Saturday, July 30, 2016

Squandering The Grace Of God...

The Bible wasn’t written with chapters and verses. Books of the Bible were written as a whole, and chapters and verses were only added in the 15th century to help us with referencing. And so, Paul writes 2 Corinthians chapter 5 telling us that we are new creations in Christ, with a new life; we’ve been appointed as representatives of Jesus and been given the ministry of reconciliation, and we’re qualified for the job because He has made us righteous. Then comes the next chapter,
“We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:1-2 NKJV
I like how the New Living Translation puts it, “As God's partners…” The English Standard Version says, “Working together with Him…” What a privilege we have to be called God’s partners in His rescue mission to reach the world with His gospel. We are so privileged to have such a significant purpose and destiny – to share God’s unconditional love and grace with the world and see people grow in relationship with Him.
Then Paul (the writer of Corinthians pleads with us “not to receive the grace of God in vain.” What does that mean?  It means that we shouldn’t receive God’s grace to no purpose, without success, to no avail, or fruitlessly. You see, the grace of God produces life in us and through us. God’s grace (His undeserved favour) is what produces joy, blessing and purpose (1 Corinthians 15:10; Galatians 1:15). And so, “receiving the grace of God in vain” would mean that it isn’t accomplishing what it should and what God desires it should. 
“Companions as we are in this work with you, we beg you, please don’t squander one bit of this marvelous life God has given us.” 2 Corinthians 6:1 MSG
The Message Bible says we shouldn’t “squander” what God has given us. To squander means to “waste (something, especially money or time) in a reckless and foolish manner.” You don’t usually squander something on someone else – that would be generosity. You squander something on yourself; it's a selfish and self-centered exercise.
What Paul is communicating here is that we’ve been given so much in Christ. We’re completely new (forgiven, freed and blessed) and we have been made 100% righteous by faith (it’s got nothing to do with our actions); we’ve got so much because of God’s amazing grace – we have God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Paul is begging us not to squander it on ourselves because “…behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).
Yes, God wants you blessed, well-looked-after and all of that, but we shouldn’t just be using grace so that we feel good and have what we need and desire. People are perishing every day. People are in desperate need to hear about the grace of God and have the opportunity to receive it so that they won’t die without God and perish in hell forever (Romans 10:13-15). When we experience God’s unconditional love and grace it should propel us forward in wanting to tell others and invite them to experience it, too. God didn’t play it safe and stay in heaven. No. He so loved us that He sent Jesus to rescue the world from perishing. Jesus has done His part, and He has delegated a part to us (believers). Jesus so loved the world that He has sent you and I, to give people the opportunity to hear the message and receive His love and grace. Don’t squander His grace. It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-20; Acts 1:8; Acts 20:35)

Friday, July 29, 2016

What qualifies you to represent God?

“20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:20-12 NKJV
You are God’s chosen representative on earth. For God so loved your community, your workplace, your classmates, your employees and your family – that He sent them you. You hold the answer to their problems. He wants to reach out to people around you with the message of His unconditional love and grace.
As God’s duly appointed representatives we should not be timid or shy, and we should not hold back. We are representing God Almighty, who happens to be our Dad. We also have an amazingly powerful message which is only ever good news. There can be a temptation to feel inadequate or under-qualified to represent God and share this good news with others – but you are qualified!
God called you as His ambassador the moment you received Him. If God chose you to represent Him, then who is anyone else to think anything less of you? There may be times when you look at your mistakes or short-comings and feel like you’re not good enough to represent God, but think about it for a moment: He’s full of grace (John 1:14).  That means that God doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve (Psalm 103:10) and He does not remember our sin (Hebrews 10:17). Yes you have blown it; you’ve made mistakes and you probably could try harder, but the best person to represent God is someone who has needed and is enjoying His grace. We’ve all got problems and so don’t try to wear masks, pretending that everything is fine. Rather be real with people and let them know that you aren’t perfect but that His grace has forgiven you, freed you and empowered you.
Straight after Paul tells us that we are Christ’s ambassadors, he tells us that Jesus took our sin so that we could “become the righteousness of God” in Christ. Jesus took what we were (sinful) so that we could become what He is (right). “Righteousness” is basically right-standing with God. It means that you are now right with God and that He completely and unreservedly accepts you.  You may mess up in your actions and your thinking, but the spirit part of you (the inner-man) is 100% righteous because of Jesus. And because God is a Spirit, He deals with the real part of us – the spirit. In your spirit you are 100% righteous.

“So let us come boldly to the very throne of God and stay there to receive his mercy and to find grace to help us in our times of need.” Hebrews 4:16 TLB
The reason why we can come to God boldly and be confident of receiving from Him is because we’re righteous. It’s because “as He is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17). As Jesus is right now, so is your inner-man right now. The core of you is righteous, pure, holy and blameless. Knowing this and being established in this truth of righteousness will give you the boldness and confidence you will need to be an effective ambassador of Christ. So don’t judge yourself according to some religious set of rules, or someone else’s expectations.  God has made you righteous and He sees you as righteous. Therefore, you are righteous. Be confident in your identity in Christ and it will overflow in giving you confidence as His ambassador. Our sufficiency is not of ourselves (2 Corinthians 3:5), rather it is in Christ in us (Colossians 1:27). We can represent Christ because He has made us righteous!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Looking for God...

“We are Christ’s ambassadors. God is using us to speak to you: we beg you, as though Christ himself were here pleading with you, receive the love he offers you—be reconciled to God.”
2 Corinthians 5:20 TLB
What a privilege! We are representatives of God Almighty and He is reaching out to people through us. I don’t know if you have ever known the feeling of not being picked? Not being picked for the sports team, or not being picked for that job you were hoping for. It can leave you feeling inadequate and second-class. But here is some great news: it doesn’t matter if you have been saved for 10 years, 10 days or 10 minutes – God has chosen you to be on His team! It doesn’t matter if you’ve done Bible school or if you’ve hardly read the Bible – If you’ve chosen God, He has chosen you to represent Him! He wants to work through you to reach the lost, hurting and confused world. Now, the more you know the Bible (which takes time) the better you will represent Him, but the truth is that you’re already chosen. He doesn’t choose people who are qualified (been to Bible School or been saved for a certain length of time), He chooses people who have chosen Him and then He qualifies them (trains and equips them). If all you know is John 3:16, that “God loved you so much that He sent Jesus to die for you so that you wouldn’t perish but have eternal life”, then you know something worth sharing with someone else. You had to hear some Gospel (good news) to receive Christ, and even the little bit of Gospel that you heard is enough to share with someone. You don’t need to know all the answers, all you need to know is Jesus; The Answer. Tell people about how He changed your life.

“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?”
1 Corinthians 6:19 NKJV
Many people are searching for God, but He’s in you. You are His address. The people of God (the church) need to realize that when the lost are looking for God they should be able to find Him in us. The answer for the world is in us (Colossians 1:27).

“So we have been sent to speak for Christ. It is like God is calling to people through us...”
2 Corinthians 5:17 ERV
Many people are seeking for a Word from God and waiting for Him to speak to them, and while He does speak directly to us and can speak to us through His Word, God chooses to speak to the world through His people (the church) – through you. God wants to reach out to people through you and call them into relationship with Him.
Someone once told me that they believe that everyone has their own message that they are called to share with the world. For example: some people are called to focus on love and others on joy; some on health and others on family or relationships etc. Many people actually believe this, and it’s wrong. There is one message we are all called to share with the world – it will be expressed in many different ways and we may each highlight something different, but there is one message and that is the message of the Gospel: the good news of God’s unconditional love and grace, and the finished work of Jesus. As God’s representatives we need to realize that we are not representing ourselves. That means that whatever God wants us to speak is what we speak, and when we speak it needs to sound like God would have said it.
God has chosen and appointed you to represent Him and speak for Him. He’s chosen you to tell others about His love and salvation, and help them to accept this great gift. Step out in faith, today, and give someone hope. Be bold and tell someone about Jesus’ unconditional love and grace.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The answer for the world!

“6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” Matthew 24:6-7 (KJV)
The world seems to be going crazy – Turkey, Zimbabwe, France, Orlando, Texas… to name a few. Jesus Himself said that it would happen. The world will only get darker – but this gives the church (the believers) the opportunity to shine even brighter. Light shines best in darkness.
Prayer is not the answer for the world. There have been many calls to prayer (especially on social media) but prayer will not change a nation. I’m not against prayer – it’s good to pray for believers to be strengthened by realizing who they are in Christ, and to pray for believers to go boldly to unbelievers to minister the gospel to them. We need to pray for opportunities to minister the gospel and we need to pray for the people we minister to, but praying for world peace is a waste of time, and so is praying for people to be saved. We need to go to unbelievers and share the gospel with them and give them the opportunity to receive Christ. 
“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20 (NKJV)

“We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women… We’re speaking for Christ himself now...” 2 Corinthians 5:20 (MSG)

Prayer is not the answer for the world – you are! You are Christ’s representative here on earth; sent on a mission to share the message of Jesus’ unconditional love and grace with the world. God is in you and He is reaching out to the world through you with the message of His good news. The devil (your enemy) knows this. He might not be able to steal your destiny from you by getting you to live in sin, but he seems pretty effective in preventing believers (the church) from fulfilling our destiny to impact the world with the good news by getting us distracted with anything and everything – even good things – which are not mission. The devil will even try to keep you in your prayer closet, and prevent you from talking to people about Jesus. Yes, you should pray for people but you can't just pray for people - you need to minister to them by talking to them and telling them the good news!

“16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
John 3:16-17 (NKJV)

God sent Jesus into the world to deal with the sin problem (John 1:29; 1 John 2:2) and rescue the world from perishing, but people need to believe in order for them not to perish; they need to hear about Jesus in order to have the opportunity to receive Him.

“13 Anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. 14 But how shall they ask him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?” Romans 10:13-14 (TLB)
The gospel is the answer for the world. It is the message of peace through God’s unconditional love and grace. You have been entrusted with this message (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). You are an ambassador of Christ with His message sent to influence the world. We’re all part of this! Wherever we go and wherever we are as believers, we can share the good news of Jesus with others. And through our generous giving to the church we enable people to go around the world to share the Gospel, disciple the nations and start churches. 
For God so loved the world that He sent Jesus (John 3:16). For Jesus so loved the world that He sent us, the church (Matthew 28:18-19; Acts 1:8). You have a significant purpose and destiny! You are a part of God’s worldwide rescue plan!

Picture credit:

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

You are Chosen...

"1 Paul, apostle of Jesus Christ by God's will, to the saints and faithful in Christ Jesus who are at Ephesus. Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and [the] Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ; according as he has chosen us in him before [the] world's foundation, that we should be holy and blameless before him in love."
Eph 1:1-4 Darby Translation

Start by saying it out aloud:
“God called me. This means that He chose me for something, which means He accepts me! I am special! I am good enough for Him!”

There is something specific that I want to draw your attention to: that “He has chosen us in Him.” We have not been chosen by our own merit, goodness or ability. We have been chosen “in Him”, or in other words, in grace according to Jesus’ merit, goodness and ability.

Jesus reminds us in John 15:5 that apart from Him we can do nothing. That includes the fact that apart from Jesus we cannot please God, we cannot get favour with God, we cannot get blessed by God. We are who we are and have what we have because of Jesus.
"4 Even if I am able to trust in myself, still I don’t do it. If anyone else thinks they have a reason to trust in themselves, they should know that I have a greater reason for doing so. I was circumcised on the eighth day after my birth. I am from the people of Israel and the tribe of Benjamin. I am a true Jew, and so were my parents. The law was very important to me. That is why I became a Pharisee. I was so eager to defend my religion that I persecuted the church. And no one could find fault with the way I obeyed the Law of Moses."
Philippians 3:4-6 (ERV)

Paul is talking about his carnal résumé and showing that if anyone had reason to be confident and trust in their ability, it was him. But Paul says that even though he has very good reason to trust in himself, he doesn't. Look what he says about his “good works résumé":

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ"
Philippians 3:8 (KJV)

Paul considered his impressive credentials as worthless and calls them "dung" (poop) compared to the free gift of righteousness by faith in Christ. Click here and take a look how The Message Bible puts it. How do you see yourself? Do you see yourself as “found in Christ” or “found in your good works”? You may know the textbook answer, but what do you really believe? Another way to find out is to ask: are you “trying” or “trusting”? Are you trying to “achieve and obtain” or are you “resting and receiving”?
When we’re trusting in our good efforts to be made right with God, we miss it completely - not just a little bit. It’s good to do good; good works are beneficial to us and others. Going to church, reading your Bible, living holy etc. are all good. But it doesn’t make you any more acceptable in God’s eyes. He doesn’t accept you because you give money to the church or because you serve at worship services every week. Your holiness was never and could never be enough. Hebrews 10:10 (TLB) says, “Under this new plan we have been forgiven and made clean by Christ’s dying for us once and for all.”

