Fight

We have heard many times that this life of following Jesus is not an easy path. As a matter of fact, if following Jesus was easy everyone would be doing it. Paul, in his letter to his spiritual son Timothy, was consistent in reminding him that this life is a battle. In Paul’s first letter to Timothy in 6:12 he reminds Timothy and us, “Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

The fight is to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. These are qualities that do not come to us naturally. They come through the gift of the Holy Spirit, yet if we are not careful that old self will try to squeeze these out of our lives. This is where the fight begins, to look at ourselves in the mirror of God’s word and tell that person glaring back that today we will fight the good fight of our faith.

Maybe it’s the Irish in me, but I’ve always enjoyed a good brawl. As we grow up the things we use to fight over we discover are really not that important. Today though Paul reminds us that there is still a good reason to roll up our sleeves and throw down; our walk with Jesus, the unity of the family, the salvation of those we love. These according to the scripture are worth the tussle. Let’s get ready to rumble.



Overcome

And it begins, the new Christmas season. There are a few things that I have begun to notice as I grow older. One, that the years seem to go by faster and faster. I feel like I just put up the decorations from last year and here I am getting them out again. Second, it seems like it is getting more difficult to have that wonderful Christmas spirit. I have always loved Christmas and everything about it, and I am not against getting lots of presents hint, hint. Yet, it just seems like the world is getting darker and the light of Christmas dimmer.

So, how do I overcome this blah feeling that seems to have attached itself to my soul? The Holy Spirit reminded me in Romans 12:21, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” We have to remind ourselves that Christmas is not about the calendar and it is not about how we feel. It is about truth. The truth that God came in flesh and dwelt among us for the purpose of overcoming evil and Jesus did this by the greatest good. He laid down His life for all mankind, so that all who would call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ may be saved.

This is the example that I choose to ponder upon and grab hold of. I too can overcome evil with good because of what Jesus has done. Let me encourage you to not let the enemy steal from you the amazing truth that all of us who are in Christ are free and have the right to experience the true joy of Christmas.



Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving, a day to ponder upon everything that the Lord has blessed us with. Most of us are thankful more than just once a year for our wonderful families, our homes, the nation in which we live, and even for our jobs. But, as we sit around the table salivating over that beautiful brown, tasty bird will there be a thought to thank the Lord for our trials, for those thorns in the flesh?

The apostle Paul may not have been thankful, but he did learn to be content in what these trials were trying to accomplish in his life. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore, I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.  (2 Cor 12:9-10)

I know, I know, it sure sounds great when you read it from Paul’s perspective, but the truth is still the same for us. Our Lord Jesus loves us so much that He also brings things into our lives that will make us have to trust Him more, to grow us more. To remind us that when we recognize our total dependence upon our Savior, that is when we really have strength. So, as we sit around the table, or alone in our devotions, remember to thank and praise the Lord for all of these things, including those thorns and trials because in and through them He is making us something wonderful.

Happy Thanksgiving!



Immediately

There are some choices in life that we should take a lot of time pondering upon before we jump in.  We should weigh all the pros and cons considering whether it’s the right thing to do or not.  I suppose when it comes to following Jesus there is a weighing of the pros and cons as well.  The first disciples had the same issue.  They met Jesus and they knew in their heart there was something different about Him.  Matthew 4:22 tells us that when these fishermen came to the conclusion that this Jesus very well could be the Messiah, they had to make a decision.  “Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him.”  Of course they had no idea what the future held, but immediately they made a decision.  What about us, what is it Jesus is calling us to?  Maybe you’ve had one foot in the boat and one wanting to follow Jesus.  So, maybe it’s time to immediately follow Jesus and get involved in the adventure of a lifetime.  


Temptation

As a follower of Jesus don’t you wish that temptations would just go away. Yet, the encouragement is that just because we are tempted it doesn’t mean we have to fall into sin. Remember, temptation is not sin. Let me remind you what I Corinthians 10:13 tells us, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” (1 Cor 10:13) Paul wants us to know that no matter what you’re tempted with, you are not alone. Your temptation is not unique. There are others that are dealing with the same issue in their life. There is a beautiful truth in this text, that God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to deal with. So, we do not have to fall into sin, that is our choice because the Lord will provide a way to escape. We just have to look for it. For Joseph, it was as simple as running from the temptation. Jesus used scripture. The best way to victory is to always have a game plan, to prepare ourselves for the battle that will come. We do this through prayer, being in the word, and hanging with other brothers and sisters for that wall of encouragement and safety. But if you do fall into sin, remember we are just one prayer away from forgiveness.for