasting)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Getting to the root

We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. (2 Corinthians 10:4, NLT)

So often when something is going wrong in our country, we want to protest, circulate a petition, or maybe organize a boycott. But did you know that as believers, we have something infinitely more powerful than those methods? It’s called prayer, and the Bible tells us to devote ourselves to it (see Colossians 4:2).

We need to pray for our country. We need to pray for people who need to hear the gospel. And we need to share that gospel! We need to offer the good news of Jesus Christ to that woman who wants to abort her child. We need to speak forth the gospel message with that man or woman who is trapped in the homosexual lifestyle. We need to explain the way of salvation to gang members and those in our society who are hurting.

As people learn there is another kingdom, it will change the way they live in this one. Far too often, we Christians have been preoccupied with the symptoms in our society and haven’t touched the root of the problem. The root is sin. The solution is the gospel.

So let’s get the solution to the root. Our country needs to turn back to God. We keep thinking that a new president will solve all of our problems—or maybe some new members of congress—or some new government program. But our nation’s problems won’t be solved through any efforts of our own doing. We need to turn back to God.

Let’s tell others about Christ and not be so preoccupied with what they’re doing because of their sin. Let’s try to reach people where they are really hurting.

And let’s never forget that prayer isn’t wishing or hoping it is power.

(Blue Ridge Broadcasting)