The Quest – Day 37

This is the devotional for Wednesday, November 1, 2006 which is the 37th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 37 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 37 – Accepting God’s Gift

 

Our quest will succeed only after we receive God’s gift of sanctification. 

“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.  May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.”   (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 NIV)

In Charles Dickens’ classic book Great Expectations, the character Abel Magwitch worked quietly behind the scenes as a secret benefactor to Philip Pirrip, nicknamed Pip, to provide him with resources and opportunities throughout his life that elevated him into high society.  Much later, Pip looked back and saw the unmistakable hand of his secret benefactor in his life.  More often than not, we also succeed because of a team effort or a friend or relative working quietly behind the scenes to assist in our accomplishments. 

The same is true of spiritual success.  God gives us many benefits.  Just as we do not earn or deserve the new birth, we do not earn or deserve sanctification.  In our Scripture focus today Paul shows us that sanctification is not something we do for ourselves; God does it.  We receive God’s gift by faith. 

“To sanctify” means to set apart for God.  In the New Testament, it is believers who are sanctified rather than places or things as was true in the Old Testament.  God sets us apart for himself, but with an added dimension.  He cleanses and purifies our hearts and places His Spirit within us to enable us to live the lives to which He calls us. 

Paul’s description of the work of the Spirit in 1 Thessalonians 4:8 and 5:23 shows us that  God accepts our consecration (which was yesterday’s topic) by giving us the gift of sanctification in a moment in time, but that He also places His Spirit in us on an ongoing basis.  So, we experience both a moment-in-time experience and a daily process of growth toward maturity.  This experience affects every part of our being:  spirit, soul, and body. 

So, what is the source of this sanctification?  Paul says God calls us; God is faithful; God will do it.  Yes, my commitment to Him and my self-discipline are important.  However, God’s gift of His Spirit and His sanctification are the real reasons we can live holy lives. 

God’s plan for us to live holy lives calls us to sanctification which is also God’s gift to us.  He sanctifies in a moment and gives us His Spirit each moment for a lifetime of growth in sanctification.

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 receiving God’s gift of sanctification by faith.

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The Quest – Day 30

This is the devotional for Wednesday, October 25, 2006 which is the 30th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 30 of Frank Moore’s great 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 30 – Power Over Trials and Temptations

God gives us power to live victoriously over trials and temptations.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” (James 1:2-3 NIV)

Author Frank Moore’s family plays a board game called The Magnificent Race.  Players must overcome a series of obstacles while progressing in the worldwide race.  The arch villain of this board game is Dastardly Dan, who does everything in his power to discourage and bankrupt players.  Victory comes only after numerous battles with this villain. 

Christian living mirrors this board game in many ways.  Most days seem like a mad dash against a nearly impossible schedule.  We must each deal with our own Dastardly Dan arch villain in the form of Satan.  He’s pinned a bull’s-eye on our backs and targeted us for spiritual defeat.  Our quest today takes us on a search for power to live victoriously over trials and temptations.  Temptations attempt to derail our faith; trials test and strengthen it.

In today’s Scripture, James urges us to look on the positive side of our trials.  James lists four positive results that come from trials:

  1. We grow in patience (v. 4)
  2. We become mature and complete in our faith (vv. 4-5)
  3. We increase in faith (v 6)
  4. We receive a reward from God (v. 7)

The Bible warns us against surrendering to temptation.  Remember temptation targets us for defeat.  Paul talks about temptation in 1 Corinthians 10:12-14:  So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.  Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.” 

These passages reveal that:

  1. Temptation is a fact.
  2. Temptation usually catches us off guard.
  3. Temptation originates outside of us.
  4. Temptation is universal.
  5. Temptation has its limits.
  6. You can resist temptation.
  7. Once temptation passes, you’ll be left standing.

In the wilderness temptation (Matt. 4:1-11) and throughout His life, Jesus met Satan’s temptations and remained victorious at every encounter.  So can you!

The memory verse for this week is Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Thank you for stopping by to read (or listen 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 4 of the Quest, “You can receive power,” 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 depending on God’s power to live victoriously over trials and temptations.

