Daily Devotional; formerly Chaplains Corner

Discussion in 'Religious Discussions' started by ampaterry, Apr 24, 2011.

  1. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    We’ll take a break from the Psalms of Ascent for today; there is one left, and we’ll look at it tomorrow, God willing.

    For today, let’s look at The gift we give by receiving

    There would be no Christmas without Christ. We all know that. Sure there are many festivals this time of year. The pagans saw the shortest day of the year at the winter solstice, December 21, and started doing things like burning Yule logs to try to encourage the sun to shine a little longer each day; or was it in anticipation of longer days and shorter nights ahead? Without doing some research, I'm not prepared to say that any of these festivals particularly involved gift giving.

    However, when Christ came, God started the gift giving that we reflect when we give each other gifts at this time of year when we celebrate the birth of Christ. God says in John 3 "16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. "

    God gave the gift of His son. We can receive His gift, or reject it. John 1: "11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name." Some people received his Gift, some rejected Christ.

    Now, when I get things to give to people, I like to make sure they are useful, or will be cherished by the receiver. Seeing their eyes light up, their big smile, and the big "thank you" makes my day. Sometimes I get the "Uh...thank you. What's it for?" and I have to explain how useful that paracord bracelet I made for them really could be.

    God's gift to us is useful. His Son came into the world to be with us, and to die on the cross to purchase forgiveness for our sins. That frees us from guilt, and gains us eternal life if we receive His gift.

    Receiving His gift means we have the right to become His children, citizens of His Kingdom. People pay a lot of money and put a lot of effort to become legal citizens of the US or UK; citizenship in a country is something that is earned. But citizenship in God's Kingdom is a free gift.

    The gifts we give each other will be outgrown, wear out, break, go out of style, get lost. But God's gift to us of new life in Christ will never do any of those things. His gift is eternal.

    Sometimes we start thinking things like, "Uncle Charlie gave me this brand new rifle, and I only got a pair of slippers for him", or, I really went out of my way to find this expensive gift for aunt Tilly, and all she could get me was this measly T-shirt?" The guilt of not giving enough, or of giving too much sometimes spoils the giving. There is a tremendous inequity between what God gives us and what we have to offer back to God.

    David realised this when he was writing Psalm 116. He said "12 What shall I render to the Lord For all His benefits toward me? 13 I shall lift up the cup of salvation And call upon the name of the Lord."

    God has given me a lot of benefits: He has given me this freedom from guilt, and a new membership in His family. He has given me eternal life. So what can I give back to Him? I really can't give anything back to Him. All I can do is keep receiving from Him. I lift the cup of salvation, and keep calling on His name.

    So we remember God's gift to us at this time of year by giving each other presents. May God bless us as we remember the Gift He gave us at this time of year, and keep receiving from Him.
     
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  2. reflex1

    reflex1 Well-Known Member

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    Merry Christmas BlackEagle and thanks for your sermon every day!
     
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  3. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Many thanks, reflex1. It's a privelage to be able to do this. I hope those reading these get as much blessing as I get putting them together.

    And have a blessed Christmas yourself.
     
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  4. ampaterry

    ampaterry *TFF Admin Staff Chaplain* Staff Member Supporting Member

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    BlackEagle asked me to fill in for him yesterday due to time constraints he had.
    I did not receive his request until this morning, and I am SO sorry for not being able to do this -
    I will post a devotional today, BlackEagle, and please accept my apology for not being here earlier -

    Today, a story about the Moody family:

    Dwight Moody's father died when Dwight was only four. A month later Mrs. Moody gave birth to twins; she now had nine mouths to feed and no income. Merciless creditors dogged the widow, claiming everything they could get their hands on.

    As if Mrs. Moody didn't have enough troubles, her eldest boy later ran away from home. Certain that her son would return, Mrs. Moody placed a light for him in the window each night. Young Dwight was inspired by her faith and prayers. He wrote: "I can remember how eagerly she used to look for tidings of that boy; how she used to send us to the post office to see if there was a letter from him--some night when the wind was very high, and the house would tremble at every gust, the voice of my mother was raised in prayer for that wanderer."

