Re:Verse reading–Romans 5:1-11 (day two) …how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! vs. 10
We’re not worthy. Really bad movie quote from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, but the sentiment is accurate. This is especially true when you consider the first part of that verse. “For if, when we were God’s ENEMIES, we were reconciled to him through the death of his son,”.
It is sobering to think that we will not be worthy of our own power, but it is also freeing. There is no class system in this kind of government. This kind of justice levels the playing field for everyone. The “earning” of salvation has already been taken care of by Christ on the cross. Our call is to live under that authority. Everything that follows is an opportunity to show how God continues to work through our unworthiness.
Are you trying to prove how good you are? What if you’re not, but God is? What if, rather, you openly and continually gave thanks to God for loving you in spite of your brokenness. He loved you first, might as well meet him on his terms.
Re: Verse reading–2 Corinthians 5:11-21; 1 Peter 3:15-16; Colossians 4:2-6 (day four) It is for love of Christ…He died for us…He brought forgiveness and life through His resurrection. Because of His work, we are new. Everything in our lives is new as a result of His work of reconciliation. By faith, we trust Him…receive forgiveness…and become ambassadors for Christ. Ambassadors are sent by one sovereign to represent him in another country. Christ has sent us to tell of his work of reconciliation here on earth. Galatians 2:20 says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Out of reverence to Christ, we walk in a manner worthy of Him. As His ambassador, we must represent Him accurately to the world. Are you living a crucified life?
Re: Verse reading–1 Samuel 16:1-7; Psalm 139 (day two)
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” Psalm 139:7
Have you ever heard someone speak about a relationship being smothering? Someone might lament that the relationship can be suffocating, and that they need space. So why is the text from Psalm 139 so comforting? Post-modern thought would not support the idea of a relationship that is so comprehensive, and yet the Christian finds great peace in knowing the Lord is already where they have ever thought about going. Consider the third verse to the beloved hymn Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing:
O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be! Let Thy grace, Lord, like a fetter, bind my wand’ring heart to Thee: Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love; Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.
The second half of the verse answers why such strong language is needed in the first half. Knowing that God is all around us helps us find freedom in yoking ourselves to his perfect will. Left alone we wander, bound to him we are sealed.
(Shameless Dad moment ahead)
A God that knows us, forms us, and knits us together is certainly worthy of our allegiance.
Re: Verse reading–John 10:1-21 (day seven)
“I am the good shepherd”–v 14.
He was a brilliant leader, not shy about declaring the truths that govern all leaders. Notice that He didn’t speak any of the trite clichés that are often communicated. He didn’t say that we don’t need a shepherd (that we were semi-autonomous and self-sufficient). He didn’t say that the “church” is always right (that if a person has an official title he/she should be trusted and obeyed without question). He claimed that He was the GOOD shepherd of His people and that all those who come after Him in any capacity of leadership are qualified only in so far as they are like Him in concern and courage. The GOOD shepherd is the standard of measure for all other leaders! “The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching”—1 Timothy 5:17. HWJL? How would Jesus lead?
Re: Verse reading–1 Timothy 3:1-13 (day two)
Above reproach, good reputation, worthy of respect, sincere, tested, trustworthy…Paul states from the beginning that a desire to lead the church is a noble task. It is one that not all of us will be called to do. Don’t you wish we used similar criteria for how we choose our civic leaders? No where in this passage does Paul say anything about their ideology, except to say they must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith. That doesn’t read “believes exactly like I do” or “subscribes to the party to which I always support”. Paul has faith that if we appoint men of sound faith, they will be guided by the spirit and use the mind that God has given them to discern the best path forward. Is this the litmus test you use in selecting your leaders? Should it be?
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 4:1-16 (day seven)
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love”–v 2.
When Paul talks about a life that is worthy of God’s calling, humility is the first virtue on his list. Is it first on ours? Do we see the insult that our pride is to God, the disruption it causes in our fellowship? Paul calls for humility–the willingness to take a low position, a thankless task. He speaks of gentleness–a broken spirit that does God’s will without protest or pouting. He names patience — “long suffering”, not quitting when a task or relationship gets difficult. He calls for us to bear with others–to give grace when people are flawed and selfish. He insists on love–“if I have not love, I am nothing” he will say in 1 Corinthians 13. Strange isn’t it? Most of us, apart from Paul’s help, would have a different priority. But, for people of the Spirit, humility is first.
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 4:1-16 (day six) God is worthy.
“Worthy to receive glory and honor and power”—Revelation 4:11.
The nature of God makes giving to Him a moral and reasonable activity. He deserves what we give Him. Time. Attention. Offerings. Praise. He is worthy to receive it! If He is worthy to receive, however, we must be (become) worthy to give. In Ephesians 4, Paul urges such preparation of heart. “I urge you, therefore, to live a life worthy of the calling you have received”—v 1. All of grace, but without the despair that none of us can now be what He desires or deserves, the Bible calls us to become servants of the Most High, reflecting in our own choices and character the wisdom and worth of the One who called us to Himself. God is worthy of having worthy people bringing worthy gifts. “Who can ascend into the hill of the Lord?. . .He that has clean hands and a pure heart.”—Psalm 24:3
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 4:1-16 (day five) There must always be a close relationship between Theology and Biography in the Christian Faith. What we do must be a reflection of what we believe. What we believe must be reflected in what we do. Paul shifts from Theology in chapters 1-3 (deep meaningful images, metaphors, and doctrinal statements) to Biography in chapter 4.
Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Seems the type of believers Paul has in mind are those who study, understand, and process the deep rich and mysterious truths of the Scripture, yet “walk” and act in a manner that makes them easily approachable and highly relational.
Keeping a “sound” Theology and a “worthy” Biography together will take discipline, determination, and God’s grace.
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 4:1-16 (day one)
It is a popular devotional book. Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young, is a collection of 1st person words from Christ to the believer. (At least the author’s idea.) It rests on a clear biblical conviction that the Lord calls/commands us and that hearing and obeying His voice is the key to life! “Today, if you hear my voice, do not harden your hearts”–Hebrews 4:7. “Now faith comes through hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ”–Romans 10:17. After 3 chapters of intense and glorious doctrinal instruction, Paul turns to application. “What must I DO, Lord?” he urges us to ask, and his first application focus is for us to recognize the voice of Christ and respond to it with obedient faith. Verse 1 reads (literally), “I CALL you to walk in a manner worthy of the CALLING with which you have been CALLED.” Christian friend, do you hear His voice? His direction? As you do, will you obey?
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.