1 John 2:1
“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
The reality is that we all have done wrong. We have sinned against God and others and without help; we are condemned to pay for our wrongs. While this may be true, the Bible says that we have an advocate. His name is Jesus Christ, and He is the One who stands between us and condemnation. How can Jesus stand as an advocate for us? It is because He is the perfect, sinless Son of God. He has done no wrong and even more than that, Jesus has taken our wrong to the grave when He died on the cross. When He rose again three days later, He rose as our redeemer and our advocate.
There is one important distinction to also be aware of in regards to our advocate, Jesus. Notice that He is the only advocate we have. There is no other person in Heaven or on earth who can stand before God and plead our case. There is no one who is able to declare our innocence but Jesus, because He is the very one who took our sin from us. He is the greatest Advocate we could ever desire and He promises to never leave us or forsake us for all eternity.
Life Lesson: It is the righteous, sinless life of Jesus Christ that makes Him the only viable advocate for us.
I am humbled by the love, grace and advocacy I have in Jesus. Thank You for sending Him to earth so that I could be forgiven and free. Fill me with Your Spirit so that I can live a life that points others to the amazing grace of Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ name, Amen
2 Corinthians 8:2
“They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity.”
It’s been said that you can tell the spiritual commitment of someone by looking at their day planner and their checkbook. The day planner shows the way they spend their time and the checkbook shows where they invest their resources. As believers, we should be walking generously in both of these areas. While we all understand this truth, it’s harder in the application. One of the reasons it is a struggle is because our enemy does not want you to be blessed, and he knows that if you live a generous life, God is going to bless that. Why does God bless the giver? He blesses because He knows we will continue to use His blessings to bless others. This is why giving is more than just a church or ministry funding effort. God uses giving to grow His children. Here are some important truths about giving:
Giving is obedience.
Giving is rewarded.
Giving is worship.
Giving is glorifying.
Giving is blessed.
After you look at all those descriptions the question remains, “Why not give?” If we can worship the Lord through our finances, then shouldn’t we jump on that? If it glorifies God and blesses others, shouldn’t that be a priority? Today, let’s pray for God to instill in us generous hearts that love to worship Him with our whole life, including our checkbook.
Life Lesson: True joy does not come through what we get, but lasting joy comes through what we give. God encourages us to give. There is great joy in giving.
Thank You for the many blessings You have given me. You have blessed me with my life as well as eternal life through Jesus. Help me to live generously with my time and money. Give me opportunities to love others and support Your work in my community and around the world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
2 Chronicles 6:34-42
When God’s people are disobedient, we suffer His wrath because we have rejected His way. God desires a restored relationship with His people, but we, as believers, still have a responsibility in our own revival. That responsibility, outlined in 2 Chronicles 7:14, calls for specific action:“If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray . . . “ With these words, God reveals that revival is primarily focused on His people.
When believers come to God on His terms with humble hearts, we give God permission to take action. When we open the door for revival through prayer, God works on our sins and addresses how they affect our lives.
“. . . and seek my face . . . ” Seeking His face means seeking His presence, submitting to His authority, and approaching God on His terms.
“. . . and turn from their wicked ways . . . “ With these words, God is calling for spiritual and physical action as prerequisites to His intervention. We must rid ourselves of excuses and crutches, which are often disguised as addictions and issues.
Only when we seek God’s will with humility, prayer and obedience will true revival occur
David cries out in Psalm 85:6, “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in You?” and as Christians we must echo that petition. How do we know if we need a revival? Historically, revivals are preceded by spiritual decline, such as divisiveness, anger, continuous crises, addictions and service without passion. Simply put, the need for revival is a result of sin in our lives.
Revival is the restoration of the spiritual life of God’s people and a return to the abundant life God intended for His followers. When God revives us, we can expect real change!
If you have experienced a crisis in your life lately, examine whether God has a purpose behind it. Perhaps God has taken steps to get your attention, and the next step is yours.
First, you must identify the change that needs to take place in your own life for true revival. I encourage you to spend time asking God to let you see yourself from His perspective. Let Him tell you what needs to change!
