The realization of how much our salvation cost God should prompt overwhelming gratitude. Expressing our gratitude, from the depths of our hearts, is a form of worship. As we’ll see in tomorrow’s article, Lord willing, worship is a major part of glorifying God daily. The price God paid for our redemption should make us aware of the fact that His love for us is far beyond our ability to grasp. Can we even begin to understand the excruciating pain in God’s heart when He allowed His Son to be sacrificed for us, in an unbelievably cruel and agonizing death? “….therefore glorify God in your body….” (From I Corinthians 6:20). Let’s consider some of the implications of this. Our bodies should not be given to destructive habits such as drinking or smoking. They should never be given to immoral activity. We need to keep from things that damage our health. Proper hygiene should be a priority. Adequate rest is very important. The point is to offer God a temple that is clean and functional. Unbelievers should be able to view the exterior of these temples and see the results of wise and consistent upkeep. They should see an alternative to what misuse of their bodies has done to themselves. (I realize, of course, that some health issues are beyond our ability to change). Generally, however, we can take good care of His dwelling place on earth. Selah! Many start their new lives in Christ with much damage already done. God expects us to start from there. If we do, there is a possibility of much improvement. In any event, God can do His work and compensate for our limitations, when we do what we can do to make His home in us a wholesome place. Ron
Paul said, in so many words, “I am content.” “….I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” (From Philippians 4:11). Notice that he said, “I have learned.” We are not born “contented” (except, maybe, when we are asleep). Patience is closely related. If we are impatient, we are not content. Patience comes at a price: “….tribulation worketh patience.” (Paul, in Romans 5:3). Patience is a trusting acceptance that God is in control. The Psalmist reminds us, “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him….” (From Psalms 37:7). The development of patience takes time. If we are truly learning to trust, we trust God’s timing. We even learn to trust when He says, “No!”. Paul reminded Timothy (and us) that “….Godliness with contentment is great gain.” (From I Timothy 6:6). The Apostle directs our attention back to basics. He says, in I Timothy 6:8, “….having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” We have many “I wants” but our needs are far fewer. God has promised to supply our needs. He often supplies “wants.” If He doesn’t give us what we want, we can be sure that we don’t need it. We can rest in His wise ways. Jesus explains the waste of worry in Matthew, Chapter 6. Contentment, rest, trust, patience all combine to produce Spiritual strength. “….they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength….” (From Isaiah 40:31). Selah! Keep in mind this truth that the Psalmist stated in Psalms 84:11 where he says, “no good thing will He withold from them that walk uprightly.” If it is a good thing, it will come now or later. If it doesn’t, it’s not a good thing (for us). Trust God’s wisdom! Ron
Darkness, not just the darkness of night but darkness of hope characterized those days. Under the tyranny of Rome for many years, with no deliverence in view, hope was all but lost. Despair reigned and Spiritual darkness prevailed. It was a pitiful condition. Religion was a poor attempt to fill the void. It only added another form of bondage to the equation. An enslaved and suffering people longed for a Savior, the Messiah. He might free them and reign. How tragically ironic that most would not recognize Him when He came. So misery covered the people like a blanket, smothering all vestiges of hope. Thinking in terms of a physical kingdom and a freedom from bondage, they were blinded to the momentous events that would unfold around them. Unable to escape the blindness of seeking the material blessings of an earthly kingdom, most were unaware of something some shepherds were seeing and hearing. Into the darkness of night, a great Heavenly light was suddenly shining on some simple shepherds. “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord“ (Luke 2:8-11). Their simple response: “And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into Heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us” (Luke 2:15). That night, that light brought them to seek the Savior. Responding to His Light, shining out from Scripture will still deliver from darkness and bondage into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Selah! In His kingdom, light dispells Spiritual darkness and reveals, more and more, the splendor of our loving Redeemer. Ron
We’ll return to another of the “I am’s” tomorrow, Lord willing.