Live believing not seeing

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Live by believing not seeing because God is your eyes and He will show you the way. The note below states that God is not working to make us happy but to fulfill His purpose. However, when God assigns us a task that will fulfill His purpose, He is happy and we will also be happy.

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Scripture reading:

God works in “everything”—not just isolated incidents—for our good. This does not mean that all that happens to us is good. Evil is prevalent in our fallen world, but God is able to turn every circumstance around for our long-range good. Note that God is not working to make us happy but to fulfill his purpose. Note also that this promise is not for everybody. It can be claimed only by those who love God and are called by him, that is, those whom the Holy Spirit convinces to receive Christ. Such people have a new perspective, a new mind-set. They trust in God, not in worldly treasures; their security is in heaven, not on earth. Their faith in God does not waver in pain and persecution because they know God is with them.

God’s ultimate goal for us is to make us like Christ (1 John 3:21). As we become more and more like him, we discover our true selves the persons we were created to be. How can we become like Christ? By reading and heeding the Word, by studying his life on earth through the Gospels, by spending time in prayer, by being filled with his Spirit, and by doing his work in the world.

What is clear is that God’s purpose for people was not an afterthought; it was settled before the foundation of the world. People are to serve and honor God. If you believe in Christ, you can rejoice in the fact that God has always known you. God’s love is eternal. His wisdom and power are supreme. He will guide and protect you until you one day stand in his presence.

Do you ever think that because you aren’t good enough for God, he will not save you? Do you ever feel as if salvation is for everyone else but you? Then these verses are especially for you. If God gave his Son for you, he isn’t going to hold back the gift of salvation! If Christ gave his life for you, he isn’t going to turn around and condemn you! He will not withhold anything you need to live for him. The book of Romans is more than a theological explanation of God’s redeeming grace—it is a letter of comfort and confidence addressed to you. (NLT)

Romans 8:28-31 – And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn, with many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And he gave them right standing with himself, and he promised them his glory.

What can we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?

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1 The Christian life is a process of becoming more and more like Christ. This process will not be complete until we see Christ face to face (1 Corinthians 13:122; Philippians 3:213), but knowing that it is our ultimate destiny should motivate us to purify ourselves. To keep pure means to keep morally straight, free from the corruption of sin. God also purifies us, but there is action we must take to remain morally fit (see 1 Timothy 5:224; James 4:85; 1 Peter 1:226). (NLT)

1 John 3:2 – Yes, dear friends, we are already God’s children, and we can’t even imagine what we will be like when Christ returns. But we do know that when he comes we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.

2 Paul offers a glimpse into the future to give us hope that one day we will be complete when we see God face to face. This truth should strengthen our faith. We don’t have all the answers now, but one day we will. Someday we will see Christ in person and be able to see with God’s perspective. (NLT)

1 Corinthians 13:12 – Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now.

3 The phrase “weak mortal bodies” does not imply any negative attitude toward the human body. However, the bodies we will receive when we are raised from the dead will be glorious, like Christ’s resurrected body. Those who struggle with pain, physical limitations, or disabilities can have wonderful hope in the resurrection. For a more detailed discussion of our new body, see 1 Corinthians 15:357 and 2 Corinthians 5:1-108. (NLT)

Philippians 3:21 – He will take these weak mortal bodies of ours and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same mighty power that he will use to conquer everything, everywhere.

4 Paul says that a church should never be hasty about choosing its leaders, especially the pastor, because we may overlook major problems or sins. It is a serious responsibility to choose church leaders. They must have strong faith and be morally upright, having the qualities described in 1 Timothy 3:1-139 and Titus 1:5-910. Not everyone who wants to be a church leader is eligible. Be certain of an applicant’s qualifications before asking him or her to take a leadership position. (NLT)

1 Timothy 5:22 – Never be in a hurry about appointing an elder. Do not participate in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.

5 How can you draw near to God? James gives five ways: (1) Humble yourselves before God (James 4:711). Yield to his authority and will, commit your life to him and his control, and be willing to follow him. (2) Resist the Devil (James 4:711). Don’t allow Satan to entice and tempt you. (3) Wash your hands . . . and purify your hearts (that is, lead a pure life) (James 4:8). Be cleansed from sin, replacing your desire to sin with your desire to experience God’s purity. (4) Let there be sorrow and deep grief for your sins (James 4:912). Don’t be afraid to express deep heartfelt sorrow for what you have done. (5) Bow down before the Lord, and he will life you up (James 4:1013; 1 Peter 5:614).

