NOTHING!

Re: Verse reading–Romans 6 (day two)

What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? vs. 21

In the margin of my bible next to this underlined verse I have written one word…NOTHING!

That is the sum total of what I have gained from the things in my life that distract me from God’s grace. When I look back at those things which would continue to cloud my vision were it not for the Holy Spirit, I marvel at why or how I let it cloud my vision in the first place. Where do those things/choices lead. Paul answers that question in verse 23 pretty clearly…death. So why do we allow them to continue to wage a war against all that we know to be true. If they only promise death where is the value? Perhaps this is how we should treat any stray thought or temptation. Pray that God give you the wisdom to recognize those things for what they really are…NOTHING.

Both/And

Re:Verse reading–Romans 2:1-29 (day five) 

Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?  Many people have inaccurate pictures or views of God.   1) God is a “wise and loving patriarchal figure” (grandfather in the sky) filled with wisdom and knowledge, but not actively engaged in the lives of His children. He won’t challenge or confront sin, idleness, or apathy.   He’s too loving to do that sort of thing. 2) He’s a “genie in a bottle” ready to answer and fulfill all our requests and petitions at a moments notice.

Each of God’s character traits (Love, Kindness, Sovereignty, Righteousness, Holiness, etc.) exist for the purpose of His Glory AND our good. They both go together. To separate them is poor theology at best, and manipulative theology at worst. John Stott says, “For God’s kindness leads us towards repentance. That is its goal. It is intended to give us space in which to repent, not to give us an excuse for sinning.”

We must seek to find and understand both God’s Glory and our good as we worship, follow, serve, and grow.

Faithful Friends

Re: Verse reading–Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 1 Samuel 20:1-17, 27-42 (day four) 

A friend is one who encourages and enables you to do God’s will for your life.  Sometimes it can be costly.  Jonathan was a true friend to David.  He did everything he could to enable David to fulfill God’s plan for his life…even though it came at great personal cost.  When God places a friend in your life and a need arises for them, we must go to God and ask what we can do to help.  Instead of looking at the drain on our time, energy, or finances, we need to come alongside them to enable them to accomplish God’s plan.  Ask God why He has put you in this place and what He wants you to do.  Maybe God has already placed resource in your life to assist.  Maybe you have been through circumstances that have given you insight and wisdom to pass along to them.  Whatever the cost, we must be faithful and loyal to our friends.

Obedience

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.