11/13/18 “Jesus is Superior to our Comforts”

Today’s Deeply Rooted Devotion is from Hebrews 1-2.

Highlighted Verse(s): 

“Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of people.  For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Hebrews 2:17-18, ESV

Explanation:

The author of Hebrews is unknown but the purpose is clear. The author writes to challenge Christians to move from contentment to maturity.  Those reading this letter for the first time had settled into a comfortable Christianity that needed to be challenged.  How easy is it for us to get to that place in our relationship with Jesus.  Comfortable Christianity is a problem in 2018 just like it was in A.D. 60 or 70.

Contentment and comfort in a Christian is a sign of immaturity.  

Hebrews chapter one makes it clear that Jesus is superior to everything and everyone. The rest of our time in Hebrews will solidify this truth.  Hebrews 2 shows that Jesus, our sovereign Savior, became human to solve a human problem, sin.  Jesus made salvation from sin an option. Jesus, the Great High Priest, gave Himself up for us so we could be forgiven.  Only through faith in God can this forgiveness be received.  This same faith leads us away from contentment and comfort will lead us to thrive in a maturing relationship with Jesus.  That faith will lead us away from the sin and toward Jesus, the One who has saved us from that sin.  Jesus is superior to our sin and our comforts.

Application:

  1. Examine your walk with the Lord Jesus. Have you become content and comfortable?
  2. What is one thing you can do this week to continue to grow into maturity in Jesus?
  3. Identify sin in your life that you need to confess to Jesus to move into this maturity.

Tomorrow’s Deeply Rooted Devotion will be from Hebrews 3-4.

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11/12/18 “A Thankful Heart”

Today’s Deeply Rooted Devotion is from Philippians 1-4.

Highlighted Verse(s):

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” Philippians 4:4, ESV

Explanation:

In a culture of selfies, social media, and self image we have to work extremely hard to have a thankful heart.  Paul exhibits a thankful heart in his letter to the church at Philippi.  This letter overflows with joy and thanksgiving.  Paul specifically wrote this letter to thank the Philippians for a gift that they had sent him.  He also reported some joyful news that Epaphroditus, who brought the gift to Paul, had healed up from his illness.   He expressed joy that people were hearing the gospel, even in prison.

It’s clear that Paul received great joy from the Philippians, from Timothy, and from Epaphroditus.  It’s even clearer that his joy was found in Jesus Christ.  When our joy is found in Christ we can live with a thankful heart, even in spite of our circumstances.  What is the result of a thankful heart?  Peace.  Peace is the result of gratitude.  So, rejoice in the Lord always.

Application:

  1. Make a list of 5 things that you are thankful for.  Thank the Lord for these things.
  2. Ask the Lord to mold your heart to be thankful no matter the circumstance.  Be intentional about looking for things to be thankful for today.

Tomorrow’s Deeply Rooted Devotion will be from Hebrews 1-2.

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11/11/18 “Walking Worthy”

Today’s Deeply Rooted Devotion is from Ephesians 1-6.

Highlighted Verse(s):

“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3

Explanation:

Alexander the Great, one of the greatest military generals who ever lived, conquered almost the entire known world with his vast army. Onenight during a campaign, he couldn’t sleep and left his tent to walk around the campgrounds.

As he was walking he came across a soldier asleep on guard duty – serious offense. The penalty for falling asleep on guard duty was, in some cases, instant death; the commanding officer sometimes poured kerosene on the sleeping soldier and lit it. The soldier began to wake up as Alexander the Great approached him. Recognizing who was standing in front of him, the young man fear for his life.

“Do you know what the penalty is for falling asleep on guard duty?” Alexander the Great asked the soldier. “Yes, sir,” the soldier responded in a quivering voice. “Soldier, what’s your name?” demanded the general. “Alexander, sir.” Alexander the Great repeated the question: “What is your name?” “My name is Alexander, sir” the soldierrepeated. A third time and more loudly Alexander the Great asked,“What is your name?” A third time the soldier meekly said, “My name is Alexander, sir.” Alexander the Great then looked the young soldier straight in the eye. “Soldier,” he said with intensity, “either change your name or change your conduct.”

 What we think and believe about God will always impact how we live for God. Who we are in Jesus will change how we live our life. 

The book of Ephesians is rich in truth about who we are in Jesus Christ and how that impacts daily life. God’s plan, from the beginning, was to bring salvation to all people.  He doesn’t save us into isolation, but into the life of the church.  And good works are the result of salvation.  What we think and believe about God will always impact how we live for God. To say it another way; who we are in Jesus will change how we live our life. We have different moral behaviors, different desires, different speech, different relationships, different priorities, and drastically different identity.  The man in the story bore the name of Alexander and Alexander the Great told him to change his conduct to reflect his name.  Similarly, our conduct changes to reflect the name of Jesus that we bear upon being redeemed by Him.  This changes how we treat people in our relationships.  Paul specifically hits on marriage, parenting, and work relationships.  But, we must remember that we cannot walk in a manner worthy of our calling without standing firm in the strength of the Lord and clothing ourselves with the armor of God.

Application:

  1. Meditate on your identity. Is it found in Christ or not?  If it is, thank the Lord for your salvation and ask for His help to walk in a manner worthy of it.  If it is not, look to talk with someone who is a follower of Jesus.
  2. Look again at Ephesians 4:1-3. Identify command for Christian living that is currently challenging to you and ask the Spirit to guide you to grow in that.
  3. In which of your relationships do you find it hard to walk in a manner worthy of your calling right now?
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11/10/18 “Deeply Rooted, Dynamic Righteousness”

Today’s Deeply Rooted Devotion is from Colossians 1-4.

Highlighted Verse(s):

“He [Jesus] has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14

“Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6-7

Explanation:

There is an close connection between what Christ has done in us and who we are in Christ.

The book of Colossians consistently tells us of the centrality of Christ and how that truth connects to everyday life.  Colossians 1 gives one of the greatest descriptions and affirmations of who Jesus is.  His deity is confirmed. He is the Creator and Sustainer of all things.  After declaring the truth of who Christ is, Paul moves to his main point of the letter, which is that if we are indeed found in Christ then our life will display Christ.

If we are genuinely in Christ then our life will show it.

Paul challenged the Colossians, and he challenges us, to demonstrate our commitment to Christ with our life.  We will not be perfect, but there will be a consistent striving toward holiness that did not exist before Christ saved us.  Colossians 2:6-7 are some of my favorite verses in all of Scripture. They also provide the foundation for why this blog exists.  This blog exists to encourage, challenge, and help equip you to live a deeply rooted live in Christ.

Keep in mind that if our deep roots do not lead to a dynamic righteousness then they are not deep roots.  The opposite of dynamic is dead.  Therefore if you are alive in Christ you will dynamically display Him with your life. 

Application:

  1. Meditate on who Jesus is in Colossians 1:15-20. How do these truths about Jesus impact the way you live your life?
  2. For a deeper study, meditate on Colossians 3:5-17.   Are there sins that you currently struggle with found in verses 5-8?  What acts of righteousness from verses 12-14 do you need to cultivate in your life?

Tomorrow’s Deeply Rooted Devotion will be from the book of Ephesians. 

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11/9/18 “Proclaiming Salvation in our Suffering”

Today’s Deeply Rooted Devotion is from Acts 24-28.

Highlighted Verse(s):

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?”  He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:6-8, CSB

But I admit this to you: I worship the God of my ancestors according to the Way, which they call a sect, believing everything that is in accordance with the law and written in the prophets. I have a hope in God, which these men themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection,[a] both of the righteous and the unrighteous. I always strive to have a clear conscience toward God and men.” Acts 24:14-16, CSB

Explanation:

The mission of God to make disciples of all nations is not put on hold when life becomes difficult.  Moments of suffering provide a monumental opportunity to proclaim salvation through Jesus.

The purpose of the Church is crystal clear. We are to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. We are to make disciples of all nations.  This mission is not put on hold when life becomes difficult.  These last few chapters of the book of Acts show Paul going through several major difficulties.  He experienced several trials, imprisonment, a shipwreck, and a snake bite.  Through all of these obstacles he continued to live out his faith in God toward others.  He took every opportunity he could to share the gospel with others.  God continually opened up doors for him to be able to do this.  In Acts 27:22 Paul encourages his captors and just a few verses later he cares for his captors.  In Acts 28 we learn that Paul was under house arrest for two years in Rome. Even under house arrest he shared the gospel with all he could.  Jesus calls us to make the most of every opportunity to share the gospel with others.

