Hebrew 4:16 8/19/16

IBS

8/19/16

Hebrews 4:16

“Let us than approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

I’m ready to listen Lord.

Just before verse 16, Paul tells the Hebrews of the great high priest we have in Christ Jesus. We have a high priest who can empathize with us. Jesus left the presence of God. He left his heavenly home. He left and came down to earth for his filthy disappointing creation. He lived a life, like you and me. He was “tempted in every way, just as we are,” Paul says. “Yet, he did not sin.” He knows what we are going through. No battle is too tough for him. No battle is new to him, he has already overcome it and is ready to help you and me overcome the same as he did. Paul continues into verse 16 encouraging the Hebrews, with this knowledge, to approach God’s throne with confidence because God is ready to help us. When I sin, often times the last thing I want to do is go to God about it. In my sin I feel that I am so unworthy of God’s love, of his acceptance, of his attention. But the reality is, my first action when I mess up should be to go to God. The truth is I am unworthy of all those things, but that makes Jesus even more beautiful. Because of him I can go before the throne of God. His throne of grace. I can go before the creator of the universe and ask for forgiveness and find restoration. I can receive mercy and find grace and receive help in my time of need. I can receive help from the one true, most powerful God of the universe.

Application: Its hard to go to God when I feel unworthy of his love, but Paul encourages us here that we can, and with confidence because from him radiates grace and mercy. And because he was tempted in every way here on earth, he can best help us through the daily struggles of life.

How: Today I also read Psalm 101. It is a pledge to the Lord on how David will follow the Lord. Verse 2 specifically talks about living a blameless life with a blameless heart. This is impossible for me to carry out, unless my power and help come from the Lord. Today I wrote “blameless heart” on my hand to remind myself throughout the day to go before the Lord’s throne to ask for help to have a blameless heart.

Thank you Lord for your help in my life, every day. Thank you Jesus I can go before your throne with confidence because of your beautiful act of salvation.

Thank you Lord for your grace and mercy and thank you for your never failing help.

2 Corinthians 4:7 8/5/16

IBS

8/5/16

2 Corinthians 4:7

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”

I’m here and ready to listen. Please speak to me Lord.

Paul in his letter to the Corinthians makes a great point in talking about the fact that we are weak as humans but God still chooses to fill us with his power. Paul says, “we have this treasure.” What treasure? Jesus. The power of Christ inside of us. In verse 10 of chapter 4 Paul says we carry, in our bodies, the death of Christ, so that the life of Christ might also be revealed in our bodies. I believe Christ died for my sins after living a perfect life, and then rose from the dead conquering death. I carry the fact that he died and rose for me so that the life of Christ might shine through me. That I might live in a way that reflects Jesus Christ. But this is so hard. Of myself, I am nowhere near an example of Christ. As Paul continues in verse 7, I am a jar of clay. A fragile human. I can’t please God by myself. A jar of clay in it of its self is nothing special. It is only as special as the potter who makes it. Praise the Lord I have the greatest potter who made me and now lives inside of me! As Paul says in verse 7, we have the treasure of Christ in us, passing jars of clay, to show that “this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” Paul uses perfect imagery to illustrate his point. A clay jar cannot just be beautiful. How did the clay form into a pot? On its own? No, by the potter who put his time and energy into it. The clay cannot be anything by itself it needs the potter to be anything, to be beautiful. The same is true about us. God presents his power in us, mere jars of clay, so that there is not question whose power is actually revealing itself in us. I know, and God knows I know, it’s not my power. This “all-surpassing” power Is from God and not from me!! Praise you Jesus that the power I have to operate in doesn’t have to be my own.

Application: Thank you Lord that you choose to fill me with your spirit, and let me operate in Your power. Though I am a sinner. Unfit to be in your presence. Yet, you choose to fill this jar of clay with your all-surpassing power. Praise you Jesus

How: Today I wrote “Not Mine But Yours” on my hand to remind myself once more that the power I need to operate in is in fact not mine, but the Lords.

2 Corinthians 6:3-10 7/26/16

IBS

7/26/16

2 Corinthians 6:3-10

“We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.”

Make real to me Your Word Lord. I am listening. I’m having trouble seeing what you want me to see in these verses. Help me. You are forgiving and good, abounding in love to those who call on you, Psalm 86:5. I am calling on you. Please show yourself to me. I desire to hear from you. Please reveal to me the mysteries and secrets of your word.

I believe Paul, in this portion of his letter to the Corinthians, is speaking about living in a way that is above reproach. He starts verse 3 by saying “We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.” Live in a way that no one sees your ministry and decides to write it off because they see the “other side” of your life stile. Ministry is not a job or an opportunity to volunteer. Ministry is a lifestyle. And Paul is urging the Corinthians to live in a manner that leaves no question about who they are living for. He continues, “Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way,” and then continues on in a long list. The key word there is every way. Do I live above reproach in every way? In great endurance in troubles, hardships and distresses? Thankfully I have not had to endure beatings, imprisonments and riots, but I pray to the Lord that I would count it joy to suffer in that way for his namesake. Continuing on, do I live above reproach in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger? In purity, understanding, patience and kindness? In the Holy Spirit and in sincere love, in truthful speak and in the power of God? I’ll tell you right now, no I don’t. I fail daily to do all those things. I operate in my flesh instead of the Holy Spirit. I trust in the power I think I have on my own instead of the power of God. The question wanders through my mind, though I already know the answer, “How?” How do I live above reproach? The simple answer is Jesus. Look at the life of Jesus. Flawless, in every way. Jesus is the epitome of what this group of verses talks about. After Paul speaks of living above reproach in all these ways, he exhorts the Corinthians to do so not just when it’s easy. He says through glory and dishonor, bad and good report. Even when regarded as a fake; when regarded as unknown. Not just when it’s easy Paul says. Though all these things, live above reproach. Live in away that backs up your claim of ministry. This is difficult. It has to be a daily cry to the Lord for me. Asking God for the weapons of righteousness that Paul mentions in verse 7. I want to live in a way that leaves no question who I serve. That leaves no question of what kind of man I am. That leaves no question of why I claim one thing and live another. I want to live a life that can be an example to others. Not for my own glory, though that is a fight every day, but for the glory of God. My name is under Christ. Those who know me know this. If I’m not living in the way Paul speaks of here, I am giving Christ a bad name. I am misrepresenting my creator, my friend, my Savior, my God. That is the last thing I want. I want to live exemplifying Christ

Application: God help me live with integrity in every aspect of my life, no matter what. Not just when it’s easy, not just when it’s rewarding, not just when it’s for my benefit, but in every way, all the time.

How: Today I wrote some words from Psalm 86:5 on my hand so I can remember the verse. It says, “You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.” When I don’t live above reproach, when I mess up, when I slip off the path, He forgives me. He brushes me off with his love, cleans me with his blood and gets me back on me way. Every time I see this verse today I will be reminded to call on my Lord and Savior to help me live in a way that is above reproach, in a way that truly honors him. I cannot do it on my own.

Thank you Lord for your promises. Thank you that you are forgiving, good, and abounding in love to all who call on you. Love you Lord.