VIDEO A Vow to Cherish (1999)

Jun 15, 2015

A business executive’s life is turned upside-down when his wife contracts a debilitating disease.

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Does It Spark Joy?

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true . . . noble . . . right . . . pure . . . lovely . . . admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

A young Japanese woman’s book on decluttering and organizing has sold two million copies worldwide. The heart of Marie Kondo’s message is helping people get rid of unneeded things in their homes and closets—things that weigh them down. “Hold up each item,” she says, “and ask, ‘Does it spark joy?’” If the answer is yes, keep it. If the answer is no, then give it away.

The apostle Paul urged the Christians in Philippi to pursue joy in their relationship with Christ. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4). Instead of a life cluttered with anxiety, he urged them to pray about everything and let God’s peace guard their hearts and minds in Christ (vv. 6–7).

Let God’s peace guard your heart and mind in Christ. Philippians 4:6-7

Looking at our everyday tasks and responsibilities, we see that not all of them are enjoyable. But we can ask, “How can this spark joy in God’s heart and in my own?” A change in why we do things can bring a transformation in the way we feel about them.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true . . . noble . . . right . . . pure . . . lovely . . . admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (v. 8).

Paul’s parting words are food for thought and a recipe for joy.

Lord, show me how You want to spark joy in the tasks I face today.

A focus on the Lord is the beginning of joy.

INSIGHT:Paul’s encouragement to rejoice in difficult situations wasn’t from the perspective of someone who did not understand suffering. On Paul’s second missionary journey (ad 50–52), he was falsely accused of disturbing the social peace of the city. Severely flogged and unjustly imprisoned (Acts 16:20–25), Paul remained a picture of calmness and peace. Luke tells us that in the midst of such adversity, “Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God” (v. 25). Paul knew what it meant to “not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Phil. 4:6). He could write these words because he himself practiced them. Are you at peace like Paul when life is difficult?

When Spiritual Passion Diminishes

2 Timothy 1:1-11

Do you feel yourself growing cold toward the Lord? As His children, we can never lose our salvation, but it is possible for our spiritual passion to cool.

Today’s passage reveals that even Timothy experienced a decrease in his excitement for God. That’s why Paul wrote to him, encouraging the young pastor at Ephesus to fan the flame of his faith.

Spiritual “cooling” can happen to any Christian. Oftentimes it starts when tragedy or disappointment diverts our attention. Instead of crying out to the Lord and finding shelter in Him, we gradually cease reading the Bible. The Word of God is like wood in a fireplace: The flames can be kept alive only when there are logs to burn. As less time is spent in Scripture, other aspects of our relationship with God are affected. Church attendance diminishes, giving becomes sporadic, and prayer—which seems increasingly stale—is used only for emergencies.

At this point, we may find ourselves unwilling to stand up for what we once deemed important. The temptation to compromise can lead to guilt and defensiveness about how we’re living. Finally, the joy, contentment, and peace of God are replaced by worry, doubt, and fear.

A believer who allows himself to drift will miss out on the comfort and fulfillment of a close, vibrant relationship with the Lord. Think back. Is your excitement about the things of God stronger now than ever before? Or has it diminished over time? If your fire needs stoking, ask the Holy Spirit to show you how.

Tomorrow

“Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” (Proverbs 27:1)

The sin of procrastination may not be one of the so-called “seven deadly sins,” but it may come close if it involves neglecting to do what God has clearly commanded us to do. Sins of omission may well be as serious in many cases as sins of commission. The Bible warns: “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).

To the professing Christian who deliberately goes against God’s will, either by neglect or intent, Jesus warns: “And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes” (Luke 12:47). This was spoken in the context of a parable, but the message was clear that it is dangerous to ignore God’s revealed will.

The principle even applies in the secular realm. “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow” (James 4:13-14).

The most dangerous sin of procrastination, of course, is neglecting to come to Christ for forgiveness and salvation. As Paul stressed: “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). Ignoring God while fully involved in pleasure or business or anything else is at least presumptuous. To the rich man in Christ’s parable who had spent his life concentrating on accumulating goods, God said: “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” (Luke 12:20). We do not know what even one tomorrow may bring, so we need to “walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time” (Colossians 4:5). HMM

“The Lord shall guide thee continually.”

