My Visit to the cape from 12 July 2017 pics with lessons on: Love God: It’s All about Relationship

billy

The Christian life is meant to be marked by simplicity. Jesus summed up our purpose with two statements: love God and love people. But in our humanity we have made complex what God designed to be peaceful, purposeful, and simple. A. W. Tozer remarks in The Pursuit of God, “Every age has its own characteristics. Right now we are in an age of religious complexity. The simplicity which is in Christ is rarely found among us. In its stead are programs, methods, organizations and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart. The shallowness of our inner experience, the hollowness of our worship, and that servile imitation of the world which marks our promotional methods all testify that we in this day, know God only imperfectly, and the peace of God scarcely at all. If we would find God amid all the religious externals, we must first determine to find Him, and then proceed in the way of simplicity.”

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.

Matthew 22:37-38

The world is an exhausted place. We search constantly for what should be most important or what deserves our attention from moment to moment. As the tides of societal values ebb and flow, so do our affections. We invest value and love into that which offers us nothing in return. And unfortunately the cares of this world have creeped into the people of God. Our gatherings are often marked by complexity and exhaustion. With program goals and achievements, we make complex what God intended to be so blessedly simple. We give our attention, energy, and love to that which isn’t always rooted in simply loving God.

When asked to highlight the most important commandment in all of Scripture, Jesus responded, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38). All of Christianity boils down to this one pursuit. And because we are to pursue loving God in all we do, all of life boils down to this single pursuit. Every single thing we do, whether it involves work, family, friends, church, entertainment, school, or solitude, is meant to be marked by the simplicity of loving God.

At the end of our days, the way we loved our heavenly Father will matter most. Our love for God matters more than any achievement, success, or program. It matters more than any possession, status, or relationship. And when we align our perspective with the first and greatest commandment, everything else comes into focus. When we pursue loving God above all else, all other pursuits fall into their proper places.

We were not created to offer our affections to anyone or anything but God first and foremost. To do otherwise is simply idolatry, and it will ruin the heavenly peace and simplicity God intends for his children. We create our own golden calves and ask them to satisfy us in ways only God can. We look to the world to offer us love it never had to begin with. But your heavenly Father is a wellspring of love and affection for you.

The commonly quoted verse John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” You will never be satisfied until you rest in the powerfully simple truth of Scripture that God has loved you and will always love you. And you will never experience the fullness of what Christ died to give you until you respond to his ceaseless love by crowning him Lord and loving him with every fiber of your being.

May you come to realize the beauty and fulfillment of a life lived in pursuit of God above all else as you spend time in prayer.

Grace is a glorious commodity of heaven that can only be received and experienced in surrender to the will and love of our heavenly Father. Our world is unable to offer grace because it is in a constant state of need, and grace can only be offered from a place of true wholeness and love. In utter completeness, our God is able to offer us grace because he needs nothing from us in return. He requires nothing of us, so he offers us everything apart from any ability or inherent value we possess.

Grace comprises the core of the Christian foundation. It’s God’s grace that drove him to send his Son as payment for our sins. It’s through grace that we enter into the fullness of restored relationship with our good Father. It’s through grace that we receive forgiveness for our sins. And it’s in the simplicity of grace that we are transformed into the very image of our Savior.

I find myself continually missing out on all that God’s grace offers me. I retreat into a lifestyle of works where I try to earn what God has already given me. I work for the love of my heavenly Father and others, vying for affection rather than receiving the ceaseless love of God for me. I strive and work for holiness and righteousness instead of simply aligning myself with the new nature of freedom God has offered me in grace.

1 Corinthians 15:10 says, “By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain.” Can you say today that you are what you are by the grace of God? Is your life marked by and founded on God’s limitless supply of grace? Are your emotions, perspectives, pursuits, and relationships founded on the notion that God loves you simply because he loves you? Have you found total security and rest in the loving embrace of a God who longs to fill you, sustain you, bless you, provide for you, and love you simply because it’s his desire?

Allow God to fill you with a fresh revelation of his grace today. Come before him with an open heart, and allow the truth of his unceasing and grace-filled love wash through you. Allow him to cast out any fear, toil, or burden that is keeping you from the abundant life available to you. Spend time in guided prayer being transformed by the simplicity of grace.

1. Meditate on the principles of grace. How does it work? Where does it come from? How can you experience it? Allow God’s word to lay a foundation of grace by which you live.

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” 1 Corinthians 15:10

“For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” Galatians 2:19-21

2. In what ways are you living a works based life? Where do you need a fresh vision for living by grace?

3. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you a fresh vision for how deeply God’s grace goes in any and every circumstance you face. Ask him to fill you with a fresh revelation of how deeply he loves you regardless of what you do. Allow him to lead you into a lifestyle of living by grace in every pursuit, relationship, thought, and perspective.

The Simple Truth of Freedom

 

The Christian life is meant to be marked by simplicity. Jesus summed up our purpose with two statements: love God and love people. But in our humanity we have made complex what God designed to be peaceful, purposeful, and simple. A. W. Tozer remarks in The Pursuit of God, “Every age has its own characteristics. Right now we are in an age of religious complexity. The simplicity which is in Christ is rarely found among us. In its stead are programs, methods, organizations and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart. The shallowness of our inner experience, the hollowness of our worship, and that servile imitation of the world which marks our promotional methods all testify that we in this day, know God only imperfectly, and the peace of God scarcely at all. If we would find God amid all the religious externals, we must first determine to find Him, and then proceed in the way of simplicity.”

 

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

2 Corinthians 3:17

 

2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”Freedom from sin is not something we pay for with our own blood, sweat, and tears. It is not bought by any measure of human strength or will, but by the precious and powerful blood of Jesus Christ. Scripture tells clearly of the pervasive and liberating effects of Jesus’ death for all those who come to believe in him and claim him as Lord. May we be children freed from the bonds of slavery Christ died to set us free from.

Romans 8:1-4 says,

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

With the filling of the Spirit came a new law, a new covenant by which the chains of sin are broken. We are no longer condemned to live under the tyranny of sin, but rather freed to live under the new law of the Spirit. And “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

The simple truth of Scripture in regards to sin is that freedom is ours through Christ Jesus. To experience true freedom from sin is to simply live in light of the powerful infilling of the Holy Spirit and the living and active word of God’s truth about you. Romans 6:6, 18 and 22 say, “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin . . . . And, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness . . . . Now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.”

You are a slave of this world no longer. Your past does not define you. The future before you is one of peace, joy, and freedom in the Spirit. God has incredible plans in store for you that far surpass simply overcoming sin. Jesus died to give you abundant life here in which freedom and love are your portion, not habitual sin and destruction.

Renew your mind to the law of the Spirit to which you now belong as you spend time in guided prayer.

 

1. Meditate on the freedom available to you through the death of Christ and infilling of the Holy Spirit. Allow Scripture to renew your mind and change your perspective on sin and freedom.

“We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” Romans 6:6

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1-4

2. What sin seems to continually entangle you? What victory do you feel the enemy has over you?

3. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with his perspective in regards to your sin. Ask him to show you the path to freedom. View your sin through the lens of Scripture and put it in its proper place.

“And, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.” Romans 6:18

“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.” Romans 6:22

“In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” Galatians 4:3-7

 

James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” The act of confessing our sin to one another is powerful in experiencing the freedom available to us. Everything the devil does is in the shadows and is marked by deception. When we confess our sin, we bring it into the light, expose the lies, and are able to better see the destructive plans of the enemy. It’s in the light that we experience the freedom available to us. May you be filled with courage to expose your sin and walk in the freedom of righteousness today.

 

Regards,

Billy Sigudla

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