Daily Light – August 16, 2017

Today’s Daily Light:
 
This Week we will ‘Graze’ in the Word to remind ourselves of who He is..and who we are and what we have ‘IN’ Him 
 
Isaiah 40:31   “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Isaiah 43:10-11   “You are my witnesses, declares the Lord, and my servant who I have chosen, ‘so that’ you may know and believe me and understand that I am He.  Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.  I, even I , am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior.”
    
The Christian life…our daily walk…should be viewed as a journey that is progressive in nature…we are always seeking to move forward ‘in’ our knowledge and love of God.  It is in and through our position in Jesus Christ, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, wherein we have the basis, the position, the structure and means to ‘walk’ our life long walk through ‘faith’ in who God and Jesus say they are and what they have done…what they will do…that we believe this and our ‘walk’ is a demonstration…through faith and believing…that we truly believe.   Do you get that?   If we say we believe…then we need to walk like we believe.   In order to do ‘that’…we must be empowered and led by God’s spirit, which lives inside us.   We believe..thus ‘faith’ is activated and we walk in faith…the word of God is our lamp and roadmap…we believe and we press on….we fall at times….we get weak and weary at times…but because we are ‘in’ Christ…we will renew our strength, we can soar in the spirit of truth…and walk it out….staying focused on the path that leads to eternal life.   Amen.
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Daily Light – August 15, 2017

Today’s Daily Light:
This Week we will ‘Graze’ in the Word to remind ourselves of who He is..and who we are and what we have ‘IN’ Him 
Hebrews 11:1  “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
Hebrews 11: 6   “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
Psalm 119:105  “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”                 
Father…. ‘for sure’ I know that you ‘are’.  May we live a life today that proclaims that we ‘believe’ in You and we are ‘sure’.   Help us through activating ‘faith’ be sure and know that you are God and Lord and Creator and that you reward those who seek you.  Help us to seek you ‘so that’ we will remain ‘sure’ in all we think and do and say.   I know how easy it is for me to get distracted with the busy-ness and cares of this present world.   Help me to be in your ‘word’ sufficiently to give me sufficient light to always remain ‘sure’….to cause my spirit inside me to remain solidly in contact with You.  Father…I need You..I am dependent on You…through faith…I believe…I am sure.   Amen
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Daily Light – August 14, 2017

Today’s Daily Light:

This Week we will ‘Graze’ in the Word to remind ourselves of who He is..and who we are and what we have ‘IN’ Him 

1 Thessalonians 2:13    “We thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.”

1 Timothy    “We have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.”

Great Lord…we put our hope in you alone.  You are the Creator of life.  You are the only means to eternal life.   Because we believe in you, trust you, put our total faith and hope in YOU…your word dwells in us and ‘works’ in us.   Help us to read and study your ‘word’ ‘so that’ it can seep down into our souls and do its ‘work’.   You and Your word are one.  Help us to see that this week…Amen

    

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Daily Light – August 11, 2017

Today’s Daily Light:

Fight the Good Fight

The Apostle Paul…in writing to Timothy, said in I Timothy 6:12-16: “Fight the good fight of the faith.  Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.  In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and to Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ which God will bring about in His own time – – God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, who no one has seen or can see.  To Him be honor and might forever. Amen.”

Father…we have sooo many distractions in our minds…the default system of the sin nature inside us seeks to deceive us and keep us busy chasing shadows of things that can only provide short lived happiness…thus we must ‘fight the good fight…’so that’ we can take-hold of what is of eternal ‘substance’..and not just chase the shadows of temporary and meaningless things.    You…great Father..give us the power and energy to fight the good fight…to win the prize for which you have called us…to fight and press on….for You alone are worthy.   Help us today, through time we spend in Your word..to see this reality..to fight the good fight…because You are worth it.   Amen

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Daily Light – August 10, 2017

Today’s Daily Light:

Continuing and final of article by Owen Strachan:

You Can Anger God But Not Lose Him

A Better Father in a Greater World
As a just father acting in the image of the divine patriarch, my father reacted to my disobedience by punishing me. This sometimes hurt, as Scripture suggests it should; the rod that is not to be spared is not, it would initially appear, weightless (Prov. 13:24). But I knew even then with a 5-year-old’s capacity that though I could anger my dad, I would never lose him.
So it is, I think, with our heavenly father, who is greater than all our earthly fathers, some of whom may not have proven as kind as my own dad. God watches us; he disciplines us; he grips us with a holy love that never lets us go, never casts us out. This world is bitter and disappointing, filled with fathers who forsake and sever, but we know a better father living in a greater world, a world of love as Jonathan Edwards called it, a Trinitarian realm where God’s unfailing kindness never fails and never stops.

Father…I am sooo very thankful that you have never abandoned me, even in my times of failure and disobedience.  Thank you.  Thank you.   Thank you for your steadfast love that endures forever.  Thank you for including us in your eternal plan.   Help us to increasingly see and walk-in your love ‘so that’ we can demonstrate your love to those that do not know you and your wonderful love.  May we ‘go’ out and minister you love.  Amen

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Daily Light – August 9, 2017

Today’s Daily Light:

Continuing this weeks article by Owen Strachan:  You Can Anger God But Not Lose Him  
The Practical Effects of God’s Displeasure with Sin
The Christian is not to live in abject fear of God’s discipline. However, it is also true that sin is not to abound because grace abounds. It is the other way around (Rom. 5:20). We are to hate sin and to love grace. We cannot be laissez-faire about holiness. While it is marvelously true that Christ has won our salvation, we must not forget that he works with us to mold and make us into the new creation that we are (2 Cor. 5:17). Furthermore, we strive for holiness in order to win crowns and treasures in heaven and avoid displeasing the Lord (Matt. 6:20; see also Eph. 6; 1 John 1).
We do so through faith given of God. John Piper said as much in his Pleasures of God: “We should never think of obedience as something unattached to saving faith as though the one could exist for long without the other. Obedience to Christ is the necessary result of true faith” (247). Put differently by German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the one who believes obeys, and the one who obeys believes (Cost of Discipleship, 68). True belief in the true Christ drives true holiness.
Let’s consider a picture of this. Our spiritual lives resemble a long car drive through winding terrain—think Pilgrim’s Progress for the interstate generation. We keep our eyes on the distant horizon while paying attention to any number of possible problems on the road directly before us. We need both a bigger view of a grand God and careful attention to the sins that so easily beset us in our daily lives to make it safely through to the other side. It is not one perspective or the other that we need; it is indubitably both.
And Dear Father…help us to start each day visualizing how grand and glorious You are..and thus to let ‘that ‘view’ influence each day’s activities… ‘so that’ we can maximize bearing eternal fruit.   Amen
    

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Daily Light – August 8, 2017

Today’s Daily Light:

Continuing this weeks article by Owen Strachan:  You Can Anger God But Not Lose Him  

The Spirit Is Stronger Still

The fact that our sins displease God motivates us in practical terms to put our unrighteousness to death through the power of the Spirit offered and given us in the gospel (Col. 3:1-10). Pastor-theologian John Calvin said it best in his Institutes: “[H]e who in the end profits by God’s scourges is the man who considers God angry at his vices, but merciful and kindly toward himself” (III:4:34). Like David, God is angry at our “vices,” but if we may inject some Lutheran paradox into our treatment of Calvin, this anger is also kindness that leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4).

God’s response to the sin of believers is not vengeance, Calvin noted, but “chastisement.” The Frenchman pointed out that “when a father quite severely corrects his son, he does not do this to take vengeance on him or to maltreat him, but rather to teach him and to render him more cautious therefore” (III:4:31). The authors of the Westminster Confession concurred with Calvin when they noted that believers “may, by their sins, fall under God’s fatherly displeasure, and not have the light of his countenance restored unto them, until they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance” (11.5).

