Today's Good News

February 2007

02/01          Ephesians 4:23
Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes.

OBEDIENCE
What do you want to accomplish in your relationship with Jesus?  A growing relationship requires obedience and discipline.  It takes a commitment to daily devotionals, consistent Bible reading and application for us to become what the Lord has called us to be.

 

02/02          Ephesians 4:24
You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God’s likeness – righteous, holy, and true.

CHANGE
Whatever you are right now must change.  Our life in Christ is a life that is in the process of change daily conforming us to the image of Jesus.  So much of the normal Christian life involves failure on our part because sin is so pervasive and we are so weak.  But we must change and the only way we can change is to give the focus of our life to Christ.

 

02/03          Ephesians 4:25
So put away all falsehood and “tell your neighbor the truth” because we belong to each other.

TRUTH
We put pressure on ourselves by trying to be something we are not.  In Christ we can be ourselves.  We can develop a life of transparency so that the only one we are trying to please is Jesus.  Our dealings with our neighbors can be a pleasant affair where we stop trying to one up them and simply become their friend.

 

02/04          Ephesians 4:26-27
And “don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil.

ANGER
Anger destroys us.  It is a foothold for Satan to blind our eyes and manipulate us into harming ourselves.  Anger causes us to do stupid things.  It is critical for us to confess our anger and ask the Lord to forgive us and heal us.

02/05          Ephesians 4:28
If you are a thief, stop stealing. Begin using your hands for honest work and then give generously to others in need.

STEALING
Malachi comments that when we do not tithe we are stealing from God.  No one has clean hands when it comes to sin.  We are to begin each day confessing our sin and seeking His mercy, wisdom, strength and understanding to deal with the day.  Change is important for growth.  Let Jesus cleanse and change your life.

 

02/06          Ephesians 4:29
Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

TALK
Too many of us talk too much.  We are to be alert to the activity of the enemy in our life.  If you were saved as an adult foul language may be a habit that you have to change.  Give it to Jesus and He will redeem your speech.  Also, if you find yourself falling back into this bad habit stop when you realize it, confess it, ask for strength from Jesus and change.

 

02/07          Ephesians 4:30
And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he is the one who has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.

DIFFERENT
We are different than the world.  We talk differently, we focus our life on service to others and not self, we sacrifice for the cause of Christ.  Look at your life.  Is it different from those around you that are lost.  If it is not then take it to the Lord and ask Him what you should change.  Our difference doesn’t create a holier than thou attitude instead it creates humility of heart that enables us to minister to those that need us.

 

02/08          Ephesians 4:31
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior.

ACTION
We are called to action.  Discipline in spiritual matters is our challenge.  How can I change the things I do?  Focus on Jesus, confess our failure and do the next right thing.  Our hearts and minds focused on Christ will change the things our mouth, hands and feet do.  We are on notice, a Christian life is a Christ centered life.

 

02/09          Ephesians 4:32
Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

FORGIVENESS
Forgiveness is a two way street.  We forgive and we are forgiven.  We are responsible for the way we live and for the choices we make.  Choose to forgive.

 

02/10          Ephesians 5:1-2
Follow God’s example in everything you do, because you are his dear children.  Live a life filled with love for others, following the example of Christ, who loved you and gave himself as a sacrifice to take away your sins. And God was pleased, because that sacrifice was like sweet perfume to him.

ACT
What we do and say is our responsibility.  We choose the way we spend our time.  If we spend time with Jesus we will be equipped to face the trials as they come, to stand in the face of tribulation and to do the next right thing.  If we choose to not spend time with Jesus we will have a crippled spiritual life and fail to grow into the likeness of Jesus.

 

02/11          Ephesians 5:3-4
Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people.  Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes – these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God.

PLAIN TALK
The Christian life is not a spiritual buffet.  We don’t pick and choose the lifestyle we like.  The Bible presents a life that is abundant in Christ.  We either live the way Christ calls us to live or we will find ourselves overrun by the world.

 

02/12          Ephesians 5:5-7
You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God.  For a greedy person is really an idolater who worships the things of this world.  Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the terrible anger of God comes upon all those who disobey him.  Don’t participate in the things these people do.

LIFE
Real life is a life that is given to Jesus and operates under Christ’s control.  We are weak and easily burdened.  We have very incomplete knowledge.  Seldom will we be able to discern by ourselves the difference between two good paths.  Jesus will give us the wisdom, mercy, grace and understanding that we need to make day to day decisions.  The decisions made daily under His direction will fit together as a whole to under gird and enable us to live an abundant life.

 

02/13          Ephesians 5:8
For though your hearts were once full of darkness, now you are full of light from the Lord, and your behavior should show it!

LIGHT
Light makes our pathway easy to walk and removes fear from us.  Anytime I am over come by darkness I will stumble and not be able to see the right way to walk.  When I ask Jesus for light He will give me enough to see the way to go and to walk in that way right now.  He knows the end result.  I know Him.

 

02/14 Ephesians 5:9-10
For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord.

LIGHT
Our surrender is the avenue that the Lord gives us the wisdom, mercy, grace and understanding we need to live and grow. His light will draw us near, encourage us, and equip us to do what is pleasing to the Father. To become more like Jesus we must live an obedient life.

02/15 Ephesians 5:11-13
Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, rebuke and expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But when the light shines on them, it becomes clear how evil these things are.

CHOICES
How will I live? Will I surrender self to service through Christ or will I permit myself to be overrun by the world? Choice is our responsibility. I cannot save myself but I can accept the wooing of the Holy Spirit and be saved. I cannot summon up grace out of what I can do but I can surrender myself in obedience to Jesus and receive His grace.
02/16 Ephesians 5:14
And where your light shines, it will expose their evil deeds. This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

LIGHT
I have spent more than thirty years ministering in prisons, homeless shelters and to those suffering. I am acutely aware of the presence of evil and have learned when evil is near to steel myself with the Word and prayer. The work of the world is destruction. Our work in Christ is reconstruction. We do not have to cower in the face of the enemy, we are to be obedient to the Lord Jesus and be about His work.

 

02/17          Ephesians 5:15
So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise.

RESPONSIBILITY
The only person who can change me is me.  Change is a choice.  Christ in me accomplishes the change but I must first choose to change.  Christ likeness is a call to separation, I am to be Holy.  It is a call to service.  Holiness separates us from sin and unites with people.

02/18          Ephesians 5:16
Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days.  Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do.

ACTIONS
Our actions speak loudly.  We are the representative of Jesus in this world.  Everyday we have a chance to be a positive influence in a world of chaos and disappointment.  We can change the world one action at a time.  Do what you can and do not become paralyzed by what you cannot do.

 

02/19          Ephesians 5:18
Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you.  Then you will sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, making music to the Lord in your hearts.

ACTIONS
We are to be where we are.  We give what we can.  We face today as a child of God under the control of the Holy Spirit.  Time with Jesus will renew our spirit and fill us with peace and joy.  Disunity, disharmony and chaos is always pushing us to seek a solution to our problems in bottle or by a pill.  Jesus is the solution to our difficulties.

 

02/20          Ephesians 5:20
And you will always give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

THANKS
We have much for which to be thankful.  Thank you Lord for life.  Thank you Lord for giving us your presence, power and guidance.  Thank you for our peace.  Thank you Lord.  Thank you Lord.  Thank you Lord.

 

02/21          Ephesians 5:21-24
And further, you will submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  You wives will submit to your husbands as you do to the Lord.  For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of his body, the church; he gave his life to be her Savior.  As the church submits to Christ, so you wives must submit to your husbands in everything.

SUBMISSION
Submission is required of all of us.  We submit to Jesus.  We submit to each other in Jesus name.  We are on a mission for Christ.  That mission calls us to be servants.  Servants submit to the one being served.  Our service brings honor and glory to Jesus.  Servitude is a choice.  Only a heart guarded by Jesus can live a life of holy submission.

 

02/22          Ephesians 5:25-29
And you husbands must love your wives with the same love Christ showed the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by baptism and God’s word.  He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish.  Instead, she will be holy and without fault.  In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies.  For a man is actually loving himself when he loves his wife.  No one hates his own body but lovingly cares for it, just as Christ cares for his body, which is the church.

LOVE
Love is evident by the way we live and the things we do.  As I live my life I am charged with the responsibility of glorifying Jesus by the things I do.

 

02/23          Ephesians 5:30-33
And we are his body.  As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.”  This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.  So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

UNITED
A man a woman are united into one when they are married.  They become a unit.  That man and woman no longer are able to make unilateral decisions.  They walk to together, serving and obeying Jesus, and glorifying the Lord in all they do and say.  Two becomes one to serve as the representative of the Lord Jesus.

 

02/24          Ephesians 6:1-3
Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do.  “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first of the Ten Commandments that ends with a promise.  And this is the promise: If you honor your father and mother, “you will live a long life, full of blessing.”

HONOR
The family is an opportunity for us to glorify the Lord.  There is strength in the family.  Maturity is evidenced by the way we deal with our family.  A father or mother who destroys their family destroys the opportunity for them to be given honor.  Children are to honor their parents.  A parent loses that right when they destroy a child.  Jesus calls us to be good parents and good children.  When we mess us Jesus is able to restore us.  But honor is always a two way street.

 

02/25          Ephesians 6:4-9
And now a word to you fathers. Don’t make your children angry by the way you treat them.  Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord.   Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear.  Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ.   Work hard, but not just to please your masters when they are watching. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart.  Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.  Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free.  And in the same way, you masters must treat your slaves right. Don’t threaten them; remember, you both have the same Master in heaven, and he has no favorites.

EQUALITY
Each one of us has equal access to the Father.  No one of us is in a special position with the Lord so that we can claim entitlement.  I can only change me.  The only one I can correct is me.  I am the one called to serve.  How others choose to do and live does not give me permission to be evil or bad.  I am responsible for the things I do.

 

02/26           Ephesians 6:10-12
A final word: Be strong with the Lord’s mighty power.  Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil.  For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.

DANGER
Our spiritual self is always in danger.  Behind what we can see is the spiritual realm.  The forces of evil and darkness are always, always trying to misdirect us and trip us up.  Now that we belong to Jesus, they know that we cannot be claimed but we can be misdirected.  Salvation is eternal but right now we are about the master’s work.  Be careful how you live and quick to confess your sin.

 

02/27          Ephesians 6:13-17
Use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil, so that after the battle you will still be standing firm.  Stand your ground, putting on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.  For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that you will be fully prepared.  In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan.  Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

EVIL
Now is when we must be alert.  We don’t know when our very best will be needed but we know it will be therefore we are always equipped to join the spiritual battle at a moments notice.  Jesus is Lord and we are partner’s together with Christ in proclaiming the Good News to all.

 

02/28          Ephesians 6:18
Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere.

PRAY
Prayer is hard work.  Prayer is necessary.  Prayed is a choice.  Please pray.  Please pray consistently.  Please pray continuously.  Prayer is what we must learn to do when we feel weak, ineffective, and at our wits end.  Prayer is critical for a normal Christian life.

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Clay Corvin

Clay Corvin is Co-Pastor at Bethel Community Baptist Church. He is the VP Business and Professor of Admin at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He was the pastor at the Brantley Baptist Center for twenty-five years. He is married to Carol Corvin and the father of three children and has three grandchildren.