Morning Meditations with God – Daily Devotions for the Week of June 12 – 18, 2011

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Sunday, June 12 – The Keys of the Kingdom

“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth is already bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth is already loosed in heaven.”—Matthew 16:19
The keys of the kingdom represent the access you have to the Father through your relationship to Jesus Christ. With this relationship you have access to everything that is accessible to Christ. However, this access is not given indiscriminately; Jesus gave the keys to His disciples only after they recognized that He was the Christ. Once the disciples were convinced that Jesus was the Savior, they entered into a unique and personal relationship with Him. Their relationship to Jesus gave them direct access to their heavenly Father. Likewise, your relationship with Christ opens the door of heaven for you and gives you direct access to the Father.
Peter discovered that once he had keys to the kingdom, he could go to the Father in every situation. When he stood to preach before thousands on the day of Pentecost, this simple fisherman opened the door to the kingdom for three thousand people in one day (Acts 2:41). When he encountered a lame man, he used his access to God and His healing power, and the man was healed (Acts 3:6). When he was imprisoned, Peter discovered that the keys of the kingdom could open even the most secure prison door (Acts 12:6–10).
If you are a Christian you, too, have keys to the kingdom of heaven. You do not need an intermediary, for you have an unobstructed access to God. With that access come all the resources you need to face any circumstance. When you are afraid, you have access to God’s peace that surpasses comprehension (Phil. 4:6). When you have a broken relationship, you have access to the God of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18–21). When you meet someone in need, you have access to God’s provision for that person. What an incredible privilege to be entrusted with keys to the kingdom of heaven!
Monday, June 13 – What Comes out of Your Mouth?
But what comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this defiles a man.—Matthew 15:18
The Bible stresses that what you say is an accurate indicator of what is in your heart. If your words bless and encourage others, they give evidence of a compassionate heart. If you often share the good news about Christ, you demonstrate a heart that is grateful for your own salvation. When others are in a crisis, do they know they will find peace and comfort in your words? Do you frequently and spontaneously offer prayers for others? Do your words and the manner in which you say them reveal a patient heart? All of these behaviors indicate a heart that is like the heart of the Father.
Or do you often regret your words? Are there people even now who are hurt or angry because of something you have said? Do you enjoy gossip? Do you tend to criticize others? Do you feel that you are not responsible for what comes out of your mouth when you are angry? Does your mouth spew grumbling and complaints? These behaviors come from a heart that is unlike God’s heart.
You may say, “Oh, but that’s just the way I am! I’m always saying the wrong thing!” Yet Scripture clearly states that an abusive tongue is not under the control of the Spirit (James 3:3–l0). A sanctified mouth is a wonderful instrument for the Lord. A heart like the Father’s heart will produce only pure and loving words. Without making any excuses for your words, ask the Holy Spirit to forgive you for any words that have brought harm. Then ask Him to discipline your mouth so that every word you speak is used by God to encourage and edify others.
Tuesday, June 14 – Noah Walked with God
These are the family records of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among his contemporaries; Noah walked with God.—Genesis 6:8–9
No matter how ungodly the environment you may be in, God will always find you and walk with you. Noah lived in perhaps the most wicked age in history. No one worshiped God. All the people worshiped idols and pursued their own sinful pleasures. Noah’s neighbors were evil; every person he associated with in the marketplace, or along the street, or in public gatherings, ridiculed the very thought of being faithful to God. Every temptation imaginable was abundantly available to Noah. How oppressive such an environment would have been to a righteous person!
Noah, however, found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
The people of Noah’s day were so wicked that God planned the most complete and drastic act of judgment recorded in Scripture. Nevertheless, Noah was not lost to God in the crowd of sinners. God noticed every act of Noah’s righteousness. Noah had chosen to live uprightly before God despite what everyone around him was doing, and God had observed him. There may have been times when Noah wondered if it mattered if he lived a righteous life, since no one else was. Yet he continued, and his persistence in righteousness saved his life and the lives of his family members.
Are you constantly surrounded by evil? Do you struggle at times to live a righteous life when those you associate with each day have no concern for God? Find assurance in the life of Noah. God watches you, even as He observed Noah. God will seek you out of the crowd every time, and He wants to bless you and your family just as He blessed Noah.
