Where Are You?
Read | Genesis 3:7-13
After not listening to God, Adam and Eve found themselves in a terrible predicament. Their first reaction was to cover up rather than “fess up.” Fig leaves can never hide the root problem of sin (Gen. 3:7), but even today, we still try this approach. Instead of acknowledging and confessing sin, we frequently look for a quick fix to the situation.
Adam and Eve’s second response was to avoid God. They knew they were guilty of disobeying, but instead of coming to Him to reestablish their relationship, they hid from Him in fear (v. 8). We often do the same thing when sin breaks our fellowship with the Lord. Have you ever found yourself avoiding prayer and time in the Scriptures because you were struggling with sin and feelings of guilt?
A third reaction was to try and avoid personal responsibility by blaming others (vv. 12-13). Shifting guilt to another person can’t remove it. We are each responsible before God for our actions, regardless of the circumstances or who else is involved.
Despite Adam and Eve’s sin and their evasive ways of handling it, the Lord came to them (v. 9). Our sin is never large enough to keep Him away; God still calls to us and asks, “Where are you?” He knows what we have done and why, but He questions us so that we can come to realize our desperate state.
Never let guilt or shame keep you from the Lord. He seeks those who have made a mess of their life and speaks to them through His Word, His Spirit, and His people. Forgiveness and a restored relationship await all who are willing to listen, confess, and repent.
Read | Ephesians 6:10-13
Spiritual combat is going on all the time. It is important for believers to be aware of this conflict in order to battle sin effectively and live in a manner pleasing to God. The struggle exists in three areas.
First, we have an internal enemy. Ever since the fall in the garden of Eden, the human heart does not naturally seek after God. But the Holy Spirit can draw us and move our thoughts toward the Lord. However, even after salvation, we have the capacity to do wrong as long as we remain in this carnal body. Scripture cites evidence of the old “flesh” patterns at work within us—patterns such as immorality, impurity, jealousy, and outbursts of anger (Gal. 5:19-20).
Next, we have an external enemy: the ungodly beliefs, attitudes, and philosophies all around us. First John 2:15 warns: “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” As believers in Jesus, we should be salt and light to the world around us without allowing its ways to influence our thoughts or behavior.
Third, there’s an infernal enemy, and his name is Satan. His desire is to dishonor God and to gain victory over the Lord’s kingdom. We know from Scripture that this will not happen, but the conflict will continually rage on until the final days mentioned in Revelation.
Be aware of these three enemies. You wouldn't sleep in the midst of a raging war, and neither should you live without awareness in the daily spiritual battle. Today’s passage gives the specifics for standing firm in Christ: Arm yourself with God’s Word, and seek His protection and wisdom.
Was Jesus Christ Really God?
Read | John 1:1-18
The divinity of Jesus Christ is one of the most controversial issues facing every human being. It is also the most critical. Our faith hangs in the balance on this question.
There are many who say they believe in Jesus and in God, but do not think that Jesus is God. They believe many good things about Him, however. They accept Him as a teacher. They marvel at Him as a healer. They revere Him as a philosopher, revolutionary, and social reformer. And yet, they cannot—or rather will not—accept Him as Lord.
I want to be crystal clear on this matter. You can believe all of these wonderful things about Jesus. You can go so far as to laud Him as a prophet sent by almighty God. But if you do not accept that He is one with God—the Savior who died for your sins—then you do not know Him at all.
Now, you may have heard people argue that Jesus Himself never actually claimed to be God. This is simply not true. Time and again in the Gospels, Jesus places Himself on equal footing with the Father and the Holy Spirit (John 10:30; 14:6-14). The truth is, if Jesus was not truly God’s Son, then as C. S. Lewis observed, He was either a lunatic or the world’s most detestable liar.
If you’re the least bit uncertain about this eternal question, don’t let another minute pass before taking steps to figure out the answer. Take the time to examine the Gospels. Talk to your pastor or believing friends. Settle for yourself the life-changing question, “Was Jesus Christ really God?”
The Cross and the Axe Head
POSTED ON SUNDAY MARCH 24TH, 2013 BY PASTOR ANGELO PIERRI
There is a wonderful story in II Kings 6 about the prophet Elisha and an axe head. As the Word depicts, some men were building a new home as Elisha stood by. As they chopped down trees, one builder lost grip of his axe, and the axe head flew into the Jordan River...seemingly lost forever. The axe head was borrowed and it was very valuable, as most iron tools were in those days. When Elisha was informed where the axe head fell, he took a stick (part of a tree), and threw it in the river. To everyone's amazement the axe head came to the surface and floated. They recovered the axe head!
This story is truly amazing for many reasons, but especially for the picture of redemption that it shows us. Just like that axe head, we are very valuable to our Lord Jesus Christ. We are precious to Him and He loves us very much. And just as it was borrowed, we too are not our own. We have been purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ, bought with a price.
The axe head was caught in the unclean waters of the Jordan, caught in the depths of the muddy bottom as its weight and density caused it to sink deeper and deeper... seemingly lost forever. And just like that, we were lost in the depravity of this present world, our sin causing us to sink deeper and deeper into the miry mud from which we could not pull ourselves out. We needed someone to search for us, find us, and pull us out!
Just as Elisha asked where the axe head fell, our Jesus came looking for us, searched for us, and sought to save that which was lost. As Elisha threw the tree into the Jordan, so did the cross of Christ save us, that tree on Calvary.
