One-a-Day Friday, 2/14/14

…God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

It’s Valentine’s Day, right?

OK, so let’s talk love.

Forget the hearts and flowers.  Forget the candy.

Real love sacrifices.  Real love gives, even when there is no reasonable expectation of a return on the investment.  Real love sees you at your worst, and does not turn away.

While we were still sinners.  While we were totally unworthy and unlovable.  Beyond pot bellies and vanishing hairlines.  Beyond bad hair and no makeup.  While we were steeped in darkness, inside and out, Jesus died for us.

For you.

Want him to prove his love?

He did.  We call it the Cross.

When I write these One-a-Days, I often call you “Beloved.”  I’m not putting the moves on you, nor am I trying to be J. Vernon McGee.  I’m praying, along with Paul, that you, “May…grasp how high and long and wide and deep is the love of Christ.”

In the Song of Songs, God gives us a picture of the love between a man and a woman.  Beyond that, though, he paints a picture of Christ’s love for his Church.

He calls the Church his Beloved.

He calls you his Beloved.

And so will I.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Beloved.

One-a-Day Thursday, 2/13/14

number 1For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.  And by him we cry, “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15).

Interesting how similar Paul’s discussion of fear is to his discussion of sin.  I mean, he’s right in the middle of talking about sin vs. living by the Spirit, and out pops this comment about being a slave to fear.

I wonder what connection fear has to sin…

Something to chew on.

My children never need to fear being unloved, empty, alone, because they have a father who loves them and stands ready to protect them.  Sure, there will be things that make them afraid, but as long as they are with me they need not be controlled by fear…slaves to fear.  How much more can we all say the same, because we have a Father who is always with us, loves us even more, and is infinitely better able to care for and protect us.

If I were cool enough, I’d end with a “Who’s your daddy?” line.

But I’m not.

One-a-Day Wednesday, 2/12/14

number 1You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature, but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you (Romans 8:9).

If.

If the Spirit of God lives in you.

That there’s a pretty big “if.”

If you’re not certain whether the Spirit of God lives in you, that, I humbly suggest, is your first fish to fry.  If you have admitted that you are a sinner, “Fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), if you have accepted Christ’s death on the cross in your place (Romans 5:6-8), and if you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior (Romans 10:9), then yes, the Spirit of God lives in you (Acts 2:38).

And, therefore, you are not controlled by sin.

It may feel like you are some days, but you are not.

Notice, Paul didn’t say you won’t sin, he said you won’t be controlled by sin.  As tough as it is to admit, the sins we commit, we choose.

Whaddaya say we both give the Spirit a little more control today?

I‘ll pray for you—you pray for me.

One-a-Day Tuesday, 2/11/14

number 1Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires, but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.  The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace…  (Romans 8:5-7)

You hear about people who win the lottery, and then turn around and squander all that money.  They end up worse off than they started.

(That could never happen to me…and I would really appreciate the opportunity to prove it.)

Our freedom in Christ is like an inheritance—we are not responsible for how we earned it, but we are responsible for how we spend it.  I’ll repeat my question from yesterday: What will you do with your freedom today?  Will you live for yourself, for your own desires—for the sin nature?  Or will you let your life be controlled by the Spirit, following the desires of the God who knows you so very well, and loves you beyond measure?

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourself be burdened again with the yoke of slavery.” (Gal. 5:1)

 

One-a-Day Monday, 2/10/14

number 1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.  (Romans 8:1-2)

Oh, Beloved, if you and I could just wrap our hearts around this.

You are not condemned.

You should be—of course you should be.  Me, too.  There aren’t enough digital pages in all of cyberspace to catalogue my sins.  I am wretched, top to bottom, inside and out.  I know that I am made in the image of God, but some days that image is so blurred…I deserve nothing but wrath and scorn and disgust and condemnation.

BUT I am not condemned.

You are not condemned.

We are free.

Realize that.  Rest in that.  Rejoice in that.

Now, Beloved, what will you do with your freedom today?

 

 

 

One-a-Day Friday, 2/7/14

number 1 …to the glory of God the Father.  (Philippians 2:11b)

It was all for the Father’s glory.

Exalted to the highest place…

given the name above all names…

every knee bowing…

every tongue confessing him Lord.

Looking back at this week’s verses, it seems that Christ’s whole purpose is to obey, and by obeying glorify, the Father.  Yes, he came to die for us, but isn’t that also serving the higher purpose of glorifying God? He came, he died, he rose, to bring the Father glory.

For God so loved the world that he sent his Son…

Never has there been a life more worthy.

So, Beloved of Christ.  What within you is “to the glory of God the Father?”  What within you cries out to obey, and by obeying glorify, him?

Listen to that something.

Follow that something.

 

Have a good Friday.

One-a-Day Thursday, 2/6/14

number 1…and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord… (Philippians 2:11a)  

I am so looking forward to this.

Just imagine it.  Everyone who has ever mocked Christianity, everyone who has ever scoffed at the idea of Creationism, everyone who has ever lived a life that blasphemed the King of All—every last one will confess Jesus as Lord.

I know I shouldn’t gloat, and hopefully when the moment comes I will be too awestruck to gloat, but right now…thinking about it…

Let’s just call it reason #86 to be glad I’m not God.

One-a-Day Wednesday, 2/5/14

number 1…that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in Heaven, on Earth, and under the earth… (Philippians 2:10)

We’re not real big on kings here in the good ol’ U.S. of A.

Bowing the knee to anyone sort of sticks in our collective craw.  After all, we fought a revolution to chuck the King of England over the side of the boat, and we haven’t missed him much.  We’re an independent, self-sufficient, stand-on-your-own-two-feet kind of people.

But we’re gonna bow—all of us.

Californians will bow.

New Yorkers will bow.

Republicans will bow.

Democrats will bow.

Angels will bow.

Demons will bow.

Your neighbor will bow.

You, my friend, will bow.

The question of the day is this: How does that make you feel?  Do you (A) shift uncomfortably at the thought of giving up the last wisps of the illusion of independence, (B) tremble with joy at the thought of finally kneeling before the king of the universe, or (C) offer a halfhearted “meh” and go about your business?

Far be it from me to intrude, but may I suggest that if your answer is anything other than (B) you spend some time in conversation with the One to whom you will one day bow?  It might make the whole experience more pleasant.

Just a thought.

One-a-Day Tuesday, 2/4/14

number 1…and gave him the name that is above all names…  (Philippians 2:9b)

We know him by many names.

Jesus Christ

Alpha

Omega

Emmanuel

I Am

Lamb of God

Prince of Peace

Mighty God

Light of the World

The Bright Morning Star

Wonderful Counselor

The Amen

Man of Sorrows

Lion of the Tribe of Judah

The Word

The Author and Finisher of Our Faith

Bread of Life

Living Water

God calls him by another name, the name which is above all names.

Son.

And here’s something really crazy.  Because of Christ’s sacrifice, do you know what God now calls us?

Yes, you do.

How can that be?  What can that mean?

Chew on that today.

One-a-Day Monday, 2/3/14

number 1Therefore God exalted him to the highest place…  (Philippians 2:9a)

This is profound and utterly beyond me.

The word “Therefore” indicates to me that Jesus was exalted as a result of his obedience to the Father.  Yet he was raised to the position that was already his—the position he gave up when he came to us as a man.  Why could he not simply claim by right that which was his from eternity?  I am continually amazed, not only by Christ’s power, but by his willingness to restrain that power.  I have no doubt that, if I were in his place, I would not have waited for the Father to exalt me.  I would have exalted myself.

Reason #42 to be glad I’m not God.