Bible Reading: Isaiah 33:20-24

Our heart is involved in a constant battle.  Every day we have to make a conscious decision who the king of our life is: God or idols.  In our society, there is no shortage of false gods and idols vying for the throne of our hearts.  Money tries to be our king and dictate our life decisions.  Careers try to control our time and loyalty.  Even our political parties try to judge our stances and viewpoints of our home, nation and world.  We battle to keep our hearts, minds and lives centered on Christ, and some days we fight better than others.  We can get caught up in the stressors of work and finances, and bogged down by the constant back-and-forth of politics and media.  The good news, though, is that our God will save us from it all!

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When we read from Isaiah 33:20-24, we are getting a small glimpse of God's eternal kingdom.  When we look to God's Jerusalem, we see a homeland that is at peace.  We glimpse upon the tabernacle of worship and praise, and it is grounded into our new home that it can never be shaken or moved.  Greater still, the majestic Lord will be for us.  We will no longer have to hope for and await God's presence, peace and protection, because it will be there fully and completely.  There will be no more threats of false-gods and idols trying to steal away our hearts, but only God will be there.  He will have defeated ever enemy that posed a threat to us, and God Himself will take His proper place as our judge, lawgiver and king.  As our Lord and King, God Himself will have saved us from the sinfulness and wickedness of this fallen world, and brought us into His eternal kingdom of peace and salvation.  What a wonderful day that will be!

Application:  It is such a great comfort for us today to think about the peace of the future.  One day, there will be nothing to fear, as God will have wiped out all threats of illness, violence and death.  If there are any tears in God's kingdom, they will be tears of joy and laughter.  If there is any pain, it will be from smiling too big for too long.  As this world works to dethrone Christ in your heart, fight all the more to keep Him there.  Look to His Word and be reminded of the hope you have in Jesus.  Let this hope renew your strength and fill you with excitement and determination.  You are a born-again, redeemed child of God.  He has saved you, and He will save you for Himself in His kingdom.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank you for saving me and taking your place upon the throne of my heart.  Daily I fight to not give that throne over to sin, and I ask for you to keep my eyes set on you.  May I not stray to the right or left, but walk straight in the light of your ways.  Keep me wholly for yourself, and save me from these lies and temptations.  May I walk and live in hope of your peace.  I love you, Father.  Amen.

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AuthorLarkin Sumerlin

Bible Reading: Hebrews 4:1-16

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Rest.  A small word with big meaning!  Throughout history there has been a collective groaning for rest.  Just when a person thinks they have found rest in this world, it slips through their fingers.  The reason rest seems to elusive is due to where it is being searched for.  People are looking to find rest in financial stability, job security, marriage, friendships, and numerous other worldly things.  Although they search for rest in many places, it evades them because they cannot find rest in the things of this world.   

When we read Hebrews 4, we learn that there is a true rest for the people of God, but we must not take it for granted.  The opening verse reads, “Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.”  What would cause the author to write such a thing?  Well, in Hebrews 3, we read that God had promised the Israelites a land to call their own and enter into his rest, but they were rebellious and sinned against God.  The promise to enter His rest was theirs, but they failed to follow Him.  Likewise, we too have received the promise of entering God’s rest.  But, if we are disobedient and fail to follow God, then in His wrath He will withhold His rest. 

The author’s logic makes sense.  Joshua led the people into the Promised Land, yet this was not ultimate rest.  We know this because God has promised a still greater rest than receiving an earthly kingdom to call our own.  Still, we read, “there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God…Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.” 

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Application:  What is the author getting at in Hebrews 4?  The point being made is about remaining faithful to God all the days of your life.  There are plenty of idols and distractions vying for our hearts affections, and we must remain alert to keep our hearts totally for God.  The chapter ends by reminding us of our great high priest, Jesus.  Jesus knows what it is like to lack rest, and He also knows what it is like to face temptations to surrender to worldly, lesser rests.  Don’t take advantage of God’s saving grace towards you, but daily devote yourself to putting your life in His hands.  The only safe place for our lives is in the hands of God, and the only true rest that can be found for our souls is in the God of our salvation.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank you for your great patience in working in us.  We are your children, and that is only possible because of your love and mercy.  Keep us from falling into temptation and from searching for rest in this world.  Teach what it means to rest in you alone, so that we will keep our hearts and minds free from sin and disobedience.  We love you, Father.  Amen.

