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Psalm chapter 92 and verses12 to 14

“The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing” (Ps 92:12-14).

According to these verses God’s children, his righteous ones, are going to flourish. We will have long, useful and fruitful lives. Not only that but we will grow old gracefully and still be fruitful and contented in old age. Now that is a promise!

However, all of this is also dependent on something, which is found in verse 13. In verse 13, we see that the condition is that we have a heart’s desire to be planted in his house and flourishing in his courts.

Does that mean we have to live in church all week? I don't think so. What that means is that we need to be in the presence of God as much as possible and then all these wonderful promises will be the result of that. Being in God's presence doesn't mean you have to spend all day on your knees; you can be mindful of his nearness while you are at work, shopping, doing chores or whatever. We can fellowship with God wherever we are and whatever we are doing. We need that desire for a close relationship and intimacy with him.

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Can God Change You?

When we were born again it was our spirit that was reborn, not our flesh (soul and body). “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see he kingdom of God. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:3, 5-6; KJV). We need to renew our minds (Rom 12:2) and bring our bodies under (1 Cor 9:27). This is all put another way in Eph 4:22-24 (also see Col 3:9-10). Paul writes about putting off the old man or old nature and lifestyle and putting on the new man or allowing the Holy Spirit and the word to transform us to be more and more like Christ.

We cannot do this in our own strength, we need to come before God in humility and ask his help in emptying ourselves of self and to be transformed into his likeness. Sure, this involves things like controlling lust and anger and watching what we say but we also need to examine ourselves and ask God to show us the things in our core that limit his hand in our lives: pride, ego, stubbornness, rebelliousness, lack of submission, self-seeking, seeking recognition, to mention a few.

I heard a preacher once say that the thing that most struck him about Christians was how little they changed; how superficial their relationship with God was. I don’t think he was being cynical but honest. Wow, this isn’t where I want to be; how about you? God will change us if we let him; but be warned, it can be a painful process. However, the rewards of intimacy with God and growing in him are awesome. Let’s get serious with God. He’s waiting on his church. 

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Knowing Him

“That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col.2:2-3; KJV).

This is part of a prayer that Paul was praying for the Colossians; his heart’s desire was for unity in love and that they would have a desire to know Christ more. This is a prayer we can use today for our own lives, it’s also a good prayer to pray over others too.

To know Jesus more is certainly my desire. Of course, we don’t want to just know Jesus more for what we can get out of him. But nevertheless, as verse 3 says, when we do get to know Jesus we also tap into his wisdom and knowledge.

The apostle Paul desired to personally know Jesus more (Phil 3:10). If this is your heart’s desire then make these verses your confession today. And how exactly do we get to know God better?  Well, let’s allow the apostle Paul to show us: “I press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:14). How do we press? By spending time in his word, in prayer and in his presence.

Sound familiar?

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Put Off the Grave Clothes

In that wonderful story in John’s Gospel Chapter 11, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Notice that Lazarus was still bound with grave clothes when he came out of the tomb and so Jesus had to say: “loose him and let him go” (KJV). We as Christians are born again to new life in Christ but are often bound by grave clothes; these are the trappings, habits and behaviors of our old life. The word tells us we need to put off the old man and put on the new (Col 3:9). This means to allow God to change us so we no longer live like we did but walk in the new nature of Christ that lives in us (Gal 2:20).

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb 12:1-2a). We are in a race, going on with God, allowing him to change us by his word and power day by day.

So, what do we have to do? We need to cooperate with God, spend time in his word and yield to the Holy Spirit as he gently convicts, encourages and changes us through our spirit (1 John 3:20). The journey is amazing, the results wonderful.

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Check out our web site ( www.onthewayinlove.com ) for information on our book: “On the Way: Basic Christian Training”, including how to purchase it and also to see more encouraging Bible based blogs. Please recommend our book to others. 

Do People Identify You as a Christian?

 “But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1; KJV). The word, become, suggests our conversation be fit or proper for Christ men and women.
 

The apostle Paul goes on in the second chapter in his letter to Titus to describe some traits of godly living, listing them as: sobriety, temperance, holiness, love, patience, faith, discretion, chastity, loyalty, sound speech, honesty and obedience. Do you get the picture?   

We are supposed to be easily identified as Christians by what we speak and how we live.

Paul tells Titus our lives should adorn or be ornaments to the things of God (v10). In verse 12 Paul teaches us that God’s grace has trained us to have nothing to do with ungodliness and worldly desires and to be self-controlled and upright. This does not allow us to cheat, be dishonest, tell white lies, gossip etc.

In 2 Timothy 2:22 Paul further preaches that we should grow up as far as sin is concerned; in fact, he says to flee sin and pursue being like God in our thoughts and actions. We should aggressively seek to walk in faith, love and peace with all of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

This is kingdom living, this is aiming for perfection or maturity (Matt 5:48). I know it seems almost unattainable, but notice above that Paul said to Timothy to pursue godliness.  It’s good to have something to aim at; we’ll miss the mark from time to time but that’s better than aiming at nothing. Paul also said of himself that he was not perfect but he pressed on toward the goal (Phil 3:12).

Remember that God is always with you and that his word and power will always enable you to do what he expects of you (Phil 1:6).

Please pass this on. All right reserved.

Check out our web site ( www.onthewayinlove.com ) for information on our book: “On the Way: Basic Christian Training”, including how to purchase it and also to see more encouraging Bible based blogs. Please recommend our book to others.