Saturday, August 14, 2010

A New Creature

...anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Consider yourself a new person, like being born as a baby, when you are in Christ. The word "new person" in the scripture for today, when translated directly from the greek words, implies that there may be no resemblance between the former and the new person. It is not a recreation.The person is a fresh, original formation which did not exist before.

You may wonder that if you are a new creature, why do you remember the past? Why do you still have the desires you had before? Why do you still do certain things you did as a sinner? God gave us memories for great and positive reasons, we do not want to lose our memories. Also, the human being is made up of the spirit (heart), soul (mind/emotions) and body (flesh). When you are in Christ, it is your spirit that has become new. To be transformed, you need to renew your mind by changing the way you think [Romans 12:2]. The Word of God helps with that. With time you will find out that the worldy desires will no longer be desires and in some case be detestable. With time you will find out that your outward appearance has changed due to the changed spirit and continuous renewal of your mind. So great is the change the grace of God makes in the soul, that, old thoughts, old principles, old practices, and old company pass away.

If you are in Christ, you are a new person. The old sinful person no longer exists. The things of the past do not control you. As you continue to walk in Christ, you will see and experience the transformation of your life - spirit, soul and body.

Prayer: My Loving Father, I thank You for this great change You made in me when I accepted to be in Christ. Indeed I am a new creature and everyday, as I walk in this truth, I am transformed in my mind and in my body. May I not be discouraged if I still find myself desiring or doing things I did in the past, but run to You for direction. Thank You for this great priviledge to be one of Your own. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Keeping A Clear Conscience

So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man
[Acts 24:16, NIV]

If you try to shake a friend's hand and find it smeared with dirt, your natural impulse will be to draw your hand away. This reaction is not against the person in question but the dirty state of the hand. Such spots in our lives have the same effect in repulsing God from His loved children, as He hates sin. God desires that we who are enrolled in His kingdom walk in righteousness in our ways, such that our thoughts, actions and words do not smear our lives with filth and prevent us from a close walk with Him. Engaging in shady activities that you'll not like anybody else to know introduces a conscience that is not totally clear. Instances can be found in the types of transactions that take place to make money. Can your conscience exonerate you of shady deals in your activities with fellow humans?

God looks beyond pious faces and innocent appearances. He looks beyond self defense to the thoughts of the heart from where actions arise. Psalm 24: 3-6 asks, who will ascend the hill of the Lord and stand in His holy place? No one but he who has clean hands and a pure heart...

Do you find yourself entwined in deals that disturb your conscience? Do you find yourself doing things that you do not take pride in? There is grace for you as God assures us in His word that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. Embrace His grace today to live victoriously in Jesus name.

Prayer: Dear Lord, you appreciate that I am human and subject to many frailties. I admit my weaknesses and acknowledge your strength to save me. Please keep me with your firm hands because of the love you have for me, order my steps from evil and give me power to do your will. Lord I accept your word in Jesus name.

One-Year Daily Bible Reading Plan - Aug 13 2010 - Jeremiah 1-4 (OT), Ephesians 5-6 (NT).

Pray for someone today - Pray for workers in different professions who go through a lot of stress in their daily duties, bankers and other professionals you may know. Lift these ones to God, that He would keep their body in good health by grace and help them to find a lasting period of rejuvenation.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Place of prayer

Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.
[Isaiah 58:9a, NKJV]

Nothing is more important to God than prayer in dealing with mankind. God must help man by prayer. A child of God who does not pray places God where He cannot help and robs himself of God's help. Faith, hope, patience and other christian graces have their bloom and fruitage in prayer.

Hannah's petition for a son through prayer, led to a Samuel who was instrumental to the leading of God's people in his generation. God works through the prayers of His people, such that praying people are God's agents for carrying out His saving work on earth. In Acts 6:1-7, the apostles took a break from their disruptive schedule that they might give more focus to praying, considering its gravity. The result of this action was tremendous. At times we may be engrossed in other legitimate activity and relegate prayer to the background, but whatever affects the intensity of our prayers also affects the value of our work. Over prolonged periods, our 'prayerlessness' mars even the work done. Things that are legitimate and right may become wrong when they take the place of prayer in our lives.

