Feb 08

Enjoying The Heavenly Places of Christ

larrydec26In Ephesians 1:3 Paul wrote these words, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” The Christian is a heavenly person. He is not “of this world.” Philippians 3:20 tells us that we are “citizens of heaven.”

What does this mean to the Christian? It means that we do not let the things of this world, which is anti-God, dictate how we live. We have been called out of a kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of the Lord Jesus (Col. 1:2-14.). The Word of God is our constitution,especially the New Testament. We find in its pages how to live and act as “citizens of heaven,” and enjoy all the blessings in Christ!

Jesus said that He came to give us the abundant life. We should desire all that the Godhead has for us. Paul told the Colossians that we should “seek the things that are above.” We must, therefore, strive to conduct our lives with a heavenly emphasis. We need to renew our minds spiritually.

We have received these spiritual blessings so that we can praise God! The Lord has promised to equip us for service so that we can reach the lost and strengthen the saved. These blessings that we have as “citizens of heaven” are to help us grow daily in “the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

We cannot live the Christian life by ourselves. We need the help of the Lord at all times. Satan is out there “as a roaring lion,seeking whom he may devour.” Because of that, we need the assurance that “greater is He who in you than he who is in the world.”

Christians should seek everything God has for us so that we can be equipped to live Him, always learning from the Word of God, and being active in His service while we look forward to the time when the Lord returns for His Church to take us home to the full reality of the Heavenly kingdom.

While we have been promised all the blessings today, one day we will enjoy them on a higher scale when we see Him face to face. If we avail ourselves of all that He has for us and use the blessings to bring glory to Him, we will “let our light shine for Him.”

Feb 02

Walking In Truth

larrydec26The Christian life  is portrayed in the New  Testament in a  variety of ways. The writers of the  New Testament use  word pictures to help us understand. They  use  things that we are familiar with. They take common, everyday   actions  and give them  spiritual application.

One way the  life of a Christian is portrayed in the New Testament is that of a  “walk.”  That is  something that all of  are  able to do unless hindered by health reasons. Ephesians 5:2 reads as  follows: “And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (ESV) We also read in verse 8, “for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” We have been called out of a “kingdom of  darkness,” into the “kingdom of the Son of His love.” (Colossians 1:12-14) The Lord expects  us to live for  Him.  The ‘walk” of the  believer should be a one of  progress.

We know that the  way  we  walk physically and the  pace of our  walk  is  different with each person.  This can  be    illustrated in  the  “marathon concept.” Here in Louisville, KY we have what is called  the “Mini-Marathon.” Many  are entered, and  while only  one person wins the  race, all who  finish receive  some recognition.  Some are fast runners, slow runners, fast and slow walkers. Some are on  crutches, some in wheel chairs,   but their goal is  to  finish the race.

So it is with the believer. We are “in Christ”, we are  admonished to “grow in the grace and knowledge of  the Lord Jesus” (2 Peter 3:18).  Jesus  has a  right to  expect  continual growth in His children. But He  realizes that as  we  all grow at  different  stages in the  physical realm, so it is also in the spiritual realm.  “walking” denotes   progress.  If we desire to  “learn of Him,” and grow as  Christians he will equip us for the   journey. We  must have  our  eyes  upon Jesus at  all time (Hebrews 12:1-2). He   gives  us  His Word  to study, meditate  upon and   apply to our lives.

We must be  found “walking  in the Truth.” This  phrase is  used  numerous  times in the New Testament.  Jesus is the  great example of One  walking in Truth.  In John’s 2  short  epistles, 2nd &  3rd John both  recipients, “the elect lady” in  2nd John 4and Gaius in 3rd John 4 are  commended   for  walking “in the  truth.” John also is thankful that  others are walking in the truth also.

We want to  be  pleasing to our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus in every possible way.  Since  we have   been called out of  darkness into the  marvelous light of the Gospel, we have  an obligation, yea, privilege to help others find their way to Christ also. “Walking in Truth” will help us cultivate  the type of life  we  need to continue to  grow in the Lord.

We must  be  found  following the teachings  found in the New Testament that  show us  how  to live  for Him who died for us!

Jan 26

How Then Shall We Live?

larrydec26One of the greatest and most precious promise in the Word of God is th certainty go the return of the Lord Jesus for His church.  Christians are expected to live a different kind of life than that of the unbeliever. Col. 3:1-2 tells us that we are to set our minds on the things that are above; that is on things that have a Heavenly perspective.

How should we live and conduct ourselves in the here and now as we wait for Jesus’ return?  Every generation of Christians from the first century has had the promise of His coming. Believing that He could come at any time should motivate us to greater service to Jesus and His church.

How should we be living in anticipation of the return of the Blessed Hope (Titus 2:13)?  We must be found not only waiting and looking forward to His coming but must be active and faithful in our service to Him. Paul gave us a wonderful motivation for righteous living–believers are waiting for a hope that is already a certainty. We can look forward to Christ’s return with eager expectation.   We must adhere to the words of a popular song: “We’ll work til Jesus come.”

By utilizing the term“Blessed Hope,” Paul brings out at least 2 aspects of Christian living that should be stressed today.

Waiting with anticipation and  hoping for Christ’s glorious appearing.  The waiting is good  for us: it builds character, endurance, and perseverance. The hoping makes the waiting bearable.

C. S. Lewis wrote: “It is since Christians have largely ceased to think to the other world that they have become ineffective in this one. Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in; aim at earth and you will get neither.”

Four words seem to characterize our earthly sojourn.

  1. Occupy.  Use your talents for the Lord. I believe that every Christian has at least one talent that he or she can utilize to bring glory to God. There is room in the Kingdom for all Christians to develop and use their talents to further the work of the church.
  2. Purify.  We must say “No!” to the world’s attractions. (1 John 2:15-17)  we must practice mind renewal in a mindless society (Romans 12:1-2).
  3. Watch.  This watching will include waiting and working. We must seek to be active in His service and not just occupy a pew.  We must want to do all it takes to “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
  4. Worship.  Gathering around the Lord’s Table reminds us of both redemption and the return of the Lord Jesus.

Keep looking up! Jesus  may come TODAY!

Jan 20

Looking For The Return Of Jesus

Should Christians be looking for the return of the Lord Jesus? Can we know when He will return for His Church? The answer to the first question is a resounding “yes.” On the second question posed, the Bile says that we cannot know the time He will return.

There have always been those in the history of the Church who have tried to pinpoint the time of the Lord’s return. Those who have done this have brought reproach and ridicule upon the Lord’s Church by their actions. There is one who has set a date of May 11, 2011. What is sad is that this same individual made a similar prediction a few years ago.

In light of the fact that we cannot know the timing, what should our attitude be in regards to the fact that He is coming again as He promised? The Bible is full of many promises of the return of Jesus for His own.

We have the testimony of the Lord Jesus Himself in John 14:1-4. In telling the Disciples of His upcoming death He gave them the promise that He would come back for them. At the Ascension we have the testimony of the holy angels. In Acts 1:11 they give the Eleven this great and comforting words: “why do you gaze up into the sky? This SAME Jesus who you see go up I to heaven will return in like manner.” This passage, along with the one in John and others in the New Testament tell us that Jesus Himself will keep His Word and come back personally for us.

All throughout the Epistles we have the teachings that Jesus is coming again. In 1 Thessalonians 1:10 the Christians at Thessalonica and we today are told to “wait for His Son from Heaven.” In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Paul tells us that ‘the Lord HIMSELF” will come back for us! We have the same admonition in Titus 2:13 to. Be looking for the return of the Blessed Hope.

But while we are admonished to be a people who are always on the alert and looking for His coming, we must also be a people who are active in His service. We must be waiting and watching every day but also we must be a people who, because we are saved, are working for the Lord in His Kingdom. We must be thankful to have been called out of kingdom of darkness into the marvelous light of the Gospel.

Since we are now in the light of the Gospel we must be seeking to help the lost find their way into the light of the Gospel. We must also be found seeking to strengthen the saved.

Keep looking up! Jesus may come today! This attitude must translate into greater service. It must motivate us to love the lost more and concentrate our labors in that behalf

Jan 13

Just Say No!

The Apostle Paul, in Titus 2:11-14, tells his readers how to live in expectation of the return of the Lord Jesus! We are instructed in Tit 2:12to “deny ungodliness and worldly lusts.” We must say NO! to the attractions of the “world.”The hymn writer wrote: “The world all about me has now no allure. I’ll put Jesus first in my life. In all that I say, in all that I do, throughout the world of toil and strife, by day and by night, through trust in His might, I’ll put Jesus first in my life.”

All of Paul’s instructions in Tit 2:1-10 can be summed up in Tit 2:12. Believers must refuse any action that lacks reverence for God. Ungodliness means a lack of love or total disregard for God (Romans 1:18). We live in an age when many totally reject God’s influence in any area of their lives. Christians must renounce that attitude. Worldly passions are desires for the pleasures and activities of this world.

We are to always seek His Kingdom first! (Matthew 6:33).

Mar 15

Let’s Put Jesus First In Our Lives!

“The World All About Me” is my favorite song in our hymnal. It is also know as “I’ll Put Jesus First In My Life.” It was written by James DeForrest Murch back in the 1930′s. I want to use the verses and the chorus to write some short devotionals.

All of us have priorities in life. We all have “anchors” in our lives. Every priority and anchor that is not grounded in the Lord Jesus will only last through this life. We all need something or someone in our lives that will lead to eternal life.

The chorus reads as follows: “In all that I say, in all that I do, throughout the world of toil and strife, by day and by night, through trust in His might, I’ll put Jesus first in my life.”

