You Are Not Your Own – Devotional for Monday, November 1, 2010

Do you not know that . . . you are not your own? —1 Corinthians 6:19

We like to think that we are own man (or woman) in this world. In fact, it is a taught goal for most of our lives. It expresses an independence that we cherish. But once we are His, we are no longer our own. There is no such thing as a private life, or a place to hide in this world, for a man or woman who is  in  Christ.  We are not sanctified for ourselves. We are called into intimacy with the gospel, and things happen that appear to have nothing to do with us. But God is getting us into fellowship with Himself. Let Him have His way. If you refuse, you will be of no value to God in His redemptive work in the world, but will be a hindrance and a stumbling block.
When we become His, we slowly become aware of, and a part of, a new reality. We have new concerns and priorities. We lose ours and become united with His. This occurs through His power made possible by our Faith.
Be Faithful and lose yourself.
Nick

Trial of Faith – Devotional for Sunday, October 31, 2010

If you have faith as a mustard seed . . . nothing will be impossible for you —Matthew 17:20

Faith brings us into the right relationship with God and gives Him His opportunity to work. Perhaps I should change my devotional closing from “Be Blessed” to “Be Faithful.” Faith by its very nature must be tested and tried. And the real trial of faith is not that we find it difficult to trust God, but that God’s character must be proven as trustworthy in our own minds. We have to learn through experience that God really is who He says He is. Life is full of trials; but the trial of Faith, is faith in God coming against everything that contradicts Him— a faith that says, “I will remain true to God’s character whatever He may do.” The highest and the greatest expression of faith in the whole Bible is— “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15).
Be Faithful,
Nick

Faith – Devotional for Saturday, October 30, 2010

Without faith it is impossible to please Him . . . —Hebrews 11:6

The world is divided into those who operate by “common sense” and those who operate on “faith.”

Faith can be mistaken enthusiasm and narrow-mindedness, and common sense is often a mistaken reliance on reason as the basis for truth. The life of true Faith brings the two of these into the proper relationship. Common sense operates in the natural.  When one moves from common sense in the natural he is being impulsive. In the spiritual, where faith operates, actions are not based on “common sense” and what is “inspiration” may appear as impulsiveness.  The teachings of Jesus Christ turn common sense on it’s head, but it is revelation truth.  Faith, which can appear silly and unreal to the natural man, when applied and put to the test becomes real in your life. 
The life of faith says, “Lord, You have said it, it appears to be irrational, but I’m going to step out boldly, trusting in Your Word” (for example, see Matthew 6:33). Faith is the entire person in the right relationship with God through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
Step out in Faith and discover the wonderful world of Life in Christ.
Nick

Substitution – Devotional for Friday, October 29, 2010

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him —2 Corinthians 5:21

Christ died as a sacrifice for sin. Yet the modern church shies away from discussions of sin or His death.  When death is discussed, it necessity is avoided. The modern view of the death of Jesus is that He died for our sins out of sympathy for us. Yet the New Testament view is that He took our sin on Himself not because of sympathy, but because of His identification with us. He was “made. . . to be sin. . . .” Our sins are removed because of the death of Jesus, and the only explanation for His death is His obedience to His Father, not His sympathy for us. We are acceptable to God not because we have obeyed, nor because we have promised to give up things, but because of the death of Christ, and for no other reason. We say that Jesus Christ came to reveal the fatherhood and the lovingkindness of God, but the New Testament says that He came to take “away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).
Never shy from a frank discussion of sin and the death it took to take it away. Anything less gives a false impression of redemption. Giving an illusion of salvation is worse than having never shared at all.
Be real and really be a blessing.
Nick

