Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 1 (day two)
In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (13-14)
This has always been one of my favorite passages of scripture. The promise of eternity invested in us. Nothing that we have done can either claim it or lose it. It has been sealed by the Spirit so that we are marked for eternity.
We have all done some sort of financial planning for our future; whether it be for our retirement or for our posterity. We look for things that say-great return on your investment, or guaranteed pay out after x number of years. We want security. We have worked long to be able to provide for ourselves and our families.
God’s investment was the eternal kind. One we could never afford, and one we can never lose. Isn’t that an encouragement?
Re: Verse reading – Romans 10:8-15; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 (day one)
“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:15, also Isaiah 52:7) Beautiful feet–isn’t that an oxymoron? Maybe so in an appearance-focused world. Not so if feet symbolize efforts made (walking, riding a plane, planning a broadcast, starting a Sunday School class etc.) to bring the Word of God to people who need it. None of us intuitively knows how to be saved. We are in darkness until the Lord reveals His character and makes our required response clear. God’s chosen method for revealing Himself is to send a witness. “You will be my witnesses when the Holy Spirit comes upon you” says the Lord. (Acts 1:8) “From faith to faith” (Romans 1:17) describes the gradual growth of God’s truth–one person who believes tells another who does not yet believe. When we do it faithfully, those who hear are likely to say, “Man, I never saw anything more beautiful than your feet!”
Re: Verse reading – Psalm 103; Luke 17:11-19 (day seven)
“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”–1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. A week of reading Luke 17 has pressed an important question to the surface of my soul. Am I grateful? Am I one of the nine (the percentages are sobering) who receive from God and immediately rush back to life as I desire it to be? What of the Giver? Don’t I have some obligation to Him? The New Testament describes a new race of people who are ALIVE to the goodness of God. Even in suffering. Happy people. Unconquered. “So they went their way. . .rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame in His name.”—Acts 5:41. “And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”—Acts 13:52. Am I one of these people? I WANT TO BE! Lord helping, I will be. Starting today. It is His will for me.
Re: Verse reading–Psalm 103, Luke 17:11-19 (day four) The psalmist is grateful to God for His bountiful blessing. Verse 11 says, “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His loving kindness toward those who fear Him.” David is expressing gratefulness for God’s mercy and forgiveness of sin. When did God forgive our sin? It was at Calvary…many years after David wrote these words. David was expressing gratefulness for God’s promise of forgiveness as if it had already happened. David understood an important truth…God’s promises are sure! We too can count on God’s promises, just as if they had already occurred. We can give thanks for the hope He has given us…we can give thanks for the promise that He will never leave us or forsake us…we can give thanks for the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. God’s promises go on and on. With so much to be grateful for, we can spend the rest of our lives praising and thanking God.
Re: Verse reading–Psalm 24:1-6; Ephesians 5:1-16 (day six)
“Do not let immorality or any impurity or greed be NAMED among you.” (Ephesians 5:3) Does Paul seem concerned with the reputation of the Ephesian church? Do Christians have some responsibility to manage how we are perceived? When the subject is sin, the answer is yes. Immorality and impurity and greed (three words describing the same subject) in the lives of individual believers it is a bad thing. The hurtful rumor in the community that the church is tolerant of it or afraid to confront it is worse. All of us have been baptized “in the NAME of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” When His Name is at stake, we must act with intelligence and courage. “But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who . . .leads people astray, so that they commit acts of immorality.” (Revelation 2:20) Lord, make us tender with sinners but fierce defenders of your Name.
Re: Verse reading – Luke 11:1-13; 18:1-8 (day two)
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?
Even in our flawed state we know how to treat someone who is persistent in their requests. If this is the case for us, how much more will this be true for the Father when he hears us consistently pray as we should. He has given us the pattern, and commanded us to follow. Won’t you?
Re: Verse reading–Proverbs 17:17; 1 John 4:7-21 (day four)
To know God is to obey Him…to become like Him. There are some who believe that when Christ sets them free, they are free to do whatever they want. Not so! When Christ sets us free, we are free to live a holy and righteous life. Before…we could not live like that. Sin prevented us from righteousness. Now, when we are in Christ, we can become more like Him. Through the Holy Spirit working in our lives, our character matures into Christlikeness. God is love. When we abide in Him, love becomes a hallmark…a badge of identification…in our lives. We can love, because He first loved us. Love is not an option for the believer. Romans 6:18 says, “And having been set free from sin, you become slaves of righteousness.” As slaves of righteousness, we must allow God’s love to work in us. You have been set free to love…exercise your freedom!
Re: Verse reading–2 Chronicles 20:1-4, 13-15; Matthew 6:16-18; Acts 13:1-3 (day five)
14 Then in the midst of the assembly the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah
I have heard it many times already this week as we’ve been at camp- teenagers that have had a clear unmistakable “word” or insight from The Lord. (I will sit at breakfast this morning with another one- He’s wants to “talk”) It always amazes them when it happens. It’s a reminder to me (hopefully us) that when you peel away many of the stresses, pressures, activities, responsibilities, and distractions that compete for our heart’s attention and affection, the still small voice of the Holy Spirit becomes louder, stronger and more recognizable. It’s a discipline that must be repeated and recaptured often. Fasting is one way to facilitate the possibility. The result is the sweetest thing we could hope to hear and understand- the voice of the Living God speaking into the human heart!!
I wrote yesterday of the kingdom being global and governmental. Today, I hope you will think of it in terms that are personal and moral. To sincerely pray, “Thy kingdom come”, a believer must embrace the “daily dictatorship” of the Holy Spirit. (Alan Redpath) If the kingdom is not based on democracy, and it isn’t, then the Christian life is an example of the “world that will be”. We are living in the future now! “Those who are being led by the Spirit are the sons of God”.(Romans 8:14) Contrary to my expectations, the LORD does not consult with me re. His decisions or my assignments. He commands. I follow. How strange! How exciting! The kingdom of God established on earth one surrendered soul at a time. You in?