Notice that the intent of this chorus is not half-hearted commitment. It is giving one’s all to a life of dedicated, faithful service. We are reminded that life is not always a “bed of roses,” but life is many times up and down, and full of all kinds of emotions and feelings. But we can rest assured that we have One who loves us, One who keeps His Word and wants us to have an abundant life in Him. Paul, in writing to the Ephesians said, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished upon us…” (Eph. 1:8-9a ESV)

We have the promise that no matter what time of the day, He is always there for us. We can count on the promise of the Great Commission “Lo, I am with you always…” If we always seek to put Jesus first in our lives, He will equip us for service

Mar 14

Say NO To Ungodliness

The Apostle Paul, in Titus 2:11-14, tells his readers how to live in expectation of the return of the Lord Jesus! We are instructed in Titus 2:12 to “deny ungodliness and worldly lusts.” We must say NO to the attractions of the “world.”

The hymn writer put it this way, “The world all about me has now no allure, it pleasures bring pain, its wisdom is vain. I seek a foundation that’s steadfast and sure; I’ll put Jesus first in my life!”

All of Paul’s instructions in Titus 2:1-10 can be summed up in Tit. 2:12. Believers must refuse any action that lacks reverence for God. Ungodliness means a lack of love or total disregard for God (Rom. 1:18). We live in an age when many totally reject God’s influence in any area of their lives. Christians must renounce that attitude. Worldly passions are desires for the pleasures and activities of this world.

We are to always see His Kingdom first! (Matthew 6:33)

Sep 09

What Kind of Foundation Do YOU Have?

We build our lives on all kinds of foundations. Jesus spoke of those who build their lives on the sand, a life that has no permanent foundation. He contrasted that with one who built their lives on a solid foundation. The one who built on the sand had all kinds of problems in life. The one who built on the right foundation (Jesus) enjoyed the blessings of God.

The song, “I’ll Put Jesus First In My Life” in verse one tells us about that to a Christian, that “the world all about me has now no allure.” What this means that once we put on the Lord Jesus in baptism we change “kingdoms.” Paul told the Colossian Church that Christians have been conveyed out of a kingdom of darkness into a kingdom of light ruled by the Lord Jesus. We are now in the marvelous “light of the Gospel” and now have the privilege to help other find the light of Jesus.

He further reminds Christians that worldly wisdom is vain. The last phrase of verse one gives great comfort to the believer. It reads as follows, “I seek a foundation that’s steadfast and sure, I’ll put Jesus first in my life.” We sings song: “The Church’s One Foundation Is Jesus Christ, Her Lord…” We can be confident that our foundation, the Lord Jesus will always be there for us. Praise the Lord!

-Larry Miles; larrymiles@insightbb.com

Sep 09

We Are ‘Citizens of Heaven.”

“For our citizenship is in Heaven, from which we eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus,” (Phil. 3:20).

We thank God that the Holy Spirit inspired the writers of the Bible to write in terms that we can understand. Most of us are familiar with the word “citizenship.” We understand that we are citizens of the United States of America. We are “Americans.” We further understand that this right has many responsibilities and duties as well as privileges. We are to obey the Laws of the land.

The Apostle Paul’s use of the word “citizenship” in Phil. 3:20 has great importance for us in a spiritual way. Since we are “in Christ,” and therefore, a Christian, we have certain responsibilities and privileges.

The Lord Jesus instructed us: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” We have a repsponsibility to our King. Christians make up the Kingdom of God in this present age. This means that we are to claim all the benefits of citizenship. The New Testament is our Constitution. On its pages we find out how to live for the Lord of Glory.

In Phil 3:20 we’re portrayed as “eagerly waiting for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” This means that while we are giving Christ the honor and obedience He deserves, we are to be living our lives in expectation of the reurn of the Lord Jesus. Do you believe that He coould come today? If not, then you better change your attitude. Live as if He would come day. But also be active for Him and steadfast in your service.

Sep 09

Waiting For The Lord’s return

Jesus is coming again! We have His promise in John 14:1-6, the testimony of the angels in Acts 1:9-11 and many other promises in the rest of the New Testament.

In I Thes. 1:9-10 the Apostle Paul commends the church at Thessalonica for their service to the Lord. He recounts in I Thes. 1:9 their journey from idolatry to serving Jesus. He further states that they were a serving congregation. Since we serve the “living and true God,” Since he could come at any moment—we must be ready at all times—we must be active in His work at all times. We must put our faith into action. We must be seeking the lost and striving to strengthen the saved. Mission work and evangelism does not stop with conversion—the more we learn about Jesus and His Church and the Word of God—we will be mission minded.

Jesus has told us to be waiting and watching for the time he will come back for us. But we must not be idle; we must as the song goes, “we’ll work ‘till Jesus comes.” Some in the New Testament were condemned because they were not active in the Lord’s service while waiting for His coming. That must never be said of us. We will be rescued from the wrath to come (I Thes. 1:10), so let’s allow Jesus to equip us for service. He has provided much for us if we will only appropriate it. Let’s always seek to reach the lost and strengthen the saved!

-Larry Miles, Louisville, KY larrymiles@insightbb.com