Custom Made Living

Being that we where each made unique by God, let us take the best and leave the rest. Take the best for you. Be the very best YOU!

If you think of it for a moment, God created you specifically. You were born at the time He made possible with unique characteristics and qualities He endowed. We each posses unique and varying talents. We have one of a kind DNA, finger prints, body, mind, and soul.

Not only are we custom made it was into His image we were created. We have godly characteristics and some of His faculties (and the best is yet to come)…imagination, creativity, cognition, personality, emotion, will power, wonder, communication, soul / spirit, relationship, and so much more.

“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them”

Genesis 1:27 NASB

Wow! Ponder that for a moment, for a lifetime.

We can ignore it, abuse it or use it…for glory. Let’s use it well!

The infinite God knows everything. He loves each of us like no other. He knows our words before they roll off our tongue.

“When you are living out your destiny, you aren’t measuring who you are by comparing yourself to someone else. You aren’t measured by what you have done according to what someone else has done. Rather, when you are living out your destiny, you measure what you have done according to what God created you to do.”

Tony Evans, Called for a purpose.

Yet, we are challenged by sin, my fallen flesh, Satan but we can choose to rise from the heap by His awesome power. By His wounds we are saved. By His glory live and shall for evermore. It just takes faith. By intentionality aligning of our own will with God purpose we shall reach our destiny.

This is the awesome and wondrous Custom Made Living.

Always seek to do good…2 wrongs don’t make 1 right – 1st Thes 5:15

See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.

1 Thessalonians 5:15

Relevant Scriptures

Proverbs 20:22
Do not say, “I will repay evil”; Wait for the LORD, and He will save you.

Matthew 5:44
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

Romans 12:9
Love must be sincere. Detest what is evil; cling to what is good.

Romans 12:17
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Carefully consider what is right in the eyes of everybody.

Galatians 6:10
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to the family of faith.

1 Thessalonians 5:21
but test all things. Hold fast to what is good.

1 Peter 3:9
Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

1 Samuel 26:10
David also said, “As the LORD lives, surely the LORD will strike him, or his day will come that he dies, or he will go down into battle and perish.

Romans 12:19
Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but leave room for God’s wrath. For it is written: “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

Deuteronomy 32:35
‘Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, In due time their foot will slip; For the day of their calamity is near, And the impending things are hastening upon them.’

2 Samuel 22:48
The God who executes vengeance for me, And brings down peoples under me,

Select Commentary

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible
See that none render evil for evil unto any man,…. Not an ill word for an ill word, railing for railing, nor an ill action for an ill action; no, not to any man whatever, not to an enemy, a persecutor, a profane person, as well as not to a brother, a believer in Christ; and this the saints should not only be careful of, and guard against in themselves, but should watch over one another, and see to it, that no such practice is found in each other.

But ever follow that which is good; honestly, morally, pleasantly, and profitably good; even every good work, which is according to the will of God, is done in faith, from love, and to the glory of God; and particularly acts of beneficence and liberality to the poor; and which are not to be once, or now and then done, but to be followed and pursued after, and that always;

both among yourselves, and to all men; not only to the household of faith, though to them especially, and in the first place, but to all other men, as opportunity offers, even to our enemies, and them that persecute us, and despitefully use us; do good to their bodies, and to their souls, as much as in you lies, by feeding and clothing the one, and by praying for, advising, and instructing the other.

My Pondering

Wow, I don’t know about you but this sure isn’t easy. I think it is supernatural. It takes great faith and confidence in God. It charges us ‘always seek to do good’. Just in breaking down this passage we gather:

Always – is always. In all ways.
Seek – look for, search, strive
To do – action, initiate, perform
Good – 1. pure, moral, conscientious, meritorious, worthy, exemplary, upright. 2. commendable, admirable. 5. obedient, heedful. 6. kindly, benevolent, humane, gracious, obliging. 23. full, adequate. 24. profitable, useful, serviceable, beneficial. 25. efficient, proficient, capable, able, ready, suited, suitable, dexterous, expert, adroit, apt.

If we are having a difficult time in mustering up good, Paul wrote in Romans 12 that we should not extract our own vengeance but leave room for God’s wrath. It’s amazing how that works. The scripture calls us to seek to do good.

