The Benefit Package

When looking for a job one of the considerations in the offer from a perspective employer is what is the benefit package they offer.  Sitting in my office,I began to think about coming to Christ and finding that He offers many benefits.

God’s offer to me for a life surrendered to Him amazed me.  The more I read and study His word the more I find concerning the “benefit package” purchased for me on Calvary.

Number one is my salvation and the forgiveness of my sins. The chains of the past are broken by the power of His shed blood.  He paid to ransom me from a life condemned to eternal punishment and a guarantee of everlasting life. If that is the only benefit it would be worth surrendering to Christ.

Scripture tells us “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.

I love Psalm 103: 1-5.  My title for this passage is God’s Benefit Package. The Psalm begins with telling us to, “Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me, bless His holy name.  Bless the Lord Oh my soul and forget not all his benefits.”  What a wonderful way to come before the Lord.  When I come I need to bless Him with everything that is within me and my soul.  Bless Him by pouring out my praise, my adoration and my worship on the one who is worthy to be praised.  I should never allow myself to forget all that He has done for me.

The next few verses tell me exactly what God gives me.

Verse 3:  who forgives all my iniquity – my guilt worthy of punishment, my willful premeditated sins.

Verse 3b:  who heals all my diseases – the stripes He bore in His body were for the healing of my sickness and diseases, mind, emotions and body.

Verse 4:  who redeems my life from the pit – the pit of sin and willful pride, the pit that separates me from God and His holiness.  His ransom on Calvary restores my broken relationship with God my Heavenly Father.

Verse 4b:  who crowns me with steadfast love and mercy – His love knows no bounds, it is steady and sure and everlasting.  He extends his mercy – willingness to forgive – He is willing to forgive and extend mercy even though I am the one that chose to walk in the way of the world. When I come to Him and ask He grants mercy and pardon.

Verse 5: who satisfies me with good – I stand amazed at the goodness of God to me – one who certainly did not deserve it.

The more I read His word and pray and seek His face, the more I understand of His love and grace.  My heart and soul are overwhelmed at the benefits He daily pours into my life.

 

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My Verse

Every year I ask God to give me a verse, a word, or phrase for the New Year.  Sometimes these are revealed early and sometimes it takes time.  For 2016, the phrase I couldn’t get out of my mind was “nothing between in 2016.”  These few words became my guiding light for this year.  I want nothing to come between me and Jesus in 2016.

Now after several weeks into the year, reading in Romans a verse in chapter 8 kept coming into focus for me.  Thinking about this verse, I decided to “tear” it apart and see the meaning and application for me.

Romans 8:38 For I am persuaded – (stop there) just what does persuaded mean and how it should apply to me.

The dictionary says: to induce to believe something; convince.  Persuade implies an influencing of a person to an action or belief.  Through studying God’s word and through prayer I believe, I am influenced to follow Christ –no turning back

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life:  interesting that death is first.  In reading this, I could not help but think about those that have been martyred just believing in Christ and would not recant.   I ask myself, am I persuaded enough to be killed for my beliefs?  The second part is “nor life.”  Hmmm.  Once you die, it’s over, the end.  You have no more options but living daily consistently for Christ takes a strong belief and reserve to follow His teaching. Again the question comes, am I persuaded, committed enough to let nothing come between me and God?

The list of what scriptures say goes on:  nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers nor things present nor things to come.  Wow – breaking this down angels – a supernatural being either good or evil.  No matter who or what comes to tell me something or influence me, even if it is a supernatural being, if their words or advice do not line up with God’s word I will not be persuaded to follow.  That is pretty powerful.  I ask myself are you ready for this?

Continuing:  principalities –the territory ruled by a prince, I found this rare meaning –the state or quality of being –principal –hmm no government or leader can persuade me against following Christ.  What about powers?  Can any individual leader or those in power make me deny Christ and turn away from him?  Just how strong is your faith?  Could that happen here?  Will I be put to the test and what will my answer be?

The rest of the verse says: nor things present, nor things to come, nor height nor depth nor any creature shall be able to separate us (me) from the Lord of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Can I handle the things that are present and the pressures that come?  It is easier to deal with the known but what about the future and the things that are coming in this world?  The rest of that verse just about covers anything else.

I know that on God’s side His love is never-failing and even if I sin He still loves me.  He loved me enough to send His Son to die in my place to take away my sin.

What about my side?  Reading about all the things listed in Romans 8:38, am I persuaded enough, strong enough to not allow absolute anything to separate me from God’s love?

I have chosen this verse for this year now I need to walk in the commitment to follow.

What about you?

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If I – Then I

Have you ever found yourself bargaining by saying if you do this then I will do….? While reading in Proverbs the other day in Chapter 3, it seems as if God is doing this. He isn’t, but to us it might seem He is. Let me be clear, GOD DOES NOT BARGAIN. His way is to simply state the conditions for us to follow and the blessings that come from doing it His way. I like the clear understanding of God’s direction found in the following passage.

Proverbs 3:1
(The If ) My son, do not forget my law, but let you heart keep my commands;

Proverbs 3:2
(Then) If we follow that verse then God says to us: length of days and long life and peace will they add to you.

Proverbs 3:3
(The If) Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.

Proverbs 3:4
(Then) And so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man.

Proverbs 3:5,6
(The If) Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to thy own understanding; in all thy ways acknowledge Him

(Then) And He shall direct your paths.

Proverbs 3:7
(The If) Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil

Proverbs 3:8
(Then) It will be health to your flesh and strength to your bones

Proverbs 3:9
(The If) Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the first fruits of all your increase

Proverbs 3:10
(Then) So your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine

I am amazed that many times we want the “then” but we don’t want to follow the “The if”. The simple instructions God gives for so many things will bless our lives. These ifs are not suggestions they are commands from God. His word is true and He will not violate His word.

In these verses we find the blessings of long life, peace, favor, and high esteem. If we let God lead and trust him then we don’t have to worry about the path we take in life. Do you want health and strength try following verse 7? When we give God the first and best of our possessions then His supply is abundant.

So my friends, how are you doing with the If(s) and the Then(s)?

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