Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Glory is coming...

Today's Readings: OT - 1 Chron. 29:1-9 / NT - Romans 8:1-27

"Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." -- Romans 8:17-18
Through the last two hundred years the majority of British monarchs have served in the military. Their service stretched from the American Revolution through World War Two. While they were officers, they were still involved in war, and the way to the throne was not easy. But, because they were heirs, the glory was theirs.

As children of the King of Kings, believers will share in his glory. Our path will lead us through the battles of spiritual warfare and the way may not be easy. As soldiers of the cross, we are called upon to serve our King with faithfulness in the darkest days of suffering. Yet, because we are heirs, the glory will be ours.

Just because you are a co-heir with Christ, doesn't mean the road to heaven will be paved with gold. The battles will be tough and the hardships many. But, remember my friend, "that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us". So, because we are heirs, the glory will be ours.

Think about this: "Think of yourself just as a seed patiently wintering in the earth; waiting to come up a flower in the Gardener's good time, up into the real world, the real waking. I suppose that our whole present life, looked back on from there, will seem only a drowsy half-waking. We are here in the land of dreams. But cock-crow is coming."
  ~ C. S. Lewis
Tomorrow's Readings: OT - 1 Chron. 29:10-30 / NT - Romans 8:28-39

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

A Relationship...

Today's Readings: OT - 1 Chron. 28 / NT - Romans 7

"So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God." -- Romans 7:4
A florist delivers flowers because of his job. A husband delivers flowers because of his love. The one fulfills his task out of obligation and the other out of devotion. Now, when the florist gives flowers to his wife his obligation ceases and his romance begins. The difference is a relationship.

The law was given to reveal the inability of man to fulfill his obligation to God. It was never meant to save his soul or enable him to bear spiritual fruit. In Christ we not only died to sin, but we also died to the law. Now we belong to the One who rose from the dead in order that we might bear fruit to God. The obligation has ceased and the romance has begun. The difference is a relationship.

Why do you strive to live a Godly life my friend? Is it because of legal expectations? This train left the station at Calvary and you now belong to Jesus with a loving devotion. Take him flowers of romance, not of obligation. Jesus said in John 14:15, "If you love me, you will obey what I command." The difference is a relationship.

Think about this: "Christian The difference is a relationship. is unlike every other kind of obedience. It is not the obedience of slaves or soldiers, but essentially the obedience of lovers who know, love and trust the person who issues the commands."
                                                      - John R. W. Stott
Tomorrow's Readings: OT - 1 Chron. 29:1-9 / NT - Romans 8:1-27

Monday, August 15, 2022

Broken Chains...

Today's Readings: OT - 1 Chron. 27:16-34 / NT - Romans 6

"What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?" -- Romans 6:1-2
In his book on Elephants, Gavin de Becker tells how young Elephants are held to a stake by strong chains until they no longer struggle. After a few months, the huge beast can be held in place by a slender rope. The animal is free to run, but the memory of strong resistance keeps him in place. The chains are gone, but the conduct is unchanged.

While such Elephant training may be a good thing for the sake of safety, the chains of sin have been removed with greater expectations. Paul reminds believers that we have died to sin and its power no longer holds us as slaves. Since we are united with Christ we may now live a new life in his resurrection power. Our chains are gone, so we our conduct should change.

Could it be true that believers still live in sin, making grace increase? Is it possible that while we have died with Christ, we don't live with him? The chains are broken and it's up to us to "count ourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus" (vs.11). Don't be like a well trained Elephant, held down to sinful living by a slender rope. The chains have been broken and you've been set free. Live for God and reap the benefits!!

Think about this: "True liberty consists only in the power of doing what we ought to will, and in not being constrained to do what we ought not to will."
                                            ~ Jonathan Edwards
Tomorrow's Readings: OT - 1 Chron. 28 / NT - Romans 7

Sunday, August 14, 2022

The Inner Drive...

Today's Readings: OT - 1 Chron. 26:20-27:15 / NT - Romans 5

"Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." -- Romans 5:3-4
The promises and hope of a new career can be easily dashed when challenges and struggles enter the picture. For some, the job is dumped and an easier path is chosen. But others will stay the course and grow through the hardships and become successful. It's all about an inner drive.