How, then, do we know when we are being chastised? Is God always chastising us since we constantly sin? The Spirit continually convicts us of sin, giving us a low-level form of chastisement (John 16:8). Discipline of the kind that David faced is rare in biblical terms, it seems, and reserved for outsized sins; paraphrasing Calvin, some transgressions receive greater harshness, and many meet with more kindly indulgence (III:4:35). In many cases, we respond to the Spirit’s prompting when our sins have not fully blossomed, a pattern that Calvin calls “voluntary chastisement.” When by the Spirit’s power we train our eyes not to surf over sexual images, or our bodies to avoid gluttonous choices, or our lips not to self-promote, we are engaging in our own chastisement, and no greater penalty will result. So often in our lives, we do not receive what our sins deserve.

Dear Father…your plan is amazing.  Your fatherly love is so ‘sure’.  Thank you that when we sin…that you continue…through your convicting love…to draw us to yourself.  I thank you that you desire a relationship with us.  Thank you that you forgive.   Amen

    

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Daily Light – August 7, 2017

Today’s Daily Light:

Over the course of this week, we will read an article by Owen Strachan:  You Can Anger God But Not Lose Him  

Owen Strachan is the author of Awakening the Evangelical Mind and The Pastor as Public Theologian (with Kevin Vanhoozer). A systematic theology professor at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, he is the director of the Center for Public Theology and hosts the City of God podcast. He is writing a Jonathan Edwards devotional (Tyndale House) and a theological anthropology (B&H Academic).

There is something about fatherly anger that unsettles. My own father was a good man and gentle in the right ways. Decades later, though, I can recall a flash of very early memory crystallized after disobedience on my part. The edges of my recollections are blurry, but there is anger there, just and raw. My childhood was not full of such moments. When needed, however, my father’s anger rose up. My fear rose with it.

This experience leads to a question that bears on our evangelical spirituality: Is it appropriate to suggest that God, our father, grows upset, even angry, over the sins of his justified children?

The Beauty of Gospel-Centered Spirituality

Some today have suggested that because of our regeneration, adoption, and justification, God looks on his children with unbroken favor. Nothing we do, goes the line, can change God’s affection for us. This view is grounded in what theologians call a positional understanding of our salvation. As Martin Luther put it, our savior, Jesus Christ, has transacted by his death and life the “sweet exchange.” He took our sin and gave us his righteousness. We stand justified in him.

I love Luther’s metaphor for justification, and it is my contention that the contemporary view is largely correct. Jesus used positional language in a typically visceral style when he said of those given him by God that “no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:29). Because God’s grace overwhelms our sin, we are held fast by our Savior. We are “in him,” as the apostle Paul said (Eph. 1:11), possessing union with Christ and all his merit.

The Best Father You Know

Is God, though, indifferent to our sin following our conversion? Is he something like a smiling, benevolent grandfather who executed all the hard work a generation ago?

I would suggest that the Lord is more like the best father you know, active, engaged, eminently fair, righteously opposing sin, and relentlessly gracious. Consider the example of David following his consummation of adultery with Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11-12). David’s horrible sin resulted in the most cathartic act of repentance in the Scriptures, a catharsis left bare for all to see in Psalm 51. Because in God’s grace David responded to God’s anger toward his sin with repentance, David stands as the anti-Judas. Like the entrepreneur-traitor, David sinned in a catastrophic way. Unlike the profiteer, David repented.

In the midst of all this, God registered divine dissatisfaction with David: “the thing that David had done displeased the Lord” (2 Sam. 11:27). The text’s terse description of the suffering of David’s sin chills the blood of any parent: “the Lord afflicted the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and he became sick” (2 Sam. 11:15). God acts justly in the face of our sin. This “just justice,” as we might call it, includes displeasure and tangible distress.

