There is a Difference – A Devotion

There is a Difference

Philippians 3:10-11 (NLT)
I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!

 

As I have often shared, I have some deeply philosophical moments running on the elliptical equipment at the gym. If I do not get lost in my thoughts, I am focused on the time clock and it seems to drag on forever. Most of the time, I listen to upbeat music like most people but there are those days that require a little extra one-on-One with the Lord. These are the times that I choose to listen to praise and worship music. Some days I go to work out for my body and other days it’s my brain. Since injuring my shoulder, I have not been able to do my full routine so I have been relegated to running like a hamster on a wheel. The situation on my job has forced me seek a higher realm of thinking in the midst of adversity. Our life in general feels to be in that flux called waiting at least when I am tracking miles on the machine it feels like I am getting somewhere. I was listening to a song last night and the singer begin sharing about the Cross. I am thankful for the Cross. I am thankful that Jesus died for my sins. The basis of my salvation is to know and understand what happened when my Savior was crucified for my sins for it is the very foundation of our faith. The magnitude of what happened on that hill should impact every single decision that I make from this day forward, but the truth is that if I make no attempt to know Jesus more than to accept what He did for me on the Cross that’s perfectly okay because of His Grace.

There is a difference between the work that was accomplished on the Cross and what happened the morning that Jesus came back to life again. It is a significant moment in the life of every single believer but often wrapped in a neat package. In our regular life, we often make agreements and sign contracts. They are the binding force between us and those who we live with and join in business etc. To know and accept salvation from Jesus Christ is one thing, but to enter into covenant with Jesus by making Him Lord of our life changes everything. It is the power to have a new life rather than merely surviving our old one just to make it to eternity one day. The Resurrection Power of God that brought Jesus back from the dead offers us hope that this life can be changed not only forever. I want to know Christ that way and experience the might power that raised Jesus from the grave. Paul was so committed to encountering God’s Power that he said, “I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I WILL experience the resurrection from the dead.” Salvation changed everything for us. The resurrection power of God is what makes change possible after salvation made it worthwhile. To be saved is to spend eternity with Jesus, to be experience new life changes everything now.

Philippians 3:7-9 (NLT)

I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.

 

I once thought… There are so many things that I once thought based on my experience and knowledge obtained in life. Now I know that they are worthless compared to what I know about the Lord. What do I mean? I became serious about God’s Word probably six years ago. So serious in fact that it became part of my daily diet until I gained an appetite for it. Have you ever eaten too much junk food and started feeling ill? Often times, eating something good will counteract the way our stomach feels by giving it something substantial. Everything is considered worthless to knowing Jesus. We are going to continue to sin. Mistakes are inevitable because of our human nature wrapped in our DNA. Failure is not fatal. Say it again, failure is not fatal unless one chooses to give up. Thanks to the Cross – we have been given grace for those times that we fall short and fill our life with things that are less than beneficial and sometimes detrimental. Here is the difference, my mistakes contain possibility thanks to the resurrection power of God demonstrated in Jesus Christ. This is how we obtained the promise that all things work together for the good of those who love Him. Stepping out of sin and into the power of God is to understand the significance of the resurrection and choose to walk in it day by day. We must follow the footsteps of Jesus to experience God’s Power in our life. A trip to the altar will never be enough but rather who we follow when we leave the altar, the church and the crowd. The Blood of Jesus washed away our sin giving us right standing with God. Our faith in Jesus allows us to walk in that power every day and experience the benefits of our salvation.

