Tag Archives: righteousness

God’s Laundry Service

1cor 6 god laundry service2Each week we drag garments that have been worn and soiled to the washer. These soiled garments are an illustration of who were before Christ’s cleansing entered us. Just as soap washes our garments, Christ’s blood washed us from the ravages of sin. The indwelling Holy Spirit rubs the stains of the old life out as He begins the process of sanctification. He is regenerating us to be a fit vessel for God’s use. The dryer and the iron accomplish their work so that we are without spot or wrinkle “justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”  [1Cor 6]

Garments have tags to remind us of the sins of ignoring the warning signs. Wrong soap, wrong temperature, disastrous results. God has his own tags and they are found in His word. Beware of being self-deceived. Beware of pride which says I can live anyway I like for God does not see; God does not care; it won’t happen to me. Beware of the stain of immorality; it stains the inner man permanently.

Drop into God’s laundromat—His service is free. You can leave your garments of filthy rags and he will return yours with the garments of righteousness so that you may glorify him.

Thoughts from 1Cor 6

Therefore…..Not Condemned….Romans 7

rom 8 nothing separate2A TV series was aptly titled “As the World Turns” and so it is with those whose lives are bound up by the adversary the Devil. They live in hostility against a holy God whose “wrath…is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness,” [Rom 1]. But we who are in Christ Jesus are no longer under God’s condemnation! “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him” [Jn 3]

Beloved, we have received this sacrificial gift of redemption! Even when our adversary comes bringing a Scarlet Letter to hang about our neck to condemn us we have this truth: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  We no longer need to be “afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.” [Mt 10] Instead we can recite the words of Micah “I will wait for the God who delivers me..” And this why we can echo “If God is for us, who can be against us?….[we are] “convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

For What Are You Thirsting?

psalm 42 mt 5 6 thirst2We are not asking about a casual thirst but a deep desperate thirst for which one must have it or will physically die. But there is another kind of thirst and that one is spiritual. It is a deep longing that only God can fill.

In John 4 we meet a woman who came every day with her waterpot to the well in Samaria. She was physical thirsty but Jesus looked beneath and saw within her a deep spiritual thirst. So when Jesus offered water that that he could give by which she would never thirst again she asked: “”Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.” But the water he would offer would be living water which would quench not her physical thirst but her spiritual thirst for it will come from the living God, the Living Water.

The psalmist thirsted for God, for the living God. His too was a deep desperate thirst which only God could supply. Drinking from God’s well is the fountain of life and only from it is the soul satisfied. Those who seek the living water will be blessed for they hunger and thirst not for water but for righteousness. [Mt 5]The true Living Water that satisfies the deep heart longing became sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Jesus’ promise is that he “will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.” Have you come to drink from the fountain of the Living Water today?

You can also see this post here each and every day. https://www.facebook.com/bible.org

Come and join the many who are using the tools of bible.org like the fabulous Bible Study Tool: https://lumina.bible.org/

Praying for Leaders of the Flock

1peter 5 pray 4 pastoraAs a fellow elder, Peter exhorts the elders to be shepherds of their dispersed flock. They need to be shepherds that are alert, watching over and leading the flock step by step away from the adversary the devil who is busily prowling around seeking whom he can devour. They are to be exercising their position voluntarily and doing it eagerly as well as be an example. Pray for them to be humble, sober and that they can resist the devil whose allure of the world is tossed before them.

Beloved, if ever there was a time it is now that we must be praying daily for our church leaders as they work to fulfill these huge tasks. Pray for their study time that it be quiet and undisturbed. Further the 23rd psalm gives us ideas on how to pray:

Pray for them as they seek those green pastures where they can lead their flock to find respite from the cares of the world; to have wisdom to help the flock find the quiet waters where they can be refreshed; and pray that they know how to guide the flock in the paths of righteousness. The enemy has placed lions in the road and seeks to undermine the elder’s work and ours as well. That is why we must be interceders and in a mode of prayer for our elders and leaders of our flock.

Follow Me!

Psalm 25 is 30 following god2A simple old fashioned chorus has these words: “The Lord knows the way through the wilderness, all I need to do is follow.” The psalmist in chapter 25 is essentially saying those words but he knows that he needs a trail guide through that wilderness and the Lord is his for he is trustworthy. He is confident that he will not be led astray yet he fears that he will bring shame upon the name of Yahweh. Thus he prays for direction, for counsel, for instruction. In vs 4 he asks much like Moses  “Show me your glory.” [Exo 33:18] When we step out from our comfort zone that is what we need; to see God’s glory and all of his holiness so that we yearn more and more for our hearts to be entwined with his. We need to be taught, to know the path that we are to take, to be instructed in His ways being confident of this truth:  “Acknowledge him in all your ways, and he will make your paths straight.”[ Pro 3:6]

Is there some place you feel that you need his direction? Seek His face; seek His glory, pray that the Holy Spirit be your instructor to lead you in paths of righteousness as we journey through a world that is fraught with dangers, toils and snares. Beloved, the Lord knows the way; all we need to do is follow knowing that the words of Isaiah are as relevant today as then: “You will hear a word spoken behind you, saying, “This is the correct way, walk in it,”” [Isa 30:21 ]

INTEGRITY….A WORD FOR TODAY

ImageThe dictionary defines integrity as being honest, strong moral principles and moral uprightness. In Psalm 26 King David boasted that he had walked in integrity and is walking in integrity. He had made a choice early on to choose that manner of life. It is a consistency in our actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. Interestingly, the opposite of integrity, truth and light, is hypocrisy which is a false façade of being a person with integrity but inwardly choosing the opposing forces of deception and darkness. These will be exposed as King David revealed in Psalm 26 as one views the lifestyle and associations of a person. Jesus remarked that just as a tree bears fruit so does a person and they will be known by them.

