Re: Verse reading–2 Corinthians 5:11-21; 1 Peter 3:15-16; Colossians 4:2-6 (day six)
What will you say? Will your words be full of grace? Will they bring life to the listener? Will they encourage, inspire, and illuminate? Will they be preceded with intention and readiness? Will they be thoughtful? And will they make the listener stop and think? Or raise a few eye brows? Or maybe even waken a heart or two? Will they be fresh, different, and hopeful? Will your words make much of Jesus, or much of yourself? Will they draw attention to what He has done? Your words, will they be beautiful? Will they be true? What will you say when they ask of you, “why so hopeful? What’s got into you?”
Will your words be like salt?
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22-25; 1 Timothy 6:1-2; Titus 2:9-11 (day six)
“…so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.” Titus 2:10
The Gospel changes both how we think about work and how we do work. Certainly God provides us good work as a means to meet our basic needs, but work also transcends a paycheck. The reality is that God uses our work to both sustain his creation and restore it. That is the work itself is more than a platform or place for ministry, but is a means through which God holds all things together and brings creation back in order. So, truthfully the Gospel restores work into its proper place, as a manifestation of being made in the image of God.
This reclaimed reality changes how we work. We begin to realize that work, either glamorous or mundane, serves God’s purposes; both farmers and lawyers are apart of God’s sustaining work in society. So work hard and with excellence, because you are indeed serving unto the Lord.
Re: Verse reading–Exodus 20:13-17; Leviticus 19:16-18; Zechariah 7:8-10; Matthew 5:13-16 (day six)
“And who is my neighbor?” he asked (Luke 10:29). That is a wonderful and honest question. It was honest because the lawyer asking Jesus wanted to know the limits of the second greatest commandment; surely it doesn’t mean for us to love everyone. It was a wonderful question because Jesus’ answer serves as a great reminder for us as to whom we are called to love in every day life.
Jesus uses a simple parable to say that even the least likely person is your neighbor. The one on the opposite side of the road. The one with opposing views. The one no one else will love. The bloodied. The violated. The poor. The ones we normally would try to avoid when we are too busy, or because their need is too great. The least likely person is our neighbor. Will we love our neighbor? Will we shine our light to our neighbor? I am willing to repent of lovelessness, and eager to learn how to love as I ought.
Re: Verse reading–Exodus 20:12; Luke 2:45-52; John 19:25-27 (day six)
Not sure if this is the case for everyone, but the word Obedience often has a negative connotation. In our culture, it can have the meaning of less then, subservient, or demeaned. “Subjecting yourself” is the very antithesis of the American Dream; we are told to “be true to yourself,” “do what you please,” “be subject to no one.”
The call to obedience is not a call to oppression and servitude. We don’t know much about Jesus’ childhood, but the Scriptures make one thing clear, he obeyed his parents. Of all kids, Jesus alone has the grounds to say, “no, dad.” He is the Son of God, he didn’t need Mary and Joseph bossing him around, and yet he “continued” to obey them.
The Scripture connects two truths when it comes to obeying parents, wisdom and love. Both the commandment and Jesus’ growth in wisdom teach us that it is not only right to obey parents, but there is wisdom to be had in it. Obedience is also an expression of love. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey me.”
Jesus obeyed his Father in heaven, by obeying Mary and Joseph. The call to obedience is not a call to be “less than who you are,” but rather by design to fulfill who you are to become.
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 5:21-33 (day six)
Marriage is an amazing thing. It is beautifully complex, and yet there is nothing as simple (or whole) as the number one, as in one flesh. From the beginning God makes it clear that marriage is not the cooperation of two individual parts but a oneness, two parts combining into one, becoming something new. Paul affirms this reality, and then amplifies it. He makes the case that when a husband and wife become one flesh something remarkable happens, they unveil the mystery of the Gospel.
Perhaps the greatest evangelistic message in your home is your marriage. Perhaps the mystery is even unveiled beyond the threshold of your home into the neighborhood, or the workplace. Could it be that God designed our marriages to powerfully portray His love for His church? Could it be that how you love your wife just might help your neighbor see and know the love of Jesus? Loving my wife (laying down my life for her) just became that much more important!
Re: Verse reading–1 Samuel 16:1-7; Psalm 139 (day six)
“You knew me thoroughly, my bones were not hidden from you… Examine me and probe my thoughts! Test me and know my concerns.” Psalm 139:14-15,23
You cannot know, relate to, or love yourself as you ought apart from God. Period. It is not that you are not capable of knowing the ongoings of your heart and mind, it is just that only God can provide proper perspective; he offers you the right view. Left to ourselves we see a distorted picture, a Picasso of the human self. We emphasize some things, and diminish others. We exaggerate; we are dishonest with ourselves. And enamored with what we can see with our eyes, we accommodate the expectations of the world by trying so hard to look the part. We idolize the outside with no consideration for the whole.
David asked God to search him (God needs no invitation), to shed light on who he really was, to offer the right perspective. Are you doing the same? Do you know yourself? Or is the world your guide? Run to Him, consume His Word, take a deep breath of the divine perspective, and you will see Him, and then see yourself. You cannot know yourself without God; anything else is a shallow facade.
Jesus told the Samaritan woman, “God is seeking worshippers who worship in Spirit and truth.” (John 4:23) We are those worshippers, and not of our own making, but God’s. In Jesus’ death we have forgiveness of sin for all time, but in the resurrected life of Jesus we find our righteousness. In other words God required more than forgiveness for us to be at “peace” with Him; He required a righteousness that forgiveness alone could not provide (Romans 4:25). God transferred the infinite and beautiful righteousness of His resurrected Son onto us, those who by faith rest in the Son. So our slate was not only wiped clean from past and future sin, but our sin was replaced with the righteousness of God’s Son! That jaw-dropping transfer gives us “peace” with God, giving us the privilege to come to God as worshippers.
And by the way, this is no tenuous peace, but a true peace. It is not like King Saul, who changed his relationship with David on a dime. David never knew what Saul he would encounter. An angry Saul? Friendly? Ally? Enemy? Not so with God. The resurrected life of Jesus affords us true everlasting peace with God; we can “boldly approach the throne of grace!” (Hebrews 4:16) God made that happen; He sought after you and made a way!