August 22 “Adversity & consequences”

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Have you truly surrendered your life to God? Is your relationship with Him genuine or just religious activity? Sadly, we’re often content with little more than an appearance of godliness until hardship, drought or adversity comes our way.

Today’s Readings:
Job 35 & 36
Psalm 99.1-9
Proverbs 23.22-25
1 Corinthians 4.1-21

Job 35 & 36:

Adversity

Verse 36.15, “He delivers the poor in their affliction, and opens their ears in oppression.”

God uses tests, trials, and times of suffering to draw us closer to Him. Sadly, we are often content to just go about our lives without giving God much thought until we have nowhere else to turn. Sometimes the only way He can get our attention is to allow some adversity into our lives.

But in other cases, even when we are living our lives to please Him (as Job was), He allows adversity to take us to a higher place with Him, not to pull us down. That is when trust is so important. Continue reading

June 13 “On Family Feuds & Sissies”

Fighting and disagreements within a family can be some of the most difficult to settle. But God places a high priority on unity and peace within our biological families and within the family of God.

family feud

Today’s Readings:
2 Kings 14
Psalm 73.10-20
Proverbs 18.18-19
John 20.1-31

2 Kings 14:

He started well, but …

Amaziah started out well. Verse 3 says, “He did what was right in the sight of the Lord.” He even followed the Mosaic Law by not punishing the children of the men who had murdered his father. Then God gave him victory in battle over the Edomites. Instead of giving glory to God, he was lifted up in pride over that victory and challenged the king of Israel to war. It led to his defeat, the destruction of part of Jerusalem, the plundering of the temple, and the taking of hostages.

While pride was a huge factor, 2 Chronicles 25.14-16 gives us some additional insight: Continue reading

May 20 “The cost of sin … farther, longer & greater”

One of the consequences of willful sin can be the removal of God’s restraining grace where He steps back and allows us to do what fills our hearts. As someone once said, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay.”

cost of sin

Today’s Readings:
2 Samuel 11 & 12
Psalm 65.9-13
Proverbs 16.22-24
John 6.22-51

2 Samuel 11 & 12:

David & Bathsheba

This is a sad page in David’s life story, one that would define and change the rest of his life and his reign. Even though God forgave him when he repented, the consequences of it were great!

Neither is there any sin in our lives that is too big or for which God won’t forgive us. But knowing that God will forgive us, doesn’t mean that’s our “ace in the hole” or that we can sin without impunity, like children with our fingers crossed behind our backs. The person who thinks he or she can do whatever and ask for forgiveness later is in rebellion against God because He’s looking at the heart. God will not even hear our prayers when we are in that kind of willful sin, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear” (Ps. 66.18).

Romans 6.1-2, 15-16, 21, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? … What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? … Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death.” Continue reading

January 14 “Rightous anger”

Helping the lost

Can our anger ever be righteous? Are there things in this world that should make us mad? And if so, how should we respond?

Today’s Readings:
Genesis 27 & 28
Psalm 7.9-17
Proverbs 3.11-12
Matthew 10.1-20

Genesis 27 & 28:

The consequences of favoritism, selfishness, & deception

Isaac was now 137 years old, blind, and facing his own mortality. Perhaps he was sick since Esau also expected him to die soon (27.41). As the story continues we will see that he actually lives forty-three years longer. Jacob and Esau were not exactly kids either. They were 77 years old!

Isaac planned to give a final blessing to Esau, his favored son, in opposition to God’s declared will (Gen. 25.23). When the scandal of Jacob’s deception was revealed, it says, “Isaac trembled exceedingly,” perhaps over what Jacob had done Continue reading

January 3 “The fruit of genuine repentance”

fruit of genuine repentanceToday’s Readings:
Genesis 5 & 6
Psalm 2.7-12
Proverbs 1.10-19
Matthew 3.1-17

What does genuine repentance look like? Is it merely a feeling of sorrow or something more?

Genesis 5 & 6:

Total depravity

It didn’t take long for sin to take its toll, did it? Chapter 6.5-6 says, “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.”

This is sometimes called “total depravity.” Even though sin doesn’t make us all as bad as we could be, it makes us all as bad as we need to be to deserve an eternity separated from Him.

God is still grieved over sin today. All too often we mistakenly believe that when we sin, we are only hurting ourselves, or, at worst, it’s just against another person. But sin is first and foremost against our Holy God! Continue reading