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Monthly Archives: September 2012

  • Exchanged Life

    Posted on September 5, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24

     

    There is a great exchange that takes place when a person places their faith in Jesus Christ. Their old way of living is replaced with living for the Lord. Their old way of thinking is replaced with thinking on the truth of Jesus. Their old way of speaking is replaced with speech that is sprinkled with the grace of God. The old has passed, the new has come.

    The life of Christ becomes the life of the follower of Christ. No longer are we led down the dead-end road of unrighteousness, but we are set free to journey down the less traveled road of righteousness. We give up what we could not keep—our life on earth, in exchange for what we can keep—eternal life in heaven. To a watching world it seems foolish to give up for God, but what we get from God—forgiveness, peace and love—is true life.

    “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4).

    Have you surrendered yourself to your Savior Jesus? Have you given Him your trust in your own goodness and good deeds in exchange for His holiness and His Spirit-filled power? This great exchange of the temporal for the eternal is what gives you the capacity to grow in grace and to become a person of great faith. However, an effective exchange requires the receiver to have faith in the Giver. God is a generous giver who can be trusted.

    Maybe you have believed, but have lost your way and you need a refresher in righteousness. Perhaps repentance has become a foreign language for your heart and mind. Let loose of your old life of fear and doubt and replace it with your new life of trust and security. Put off pride and put on humility. Put off anger and put on forgiveness.

    “In Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. In Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through your faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead” (Colossians 2:10-12).

    Make this great eternal exchange and do not waste another day. No one has ever regretted receiving from Almighty God His agenda for their life. The Lord wants you in exchange for Him. Jesus wants your life in exchange for His life. He wants your troubled heart in exchange for His tender heart. He wants your fears in exchange for His peace and calm.

    “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved” (Romans 10:9-10).

    Prayer: Have I exchanged my old lost and selfish life for Christ’s new life of love, forgiveness and service to others? If not, why not now?

    Related Readings: John 17:3; Romans 5:12-21; Galatians 2:20; 1 John 5:13; 2 Timothy 1:9-10

    Post/Tweet this today: Jesus wants your life in exchange for His life. #life

    Get free eBook “Infusion” by inviting 5 friends to Wisdom Hunters http://bit.ly/PEbaBJ

  • Fruit of Self-Control

    Posted on September 4, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “The fruit of the Spirit is self-control…” Galatians 5:23

     

    Self-control is the temperate fruit that blossoms on the vine of the Spirit. It uses the gasoline of grace to govern the engine of a disciple’s activity. Proper self-control is Spirit control, since the flesh can be determined and disciplined without the horsepower of the Holy Spirit. Spirit-led self-control bows to no ego—it only surrenders to Christ. It is free from the desires and whims of the flesh. The body is a good servant, but a poor master. 

    The fruit of self-control breaks unholy habits and replaces them with holy habits. It is so much more than just having a disciplined temperament—it is a mindset that is mastered by Christ’s preferences. We can’t confuse self-reliance with the Spirit’s self-control. Self- control relies on the Spirit’s energy and insight to accomplish God’s will. It is the difference between gutting out a bad circumstance without Christ or walking with Christ.

    “As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” Acts 24:25

    We don’t wait to embrace self-control when it becomes convenient—fools flounder in the meantime. Thus, start immediately and initiate self-control in your sexual thoughts and desires. Install boundaries around what you read and watch. An unbridled body is disrespected and discarded. Furthermore, control your conversations, so they do not become caustic and uncaring. Remain silent, rather that spew unkindness on another.

    Control your desires or they will control you. For example, control your weight by eating smaller portions of food. Control your sleep by going to bed earlier and rising earlier. Control your work by turning off your computer in the evenings. Control your rest by resting on Sundays. Control your time by managing a calendar. Control your money by managing a budget. When Christ controls you—you are capable of controlling your life. Self-control is the Spirit’s work, but your cooperation is required. Ultimately, God is in control.

    “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” Titus 2:11-13

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I surrender to Your control, so that I can apply self-control.

