1 Corinthians 3:16 "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in your midst?"
No person whom God saves will be a carnal Christian. You are either saved or you are not. You are either God's child in faith in Christ or you are not. There's no middle ground here!
If the gospel pleases carnal men, it is not the gospel at all. Easy-believism deflects the power of the church from a body of true believers into a group of unsaved, carnal people who profess God, but deny Him by their deeds. It appeals to our carnal nature and calls us to grovel in the mud. Sadly, we too often enjoy the mud bath. If unsaved people are to be saved, we must preach to them the very message they do not want to hear, and the Spirit must work!
Reject the world! Purge yourself of everything carnal and contrary to holiness! Come out and then plead for the fullness of His life in you.
Father, as David put off Saul's armor, we must strip ourselves of carnal means and do battle with only the smooth stones of the gospel in our sling. Help us to do this! Help us not to settle for cultural norms of how to do church. Father, help us to be biblical in all we say and do. Help us to know the better revelation in Christ through the Scripture alone. You are worthy, Lord! Help us to proclaim that in our lives today for your glory. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Isaiah 63:10 "Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them."
Just because God did some wonderful things for all Israel in the past doesn’t mean that He is obligated or will keep her immune from horrific things in the future.
It is possible to go bankrupt spiritually, and that is exactly what has happened to Israel. Contextually, what prompted Isaiah to think in these terms was the realization that Jesus Christ is coming to pour out the wrath of God (Isaiah 63:1-6). Isaiah thought in view of that we better get right with God because we sure aren’t now. Isaiah prophetically reveals the state of Israel just prior to the return of Jesus Christ.
You and I can learn an important principle from this ourselves. Again, just because we have seen God do some wonderful things for us in the past does not mean He will keep doing those things in the present or in the future. Truth is, we can rebel against His Spirit like Israel did and actually make God angry to the point that He stops blessing us. If He did this to an entire nation, He is certainly capable of doing this to an individual.
We who live in the church age may look at this and say, ""Well, that’s a shame what has happened to Israel, but we are Spirit-indwelt believers of the grace age who could never have anything like that happen to us."" The Apostle Paul said, ""You think again"" (1 Corinthians 10:1-12). He said you think very carefully about how Israel threw away the blessings of God because we can, too. What are you doing with this truth today?"
Father, Israel here proves you can so depart from you that your life is a disaster. It is possible to reject you too long. It is possible to be able to testify of all of the amazing things we have seen you do in the past and never have you do one more positive thing for us in the present. Oh, Father, guard us against this. Awaken us to our sin. Let us get on our knees and repent. Help us to know the vanity of this world and the glory of life in you. I pray this to the advancement of your kingdom. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Hebrews 3:7-8 So, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion...."
The warnings in the book of Hebrews alert us to our true danger: "drift away," "fall away," "hardened," "neglect." Defaults destroy. Hardened hearts are a form of judgment. Solemnizing. Hearing the gospel can save, but hearing the gospel can also harden (Isaiah 6:9-10). It has nothing to do with the preacher or messenger.
And the great news? God calls out to even the most hardened sinner, and waits upon those who have shunned His mercies throughout the full course of their lives. What grace! What mercy!
When we encounter difficulty we tend to be quite noisy with grumbling and complaining because our hearts are so hardened by self-love. Take courage, though: Jesus is good at gentling our hearts when they get hurt, withdrawn, resentful, even hardened. Collapse on him. Seek out his voice today in the Word, and do not harden your heart.
Father, deliver us from everything that may entangle our affections and harden our hearts. Let us be sensitive to what your Spirit wants to do in our lives. For some of us, Lord, that may be to deal with a known sin. For others, it may be to reassure us of our standing in Christ. For yet others, it may just be the needed reminder of your presence. Whatever lies before us, Lord, that you are enough and can handle--for your glory and our good. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Job 33:4 "The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life."
First, the Holy Spirit is our creator. In Genesis, recall that the Spirit of God hovered over the waters. Our God is not an impersonal God! He was intimately involved in the creation of the world.
Second, the Holy Spirit is a life-giver. The Spirit gives physical life (Job 33:4). Yet, the Spirit was with Jesus in the incarnation (Luke 1:35). And, praise the Lord, the Spirit gives spiritual life (John 3; 6:63)
Finally, the Spirit is a life-preserver. Where there is no Holy Spirit in someone's life, there is, literally, no life (Job 34:14-15). The Holy Spirit preserves all life (Acts 17:26-28). Not only does he order and keep God's people, but he also do so in the church. Thank the Lord!
