God’s New Year Resolution

Listen Up “Caterpillars”: What God has done for the butterfly is only a hint of what He wants to do for us.

 

Ropes of Sand?

According to a YouGov poll, only about 26% of Americans plan to make any New Year’s resolutions. Those most likely to do so are between 18-34 years-old (33%). The likelihood of resolution-making decreases with age, with 30% of 35-54 year-olds likely to make resolutions, and only 17% of those 55+ likely to do so.

Why do so few engage in this tradition and why is there less participation as people age? Don’t we usually think of older people as being the ones attached to tradition, especially when it comes to the holidays?

Could it be a track record of broken resolutions that jades people against even planning to accomplish anything new, exciting, empowering, and uplifting? Have the yearly reruns of unused gym memberships, expanding waistlines, unfulfilling jobs, and increasing debts pulled the plug on idealistic initiatives? Has it become less painful to surrender to apathy than to overcome inertia?

Teaching old caterpillars new tricks

To soar, caterpillars have to become new creatures. In order for that to happen, they have to stop chomping, cease the persistent pursuit of more green, and halt compulsive consumption.

Have we been going about change and growth in the wrong way, the wrong order? Perhaps we need to focus more on being than doing? I’ve heard it said, “If you want to do what you’ve never done, you must become what you’ve never been.” We can see a powerful, down-to-earth, example of this truth in the life of the caterpillar.

Caterpillars can’t fly. They don’t have the wings or the shape. Caterpillars can’t sip. They don’t have the equipment nor discernment to delicately extract nectar from the interior of a flower blossom without destroying it. Caterpillars commence their destructive appetites (from a farmer’s point of view) by devouring the eggshells they hatch from. The only time they pause from eating is to molt (shed their skin), so they can eat and grow some more. After molting, many caterpillars resume their frenzy by eating their old skin!

To soar and sip, caterpillars must undergo a transformation—a metamorphosis. They must acquire new tastes and new tools. They have to become new creatures. In order for that to happen, they have to stop chomping, cease the persistent pursuit of more green, and halt compulsive consumption.

Caterpillar soup, anyone?

To become butterflies, caterpillars have to make a clean break from the past by literally going out on a limb. They must position themselves for the miracle of metamorphosis by sealing themselves away from the world for a while. They are vulnerable and appear unproductive, but the stillness of the chrysalis is God’s means of unlocking their potential.

Newness of life means no more search and destroy, but a life in Him to share.

Caterpillars bring no building supplies inside their silken construction tarps. This isn’t a DIY project. Only God can transform sideways-munching jaws into straws (yeah, I know, it’s called a proboscis) and bring wings out of seemingly nowhere. This is a messy process, as Scientific American describes, “First, the caterpillar digests itself, releasing enzymes to dissolve all of its tissues. If you were to cut open a cocoon or chrysalis at just the right time, caterpillar soup would ooze out.” Later, that “protein-rich soup” will “fuel the rapid cell division required to form the wings, antennae, legs, eyes, genitals and all the other features of an adult butterfly.”

Once the transformation is complete, the butterfly can see things with their compound eyes that are impossible for caterpillars to envision with their simple eyes. They flutter through the air instead of fumble around on the ground. Butterflies have active appetites, but disseminate life from one flower to another as they dine. The self-indulgent search and destroy missions of their former lives are forever behind them.

God’s New You Resolution

What God has done for the butterfly is only a hint of what He wants to do for us. God’s resolution is to provide newness of life for each of us (Romans 6:4; 2 Corinthians 5:17). He wants to give us a new song (Isaiah 42:10; Revelations 14:3), show us new things (Isaiah 43:19; 48:6), give us a new heart along with new names (Ezekiel 36:26; Isaiah 62:2; Revelations. 2:17), and bring us into the new heavens and new earth (Isaiah 65:17; 2 Peter. 3:13; Revelations 21:1).  It all begins with us renewing our minds:

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2, KJV).

3 R’s to a New You

God has a three-step process for us to enter this newness.

