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pastorway

And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

THIS BLOG HAS MOVED TO www.timeintheword.org

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Friday, October 28, 2005

Life

TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional

Verse of the Day – John 10:10
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy, I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Daily Scripture Reading1 John 5

Puritan Catechism
Question #3 - What do the Scriptures principally teach?

Devotional Thoughts
Just as Jesus is the door and the shepherd, the one who really cares about us and provides security and help and comfort for us, we are learning that there are thieves out there! There are those who would harm the sheep and try to creep into the fold unnoticed. In many commentaries this thief is Satan and his attempts at harming believers or rendering their witness ineffective. The thief can also be anyone or anything that damages our relationship with our Heavenly Father! While I do believe the devil is a thief, I also believe that we can be thieves ourselves - we can rob ourselves of joy and peace and comfort! How? Try worry, stress, fear, lack of faith, etc. The thief can also be others, or circumstances, anything that weakens our faith.

The thief will be contrasted with Jesus in the next few verses, but for now let's look at what the thief does to the flock. If he can get in and gain access to the sheep he will do three things.

First he will steal. Thieves steal - that's why they are called thieves! And know this, one isn't a thief because he steals! He steals because he is a thief. The thief steals. But what does he steal? There is an idea here that the thief will take away one of the sheep, to remove it from the flock to be kept or maybe even killed and eaten!

Secondly, the thief would come to kill. This word means precisely "to sacrifice", to take a sheep and offer it as an offering to God or to a false god in an act of worship. The only reason really to steal a sheep would be because one could not be afforded or bought to meet the requirements of worship. So the thief seeks to steal it and kill it!

Thirdly, the thief destroys. This word means "to lose", to send away or cause to get lost. This represents the sheep who are led astray and find that they are lost, away from the flock and alone, weak, fearful, and vulnerable.

Spiritually, all of these have application. Whatever or whoever serves as the thief (self, Satan, others), the thief steals our joy and peace and love and truth. The thief separates us from the rest of the flock with guilt and shame - the accusations alone in our hearts are enough to drive us away from accountability and discipleship.

The thief also kills. This is to take the believer and devour or consume him with guilt, depression, confusion, and hurt feelings. The thief works against us by killing our hope or our faith by sacrificing us on the altar of self service and convenience.

The thief also destroys. We find that we get lost easily when we take our eyes of the Shepherd! We are prone to wander. Unable to find the way or to find God's will - all of these are schemes of the devil to keep us from our potential! Satan and self do not want us to witness or grow, so we find that we are being robbed, sacrificed, and led astray by false teachers, false doctrine, or false beliefs over and over. We have to learn how to stand firm against these assaults and to overcome.

We have to remember that no matter how we feel there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God in Christ. There is no person, place, circumstance, behavior, or thought that can make God stop caring for us! Also notice that the stealing, killing, and destroying often takes place outside of the fold and away from the flock! Satan loves to corner us away from other believers. If he can get us alone he can drive us to distraction with fear, confusion, and worry. That's precisely why fellowship and corporate worship are so important.

Just as the thief brings destruction and death, Jesus lets us know that He brings the opposite. In contrast to the thief, He brings life! As a matter of fact if Jesus was ever to be called a thief it would be because He came to steal the hearts of men!

Jesus does not bring death, destruction, or despair. He does not lead us astray or rob us. He gives us life. Just as if we were lying in the Valley of Dry Bones (from Ezekiel 37:1-14) He has come to prophesy to us, to proclaim the Word of Truth, the gospel of God that brings eternal life. He calls us to life, regenerates us and gives to us salvation. Even while we are dead in sin His Spirit comes to us and calls us to life beckoning us to come and see that the Lord indeed is good and forgiving.

He gives us life when we are spiritually dead just as one day He will give us new physical life whether we have died physically or not - He will either raise us from the dead and give us incorruptible, glorified bodies, or He will change us where we stand when Jesus comes back! In every aspect of our existence He indeed gives us life.

