I love the children’s song.. “This little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine.” It innocently speaks of how Jesus wants us to shine for Him. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke plainly of qualities true believers and followers of Him would possess. “You are the salt of the earth.” “You are the light of the world.” Matthew 5:13,14.He went on to explain that salt that loses it’s saltiness becomes worthless. So how are we to be ‘salty’ in the world. Salt has many uses. It is used to preserve, heal, make tasty, and clean up. As Christians we are to keep Jesus where the world can see Him- in our lives. We are to heal the world by telling them about Him. We are to add flavor- purity, honor, integrity, etc. to the world and remind them of God. And, we are to be abrasive, causing a rub with the grit of the world so they will remember God and be pointed to Jesus.
Likewise we are to be light, where ever we are placed. Jesus said we are not to hide our light- His light in our lives, but we are to light up the world with His light. He wants us to shine so the world will see our good deeds and praise our Father in heaven. Light also had many uses- it dispels darkness, allows us to see where we are going and where we have been, it is warm and comforting. Your presence is a reminder to the world of Christ and Satan cannot abide where there is light. His light guides us and He shows us His way in the Word which we can read in the light. Light brings warmth and goodness to the world in His name.
I love thinking about the qualities of light and salt and reflecting how Jesus wants us to act in this world. Without Jesus showing himself in and through our lives, the world would be a dark and tasteless place. Where do you need to be salt and light today?
Prayer: Thank you Jesus for giving me worth and purpose in your kingdom. Show me where you want me to be salt and light. Use me to bring others to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
The idea of approaching Almighty God has been fraught with fear and trembling down through the ages. However, if we look at Genesis 2 and 3 we see that in the beginning man existed in the garden and had a relationship with God. Adam and Eve did not fear God until they ate from the tree of knowledge, then they knew sin. Through the work of Jesus on the cross, we can now come near to God. Jesus has made us clean and presents us to the Father. I love the following verses:
Ephesians 3:12 “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”
Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
The benefits of approaching God are listed here- freedom, confidence, mercy, grace and help in our time of need. What a wonderful God we serve. He knows that sin binds us and keeps us prisoners- slaves to our old sin nature. Through Jesus we find freedom and the ability to come to God. He also knows that without Him we lack confidence to confront the problems of our lives, the heartaches of living in a sin-filled world and are filled with self-doubt. Through Jesus we can have confidence and assurance as we approach Him. God knows that we need mercy and grace to fill our lives. He possesses these in abundance. In 2 Corinthians 12:9Jesus reminded Paul about His grace.“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” Lastly, God promises to help us in our time of need. We can live with assurance that God will be there for us-no matter what, no matter when and no matter where. In Deuteronomy 31:6 God proclaims: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” He promises to be with us calming our fears all day and night.
I am so thankful that God has given us, in Christ, the ability to bring our cares, burdens, worries, joys and sorrows to Him. He will always listen and has good things planned for us. (Jeremiah:29:11)
What do you need today? Do you need help with a problem, mercy, grace, confidence or freedom in some area? Bring it to Jesus and lay it at His feet. He will be there for you guaranteed.
Have you ever thought about how you look, taste, smell or feel to God? According to 2 Corinthians 2:15-16 we have the smell of life to God because of Jesus. “For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing,to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.” The verse also says that to the unsaved we are the smell of death. Why would that be the case? The unsaved have no love or appreciation for Christ. They have no faith in his power to save and are stuck in their sin which leads to death. Romans 6:23 “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Through Him we are washed clean and are sweet smelling. There is no death or sin smell about us. We do not remind God of sin as we are redeemed and according to Jeremiah 31:34 “‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” The Lord sees us as pure and righteous because of what Jesus did for us on the cross.
So next question is- where are you spreading the sweet smell of Christ? Do people feel uplifted after having a conversation with you? Do they see you doing ‘sweet’ things for others without thinking about yourself? Jesus calls us to be self-less in our witness for Him. As you head out this week, remember you are wherever God has put you , uniquely you, to be that sweet smell, aroma of Christ in the world.
Knowing Jesus and bathing in His Word keep us sweet smelling!
What does it mean to you to be chosen by God? Can you even wrap your head around the fact that God loved you enough to choose you through His Son Jesus? He has chosen us for all eternity to be His and to live with Him. There are many verses that speak of God choosing us- here are a few for you to meditate on.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved,” Colossians 3:12a
For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself. 1 Samuel 12:22
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9
The theme of these verses is that God chose us because it pleased Him to do so, because He wants to make something out of us that will bring Him glory and so that we can tell others about His great salvation. What a privileged place it is to be- chosen by God to love Him, worship Him and be one of His own. Take time today to relish the place you have in God’s love and as a member of God’s people. He could have chosen anybody but He chose you!
