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Post  Admin on Fri 27 May 2011, 2:13 pm

Date: May 27, 2011 1:16 AM
Topic: +DEV+ Inheritance Guaranteed

Inheritance Guaranteed

"Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession - to the praise of his glory." (EPHESIANS 1:13B-14)
Scripture Focus: Ephesians 1:11-14

For those who have never lived on a ranch or farm with cattle, think of a Western movie with cattle ranchers. Picture the scene with the branding irons heating up in the fire. When the cow is thrown to the ground and tied, one of the ranch hands brings the branding iron out of the fire to press it against the animal. Smoke goes up with a stench of burnt flesh and hair. That mark is permanent and proves ownership of the rancher. It says, "This is mine! Don't mess with it."

In Christ, you have also been branded, though not with an external mark. It is the indwelling Holy Spirit that identifies you as being in Christ. The presence of the Holy Spirit in your heart says to the enemy, Satan, "This is God's child! Don't mess with him."

Not only does the Holy Spirit identify you as being God's child in Christ, He also is your guarantee of the final inheritance of heaven. So you are identified as belonging to Christ and guaranteed the full inheritance of a son or daughter of God in heaven.


Insight: Since God is 100% for you, who can be against you? The Holy Spirit has sealed you in Christ and Guaranteed your full inheritance.
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Post  Admin on Thu 26 May 2011, 5:16 pm

Date: May 26, 2011 2:07 AM
Topic: +DEV+ Infinite Righteousness
Infinite Righteousness
"God made him who had no sin to
be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 CORINTHIANS 5:21)
Scripture Focus: 2 Corinthians 5:16-21
How righteous is God, anyway? Well, perfectly so. Jesus knew no sin. Wow! Trying to really understand that is like trying to wrap your mind around the idea of infinity.
Imagine an "infinite distance." First, you can envision travelling around the world. Then we can think about flying to the moon as humans already have done. But now, picture an even greater leap: mentally go to the furthest object in the known universe. As you whiz past it, consider traveling even farther and realize you have only begun the voyage of an "infinite distance."
Actually, an infinite distance, by definition, is impossible. That is why it bends our minds when we try to conceive of it. Now, consider that Jesus was sinless. That is akin to being spiritually infinite; it is beyond normal human imagination. But that is the righteousness of God! And, here is the real marvel: we are made the righteousness of God when we are in Christ. I can't comprehend it; I just have to humbly and joyfully accept what my Savior has done for me.
Insight: Being made in Christ, the righteousness of God is cause for great rejoicing and humble worship. It is God's gift to all who believe the Gospel.
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Post  Admin on Tue 24 May 2011, 8:42 am

Date: May 24, 2011 12:37 AM
Topic: +DEV+ Liberty in Christ Jesus

Liberty in Christ Jesus

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened against a yoke of slavery." (GALATIANS 5:1)
Scripture Focus: Galatians 2:1-10

Solomon said, "There is nothing new under the sun." Today, we still fight the battles that Paul fought in the first century. One of those is legalism, the notion that in order for us to either gain or maintain God's favor, we have to keep particular rules. In Paul's ministry, it was largely Jewish law.


The Galatian believers accepted that one could come to faith and be a member of God's household, but in order to maintain God's favor, they insisted that perfect obedience was required. Paul's response was strong. "We did not give in to them [the teachers of legalism] for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you" (Galatians 2:5).

The truth of the gospel is that our relationship with God is by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone. We can do nothing to bolster our relationship with Him. We have liberty from legalism in Christ. His favor rests on us even in our imperfections and flaws. There is no condemnation for those like you and me who are in Christ Jesus.


Insight: The liberty of grace prompts overflowing gratitude to God for His salvation that transforms our lives from the inside out.


