Four Ways To Enjoy This Day

There are four things we can do to be blessed, and be a blessing to others, today:

1) Meditate On God’s Word

“I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.” (Psalm 119:14-16)

God’s Word is a “light for our path.” (Ps 119:105) It brings us joy by “teaching, rebuking correcting and training us in righteousness,” (2 Tim 3:16) showing us what things are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy, (Phil 4:8) and by reminding us of all God’s promises. (Ps 119:76, Gal 3:14) Take time everyday to read the Bible.

2) Live Faithfully

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22)

Christians represent the living God to a dying world. Whatever happens throughout the day our goal should be to “conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” (Phil 1:27)

We should be faithful children, parents, spouses, employers, employees and friends, treating people the way the Bible tells us to, and remembering when we fall short “if we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jhn 1:9)

Another aspect of living faithfully is truly putting our faith in Christ, who we trust to not only pay for our sins, but also provide, guide, strengthen and comfort us. (Rom 3:22-26, Phil 4:13, 2 Cor 12:9-10)

3) Live For Others

“We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Eph 2:10)

We’re created in Christ to do good works, and He has blessed each of us with gifts which allow us to accomplish these works. Some are good at encouraging, some are able to teach, some love to pray, others have the gift of compassion… there are many different types of gifts but what they all have in common is the gifts God gives us are designed to serve others.

We’re encouraged to have the same attitude as Christ by “serving one another in love.” (Phil, 2:5-7, Gal 5:13) A day spent living for others will fill your heart with joy because “it’s more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)

4) Rejoice In the Lord Despite Any Earthly Circumstances

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Every day we should rejoice with “joy inexpressible” because we have a “living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet 1:3-4,8) Even when we go through hardships we still rejoice because we’re focused on this hope.

We rejoice in spite of the fact that the bank is about to foreclose, or the doctor has bad news, or whatever else comes our way. We rejoice because the source of our joy doesn’t come from our earthly circumstances, it comes from our heavenly standing. We rejoice always because we belong to Christ.

Four Privileges God Gives

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. (John 10:9)

Jesus, the great I AM, is the entrance into the true church, and the way of access to God Himself. He gives the person who comes to God by Him four privileges:

1) “He will be saved…”

The fugitive manslayer passed the gate of the city of refuge, and was safe. Noah entered the door of the ark, and was secure. No one can be lost if they take Jesus as the door of faith to their souls.

Entrance through Jesus into peace is the guarantee of entrance by the same door into heaven. Jesus is the only door, an open door, a wide door, a safe door; and blessed is he who rests all his hope of admission to glory upon the crucified Redeemer.

“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. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1-2)

2) “He will come in…”

He shall be privileged to go in among the divine family, sharing the children’s bread, and participating in all their honors and enjoyments.

He shall go in to the chambers of communion, to the banquets of love, to the treasures of the covenant, to the storehouses of the promises. He shall go to the King of kings in the power of the Holy Spirit, and the secret of the Lord shall be with him.

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1)

3) “He will go out…”

This blessing is often forgotten. We go out into the world to labor and suffer, but what a mercy to go in the name and power of Jesus!

We are called to bear witness to the truth, to cheer the downtrodden, to warn the careless, to win souls, and to glorify God; and as the angel said to Gideon, “Go in the strength you have…” in the same way the Lord would have us go as His messengers in His name and strength.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

4) “He will find pasture…”

The person who knows Jesus shall never want. In fellowship with God he shall grow, and in serving others he shall be served. Having made Jesus his all, he shall find all in Jesus. His soul shall be as a watered garden, and as a well of water whose waters fail not.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)

– C.H. Spurgeon

4 Ways We Draw Close To God

Christians draw close to God when…

1) Through Christ, we turn from sin to His grace, for forgiveness and mercy.

God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved). Now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ (Eph 2:4-5, 13)

Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb 4:14,16)

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matt 11:28-29)

Learn More: What Is The Gospel?, How Do We Know We’re Saved?

2) We come to Him in prayer and lift up praises to Him.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:6-7)

Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful. (Psa 147:1)

I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. (Eph 3:17-18)

Learn More: Two Very Different Prayers, The 5 Finger Prayer

3) We read, trust and apply His Word daily.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Tim 3:16-17)

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (Jam 1:22)

You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word. (Ps 119:114)

Learn More: Living By Faith, 7 Commands For Christian Living

4) In faith we lay hold of His promises and live in His strength.

Abraham did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. (Rom 4:20-21)

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.(2 Cor 12:9)

His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises. (2 Pet 1:3-4)

Learn More: The Christian’s Strength, Where To Put Your Troubles

4 Things The Gospel Frees Us From

Learn more about the Gospel: What Is The Gospel?, How Do We Know We’re Saved?

The “gospel”, from the Greek word evangelion, literally means “good news.” In ancient times, the evangelion (“good news”) was proclaimed from city to city to celebrate the accession of the new king to the throne upon the death of the old.

That is exactly what is being proclaimed in the gospel of Christ: the gospel is the joyful proclamation of the reign of Christ (literally, of God’s “Anointed One”), the rightful heir to the throne of David who lived and died and rose again to glory.

The gospel is the announcement that the blessing for which all of us long – more, better, richer, purer life – is available to us, even now; and this blessing is all bound up in the person and work of Jesus, “the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

The gospel is the most powerful message of human liberation that has ever been proclaimed on earth. The gospel gives us:

1) Freedom from bondage of sin

“God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” (Rom 6:17-18)

If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (Jhn 8:36)

2) Freedom from the condemnation of God’s moral law

“Christ was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” (Rom 4:24)

“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering…” (Rom 8:1-3)

3) Freedom from fear of death

“‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor 15:55-57)

“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:20-21)

4) Freedom to live boldly in the assurance of God’s love for us

“We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Heb 4:15-16)

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

– Adapted from JD Grisham’s Dust & Glory: The Meaning & Implications of the Gospel of Grace

4 Things Christians Should Do

In 1 Peter 2 believers in Christ are encouraged to live a good and godly life so that those who speak against God will, after seeing our conduct, turn to Him and give Him glory (2 Peter 2:12). Peter gives us four ways Christians are to relate to those around them.

“Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.” – 1 Peter 2:17

1) Honor All People – How Christians relate to the world

We are told to “honor all people”. This means to show proper respect towards our fellow man. We are not to honor a person’s wealth or standing. Instead we look past these superficial things and see individuals made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). Individuals who have intrinsic value because the Father loves them, sent His Son to redeem them (Romans 5:8) and desires them to repent and be saved (Ezekiel 33:11).

Christians often struggle to properly relate to the world. We tend to either think too highly of ourselves and become like the Pharisees, looking down at those we don’t feel are as spiritual as us, or else we go to the other extreme and allow the world to influence our actions, hindering our relationship with Christ.

But we want to find a balance. Instead of looking down on people we remember that we are sinners saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8) and are to restore those who sin with a spirit of gentleness (Galatians 6:1). Instead of joining the world we remember that we are here to be a light for those who are lost (Matthew 5:16).

We honor people by being “kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, giving preference to one another” (Romans 12:10). We honor people by “letting nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind letting each esteem others better than himself, looking out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4). We honor people by being “clothed with humility” (1 Peter 5:5) using our God-given gifts to serve. And finally we honor people by telling them the reason for the hope within us which is Christ Jesus, our Lord.

2) Love The Brotherhood – How Christians relate to one another

To “love the brotherhood” means to love fellow believers in Christ. Those who believe in Christ, and trust Him as their Savior, make up the Church. The Church is made up of many members from varying backgrounds, yet is referred to in Scripture as being one body, with Christ being the head (Corinthians 12:12).

Here is another area where we often struggle to properly relate. Sometimes we reserved our love only for our little cliques made up of those who share our unique, nonessential doctrines or style of worship. Other times we accept poor and dangerous bible teaching in the name of unity.

We need to keep things in perspective. We are free to debate Christians who hold different views but when we do we need to remember the common ground we share in Christ and treat one other with the love and respect Christ has shown us.

On the other hand loving one another doesn’t mean that we lay aside discernment for the sake of getting along. We are told to “test all things and hold fast to the good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). There are issues that are essential to Christianity — who Jesus is, for example. If there is a difference in opinion here, then we correct those who err, and if they won’t heed correction then we need to part ways.

We love fellow believers by caring for them “fervently with a pure heart” (1 Peter 1:22), praying for them (James 5:16), correcting those who sin and bearing one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:1-2).

Jesus said that the world would know we follow Him because of the love we show to one another (John 13:35) and He prayed that the Church would be united just as He and the Father are united (John 17:21). To love fellow believers is to do nothing less than follow in the footsteps of Christ.