Prayer: Thank you Lord for choosing me to be with you for all eternity, loved by you and wholly belonging to you. Thank you for sending Jesus so that through His sacrifice I can enter into this relationship with you and belong to you. You are an amazing God! Thank you for the privilege of telling others about your great love and redemption. Give me boldness as tell others about You. Amen.
Praising God for being His and knowing He will not let me go,
Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
This is one of my favorite promises and is included in my book, Promises for Dynamic Living. We are assured that God has begun something good in us when we accept Jesus as our Savior and that good will be accomplished though us. He even gives us a timetable for this good- it will be completed when we get to heaven or when Jesus returns, whichever comes first. God’s promises are eternal and will always be accomplished just as He intends. The writer of Proverbs was well aware of God’s ability to complete what He started. He reminds us that commitment to the Lord -faith, belief in Jesus is required for that good work to happen within us.
Proverbs 16:3-4 3 Commit to the Lord whatever you do,and he will establish your plans. 4 The Lord works out everything to its proper end—even the wicked for a day of disaster.
I love the thought that my salvation is thought of by God as good work. He loves and cares for me (Nahum 1:7) and wants only good things for me (Jeremiah 29:11). Therefore, I can live with confidence that God will keep me and use me for His good which means good to and for me. Memorize this verse, it will increase your confidence and sustain you when times get hard! Share it with a fellow believer or be bold and tell an unbeliever of your confidence in God’s work today.
I want to wish each of you a Happy 4th. The 4th of July is a favorite holiday filled with family BBQ’s, games, swimming, picnicking, corn on the cob, apple pie and fireworks. But as you know, the 4th is more than that to each of us. America and the freedom it represents and holds for each of us was bought with a price- sacrifice, hope and struggle by those that went before us and those that labored to secure our freedom. Our struggle over the centuries has been to secure,defend and maintain freedom of religion, peace, prosperity and hope for us and our children. We desire to live in an unbiased, loving and accepting society. Is this possible? Actually I believe it is not possible without Christ. He is the one who can make all things right and gives us the power to love and live in harmony with others.
This summer I have been writing on what we have in Christ- our inheritance and our identity. Today’s thoughts of freedom bring me to 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 and Galatians 5:1. Paul was teaching the Corinthians how to live together in harmony and purity. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own: you have been bought at price. Therefore honor God with your body.” Paul was reminding the Galatians what they had in Christ. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves by burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Christ died for us so that we might be free from sin and its bondage and have the ability to live lives that honor Him. The cross was the ultimate sacrifice for us. Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” He bought us with a price, his life. He redeemed us from sin’s ultimate consequence-death. My freedom in Christ was bought with the price of His life on the cross.
I have FREEDOM in Christ- freedom from my sins, freedom to live for Him, freedom from eternal death and freedom to live with Him for eternity. Just as we are thankful for those who died to secure the freedom we have in America, we need to be thankful for the freedom we have in Christ alone. He is the one who secures it all and brings us to the place where we can enjoy freedom.
Today as you are thankful for America, think also of the greater freedom you have though Christ and say a prayer of Thanks to Jesus.
This summer I have been working on memorizing the verse from 2 Peter that I claimed for my book Promises for Dynamic Living. The more I have meditated on this verse the deeper my appreciation has become for Christ and what He has given us through faith in Him. Take a close look at this verse.
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 2 Peter 1:3-4
First, Jesus promises He has given us everything, absolutely everything we need for a godly life because we know Him. The promises He has included in His Word should be extremely precious to us as the promises help us to be one in the Spirit with Him and live a life that is above the corruption of this world that is motivated by evil. I find this simple truth encouraging. Satan wants us to believe there are things missing from our lives that only the world can provide. Christ says, “NO!!”, I have given you everything you need. Satan wants us to believe that the world is fulfilling and will lead to a good life. Christ says, “NO!!”, the way of the world leads to destruction and away from godly living.
So what exactly has Jesus provided for us in His promises? As you study the scriptures, you find that we are promised many things- comfort, love, salvation, hope, peace, joy, understanding of godly things, fellowship with God the Father and Son, infilling of the Holy Spirit, eternal life….. the list goes on. Each of these are promised by our faithful loving God. Hebrews 13:8 tells us“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” God and His truth is unchanging from the creation of everything until now-God does not change and will not change. We can count on this. So all the things God promises in His Word from the beginning are still true and unchanging. Hebrew 6:17-18 further confirms God’s mind for us. 17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath.18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged.