    Related Scriptures: Job 37:15; 1 Corinthians 7:9; 9:25-27; 2 Peter 1:6; Titus 2:5

    Post/Tweet this today: When Christ controls you—you are capable of controlling your life. #control

    Get free eBook “Infusion” by inviting 5 friends to Wisdom Hunters http://bit.ly/PEbaBJ

  • Fruit of Gentleness

    Posted on September 3, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “The fruit of the Spirit is gentleness…” Galatians 5:23

     

    Gentleness is the fruit of the Spirit that germinates from God. Indeed, the voice of the Lord is gentle, but weighty in worth. He does not scream in a defensive or demanding tone; rather He speaks with authority under control. Speech initiated by the Holy Spirit is not harsh, but helpful—not loud, but loving—not testy, but tolerant. The gentleness of Jesus grows in the soil of patience, from the seed of sensitivity, and with the water of humility. 

    We know we are governed by gentleness when the cadence of our conversation is not high-pitched with rapid-fire reactions. There is respectful dialogue without angrily accusing another’s motives. We prayerfully pronounce God’s principles as a fellow lifetime learner, not with an “I have finally arrived”, know-it-all attitude. Knowledge, wisdom and discernment delivered with gentle force, carry influence and insight to the recipient.

    “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15

    Are your interactions with people marked with genuine gentleness or awkward gruffness? Do your words and body language put people at ease or put them down with intimidation? Your gentleness has the power to disarm a frightened friend and comfort a distraught colleague. It is a relational lubricant for a soul who feels alone and unloved. Perhaps your perpetual meekness toward a brother trapped in sin is what gives them hope.

    Your soothing and calm conversation creates a safe environment for lost and dying souls. Become a gentle man or woman who mentors others with grace and wisdom. Your gentle spirit—produced by the Spirit—is attractive to adolescents and adults. So lead, teach and serve with the even keel of Christ. Always learn of Him and His meek and gentle heart. Your gentleness generates gentleness in others for God’s glory. A gentle soul saves souls!

    “Take My [Jesus] yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray for my heart to reflect the gentleness of Jesus.

    Related Scriptures: 1 Kings 19:12; Proverbs 15:1; 25:15; Matthew 21:5; Philippians 4:5

    Post/Tweet this today: Speech initiated by the Holy Spirit is not harsh, but helpful. #speech

    Get free eBook “Infusion” by inviting 5 friends to Wisdom Hunters http://bit.ly/PEbaBJ

  • Secure Not Shaken

    Posted on September 2, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    When I felt secure, I said, "I will never be shaken." O LORD, when you favored me, you made my mountain stand firm; but when you hid your face, I was dismayed. Psalm 30:6-7

     

    Security rests in our Savior, not our stuff. Stuff comes and goes. It is by nature insecure. But when Christ comes to dwell in our hearts, He remains. Because He is secure we can be secure. But we must beware lest we believe that security resides anywhere else other than the Lord. God has set His seal of ownership on all who believe. He has put His Spirit in our hearts guaranteeing what is to come (2 Corinthians 1:22). We have an escrow account in eternity. God is the guarantor of our eternal security. Because of this, we are secure in Jesus. Our security is not based on feelings, but faith. If our security depends on feeling secure, we are men most miserable. Feelings of security fade in the face of trouble.

    If our confidence is based on pleasant circumstances, then we become careless with Christ. Our life becomes nothing more than a roller coaster of reactive responses. If we feel good, we are secure. If we feel bad, we are insecure. If people like us, we are secure. If they do not like us, we are insecure. If we have money, we are secure. If we lack money, we are insecure. If we are healthy, we are secure. If we are unhealthy, we are insecure. If our job is certain, we are secure. If our job is uncertain, we are insecure. If our children are obedient, we are secure. If our children are disobedient, we are insecure. If things go our way, we are secure. If things don’t go our way, we are insecure. Needless to say, we eventually grow weary, and wither under the whiplash of insecure living.

    So do not place your security in success or failure. The fumes of success can smother your faith as fast as failure can extinguish your hope. Do not allow your material gains to become a substitute for your security in Christ. Stuff is at the top of insecurity’s heap. It is the security we find in Jesus that never changes. He is our rock and our refuge. He never moves. He is not shaken. Critics could not rattle Christ with their mockery and meanness. He stood firm in His faith in His heavenly Father. Physical abuse did not drive Him to abandon the Almighty’s call on His life. Rather, it emboldened Him. Adversity did not make Him compromise His moral purity. Indeed, suffering became His launching pad for secure and pure behavior. Hope warmed His heart with security.

