Worthy Of Our Adoration…

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1 John 1:1-4

1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)
3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

When you pray, how do you approach God?

Numerous Christians visualize a holy, righteous being and approach Him with feelings of fear, unworthiness, and reluctance. On the other hand, many believers picture the Lord as a pal and talk to Him with little reverence.

Neither approach is healthy.

Our finite minds cannot fully grasp that God is both loving and holy.

Let’s first explore the holy, fear-provoking side of the Lord. As you read today’s passage, visualize the incredible power around heaven’s throne. It fills my heart with awe and wonder.

Before Jesus walked on earth, the temple contained an area called the Holy of Holies, where God’s presence resided. Only the priest could enter—and just on specified days, after ritual cleansing and preparation. If he did not get himself ready exactly according to scriptural rules, he would be struck dead.

To be in God’s presence requires obedience.

In fact, because of the Almighty’s absolute holiness and perfection, He is unable to commune with sinfulness, which is the condition of all mankind (Rom. 3:9).

Therefore, every one of us is guilty and deserving of  condemnation. Thankfully, though, God did not leave us helpless, but out of His grace and love, sent His Son to be our Redeemer.

Every page of Scripture can deepen our understanding of God’s greatness.

Are you amazed at His presence and deeds?

To understand more about His character, discipline yourself to read and meditate on the Word.

Then take time to praise Him, for He alone is worthy of our adoration.

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Potential Beyond Imagination…

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Matthew 5:13-16 (KJV)

13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Ask yourself this question: What kind of light am I?

Is your glow perhaps a little dull–a flicker that others can see only if they’re really looking?

Or are you the kind that brightens everything up when you walk into a room?

As Christians, we ought to “shine” brilliantly, no matter where we are.

When even a small flame is strong, it brings light to the whole room.

Shortsightedness may be what dims our radiance, and it can cause us to miss out on blessings. Before agreeing to cooperate with the Lord, we may think we have to see exactly what He plans to do. But we are called just to be faithful ambassadors who trust His Spirit to do the rest of the work in people’s hearts.

God tells us, Don’t give Me a schedule–just trust Me.

Watch Me do it My way in My time, and see what happens.

As a believer, you are someone special. And as a member of God’s family, you are indwelt by His Spirit; His light is the radiance within you. In terms of benefit to the kingdom, your life has potential beyond imagination.

You have no idea what amazing things He can do–whether in the workplace, at school, or with family, neighbors, or friends–through your willingness simply to shine the light of His powerful love.

If you’ll just get on your knees and pray, “Lord, I’m available–do whatever You want with my life, and show me what to do,” you can be sure that He’ll reveal the next step.

God is willing and ready to move in the life of anyone who chooses to be available for Him.

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Self-indulgence Without Value…

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Ecclesiastes 2:1-23 (KJV)

18 Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.
s19 And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.
20 Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun.
21 For there is a man whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil.
s22 For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun?
23 For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity.

Not only was King Solomon the wisest man who ever lived (1 Kings 3:12); he was also blessed with wealth beyond imagination and the privilege of building God’s temple. So we might expect him to know deep contentment.

Toward that end, Solomon devoted himself to studying and exploring all kinds of things.

Ecclesiastes tells us that he indulged in the world’s pleasures, even dabbling in pursuits he recognized as folly to see if there was anything worthwhile in them.

But the satisfaction Solomon sought evaded him, and he concluded that self-indulgence was without value.

The king tried another avenue to find fulfillment: personal achievement. He undertook great projects, such as building houses for himself, improving the environment with gardens and parks, and carrying out an extensive irrigation project (Eccl. 2:6).

The king had everything he could ever need to enjoy life, but in the end, he found it all without meaning.

The story has a familiar ring, doesn’t it?

Our world has many highly educated and successful people, but there is also much dissatisfaction with life.

Our culture pursues pleasure and does not accept limits on its passions.

Sadly, such lack of restraint has ruined countless lives.

Solomon had the wisdom and resources to accomplish whatever he chose to do. Yet the goals he pursued brought no lasting satisfaction. He concluded that the best course was to obey God (12:13).

True enjoyment comes when we align ourselves with His will.

Any other way is meaningless.

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In Communion With One Another…

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1 Corinthians 12:12-13

12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

Believers have two responsibilities.

The first is to worship God and the second is to work for His kingdom.

Where and how we serve is based upon our unique talents, skills, and calling. But the one place where we are all expected to give of ourselves is the local church.

When you were saved, the Lord baptized you by the Holy Spirit into His church–the body of believers who live all over the world but are united by trust in Jesus Christ. You then chose, according to the will of God, to become part of a local, autonomous group of believers.

He placed you there because He knows that you are needed (1 Cor. 12:18).

You are significant to your home church.

The church is more than a community. It is an interdependent body with individual members who were created by God to function in communion with one another. We Christians, like the world at large, are a diverse group, and that means we often have to strive hard for unity. But our differences are actually something to be celebrated, because each person uniquely contributes to God’s purpose. A church that is truly operating as a unit–with all its varied gifts, talents, personalities, and intellects focused toward kingdom goals–must be a beautiful sight before the Lord.

Christianity isn’t a spectator religion.

We all have jobs to do in God’s kingdom. The body of Christ functions best and most beautifully when all members resolve to serve God and each other to the best of their ability (v. 25).

What are you doing for your church?

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Detached From The Creator…

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2 Corinthians 5:14-21 (KJV)

14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:
15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Separation, rejection, and alienation are unpleasant experiences that we usually try to avoid at all costs.

But we live in a fallen world, so we cannot totally escape them.

Isolation from other people is bad enough, but what’s worse is that many individuals live apart from the heavenly Father. How tragic and futile life must be when it is spent completely detached from its Creator.

God planted within each of us a desire to be in relationship with Him, so until we find our connection to Him, we will always feel that something is missing.

And yet as crucial as that relationship is to our well-being, something stands in its way: Whether by our thoughts or actions, we have all violated the Lord’s commands (Rom. 3:23), and our pure, holy God cannot be in the presence of sin. Romans 6:23 states that the penalty for sin is death, which is an eternal separation from the Lord. Therefore, we will always have a void.

What a bleak outlook for mankind! But our loving Father solved the dilemma by sending His Son to pay our penalty.

Fully God and fully man, Jesus lived the perfect life, took all our iniquity upon Himself, and died a gruesome death on the cross.

No longer are we condemned for our wrongs, because Christ took our place. And three days later, He victoriously rose to life.

Salvation is available to anyone who believes and receives this remarkable gift. John 3:16 describes how reconciliation puts an end to our alienation:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

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A Privileged Servant…

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Revelation 5:9-10

9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

According to Scripture, the believer’s citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20).

In other words, we’re not going to be citizens of an eternal kingdom; we already are.

What’s more, every person who professes Jesus Christ as Lord is part of God’s priesthood. In the ancient Israelite culture, priests were the privileged servants of Almighty God. They carried out all the tasks related to keeping the Law and preserving the spiritual well-being  of the people. They cared for the temple, offered sacrifices, and interceded on behalf of the community.

When John says in Revelation 1 that you and I are priests, he is placing us among the ranks of a people set apart as God’s servants. It is a blessing and calling to worship the Lord, to adore and honor Him, and to ensure that all glory is given to His name.

Our duties also include interceding on behalf of others.

The one priestly task we do not have to do is perform sacrifices. God Himself offered the final sacrifice on the cross of Calvary, when His Son died in our place. Our part is to bear witness to the breadth and depth of His love for all people.

Once you grasp the fact that God looks on His children–every one a former slave to sin–with unconditional devotion, you can’t keep quiet about it.

Believers are special in the eyes of their God and King.

We are a sacred people and a holy order. What are you doing with your life? As a believer, you are not your own anymore (1 Cor. 6:19).

You are a priest and a privileged servant of the Most High God.

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Discovering The Abundant Treasure…

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Proverbs 2:1-7

1 My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;
2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;
3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;s
4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.

Knowledge is a prized commodity in the world, but it is not of such importance in God’s kingdom.

What the Lord values is wisdom (Prov. 8:11).

He wants us to view life from His viewpoint and to evaluate everything according to biblical principles.

How do believers acquire this God-given insight? The obvious answer is that we must seek it. Too often, however, people who say they want to be wise but do little to actually make that happen.

Like any worthwhile treasure, wisdom must be actively pursued and carefully gleaned from its sources.

The first source is the Bible. The book of Proverbs teaches that we should pay attention to God’s life-giving words and hold His commands in our hearts (4:20-22).

These days information is broadcast with the slant of the people who packaged it. The only way to know the right perspective—namely, God’s—is to read His ancient “broadcast” and apply its principles (8:33).

Another source of wisdom is the counsel of godly men and women (12:15).

God at times brings fellow believers into our lives to offer biblical advice, encouragement, or reproof. In Proverbs, those who ignore the words of a righteous person are labeled “fool.” Don’t be foolish. Surround yourself with other followers of Christ who are also seeking wisdom as their treasure.

Our heavenly Father ensures that those who seek wisdom will find it (8:12, 17).

Diligent believers will discover they possess abundant treasure: in addition to godly insight, they’ll have knowledge, discernment, and prudence—rare riches in the modern world.

Use them well.

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A Choice To Make…

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Jeremiah 17:5-8 (KJV)

5 Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.
6 For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.
7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.
8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

An acorn needs nutrients and time to grow into a tall, sturdy oak tree.

Likewise, men and women of conviction develop gradually through committed Bible study and prayer.

Ready to get planted firmly in biblical truth?
Here’s how:

Make a list of issues for which you need to form a conviction. Here are questions to help you get started:
Do you consider the Bible true and trustworthy?

Do you think that believing in Jesus Christ is the only way to be saved?

What is the Holy Spirit’s role in the lives of believers and unbelievers?

Are we to forgive others in every situation?

How should Christians approach finances?

What’s your purpose in life?

What is your role in the church and at work?

How should you think and act regarding social issues like capital punishment, abortion, and racism?

It is my hope that these questions will open the eyes of those who haven’t contemplated how their personal philosophies have developed.

It’s time to change that. Study the Bible and make God’s Word the cornerstone of your thinking. A concordance will point you to scriptures that relate to the above topics. Evaluate what the Bible says rather than looking at an issue through the lens of personal preference.

Ask, What does God say? rather than What does this mean to me?

Once you know what God says, you have a choice to make:

Believe Him and commit to living according to your conviction, or continue being tossed by waves of doubt and indecision (James 1:6).

Root yourself in God’s Word and be called one of His oaks of righteousness (Isa. 61:3).

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