"Let us not forget to pray for those in Joplin Missouri"
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Post  Admin on Mon 23 May 2011, 1:31 pm

Date: May 23, 2011 1:12 AM
Topic: +DEV+ The Ultimate Arrival
The Ultimate Arrival
"...For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority." (COLOSSIANS 2:9-10)
Scripture Focus: Colossians 1:3-14
People everywhere want fulfillment, satisfaction, value and purpose. We pursue it in our careers, in our families, in our personal interests. But something always seems to be missing. Some will go to great lengths seeking advice from "professionals" or invest time and money for courses which "reveal the secrets of the universe" to make them whole.
The Creator of the universe, the One who is self-sufficient and in need of nothing - not seeking fulfillment, not looking for satisfaction, not trying to find value or discover His purpose - has arranged for pure fellowship with all who are in Christ. If you are in Christ, in Him you find your fulfillment, your great satisfaction, your absolute value and your ultimate purpose which is to glorify God and fully enjoy Him forever.
You need not seek a wise man or pay thousands of dollars to learn the secrets of the universe, for "in Christ all the fullness of Deity lives," and in Him you are complete. You've been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
Insight: If you are striving to understand your purpose for being, look to Jesus Christ, for in Him you have been made complete
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Post  Admin on Fri 20 May 2011, 8:39 pm

Date: May 19, 2011 11:59 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Justified as a Gift
Justified as a Gift
"...and justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."
(ROMANS 3:24)
Scripture Focus: Romans 3:21-26
The notion of righteousness has two prominent meanings in the Bible. We readily identify with the notion of our conduct: behave righteously; be consistent with God's character. But even at our best, we fall short of this ideal.
This inability to fully live in accordance with God's righteous character is what necessitates the other notion of righteousness. This is something that is positively added to our credit. It isn't just not sinning; it is a positive entry in our account. Not sinning is like not owing anything - a zero balance. But having Christ's righteousness attributed to us is like having a bank account with an unlimited positive balance. You are unable to even use it all up!
This is also referred to as justification. Paul says that we are justified "as a gift." When we come to faith in Christ, not only are our sins or debts forgiven, but we are supplied with a righteousness bank account that has an unlimited balance in it. It is God's gracious free gift to us. Receive His gift today.

Insight: Living righteously comes about as we learn to live on the unlimited righteous balance in our Heavenly bank account that was given to us in Christ.
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Post  Admin on Wed 18 May 2011, 10:43 am

Date: May 18, 2011 1:26 AM
Topic: +DEV+ By His Doing

By His Doing

"By his doing you are in Christ Jesus",
"Let him who boasts, boast in the LORD." (1 CORINTHIANS 1:30-31)
Scripture Focus: 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

It is a natural perception that anything we have of value, we have earned. My financial status is a measurement of my productivity and, for many of us, that translates into personal worth.

It is then logical to believe that my standing with God is something I also have to earn. But that is not the way of the gospel. Earth-bound values don't translate to the kingdom of God.

Paul makes it clear to the Corinthians that neither human wisdom nor strength earn anything with God; otherwise we could boast in our wisdom and strength. It is "by His doing" that you are in Christ So boast in the Lord. Your being blessed in Christ is not dependent on you and your ability to persevere. It is "by His doing."

Delight yourself in the Lord. If our being in Christ is dependent on our performance, we will fall under constant pressure to do more. Rather than delighting, we'll be striving. It is the will of God that we find pleasure in Him. That is easy to do when our relationship to Him is "by His doing," not by our own efforts.

Insight: You will find great delight when you focus on what God has done on your behalf rather than on what you have done for Him.
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Post  Admin on Tue 17 May 2011, 12:00 pm