Say it out aloud: “We make the cut because of Jesus. We’re acceptable because of Jesus. Thank You, Jesus!”

In Philippians 3:4-9 Paul lists everything that he’s done to live his religion (effort to please God) well. And then he throws in this exciting verse (:8, brackets mine), “Yea doubtless, and I count all things (all my good work and effort to be right with God) but loss (worthless) for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung (yes, Paul used that word), that I may win Christ”.
We need to let go of our attempts to be right with God, and rest in Jesus’ perfect work to make us right in Him. We cannot become righteous, but have been made (past tense) righteous by Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21).  All of our attempts to be right are nothing but dead religion. Paul calls it dung. In the Greek it’s “skubalon” - which we’ve reduced to a four-letter word nowadays. So in other words religious efforts to be right with God, no matter how good or sincere, are nothing but detestable and worthless, or poop.
"...In Christ I am right with God, but my being right does not come from following the law. It comes from God through faith. God uses my faith in Christ to make me right with him."
Philippians 3:9 (ERV)

 Click here to sign up to receive these devotionals on email

Sign up for these daily devotionals in your e-mail inbox! click above!

Monday, July 11, 2016

You are Called

Paul, apostle of Jesus Christ by God's will, to the saints and faithful in Christ Jesus who are at Ephesus. Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and [the] Lord Jesus Christ. (Eph 1:1-2 Darby Translation)

I am called.
“By the will of God…” – what an amazing thought, that Paul was an apostle (an ambassador of the gospel; a messenger sent with power) because it was what God wanted. Paul did what he did because he knew it was what God wanted him to do. God has a divine purpose for you and over the next few days we’re going to explore this.

God created everything with a purpose - including you! There is nothing as satisfying and fulfilling as living your purpose. I think that you will be surprised at what you were created for! While Paul is referring to a specific function (apostle) that God had called him to (and God has called you to a specific function), we want to focus on another aspect of this. God calls us to be before He calls us to do, because your identity will determine your function.

What does it mean to you that God has called you?

If you think about it, it is quite profound! The Creator of the universe has called you. That means something. It means a lot. For one, it means that you’re acceptable enough to be called by Him who is perfect in every way. Think about that. Before we even look at what you are called to, just meditate on the wonderful truth of being called by God.

There are two aspects of being called: (1) being called to be, and (2) being called to do. What many people miss is what we saw last week: that because we are, we are able to do. In other words: who you are (identity) determines your ability or potential action. That’s why it is vital that you realize who you are.

Proverbs 23:7a, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”  The way you think determines the way you are.

Without a revelation of who you are, you will never truly rise to the level of potential that God has created you for and called you to.

How does it feel that God Almighty, Creator of the Universe, has called you? That He sees you as acceptable, and so acceptable that He wants YOU?

Say it out loud:
“I am more valuable than I think! I am called by God, I am accepted by God, and God has a plan for me!”

  • I am called
  • I am accepted
  • God has a plan for me

Saturday, July 9, 2016

You are 100% Forgiven

"7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory."
Eph 1:7-14 ESV

How close do you feel to God right now? On a scale of 0% – 100%, how would you rate your closeness to God? Think about this before you read any further.

If you answered anything less than 100% you don’t know who you are! You aren’t thoroughly convinced of your union with God. It’s true that you may feel55% close to God because you are having a bad day or things are going wrong, but the truth of the matter is that you are 100% with God 100% of the time - whether you feel it or not.

“But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” (1 Corinthians 6:17) When you received Christ, you were united with Him and you are as close to God as you’ll ever get! Yes, you can grow in your knowledge and intimacy with Him, but when you start realizing how close you are to God (based on what Jesus has done for you, not through any good work or effort on your part), you will begin to experience and enjoy relationship with God on a whole new level. But here’s the thing: it comes by you realizing what is, what exists, what already is.

Say this fact out loud: “I AM 100% UNITED WITH CHRIST, 100% OF THE TIME.”
2 Corinthians 5:21, The Living Bible, says: “For God took the sinless Christ and poured into him our sins. Then, in exchange, he poured God’s goodness into us!” Do you realize that God’s goodness is in you? The King James Version puts it this way, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Jesus did it all: He paid our debt, and then made us righteous (100% right with God). We are not right with God because of anything we do, but because of who we are. As 1 John 4:17 confirms, “As he is, so are we in this world.”

Say it out loud: “I AM 100% RIGHT WITH GOD, 100% OF THE TIME.”