    Her prayers were answered. Her prodigal son did eventually return. Dwight remembered: "While my mother was sitting at the door, a stranger was seen coming toward the house, and when he came to the door he stopped. My mother didn't know her boy. He stood there with folded arms and a great beard flowing down his breast, his tears trickling down his face. When my mother saw those tears she cried, 'Oh, it's my lost son!' and entreated him to come in. But he stood still! 'No mother,' he answered, 'I will not come in until I hear first that you have forgiven me.'"

    Mrs. Moody was only too willing to forgive. She rushed to the door, threw her arms around him, and there the prodigal found forgiveness.

    Jesus teaches us several lessons in the story of the prodigal son:
    He teaches us of God’s forgiveness, when we return to him.
    He teaches us the foolishness of following the happiness of this world at the cost of abandoning our true family.
    He teaches us that the jealousy of the love that our father has for another is utter foolishness.
    And – he teaches us that we should ask forgiveness when we have sinned, and that we are to forgive, as we have been forgiven.

    The Moody family learned these lessons well -
     
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  5. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Thanks so much for covering this, Terry.
    It's amazing how God keeps loving us, even though we are unlovable.
     
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  6. ampaterry

    ampaterry *TFF Admin Staff Chaplain* Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I will never figure that out, BlackEagle -
    The being that God is - omnificent, omnipotent, omnipresent - is SO far from the beings that we are! We are more like ants than God is like us - yet he loves us, and we think nothing of stepping on a few ants -
    Then I try to imagine sacrificing my only Son through a slow, torturous and agonizing death - for a bunch of ants - and I fail to be able to comprehend such a thing.
    But I sure do love Him -
    And I am eternally grateful that He loves an ant like me!
     
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  7. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    You and me both!!

    Let's go on to the last of these Psalms of Ascent, the Psalms the Israelites sang as they were heading into Jerusalem for the Passover Feast, and while they were in Jerusalem while they were at the feast.
    Psalm 134

    Behold, bless the Lord, all servants of the Lord,
    Who serve by night in the house of the Lord!
    2 Lift up your hands to the sanctuary And bless the Lord.
    3 May the Lord bless you from Zion, He who made heaven and earth.


    I always thought of this Psalm when I was a police chaplain. They were out on patrol, keeping our streets safe at all hours of the day and night. I would ride along with them. I usually tried to get out on a Friday night…more “interesting” things happen on the weekends and there was opportunity for ministry with both cops and the people we met up with. They might not be serving in the churches themselves, but they are working in the neighborhoods of the churches. The police are part of what God talks about in Romans 13: 3 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4 for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.

    And there are all kinds of others who keep watch at night: Those on watch on ships, or in combat zones, or working night shift at the hospitals and fire departments and other emergency services.

    Then there are the times when we just can’t get to sleep. You could say we are “keeping watch”. Where do we let our minds wander? Sure they will go all over the place, probably going back over problems and difficulties and worries and conflicts from the previous day. That’s an involuntary thing. We just can’t help it. You could say that satan just doesn’t want us to get a good sleep so he keeps throwing garbage into our minds to keep us awake.

    But what about using the time to bend our thoughts to blessing the Lord? We can force our thoughts to pray for people. We an pray over those things that are worrying us. One of the things I do is to try to go through the Bible in my mind. Start with Genesis, try to remember as much as I can of events, people, places, things. Then go on to Exodus. I generally can get as far as maybe the end of Genesis before I find myself waking up in the morning. Or review verses I have memorized. If satan is trying to keep me awake, he doesn’t want me thinking about God’s Word, or interceding for His people. He would rather I just go to sleep. That’s a kind of blessing the Lord while I am “keeping watch” at night.

    I guess this Psalm 134 could be a kind of antiphonal Psalm, where one group of people sings the first part and a second group answers them.

    And it is also a kind of benediction Psalm. It is the last of the Psalms of Ascent, and might have been what the Israelites sang as they prepared to leave Jerusalem. You can just hear them singing to the priests in the temple, “May God bless you as you go about your duties in the temple, night and day. Remember that it is not just the mechanical things of keeping the candles lit or the lantern glowing. Part of your work is to praise God on behalf of Israel, and to pray for her.”

    Behold, bless the Lord, all servants of the Lord,
    Who serve by night in the house of the Lord!
    2 Lift up your hands to the sanctuary And bless the Lord.


    Another part is to keep watch, to guard the Temple and its precincts. Do you remember how Psalm 127 starts out?

    Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it;
    Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain.


    The watchers need to have God’s fail-safe lookout backing them up as they are guarding His temple, His city, and His people.