James 4:8 – Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, you hypocrites.

6 “Sincere love” involves selfless giving; a self-centered person can’t truly love. God’s love and forgiveness free you to take your eyes off yourselves and to meet others’ needs. By sacrificing his life, Christ showed that he truly loves you. Now you can love others by following his example and giving of yourself sacrificially. (NLT)

1 Peter 1:22 – Now you can have sincere love for each other as brothers and sisters because you were cleansed from your sins when you accepted the truth of the Good News. So see to it that you really do love each other intensely with all your hearts.

7 Paul launches into a discussion about what our resurrected bodies will be like. If you could select your own body, what kind would you choose—strong, athletic, beautiful? Paul explains that we will be recognizable in our resurrected body, yet it will be better than we can imagine, for it will be made to live forever. We will still have our own personality and individuality, but these will be perfected through Christ’s work. The Bible does not reveal everything that our resurrected body will be able to do, but we know it will be perfect, without any infirmities (see Philippians 3:213).

Paul compares the resurrection with the growth of a seed in a garden. Seeds placed in the ground don’t grow unless they “die” first. The plant that grows looks very different from the seed because God gives it a new “body.” There are different kinds of bodies—people, animals, fish, birds. Even the angels in heaven have bodies that are different in beauty and glory. Our resurrected body will be very different from our earthly body. It will be a spiritual body full of glory. (NLT)

1 Corinthians 15:35 – But someone may ask, “How will the dead be raised? What kind of bodies will they have?”

8 Paul contrasts our earthly body and our future resurrection body. Paul clearly states that our present body makes us groan, but when we die we will not be spirits without bodies. We will have new bodies that will be perfect for our everlasting life.

Paul wrote as he did because the church at Corinth was surrounded by Greek culture, and many believers had difficulty with the concept of bodily resurrection because the Greeks did not believe in it. Most saw the afterlife as something that happened only to the soul, with the real person imprisoned in a physical body. They believed that at death the soul was released; there was no immortality for the body, and the soul enters an eternal state. But the Bible teaches that the body and soul are not permanently separated.

Paul describes our resurrected body in more detail in 1 Corinthians 15:46-5815. We still have personalities and recognizable characteristics in our resurrected body, but through Christ’s work, our body will be better than we can imagine. The Bible does not tell us everything about our resurrected body, but we know that it will be perfect, without sickness, disease, or pain (see Philippians 3:213; Revelation 21:416)

2 Corinthians 5:1-10 – For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down—when we die and leave these bodies—we will have a home in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long for the day when we will put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will not be spirits without bodies, but we will put on new heavenly bodies. Our dying bodies make us groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and have no bodies at all. We want to slip into our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by everlasting life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.

So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. That is why we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. So our aim is to please him always, whether we are here in this body or away from this body. For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in our bodies.

9 The word elder can refer to a pastor, church leader, or presiding overseer. It is good to want to be a spiritual leader, but the standards are high. Paul enumerates some of the qualifications here. Do you hold a position of spiritual leadership, or would you like to be a leader some day? Check yourself against Paul’s standard of excellence. Those with great responsibility must meet high expectations.

The lists of qualifications for church office show that living a blameless and pure life requires effort and self-discipline. All believers, even if they never plan to be church leaders, should strive to follow these guidelines because they are consistent with what God says is true and right. The strength to live according to God’s will comes from Christ. (NTL)

1 Timothy 3:1-13 – It is a true saying that if someone wants to be an elder, he desires an honorable responsibility. For an elder must be a man whose life cannot be spoken against. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exhibit self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home and must be able to teach. He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, peace loving, and not one who loves money. He must manage his own family well, with children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?

An elder must not be a new Christian, because he might be proud of being chosen so soon, and the Devil will use that pride to make him fall. Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not fall into the Devil’s trap and be disgraced.

In the same way, deacons must be people who are respected and have integrity. They must not be heavy drinkers and must not be greedy for money. They must be committed to the revealed truths of the Christian faith and must live with a clear conscience. Before they are appointed as deacons, they should be given other responsibilities in the church as a test of their character and ability. If they do well, then they may serve as deacons.

In the same way, their wives must be respected and must not speak evil of others. They must exercise self-control and be faithful in everything they do.

A deacon must be faithful to his wife, and he must manage his children and household well. Those who do well as deacons will be rewarded with respect from others and will have increased confidence in their faith in Christ Jesus.