When God set out to destroy Israel in His wrath against their idolatry, it was Moses' interceding prayer which held back heaven's desolating fury. Persevering prayer always wins God's heart and moves God's hand. May we find the courage to return to the place of prayer.

Prayer: Holy Spirit of God please teach me to pray and guide me into a life of prayer. Teach me what to pray for and how to pray so i do not pray amiss. Dear God use my prayer to effect your purpose in my life and the life of others in my generation I pray in Jesus name.

One-Year Daily Bible Reading Plan - Aug. 11 2010 - Isaiah 61-67 (OT), Ephesians 3-4 (NT).

Pray for someone today - Pray for widows, that God will show up as their husband in times of need. That God provide for them and sustain their households, may they always find reasons to laugh and be filled with joy.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Guard Your Heart

Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.

Our hearts are the very core of our being, most often referred to as our spirits in the bible. The scripture for today is instruction that we should guard and protect what comes into our hearts, for what we let into our hearts have an impact on our words, actions and ultimately the course of our lives.

For instance, sin begins in our thought life. We might feel it is not bad to dwell on sinful thoughts because we are not committing the sin. The truth is that when a sin is committed, it never "just happens." Sinful acts begin as attitudes or temptations in our mind and emotions. For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly [Mark 7:21-22].

You can become crippled spiritually if you continuously dwell on impure thoughts, even if you never commit that particular sinful act. Such thought pattern can become a habit that is hard to break. The thoughts become obsessive and can continue for years, denying you the joy that comes from a clean conscience.

If you find yourself in such a situation, do not despair or feel discouraged. God can help you overcome impure thoughts. Ask God to search your heart. Ask God to reveal any areas in your thought life that need to change. Ask God to help you find out the root cause of the things that lead you to fall into temptations. Pray that God will help you learn to identify and reject unwholesome thoughts.

Many people think thoughts cannot be controlled but the bible encourages us thus, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things [Philippians 4:8]”.

By the grace of God, you can discipline your mind and decide what to think about. Make it a habit to think about things that are pure and true. That way, even your faith will not be contaminated.

Prayer: My Loving Father, those things which are true, honorable, right and pure stimulate us to wholesome thinking which not only purifies us within, but adhering to them also purifies that which is around us as we stimulate toward godly character. Search my heart oh Lord. Reveal to me any impure thoughts that I may be habouring. Show me the very beginning of the temptations I may fall for. Help me to resist thoughts that do not glorify You. Remind me often that my words and actions give me opportunity to bring You glory as I reflect Your image, therefore I must guard my heart. Thank You Father. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Founded On Solid Rock

I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.

Jesus Christ here talks about the one who not only hears His words but does them, thinks on them, and speak them, and act on them. The rock is Christ and the house is our soul. Nothing will shake the one who builds his soul upon God's word and acts on it. Neither the flood, which is likened to the devil who fell from heaven, nor the rivers, which are mean and harmful men filled to overflowing by such a flood, nor the winds, which are trials and temptations, can cast down such a person.

We are here encouraged to let the word of God dwell deeply and richly in us and found our hope upon Christ, who is the Rock of ages. This is to help us prepare for times of trials and temptation that we may keep our integrity, remain steadfast in the Lord,  keep our comfort, peace, hope, and joy, even in the midst of the greatest distresses. By being founded on the Solid Rock - Jesus, the storms and streams in life shall not shock us, for our feet are set upon a rock, a strong, solid and unfailing rock.

Prayer: My Loving Father, thank You for Your word, which is a sure and solid foundation for all Your children. May I not only be a hearer of Your Word, but also a doer of Your word. May I desire to spend time in Your word, studying, understanding, applying and meditating, that Your word may dwell richly in me. May I get to that point where I am not moved by trials or temptation, but remain firm in my trust in You, because my foundation is built on You - my Rock of Ages. In Jesus Name, Amen.