Month: October 2016

Tuesday Devotional: Mark 13

Read Mark 13bible

Watch!  We are commanded to watch.  But what are we to watch?  Are we to watch and predict the timing of the end?  Are we to evaluate current events to gain insight into the timing of the end?  Are we to erect fortifications meant to protect the things we treasure in this world from the coming wrath and destruction associated with the end times?

No.  We are commanded to watch for other things.  We are commanded to be on our guard for those that make predictions and proclaim the end before it has been revealed by the living God.  We are commanded not to rely on our own strength and words to defend ourselves from the inevitable persecution we will encounter and endure as disciples of Jesus.  We are commanded to watch how we are trusting in the love of Jesus as we are cast out and abandoned by those closest to us, including our family.  We are commanded to guard against those coming in the name of Jesus who promote and glorify the miraculous works of their own hands and not the Christ.  We are commanded to watch out for the inevitable corruption and desolation of the House of God as the message of Jesus is replaced with a message of self-glorification.  Most importantly, we are to watch and pray that when the Son of Man comes like a thief in the night we are prepared to stand before the throne of the living God with sincerity of heart to declare our complete devotion to Jesus Christ and his commands to which we have submitted our entire lives.  Watch!

Tuesday Devotional: Matthew 11

bibleRead Matthew 11:1-18

If we cry out for the living God we must be prepared to receive the living God as He is, not as we want him to be.  If our desperation leads us to cry out for a savior we must be prepared to receive the savior as He is.  A starving person will not pass on food because it has not been cooked to their liking.  A drowning person will not refuse assistance because of a person’s hair color.  Be careful when you cry out to God.  To cry out to God is to be heard by the living God and the living God desires to answer you back.  However, it is the living God that desires to respond and not our idea of the living God.  The living God comes with mercy for all people, conviction of sin for all people and true life offered in the name of the one and only Messiah, Jesus Christ.  Count the cost.  When you cry out to God from your grief, suffering and desperation be prepared to be met by a God that has loved you longer than you know and desires to love you for eternity.  This is good news.  However, be prepared to be met by a God that places a demand on your life to be Holy because He is Holy.  The living God demands that you die to yourself and take up your cross and follow His son step after step.  When you cry out to God you will be heard.  He hears you.  He also desires to dwell within you, talk to you and guide you into His presence.  The living God knows your cry before you cry it.  This is good news.  However, the living God knows that you need saving from yourself more than you need anything else.  And he offers you the only savior powerful enough to defend and rescue you from yourself and his name is Jesus.  God knows more about you than you ever can.  He also is more aware of your suffering than you will ever know.  But to be saved by Jesus is to give up your life for Him.  To be saved is to for once quit in the most gloriously liberating way possible.  Stop resisting how God desires to save you and have ears to hear and eyes to see that He is saving you!

 

 

Tuesday Devotional: Malachi 2

bible Read Malachi 2

Malachi 2:16 (NKJV, emphasis added)

 16 “For the Lord God of Israel says
That He hates divorce,
For it covers one’s garment with violence,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“Therefore take heed to your spirit,
That you do not deal treacherously.”

 Malachi 2:16 (NIV)

 16 “The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the Lord Almighty.

So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.

 Malachi 2:9

“…you have not followed my ways but have shown partiality in matters of the law.”

 Teachers, Pastors, Priests, Christians: you are to follow the commands and words of our Lord without partiality.  The words of God are being changed, being softened and manipulated to speak to us in a way we feel we ought to be spoken to.  Both versions of Malachi 2:16 proclaim that divorce is wrong.  If we are to place our hopes in the words of our Lord and Savior promising everlasting life and peace from our strife in this world we are to hear the words of our Lord and God as He has said them without partialityThe nature of sin is to question God’s words, contemplate His motives and intentions and conclude that God could never be that strict and that uptight about how we ought to live.  We are merely human, right?  But He means what He says.  His words are strict to our sinful ears because His ways are higher than our ways. He is Holy and we are not.  His words are as uptight as they sound because the way of Jesus is a narrow gate that few enter because of the costly sacrifice and complete denial of self that following Jesus into eternal fellowship with the Father requires.

2 Timothy 4:3-4

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

 Be shrewd as a serpent and gentle as a dove, Christian.  Our Heavenly Father demands that we be Holy as He is Holy.  The sin within us will always seek partiality concerning God’s Holy words.  It will always endeavor to weaken the sting of His rebuke in order to massage our weary soul from its burdensome struggle for Holy perfection and encourage us to seek the desires of our heart.  God is love, right?  And the gospel of Jesus is forgiveness and grace, right?  Yes on both counts.  But Jesus is still the narrow gate that came preaching repentance of sin and complete transformation in his image.  Holiness.  Righteousness.  Obedience to the Father.  Let the words of God sting you.  Let them stab you.  Let them cut you to the heart as a double-edged sword.  Protect and cultivate a relationship with our Lord that welcomes the sting of Holiness and the demands of it on our life.  The sting of God’s Holy words and the self-sacrifice of our sinfulness for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus is nothing compared to the sting of eternal separation from God that Jesus came to save us from.