The Quest – Day 27

This is the devotional for Sunday, October 22, 2006 which is the 27th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 27 of Frank Moore’s insightful book, The Power To Be Free.

Today begins our emphasis on Discovery 4: You can receive power.

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 27 – Where Do I Look

Power for living comes from our relationship with the Spirit of Christ

“When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, ‘Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 8:18-19 NIV)

Jerry wanted to surprise Angela, his teenager, with a brand-new, bright red sports car. He asked author Frank Moore to drive it from the dealership to his home. As Frank reached the freeway, he punched the accelerator. Guess what? Nothing happened! He couldn’t wait to tell Jerry that some factory worker had placed a lawn mower motor under the hood! Jerry said, “Yes, I know. I didn’t want my daughter to be tempted with too much power, so I ordered the smallest engine the factory makes!” Something’s wrong with that picture!

Many believers suffer from the same power-shortage disappointment. We know we need power to live the Christian life. Yet, our daily performance does not always match our expectations for this power. So, the quest continues.

The Bible indicates that God demonstrates His power through believers. God worked through Philip so powerfully in Samaria that Simon, a local magician, made the mistake of thinking that he could purchase a local franchise for God’s power.

When believers experience a power-shortage they are tempted to think that God only offers His power to special people or at special times. Or they may decide, like Simon, that God has a secret formula for unlocking His power which they must discover or purchase. Please don’t be lured by false advertising that offers you spiritual power through gimmicks, purchases, or mail-in offers.

God’s power displayed in believers is not a commodity to be purchased. Peter said that a relationship with God is necessary to display God’s power. So, just as children should care about traveling parents more than the gifts they bring when they return, seek the Giver of the gift, not just the gift.

Maybe it’s really not a “where” question at all. Maybe the question is “To whom do I look for spiritual power?”

The memory verse for this week is Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

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

We invite you to attend today’s service focusing on Discovery 4 of The Quest. If you are unable to attend today’s service due to illness or travel or if you’d like to review the message, or 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 seeking the Giver, not just the gift.

The Quest – Day 16

This is the devotional for Wednesday, October 11, 2006 which is the 16th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 16 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 16 – Imitators of God

Imitate God.

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2 NIV)

Author Frank Moore says that one of his favorite memories of his son’s childhood occurred during the summer of his third year. There Brent was about three paces behind him pushing his toy mower, imitating every move he made. Like it or not, our kids imitate what they see us do.

That’s the concept Paul had in mind when he admonished us in the Scripture verse above to imitate God. In the verse just prior to it, he explains what he wants us to do, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other” (4:32). Both verses tell us to love as Christ did. We follow His example and show others the same kindness and compassion we have received from Him.

What force drives this love? God’s love flows through us. This love originates in God (see. Romans 5:5). We simply receive it and pass it on to our hurting world. This means that whenever we see something else taking center stage in our lives, we quickly set it aside and restore God to first place. This enables us to reach out to others with the same love with which God reached out to you.

So often when Christians read in the Bible that they must love God and others, they assume they must generate large quantities of this love by themselves. So like the car rental employee, they try harder. Then they become frustrated, because they cannot love God’s way by themselves. The love you’re called to display requires nothing more than receiving God’s love and letting it flow through you to others. You simply imitate God.

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 reading the FaithBuilders devotional. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

Build your faith today by imitating God.

Impressed?

Welcome to Faithbuilders. (Here is the link to the podcast file.)

Have you ever noticed that a lot of TV commercials tell you that if you really want to impress others, you need to buy their product? Well, I, for one, am staging a walk-out on that kind of thinking! I’ve seen too many people allow themselves to be manipulated into buying things they don’t really need in order to impress people they don’t even like in the first place! Then they have to make payments on things they don’t even use with money they don’t even have! How crazy is that?

In the Bible, in John 5:41-44, Jesus tells the religious people of His day that they are more interested in being honored by the people around them than they are in being honored by God.