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AuthorLarkin Sumerlin

Bible Reading: Ephesians 3:14-21

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. – Ephesians 3:20-21

 As my daughter gets earlier, I am learning more and more that there are things I cannot do anymore.  She loves to be flipped backwards and forwards, but then she asks for Daddy to flip.  In my desire to be a good dad, I attempted to do a front flip onto the ground.  I used to be able to do this no problem, but my bones are not as young as they once were.  As I landed the less than graceful finish on my back, my daughter laughed with joy.  I, on the other hand, realized that in the future I would not be able to do all the cool things she wanted me to do.

It is funny how this moment, and sadly too many others, made me think about how I stack up to our Heavenly Father.  In just 23 months, I have realized I cannot do all the things my daughter asks of me.  Our Heavenly Father, however, can do anything.  Indeed, nothing is impossible for God!  I love the words of Ephesians 3:20-21 we read at the start of this devotion.  If we could compile a list of everything we could think to ask of God, He is able to do infinitely more.  Consider that for a moment.  Has there ever been anything you did not ask God for because you thought it was too much to ask for, or not important enough to land on His radar?  The Bible teaches us and shows us a God who is able to handle so much more than we give Him credit for. 

We fear the diagnosis of cancer, and many other diseases, but God does not fear them.  Truly, God is able to do more than heal that disease but is able to eradicate it once and for all.  We crumble beneath the anxiety and heartbreak of a broken-marriage and divorce, but our God is able to heal hearts and mend relationships.  Our greatest fear, that paralyzes us at certain times in life, is death.  But our Heavenly Father has defeated death once and for all through the resurrection of His Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ. 

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Application:  The next time something scares you, or the next time you want to pray and ask God for something, remind yourself that He is able.  There is nothing too hard for our God, and there is nothing that He cannot do.  Even greater still, that God has told us that He is willing to do these things.  God has redeemed and cleansed you from sin, invited you into His presence, and offered you the gift of prayer.  This is a great and precious gift.  Do not doubt, but by faith pray and make your requests and anxieties known to God.  Know this with all your heart, God can do more abundantly than all you can ask or imagine.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank you for being the amazing and able God that you are.  Forgive us for the times we doubt you or your love for us.  We know you care for the anxieties and pains of our hearts.  Teach us to pray with faith and expectation.  We love you, Father.  Amen.

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AuthorLarkin Sumerlin

Bible Reading: Genesis 1; 1 Timothy 2:5

In an effort to both avoid plagiarism and give credit where it is due, I must start off by saying that this blog post was motivated by an excerpt from Pastor Timothy Keller's book entitled, "Prayer.  It reads:

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“Aristotle, for example, said that while it might be possible to venerate and appease the gods, actual intimate friendship with a god was impossible.  The philosopher reasoned that friendship requires that both parties share much in common as equals.  They must be alike.  But since God is infinitely greater than human beings, ‘the possibility of friendship ceases.’  Now, however, we have the ultimate mediator and priest to end all priests (Heb. 4:14-15).  He eliminates the gap so that we can know God as friend (cf. Ex 33:11)."

One of the most amazing and unique things about the Christian faith is the deep relationship believers have with God.  He is not far off and uninvolved with our daily affairs, but He is quite close and in them all.  When God first created all that we see and know, He was intimately involved with it all.  But the crown of His creation was mankind, which is the only part of the created order made in God's image.  He breathed His life into Adam's lungs, and humanity was set in motion.  In the beginning, God was close to His creation.  But once sin entered the world through Adam and Eve, the relationship was damaged.  But even then, God made a way to be close to His people.  He desired to know them and be known by them, so He made a way.  And when that way did not fully satisfy due to our constant sinfulness, God, at the right time, sent His Son to heal the relationship fully.