Date: May 17, 2011 12:08 AM
Topic: +DEV+ Encourage One Another
Encourage One Another
"If it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to
the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is showing mercy,
let him do it cheerfully." (ROMANS 12:8)
Scripture Focus: Romans 12:1-8
When I write or speak words of encouragement, I personally am
performing a function for which I was created in Christ. I am, by
God's design, an encourager. If I neglect to speak or write, I am
depriving my fellow believers of some of the grace that God has
placed in His church.
There are at least seven expressions of grace identified in Romans
12: prophecy, service, teaching, exhortation, contribution, leading
and mercy. These are all ways in which God reveals His love.
Paul speaks to his readers and us of offering ourselves as living
sacrifices. The gifts with which we have been endowed are not to be
kept to ourselves, but shared. We are actually giving something up.
Yet how small our "sacrifice" is when we consider the immense
surrender of Jesus Christ who gave His whole life for us. His
sacrifice is the greatest plan for our lives; without it we wouldn't
really have life at all. He came that we might have life, and have it
to the full (see John 10:10). Now that's an encouragement!
Insight: Think about what God has uniquely gifted you with and share
it with the Body of Christ and the world around you.
--
Michael D. Inman
- The Only Thing Necessary For Evil to Triumph is for Good Men to do
Nothing -- Edmund Burke...
"If the First Amendment fails, use the Second one."
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Post  Admin on Mon 16 May 2011, 11:37 am

Date: May 16, 2011 1:24 AM
Topic: +DEV+ We Do Belong

We Do Belong

"So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." (Romans 12:5)
Scripture Focus: Romans 12:1-6

Why do young people in inner cities across the world join gangs? Why do professionals join the Rotary Club? Why is there a "support group" for nearly everything under the sun?

While there are many individual reasons for this "joining" of groups, one overriding motivation is to belong. We all have a need to be a part of something bigger than ourselves and to be accepted in a society.

As a believer in Christ, I am a member of the greatest society ever created - the body of Christ. We who are in Christ are members one of another. No team or gang offers that level of belonging.

Believers actually participate in a fellowship that is triune, comprised of you, me and God. "We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ" (1 John 1:3). If God isn't part of the fellowship, then the most important part is missing. Fellowship that fills every longing can be experienced only in Christ.

Insight: Biblical belonging involves the common sharing of Christ. He has given you grace to show His love and character to fellow believers and the world.
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Post  Admin on Wed 11 May 2011, 11:14 am

Date: May 11, 2011 1:18 AM
Topic: +DEV+ Stop the Struggle
Stop the Struggle
"It is because of him that you are in Christ
Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God -
that is, our righteousness, holiness and
redemption." (1 CORINTHIANS 1:30)
Scripture Focus: 1 Corinthians 1:26-31
If you ask around to find out how people became
Christians, the responses will vary. Some will
say it was because of Billy Graham or because of
their mother who faithfully prayed for them.
Others attribute it to a friend who faithfully
exemplified the Christian life so that when the
time came, they were open to the gospel. All of
these are valid means, but Scripture gives
Someone else the credit.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians, "It is because of
him (God the Father) that you are in Christ
JesusÖ" Now that makes me feel better. Salvation
is initiated by God, not by me. While I have
never had the sense that the kingdom of God
rested on my shoulders, I did feel that somehow I
was responsible to make things happen, especially
in the lives of others I know. What a relief! It
is because of Him.
This doesn't take us out of God's plan. We need
only be available for God's love so that the
gospel is extended through us. We are instruments
in His hands. The response in the heart of others
is because of Him.
Insight: Do you find yourself pressured for
Gospel results? Remind yourself that it is
because of the Father that anyone is found in
Christ.
--
Michael D. Inman
- The Only Thing Necessary For Evil to Triumph is
for Good Men to do Nothing -- Edmund Burke...
"If the First Amendment fails, use the Second one."
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Post  Admin on Tue 10 May 2011, 2:12 pm

Date: May 9, 2011 11:32 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Chosen in Him

Chosen in Him

"For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy
and blameless in his sight." (EPHESIANS 1:4)
Scripture Focus: Ephesians 1:1-14

Have you ever felt like you were living your life swimming upstream?
Swimming upstream is difficult, if not impossible. You might make
some headway in a wide, slow-moving river. But, if you are in
whitewater rafting territory, forget it. You are going downstream,
and no matter how hard you paddle, your strength will not save you.
You might even die.