3) Fear God – How Christians relate to God

To “fear God” means to have a proper understanding of who He is, and where we stand in relation to Him.

God is the creator of all things (Genesis 1:1). Heaven is His throne and earth is His footstool (Matthew 5:34-35). He is holy and deserves to be worshiped (Psalms 99:9). He is “the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice. Righteous and upright is He” (Deuteronomy 32:4).

When Job stood in His presence he realized he was unworthy and held his tongue. “Behold, I am vile. What shall I answer You? I lay my hand over my mouth” (Job 40:4). Isaiah reacted the same way when he saw God crying out “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips, for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” (Isaiah 6:5)

The Lord is holy and we are not. The Lord is perfect and we are not. To understand this is to fear the Lord. This fear becomes a “fountain of life” that turns us away from the “snares of death” (Proverbs 14:27) when we come to God, not as one who relies on his own works or merit, but as one who recognizes he is simply a sinner in need of a Savior (Ephesians 2:8).

In love the Father answered our cry by sending His Son to be that Savior (John 3:16). Christ took the penalty of our sins to the cross and has reconciled us with the Father (Romans 5:10). We now relate to God through Christ who “is our righteousness” (Romans 3:22) and whose sacrifice allows us to become “children of God” (Galatians 3:26).

4) Honor The King – How Christians relate to authorities

To “honor the king” means to respect authority. We are told to be “subject to the governing authorities” because leaders are “appointed by God” (Romans 13:1) to minister to people (Romans 13:3-4) by keeping order. Obeying authority is pleasing to God.

Of course there have been evil governments throughout history and when a government commands people to do something contrary to Scripture we are to do what is “right in the sight of God” and “obey God rather than men” (Acts 4:16-18; 5:29).

The king is to be honored (Given the proper level of respect) but God is to be feared (Given the highest level of respect and worship). Jesus Christ is not a Republican nor is He a Democrat. He is the head of the Church (Col 1:18). He is the Shepherd and we are His sheep (John 10:11).

When Christ returns He will reign as King forever. There will not be any political parties there will only be those who bow to the King of kings and Lord of Lords.

Until then our convictions in political (and all other) matters should come as the result of holding up every issue before Scripture when we make any decisions (Psalm 119:105).

Then with light of His Word to guide our path, we are able to act in a manner worthy of the gospel (Philippians 1:27), and bring a living hope to a dying world.

Four Things Christianity Teaches

(1) Christianity teaches the inspiration, sufficiency, and supremacy of Holy Scripture.

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16-17)

Christianity teaches that the Bible is the only trustworthy rule of faith and practice in religion, that God requires nothing to be believed that is not in this Word; and that nothing is right which contradicts it.

Christianity always maintained that, however imperfectly we may understand it, the Bible is meant to be the only standard of life and doctrine.

(2) Christianity teaches the sinfulness, guilt and corruption of human nature.

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Rom 3:23)

Christianity teaches that people are born in sin, deserve God’s wrath and condemnation, and are naturally inclined to do evil. It doesn’t teach that men and women can become good whenever they please, and can make their own peace with God.

Christianity teaches that people need Divine forgiveness and atonement for sins, a new birth or conversion, and an entire change of heart. (Rom 3:23-24)

(3) Christianity teaches that Jesus Christ is the center and foundation of faith and hope.

“Christ Jesus himself is the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord” (Eph 2:20)

Christianity teaches that Christ is the Divine Mediator between God and men, the only source of peace of conscience, and the root of all spiritual life.

The main teachings about Christ are the atonement, and the complete redemption from guilt and condemnation for sin He made by His death on the cross, His victory over the grave by His resurrection, His active life of intercession at God’s right hand, and the absolute necessity of simple faith in Him. In short, Christ is the center of Christian theology. (Luk 24:25-27)

(4) Christianity has always taught Christians live by the Spirit.

“Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” (Gal 5:16)

Christianity teaches that we must be born of the Spirit, led by the Spirit, sanctified by the Spirit, feel the operations of the Spirit, and that a close walk with God in the path of His commandments, a life of holiness, love, self-denial, purity, and zeal to do good, are the only satisfactory works of the Holy Spirit. (Gal 5:22-23)

Christianity, in the days of the Apostles, “turned the world upside down”! (Acts 17:6) It emptied the idol temples of their worshipers, routed the Greek and Roman philosophers, and forced heathen writers to confess that the followers of the “new superstition,” as they called it, were people who loved one another, and lived very pure and holy lives!

