Monday, November 20, 2017

When God Looks on Us with Favor

Believers are always under the canopy of God’s grace and love. Nothing we do can change that. At the same time, our behavior and heart condition do determine whether we receive the fullness of His blessings. Today’s passage teaches us how to experience the Father’s favor.

First, He desires that we have a contrite heart and a humble spirit (Ps. 51:17). For that to be the case, all aspects of our lives must be surrendered to Jesus. Yet some dreams, desires, and people are difficult to release into His hands.
Anything we do not give over to His authority is evidence of pride, the exact opposite of what our Father wants in His children. Remember that “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). Lack of submission proves that we think our way is better than His plan.

Second, God tells us to tremble at His Word (Isa. 66:2). Scripture--the unfolding revelation of Jesus Himself--is living and powerful to teach and transform us. Consider how we treat this treasure. Do we devote time each day to know what the Bible says and how to apply its principles? Do we hunger for more of the Word in our lives so we can know its Author better? One measure of our reverence is obedience: to honor the Lord, we must obey Him.


We all desire God’s favor. Are you living in a manner that positions you to receive His full blessings? Prayerfully consider whether you have submitted all areas of your life--from finances and health to relationships and work habits--to Jesus Christ. Recognize His authority in all things, and revere His Word.
from Dr. Charles Stanley

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Salutations in the Lord

- 1 Corinthians 16:19

INTRODUCTION

Everything about the Christian life is wrapped up and founded in the person of Jesus Christ. For instance, the Bible says that the saints witness to the lost “in Christ’s stead” (2 Corinthians 5:20). The saints find their approval “in Christ” (Romans 16:10). Their love for each other is “in Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 16:24). It should, therefore, be of no surprise that the saints’ salutations are also given “in the Lord” (Romans 16:22; 1 Corinthians 16:19). This means that the salutations of the saints are to be given through prayer along with the word of God and will of God in mind. The saints of God should salute one another as led by the Lord to do so. Those salutations are offered as ambassadors of Christ.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): Read Colossians 3:17a. This includes salutations. Our greetings should bring glory to God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Our greetings should build people up in the Lord (1 Corinthians 14:26b; 2 Corinthians 12:19b; Ephesians 4:29).
  • (For everyone): Read some of Paul’s salutations. What words or phrases did he use to signify that his salutations were given with the will of God and the ministry in mind?
  • Do you greet your brothers and sisters in Christ only with carnal talk and carnal subjects? How can this be a sinful practice and a failure on your part to minister for the Lord?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Ask the Lord to help you take your salutations seriously.
  • Ask God to help you realize that you are always His ambassador.