    Then you can just about hear the Priests respond. 3 May the Lord bless you from Zion, He who made heaven and earth.

    And that blessing from the priests in the temple would have been ringing in the ears as the Israelites left Jerusalem for home.

    The Lord who made heaven and earth will bless you. Remember Psalm 121?

    I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come?
    2 My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.
    3 He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber.
    4 Behold, He who keeps Israel Will neither slumber nor sleep.


    The God who made heaven and earth will keep us safe in His big capable hands. He does night shift, day shift, and all other times. He is never off duty. There is never a time or place when we are out from under His careful watch. When we need help, we want a good healthy response. Everyone knows that when seconds count the police are minutes away. Well, God’s response is immediate…He said he would always be with us. He will never be out-gunned or over stretched in resources. He has all power and all authority in heaven and on earth.

    If He has the power to create the heavens and the earth, He surely can take care of a few human beings that He loves. He will bless us by protecting us, and He will bless us by making us prosper as He sees fit. And best of all He blesses us with His salvation—with eternal life through His Son Jesus Christ.

    Whether we as husbands and fathers are the “acting priests”, or whether we are at church and our pastors are the “acting priests”, we can sing this Psalm, or at least pray it, for those we are gathered with during this season.
     
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  8. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” Luke 2

    Child is born World.jpg
    Isaiah 9
    2 The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light;
    Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them.
    3 You shall multiply the nation, You shall increase their gladness;
    They will be glad in Your presence As with the gladness of harvest,
    As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
    4 For You shall break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders,
    The rod of their oppressor, as at the battle of Midian.
    5 For every boot of the booted warrior in the battle tumult,
    And cloak rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire.
    6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
    And the government will rest on His shoulders;
    And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
    7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
    On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
    To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
    From then on and forevermore.
    The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.


    15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9
     
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  9. reflex1

    reflex1 Well-Known Member

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    Merry Christmas BlackEagle to you and your family!
     
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  10. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Thanks, reflex1. And Merry Christmas to you and your family also.

    God's blessing on you and yours.
     
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  11. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    We want a strong nation.

    The outgoing administration has done many things to try to destroy the nation from the inside out. It has promoted big government to try to control people from the outside in, it has promoted divisiveness on many levels. Now it is time to try to repair that destruction, to rebuild the damage, to re-set the moral compass of this nation.

    A strong nation is not made up of a strong government that makes laws that force people to obey its dictates. A strong nation is composed of strong people, individuals who are strong in character, as well as in body and spirit. A strong nation is composed of people who work together for a common cause, to achieve a common purpose.

    Now, illustrations are like cars. If you push them too far, they break down. But try think of it this way. A nation that depends on a strong government is like an insect that has an exoskeleton, a shell. That shell may be strong, but it limits the size of the insect. If the insect needs to grow larger it needs to shed its shell and grow another. If the shell gets cracked or broken, the insect is vulnerable to outside attack. A strong shell can also trap diseases inside it, so the insect cannot heal.

    We’ve seen totalitarian governments that ruled with an iron fist. That is like the shell. The strength comes from the outside, from the laws and rules and brute force of the government. The Communist government in Russia imploded from the weight of its shell, its government. The Nazis were falling apart at the end of WWII from the same thing. The government was dictating what people should do and think, rather than allowing people to work for themselves, to enjoy the fruits of their labors, to think for themselves.

    A strong nation, as I said, is composed of individual citizens who are working together in harmony to achieve a common cause. Do you remember what happened back in Genesis 11? The people spoke a common language; communication was good. They set themselves a task and everyone got behind the effort. 4 They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” 5 The Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. 6 The Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them.

    God had commanded the people to spread out, to populate the entire earth, not congregate in one place. They were disobeying Him, so He confused their language, made it so that people spoke different languages, couldn’t understand each other, and their entire plan fell into ruin. That was the Tower of Babel.

    But now we want to build a strong nation. That will only come from having good materials that are well-bonded together. Strong materials are morally strong individuals. Well bonded together means they have a common language and a common purpose and are working together.

    We looked at that a few days ago in Psalm 133. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity!

    I believe Colossians 3 shows us some of the secrets of fellowship that make it possible for brothers to dwell together in unity. These are true for families, for churches, for organizations, for TFF, and for governments, for nations.

