Friday, July 31, 2015

Love

"The purpose of my instruction is that all the Christians there would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and sincere faith." (1 Timothy 1:5)

Today we get an inside look at Paul's intent as the Holy Spirit inspired him to write to Timothy.  Paul says his purpose was to fill Christians with love.  His purpose is not to fill us with knowledge. It's not to fill us with pride. He isn't trying to fill us with religion.  No, Paul is writing in order that we might be filled to overflowing with love.

That said, Paul suggests three sources for the love that is to fill us.

#1--a Pure Heart. A pure heart is a heart that is clean--one that has been purified by fire.

#2--a Clear Conscience. A clear conscience is one that is good--one that discerns that slightest error.

#3--a Sincere Faith. A literal translation of "sincere faith" would be "undisguised conviction". 

Love comes as we allow our heart, soul, and mind to be brought into complete submission to the work of the Holy Spirit.  As we allow the love of God to transform us, we will in fact become the love of God.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Power

"By my great power I have made the earth and all its people and every animal. I can give these things of mine to anyone I choose." (Jeremiah 27:5)

I think sometimes we forget how big God is in all of His greatness.  He owns it all!  And if He owns it all, then He can give it all!  Your need, whatever it might be, is a drop in God's heavenly bucket.  In an instant, God can reach into your world and solve all of your problems . . . in a single moment!  He is a big God!

So what is He doing and why hasn't He met your need?  That's simple.  God is solving a bigger problem.  He is teaching you how to trust Him, how to love Him, and how to come to Him.  You want your needs met and God wants to meet you.  You want to live a life of comfort and ease and God just wants you to begin to live.  He knows that what you see as the big problem is just a symptom. God wants to heal you through and through, completely. 

Let me encourage you to make God the focus of your day.  Meet Him later this morning for coffee.  Share your hopes and dreams with Him and listen to His ideas for your abundant life.  Don't get in a hurry, and don't watch the clock--just get lost in His presence.  Experience God today!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Valley of Weeping

"When they walk through the Vally of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs, where pools of blessing collect after the rains!" (Psalm 84:6)

Have you ever walked through the Valley of Weeping? I'm sure we all have experienced times of devastating grief when a loved one dies, a cancer grows, a job fails, or a relationship skips town. I often say that these difficult experiences either make us "bitter" or they make us "better". When the "better" happens, it's like pools of refreshing blessing to a thirsty soul. I've gone swimming in those pools, more than once. What I thought was going to be the death of me turns out to be my rebirth. Today, if you are wandering around lost in the Valley of Weeping, don't lose heart. God never wastes a hurt! He sees you and even now He is leading you to a refreshing spring. Keep going!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

God's House

"How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty. I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord." (Psalm 84:1-2)

Today is a good day to head over to God's place and spend some time with Him.  The psalmist "faints with longing" to experience the house of the Lord.  When we understand the goodness of God and the gifts he gives, we too will long to enter His presence.  We bring our neediness and our brokenness and God restores us and provides for us.  He is a good God!

Let me encourage you to carve out some time today to hang out with God. Blessing awaits!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Think Clearly

"But let us who live in the light think clearly, protected by the body armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation." (1 Thessalonians 5:8)

Today, let us live in the light of faith--trusting God to watch over us, protect us, and provide for us.

Today, let us live in the light of love--receiving God's love until our cup runs over spilling love into lives all around us.

Today, let us live in the light of salvation--confidently expressing our status as children of God.  There's no need to defend ourselves, argue, or try to justify.  All of us who have joined Jesus are declared righteous.

Faith! Love! Salvation!

Think clearly and Live clearly.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Squashed

"The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 'Go down to the shop where clay pots and jars are made. I will speak to you while you are there.' So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so the potter squashed the jar into a lump of clay and started again. Then the Lord gave me this message: 'O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand.'"  (Jeremiah 18:1-6)

Have you ever had to start over? There are times, I suppose, when we make such a mess of things that God chooses to start all over with us.  We become a squashed pot.  I've been there and perhaps you have as well.  The encouragement from the text is not that we're squashed, but rather that God begins anew.  We're not thrown away--we're reshaped, restored, reborn, renewed, and revived!  If you've been squashed, it's time to get up and start again.

“When you have nothing left but God,you have more than enough to start over again.”  --Mother Teresa

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Ambition

"This should be your ambition: to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we commanded you before. As a result, people who are not Christians will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others to meet your financial needs". (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12)

Are you ambitious?--What's your passion?--What is your life all about?  Regardless of your answers, Paul gives us a three-fold check on our ambitions. 

#1--We should desire to live a quiet life.  The idea is to avoid chaos--to experience peace and order.

#2--We should want to mind our own business. This means to focus on the work that God has called us to accomplish. Don't concern yourself with others and their work. Mind your business.

#3--We should strive to work with our hands. This is the opposite of idleness.  We are to be engaged in constructive work.

The best part of our passage today is the promises: #1--Respect, and #2--Financial Freedom.  If you desire either promise, you have three clear areas of your life to grow.  Today is great day to get started.