“Flee from sexual immorality…honor God with your body.” Our bodies are not separate from our spirits. It’s all us. Our bodies give physical expression of our love and faith to God and the people around us. Why do you suppose it is so easy for Christian leaders and people to divorce the body from faith life? Do I honor God with my body? – Father God, in a world so saturated with the physical and a desire to feel good for the moment, help me to honor you with self-control and joy that endures.
“By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News.” The Apostle Paul viewed his purpose and vocation as a piece of what God was doing to redeem the world. This big vision kept him focused on God’s heart for the world and a reliance on God’s grace and power to accomplish anything. What will define your purpose, calling, and vocation? How will your life be a part of spreading God’s Good News this year? Mighty God, empower me by your grace to serve faithfully this year. Amen.
“May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy.” This Psalm that speaks of the restoration of Israel after the exile enlightens us with the reality that restoration, healing, and progress come at a cost and with a certain amount of faithfulness in waiting. Hope keeps us turning over soil, planting seeds, and looking for signs of growth along the way. Our praise and thanksgiving rise to God as we sow, even sowing with tears, because we hope for the day of full restoration with shouts of joy. Where are you planting seeds in the midst of tears and discouragement these days? What does it mean to hope in the Lord? “Lord, hear the prayer of every tear, move us toward the day of harvest.”
“This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth…you shall meditate on it…so that you may be careful to act in accordance…” I’ve heard many Christian leadership lectures on Joshua 1:9. Boldness, courage, and strength that come from God’s presence in our lives are all important elements, but Joshua 1:8 provides a context in which the “word and ways of the Lord” are constantly on our lips, on our minds, and showing up through our action. Perhaps “strength and courage” flow easily with those who are thinking and living God’s way. How is your strength and courage these days? What’s on your lips, on your mind, and gives guidance to your actions. Holy Spirit, redeem us for your purposes.
“Now proceed…” Joshua 1:2 is reminder to the “next generation” that God’s purpose transcend the generation that is aging and dying and that he calls leaders from the next generation to “proceed” with faithfulness with God mission and purposes in sight. How does this verse compare with Jesus’ words “Go into all the world,” in Matthew 28:18-20? God, what is it that you are calling me to “proceed” with and to “go” to these days. Strengthen me to live for you and your purposes. Amen.
“After the death of Moses…the Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’assistant…” The promises of God transcend my life and generation. In an individualistic culture and society we are tempted to look for how God’s promises relate and are “relevant” to our personal lives. God’s promises from the beginning have reached to all people on the earth, through all times. Why does this truth matter? Who assists in my life and ministry today, who are the ones the Lord may speak to about leading his work and ministry next? Lord, help me to trust your eternal promises and invest in the people of the next generation.
“Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Jesus’ early learning at the temple was characterized by sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. Seeking God among his people and those who reflected deeply on God and his ways caused Jesus to amaze people with his understanding. As Christians people could we learn more by sitting, listening and asking questions? Who do I sit with? To whom do I listen? What kinds of questions am I asking these days? – May we grow in wisdom and statue with both God and man, O Lord.
“Help Lord, for no one is faithful anymore…” Many have experienced it, others have heard about it on the news or in social media; no one is faithful or so it seems. Broken marriages, difficult neighbors, police, and politicians; seems like it impacts almost everyone. Yet the Psalmist reminds us, when humans are faithless, God “arises and protects” the needy, the poor, and the powerless. Do I need his care? Am I faithful in all my relationships? Lead us O Christ our Savior to be faithful even as you are faithful. Amen.
“Hear me, Lord, my plea is just…” The Psalmist is confident the Lord God will answer his prayer (vs. 6) because his prayer does not flow from sin, evil, or violence; rather his prayer comes from a righteousness that follows in the ways of the Lord. Do you think there is prayer that is unjust? How so? Does God hear unjust prayers? Can we confidently pray if we are consciously walking a different way than the way of God? Save us Holy Spirit from faulty religion, presumption, and unjust prayers. Teach us to pray!