Saturday, February 11, 2017

Friday - The Spirit Brings Life - Romans 8:1-11 - 2/10/17

The "flesh" as used throughout this chapter refers not to our human bodies, but to the principle & power of sin. Sin is present & often operating in our body, not to be equaled with the body.

"Not guilty; let him go free"- what would those words mean to you if you were on death row? The fact is that the whole human race is on death row, justly condemned for repeatedly breaking God's holy Law. Without Jesus we would have no hope at all. But thank God! He has delivered us not guilty & has offered us freedom from sin & power to do his will.

The Spirit of life is the Holy Spirit. He was present at the creation of the world, & he is the power behind the rebirth of every Christian. He gives us the power we need to live the Christian life.

Jesus gave himself as a sacrifice for our sins. In Old Testament times, animal sacrifices were continually offered at the Temple. The sacrifices showed the Israelites the seriousness of sin: blood had to be shed before sins could be pardoned. But animal blood could not really remove sins. The sacrifices could only point to Jesus' sacrifice, which paid the penalty for all sins.

Daily we must consciously choose to center our lives lives on God. Use the Bible to discover God's guidelines, & then follow them. When the Holy Spirit points out what is right, do it eagerly.

A Christian is anyone who has the Spirit of God living in him. If you have sincerely trusted Christ for for your salvation & acknowledged him as Lord, then the Holy Spirit has come into your life, & you are a Christian. When the Holy Spirit is working within you, you will believe that Jesus Christ is God's Son & that eternal life comes through him; you will begin to act as Christ directs; you will find help in your daily problems & in your praying; you will be empowered to serve God & do his will; & you will become part of God's plan to build up his church.

The Holy Spirit is God's promise or guarantee of eternal life for those who believe in him. He is in us now by faith, & by faith we are certain to live with Christ forever.

Reference summary used from the Life Application KJV Bible, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Thursday - The Cost of Being a Disciple - Luke 9:23-27,57-62 - 2/9/17

Christians follow their Lord by imitating his life & obeying his commands. To take up the cross means to obey selfish desires to use our resources of time & money our own way, & to choose our own direction in life. Following Christ is costly now, but in the long run it is well worth the pain & effort.

Nothing material can compensate for the loss of eternal life. Jesus' disciples are not to use their lives on earth for their own pleasure, but to spend them serving God & people.

Luke's Greek audience would have found it difficult to understand a God who could die, just as Jesus' Jewish audience would have been perplexed by a Messiah who would let himself be captured. Both would be ashamed of Jesus if they did not look past his death to his glorious resurrection & Second Coming. Then they would see him not as a loser but as the Lord of the universe who through his death brought salvation to all people.

When Jesus said some would not die without seeing the Kingdom, he was referring to (1) Peter, James, & John, who would witness the transfiguration eight days later, or in a broader sense to (2) all who would witness the resurrection & ascension, or (3) all who would take part in the spread of the church after Pentecost. Jesus listeners were not going to have to wait for another, future Messiah - the Kingdom was among them, & it would soon come in power.

What does Jesus want from us? Total dedication, not half-hearted commitment. We can't pick pick & choose among Jesus' ideas & follow him selectively; we have to accept the cross along with the crown, judgment as well as mercy. We must count the cost & be willing to abandon everything else that has given us security. With our focus on Jesus, we should allow allow nothing to distract us from the manner of living he calls good & true.

Reference summary used from the Life Application KJV Bible, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Wednesday - Power & Strength through Weakness - II Corinthians 12:7b-10 - 2/8/17

We don't know what Paul's "thorn in the flesh" was because he doesn't tell us. Whatever it was, it was a chronic & debilitaling physical problem, which at times kept him from working. This thorn was a hindrance to his ministry, & he prayed for its removal; but God refused. Paul was a very self-sufficient person, so this thorn was difficult for him. It kept Paul humble, reminded him of his need for constant contact with God, and benefited those around him as they saw God at work in his life.

Although God did not remove Paul's physical affliction, he promised to demonstrate his power in Paul. The fact that God's power shows up in weak people should give us courage. We must rely on God for our effectiveness rather than on simple energy, effort, or talent. Our weakness not only helps develop Christian character; it also deepens our worship, for in admitting our weakness, we affirm God's strength.

God does not intend for us to seek to be weak, passive, or ineffective - life provides enough hindrances & setbacks without us creating them. When they come, we must depend on God.