David, we note, was justified in God’s sight just like we are (see Gen. 15:6). Yet we see here that continual repentance for sin is called for (and seems nonsensical if God takes no notice of post-conversion transgressions). This is why, as Wayne Grudem has pointed out in For the Fame of God’s Name, when praying the Lord’s prayer we ask for forgiveness of our sins (Matt. 6:12Luke 11:4). Our post-conversion sins displease God. We pray for power over them so that we will “not grieve the Holy Spirit of God” whom Paul notes sealed the Ephesian Christians “for the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30).

At this point we might mention that God does not look upon his sinning children with wrath. The Davidic episode shows, though, that our on-the-ground decisions and actions matter to God and draw a response from him. God’s punitive response to sin is aimed at restoration and renewal. The Lord disciplined David, the man after his own heart, as one he loved, and so David could cry out, “blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin” (Psalm 32:2, quoted by Paul in Rom. 4:8 to demonstrate the beauty of justification). God does the same for all his children (see Prov. 3:12Heb. 12:6Rev. 3:19).

Father…this week, help us to more seriously regard our sin ‘so that’ we don’t waste so much time and spin our wheels ‘so that’ we live more mindful of what you desire and less about what we think we desire.  Amen 

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Daily Light – August 5, 2017

Today’s Daily Light:

Today is the last of the series:    How Dead People Do Battle With Sin (John Piper)

Forward-Looking Faith

This is the way dead people do battle with sin. This is what it means to be a Christian. We are dead in the sense that the old unbelieving self (the flesh) has died. In its place there is a new creation. What makes it new is FAITH. Not just a backward-looking belief in the death of Jesus, but a forward-looking belief in the promises of Jesus. Not just being sure of what he did do, but also being satisfied with what he will do.With all eternity hanging in the balance, we fight the fight of faith. Our chief enemy is the lie that says sin will make our future happier. Our chief weapon is the Truth that says God will make our future happier. And faith is the victory that overcomes the lie, because faith is satisfied with God.

The challenge before us then is not merely to do what God says because He is God, but to desire what God says because he is good. The challenge is not merely to pursue righteousness, but to prefer righteousness. The challenge is to get up in the morning and prayerfully meditate on the Scriptures until we experience joy and peace in believing “the precious and very great promises” of God (Romans 15:132 Peter 1:4). With this joy set before us the commandments of God will not be burdensome (1 John 5:3) and the compensation of sin will appear too brief and too shallow to lure us.

Father…thank you for what You did ‘do’ for us in Christ…and help us to increasingly be satisfied with what You have yet to do in us as relates to Your will being done in our lives.  Help us to desire what You desire.   Through faith, we see, believe, walk, and pray.    Thank You.  Amen

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Daily Light – August 4, 2017

Today’s Daily Light:

We continue this weeks study:   How Dead People Do Battle with Sin  (From an article by John Piper)

Satisfaction Slays Sin

The fight of faith is the fight to stay satisfied with God. “By faith Moses. . . forsook the fleeting pleasures of sin … He looked to the reward” (Hebrews 11:24-26). Faith is not content with “fleeting pleasures.” It is ravenous for joy. And the Word of God says, “In God’s presence is fullness of joy, and in his right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). So faith will not be sidetracked into sin. It will not give up so easily in its quest for maximum joy.

The role of God’s Word is to feed faith’s appetite for God. And in doing this it weans my heart away from the deceptive taste of lust. At first lust begins to trick me into feeling that I would really miss out on some great satisfaction if I followed the path of purity. But then I take up the sword of the Spirit and begin to fight. I read that it is better to gouge out my eye than to lust (Matthew 5:29). I read that if I think about things that are pure and lovely and excellent the peace of God will be with me (Philippians 4:8f.). I read that setting the mind on the flesh brings death, but setting the mind on the Spirit brings life and peace (Romans 8:6).

And as I pray for my faith to be satisfied with God’s life and peace, the sword of the Spirit carves the sugar coating off the poison of lust. I see it for what it is. And by the grace of God, its alluring power is broken.

Amen, Amen.

    

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