    Left to our own devices, we are insecure people. Anytime we seek security outside of Christ we become insecure. It is ironic that the search for security results in insecurity when we marginalize our Master. He is not our Lord for the last minute. He is our “go to” God first. Secure people wrap everything about themselves around Jesus. Relationships come and go, but your relationship with Jesus remains secure. You grow smarter and wiser with learned experience, but you shun intellectual snobbery and stay humbly secure in Christ. Your balance sheet balloons with net worth, but you keep your ego from inflating by remaining secure in Christ alone. Generous givers are secure. Insecurity arises when we add something to our faith in Christ. Therefore, be secure in your fidelity to faith. You are secure because your security is eternal. Shun earthly securities and embrace heaven’s. Faith needs no help. Above all else, the faithful are secure, not shaken. 

    Taken from Reading #20 in the 90-day devotional book, “Seeking God in the Psalms”… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE

    Post/Tweet this today: If your balance sheet balloons in net worth, keep your ego from inflating by remaining secure in Christ alone. #ego

    Get free eBook “Infusion” by inviting 5 friends to Wisdom Hunters http://bit.ly/PEbaBJ

  • Nonlinear Route

    Posted on September 1, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “So David inquired of the LORD, and He answered, “Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the balsam trees.”   2 Samuel 5:23

     

    God’s will is not always a straight line, many times it requires deviation in direction. It may feel like three steps forward and two steps back. Following Jesus may seem like you tracked down a path that was not part of His plan. However, His plan is an adventure that cannot be confined to “point A to point B” thinking. God is so much more creative than to give us a predictable path that we can control. His will keeps us trusting and praying. It keeps us looking to the Lord for direction and discernment.

    This is why we get confused at times. We strike out in one direction, and then feel led to move in a different direction. Sometimes He leads us down an entirely different path than where we started. The adventurous part of us likes this, while our cautious and security-seeking part grows fearful. Depending on your temperament, you can either become unfocused because you thrive on adventure or you can become afraid because you like things in their place.

    So what is God up to? How do we harness the Spirit of the Almighty to lead us into His great adventure? It is imperative that we listen intently to the Lord. We are compelled to follow Christ, thus we desperately need His marching orders. But the noise of life can easily drown out the Lord’s tender call. His voice will not compete with cluttered living that gets in the way of listening. His voice is pure and plain, and He longs for our undivided attention. He wants us to turn down the racket of modern day conveniences, and come to Him. When we’re stuck in one of life’s traffic jams, and the voice of the Lord is drowned out by the noise around us, He’s right there with us—inviting us to listen.

    He knows you can’t handle His entire plan at once, so go with what He gives you. He doesn’t bless a perfect plan; He blesses obedience and trust. Go with what you know today, and trust Him with what you don’t know about tomorrow. God’s work is in the here and now. Reality is where you passionately pursue Him. So don’t be shy to go where God says to go, even when it doesn’t make sense. He is positioning you for success.

    Lastly, do not be afraid to engage the enemy as you follow Christ, but confront him in prayer. Fight the unseen forces of evil by faith. The devil will try to distract you from following God’s will. He will tempt you with the allure of wealth, women (or men), and wine. Do not become sidetracked by Satan. Put on the full armor of God. Lean into the Lord, and listen to His trusting voice. Dismiss the sultry voice of self-deception. The enemy is the great imposter. He disguises his voice to sound like God’s. Indeed, be so in tune with the voice of Jesus that a counterfeit sounds like a shrill fire alarm you want to avoid. Above all else, follow the Almighty even when it seems like you are going in a big circle. Jesus says, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). 

    Taken from September 2nd reading in the 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God”… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE

    Post/Tweet this today: Christ is much more creative than to give us a predictable path that we can control. His keeps us trusting and praying. #God’s will

    Click on the free download “How to Have a Quiet Time”… http://bit.ly/KWDrkJ

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