Daily Archives: January 11, 2023

Begin From Within

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Begin From Within

walking stairs


Ruel (DC) DeCastro – cbn.com

Every destination has a starting point: the place where you begin your launch and the first step that sets things in motion.

Whether it’s putting one foot in front of the other, or turning the key in your car’s ignition, nothing happens without that beginning.

The same applies when connecting with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Our starting point always begins with our approach. As we enter His presence, we approach Him with humility and respect, asking that He forgive us from our sins. When we commit to turn away from our self-centered human nature, we activate our faith and believe that it’s only by being connected to Him that we can truly walk in His will. Once we make that turn from our ways to His ways, He guides us in the direction He wants us to go.

Jesus said, “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)

Like the paralyzed man in Matthew 9:2, once his sins were forgiven by Jesus, he could not wait to receive his miracle, and after He obeyed the Lord and picked up his mat, he didn’t just walk. He jumped and then walked all the way home.

The act of humility along with repentance and obedience set everything in motion. That was the starting point that helped to launch his breakthrough.

I encourage you to identify your starting point every time you enter God’s presence. Then, anticipate the blessings that comes from a connected life of faith-filled prayer to Him.

Freedom from Rules

By Meg Bucher, Crosswalk.com

“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6-7 NLT

Parents quickly understand the necessity of rules in order to keep their children safe. When toddlers, the rules are simple but often life or death! Rules like don’t run out into the street; don’t touch a hot stove; don’t run into a burning campfiredon’t jump into the water without a life jacket before you can swim …don’t get lost. When they reach school age, the rules include manners- respecting their teachers and other adults in their lives; and honesty, studying hard for tests instead of peering over another classmate’s paper. As they grow older, the rules become a more tangled mess of morality we, ourselves, struggle alongside our kin to maintain. At any age, rules more often allow us to become the best version of ourselves rather than inhibiting us from experiencing life to the full.

A rule, as a noun, is defined as a principle or regulation governing conduct, action, procedure, arrangement, etc. As a verb, to rule means to control or direct; exercise domination power, authority, or influence over; govern. The heading before today’s verses, in the NLT translation of the Bible, reads: “Freedom from Rules and New Life in Christ.”   Jesus didn’t come to abolish the necessary growth we obtain through following rules; He came so that we would benefit from complete obedience, even though we cannot obtain perfection this side of heaven. Christ Jesus makes up for our lack

Freedom from Rules.

“Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.” Matthew 5:17 NLT

Freedom from rules, through Christ, releases the pressure of a burden we can never live up to. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice, willing to walk out the will of His Father to free us from the burden of our own sin …and lack. Though our hearts are often in the right place as we wake each day to follow Jesus, we carry with us an entanglement of sin that trips into our daily lives and rolls over into our confession of them in the next. Grace-filled and unfailing in love for us, God made a way for us to be forgiven and a chance to repent …to change.

A seedling planted in the ground makes its way up through the soil and breaks through to see the sun. Our lives are a continual process of blooming where we are planted. “Paul uses the illustration of our being rooted in Christ,” the Life Application Bible explains, “Just as plants draw nourishment from the soil through their roots, we draw our life-giving strength from Christ. The more we draw our strength from him, the less we will be fooled or entangled by those who falsely claim to have life’s answers apart from Christ.”

New Life in Christ. 

“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” – Romans 8:1 NLT

Today’s verses encourage us to keep straining for the light and to let our roots grow down into him. Plants that return year after year spread out each time they come back to life in the Spring. I like to plant things that tend to grow and spread out without my lack of a green thumb to hinder them. What begins as a spacious garden soon overflows with fresh wildflowers. I love giving nature a space to take over in my yard and plodding out to pick fresh blooms each day as more and more cut through to the light of the sun.

Our lives are new every day, just as God’s mercy is new every day. He is faithful to complete His promise of our new life in Christ. We are a new creation in Him, and it doesn’t happen overnight! A bulk of the change occurs progressively over time, season after season, and year after year. “New life in Christ starts and continues when we acknowledge him as leader over all we are and do,” the Life Application Study Bible explains, “Then we must accept his leadership daily by being rooted, built up, and strengthened in the faith.”

Intersecting Faith and Life:

“He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who where near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.” Ephesians 2:17-20 NLT

Today’s verses talk of overflowing with thankfulness as a result of the truth we are being taught. Gratitude is a natural by-product of knowing God. It’s impossible to know Him and not be able to grasp gratitude, even in the worst and hardest of times.

Today’s beautiful verses, written by the apostle Paul, remind us of the amazing gift we have as we embrace life within the love of Christ. If ever we feel burdened by rules, we can be assured the guilt is not rooted in Him! But freedom is. We are free to admit our weaknesses, run to Him in our lack, and know without a doubt He sacrifices His perfect life so we could live ours to the full. He is with us, always. Let’s release the pressure, follow Jesus, allow our roots to grow down in Him, and our lives be built on Him. Let’s embrace the promise Paul penned: Then our faith will grow strong in the truth we are taught, and we will overflow with thankfulness.

Streams in the Desert – January 11

  • 202311 Jan

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God (Isaiah 40:1).

Store up comfort. This was the prophet‘s mission. The world is full of comfortless hearts, and ere thou art sufficient for this lofty ministry, thou must be trained. And thy training is costly in the extreme; for, to render it perfect, thou too must pass through the same afflictions as are wringing countless hearts of tears and blood. Thus thy own life becomes the hospital ward where thou art taught the Divine art of comfort. Thou art wounded, that in the binding up of thy wounds by the Great Physician, thou mayest learn how to render first aid to the wounded everywhere. Dost thou wonder why thou art passing through some special sorrow? Wait till ten years are passed, and thou wilt find many others afflicted as thou art. Thou wilt tell them how thou hast suffered and hast been comforted; then as the tale is unfolded, and the anodynes applied which once thy God wrapped around thee, in the eager look and the gleam of hope that shall chase the shadow of despair across the soul, thou shalt know why thou wast afflicted, and bless God for the discipline that stored thy life with such a fund of experience and helpfulness.

God does not comfort us to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters.
–Dr. Jowett