Genesis 24:1-4, 10-31

Genesis 24:1

This is the summing-up of his life. Yet the former chapters record many and painful afflictions; and, doubtless, the Lord had made these also to be blessings.

Genesis 24:2-4

The godly seed must be kept separate. It is not fit for believers to be joined in marriage with the unregenerate.

Genesis 24:10-4

That business will be sure to speed which is carried on in the spirit of prayer. All matters concerning marriage should especially be prayed over.

Genesis 24:15

Here was the hand of Providence. Observe it in your own lives also.

Genesis 24:27

Answered prayer should be thankfully acknowledged unto God.

Genesis 24:31

All difficulties vanished, everything was as he could wish it. It may not be thus with us; but if any course of conduct can make it so, it is that which begins and ends with prayer.

 

It’s Time for You To Stop Acting Like You’re a Victim!

Colossians 2:15

We can count on the fact that there are unseen evil forces that have been assigned to kill, steal, and destroy everything good in our lives. The Bible clearly teaches that these devilish forces band together to commit acts of aggression against the saints—and that includes you and me!

This truth is quite evident in Scripture, for Paul wrote many verses about spiritual weapons, spiritual armor, and how we are to resist these unseen, demonic forces. Yet it is very important that we approach this subject with the right attitude!

Because of Jesus’ death on the Cross and His resurrection from the dead, the forces of hell are already defeated. However, even though they have been legally stripped of their authority and power, they continue to roam around this earth, carrying out evil deeds like criminals, bandits, hooligans, and thugs. And just like criminals who refuse to submit to the law, these evil spirits will continue to operate in this world until some believer uses his God-given authority to enforce their defeat!

We need to get ahold of this truth: These demonic forces are legally stripped of their authority and are defeated! We are not puny, struggling believers who are somehow trying to learn how to cope with the devil’s attacks against us. We’re not merely trying to learn how to scrape by or survive. Jesus’ death and resurrection gave us the legal authority to keep Satan under our feet, so we must always make sure we approach spiritual warfare as victors and not victims.

Let’s look at Colossians 2:15 to gain a greater revelation of the victory Jesus has already accomplished for you and me through His death, burial, and resurrection. Paul tells us that Jesus “… made a shew of them openly….” The word “openly” is taken from the word parresia, a word that is used throughout the books of the New Testament to denote boldness or confidence.

By using the word parresia, Paul declares that when Jesus was finishing His dealings with Satan, His victory over the devil was no “quiet affair.” Quite the contrary! Jesus boldly, confidently, and loudly exposed and displayed this now-defunct foe to Heaven’s hosts. Make no mistake! When Jesus “made a shew of them openly,” it was quite a spectacular show!

The verse continues, “… He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” The word “triumph” is taken from the Greek word triambeuo, which is a technical word used to describe a general or an emperor returning home from a grand victory in the enemy’s territory. Specifically, the word “triumph” was used to describe the emperor’s triumphal parade when he returned home.

When a returning emperor or general came striding through the gates on his big, powerful, and beautiful horse, he was accompanied by his fellow victorious warriors, who also appeared glorious after their triumphant battle. As the parade followed, the weaponry and treasures seized from the enemy’s territory were grandly displayed for all to see.

The grand finale to this triumphal procession was the foreign ruler himself. This ruler had been beaten and bound in chains and was now being forced to walk in disgrace, shame, dishonor, embarrassment, and humiliation as crowds of people came to celebrate his defeat and to get a “peek” at a once-powerful but now totally defeated opponent.

So when Colossians 2:15 declares that Jesus triumphed over evil powers, it is explicitly declaring that Jesus took the enemy apart piece by piece as He thoroughly “spoiled principalities and powers.” When Jesus was finished with those demonic forces, they were utterly plundered“stripped to bare nakedness” and left with nothing in hand to retaliate!

