The Power of Resurrection

For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. Romans 5:10

The truth is that we were all enemies of God. Some aggressively rebelled against Him and others just lived their lives making their own plans apart from God’s laws and ways! All of us were born under sin and shaped in iniquity. We inherited the nature of sin from Adam, and we also committed our own sins in variety of ways. Every sin is a declaration of our will over God’s will, laws, and ways!

Praise God for Jesus’ obedience to the cross and for the Lord’s resurrection power raising Jesus from death to life! His death, burial, and resurrection gives us hope for an abundant and eternal life! He has the power to forgive every sin and to give us a fresh start in life.

So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. John 21:21-22

Just as God breathed life in Adam, Jesus breathed life in His disciples. What Adam lost in the Garden of Eden, Jesus regained on Calvary and gave it to His disciples. Jesus reconciled us to the Father by being our advocate and for dying for our sins, so we can be free from the sentence and the punishment of sin. We no longer have to carry the burden of shame and guilt in our lives, but we can lay it down at the cross and pick up His forgiveness, restoration, and hope for our lives. Now we can walk as living beings having our relationship restored with the Father! We are no longer enemies of God, but we have been accepted in the beloved! Because Jesus lives, we can live a life fully dedicated to the Lord. His peace is our peace!

I am reminded of the Lord’s Prayer that He taught His disciples. He began by declaring that our Father is worthy to be hallowed and honored. Jesus changed our relationship to a Holy God. We are no longer distant from a Him but we can call Him Abba Father! Through the cross, we are adopted as sons and daughters of the living King! We belong to the Kingdom of God, and we become partakers of Jesus’ nature who is the firstborn among many.

Whether we were saved years ago or just accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we continue to be in need of Him. Jesus taught His disciples to pray that God’s will is done on the earth as it is in heaven and that His Kingdom is being established upon the earth. Furthermore, He told them to ask for their daily bread and forgiveness and instructed them to forgive others as well. He also taught them to pray that they are not led into temptation and that the Lord would deliver them from the evil one. Every area that Jesus mentioned in the Lord’s Prayer is a reminder of our desperate need for the Lord and His presence, mercy, grace, enablement, protection, wisdom, and discernment. Our job is to listen to His voice, surrender our will to Him, and do what He asks us to do. This is the life of a believer in a nutshell. It requires faith, hope, love, and obedience, and in the process we grow and mature in the fruit of the spirit and become more effective for the kingdom of God!

That’s something to shout about and praise the Lord for! Lord we thank you for sending your son to die for our sins and for the sins of humanity. Thank you Jesus for your obedience to the Father. Thank you for the Holy Spirit that we are no longer orphans in this world, but we have the Holy Spirit who leads and guides us into all truth and righteousness. Thank you Lord for your kindness towards us. Thank you for revealing yourself to us. We pray that you would reveal yourself to our loved ones and that they can experience the love, forgiveness, restoration, and deliverance of Jesus and the power of Resurrection in their lives!


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Love the Lord Your God (Part III)

But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying,  “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the first and great commandment.  Matthew 22:34-40

I shared in the last devotional that Jesus’ commandment to love the Lord has different elements that we should slow down and meditate on. Last time, I wrote about loving the Lord with all our hearts. In this devotional, I will share about loving the Lord with all our souls.

How do we love the Lord with all our souls!? The more we allow our soul to come under the direction of the Holy Spirit, the more spiritual we become, which allows us to love the Lord genuinely rather than out of our fickle feelings or thoughts of the moment! Before we knew Christ, our soul was in charge, and it took its cues from the natural world and our five senses. We were carnal beings before we came to salvation. Carnality has to do with all the fleshly desires and operating only from a natural and visible perspective. After salvation, our spirit man should grow to become the one in charge and our soul should come under its control, otherwise we will love the Lord based on our natural senses and circumstances rather than our communion with God!

And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?  For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal? 1 Corinthians 3:1-4

Paul told the Corinthian believers that they were carnal. One of the ways that we know someone is carnal is that they have remained childish in their faith and refuse to grow up. They cannot handle weighty things of God, and they are still in need of milk to be nourished and nurtured by someone else. Their spirit man has remained infantile!

If we are going to love the Lord with all our souls, we need to have a soul that is surrendered to our spirit man. The Bible directs to grow up and to put aside carnality. Paul gave us some of the symptoms that can help determine if we are fleshly and carnal or if we are spiritual. He told the Corinthian believers that they have factions, envy, strife, and division. These individuals were still controlled by their carnal nature, and they had not allowed the spirit of God to take control of their  souls.

Unfortunately, carnality is prevalent in the body of Christ. We can see strife, division, and competition between different members or groups in the church. Generally, people claim that it is somebody else’s fault. Someone else is the problem or started the strife. The truth is that carnality begets carnality, and we don’t have to allow others to trap us in it.

A spirit-led life requires self-control, forgiveness, and trust in the Lord in order not to get engaged in carnality. We cannot control or correct others’ behavior. Our part is to not get into the ring of strife and avoid a carnality that would feed the flesh and cause more harm for us and others.

Jesus has commanded us to love Him with all our souls.  We don’t have to allow anyone to pollute our souls. We can say “no” to our flesh. We have to continually subject the soul to be controlled by our spirit man rather than our fleshly tendencies. It is not an easy process, but the more we do it and see the fruit of the spirit developing in us, we grow in maturity. It also allows us to have more faith the next time when a situation comes up that tries to take over our souls and cause us to walk in carnality!