    The passage we want to look at over the next few days is this: Colossians 3: 12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

    May God give us new insights in working together, and build us as families, as churches, as the individuals who work together to make up a great nation.
     
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  12. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Colossians 3: 12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

    We want a strong nation; we want strong families; we want strong churches; we want a strong economy; we want to rebuild what has been torn down over the last eight plus years. A strong nation is made up of strong communities which in turn are built up with strong families, and strong families are composed of strong individuals.

    We’ll get to what makes strong individuals in due course.

    Just now, let’s look at what God has to say about strong communities, organizations here in Colossians 3.

    The first thing that hits us over the head is something that God does for us. 12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved,

    We’ve all been there. For me it was in Physical Education. The teacher chooses two “captains” who in turn choose people for their teams, and someone is always left for last. That’s embarrassing.

    God chooses us. He has been doing that throughout history. Out of all the people in the world, back in Genesis God chose Noah. It says Noah found favor in God’s eyes there in Genesis 6:8.

    Then God chose Abram from all the people of the world and unilaterally made a covenant with him in Genesis 12. And it was a big covenant.

    Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you; 2 And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; 3 And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

    As you read through the Bible you can see how God singled out individuals and groups of people for His special purposes. Ruth, Gideon, Esther, David, Solomon, Elijah, Elisha, and so on, and then you get to the New Testament. Matthew 4 says Jesus was walking along the seashore and saw two brothers working on their fishing gear and chose them out of all the other people he could have picked. He was walking along the crowded streets of a city, and picked Matthew out of the crowd to be one of his disciples.

    David knew about how God chooses us and lays out His plans for us even before we are born. He wrote about it in Psalm 139 (the entire Psalm is well worth a read):
    16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. 17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!

    Romans 8 says it this way: 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

    There are some heavy words in that passage that carry some heavy meanings. First, He knows us—chooses us. Then He predestines us to be conformed to the image of His Son. That’s what David was talking about in Psalm 139.

    Think of how a skilled woodworker chooses a particular piece of wood. He has a particular purpose in mind for this piece of wood—it will become grips for a 1911, or a walking stick, or part of a bowl, or part of a piece of furniture. Then he starts cutting, carving, sanding, staining, sealing, and polishing it until it is just what He wants it to be. That’s how God goes to work on us. Out of all the pieces of wood in the bin He chooses us because He has a purpose in mind for us, and starts shaping and polishing us until we are just right for His purposes.

    Then, once He has picked us out of the rest of the crowd He calls us, just like Jesus called His disciples to follow Him. Then God justifies us. He clears the our debt of sin with the payment Jesus made for us on the Cross. He makes us fit to be His followers.

    Do you remember what Jesus said about the broad gate and the narrow gate in Matthew 7? 13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

    Those God chooses decide to go through the narrow gate. There are a lot of people God does not choose.

    So first of all, God chooses His materials, His people, carefully when He is going to build a strong nation.

    And yes, God needs to be the one doing the building. Remember Psalm 127? Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain.

    In our nation’s military, there are the regular soldiers, and there are those who go for the elite—the SEALS, the Rangers, the Green Berets, the other special ops sections. And then there are the Marines. Not everyone is cut out for that but a few are tough enough to get through the training and wear the badge of honor of whichever elite group they have earned their way into. God picks us, but we have to go through the training, the carving, cutting, shaping, molding, sanding, staining and polishing process. He won’t force us to go through it; it is hard, difficult; and just as in the SEAL training, we can always ring out. God can find someone else, but those that stick with it are the ones He glorifies.

    May God bless us as we stick with the training He puts us through because He has chosen us.
     
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  13. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Colossians 3: 12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

    God chose us. Out of all the people in the world today, out of all the times in history, God has chosen us. He chose each of us for a special, specific purpose.

    Because God chose us we are holy and beloved.

    We are holy. We are holy because God says we are holy. But look at what we have done over the last 24 hours. Has it been an exemplary life? Would we win the “Saints for all Seasons” award for our lifestyle? I doubt it. We have a long way to go before we can even call ourselves holy, let alone before God can call us “holy” in our day-to-day lives. We are just like Isaiah there in Isaiah 6. He suddenly found himself standing before God in all His holiness and majesty and glory. All Isaiah could say was 5 “…Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”

    But God took care of that for him. God cleaned him up, fixed his lips: 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. 7 He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.”

    And God cleans us up.