Instead, picture yourself seated in an unsinkable, inflated boat as
you head down the river. It's inevitable; you will wind up downstream
at your destination simply because you are in the boat, whitewater or
not.

As a believer, you were chosen in Christ from before the foundation
of the earth. Your destination, holiness and blamelessness before
God, is assured because you are in the unsinkable boat: Christ. It is
not because you've been "paddling" so hard to meet God's standard of
holiness that you "arrive." It is because He is taking you. Be
assured that when you "pass through the rivers, they will not sweep
over you" (Isaiah 43:2) because He is there!

Insight: Stop paddling. You are assured by God's choice to be
blameless before Him. Worship Him today.

--

Michael D. Inman
- The Only Thing Necessary For Evil to Triumph is for Good Men to do
Nothing -- Edmund Burke...
"If the First Amendment fails, use the Second one."
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Post  Admin on Mon 09 May 2011, 11:41 am

Date: May 9, 2011 1:58 AM
Topic: +DEV+ Our Victory in Christ
Our Victory in Christ
"In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in
Christ Jesus." (ROMANS 6:11)
Scripture Focus: Romans 6:8-14
Do you remember the Greek myth about the Trojan War? The story goes
that after years of battle, the Greeks finally conceived a deception
that would allow them to penetrate the city of Troy and give them
victory. A large, hollow wooden horse was built. Some of the Greeks
climbed into it while the rest sailed away with the Greek fleet. The
Trojans, thinking the war was ended, moved the great horse inside the
city walls. After dark, the Greeks slipped out of the horse and
slaughtered the enemy. The secret to entry and victory was being
"inside the horse."
We serve a Holy God who is wholly unapproachable. Were we to attempt
to enter His presence on our own, we would be consumed by His
holiness and our imperfection. But we have a "secret weapon." We have
crawled into Christ, so to speak, and are hidden from view. The only
thing He sees is His Holy Son who is perfection. We come to Him, not
because of our own attributes, but purely because we are "in Christ"
who gives us victory from sin.
Insight: god's providence ensures us that everything that happens to
us is working for our ultimate good. Thank you, Lord!
--
Michael D. Inman
- The Only Thing Necessary For Evil to Triumph is for Good Men to do
Nothing -- Edmund Burke...
"If the First Amendment fails, use the Second one."
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Post  Admin on Fri 06 May 2011, 2:23 pm

Date: May 5, 2011 10:56 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Set Free by the Gospel

Set Free by the Gospel

"But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons"
(Galatians 4:4-5).
Scripture Focus: Romans 5:12-14, Galatians 2:15-16

I wonder how long Adam and Eve lived the perfect life before even that wasn't enough to satisfy them. We would've failed just as miserably, and we have continued in our depravity. Every one of us is in dire need of a Savior.

Only through Jesus can we be set free from the chains of trying to justify ourselves. What tempted Adam and Eve so was the notion that they could take care of things themselves and "be like God." What sounded freeing to them was actually enslaving. That's how sin has always been in a person's life, from the moment he first visibly disobeys his parents to the time, when the tyranny of sin overwhelms or even lands a person in prison. We think it will free us, but it only binds us more.

Adam and Eve and all God's elect knew the promise of the Messiah to come, by way of the prophecies and their fulfillment. This was the Gospel which was preached from the beginning. They looked forward hopefully as we look back to the cross gratefully.

Insight: The Old and New Testaments are one book of life. Don't try to separate them. God is the same now as He was then.
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Post  Admin on Thu 05 May 2011, 9:50 am

Date: May 5, 2011 1:49 AM
Topic: +DEV+ The Final Prayer in the Bible

The Final Prayer in the Bible

"We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express" (Romans 8:26).
Scripture Focus: Romans 8:17-27

There is meant to be an element of groaning in our prayers, not just for us, but also for the world. It's a groaning that strains for the future like a woman in labor strains to give birth. Paul tells us the whole creation is groaning in eager anticipation of seeing the sons of God come into their glory and that the Holy Spirit is in us, groaning with that same desire.