 

Because of the words parresia and triumbeuo, Colossians 2:15 conveys this idea:

“… He gallantly strode into Heaven to celebrate His victory and the defeat of Satan and his forces. As part of His triumphal process, He flaunted the spoils seized from the hand of the enemy. Yet the greatest spectacle of all occurred when the enemy himself was openly put on display as bound, disgraced, disabled, defeated, humiliated, and stripped bare….”

Jesus’ victory over Satan was a momentous affair! When Jesus returned, He was totally triumphant! The party Heaven threw that day was enormous! All of Heaven’s hosts came to celebrate Jesus’ victory and Satan’s downfall and demise! Right there in front of everyone, Jesus displayed the devil and his cohorts, so all could know that this enemy no longer had the legitimate right or the necessary arms to prolong his rule of terrorism.

Once again, Satan is not a force we are trying to defeat; he is already defeated. But because very few believers know how to effectively use their God-given authority to resist Satan, he tries to continue illegally operating and doing damage to the souls of men and even to the creation itself.

No matter what demonic strategy may come against you this day or how many demons are assembled together for your destruction, you never have to go down defeated. Jesus plundered the enemy when He rose from the dead. So when you look into the mirror, you need to learn to see yourself as one who already has the victory You already possess the authority necessary to keep Satan under your feet where he belongs. Remember, you are no longer a victim—you are a victor!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I thank You for the victory You obtained by Your resurrection from the dead! No one else could have done what You did for us. You invaded hell; broke the power of its demonic forces; seized their artillery; and bound the devil. And because You did all this, You set us free! You are our great Victor, our great Champion, and You are the Lord of all lords. Thank You for cleansing me with Your blood and granting me the honor to be called a child of God and a joint heir with You.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that Satan is not a force I am trying to defeat because he is already defeated. I use my God-given authority to resist him, and he flees from me. No matter what demonic strategy may come against me this day or how many demons may try to assemble together for my destruction, I NEVER have to go down in defeat. When I look into the mirror, I see someone who already has the victory. I possess the authority necessary to keep Satan under my feet where he belongs!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Do you approach life like you are a victorious champion, or a struggling victim?
  2. Do you quickly give in to defeat, or do you dig in your heels and refuse to go down defeated?
  3. What changes could you make in your thoughts, words, and attitudes to help you maintain a more victorious approach to life?

Because of Jesus’ death on the Cross and His resurrection from the dead, the forces of hell are already defeated. However, even though they have been legally stripped of their authority and power, they continue to roam around this earth, carrying out evil deeds like criminals, bandits, hooligans, and thugs. And just like criminals who refuse to submit to the law, these evil spirits will continue to operate in this world until some believer uses his God-given authority to enforce their defeat!

 

Clinging To The Lord Your God

You are to cling to the Lord your God.” – These were Joshua’s parting words to wayward Israel, just before his death. (See Joshua 23:8)

 

CLING :

 

To hold fast to something, as by grasping, sticking, embracing, or winding around“.

  • As a wet raincoat would CLING to your back.
  • As a person on the verge of death would CLING to life.

To remain attached in thought or practice“.

 

To follow close after, pursue hard; to resist separation“.

 

Jesus put it this way: “If anyone wants to follow in my footsteps, he must give up all right to himselfand keep close behind me.” (Luke 9:23a – Phillips)

 

CLINGING conveys the sense of desperation: That there is no other viable option.

 

QUESTION: ARE YOU CLINGING TO CHRIST? Or to:

 

Your bank account?

 

Your reputation?

 

Your capabilities?

 

SELF SUFFICIENCY is the arrogant assumption that I can go it alone… without God.

 

CLINGING is the humble acknowledgment that I must be intimately connected to God for life to make sense and to be worth living.

 

In Joshua’s admonition to CLING to God he gives this warning:

 

If you ever go back and CLING to the rest of these nations (i.e. the world and its values)(they) shall be to you as:

 

A snare and a trapA whip on your sidesThorns in your eyesuntil you perish from off this good land which the Lord your God has given you.” (Joshua 23:12)

 

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