    First, when God looks at us He sees us through a filter—the filter of the blood of His Son Jesus Christ. That blood, as it were, filters out the sin in our lives so He doesn’t have to look at the ugliness of our sin. There is a fifty-dollar theological word for that: Justification. It means what God talks about in Psalm 103: 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

    It’s what David asks God to do in Psalm 51: Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin.

    It’s what Jesus did for that woman caught in adultery, or that paralytic, and so many others, when He said, “Your sins are forgiven.”

    But Jesus said something else to those people. He said “Go and sin no more”. That’s the other side of this “being holy” coin. God knows we can’t live a perfect, sinless life. He knows we are incapable of “Going and sinning no more”. That’s why God included passages in His Letters to us like Psalm 51, and 1 John 1: 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. He knows we are incapable of living a perfect life so He gives us a way to get cleaned up when we fall into a mud puddle of sin.

    Does God mean for us to be happy enough to get stuck in the “sin-repent-ask forgiveness-sin again” cycle? Not really. God is very blunt about that in Romans 6: What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?

    May it never be! That’s a polite way of saying it. Read that to be as strong and emphatic a statement as you want.

    Instead, God wants us to be holy, set apart, different from the rest of the world. He says in 1 Peter 1 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

    Can we be holy on our own? Not really. We need God’s help. That’s why He gave us His Holy Spirit, to live and work in us. Jesus said in John 14 15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

    We can’t keep God’s commandments any more than we can walk on air. But Jesus went on to say this: 16 I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

    That “Helper” is the Holy Spirit. The word Jesus uses is our old friend “parakletos”, the comforter, the one called alongside to help, the coach/drill sergeant. He encourages and keeps us going when we feel down. He gives us the words to say when we need them. He, just like a coach or drill sergeant, keeps pushing us beyond what we thought we could do. He enables us to resist sin more and more from one day to the next.

    But there is another side to this. A drill sergeant will push his recruit, but the recruit needs to obey, needs to keep going himself. That’s why God spends a lot of time in His word telling us how to be holy. We are looking at Colossians 3, and the next verses in that passage give some clues as to how we should be holy as God is holy.

    God justifies us. He picks us out from the crowd, and looks at us through the filter of Christ’s blood on the cross. But then there is that ongoing purification process that brings us into line with what God wants us to be. Now it’s a matter of us obeying God. He tells us what to do, we do it. He wants us to change something in our lives, we change it. The fifty dollar theological word for that is “sanctification”.

    It’s an ongoing process. God looks at us and sees the finished product, much as a woodworker or sculptor looks at a block of material and sees the carving or statue inside it.

    May God bless us richly as we cooperate with Him in this ongoing “sanctification” process.
     
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  14. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Colossians 3: 12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

    Almost everyone has seen Annie, the story of an orphan girl who captured the heart of Daddy Warbucks and he lavished all kinds of love and favors on her. He adopted her, out of all the kids in that orphanage.

    God has done much the same for us. He chose us, and He has adopted us to be His children. He has cleaned us up and He has made us the object of His love.

    Annie had a certain amount of charm that attracted Daddy Warbucks. We don’t. We have nothing that attracts God to us. He simply chose us. He knows why; we sure can’t figure it out with any of our puny logic. We certainly haven’t done anything that made us stick out and attract God’s attention for any good reason. Even our best stinks as far as God is concerned. Isaiah 6 says 6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;

    Ephesians 2 puts it this way: 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

    Titus 3: simply says 5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

    So God has made us heirs, His children, and because we are His children, He loves us. Psalm 103 says 13 Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. 14 For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.

    God loves us in spite of what we are. He has demonstrated that by making us His children, giving us life that we didn’t have or deserve. His love for us is unconditional, a unilateral act on His part.

    His love will never fail. Lamentations 3 says 22 The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

    When you read down through Psalm 136 the message comes through loud and clear: For His lovingkindness is everlasting. The last verses of that Psalm kind of sum it all up:

    23 Who remembered us in our low estate, For His lovingkindness is everlasting,
    24 And has rescued us from our adversaries, For His lovingkindness is everlasting;
    25 Who gives food to all flesh, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
    26 Give thanks to the God of heaven, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.


    God’s love for us is like a protective shield that cannot be taken away from us. Romans 8 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    His love rubs off on us. One evidence that God has chosen us and loved us is that we are able to love others with God’s kind of love. 1 John 4 7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

    We need to show that same kind of love for others that God has showed us.

    Sure, the Beatles made the message loud and clear, “all you need is love”, but they never really showed how that love should manifest itself. Love for them is a nice fuzzy feeling, putting flowers in your hair and “being nice” to each other. That works so long as “each other” is nice back. And there is a limit to human patience.

    If I’m being nice to someone off my own bat, sooner or later I’ll run out of “nice” to give to other people.

    And I won’t necessarily know how best to be “nice” to them. What if they have a huge body odor problem. Is it nice to ignore it, or is it nice to quietly go up to them and suggest a shower? Suppose they have a drug problem. Is it nice to let them float away to death on a cloud of drugs, while committing crimes along the way, or is it nice to yank them back to real life and help them make themselves a human being again that adds constructively to society?

    God’s kind of love, flowing through me makes me able to deal God’s way with people around me. God teaches us how to love others with His kind of love. 1 John 4 says 19 We love, because He first loved us. And because God is loving through us, we have an unending supply of God’s love, and God helps us to show that love in the best way.

    But most importantly, God loves us with His wise, infinite, caring, giving love. That carries us through the most trying of times.
     
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  15. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Colossians 3: 12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

    Well, we’ve looked at how God has, He has made us right with Himself by making us holy, and He has loved us, adopted us, made us one of His Own children.

    He expects us to do some things because we are His children. The first is put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;

    That term “put on” is well worth checking out. The Greek word is “enduw”. It’s the word from which we get “endow”. It literally means sinking into a garment. It also means to invest with clothing.

    Generally it’s what we do in the morning when we get up. We put on a shirt, trousers, socks, shoes; when we go out we put on a jacket.

    But that “sinking into” bit is worth another look. It brings up visions of someone falling into a bed of leaves, and the leaves completely envelope him. It’s one thing to put on a shirt; it’s quite another to be completely enveloped from head to toe in a garment. I suppose hazmat suits or bomb disposal armor would be a good approximation of wearing a garment that completely envelopes us.

    And that’s the idea in Ephesians 6 when God is describing how He wants us to cover ourselves protectively with His armor. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

    The word also means to invest with clothing. It means putting on the robes of office. A judge looks like any other ordinary person until he puts on his robes of office, walks into that courtroom, and takes his seat. He now becomes the voice of law. An ordinary looking person puts on his uniform and takes on the role of a LEO, a soldier or sailor. In this case the clothes make the man: They serve to tell the world what this person is all about; they also remind the person who he is and what he is supposed to be doing.

    King Herod wanted to make something he was doing official, so it says in Acts 12: 21 On an appointed day Herod, having put on his royal apparel, took his seat on the rostrum and began delivering an address to them. Same word. He "put on" his royal apparel so everyone would know this was official and important.

    That same word pops up in the description of Jesus in Revelation 1: 12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; 13 and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. He has "put on", He is "clothed in", that robe of office.

    So God wants us to put on some things, to become enveloped in them from head to toe. Yes, there is His armor. But since we are His children, He has other garments for us to wear in addition to His armor.

    Ephesians 4: 24 and put on the new, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

    We have a new identity. We are God’s children, and He expects us to look and behave like His representatives here on earth. Do you remember the parable Jesus told about the wedding feast? Someone didn’t dress appropriately and got kicked out. Matthew 22: 11 “But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, 12 and he *said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ The man was "not dressed"…same word. He had not "put on" what he was supposed to wear.

    And God clothes us in more than just garments and armor. See what Jesus told His disciples in Luke 24: 49 And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” He will "clothe" us, "put onto" us His power. We are clothed with His authority. You can’t see it or touch it. It’s not an external uniform. But it is a quality of life God gives us.

    But there is one more thing that God will envelope us in. Life. Eternal life.

    1 Corinthians 15 and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory.

    So when God says we are to “clothe ourselves”, to “put on” certain things, it means a whole lot more than just putting on my pants and shirt and shoes and socks in the morning. When God clothes us it means life changing things. We “wear” clothes that identify us as Christians, we wear His armor; we wear His power. It not only covers us, it encases us, it soaks into our entire lives, becomes part of us and affects how we think, what we do; it affects our attitudes and mindset. Those new clothes swallow up the old ones.

    Tomorrow let’s see some of what God wants us to put on.
     
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