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Application: This may seem like a deep subject for a blog post, but it is so crucial to how we think about our relationship to God.  We were made to know Him and have a real, deep, meaningful relationship with Him.  But our sin keeps getting in the way and separating us from Him.  Who can save us from this wicked cycle?  It is Jesus, the one and only Son of God.  Jesus is our mediator to God, meaning He brings us together.  He takes away our sins and gives us His righteousness, which means we can have that pure and undefiled relationship with God.  Knowing that God went to such great lengths so we can have a close relationship with Him again should bring your heart to joy and praise!  What an amazing hope and joy we have in our relationship with God our Father.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank you for desiring us.  You spared no expense, even giving up your Son, so we could be saved from sin and have a redeemed relationship with you.  May we never take this for granted, but this truth always bring us to praise and worship you with thanksgiving.  We love you, Father God.  Amen.

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AuthorLarkin Sumerlin

Bible Reading: Ecclesiastes 2:1-11; Matthew 6:25-34

As a child, one of my favorite movies was, “The Jungle Book.”  I loved all the animals talking to Mowgli, and I especially loved the music.  One of my favorite songs from the movie was Baloo the bear’s song, the “Bear” Necessities of life.  All Baloo needed was food to eat, a place to sleep and a tall tree to scratch his back.  In looking at the culture around us today, we are beginning to see some people abandon our affluent, materialistic society in favor of a more minimalist lifestyle.  People are leaving large suburban homes to move into tiny houses.  Large chain stores are closing as more and more people are no longer willing to pay outlandish prices.  Regardless of where you fall on this spectrum, either give-me-more or give-me-less, there is still this apparent lack of peace.  No matter what path we choose to walk, we find them all to be empty of meaning, except for that one path; the path of God.

In Ecclesiastes 2, we read that King Solomon is searching for fulfillment and happiness in this life.  With his great wealth, Solomon set out to get everything he could imagine.  He built houses, planted vineyards, made himself gardens and parks, accumulated servants, herds and flocks.  The kin gathered a large amount of gold, silver and riches.  To his own confession, Solomon says, “And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them.  I kept my heart from no pleasure.”  It is hard for me to imagine a person being in the right set of circumstances to possess everything their heart desired, no matter how silly the desire may be.  Solomon spent years not denying his desires.  But after Solomon surveyed all he had gathered, built, and given to himself, he found that it was all empty of meaning and value in his heart.  “Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil that I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity.

As we read through the Bible, we quickly realize that this earth promises many things that it cannot deliver.  The older we get, the more we see that many things may be nice and enjoyable, but we know that it is a temporary joy.  A wise person sees how far short the things of this work fall, and they must find something else to put their hope in.  Truly, even the bare necessities of life cannot fulfill the human heart.  The only true peace and joy that can fulfill a person’s heart can only be found in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Application: What would you do if you could attempt the Solomon Experiment?  Which desires of your heart would you fulfill first? 

I challenge you to write out a list of the top five things you would do in your Solomon Experiment.  List the first five desires of your heart you would fulfill with your wealth.  After you make your list, ask yourself these questions:

-          Are your purchased desires for you alone, or do they involve other people?

-          Is your spending on frivolous things, or lasting things?

-          If these desires were fulfilled this very moment, would you have complete peace and joy in your heart?

In Matthew 6:33, Jesus teaches us to seek first God’s Kingdom, and then all our needs will be taken care of.  The secret to a content heart is not more or less things.  To have a content heart is to have peace with God; to know God as your Heavenly Father.  Don’t be swayed by the trends of this world but keep your eyes focused and your heart grounded.  When you have a relationship with God, you have all you will ever need.  May we all find our peace in Him and kiss vanity goodbye.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, you are more than enough for me.  All the things in this world are gifts, but you are the Giver of those gifts.  Teach us to love you more than the gifts you have given.  You are greater, Lord.  We love you, and may our love for you grow deeper.  Amen.

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AuthorLarkin Sumerlin

Bible Reading: Psalm 77

There is not a time when more people cry out to God than when trouble strikes.  When things are going well, we are content to enjoy them, and occasionally, we pause to look up and tell God, “Thank you.”  But when trouble strikes, we find ourselves looking to God more.  Sadly, most of our looking to God is questioning Him.  “Why did you let this happen, Lord?”  “How long will you standby and watch this?”  “God, where are you in this mess?”  If this is true for you, as it is true for most of us Christians, then Psalm 77 has a lot to teach us. 

