Soul Food

1 Timothy 4:6 In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following.

The Word of God is good food for the soul.  It provides the nourishment that we need as Christians.  We are in the Word, hearing preaching of the Word our souls are fed.  We get all the essentials of a balance diet.  This diet is good for us and makes us spiritually healthy.

Do you spend time in God’s Word? Do you chew over the words you read afterwards?  Are you memorizing it?  Do you listen to preaching of it?  Are you praying over it and through it?  These are all vital ingredients that make a up this meal.  You need to have the right portions of each.  Take time and be in God’s Word and your soul will thank you for it.

Dear God, I thank you for Your Word.  It is full of the nourishment I need. Forgive me the for times I skip out on it or a fake my way through it.  I am only hurting myself when I do so.  Amen.

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Out of Love

1 Timothy 1:5 But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

Why do you what you do?  Where do your motives come from?  The answer for both questions, should be love.  We do what we do out of love for God and others.  Our motive comes from love for God and others.  Love moves us to act rightly and unselfishly.  It puts others in front of ourselves.

Paul had a love for other people, so he taught them about Jesus.  He did not do it to get rich or famous.  He humbly looked for others to share the good news with.  Many “teachers” today are in for themselves.  They act of selfishness and not love.  They do not teach the hard things of God, not wanting to upset people.  This is not love.  Love does not hide the hell that is ahead, in order not to offend someone.  Love tells them the truth and tells them the way to go.  This is true love.  Jesus acted out of love when He came and was born in a barn.  He acted out of love when He chose the cross and died for us.

How well do you love others?  Do you make sure that they know the truths about what lies ahead?

Dear Jesus, help me to love others and tell them the truth.  Help me not to hide what is ahead.  You acted out of love and made a way for us.  Help me to act in love and tell others about it.  Amen.

Contagious Joy

Philemon 1:7 For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.

Joy can be contagious.  When we are joyful, it causes others to be joyful and when they are joyful, it causes even more people to be joyful.  Paul was joyful because Philemon was.  He was encouraged by how Philemon acted toward other believers.  His joy was contagious and that joy had gotten all the way to Paul.

We need more joyous people in this world, because we need more joy.  Life can be hard some times and it is hard to be joyful.  If you have heard Charles Swindoll preach on the radio, you know that he has an awesome laugh.  His laugh brings a smile to my face, because it is filled with such joy.  We need laughs like that!  We need positive people in this negative world.  Way to many people are full of doom and gloom.  I know I have my moments of that.  Where no matter what happens, I can see the bad in it.

This is the attitude we are called to have.  God wants to be filled with joy.  He wants us to have joy in our hearts.  Paul, in writing from jail, told others believers to rejoice over and over again.  He said that we should rejoice always.  That includes any and all circumstances.  Be filled with joy!

Dear Lord, help me to be full of joy.  Help me to have a good attitude.  Fill my heart with joy and that I may spread it to other people.  Amen.

God’s Grace

Titus 3:5-7

5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

When asked, why people think they should go to Heaven, the usual reply is that they think they are good enough.  They think they have been better than others.  Most non-Christians believe getting into Heaven is based on what they do and where they fall on a grading curve.  Sadly, they could not be more wrong!  We have no chance of going to Heaven based on what we do.  We all have earned Hell, but not Heaven.  That is why Jesus came all those Christmases ago.  He did not come so that we might be good enough one day, but instead He came to make away for us to get to Heaven.

That way is based on God’s grace.  We are saved not because of what we do, but because of what Jesus did for us.  He died the death we deserve to die.  His blood was poured out for us, that we be washed from the stain of sin.  We are cleansed by Him and justified by His actions.  When we accept Jesus as our Savior, God the Father looks at us and sees the perfect life of Jesus.  The fancy name for that is imputed righteousness.  He no longer sees any of the multitudes of sin we have committed but instead looks at us as if we had never sinned.  That is what it means to be justified.  This justification comes by God’s grace.  Grace is unmerited favor.  We do not deserve God’s grace, but pours it into us.

