“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NLT
Worried about something today? It can be easy to worry. We all have a tendency to get anxious about things in life. The scriptures abound with instruction to trust in God and allow His peace to control us. Peace isn't the absence of problems, it is simply the presence of God. In spite of the overwhelming pressure of life to worry, let's trust in God to instruct our spirit, guide our steps, and work out the details. Life is bigger than any of us, but it isn't to God. He is the Author of life!
I leave you with some words of encouragement today:
“Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.”
Psalms 55:22 NLT
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT
“Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:27, 34
“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”” Matthew 11:28-30 NLT
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 NLT
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NLT
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, I trust you with all that concerns me. My life is in Your hands!!
“Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority. When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature. For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.” Colossians 2:8-15 NLT
Wow! Christ Jesus has won the victory for us. He has defeated the devil and has disarmed his arsenal against us. We are children of God through Christ. The cross has made us flawless. That is utterly astonishing. Here is the Word on that: “Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.” Colossians 1:22 NLT
That is dumbfounding!!!!!!!
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, thank you for saving a wretch like me. Through Jesus, I am now Your child and I stand right before You. Only You could do that. I'm left speechless!!!
“May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God. From now on, don’t let anyone trouble me with these things. For I bear on my body the scars that show I belong to Jesus. Dear brothers and sisters, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.” Galatians 6:16-18 NLT
Paul pronounces a blessing of God's peace and mercy upon those who trust in Christ and His cross as the way of salvation.
Paul had proven his devotion to Christ and the message of salvation by grace and he had the scars to verify it. Paul had suffered physical attack, incarceration, shipwreck, constant threats on his life, and many other things in his ministry of this message of grace. He was completely persuaded and convinced concerning the message of the gospel of grace and he was willing to die in order to get the message to the world.
All 13 of the Pauline epistles begins and ends with his expression of God's grace. It is God's grace that brought Christ to us, it was God's grace that gave Christ for us, it was God's grace that preached Christ to us, it was God's grace that placed Christ within us, and it will be God's grace that will take us home. Let's preach it, teach it, live by it, and die by it. Thank God for His AMAZING GRACE!!!!
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, I want thank You for saving me by Your grace and giving me Your Holy Spirit so I can know how to live by Your grace.
“NOTICE WHAT LARGE LETTERS I USE AS I WRITE THESE CLOSING WORDS IN MY OWN HANDWRITING. Those who are trying to force you to be circumcised want to look good to others. They don’t want to be persecuted for teaching that the cross of Christ alone can save. And even those who advocate circumcision don’t keep the whole law themselves. They only want you to be circumcised so they can boast about it and claim you as their disciples. As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation.” Galatians 6:11-15 NLT
Brothers and sisters, there is only one thing that can save--- THE CROSS OF JESUS!!!
Any other doctrine is from hell itself. In verse 14 of today's scripture passage, the King James Version reads like this: “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Galatians 6:14 KJV
The Greek definition of the word "forbid" here means to renounce, refuse, disown.
Paul, the one who was circumcised the eight day (according to the custom of all Jewish males), the one who was a Pharisee (most prominent sect of religious observers of the time), the one who was a descendant of the Israeli tribe of Benjamin, was denying all other religious claims to make the emphatic statement that only the cross can save. He, literally, renounced any other means of salvation. No one in history can claim to have been more religious in his observance of the law of Moses. Paul was the valedictorian of his religious class. Paul was regarded as the best in the ranks of Judaism (the Jewish religion). Paul, who used to be Saul, even viciously fought this "way". Something happened. This religious man had a direct encounter with Jesus. We read about this account in Acts chapter 9. This man would never be the same. He never returned to teaching or observing the way of Judaism as means of salvation again. In fact, he was martyred for teaching the cross of Christ. He understood that the law of Moses could only bring us to the knowledge of sin but was powerless to save (see Romans 8:3). He was resolved in his call and mission. Nothing could, or would, derail him from this message. Even in the midst of fierce opposition by the religious people of his day, Paul fought a good fight and kept the faith (see 2 Timothy 4:6-8). The gospel of grace was the life mission of this emissary (see Acts 20:24).
