Impact Church

Passionately serving God and His people

Category: February Devotions 2015

We Haven’t Even Begun To Fight

2 Cor.4: 8) We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9) Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10) Always bearing about in the body the dying of The Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

In 1776, as the fledgling colonies of our great nation assembled a military with flickering hopes of dispelling almost certain control by British might, a diminutive, young, brash naval commander, John Paul Jones, epitomized the face and spirit of America’s determination and courage. A loose knit assortment of colonies conceived in freedom and stretching their wings, were required to unify as a nation if they were to ever repel the overwhelming might of the world’s greatest fighting force. And those powers weren’t distant either. They were churning on their very shores, ready to advance on its ports and cities to conquer and occupy. Yet something far greater than fear of Mother England’s numerical superiority and battle-tested soldiers and sailors was arising from the collective soul of a freedom-loving populace. The not-so-long-ago memories of religious and economic oppression were all too near for this fragile nation to roll over and die– even if death was the cost for retaining it! Something more devastating than muskets and cannons was about to be unleashed in the face of an almost undefeatable foe!

In 1779, American naval hero John Paul Jones was credited with a battle cry that resonates, not so much with the subjugated, but with the joyfully liberated. With a ragged mix of untrained sailors and unqualified as warriors, Jones’ undermanned ship BonHomme Richard, (a former merchant ship retrofitted for military use) confronted the big guns of the HMS Serapis, the Royal Navy’s best. Words are inadequate in describing the bloodiest naval battle of the Revolutionary War. Jones and the BonHomme Richard, after being rendered virtually useless with a withering onslaught of cannon balls, were demanded by the Serapis’ Captain to surrender or be annihilated and sunk. Jones responded with words that define courage when liberty is at stake and words that fly from the lips of the free but sense an enemy lies to pilfer– “I have not yet begun to fight!”

Though beaten, mangled, burning and at the point of sinking, Jones and his motley crew did the unthinkable by turning their sails toward the big-gunned Serapis. With unrestrained defiance, they rammed it and came alongside it. Then, coupling it with grappling hooks, boarded that enemy ship and commenced hand to hand combat. Read the rest of this entry »

Either the Glory of God or the Spirit of the Age

36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. 1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 11:36–12:2

The Holy Spirit inspired the human authors who wrote the Bible and every aspect of it is worthy of understanding. To study the Bible is to read the very thoughts of God. To know what is written and how it is presented provides insight into the why of the writing and thus, the very mind and heart of God. The Bible reveals Who God is. It reveals who mankind is. It reveals the problem of our separation from God and offers reconciliation in the time and space work of Jesus Christ in His incarnation, death, resurrection and ascension. Finally, the Bible offers the people of God counsel and admonition for how we ought to live as the redeemed. When we believed, He made us alive in Him and we can now do what we could never do before: please Him.

In Romans, the Apostle Paul has been outlining the righteousness of God as revealed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. After going into great detail about the wrath of God, the justification by faith alone, sanctification of the believer, and the security of the believer, Paul changes to the moral and ethical expectations and commands God provides for His saints. Beginning in Romans 12 and based on the great and merciful works of Jesus Christ, Paul exhorts the believers to “present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice…” Based on the life and work of Jesus Christ, Paul commands that we also sacrifice ourselves to God and to live a life much different than we did before.

From Romans 11:36 to the 12:2, there is a carefully chosen word that the Apostle uses to highlight an important transition and contrast. This word is instructive for us to consider the important difference in the frame of reference we have for the life we live. The word is seen in 11:36 as “forever”. There, it is used in reference to giving God His just glory “forever”. In the original Greek language Paul used, it is αἰῶνας, which is transliterated as aionas. It is an unbroken age or eternity and it endures forever. The glory of God is unceasing and eternal and we should recognize His glory as a timeless and eternal reality in our life.

Just 2 verses later, Paul commands two things for us. Following the sacrifice we ought to make of ourselves in Romans 12:1, he commands the nature of that sacrifice in two dimensions: Read the rest of this entry »