Wednesday, June 15 – A Godly Influence
Then the LORD said to Noah, “Enter the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you [alone] are righteous before Me in this generation.”—Genesis 7:1
The children of Noah faced a significant decision. They lived in a world where everyone blatantly disregarded God. Wickedness was the norm. No one would have condemned Noah’s sons for living evil lives like the rest of society—no one except their father. In a world rampant with ungodly attitudes and every form of wicked behavior, they were fortunate to be Noah’s sons. When their father invited them to spend the next hundred years building an ark in obedience to a word from God, Noah’s sons had to choose whether to believe those around them or to trust their father. They chose to join their father. What a wonderful testimony of Noah’s godly influence in his home! How fortunate for Shem, Ham, and Japheth that their father refused to compromise his integrity, even though everyone else in his society had done so.
Your life has an influence on those around you as well. Your spouse and your children are profoundly affected by your choices. Your coworkers, your neighbors, and your friends will all be impacted by your life. As the world tries to persuade people to follow its standard, your life should stand in stark contrast as an example of a righteous person. Your life should convince those around you of the wisdom of following God. Do not underestimate the positive effect that your obedience will have upon those close to you.
Thursday, June 16 – The Spirit Bears Witness
The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ—seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.—Romans 8:16–17
It is impossible to perceive all that became ours when we were born again. There is no way we can understand all that heaven is like. How could we ever comprehend all that is ours as fellow heirs with Christ? The knowledge that we will share Christ’s inheritance with Him absolutely astounds us! Left to our own, we could not begin to understand all that we received once we became children of the King. The Holy Spirit convinces us that we are indeed children of God and helps us understand the riches of our inheritance.
Perhaps you did not have a loving father. The Spirit’s role is to teach you how to respond to a Father who relates to you only in perfect love and how to live like a child of the King. Perhaps you grew up in poverty. The Spirit will show you the inexhaustible riches available to you as a child of God.
If you were simply declared an heir and then left on your own, you could not begin to use your inheritance. But the Father has given you His Spirit to serve as your Guide and Teacher. The Holy Spirit will lead you to the magnificent promises and resources that became available when God adopted you into His family. Take time to meditate on the wonderful promises of God that are available to you. Let the Holy Spirit convince you of the reality that you are, indeed, a child of God and a fellow heir of Christ.
Friday, June 17 – Abba, Father
And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!”—Galatians 4:6
The word father conjures up different images for everyone. To some it brings the picture of love, laughter, respect, and acceptance. Unfortunately, others associate the term father with fear, rejection, and disappointment. That is why it is so important not to take your understanding of your heavenly Father from your experience. Take it from Scripture. You undoubtedly had an imperfect earthly father, perhaps even one who brought you harm. But, as in all of your Christian life, the key is not to understand the Bible based on your experience, but to understand your experience in light of the Bible. God is your model of a father in the truest sense of the word.
Your heavenly Father was willing to pay any price in order to save you (Rom. 8:32). Your heavenly Father is always ready to meet your needs (Luke 11:11–13). Your heavenly Father loves you so much that He is willing to discipline you to bring you to Christian maturity (Prov. 3:11–12; Heb. 12:5–10). Even when you rebel against Him and reject His love, your Father continues to do what is best for you (Rom. 5:8). He does not make His love for you conditional upon your love for Him. He loves you even when you are not loving Him (1 John 4:19). He has made you His heirs and reserves a home for you in heaven (Rom. 8:15–17).
This is what a father is like biblically. If this has not been your experience, it can be now. There is One who has adopted you and who wants to love you in a way you have never experienced. Take comfort and strength from Him—your heavenly Father.
Saturday, June 18 –  Way That Seems Right
There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it is the way of death.—Proverbs 16:25
Things are not always what they seem. Proverbs warns that we can be deceived into believing we are going down the right path and yet be heading toward death, the opposite direction from God’s will. People do not naturally seek God or pursue righteousness (Rom. 3:10–18). Only as the Spirit awakens our hearts to the Person of Christ are we able to desire God’s will. If we make decisions apart from the guidance of the Spirit of God, we will be like a ship trying to sail without a compass. We will do what makes the most sense, based on our own wisdom. But what looks attractive may actually lead to sin, ultimately destroying what is precious to us, for our most profound human thinking is mere foolishness to God (1 Cor. 1:18–20). Only God knows the way that leads to life, and He wants to lead us to walk in it (Matt. 7:13–14).
Don’t assume every opportunity that arises is from God. Satan will disguise himself as an “angel of light,” and his invitations will seem to be in your best interest (2 Cor. 11:14). Yet his way leads only to death (John 8:44). The word of God will be like a light to your path, guiding you in the ways of righteousness (Ps. 119:105).
It can be perilous to follow a path that seems right without first consulting the Holy Spirit for guidance (John 16:13). Take time to seek the Holy Spirit’s direction when you face decisions. He knows the full ramifications of your choices. The Holy Spirit will assist you to understand truth and to experience abundant life. Trust Him as He leads you.
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