WALKING THE WALK..
For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; (Hebrews 3:14)
Here we have an encouragement to keep on walking the walk. God will help us to persevere. He would never give us something that we cannot do through Him. As partakers of Christ, we have the privilege of having Christ’s righteousness put on us. Then God sees Christ’s righteousness instead of our sin. We are allowed this privilege if we persevere in the practice and proclamation of Christianity.
Preaching Themes: Faith, Wisdom
I do not seek to understand in order that I may believe, but I believe in order that I may understand; for of this I feel sure, that, if I did not believe, I would not understand.
2 Corinthians 7:4
“Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.”
It’s hard to think of a trial as a good thing, but in 2 Corinthians 7, Paul indicates that we can find joy in our trials. How can this be? After all, trials are painful. Trials may be painful, but they are also great opportunities to see how God has changed our lives. Remember in school when you took a test and knew the material? You looked forward to it. It was a chance to exercise what you were learning. The same is true in our faith. We can see what we are learning through our trials.
Another joyful purpose of a trial is to learn from it. God will use difficult situations to teach us about ourselves or about other people. We can learn how to respond in a situation or how not to respond. Sometimes when we don’t learn the lesson, we repeat the trial. We waste time, energy and effort by not ‘getting it’. In our relationships, we often think we should part ways at the first sign of conflict. When we do this, we are responding carnally or unspiritually and miss out on a great opportunity to love one another. If every time you have conflict you flee, you will never develop love and maturity in your Christian life; therefore, leading to trouble in your church relationships, in your marriage and your friendships. Use each trial that comes your way to grow in Christ. As you grow through them, you will be able to rejoice in tribulation because; it will draw you closer to God.
Life Lesson: Trials can be our chance to show what we know or what we have learned.
Thank You for the difficulties in my life. While they are not easy to walk through, I know that they are being used to teach me new things. Help me to depend on You during these times and to learn the lessons You have for me, the first time. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Who shall also confirm you unto the end, [that ye may be] blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:8)
“How desirable is it to be confirmed and kept of Christ for such a purpose as this! How glorious are the hopes of such a privilege, whether for ourselves or others! To be kept by the power of Christ from the power of our own corruption and Satan’s temptation, that we may appear without blame in the great day! O glorious expectation, especially when the faithfulness of God comes in to support our hopes!”
Matthew 6:1-4 gives some important insight into giving,
“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.”
Jesus points us to a truth that is vital to us as Christians: Giving is an issue of the heart.
God will not honor your giving if, when you give, your heart is saying, “I want everyone to know what I’m doing. I want to be noticed when I give. I want everyone to know just how generous and kind I am and what a benevolent heart I have.”
We should give with a pure motive. When we give with the right motive, not to be seen by men but out of a right heart, God will reward us openly. That may not exactly translate into dollars and cents, but it will translate into tangible blessings, things that people can see.
If nobody else knows you kicked in the extra hundred bucks, don’t worry about it. God sees, and He has a way of rewarding you openly. Everyone will recognize the hand of God is on you. God’s blessings will come into your life.
So when you give, check your heart to make sure you are giving with the right motive.
1 John 1:8-10
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”
We tend to think about grace pouring down over us as a one time event. If it was a one time event, we are in trouble. You see the grace of God is something that we need every day. We are told that the mercy of the Lord endures forever. That means it will never grow too small or be worn out. As we look at the life of Peter, we see a man who fell and then got up. There is a lesson in that for us. We often count ourselves out when the Lord has not counted us out. There is no one beyond the reach of His grace. If this includes Peter and his denials, it includes us and our misbehaviors. Though we struggle and though we sometimes fail, we can live in this knowledge. We have 24/7 access to His love and forgiveness. We live in the grip of His grace.
Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together,” says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.” NKJV
Life Lesson: As followers of Jesus, we can be forgiven of all our mistakes.
Thank You for Your grace, and may I run to Your throne of grace often. Please forgive me of every thing that hinders me in running the race. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.