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Archive for October, 2012

God’s Uplifting Encouragement

October 31st, 2012

To the church of God at Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy…

1 Corinthians 1:2

The Spirit inspired Paul to see the church in Corinth – one of the most troubled churches in the New Testament – in the best possible light, as those chosen by God and sanctified, called to be holy. They were far from this mark in their behavior, and this epistle testifies to many of their failings. But their failings did not deter God from His purpose nor change His opinion about them.

God sees us differently than we see ourselves. We have inflated views of our failures and of our successes, seeing them both out of perspective from their true reality. God sees us in light of these things, true, but especially in light of His purpose and His power. He knows what His dreams are for us and how His Spirit will accomplish these. He knows what we will become when we cross to the other side, when the deception and decay of this mortal life is swallowed up in the victory of the resurrection. He knows these things because they come from His heart, from His very nature.

We would be better off if we accepted His encouragement, if we let Him lift us up in our estimation of ourselves. This is not contrary to the spirit of repentance or of humility, for it stands not on our accomplishments but on His. This is receiving His grace, His forgiveness, the very thing Christ suffered and died for – that we might be saved!

Consider others in the family of God the same way. We should treat each other like we know a secret about our brothers and sisters in Christ that perhaps they have forgotten – that He who began a good work in them will carry it through to completion. We are loved by God, but we are also redeemed by God, and the day will come when we shall stand fully together in His forgiveness and in His grace, when we will gather as the redeemed children of the Father, full of grace and truth, when our hearts shall be His entirely.

As The Spirit inspired the apostle to encourage us with these words, so we should encourage one another as well. Hope is rare in this world, and hope of lives changed by the power of Christ is not vain hope. The One who has called us is faithful and He will do it.

Evening Devotionals

The Sin of Grumbling

October 30th, 2012

And do not grumble, as some of them did – and were killed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.

1 Corinthians 10:10-11

The Israelites fleeing Egyptian slavery serve as examples for us believers today. God reveals His principles in the Bible story of how He deals with His people, principles that we Christians can apply to our lives today. Three sins of Israel as they traversed the Sinai wilderness are recorded here: sexual immorality, putting the Lord to the test, and grumbling. In each situation the sinful acts were preceded by sinful hearts. Lust and pride had taken root in their souls long before they acted these sins out.

Grumbling seems to depict them all and reveals an attitude of impatience, arrogance, and pride. It is the attitude that says, How dare God put me in this situation. I am too good for this. It is an attitude where the individual in his mind puts himself above God. The “destroying angel” referred to the judgment of God that purified the nation from that unbelieving generation over a forty year period in the Sinai wilderness wanderings.

They grumbled because the cost of their deliverance was greater than they cared to pay. They were passionate about not being slaves, but beyond that they had little vision or commitment to anything other than their own freedom and comfort. But God did not deliver them for the sake of their own comfort, and neither does He deliver us for our own comfort either.

He is, of course, more concerned about our comfort, our freedom, and our life on earth than we can imagine. He loves us and, along with Christ, wishes to give us every good thing. But His purpose in calling us and delivering us was not for our own desires and wishes to be fulfilled, but so that He might be manifest in the world through us His people.

We may have an element of sympathy for them in our generation, for we are certainly no better by average than they. Have you ever complained? Of course you have. So have I. The world is filled with people who have a passionate commitment for their own personal agendas – for their comfort, their freedom, their success and happiness. God’s call in our lives to follow Christ is greater than our silly little selfish plans, even greater than our greatest dreams. “Eye has not seen, neither ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor 2:9).

His purpose in calling us is to redeem us from sin and to draw us as His people to His own heart so that we might be committed to His purposes and transformed into His very character. Grumbling about life and its unfairnesses and its challenges reveals that our hearts are not joined to God’s heart, that we feel put upon by His call and by the circumstances He has let us be among. Christ taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come; thy will be done,” but the complainer prays “My kingdom come and my will be done.”

Upon our generation has the “fulfillment of the ages” come. We have the entire gospel. We know the story of our redemption, the love of our Savior, the teachings of the place and the life He has prepared for us in heaven, the presence of the Spirit in our life, and Word of God in our hands. Furthermore, we live in a time of unprecedented comfort and economic development. We are not in the Sinai wilderness wondering from where our next drink of water will come. If God held that generation in the Sinai wilderness accountable, if He judged and purified their ranks for their grumbling and lack of faith, what does this say about our generation?

Every believer in Christ should have but one purpose to his life, and that is to bring honor and glory to God through the way that he lives out his faith. Do not grumble and complain. Instead pray, trust, serve, encourage, and realize that the purpose of God for your life is greater than you first thought, and in Christ you can be victorious over any difficulty, and through that victory give a witness to the power of Christ for the glory of God.

Evening Devotionals ,