We just need to do our best and let go and let God work it out.

Life is hard but God is good.

Pithy Prayer

LORD, help me to rest and trust You have my backside. I am not a scorekeeper or umpire but a player. I trust, i want to trust, You got this and that. AMEN.

Rainbow full-perspective

We are wise to try and see ‘the bow’ also from God’s point of view. It’s a pact, promise, a covenant between He and us; the awesome Creator and the rebellious creation.

God’s dilemma

5The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.”

8But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.

Genesis 6:5-8

God’s Powerful Solution

4For in seven days I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and every living thingc that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground.”

5And Noah did all that the LORD had commanded him.

Genesis 7:4-5

God’s Symbol

8Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9“Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, 10and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. 11I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds,15I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

Genesis 9:8-13

Are you glad Noah found favor, Noah obeyed and God saw a bigger picture, that He didn’t end His creation?

This is why we need to maintain a Holy fear as David exhorts us vehemently in Psalms and Solomon in Proverbs and throughout the Holy Bible.

God is dangerous but He is good . When we see the bow let’s bow our hearts, repent of our sin and mostly thank Father for Jesus; for the good news of the Gospel. The first Adam messed up big time, the second Adam fixes bigger time.

If you aren’t fully assured Jesus is your Savior from the Creator’s just wrath, now is the time to seek the living Word. Go to John 1:1 and/or contact me or another Christian now.

1 x God = Infinity

“Blessed are you when men hate you, & when they exclude you, & revile you, & cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake.

Rejoice in that day & leap for joy!

For indeed your reward is great in heaven, for in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.”

Luke 6:22-23

This verse is a good reminder, especially these days and where we seem to be headed

A key phrase therein for me is, “for the Son of Man’s sake” – not your or my personal sake especially if you are mean, sour or jerk.

This prompts me to think what type of things would be for “the Son of Man’s sake” (Hint, hint – that is what would should be doing a lot of) I suppose it would include:

  • Being a person of the Fruit of Spirit character (Galatians 5:22-23)
  • Loving God and loving others first most, aka the Greatest two commandments according to Jesus which all the law rolls into (Mark 12:30-31)
  • Seeking God first in everything (Matthew 6:33)
  • Trusting God even when our circumstances seem bleak (Proverbs 3:5)
  • Remembering this is not our forever home and looking forward to our great unification with our dear Savior. (Colossians 3:2) See below memes.

This is by far an exhaustive list but hopefully a good start. What other ones might you include by your understanding of Scripture?

I always try to remind myself that even one person, who loves God and is seeking to do His will is a true majority, one way or the other, if he is with God and it shall work out for good (Romans 8:28).

The Infinity Formula:

1 x God = Infinity

It would rather be judged and convicted by men of this world than the God of heaven in the next.

Serving God by being the very best you does not include thinking less of yourself, as our new identity is in Christ, rather it involves thinking of your self less often.

Lastly we are in not a human popularity content for this passage is a stark truth:

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easya that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Matthew 7:13-14

So let’s lean on Christ, let’s claim this great truth day by, moment by moment:

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:13,

If you are struggling to fully embrace Christ’s loving truth, seek Him with all you got for that is enough.

Sanctification; the center of the three stages of salvation.

“You probably know the line, “I was lost, but now I am found”. That is true. This is even truer for me, “I was really lost, but I am a little less lost day by day”

Bono

This saying is one of my favorites:

I am not sinless

but I sin less

Anonymous

The Holy Spirit brings us along at God’s speed. Sometimes that’s the speed of lighting and other time, that of molasses.

Sometimes we can facilitate, other times facultate, but we should always emulate.

We aren’t saved by works. The Word tells us that so we can not boast. We had nothing to do with our sin state. We were just born into it. That is the same a being re-born. Salvation is by faith, we must simply receive it.

By studying Scripture, we find salvation happens in three distinct stages. Maybe that’s why so many preachers often have three points. We also see trinitarian actions and elements elsewhere. Chief is that of the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, Spirit).

Dr Jeremiah shares an analogy of salvation as like a river. In the Old Testament, the river Jordan is often used as a metaphor for salvation.

3 Phases of Salvation

1. RESTORATION – this is the catalyst by faith; being born-again! Our relationship with our Creator is restored, made as new. Made as our sin had never happened. Our relation is restored by receiving Christ’s redemptive work He did on the Cross. This is believing and acceptance of the Gospel. Once saved, this is our positional righteousness; our dear Saviors’ imputation upon us. Once saved, this is our past tense of salvation and leads us into the next phase; santification.

8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV

2. SANCTIFICATION– is a Christian’s current state. This is the primary point of this devotional. If you are a true believer, then this is your current status as reading this now. This is my status as I write this.

Our works had no bearing in our salvation but they sure do in our sanctification. We see that in the very next verse:

10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10 ESV

We called for good works, for we are His work. God took action by creation and redemption, by sending His Son. The sanctification, by dwelling us with His spirit. We are to work accordingly. As we read, to walk (move) in them. We are co-create, to co-work, as we are made in His image. We are to exercise our dominion over the earth, under the sun as humble and diligent servants in response our gifts with an attitude of gratitude.

As we read here:

12Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

Ephesians 2:12-13

As Dr. David Jeremiah teaches from the Bible: We are to work OUT what God works IN. If you didn’t catch that in the previous verse, please take a 2nd deeper look for the words OUT and IN.

When Craig Barnes was asked out long it takes to be a Christian, he said “It takes a moment and a lifetime.” In a twinkling of God’s eye, we are saved. Over a lifetime, we work it out. We mine the precious minerals God has placed within.

That is the point of the parable of the Talents Jesus taught; to grow and increase God’s investment in each of us. Not to hide them. This ship of sanctification should not thought of relaxing Cruise ship where we are always being served but that of a Battleship or Hospital ship.

We see this call from Paul to his protege Timothy:

11But you, O man of God, flee from these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.

12Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession before many witnesses.

1 Timothy 6:11-12

We take hold of our new life by partnering with Creator as a dutiful sailor in war time. We fight the good fight with our full armor (See vs11 above and Ephesians 6 for more protection)

Yes, yes, we are called to

3. REGENERATION – when we see Jesus face to face when the dross of sin has been refined from our souls, we will be like Him. We will have supernatural bodies. Free at last! Regeneration is our third, final, and forever phase. The one which lasts longest, as in forever. Our souls and our flesh are regenerated like the caterpillar who has been converted to a beautiful butterfly.

We are encouraged to work hard and smart now. Jesus promised us these endeavors will yield us rewards into eternity. Those rewards are to motivate us to action. We are most effective as we walk, work and abide by His leading and with His principles of nature. After all, it is His universe. Our will needs to be conformed to His will for maximum effectiveness and purpose. Our mission, our will, our work should be ‘for His good pleasure’ as stated above in Ephesians 2:13.

To infinity and beyond!

Buzz Lightyear

In Summary:

On the left bank, we find Regeneration; the process of ‘getting saved’. In crossing the river’s waters, we are in the mode of Sanctification. When we reach the other side, you know – the promised land we will be made wholly new, actually holy new.

Praise the LORD!

Walk in the light… 1 John 1:7

My Pondering:

The Word of God; the Holy Bible, direct revelation; the leading of the Spirit, an truism from a good friend, even a divine brick wall circumstance are all examples of light in dark world but all catalytic from Jesus Christ who bear the glorious name; Light of the Word, the bright Morning Star.

The one and only son of God is He. As the earth relies on the sun, we Christians relies on the Son for spiritual sustenance and the revelation of truth and love.

So let us mimic Him and walk in His light.

Kirk A. Booher

Will

For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

Philippians 2:13 ESV

Relevant Scriptures

Romans 12:3
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but think of yourself with sober judgment, according to the measure of faith God has given you.

1 Corinthians 12:6
There are different ways of working, but the same God works all things in all men.

Hebrews 13:21
equip you with every good thing to do His will. And may He accomplish in us what is pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Select Commentary

Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers
(13) For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do.–In this famous paradox St. Paul calls on men to work by their own will, just because only God can grant them power both to will and to do. The origination of all in God, and the free action (which is in some sense origination) of man, are both truths recognised by our deepest consciousness, but to our logic irreconcilable. In one passage only (Romans 9:14-24) does St. Paul touch, and that slightly and suggestively, on their reconcilement: generally Holy Scripture–in this confirming human reason–brings out each vividly and profoundly in turn, and leaves the problem of their reconcilement untouched. Here the paradoxical form of the sentence forces on the mind the recognition of the co-existence of both. If that recognition be accepted, the force of the reasoning is clear. The only encouragement to work, in a being weak and finite like man, is the conviction that the Almighty power is working in him, both as to will and deed.

