Wednesday, October 21, 2020

October 21 – Being Loved First, to Love

“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19.” (ESV, NASB)

Our promise in the very short verse is profound.  Let’s think about this. Before we ever experienced love of any measure in our hearts, God loved us.  He loved us first before we were ever able to love Him or each other. We believe that if God did not first love us, we would not be capable of love. In verse eight just a bit before this one we read “God is love.” And we learn that we cannot claim to know God if we do not love. In fact, chapter four covers how the love of God is the source and means for us to love God and others. Those who do not know God believe they can love others, but not with the love God has for us. The love that reflects the life of Christ Jesus who loved us so much He submitted to the cross and death for us. “We love, because he first loved us.” Or, “We love because he first, loved us.” Different emphasis but same truth. God so loved all the world He gave His only Son for us to know and love with the love that He loved us. The only way.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

October 20 – Grieving for Grief

“Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:30 (NASB)

When we came to believe in Christ Jesus as our Savior and by faith and grace we were adopted into God’s family, God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit came to dwell in our heart. We have God with us at all times because He lives in us this way. It is very easy to grieve Him. Sin is as easy as it is wicked and when we sin by thought or action, by commission or omission, God’s Spirit cannot bear it – we have grieved the Holy Spirit. He grieves with sorrow for us because He knows the distress and grief these wrongdoings will cause us in our soul. Our promise: it is by the Holy Spirit we are sealed for the day of redemption. Such grace and love from God are given to us without measure. C. H. Spurgeon preached, “Again, if we neglect prayer; if our closet door is cobwebbed; if we forget to read the Scriptures; if the leaves of our Bible are almost stuck together by neglect; if we never seek to do any good in the world; if we live merely for ourselves and not for Christ, then the Holy Spirit will be grieved.”*

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*Spurgeon, C. H., Sermon No. 278  (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 289). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications. 

Monday, October 19, 2020

October 19 – Ever Before to Ever More

“Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” Psalm 90:1-2 (ESV)

Our promise today is one that is beyond our ability to fully understand on this side of heaven. This is a prayer of Moses. This is a tremendous promise to meditate on. From eternity past, which has no beginning, God has been the dwelling place of all who believe. This was true before God formed the earth in creation. It is difficult for us to comprehend how our position in God began before He created the world. But it is true as God is from everlasting (eternity past) to everlasting (eternity future). We may find it strange to speak of ‘past’ and ‘future’ in respect to eternity for it is a concept that has no beginning and no end and just is. Time and the marking of time is a part of the creation of God and began when the World was created. God gave us this because as yet our understanding is incapable of really processing the truth that God has always been without beginning and will always be without end. But we can rejoice that we will be with him just as in His planning we have been with him from before the foundation of the world. 

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Sunday, October 18, 2020

October 18 – It’s All From Him

“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.”  Acts 17:24-25  (ESV)

Understanding context is important. When the apostle Paul spoke these words he was in Athens, Greece.  He was standing on the Areopagus (Romans called it Mars Hill). This is where the Athenian supreme tribunal and “court of morals” was held.  Paul has been invited to speak to the wise ones. Today we look at a bit of what he said and a couple of promises which Paul was proclaiming to the Athenians.  First, God made the world and everything in it. Temples made by human hands were not where God lives. The same is true today. We worship God in buildings and we might call them God’s House but God’s House is all of Creation. We also think of the things we do as a means of providing what God needs. But the promise is that He Himself provides for us and He needs nothing from us. God has no needs. God calls us to worship Him, to give glory to Him and His Name, to Praise Him, to Love Him and His Word, and to Obey His commandments. We need to do those things and others out of obedience and not out of God’s need of them. 

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Saturday, October 17, 2020

October 17 – All God’s People

“I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.”  Jeremiah 32:40  (ESV)

Jeremiah was God’s prophet to the His people Israel during the time of their captivity in Babylon.  However he prophesied in Jerusalem and had foretold of Israel’s defeat and captivity by King Nebuchadnezzar. His prophecies were intended promises for Israel.  But they have value to us as well. It is Israel who God made a promise of an everlasting covenant with Israel – and He has made one with us through Christ Jesus when we believe on Him as our Savior. He promised Israel that He would not turn away from doing good to them – and He promises to do good for us also by giving us an inheritance with Him in Christ Jesus through the Holy Spirit. God promised to make for the people of Israel hearts that did not turn away from Him – We have that promise reserved for us in heaven. There is coming a day when our faith in His word and in Him will be perfect. This promise becomes real in Jesus who is our Good Shepherd who lays down His life for us. (John 10:15-18). The church is not Israel but we have God’s grace and his love. We are counted among His own.

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Friday, October 16, 2020

October 16 – Be-Aware of Wolves

“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.  Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues,  and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.”  Matthew 10:16-18 (ESV)

Jesus, after identifying the twelve and commissioning them as apostles, prepares to send them out on a mission trip.  He gave them authority over demons, disease, and sickness. He instructs them where and to whom they are to go and what they are to preach. “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons,” were His instruction. After additional instructions Jesus gives them a warning. They would encounter sever resistance as they preached that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. Jesus is sending them into the middle of wolves.  He predicts that they would be arrested, charged, and punished in the synagogues. In verse five He had said to not go to Gentiles or Samaritans but only to the Jews. But we see in his warning in verse eighteen that his prophecy of resistance reached beyond this one mission trip. It would cover any and all such missions for Christ and the Kingdom. Preach the gospel and you will be hated and hunted. Gentiles would become part of the resistance to the gospel. These predictions are promises for us as well. We should expect and not avoid resistance when preaching and teaching the Word of God. 

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Thursday, October 15, 2020

October 15 – Our Forever Priest

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”  Hebrews 4:15 (ESV)

The word ‘priest’ is very common in our vernacular. It can conger up many different ideas if it is not defined for the context where we find it. Perhaps we think mostly of those in service to the Roman Catholic or Anglican churches. The priests are those authorized to perform the sacred rites of their religion. In the Old Testament when the Law of Moses was given to the People of Israel, priests were established to be the ones who performed the required sacrifices and offerings people brought. Our verse today has for us the promise that we who believe have a high priest who is Jesus Christ. He offered Himself as the finale sacrifice for sin. In Hebrews 5:5-6 we learn that it was God the Father who called His Son and declared Him to be a Priest Forever (Psalm 110:4). Jesus became our perfect High Priest who lived a life like ours in a form like ours and was himself tempted many times in many ways. His sacrifice of Himself was accepted by the Father and authenticated by His resurrection from the dead. With direct access by the Holy Spirit, we need no other priest.

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