Read | John 8:25-32
God desires the best for each of His children, but sometimes we become trapped in habits, thoughts, and negative emotions that interfere with His plans for us. However, Jesus offers us a way out. If we'll continue in His Word, we'll know the truth that sets us free from whatever is holding us in bondage.
To "continue" in the Word means to be consistently reading and applying it to our lives. Then we'll know what God says and be able to recognize the traps that threaten to ensnare us. What's more, we'll understand the benefits accompanying our salvation that enable us to stand firm in truth without being led astray. Those benefits include . . .
• Our position: Through faith in Christ, we've entered into a personal relationship with God. Now, as His children, we have ready access to His throne along with the assurance that He'll hear our prayers.
• Our provision: God gave the Bible to guide and encourage us in all situations.
• Our promises: By relying on the promises He has given us, we'll become partakers of God's nature and escape the world's corrupting influence (2 Pet. 1:4).
• Our protection: As we walk obediently with Christ, He strengthens and protects us so we won't fall into the traps of the evil One (2 Thess. 3:3).
The first step to living in freedom is to recognize any sins, attitudes, or negative emotions that are dominating your life. Then get grounded in the truth of Scripture and claim God's promises and provisions by faith. He's ready to deal with any type of bondage the moment you cry out to Him for help. -Stanley
The Christian life is never spoken of in the Bible as a bed of roses. It is uphill, because society is coming one way and the Christian is going the opposite way. But Jesus said that in the midst of your problems, in the midst of your difficulties, He will be there to give you grace and peace. Underneath all the troubles, will be the “still waters” that the Great Shepherd can provide. Many people are trying to steady themselves by taking tranquilizers. Jesus is the greatest tranquilizer of all. He can straighten out your life and put you back on center. Let Him take full control. You’ll go on your way rejoicing, as did those in the New Testament who met Jesus.
I need Your calmness and strength, for there are many trials to face, Lord Jesus. By faith I reach out to You, and receive the gift of Your peace in my life. -Graham
We have heard the modern expression, “Don’t fight it—it’s bigger than both of us.” Those who are meek do not fight back at life. They learn the secret of surrender, or yielding to God. He then fights for us! Instead of filling your mind with resentments, abusing your body by sinful diversion, and damaging your soul by willfulness, humbly give all over to God. Your conflicts will disappear and your inner tensions will vanish into thin air. Then your life will begin to count for something. You will have the feeling of belonging to life. Boredom will melt away, and you will become vibrant with hope and expectation. Because you are meekly yielded, you will begin to “inherit the earth” of good things, which God holds in store for all who trust Him with their all.
Let me yield to You this day, Father, all my innermost thoughts. I cannot hide from You. -Graham
Romans 6:19 MSG
I’m using this freedom language because it’s easy to picture. You can readily recall, can’t you, how at one time the more you did just what you felt like doing—not caring about others, not caring about God—the worse your life became and the less freedom you had? And how much different is it now as you live in God’s freedom, your lives healed and expansive in holiness?
Apr 20, 2014
Resurrection Day: Triumph!
Read | 2 Corinthians 4:14-18
Today is a very special day. Across the globe, young and old alike are wearing their finest clothes, attending church, and sharing delicious meals with loved ones. But Easter is so much more than festivities and traditions. If we truly understood all that was accomplished on Resurrection Day, we'd be the most thankful and triumphant people around. How do I know? By looking at Christ's disciples—the original witnesses of Jesus' most astounding miracle. When they finally believed that Jesus was alive, everything changed: those doubting and hopeless men were transformed into passionate preachers of Christianity.
Wouldn't you like to live with that same confidence and unstoppable resolve? You can—by considering what Christ's resurrection achieved and then letting that reality become foundational to all you think, say, and do. Start by reflecting on three remarkable truths:
First, Jesus is alive and active, not only in heaven, but in our lives. He sits at the Father's right hand and intercedes for us (Rom. 8:34)—none could be more qualified than the God-man, who personally experienced human weakness and also knows every detail of our circumstances. What's more, the Lord is present within us through His indwelling Spirit. His supernatural power (v. 11) is always available to transform our character, strengthen us, provide insight, and guide us into God's will.
Second, the Lord is completely trustworthy. Because Jesus overcame death just as He predicted, we can know that everything else He said is true as well—and that all God's promises are sure. These include the certainty that our sins are forgiven if we trust Jesus as Savior. By raising His Son from the dead, God signified that Christ's sacrifice was sufficient to pay the full penalty for our transgressions.
Third, death is not the end. Rather, it is the beginning of life as God intended—free from sin and all its negative consequences of suffering, sickness, and pain. Jesus' resurrection guarantees that believers will be raised as well, receiving new bodies that are strong, perfect, and eternal. Furthermore, we'll have the joy of being reunited with loved ones in Christ and seeing our Savior face to face.
When you understand what Jesus' resurrection accomplished, there will be no reason to let worldly sorrows and cares drag you into hopelessness (v. 18). From today forward, invest in your eternal future by living in light of the resurrection and faithfully serving the risen Savior.
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The basic problem facing our world is not just social inequity, or lack of education, or even physical hunger. We are finding that highly educated and well-fed people have greeds, hates, passions, and lusts that are not eliminated by education. The root of sin in each of our hearts is extremely deep, and this is the basic cause of the world’s problems; only the fire of the Lord can burn it out. This is precisely what Christ came to do. He didn’t come to treat symptoms. He came to get at the very heart of man’s disease.
Father, root out the sin in my life—the shortcomings that are there—and fill me with Your love, so I may fight against the evil present in the world today. -Graham
Christians are to rejoice. To do that, you need only to think of the great things God has done for you. Then we are told not to be anxious, but in our prayers to make our requests known to God. In your biggest problems you have One to whom you can go; and before Him you can pour out your heart with the assurance that He will not leave you without an answer to that great problem. Then we are to fill our minds with those things that are good. They are mentioned in the Scriptures as being things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, of good report, and of virtue. It is upon these things that we are to think. Live positively, not negatively. Once you learn that secret, God will have given you the victory.
You know what troubles me today, Lord Jesus. In faith, I give it all over to You and now praise You, knowing Your love will not fail. -Graham
Man condemns himself by his refusal of God’s way of salvation. In love and mercy, God is offering to men and women a way of escape, a way of salvation, a hope and anticipation of better things. Man in his blindness, stupidity, stubbornness, egotism, and love of sinful pleasure, refuses God’s simple method of escaping the pangs of eternal banishment. Suppose you were sick and called a doctor who came and gave you a prescription. But after thinking it over you decided to ignore his advice and to refuse the medicine. When he returned a few days later, he might have found your condition much worse. Could you blame the doctor? Could you hold him responsible? He gave you the prescription, he prescribed the remedy. But you refused it!
Just so, God prescribes the remedy for the ills of the human race. That remedy is personal faith in, and commitment to, Jesus Christ. The remedy is to be “born again.” If we deliberately refuse it, then we must suffer the consequence; and we cannot blame God. Is it God’s fault that we refuse the remedy?
Lord Jesus, as You sat looking over Jerusalem, You wept. Give me the same compassion for those who have not accepted Your remedy and been born again. -Graham
"Good people" don't get to Heaven, only saved ones do. Are you saved from your sins by true faith in Jesus Christ?