He Reigns!

Friday, January 19, 2018


"But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life."
~Romans 6:22

I recently preached a sermon on holiness, and as is the usual case, my sermons come from questions I have asked God. The Bible says, "It is written, 'Be holy, for I am Holy' (1 Peter 1:16)." What a command that is! God, the Creator of all things, Lord of the universe, tells us to be holy, to be like Him - how is that possible? Can any of us actually be holy?

In and of ourselves, we cannot. However, we have a High Priest, Jesus Christ, who fulfills that requirement for us. We will not achieve true holiness until we reach Heaven but while we are on Earth, we strive for holiness in our thoughts and deeds. 

When we set our minds on things above (Colossians 3:2) and not on the world around us, we take steps towards holiness. The first step being, of course, accepting Christ as our Savior. Jesus accomplished all on the Cross, and there is nothing more we have to do. "It is finished," (John 19:30). Sin was finished, death was finished, the Law was finished, the devil was finished, when Jesus said those words and breathed His last breath. Our striving to be good enough was also finished. Jesus took all of that upon Himself so we would be free to reap the benefits of His sacrifice.

The world might say you're not good enough, but Christ says that you are covered by His blood and made perfect in Him!

"For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy (Hebrews 10:14.)"

Genesis 47:13-50:26

A Year of Blessings by Marie McGaha

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Be Enlightened

"The precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes."
~Psalm 19:8

We live in a world that claims spiritual enlightenment is the path to peace, yet we don't see a lot of peace either in the world or in personal lives. Perhaps the reason for that is because 'spiritual enlightenment' has too broad a meaning. After all, the media will tell you that enlightenment comes from within, and whatever makes you happy is the correct path. Certain celebrities tout "all paths lead to the same place," and "you are a god within yourself." No wonder the world is in chaos! If there is nothing higher than ourselves, we are doomed. Fortunately for all of us, that isn't true; there is a Creator of all things, including us. 

"Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created (Revelation 4:11)."

There is a path to peace, and a way to end chaos within our spirit, and that is with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We are not, and can never be, a god within ourselves, however, we can live with God in us through His Holy Spirit. 

"However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him (Romans 8:9)."

Everyone who makes the confession of faith in Christ receives the Holy Spirit to guide them in the truth of who God is. He has made every spiritual concession for us, so we don't have to continue searching here and there, following false doctrine and false gods. 

"By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,  and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already (1 John 4:2-3)."

There is only one path to righteousness; one path to peace; one path to salvation; one path to Heaven, and that is Jesus Christ. 

Be enlightened, trust in Jesus.

Genesis 46:13-47:12
1 Chronicles 4:1-7:12

A Year of Blessings by Marie McGaha

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Right Steps In A Good Direction

"Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?"
~1 Corinthians 3:16

My daughter is trying to quit smoking. After a few attempts using patches and gum, she's now using a prescription medication. Just a few days into this new lifestyle, she came to my house on her lunch break, "Mom, I need food with sugar in it!" She is in the early stages of nicotine withdrawal, which, as a substance abuse counselor, I've seen a lot of. Nicotine is an addictive substance like any other drug but fortunately, it's water soluble and will wash out of the body in 7-10 days. My daughter has begun taking steps in a really good direction.

We all need to care for our bodies, after all, it does have to last a lifetime, but we don't always think of some things that we do as hurting our bodies. We know smoking causes cancer but because it takes years before the damage is done, we don't always consider the consequences. The same is true of another legal drug, alcohol. While the immediate effects are well known, and the immediate dangers of driving under the influence can be swift and deadly, we don't always consider the long term affect on our body. Food can also have long term, ill effects on us, yet more than 2 out of 3 adults are considered overweight or obese. 

As Christians, we are to honor God with our bodies. 1 Corinthians 10:31 instructs us, "whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." In Romans 12:1 we are to offer our "bodies as a living sacrifice, pleasing to God." Our physical health is important to God, and being aware of what we put into it, should be important to us. One reason is that any time something in our lives becomes an obsession, it is replacing God. Another reason is, anything we desire or think we can't live without, is giving the devil a foothold in our lives.

It may be difficult to think of food, your job, your friends, or anything else as a foothold for the devil but he's sneaky like that. He will use anything to draw your attention from the Lord. It's not the huge, overt actions that do us in, it's the subtle, underhanded things that draw us bit by bit in the wrong direction.

"The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light,  but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness (Matthew 6:22-23)!"

Genesis 46:10-12
1 Chronicles 2:18-55

A Year of Blessings by Marie McGaha

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Greatest Of These

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
~1Corinthians 13:13

The word "love", and its variations, are mentioned more than 550 times in the Bible, so it must be pretty important for us to understand. While there are three types of love in the Bible - Phileo or love between friends; Eros or sexual love, as between spouses; but overwhelmingly, the word used is Agape love, the type of unconditional, all-encompassing love of God for us. 