How can the truths of 2 Peter 1:3-4 effect our lives? If we take Jesus at His Word and believe in His great and precious promises, we will live abundant lives that are filled with His Spirit. He wants us to lead godly lives. Take the challenge today and look into His Word- seek His precious promises and then claim them in your life. Need help finding promises? Get a copy of my book Promises for Dynamic Living– there you will find 70 different promises written in God’s Word just for you to enrich and lead you towards greater godliness in Christ.
One of the most important things I receive from Christ is forgiveness. It is not just a little forgiveness for everyday sins but total forgiveness for all the things that I have done and will do because of the sin nature I was born with. Jesus paid the price required by God for my sin and yours, “The wages of sin is death.” Romans 3:23. Through His death on the cross the penalty for my sin and yours was marked paid in full. “And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ onceforall. ” Hebrews 10:10. This sin nature I was born with is evident in my life each day. The Apostle Paul said it best in Romans 7:15 “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” It seems while in this world we are constantly susceptible to our sin nature. I am so thankful that Jesus provided a way for me to be redeemed from sin, a way for me to be victorious over sin, a way for me to rise above the sins that would entangle me, and a way for me to live each day by His grace and mercy.
As you consider Jesus’ sacrifice and your sinful nature, consider Colossians 1:13-14 in the Amplified version. 13 For He has rescued us and has drawn us to Himself from the dominion of darkness, and has transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,14 in whom we have redemption [because of His sacrifice, resulting in] the forgiveness of our sins [and the cancellation of sins’ penalty].
We can say with absolute assurance that we are totally forgiven though the power of Jesus’ blood. Now that we have it- we need to claim it and live like we are forgiven. Let go of the guilt and shame brought on by sin. Don’t let Satan entangle you with guilt- he is a great liar and deceiver. He wants us bogged down by our past. Pray and give it to Jesus- know that you are forgiven once and for all though Jesus!
Prayer: Father, help me to feel your forgiveness today and take it into my being. Help me to shed my guilt and shame and step out in faith believing that I am totally forgiven. Thank you that I am clean, pure and unencumbered by sin before You because of Jesus’ sacrifice. Holy Spirit teach me today and give me your seal that I am forgiven. Amen.
Peace seems like such an illusive thing. Some days I revel in it and some days it seems out of my reach. What we can be assured of is that peace is ours through Christ and is always attainable. Jesus said in John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” The peace Jesus gives is not worldly calm and freedom from activity but a peace with God that will satisfy our souls. It is the peace the pervades us even when the world is swirling around us. Paul describes this peace in Romans 5:1-2 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” Paul assures us that the peace we have though Christ brings us into relationship with God and is filled with His grace and purposefully holds us no matter what else is happening in our lives.
Since peace is ours for the taking in Christ, why do we struggle with it so much? I think it is because of the pull of the world on our lives. We are free in Christ from the power of sin over our lives but we live in a sinful world. The effects of sin on us and our lives is unavoidable. Staying above this and living in peace takes work- prayer, diligence to stay in the Word and fellowship with other believers. Are you getting a dose of each of these in your life each day or week? Summer is a good time to renew commitments and take time to pray, read God’s Word, memorize a verse or two and have fellowship with other believers. It is good for your soul and will bring you peace!
Do you feel loved by God today? Jeremiah 31:3 reminds us that God was in the habit of reminding the children of Israel that they were loved by him. It was not with just any love but an everlasting love based on His mercy and kindness. Based on His promises to Abraham and all of his descendants in faith. Based on God’s faithful character! Since God does not lie (Hebrews 6:18) and God does not change (Hebrews 13:8), we can rely upon His love and faithfulness. He keeps His promises forever. God made us and loves us now and forever.
3 The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. Jeremiah 31:3
How does that help us today? God’s eternal love and care for me gives me an anchor to hold onto in the storms of life. I can trust His Word and know that He will always be with me and has good planned for my life. He wants me to trust Him and let Him develop and shape my character to be more and more like Jesus.
Know who you are today.Youare deeply loved by God, made exactly as He wanted you and created to give Him glory and honor. Make it a do it for God day because You are loved by Him!
Prayer: Lord, I know you love me and created me with kindness. Guide me today and show me ways to express your love toward others. Thank you for the assurance that your love is unfailing and forever. I do not ever need to doubt Your love for me. I know you deeply love me. Amen.