10 Paul briefly described some qualifications that the elders or overseers should have. Paul had given Timothy a similar set of instructions for the church in Ephesus (see 1 Timothy 3:1-139; 1 Timothy 5:224. Notice that most of the qualifications involve character, not knowledge or skill. A person’s life-style and relationships provide a window into his or her character. Consider these qualifications as you evaluate a person for a position of leadership in your church. It is important to have leaders who can effectively preach God’s Word, but it is even more important to have those who can live out God’s Word and be examples for others to follow. (NLT)

Titus 1:5-9 – I left you on the island of Crete so you could complete our work there and appoint elders in each town as I instructed you. An elder must be well thought of for his good life. He must be faithful to his wife, and his children must be believers who are not wild or rebellious. An elder must live a blameless life because he is God’s minister. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered; he must not be a heavy drinker, violent, or greedy for money. He must enjoy having guests in his home and must love all that is good. He must live wisely and be fair. He must live a devout and disciplined life. He must have a strong and steadfast belief in the trustworthy message he was taught; then he will be able to encourage others with right teaching and show those who oppose it where they are wrong.

11 Although God and the Devil are at war, we don’t have to wait until the end to see who will win. God has already defeated Satan, and when Christ returns, the Devil and all he stands for will be eliminated forever. Satan is here now, however, and he is trying to win us over to his evil cause. With the Holy Spirit’s power, we can resist the Devil, and he will flee from us. (NLT)

James 4:7 – So humble yourselves before God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.

12 James 4:9 – Let there be tears for the wrong things you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy.

13 Bowing before the Lord means recognizing that our worth comes from God alone. To be humble involves leaning on his power and his guidance, and not going our own independent way. Although we do not deserve God’s favor, he wants to lift us up and give us worth and dignity, despite our human shortcomings. (NLT)

James 4:10 – When you bow down before the Lord and admit your dependence on him, he will lift you up and give you honor.

14 We often worry about our position and status, hoping to get proper recognition for what we do. But Peter advises us to remember that God’s recognition counts more than human praise. God is able and willing to bless us according to his timing. Humbly obey God regardless of present circumstances, and in his good time—either in this life or in the next—he will honor you. (NLT)

1 Peter 5:6 – So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and in his good time he will honor you.

15 We all face limitations. Some may have physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. Some may be blind, but they can see a new way to live. Some may be deaf, but they can hear God’s Good News. Some may be lame, but they can walk in God’s love. In addition, they have the encouragement that those disabilities are only temporary. Paul tells us that we all will be given new bodies when Christ returns and that these bodies will be without disabilities, never to die or become sick. This can give us hope in our suffering.

Paul says that because of the resurrection, nothing we do is useless. Sometimes we become apathetic about serving the Lord because we don’t see any results. Knowing that Christ has won the ultimate victory should affect the way we live right now. Don’t let discouragement over an apparent lack of results keep you from doing the work of the Lord enthusiastically as you have opportunity. (NLT)

1 Corinthians 15:46-58 – What came first was the natural body, then the spiritual body comes later. Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth, while Christ, the second man, came from heaven. Every human being has an earthly body just like Adam’s, but our heavenly bodies will be just like Christ’s. Just as we are now like Adam, the man of the earth, so we will someday be like Christ, the man from heaven.

What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These perishable bodies of ours are not able to live forever.

But let me tell you a wonderful secret God has revealed to us. Not all of us will die, but we will all be transformed. It will happen in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, the Christians who have died will be raised with transformed bodies. And then we who are living will be transformed so that we will never die. For our perishable earthly bodies must be transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die.

When this happens—when our perishable earthly bodies have been transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die—then at last the Scriptures will come true: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power.

16 Have you ever wondered what eternity will be like? Forevermore, there will be no death, sorrow, crying, or pain. What a wonderful truth! No matter what you are going through, it’s not the last word—God has written the final chapter, and it is about true fulfillment and eternal joy for those who love him. We do not know as much as we would like, but it is enough to know that eternity with God will be more wonderful than we could ever imagine. (NLT)

Revelation 21:4 – “He will remove all of their sorrows, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. For the old world and its evils are gone forever.”

May you find comfort, encouragement, guidance, hope, inspiration, love, and peace – May you also find answers to your question(s) through the Scriptures that address every situation you face, and help with your problems: ; ;;

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