Wednesday, September 15, 2021
The Psalmist describes the high standard necessary for a relationship with God.
Psalm 24: 3-4 Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart . . . (NASB)
Every Christ-follower should long for an intimate relationship with the Creator. The poetic words of this Psalm remind you of when Moses went atop Mount Sinai to speak with God. How can a person be clean enough and pure enough to aspire to such closeness? Psalm 32 provides an answer: “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord does not count his iniquity . . . ”
In and of yourself, you do not have clean hands and a pure heart — but a Christ-follower has their sins forgiven and has Christ’s righteousness credited to their account! So, when you speak harshly to your mate, or neglect your children, or look at some image you should not have . . . then you follow I John 1 which says, “if you confess your sins, He (Christ) is faithful and just to forgive your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.” Now by God’s grace, you may approach the Lord and resume your intimate relationship! How good is that??

Tuesday, September 14, 2021
The apostle Paul writes how a pure heart and a changed life result by following Christ.
I Timothy 1:5 [Paul writes] The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (NASB)
When you read or hear the life stories of people who are Christ-followers, often you hear how their lives are transformed! Instead of lying, or cursing, or being vengeful, etc.. . . all that goes away! For some it’s more of a process than others. An old chorus used to go: Things are different now, something’s happened to me, since Jesus came into my heart.” The difference is that your sins have been forgiven, you have a relationship with God and His Spirit has come to live within you.
Your conscience is that part of you that either condemns or excuses you. As you begin to live in harmony with your new spiritual life/awareness in Christ, you find yourself being willing to give up lustful habits and practices. You can now love others with a pure heart — it’s the new normal . . . it’s the new you!

Monday, September 13, 2021

The apostle Paul writes of practicing the power of positive thinking.

Philippians 4:8 . . . whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. (NASB

Are you a worrier??  I am and have to fight it on a regular basis.  Throughout God’s book the Bible, you will find Christ-followers are commanded not to fear and not to worry.  Instead, you are to live in dependence on God for whom nothing is impossible.  Just before this verse the apostle Paul said in essence:  “don’t worry about anything — pray about everything!”

A co-worker once shared how she was plagued with thoughts about what “might” be, until a wise friend told her to concentrate on what she knew.  You know, after that, much of her worry disappeared! Put the following presets on the selector of your mind:  truth (what you know), noble things (serious things that are not frivolous), right things (things you ought to do), pure things (free of filthy words or deeds), lovely things (things so pleasing or agreeable they can be loved).  When destructive, false thoughts intrude into your thinking — immediately go to one of these “presets” and press “play”!

Friday, September 10, 2021
The apostle John records Jesus’ words of comfort shortly before His death.
John 14:1-2 Jesus said to His disciples, “Don’t be worried! Have faith in God and have faith in Me. There are many rooms in My Father’s house. I wouldn’t tell you this, unless it was true. I am going there to prepare a place for each of you. (CEV)
Hours before the crucifixion, the Savior and the disciples gathered one final time for a meal. The disciples were distressed, fearful and anxious when Jesus said He would die, leave them and go somewhere they could not. In these verses, Jesus comforts them by saying He is going to prepare a place for them and will return for them
Jesus turns their focus away from panic and fear to Almighty God. “You trust and believe in God, right? Trust also in Me! John Gill wrote, “God and Christ [are] to be equally the object of their faith; and since therefore they had so good a foundation for their faith and confidence, they had no reason to be uneasy.” In life or in death Jesus is there for His own!
Scripture quotations marked (CEV) are from the Contemporary English Version Copyright © 1991, 1992, 1995 by American Bible Society. Used by Permission.

Thursday, September 9, 2021
The apostle Paul writes that God has given the Christ follower good reason to be confident and courageous.
2 Corinthians 5:6-8 Therefore we are always confident and know that, while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. (NIV)
The times in which today’s verses were written were uncertain, filled with evil people doing evil deeds – not really that different than today. But God is on the move! When you don’t think He is doing something, He is doing something!
The apostle Paul says “we are confident” because “faith” gives us confidence! We cannot see the presence of the Lord, but we sense the power and presence of His Spirit within us. Secondly, we are confident or courageous, because our citizenship is in heaven and if we die we shall be with the Savior forever.
Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.comThe “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

Wednesday, September 8, 2021
The Psalmist reminds you that God sees and cares when His children die.
Psalm 116:15 The Lord cares deeply when His loved ones die. (NLT)
Why does God care when we die? We are His creation and our existence on this earth was an intentional act of God – we are His workmanship! When He created man He pronounced it “good!” Almighty God is deeply invested in you!
He knows the number of hairs on your head and though He sees the sparrow fall, how much more will He care for you for whom He sent His only Son to die? God cares when we die – because we are an extension of His life! Becoming like Him and bringing Him glory is the purpose of our lives!
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021
The writer of Hebrews explains that Jesus, as Savior from sin, has freed the Christ-follower from the fear of death.
Hebrews 2:14-15 We are people of flesh and blood. That is why Jesus became one of us. He died to destroy the devil, who had power over death. But He also died to rescue all of us who live each day in fear of dying. (CEV
In today’s verse the writer of Hebrews reveals how Jesus has removed a Christ-follower’s fear of death! Someone said fear of dying comes from a fear that death will be a doorway to hell vs. being a doorway to heaven. How has Jesus removed that fear?
By dying on the cross, Jesus took on Himself all your sins (and mine) and paid the penalty for them. When we believe that fact and trust Christ to be our only Savior from sin’s penalty – it takes away or destroys the ability of Satan to accuse us! Now, in Christ, we have the assurance that death is merely being “absent from the body and present with the Lord”!
Scripture quotations marked (CEV) are from the Contemporary English Version Copyright © 1991, 1992, 1995 by American Bible Society, Used by Permission.

Monday, September 6, 2021
The Psalmist uses the Shepherd psalm to remind you that God watches over His own even in life’s darkest hours.
Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. (NASB)
When you’re going through a fiery trial . . . time can seem to slow down and you fear the pain will never end! It’s easy to forget that God promises to be with His followers in good times and bad! One of the names for Jesus in the Bible is “Emmanuel” — “God with us”. It was this sort of presence of God in the lives of the three Hebrew young men in Old Testament Daniel’s time, which gave them the courage to refuse to worship the golden image of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar.
There are times when the destructive power of death and evil seem to hang over us, and we feel at any moment all could be lost! I once heard that since the valley described is the “valley of the shadow of death”, there must be a light source for there to be a shadow. The light, for the Christ-follower, would be Jesus — the “Light of the World” — who will never leave us!

Friday, September 3, 2021 The unknown author writes that God knows His own and values their service on His behalf. Hebrews 6:10  For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name . . . (NASB) In the world there are those who come close

Thursday, September 2, 2021 Moses records a priestly blessing that reflects the loving heart of God. Numbers 6:24-26 The Lord bless you, and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace. (NASB) It’s such a freeing

Wednesday, September 1, 2021 The apostle Paul writes to commend Christ-followers for their generosity. II Corinthians 9:13 . . . they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution . . . (NASB) The New Testament church of Corinth (modern day Greece)

Tuesday, August 31, 2021 The apostle Paul gives thanks for the spiritual growth in one group of Christ-followers. II Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever