Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have been rescued from Satan’s domain and transferred into the kingdom of Christ. These truths are stated by Paul in his letter to the Colossians. He opens the letter with thanksgiving and prayer for the state that all believers find themselves in because of Christ. Colossians 1:13 “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin.” Our state of being before knowing Christ is one of eternal darkness and sin. Romans 3:23 tells us “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Our sin separates us from God and Jesus tell us that He is the light in John 8:12 “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Without Jesus we are dead in our sins and trapped in darkness. Following Him bring us into the light, truth and knowledge of God. Jesus spoke to Nicodemus, a man who was seeking to know if Jesus was the Messiah. In John 3:5 Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” Jesus went on to explain we have 2 births. The first is our physical birth given by our mothers and then our spiritual birth that is given by God’s Spirit when we accept Jesus as our Savior. In John 3:16 Jesus tells Nicodemus why God sent him, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Eternal life in His kingdom is ours when we believe in Jesus. He further explains the difference between His light and darkness of the world. John 3:19 “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” Jesus wanted Nicodemus and you and me, to know and understand that being apart from Him is darkness, sin and condemnation. With Jesus there is light, love, hope and eternal life. He has indeed rescued us from the domain of darkness ruled over by Satan and brought us into His light and His kingdom to be with Him forever. His death on the cross and resurrection made this possible. Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice on my behalf to rescue me from the fate of death and condemnation.
Suggestion: Spend some time in prayer thanking Jesus for your salvation and eternal home with Him. Remember in prayer someone you know who does not know Jesus and pray that they will come to know Him.We can be assured that Jesus wants everyone to know and come to Him. 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have untold resources and riches available to me in Christ. Once we grasp this concept of riches in Christ, a whole new world is opened to us. As Jesus said, in Matthew 17:20, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Here are some key verses about God’s riches given to us in Christ. Philippians 4:19 is a wonderful promise from God. “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” God knows what we need and promises to supply all our needs. When I am stressing over money, relationships or personal suffering, I take great comfort in knowing Jesus has my back and will provide all that I need whether it is physical, emotional or spiritual. He is there with me and knows my needs before even I do. In Colossians 2:2-3, Paul expands the idea as he speaks to the Colossains. “My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ,3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Jesus has resources that can bring me complete understanding and encourage me to work together for Him in love.
The riches available to us in Christ are for: the strengthening of our faith, the release from worry about material provisions, the increase in understanding of His Word and the understanding of the mystery of salvation, atonement, sanctification, forgiveness, justification, Christlike living, fruits of the Holy Spirit, …… With this increased knowledge and focus we are rich and have all we need for godly living in Christ! Like the Colossians we will be united in purpose and love as we serve our Lord Jesus Christ.
Suggestion: Make a list of the things you understand about Christ today that were hard or unknown to you before becoming a follower of Jesus. You will be thankful and amazed. Make a list ways God has provided for you in just the last few months. You will be thankful and amazed! Thank you Jesus.
Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have the ability to approach God. 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.”
Some of the benefits of approaching God are given in these two verses: 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 12:9 Jesus 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.
Suggestion: Identify a problem you need help with, it could be a need for mercy, grace, confidence or freedom in some area? It could be for yourself or another. Bring it to Jesus and lay it at His feet. Pray in faith believing He has the answer then wait patiently for Him.
Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can have godly character. What is godly character? God has many attributes and some are communicable to us through Jesus and some belong solely to God. For example, only God is incomprehensible, the creator, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent or sovereign. However, those characteristics of God that He wants us to possess are vast and wonderful. He desires that we are like Him in having peace, joy, being forgiving, thankful, honest, friendly, generous, loving and humble to name just a few. As we grow in our relationship with Jesus, the Holy Spirit transforms us in a process called sanctification as we are made more and more like Jesus.
Why does God want to do this for us? Scripture is clear there are great benefits to this character transformation. Romans 5:2-4 “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” Wow! Through faith in Jesus we stand in grace, rejoice in hope and our suffering produces godly character in us! James 1:2-4 also speaks of the trials of life bringing about change in our character for good. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Life’s trials test our faith and produce character that is steadfast and leads to perfection in Christ. It is the trials in our life that God uses to hone and shape our character to make us more and more like Jesus as we learn to depend upon Him and place our Hope in Him.
May you find joy in your trials and suffering as God works on your character, a character that will bring you hope!
