“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” Lately I have noticed that many testimonies are very general; “God is good,” “He’s been so good to me,” and “I am so blessed.” I wonder if we need to pause and reflect a little deeper and be prepared to give thanks with a “whole heart” with a willingness to tell “all of God’s wonderful deeds.” What is your “telling” today? Help us to recognize your hand in our lives O Father, and give voice with great thanksgiving. Amen.
“O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” This Psalm is the text of many songs of praise both historically and in our contemporary worship. God has created all things and rules over all. Yet God has created humans and invited them to help God care for and guide it towards God’s purposes and desires for thriving life. How would your life change if you believed both these things when you woke up each morning? “O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”
“for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” We live in a day in which we value many shades of grey and living color; it seems so limiting to have just two ways. There is a fundamental orientation of our heart however; we lean toward God or our own will and ways. Which way is your heart oriented these days? Holy Spirit, Spirit of truth and mercy, search us, reveal the truth of our way, and lead us in the way of the righteous, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place…All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit… God chooses the time. His people come together in one place for His purposes. God’s Spirit empowers. It is so easy for us to want the power of the Spirit for our purposes like Simon (Acts 8:8ff); without a thought for God’s timing and the unity of the body of Christ. How is this a temptation for me? Why is the time and common gathered place essential and prerequisite? Forgive us, Fill us O Lord.
“Now to him who is able to keep you from falling and to make you stand without blemish in the presence of his glory with rejoicing…” What a powerful verse; every word is loaded. To think of a Savior who keeps us, strengthens us, purifies us, and brings us into his presence in such a way that our response will be not fear, but rejoicing, is mind boggling. How could living in the reality of these truths change our hearts, our lives, and our future? Which words are most significant to you? You, O Lord Jesus, are simply amazing!
“Though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do your duty, yet I would rather appeal to you on the basis of love.” Duty or love? Perhaps there are things we should just do, whether we feel like it or not; yet, when does our faith wane when a heart of love is not the engine that drives our actions? What area of your life might need more love than duty these days? Help me Holy Spirit, to gain the heart of Jesus Christ in all things that I might act on the basis of love. Amen.
“Is it right for you to be living in fancy houses while the Temple is still in ruins?” Haggai, chapter 1 traces the flow of conversation between God’s people who think the time has not come to rebuild the temple and God who sees their opinion flowing from their desire to hoard wealth and riches for themselves. Our assessments and God’s are often different. Are there areas in your life that you might see things differently than God? What about our church? Our country? Let us see this world as though we were looking through your eyes O Lord.
“Your proud heart has deceived you, you that live in the cleft of the rock…” The short book of Obadiah recognizes a big problem in human nature. We are given to be prideful, to think that we are better than other, safer than others, stronger than others, more spiritual than others, and on and on it goes. God’s word to Obadiah challenges our pride and reminds us that all pride will be brought low. What elements of pride show in my life? What about the group(s) I am part of? What is Obadiah’s message for me? Have mercy Lord Jesus.
“I have much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink, instead I hope to see you soon, and we will talk together face to face.” John knew, even without Facebook, twitter, and Snapchat, that there was something different about face to face communication that was better than pen and ink. What makes face to face conversations meaningful and essential? Who do you need to see face to face to really communicate that you would like to? God, real communication is work, messy, and time consuming; help us to love others face to face.
“Everyone who does not abide in the teaching of Christ, but goes beyond it, does not have God; whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” In a world of “tolerance” and “diversity,” God’s word still challenges and warns us. What does it mean to abide in Christ’s teaching? What does it mean to “go beyond it?” Why is this scripture still important for us to hear and apply? Father, it is always easy for us to make faith comfortable and agreeable to our personal desires and whims. Keep us focused on Your truth that endures.