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Prized Possession

“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong,[c] and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession” (James 1:12-18 NLT).

You are God’s prized possession.  God does not tempt you.  Temptation is your opportunity from the enemy to accomplish something, out of the will of God.  You may see sin as an act, but God sees it as a process.  James describes this process of sin where you are tempted by desire, dragged into deception then disobedience and finally into death.  It may take years for the process of sin to mature, but it’s ultimate destination is death to every plan and purpose that God has for your life.  In contrast to this, consider the goodness of God. God’s will and way is good and it does not change.  He has given His divine nature to us to live the fullest potential of life in Him. Today,  receive His way of life and reject the enemy’s way of death. Choose to believe that you are His prized possession.

Race of Grace

“Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you’ll never get so much as a glimpse of God. Make sure no one gets left out of God’s generosity. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time. Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God’s blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears” (Hebrews 12:14-17 The Message).

As you run the race of faith, your goal according to Hebrews 12:14-17 is to pursue peace with people and holiness before God.  You need grace to run this race to completion.  You don’t want to be like Esau who lived for temporary things.  You must depend on God’s grace to weed your heart of discontent and bitterness.  Your appetite should not be for impulsive desires but for God’s eternal blessing.

Run the Race

“Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” (Hebrews 12:1-3 The Message).

Today, run the race to win.  Loose yourself of every weight and sin. Focus on Jesus and run to Him.  He is the author and the finisher of your faith.

The Fear of the Lord

“He paid the ransom for His people, He ordered His Covenant kept forever.  He’s so personal and holy, worthy of our respect. The good life begins in the fear of God— Do that and you’ll know the blessing of God. His Hallelujah lasts forever!” (Psalm 111:9-10 The Message).

The fear of the Lord produces obedience in your life which leads to greater spiritual understanding. The fear of the Lord is a reverential love for God and a hatred of sin.  The fear of the Lord generates an understanding of God’s Word, His works, and His ways. The good life begins in the fear of God.

Eternal Faith

“All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth.  Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:13-16 NLT).

Faith is the greatest power on earth. Hebrews 11 helps us to see faith through the faithfulness of ordinary people like  Able, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Sarah.  These ordinary giants of faith walked with an inward conviction from God that He would perform everything He said. Faith empowers us to see what others cannot see. Faith empowers us to do what others cannot do. The best way to learn to walk in faith is to be joined in walking with others who are faith-filled.

Our faith grows as we follow and fellowship with God.  When we diligently seek Him we experience His pleasure.  Being in the Word, worshipping Him, and walking in His ways help us to walk in faith.  We obey and follow God even when we don’t understand how He will accomplish His will.  The Patriarchs of faith were not perfect in their actions, but they pleased God as they walked with Him.  They died before they saw the completion of what God had promised.  They saw the promise and welcomed it for the future generations who would receive it.  They agreed that they were looking forward to a country that they could call their own, a heavenly homeland.  Without faith it is impossible to please Him.

Bold Entrance

“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God,  let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:19-23 NKJV).

You have an open invitation to enter God’s presence. Jesus made a new way for you through His shed blood.   He is the faithful Promiser who gives you confidence and boldness to approach God. Run to Him, knowing that He is your freedom. Hold tight and refuse to let go of God the Promiser. Come into full agreement with God’s purposes for your life.  Refuse to let go of any part of it.

“Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men. For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness” (Psalm 107:8-9 NKJV).

Whether you are experiencing adversity, trial, distress, affliction, sorrow, or oppression, the Lord is there to bring you out of captivity and into your promised inheritance.  It is His goodness that fills the hungry and His mercy that satisfies the deepest thirst of the soul.  Today, no matter what you are facing, give thanks to God for His goodness. Receive refreshment from the Redeemer who restores your hope and leads you home.