Thank you Lord for making us aware that many times we have been carnal and have not loved you with all our souls. Please forgive us for not obeying your first commandment. Give us the grace to remain alert and to allow the Holy Spirit to take control of our souls!


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Love the Lord Your God (Part II)

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5

But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying,  “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:34-40

Jesus answered a Pharisee by stating that the first commandment is to love the Lord with all our hearts, with all our souls, and all our minds. We may not pay much attention to this commandment because we have heard it many times! So it’s important to slow down, think about the different elements of this commandment, and what they mean to us!

First, what does it look like to love the Lord with all our hearts!?

Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart, Proverbs 3:3

God desires for us to be full of mercy and truth. He wants us to write mercy and truth on the tablet of our hearts. That means that we need to be continually aware of God’s mercy towards us and just as the Lord has been merciful to us, we also need to be merciful to others. This is a reminder of the Lord’s prayer when Jesus prayed in Matthew 6:12, “forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Those who have received the love and the forgiveness of the Lord have the responsibility to bless others with mercy and forgiveness as God has forgiven us.

Furthermore, God wants us to write truth on our hearts. We need to spend time knowing God’s truth, meditating on it, and keeping it in our hearts. His truth keeps us anchored and helps us to stay on the narrow path.  Our heart is the place where we keep those things that are dear to us. Are His truth and mercy dear and valuable to us!?

Furthermore, in John 1:14, the scripture tells us that Jesus came “full of grace and truth.” When we live and walk in truth and mercy, we represent the Lord Jesus and who He is to the world!

Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23

In addition to keeping God’s mercy and truth in our hearts, we also need to protect our hearts from all others desires, distractions, and pollutions. The issues of life are varied. We have many temptations coming at us causing us to think that there are more important things to devote our time and attention to. There are also many trends that try to influence our choices to be popular and relevant, and they attempt to derail us from God’s desires and priorities.

Sometimes, the issues of life could be just dealing appropriately with people and not allowing our hearts to grow bitter or cold towards others because they have failed to meet our expectations. It’s hard to love others and not be disappointed when they fail us. However, the scripture tells us to guard our hearts with all diligence. That tells me that it is not easy to protect our hearts, and it requires work, intentionality, and attention.

If we want to remain in a place where God has the first place in our hearts, it is like a person who decides to get married. When we make the decision and the covenant to get married, in effect we are saying that my heart belongs to my spouse, and it is guarded and protected from falling in love with any other person! Similarly, if our hearts are dedicated to the Lord, then we cannot allow other loves to come into our hearts and pollute us from our first commitment. We need to put a seal on our hearts that other desires will not be allowed.

Lord, our hearts belong to you! Show us if we we have anything in our hearts that has taken your place or it has crowded or polluted our hearts. We want to have a clean heart before you. Teach us to guard it. Help us to keep mercy and truth in our hearts and to represent you well to a lost world! Amen!


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Fight the Good Fight (Part II)

And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. Matthew 11:12 

How do we fight the good fight of faith!? Jesus told us that it would not be easy and that it would require us to exert a force in the direction of God’s Kingdom. To possess God’s promises for us, we not only need to believe them, but we also need to act on them and live them out!

In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus taught his disciples to pray that they would not be led in temptation but to be delivered from evil. If we are going to take possession of what God has already bought for us through the precious blood of Jesus, we need to remain alert to the enemy’s devices. If we fall into temptations or offenses, we open the door to the enemy, and we lose the territory that belongs to us. The enemy is after derailing God’s people by causing shame, guilt, and accusation.

Joseph had dreams about God’s purpose in his life, but for many years everything looked opposite of what he had seen in his dreams. He could have grown bitter, resentful, and disobedient to those who ruled over him. To the contrary, Joseph fought the good fight of faith by remaining diligent, pure, obedient, and free from offense. This prevented him from not being baited by the enemy nor to be derailed from God’s purpose in his life. 

But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:11-12

Paul gives another glimpse of how to fight the good fight of faith. He describes that we are to live with godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. These qualities allow a believer to lay hold of the Kingdom of God and bring it to earth. Furthermore, others get to see, taste, and experience the Kingdom of God through those who live their lives this way.

Today, as we remember the work and the ministry of Dr. Martin Luther King, we see a man of God who fought the good fight of faith in pursuit of truth, dignity, and justice! He exerted force and brought violence against the kingdom of darkness, hatred, and racism, but he fought this battle with faith, love, courage, and patience. While taking action, his hope was ultimately in the Lord his redeemer, which brings us to the next point in Paul’s exhortation.

Paul also stresses to lay hold on eternal life! This is an important aspect of fighting the good fight of faith. Jesus bought eternal life for every person who confesses their sin and recognizes Jesus’ work on the cross for the forgiveness of their sins. Jesus did not just die, so we can have a good life on this earth, but He died to give us the hope and expectation of an eternal life with our savior and Lord. If people live their lives as if this life is all there is, then they will live their lives with frustration, anger, compulsion, and restlessness. It is the hope of eternal life that allows God’s children to live with contentment, peace, and joy in this unstable world!

We live in a world where the enemy wants to draw every person, including the believers, into the bait of hatred, division, and animosity. As God’s people, we are called to do it differently! How do you fight the good fight of faith? Do you recognize the enemy’s schemes in derailing you from God’s purpose!? Are you ruled by God’s character in your life even when things don’t go your way? Do you have the hope of eternal life?


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