. . . So that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.
Christian, why would you play with sin? Has it not cost you enough already? Burnt child, will you play with the fire? What! When you have already been between the jaws of the lion, will you step a second time into his den? Have you not had enough of the old serpent? Did he not poison all your veins once, and will you play at the cobra's den and put your hand in the dragon's lair a second time?
Do not be not so mad, so foolish! Did sin ever yield you real pleasure? Did you find solid satisfaction in it? If so, go back to your old drudgery, and wear the chain again, if it delights you. But inasmuch as sin never gave you what it promised to bestow but deluded you with lies, do not be snared by the old fowler: Be free, and let the memory of your enslavement prevent you from entering the net again!
It is contrary to the designs of eternal love, which are all focused on your purity and holiness; therefore do not run counter to the purposes of your Lord.
Another thought should restrain you from sin. Christians can never sin cheaply; they pay a heavy price for iniquity. Transgression destroys peace of mind, obscures fellowship with Jesus, hinders prayer, brings darkness over the soul; therefore do not be the serf and slave of sin.
There is still a higher argument: Each time you serve sin you are "crucifying once again the Son of God . . . and holding him up to contempt."1 Can you bear that thought? If you have fallen into any special sin during this day, it may be that my Master has sent this admonition this evening to bring you back before you have wandered very far. Turn to Jesus afresh. He has not forgotten His love for you; His grace is still the same. With weeping and repentance, come to His footstool, and you shall be reunited in His love; you will be set upon a rock again, and your goings shall be established.
taken from http://info.truthforlife.org/devo-may30-2018
You have not bought me sweet cane with money.
Worshipers at the temple were keen to bring presents of sweet perfumes to be burned upon the altar of God. But Israel, in the time of her backsliding, became ungenerous and made fewer offerings to her Lord. This was an evidence of coldness of heart toward God and His house.
Reader, does this never happen with you? Is it not possible that the complaint of this text may occasionally, if not frequently, be brought against you? Those who are poor in pocket, if rich in faith, will be accepted even though their gifts are small; but, poor reader, do you give in fair proportion to the Lord, or is the widow's mite kept back from the sacred treasury? The rich believer should be thankful for the wealth entrusted to him but should not forget his large responsibility, for where much is given, much will be required.
But, rich reader, are you mindful of your obligations, and is your giving to the Lord proportionate to the benefit you enjoy? Jesus gave His blood for us; what shall we give to Him? We are His, and He has purchased us for Himself—can we act as if we were our own? O for more consecration! O for more love! Blessed Jesus, how good it is of You to accept our sweet cane bought with money! Nothing is too costly as a tribute to Your unrivaled love, and yet You receive with favor the smallest sincere token of affection! You receive our poor forget-me-nots and love-tokens as though they were intrinsically precious, though indeed they are but as the bunch of wild flowers that the child brings to his mother.
Let us never grow stingy toward You, and from this hour may we never hear You complain of us again for withholding the gifts of our love. We will give You the firstfruits of our increase and pay You tithes of all, and then we will confess, "of your own have we given you."
taken from: http://info.truthforlife.org
19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21And having an high priest over the house of God; 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Summer is quickly approaching and we have all waited for this long winter to be over so we can enjoy all the good things warm weather brings. Outdoor activities, biking (or riding the scooter), hiking, picnicking, sports and leisure just to name a few activities that seem to compete for our time. Our time is limited and like most of us, we prioritize, or better, we make time for what we want to make time for.
In the above verses, as well as others, we can draw out some principles that should help us determine our motives and our decisions to “miss church”. First, we need to understand that missing church hurts the body. We are one body in Christ, right? When we miss church, we fail to edify and encourage each other. We miss our “spiritual meal” that quite frankly many of us only get once a week. Our faith, over time becomes weak when we fail to hear Gods word proclaimed. And if all this was not enough, we are commanded to assemble together.
Eric Liddell was an Olympic athlete in the early 1900’s. Eric refused to run races on Sundays even during the Olympics. He believed so strongly in the Sabbath that he would not allow himself to participate even on Olympic stage. He was born to missionary parents who taught him the importance of the Sabbath and he himself became a missionary to China for almost 20 years. When asked of his decision to leave fame and glory his reply “It's natural for a chap to think over all that sometimes, but I'm glad I'm at the work I'm engaged in now. A fellow's life counts for far more at this than the other."
Eric Liddell’s testimony should be an eye opener for all of us. This man had a seat at the highest of athletic honors and he did not let that get in the way of his faith. We all know there will be times when we will miss church and many times, it can’t be helped. Most times however are self-inflicted reasons we miss. If we are not careful, our reasons to “miss church” will become easier and before you know it, church has become a byproduct of our life and no longer a staple.
Pray that God will give us all the desire to meet together as a body to love and edify one another.
Are you living through a period of life when you don't understand what God is doing, and you can't seem to improve your situation, location, or relationships?
Maybe you don't feel utterly helpless, but you feel something like this:
It is a painful exercise in spiritual maturity, but there are inescapable, necessary, and helpful reasons why we feel confused and powerless:
1. Because We Live In A Broken World With Fallen PeopleGenesis 3:17-19 defines what happened when sin entered the world. "Cursed is the ground … in pain … all the days of your life … thorns and thistles … by the sweat of your face." In a world that is broken - and with people who are selfish, competitive, and impatient (including me and you) - everything we do is harder and more complicated.
2. Because God Is Sovereign And The Narrative Is Not About UsWe are not the authors of life. Our individual stories are woven into the grand origin-to-destiny narrative that God alone has written. While circumstances may seem out of our control, they have never been outside of the infinitely attentive control of your Father. At the same time, you and I must remember that the narrative of the universe exists solely for the eternal glory of the Creator, not for our momentary pleasure and comfort.
3. Because God Is Ministering To Us And OthersGod is the ultimate definition of what is wise, loving, and good, using these moments to rescue us from our bondage to the kingdom of self and to draw us into a greater allegiance to his Kingdom. Simultaneously, God calls us to be part of what he is doing in the lives of others. Moments of hardship and confusion equip us to minster to others in their times of struggle (see 2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
Let's be honest with ourselves and with God: What have these moments revealed about our functional, street-level faith? Maybe what we thought was a robust faith in God's presence, promises, power, wisdom, and love was actually our seeming power to control our circumstances through intelligence, determination, prosperity, or something else.
In love, God will take you where you do want to go in order to produce in you what you could not achieve on your own. It is uncomfortable grace, but it is still divine, tender grace.
The question is, are you allowing moments of hardship and confusion to produce in you a faith that is stronger, or weaker? Have your responses to hardship and confusion drawn you closer to God, or further away?
In each case, it's your choice. So take hold of the new morning mercies that God makes available! How you respond is contingent on whether you choose God or self.
taken from: https://mailchi.mp/paultripp/wednesdays-word-5-2-2018-confused-and-powerless?e=ecd06331e2