“For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him.”
Beloved, each day as I read and pray over my daily devotion, the Lord speaks different aspects to my heart. Sometimes a familiar passage will speak a new truth to me. Other times a vague passage will enlighten me with a truth I had not noticed. But ever time I read God speaks to me.
Today the Lord spoke to me about thanksgiving. Maybe I was dreaming of turkey and pumpkin pie and the such but rather I believe that so often we allow the cares of the world to overwhelm the many blessings God has given us and we forget to give thanks.
Today, YOU are many of those blessings the Lord has brought into my life. And I give thanks for YOU! I give thanks for you as the Lord brings you into my mind and I pray for you. I pray for you and your spouse, your children and the many things going on in your life.
I pray that the Lord would bring you comfort and strength and hope. But most of all I pray that you may understand and know the Lord. Paul prayed that the Ephesians would have, “the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.” I also pray that more than anything else that you would grow in your relationship with the Lord because it is that relationship which will sustain you through the valleys and mountains tops we each encounter in this world. I pray this knowing that the time I have with each of you is limited. Limited by time and often by distance but not by heart or mind.
Beloved, you are in my heart and I am thankful for each of you. Thankful for the abundant joy and blessing each of you has brought into my life. I am thankful even for the trials that have brought spiritual growth to my life. Today I give thanks for YOU!
I pray that you will have a blessed week! I love you and I will be praying for you!
In His Grace,
Romans 6:3-4, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”
Beloved, this past Sunday we had the wonderful opportunity to witness the baptism of numerous youth and adults. Concerning baptism you may ask, what is baptism and do I need to be baptized?
Beloved, Christian baptism is an act of obedience to Jesus’ command, declaring the believer’s faith in and identification with their crucified, buried, and risen Savior (Matt. 28:19–20). It is a visible declaration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Thus the believer being baptized is immersed beneath the waters in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, which expresses the believer’s death to sin and the burial of their old life, and then brought out of the water, which expresses the believer’s resurrection to a new life in Christ Jesus (Rom. 6:1–10; Col. 2:12). Baptism also identifies a Christian with Jesus (Acts 10:48), the universal church (1 Cor. 12:13), and the local church (Acts 2:41).
Beloved, we understand that baptism cannot save us. For we know that water does not save us. No, we are saved by grace through faith as we place our trust in Jesus Christ. It is Christ who saves us.
But then why should we be baptized? Even though we cannot be saved through baptism, if we have placed our faith in Jesus Christ then we should be baptized. Baptism is like wearing a wedding ring if you’re married. Baptism is the biblical way in which we show that by the power of the Spirit, we died to our old way of life through the death of Jesus, and live a new life through the resurrection of Jesus, cleansed from our sin in the same way that water cleanses us from filth. If you have made a commitment to Jesus, then I encourage you to obey his command to be baptized.
Beloved, I pray that you will have a blessed week. I love you and I will be praying for you!
The Word of Grace Devotion for the Week of September 8, 2014
2 Corinthians 10:3-6, “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.”
Beloved, we are in a battle. This battle is every bit as dangerous and harmful to our lives and souls as it would be on the battlefields of Iraq or Afghanistan. The battle rages in our thought life as we wage war against those ungodly thoughts, which enter our mind.
There are many aspects to this battle but I want to focus on one aspect. This aspect enables us to defeat and destroy the strongholds that the enemy may have established in our lives. This facet is that of taking, “every thought captive to obey Christ.”
First of all what is a stronghold? A stronghold is an argument you believe that contradicts the person and power of Christ. A stronghold is a thought fortress of arguments that take you captive and hold you as a prisoner. These fortresses are designed to negate the person of Christ and His power (the Gospel) in your life.
These strongholds present themselves as lies. Lies that we tell ourselves; lies that the world tells us; lies that we say in our marriage; lies that distort the Gospel and even lies from the questions we ask ourselves.
The problem is that we often believe the lies before we believe the truth. The solution is to, “take every thought captive to obey Christ.” Concerning taking every thought captive Ray Stedman said this: “That is all done in the battleground of the mind, the thought life. That is why your thinking is very important, why you must learn to confront your thoughts as a Christian, examine what you are thinking, pass judgment upon it and act in line with that judgment, either positively or negatively. You cannot allow your mind to give itself to anything it wants to; it must be disciplined or your whole Christian relationship will crumble and be weak.”
Beloved, if the strongholds in your life are masquerading themselves as fear, worry, insecurity, the habitual use of pornography or countless other sinful habits; we need to learn to practice the weapon of taking every thought captive.
When I gave my life to the Lord over twenty-five years ago, the Lord delivered me from the use of alcohol and bad language. His deliverance from these sinful and habitually patterns in my life has brought great joy and freedom. But it does not mean that I was never or am never tempted. I still must every day choose to believe the truth that I am a new creation in Christ as 2 Corinthians 5:17 says I am. Understandably it has gotten easier. I have formed good habits of trusting in the Lord and His word rather than responding to my feelings and flesh.
Beloved, we are in a battle. With Christ on our side we can win this battle that begins in our mind. This is where we must attack it. Attack it by renewing our minds daily with God’s Word. Attack it by memorizing scripture and by immersing ourselves in a spiritual environment. We attack it and then we squash it with the truth of God’s Word!
I pray that you will have a blessed week. I love you and I will be praying for you!
The Word of Grace Devotion for the Week of September 1, 2014
The Love of Christ
2 Corinthians 5:14-15, “For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”
Beloved, the love of Christ has been given to us not only for ourselves but also for others. As believers we are to come to the conclusion that because Christ “has died for all,” because he has died for us, “that we should no longer live for themselves (ourselves) but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”
Simply put, this Scripture is telling us that Christ’s love displayed through His death and resurrection and freely given to us should result in a life changing experience.
While we once may have totally lived for ourselves, now as Christians, we are to live for Christ. Romans 12:1 puts it this way, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
Beloved, in this world we are controlled by so many different entities. Sometimes we are controlled by our flesh through the lust of the flesh or the lust of the eyes or the pride of life. Sometimes we are controlled and even manipulated by others for their own desires. But what about being controlled by the love of Christ?
The Apostle Paul had come to this conclusion and so should we. If anything is going to control us, it should be the wonderful love of Christ. Why do we serve God? The Love of Christ! Why do we love others? The love of Christ! Why are we willing to do things and go places and spend our time, talent and treasure? The love of Christ! Beloved, my prayer for each of us is that we would be controlled by the love of Christ. What is controlling you today?
I pray that you will have a blessed week! I love you and I will be praying for you!
In His Love,