Recognize that we have an either-or proposition from which to choose: be conformed or be transformed.

There are people, customs, and other forces in the world seeking to mold us, shape us—conform us to their image. However, there is also a path available for personal transformation that resists being defined by anyone or anything outside of God. Either we choose to be transformed or we will be conformed by default.

One tricky fact about this choice is that both actions in Romans 12:2a are passive, meaning that we’re not in charge of the processes of being conformed or transformed. What can we do about the situation?

“What you need to understand is the true force of the will. This is the governing power in the nature of man, the power of decision, or of choice. Everything depends on the right action of the will. The power of choice God has given to men; it is theirs to exercise. You cannot change your heart, you cannot of yourself give to God its affections; but…You can give Him your will” (Steps to Christ, p. 47).

Remember that being transformed isn’t a once and done decision.

Romans 12:2b says we must undergo continual renewal of the mind for our transformation to stick. Just look at the word: RE-NEW-ING. The prefix “re-” has “the meaning of… ‘again and again’ to indicate repetition.” Adding the suffix “-ing” to renew “indicates continuing action, something going on now” and “can suggest that an action is going to happen in the future, especially with verbs that convey…movement from one…condition to another.”

The point is that the Bible writer has realistic expectations. He is encouraging us on a course of continual progress, not instantaneous perfection. There’s no need to give up on ourselves, our high ideals, or God. Keep praying. Keep getting acquainted with God’s promises. Keep positioning ourselves for the miracle of metamorphosis. Keep yielding ourselves to the One who began the good work in us, because He has made Himself responsible for completing it (Philippians 1:6). This may sound corny, but remember, “Big shots are only little shots who keep shooting.

Rejoice that you’re not alone in your efforts.

Romans 12:2c affirms that your transformation is His will, His resolution. It’s God’s good and perfect will for you and me to be what we’ve never been and do what we’ve never done. It’s His good and perfect will for us to see things from a newer and higher vantage point than possible before (Ephesians 2:6). It is God working in you and me to bring about the lasting transformation that so easily eludes us (Philippians 2:13). In the words of Darwin Hobbs:

 

God is able to do just what he said he would do

He’s gonna fulfill every promise to you

Don’t give up on God, cause he won’t give up on you!

 

 

 




Surrender Your Complacency

The Gospel According to Paul: Keep Surrendering in Faith and Be Transformed. Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Thursday, May 3, 2018

Listen to “Thoughts in Worship 05.03.2018” on Spreaker.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1–2).

Surrender Your Best To Him

God has done so much for us, in giving us His Son as our substitute. His gift means we will not need to die for our sins. It is reasonable, therefore, that we should present ourselves to God. It’s the least we can do to surrender our best for His service.

For some reason, we lay back when we achieve a certain level of success or blessings; it’s called, “resting on your laurels.” Complacency is the killer of progress and momentum. It causes us to deceive ourselves into believing that if we take a break from whatever got us into the positive position, we can pick up where we left off. Not only is this untrue in the secular world, but it is also untrue, and more so, in the spiritual world.

Faith in Full Force

If you wish to be spiritually successful and have a thriving relationship with God, retain the zeal of your first love with God, and the habits that drove you closest to Him in the first place. You entered your relationship with Him through faith. Continually submit yourself to God through the same brand of faith until Jesus returns.

Never underestimate truehearted commitment to God. We are to be diligent in presenting our bodies to God. Any trend that we cling to that impairs our judgment or health must be completely abandoned. God does not accept lame sacrifices.

In our day, a lame sacrifice is when we neglect to follow God’s laws of nature and health yet proclaim full surrender to God. A lame sacrifice is what we are when we feed our bodies with unhealthful foods and drinks. We are lame sacrifices when we do not do all we can to preserve health according to all God has revealed in Scripture.

Transformational Power

Our merciful God has given all to us, even to the point of giving us His dear Son to save us from our sins. When we continually surrender all to Him, we can expect transformational power. We can expect not to be squeezed into the world’s mold. And as we experience this transformational power, we become examples of God’s ability to make us holy, just, and good. We become examples of His power to make us all that is well-pleasing and perfect, according to His will.

