The Quest – Day 39

This is the devotional for Friday, November 3, 2006 which is the 39th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 39 of Frank Moore’s life-changing book, The Power To Be Free.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

 

Day 39 – Life in the Spirit of Christ

We live life in the Spirit of Christ every day through a thousand daily choices.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2 NIV)

To develop Christlike character we must look to Christ as our example. Then we consecrate ourselves completely to God. Next, we receive His gift of sanctification. Then we move from one growth cycle to another for the rest of our lives.

If you have heard that God quantum-leaps you to Christlike maturity in one moment with one prayer, you have been misled. Yes, our consecration can be accepted and our hearts purified in a moment. But the work of maturity is done in the many choices we make daily.

In our Scripture text for today Paul speaks of God’s incredible freedom that enables you to choose daily the way you think, value, and live. You have the freedom to choose one of two ways of life:

    Two preferences
Life in Christ Jesus, or
Life in the flesh, by which paul means living according to the carnal nature of humanity that prefers self over God

    Two walks
A spiritual walk in step with God’s value system, or
A fleshly walk in step with one’s own value system

    Two laws
The law of the Spirit of life – not a list of dos and don’ts, but the guidance of our deep love for God
The second law is the law of death – the outcome of doing what you please ends in spiritual death.

    Two powers
The power of Christ to forgive and free us from sin, or
The power of the old, condemning law which is powerless to deliver us.

    Two loyalties
Loyalty to the Spirit in which our pleasure is to do His pleasure, or
Loyalty to the flesh in which we become enslaved to our desires, passions and addictions

    Two destinies
Eternal life, or
Eternal death

Each day we have a choice between these two ways of life. You validate your consecration and affirm your sanctification in daily choices as you continue to live out your resolve to make Christ Lord of all!

The memory verse for this week is Colossians 1:27, “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

For more information on both the FaithBuilders podcast and the Faith Church podcast visit www.buildyourfaith.net. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

Build your faith today by choosing life in the Spirit of Christ.

The Quest – Day 35

This is the devotional for Monday, October 30, 2006 which is the 35th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 35 of Frank Moore’s thought-provoking book, The Power To Be Free.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

 

Day 35 – Christ in You, Part 2

You can become like Christ!

“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27 NIV)

Today we continue the study of Christlike character development we began yesterday. Now, remember that this character development does not occur overnight.

13. Jesus was not vindictive and did not retaliate when others treated Him wrongly.
14. Jesus did not need to make a name for himself.
15. Jesus expressed strong emotion and indignation when the occasion called for it.
16. Jesus showed great courage throughout His life.
17. Jesus had a clear mission and purpose for His life.
18. Jesus lived with eternity’s values in view.
19. Jesus realized and accepted His human limitations.
20. Jesus always sought to do the will of His Father.
21.Jesus lived in constant communion with His Father.
22.Jesus depended on the Holy Spirit for constant spiritual strength and encouragement.
23. Jesus lived a life of service.
24. Jesus submitted himself to suffering on our behalf.
25. Jesus submitted himself to death on the Cross to accomplish our salvation.

Look back over the list of qualities and virtues from yesterday and today. God wants to form these in you as you grow in Him. Resist the tendency to make a list of these character qualities and grade your daily performance, or you’ll fall into the trap of bondage to performance. Just live for God and seek His ways. Growth in Christlikeness will follow as naturally as “April showers bring May flowers.”

The memory verse for this week is Colossians 1:27, “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcast at www.buildyourfaith.net. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 5 of the Quest, which reveals that “You can develop Christlike character,” or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast. You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net.

Build your faith today by asking the Father to make you like His Son.

The Quest – Day 24

This is the devotional for Thursday, October 19, 2006 which is the 24th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 24 of Frank Moore’s very helpful book, The Power To Be Free.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 24 – Declare Yourself DOA

You must declare your self-centered nature DOA when you come to God for His help.

“Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 6:11 NIV)

Yesterday we studied David’s prayer for a clean heart. It’s easy for us to see why David needed God’s forgiveness; he broke up a home and murdered a man! You may be thinking, Well, I’ve never done anything that bad. That’s probably true. But you’re not off the hook!

We find ways to make excuses for ourselves. We want to “rate” sin. Premeditated murder ranks higher on the scale than cheating on income taxes. But God does not use our scale. Sin breaks God’s law, and it breaks God’s heart. Everyone, including believers, must guard against rationalizing sin or explaining it away.

David asked God to do two things: forgive him of his sins and cleanse him from the thing that pushed him to sin in the first place. He prayed in Psalm 51:12, “Grant me a willing spirit.” He needed something changed in his nature. He needed God to change his “want to.”

What is the nature that David needed changed? Paul, in Romans 6:11-14, said that our sinful nature becomes the source of evil desires and tries to entice us to use our bodies as “instruments of wickedness” (v. 13). This nature wants to put self first and to center the universe around personal motivations. It manifests itself in self-will, self-love, self-trust, and self-exaltation. It is self-centered, self-assertive, self-conceited, self-indulgent, self-seeking, self-conscious, self-righteous, self-glorifying, and self-proclaiming, to name just a few.

The result of this pattern is damaged and destroyed relationships, dissension and tension, loneliness and lack of fulfillment. It leaves a wake of evil and corruption.

No quest for purity is complete without dealing with the sin buried deep within us. You must declare your self-centered sinful nature DOA (dead on arrival) when you bring this problem to God and ask for His help. If you’ve encountered this problem but have not dealt decisively with it, you are a perfect candidate for Discovery 3. You can experience purity for the life you’ve longed for.

The memory verse for this week is Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcast at www.buildyourfaith.net. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 3 of the Quest, or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast. You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net.

Build your faith today by asking God to crucify your sin nature and then trusting Him to do it!

The Quest – Day 23

This is the devotional for Wednesday, October 18, 2006 which is the 23rd day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 23 of Frank Moore’s insightful book, The Power To Be Free.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

 

Day 23 – Heart Cleansing for Purity

Purity requires God to cleanse our hearts.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10 NIV)

Yesterday, our quest highlighted the purity illustrated in Isaiah’s life. But we must not assume that purity can be ours simply by deciding that we will pursue it. We need much more than focused willpower.

Take a moment to read Psalm 51:1-12 in preparation for today’s study. The first part of the passage reveals our need for God’s forgiveness. Then verse 5 calls attention to the fact that our hearts need cleansing too. From infancy we prefer our own interests, even if they go against God’s will for our lives. In verse 6 David says, “Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.” The problem of sin is solved only at its source where the desire to sin begins. David calls for a divine washing of his inner nature. He seeks a transformation to change him from the inside out.

Here lies the heart of the matter. God’s forgiveness of our sins is essential, but forgiveness is never enough. David prays for God to deal decisively with his sinful nature. This prayer for purity asks God for three things: (1) a clean heart, (2) a right spirit, (3) a sense of God’s Spirit living within him.

As in David’s time, people still come into this world with a desire to please themselves. They use free will to choose their own ways, and they wake up one day deeper in sin than they realized was possible. Yes, more than anything they need forgiveness for their acts of sinning. Once forgiven, they also need God to cleanse their hearts of the desire to sin or serve self.

The good news is: God can help us; He provides two cleansings!

 

The memory verse for this week is Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcast at www.buildyourfaith.net. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 3 of the Quest, or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast. You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net.

Build your faith today by asking God to cleanse your heart!

The Quest – Day 18

This is the devotional for Friday, October 13, 2006 which is the 18th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 18 of Frank Moore’s great book, The Power To Be Free.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 2 of the Quest, or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast. You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 18 – Love’s Not Always Easy

It’s not always easy to love; God can show us the way.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7 NIV)

Loving God and others sounds manageable as we begin our Christian walk. It gets a little tough, however, as we begin to interact with people who are a bit hard to love. We are disappointed to discover that even the saints at church remain fully human. They’re sometimes as hard to love as sinners in the world. What’s that all about?

Even saints continue to live with their human natures; they still must use free will wisely every day. They face temptation. They have blind spots and prejudices. They lack insight and understanding about certain areas of life. They have unique personalities. They continue to deal with areas of immaturity. They still have human frailties and weaknesses. In no way do these realities diminish the grace and mercy of God at work in the believers’ lives. Nor do they depreciate God’s plan of salvation in our lives or His work among us. But if we fail to realize that we are still all human, we set ourselves up for disappointment.

But then one look in the mirror reminds us of our own imperfections. We realize that God cuts each of us a great deal of slack with His grace and mercy. We are called to imitate Him. As we become more like Him, we extend to others the same grace and mercy we received from God.

While we do not alleviate ourselves of the responsibility to grow in areas of weakness and immaturity, we are reminded that we are called to treat others with the same compassion and forgiveness God has showered upon us.

The memory verse for this week is Mark 12:30-31, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcasts. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

Build your faith today by letting God teach you how to love others.


40 Days of Purpose – Day 22

This is the devotional for Sunday, May 21, 2006 which is Day 22 of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 22 of Rick Warren’s best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 22 – Created to Become Like Christ

You were created to become like Christ!

“God knew what he was doing from the beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son … We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him.” Romans 8:29 (Msg)

From the very beginning, God’s plan has been to make you like his Son, Jesus. God announced this intention at Creation: “Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image and likeness.” Genesis 1:26 (NCV)

God’s ultimate goal for your life on earth is not comfort, but character development. He wants you to grow up spiritually and become like Christ. Becoming like Christ does not mean losing your personality or becoming a mindless clone. God created your uniqueness, so he certainly doesn’t want to destroy it.

We allow Christ to live through us. “For this is the secret: Christ lives in you.” Colossians 1:27 (NLT)

How does this happen in real life? First through God’s forgiving & cleansing work in our lives. Then, through the choices we make. We choose to do the right thing in situations and then trust God’s Spirit to give us his power, love, faith, and wisdom to do it. Since God’s Spirit lives inside of us, these things are always available for the asking.

Jesus did not die on the cross just so we could live comfortable, well-adjusted lives. His purpose is far deeper: He wants to make us like himself before he takes us to heaven. This is our greatest privilege, our immediate responsibility, and our ultimate destiny.

Our new memory verse for this week is from Philippians 2:5 (NIV), “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”

Thank you for reading this edition of the FaithBuilders Devotional. This devotional is a ministry of Faith Church of the Nazarene in Jacksonville, NC. Visit our website at jaxnaz.org for more information about our church. Build your faith today by cooperating with God’s plan to make you like His Son, Jesus Christ!