Scripture: “I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. Luke 12:8 NIV
Observation: God wants us to let the world know that we love Him and aren’t afraid to admit it.
Application: The hardest part of being a Christian is living as a Christian. We put off our old self and put on the new–except when we’re with this group or those peolpe. It’s been said that being a Christian is the easiest thing in the world and it’s the hardest thing. All we have to do is acknowledge that Christ is God, He died for our sins, and He rose three days later to reign from heaven–that’s the easy part. Now we have to live like we believe it–that’s the hard part. We have to love others just like He loves us. Love those who hate us and want to love them to Christ. This isn’t easy and we can’t do it alone. God knows that. That’s why we have the Holy Spirit. He is our petitioner, our protector, and our guide. We have but to call on Him through prayer to give us the right attitude to be the Christian that we should be. When all else fails, call on the Lord.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for giving us the Holy Spirit as our protector and guide. You know that we can’t do Christianity alone. Thank you for providing a way that we can be strong when we are weak. Amen
Scripture: “Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.” Luke 11:43 NIV
Observation: Pomp and ceremony, the adoration of others, all of the best that could be had, those were the things that were important to the religious leaders of whom Jesus spoke.
Application: I don’t know what to write today without becoming offensive. I have many aspects, good and bad, of many congregations of today, flying around in my head. To call any one out could and would be hypocritical of me–me personally. There are churches that are more interested in their appearance in their community than winning souls for Christ; more interested in carpet and stained glass than ministering to their neighborhoods. Who am I to criticize? I am them–I am the church. I too have been given a great commission from the Lord. What have I done with my charge? As I write this I realize that not until I started this daily devotion and sharing had I done much of anything to reach out to others for Christ. I’ve always been pretty content to set back and be a Pharisee, enjoy a little bit of church without having to put myself too far out there. I’d attend, I’d fix s thing or two, here and there, but I wouldn’t really try to do more, to become more involved, to go further out on a limb for the Lord. I know that I’ll never be a Billy Graham, God doesn’t want me to be, He already has one of those. God wants me to be willing. Willing to listen to Him and share a truth now and then. Willing to go out on a limb for Him. The truth is if we aren’t careful we will all neglect our calling, our great commission, and we will become very much like the Pharisees. I pray that I am no longer like a Pharisee.
Prayer: Father, forgive me for being a Pharisee. Put it on my heart to desire to reach out to others with your truth. Amen
Scripture: I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. Psalm 6:6 NIV
Observation: The Psalmist is experiencing great distress and crying out to the Lord.
Application: King David was in anguish. He was tired and his enemies were many, real enemies that wanted to kill him. I don’t know the exact reason for David’s distress, what exactly was going on at that time in his life, but I do know that when he was at his lowest he turned to the Lord; “…for the Lord has heard my weeping. The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.” Psalm 6:8b,9 David turned to the Lord when he was at his lowest and he received comfort. We can see that when it feels like there is no hope, when all is lost, when we are on our last leg, we have but to call on the Lord and He will comfort us and give us the strength to continue.
Prayer: Father, thank you for being my strength. When I’m weak, you are strong for me. Help me to be an encourager to guide others to you for their strength when they are weak. Amen
Scripture: He replied, “You give them something to eat.” Luke 9:13 NIV
Observation: Jesus’ words to the disciples are words to us as well.
Application: Jesus was literally telling his disciples to feed a multitude of townspeople. His words to us are to figuratively feed, “therefore go and make disciples of all nations” Matthew 28:19a. We are to share the word with those in our sphere of influence. We are to mentor young Christians as they grow in their faith. We are to grow in our faith and as we grow we are to guide others to the Lord. We are to lean on the Lord for our strength and teach others to do the same. We are to spread the word, the “good news” of Christ. Go feed the world.
Prayer: Father, help us to carry out our great commission. Help us to feed the world your gosple. Amen
Scripture: For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Luke 8:17 NIV
Observation: God knows and sees all. He knows before you even admit. He’s the ultimate lawyer–without the lying!
Application: Wow, how many times do I grumble, lust, act hatefully, or just plain hate, and then think “Oh how clever am I?, I can sin and get away with it. All I have to do is repent?” God will not be mocked and my sin/repent, sin/repent act can wear a little thin. God deserves better from me than a little worldliness here, a little God there. This is difficult for me to write because that scripture convicts me. I struggle with much sin in my life and always seem to sin knowing God will forgive–that’s dangerous! I (we) must intentionally put God’s desire for my (our) life ahead of my (our) own worldly urges. James 4:7, “submit to God, RESIST the devil, and he will flee from you.”. That scripture must become part of my (our) being, my (our) character. I (we) owe it to God and to myself (ourselves).
Prayer: Father, help me to put James 4:7 into my heart and help me to make it part of who I am. Forgive me for the sorry Christian that I truly am. Amen
Scripture: “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. Luke 6:32 NIV
Observation: We are to love our enemies.
Application: As I write this the local news is on. A story about the killing of Dr. Tiller has just run. This passage speaks to me of the hatred for his enemy which drove Reoder to murder being in direct contrast to the Lord’s teaching. While abortion is wrong–the punishment for that crime is the Lord’s to give, not ours. Our responsibility is to pray for Tiller’s heart change, not ending his life.
Prayer: Father, help me to love those who hate you and me. Amen
Scripture: I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”. Genesis 12:3 NIV
Observation: God’s people are a gift to the world. We are not to be of the world but we are to be a blessing to the world.
Application: I have a responsibility to everyone that I meet to be the face of God to them. Help me to remember to be that face in humbleness.
Prayer: Lord, help me to be the Christian that you expect me to be in this world. Amen