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Friday, September 20, 2013

Pepper plant with greenhouse cat 9/19/13
Yesterday we walked through Ken's Nursery and saw this array of fall pepper blooms along with the sleeping cat.

"Living To Please God"

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"Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ" (Romans 8:8,9). "Find out what pleases the Lord" (Ephesians 5:10).

Sharing with a friend the other day I considered our conversation and how the Holy Spirit guides us into truth as we walk with Him day by day.  He related an experience he had as a young Christian in his mid-twenties. He and a fellow employee in his company were both avid football fans with loyalties to their own Alma Maters. The two teams were playing against each other and, after some badgering by his co-worker, my friend was persuaded to place a $20.00 bet on the game.

He shared with me a life lesson he learned when his team lost and he had to hand over $20.00 to the co-worker who won the bet. He spoke of how
his spirit was convicted as this act of gambling went against his determination to provide for his wife and newborn child who were home. He fully realized what he had done was frivolous and wasteful in his use of resources in this manner. He told me that's the last bet he ever made! This friend was growing in the Lord and learning what it is to live responsibly which we know pleases the Lord. The Holy Spirit leads us into this truth through spending time in His Word, observing the lives of devoted believers, and through life's experiences.

Our daily text is so rich and applicable to our lives that we implore our readers to read the text over and over and ponder its truth. It is a forthright statement concerning our nature and who controls it. It begins with the blunt, unambiguous phrase, "Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God." There's sure nothing confusing about that.

Bible teacher Warren Wiersbe remarks concerning the phrase "sinful nature" means to be lost, outside of Christ. The unsaved person lives to please himself and rarely if ever thinks about pleasing God. The root of sin is selfishness—“I will” and not “Thy will.”  To be unsaved and not have the Spirit of God is the lowest level of life. But a person need not stay on that level. By faith in Christ he can move to the second level.

This level is the life lived by the people of faith. Paul goes on to write: "You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you." All true believers have the Spirit of God living in them. That's foundational theology and non-negotiable. Paul goes on to reinforce this truth, "And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ."

So what does it mean to be controlled by the Spirit?  Frankly that's always been a challenge, for it surely doesn't mean we are mere automatons.  We don't become passive observers but active participants as we deny the sinful nature and invite the work of the Holy Spirit to align our desires with His will for our lives.

Allowing the Spirit to control our lives is a lifelong battle since we live only in these earthen clays of flesh on this side. But I'm encouraged as I think back to areas of my life where "my will" has been replaced by "Thy will" and am confident that as I seek Him faithfully I'll see more and more of His will unfolding in my own heart.

Let us choose to die daily to our sinful nature and invite the Spirit to take control of our will.  It requires ongoing surrender to Christ, for it is in Him that we live, move and have our being.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, I once again affirm my commitment to follow You wholeheartedly. I welcome the work of Your Holy Spirit, as He lives in me, to guide me into all truths. May the fruit of my life be evidence to onlookers that I seek to do that which pleases You. In those areas where there are strongholds help me to deny my sinful nature and walk in the power of Your Spirit who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ in whose name I pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"Follow Me"  Video  Kelly Willard  Last Sunday we lead a worship service in a nursing home and alluded to a song written by Ira Stamphill who also wrote this song.  An elderly lady raised her hand and informed us that he had been the pastor of her church some 60 years ago.

"Lead Me Lord"
Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

"Where He Leads Me"  Video  Twila Paris

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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