Monday, October 20, 2014

I John 4:7-12

7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. 12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

I have been grafted into the vineyard of God and now draw my life from my Father as the root. As I draw my life from Him, it should fill me and flow through me so that I bear the same fruit that His character is made from. Help my life to be one that people can tell is grafted into You by the fruit that my life bears.

Friday, October 17, 2014

I John 1:8-10

8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

God has set forth some simple rules to help keep His kids safe and to teach them how to act, just like a father should. My Father can see everything that I do and convicts my heart, through the Holy Spirit, of the things I have done wrong. If I were to say that I did nothing wrong, then I am calling my Father a liar and just fooling myself. Why wouldn't I just be honest with myself and my loving Father with all that I do so that I can freely receive the forgiveness and healing that He brings.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Lamentations 3:4-24

4 He has made my skin and flesh grow old.
    He has broken my bones.
5 He has besieged and surrounded me
    with anguish and distress.
6 He has buried me in a dark place,
    like those long dead.

7 He has walled me in, and I cannot escape.
    He has bound me in heavy chains.
8 And though I cry and shout,
    he has shut out my prayers.
9 He has blocked my way with a high stone wall;
    he has made my road crooked.

10 He has hidden like a bear or a lion,
    waiting to attack me.
11 He has dragged me off the path and torn me in pieces,
    leaving me helpless and devastated.
12 He has drawn his bow
    and made me the target for his arrows.

13 He shot his arrows
    deep into my heart.
14 My own people laugh at me.
    All day long they sing their mocking songs.
15 He has filled me with bitterness
    and given me a bitter cup of sorrow to drink.

16 He has made me chew on gravel.
    He has rolled me in the dust.
17 Peace has been stripped away,
    and I have forgotten what prosperity is.
18 I cry out, “My splendor is gone!
    Everything I had hoped for from the Lord is lost!”

19 The thought of my suffering and homelessness
    is bitter beyond words.
20 I will never forget this awful time,
    as I grieve over my loss.
21 Yet I still dare to hope
    when I remember this:

22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
    His mercies never cease.
23 Great is his faithfulness;
    his mercies begin afresh each morning.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
    therefore, I will hope in him!”

Just like with other passages in scripture (Jeremiah 29:11), I hear part of this text (Lamentations 3:23) quoted often to encourage believers when they feel overwhelmed. It is easy to forget that the Isrealites were also told by Jeremiah in the same letter that their captivity would last 70 years and that they should make a home there. "And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare. (Jeremiah 29:7)” When I am in troubling times, I should pray and work for peace in the situation because God may be using me to improve what is going on around me.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Jeremiah 31:7-9

7 Now this is what the Lord says:
 “Sing with joy for Israel.
    Shout for the greatest of nations!
 Shout out with praise and joy:
 ‘Save your people, O Lord,
    the remnant of Israel!’
8 For I will bring them from the north
    and from the distant corners of the earth.
 I will not forget the blind and lame,
    the expectant mothers and women in labor.
    A great company will return!
9 Tears of joy will stream down their faces,
    and I will lead them home with great care.
 They will walk beside quiet streams
    and on smooth paths where they will not stumble.
 For I am Israel’s father,
    and Ephraim is my oldest child."

Deliverance in this passage comes with a commandment from God - be joyful. I have been delivered from my old life of sin and death into the family of my Father in heaven filled with life and good work, so where is the joy of my salvation? I will meditate on what has been done for me and take God's commandment to heart so that I can delight in Him.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Jeremiah 2:11-13

11 Has any nation ever traded its gods for new ones,
    even though they are not gods at all?
 Yet my people have exchanged their glorious God
    for worthless idols!
12 The heavens are shocked at such a thing
    and shrink back in horror and dismay,”
    says the Lord.
13 “For my people have done two evil things:
 They have abandoned me—
    the fountain of living water.
 And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns
    that can hold no water at all!"

It should be an easy choice, either worship a loving God who is willing to sacrifice part of Himself to have me in His family or seek after worthless man made "idols" that will decay with time. Why would I trade an endless stream of the purest water for a muddy hole in the ground?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Romans 13:1-5

1 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. 2 So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. 3 For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. 4 The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. 5 So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.

Living a life filled with doing the right thing is the best way to go. By following in the footsteps of Christ, I am able to live a righteous life that speaks of God's goodness to me. I have nothing to fear from God or man when I do what is good because no one can hold the good I do against me.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Revelations 6:9-11

9 When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of all who had been martyred for the word of God and for being faithful in their testimony. 10 They shouted to the Lord and said, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you judge the people who belong to this world and avenge our blood for what they have done to us?” 11 Then a white robe was given to each of them. And they were told to rest a little longer until the full number of their brothers and sisters—their fellow servants of Jesus who were to be martyred—had joined them.

It is more pleasant to think of the loving nature of God than it is to remember that He is also a righteous judge. The lives of God's followers that were freely given in trying to share the good gifts of heaven will demand judgement on those who took them. It is not mine to pay others back for the wrong they do to me or to seek out the justice that I think I deserve - that job belongs to God alone. (Romans 12:19)