I’m not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, are you?




Repentance: Time To Get Out Of There

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Sabbath, July 8, 2017

Listen to “Thoughts in Worship 07.08.2017” on Spreaker.

This is devotional thought number 16 in our devotional series, “Essentials of Faith.” Our subject is: Repentance and Confession.

Here’s the question for consideration: What is true and sincere repentance?

“Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death” (2 Corinthians 7:9–10).

Religious Word

Repentance is a big word, I will admit. It’s a religious word. It’s one we seldom use outside that context. However, if we understand it and apply it to our lives, we will never be the same.

Just imagine walking down a dark road toward the sea. The mountains are behind you and you sense danger. As you approach the shore, you notice there are sharks in the water! Your foreboding was founded. You turn toward the mountains, and get out of there. You literally turn your shoulder and your body follows in the opposite direction.

This is a major part of repentance. When we are traveling along life’s path and the Holy Spirit pricks our conscience, letting us know that we need to turn from our sins; when we do so, we repent. Repentance is a gift from God, like every other saving virtue (Romans 2:4).

What is true repentance if it doesn’t change our path, our thoughts, our direction?

Now, if you read our theme text closely, you’ll notice a vital element we often miss. Repentance is not only turning away from wrongdoing. It is also godly sorrow for sin. Too often we feel a sense of regret when we are caught doing wrong, or there is some undesirable consequence. Some feel badly because their reputations are in shambles. This is not godly sorrow. Judas betrayed Jesus and when he felt helpless, he tried to return the blood money, blurted out a counterfeit confession, and then committed suicide. This is not godly sorrow for sin. It did not drive him toward his loving Savior.

What Godly Sorrow Looks Like

Peter, on the other hand, did experience true repentance following his betrayal of Jesus. When the Spirit awakened his conscience, his deeply felt sorrow for what he had done drove him to commit himself fully to the Lord. Do you see the difference?

What is true and sincere repentance? It is when the Holy Spirit shows us the error of our ways, and in His strength, we are deeply sorrowed and committed to walk with Him as He gives us strength (more on this in a future devotional thought). Repentance is a gift. Ask for it today.




Beggars Must Be Choosy

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Friday, July 7, 2017

Listen to “Thoughts in Worship 07.07.2017” on Spreaker.

This is devotional thought number 15 in our devotional series, “Essentials of Faith.” Our subject is “The Sinner’s (My) Need for Christ.”

Here’s the last question for consideration on this subject: When I begin to recognize my need for Jesus Christ, how will I receive satisfaction?

“And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me. And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they called the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way” (Mark 10:46–52).

Don’t Settle

Beggars must be choosy! You heard me right. I said, “Beggars must be choosy,” especially if we are begging for a spiritual breakthrough.

The problem with most people is that when we have a real need, we throw away our ability to discriminate between right and wrong. We flush our chances of real change because we lose courage and accept a counterfeit. We forget about our lofty aspirations and settle for whatever happens to pass our way. This is problematic in the natural world; not to mention in our spiritual lives.

Case in point: blind Bartimaeus had a problem. He could not see. I’d venture to guess his blindness was not very helpful to his personal economy.

Here’s Your Chance

Notice how keen his hearing was. He heard that Jesus was passing by. When you are at your lowest point in life, how keen is your perception of Jesus? Not only did he hear that Jesus was passing by, but he immediately threw caution and shame to the wind and opened his mouth to beg for mercy, regardless of what others thought of him.

You can hear them now; “Shut up, Bartimaeus! You’re always begging!” But, see, what some fail to realize is that persistence is the path to excellence.

Your persistent request for transformation from the One who can satisfy will be heard.

Bartimaeus begged. He did not settle for less. Jesus asked him what he wanted. Now’s your chance, Bartimaeus! He asked for the one thing that would change his natural life forever—his sight. He did not ask for a home, chariot, three virgins, new sandals, a best friend, or anything else. Bartimaeus asked to receive his sight from the One who could give it. Guess what? Jesus gave him his sight. His faith in Jesus made healing possible.

Deep Satisfaction and the Blessings to Follow

Learn a lesson from a formerly blind man…

When I begin to recognize my need for Jesus Christ, how will I receive satisfaction? The only way I can receive it is if I refuse to accept anything less than a close relationship with Him. It is the singular thing that will change my life forever. All other blessings come in its train. I’m a beggar, but I’m choosy. Are you?




Knowledge Will Take You Only So Far

How you apply the knowledge will get you where you need to go.

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Thursday, July 6, 2017

Listen to “Thoughts in Worship 07.06.2017” on Spreaker.

This is devotional thought number 14 in our devotional series, “Essentials of Faith.” Our subject is “The Sinner’s (My) Need for Christ.”

Here’s the question for consideration: Is it enough if I “just” believe that God is powerful?

“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (James 2:19–24).

Well, congratulations!

You believe in God. Do you recognize His awesome power and realize you are no match for Him? Well done. Now what?

People get this whole faith and belief thing twisted. Some think that if they know, without doubt, that Almighty God exists, that He created all things, that He forgives sins, and is merciful, they’re good-to-go.

Sadly, simply assenting to incontrovertible fact is no better than “knowing” that breathable air is non-existent, it’s extremely cold at 128,000 feet, and the law of gravity is real. If one does not apply that knowledge aright, that one just might have a problem in a supersonic skydive from the edge of space without the right equipment and a parachute. Extreme? Let’s see.

If I only agree to the facts concerning God, but never submit my will to Him, to fashion me after the character of His dear Son, I am on a supersonic free-fall to eternal death. At least the person in my example just dies the earthly death. But sinners who underestimate the effects of sin and do not yield to the Holy Spirit, look forward to the death from which nobody recovers—eternity without God.

A Most Meaningful Exchange

Now, hear this: we can all choose to surrender our will to God right now, and at this moment. We can all accept the fact that we are sinners who need the Savior. We can all exchange our terrible sin habits, tendencies, thoughts, and intentions for the mindset of Christ, which He stands ready to give. Yes, it will be a daily battle, but spiritual battles are won each and every time we place our trust in God.

To merely believe about God is nothing more than the devils do, but to be transformed by Him is a miracle of grace that ensures our position in Christ’s kingdom.




The Essence of Futility (and the Key to Power)

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Listen to “Thoughts in Worship 07.05.2017” on Spreaker.

This is devotional thought number 13 in our devotional series, “Essentials of Faith.” Our subject is “The Sinner’s (My) Need for Christ.”

Here’s the question for consideration: In my own power, am I capable of bringing myself back into a good relationship with God?

“Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil” (Jeremiah 13:23).

Futile! Futility! Futile! Futility! Do I have your attention? Lest you think willpower alone is the route to spiritual success, please consider our theme text today.

So many people who’ve been overcome with addictions to alcohol, drugs, or have compulsive behaviors have made hundreds, or even thousands of attempts to overcome their addictions, to no avail. Yes, there may have been momentary victories, but simply asserting their will against these giants have never been successful against them; anymore that a Cushite can change his heritage or a leopard its spots.

Why You Need More Than Self-Help

Tired of being dragged around as easy prey to your shortcomings and weakness–sin–know there’s a key to power back.

Sin is an insidious foe as we have said many times recently. Its teeth are sunk more deeply than any of us imagine until we attempt to escape; then we realize the depths to which it has dragged us. The key to overcoming sin is submission to God. He alone has the power we need to do so. He does not simply renovate our characters, give us tips for success, or show us the right way. No. He gives us brand new minds and intentions, that if we will cooperate by the power of the Holy Spirit, will manifest our holy characters.

Notice what the Bible says: “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12–13). Yes, there is much work and effort involved in our victory. However, it is God who gives us the desire and the power to carry out our part of the equation. Our God-given power, aligned with God’s unlimited power, fosters the change we need to enter eternal life.