The word “worketh in you” is constantly applied to the divine operation in the soul (see 1Corinthians 12:6; 1Corinthians 12:11; Galatians 2:8; Ephesians 1:11; Ephesians 1:20; Ephesians 2:2); rarely, as here (in the word rendered “to do”) to the action of men. It must necessarily extend to the will as well as the action; otherwise God would not be sovereign in the inner realm of mind (as, indeed, Stoic philosophy denied that He was). We are familiar with the influence of one created will over another–an influence real, though limited, yet in no sense compulsive. From this experience we may catch a faint glimpse of the inner working of the Spirit of God on the spirit of man. Hence, while we cannot even conceive the existence of freedom under an unbending impersonal law or force, the harmony of our will with a Supreme Personal Will is mysterious, indeed, but not inconceivable.

Of his good pleasure.–Literally, on behalf of His good pleasure; that is, in harmony with it. On the double sense of “good pleasure” see Note on Ephesians 1:5. Here, probably, the meaning is His “gracious will” for our salvation.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

  1. For—encouragement to work: “For it is God who worketh in you,” always present with you, though I be absent. It is not said, “Work out your own salvation, though it is God,” etc., but, “because it is God who,” etc. The will, and the power to work, being first instalments of His grace, encourage us to make full proof of, and carry out to the end, the “salvation” which He has first “worked,” and is still “working in” us, enabling us to “work it out.” “Our will does nothing thereunto without grace; but grace is inactive without our will” [St. Bernard]. Man is, in different senses, entirely active, and entirely passive: God producing all, and we acting all. What He produced is our own acts. It is not that God does some, and we the rest. God does all, and we do all. God is the only proper author, we the only proper actors. Thus the same things in Scripture are represented as from God, and from us. God makes a new heart, and we are commanded to make us a new heart; not merely because we must use the means in order to the effect, but the effect itself is our act and our duty (Eze 11:19; 18:31; 36:26) [Edwards].

worketh—rather as Greek, “worketh effectually.” We cannot of ourselves embrace the Gospel of grace: “the will” (Ps 110:3; 2Co 3:5) comes solely of God’s gift to whom He will (Joh 6:44, 65); so also the power “to do” (rather, “to work effectually,” as the Greek is the same as that for “worketh in”), that is, effectual perseverance to the end, is wholly of God’s gift (Php 1:6; Heb 13:21).

of his good pleasure—rather as Greek, “FOR His good pleasure”; in order to carry out His sovereign gracious purpose towards you (Eph 1:5, 9).

My pondering

I like the way the NLT version renders this text:
For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

I relish and truly appreciate what these commentators wrote, which I shared above. We are made in God’s image with some of His attributes. Sin has marred us but God is working it out to reclaim us.

What a wonderful mystery and journey.

My prayer:

Your Word tells me that I am created in Your image. God, without You I am just an animal of sorts. With You, someday, I will be more like You and higher than the angels for so says Your Word. Until then, lavish me in thy grace and truth.

We plan, God establishes – Proverbs 16:9

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes His steps.

Proverbs 16:9

Relevant Scriptures

Proverbs 19:21
Many plans are in a man’s heart, But the counsel of the LORD will stand.

Proverbs 20:24
Man’s steps are ordained by the LORD, How then can man understand his way?

Jeremiah 10:23
I know, O LORD, that a man’s way is not in himself, Nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps

Select Commentary

“Man proposes, God disposes”

We all remember Shakespeare’s words in ‘Hamlet’ –
“There’s a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will.”

Gill: A man’s heart deviseth his way,…. This is to be understood, not of a wicked man, in whose heart is frowardness, and who devises mischief and evil imaginations continually, Proverbs 6:14; for such are an abomination to the Lord; nor will he direct their goings, or prosper and succeed them in their ways: but of a good man, or righteous man.

Henry: If men make God’s glory their end, and His will their rule, He will direct their steps by his Spirit and grace.

