Saturday, March 5, 2011

Psalm 86:15

"But you, O Lord,
   are a God of compassion and mercy,
slow to get angry
   and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness."
These aspects of God's essential character are often repeated throughout Scripture. Merciful, gracious, slow to get angry, full of unfailing love and faithfulness. As you come to God today, take some time to meditate on these qualities. Thank and praise him for them. Merciful: not giving you what you deserve. Gracious: giving what you don't deserve. Slow to get angry: patient with you, even when you fail him repeatedly. Full of unfailing love and faithfulness: knowing you through and through and still loving you unfailingly. What a wonderful God!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Matthew 6:19-24

"'Don't store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.'

  'Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!'

  'No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.'"

It's only possible to have one focus in life. To think otherwise is to be deluded. The focus will be either God's way, storing up eternal treasures, or the way of the world, living only for now and what this world can give. The latter is both temporary and subject to decay, corruption, and theft. Where is your focus, as evidenced by what you spend your time and energy doing? Your quality of life—here and in eternity—depends on your answer. Ask God for an eternal perspective on all you do, and let that perspective inform all you do

Thursday, March 3, 2011

2 Thessalonians 3:2-5

"Pray, too, that we will be rescued from wicked and evil people, for not everyone is a believer. But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. And we are confident in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we commanded you. May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ."
There are evil people in the world, who will thwart and opposes the gospel. We are not to fret about them nor be naïve about their existence. We're to pray, to continue to express love whenever we can, to ask for strength and deliverance, and to trust God fully. And remember this: the love and patient endurance comes from Christ, not from you. You don't have to drum it up on your own. You need to accept it from Jesus in faith. It's his patient endurance that he shares with us.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Genesis 18:13-15

"Then the LORD said to Abraham, 'Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, "Can an old woman like me have a baby?" Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.'  "Sarah was afraid, so she denied it, saying, 'I didn't laugh.'  But the LORD said, 'No, you did laugh.'"
God again confirms that Abraham will have a son through Sarah, only this time the promise is for Sarah's sake. God includes Sarah in the plan, firsthand. God flatly states what will happen, impossible as it is. God repeated his promise to Abraham and Sarah many times until it actually came true. The waiting made it all the more clear that it was God who made it happen. If you too are waiting for God to fulfill his promises, remember that he always fulfills them at a time and in a way that will bring him the most glory.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Genesis 17:17-23

"Then Abraham bowed down to the ground, but he laughed to himself in disbelief. 'How could I become a father at the age of 100?' he thought. 'And how can Sarah have a baby when she is ninety years old?' So Abraham said to God, 'May Ishmael live under your special blessing!'

"But God replied, 'No—Sarah, your wife, will give birth to a son for you. You will name him Isaac, and I will confirm my covenant with him and his descendants as an everlasting covenant. As for Ishmael, I will bless him also, just as you have asked. I will make him extremely fruitful and multiply his descendants. He will become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will be confirmed with Isaac, who will be born to you and Sarah about this time next year.' When God had finished speaking, he left Abraham.

"On that very day Abraham took his son, Ishmael, and every male in his household, including those born there and those he had bought. Then he circumcised them, cutting off their foreskins, just as God had told him."
God's work always seems to start with an impossible birth (Isaac, Jesus, our own spiritual birth). Abraham had a hard time believing God's word, but God stated what would happen, and that was that. Abraham obeyed God right away, even though he couldn't see how on earth God could do what he said. Do you dream of some change in your life that seems impossible? Today, trust your "impossible" situation to the God who makes the impossible happen.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Matthew 6:1-5

"'Watch out! Don't do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don't do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

"'When you pray, don't be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get.'"
Our motivations matter a lot to God, and they determine the kind of reward we will receive. Jesus assumes we're always motivated to seek a reward .We may like to think we're "above" motivation for reward. We're not. We always seek a payoff. The question is, reward from whom? If from other people, then whatever they give us is what we get. If we seek reward from God and do everything for "an audience of One," then God himself pledges to reward us. What kind of rewards do you seek for the things you do, even spiritual things like prayer?