Dealing With The Stony Parts That Are Still In Us

I Corinthians 6:19-20, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

We have all learned many things through trial and suffering over the years, but it has not been all pain and agony. At various times, we have abounded with joy, contentment, peace, and growth as well, and we should thank God who has engineered and authored these blessings. However, beyond honestly identifying how far we have come, we also need to recognize and acknowledge the stony parts that are still in us, repenting before God with our whole hearts.

Solomon writes in Proverbs 4:23, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” The heart, the mind, is the storehouse of our character. We must spend time in meditation and in prayer asking for insight from God to reveal to us exactly who we are inside where normally only God can see. We must implore Him for understanding about who we really are right now in His eyes. We need this information to understand properly our relationship with Him.

Remember, God may be a consuming fire to His enemies (Hebrews 12:29), but to His own children, He is a boundless provider and loving Father (Ephesians 3:14-21). He is quick to forgive if we freely confess our sins to Him (I John 1:9).

What Is Love?

What is love? Love is doing what is right from God’s perspective. Love is being responsible, honest, loyal, trustworthy, faithful. Love is being zealous toward God, and it is many other things as well.

In 1 Corinthians 13 also known as the “love chapter” in the bible it says what love is—Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

I think that’s why Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, mind and soul. The second greatest commandment is we are to love our neighbor as we do ourselves.

Let those around you see your love for God and for them.

Giving Thanks and Praise To Our Glorious Father

Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; Give thanks to Him and praise His name. — Psalm 100:4

Friends, we’re entering a season that requires our whole-hearted attention, our riveted focus. This is important. For our souls. For our hearts. For our faith. So we don’t miss out on the beauty God intends for us. Right here. Right now.

This is a clarion call to thankfulness, a charge to find joy, and strength, and hope in our daily lives, a beckoning to pour out our gratitude to God for His goodness and for His wild love for us.

As you gather with friends and family to celebrate the holidays, remember, it is God who should receive our entire devotion. His love for us extends beyond imagination. His love for us is everlasting and without any strings attached.

When you pray at Thanksgiving for what you’re thankful for, put God’s love for you and the world at the top of your list.

Has Your Christian Life Become Stale and Musty?

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and sustain me with a willing spirit.—Psalm 51:12

Have you lost the joy of your salvation? If your Christian life has become stale and musty, it’s time to remember what Christ has done for you and to ask that He restore your excitement.

Think about how Andrew longed to know the Savior and spend time with Him (John 1:38-39). The disciple’s example is a good reminder that sweet fellowship with the Lord isn’t supposed to end with devotional times. It should also stimulate a desire to share with others the joy we find in our relationship with Christ. Andrew was motivated by his conviction that Jesus was the Messiah (John 1:40-41). He’d found the answer for a lost and hurting world and wanted others to know.

When Andrew answered the call to discipleship, Jesus told him he’d be catching men instead of fish (Matt. 4:18-19). As followers of Christ, we too have this same assignment. Our styles and opportunities vary, but we’re each responsible to develop a lifelong habit of bringing others to Jesus.

The Lord Comforts Us Through Trying Times

Heavens and earth, be happy! Mountains, shout with joy! The LORD comforts his people. He is good to his poor people.— Isaiah 49:13

There is always a reason to be happy. Although the people of God may go through trying times, there is always a reason for joy. We live in a creation controlled by the Lord and He is good. If the ultimate source and origin of all things is good, if the providential sustainer of all things is good, then there is no reason to allow sorrow and sadness to overtake and overwhelm our lives.

Although the trials, troubles, and tribulations of life still cause us problems, we can experience the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. The heavens and the earth have good reason to be happy and the mountains have good reason to shout for joy.

You may be going through a lot of trouble right now, but there is still good reason to be happy. The Lord is comforting you and being good to you, despite everything that is going on. This comfort and goodness is merely a foretaste of the comfort and goodness that is yet to be revealed to you.

And if you go outside and listen closely, you may be able to hear the mountains in the distance shouting for joy about you.

Do You Struggle With the Flesh and Its Sinful Desires?

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us walk in step with the Spirit.—Galatians 5:24-25

One of the most misunderstood concepts in the Christian life is that of “the flesh.” So, what is it? In today’s passage, flesh refers not simply to the physical body but also to the inner being, which is still subject to sin even though believers have a new nature given to them by God’s Spirit. Therefore, flesh refers to our entrenched habits of sinful thoughts, desires, and attitudes—which often lead to ungodly behaviors.

Paul presents, in a painfully honest way, the results of living according to the flesh: deeds including immorality, impurity, idolatry, anger, strife, dissensions, and other destructive attitudes and actions. In contrast, a life led by the Holy Spirit produces the rich spiritual fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).

Why do so many people who desire a godly, self-controlled life repeatedly fall to fleshly sin? Paul says the determining factor is whether or not they are being led by the Spirit. If Christians try to overcome sin on their own without submitting to the Spirit’s reproof and guidance, they will fail.

The flesh cannot be disciplined, rehabilitated, or improved. Instead, it must be put to death (Rom. 6:11). Then, through the power of the Spirit, we do not have to yield to sinful impulses but can instead present ourselves to God for obedience to His desires (Rom. 6:12-14).

Walking by the Spirit means submitting to the Lord when you feel tempted to follow your flesh. With His help, you can see your desires give way to obedience that pleases your heavenly Father.

Where Will You Do Battle Today?

Stumbling in sin will occur because we live amidst two kingdoms that are in constant conflict. On the one hand, there’s the pull of the world, and on the other, the pull of God. In other words, Satan throws temptations our way, but from our Father comes the appeal of holiness, peace, and joy in Christ.

Jesus taught us to, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:33). The way to do this is by spending time with our Father in prayer and in His Word

The battle is ongoing. And it rages not just in the realms of education, science, politics, and finances but also within every human heart. Yours and mine. To be successful in God’s eyes, it’s critical that we keep His priorities as our own and make continual course corrections to stay on track.