Friday, February 26, 2010

What God Wants

We often think about our own wants and needs and we occasionally think about what other people want and need - but what about God? How often do we think about what He wants and needs? Well theoretically, God being what He is doesn't NEED anything - but that doesn't mean that there aren't things God wants and desires...

Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 "But I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver."

What does God want? - Well, that's simple... He wants our hearts to be fully devoted to Him. The greatest thing that we can give to God is our hearts.

We often associate this verse in 2 Corinthians with giving up for the collection plate when it's passed around on Sunday mornings. But I think we can relate it to anything that requires us to give - our time, our attention, our hearts, etc... Paul also tells us in Phil. 2 to do everything without complaining and disputing.

Like I said, God wants our hearts. He doesn't want hearts that are half devoted to him and half devoted to the world - He wants us to be FULLY devoted. And He deserves that from us. We need to make sure that we're giving God what He wants.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

1 Corinthians 15:58

Paul writes in the 58th verse of 1 Corinthians 15, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord - Knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."

As Paul draws close to the end of his letter to the church at Corinth, he wants to stress the importance of knowing that we have victory in Jesus Christ and that our work for Him will not be in vain.

As Christians, we need to be solid as a rock. Our foundation needs to be firm. We cannot be moved by things like temptation or sadness or wicked desires... We have to stay grounded and steadfast in our faith and in our actions.

Sometimes, it's easy to think, "What am I even striving toward... I'm putting forth so much effort and not seeing any results." - Paul knew there were going to be people who felt this way - that's why he wants to stress the fact that our labor for God is not in vain and the things we do for Him will not go unnoticed.

We need to be Christians who are grounded in our faith and will stand strong in the face of whatever comes our way.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What Shall We Fear?

Psalm 56:3-4

"Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God, I will praise His word. In God, I have put my trust. I will not fear - What can flesh do to me?"

These couple of verses from Psalm 56 are such a good reminder for us. Sometimes, we tend to worry too much about our physical state and worry about what people could do to us... We sometimes need to be reminded that God is always on our side and will protect us.

Let us always trust in our Lord.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Staying Committed

As Christians, we made a life-lasting (and life-changing) commitment to follow our Lord. However, sometimes we get a little side-tracked and move that commitment to the side for a moment. This is something that we shouldn't allow to happen in our lives.

Our commitment to the Lord is something that we need to be evaluating everyday. It's something that needs to be at 100% and if it's ANY less than that, we have a problem and we need to fix it. God doesn't want half-hearted or "lukewarm" commitment - he wants everything we have.

So as you start the day off today (or if you're wrapping up your day), stop and ask yourself how much of yourself you're giving to the Lord. If you think it's low, pray for God's help to get back on the right track. He deserves all that we have. Let's give full commitment to Him.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Assurance of Forgiveness

One of the most amazing things about our relationship with God is the fact that He forgives us for our wrongdoings. And not just that He forgives us once or twice - He continues to forgive us of our sins as we repent.

John tells us in 1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of those sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

It's hard to fathom something so amazing like God's grace and mercy. It's hard because we know what it feels like to have somebody do wrong to us. And when somebody wrongs us, it's DIFFICULT to forgive them... God, on the other hand, doesn't hold grudges or give ultimatums or anything like that... He knows our hearts wants us to get back on the right path and get the sin out of our life.

We need to be practicing forgiveness in our own lives each day... In knowing that God forgives everybody for their sins and unrighteousness, we have no reason or right not to forgive those who have sinned against us. Like I said, It's difficult - but it's something that we as Christians must do. We must forgive others if we ourselves want to be forgiven.

Praise be to God for cleansing us of our sins and let us pray that He will give us the strength to forgive those who have wronged us.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Remembering to Thank

It's more than likely safe to say that we pray everyday. Some of us may pray more than others. Some of us may pray more at a certain part of day or in certain situations. And sometimes, some of us only pray when we need specific things... The key words there are "only when we need..." Why is it that sometimes we neglect God until there's something we need and then we acknowledge Him? As Christians, we need to focus more on thanking God than asking God.

Now don't get me wrong, God expects us to ask Him for things - He knows we are going to and He knows what we need. However, He also expects (and desires) our thanksgiving.

In Philippians 4:6, Paul tells us, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, WITH THANKSGIVING, let your requests be known to God."

God deserves so much praise for the things He has given us. We are amazingly blessed with so many wonderful and beautiful things. We need to be careful that we don't become greedy or spoiled and that we don't take these things for granted.

