30 Days With Wesley – Day 27: The New Standard

9379387_xl evaluation scale(Optional Reading: Galatians 2:16, 19-20)

I work with students on a weekly basis. Their grades range from seventh to twelfth grade. When I spend time talking with them about life, I quickly discover that most are in some level of stress over what their grades are in each class. It has been a little while since I was in school but I remember those feelings. As adults, we don’t escape these stresses. We still have them, but they aren’t about class grades. Rather we stress over work evaluations and how our employers rate us on their standard of excellence. Nothing is more stressful than when the standard of which you’ll be evaluated is not clearly explained.

Thankfully, we do not need to have this same stress when it comes to our lives and relationships with Jesus. The Apostle Paul writes in Galatians 2:16,

…we know that a person isn’t made righteous by the works of the Law but rather through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. We ourselves believed in Christ Jesus so that we could be made righteous by the faithfulness of Christ and not by the works of the Law—because no one will be made righteous by the works of the Law.

Before Jesus came and moved into the neighborhood, a person’s holiness or cleanliness was judged upon many laws and standards that were explained in the law of Moses. This law was what the religious rulers followed and lead the people of Israel to follow for thousands of years. In this system, the people were in a constant state of being clean and becoming unclean. It was a constant state of stress over keeping the law.

When Jesus came, he set up a new standard. His new standard takes away the stress of keeping specific rules and regulation. Rather, you discover that it is only through Jesus that we can be saved and become righteous. There is nothing we can do. It is purely by grace alone. Paul expands upon this thought in his letter to the church in Ephesus. He states, “You are saved by God’s grace because of your faith. This salvation is God’s gift. It’s not something you possessed. It’s not something you did that you can be proud of” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

This new standard is grace. Each of us cannot boast about what we have done to earn our salvation, because everyone has received grace through Jesus and nothing more. May this new standard free you from the stress of being good enough and may we let God transform us from the inside out.

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial,

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours,

now and forever.

Amen.

30 Days With Wesley – Day 13: The Pointless War

1403820743629.cached

(Optional Reading: Ephesians 2:13-16)

Many years ago, I remember sitting at home in my mom and dad’s room watching the television as the news began to report of the first gulf war. I still remember this moment, because I was sitting there thinking, war impacts so many thing. People’s fathers and mothers were on the other side of the world fighting. There was another war going on when I was younger that I remember as well. As I became older, it dubbed it, the pointless war.

The pointless war was a war of church denominations. There was a feel of; “If you are not in the denomination that I am, then you are not as great of a Christian as I am.” I went to a private christian high school. There were many denominations represented there. One of which was Catholic. At one point I remember thing, “Why are they even here? They aren’t real Christians.” Oh the naïvety of my youth.

Paul writes in Ephesians 2:13-14, “But now, thanks to Christ Jesus, you who once were so far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Christ is our peace. He made both Jews and Gentiles into one group. With his body, he broke down the barrier of hatred that divided us.” I am thankful today that the pointless war doesn’t seem to be raging as strong as it once did, but maybe the war is going strong wherever you are reading this from.

I remember some of the students in my youth group asking questions about Catholics, Baptists, and some other denominations and I made one thing very clear to them. We are all on the same team. We might believe some things different but at the core we all still believe that Jesus Christ is our savior. Christ died to unite us. We must not waste our time bickering over non-salvational issues that we view differently. Let us stop this pointless war and focus on that which is most important: Building the Kingdom of God.

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial,

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours,

now and forever.

Amen.

30 Days with Wesley – Day 6: Always Forgives & Always Forgets

30 Days with Wesley(Optional Reading: Ephesians 4:29-32)

The guided prayer this morning focused on the subject of God’s forgiveness. God’s forgiveness is truly mind blowing to me. We serve a God that will forgive us every time we sin, and every time He forgives us He forgets our sin. It is truly unfathomable how God is able to completely let go of all that we have done in sin. 

God always forgives and always forgets because He desperately wants to be in a relationship with us. By relationship, I mean that God wants to be involved in every part of our lives. A relationship with God means daily praying and inviting God into every moment of thought and every interaction we have during the day. This is what God desires.

The dilemma we face, as people who sin, is that sin causes a break in relationship with God. God never gives up on us though. He is daily pursuing us and drawing us out of our life of sin and brokenness. Once we see God and give him all our sin, God completely forgives and completely forgets. Then God works in our hearts to call us to a holy life, because it is in this holy life that God helps us become the exact person He desires us to be. This understanding is found all through the Bible.

“For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 1:9

“The thief enters only to steal, kill, and destroy. I came so that they could have life—indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest.” John 10:10

“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” Isaiah 43:25

“You must be holy in every aspect of your lives, just as the one who called you is holy. It is written, You will be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:5

 

“Oh God, now that you have renewed our lives and our mercies to us this morning, help us to renew our desires, resolutions, and efforts to live in obedience to your holy will.” (30 Days with Wesley, pg 29)

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial,

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours,

now and forever.

Amen.