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Asaph captures a lot of our emotions and thoughts during times of trouble.  Some of the questions Asaph asks are, “Has his steadfast love forever ceased?” and “Has God forgotten to be gracious?”  We can relate to such questions, but it is where Asaph turns after asking them that is the most important.  In verses 11-12, Asaph takes time to remember and ponder the mighty works God has done for His people.  It is after remembering these things that Asaph writes, “Your way, O God, is holy.  What god is great like our God?”  When Asaph considers the holiness of God, and remembers His steadfast love, then he finds peace to face his troubles. 

God is always involved with His people, and we are always in the palms of His hands.  In a fallen world, troubles will come our way, but nothing can separate us from the love of God.  God’s love and strength are always with us, even when we cannot see it.  This wonderful thought is captured beautifully in 77:19, which says, “Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen.”  Asaph is remembering the Exodus story of God parting the Red Sea.  This was a time of great fear and trouble for God’s people, and God acted mightily on their behalf.  God led them to safety and then into a land to call their home, yet there were no specific footprints for them to follow.  God led them, but there were no trail markers.  Just as His people had to walk by faith, so must Asaph do, and so must we.

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Application: In John 16:33 Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation.”  We will have troubles in this life.  If that was where Jesus had ended His statement, it would have been true, but not very encouraging.  Praise be to God that there is more to what Jesus was saying.  The verse ends with Jesus saying, “But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  It is unrealistic to ask for a life without troubles.  In a world infected with sin, troubles will arise constantly.  What is realistic is the hope and peace that is found in being a child of God.  Just as He once parted the sea for His people to walk through, so God will lead you now.  When troubles arise, and you feel fear and anxiety rising within your heart, remember the mighty things God has done.  Let the history of God’s love and might comfort your heart.  He will make you to overcome because He has already overcome the world.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank you and praise you for the mighty things you have done for your people.  When troubles come my way, help me to remember your great strength.  I know that you are holy, and that you are my God.  My hope and my life are in your hands, and I know that I will never be moved.  I love you.  Amen.

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AuthorLarkin Sumerlin

Bible Reading: 1 Kings 17:1-7; James 5:13-18

One of my favorite people to read about in Scripture is the prophet Elijah.  His story is filled with these moments of great faith, boldness and courage, as well as times of fear and sadness.  Elijah is one of those great men of the Bible who we see him at his best and his worst.  The reason I say this encourages me is due to the hero-worship many of us are so prone to.  If all we read about was Elijah's bold proclamations to King Ahab, and his epic battle with the 450 prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, we may leave thinking he is a spiritual superhero that we cannot relate to.  Instead, we see a man just like us.  Elijah was man who prayed, and like us, had to have faith that God would hear and answer.  In our passage today, we see the prayer that would forever change the course of Elijah's faith and life.

in 1 Kings 17, Elijah is introduced, and right out of the gate we see him confronting the wicked king, Ahab.  Elijah says, "As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word."  Ahab is king over Israel, but Israel belongs to God.  Elijah comes as a prophet called by God, and he calls for a drought to strike the land.  Without rain, the water supply will dwindle and the agriculture will suffer.  Crops will not grow, which means families will go hungry, prices for food will climb, and work will suffer due to the malnutrition and exhaustion of the workers and the animals.  Life is about to get difficult.  However, we see that Elijah will be cared for.  God has instructed Elijah to go and live in the wilderness near the brook Cherith, and there Elijah will have the brook for drinking water, and ravens will deliver food to him daily.  Elijah has a good setup to withstand the drought, until we read verse seven.  "And after a while the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land."

James 5:17 reminds us that, "Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth."  God stopped the rain in response to a prayer of faith.  Faith became even more important when as a result Elijah's drinking water vanished.  It was a result of his prayer that Elijah is faced with no more water.  With his life on the line, Elijah must continue to look to God to provide for his life.  In his flesh, Elijah may have been nervous, or even anxious, about how he would survive with the brook dried up.  In his faith, however, Elijah knew God would provide for his life, even in a drought.

Application:  To restate what I began with, I love Elijah's story.  He was a man with a nature like ours, and we see it on display throughout his recorded story.  In Elijah's circumstances, faith was needed to pray for the drought, and to withstand him during it.  We are no different.  It takes having faith in God to pray for something.  Prayer is looking to God, asking for His involvement in a situation, and trusting it to Him to do what He will.  It takes faith to pray.  To add to that, it takes faith to live with God's answer to prayer.  God may withhold the rain, but will you have faith for Him to provide during the drought?  Have faith to pray like Elijah, and have faith that God will carry you through His answer.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I have faith that you hear my prayers.  I also believe that you answer all of them according to your will and purposes.  As you work all things together for my good, strengthen my faith.  Help me to stay true and stand strong as you glorify your name and build up your kingdom in and through my life.  I love you, Father.  Amen.

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AuthorLarkin Sumerlin

Bible Reading: Philippians 4:10-20; Matthew 7:24-27

If you have ever seen an infomercial, you know what it is like to realize you, “cannot live,” without the advertised product.  How did we ever remove stains from clothes before OxyClean came into our lives?  How did we ever exercise without a Bowflex treadmill?  How did we sleep before Serta got into the mattress business?  Product marketing is designed to make us think we have fallen behind the times, and they encourage us to catch up and live in the now!  There are so many things in today’s culture that make us feel discontent and unsatisfied with the things we already have.  Therefore, many of us fall into the trap of thinking, “If I just had blank, then I would be good.”  However, we all have come to learn that with everything we get, we always desire a little more.  I heard a story about a time when John D. Rockefeller was asked, "How much money is enough money?" He replied, "Just a little bit more."

Being a missionary, Paul knew what is was like to go without many conveniences.  As he is closing out his letter to the Philippians, he thanks them for all the help and aid they have given him.  There were times the Philippians would have done more if they could, but circumstances kept them from doing so.  Paul does not hold this against them, but uses this moment to teach them one last, very important, lesson.  There will be times the Philippians, indeed all people, will find themselves living with very little, and at other times they will have an abundance.  At some times, you will go to bed hungry, and at other times you will have more food than you can eat.  Some moments you will be flying high and abounding in every good thing, whereas at other moments you will be brought low and in need.  Such are the ups and downs of life.  The important truth to remember in whatever place you find yourself:  God never changes.  Your circumstances may vary, but God stays the same.  Knowing that God is faithful to forgive us, redeem us, lead us, perfect in us, and love us, we find strength to keep going.  You can endure all things because of the strength you have in Jesus.  Christ is more than enough for every place and time in life.

Application:  If Jesus is all you need to have a full and abundant life, then you can stand firm through the noise and distractions of our world’s marketing.  Because you have found the strength to withstand the storms of trends and popular viewpoints, and because your life is built on the rock-solid foundation of Jesu Christ, you will never be shaken or moved.  Keep Jesus as the focus of your heart and the thoughts of your mind and live in the satisfying fulfillment that only He can give.  Always remember that with God you have everything you will ever need.  Be content in this life knowing that blessings and riches beyond your imagination await you in eternity with our Heavenly Father.  As Paul writes in Philippians 4:20, “To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank you for being all we will ever need.  You have graciously given us salvation from sin, and the hope for eternal life with you.  Help us to be content with ou and all that you give to us in this life.  May we never desire anything more than you.  We love you, Heavenly Father.  Amen.

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AuthorLarkin Sumerlin

Bible Reading: Philippians 4:1-9

It is no secret that the best way to remain faithful to anything is to enjoy it.  We remain faithful in our marriages because we enjoy being married to our spouse.  Our favorite meal stays our favorite because of how much we enjoy eating it.  Everything we love, we love because of the joy it brings.  In a much deeper sense, our relationship with God works similarly.  In Philippians 4:1, Paul encourages the believers to, “stand firm thus in the Lord”, and a few short sentences later Paul calls for them to also, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”  Rejoice means to show joy and delight in something or someone.  It is difficult, if not impossible, to rejoice in something that you do not love.  The two, loving and rejoicing, go hand-in-hand together.  Therefore, any Christian who stands firm in the Lord would also be a Christian that loves and delights in God.