How do we get God’s grace?  Only by accepting the free gift that God offers.  We need to accept Jesus as our Savior, as the only way to be saved.  We need to believe in our hearts that Jesus died for our sin and rose again.  That He is the only way to Heaven.  We need to ask Him to forgive us and cleanse us.  When we do so, we are adopted into the family of God and we become heirs into God’s Kingdom.  All of this is through His amazing grace and love!

Dear Jesus, thank you for coming to make a way for me to go to Heaven.  Thank you for justifying me.  Thank you for cleansing me.  Thank you for making me an heir, into Your Kingdom.  Thank you for Your grace, which saves me and sanctities me.  Amen.

Not Our Home

Hebrews 13:14 For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.

We, who have accepted Jesus’ free gift of salvation, do not belong to this world.  For our Savior did not belong here either.  Our home in the new Jerusalem, which will come down from Heaven at the end of this age.  That is the lasting city mentioned in the above verse.  This place represents our hope and dreams.  It is a much better place.  Here are a few reasons why, contrasting this world, with Heaven:

Old City (This World) New City (Heaven)
Full of sin Free from sin
Temporal Eternal
Crime Peace
Corrupt leaders Holy Leader
Sadness No Tears
Darkness Light
Worry No Worries
Death No Death
Dirty

Sparkly Clean

This world is not our home, we are just passing through it.  We are waiting for our King to come and to take us to our real home.  The Bible compares this to a wedding.  In Biblical times after a formal engagement, the groom would go off and build a home for his bride.  When the house was finished, he would go and get his bride and take her home.  The Bible says the Jesus is the groom and we who believe in Him are the bride.  The groom is busy building the house and one day soon He will return for His bride and take us home with Him!

The question is though, are apart of the bride?  Have you have accepted the free gift of salvation offered by Jesus?  He paid a high price to buy this gift.  See, we are born into sin and because of that sin we ring up a huge debt that we have no hope of paying.  Our sin separates us from God.  He cannot stand sin and we have no hope of staying in His presence with sin around our neck.  Jesus was born to die.  He came to be a sacrifice, to shed His blood and by doing so He paid our debts.  This payment does not recorded until we ask Him to save us and we believe that Jesus is the Son of God, who died for my sins.  We accept His offer to pay our debt and we accept as our Savior, saving us from the eternal punishment we deserve.  When do this we become part of the bride and this world is no longer our home.  We look forward to the one to come!

Dear Jesus, thank you for saving me.  Thank you for dying for my sins and forgiving me.  Thank you for paying my huge debt and setting me free.  Thank you for the city You are building.  I cannot wait to we are home in it, with You forever and ever.  Come soon Lord Jesus!  Amen.

Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tree

1 Corinthians 1:2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:

We have all seen Charlie’s Christmas tree, but it was not much to see.  It was a weak tree, so weak that you could not hang an ornament.  The needles fell off in bunches, every time it was touched.  It was not very tall or full.  Looking at it, it did not hold much worth.  It was a typical Charlie Brown thing, because Charlie never does anything right.  However, when the tree was given some tender loving care by Charlie’s friends, it became an amazing tree.  It stood tall and held its ornaments.  When they were done with it, you would not believe it was the same tree!

When we first come to Jesus, we are like that tree.  We are weak and slumping.  We have holes are over us.  We have a lot of room to grow.  Jesus comes along and shows us the tender loving care that we need.  In short order, we start growing branches and those branches fill out.  We stop slumping and start getting strong.  Before we know it, we are able to live up to what God calls us to do.  We are totally transformed and useful for the Kingdom of God.  We look totally different from how we began.  This process is called sanctification.

We grow tall and get strong, because of what God does in our lives.  It is not what we do, for our sin causes us to mess up.  God is the one at work in our lives.  He grows us.  He makes us stronger.  He builds us to be what He wants us to be.  It is all Jesus and His love for us that transform us.

Dear God, thank you for loving me.  Thank you for investing in me.  Thank you for giving me the tender loving care that I need.  Thank you for growing me.  Amen.

A King is Coming

Hebrews 10:23,37

23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;
37 FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE WHILE, HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME, AND WILL NOT DELAY.

Hold fast.  Do not lose hope.  Do not waver.  Jesus is faithful.  He said that one day He would return and establish His Kingdom.  He is coming.  If He said it, it will happen.  When you are full of despair, hold on to this hope.  Keep trusting in God.