We're meant to join in the groaning until we see justice done, suffering ended, and the whole earth filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea.

We groan because we know the Lamb has triumphed, and that a new heaven and a new earth will burst forth one day as a result of His victory. We groan because we know Jesus is coming again, and as His bride we're looking forward to that day like it's the only day on the calendar. We groan because we have the first fruits of transformation in us; we long to be fully changed. Take comfort in the Holy Spirit's nearness through life's struggles.


Insight: "He who testifies to these things says, 'Yes, I am coming quickly.' Amen. Come, Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20).
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Post  Admin on Wed 04 May 2011, 5:37 pm

Date: May 3, 2011 10:35 PM
Topic: +DEV+ What Jesus Wants

What Jesus Wants

"After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: 'Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you'" (John 17:1).
Scripture Focus: John 17

It's the final hour. Jesus is in the upper room. He finishes teaching and then begins to pray - out loud so that we can hear. In John 17 we get to listen in on the eternal relationship between the Father and the Son. His prayer reveals the passionate desires He has for us. This is what He wants; this is what He asks:

That we be kept safe in the Father's name.

That we be set apart from the world by the truth.

That we experience the joy He has in His relationship with the Father.

That we be one as He and the Father are one, united in love with each other.

That we experience and understand the love the Father has for us.

That we be with Him and see Him as He is, in all His glory.

These are all the things that Jesus knew were the most important to lay before the throne of the Father. They still are most important. Jesus pours Himself out in prayer for us, and then He pours out His blood to make it happen.

Insight: "The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands" (John 3:35).
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Post  Admin on Tue 03 May 2011, 12:35 pm

Date: May 3, 2011 12:07 AM
Topic: +DEV+ Growing Down, Not Up

Growing Down, Not Up

"I am the vine; you are the branches, If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you" (John 15:5,7).
Scripture Focus: John 15

My children's generation was once dubbed the "boomerangs" because so many of them come back home to live with their parents. The economy has something to do with that trend ... it's not so easy to launch out on your own anymore.

Our culture values independence, but spiritually it's never the goal. The Lord doesn't want us to grow up and stand on our own two feet. Jesus wants us to remain, or abide, in a close, constantly dependent relationship with Him.

As believers we grow up by growing more and more dependent on Jesus. Living life on our own is a formula for anxiety, and Jesus wants to relieve us of that pressure. We can give Him all the burden of being grownups and move in with Him. We can trust Him to provide everything we need. It was my daughter Kate who showed me the connection between prayer and Jesus' command to remain in him. Abiding means spending intimate time with Jesus, drawing on Him as our life and asking and receiving from Him as we go through the day.

Insight: "Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will rescue you" (Isaiah 46:4).
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Post  Admin on Thu 28 Apr 2011, 11:31 am

Date: April 28, 2011 12:20 AM
Topic: +DEV+ Claiming the Nations
Claiming the Nations
"your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven"
(Matthew 6:10)
Scripture Focus: Luke 1-4
Something very exciting is happening in the world. It may seem like
all bad news, but it's not because "Aslan is on the move!" Just like
Lucy and Susan and Peter and Edmund in Narnia, we're seeing the
spring come. We're seeing the power of evil lose its grip. The ice is
melting; spring is bursting forth. The Kingdom of God is advancing
and the Gospel is how it's happening. The message of the cross has
the power to conquer rebels and make them willing subjects of the
King.
Psalm 2 is God's "Vision Statement" for His world. The nations are
rebelling and so He seats His Son on a throne and tells Him to ask
for the nations as His inheritance. We're seeing Him grant that
request in our day as the Gospel marches across the globe and
captures men and women by grace.
It's our great privilege to play a part in this exciting movement.
Our Father has taken us into His confidence and made us partners with
real power by teaching us to pray for the advance of His kingdom.
Insight: "For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and
brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves" (Colossians 1:13).
--

Date: April 27, 2011 12:16 AM
Topic: +DEV+ Always Listening
Always Listening
"...do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. ...your Father knows what you need before you ask him" (Matthew 6:7-8).
Scripture Focus: Matthew 6:5-8
We know God as our Father. The pagans, on the other hand, pray to someone they don't know. They don't know if he's paying attention to them, so they try to get their needs met by saying a lot of words, hoping some of them will get through.

It reminds me of how our son Peter would relate to his dad when he was little. If Charles were preoccupied, reading the newspaper, Peter would jabber away, "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy." But when Charles put down the paper and looked at him and said, "Okay, I'm listening, Pete," his tone would change. He knew he had his dad's attention. "Mommy said I could ask you if I could have a cookie." When he got his "yes," he would skip off happily to the kitchen and collect.

Jesus is telling us we have the full attention of our Father. We don't have to jabber. He's attentive to all our needs. He knows the hairs on our head, and He knows what we need before we ask Him. The Creator God is our Abba.
Insight: "Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice" (Psalm 55:27).
Michael D. Inman
- The Only Thing Necessary For Evil to Triumph is for Good Men to do
Nothing -- Edmund Burke...
"If the First Amendment fails, use the Second one."
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Post  Admin on Tue 26 Apr 2011, 11:40 am

Date: April 26, 2011 2:39 AM
Topic: +DEV+ Private Appointments
Private Appointments
"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men" (Matthew 6:5).
Scripture Focus: Matthew 6:1-6
A friend of mine once confessed he lived his life like the star of a movie, always on stage, feeling like the center of attention, playing to the crowd. Maybe we all do that to some extent. We orient ourselves to the opinions of other people, hoping to make a good impression. The Greek word translated here as "hypocrisy" means to wear a mask. When we live to be "seen by men," we inevitably put on a mask. That can even happen when we pray.
Jesus tells us the way out of this dilemma is to get absolutely alone with the Father - to go in and shut the door. Regular private meetings with the Father will train our hearts to live to be seen by Him rather than by men. Instead of the reward of human approval, we can learn to seek the reward of pleasing the Father. We can rest assured that He's pleased just by our being there, that He's always glad to be with us and that He's delighted by anything we do because we love Him.
Insight: "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy" (Luke 12:1).
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Post  Admin on Fri 22 Apr 2011, 4:03 pm

Date: April 22, 2011 1:07 AM
Topic: +DEV+ Whose Are You?

Whose Are You?

"Therefore I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - which is your spiritual worship" (Romans 12:1).
Scripture Focus: Romans 12

George MacDonald said hell can be summed up in four words: "I am my own." Independence from God is at the heart of our fallen condition, and it leads to all kinds of misery.

On the other hand, heaven can be summed up in these four words: "I am yours, Lord!" To belong to Jesus is to be rescued from our deadly autonomy. He's bought us - and at such a great price! We are His possession, and that's a very good and very safe thing to be.

We can joyously submit to the fact that we are not our own. Instead of seizing the day for ourselves, we can offer ourselves to Jesus. It's good to put it into words, to make it a prayer, "I am yours, Lord!" And while we're at it, we can offer Him words of love like, "I love you, O Lord, my strength," (Psalm 18:1) or "You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing" (Psalm 16:21). The Lord takes great delight in hearing us say that we love Him. Tell Him now!
Insight: "And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ" (Romans 1:6).
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Post  Admin on Thu 21 Apr 2011, 11:33 am

Date: April 20, 2011 11:05 PM
Topic: +DEV+ The Face of the Father

The Face of the Father

"Because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, 'Abba, Father'" (Galatians 4:6).
Scripture Focus: Galatians 4

In 1862, Emily Dickenson wrote a letter to her mentor, Thomas Higginson, answering some questions he'd asked. She told him, "My family members are religious, except me, and they address an Eclipse, every morning whom they call their 'Father.'"

An Eclipse! What a powerful poetic image to describe what it's like to not know the Father. To Emily Dickenson, God was darkness, like the moon passing in front of the sun. She couldn't see His face.

The Father wants to reveal His face to us. He sent Jesus for that very purpose because as Jesus said, "When you've seen me, you've seen the Father." He also sent the Spirit into our hearts to teach us to say that one word prayer of deepest intimacy - "Abba." Abba is an Aramaic term that a little child would use to address his father while he's snuggled up on his lap. But it's also the term Jesus used in the Garden of Gethsemane in His hour of deepest darkness. He called out for help to His Abba and we can, too.

Insight: "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty" (2 Corinthians 6:18).


Michael D. Inman
- The Only Thing Necessary For Evil to Triumph is for Good Men to do
Nothing -- Edmund Burke...
"If the First Amendment fails, use the Second one."
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Post  Admin on Wed 20 Apr 2011, 11:26 am

Date: April 20, 2011 12:44 AM
Topic: +DEV+ A Son's Privileges

A Son's Privileges

"But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons" (Galatians 4:4-5).
Scripture Focus: Galatians 4

I relate to the prodigal son. He knew he didn't deserve to be a son after living in the "far country." When he finally decided to come home, he made up a little speech to give to his father: "I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men."

But what does the father do? He's overcome with compassion! He runs to him, throws his arms around him, and kisses him. He waves all his son's ridiculous suggestions aside and gives orders to his servants: "Quick, bring the best robe, a ring for his finger, sandals for his feet, let's have a feast and celebrate!"

I relate to the prodigal because I so often feel disqualified when I pray. I know I don't deserve a warm welcome. I relate to God like a servant to a master. But Jesus gave us this story to make us bold in our relationship to the Father. By sheer grace, we're seated at the table, celebrated and endowed with all the rights and privileges of sons.

Insight: "For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father'" (Romans 8:15).

Michael D. Inman
- The Only Thing Necessary For Evil to Triumph is for Good Men to do
Nothing -- Edmund Burke...
"If the First Amendment fails, use the Second one."
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Post  Admin on Tue 19 Apr 2011, 10:41 pm

Date: April 19, 2011 12:32 AM
Topic: +DEV+ I'm Right Here

I'm Right Here

"Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live" (Psalm 116:2).
Scripture Focus: Psalm 116

What a wonderful reality for us to take into our hearts! Every time we pray, the Lord is listening. He's lending us His ear, granting us His full attention. He's poised to answer us whenever we call. We can be like little children and talk to Him with uncomplicated simplicity about anything we have on our hearts. We don't have to know how to pray, as if prayer were some sort of skill we need to master.

One of C.S. Lewis' downfalls was overanalyzing and complicating things like prayer. He saw the same problem in someone who wrote to him for advice. He gave her the answer he'd found for himself: "Don't bother about the idea that God 'has known for millions of years' exactly what you are about to pray. That isn't what it's like. God is hearing you now, just as simply as a mother hears a child. There's no reason to bring these problems into it. You have gone into the temple, and one day in his courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. You've found him, as always, there."
Insight: "The name of the city from that time on will be: THE LORD IS THERE" (Ezekiel 48:35).
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Post  Admin on Sat 16 Apr 2011, 5:13 pm

Date: April 15, 2011 9:20 PM
Topic: +DEV+ A Brilliant Counselor

A Brilliant Counselor

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will
counsel you and watch over you"
(Psalm 32:8).
Scripture Focus: Psalm 32

The Lord is a Wonderful Counselor, and we have a standing appointment
with Him anytime we need His counsel. He has the power and wisdom to
clear out all the anxious clutter of our hearts. His insight goes
right to the source of our turmoil and brings the grace and wisdom we
need.

