Archive for October, 2011

I Am Light to the World

Daily God Walk for Monday, October 31, 2011

 You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:14-16

 Have you ever had a flashlight put in a safe place where you can find it in an emergency and then when the emergency does come you reach for the flashlight and the batteries are dead? If you have then the point of our passage today is easy to grasp.

When we come to Christ a light is ignited inside us and that light is to light up the world around us. John 1:4 tells us, “In him was life, and that life was the light of men.” When we receive his life we become that light.

What is that light which shines forth from us? It is the Christ in us which is influencing our lives. As a light to the world our world view is different. The way we talk is different. The way we act is different. The way we think is different.  And Jesus is telling us the world should be seeing that light shining out from us.

The unfortunate reality is that many people who call themselves Christian do not have the light of Christ shining out from them. If we do business like the world, do all the same things the world does, think like the world and talk like the world then perhaps it is not the light of the Christ life which is shining out from us.

It is true that we do not receive Christ and His salvation through works, but it is also true, according to Christ, that when we have received Him we our good works will be a shining light testifying to the world the goodness of Father God.

In one way we are all lights shining out into the world. That is, the world is seeing our life as a reflection of who we are on the inside. My question is this: when the world sees your life, what do they see? Is it the Christ light shining, or is it the same old world light they see?

 Prayer: Lord, help me to let the Christ light shine from me.

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I Am a Servant of the New Covenant

Daily God Walk for Sunday, October 30, 2011

 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant – not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. – 2 Corinthians 3:6

 One of the challenges Paul faced in his ministry came from the followers of Christ who still held to the laws of Judaism. Many of the early believers saw Jesus as an added feature to their Judaic faith and they did not understand that God was introducing an entirely new kind of relationship.

The law was very good at expressing the will of God concerning the way people should live, but it did nothing towards giving people the ability to live that way.

The old covenant established a relationship with God based upon the performance of the followers; the new covenant establishes a relationship with followers based upon what Christ has done and our faith in Christ. Paul is telling the church that he is a competent minister, or servant, of the new covenant.

In contrasting the old covenant and the new covenant Paul says, “The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” What he seems to be saying is that when we are constantly trying to perform the works of the law in our own strength we fall far short of the mark, but when we are living in the power of the Spirit the intent of the law is fulfilled in our life. Being enthused with Holy Spirit produces a godly life which is the intent of the law.

When Paul says that he is a competent minister of the new covenant he means that he fully understands that living under grace doesn’t give him permission to live in sin and his sin is automatically covered by grace. He is telling us he understands that by living in the Spirit we will, because of our born again nature, live out the principles of the law.

We are all called to be ministers, or servants, of the gospel of Christ and Paul is admonishing us to be competent ministers who understand the value of both the law and Spirit. When we live in the Spirit we are given the grace to live righteously, and the grace not to judge others harshly.

 Prayer: Lord, give me the grace to be a competent minister.

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I Am an Ambassador of Christ

Daily God Walk for Saturday, October 29, 2011

 God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. – 2 Corinthians 5:19-20

 What does it mean to be reconciled to God? It is very similar to the idea of two people who have been estranged and who finally resolve their issues. Sometimes we hear of a married couple who are estranged and separated, but then at a later time we hear that they have reconciled and are now together.

The message of being reconciled to God is that we who were estranged from Him have now made peace with Him. Paul writes in Romans, “The sinful mind is hostile to God,” and that is our natural state. We have been cut off from all the good things God makes available because we have become hostile toward Him and have rejected His offer of peace. But through faith in Christ we have been reconciled to God.

Paul writes in Ephesians, “You who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13). It is through faith in Christ that our differences with God have been settled and now we have been reconciled to Him. It is that relationship with God which gives us hope for the future.

As Paul writes in our scripture for today that we have been given the message of reconciliation. That means we who have been reconciled to God have the responsibility to show others how they may too be reconciled to God. All believers have been made ambassadors of Christ and we are to take the message of being made right with God to the world.

The only vehicle God has for getting his appeal to the world is those of us who have tasted the gift of salvation. He has no other voice. We are his hope for reaching those who have not been reached by the gospel.

Paul calls us ambassadors and I ask what kind of ambassador are you? That is something to think about.

 Prayer: Lord, help me to be an effective ambassador for Christ.

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I Am Being Transformed Into His Likeness

Daily God Walk for Friday, October 28, 2011

 We, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3:18

 Thank God for his transforming power. When we come to Christ we are opposite of God in just about every way. Where God is others-centric we are self-centered. God is pure in everyway and we become contaminated by the world in just about every way.

In the midst of our fallen and broken state the Lord of the universe reaches down into humanity, puts his hand on us and says, “I want you.” When we respond to him we begin an eternal journey.

None of us who started out serving God were saintly in the beginning, but as Holy Spirit began to do his work in us we started to change. It is this changing process which is transforming us into his likeness.

Next to the message of salvation the most important message I preach is the need for change. We cannot continue to be the person we were when we came to Christ and we will never become mature followers of Christ if we don’t allow Holy Spirit to change us day by day.