My pondering

If find this little sentence enthralling because it succinctly displays the free will of man which exists but limited and directed by a sovereign God, if we are so fortunate to be intimately led rather and coarsely rebuked.

It reminds me of James 4:

13Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”

Yes, if the Lord wills.

My prayer

Holy Lord, guide me where You see fit and give me Your GPS for I know, often in spite of myself, Your way is best and true.

Blessed is the one who… James 1:12 – Remaining Steadfast

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
James 1:12 ESV

Relevant Scriptures:

Genesis 22:1
Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”

Exodus 20:6
but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Psalm 11:5
The LORD tests the righteous and the wicked, And the one who loves violence His soul hates

1 Corinthians 8:3
But the one who loves God is known by God.

1 Corinthians 9:25
Everyone who competes in the games trains with strict discipline. They do it for a crown that is perishable, but we do it for a crown that is imperishable.

Commentary:

From Elliot: (12) Blessed is the man that endureth temptation.–Surely the Apostle links such blessedness with the nine Beatitudes, heard in the happy days gone by upon the Mount with Christ (Matthew 5:3-11). The words he uses in the original are the same as those which are expressed above, in our second, third, and fourth verses, by “patience” and “trials,” and mean a firm endurance, steadfastness, tenacity of purpose, and quenchless enthusiasm

From Henry: It is not every man who suffers, that is blessed; but he who with patience and constancy goes through all difficulties in the way of duty. Afflictions cannot make us miserable, if it be not our own fault. The tried Christian shall be a crowned one. The crown of life is promised to all who have the love of God reigning in their hearts.

My Pondering:

We clearly see here God tests us. Yet we also see He doesn’t tempt via evil. What are we to make if that? I personally don’t believe God chooses to control every circumstance in life. Oh, He is omniscient but He wants us to love Him through trials not just because He blesses us. He wants us to love Him for who He exclusively or primarily because of what He gives us. There may not be a reason for every challenge and obstacle that is in our way but I am convinced there is a purpose.

Yes, faith, hope and love rule! Faith to know God has got us covered in spite of our temporary circumstance. Hope to know by His works we can conquer and surpass all. Love. Loving God, the greatest commandment. This is why we exist and why there are tests. To prove our love for God requires this first and foremost our Jesus and the inspired writers would not have said so.

For when we persevere and abide in Christ, our crown of bliss, of eternal life is assured because of love. For John 3:16 sums it up so eloquently: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

My prayer:

Lord, help this poor soul stand strong and remain steadfast on Your love.

Abiding Richly – Colossians 3:16

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Colossians 3:16 ESV

Relevant Scriptures:

What then shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind. I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind. 1 Corinthians 14:15

For not only did the message of the Lord ring out from you to Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone out to every place, so that we have no need to say anything further.
1 Thessalonians 1:8

Commentary from Gill:
in all wisdom; or, “unto all wisdom”; in order to attain to all wisdom; not natural wisdom, which is not the design of the Scriptures, nor of the Gospel of Christ; but spiritual wisdom, or wisdom in spiritual things, in things relating to salvation; and which is, and may be arrived unto through attendance to the word of Christ, reading and hearing of it, meditating on it; and especially when accompanied with the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ, and which is to be desired and prayed for.

Teaching and admonishing one another. The Syriac version renders it, “teach and instruct yourselves”; and may regard not only publicly teaching Christ, his Gospel, the truths and doctrines of it, and all his commands and ordinances, for which he qualifies men, and sends them forth in his name; but private teaching, by conference, prayer, and singing the praises of God, according to the measure of the gift of grace bestowed on everyone: and so admonishing may not only respect that branch of the public ministry, which is so called, and intends a putting into the mind, or putting persons in mind both of their privilege and duty; nor only that part of church discipline which lies in the admonition of a delinquent, but private reproofs, warnings, and exhortations; and as by other ways, so, among the rest,

My pondering: First, I can’t but help notice the Scripture says, ‘Let’.

Let the Word of God dwell in you…richly.

Let…Richly.

It is a deliberate choice to marinate and soak up some of what God has for each of us. And we are then encouraged to teach and admonish one another in all wisdom. Group share!

When we worship and praise God in truth with a thankful heart, its all good. More than good!