Re:Verse reading–Romans 8:1-17 (day five)
Have you seen the Geico commercials? They have branded the tag line, “It’s what you do”. There are several silly examples. If you’re the band Europe, you love a final Countdown; it’s what you do. If you’re a golf commentator, you whisper; it’s what you do. If you’re a fisherman, you tell tales; it’s what you do. In other words, there are certain and unchanging traits that people have.
A similar kind of logic is being made for the Holy Spirit in Romans 8. Look at verse 11, “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” The Holy Spirit who dwells in Christians is exactly the same person who raised Jesus from the dead. Just as the Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead, so the Holy Spirit will raise the bodies of believers from the grave.
If you’re the Holy Spirit, you raise people from the dead; it’s what you do.
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 5:21-33, 6:1-9 (day six)
“be subject to one another in the fear of Christ”–v. 21. Submission is a lightning-rod issue in this age. People (all of us, not just women) resist the loss of autonomy and self-determination that it implies. Demanding our rights (and feeling entitled to do so) blinds us to the wisdom of this eg0-displacing step. Those who submit to Christ and are subsequently filled with His Spirit (rather than self–see v. 18) find freedom. NO PRISON is worse than self! “There is nothing so pathetic as a person determined to be crucified on the cross of personal grievance”–Abraham Lincoln. And, NO FREEDOM is sweeter than to serve God and others without competition or anxiety. When Paul speaks about family (wives submit to your husbands, husbands love your wives, children obey your parents) he assumes we already have some experience of this “more excellent way”. Ego is not my savior. It is, very often, a trouble causing tyrant.
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 3 (day one)
“For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father. . .that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man.” (v 14, 16)
Preaching isn’t enough. I am finally convinced. Even good preaching. (Please, God!) Our greatest power is prayer. After a person hears the gospel and receives Christ by faith, a new urgent need becomes apparent. We must pray spiritual strength and insight for her. Notice this commitment in Paul. Our reading this week is a page from his prayer journal. Paul was a good preacher. Ok, maybe. (See 2 Corinthians 10:10 for those who didn’t think so.) He was, without question, a great “pray er”. Never questioning the sincerity of the Ephesian’s salvation, he pressed them forward by praying for them the next blessing and the next in God’s magnificent plan! Preaching the truth is not enough. We must pray people forward.
RE Verse reading–Luke 11:1-13; Luke 18:1-8 (day seven)
“Will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones who CRY to him day and night?” (18:7) “And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down on the ground.” (Luke 22:44) Prayer, for Jesus, was a kind of death. Painful. Physically exhausting. It will be the same for us, I believe. A death to impatience as we wait on God, a death to pride as we depend on His power, a death to dishonesty as we openly confess our sins. I labor, sometimes, under the false expectation that the spiritual life should be convenient and easy, accessible even to the most casually interested applicant. It was not so for Jesus and unlikely to be so for those of us who love Him and want to share His Spirit. Easy? No. Powerful? Yes. “It is in dying that we are born to eternal life”–St. Francis
Re: Verse reading–Ezekiel 37:1-14 (day two)
So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stoop up on their feet. Ezekiel 37:10
Is there a better description of salvation than this passage? The imagery throughout is vivid and tangible. Everyone of us has seen a skeleton and we all recognize that it is about as far from life as you can be. How different is that from our own lives before God breathes into us His Spirit? We are wasting away with no true life in us. All of us are a shell waiting to be filled, and canvas with no paint. Then a miracle happens, God by his own design and mercy breathes life into us, and we can then stand and have substance where there was none before. Aren’t you thankful for Ezekiel obedience to prophesy to skeletons? As you look out into the world consider how very similar it is to that valley of bones. But there is a breath of life waiting to give us all flesh.