It makes so much sense to our minds, but we often get distracted and lose sight of our love for God.  These distractions come in the form of temptations to sin, tests and trials, and witnessing and hearing about all the wickedness occurring in the world.  When dark, wicked and sinful thoughts cloud our minds and hearts, we struggle to rejoice, which leads to us struggling to stand firm in the Lord.  Paul, knowing this, also encourages us as Christ-followers to think on the things of Christ.  In 4:8-9, Paul teaches the Philippian Christians to think on things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and praise-worthy.  With minds that are constantly being renewed by the good things of God, hearts being transformed by the love and joy found in Jesus, and strength to stand firm in the Lord always, we will be filled with and surrounded by the peace of our God.

Application:  What is the normal focus of your mind?  What is your typical demeanor towards life?  Would people describe as someone who is rejoicing in the Lord always?  Our hearts and minds can easily become burdened or distracted in our constantly busy days.  Satan loves to tempt us to sin, and he often tries to lead us off the straight and narrow path of God however he can.  Practically speaking, one of the best ways to fight against this is to remove things that take your heart and mind to wicked things and replace them with things that lead you to focus on godly things.  If Facebook leads you into a downward spiral, then delete Facebook.  If the news causes you to be negative and get angry or confused with God, then turn off the news and open His Word.  We are too quick to make excuses and allow bad things to exist in our lives, when we should make more of an effort to fill our lives with the things of God.  It may sound extreme to remove social media, television or internet from your life, but your soul is worth the cost.  What will it take to fill your heart and mind with the things of God?  Implement those changes, and start living a life of rejoicing, faithfulness and peace.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, you know us inside and out.  You see and know are greatest strengths and weaknesses, and yet you never stop loving us.  Help us to remove the sinful and wicked things from our lives, and to not fall victim to the excuses and lies Satan tries to distract us with.  Help us to walk in Your ways only.  We love you, Father.  Amen.

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AuthorLarkin Sumerlin

Bible Reading: Philippians 3:12-21

There is a point in every Christ-follower’s life when their faith became theirs.  It could’ve been from a young age, or older, but there came a time when it because their faith in Jesus, and not the faith of their parents.  Throughout Paul’s letter to the Philippians, we read a letter to a church.  A church is made up of the people, but no matter the number of people they are still one church.  When we come to Philippians 3:12-21, although written to that one church, it hits home to us as individual believers.  We all have arrived at faith in Jesus, and we will all receive the same reward of eternal life with our Heavenly Father, but our journey to get here has been different.  Some grew up in a Christian home, some in an abusive home, some in a good home that was empty of religion.  Some Christians are set free from addictions, whereas others have not faced many hard times or struggles.  For some, life has been blessed and has no complaints, where others have a had a very hard life. 

Whatever your journey was to this point, it cannot be your focus.  Our past is what has shaped us into who we are today, but it does not define us.  We remember the past, but we are not controlled by it.  We can look back and see the hand of God guiding us, but this should be used as motivation to keep going forward.  Knowing God guided you earlier in life boosts your confidence that He is guiding you now and will continue to.  Our past has a way of distracting us, slowing us down, or holding us up altogether.  As Paul writes, we too should be, “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead”.  You are who you are because of your past, but your future is determined by your choices.  Going one step further, your choices will be determined by your heart.  Last week we looked at Jesus Christ being the true treasure of heaven, and how we should treasure Christ above all things.  It is Christ who has redeemed you from your past sins and given you the hope of a glorious future.  Keep your eyes forward and run the race of faith.  Let the redemption of your past drive you forward to Jesus.

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Application:  Our testimony is important because it shares with others what Christ has done in us.  It is possible to share your testimony without being swallowed up by the past.  Any time you think back to what you used to be, make sure you bring those thoughts to who you are now in Jesus Christ.  Satan would love to trap us in the past and cause us to swerve from the path God has for us.  Our enemy would love to discourage our faith or tempt us back to our former lives of darkness.  He is clever and crafty, so watch out for this trap in the past.  Be in prayer daily and spend time thanking God for the salvation He has worked in you.  Thank Him and seek Him for that continued work in you.  Forget what was behind you and press on to the salvation you have in Jesus.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank you for setting me free from the sins of my past.  Thanks to Jesus, I am set free from the guilt and shame, and I have been given a future filled with hope and love.  Please give me the strength, wisdom and courage to press on and never turn back.  Strengthen my faith so that I will always be pressing on to the prize and hope I have in your Son and my Savior.  I love you, Father.  Amen.

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AuthorLarkin Sumerlin