Paul follows this promise of a transforming relationship with the Spirit with reminding the readers that at one time we were all blinded to the truth of the gospel and the power that was available to us to live above sin. He concludes the next chapter with, “Inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.”

We are being renewed day by day as we are becoming the person God originally intended us to become. That is why I often speak of the lifetime process of being reconciled to God, renewed by the Holy Spirit, and being restored to the person God intended us to become. I am not what I used to be, and I am not yet what I am going to be, for I am being transformed into his likeness.

 Prayer: Lord, help to submit to your transforming power. Amen.

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I Am Victorious Over Fear and Timidity

Daily God Walk for Thursday, October 27, 2011

 God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7

 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. – 2 Timothy 1:7 (AMP)

 This passage can be applied in many situations for us, but it was originally written to Timothy, Paul’s son in the gospel, concerning the gift of ministry he had been given when he was ordained. That is made plain in the verses which precede verse seven. Paul is telling Timothy that he has a great spiritual heritage and that he should not be intimidated by those who don’t accept the message of the Messiah.

I’ve been in ministry a very long time and I have been rejected by some who didn’t understand me, and by some who did understand me and that was what they were rejecting me. When I was younger this really bothered me, at times I felt intimidated by those with a stronger voice or more experience. Now that I am older and have the experience I have come to realize that I am not responsible for whether someone accepts or rejects me, but I am responsible to God for properly presenting the message of Christ and the working of the Holy Spirit.

I have a friend who once told me that he had gotten tired of those in his congregation of about 250 people who weren’t supporting the church. They didn’t give and they didn’t accept responsibility for ministries in the church; they just sat in the pew, attended business meetings and disagreed with everything progressive anyone wanted to do.

He decided to preach a message on commitment. He talked about all the things mentioned above then in conclusion he told them, “Now, I don’t want you to feel bad I just wanted you to know how I feel.” I told him you just blew your message. You should have told them you wanted them to feel godly sorrow for their actions and your hope was that godly sorrow would lead them to repentance.”

God has not given us a spirit of intimidation, fear and powerlessness. He has given us a spirit power, love and self discipline.

 Prayer: Help me Lord to be strong trusting your Spirit. Amen.

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I Am a Partaker in His Divine Nature

Daily God Walk for Wednesday, October 26, 2011

 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. – 2 Peter 1:3-4

 We have learned that all of the power in the world is of no value to us unless we realize we have the authority to use it. The police have the power to stop a crime. They have training and they have weapons, but if they don’t realize they have authority they will sit back and say, “What can I do?”

Peter tells us that God has given us divine power and everything we need for life and godliness. That power is released through our knowledge of him. The authority to use the power of God in us is limited by the knowledge we have of him.

If we only see God as saving us from hell, then our relationship with him will be limited to getting our ticked punched for heaven. If, however, we have all the knowledge of all he has revealed about himself for us, then all of heaven is available to us.

God has imparted to us his divine nature with the hope that we would realize the power of the Christ within us and the authority he has given us to use that power for the benefit of the kingdom. The divine nature he has given us through faith in Christ gives us the power to be set free from sin, but if we do not realize that power and the authority to use that power, sin will still dominate our lives.

We are not only given power and authority over sin but we are given power and authority over the devil, the world and spiritual wickedness in the heavenly realm (Ephesians 6:12). God has given his divine nature to all who believe so that we can participate in the kingdom of God on earth now and in heaven for eternity.

It is time to gain knowledge of God and his plan for us so that  we will realize the authority to use the power his has placed in us.

 Prayer: Lord, help me to realize the power and the authority you have given me. In Jesus name, amen.

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I Am the Temple of God

Daily God Walk for Tuesday, October 25, 2011

 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple. – Corinthians 3:16-17

 In Deuteronomy Moses told us that God would choose a place where he would put his name and that his Spirit would dwell there. It would be a place where they would go to offer sacrifice and to worship. It was to be a sacred place that was to be revered as the dwelling place, or the home, of God.

For many centuries God’s dwelling place was in a tent, but finally God allowed Solomon to build a place that would be known as the Temple of God. The temple Solomon built was beautiful and a worthy place for Israel to worship their God. But God had something in mind which was different. He had in mind a temple not made by human hands.

God’s plan was not for man to build him a place, after all, the universe itself is the habitation of God. God’s plan was that he would make man his dwelling place. Man the fallen creature; man the one who broke covenant with God in the garden.

While man was trying to become God, God was planning to become man. While man was trying to build a place for man God was preparing a place for himself in man. God’s plan for his eternal abode was to dwell within the heart of man.

God does not dwell in every man, but every person who will hear him knocking at the door of their heart and invite him in will become the habitation of God.

When we receive Christ and become a temple of God we are called to hold his temple sacred. We are to respect the fact that God has come to live in our hearts and we are to conduct ourselves appropriately. Paul is telling us in this passage that we must not destroy this temple but we are to keep it set apart as the place where God lives.

It is a joy to know that God has chosen to dwell in us, but it also prompts us to live responsibly as his temple.

 Prayer: Lord, help me to treat your temple with respect. Amen.

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Paul ”Hope Preacher” Smith

Messages of inspiration for the journey of faith

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