Scripture: I will exalt you, lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. Psalm 30:1 NIV
Observation: I have to go to drill today. That’s periodically reoccurring school for firemen to hone our skills. I’m old fashioned and my glory days as a strapping young fireman with all of the answers have long-since passed. To put it bluntly, all of us firemen nearing retirement need to hurry up and get there and get out of all of the young guy’s way. As I left for work today, Laurie prayed for me that the Lord would protect my crew and me as we are put through our paces. Psalm 30:1 confirmed for me that God heard her plea and I am protected, “…and did not let my enemies gloat over me.” Psalm 30:1b NIV Thank you Lord!
Application: I must accept the truth and carry on. I’ve done my job for many years. I know my job and I must trust in the knowledge and training that I’ve accumulated over the years to complete today’s exercises. Thank you Lord!
Prayer: Thank you Lord for having my back. I pray that I honor you today. Amen
Scripture: But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.
1 Corinthians 1:27-29 NIV
Observation: Paul explains how God uses the weak to humble the strong.
Application: This is how Jesus conducted his ministry. He always went to the wretched. He said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor…” Mark 2:17a NIV Jesus made the point that the weak in spirit need the Lord just like the elites. By ministering to them as the “high and mighty” leadership looked on he illustrated God’s plan to be all inclusive and to bring all men to himself through Christ.
Prayer: Father, thank you for wanting me so much that you sent Jesus. I pray that I am worthy of you and of Jesus’ sacrifice for me. Amen
Scripture: God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV
Observation: Jesus was the “once and for all” sacrifice to the Father for our sins. Not only that but then we became God’s righteousness. I didn’t really understand what that meant so I went to the “notes” section for guidance. I found a blog entry written by djbrey it is titled “Righteousness.” I think it does a fairly good job of putting “…righteousness of God” into perspective. It follows,
“The Bible tells us that after Jesus’ sacrifice at the cross, God imputes righteousness not to those who strive to obey the law (Galatians 2:16), but to anyone who believes in His Son. Because Christ took our sins and gave us His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21), the moment we believe in Him, God treats us as righteous apart from our works or obedience. (Romans 4:5-8) This is new covenant righteousness – a righteousness that comes by faith and not works.
You are not righteous because of how morally upright you are. You are not righteous because you exercise self-control. You are not righteous because you read 10 chapters of the Bible daily. You are not righteous because you feel righteous. But you are the very righteousness of God in Christ solely because the sacrifice of Jesus made you so. When you believe this, your faith is accounted for righteousness.
And this is what God wants you to use your faith for. If you are righteous by your deeds, you don’t need faith. You also don’t need faith to know that you are sinful. But you need faith to believe and declare that you are the righteousness of God in Christ, in the midst of your struggles with temptation and sin.”
Application: I’m going through terrible times in my job right now. Satan is attacking me and, quite frankly, “he’s beating the snot out of me!” I have to remember that no matter the struggles I go through in my professional life, Jesus died for me and that makes me righteous. I’m going to still have difficulties dealing with men but God’s love for me trumps those difficulties. I need to meditate on this truth and smile at Satan’s attacks. God’s righteousness–that’s powerful!
Prayer: Father, I thank you for Jesus. Help me to remember that his sacrifice makes me valuable to you and a target for Satan. Strengthen me as you and I fight against Satan’s schemes for my life. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
Scripture: For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. 1 Corinthians 1:17 NIV
Observation: Paul was charged with sharing the truth of Christ. I believe that he may not have been a well-spoken man. A stutter or slow speech may have been the thorn in his flesh. 2 Corinthians 12:7 says, “…or because of these surpassingly great revelations, [Paul’s revelations]. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, [and taking the focus off of Christ], I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.” Paul was highly educated and well versed in the scriptures. I believe that he had exceeding wisdom and with that wisdom he knew that if he excelled verbally in preaching and teaching he could become the focus–not Jesus. So that he would not be the object of worship I believe God may have given him his “thorn.” Paul had one ministry and that was to preach the gospel of Christ and he excelled at doing that in his writings. Of course, this is just my opinion but given today’s scripture it makes perfect sense to me.
Application: When we share Christ we need to be certain that he remains the focus–not us!
Prayer: Father, help me to share Christ and make sure that he is the object of worship. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
Scripture: They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ Mark 7:7 NIV
Observation: Jesus tells the Pharisees that their concern about his disciples eating without ceremonially washing first is hollow.
Application: Do I worship the Lord or do I try to follow the rules? My desire is to love the Lord with all of my heart but I fear that sometimes I settle for doing “A, B, C and D” instead. My Lord would prefer my deep love which leads to my following the rules as opposed to my following the rules to show the world that I’m a “Christian.” God deserves all of me not–just the surface.
Prayer: Father, help me to be completely yours. Your deserve that! I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
Scripture: Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) Genesis 13:10 NIV
Observation: Abrahm and Lot part company.
Application: As I read today I was initially struck by the fact that Lot knew what “the garden of the Lord,” Eden, looked like. I wasn’t really sure what lesson that fact would teach me so I decided to read on and ponder. As I continued to think about this passage I realized the obvious, Lot jumped at the chance to seize the “best” and let his uncle have the left-overs. How often do we do the same thing? Instead of asking for guidance from God, we latch onto what is the most pleasing at the moment only to find disaster in the end. Lot lost his family and his possessions because the “best” ended up being the worst and God destroyed it all in the end. Abrahm trusted God, took the left-overs and ended up being the father of God’s chosen people. We shouldn’t trust in our fleshly desires; just like Abrahm, we should trust in the Lord.
Prayer: Father, help me to rely on you and not on my earthly urges. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
Scripture: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 NIV
Observation: Words from Jesus.
Application: Laurie, this passage spoke to me for you this morning. I know that you’re tired and worn out, Jesus wants you to find the rest that you need in him. Don’t look to me, the kids, church or work, look to the Lord. I love you have a great day.
Prayer: Father, give Laurie rest, peace of mind and a calmness in her spirit as she rests in you. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6 NKJV
Scripture: Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 NIV
Observation: Happiness and joy when we face trials and tribulation? Yes, because of what is produced–perseverance which leads to maturity.
Application: I must pray for the strength to endure trials and hardships when they present themselves.
Prayer: Father, help me to withstand difficult times in my life when they occur. I desire the maturity which is promised. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
Scripture: Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 1 Timothy 1:15,16 NIV
Observation: Paul explains that God, through Christ, showed that the worst of sinners can be converted and he used his life as an example.
Application: I believe that my life can be an example too. I know how I’ve been and how I’ve behaved. If he can convert me, he can convert anyone. Thank you Lord.
Prayer: Father, thank you for giving me LIFE. I pray that I am worthy of your gift. Amen