August 2015

FullSizeRender (1)By Raena Isaacson

You could feel the tension in the air while the eleven-year-old girl stood timidly, at the edge of the high dive, reluctant to take the plunge…

As the she stood there contemplating what to do, I could only imagine the fear and self-doubt that was racing through her mind. Even though parents and swim teammates were rooting for her and encouraging her to “JUMP,” she just couldn’t muster enough courage of her own to jump. (more…)

Only emersion in the #Bible guards against nominal Christianity.

 

Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

 

The influence of world culture on Christian beliefs is insidious. It is much like that old Southern adage about boiling a frog—you start out in lukewarm water and turn it up gradually. The frog will boil to death without realizing it is happening. Even in Paul’s time this was an issue, and he is addressing it in this verse. This is difficult to discern at times when much of what God says in His Word is anti-world culture, thereby anti-human nature. Therefore Christians have to stay close to God’s Word, renewing their minds, so that they can distinguish the difference between the two. Otherwise we run the risk of being lost in a sea of lukewarm water, languishing placidly amongst truths. When the tide shifts, these truths will be shuffled around in life’s waves. If we haven’t secured our minds onto the only steady and perfect truth of God’s Word, we will find ourselves in the deep waters of conformity, drowning in the sea of half-truths and deception. As the psalmist sang in Psalm 119:104, “Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.”

 

Study/Meditation: How does a daily Bible study help aid in fighting to transform your mind? What can you do, starting today, that will help renew your mind to God’s perfect will?

 

*Father, Your words are perfect and just. I delight in them and will study them daily. Keep them ever present in my heart and in my mind so that I will follow only Your ways. Amen.

 

Salvation is the free gift that should cause us to offer everything. #livingsacrifice  

 

Romans 12:1 “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

 

Many of us may have heard believers declare, “I have given my heart to God,” and this is a good thing. However, Paul would argue that God doesn’t simply want your heart; He wants all of you. Paul is reminding us that we have been saved only by God’s grace and mercy, so because of that we should desire to worship and serve Him with all that we are. Keep in mind that we don’t give Him all of ourselves so that we will receive His mercy. We do so because we have received His mercy, and this sacrifice is the manner in which we honor and worship our Father. What this means on a practical level is that every aspect of our lives should be lived in light of the gift we have received. Everything we do, everything we are must be in accordance with the holiness that is acceptable to our Lord, not so that He will love and accept us, but because He has already done so. We live today in gratitude, and that gratitude manifests itself in giving all to Him—heart, mind, body, and soul.

 

Study/Meditation: What parts of your life or your person have you not yet sacrificed to God? How might you do so?

 

*Father, I give to You all of me, and when I fail to do so, show me where that is so that I may change it and be a total sacrifice for You. I love You. Amen.

 

God created all things to the praise of His glory. #glorytoGod

 

Romans 11:35-36 “‘Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?’ For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”

 

Again Paul exhorts us by quoting from the Old Testament, in this case Job 41:11 where God says to Job, “Who has given to me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.” In short, we cannot hold God in our debt since we can give nothing to Him that is not already His. He created all things and everything belongs to Him. Luke wrote in Acts 17:25, “Nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.” It is extremely important that we have a correct perspective on these things so that we properly praise Him and extol His name with glory and honor. Everything, including all of mankind, was created by God through His power and will, and He did so in order that all things would point to Him. What should be our response to His work? Our response should be adulation that is unfathomable, praise that is immeasurable, and gratitude that is incalculable.

 

Study/Meditation: What does all things are from God, through God, and to God mean? (Read Ephesians 1:11, Romans 9:16, and Proverbs 16:33.) What should your life look like in response to these truths?

 

*Father, there is nothing I can give You for what You have given me. Therefore I offer You the only thing You ask and that is my praise to Your glory and my love for You. Amen.

 

God is the God of past, present, and future; therefore He knows it all.

 

Romans 11:34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?”

 

Imagine Paul is forming two lines, one on his right and one on his left, and he is asking every person on the planet to decide if they belong in one of the lines. He says, “Okay, everyone who knows the mind of the Lord, everyone who knows exactly what God is thinking and why, get into the line on my right.” He would expect, and rightly so, that no one would move toward that line. Indeed, none of us knows what is in God’s mind. Then Paul says, “Now everyone who would like to give God some advice step into the line on my left.” Again, Paul would expect that line to be empty, as well, but surprisingly many, many people would step into it. We all at one time or another think that we have a better plan and a better way for things to work out than God seemingly does, and yet none of us knows what God knows. Our Lord knows the beginning from the end. We only know the minutes we experience in the now or the things we read about or experienced in the past. This is a God we can not only praise in His inexhaustible wisdom and knowledge of past, present and future, but one in whom we can trust because of these things. Our God is a God who is greatly to be praised, mighty to save, and in whom we can wholly trust.

 

Study/Meditation: Why is it so very comforting to know that God knows everything—past, present, and future?

 

*Father, You are wise and wonderful. I love You and I trust You. Please forgive me for the moments when I question Your goodness and wisdom. Amen.

Why do we worship God?

 

Romans 11:33 “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!”

 

Why do we worship God? On what premise do we base our absolute reverence, complete devotion, and whole-hearted trembling before the Lord of the Universe? Certainly the basis for worship of this magnitude comes not when we have all of the answers, nor does it come when someone simply makes much of us. Of course some measure of adoration, even a large measure, would be the result of fully understanding something or in receiving great love. However, complete worship and reverent praise can only come when the beauty and majesty of something is beyond our understanding. We stand back in awe when we are in the presence of something so magnificent and amazing that it defies all human logic and comprehension. God not only does that, but his riches and wisdom and knowledge are wrapped up in His immeasurable love for us. When Paul contemplates the glory of what he understands of God and then also the vastness of what he doesn’t understand, he can do nothing less than praise the Lord and worship Him as almighty and glorious. Sometimes we have a tendency to bring God down to a place of human understanding, when in fact the truest place where His glory exists is far beyond what we can comprehend. That’s why we worship Him.

 

Study/Meditation: Read Deuteronomy 29:29. How is Moses expressing the same thoughts as Paul does in Romans 11:33? What should your response be to such a revelation?

 

*Father, there are never words enough to express my adoration and praise of You. You are mighty and You are my Lord. Amen.