When we grasp the love of God and experience the joy of a growing relationship with Him we will do the same. We will naturally seek opportunities share the gospel, share our salvation story, and show others the love of Jesus. We will do this even in the midst of difficulty.

Application:

  1. Re-read Acts 1:6-9 above.  How can you join other believers in fulfilling this mission of making disciples through your local church?
  2. What obstacles are you currently facing in life?  How can you glorify God in those times of difficulty and be a source of hope for others?

Tomorrows Deeply Rooted Devotion will be from the book of Colossians.

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11/8/18 “Confident of Christ even in Chains”

Today’s Deeply Rooted Devotion is from Acts 20-23.

Highlighted Verse(s):

After staying for some time, Paul said farewell to the brothers and sisters and sailed away to Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. He shaved his head at Cenchreae because of a vow he had taken. When they reached Ephesus he left them there, but he himself entered the synagogue and debated with the Jews. When they asked him to stay for a longer time, he declined, but he said farewell and added,“I’ll come back to you again, if God wills.” Then he set sail from Ephesus.” Acts 18:18-21

“The following night the Lord stood by him (Paul) and said, ‘Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.'” Acts 23:11

Explanation:

When we are fully convinced of who Jesus is and what He has done we will be obedient and passionate about Him.

Acts 20-23 describe several stops on Paul’s missionary journey that conclude with being imprisoned in Jerusalem.  Throughout these missionary journeys and trying events, Paul displays an undivided focus on sharing the gospel.  Paul is fully convinced of who he is in Jesus Christ and what Jesus has done. This firm foundation of confidence in Christ fueled Paul to faithfully share the gospel even in the midst of trying circumstances.

Paul was able to be obedient to Jesus in the midst of chains because His love for Jesus was not dependent on the circumstances around him.

Try to avoid skimming through these chapters. They chapters are more than a walk down memory lane. Paul lays out for us how to serve the Lord for the good of the church.  Go back and read Acts 18:9. This verse shows us that Paul was a servant leader, deeply involved and connected to the people he served, and was faithful through trials. These are to be characteristics of our walk with Jesus.  Paul was able to be obedient to Jesus in the midst of chains because His love for Jesus was not dependent on the circumstances around him.  It was in these circumstances of chains that God reminded Paul that He is always at work to empower Paul to preach the gospel.  God’s work and Word will strengthen our faith as well.

Application:

  1. What distracts you from a focus on Jesus Christ?  What tempts you to shift your passion and obedience away from Jesus?  Identify these things, confess them to Jesus, and intentionally make a change to reorder your life/day away from those things.
  2. Thank the Lord for His work and Word in your life.  How often do you place yourself in a position to hear from the Lord from His Word?  Commit to make space in your day to abide with Jesus on a regular basis.

Tomorrows Deeply Rooted Devotion will be from Acts 24-28.

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11/6/18 “Welcome Home”

Today’s Deeply Rooted Devotion is from Romans 15-16.

Highlighted Verse(s): 

“May the God of entrance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father four Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” Romans 15:5-7, ESV

Explanation:

Think about how you greet someone that you view as a visitor and how you view someone as a guest. You would treat a guest different than a visitor wouldn’t you?

Imagine with me that my family and I invited you over to our home tonight.  You are excited for a night of fellowship and friendship.  Imagine you are treated as a visitor. You stand at the front door and knock and ring the doorbell in the cold rain for about five minutes, our smelly and very mangy dog knocks you down and chews up your shoe, we don’t look excited that you’re in our home, we feed you cold soup and lukewarm water, and don’t say much.

Jesus has welcomed us with open arms. How do you welcome others?

Now imagine with me that I treated you as our welcomed guest. Your experience would be completely different. We wouldn’t make you wait in the cold rain. We would be excited that you are in our home. We would invite you to sit down and stay a while. We would be ready for conversation and good food.

Paul ends his letter to the Romans by giving some examples of actions and attitudes that our salvation in Jesus produces.  One of them is an attitude of hospitality and a welcoming spirit.  We are to “welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”

Application:

  1. What attitude do you have towards the people already in your home on a regular basis (family, friends)?
  2. How can you grow in having a welcoming spirit to those around you at work, church, your community, and in your home?
  3. Thank the Lord for welcoming you into the family of God through salvation in Jesus.

Tomorrow’s Deeply Rooted Devotion will be from Acts 20-21.

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