In the field of computers there is a pun known as “GIGO” which equals “garbage in garbage out.” Although technologically proficient a computer has no brain. In fact computers will unquestioningly process the most nonsensical of input data (garbage in) and produce nonsensical output (garbage out). How often do we behave in this manner? This is why Paul emphasized that we as a people of God must wisely develop a mindset. King David wrote that he loved the Law of God and meditated upon it day and night. What does your mind dwell upon? Paul gave us some parameters on which we should dwell. The first step is to measure our thoughts by using this as a yardstick: think about whatever is true, worthy of respect, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent or praiseworthy. But, it does not end there; one must then take the next step and put into practice what you have meditated upon so that we produce fruits of righteousness.

If we want to be a people of integrity who can say that they have walked and are continuing to walk in this manner it begins in the mind. That is why Paul wrote to the Corinthians: we take every thought captive to make it obey Christ. [2Co 10:5] and to the Romans he challenged to be “transformed by the renewing of our mind.” It is then that we can like David boast that we have walked and are continuing to walk in integrity.

Today’s questions are (1) on what are you meditating and (2) where is your mindset and (3) what are you practicing?

“Checkmate?”

ImageThere is a story that has circulated about a tour group in an art gallery. After the initial description of the painting titled “Checkmate” all moved on but one man who was an expert chess player. The painting reveals a chess game between the devil and Faust who had sold his soul to the devil. It appears from the smirk on the devil’s face that he has won and is ready to announce “Checkmate!” But, after studying the painting the chess player noted that the devil had not won and the king had one more move. The enemy of our souls wants us to think that he has won and is ready to announce Checkmate but the truth is found here in Proverbs 11: The King of Kings has one more move.

As believers in Christ, the righteous want to know how to move and live in a world that seems as complicated as a chess game. But, if we study and meditate we find that the next move is found in God’s Word which is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, [2Ti 3:16] The enemy would have us think he has the last move and that life is over. But God shows us what life is really all about using the characters of righteousness, truth, humility and integrity vs the characters of wicked, prideful, despair. Each of us chooses to moves in our walk of life and God has given us free will to choose. We can become His ears, hands, feet to a dying world devoid of the love of God or we can choose not His way but our way. Thirteen times in this chapter the word or a form of the word “righteous” is given as a trait that delivers one from all kinds of danger. The contrast is glaring in vs. 23 “What the righteous desire leads only to good, but what the wicked hope for leads to wrath.” Dr. Ross writes: “Since life and death result from moral choices, righteousness must be pursued. . .” 

God made the first move which was to offer His Son for our salvation. Will you this day choose to follow Him? The King of Kings has one more move for you if you will choose.

 

Living Righteously in the Body of Christ.

ImageRomans 14 always brings to forefront tears for me as I see the Body of Christ being torn asunder with differing opinions. I have to step aside and ask is there a grain of truth in this ounce of criticism and if so in light of eternity is this something I need to alter in my life so that the enemy will not use as his tool to divide the fellowship of my church/fellowship of believers? Maybe that is the question we must all ask ourselves as there are many in the church and outside the church that cry: Hypocrite! Hypocrite! We could all share from our experiences family members, friends, co-workers, etc. that have said this to us and it causes us to cringe. Could it be that in some respects they are right? Let’s dig in and see what we are to learn and then more practically what we are to apply.

Paul addresses this full head on in chapter 14 but does not use the word hypocrite but rather bluntly says “do not condemn” and “do not judge.” Yesterday we talked about how to live righteously in an unrighteous world. Today Paul asks us the same question but in regards to how we live in the Body of Christ. Again we need to come back to our premise of yesterday: we are to love our neighbor and sometimes loving comes at a price, comes when we are face to face with those who differ with us. How do we do that lovingly? That is the question.

First off, Paul addressed two situations that the church in Rome was experiencing and which we find are the same two that are still with us today: food/drink and days on which we worship. Some say it is ok to eat certain foods, another says no. Some say it is ok to drink alcohol and another says no. Some say you must worship only on Saturday and others say not so, worship on Sunday or any other day is ok. Oh the tools that Satan uses to divide and he will use whatever he can to destroy the Body of Christ.  We must remember that our enemy, Satan, is wily, and he knows where we are weak and where we are strong. (2Co 2:11 Satan… (for we are not ignorant of his schemes); and in fact he often disguises himself as an angel of light (2Cor 11:4). He will seek to divide and cause disunity and what better place than within the Body of Christ? Let’s get practical here and see what the Word of God says.  

Paul uses very strong language in this situation: vs 4 “Who are you to pass judgment on another’s servant?” Then he also reminds us that we are “not to condemn” nor are we to “judge.” And if we didn’t get those phrases he adds another: DO NOT to be a stumbling block for another. So if we are not to do that, then what key elements should be a part of our life?

Beloved, the key is found in vs 7: “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

Image

14:19 “So then, let us pursue what makes for peace and for building up one another.” Did you note that the word peace seems to be cropping up over and over from chapter 12 to 14? Did you also note that he inserts peace between righteousness and joy? If you do a search you will find that Paul used that word 13 times in this book.

Today may we seek peace above all else. May this be our mandate for today, Rom 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all people. And if we disagree on the points of food/drink and days–remember that Satan is lurking, waiting and looking for ways to divide us. Ecc 4:12 Although an assailant may overpower one person, two can withstand him. Moreover, a three-stranded cord is not quickly broken. Let’s keep the three strand:

          J – Jesus O- Others Y- Yourself = Jesus righteousness, peace, joy