|June 2012 Daily Devotion Archive|
A Christ-like Life
But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things--that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you. - Titus 2:1-8
In Paul's letter to Titus, we find these words of wisdom about how we should live and conduct ourselves. I encourage you to slowly read through this passage at least a couple of times, focusing on the portions that apply to you as either a man or a woman. If we live out our faith through our conduct, we will shine the light of Jesus into the world around us!
Question to Ponder: Which of these things are a struggle for you as you try to follow the example of Jesus Christ?
Unity and Diversity in One Body
But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. ... But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way. - 1 Corinthians 12:20-22, 24b-31
Question to Ponder: How can you work together better with fellow Christians who have different gifts than you?
I will extol You, my God, O King; And I will bless Your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless You,
And I will praise Your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
And His greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts.
I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty,
And on Your wondrous works.
Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts,
And I will declare Your greatness.
They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness,
And shall sing of Your righteousness.
- Psalm 145:1-7
The Lord is gracious and full of compassion,
Slow to anger and great in mercy.
The Lord is good to all,
And His tender mercies are over all His works.
All Your works shall praise You, O Lord,
And Your saints shall bless You.
They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom,
And talk of Your power,
To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts,
And the glorious majesty of His kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.
The Lord upholds all who fall,
And raises up all who are bowed down.
- Psalm 145:8-14
The Potter and the Clay: Flaws and All and God's Purpose (Part 4 of 5: The Destruction of the Clay Jar)
"This is what the Lord says, 'Go and buy a clay jar from the potter. There proclaim the words I tell you, and say, "Hear the word of the Lord, O kings of Judah and people of Jerusalem. This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel says: LISTEN! I am going to bring disaster on this place that will make the ears of everyone who hears it tingle. For they have forsaken me and made this place of foreign gods..." ' " - Jeremiah 19:1-4a
Verses 4 and 5 go on to tell of the evil the people committed, and verses 7 through 9 tell of how God is going to ruin their plans.
"Then break the jar while those who go with you are watching, and say to them, 'This is what the Lord Almighty says: "I will smash this nation and this city just as this potter's jar is smashed and cannot be repaired." ' " - Jeremiah 19:10
And they said, "That is hopeless! So we will walk according to our own plans, and we will every one obey the dictates of his evil heart." - Jeremiah 18:12
The clay jar represents the people. The jar is now hardened and has become unsuitable for the owner's use. It can only be destroyed.
Gifts From God
"These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." - John 14:25-27
After Jesus was resurrected and then taken up into heaven, God sent the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit lives inside of each person who has been born again in Christ, serving as a helper, teacher, and guide. He helps us to know what is right and what is wrong, and He tries to keep us away from sin. God still gives us free will, but the Holy Spirit will convict you if you sin. If you can sin over and over and not feel guilty about it, then you have not been born again in Jesus Christ. Jesus also gives us true peace, but we have to give up control and let Him lead us if we want to be able to fully accept that peace. As long as you try to remain in control, the world will drag you down and you will prevent yourself from fully enjoying that peace.
Question to Ponder: Do you have the peace of Christ in your heart?
The World Will Hate You
"If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, They hated Me without a cause." - John 15:18-25
The world hates Christ and Christians. But do not be discouraged, because we have already won--we have God on our side!
Question to Ponder: Do you succomb to the pressure from the world, or do you stand up for Jesus?
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. ... And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. - 1 Corinthians 13:1-8, 13
Question to Ponder: If you are married, which of these characteristics of love do you struggle to show to your spouse?
Our Final Victory
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed--in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. - 1 Corinthians 15:50-58
Question to Ponder: Have you accepted Jesus' gift of eternal life?
The eyes of all look expectantly to You,
And You give them their food in due season.
You open Your hand
And satisfy the desire of every living thing.
The Lord is righteous in all His ways,
Gracious in all His works.
The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.
He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
He also will hear their cry and save them.
The Lord preserves all who love Him,
But all the wicked He will destroy.
My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord,
And all flesh shall bless His holy name
Forever and ever.
- Psalm 145:15-21
Praise the Lord!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty firmament!
Praise Him for His mighty acts;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!
Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet;
Praise Him with the lute and harp!
Praise Him with the timbrel and dance;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!
Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!
- Psalm 150:1-6
The Potter and the Clay: Flaws and All and God's Purpose (Part 5 of 5: The Destruction of the Clay Jar)
In Jeremiah 19:15, God says, "Listen! I am going to destroy..." He hasn't done it yet; He is warning them. In Jeremiah 18:8, God says, "REPENT!" This was a warning to the Israel people, to repent, and turn form their sinful ways. Because God was planning to destroy them. In chapter 39 of Jeremiah, disaster did come. Jerusalem was taken captive by the Babylonians and the temple was burned down. Just like the warning they did not heed to; we know that the Lord is planning to come and destroy the earth with fire. We also have a warning. Are we listening?
"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." - 2 Peter 3:9
He wants all to come to repentance! Will you choose to remain pliable and formable so the Lord can use you for a greater purpose? Or have you replaced God with things of the world or have become hard and good for nothing? For more passages on this subject, refer to Psalm 95:8, 1 Peter 1:3, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 4:21-24, and Colossians 3:10.
"And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make." - Jeremiah 18:1-4
He wants to take our flaws. The Divine Potter wants to make you a new creation.
Jesus Prays For Us
"I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. "Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them." - John 17:20-26
Question to Ponder: Reflect on the words of Jesus in this prayer. What do they reveal about His heart and His love for us?
Jesus Died--For Us
There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." And they divided His garments and cast lots. And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, "He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God." - Luke 23:32-35
Jesus was crucified for us. Yes, we all know that--but we don't take the time to reflect on it like we should. He was mocked, beaten, and killed, all because of His unconditional love for us, all because He loves us so much that He wants us to spend eternity in heaven with Him. We haven't done anything to deserve that kind of love. In fact, we do plenty of things that are quite undeserving of that love. But He loves us anyway, and He died for us. Jesus died--for us. Take time to reflect on that today.
Question to Ponder: What does Jesus' death mean to you?
Jesus Arose From the Grave!
So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, "The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!" And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread. Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, "Peace to you." But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. And He said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have." When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, "Have you any food here?" So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. And He took it and ate in their presence. - Luke 24:33-43
Question to Ponder: What does Jesus' resurrection mean to you?
The Great Commission
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. - Matthew 28:18-20
We aren't called to sit in church on Sunday mornings and then go about our usual business throughout the rest of our lives. We are called to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ into the world around us! So go into the world and tell people about Jesus and His love for them. Don't worry about what they may think of you; all that really matters is your relationship with Jesus. Besides, Jesus already has victory over the world, anyway! We live in a world that is growing darker and darker all the time, and is in desperate need of light. We know where true Light comes from, and we need to shine the light of Jesus into this dark world. Let's join together and share Jesus with the world!
Question to Ponder: How well do you follow Jesus' Great Commission?