Monday, March 30, 2015

On The Road To Completion

“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ”
Philippians (1:6)

One of the greatest blessings of my life was the night that I invited Jesus Christ into my heart as my Lord and Savior at an altar call standing next to my precious nine-year-old son. We had been attending for weeks, and I had been resisting the tugging of the Holy Spirit. And it was no different that night until I looked up and saw my sweet boy walking up the altar to give his life to Christ. I could no longer resist the Holy Spirit. I knew God was calling me by name. Hand in hand, my son and I received the gift of salvation. Our eternal destiny changed that night, but my personal road to the altar of salvation began in the heart of a little girl so many years before, who did not know love, security, acceptance, or joy, but was blessed to have seeds of hope sown into her life by God’s people. So like Paul, I can stand in complete confidence that my God is faithful to finish the work that He began, but salvation is just the beginning.

So what exactly is the work that He started, and what does the completed work look like?  It is the work of sanctifying, purifying, and transforming us into the image of Jesus. Romans 8:29 declares, "For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestined TO BE CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF HIS SON, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren." At the moment of salvation, God begins the process of transforming us into the very image of Christ which means that we are a work in progress.  God is not finished with us yet.

There is good news and bad news in this profound truth. The good news is that God will not leave us as we are, so we have hope for the future. The bad news is that He will not leave us as we are, so he starts to chip away at us, and sometimes it’s quite painful, but His goal is always to conform us to the image of Christ.  The Christian life is difficult and can be marked with much suffering.  In Acts 14:22 we read that Paul encouraged the believers facing persecution and trials... “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” This servant of God understood that it is in our darkest trials where we encounter the Living God and learn to cling to Him and find our sufficiency in Him and Him alone.  So be encouraged Child of God.  Many of us have a long way to go and have to travel many miles on the sanctification road, but He is not finished with us. 

If you are losing hope in your trial -- if you are feeling defeated -- if you’ve blown it -- don’t give the enemy victory.  Learn the lesson that God wants to teach you, and get up and walk. He is not finished with you yet.  And that goes for those you love – your prodigals, your relationships, etc.  If He began the work, He will complete it on either side of Heaven. 

Someday you and I will stand before Jesus Christ as redeemed children of God—holy, blameless, and complete in every way.  We are far from that now, but someday everything unfinished will be finished, broken things will be made whole, wounds will be healed, what is incomplete will be made complete. Has God begun a good work in your life? Do you feel incomplete and unfinished?  Do not fear, child of God, He has promised to do it, and he cannot lie. Do not lose hope. Do not be discouraged. He will be faithful to complete His work in you.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

No Other Name

No Other Name
“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. “
(Acts 4:12)

This claim by Peter – made after he healed a lame man in Jesus’ name – was first made by Jesus himself. “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” He said. “No one comes to the father except through Me.” (John 14:6).  Today we hear people say, All paths lead to God,” but that contradicts what Jesus said.  He said, “I am the door of the sheep.  All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers.’ (John 10:7-8)

These exclusive claims irritate a lot of people. They get upset if you declare that He is the only way. They call you a bigot, or narrow-minded.  People would like to think that all roads lead to heaven.  They would like to think they can live as they please and abide by their own rules.  But God has set the rules for mankind.  And the Word of God declares that there is only one way by which a man can be saved.

You can’t be saved by being good, religious, or sincere. You can’t be saved by keeping the law. The Bible says, “By the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. (Galatians 2:16)

If the power of the name of Jesus can make a lame man walk, then the power of the name of Jesus can cleanse a person from their sins. No other name under heaven has such power – none but Jesus Christ.

Father, thank you for Jesus. His name is so sweet and brings such comfort and hope to us. Thank You that You have provided salvation through His precious name.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

By Pastor Chuck Smith 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Set Apart

The word “sanctify” means to be set apart. In the temple, vessels were set apart to be used exclusively in the worship of God. They were to be used for no other purpose. And that is what sanctification means for us – that we might set apart from the world and freed from the world’s influences, that we might be committed and dedicated unto Him, that we might be God’s own property.

Our lives are bombarded on a daily basis. Every  time you turn on the TV or the radio, every time you step into a mall or a grocery store, seductions and enticements try to draw you after the things God has declared to be impure. We need to partake of the Word daily in order to counteract these influences of the world. At the end of each day, let the Word of God cleanse you from all the junk you have been exposed to.

And Jesus said in John 15:3, “ You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.”  It is His Word that cleanses away the filth we have been exposed to each day.
Because we love God, we should want to fulfill His desires. I He desires that we be kept from the world, set apart, then we should want to too. We should be diligent to make our stand against evil. And if God says that the Word is what cleanses us, then we should go to the Word daily

Father, we thank You that You have loved us and have taken us out of the world and given us heavenly citizenship. Set us apart, Lord, Through Your Word.
In Jesus ‘Name, Amen.

Pastor Chuck Smith 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Life’s Interruptions Are God’s Opportunities

Like most people, I  have a very busy life. I run a business, and my days are filled with meetings, closing deals, handling the day to day operations, etc. Sometimes it seems as if there are not enough hours in a day to get everything done. So my time is very valuable to me. But it’s usually in those times of my life where I find myself extremely put off and annoyed at being inconvenienced with my time, where the Lord speaks to me most powerfully.  This was the case in the Summer of 2011, when I was feeling extremely aggravated, as our plane sat on the tarmac still awaiting clearance for takeoff after an already hour delay.  My family and I were headed to Hawaii, my favorite tropical place on earth for a much needed vacation. So, yeah, I was a little upset with the delay.  But rather than staying in that state, the Lord led me to pick up my bible. I opened it to Genesis and my God began to speak to me through His word.  

“The serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For that in the day that you will eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. “
Genesis 3:4-5

Man was not created to handle the knowledge of good and evil, or to know sin.   That was not Gods plan for mankind. Genesis 1:31 tells us that God said His creation was very good. It was perfection, but ever since that day in the garden when Adam and Eve chose to believe the lie of Satan over God’s truth, man has been struggling with his sinful nature. We sin without even thinking about it. It's as natural as breathing.  On the contrary, walking in peace with God takes effort. It is a conscious choice that we must willingly make every day to stay close to Him and walk in obedience. We need to get up and seek His face daily, not because we are trying to earn our acceptance, but because we need to be filled, refreshed and poured into in order to walk this Christian life. When we seek God's face, we don't become sinless, we just begin to sin less.  It’s not a works thing, it’s an effort thing. We need to make the effort to spend time with Jesus. It comes down to what we value. And just like we value our time, our God values the time we spend with Him. 

One of the few things we have to offer our God is our personal time, everything else He already owns. It’s already His.  But our time on earth is ours until He decides to call us home. He loves us so much, that He just wants to spend time with us. After all, we were created for His good pleasure. That is the only reason we are alive today. What is the meaning of life? To fellowship and worship our creator – The Great I Am, Jesus Christ, the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. 

As the Lord spoke these profound truths to me, my heart was moved to repentance, and my spirit was revived. What I had seen as an inconvenience was actually a God opportunity. God is always speaking to us but are we listening? Sometimes he just might orchestrate situations in our lives so that we will spend time with Him. Those times are always a blessing and may even be an opportunity to shine our light and draw others to Jesus. One of the flight attendants asked me if I was reading a good book. Talk about an open opportunity to talk about Jesus. Be thankful for interruptions.

by James Trent

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Living Waters

“Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst."
John 4:13-14

Deep within every man there is an intense thirst for God. As David, said, “My soul thirsts for You: my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1).
Man tries to satisfy that thirst in different ways and through different experiences – Drugs, alcohol, or, like the Samaritan woman, relationships. But those things can’t quench the thirst for God. 

A Thirst In Man Is A Thirst For God

If you drink of the water from the wells of life, you will thirst again. It would be wise to write that over each of your ambitions. “Go ahead, drink of that water. But you will thirst again.” Write that over every material thing you hope to possess – the new car, new home, boat, or whatever. Write that over every goal of your life. Achieve it, but you will surely thirst again.
When Jesus talked to the Samaritan woman about the living water, He was talking about the only thing that can possibly satisfy the deep thirst of the soul—a relationship with God.
Are you thirsty today? Forget the world’s water. Drink deeply of the living water – and find the satisfaction you long for.

Lord, we thank You that You make a way for us to satisfy the deep thirst of our soul. May we come, may we drink, and find that satisfaction that our soul is seeking.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Pastor Chuck Smith "Wisdom For Today"