For the believer there is great joy in knowing that they have peace with God and are forgiven. But when sufferings come, and they will, how should they respond? They not only press on, but they rejoice in their sufferings finding spiritual qualities growing in their lives. All this is possible only through an inner drive... the Holy Spirit.

Before you give up the fight my friend, remember that God has poured out his love into your heart. He who has begun a good work in your life will never give up. So stay the course and press on, because you have an everlasting inner drive that will never leave you... the Holy Spirit.

Think about this: "Seamen cannot create the wind, but they can hoist their sails to welcome it; neither can we create the breath of the Spirit, but are we to miss it when it comes through failure to keep our sails unfurled?"
                                             ~ John Bunyan
Tomorrow's Readings: OT - 1 Chron. 27:16-34 / NT - Romans 6

Saturday, August 13, 2022

A Promise Kept...

Today's Readings: OT - 1 Chron. 26:1-19 / NT - Romans 4

"Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised." -- Romans 4:20-21

Millions of dollars are spent every year with one purpose in mind: persuasion. Efforts are made to persuade us to trust insurance companies, investment firms, law firms, security providers and health providers. Trust them and they will see you through any and every dilemma that may come your way. But, do they have the power to do what they promise?

Promises of an incredible nature were made to Abraham. To the human mind they were impossible, but Abraham believed God, and "it was credited to him as righteousness." Just as Abraham did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, we too should be persuaded. Why? God has the power to do what he promises!

My friend, the Lord has promised the gift of new life to all who will believe. It seems impossible that anyone can begin again and have a totally changed life and heaven to boot, but it's true. This is God's promise to keep and ours to believe. We never need to fear or doubt; no matter how dark the days may become. God paid the highest price in history to persuade us of his power. Jesus "was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification". Be persuaded my friend... Be persuaded and live!!

Think about this: "We are not truly converted if we are not intellectually and morally converted, and we are not intellectually and morally converted if we have not subjected our minds and our wills to the yoke of Jesus Christ."
                                              - John R. W. Stott
Tomorrow's Readings: OT - 1 Chron. 26:20-27:15 / NT - Romans 5

Friday, August 12, 2022

Our Only Cure...

Today's Readings: OT - Psalm 145 / NT - Romans 3:21-31

"...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood..."  -- Romans 3:23-25
Guilt is real. But what has be done to remedy this great weight upon our hearts? Throughout the years psychological pursuits and various forms of religious efforts have been made to set us free from the burden. Yet, guilt continues to lay upon every soul around the globe for "all have sinned" and there is only one cure.

Paul presented a very thorough case of universal guilt of the religious and irreligious. Down deep within every heart there is great guilt that cannot be relieved. To be justified and forgiven a price of redemption had to be paid that was quite specific. That price to clear our guilt was the shed blood of Jesus. This alone is the only cure.

As the old green stamp "redemption center" was a place to find all kinds of treasures, the "redemption center" of the cross of Christ is a place to find the greatest treasure. We no longer need to carry our guilt through life. Forgiveness has been paid for and can be ours "through faith in his blood." That is our only cure.

Think about this: "The Bible says that God himself accepted the responsibility for sin; the cross is the proof that he did. It cost Jesus Christ to the last drop of blood to deal with the vast evil of the world." 
                                                                  ~ Oswald Chambers
Tomorrow's Readings: OT - 1 Chron. 26:1-19 / NT - Romans 4

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Only Faith...

Today's Readings: OT - Psalm 143, 144 / NT - Romans 3:1-20

"For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin." - Romans 3:20
I have two temperature instruments in my home. One is a thermometer and the other is a thermostat. The first one tells me what the temperature is and the second controls the temperature. No matter how cold it gets, the thermometer can never adjust the temperature. Change can only come through the thermostat.

Like these two wonderful instruments, we have the law and faith. Many people confuse the two and believe that the law can change the spiritual temperature and make one righteous. As we read above, the thermometer of law can only reveal sin and never improve the condition. Change can only come through the thermostat of faith. 

Be careful my friend and never depend on the works of the law to change your heart. Learn from the law how great a sinner you are and flee into the arms of Christ and be transformed from within.  Change can only come through faith.

Think about this: "Moral virtue may wash the outside, but faith washes the inside."
                                                         - Thomas Adams
Tomorrow's Readings: OT - Psalm 145 / NT - Romans 3:21-31

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Hypocrites...

Today's Readings: OT - Psalm 139 / NT - Romans 2

"You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things." -- Romans 2:1
Over the years I have met a vast number of people who claim one major reason for not attending church. They believe that there are too many hypocrites in the church. The sad truth is; there are and always have been hypocrites in the church. As a matter of fact, our world is full of hypocrites. These are people who criticize others for doing the same things that they do. We are all hypocrites to some degree and we need God's mercy.

Paul addressed the "unchurched" and the "churched" in chapter one and two. In the above verse he speaks to those who think themselves to be without fault. But, he reminds them that God judges us all according to truth and every man needs the Lord's kindness that leads to repentance. Before we pass judgment on others, we ought to look in the mirror and seek God's mercy.

Our human nature will always be prone to see others as sinners and ourselves as righteous. But, let's be honest and take a closer look. We're all in the same boat and we need God's patient forgiveness. The next time you criticize someone, look in the mirror and take inventory. Don't judge hypocrites because you may be one. Be grateful for the riches of God's kindness and seek his mercy.

Think about this: "Hypocrites in the church? Yes, and at work, and at home. Don't hunt through the church for a hypocrite. Go home and look in the glass. Hypocrites? Yes. See that you make the number one less."
                                                                              ~ Billy Sunday
Tomorrow's Readings: OT - Psalm 143, 144 / NT - Romans 3:1-20

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

The Point of No Return...

Today's Readings: OT - Psalm 131, 138 / NT - Romans 1:16-32

"God gave them up ..." - Romans 1:24, 26, 28

There are control gates that regulate the flow of water to Niagara Falls. These gates are about a mile upstream from the falls and are often called "the point of no return," because any boat or person caught in the current beyond them will be carried right over the falls.  On rare occasions lives have been lost by going beyond the gates. No one can be blamed, because a choice was made to ignore the warning.

The Scriptures are chock full of warnings. The holiness of God is clearly taught, the wrath of God toward evil is honestly stated and the grace of God is beautifully presented. Our journey into the future is full of moments when warning signs need to be considered. When someone chooses to venture past the gates, and live beyond "the point of no return" they will experience Divine wrath and condemnation. God must not be blamed, because the choice was made to ignore His warning.

What is "the point of no return", you may ask? The answer is difficult for us to pinpoint, but John writes in 1 John 5:16, "There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that." Between Romans 1 and 1 John 5 we have sober warnings. Seek and embrace the grace of God to avoid the gates that lead to "the point of no return".

Think about this: "Sin drives men mad. Against their reason, against their best interests, they follow after that which they know will destroy them."
                                                                                                    - C. H. Spurgeon
Tomorrow's Readings: OT - Psalm 139 / NT - Romans 2

Monday, August 8, 2022

What are you "FOR"?

Today's Readings: OT - 1 Chron. 25:13-31  / NT - Romans 1:1-15

"Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God" - Romans 1:1 
Every year we are entertained with political adds. We hear the many promises of candidates as they speak of what they won't do. The past records of opponents are brought to light and we are assured that they oppose such practices. We aren't quite sure what these politicians are for, but we certainly know what they are against.

On another front we may hear, "I don't dance, drink, smoke, chew, or go out with girls that do!"... and so the thinking goes by many "separated" Christians. For such believers what they are for is rarely stated, but we certainly know what they are against. 

While Paul often spoke against sinful practices, he was always very clear that he was for the gospel of God. Do people know what you are for my friend? Do you spend your time living for Christ and sharing the good news of God's grace? It's far more important for people to know what we are set apart for than against!

Think about this: "A man's heart has only enough life in it to pursue one object fully."
                                                            ~ C. H. Spurgeon
Tomorrow's Readings: OT - Psalm 131, 138 / NT - Romans 1:16-32

Sunday, August 7, 2022

On a Mission...

Today's Readings: OT - 1 Chron. 25:1-12  / NT - Acts 28

"There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and for three days entertained us hospitably. His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured." - Acts 28:7-8
When we set out on a trip, we're focused on our destination. Flat tires, detours and illnesses are just inconveniences that are quickly dealt with so we can move on. The thought of stopping and smelling the roses or slowing down to give a helping hand is often rejected because...We're on a mission.

Paul was on a journey and the trip had been rough. The need to regroup and move on was great. But, Paul was willing to take time to get involved in other people's troubles. His needs were put aside to show the love of Jesus to someone else. Paul's life and ministry was reaching people everywhere for Jesus. Trips and troubles were never more important than people. Every day, Paul was on a mission.

What is your destination today? Are you going someplace exotic? Somewhere exciting and challenging? Is your plan more important than those you meet along the way? Is your ministry for Jesus always down the road and in the future? Take time to show the love of Jesus to those you meet day to day. Because people all around you need the Lord, you too are on a mission.

Think about this: "Is anyone happier because you passed his way? Does anyone remember that you spoke to him today?"
Tomorrow's Readings: OT - 1 Chron. 25:13-31  / NT - Romans 1:1-15

Saturday, August 6, 2022

A Moment of Worship...

Today's Readings: OT - 1 Chron. 24:13-31 / NT - Acts 27:13-44

"After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat." - Acts 27:35
Jonathan Edwards would lead his family in a prayer of gratitude before and after every meal. George Muller of Bristol would lead the orphan children in a prayer of thanksgiving and faith before meals, where the food was yet to arrive. As the crucifixion approached, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it saying "Take and eat, this is my body" (Matthew 26:26). Saying grace is far more than a Christian obligation, it's a moment of worship.

Paul and an entire crew of storm worn sailors were about to eat some bread. It wasn't a feast and it wasn't a celebration. With the surrounding events so discouraging and threatening, appetites were long gone. Yet, Paul encouraged them to eat for strength and as they prepared to eat, he gave thanks. With the mess they were in, one might wonder why he would express gratitude. Grace isn't just being grateful for good and plentiful food it's... a moment of worship.

Do you take time to  give thanks before your meal wherever you are? Do you give thanks in the restaurant? Do you pray over your sandwich at work? How about your cereal in the morning when you are alone? Is your prayer an obligatory "Thanks", or in light of God's presence and provision is it... a moment of worship? 

Think about this: "More spiritual progress can be made in one short moment of speechless silence in the awesome presence of God than in years of mere study."
                                                                                                    ~ A. W. Tozer
Tomorrow's Readings: OT - 1 Chron. 25:1-12  / NT - Acts 28

Friday, August 5, 2022

Something Beautiful...

Today's Readings: OT - 1 Chron. 24:1-12 / NT - Acts 27:1-12

"The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, in kindness to Paul, allowed him to go to his friends so they might provide for his needs." - Acts 27:3
When the time comes to purchase a car, I am often directed toward the looks and comfort of the vehicle. While these are certainly important factors, there are so many other parts that are just as significant. As all these details are uniquely organized, a dependable form of transportation is the result. A designer planned all the parts to come together to produce something beautiful.

When Paul wrote his letter to the Romans, he stated in chapter 8, verse 28 "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." This statement has been a wonderful comfort and encouragement for God's people. But, how does the Designer organize "all things"? I suggest that the above passage is one of those moments when God brought people into Paul's time of hardship to produce something beautiful.

Do you often question the events in your life that are troubling? Have you doubted the passage in Romans 8 on occasion? Well, step back and consider the small but significant parts or "things" that God brings together to provide a blessing. Remember that the Heavenly Designer is always at work in your life, using a wide variety of "things" to produce something beautiful.

Think about this:  "There are no days when God's fountain does not flow."

                                                  ~ Richard Owen Roberts
Tomorrow's Readings: OT - 1 Chron. 24:13-31  / NT - Acts 27:13-44

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Be a Blessing...

Today's Readings: OT - 1 Chron. 23:14-32 / NT - Acts 26:12-32

"I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’" -- Acts 26:17-18
Do we fully appreciate the whole package of the gospel? Is the salvation story fully presented in our witness? Rather than a dozen roses, we are given a radiant bouquet of various flowers. God has given us an abundant blessing in Jesus, and as we have freely received, we should freely give.