Let’s ask ourselves the questions, “Whom am I trying to impress? Do I change the way I behave around certain people? Why?”

There is a problem if the person we’re most trying to please is not God. If we are focusing our life on impressing certain people, we end up putting on an act only around them. But if the focus of our life is on pleasing God, our whole life has to change, because we can’t fool God…ever! We must then live a life of integrity, living with the same purpose and principles all the time, everywhere! Of course, that means we need God’s salvation, redemption and assistance all the time, everywhere! Then the One whose opinion really counts will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

40 Days of Purpose – Day 40

This is the devotional for Thursday, June 8, 2006 which is the 40th day of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 40 of Rick Warren’s best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life.

If you have found this 40 Days of Purpose podcast helpful, we’d love to hear from you, so take a moment and leave your comments. It would be a great encouragement to us.

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 40 – Living With Purpose

Living on purpose is the only way to really live!

“For David … served the purpose of God in his own generation.” Acts 13:36 (NASB)

In the Upper Room, as Jesus was concluding his last day of ministry with his disciples before his crucifixion, he washed their feet as an example and said, “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” John 13:17 (NIV) Once you know what God wants you to do, the blessing comes in actually doing it.

You may wonder, “What about God’s will for my job or marriage or where I’m supposed to live or go to school?” Honestly, these are secondary issues in your life, and there may be multiple possibilities that would all be in God’s will for you. What matters most is that you fulfill God’s eternal purposes regardless of where you live or work or whom you marry. Those decisions should support your purposes. Focus on God’s purposes for your life, not your plans, since that’s what will last forever.

It’s easy to drift away from what matters most and slowly get off course. To prevent this, you should develop a purpose statement for your life and then review it regularly.

Imagine what it is going to be like one day, with all of us standing before the throne of God presenting our lives in deep gratitude and praise to Christ. Together we will say, “Worthy, Oh Master! Yes, our God! Take the glory! the honor! the power! You created it all; It was created because you wanted it!” Revelation 4:11 (Msg)

We will praise him for his plan and live for his purposes forever!

The memory verse for this week is Colossians 4:5 (NIV), “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.”

Thank you for visiting the FaithBuilders Blog at buildyourfaith.net. This blog is a ministry of Faith Church of the Nazarene in Jacksonville, NC. Subscribe to the FaithBuilders Podcast by clicking on the “Subscribe with iTunes” link in the right-hand column, or copy and paste the Podcast Feed link into your podcast reception program. Visit our website at jaxnaz.org for more information about our church.

Build your faith today and every day by living for God’s purposes!

40 Days of Purpose – Day 15

This is the devotional for Sunday, May 14, 2006 which is Day 15 of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 15 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 15 – Formed for God’s Family

You were formed for God’s family!

“His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure.” Eph. 1:5 (NLT)

God wants a family, and he created you to be a part of it. The entire Bible is the story of God building a family who will love him, honor him, and reign with him forever. When we place our faith in Christ, God becomes our Father, we become his children, other believers become our brothers and sisters, and the church becomes our spiritual family. The family of God includes all believers in the past, the present, and the future.

Our families on earth are wonderful gifts from God, but they are temporary and fragile, often broken by divorce, distance, growing old, and inevitably, death. On the other hand, our spiritual family—our relationship to other believers—will continue throughout eternity.

The Bible says, “Jesus and the people he makes holy all belong to the same family. That is why he isn’t ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters.” Hebrews 2:11 (CEV)

Let that amazing truth sink in – you are a part of God’s family, and because Jesus makes you holy, God is proud of you! Being included in God’s family is the highest honor and the greatest privilege you will ever receive. Nothing else comes close. Whenever you feel unimportant, unloved, or insecure, remember to whom you belong.

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders Podcast at buildyourfaith.net. It is a ministry of Faith Church of the Nazarene in Jacksonville, NC. For more information about Faith Church visit us at www.jaxnaz.org. Build your faith today by becoming part of the family of God.

What’s God like?

Do you know what God is like? Pastor Bill talks about how we can get an accurate understanding of God in this podcast.