Jan 28, 2009

Devotional - Growing in the Grace of God

An excellent devotional - It's a great caution for us - 1) to not abuse the divine grace 2) not to get seduced by the benign works 

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  (2Pe_3:18)
Let's reflect upon some of the heavenly territory we have explored thus far. Grace is for spiritual growth and progress in the Lord. It is not intended only for birthing and starting out with the Lord. "But grow in the grace . . . of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." Growth in Christ is to be produced by God's grace at work in us. 

Often, God's people are apprehensive about an emphasis upon His grace. We become concerned that irresponsibility, ungodliness, laziness, or indulgence will result. We can rest assured on the promises and purposes of God that true grace does not produce such consequences. Such effects are produced by the flesh of man, either by licentiousness or by legalism. 

Licentiousness hopes to turn grace into a means by which sinful indulgence is acceptable. "For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness" (Jud_1:4). Legalism aspires to add religious performance to grace, thereby appealing to the self-righteous hopes of man. "Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit,  are you now being made perfect by the flesh?" (Gal_3:2-3). 

When a person truly lives by the grace of God, righteousness results, not ungodliness. When a person increasingly learns to draw upon the grace of God for daily living, Christlikeness develops, not worldliness. When grace becomes more and more the resource for life, sin diminishes; it does not increase. "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under law but under grace" (Rom_6:14). 

The temptation is to rely upon the law of God in order to generate godliness. The demand of the law to be holy, loving, and perfect becomes a false security to our flesh. We think that by hearing, repeating, or depending upon this demand, we can thereby accomplish it. Let us not forget that "the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope" (Heb_7:18-19). God's grace is the "better hope" that does not fail to bring forth what God desires. 

The Lord has ordained for us a life-long involvement with His grace. He wants to work "grace for [upon] grace" (Joh_1:16) for the rest of our days. This is the "new and living way" (Heb_10:20). Perhaps this could all be summarized in another acrostic on grace: Glorious Realities As Christ Empowers. 

Prayer : Gracious Father, how bountiful is Your provision for my spiritual growth. How foolish of me to think that I need more for developing in godliness than Your grace supplies. O Lord, I long to grow in the image of Christ. I beseech You, remind me and convince me that Your grace is the only sufficient hope. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Jan 25, 2009

Devotional - Spiritual hunger


Although I was away from active blogging for the last 2 months, they were good times for me. Well, we did go through tough times - mild sickness, lots of travel, a little bit of bickering from my side due to not being at home as much as I wanted, some sudden travel plans by my company, loss of a loved one (my grandma). But It was a time when I was united again with my family and I did enjoy the happy Christmas season too. 

I am now away from home - on a business trip at the UK - and I miss the feeling of togetherness more than ever. One of my reflections in the last couple of days is, sometimes our lives can get too full of things - ourselves, our loved ones, our job, our leisure. This is a habit that we all need to be watching out for. As the hints of this seeming fullness appears, replace it with a spiritual hunger that starts with self emptying, spiritual hunger and a gradual replacement with our Lord's spirit. My life has probably been a little too full of trivia in the last few days - with precious little time spent with the word. And I realize that it's probably the most foolish thing since it leads me away from the path that the Lord plans for me - I get into a state where I cannot see or claim the blessings that he has planned for me. 

On that (long) note, here's a brief study on spiritual desire. 

Why do we desire the spirit ? 1Pe 2:2  As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: The word always answers us - we need to grow  In faith, love, holiness, unto the full stature of Christ.

And what is the promise from our lord ? That we shall indeed be filled (Luk 6:21  Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. )

Do we need to be good to be filled ? No dear. That's not the way our lord works - Isa 55:1  Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. He reserves his blessings for the most low of us. He has reserved his blessings for me - the basest of all sinners. 

Yearn for the spirit - yearn for the gifts ; Yes ! Cry out to the lord that he may fill you therein. Pro 2:3  Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; Pro 2:5  Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. Pro 2:6  For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. 

Seek him , cry out to him , in faith , that he may reward you. Keep pressing to him - let it be a priority to you - beyond all your earthly and worldly bonds. Heb 11:6  But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. 

