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 33

This is the devotional for Saturday, October 28, 2006 which is the 33rd day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 33 of Frank Moore’s challenging 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 33 – Receiving the Power

 

You can receive power from God for the life you’ve longed for. 

“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.”  (Acts 1:8 NIV)

You have been exploring God’s power for the life we’ve longed for that comes through relationship with the Spirit of Christ.  This is power to conquer habitual sinning and the self-serving attitude that leads you to selfish choices.  This is power to help you through the trials of life and power to resist temptation.  This is power to assist you in sharing your witness for Christ and to make new disciples for Him.

So how do we obtain this power?  We obtain it not through strenuous spiritual exercise or through earning it or purchasing it.  We receive it as a gift!  Jesus left us a promise, the promise of His Spirit.  

The disciples hoped Jesus would offer them political power.  Jesus instead offers spiritual power which would be absolutely essential for their success with the mission He had given them. 

The three symbols of Pentecost hold spiritual meaning.  The wind reminds us of its ability to separate chaff from wheat (Matt. 3:12), pointing out the Spirit’s desire to blow away all that is unholy in our lives.  The flames remind us of fire’s ability to burn chaff and purge gold and silver from impurities (Mal. 3:2-4).  The Spirit comes to purge our hearts of all that is less than what God intends for us.  The miracle of languages reminds us of the call to communicate the good news of Jesus to every person in his or her own tongue (Matt. 28:19-20).  What were the results of this spiritual power for the disciples?  Their lives were changed.  The Good News went out.  The world was changed! 

There is no doubt.  God has the power for the life you long for.  Ask for His gift and wait for His response.  Remember not to desire the gift over the Giver.  The gift is a by-product of a close, personal relationship with God.

 

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.  

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 asking God for the gift of His Spirit.

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 29

This is the devotional for Tuesday, October 24, 2006 which is the 29th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 29 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 29 – Power Over Sin

 
God offers power to give us victory over sinful habits and self-preference.

 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin…My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.” (1 John 1:7, 2:1 NIV)

For the past two days we have talked about spiritual power.  But we must ask a very important question, “Power for what?”  We have seen that God does not offer us power just so we can amaze others or so we can be like Superman.  God is not offering power to feed our personal egos.  But God does offer us power to live above habitual, intentional sinning.  John makes the point clearly in our text today when he says that he writes “so that you will not sin.”

Sin creates a twofold problem.  Our list of past sins is Problem 1.  Sin’s nature buried deep within us that pushes us toward sin and self-preference is Problem 2.  This self-preference remains deeply rooted even after God forgives my sins.

Some Christians believe that sin’s habitual power and our self-preference is a curse we will live with our whole lives.  So are we doomed to sin throughout our lives?  Is our battle against sin hopeless?  Will we always use our freewill to choose our own way?  Absolutely not—to all these questions!

Not only can God solve Problem 1 by forgiving us of our past sins, but He also has the power to change us from within and reorient our nature so we can return to His will and plan for our lives.  God’s power can change us at a heart level in order to break the cycle of sinning.  God offers us power to cleanse us from self-preference.  So, the solution to Problem 2 is to surrender command of the control center of your life to our loving God.  Let the Christ who created you and died for you have complete control of your past, present and future—everything you are and everything you may ever become. 

Yes, God can give you power over intentional, habitual sin, so you can live the life you’ve longed for!

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. 

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 yielding control of your life to Christ who died to free you from the power of sin.

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 15

This is the devotional for Tuesday, October 10, 2006 which is the 15th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 15 of Frank Moore’s challenging 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 15 – The Great Command

Love God, love others.  That’s it.

 
“The most important one is,…‘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..” (Mark 12:30-31 NIV)

We live in a give-it-to-me-quick world.  That’s the mindset that also prompted one of the teachers of the Law to ask Jesus to cut to the chase when it came to the thousands of Jewish laws and interpretations.  Jesus replied with a twofold response:  love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and your neighbor as yourself.  The first command summarizes the first four of the Ten Commandments; the second summarizes the last six.

Love for God must always come first; love for others will naturally flow from it.  We do not obey God’s laws out of slavish obligation but with a child’s heart of love.  Sin does not break God’s laws as much as it breaks His heart.

On another occasion, Jesus summarized the Law by saying, “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12).  We call this the Golden Rule.  We must always keep the biblical principle of love for God and others at the center of our thinking as we proceed on our Quest to discover the life we’ve longed for.

Jesus calls us to make sure that we mark everything in our lives with love.  We can easily be kind to those who are nice to us; we’re not as easily disposed to have that same regard for those who mistreat us.  But Jesus gave us that revolutionary charge.  Our love responses for God and others create one of the most important characteristics of our Christian faith.

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 loving God and loving others.


40 Days of Purpose – Day 27

This is the devotional for Friday, May 26, 2006 which is Day 27 of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 27 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 27 – Defeating Temptation

There is always a way out!

“Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.” 1 Cor. 10:12 (Msg)

You may sometimes feel that a temptation is too overpowering for you to bear, but that’s a lie from Satan. God has promised never to allow more on you than he puts within you to handle it. He will not permit any temptation that you could not overcome. However, you must do your part too by practicing four biblical keys to defeating temptation.

REFOCUS YOUR ATTENTION ON SOMETHING ELSE. Ignoring a temptation is far more effective than fighting it. Once your mind is on something else, the temptation loses its power. So when temptation calls you on the phone, don’t argue with it, just hang up!

REVEAL YOUR STRUGGLE TO A GODLY FRIEND OR SUPPORT GROUP. Authentic, honest fellowship is the antidote to your lonely struggle against those sins that won’t budge. God says it is the only way you’re going to break free.

RESIST THE DEVIL. Without Christ we are defenseless against the Devil, but with “the helmet of salvation” our minds are protected by God. Remember this: If you are a believer, Satan cannot force you to do anything. He can only suggest.

REALIZE YOUR VULNERABILITY. Given the right circumstances, any of us are capable of any sin. We must never let down our guard and think we’re beyond temptation.

Don’t carelessly place yourself in tempting situations. Remember that it is easier to stay out of temptation than to get out of it.

Visit FaithBuilders Podcast at buildyourfaith.net to listen to this devotional or to read or hear previous episodes. This podcast 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 finding the path of victory over each temptation!

40 Days of Purpose – Day 9

This is the devotional for Monday, May 8, 2006 which is Day 9 of our 40 Days of Purpose. For these 40 days we will be posting daily devotions based on the material in Rick Warren’s best selling book, The Purpose-Driven Life. We invite you to get a copy of the book and read chapter 9 with us today.

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

Day 9 – What Makes God Smile?

The smile of God is the goal of your life!

“May the Lord smile on you …” Numbers 6:25 (NLT)

Since pleasing God is the first purpose of your life, your most important task is to discover how to do that. “Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it.” Ephesians 5:10 (Msg)

Five acts of worship that make God smile:

– God smiles when we love him supremely.

– God smiles when we trust him completely.

– God smiles when we obey him wholeheartedly.

– God smiles when we praise and thank him continually.

– And God smiles when we use our abilities.

You may feel that the only time God is pleased with you is when you’re doing “spiritual” activities—like reading the Bible, attending church, praying, or sharing your faith. Actually, God enjoys watching every detail of your life, whether you are working, playing, resting, or eating. He doesn’t miss a single move you make.

The Bible tells us, “The steps of the godly are directed by the Lord. He delights in every detail of their lives.” Psalm 37:23 (NLT)

Every human activity, except sin, can be done for God’s pleasure if you do it with the attitude of praise. Will you make pleasing God the goal of your life? There is nothing that God won’t do for the person totally absorbed with this goal.

Find out what makes God smile and live it out. Build your faith today!

A Deadly Disease

Brooklyn-based drum maker Vido Diomande was diagnosed this week with anthrax. This event reminded us all of the anthrax outbreak following 9/11. However, there is an even larger epidemic present in our world today. Hear more about it in the podcast today.