And that is only because it is His righteousness!

The more you see yourself as God sees you (He sees you in Christ), the more you will act in accordance with your new nature. You need to realize that sin is not an issue between you and God, and it never will be! (See John 1:29; 1 John 2:2) You are forgiven! Completely! A saint has no need for forgiveness! You’re now a completely new creation! “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” (Hebrews 10:17). The Almighty, the Creator of the universe has said that He will not remember our sins any more. That must mean that they are no longer an issue! And that’s obviously because of Jesus! Jesus dealt with everything that could possibly hinder your relationship with God! He eradicated every blockage and dealt with every problem. Nothing stands in the way of you having an intimate relationship with Father God.

The only thing that would prevent you from enjoying this close relationship with God is that you don’t know how close you are to Him (See Hosea 4:6), or that you remember your sin. God has forgotten your sin, but you might struggle to do the same. Let me encourage you with Romans 8:1 from the Mirror Bible: “Now the decisive conclusion is this: in Christ, every bit of condemning evidence against us is cancelled.” There is no condemnation, guilt, shame or unworthiness for you because you are in Christ! Say it aloud: IN CHRIST, EVERY BIT OF CONDEMNING EVIDENCE AGAINST ME IS CANCELLED!

You are a saint; a holy one! You are forgiven! It’s not something that’s going to happen; it’s a done deal!

How does it feel when you think of the liberating truth that God isn’t holding anything against you? 

With the knowledge of this good news, read 2 Corinthians 5:17-21. What do you get out of these verses regarding who you are and what you are able to do?

Friday, July 8, 2016

Dealing with Rejection

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined usfor adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
Eph 1:3-6 ESV

These three go together nicely. This scripture is revealing God’s heart for you! God doesn’t merely tolerate or put up with you – He loves you. He wants you. He chose you. Not only did He choose you, but you are His child and He accepts you fully.

We have all felt rejection at some time in our lives. It sucks. No one likes it. Sadly, many live in this place of rejection because they feel they don’t deserve better. Rejection can be defined as exclusion, brush-off, a cold shoulder, ordenial.
Have you ever felt like that? Excluded, brushed-off, been given “the cold shoulder” or denied? How do you deal with situations like that?

Rejection can wound us deeply, and then without us realizing it, that pain can become a place from which we operate. It gives opportunity for us to either rebel through bad performance, or seek acceptance and approval through perfection or good performance. Some people deal with feelings of rejection by performing for acceptance. 

Think about what it means to be accepted. Do you feel accepted by God? Why? Or why not?
“…If God be for us, who can be against us?”
Romans 8:31

What an awesome truth and key to overcoming rejection of all kinds! It doesn’t matter who rejected you or how it happened, the answer is the acceptance of God! If the Creator of the universe accepts and loves you, who gives a rip if anyone doesn’t like you. There will always be someone who doesn’t like you, but God always accepts you because of Jesus! If you take anyone’s opinion and compare it to God’s opinion the one will always look extremely pathetic because “Jesus is God’s mind made up about you!” (Ephesians 1:4, The Mirror).

If you realize that you have any rejection in your life then you don’t fully comprehend how accepted you are in Christ. I encourage you to pray and ask God to open your understanding that you may fully know and experience His love and acceptance. Let go of hurt and rejection and embrace the full acceptance that is yours in Jesus! The phrase “accepted in the beloved” is saying that we are highly favoured and gladly received by God. God doesn’t merely tolerate you – He’s crazy about you! “Beloved” refers to Jesus, once again showing our position “in Him”.


We looked at this yesterday. God calls you a saint. That means a “holy one”. You are holy because God calls you holy and you’ve been made holy in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 10:10). Because you are holy, you are without blame! All the blame that was pointed at you was taken by Jesus on the cross. Now you are completely free from any blame and all shame!  You’re a saint, which means that there is nothing for which you can be blamed! Thank You, Jesus!

  • I am chosen
  •  I am FULLY accepted
  •  I am a child of God
  •  God is crazy about me
  •  I am Holy and blameless (without blame)

Get ready to see yourself like you’ve never seen yourself before. Get ready to discover what the Creator of the universe thinks of you. Get ready to experience all of heaven’s power unleashed in your life. Say goodbye to lifeless religion, destructive habits and fleeting emotions, as you say hello to and embrace love, acceptance and abundant life! Get the "I am" devotional today! Click here!