Re:Verse reading–1 Samuel 15 (day five)
It is not the name of the deity but the heart of the worshipper that creates idols. – Alexander Maclaren
Saul’s heart was unchanged when he was confronted with his own sin. Samuel challenges Saul’s disobedience. God meant for the battle to be about justice (God focused). Saul saw it as an opportunity for his own status and wealth (self focused). Verse 25- “Now therefore, please pardon my sin and return with me, that I may worship the Lord.” The fact that he wanted to return to ”worship” showed that his heart had not changed. He remained more concerned about his own standing and popularity than obedience to God. Saul is asking Samuel to endorse the celebration so that Saul might appear strong and mighty in the eyes of the people. He never learned this important lesson- The alternative to full surrender is rebellion. Sound harsh? No. Sounds Holy!!
Want to see a clear picture of a king’s heart changed through repentance? Look at Psalm 51
Re: Verse reading–Romans 6 (day seven)
“Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” v 1. Maybe no one actually says it. Usually more of an unconscious thought, a false conclusion. “If salvation is by grace alone, then sin is not such a big deal.” “Why worry?” “No one is perfect!” “God will forgive me no matter what.” “I should just accept my brokenness and rejoice in His full forgiveness.” “Right?”
Wrong! Paul addresses this issue head on by teaching the real union of believer and Savior. “We were baptized into Christ.” v 3. Joined. Made one. Our debt becomes His. His victory becomes ours.
Who would misuse the privilege of salvation by allowing sin to be unrepented and unconfessed? Only a false-hearted person! Only the one who would like to share the BENEFIT of union with Christ (forgiveness) but not the PURPOSE. (new life)
Q–Shall we go on sinning? A–No! We are one with Christ!
Re:Verse reading–Romans 2:1-29 (day four)
The character of God is who He is…the very essence of His being. Verse 4 says that the kindness (one of His character qualities) of God leads you to repentance. Everything about God will draw you to Him…choose any character quality of God and it will inspire worship, lead to obedience, bring a sense of awe or confront with repentance. God is in the business of changing lives. Ezekiel says that God will take our heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh. He will change us so we can enter into a right relationship with Him. We are without excuse when we stand before God. How we have responded to His character through obedience will determine the outcome of our relationship with Him. What does your character inspire? Does it lead others to God? Does it lead to repentance? It will if our lives look like Jesus…we will give an accurate picture of the character of God.
Re:Verse reading–Romans 1:18-32 (day six)
“They are without excuse”–v 20.
A shock to my system. A contradiction to the way I normally (and comfortably) see myself. God says that I am (we all are) without excuse!
God just doesn’t see me as a victim. I am not helpless in the face of my tendencies. He doesn’t buy it. I have no one to blame. Not now. Certainly not when “that Day” comes. The light of truth will shine into the deepest part of my soul. Exposing my motives. Revealing my heart.
It will know this truth on that day. There are NO good reasons for not worshiping God. None. He made me. He revealed Himself in the creation and in my conscience. He warns of His wrath. He offers grace in Christ.
People try to blame or explain. I am tired. I can’t help myself. I had a rough childhood.
Words will be useless. We are without excuse.
Re:Verse reading–Romans 1:18-32 (day two)
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” vs. 20
One of the things I like about social media is the ability to share pictures. Pictures you have taken yourself, or ones you have found that capture your heart. A Texas sunset, mountains covered in snow, a colorful bird, and the babies-so many babies. Often the individual that posted the pictures will marvel at the beauty of creation. Design, form, structure, and artistry are all a part of this miracle we share.
This is why the architects of the great cathedrals would create such vast and grand structures to worship the Lord. They were designed to take your breath away and make you think how great our God truly is.
Man is without excuse. We need only step outside and look around to see evidence of the Lord. We can try to justify our desires and our actions, but the truth of creation will ultimately demand that we reconcile his plan against our own. Whatever it is, how could it measure up to God’s perfection? Let it go.
Re:Verse reading–Romans 1:18-32 (day one)
“For the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the ungodliness and wickedness of men.”—v 18.
Can the LOVE of God be reconciled with His WRATH? Does the Eternal One have two perfectly balanced, internally consistent aspects to His nature? “Yes”, say the Apostles.
Wrath is the other side of God’s love. Protective. Strong.
None of us is surprised, or offended, to see a Father rage against an enemy who threatens the daughter he loves. So, God rages against sin and its terrible consequences. Except, He doesn’t rage. His wrath is not a burst of anger. (wrong word in Greek). Wrath is a settled, fierce, eternal opposition toward evil. Dangerously calm it is.
Two attitudes are desirable from us toward this Great Mind, Great Power. “You shall LOVE the Lord with all your heart.”—Deuteronomy 6:5.
“Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised, He is to be FEARED.”—Psalm 96:4
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–Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22-25; 1 Timothy 6:1-2; Titus 2:9-11 (day seven) “Six days shall you labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God.”–Exodus 20:9-10. Unless you’ve been on another planet for the past few years, you have heard (or heard of) the Disney movie, “Frozen” and the featured song, “Let it go”. As Queen Elsa “lets go” of her fears to embrace her strengths, believers “let go” of our fears to discover our strength in union with Christ. It is a weekly spiritual rhythm called sabbath. WORK for six days! This is the command of God. Get up! Think! Innovate! Achieve! Subdue! Rule! (see Genesis 1) But, on the sabbath learn a different skill. Let it go! Rest! Pray! Seek His face! Engage the world with courage, then retreat from it to declare your trust in Something higher. We are double-sided creations, dual-natured. God commands us to work, and then to let it go.
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22-25; 1 Timothy 6:1-2; Titus 2:9-11 (day four) In each of these letters, Paul drives home the same point…our lives relate directly to God rather than man. In a slave relationship…or, in today’s world, an employer relationship…we are not to resent or argue or deceive our authority. We are reminded that our work is unto the Lord, not to man. We can escape the notice or knowledge of our employer, but God sees our every action and knows our heart and intentions. We get away with nothing. Paul tells us in the Titus passage that when we respond properly to our employers (masters), we adorn the doctrine of God. ‘Adorn’ means to make more pleasing; beautify, embellish, enhance, enrich, and grace. We add glory to God when we serve Him over our petty, worldly desires and passions. Our goals need to change…we should not be seeking what is best for ourselves, we should be seeking to adorn the doctrine of God. Give glory to God by rightly serving your authority!
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22-25; 1 Timothy 6:1-2; Titus 2:9-11 (day one)
Christianity declares that faith and works are opposite approaches to salvation. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. . .it is a gift of God; not of works, lest any may should boast.”–Ephesians 2:8-9. “No one will be declared righteous. . . by the works of the law”–Romans 3:20. Given this gospel truth, a common mistake is to suggest that our faith is critical or negative toward work itself (industry, effort, even ambition) It isn’t! “I labored even more than all of them”, Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15 (and without a hint of caution that he might, by saying so, drift back into legalism). “Faith without works is dead” echoes James 2. “Work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not for men.” says Colossians 3. One assignment common to every Christian is that we become steady, hard, dependable, honest, and effective WORKERS! We owe it to Christ because we trust Him.