We see Him doing that very thing for Peter in Matthew 17. Peter had a
run-in with some very intimidating temple tax collectors who wanted
to know if Jesus paid the temple tax. Peter said "yes" even though
the answer was "no." Then he came into the house where Jesus was
waiting and didn't mention the incident. It was Jesus who got the
matter out on the table by asking him a question. He used Peter's
answer to explain why it was not necessary to pay the tax and why
Peter should remember that he had the privileged status as a son of
the Father.

Peter went into the house full of the fear of man, and Jesus
counseled him into freedom. He will do the same for us.

Insight: "He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace"
(Isaiah 9:6).



Michael D. Inman
- The Only Thing Necessary For Evil to Triumph is for Good Men to do
Nothing -- Edmund Burke...
"If the First Amendment fails, use the Second one."
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Post  Admin on Fri 15 Apr 2011, 3:42 pm

Date: April 14, 2011 8:37 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Lord of the Loaves

Lord of the Loaves

"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).
Scripture Focus: Philippians 4:10-20

Life is just one problem after another - or so it seems. When some new need arises, we remind each other of what we call the "lesson of the loaves." We discovered it when we were reading a story recorded in Mark 8.

Jesus and His disciples are in the boat and the disciples are worried because they've forgotten to pack any food. Jesus proceeds to remind them very pointedly of what they've just seen Him do: "Don't you remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?" "Twelve," they replied. "And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?" They answered, "Seven."

The Lord's lesson is one we need firmly fixed in our hearts when we pray: Jesus is the Lord of the loaves, and He's with us in the boat. He's promised to supply all our needs, whether they are physical or spiritual. He is able to do it even when we don't see how it's possible.

Insight: "Give us today our daily bread" (Matthew 6:11).
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Post  Admin on Thu 14 Apr 2011, 10:09 am

Topic: +DEV+ The Greatest Gift

The Greatest Gift

"You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand" (Psalm 16:11).
Scripture Focus: Psalm 16

Prayer takes on a glow of glory when we realize we're not talking into a void but that we're actually talking to the Lord. Charles Spurgeon said that to really pray we must feel that "we are now doing something that is real; that we are about to address ourselves to God, whom we cannot see, but who is really present; who is as truly with us as though we were speaking to a friend."

The Lord's greatest gift is the joy of His presence. To be with Jesus, talking to Him face to face - it's the sweetest thing in life. There have been times of extreme grief when the Lord has allowed me to experience an almost unbearably intense sense of His presence. At other times it's not so overwhelming. But we can have confidence that He's always there. We don't go in and out of His presence like going in and out of a room. He is with us to the end of the age, like a place of refuge, and we can talk to Him all the time - about everything.

Insight: "Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD" (Psalm 89:15).

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Post  Admin on Wed 13 Apr 2011, 11:05 am

Topic: +DEV+ Getting the Picture

Getting the Picture

"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we
may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need"
(Hebrews 4:16).
Scripture Focus: Hebrews 4:14-16

Here's a perfect description of how to pray as believers in Jesus: we
approach a throne and sitting on it is the One who has all authority
and all power in heaven and on earth, which means He is completely
and infinitely able to help us. It's a throne of grace, which means
He will help us, not because we deserve it but in spite of the fact
that we don't deserve it.

We can approach it boldly, with radical confidence in His
forgiveness and in His love. We can expect to receive a warm welcome
because we know the Lord's heart is merciful towards us and that He's
greatly inclined to give us what we ask. We don't have to twist His
arm - He loves to give good gifts to His children. When we come to
His throne, we will always find grace waiting for us in our time of
need.

As believers we know our time of need is all the time. We need
everything. Prayer is not intended for emergency situations only. For
believers, it's a way of life.

Insight: "The Lord protects the simple-hearted; when I was in great
need, he saved me" (Psalm 116:6).

--

Michael D. Inman
- The Only Thing Necessary For Evil to Triumph is for Good Men to do
Nothing -- Edmund Burke...
"If the First Amendment fails, use the Second one."

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