Justification by Faith – Devotional for Thursday, October 28, 2010

If when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life —Romans 5:10

I am saved by Faith. I am not saved by believing— I simply realize I am saved by believing. Believing is less than faith. Even the demons believe in Jesus and tremble. Faith has as a principal element: trust.
And it is not repentance that saves me— repentance is only the sign that I realize what God has done through Christ Jesus. The danger here is putting the emphasis on the effect, instead of on the cause. Once I put my trust in Him; I turn (repent) from everything  else, an effect and not a cause.
Perhaps the greatest misconception is that it is my obedience, consecration, and dedication that make me right with God? It is never that! I am made right with God because, prior to all of that, Christ died. When I turn to God and by belief accept what God reveals, the miraculous atonement by the Cross of Christ instantly places me into a right relationship with God. And as a result of the supernatural miracle of God’s grace I stand justified, not because I am sorry for my sin, or because I have repented, but because of what Jesus has done. The Spirit of God brings justification with a shattering, radiant light, and I know that I am saved, even though I don’t know how it was accomplished.
We can be born again solely because of the atonement of our Lord. Sinful men and women can be changed into new creations, not through their repentance or their belief, but through the wonderful work of God in Christ Jesus which preceded all of our experience (see 2 Corinthians 5:17-19). “It is finished!” (John 19:30).
Nick

The Method of Missions – Devotional for Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations . . . —Matthew 28:19
 
In order to “make disciples” we have to “be disciples.” In fact, there is no other requirement for missionary service: we must BE His and His alone.  Jesus Christ did not say, “Go and save souls” (the salvation of souls is the supernatural work of God), but He said, “Go . . . make disciples of all the nations . . . .” Yet you cannot make disciples unless you are a disciple yourself. 

The challenge to the missionary does not come from the fact that people are difficult to bring to salvation, that backsliders are difficult to reclaim, or that there is a barrier of callous indifference. No, the challenge comes from the perspective of the missionary’s own personal relationship with Jesus Christ—  do I know my risen Lord? Do I know the power of His indwelling Spirit? Am I wise enough in God’s sight, but foolish enough according to the wisdom of the world, to trust in what Jesus Christ has said? Or am I abandoning the great supernatural position of limitless confidence in Christ Jesus, which is really God’s only call for a missionary? If I follow any other method, I depart altogether from the methods prescribed by our Lord— “All authority has been given to Me . . . . Go therefore. . .” (Matthew 28:18-19).

If I am His I have an overwhelming compulsion to follow His command: to Go.

Be blessed.

Nick

What is a Missionary? Devotional for Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Jesus said to them again, ’. . . As the Father has sent Me, I also send you’ —John 20:21

Jesus sends us as He was sent. How was He sent? He was sent by the Father’s command. Although He was sent to those with great need, that was not the focus, the focus was the command. So it is with us. We must be careful not to focus on the needs.  The needs are so enormous, and the conditions so difficult, that every power of the mind falters and fails. We tend to forget that the one great reason underneath all missionary work is not primarily the elevation of the people, their education, nor their needs, but is first and foremost the command of Jesus Christ— “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations . . .” (Matthew 28:19).
Entire segments of “Christianity” have gone astray, focused on the great needs of a hurting world. Such a focus is not only misdirected but subject to eventual frustration. We can’t  fix the problems of the world. We can’t provide justice where there is none. We can’t feed every starving soul or parent every orphan child.
We can, and should, do only what we have been commanded to do. Our Lord loves and knows the problems more intimately than we do. He has the power. He alone has an overall plan to address all the needs.  If we focus on the problems, we get no focus and we do no good.
“Here I am. Send me.” What direction is He giving? Not for next year or next month, but for today. 
What are your marching orders for today? What are you waiting for?
Be blessed. 
Nick

Submitting to God’s Purpose – Devotional for Monday, October 25, 2010

I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some —1 Corinthians 9:22

A Christian worker has to learn how to be God’s man or woman of great worth and excellence in the midst of a multitude of meager and worthless things. All of God’s people are ordinary people who have been made extraordinary by the purpose He has given them.
“I chose you . . .” (John 15:16). Keep these words as a wonderful reminder in your theology. God is at work bending, breaking, molding, and doing exactly as He chooses. And why is He doing it? He is doing it for only one purpose— that He may be able to say, “This is My man, and this is My woman.” Let Him have His way.

Nick Sigur