So please do not get caught up in trying your best to do God’s will without first submitting your life to Him. Eliminate the futile attempts to please Him in your own strength and you will receive a crown of life one day.




Bold: Rolling Back the “Next Level” Sinning

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Listen to “Thoughts in Worship 07.04.2017” on Spreaker.

This is devotional thought number 12 in our devotional series, “Essentials of Faith.” Our subject is “The Sinner’s (My) Need for Christ.”

Here’s the question for consideration: What effect does my bold disobedience toward God have on me?

“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; Neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, And your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1–2).

Road Block to Open Communion With God

You may or may not realize this but God really wants to live in open communication and communion with you. There’s one problem; maybe not with you, but with so many others: most take this too lightly. The one thing that gets between us and God if we don’t handle our business is unconfessed sin.

We have made it clear in many devotional thoughts, that God loves us. He wants nothing more than to save us. He is very clear about our sin condition and is not intimidated by it. Jesus came to save sinners. Remember that.

However, there are many of us who take “sinning” to that next level. Sinfulness is no longer just a condition of our birth having been infected by our foreparents’ genetic propensities. It’s no longer just that we all have actually practiced all manner of sin. I did not say, “just,” to minimize the seriousness of sin. God can handle it. What makes sin particularly egregious in some of our lives is our unwillingness to give it up in exchange for open communication and communion with God. Let me share a human example.

What makes sin particularly egregious in some of our lives is our unwillingness to give it up in exchange for open communication and communion with God.

Next Level Dirt

What if you were married and your spouse had sex with someone else? That would be horrible, right? Well, yes!

What if said spouse kept on cheating and bringing the lover into your house to do their dirty deeds? Would you say that adultery, in this case, had moved to the next level? Why?

You see, when we refuse to confess and forsake our sins (with God’s help), we are like the unrepentant, emboldened spouse. We flaunt our sinful thoughts and actions in God’s face. This destroys communication and communion with our heavenly Father. We are not on one accord. Why? We are not unified because we refuse to make amends with God.

Transformation Follows Confession

It absolutely does not need to be this way. God is merciful and loving. He is ready, willing, and available to welcome sinners into right relationship with Him. In fact, the Bible says, simply: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 1:9–2:1).

What effect does my bold disobedience toward God have on me? This ruins our connection. God wants a wonderful relationship with us. He gave us all to make that possible.




Eyes Like Daddy’s

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Thursday, January 26, 2017

Listen to “Thoughts in Worship 01.26.2017” on Spreaker.

“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children” (Romans 8:14–16, NLT).

Do you have your daddy’s eyes? Do you walk like him? Do you speak like Him? Do you like the same things he likes?

Paternity Drama

Rubbish daytime television shows abound where the only plot is who really fathered those children. The women who are guests secretly have multiple sexual partners. They pick one and say “He’s the daddy.” The trouble is, that is not always the case. Sometimes they spin around, and around blindfolded, and pin the responsibility on the wrong guy. The drama-thirsty crowd awaits the on-site reveal of the paternity test results to determine if the guy they see at the moment really is the daddy. The oohs and ahhs of the crowd are deafening regardless of the results because somebody got some explaining to do.

Far from a tabloid television set is the heavenly drama being played out. We all were born of the flesh, and if somebody does not step in and do something fast, we are going to die. But God, as always, has a plan.

He manifests the greatest power the world has ever known, in the Person and work of the Holy Spirit. As the Spirit woos us into a holy relationship with God, a miracle takes place in the lives of those who accept. A supernatural paternity exchange happens.

The Spirit leads willing people through all of the difficulties, trials, and triumphs of life, and we become God’s children through adoption. Moreover, we begin to take on the characteristics of our Father, and there is no need to conduct a paternity test. We don’t need to fear the unknown as scores of gossip-thirsty viewers await the news. No. God stands up proudly and accepts us in the name of His beloved Son, and power of the blessed Holy Spirit.

Your Acceptance. His Affirmation, Not Rejection

We begin to walk like Him. We smile at things He enjoys. We begin to think like He thinks. We eat, drink, and enjoy doing things that He would approve. We look just like Him. When people hear us speak, it’s really His voice they discern. We are children of the heavenly King!

