Monday, July 31, 2017

Perfect Or Pretend?

Sanctification has been the focus of this week’s devotions. Sanctification is the process of growth in holiness; it is how God is making us more like Jesus. Chambers says on July 23, “The one marvelous secret of a holy life lies not in imitating Jesus, but in letting the perfections of Jesus manifest themselves in my mortal flesh… Sanctification is not drawing from Jesus the power to be holy; it is drawing from Jesus the holiness that was manifested in Him… Sanctification is an impartation, not an imitation.”
Once in 1 Peter 1:16 and five times in Leviticus God’s people are called to “be holy as I (God) am holy.” What’s the difference between acting holy and being holy? Holiness is our identity in Christ. Holiness is not simply being sinless; it’s the character of God, demonstrated through Jesus. Holiness is relational. Holiness is not avoiding sin and doing good. It is being like God. What is God like? He is love. He is just and merciful. He is gracious, long-suffering, and kind. God created us in His image, and He is re-shaping us back into the image of Christ. Holiness is what we are in Christ, not just what we do. When I try to act holy, I end up having to cover up a lot of what isn’t holy in my life. I used to cringe at the idea of “holiness” because I knew, as good as I tried to be, it wasn’t going to be enough. I was trying to imitate Jesus, to act holy, instead of resting in the holiness that Jesus wants to (and does!) produce in me.
If Christ Jesus became to us wisdom from God, righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30), He is not just a model of what God expects; Jesus is the means by which God will give us the power to become what He desires us to be. That’s refreshing. My life in Christ is not based on my performance. My life comes from Him, and He gives me what I can never be. What is my role in the sanctification process? It really isn’t any different than it was when I first began following Christ: I need to trust Him. I need to give up my rights to what I want to do and submit myself to Him. Ask Him to produce in you what you don’t want to be on your own. Ask Him to love others through you, to be patient, kind, and self-controlled. Ask Him to let His character be reflected through you.
 - Conrad Hake

Saturday, July 15, 2017

July 15 - "My Life's Spiritual Honor and Duty"

Be Loved - Be Love

First, to understand the love of Christ one must first understand who Christ is. He is the embodiment of love, everything that is done by Him and everything He has done for us, is love. I am reminded of the passage where Paul speaks on love, and then think on how God has shown each of these attributes of love.

 1 Corinthians 13 - 3 I may give away everything I have, and I may even give my body as an offering to be burned. But I gain nothing if I do not have love. 4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. 5 Love is not rude, is not selfish, and does not get upset with others. Love does not count up wrongs that have been done. 6 Love is not happy with evil but is happy with the truth.7 Love patiently accepts all things. It always trusts, always hopes, and always remains strong. 8 Love never ends. 

The second part, is to understand who we are. Although we were made in the image of God we chose to break full communion with God, and live a selfish, self-centered, self-serving life. We do not live a life deserving of Christ's love, but rather only in complete need of it! We do not change for Christ to love us, (Romans 5:8) but rather we've changed because of it (2 Corinthians 5:17.) 

The third part, is to understand how much we are loved and this can be summarized with one verse
John 3 - 16 God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life. 

So today, it is not our charge the love the lovely.

It is not charge to love those worthy of love.

It is not our charge to love only the ones we want to love.

It is our charge to love as Christ loved, and Christ loved the whole world!

- Josh

July 15 - "My Life's Spiritual Honor and Duty" -

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Saturday July 7 - "Will to be Faithful"

Free because of a Cost!
Christianity is NOT something that is inevitable, something that this World promotes, or something that you can "turn on and off." The belief, and then life that following, in Christ comes from a choice to abandon this World, to go against ALL that we have a desire to do, and to be who we were made to be! God is NOT looking for emotionless, will-less, or slave followers. His deepest desire is to have a relationship with EVERYONE, but forces none! He wants all of His creation to be in a deep, personal relationship with Him, but with our choosing to be a part! He loves all of us, but not all of us show that love back. (Romans 5:8)
We MUST openly declare our love for God!
I am reminded of the story of the prodigal son. The father would, everyday, look to sons return, hoping it was then. However, he had to wait for the will of the son to return. But everyday the father was ready for, that day, to be the time! God is this with us! He waits patiently, and His deepest desire is for us to return to Him! But it is our free-will that makes it "the day we returned."
Will today be the day that you return to God? 

-  Josh Burt

July 8 - "Will to be Faithful"

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Saturday, July 1, 2017

Saturday July 1 - Free and Forgiven!

Free and Forgiven!

When looking at our relationship with God, we can not look over the COMPLETE forgiveness that we have been shown. God is not a God that waits for our apology, our change of heart, or our acknowledgement to extend forgiveness and mercy to us. God is perfect, and made us to be in perfect communion with Him; however, we have committed an assault on God's purity (made in us) and it was an eternal crime. This crime was one that God still held US accountable for, but we could NEVER payoff! - Galatians 5:19-20

Even though we could not pay off this debt, God had forgiveness, mercy, and showed His grace. This was done by Him paying the penalty of the crime that was committed against Him for us. This was done before we asked for forgiveness before our hearts ever changed and was done only for us. - Romans 5:8

We too often forget God still holds us accountable for what we do and for what we've done with the things we have. But, in a way that only God can do, He sees us through the payment He made. This should not be a relief for us, but it should be the example that we live by and the way in which we strive to forgive. God has chosen to set us free with His forgiveness, but also to allow us to forgive through Him! We now have the option to forgive, not just to be forgiven!

So, today go out remembering that we have been set free and help others to see the same, forgiving in the way that we have been forgiven and loving in the way that we have been love!

 - Josh

July 1 - "The Inevitable Penalty"

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Perfect Or Pretend?

Sanctification has been the focus of this week’s devotions. Sanctification is the process of growth in holiness; it is how God is making us...