Jealousy is an undesirable, negative emotion, which is fueled by anger or selfishness. According to James 3:16, “Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.” From today’s passage, however, we see that there is a different perspective on the word when it’s applied to God: “For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God” (Deut. 5:9).
This seems like a contradiction, but jealousy has a second, more positive meaning, which has almost been lost in our modern culture. It describes God’s vigilance in guarding our love for Him. Since we were created to love and worship Him, anything that competes for our devotion is a just cause for His jealousy.
The most important commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind (Luke 10:27). Without this complete devotion to Him, we will pursue our own interests and neglect godly principles and goals. No idol—whether a person, dream, pursuit, or possession—is worthy of worship. But a holy and just God, whose deep love for mankind moved Him to send His Son Jesus Christ to die in our place, deserves and demands our total love and loyalty.
God hates idols of every kind because He knows anything that draws our attention away from Him is dangerous. In fact, focusing only partially on the Lord is a sure way to stumble, get wrapped up in sin, and miss His blessings. For both our protection and His glory, the heavenly Father calls us to be true to Him by living in an obedient, loving, and worshipful manner.
taken from: https://www.intouch.org/read/magazine/daily-devotions/created-to-love-god
For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
2 Corinthians 1:5
There is a perfect balance in this. God in His providence operates the scales; on one side He puts His people's trials, and on the other He puts their consolations. When the scale of trial is nearly empty, you will always find the scale of consolation in nearly the same condition; and when the scale of trials is full, you will find the scale of consolation just as heavy. When the dark clouds gather, the light is more brightly revealed to us. When night falls and the storm is brewing, the Heavenly Captain is always closest to His crew.
It is a blessed thing that when we are most downcast, then we are most lifted up by the consolations of the Spirit. One reason is, trials make more room for consolation. Great hearts can only be made by great troubles. The spade of trouble digs the reservoir of comfort deeper and makes more room for consolation. God comes into our heart--He finds it full--He begins to break our comforts and to make it empty; then there is more room for grace. The humbler a man is, the more comfort he will always have, because he will be more fitted to receive it.
Another reason why we are often happiest in our troubles is this--then we have the closest dealings with God. When the barn is full, man can live without God: When the purse is bursting with gold, we try to do without so much prayer. But when our shelter is removed, then we want our God; when the house is purged of idols, then we are compelled to honor the Lord. "Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD!"1
There is no cry so good as that which comes from the bottom of the mountains, no prayer half so hearty as that which comes up from the depths of the soul, through deep trials and afflictions. They bring us to God, and we are happier; for nearness to God is happiness. Come, troubled believer, do not fret over your heavy troubles, for they are the heralds of weighty mercies.
taken from: https://info.truthforlife.org/devo-feb12-2019
"Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus" (Phil. 1:1).A faithful slave fulfills the will of his master.
The metaphor of Christians as slaves to Christ is common in Paul's writings. It is one his readers would have readily understood because of the prevalence of slavery in the Roman Empire.
Peter, James, John, and Jude used the same metaphor of their own ministries, as did Jesus in Mark 10:45: "The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." In Philippians 2:7 Paul refers to Christ as a bond-servant who set aside the glory He was due and humbled Himself to the point of death.
The Greek word translated "bond-servant" in Philippians 1:1 was commonly used of those who, out of devotion to their masters, chose to remain as slaves when having the opportunity to be released. They were also known as love slaves because they served out of love, not compulsion.
That is a beautiful picture of the believer. We are God's bond-servants (Rev. 1:1), having been freed from sin and enslaved to Him (Rom. 6:22).
While slavery brings to mind deprivation and inhumane treatment of one's fellow man, slaves in the Roman Empire usually were treated with dignity and respect. Although most had no personal possessions, their masters supplied everything they needed for life and health. Additionally, many were entrusted with significant responsibilities in their master's home.
A disobedient or self-willed slave was of no use to his master, but faithful slaves, who set aside their personal interests to accomplish their master's will, were a precious possession.
Jesus said, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to accomplish His work" (John 4:34). As God's bond-servant that should be your goal as well. Be faithful so God can use you mightily.
Suggestions for Prayer
Philemon is a letter Paul wrote to accompany Onesimus, a runaway slave, whom Paul had led to the Lord and was now returning to his master, Philemon.
God exalted Christ "and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all" (Eph. 1:22-23).
The church was designed to complement Christ.
Here Paul uses a graphic analogy to illustrate the relationship of Christ to the church: He is the head; believers are His body. Paul elaborates that we're to hold "fast to the head [Christ], from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God" (Col. 2:19; cf. Eph. 4:15-16).
Just as the head controls the human body, so Christ governs His Body, the church (cf. 1 Cor. 12:12-31). By His Spirit and His Word He supplies all the resources the church needs to function to His glory. In that way He guarantees that His purposes will be fulfilled.
The church is in fact "the fulness of Him who fills all in all" (Eph. 1:23). The implication is that the incomprehensible, all-sufficient, all-powerful, and utterly supreme Christ is in a sense incomplete—not in His nature, but in the degree to which His glory is seen in the world.
A synonym for "fulness" is "complement." The church was designed to complement Christ. He is the One "who fills all in all"—the fullness of deity in bodily form (Col. 2:9) and the giver of truth and grace (John 1:16). Yet He chooses to reveal His glory in and through the church. Therefore, until the church is fully glorified, Christ will not be fully complemented.
Does your life complement Christ? Do you "adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect" (Titus 2:10)? Do you "let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 5:16)? You have every spiritual resource to do so, so don't let anything hold you back (Heb. 12:1-2)!
Suggestions for Prayer
Read Psalm 139:23-24 and pray with David that God will search your heart and reveal any sin that might hinder you from complementing Christ today.
For Further Study
Read 1 Corinthians 12:1-30.
Ez 3:4, 7 “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak my words to them…But the house of Israel will not listen to you , because they will not listen to me”
Ezekiel was a prophet during the time of the Babylonian captivity and was called by God to be a “watchman” to the house of Israel and to proclaim Gods word to them. Ezekiel was given the command to “go” and he went. The problem? God had told Ezekiel ahead of time that the house of Israel would not listen to him. Ezekiel was faithful even though he knew they would not listen.
Ezekiel 3 can be applied today to the great commission, we are commanded to “go make disciples”, yet the message we share most often falls on deaf ears. Unbelievers will not hear us because they will not hear the Word of God. We have a command to “go into all the world and preach the gospel” not just to those who will believe, but to all the world.
Why was Ezekiel told to speak to them, the word of God? God had a warning to give, a warning that if the house of Israel would not hear the words of God, they would “die in their iniquity”. If the house of Israel would listen, it would “save their life” (verse 18).
If you are reading this and have not surrendered your life to Christ, you are being warned just as the house of Israel was warned. You will die in your iniquity. There is no sugar coating this truth. But God has provided a way of escape, through Christ. There is only one way your life will be saved, it is not playing church or claiming a title of “Christian”. Do not be under this false illusion that being “good enough” will somehow save you.
John 3:3 says you must be born again, period. There is nothing good enough in us, we are dead because of sin and separation from God, Rom 3:23 says “all have sinned”. We will pay for our sins because the wage for sin is death Rom 6:23.
Is God drawing you to Himself? Then receive Him by faith and become a new creation in Him. If you are unsure, PLEASE talk to someone, Pastor Paul or Pastor Mike, someone today. The apostle Paul said “Today is the day of Salvation” tomorrow may be too late.
"[God] seated [Christ] at His right hand in the heavenly places" (Eph.1:20).
Christ occupies the highest place of power, prominence, authority, and honor.
To exalt someone is to elevate that person in status, dignity, power, and honor. As God, Jesus possesses all power and authority and is deserving of all honor and glory. But when He was on earth, most people refused to give Him the glory He deserved. Instead they mocked and eventually murdered Him.
Just prior to His death, Jesus prayed to the Father, "Glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I ever had with Thee before the world was" (John 17:5). The Father answered that prayer by giving Him an exalted name and an exalted position.
Paul wrote, "God highly exalted [Christ], and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:9-11).
Hebrews 1:3 adds that when Christ had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Old Testament priests didn't sit down while on duty because their work was never finished. Repeated sacrifices were necessary because of the priest's own sins and the sins of the people. Christ, on the other hand, made one all-sufficient sacrifice, then sat down. His atoning work was completed.
The "right hand" of God is a metaphor for the highest place of power, prominence, authority, and honor. From that exalted position Christ reigns as the Sovereign Lord of the universe.
There's one aspect of Christ's exaltation that we as believers can participate in right now. David said, "O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together" (Ps. 34:3). Psalm 99:5 adds, "Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at His footstool." Be generous in praising Him today, for He is worthy!
Suggestions for Prayer
Read Psalm 34 and exalt the Lord for all the benefits He demonstrates on behalf of His people.
For Further Study
Read Colossians 3:1-4.
Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by faith.
If you have been a believer for more than a minute, you are familiar with the last part of this verse “the just shall live by faith”. The apostle Paul quoted it twice in the New Testament and the writer of Hebrews also quoted it.
Habakkuk penned those words from Gods response to using the Chaldeans (Babylonians) to bring impending judgment upon Judah for their sins. Habakkuk could not understand why an “everlasting and Holy God” (Hab 1:12) would use a nation so terrible and dreadful as the Chaldeans to bring judgment upon his people. Gods response to Habakkuk was essentially this, don’t question how or why I do things, I am Sovereign, your job is to live by faith.
How many times do we question God when things don’t go as planned? We question God when a coworker gets promoted and we don’t. We don’t understand why some people "get away" with sin or seem to have a better life. We are confused when “our” candidate doesn’t get elected or why God doesn’t bring immediate judgment on ISIS or Al Qaeda or Nations who repress Christianity. Those 6 words “The just shall live by faith” are just as relevant today as they were in 610 BC when God told Habakkuk. Make no mistake, God is Sovereign and whatever tool He chooses, He uses for His pleasure and purposes.
The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul and the writer of Hebrews emphasized how we are to apply those words. In Romans 1:17 Paul emphasizes the word “Just” or righteous. In Galatians 3:11, he emphasizes “live” and the writer of Hebrews 10:38 emphasizes “faith”.
We do not get righteousness from ourselves, our righteousness is found in God through Christ (II Cor 5:21). Righteousness is conforming to His will. We are righteous when we are acceptable to God. We are righteous when we are living for Him. Apart from God any righteous we might have are as filthy rags. We are to live by faith, not by works of the law, nor by our religious duties as to obtain some counterfeit righteousness. The faith we have is an enduring faith, a confidence in eternal life, a saving faith that perseveres through anything that comes our way. Faith that says there is no more condemnation and nothing on this earth will separate us from the love of God.
The Just shall Live by Faith
"For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you, and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers" (Eph. 1:15-16).
Your love for other Christians is as much a mark of true faith as your love for God.
The Ephesian Christians demonstrated two important characteristics of genuine Christian faith: faith in the Lord Jesus and love for fellow believers.
"Faith in the Lord Jesus" implies both an affirmation of Christ's deity and submission to His sovereignty. Because He is God, He is the Sovereign Lord, so we must obey what He commands (John 14:15; 1 John 2:3-6).
Your "love for all the saints" is as much a mark of true faith as your love for God. John said, "The one who says he is in the light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now" (1 John 2:9). In that passage "light" is a metaphor for righteousness and truth, and "darkness" is a metaphor for sin and error. It is sinful and erroneous to claim you love God if you have no love for other believers. Those who love God will love fellow believers as well.
If you love others, you will pray for them and praise God for their spiritual progress—as Paul did for the Ephesians—and they will do the same for you. That's a wonderful dynamic within the Body of Christ, and one that you must diligently pursue.
Suggestions for Prayer
Read Philippians 1:9-11 and Colossians 1:9-14.
One of the most difficult parts of the Christian faith is the testing we face as believers. Why does God allow us to face trials, tribulations, and temptations?
James 1:2-4 offers an insightful look: "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." We are to consider trials with joy because they ultimately lead to our spiritual maturity.
Jesus mentioned this concept in John 15:2: "Every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit." Those who follow God often face various forms of "pruning" or struggles in order to bear more fruit. In other words, the difficulties God allows in our lives allow us to grow in maturity (fruitfulness) and better serve the Lord.
Paul wrote about the impact of suffering and its usefulness in comforting and helping others when he shared, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God" (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). Paul's afflictions gave him experiences through which he could better comfort others who also faced afflictions.
God often uses our most difficult struggles for us to help others with similar struggles. A person who has struggled with an eating disorder is often the best person to help someone else with this struggle. A former alcoholic is often the best counselor to others seeking to break from the control of alcohol. While these trials are not enjoyable, God can and does use our weaknesses to bring hope to others.
Trials also remind us that something better lies ahead for those who believe. In Romans 8:18 Paul wrote, "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." Though he faced many difficulties, they could be endured because he knew something far greater awaited him after this life.
A final encouragement regarding trials is that those who endure faithfully can anticipate eternal rewards. James 1:12 promises, "Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him." Our tribulations in this life are difficult, yet only temporary. Even now, God is at work to use our pain to help those in need and will reward those who faithfully endure.
taken from: compellingtruth.org
Do as you have spoken.
2 Samuel 7:25
God's promises were never meant to be thrown aside as wastepaper; He intended that they should be used. God's gold is not miser's money but is minted to be traded with. Nothing pleases our Lord better than to see His promises put in circulation; He loves to see His children bring them up to Him and say, "Lord, do as you have said."
We glorify God when we plead His promises. Do you think that God will be any poorer for giving you the riches He has promised? Do you dream that He will be any less holy for giving holiness to you? Do you imagine He will be any less pure for washing you from your sins? He has said, "Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool."1
Faith lays hold upon the promise of pardon, and it does not delay, saying, "This is a precious promise--I wonder if it be true?" but goes straight to the throne with it and pleads, "Lord, here is the promise. Do as you have said." Our Lord replies, "Be it unto you even as you will." When a Christian grasps a promise, if he does not take it to God, he dishonors Him; but when he hastens to the throne of grace and cries, "Lord, I have nothing to recommend me but this, You have said it," then his desire shall be granted. Our heavenly Banker delights to cash His own notes.
Never let the promise rust. Draw the word of promise out of its sheath and use it with holy violence. Think not that God will be troubled by your importunately reminding Him of His promises. He loves to hear the loud outcries of needy souls. It is His delight to bestow favors. He is more ready to hear than you are to ask. The sun is not weary of shining, nor the fountain of flowing. It is God's nature to keep His promises; therefore go at once to the throne with, "Do as You have said."
taken from: https://info.truthforlife.org/devo-jan15-2019