Paul was not merely revealing his feelings; he was defending his authoring as an apostle of Jesus Christ. He was hurt that the church in Corinth doubted & questioned him, & he defended himself for the cause of the Gospel, not to satisfy his ego.

Reference summary used from the Life Application KJV, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois

Monday, February 6, 2017

Tuesday - A Faithful Heir Will Succeed - I Kings 2:1-4 - 2/7/17

God's conditional promise was that David & his descendants would remain in office as kings only when they honored & obeyed him. When David's descendants failed to do this, they lost the throne.

God's unconditional promise was that David's line would go on forever. This was fulfilled in the birth of Jesus Christ, a descendant of David who was also the eternal Son of God.

David, whose life exemplified obedience, gave well-seasoned advice to his son, the next king. It would be up to Solomon to follow it.

Reference summary used from the Life Application KJV Bible, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Sunday ... Re-Created To Live In Harmony - Galatians 3:26-4:7 -2/5/17

In Roman society, a youth coming of age laid aside the robe of childhood & put on a new toga. This represented his move into adult citizenship with full rights & responsibilities. Apostle Paul combines this understanding with baptism. By becoming Christians & being baptized, they were becoming spiritually grown up & ready to take on the privileges & responsibilities of the mature. You have laid aside the old clothes of the Law, & now you are putting on Christ's new robe of righteousness.

Jewish males greeted each new day by prayer, Lord, I thank you that I am not a Gentile, a slave, or a woman. The role of women was enhanced by Christianity. Faith in Christ transcends these differences & makes all believers one in Christ.

The original covenant with Abraham was intended for the whole world, not just for his descendants. All believers partake of this covenant & are blessed as children of Abraham.

The apostle Paul uses the illustration of slavery to show that before Christ came & died for sins, people were in bondage to the Law.

Thinking they could be saved by it, they became enslaved to trying - & failing - to keep it. The Good News is that we who were once slaves are now God's very own children with an intimate relationship with him. Because of Christ, there is no reason to be afraid of God. We can come boldly into his presence, knowing he will welcome us as his family members.

True Christianity: Christians are those who believe inwardly & outwardly that Jesus' death has allowed God to offer them forgiveness & eternal life as a gift. They have accepted that gift by faith & are seeking to live a life of obedient gratitude for what God has done for them.

Christianity is both private & public, heart-belief & mouth-confession. Our relationship to God & the power he provides result in obedience. Having received the gift of forgiveness & eternal life, we are now daily challenged to live that life with his help.

When the fulness of the time was come "God sent Jesus to earth to die for our sins. For centuries the Jews were wondering when their Messiah would come - but God's timing was perfect.

Jesus was born of a woman - he was human. He was born as a Jew - he was subject to God's Law & fulfilled it perfectly. Thus Jesus was the perfect sacrifice because, although he was fully human, he never sinned. His death bought freedom for us who were enslaved to sin so we could be adopted into God's family.

Under Roman law, an adopted child was guaranteed all legal rights to his father's property. "Abba" is an Aramaic word for father. It was used by Christ in prayer in Mark 14:36. As adopted children of God, we share with Jesus all rights to God's resources. As God's heirs, we can claim what he has provided for us - our full identity as his children.

Reference summary used from the Life Application Bible, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Purpose - Love for God - Living for Jesus

Romans 12:1 & I Corinthians 15:58

When sacrificing an animal according to God's Law, a priest killed the animal, cut it in pieces, & placed it on the altar. Sacrifice was important, but even in the OT God make it clear that obedience from the heart was much more important. God wants us to offer ourselves, not animals, as living sacrifices - daily laying aside our own desires to follow him, putting all our energy & resources at his disposal & trusting him to guide us.

Paul said that because of the resurrection, nothing we do is wasted. But if we maintain a heavenly perspective, we understand that we don't see the good that results from our efforts. Do the good that you have opportunity to do, knowing your work will have eternal results.

Reference summary used from the KJV Life Application Bible, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Tuesday - All Peoples are Blessed Through Abraham - Genesis 22:15-18 -1/31/17

Abraham received abundant blessings because he obeyed God. First, God gave Abraham's descendants the ability to conquer their enemies. Second, God promised Abraham children & grandchildren who in turn the whole earth would be blessed. People's lives would be changed as a result of knowing Abraham & his descendants. Most often we think of blessings as gifts to be enjoyed. But when God blesses us, his blessings are intended to overflow to others.

Reference summary used from the KJV Life Application Bible, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois