Worthy of the Gospel

Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.

~ Philippians 1:27

Prayer Life Pause: Heavenly Father, conform my conduct such that it is worthy of the Gospel of Christ, that I might stand fast in the Spirit and with a renewed heart and mind serve Jesus in the hope of the Gospel. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Tents & Houses

The house of the wicked will be overthrown, But the tent of the upright will flourish.

~ Proverbs 14:11

God is faithful to both the wicked and the righteous. Sound strange? Think about it. His promises towards both are sure and certain. The Lord’s Word stands as true to one as it does the other. In our passage before us, we are told the house of the wicked will be overthrown. The meaning is all the wicked do, all they establish here on earth, any accumulation of power or prosperity, even they themselves, will one day come to nought. While the tent of the upright will be blessed, it will flourish and ultimately prosper under God’s faithful care.

Consider one other caveat from this text, notice the contrast between the house of the wicked and the tent of the upright. A house may appear more stable than a tent. The house may give the resident a greater sense of safety and security than the one dwelling in a tent. But in the Lord’s plans, the house will fall while the tent shall stand. Though the upright may do with less in this world, and live by humbler means than the wicked, God is faithful to both, and it is the upright who will flourish while the wicked are fully and finally overthrown.

~ apl

To The Glory & Praise of God

“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God”.

~ Philippians 1:9-11

Prayer Life Pause: Heavenly Father, may my love for You and my fellow man deepen everyday, may I seek those things which You deem most excellent, and may my faith be sincere and without offense so that the fruits of Thy righteousness would be manifest in me to the glory and praise of God. In Jesus’ name, amen.

For Your Good

“You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good…”

~ Genesis 50:20

The story of Joseph’s rise to prominence in Egypt is filled with unlikely twists and turns. It begins when Joseph receives the covenant blessing of Jacob indicating his rise as the leader of God’s people, Israel. But because of the jealously and hatred of his brothers again him, Joseph’s life would take an unexpected turn towards violence, suffering, slavery and attempted murder.

Though his brother’s sought Joseph’s demise, he remained faithful to the Lord, and as a result, God favored and blessed him, even in a foreign land. Joseph rose to great power in Egypt. So that after the death of their father, and during a terrible famine, Joseph’s brothers went up to Egypt to plead for Joseph’s help. And oddly enough, Joseph was in the perfect place to assist.

What Joseph’s brother meant for evil against their brother, God meant for good. Their jealousy drove them to want to kill Joseph, to drive him away, and to prevent him from taking his rightful place as their leader. Yet God preserved Joseph and used him mightily despite them. Joseph remained faithful to God through it all and the Lord blessed him for it.

Sometimes everything can seem to be working against you. It can feel like God has let you go and the world is winning. Still remember, even in our darkest hour, God can bring good out of it. He can bring good out of pain, sorrow, and affliction. Maybe today you are in the pit of life, and like Joseph, with little reason to hope. Yet, be faithful; trust in the Lord. For what others mean for evil against you, your good and faithful God can mean ultimately for your good.

~ apl

Prayer Life Pause: Heavenly Father, when I feel the evils of this world pressing in on me and I can’t seem to grasp the meaning of it all, help me to know with a blessed assurance I’m still in Your hand and my goodness is You goal. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Faithfulness

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”

~ Galatians 5:22-23

The idea of the word faithfulness, as used here, seems to be that of fidelity. It denotes the believer who is indwelt by the Holy Spirit will be earnest and dependable in their words and promises. Our yea will be our yea, and our nea will be our nea. A Christian can be trusted and confided in. A closer relationship with God in Christ stirs up greater and greater faith. The Christian will grow in faith and show that faithfulness as a husband, wife, neighbor, and friend. Faithfulness in the life of Christ’s people shows our love and devotion to Him and our desire to be faithful as He is faithful to us.

~ apl

Prayer Life Pause: Heavenly Father, help me to be a faithful Christian; one others can confide in and depend on so that Jesus is glorified in my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Peace

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”

~ Galatians 5:22-23

Like the other fruits of the Spirit, peace is not something we always experience outwardly, but it is something the follower of Jesus can cultivate inwardly. The kind of peace spoken of here is a result of ceasing the inner conflict in ourselves between sin and the Savior. There is always conflict when we are at odds with the Lord. And our peace comes when we yield to Christ and submit ourselves to His Word. Faithful obedience and grace-filled living leads to spiritual peace.

Prayer Life Pause: Lord Jesus, fill my heart with Your Word that it might chase out my sins and pour Your Holy Spirit in me that I might experience Your splendid peace. In Jesus, name, amen.

Down & Out

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

~ Galatians 5:25

When we hear the phrase “down and out” it usually carries with it negative connotations of someone who’s having a hard time, down on their luck, or needing a break to begin a fresh start. But in this brief devotion today, I want to make a play on this well-known phrase. It is my hope and prayer that you, dear reader, will be blessed with a refreshing look at your own faith this day as we consider this passage from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians.

As Christians, we are called to live by and walk in, the Spirit of God. Understanding these two important aspects of our faith is vital to growing in our relationship to Christ, and in meaningfully applying our faith to all of life. It is in this sense, I want us to think about living “down and out”. Believers live by the faith that comes down to us from the Spirit, and we walk in the Spirit by living out our faith as a witness for Jesus Christ for all the world to see.

Notice how Paul unites these two characteristics of faith together in this text. True believers who receive their faith through the Holy Spirit will assuredly walk by that self-same faith. The gift of faith that comes down from God will be lived out by the believing person. Godly faith is always attended by godly living. What comes down to us, the Lord intends to by lived out by us.

Yet, applying this principle isn’t always easy. The reality is Christians struggle to put “feet on our faith”. Believers need a continual receiving of the Spirit’s loving and nurturing presence in us to help us consistently live out our faith. So let us pray for divine power. Let us petition our Lord and beneficent Father for sufficient grace and strength to always be living down and out.

~ apl

Prayer Life Pause: Heavenly Father, please continue to pour out Your Spirit in my life that the faith You sent down to me can and will be faithfully lived out in my life as well. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Excellent Grace

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

~ Romans 8:1

One of the most glorious truths of the Gospel is that faith in Jesus Christ removes the sin guilt we naturally incur. That is, by nature, we are children of God’s just wrath and rightful condemnation (Eph. 2:3). The penalty for sin is nothing less than eternal separation from God and condemnation for sin. Yet, the good news is there is hope! Those who “are in Christ Jesus” are cleansed, justified, sanctified and delivered from such a terrible condition. We are those who no longer “walk” [that is live] according to the flesh [in sinful ways] but we can be those who walk according to the Spirit [that is in faithful humble living unto God]. And it is the same to whom Jesus promised eternal life (John 3:16). May we praise the Lord for His excellent grace!

~ apl

Prayer Life Pause – Father, thank you for saving me from my sins. Now please help me to live according to Your will and Spirit each and every day. In Jesus’ name,. amen.