Praise

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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Salvation and onward

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Our life is to be based on the atoning work of Jesus Christ, who died to redeem us from bondage to sin.  His precious blood paid in full the cost of all our transgressions – past, present, and future (Ephesians 1:7).  Upon acceptance of the Lord’s sacrificial death on our behalf, we experience a second birth and become spiritually alive (John 3:3).

At that moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us.  His presence is proof of our new position in Christ, as well as a guarantee of our future inheritance and our place in heaven.  As God’s children, we’re commanded to live a life of holiness, marked by a deep reverence for the Lord.

Our desire for holy living comes from knowing our Father’s character and understanding what it cost for us to be saved.

Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch Devotional, November 18, 2017.

Assurance

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If you answer yes to every question, you can be sure that you are in God’s family and destined for an eternity in His presence.  If you answer no, you’ll know exactly which issue(s) to talk over with your pastor or spiritual mentor.

Do I trust Scripture?  Salvation is a one-step process:  “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).  Either we trust that Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world (including ours), or we don’t (John 3:16).

Do I accept the witness of the Holy Spirit?  Anyone who believes in Jesus has the Spirit dwelling within his or her being.  That is, the Holy Spirit testifies with regard to our identity as God’s children (Romans 8:16).  It’s not about whether we feel saved; God’s Spirit offers an abiding conviction that we are.

Do I walk like a follower of Jesus?  Those who are in Christ are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).  If we have been transformed, then there are going to be changes in our life.  Simply put, true believers are creatures who seek the things of God – they desire to read and understand His Word, they want to gather with His people, etc.

Confirmed Christ-followers still sin.  Some even backslide for a time.  No matter how meandering our walk of faith may be, the Holy Spirit continues to convict.  He won’t allow us to be satisfied with wrongdoing.  That tug of guilt over sin is yet another assurance that you’ve placed yourself in God’s grip.

Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch Devotional, November 19, 2017.

Complete faith

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Intellectual assent – agreement with a set of Christian teachings – is incomplete faith.  True faith transforms our lives.  If our lives remain unchanged, we don’t truly believe the truths we claim to believe.  Living the way God wants us to live does not earn our way into heaven, but it shows that our commitment to God is real.  Godly conduct is not a substitute for, but a verification of our faith in Christ.

Commentary from the One Year NIV Devotional New Testament, November 10.  Tyndale House publishers, Inc.  2003.

To speak or not to speak

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What you say and what you don’t say are both important.  Proper speech is not only saying the right words at the right time, but controlling your desire to say what you shouldn’t.  Examples of wrongly using the tongue include gossiping, putting others down, bragging, manipulating, false teaching, exaggerating, complaining, flattery, and lying.  Before you speak, ask, “Is it true, is it necessary, and is it kind?”

Commentary from The One Year NIV Devotional New Testament, November 11.  Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.  2003.