Agape is the word used when we are commanded to love one another on a daily basis. In the verse above, the word 'love' is Agape. The greatest of these is Agape - a love that is without condition, without expectation, and without counting wrongs or holding grudges. All too often, our love is conditional on how others act, what they do for us, or how they make us feel. Our love ebbs from day to day based on emotions and is often quite contrary to the Word of God.

According to the Word of God, we are to love the way God loves. We are to hold no account of wrongs, rather, we are to give love unconditionally, and base love on who we are in God, and not on who others are or how they act. Agape love is pure and undefiled. 

"Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Ephesians 5:1-2)."

Genesis 42:1-46:9
1 Chronicles 5:1-6

A Year of Blessings by Marie McGaha

Monday, January 15, 2018

No Place I'd Rather Be

"Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name;
    worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness."
~Psalm 29:1-2

I love reading the Psalms. They magnify the Lord in ways that makes my heart beat with joy. It's also how I feel when singing worship songs. It brings me into God's presence; a one on one meeting with the Most High, and my spirit soars within me. We are to enter His courts with thanksgiving and praise (Psalm 100:4), showing Him our love and devotion for all He's done in our lives, and respect for who He is as Lord of our lives.

Our praise and worship is an offering to the Lord, and our voices are a sweet sound to Him, no matter what type of voice or whether you can carry a tune. To God, we a are beautiful melody. We are His ultimate creation; His most prized possession, and His ultimate desire is a personal relationship with us. Ponder that for a moment -- the King of Glory desires nothing more than to spend time with you! And there is no place I would rather be!

"No place I'd rather be
No place I'd rather be
No place I'd rather be
Than here in Your Love
Here in Your Love
So set a fire down in my soul
That I can't contain and I can't control
I want more of You, God
I want more of You, God"
~Set A Fire by Will Reagan

Genesis 40-41

A Year of Blessings by Marie McGaha

Friday, January 12, 2018

Struggles From Within

"The children struggled together within her, and she said, “If it is thus, why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord.  And the Lord said to her, "Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.”
~Genesis 25:22-23

The life of Jacob was a struggle. Even before his birth, he wrestled with his twin, Esau. Throughout his life, he struggled to have what he wanted and he didn't always go after those things fairly. In fact, the name Jacob means: he takes by the heel; he cheats. And Jacob did cheat, lie, and manipulate, but he was also cheated, lied to and manipulated by others. By the time he was an older man, he even wrestled with God, fighting to be blessed. He got his blessing, but it cost him - he was crippled for the rest of his life. Everything Jacob acquired during his life cost him. From the wives who cost him twenty years of hard labor to the blessing of God.

Sometimes we have to struggle for what we want. Whether it's working through problems to save a relationship, or struggling with money to pay our bills, or with coworkers to keep our workplace peaceful, life is a struggle. But there's a different kind of struggle many of us go through, and that is the struggle within ourselves. The struggle between our hearts and our heads, which was also some of the problem Jacob had.

Often, we see things we want and go headlong into getting them without thinking through what the cost might be. We want and will use any means to get it, often hurting others and making enemies. Once we have what we desire, we may enjoy it for a while but then the reality of what it cost us sets in and we see it really wasn't worth it. 

While Jacob made many mistakes, the one thing he did right every time, was to go to God. In spite of all of our shortcomings, we have a God who bigger than any mistake we can make. While our mistakes may cost us here on Earth, we don't have to let them cost us spending eternity with Christ.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7)."

Genesis 31-32

A Year of Blessings by Marie McGaha

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Do What Is Right

"Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it."
~Genesis 4:6-7

Our 'sin nature' is spoken about a lot in sermons and books, but what exactly is a 'sin nature'? Are we born to sin? And if we are made in God's image, how can we have a 'sin nature'?

First, Adam is considered to be the first sinner, and because of that, we have inherited that 'sin nature'. So sin becomes a kind of inherited part of our DNA like eye color. Psalm 51:5 says, "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me." So it's clear that sin is a very real part of human nature, and we see it all around us every day.

But if we are created in God's image, how did sin, something completely opposite of who God is, get into our nature? Simply, God also gave us free will. Adam had as much free will as you and I, and just as all of us are from time to time, Adam was faced with temptation. He had a choice. Adam could have obeyed God and said no, but he chose to sin. That decision has had eternal consequences for each and every one of us.

"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,  in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient (Ephesians 2:1-2)."

So while we may have inherited a sinful nature, we do not have to give in to it. We are made in God's image and when we accept Christ as our Savior, we are given a new nature (2 Corinthians 5:17). Sin may still be around us and we may be tempted by it, but we have power over it in the Name of Jesus.

"Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous (Romans 5:19)."

Genesis 28-30

A Year of Blessings by Marie McGaha