Psalm 103:3-5 (NLT)

He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

 

The benefits of our salvation are the forgiveness of sin which promotes healing in our body, redeems us from death, and crowns us with His Love and tender mercy that produce God’s Favor in our life. He fills our lives with good things. We are renewed every day. Are you living like this? Why not? If you are not experiencing the benefits of salvation, it doesn’t mean that you are not saved or that Jesus is mad at you or even that God is punishing you. Jesus only has unfailing love and mercy for us. God cannot punish us without negating the work of His Son on the Cross. The problem may be that we have not moved from death to life by walking in the Resurrection Power of God designated for us. Faith allows us to walk in something we cannot see until it makes it to us. It is our contribution to the process of finding hope and experiencing all the great things that God has promised. We need to acknowledge the resurrection, apply our faith to it, and learn to live in it. This will promote and produce change in our life. But be warned, changing our standard of living to God’s Standard for us that includes all these things that we desire requires a process of refinement that continues to remove the sinful residue from our life to renew, restore and revive us. The process can be uncomfortable even painful at times but well worth it to those who want to walk in the Power of God every day.

Philippians 3:12-14 (NLT)

I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,  I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

 

Not to sound unthankful but I don’t want to get stuck in a rut of righteousness that just keeps me getting by. An ordinary life does not appeal to me anymore. When Saul became Paul, he went from having religion to living in a relationship with God. It was what he was after all along. Saul didn’t persecute the Christians because he was mean. He did it because he thought that they were an insult to his God. When Saul met Jesus, he became Paul. This man fell in love with Jesus. He experienced new life from the inside out. If you look at his life though things did not change for the better around him. Rather than living in a fine house and experiencing the good life that he was living, Paul gave it all up to live on the run just to know the Lord more and more. He counted everything else as garbage. Would we feel the same way? Religion has hyped the blab-it-grab it prosperity message for a long time. Mega churches with mega pastors with mega bank accounts are still around. I have no animosity for these people but must look within myself. If nothing else changed in my life would what I found in Jesus be enough? I have heard the devastating news that our son had cancer five times in three years. Five times. This is probably the worse news any mother or father could ever hear. Jesus Christ has healed his body each and every time. He is cancer-free today. He was saved going into this. Our son has known the Lord as Savior for many years professing his faith freely. This would have been enough to save him had this disease had its way. When I came to God with this problem more than three years ago, I was mad. I was hurt. I was confused. I couldn’t understand why this was allowed in our life. I “boldly” came into the Presence of the Lord. It was not pretty. It was not fake but raw and real in that moment. I was desperate for an answer. I would not leave until I heard His Voice in the matter. God asked only one thing of me, “Do you trust me?” All I could muster was “Of course, I do.” It was weak and breathless covered by tears and hoarseness from a mixture of crying and shouting. He said, “Then your son will live and not die!” This is the resurrection power of God and how it is released in our life. The moment that we accept salvation we are catapulted into the Presence of God which is righteousness. Resurrection power is released when we decide to trust the Lord by faith. It is activated the moment that we decide He is Lord of our life.

There are a lot of people who will read this who know Jesus as their Savior but who have never experienced Him as Lord. Lord is a whole new endeavor with Christ. It is where His Power is released in our life now. It prepares us for forever but it makes a difference right now. It changes our outcomes. Heals our body, mind and spirit. It is a source of comfort in the unthinkable and the promise that the Lord will bring good out of every bad situation even those of our own doing. Be thankful for the Cross. It is the moment we are saved. But move ahead to your future which lies in the Resurrection Power of God evidenced when the Father brought His Son back to life. In that instant, He handed Jesus power and authority over everything. What did Jesus do? He handed the Keys to His Kingdom right back to me and you. Trust opens closed doors. Faith is the foundation of our new life. We must walk by faith and not by sight to have those outcomes that we desire and hope for. Faith comes by hearing God’s Word – we must read it, study it, value it and keep it safely in our heart. It is a treasure map to fulfillment for those who spend time in it. God’s Power is alive in us. We have been given His Spirit. We have the potential for a better life now we must undergo the transforming power of the resurrection to claim it. There is a difference and it will change your life both now and forever. Salvation changes our life forever. The Resurrection Power of God begins now and lasts forever.

Ephesians 1:18-20 (NLT)

 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.

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