One thing I am certain of, and I am convinced without doubt, that ONLY THE CROSS OF CHRIST CAN SAVE!!!
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, help me to trust in Christ and Christ Alone!!!
“Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.” Galatians 6:10 NLT
As children of God we should always be observant of opportunities to do good deeds. Our good deeds do not save us, but they do represent our Lord and Savior well. He is good! You cannot spell the word "good" without the word "God". Man was created by God as good. When we look at Genesis Chapter 1 we see God proclaim everything that He had made as good (see Genesis 1:4, 10, 12,,18, 21, 25, 31). Seven times He used the word "good". In verse 31 He looked at it all and called it "very good".
In the fall of man (Genesis 3:1-7) sin entered the world and, as a result, so did evil. Man did not know both good and evil until Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit. ““God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”” Genesis 3:5 NLT
God did not make us to know or experience evil. Sin corrupted life on earth and left us searching for the good we once knew. The only thing that gives us a sense of good is the innate awareness of good that God has placed within the fabric of life. When we turn to God in repentance and accept the payment for our sin, His Son Jesus Christ, as our Lord and Savior, He gives us the residence of His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit helps us discern what is good and what is evil. As we submit to the Holy Spirit we become conscientious of how we can live life in a way that demonstrates God's goodness. The only good in the world is because of God's mercy and kindness. We can be certain that there is no good in Satan or in the corrupt nature of man. Paul said it this way: “I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.” Romans 7:21 KJV
There is always a natural bent to do evil. You don't have to teach a child to do evil, you have to teach them to do good. This is all because of our Adamic nature. Quoting from Psalm 14:1-3 and Psalm 53:1-3 Paul drives home the point of our evil nature in Romans 3:10-12: “As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous— not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.”” NLT
Our idea of good is not necessarily what God sees as good. Let me illustrate. Someone may say "I'm a good person". In the estimate of many, that person may be looked at as a "good person". However, a simple, closer look will reveal that they are evil. Example: Have they ever disobeyed their parents? Have they ever stolen anything, even if it's a piece of bubble gum? Have they ever hated anyone? Have they ever looked at the opposite sex in a lustful manner (other than their spouse)? Have they ever lied? Have they ever wanted something that someone else had? So far, if we are honest, the person is striking out. According to the last 6 of the 10 commandments (see Exodus 20:12-17) the person isn't good, they are evil. Yes, we have a desire for good, but evil dominates and dictates our lives without the power of the Holy Spirit. That is why we need Jesus! He, and He alone is good! As we surrender our lives to Him, He makes us good! We are called to let His goodness flow through us so that we bring glory to God. “In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:16 NLT
As we live in this evil world, let us listen to, submit to, and obey the unction of the Holy Spirit. When we do this, we will be demonstrating the goodness of God.
Notice: the verse today calls us to do good to everyone, especially to the family of God.
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, I humbly recognize that I am evil apart from You. However, through Your Son Jesus I am good. Help me live under the presence and power of Your Holy Spirit.
“Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:8-9 NLT
Living to fulfill our selfish, sinful desires will only lead us down a path of decay and destruction. Our carnal (natural) man is corrupt because of our inherited sin. Adam sinned and, thus, we are all born into this world as sinners.
"When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.” Romans 5:12 NLT
The only way to live a life that will lead to blessing is to submit to the Holy Spirit. The first step is to genuinely accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. When this takes place, the Holy Spirit will come into our life and take residence. Second, we must submit to the Holy Spirit rather than our carnal (natural) man. Let me put it this way. Have you ever heard someone say "do whatever makes you happy"? How about "whatever makes you feel good"? These are dangerous mottos to live by. The only way to live a solid, honorable, godly life is to listen to the Holy Spirit. You can't do that when you are listening to the wrong voices. Psalm 1:1-3 says “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” Psalms 1:1-3 NLT
If you sow according to your corrupt nature you will reap corruption. If you sow according to the Holy Spirit you will reap everlasting life.
Doing the right thing isn't always popular and easy, it is often against the flow of the crowd and requires discipline. If we will remember that the results are more important than immediate gratification we will be much better off. Doing what is right never leads to wrong. Doing what is wrong never leads to right. Which do you choose?
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, help me live under the influence and direction of the Holy Spirit. I want my life to be lived to serve You and bring You glory!
Yesterday, we looked at the instruction of Galatians 6:6-7 to financially support those who are the teachers/preachers of God's Word. To wrap up this issue, I want to take a quick look at the Old Testament Levitical tithe.
The tribe of Levi (one of the 12 sons of Jacob (Later renamed Israel) was designated by God as the ones who would be the priests. These priests were to minister the things of God to the nation of Israel. It was their responsibility to serve in this capacity and the other tribes were to support them by their tithing. “because I have given them the Israelites’ tithes, which have been presented as sacred offerings to the LORD. This will be the Levites’ share. That is why I said they would receive no allotment of land among the Israelites.””
Numbers 18:24 NLT
A tithe is by definition - a tenth part of something. There were three tithes in the Old Testament: Levitical (Priestly), Festival, and Poor. The Poor tithe was to be received every three years. The Jewish people were giving 22.3% annually of their first-fruit (best off the top - not left overs). God had structured the life of the Jewish people so that the ministry would stay the highest priority. Keeping God first is vital!!! We would do well to stop to consider the reality that God is the Creator and designer of Life. Since this is true, wouldn't it be senseless to ignore His instructions concerning ministry? God must be the foundation of all aspects of our lives. He isn't a part of our life, He is our life!!!!!!! It behoves us to give to the ministry in order for it to function at its peak potential. Imagine church at its best. Imagine every church being debt free, taking care of its ministers, celebrating Christ as a congregation of believers as we grow in the grace and knowledge of God, and reaching out to the poor with the love of Jesus. If we could find ourselves in that place, what an impact we could have in the world. After all, we do represent Jesus as His church. Don't you think it is time that the church rises up and shines in the midst of the darkness? How can we when we are keeping for ourselves what God intends for His kingdom work? We are living lavishly with overwhelming amounts of debt to the point that it is a stranglehold on our lives. All the while, the church stands financially impotent because we live in our selfishness. God, please wake us up. In Jesus name!!!
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, help me be obedient in my giving. Forgive me of my selfishness. May I learn to trust You as my provider. Help me to recognize and remember that life is not about me, it's about You!!!
“Those who are taught the word of God should provide for their teachers, sharing all good things with them. Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant." Galatians 6:6-7 NLT
The scriptures instruct us to provide for teachers of the Word. Throughout my life I have come across those who don't believe that a minister (Pastor, Evangelist, Preacher, etc.) should be paid. This is simply ignorance of the Scriptures. All the way back to the time of the Levitical priesthood of the Old Testament we read that God had instructed His people to provide for the needs of those who served in the work of the Lord. In the New Testament we see Paul referring to an Old Testament principle to drive home this point. “For the law of Moses says, “You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain.” Was God thinking only about oxen when he said this?” 1 Corinthians 9:9 NLT
“Elders who do their work well should be respected and paid well, especially those who work hard at both preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain.” And in another place, “Those who work deserve their pay!” 1 Timothy 5:17-18 NLT
There are two quotes here. The first came from Deuteronomy 25:4: "You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain.” NLT.
