Re: Verse reading– Acts 4:32-37; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Galatians 6:9-10; Hebrews 10:24-25 (day five)
Acts 4 32 And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul.
There are many distinguishing marks of a person who has been given new life and a new heart in Christ: hunger for the scriptures, different strategy for battling sin, love for Jesus, love for others, and a love for the church (people/family of God). This love for the church results in more than appreciation and affection for other believers. Yes, something deeper and more significant happens to believers that who are called and placed by God to worship, serve, and be a light together. One of the distinguishing marks of a church (people) filled with Holy Spirit is unity. Only the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit can unify a group or body of believers in mission, purpose, priority, and activity. The presence and power of God are clearly on display when His children and church are unified and are joyfully and intentionally deepening friendships/relationships with each other.
Re: Verse reading–Romans 13:1-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-4 (day four)
Is civil government autonomous from God? Can they do what they want and we are commanded to obey? Government is not equal to God, it is in subjection to Him. If government commands against God’s commands, it has abdicated its authority. The blood of the martyrs, who stood for truth against the tyranny of their nations, speaks in testimony. If the government is autonomous from God, they are exalted to a position equal to or greater than Him…that’s called idolatry. No prayer in school, abortion on demand, redefinition of marriage and the family, or parental rights given over to the state…do we obey God or man? How do we respond? Paul writes to Timothy that first it is a call to prayer. “Prayers are to be made on behalf of all men, for kings and for all in authority…” Have we made and are we continuing to make the first step?
Re: Verse reading–Exodus 20:13-17; Leviticus 19:16-18; Zechariah 7:8-10; Matthew 5:13-16 (day two)
“But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?'” Luke 10:29
April and I have moved several times in our 15 years of marriage. Not always to a different town or part of town, but as our family has grown so has our space needs. As a result we have found ourselves in several different neighborhoods in each stage of our young marriage. We found it difficult, or, rather, we made little effort to get to know those around us. We had plenty of excuses: I had a new job, lots of extra activities, new baby, etc. Consequently we came and left without ever really knowing who lived around us. Something was different when we moved back to San Antonio. We both felt compelled to learn about those around us. We have their names written down, and have had seasons where we pray for them even if they haven’t asked for it. They have shared their stories with us, loved our girls, and watched after our house. We have begun kingdom conversations with them and invited them to visit FBCSA. It is simple, but required. If they don’t know us, how could they ever hear that we love them and more that God loves them?
Re: Verse reading–Exodus 20:12; Luke 2:45-52; John 19:25-27 (day two) And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must about my father’s business? Luke 2:49
Did you know that Johann Sebastian Bach had 20 children, and that most of them became great composers or performers? Did you know that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s father Leopold was a first-rate musician? Is this because these families were predisposed to be great composers? Perhaps, but more often than not, it was just the family business. Bach’s children would likely have the task of copying manuscripts ad nauseam which was a common way of picking up the trade. Even today we often find this familial occupational tendencies. My parents were both teachers, so it made sense. I never felt compelled by them, but I was clearly influenced by how they helped people. I saw the leader that my dad was to his team, and to the school. These were things I wanted to emulate. When Jesus responded that his place was in his father’s house tending to his father’s business it just made sense.
Beyond setting a possible career track for our children, consider what else they may want to retain from our example. How do you love the Lord? Is it in full view of your children, or would they be hard pressed to notice. How do you love your spouse, treat your friends, the lost?
It’s not too late to be the example that will make a difference.
RE Verse reading–Ephesians 5:21-33 (day seven)
“As the church submits to Christ, so also wives must submit to their husbands” v 24. It is a Guthrie family story. Holly used to be a church secretary. One day she typed the song title for the bulletin. “Holy, Holly, Holy”. Actually, it is true. She has been a holy influence on our family. From her, I have learned much about my own relationship to Christ. Holly never asks me for things that she thinks are contrary to my own best sense. She dedicates herself to my welfare, tirelessly shapes the right environment for our sons and their families. Do I do as well toward the Head of the church? I hope so! If wives learn by watching the church respond to Christ, the church is blessed when we see what strong submission looks like by watching them. Happy Father’s Day! May all Christian men submit to God and lead our families to Him.
