Are You Properly Dressed?

Were you properly dressed when you left the house this morning?  No, I’m not talking about modesty or imarmor of Godmodesty; that’s a discussion for another day.  I’m not talking about making sure your colors are coordinated or whether you are dressed too casually or not casual enough.  The dress I’m talking about is far more important than any of those things.

When you left the house this morning, were you dressed with the full armor of God? The apostle Paul wrote, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” (Ephesians 6:11-18).

Today, you are in the midst of a spiritual battle.  I hope you didn’t leave the house without being properly dressed!

Smile! You’re a Christian!

25-Smile-Quotes-that-Will-Make-Your-Day-MainPhoto“These things have I spoken unto you,that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:11).  Christians, more than any other people in the world, have plenty of reasons to rejoice.  Don’t think so?  Consider the words of the apostle Paul from Romans 5:1-5: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

First, Christians can rejoice because we are justified by faith (Romans 5:1).  When we are justified we are made right, or righteous, before God.  God justified us in response to our faith.  Not faith alone, for that is a dead faith, unable to save anyone (James 2:17).  We are justified as a result of our active, obedient faith.

Second, Christians can rejoice because we have peace with God (Romans 5:1).  We have a harmonious relationship with God. When a person becomes a Christian, the discord, strife and contention  that previously existed between man and God are gone.

Third, Christians can rejoice because we have access to God’s grace (Romans 5:2).  Grace is that unmerited favor without which no man can be saved (Ephesians 2:8).  Our faith is the path that leads us to the presence of God’s grace.

Fourth, Christians can rejoice because we have hope (Romans 5:2).  Our hope of heaven is desire (wanting to go to heaven and be with God) coupled with expectation (we expect to go to heaven, not because we can ever earn  heaven, but because of God’s abundant grace – Romans 5:20).   It is a hope that does not cause shame or disappointment (Romans 5:5).

Fifth, Christians can rejoice even in the midst of our trials (Romans 5:3).  Christians are not immune from many of the heartaches and disappointments of life.  Yet we can rejoice throughout these trials because they produce character, perseverance, and hope (James 1:2-4).

Smile, you’re a Christian!

Jesus, Our Perfect Example of Forgiving Others

cross-of-christYou can read through the Bible from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 and you will never find a greater example of forgiveness than Christ on the cross.  After being taken by the Roman soldiers, slapped and beaten, verbally ridiculed, scourged and finally hung on the cross, Jesus prayed to his Father, “Father, forgive them.”  Oh that we all could possess the same forgiving heart that Jesus possessed.

Click play to hear more about forgiveness defined, forgiveness described, and forgiveness demanded.

Save Me a Place!

Stadium SeatsHave you ever planned to be somewhere (maybe a baseball game or school play) but knew you couldn’t be there on time?  Perhaps you called and told the rest of your family to go on without you; you would meet them there later.  Before you hung up the phone you reminded them, “Save me a place!”

Shortly prior to his death and later ascension to heaven, Jesus told his disciples, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you.   I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:1-3 (King James Version)

Jesus has ascended to heaven and is now sitting at the right hand of God (Acts 1:9-11; Mark 16:19).  Although Jesus has “gone on without us,” those who are Christians hope to be with him there later.  It’s comforting to know that he is “saving a place for us.”

Today, I can look forward to the place Jesus has prepared for me!

It is a Good Thing to Give Thanks

“There is no such thing as gratitude unexpressed.  If it is unexpressed, it is plain, old-fashioned ingratitude” (Robert Brault).  Who would be so unreasonable to deny that our gratitude should bLet God Speake expressed to others?

The psalmist wrote, “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night,” (Psalms 92:1-2).

First, it is good to give thanks to God because God deserves it.  There is not one good thing you will enjoy today that did not come from God (James 1:16-17).

Second, it is good to give thanks because it benefits us.  When we consider our blessings, we concentrate on what we have, rather than what we do not have; we concentrate on our fortune in life rather than our misfortune.  Giving thanks motivates us to be happy and produces an attitude of contentment.

Today, I will give thanks to God!

The Best Thing About Today

for-god-so-loved-the-world-postcardDo you know what the best thing about today is?  It’s not what you’re going to have for lunch.  It’s not anything you’re going to do this afternoon.  It’s not some movie you may watch tonight.

The best thing about today is that God will shower you with his love from morning to night.  Little children sing about it, the elderly find comfort in it, those who suffer trust in it, skeptics doubt it, and atheists deny it; but God’s love for man continues to shine with the brightness of the noonday sun.

 

 The apostle Paul wrote: “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God” Ephesians 3:17-19 (King James Version).

Today, I’m thankful for God’s love.

I’m Thankful for Rear View Mirrors

I’m glad cars have rear view mirrors.  They are a real safety feature; you can use them when backing up or, before you pass someone, check to see if someone is passing you!  While rear view mirrors are great for seeing what is behind you, no sensible driver would remain constantly focused on his (or her) rear view mirror.  Can you imagine the disastrous results?  To get where you want to go you must give your attention to the windshield, constantly looking at what lies ahead.

rear-view-mirrorLife is a lot like that, isn’t it?  No sensible Christian will constantly look behind him (or her); remaining focused on the past.  Can you imagine the disastrous results?  A life of continual guilt, regret over bad decisions and poor judgment, and steady thoughts of “what might have been.”

 Life is a journey.  It’s ok to learn lessons from the past by looking in the rear view mirror from time to time.  However, to get to our destination, heaven, we must regular focus on the windshield, giving our thoughts to what lies ahead.  The apostle Paul wrote, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus ” (Philippians 3:13-14).

Today, rather than concentrating on my rear view mirror and dwelling on the past, I will focus my attention on the windshield and concentrate on what lies ahead.