If you like that God welcomes you into His family with open arms, there is just one thing left to do. Accept Him!

Accept your freedom from fear of rejection. Accept your freedom from slavery to sin. Accept the blessing to call Him, “Daddy.”

Accept His constant affirmation of His love. Accept the constant companionship of Jesus Christ through the agency of the Holy Spirit who gives you the power to continue in this relationship until He comes.




Happy New Life!

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Sunday, January 1, 2017

Listen to “Thoughts in Worship 01.01.2017” on Spreaker.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Happy New Life! Oh, did you think that was a typo? No. I really meant to say, “life.” During this season of giving thanks, festivities, family, food & fun, and gift giving, we have a unique opportunity to take inventory of our lives. The New Year is a sort of arbitrary time for us to make resolutions. It is true that many people will say they will lose weight, exercise more, get a promotion, get rid of that abusive boyfriend, get that degree, only to lose steam within weeks of their resolutions. This is why some are adamant against making such promises to themselves and others.

The cool thing about my salutation, which is based on our theme text, is that the power to accomplish this new life does not lie solely within our own determination to keep it. The Bible says that if we are in Christ, we will be recreated. This is an interesting promise, because it gives us a couple of related points of reference. There is no doubt that God created us in the first place, otherwise we would not be here; you reading and me writing. Thus, the same God who created us in the first place is at work in your re-creation if we are in Christ. The Bible teaches in Ezekiel 36:26, John 3:3-7, and John 1:12-13 that by faith God creates us anew with new hearts that are susceptible to His Spirit, to live according to His prescription for our lives. These two established facts, that God created us in the first place and that He has promised to re-create us in the power of His Spirit are evidence enough that we can have new lives.

So, whether you are into New Year’s resolutions or not, be encouraged that you can have a new life in Christ. Be encouraged that all the sins you have ever committed can be forgiven, and you can be cleansed from all unrighteousness. Be encouraged that you can learn to live according to God’s plan and not be subject to the defeat of human attempts at holiness. Be encouraged that God is the One who is hard at work to effect this change for you if you place your trust in Him. So again I say, “Happy New Life!”

Thank God for the blessing and rich possibilities of your new life experience. Ask Him to help you cooperate with Him so you can thrive in this new experience.




Out Of The Shadows Into The Light

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Through The Beloved's Eyes TileWe are focusing on getting to know God from the perspective of John the beloved.

Today’s Scripture Focus: “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19)

The Lord, in His loving kindness to us, sent His only Son to this earth to die the sinner’s ultimate death, so that we might live with God eternally. What an immeasurable sacrifice it was for the King of the universe to give us all of heaven in one gift. Jesus is the best gift this world has ever seen.

He has plans for you

While the Lord loves us just as we are, He never wants to leave us in the state in which He found us. He wants to bring meaningful reform into our lives. Many are the sinful tendencies that He wants to root out of us, making us into entirely new creatures. The process of God purging these debilitating elements is painful, but with holy patience, He makes us whole.

In the process of making us whole, God brings to our consciousness, aspects of truth that we have formerly disregarded. He wants us to follow the example of obedience that Jesus gave to us. It is in His strength that we are to overcome our flesh and be renewed in the Spirit. Many become dissatisfied with the loving process that God employs in order to save them. Instead of coming to Jesus by His power, some hide from Him and His people because their deeds are evil. They cannot stand the idea of their own lifestyle issues being revealed as they really are. They wish to remove themselves from God’s presence because His presence is exemplary and they feel inadequate.

Walk into change

The blessing of God revealing to us our true selves is that as we accept the revelation by His grace, we are in prime position to receive a new and pure life with Him. We have no need to cling to old sinful practices that only hurt us. The Lord offers us the privilege to come out of the prison of darkness and live in His light. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7). It is in walking with Jesus in the light that we receive the much needed life change, and one day we will live with God forever. Don’t hide from the Lord. Rather, come to the light.