He return in full power and full glory.  The first time He came in humility.  He humbled Himself, and was born in a lowly manger.  When He returns, He will ride a white horse, armed for battle.  He is the mighty, conquering King.  No one will be able to stand in His way.  He will destroy His enemies.  Hold fast, He is coming soon!

Dear Jesus, I so long for Your return.  I so long for You to receive Your Kingdom.  Help me to cling this hope.  Help me to keep looking for You and be prepared for Your return.  Amen.

Born to Bleed

Hebrews 9:22 And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

As we enter the Christmas season, our thoughts turn to a cute baby lying in an animal trough.  We celebrate His cuteness and the cuteness of the story, but we must remember that He was born to bleed.  Jesus came for one reason.  That reason was not to say wise things.  That reason was not to share a new philosophy.  That reason was not to be a great teacher.  The one reason He was born, was to shed His blood.  He was born in order to die.

This verse tells us that in order for us to be forgiven, blood must be shed.  Before Jesus was born, the blood of animals was shed.  That blood could not forgive all of our sins.  Only the blood of a perfect man could do that.  That is why Jesus was born.  That is what we celebrate on Christmas, that He came to shed His blood for us.  He came to pay the penalty for our sins.  He came that we might be forgiven, for every sin we might ever commit.

We are cleansed by His blood.  Nothing can remove the dirt of sin in our lives, but the blood of the Lamb of God.  His blood, when applied to our lives makes us clean and spotless.  After applying His blood, God the Father looks at us as if we had never sinned.  We are just as pure as Jesus (not that we behave this way), that is the power of His blood.

Have you applied His blood to your life?  If not, do so today.  Call out to Him and ask Him to cleanse you.  Ask Him to save you.  Ask Him to forgive you.  Believe that only Jesus can do this and you will be saved.

Dear Jesus, thank you for being born in order so shed Your precious blood.  Thank you for the forgiveness which You offer.  Thank you for saving me.  Thank you for cleansing me.  Thank you for redeeming me.  You are my only hope!  Amen.

God’s Timing

Hebrews 6:15 And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise.

God’s timing is not our timing.  We would have all of our problems solved in an instance.  God, however makes us wait and be patient.  He made a promise to Abraham, that Abraham and Sarah would one day have a son.  This promise took decades to come true.  God told Noah he was going to send a flood.  The flood came over a hundred years after.  God works on His own timetable.  And that timetable is the best timetable for us.

Even though we have not received the payoff the promise, that does not mean God is not at work.  He is at work preparing us for the payoff.  Abraham learned so much in those decades while he waited.  Noah built a really big boat in those hundred years.  God knows what He is doing and what time is best for the fulfillment of His promises.  We must learn to trust Him and wait patiently for Him.  When we do, we will be better off.

Dear God, help me to wait patiently for You.  And while I am waiting help me to be growing and maturing.  Thank you that Your promises always come true.  You are faithful and dependable.  If you say it, it will happen.  Teach me Lord and grow me as I learn to wait on You.  Amen.

The Sword

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

A good swordsman knows how to use his weapon.  He practices using it and gets really familiar with it.  He learns how to use it in different ways, in different situations.  He is comfortable around it.  He respects the power and the danger of it.  He treats it with reverence.  The Word of God is our weapon and we need to know how to use it.

When the Word gets in us, it roots out the bad things in our lives.  It convicts of the wrong that we do, calling us to repent from it.  It slashes the evil in our lives.  The sword divides our old self from our new self.  He helps us to put to the death the deeds or our old selves.  It teaches us how to live rightly.

We are a fool if we ignore this weapon.  A sword does no good in its sheath.  It needs to be pulled out, to be used correctly and efficiently.  A powerful sword is useless if it is not put to use.  We need to pull the Bible off our shelves and open it and read it.  Daily we need to practice it, learning new things from it.  If we do not actively fight, we will be overwhelmed by the evil one.

Dear God, help me to know how to use the Sword.  Help me to be in Your Word, allowing it daily to get inside of me.  Help me to respond to any conviction it might bring and repent and turn away from any evil act I might be doing.  Help me to put the old self to death and grow in the new self.  Amen.