May 12, 2011

Rejoice In The Lord

PHILIPPIANS 4:4 NIV
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

No matter how bad things are around you, you can always rejoice in the Lord.

God is good -- even when circumstances are bad.

You can look beyond the temporary problems of life and focus on the Eternal God and His goodness. You can rejoice that God loves you and that you have a home in Heaven.

If you only rejoice when you feel like it -- and circumstances warrant it -- you may never rejoice much. But you will miss a lot of joy. For when you rejoice in the Lord and focus on Him, joy begins to flow out of your inner being and strengthens you.

This is God's answer for depression. Focus on God. Rejoice in Him, and receive the spiritual strength you need to carry on in victory.

HABAKKUK 3:18 NIV
18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Saviour.

"Yet I WILL." Whenever you decide to, you can rejoice. In spite of feelings and circumstances, you can choose to rejoice.

Rejoicing is subject to your will -- not your circumstances.

When can you rejoice? When should you rejoice?

1 THESSALONIANS 5:16 NASB
16 Rejoice always;

Sin Hurts

ROMANS 6:23 ICB
23 When someone sins, he earns what sin pays--death. But God gives us a free gift--life forever in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Sin is a teacher whose lessons are hard and painful.

You can't keep your hand in fire without being burned. And you can't sin without hurting people.

Sin harms humans. That's why God classifies it as sin. All sin hurts someone. The reason God is against sin is because He is for people.

Because sin has consequences, it eventually will convince you of the error of sinning -- if you live long enough. But why ruin your life finding out what you can know now just by reading the Bible?

God is not a killjoy. His purpose is not to keep the human race from enjoying life.

All that God has written in the Bible is for our benefit. God already knows everything. He gave us the Bible so we could know the truth.

The truth is: sin is bad. Sin hurts.

May 3, 2011

You Are God's Work Of Art

EPHESIANS 2:10 NLT
10 For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Outwardly, you may not appear to be much of a masterpiece. You may look like a piece of junk. But inwardly, and in reality, you are God's work of art -- and God does not make any junk.

All that is outward and seen is only temporary -- like the cocoon the butterfly inhabits for only a short time. So, while you should take care of your present body, don't be overly concerned about it. Most importantly, don't think of yourself as just the body you are now living in.

You are a child of Almighty God, creator and ruler of the universe. Someone God is "raising" to be His companion for eternity. You are NOT insignificant.

Admittedly, you are a work in progress. God still has more work to do with you -- but He is the artist, and He will finish His work. (Hint: as you submit to God, the easier it is for Him to change you into the wonderful image He has in mind.)

Someday, everyone will clearly see what God has done in you: making you a wonderful, unique individual worthy of Himself.

May 2, 2011

God's Demonstration

ROMANS 5:8 NKJ
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

There is no reason to say, "If God loves me, let Him prove it!" He already has.

God gave a demonstration proving He loves you at Calvary -- where Jesus died a cruel death on a cross. He died, in your place, suffering punishment you deserved, to set you free.

By dying for you, God proved He loved you supremely. How could He love you more?

Jesus showed that He loves you more than He loves Himself.

JOHN 15:13 NKJ
13 "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.

Jesus gave His life for you. What more could He do?

1 JOHN 3:16a NKJ
16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us.

Many people have a distorted view of God. The true picture of God's nature is that He loves all the people of the world so much, He was willing to suffer for their freedom.

God's Word Will Make You Free

JOHN 8:31-32 NKJ
31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.
32 "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

Many people are afraid that God's Word will put them in bondage -- because of the rules they think they will have to follow. But Jesus said God's Word would make you free.

Abide means to live, to continue, or to spend time somewhere.

If you continue to spend time in Jesus' Word -- you will know the truth.

When you know the truth, you will act on that knowledge -- and acting on the truth will make you free!

The Bible, especially the message of Jesus Christ in the New Testament, will set you free if you continue in it.

We are not guaranteed instant results, although sometimes they do happen. Freedom is certain, however, if you stick with God's Word. Jesus gave His guarantee!

If you are not enjoying freedom in any area of your life -- you have not continued in God's Word enough in that area. Feed it in: speak it, sing it, read it, write it, think it, dream it!