Tuesday, April 20, 2021

April 20 – Wrath and Mercy

“O Lord, I have heard the report of you, and your work, O Lord, do I fear. In the midst of the years revive it; in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy.” – Habakkuk 3:2 (ESV)

The book Habakkuk is one of the “Minor Prophets” in the Old Testament. Not minor is significance or message but in size. Some believe that Habakkuk wrote the book in two phases which he joined together. Chapters 1 & 2 record the prophet’s dialogue with God. Habakkuk questioned God regarding His method and purposes for Israel. The note at the end of chapter 3, identifies that it is written in the form of a psalm to be sung with stringed musical instruments. The prophet knew of God’s past dealings with Israel – by hearing and learning. He personally experiences an awe-filled respect at the power of God. He also uses this knowledge of God’s previous dealings to make a twofold petition. He calls on God to revive His way with Israel. He calls on God to make it known that even in His wrath, His mercy. He requests that God allow his mitigating mercy (cf. Ex. 34:6; Lk. 1:54). This is our promise: for both wrath and mercy are part of God’s nature. God loves us even when we have strayed from Him and turned our backs on His word. He will not turn His back on us.


Monday, April 19, 2021

April 19 – Penetrating Question

“Yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, And makes me walk on my high places.” -  Habakkuk 3:18-19 (NASB)

Our verse comes from the book of Habakkuk. We find promises that are apropos to our times. On today’s social media, we may encounter a good deal of complaining about how “things aren’t how they used to be or should be.” And the appeal of many is “How do we get back to the way it was?” This was the prophet Habakkuk’s complaint. Sin was abounding (just as today) and God seemed both indifferent and idle to Habakkuk. He questions if it was God who was to blame? “Why do You make me look at injustice?” (Habakkuk 1:3 NASB) He doubles down with an even greater question for God: “Why do You tolerate wrong?” (Habakkuk 1:13 NASB) Does this sound like the cry of many modern Christians?. “Why is God allowing the destruction of our country?” Mostly we blame the other side of the political divide. Habakkuk describes dire circumstances (v.16-17) for himself and Israel.  But he doesn’t state that he would merely endure this distress. He sets our example and said he would rejoice in the Lord and be joyful. God is the inexhaustible source and infinite supply of joy. God my Savior is literally, “the God of my salvation.”


Sunday, April 18, 2021

April 18 – Don’t Weave on The Path

“Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble,  and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is impaired may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.” -  Hebrews 12:12 (NASB)

The unusual visual of the language in our verse is drawn from a prophecy given in Isaiah 35. This is a picture of what will happen for the believers when the Lord comes again. The next sentence encourages those who are discouraged to ‘Be strong and don’t be afraid. This is a common experience – weak hands and feeble knees – especially as we get older. But even the young have weak faith and drooping arms with week knees. How are we to strengthen our hands and knees? Listen to the author’s encouragement as a coach. There is more of the race left to run, it is not the time to allow weakness and feebleness so, don’t quit yet. Take care to watch where we are walking and follow the path that is level. God will make our path straight (Proverbs 3:6). Throughout our lives we have choices of which paths we will walk. If we make sure to take the level path or to make our way level and straight, then all our ways will be sure (Proverbs 4:26-27). As we walk we are told to not swerve back and forth. No flip-flopping. And, very important, let’s turn away from evil. 


Saturday, April 17, 2021

April 17 – Discipline Builds Discipline

“It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?”  - Hebrews 12:7  (NASB)

Discipline is a two-way street. Every true believer in Jesus receives opportunity to grow through the discipline God sends our way and thrive in spiritual growth, stronger faith, and increasing knowledge of God.  Other’s buck against it and end up going the other way. They refuse to learn the lessons God gives them, causing them to miss the blessing and benefit. In times of adversity, says the author of Hebrews, keep in mind that all our setbacks come from God; He is training us in godliness because He has accepted us as sons and daughters in His eternal family. He wants the very best for us. The difficulties we encounter are blessings in disguise, for behind our difficulties stands a loving Father who is giving us what is best. As God’s children, then, we must always look beyond our trials and realize that God himself is at work in their lives training us to trust Him. Discipline that reproves teaches us to have character that is disciplined. It is a sign of God’s parentage of us. It is a confirmation God really loves us for whom He loves, He reproves and discipline. When disciplined, let’s repent and be zealous. 


Friday, April 16, 2021

April 16 – Rooted In Love

“He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,” – Ephesians 3:16 (NASB)

The Apostle Paul often wrote long complex sentences and this verse is a bit from one of those times. Though the prayer for the Ephesian believers begins in verse 14 and ends in verse 19, Paul’s request is in verse 16. In this prayer he asked for only one thing: His petition in this prayer is that we be strengthened in the inner man. The result of this is that through faith Christ dwells in our hearts. “Dwell” is not a word used frequently in our day but in this passage Paul is praying for our faith to be dwelling in our hearts and permeating our whole being (personalities). “Dwell” refers not to the beginning of Christ’s indwelling at the moment of salvation. Instead it denotes the desire that Christ may, literally, “be at home in,” our lives. That is, dwelling at the very center of and deeply rooted within our being. It is a promise, if we let Him, that Christ becomes the dominating factor in our thought (attitudes), words (speech), and deeds (conduct). Being rooted and grounded in love is for our understanding the awesome extent of Christ’s love.


Thursday, April 15, 2021

April 15 – Really, We Can

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13 (ESV)

For some this may be a very familiar verse. In fact many lean on this verse for help in many things. However, to understand the truth, we need to know that this verse has nothing to do with: winning at sports, career goals, being a title-holder, increased self-esteem.  This verse has to do with endurance and contentment in all circumstances and outcomes. Whether in the midst of suffering or in the heat of life’s battles, Paul affirms that God is his source of strength to not despair but to be faithfully content. Having experienced both the lows and the highs in serving God’s will (v. 12), Paul knew the secret of facing any and all circumstances, enduring times of abundance and need. He can do this and face all things God allows to come his way. This is the promise Paul had and that we have also. What he is saying is “I have the ability to deal with any kind of material circumstance because of my spiritual strength.” This includes any kind of trial that brings suffering, any kind of want that stretches our faith. Abundance or need results in our contentment because of God’s Strength. 


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

April 14 – The Sting Is Gone

“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” – 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NASB)

Our promise today is found in the last verse of  1 Corinthians fifteen. It continues instructions Paul gave in the first verses of the chapter (1 Corinthians 15:1-2). Where we are spiritually depends on what we are taught and learn and then choose to believe. The gospel Paul had preached in Corinth (1 Corinthians 2:1–2) had not changed; but he feared that along with the declension in the church regarding the message of Christ crucified and its implication for believers, the same was happening with regard to the message of Christ resurrected. False teachers work for our enemy Satan to turn people away from the truth of Jesus’s resurrection. For the proof Christ is who He claims to be is His resurrection. So the enemies will always attempt to deny the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul had clearly stated the case for Christ’s resurrection and that if He did not rise from the dead our faith in Him would be useless. But his resurrection is true. Christ did not stay in the grave. He conquered the sting and power of death for all who believe. He secured our victory over death so that what we do for Christ’s Gospel is not in vain.