What's this mean for you today? Simple: Only by a Holy-Spirit-overcome heart can we guard the deceitfully wicked wellspring of life. It's possible to look alive, strong, healthy, successful . . . and be devoid of the Spirit's breath of life (Ezekiel 37:8).
One cannot be filled with the Spirit and self at the same time. A choice must be made and an exchanged accomplished. His life for ours.
What is your choice?
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus, and God the Holy Spirit, we praise, bless, and adore you for the life, joy, and peace we have in you. Holy Spirit, give me words of life for others today. Grant me a heart and vocabulary of grace for every conversation. Holy Spirit, convince us, yet again, of our righteousness in Christ and our calling in life. By grace, we want to live and love well today. Holy Spirit, make the love of God the most compelling power in my life today. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Psalm 139:7 "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?"
These are two Gospel-laced, glorious rhetorical questions. If, for you, belief requires ""a leap of faith,"" you are not yet near God. In his presence, there is no gap to leap over.
The presence of God should always lead to an acute awareness of God's greatness and an intimate awareness of our desperate need for him.Remember, Aaron's burnt incense was for protection from God's presence (Lev. 16:13). Christ is our burnt incense safely that brings us into God's presence (Ephesians 5).
God knows everything. So why not run to him and tell him all the things that he already knows? Through the gospel we run from God's righteousness to his righteousness--in Christ!
Let's begin now to pray for God's felt presence this morning. He will hear and answer. And remember those in chains for the Gospel. They are our brothers and sisters. How can we not care? They need God's presence above all!
Father, thank you that you are not a disinterested Father. You will not allow your children to run the streets of this world unattended or undisciplined. Thank you, Lord, that when feelings run from devastation to fear, we still have cause for hope--because there is no where we can go that you are not. Our hope doesn't rest on what we feel but on what you have done in Christ. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Psalm 71:22 "I will praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, my God; I will sing praise to you with the lyre, Holy One of Israel."
Don’t know about you, but I'm constantly reminded of how pig-headed, stubborn and selfish I am. God is so faithful to keep loving me and showing me grace!
Hebrews 3:6 “But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. And we are his house if we hold on to our courage & the hope of which we boast.”
Do we ever consider that in going to God in prayer we can also ask our Intercessor and faithful Mediator to pray for us?
We are so frail, and in constant need of grace to steady us. Yet God is faithful. He never allows us to be tempted beyond what we can bear. am overwhelmed by God's goodness. What a faithful and patient Savior, always abounding in a steadfast love. We are debtors to grace.
He is a faithful God and worthy to be praised. His kindness is our motive. I encourage you to arise early tomorrow morning and seek God's face. There is great reward in communion and intercession. He is faithful.
Father, thank you for loving us as your own. Thank you for being reminding us that we can praise you with all we have because you gave your only Son on the cross for our sin. We are reminded today that nothing we have or could have can ever replace the amazingness of your steadfast love to us. We are as loved and secure as your Son is to you. Help me today to know the transforming power of trusting you and that you are in control. Thank you, Father! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Psalm 90:2 "Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God."
God, from everlasting to everlasting, You are God -- eternal, immortal, invincible God.
These verses remind us that there is: Nothing before. Nothing outlasting. All upholding. All defining. There is no wisdom, understanding, or counsel that can prevail against God. His kingdom & dominion are everlasting (Pro.21:30; Dan. 4:34-35). That’s who God is and isn’t in his character.
As children of God by faith in Christ (Gal. 4:1-6), we have a secure and everlasting status that far surpasses any earthly title or position. When God tells us he loves us with an ""everlasting love” (Jer. 31:3), he's not speaking metaphorically. He really means it! God's talking about you and me (and the whole of his people in context).
Life everlasting is ""a blessedness in which to praise God eternally"" (Heidelberg Catechism Q/A 58). Remember: there’s one God reigning over your history; there's one Savior for your sin, and he warns you of judgment and offers you everlasting joy. Yet, with an everlasting love, God chose us, drew us, is keeping us and will glorify us. Rest in it and count on it—all because He is faithful!
God, from everlasting to everlasting, You are God -- eternal, immortal, invincible God. May the first, loudest, and most impactful voice we hear today be yours, Lord, saying to us, "I have loved you with an everlasting love." Thank you that despite my unfaithfulness to you, your Word, and your people, you still love me. Let that not be an excuse in our lives today, Lord. Let your glory be our motivation and salvation. In Jesus’ name. Amen.