We press on to him for the ultimate prize that he has reserved for us. Php 3:14  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 

Be genuine in your desire.. Be meek and listen to him .. Be part of (and BUILD!) a generation that seeks His face .. Wait on him all day that he may lead you in truth and salvation .. If you are weak in your heart, call on him and be steady in faith - He will strengthen you .. Seek him and we shall want of no good thing ever .. Do not be mindful of the evil and prosperous - we , the good, are called to be the inheritors of the earth  .. Delight to do his will - Know his will - imbibe his law and the message of salvation in your heart - hearken to his words .. deeply desire for him (remember the song - As the deer panteth for the water - be the deer that panteth for the fountain of living waters - Psa_42:1-11) Seek for him if you are going through the dark wilderness.. His right hand upholds you !! Open wide your mouth and He shall fill it .. Psa 86:11  Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. 
Psa 86:12  I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name forevermore. Delight not in the world , but find joy in his word ! Seek him and implore on him that you may not wander from his commandments...Psa 119:116  Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope. 
Psa 119:117  Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually. 
 We shall surely not die - but live and declare His glorious works to the world! The lord loves they that love Him and those who seek Him early shall be satisfied. 
Hos 10:12  Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. 
Isa 55:6  Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: 
Lam 3:25  The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. 
Lam 3:26  It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. 
Deu 4:29  But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. 
Thirst for His righteousness that we may be fulfilled. Joh 4:14  But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. Joh 7:37  In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. Rev 21:6  And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. Rev 21:7  He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (Stay way away from sin!!! for he warns us - (Rev 21:8)  But the fearful, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.)

Friends - I wish us the guidance and presence of the Lord that I so desire - and I pray for the infilling of the spirit that we may live with him for ever. 

God bless you

Devotional - New Covenant Provided by the Blood of Christ

A beautiful spirit filled message - by Hoekstra

This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you . . . knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold . . . but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.  (Luk_22:20 and 1Pe_1:18-19)

The well-known Lord's Supper words from Luk_22:20 remind us that the glorious riches of grace found in the new covenant are all purchased by the shed blood of Jesus Christ, as He died on the cross for us. "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you." Customarily, believers in Christ think of forgiveness of sins when they hear these words. Forgiveness is certainly included in the blessings secured by the death of our Lord. Notice, however, that Jesus did not say "this cup is forgiveness in My blood." He said, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood." 

The new covenant is far more than forgiveness of sins. As previously indicated, the scriptures reveal that the new covenant has three basic areas of blessings. First is the forgiveness of sins. "Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more" (Heb_8:12). Second is an intimate relationship with the Lord. "All shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them" (Heb_8:11). Third is an internal work of God producing an increasingly godly life in and through us.  "I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts" (Heb_8:10). The word of God further confirms that all of these grand blessings depend upon God's provision, not our performance. "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God" (2Co_3:5). 

How can it be that such measureless spiritual abundance becomes ours through the new covenant of grace? Well, consider the amazing and effective redemption price paid to establish this new covenant. "Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold . . . but with the precious blood of Christ." This new covenant was not purchased with limited earthly wealth, like silver and gold. Rather, it was paid for by infinite heavenly treasure, the blood of Christ. No wonder the new covenant provides such amazing and effective resources for all who depend upon the One who died for them. 

One final reflection — realizing all that the cup of the new covenant represents can turn the Lord's Supper from a "religious snack" into a "spiritual feast"! 

Dear Heavenly Father, You have surely provided for me grace upon grace - -  complete forgiveness, intimate relationship, divine enablement! Yet, how could any less be supplied by such a rich price! Lord Jesus, thank You for pouring out Your life's blood to make such irreplaceable necessities available to me. Father, please bring to my remembrance day by day the wondrous riches of the new covenant that You want me to draw upon by faith, through Christ, my Lord, Amen.

Jan 2, 2009

God's lovingkindness for us

Psa 36:7  How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. 

Psa 36:7  How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God,.... Which has appeared to men and not angels, to some and not others; to the chief of sinners, who are by nature children of wrath as others; in choosing, redeeming, and calling them, taking them into his family, and making them heirs of eternal glory; and all this of his sovereign good will and pleasure, there being nothing in them that could move him to it; which lovingkindness was in his heart from everlasting, and will never change in him, nor depart from them; and hence it must be most excellent and precious: 

therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings; not all men; for all have not faith, only some, to whom it is given to believe, and who know the Lord and his lovingkindness; by which they are induced and encouraged to trust in him, to betake themselves to him for mercy and protection, which they find in him: the allusion is either to the hen that gathers her chickens under her wings, and protects them in time of danger, and so it expresses both the paternal affection of God to his people, and the protection of them; or else to the wings of the cherubim over the mercy seat, between which the Lord sat and communed with his people, and showed mercy and favour to them, which encouraged them to trust in him.