The second came from Jesus Himself. "Whenever you enter someone’s home, first say, ‘May God’s peace be on this house.’ If those who live there are peaceful, the blessing will stand; if they are not, the blessing will return to you. Don’t move around from home to home. Stay in one place, eating and drinking what they provide. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve their pay. “If you enter a town and it welcomes you, eat whatever is set before you. Heal the sick, and tell them, ‘The Kingdom of God is near you now.’ But if a town refuses to welcome you, go out into its streets and say, ‘We wipe even the dust of your town from our feet to show that we have abandoned you to your fate. And know this—the Kingdom of God is near!’ I assure you, even wicked Sodom will be better off than such a town on judgment day.” Luke 10:5-12 NLT
Wow! That is strong. God pronounces judgment on those who reject Him and those whom He has sent to teach and preach His Word. This is serious business! The Holy Spirit speaks the principle of sowing and reaping directly in relation to how we support ministry here in today's passage (see Galatians 6:6-7 again). Think about that. We reap what we sow. How are we sowing in this respect?
Perhaps repentance is in order here. Most believers and churches don't understand this issue to its biblical standard. May God help us learn this truth.
Ponder theses things. We will, Lord willing, pick up again tomorrow on this since there is so much about this that cannot be placed in a short daily devotional. Tomorrow we will talk about the Levitical Tithe.
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, help me to honor You as I honor those whom You have sent to teach and preach. Bless them with all that they need to fulfill Your kingdom work.
“Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct.” Galatians 6:4-5 NLT
Each of us have a responsibility to do what is right. We cannot control anyone other than ourselves. We must recognize the sheer reality that God is going to judge us individually. We cannot compare ourselves with others. Each of us are uniquely given gifts and talents. The important thing is to utilize our gifts and talents in such a way that the whole is made better because of our contribution. As we all take personal responsibility for our actions, it will have a resonating effect upon the whole. Can you be counted on to take personal responsibility for what you are doing and how it relates to others?
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, I want to be the best that I can be at what You created me for. Help me know that I cannot be anything other than what You have given me. Let my life be an asset to Your body, the church.
“Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.” Galatians 6:1-3 NLT
Helping the brother who has fallen into sinful behavior is a vital part of the church. We must always recognize the potential we all have to fall. None of us are immune to temptation. David, the king of Israel was caught in a moment of temptation in 2 Samuel 11. The book of Acts tells us that David was a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22). Although David was a man of God, he succumb to the temptation of a beautiful woman named Bathsheba. David's life would not be the same. His sin brought consequences beyond his expectation. God even sent the prophet Nathan to confront David about his sin. He had committed adultery with another man's wife, conspired to cover it up by having the woman's husband called home from his military service, and when the man wouldn't go home to have relations with his wife, David ordered his death. David had his military commander place Uriah (Bathsheba's husband) at the front line of battle. The result was his death. Now, David had not only committed adultery, he had also committed conspiracy and murder. How could such a man of God fall? Chapters 11 and 12 of 2 Samuel record the saga. There, in those pages, we read the sad commentary of falling into temptation. David, although being a godly man, had a moment of weakness that changed his life. The beauty from the ashes is that God forgave his sin (see Psalm 51). However, David's life would be scarred by the effects of his sin. Sin takes us further than we want to go, makes us stay longer than we want to stay, and makes us pay more than we want to pay.
Perhaps you, or someone you know, has succumb to temptation and has fallen into sin. There is hope and help. Jesus will forgive. The church is called to help that person and their family in their recovery. We must not put down our wounded. We are called to reach out to them in meekness, recognizing our own vulnerabilities. It could be us.
“If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 NLT
On any given day, even the strongest among us can fall. We must guard against Satan's schemes and strategies. All it takes is one moment of weakness. Don't give in to it. It will cost you more than you even know. Consider this alternative:
James 1:12 “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” NLT
I leave you with an encouraging word. In Acts 13:36, the Word of God tells us that David served his generation by the will of God and then died. David may have fallen, but through God's forgiveness, he finished well. Don't stay down. Let God pick you up, restore you, and finish well.
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, help me to recognize my vulnerability to sin and help me walk in the Holy Spirit so that I will not fall.
Rev. Curtis Norris