Re: Verse reading–Exodus 39:32, 42-43; 40:1-2, 16-17, 32-38 (day two)
And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys. (Exodus 40:36-38 KJV)
When the Lord was calling me to full-time ministry this part of the Exodds story spoke the most to me. Whatever the season of life, career, family you may be in when the Lord moves, it’s time to go. What gave me the most peace about this is that the Israelites may come to a wonderful oasis on their journey where they felt they could stay indefinitely, but when the cloud moved they knew it was time. It is rarely about our comfort or convenience, but always about his plan. I didn’t have a cloud to see, but I relied on the Holy Spirit to guide me, the Word to instruct me, and the assurance that God heard my prayers for guidance. Wherever he leads, I’ll go.
Re: Verse reading–Exodus 20:1-17 (day three)
“And God spoke all these words.” These Ten Commandments call us to a whole life; they cannot be separated from one another and mean the same thing that they mean together. The man who will not observe the Sabbath will surely believe that the world will not function without him, and therefore will place himself as a god before the Lord. The one who refuses to honor his parents will desecrate family ties and is therefore only a step away from destroying another family through adultery. God spoke “all these words” not some of these words. Separated, they just become an occasion for measuring our lives up against others, and when we do that, we covet everything our neighbor has. God calls us to a life, not to a score.
Re: Verse reading–Exodus 12:1-14, 24-27, 13:8-9 (day seven)
“This month is to be. . . the first month of your year.”–v 12:1.
How do you celebrate New Year’s Day? Football? Family? Fireworks? The Hebrews had a different tradition, the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Began with Passover. They took a lamb (v 3), without defect (v 5–to accurately represent the coming, sinless Christ), cared for it in their homes for 14 days (v 6), then slaughtered, roasted and ate it with the family. Bitter herbs (v 8–to remind of sin and suffering) were also included and bread without yeast (unleavened, v 8–to remind of the speed and decisiveness required to be included in God’s plan– not even time for bread to rise). It told an important story! Life BEGAN for Israel when God made them free. So maybe New Year’s Day is not January 1. For believers, it is the day we received Christ by faith and forgiveness and power as a result. ” In Christ. . . new creation”–2 Corinthians 5:17. Please celebrate!
Re: Verse reading–Exodus 3:1-14; 4:1-15 (day one)
“When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from the [burning] bush.”–v 4.
It is a common and crushing condition of the human heart. We get so defeated, we stop looking for God, for answers. We grow cynical, negative. Past disappointments seem larger than future hope. We aren’t even curious anymore. In Exodus 3, Moses is man who has experienced significant disappointment. Some of it self-inflicted. Even so, he retains a hope that God is alive and active in the world. When he sees a burning-but-not-consumed bush, he goes to investigate. God honors this resilient hope, this curiosity and speaks to him. What about you, friend? Are you still looking for answers for yourself and your family and your nation? Or, has your heart grown calloused and unbelieving? “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for”—Hebrews 11:1. Did you wake today with hope? Are you still looking for God?
Re: Verse reading–Exodus 1:8-22, 2:1-10 (day one)
“Then a new king, who did not know Joseph, came to power in Egypt.”—1:8.
When Jacob’s family came to Egypt, they were in an advantageous position. Joseph (son/brother/uncle to the clan) was in a place of power. They enjoyed protection and favor. 200 years later, the situation rapidly changed. With the rise of a new dynasty in Egypt, the Israelites fell from favor. American Christians may feel a similar shift in play. A few years ago, our faith was appreciated/protected, even by those who disagreed. Today the winds of suspicion and criticism have blown in with chilling effect. But God is not hindered. Despite Egyptian opposition, He patiently and powerfully accomplishes His purposes. Protects His people, plans the way forward, asks for their trust. “Preach the word, be ready in season and out of season.”–2 Timothy 4:2. Times change. God doesn’t. When it is popular, and when it isn’t, He calls us to trust and obey Him.