Monthly Archives: December 2019

December 31 The Challenge to End Well

Scripture Reading: Philippians 1:3–6

Key Verse: Philippians 1:6

… being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

A writer once penned a story about Hudson Taylor, the great missionary to China. He reported that the government of China commissioned a biography to be written portraying the missionary negatively. Yet the purpose of the assignment backfired: “As the author was doing his research, he was increasingly impressed by Taylor’s saintly character and godly life, and he found it extremely difficult to carry out his assigned task with a clear conscience. Eventually, at the risk of losing his life, he laid aside his pen, renounced his atheism, and received Jesus as his personal Savior.”

Taylor’s life spoke of God’s goodness beyond the grave. He followed Christ faithfully, and was rewarded for carrying out the mission given to him. This principle encourages Christians to continue living faithful, godly lives that will impact future generations.

The apostle Paul knew that the only real difference that could be made in a person’s life was to introduce him or her to Christ. He performed his duty faithfully until his death, and his testimony endures.

You are challenged to end well so that God’s grace will show itself in you. Just like Paul and Hudson Taylor, people will hear of your faithfulness and they will believe in God. Live in courageous godliness to the end.

Dear heavenly Father, thank You for Your loving care throughout this past year. Give me courageous godliness so that I can end not only this year properly but my time on earth as well.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 382). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Glorify and Enjoy God — Christian Blogs – Delivered By Grace

As we approach the precipice of 2020, it’s essential to remember that to glorify God is not to lead a boring life. It’s actually quite the opposite. To live a life of submission and obedience to God with a goal of glorifying God is to live a life that is not only thrilling, but is one that actually enjoys God himself in the process.

Paul writes these words in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” As we find ourselves at the crossroads of life in this upcoming decade—will we intentionally evaluate such decisions and directions of life to see if we are bringing God glory and honor? As the catechism states:

Q: What is the chief end of man?

A: To glorify God and enjoy him forever.

Perhaps you are considering some resolution for the upcoming year regarding your health or finances, but have you considered your spiritual life? Have you asked honest questions about what it means to life a life for God’s glory? Before we focus on our waistline or bank account—perhaps we would do better to consider the fact that we have been purchased by God with the high price of Jesus’ blood. Therefore, we do not belong to ourselves. We have a Master that we belong to and we must submit ourselves to him.

What is God’s will for you in 2020? That may be different for all of us in regard to our business, jobs, or ministry work—but one thing remains the same—we are called to glorify God. The focus on glorifying God in our body, as Paul says in his letter to the church in Corinth, is intended to bring to the surface the actions that are precipitated by the inner motives of the heart. It’s the way we put our faith into action. And we must always remember what James said, “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead” (James 2:26).

So, whatever you find yourself doing in 2020 and beyond—may your decisions and commitments glorify God so that you will not lead a boring and miserable life focused on yourself.

Psalm 19:14Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. 

via Glorify and Enjoy God — Christian Blogs – Delivered By Grace

December 31 The Journey of Faith

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 11:8–10

Key Verses: Romans 8:28–29

We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

You can’t reach the mountaintop unless you scale its slopes. You can’t reach your destination unless you hazard the journey. That’s what it means to take a step of faith, to risk the comfort of the familiar and trust God to take you to new places. Doing anything less is a form of compromise.

At the beginning of his trip of a lifetime, Abraham could not say with certainty that he understood God’s reasons or methods. But he did grasp God’s good purpose and knew that the only way to live it was to surrender himself to the experience.

In her book Faith: The Substance of Things Unseen, Penelope Stokes describes the value of the risk of faith:

It’s a frightening concept, new birth … to be catapulted like helpless infants into an unfamiliar, perhaps hostile world … to give ourselves over, heart and soul, to the God who calls us out into new life, into new experiences, into deep spiritual waters.

Both before and after my experience of surrender to Christ on September 15, 1970, I can see the hand of God working in my life, drawing me toward spiritual consciousness, leading me on the journey of faith … And all along the way, I see altars of sacrifice, times in which God called me to a new place, a different level of intimacy, continued growth … We must take the risk to go forward as God leads us to new levels of life in the Spirit.

Lord, thank You for being my Guide on this spiritual journey. I rejoice to see how You directed my footsteps during this past year. I face the future in faith and confidence.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 382). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Can You Think of An Adequate Analogy or Metaphor for the Trinity? (Video) — Cold Case Christianity

In this video, J. Warner joins Stand to Reason’s Amy Hall to answer questions in an episode of #STRAsk. They answer a question submitted through Twitter: Given all the traditional metaphors and analogies given for the Trinity, can any of them be trusted. Should any of them be used when teaching new Christians? Which analogy is best? Be sure to subscribe to Stand to Reason’s great lineup of podcasts.

via Can You Think of An Adequate Analogy or Metaphor for the Trinity? (Video) — Cold Case Christianity

December 31 The Good News About Death

Scripture reading: 2 Corinthians 5:1–9

Key verse: Acts 2:28

You have made known to me the ways of life;

You will make me full of joy in Your presence.

Christianity is the only religion in the world that has the final word on death. While other belief systems hypothesize about death, leading to such mysterious offerings as reincarnation, Christianity alone presents a clear and compelling portrait that is defined in the death and resurrection life of Jesus Christ.

Lawrence Richards writes,

In view of the varied and terrible meanings that Scripture ascribes to death, it would be wrong to think of Jesus’s death as a mere biological event. When the Bible teaches that Jesus suffered and tasted death (Hebrews 2:8), a full experience of all that death involves is implied … Death is the direct result of sin. And the fact of death testifies to the overwhelming importance of a personal, obedient relationship to God.

The dying Christian has the calm assurance that biological ending is nothing but a new beginning. When our earthly tent is destroyed, we go to be with the Lord “so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life” (2 Corinthians 5:4).

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for our sins and rose again from the dead. His resurrection is a historical fact, verified by the testimony of the Scriptures. It was impossible for death to reign over Him (Acts 2:28).

The last word about death is good news for Christians.

O Lord, thank You for taking the fear of death from me. I praise You that when my earthly tent is destroyed, I will be in Your presence.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 382). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.