Are You Participating In The Gospel – 2 Corinthians 2:1-17

Paul encourages us in these verses to not allow the enemy to have a foothold on us regarding sin. Why was Paul so easily able to praise God even in hard times? Because trials don’t make or break a man – they simply reveal the contents of his heart. When someone cuts you off on the freeway, the way you respond is not a result of his action. Rather, it’s an indication of what was already in your heart at that moment. This explains why Paul and Silas could sing in prison. They weren’t praising God in order that He might set them free, for they had no idea their praise would open their prison door. Paul’s praise in prison as well as in this Epistle was simply the overflow of the praise already in his heart. Marching behind and with Jesus as a kingdom of ambassadors of Christ, the gospel we share and the praise we offer become the incense of victory. Therefore, when we see Paul’s exhortation in these verses to be knowledgeable concerning Satan’s devices – one of which is not only to get someone to sin, but to make him feel terrible about his sin, and to cause division among believers concerning the issue of his sin. Paul says to the church at Corinth, “Don’t let Satan ostracize this one who needs to come back into your midst. And don’t let him divide you in the process.” Are you participating in the Gospel today? Are you seeking to be an ambassador of Christ with the ministry of reconciliation?

PRAYER – Jesus transform my life to be more like Your’s. Help me to see the desperate need I have for You in that I am nothing without You. Help me to see other’s needs for You. Show all of us how the enemy’s desire is to steal, kill and destroy through deception. You are the Truth and may we rest in You.In Jesus name,Amen.

Who Are You Living For? – Malachi 1:6-14

What can we learn from this scripture that was written to the Priest in the Old Testament? How does it apply to us as New Testament believers who are not required to make a sacrifice of burnt offerings to the Lord anymore? I would like you to turn in your Bible to my life verses of Romans 12:1-2 and you will see how this applies to us. When sacrificing an animal according to God’s law, a priest would kill the animal, cut it in pieces, and place it on the altar. Sacrifice was important, but even in the Old Testament God made it clear that obedience from the heart was much more important. God desires us to offer ourselves as living sacrifices – daily laying aside our own desires to follow Him, putting all our energy and resources at His disposal, and trusting Him to guide us.

Our new life is a thankful-offering to God. Offering our body as a living and holy sacrifice to be completely set apart for God and dedicated to his service. When we do not present ourselves daily to God as a living sacrifice to Him and only give Him our secondhandedness and not our everything, we become no better than the priest of the OT. It’s our reasonable service or act of spiritual worship to live for Him – Are you living for Him today?

PRAYER – Father, as far as the payment for my sins – You look at me and say, “Paid in Full.” But You make a petition of me to live for You for Your honor and glory – not mine. Today I will be a living sacrifice for You. This is reasonable after Your Son’s sacrifice for me. Thank You, Father. Amen.

Confess, Repent = Restoration of the Joy of Salvation – Psalm 51:1-12

Do you ever feel stagnant in your faith, as though you are just going through the motions? Has sin ever driven a wedge between you and God, making him seem distant? David felt this way. He had sinned with Bathsheba and had just been confronted by Nathan the prophet. In his prayer he cried, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation.” God wants us to be close to him and to experience his full and complete life. But sin that remains unconfessed makes such intimacy impossible. Confess your sin to God. You may still have to face some earthly consequences, as David did, but God will give back the joy of your relationship with him.

PRAYER – Father, I don’t deserve to have a relationship with You because of the sin I’ve committed. I come to You today broken desiring my relationship to You to be restored. I confess of my sins: ___________ and repent of them today turning back to You. Thank You for Your Son, Jesus for paying my penitence on the cross and taking my shame. Show me Your way Lord and restore me today. In Jesus precious name, Amen.

How Is Your Walk? – Genesis 3:1-13

Everyone has a relationship with God, but not everyone has a “right relationship with God.” Everyone has a relationship with God in the sense that He is the Creator and we are His creation. However, sin caused that relationship to be broken. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve enjoyed a relationship that no other human other than Jesus has ever experienced – they walked in the garden with God on a daily basis. But sin entered the world and would separate us from this daily walk. It’s only through a Christ that we can have a relationship with God. Have you ever stopped and look at what sin does though? Who did Adam blame for his disobedience? He blamed God for giving him the woman, and then the woman. Eve blamed the serpent. We always look to blame someone else for our sin and disobedience. One of my favorite quotes about sin is this: “Sin will take you farther than you are willing to go, Keep you longer than you are willing to stay, and cost you more than you are willing to pay.” Is there any sin in your life that is coming between you and God today? How are you walking with Jesus today?

PRAYER – Jesus, in this situation I have nothing to offer of my own ingenuity or strength; I need your wisdom and power as badly as I need the air that I breathe.  As I move forward may I do so in desperate dependence on You every second.  I joyfully and unreservedly confess that I am inadequate to answer Your call, in fact, I can do absolutely nothing without You.  I’m not able to handle this situation on my own and any good that results must come solely through You.  I simply ask You right now to flow through me, Lord Jesus, and cause me to stay out of Your way. In Your name, Amen

Intimacy as Father and Son – John 15:1-17

What exactly can we do without God in our life? Absolutely nothing. What kind of joy can this life truly bring without God in our life? Empty or false joy. We may experience times of life that are good and joy in the moment but without God those times in our life and our strength are fleeting and not lasting. Bearing fruit does not come from our own efforts and loving others is not natural in our flesh. We can only bear fruit by abiding, resting and living in the union with Christ. We don’t produce the fruit but Christ produces the fruit within us, through us, and for us – to bring glory to God. True disciples of Jesus do more than just believe the words of Jesus – they allow Jesus words to remain in them. As Believers, we are to remain in Jesus, remain in His words, and remain in His love. For the Son of God to love us in the same way that His Father loves the Son means we are recipients of the greatest love possible. As a recipient of this loves, our natural response should be total surrender, total submission and complete obedience to the Lord. Nothing in this world can bring the joy that we find in obeying, serving, and abiding in Christ. When we realize how much we are loved, it will be our desire to share that love with others. Do you really realize how much you are truly loved by God? Are you abiding in Christ today or in your own best efforts? Nothing compares to Christ – live today in Him! That is the relationship God desires for us – an intimacy as Father and Son.

PRAYER – I hereby surrender everything that I am, and have, and ever will be. I take my hands off of my life and release every relationship to You: every habit, every goal, my health, my wealth, and everything that means anything. I surrender it ALL to You. By faith I take my place at the Cross, believing that when the Lord Jesus was crucified, according to Your Word, I was crucified with Him; when He was buried, I was buried; when He was raised from the dead, I was raised with Him. I deny myself the right to rule and reign in my own life and I take up the Cross believing that You are in my and I in You. I thank You for saving me from my sins and myself. From this moment on I am trusting You to live Your life in me and through me, instead of me, to do what I can’t do, quit what I can’t quit, start what I can’t start, and–most of all–to be what I can’t be. I am trusting you to renew my mind and heal damaged emotions in Your time. I thank You now by faith for accepting me in the Lord Jesus, for giving me Your grace, Your freedom, Your joy, Your victory and Your righteousness as my inheritance. Even if I don’t feel anything, I know that Your Word is true; I am counting on Your Spirit to do what Your Word says– to set me free from myself, that Your resurrection life may be lived out through me, and that You may receive all the glory. I thank You and praise You for victory right now in Jesus’ name, Amen.