Where once there was despair and sadness we are alive emotionally. We can experience joy and peace, hope and patience! Where there was once decay and destruction (depravity) we now have freedom and power! While we were dead in darkness now we walk in the light.

Matthew Henry says of this life, "we might have life, as a criminal has when he is pardoned, as a sick man when he is cured, a dead man when he is raised; that we might be justified, sanctified, and at last glorified." We are given life through Christ. He is our life, we now exist to please and glorify Him alone! We have been pardoned, cured, and raised - and we must praise Him for the work that only He can do and has done.

You see, we cannot pardon ourselves, we cannot cure ourselves, we cannot raise ourselves. G.K. Chesterton said that those who believe wholeheartedly in themselves are those who are mad! Insane! Only the insane believe in themselves with no inhibitions. Those of us who have our mental faculties are very aware of our limitations. We can't do it alone, we can't live life without Christ. He must live through us if we are to really live!

Jesus hasn't come only to make us alive, He has called us to life from death and to light from darkness. But more than that (YES MORE!!) He has come to give to us abundant life! This new life is better, blessed, and beautiful.

This speaks of a better life in that life now is better than it ever could have been before Christ became part of who we are! Now we have forgiveness and pardon. We are made righteous before God because we have the breastplate of His righteousness with which to guard our hearts! We also have the ability to love unconditionally, to give sacrificially to God and others, to be patient and kind. We have a better life because we have God living inside of us! Life with Christ cannot even be compared to life before Christ!

This speaks also of a blessed life. According to Ephesians 1:1-14, we have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ and the list Paul gives there in Ephesians tells us that we have been blessed with: His choosing of us, His making us holy and without blame, His predestining us to our adoption by God, His acceptance of us in the Beloved, His redemption of us, His forgiveness according to the riches of His grace, His wisdom abounding in us, His will being made know to us, His gathering together of all those in Christ, His inheritance that now is ours, His use of us to praise Christ, His sealing of us with the Spirit, and His glorification of us one day soon! Indeed we are blessed simply to be right with God and no longer His enemy!

This also speaks of a beautiful life. We abound in grace and love and mercy and peace. We have things now that we never could have had before - God is pleased with us! We live to His glory and we are loved and accepted and belong to His family and can never be taken away from Him. The beauty we have reflects the beauty that we can now recognize in Him, in His Word, and in His creation. He made all the things we can see and experience to glorify Himself and we can glorify Him too by simply looking for the beauty that so often we pass by in a rush!

To sum up the abundant life we must realize that this has nothing to do with possessions or things - this word is not used to say we will be rich, comfortable, or abounding is "stuff!" It is a word that means that we can now have a capacity for life that before was not available to us. Again, it speaks not of things, not of "stuff", but it speaks of "capacity". The life He has given us is just the starting point. Now we have a greater capacity for living. He is ours and we are His and with Him NOTHING is IMPOSSIBLE!

He gave us life when we were dead and even today promises us a capacity for living that is beyond our imagination - most Christians live in despair and defeat I believe because they don't realize that this "life" is not the norm. He gives us a greater capacity for living, loving, overcoming, and knowing Him!

So today look out for the thief. Whether it be Satan, others, circumstances, or even self, look for those things that would contribute to our getting confused as to the will of God and would bring harm to our spiritual walk! Those who are false teachers, who come in over or through the wall, these are emissaries of the evil one sent by him to accuse and confuse us as to God's will and way! And don't become separated from the flock! A lone sheep makes a quick meal for the wolf!

Thank God for the life He has called you to. Think about all that might not be if it weren't for His giving His life for yours! Thank Him for life! Let’s explore the impossibilities at which God laughs. The impossibility of the lost getting saved and the sick being healed, the things that we "feel" couldn't happen that God wants to do - if we would only believe Him and live as He has called!


Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship

2 Comments:

Blogger Joseph Ringling said...

Thank you for posting these devotionals.

9:42 AM  
Blogger Phillip M. Way said...

I am happy to do it and pray that God blesses His Word and encourages His people by it.

~pastorway

5:39 PM  

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