Everyone knows iron does not float, but when Elisha threw the tree into the water, the iron took on a new nature. It's old nature caused it to sink, but it's new nature caused it to rise and to float above the depths below it. Oh, my brothers and sisters, we have a new nature through Jesus Christ because of the work of the cross and His great love for us. Just like that iron axe head became buoyant and was set free from it's old nature, so do we become spiritually buoyant as we are lifted by Jesus Christ to our new identity.
So, as the newness of Spring fills the days of April, let the newness of the life we have in Jesus fill all our days! He restores, renews, recovers, and revives!
Aug 23, 2014
A Model for Prayer
Read | Colossians 1:10-14
Let’s continue using Paul’s prayer for the Colossians as a model. Yesterday, we studied his first two requests—understanding God’s will and living a worthy life. Now let’s consider the other four:
• To bear fruit in every good work (v. 10). The Lord desires for our actions to bring Him glory. We all seem to be very busy, but are the activities that fill our time eternally valuable?
• To grow in the knowledge of God (v. 10). Through books, sermons, and technology, a wealth of information about the Bible is available. But the apostle’s request is not only for believers to gain facts regarding Christ. He speaks of an understanding in the heart, not simply a mental grasp of knowledge.
• To be strengthened according to His power (v. 11). We are weak when relying on our own strength. Sometimes it takes being driven to our knees before we will relinquish control and instead trust in the Lord’s awesome power. Maintaining endurance and focus in the midst of our difficulties requires energy beyond our own.
• To walk in gratitude (v. 12). When we realize where all good gifts originate, we can live with thankfulness. Contentment and joy come from a grateful heart, not from circumstances.
In the busyness of today’s world, prayer often gets squeezed out of our schedules. But communion with the Lord is vital to a healthy, vibrant relationship with Him. Remember that lifting our loved ones before God’s throne is far more important than many tasks which seem more pressing.
Cure for Our Troubles
Would it not be wonderful if we could find an absolute cure for the troubles of human nature? Suppose we could give a shot in the arm to the whole human race that would fill people with love instead of hate, with contentment instead of greed. Suppose, also, a cure could be found for the past mistakes, failures, and sins of mankind.
Suppose by some miracle all the past could be straightened out, all of life’s tangles could be unraveled, and the broken strings of life could be repaired. The most thrilling news in all the world is the fact that there is a cure! A medicine has been provided! The sin, confusion, and disillusionment of life can be replaced by righteousness, joy, contentment, and happiness. A peace can be imparted to the soul that is not dependent on outward circumstances.
In complete dependence upon You, Lord Jesus, let me relay Your message of love and peace to the desperately needy souls I meet.
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What About The New King James Version?
Investigating the Accuracy and Faithfulness To The Original
written by Dr. Sam Gipp
Aug 18, 2014
Faith and Obedience
Read | 1 Kings 18:1-15
Think of faith and obedience as travel companions heading to the same destination—namely, to please and glorify the Lord. You cannot have one without the other. They grow simultaneously as they are practiced but will wither if neglected.
Elijah was a man with both of these qualities. He believed God and always responded in obedience. When told by the Lord to show himself to King Ahab, Elijah didn't permit fear to stop him. He had learned through experience that the Father was faithful and trustworthy.
Fear short-circuits faith when we begin to doubt that God’s way is really best. If we allow worry to gain a foothold in our minds, we’ll respond by refusing to do what the Lord says, which is disobedience. The result will be a change in our “travel plans,” and by rejecting the way of faith and obedience, we’re actually choosing the path of unbelief and sin.
Satan loves our fear and disobedience because they hinder the journey that God has designed for us. We can’t believe the Lord for great things in one area of our life if we are allowing sin in another. Self-examination is essential in the walk of faith. Where have you compromised by allowing sin a foothold? Are you resisting anything God says in His Word?
Great faith begins with small steps. When you choose to follow God’s Word, an ever-increasing cycle of faith and obedience will begin. Don’t let fear or sin rob you of the great adventure He’s planned for your life. Who has a better track record for choosing the right path—you or God? So believe Him!
Read | Ephesians 4:31-32
Picture a miserable, depressed, and emotionally broken person hunched over a chemistry set. His eyes are narrow. His lips are pursed. His fingers are methodically adding just a pinch of this and a dash of that to the acrid green fluid in the test tube before him. His thoughts are a hodgepodge of outdated images, his heart a stale mosaic of hatred for a grievance long past. He is thinking of the one who hurt him, and he is busy concocting a poison for the offender.
It sounds like an excerpt from an old movie, doesn't it? However, here is where the scene changes direction. Envision that same obsessed scientist breathing a sigh of relief as he straightens up, marveling at the liquid vengeance he has created. Then he utters, “This will show him!”—and drinks the poison himself.
That’s a surprising twist—one that we would not expect in a movie. Yet there is a good chance you have done this very thing at one time or another.
Bitterness is a toxin that we prepare for someone else but then drink ourselves. It is a concentrated dose of emotional poison, often one that we carefully nurture and grow over the course of years. When we react to someone’s wrongdoing by withdrawing and giving free reign to daydreams of retribution and ill will, we are slowly poisoning our own hearts and minds.
Ask God to reveal any signs of poison in your system. Then ask Him to help you administer a dose of the antidote: forgiveness.
"Good people" don't get to Heaven, only saved ones do. Are you saved from your sins by true faith in Jesus Christ?