Daily Bible Reading

Harmony

It doesn’t take a musical genius to know when an instrument is out of tune or someone in the orchestra hits a wrong note. It’s obvious. It stands out. It’s not right. But when it all works together—every instrument in tune, in harmony—it’s a beautiful thing.

HARMONY: the just adaptation of parts to each other, in any system or composition of things, intended to form a connected whole; concord; agreement

That same basic principle of harmony works in our relationship with God. The Holy Spirit works in us to be sure that we remain in harmony with God.

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows that the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.

Romans 8:26-27 (NLT)

We can have a relationship with God and go our own way. Later on in Romans 8, Paul talks about how nothing can separate us from God’s love. We can accept salvation, accept God’s love, and go about our business. But why would we want to? Why would we want to live a life in discord with our Heavenly Father? Just like an out-of-tune orchestra, our lives, without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, will always be off. Something won’t be quite right.

But when we take advantage of the Helper God has sent us, that’s when the music happens.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Romans 8:28 (NLT)

On its own, this verse is often taken to mean that, as Christians, everything will always be great! Anyone who has been a Christian for more than five minutes can tell you that’s simply not true. Just because God works for our good doesn’t mean that it will always feel good. There is a reason that this verse follows a verse about being in harmony with God’s will. God works for our good. Meaning that God works things out for our good according to His will, not ours.

Is it always easy? No. Does it always feel good? No. Is there still a divine plan for our lives? Of course!

For God knew is people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn with many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And he gave them right standing with himself, and he promised them his glory.

Romans 8:29-30 (NLT)

When we get our spirit in harmony with God’s Spirit, we put ourselves in a place to be used greatly by Him. We put ourselves in the centre of His will and His love.

Why would you want to play solo when you can harmonize with the entire orchestra?

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 82-84, Romans 8:19-39

Daily Bible Reading

Act like it!

Christians should be the happiest, most joyful people on the plant. There are some who call themselves Christians that may balk at that statement, but it’s the truth. There are no scriptures in the Bible that would indicate that Christians must be a solemn people, prone to frowns and fits of self-deprecation.

So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God’s very own children, adopted into his family—calling him “Father, dear Father.”

Romans 8:15 (NLT)

Everything that I’ve found in scripture that speaks of how we should act as children of God indicates that we should stand out from the crowd—not because we are miserable, but because we have something that everyone else does not. Our faces, our actions, our attitudes, our responses should reflect the Spirit of God that lives on the inside of us.

But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them are not Christians at all.)

Romans 8:9 (NLT)

2017-08-05 15.17.05
Saskatchewan Roughriders receiver #89, Duron Carter, tossing a pass to my nephew.

I was recently at a CFL football game with my sister and her two boys. We had passes that allowed us down on the field before the game while the players were warming up. Even though our team doesn’t win nearly as often as we would like them to, we’re still big fans and cheer them on. So there we were cheering on some warm-up catches when one of the best receivers in the league tossed a pass to my nephew. My nephew (who plays football) managed to throw back a decent spiral, got a smile and a wave from the player. It was a special moment. We made sure everyone knew he’d caught the only pass from that player that day. Both our words and our actions indicated that this kid was something special.

If a single pass from a professional football player can make our day, how much more should the fact that we have been made heirs with Christ reflect in our lives?

With all the noise and distraction around us, it can get difficult to remember who we really are. That’s why it is so important to take the time to listen to the voice of the Spirit within us.

For his Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God’s children.

Romans 8:16 (NLT)

God hasn’t left us on our own. Just like your last name is a perpetual reminder of who you are, who you belong to, and where you came from, the Holy Spirit within us is there to also remind us of who we are, who we belong to, and where we came from.

Listen to that voice that God put in you. You are a child of God. A child of the King. Brothers and sister of Christ. Heirs of the Promise and so much more. And it’s okay to act like it. Our membership in the Kingdom of God is something to be celebrated and shared.

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 78-81, Romans 8:1-18

Daily Bible Reading

Powerful

Who doesn’t want power of some sort? Power indicates might, strength, resources. Power produces change. It is forceful. It is something to be reckoned with. Some want political power. Others military. Some intellectual and others physical. Power comes in many forms and from many sources.

Do you want power just for the sake of having it? Do you want it for your own selfish reasons? Or do you want power for the greater good?

And David became more and more powerful, because the Lord Almighty was with him.

1 Chronicles 11:9 (NLT)

Only one reason was given for David’s show of great strength—because the Lord Almighty was with him. When God was for Israel, they were strong and victorious. When God was against Israel, they were weak and defenseless.

If God is for us, who can ever be against us?

Romans 8:31b (NLT)

When our power comes from the Creator, nothing can stand against us. Like David, we can become more and more powerful for all the right reasons. There is no selfishness in the power that comes from God. It is for your good and it is for the greater good. It is the power to overcome darkness. The power to shine the Light of the World. The power over sin and death. And the power that comes from God is a result of sacrifice.

Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

…despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

Romans 8:35, 37 (NLT)

Overwhelming victory. That sounds like power to me. But the glory then, is not ours, but the Lord’s. As we discussed earlier, everything in the Bible points back to Jesus. The power that we receive through the Holy Spirit does, too. And that should encourage us since it is our job to point the world to Jesus. What better way to do so than to have his great power show through us?

Daily Bible reading: 1 Chronicles 11-13, John 9:1-25

 

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Free

It seems, more and more, that our culture is moving away from the feeling of shame. No one should ever have to feel bad for anything they’ve said or done.

While I agree that we should not be going around pointing fingers at each other, there is a reason and even a benefit to shame. There are reasons why some win and some lose.

Let’s first look at what shame really is.

SHAME: a painful sensation excited by a consciousness of guilt, or of having done something which injures reputation; or by of that which nature or modesty prompts us to conceal.

In other words, shame is something you should feel when you’ve done something wrong. Even Christians have somehow taken this twisted world view expressing that we shouldn’t feel bad.

Like pain is an indicator that something is wrong with us physically, shame is an indicator that something is wrong spiritually. If we do things that we know are contrary to the life of Christ that we’ve been brought into, we should feel a measure of guilt and shame. What we should not feel, though, is condemned.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:1-2 (ESV)

If you’ve sinned, you’re guilty. There’s no reason to hide from that fact, but the truth that we can run toward is this – that God does not condemn us when we come to Him in repentance.

For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the spirit… But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through is Spirit who dwells in you.

Romans 8:3-4, 9-11 (ESV)

Though sin leads to death, those who are in Christ have been set free from it. What better reason is there to run from the bondage of sin than to run towards the freedom life?

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 79-81; Romans 8:1-18