True faith is more than holding theological positions — it’s living, burning and active. It produces works of love, it purifies the heart, and overcomes the world.

– J. C. Ryle

Four Types of Christians

As we read through the New Testament we find at least four types of Christians.

1) The Dead Christian

“I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.” – Revelation 3:1

The first type of Christian we find is one who is a Christian in name only. The Dead Christian may go to church, and may even claim to follow Christ, but hasn’t truly come to Him for forgiveness.

Jesus addressed the Dead Christian in Revelation 3:2-3 when He told them, “I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent.”

What is the work of God He found to be incomplete? John 6:29 tells us that “the work of God is that you believe in him whom he has sent.” And what is it we’re to believe? We find the answer to that in 1 John 5:11-13, “God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.”

Once a person believes in, and calls on Christ to forgive them, they are forgiven and are “made alive” in Him (1 Cor 15:22).

2) The Bound Christian

“You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature… serve one another in love.” – Galatians 5:13a

The next type of Christian we want to look at is the Bound Christian. This is a Christian who is alive in Christ, but is bound by sin, and this hinders his relationship with the Lord.

Romans 6:16 warns that “when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness.”

And Galatians 5:17 tells us of a battle that wages between the Spirit and the flesh. “The desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”

We follow the Spirit when we “crucify the flesh with its passions and desires” and produce the fruit of the Spirit which is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-24)

We’ll stumble in our walk, but when we do, “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

We don’t have to be slaves to sin. We can be slaves to righteousness if we follow the Lord’s ways. Romans 6:17-18 gives “thanks to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”
 

3) The Loner Christian

“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:22-25

The third type of Christian is the Loner Christian. The Loner Christian is alive in Christ and enjoys fellowship with God. His life is full of blessings but the Loner Christian is keeping his blessings to himself.

Jesus said He came so that we “may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) Christianity is a faith that should be lived through both our words and our actions.

Jesus told Peter in John 21:17 that if he loved Him he would care for His followers. We’re all blessed with some sort of gift. Some are good at encouraging, some are able to teach, some love to pray, others have the gift of compassion. There are many different types of gifts but what they all have in common is the gifts God gives us are designed to serve others. This stands in sharp contrast to the world which put its emphasis on serving yourself.

4) The Complete Christian

“We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:10

The final type of Christian we want to talk about is the Complete Christian. We call him complete because he alive in Christ, has a strong relationship with God and is a blessing to everyone around him.

We are encouraged in Matthew 5:16 to “let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

We should live our lives in a way that when people see us, they see Jesus, and God is glorified. When we came to Christ we took all the blessings that go along with it. Forgiveness from sin, freedom from sin, fellowship with God and the honor of representing the living God to the dying world.

4 Signs You’re Living For Christ

Christians are people whose lives are suppose to be God-centered instead of self-centered.

The Apostle Paul encouraged Christians to “count ourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus,” (Rom 6:11) while Augustine confessed “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

It’s Christ who is the source of our joy, strength and purpose. (Col 3:4) “In Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)

So how do you know you’re living for Christ? Here are four signs to help you:

1) You desire to read and study the Bible.

Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. (Ps 25:4-5)

Reading and studying the Bible pleases God because it increases our faith. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom 10:17)

Reading and studying the Bible also pleases God because it allows us to identify and avoid bad teaching about Him. “Watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.” (Rom 16:17)

2) You desire to put the Bible’s teaching into practice.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (Jam 1:22)

A famous prayer says “Father, let me not only love Your truth, but live it.”

When we’re living God’s Word it pleases Him because it’s evidence we’re walking with Him. “This is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands.” (2 Jhn 1:6)

When we walk with the Lord He comforts us with a special love. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me (Ps 23:4)

We don’t look to do good works in order to be saved but because we are already saved through Christ.

3) You’re searching your heart.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Ps 139:23-24)

We please God when we search our hearts for sin because sin hinders our relationship with Him.

What do we do when we find sin? “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” but we are “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Rom 3:23-24) “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

4) You build people up through your words.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Eph 4:29)

God is pleased when we build people up instead of tearing them down. We represent the living God to a dying world and our words should reflect that. Our words should be filled with hope, peace, encouragment and the good news of salvation through Christ.

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” (Isa 52:7)