Paul never short changed those to whom he spoke. He gave them the whole story without missing a beat. Salvation brings light, deliverance, forgiveness and a heavenly home for all who believe. God's servants have been sent to open eyes so they might see and receive such a beautiful gift.

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 2:9, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” As you bring the gospel story to others, remember that you are bringing the most beautiful bouquet of spiritual blessing that anyone has ever received. Be a blessing to someone today my friend.

Think about this: "Euangelion (which we call gospel) is a Greek word, and signifies good, merry, glad, and joyful tydings, that makes a mans heart glad, and makes him sing, dance, and leap for joy."
                                                               ~ William Tyndale (c. 1494-1536)
Tomorrow's Readings: OT - 1 Chron. 24:1-12  / NT - Acts 27:1-12

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Show them the way...

Today's Readings: OT - 1 Chron. 23:1-13 / NT - Acts 25:13-26:11

"Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive. I was at a loss how to investigate such matters; so I asked if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem and stand trial there on these charges." - Acts 25:19-20

I've been using a computer on a daily basis for about twenty-three years. As time has passed, I have become reasonably skilled in using this great tool. Occasionally, I am called upon to explain the features of some Bible software to a newbie. The results are often quite frustrating. They don't understand the basics and it takes great patience to show them the way.

This Bible reading provides a similar revelation of the unbeliever's mind toward the Gospel. After all was explained, Festus was at a loss. He understood Paul's claim that Jesus was alive, but he failed to see the significance. In the end, it all seemed to be religious "mumbo jumbo". Festus needed someone who would, with great patience show him the way.

Have you grown weary of that "someone" who just doesn't get it? Have you given the gospel to them time and again and they are still confused? Prayer is imperative, but patience is critical as well. The gospel may seem so simple to you, after knowing the Lord for many years. But the unbeliever needs someone who will take the time and patiently show them the way.

Think about this: "The object of witnessing is not to win an argument but disciples."
                                                          - John Blanchard
Tomorrow's Readings: OT - 1 Chron. 23:14-32  / NT - Acts 26:12-32

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Time waits for no man...

Today's Readings: OT - Psalm 109-110 / NT - Acts 24:22-25:12

"As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.”" - Acts 24:25
"Please get back to me when it's convenient". You have heard or said this polite and considerate statement from time to time. When is it ever convenient to deal with uncomfortable situations? In most cases we just have to make the time to deal with matters and hope for the best. Time waits for no man.

Paul brought Felix the message of salvation and "judgment to come". As always, Paul was thorough and most convincing in his discourse. The pressure of conviction upon Felix became so great that he said, "That's enough for now!" God's Word will always bring truth to bear and then we are pressed for decision. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation." (2 Corinthians 6:2) There is no other convenient time because... Time waits for no man.

Have you put off the message of God's saving grace in Christ? Do you think there will be a more convenient time?  When God speaks to your heart, the time to respond is now, not later. Remember... Time waits for no man. 

Think about this: 

"The Bible, which ranges over a period of four thousand years, records but one instance of a deathbed conversion—one that none may despair, and but one that none may presume." ~ William Guthrie
"Hell is truth seen too late."  ~ H. G. Adams
Tomorrow's Readings: OT - 1 Chron. 23:1-13 / NT - Acts 25:13-26:11

Monday, August 1, 2022

Know and Show...

Today's Readings: OT - Psalm 108 / NT - Acts 24:1-21

"... I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets, having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust. So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man." -- Acts 24:14-16
How should belief affect one's life? Will simple confidence in the facts be enough? Is the ability to instruct others sufficient? Or should there be something much deeper that leads to a defined lifestyle?

Paul stated the defense of his faith. He spoke of his worship, belief and devotion to the Lord. But, the most significant statement is the way his belief defined his life. He took pains to have a clear conscience toward God and man.

How much does your belief motivate your daily walk my friend? Do others recognize a spiritual vitality in your heart by the significant integrity of your conduct? Take pains to not only know your faith, but also show your faith.

Think about this: "Man's practices are the best indexes of his principles."
                                                      - Stephen Charnock
Tomorrow's Readings: OT - Psalm 109-110 / NT - Acts 24:22-25:12