DAN THE CHILD OF GOD: August 12
The New Birth and Baptism
Jesus commissioned His followers to go and make disciples, "baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 28:19). As the early church spread the gospel message, baptism would follow a new believer's response of faith. It publicly signified that the individual was now a follower of Jesus
Metaphors often communicate on a level that words cannot. Baptism is a powerful picture of our salvation experience. Through this act, we proclaim the good news that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again--and testify that we've welcomed His transforming power into our life.
The Greek word for "baptize" in Scripture is the same term used to describe a cloth dipped in dye--it refers to total change. So by being plunged into the water, we declare that we're choosing to die to our old way of life and are uniting with Christ. Our sin is buried with Him, and its power is conquered through His atoning death on the cross (Rom. 6:14). When we're raised up out of the water, we affirm His resurrection. Baptism is a symbolic way of expressing that just as the Lord conquered death and rose again, we are spiritually resurrected from death into new life. We are "born again" and irrevocably transformed through the power of His Holy Spirit.
In the Bible, the word "believe" isn't a conceptual word describing intellectual agreement alone. It is a word of action. Our belief should never be hidden like a light placed under a bowl (Luke 11:33)--when unbelieving family and friends look at our lives, they need to see the gospel in action.from Dr. Charles Stanley,Perfect-Mate Myth
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrong. - 1 Corinthians 13:4-5
Do you believe the Perfect-Mate Myth? It goes something like this: "If I just had the right mate, then my life would be all right." This belief is profoundly off base. First, it assumes that we are good and our spouse is the real problem. Second, it implies that there is such a thing as a "perfect" spouse, one who is beyond the reach of sin.
This delusion keeps couples from growing the way God wants them to grow. If you're in a difficult marriage, believing this myth will prevent you from the hard work and commitment necessary to repair the relationship. To keep your relationship stable and growing you must concentrate on building your relationship with God, as a couple and as individuals. If you do that, your marriage will be strengthened and your soul will be fed.
- Steve Arterburn August 12 part 2
The Lord has a beautiful plan for each believer’s life. But to thwart God’s purposes, Satan sprinkles obstacles in our path.
There are many types of hindrances, such as a difficult boss, contrary family members, and financial trouble. Anything that blocks a desired goal can cause anxiety and great frustration. But remember that no obstacle can touch you without God’s consent.Consider Joshua’s army, which was no match for Jericho’s military. And the great wall protecting that city was an impossible barrier to cross. Yet God had promised the Israelites the land, and Joshua believed. He wasn’t fazed by what seemed unconquerable. Instead, he acknowledged the Lord’s power and sought His guidance.
Before Joshua even realized that God was at work, the Lord was preparing the city for destruction by instilling fear into kings throughout the region. Heaven’s directions included an unlikely battle plan, but because Joshua obeyed, God’s people triumphed.
Waiting can be difficult. And after a while, we might even begin to wonder if God will do anything at all—then it is easy to quit. But, as was true with Joshua, God has gone before us and is preparing the way. No matter how He chooses to handle the problem, His solution is always in our best interest.
Whenever you face an obstacle, you may experience great heartache. But even in the midst of pain, you can have full confidence in God. The most important part of each day is the time you spend alone with the Lord. He will encourage you with His love and give direction.from Dr. Charles Stanley,God Sings Songs Over Me!
For the Lord your God is living among you. . . . He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. - Zephaniah 3:17
Some people think of God as a kind of celestial traffic cop, lying in wait for us to mess up. Others envision him as a critical teacher who loves to hand out bad grades. But in this passage, the prophet Zephaniah gives us a completely different picture of God.
Zephaniah begins by reminding us that God is living among and in us—not somewhere far away in the sky. Then he asserts three powerful positive images of how God sees us.
First, God takes delight in us. He enjoys us the way a loving grandfather delights in his grandchildren.
Second, God calms our fears. The apostle John says that love is the opposite of fear and that God loves us perfectly (1 John 4:18).
But Zephaniah’s best description is the last one: God rejoices over us "with joyful songs."
What an incredible image! Picture it whenever you feel God is critical or distant. How can you help but feel cherished by a God who sings for you?
Do you struggle at times with seeing God as the "cop in the sky" or the critical teacher? What are some other ways you envision him?
Is it hard for you to imagine God delighting in you or singing songs over you? What makes this difficult?
Father, forgive me for the negative images I have of you—and my fear that I don’t bring joy to you. Help me today to realize you are with me, delighting in me and singing over me. by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop.