Romans: Our Daddy

Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

What is the greatest news you’ve ever been given?  Think really hard about it and give an honest answer to that question.  Now think about why it is that this was such great news.  Now, turn your attention for one moment to news that’s even better than the best news you can think of.

Because God loved the world He had created, He sent Jesus Christ (God in the flesh) to live a perfect, sinless life and to die a sinner’s death in our place.  We deserved to be treated with the cruelty He receive.  We earned the penalty that He paid.  He took on our sin and gave us instead His own righteousness, granting us access to God.  What news is this!

Not only are we forgiven by a just God, which is wonderful, but we are now His own children, adopted into His family.  Not only is He our Father, but the language used in this text is so intensely beautiful as the writer describes God as our “Abba,” which means “daddy.” God isn’t a harsh, demanding father who is waiting for us to mess up so He can punish us.  We’re not under Him as slaves, but as His children.  He’s our Daddy who loves us and cares about us.  We can approach Him without fearing His response.  What a perfect way to understand our relationship to our Creator and Redeemer.

Romans: Spirit-led sons of God

Romans 8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

 There are two types of people in this world.  There are those who are led by the Holy Spirit and there are those who are lost.  There are no other options.  When left to our own wisdom to guide ourselves, we get nowhere.  Only by the Holy Spirit can we talk in the way God has for us.

To some, this may seem a ridiculous notion, pointing to the achievements of secular mankind who has not consulted God or been Spirit-led in their discoveries throughout the ages.  It is an interesting observation, however, those who think that mankind has the potential to know all there is to know, thus disproving the existence of God, are disregarding the fact that God created all there is to discover.  The achievements of man are of no eternal consequence.

But those led by the Spirit are children of God, adopted into His family.  We have been the recipients of the greatest gift of all time: God himself.  There is nothing of greater eternal significance.  It doesn’t matter what we accomplish in this temporary life in regards to greatness because true greatness is only found in one place.  It is God’s to give.

God Says “Trust Me” And He Means It

If I could just be as faithful as God is to his promises.

2 Timothy 2:11-13 This is a trustworthy saying:

If we die with him, we will also live with him.

If we endure hardship, we will reign with him.

If we deny him, he will deny us.

If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is.

Trust me! Usually when you hear those words you know that you need to proceed carefully, but not so when the one saying “trust me” is our God, when he tells you to trust him, you can take it to the bank.

“If” is a tiny little word with a lot of power, it is a word that invites us to make a choice, in this scripture we have an invitation to live a new life. Paul wrote this message to Timothy, who was being mentored by Paul, he gave Timothy an invitation to a new way of life.

Not an invitation like some preachers are offering today, it isn’t an invite to health, wealth and happiness, rather it is quite the opposite. Paul is saying that if we die to self and if we endure hardship, then things will be better. You have an invitation to live for Christ and make your life count, the invite that Paul gave says that we will live and reign with God, we will get a new life. It looks a lot like the invitation that Jesus gave us.

“If” means that you have a choice.

Mark 8:34-38 “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. 35 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. 36 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? 37 Is anything worth more than your soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

It is only an offer, nobody is pushing you into anything, the offer that Jesus made to us is to be his follower, sounds like a good idea, but what does it take to be his follower?

There are two things that I must do and two things that I cannot do. Jesus said that to be his follower I must not be selfish, or ashamed and that I must take up my cross and give up my life. Jesus said that if I want to really live then it has to be in a way that doesn’t indulge my human tendency toward self preservation.

God can be trusted.

Numbers 23: 19 God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?

Who are you going to trust in? Here are a few people that would help you with the answer:

  • Joshua reminded the children of Israel that “every promise of the LORD your God has come true” (Joshua 23:14)
  • Abraham knew that God would be faithful to his promise.  (Romans 4:20-22)
  • King David spoke of the Lord’s faithfulness over and over again. (Psalm 25:10, 31:5, 33:4)

God asks that we give up a lot to follow him. That shouldn’t be such a scary thing for us to do when we realize that his faithfulness is worthy of our trust.

Help me Lord to trust in you one hundred percent.

It’s Not About Me?!?!

Sunday morning isn’t the time to be in the spotlight.

Isaiah 1:11-18  “What makes you think I want all your sacrifices?” says the LORD. “I am sick of your burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fattened cattle. I get no pleasure from the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.

When you come to worship me, who asked you to parade through my courts with all your ceremony?

Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts; the incense of your offerings disgusts me! As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath and your special days for fasting— they are all sinful and false. I want no more of your pious meetings. I hate your new moon celebrations and your annual festivals. They are a burden to me. I cannot stand them!

When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look. Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen, for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims.

We sure can take a lot of things to church with us, no I’m not talking about your Bible or that box of Krispy Kreme’s. What I am talking about is all that smut that is stuck to us like dirt on a toddler, and how about that bucket of self-righteousness, and then there is that back-pack full of sin that weighs us down.

I am convinced that a lot of what happens in church on Sunday morning is a burden to God. I am pretty sure that he is tired of seeing some of us come back week after week holding on to our pious attitudes, feeling righteous and selfish, demanding that things be done the “right” way. So you brought your offering, you said a prayer, you stacked some chairs or maybe you even brought some food for the dinner on the ground, what else is there?

We get in the way of God finding pleasure in our worship, there is too much tendency to push our own agenda in order for the worship experience to be more pleasurable to ourselves, but there is a huge problem with that line of thinking. It isn’t about my pleasure! I think that most of us know that in our heads but it doesn’t seem to sink into our hearts, we know it but we just can’t fully put it into practice, what better place could there be to deny myself and take up my cross than when I am worshiping?

Matthew 16:24  Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.

God wants us to live selfless lives every day of the week and when we enter his house and participate in corporate worship it just seems to me that we should live it out more deliberately then than at any other time. I am supposed to be a servant.

Help me to make the focus of every activity that happens at church be all about you and your glory. My live is not about me and my worship isn’t supposed to be about me either, help me to worship you in a pleasing manner today and every day.