Next time you pray, try (it's more difficult than you think) to say a full prayer to God without asking Him for anything. Instead, construct your prayer on thanking Him for the blessings He has given to you. It's something that we should do daily.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Our Spiritual Sword

Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

In this day and time, many people seek for a way to protect themselves against things that war against the mind and body. Unfortunately, most people just look for worldly ways to protect themselves - like weapons, self defense, etc... But in all truth, the thing that is going to protect us more than anything else is God's word. The verse above tells us that the contents of God's word are sharper and more powerful than a two edged sword.

As Christians, we need to be studying God's word everyday and preparing ourselves to use it. Eph. 6:17 also tells us that it's our "sword," and we need to take it on as we put on the full armor of God.

Take the Word of God with you everyday.

Our Responsibility to Our Fellow Brethren

Paul gives us some wonderful advice in Galatians about what we need to do if one of our fellow brethren is having difficulty.

Galatians 6:1 "Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."

As Christians, we have a responsibility to look out for our fellow Christian brother or sister. Unfortunately, most of the time, it's difficult enough to take care of ourselves and monitor our own spiritual lives - however, restoring somebody else is something that we always need to be mindful of and trying to do. - But let's also be mindful of what Paul says in the latter part of verse 1 - "be mindful of yourself lest you also be tempted." We need to create a balance in our spiritual life of guarding ourselves against sin but also restoring our fellow brethren who are caught up in it. Let us pray that God will help us do that.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Benefits of Wisdom

In our lives, we often strive to be the best at things... We work hard to be the best at our jobs that we do, or at certain activities or hobbies or sports... And we sometimes tend to focus on those things and making sure that we excel in those areas and don't focus very much on the more important things in this life.

Jesus says in Mark 8:36; "What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?" Jesus knew the appeal that worldly pleasures had and would have to us and He wanted us to know that they're not worth it... They're not worth pursuing - because they won't last.

Solomon also knew a thing or two about this in his writings in Ecclesiastes. He constantly reminds us in that book that everything in this world is vanity but the thing that we really need to be pursuing is wisdom from God. Eccl. 10:10 says, "If the ax is dull, and one does not sharpen the edge, then he must use more strength, but WISDOM brings success."

My favorite verse about wisdom comes from James 1:5 where James tells us, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally without reproach, and it will be given to him..."

We don't need earthly possessions in this life.... The truth is, they won't make us happy - we'll only want more. However, wisdom is something that we all need to be striving for. We need to be praying for God and asking Him to give us wisdom in our daily life. - It'll definitely be a benefit to us.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Things That Keep Us From God's Blessings

There are certain things - personality traits/qualities - that we have to be careful of acquiring. One of the biggest ones - and one of the easiest ones - is laziness.

Laziness is something that we all deal with from time to time... We all have days where we would rather stay home and lay on the couch and watch television or just lay in bed all day. Laziness is something that is talked about quite a bit in the bible - especially in Proverbs. There are many texts in Proverbs which speak about the general undesirability of being a sluggard (6:6-11). Truth is, sluggishness and laziness is more than just a minor character flaw, it's something that can kill us spiritually.

Hebrews 6:11-12; "We desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises."

In our life as a Christian, we have to be sure that we are diligent and active - not lazy. Let us guard ourselves from this dangerous quality.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Run Like a Champion

In Hebrews 12, the writer urges us to "Run the race that is set before us - setting aside all the things that weigh us down." As Christians, we need to constantly be making sure that we're running that race to get to Heaven.

In order to run like a champion, there are some things we need to realize:

First of all, we need to remember that we're pursuing a purpose. - Our purpose is to run the race and to one day FINISH and get to spend eternal life in Heaven. However, we need to realize that we're not in competition with other Christians. - But rather, we're in competition with the Devil and with our own desires and we HAVE to beat them.

Secondly, we need to prepare. Hebrews tells us to "lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily ensnares us."

And Thirdly we need to remind ourself that there is a prize at the end... Sometimes we get discouraged because we think that we'll never "get there" and we have a hard time keeping it in our minds since it isn't tangible. However, we need to remind ourselves that the prize we're pursuing is worth it all and we just can't miss it. It will definitely be worth it.

Are you running towards the prize?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Maintain Your Life With God

In Jude's letter, he reminds us in verse 20-21 to maintain our faith in our Lord.

"But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life..."

As we travel through life, we need to make sure that God is our number one "travel companion." As Christians, we have to be prepared to fight, contend, defend - all for our God. - When the truth of God is attacked, it is time to fight for the faith. In the face of danger, Christians should not be caught off guard... And if we keep God with us, we won't be caught off guard. The challenges we face in life are great, but so is the God who is able to keep us from stumbling.

God is reaching out His hand for us to take Him along with us in our daily journey - let's make sure we do.