Suggestion: Determine to take a different view of the hard things you face today. Seek to see them as character building. Praise God for the ability to cling to Him with a thankful, joyful and hopeful heart!
Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can have the mind of Christ. In 1 Corinthians Paul is talking to the Corinthian believers about wisdom, and how we can know and discern the things of God. “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:14-16 With our natural mind we can’t know the things of God but with the indwelling Holy Spirit we can understand God and know Him. The spiritual person is not to be judged by the opinions of unbelievers who consider the things of God to be foolish. We are only held accountable to God. His standard of conduct is the only one we need consider. We are assured that the indwelt believer has the mind of Christ.
So what does that mean to you? As I pondered what having Christ’s mind might mean, James 3:17 came to mind, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere”. Having the mind of Christ would mean we have access to godly wisdom as described by James. We can have pure thoughts, a spirit of peace in our words, gentle presentation of our thoughts to others, reasonable thoughts not prone to wander or be self-serving, thoughts filled with mercy, thoughts that produce good things for ourselves and others, thoughts without bias and thoughts that are always sincere not being fake in any way. I know that having the mind of Christ is a growing process and does not happen overnight. As we draw near to God we are promised in James 4:8 that God will draw near to us. “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you,” The closer we walk with Jesus the more we can think and act as He would. A mind that is governed by Jesus would be glorifying to God and produce a vibrant and whole life for us. Consider the words of James today as you go about your daily routine. What part of the mind of Christ, the wisdom that comes from above, are you seeing in your life?
Suggestion: Pray and ask God to give you thoughts from Christ’s mind today-pure, gentle, loving, filled with hope and mercy, without bias, and totally sincere. See the difference it will make in how you feel and view others.
Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have freedom in Christ. What kind of freedom does Christ give? First and foremost, we have freedom from the bondage and penalty of sin. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, and because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” Romans 8:1-2 We do not have to worry about paying the penalty for our sins as Christ paid with His life to redeem us. We simply need a repentant, thankful, believing heart committed to Jesus.
Another freedom we have in Christ is we will not suffer eternal death but live eternally with Him. “the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.” Romans 8:21 and John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Heaven will be a place where there will be no more tears, no more death, and we will not suffer the decay caused by sin and death.”
The last freedom I want to mention is found in 2 Corinthians 3:17. “For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” The indwelling Holy Spirit brings within us freedom that is from the Lord. He unleashes our full potential and puts us on a course to do great things for Him. I love the benediction the author of Hebrews gives in Hebrews 13:21 when he reminds us that God is equipping us to do good works for His glory and our good. “may he equip you with all you need
for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ,
every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.
In Christ we are free from sin’s penalty, free to live eternally with Him and free to do His work. May you feel His freedom today!
Suggestion: Choose something to do today for the Lord. As you do this task, thank God for the freedom to choose to do this in His power and for the ability to perform this task. He has equipped you so that you can exercise your freedom to choose to work for Him bringing Him glory and yourself contentment.
Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have been adopted as God’s child and belong to His family. This is a precious truth from scripture that gives me great comfort. Through my faith in Jesus, I now have a forever family and God is my heavenly Father. Romans 8:15-17 lays out our family heritage and what it means to us eternally. “ For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” We are adopted through our faith in Jesus into God’s family. We can call God our Father. His Holy Spirit indwells us and reminds us that we are God’s children. By suffering with Christ, we are considered joint heirs with Him and will share in heavenly glory. Through adoption we have access to our heavenly Father and can go to Him each day seeking knowledge, wisdom, comfort, mercy, compassion, hope…. “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” Psalm 103:8
How will you use this truth in your life today? You are God’s child and belong to His family thorough your faith in Jesus. This blessed privilege brings hope, contentment, comfort, assurance and belonging into your life.
Read the scripture again in the Message and let it sink into your soul and cause you to praise and thank God. “15-17 This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!
Suggestion: Call on your Father, God, today in prayer and thank Him for the privileges you have as His child. He is accessible in prayer, has saved you for eternity, has a home waiting for you in heaven, will be with you each day- will never leave you nor forsake you, His Holy Spirit indwells and bears witness to your spirit that you are His, He gives you power for living and a purpose for your life…..Thank you Jesus for making this possible for me. Amen.
Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have a friend in Jesus. I love the old hymn, “What a friend I have in Jesus”. The lyrics speak of our friend Jesus bearing all our sins and griefs and our privileged of taking our problems to Him in prayer. Jesus called us His friends in John 15:14-15 “ You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” Being called a friend of Jesus means we follow His Word and walk beside Him in our daily life. He is right there to help us when we stumble, give a word of comfort or be our companion. By following His pathway we are no longer just like a hired servant or one who receives orders but a friend to be confided in, helped and taught. He also promises to reveal what He knows about God the Father to us. A few verses later in John 15:18 Jesus warns us that being called His friend will put us in a position to be hated by others. “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” He also speaks of this in Matthew 10:22 “and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” I love the promise Jesus gives at the end of the Matthew verse. Standing with Jesus and enduring the derision and persecution that the unbelieving world places upon us because we proclaim Him, will bring a great reward.
Where do you need Jesus to be your friend today? Reach out to Him in prayer and let Him know of your thoughts, hopes and struggles. Read His Word with confidence and hope as if expecting a word from a friend, the Bible is God’s love letter to us.
Suggestion: Spend some time with your friend Jesus today. Go for a prayer praise walk with Jesus. Talk with Him as you walk along and praise Him for His provision and the glory you see along the way. Can’t get out? Just gaze out a window and spend time journeying with Jesus in prayer.
Here is a country version of the old hymn- What a friend we have in Jesus.
On Sunday’s during Lent, I desire to focus on praising God. Pondering the Sovereignty of God this morning brought me to my knees as I considered all that God controls, directs, His kept promises and those in the future He will keep, and the fact that nothing surprises God or catches him off guard. He is ever vigilant and none of His plans can be derailed or thwarted. The Old Testament prophet, Habakkuk, offered a prayer to God in Habakkuk 3. Let his words of praise and awe wash over you and seep into your soul. Cling to the sovereignty of God in all your experiences in life and trust Him, the one who knows all, sees all and determines all by His power. Habakkuk 3:2-4, 17-19
I have heard all about you, Lord.
I am filled with awe by your amazing works.
In this time of our deep need,
help us again as you did in years gone by.
And in your anger,
remember your mercy.
I see God…
His brilliant splendor fills the heavens,
and the earth is filled with his praise.
4 His coming is as brilliant as the sunrise.
Rays of light flash from his hands,
where his awesome power is hidden.
Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
able to tread upon the heights.
Praise Him today for His Sovereignty and trust all that you have and are into His care.
Suggestion (it’s a challenge): Knowing that God is sovereign and depending upon God’s sovereignty are vastly different. Think of something that is coming up for you today or this next week. Determine now to release that item to God and depend upon and seek His sovereignty over all parts of this task. Do your part in preparing for the event, but release the outcome to God. No worrying allowed as you depend solely on His sovereignty. and for God to bring this work to completion for your good and His glory. Let go and let God!
Enjoy this beautiful song about God’s Sovereignty.
Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus speaks of His family of faith and calls us His brothers, sisters and mother in Matthew 12:48-50. ” 48 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?”49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Jesus’ earthly family had come looking for Him and this was His reply. Those who believe in Jesus and strive to follow God’s Word are considered family by Jesus. What a privileged position this is! Not only are we linked to Jesus but we share a family position with all believers who know Him as Lord and seek to follow His ways.
This family bond is something very special. I have sisters in Christ that I see infrequently as our paths in life have taken different directions. It is amazing to me that when we meet it is as if we were never apart. That instant bond is there and we see love, trust and hope in being with each other. When a brother or sister leaves, it is always with the hope of seeing them again either here on earth or in heaven. The constancy of the bond of fellowship is always present and binds us in love.
Here are a few scriptures about brothers and sisters in Christ and how we are to work together: Romans 15:30 “I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf,” We are to pray and strive together to do God’s will. 1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” We are to stand together firmly as we work for the Lord with hope. Philippians 4:1 “Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.” We have a shared love in Christ and a desire to stand firmly for Christ. 2 Thessalonians 3:13 “As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.” We are to work together to do good in the name of Christ.
What a great comfort and encouragement it is that we have brothers and sisters in faith that we can stand with in our shared love for Christ and work together to accomplish His purposes.
Suggestion: Tell one of your brothers or sisters in Christ how you appreciate their prayers on your behalf or how you love standing and working with them or how much you love and appreciate them or how much it means to you to have someone to share in the good work of Jesus or all of the above! A kind work of appreciation brings glory to God as He works within us.