Daily Devotion, 2/27/21
Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me and for the gospel will save it (Mark 8:35).
Jesus cautions us regarding where we should center our lives. The one who seeks to save his life is the self-centered person. He or she is fixated on this life. The emphasis is on behaviors that will improve one’s position in this life. The person who wants to accumulate more and more “stuff,” or more status, is self-centered, focused too much on this life while neglecting the life to come. Such a person may give lip service to God, but his heart is in this world.
Jesus tells us to release our hold on this life and live for Him and the gospel. After all, this life is very brief and eternity is forever. When our focus is on this life, it raises this question – – – Do I believe in God and His Son? Do I embrace the gospel which promises forgiveness and eternal life? If I believe Jesus is the Son of God, won’t that impact how I live? Won’t I turn away from the things of the world and make Jesus central in my life?
Father, help me to understand that this life is brief, and eternity is forever. May my efforts be focused more on Jesus and less on myself and this world. I know I will find true life through trusting and following Him. In His name, I pray, Amen
Daily Devotion, 2/26/21, More on peace
Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God (Romans 5:1).
Yesterday we saw that we have great peace when we love the law of God. We also saw that it is one thing to love the law of God and quite another thing to keep it. We need a Savior. Paul reminds us that when we place our faith in Jesus, we are justified before God. That is, God receives us as His dear children when we trust in Jesus.
We see in these two verses the difference between salvation and discipleship. Salvation is God’s gift to us when we believe in Jesus (John 3:16). Salvation has nothing to do with how faithfully we keep the law of God. As redeemed souls, we certainly want to please God. We embrace His law as our way of life. We work hard at trying to live our lives in harmony with the will of God. One way to understand this is to see our lives as running on two rails: one rail is the law of God; the other rail is faith in Jesus. I can never reject either rail. If I discard the law of God, it means I have rejected God. If I reject Jesus, I have also rejected God. While it is a bit of a paradox, the Christian embraces both the law of God and the Savior who forgives our failure to keep God’s law. Keep your feet planted on both rails!
Father, I am so sorry for my failures to obey Your law. I want to be faithful, but I confess that I fall short. I thank You for providing for my forgiveness by giving Your only begotten Son as my Savior. I love Your law, and I pledge to do my best to obey, and I love Jesus who died to cover my failures. In His name, I pray, Amen.
I know we are all thankful that the weather is moderating. Last week was brutal. Hopefully, that was winter’s last gasp. At least we were able to have church on Sunday.
Tomorrow and Wednesday we will have a special spiritual treat! Ozark Christian College will be doing their annual preaching-teaching conference via zoom. We will be able to participate in the conference at the church. Tuesday (2/23) begins at 9AM. Morning session ends at 11:30. Sessions resume at 2PM and end at 3PM. The first speaker at 9:00 AM is one of my favorites, Bob Russell. His theme is “The Bible Still Speaks.” Then Dr. Jason Poznich will speak on “God Still Reigns,” followed by Dr. Frank Smith speaking on “Jesus still Saves.” The Tuesday afternoon session consists of workshops.
Wednesday sessions begin at 9 AM with another of my favorite speakers, Shane Wood speaking on “The Spirit Still Empowers.” Two more speakers will follow. Wednesday afternoon will feature OCC President Matt Proctor giving his annual president’s address. Matt is also an outstanding speaker.
There is no cost to any who wish to attend any or all of these sessions. You may come and go as you please.
At 3:30 on Wednesday we will begin a new Bible study on DVD entitled “The Last Days of Jesus,” a special lenten/Easter study. The 6 sessions will feature 6 prominent teachers from around the country. Student books will be available for each attendee at no cost.
On Sunday, Feb. 28 the series on Genesis continues with “Abraham” being the theme. He is referred to in Scripture as the father of our faith. We will look at several elements in his faith as examples for us to follow.
Praying for a wonderful week for our church family.
Daily Devotion, February 25, 2021
Great peace have those who love Your laws (Psalm 119:165).
God promises peace, great peace, to those who love His law. We must all ask ourselves the question, “Do I love God’s law?” To love God’s law is to hold the belief that His law is superior to any other laws and opinions. If that is our belief, we will strive to obey God’s law. We will seek to live our lives in harmony with His will. This is self-evident. If you love your spouse, you will want to please him or her. If you love the Kansas City Chiefs, you will cheer for them when they play. So, do you love God’s law as revealed in Scripture? If you do, you will make it primary in your daily life.
Does this mean we will always keep the law of God? Unfortunately, none of us ever keep the law of God flawlessly. We continue to come short in our desire to please Him. We will always need Jesus as our Savior, the One who died to atone for our failure to keep the law of God. Nevertheless, as Christians, we will always love God’s law. We will strive to obey Him because we know that His ways are superior to our ways. This love for God’s law combined with our love for Jesus will bring us great peace. Father, I do love Your law even though I do not always keep it. I thank You for providing a Savior who has atoned for my failures. Thank You for the great peace that comes to me as I love your law and your Savior. In His name, I pray. Amen.
“All things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27).
This is an encouraging verse, but let us note carefully what it says and what it does not say. Yes, God is omnipotent. He can do anything compatible with His will. God cannot do contradictory things, like putting a square peg in a round hole. He cannot create a rock that is too heavy for Him to move. God cannot act contrary to His will. Nevertheless, when we pray to God, we are praying to a Being who is omnipotent. That should encourage us to approach God with confidence. Whatever it is we pray about, we pray about, He has the power to help.
Does that mean He will always do what we ask? Not if what we ask is contrary to His will. God has a long-range plan for how history will end. We do not understand all the details of How His plan will work out in history. Our personal lives are included in His plan. We submit to Him our requests with the added prayer, “Thy will be done.” As Christians, isn’t that what we really want? We desire that if our requests conflict with His long-range purpose for us, we willingly submit to His will. If we demand that our will supersede His will, we want to take the place of God. We don’t want to do that!
Our gracious Father in heaven, I do believe that your power knows no limits. I can never pray, wondering if you have the power to answer my prayer. But please help me to submit my will to Your will. Help me to understand that Your plans for my life take precedence over my plans. When I pray, may I pray with the attitude, “Thy will be done.” In Jesus’ name, Amen.