The scripture for today, January 31, is Genesis 1:31 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning ~ the sixth day.”
Oh how God loves to spoil us! He didn’t create a barren earth and then order us to get to work and plant something. He got everything just right. And then…. And then…. And then his crowning glory ~ he created us! Special us!
However, as perfect as he made earth, he left some joyful things for us to create ourselves, for he made us like him ~ creative. He left the jewels unmined, the buildings unbuilt, the songs unwritten, the paintings unpainted, the ships unmade, the sculptures uncarved…. Here we are surrounded by everything we need to imitate one part of God ~ his creative side. Today, create something!
The scripture for today, January 30, is 1st Corinthians 1:30 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us “wisdom” from God ~ that is, our…
…righteousness, …holiness and, …redemption.”
What is wisdom from God? Here it is spelled out. It is three things. Let’s look at it backwards. When we are redeemed from our sins, we gain God’s holiness and God’s rightness. We don’t know how to be sinless, so we cannot have righteousness and holiness on our own. But Jesus knew how, and so became sinless for us.
We cannot let what He did for us drift by. That is not wisdom. Wisdom is to follow Jesus so He can give us His sinlessness (at least in the eyes of God). What a privilege He has given to us! And how unworthy we are!
The scripture for today, January 29, is Colossians 1:29 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“To this end I labor, struggling with all His energy which so powerfully works in me.”
Wow! Hyper-active Paul, Paul who preached even while in jail, Paul who went back to preaching after he’d been beaten and told not to, Paul with the “A-type personality” said he got all that energy from Jesus Christ (see verse 28).
Who provides your energy? It depends on what you are being driven to do. It depends on what consumes you. It depends on what you’re spending your time doing. It depends on what is on your mind all the time.
Think about it today. On what things do you use the energy of Jesus?
The scripture for today, January 28, is 1st Chronicles 1:28 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“The sons of Abraham: Isaac and Ishmael.”
Are you a parent with a grown or nearly-grown child who is going in the wrong direction? Have you tried everything you can think of, and nothing is working? Do you know in your heart that you have been a good example and things shouldn’t have turned out like they have?
Abraham has been called the Father of the Faithful. Yet he had one son who followed Jehovah ~ Isaac ~ and one son who followed idols ~ Ishmael. Certainly Abraham tried everything he could to “talk some sense” into Ishmael. Certainly he prayed earnestly for Ishmael. So what went wrong?
Just as God has given each of us free will, our children also have free will. Just as God will never force us to follow him, we cannot force our children to follow God. You did not refrain from having your children because they may have difficulties in their life, and neither did God. And when our children rebel and break our hearts, imagine what God goes through when we rebel and break his heart.
Who knows? Perhaps your child will return to God some day in your old age, or even after you have died. If your child deep down has a good heart, that is enough for God to work with. Keep hope alive.
The scripture for today, January 27, is James 1:27as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: To look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
Although there are plenty of people who claim they do enough good works that they don’t have to go to church, the opposite occurs also. Do you go to church every time the doors are open, and attend all the potluck dinners, and participate in the singing, and teach a class? So far, so good.
But what about the rest? James says we must do our part to look after people in distress. If we say we don’t have time, we must look at our priorities. We take the time to do what we choose to do. James also says we can’t pray on Sunday and swear on Monday. We can’t sing on Sunday and cheat on Monday. We can’t praise God on Sunday and lie on Monday.
Christianity does include “going to church” because it was commanded in Hebrews 10:25; and Sunday is the day to keep the weekly Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7). But this must be balanced with a moral life and good works. Are you balanced?
The scripture for today, January 25, is James 1:25 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it ~ he will be blessed in what he does.”
A lot of people do not understand that there was the Law of Moses with over 600 commands in the Old Testament, and the Law of Jesus with very few commands in the New Testament. Colossians 2:14 says Jesus nailed the old Law to the cross. Jesus’ new law is one of freedom from all the requirements of the old law.
Do we really believe this? Some people dip back into the Old Law of Moses to bring back those old forms of worship (musical instruments, separate priesthood, etc.), or to bind people to regulations that are no longer binding (tithing, burning candles, etc.). That has all been nailed to the cross. But how are we supposed to know unless we read the Old Testament ~ not just the stories, but also the commands?
Then we can understand.
Let us truly let loose of the Old Law of Moses and cling to the “perfect Law that gives freedom” in Christ.
Then let us bow to Him in gratitude for doing this for us, and say “Thank you.”
The scripture for today, January 24, is Jude 1:24 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy ~ “
God is perfect, and so cannot dwell with faults and imperfection. We have faults. Romans 3:23 says everyone sins. And Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death. But God always has wanted us to live with him. What a dilemma!
God solved our problem at great expense. He sent His Son, Jesus, to earth who lived the faultless life for us. Then God offered His perfect Son, His only Son, Jesus, to die in our place.
After that, God told the world that He would consider us “without fault” vicariously through Jesus. He’s already paid the penalty for our sins. All we have to do is believe He did and follow everything He said and did to the best of our ability.
The scripture for today, January 23, is Romans 1:23 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“….and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.”
Do you ever wish you could see God, touch God, look God in the eye? Everyone has. And we may wonder why we can’t.
If this were the case, then God wouldn’t be God. He wouldn’t be omnipresent (present everywhere). He would only be able to listen to one prayer at a time, and the rest of the world’s prayers would go unheard.
Let us be grateful our God is so great that He cannot be limited. He is so great He cannot be pictured. He is so great that He fills heaven. He is so great that He fills our hearts and our souls.
The scripture for today, January 22, is Ephesians 1:22as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”
What makes this so interesting is that the church is the body of Christ. And what else is the church? Matthew 16:17-18 says the church is the kingdom of heaven. Ephesians 5:25 & 32 says the church is his bride.
Revelation 21:2, 9-10 says the church bride is the new Holy City Jerusalem. Colossians 1:18 says Jesus is the head of his body ~ the only head ~ on earth and in heaven.
And what does Jesus think of the church? Ephesians 5:25-27 says he loved the church so much that he gave himself up for her, to make her radiant ~ no stains, no wrinkles, no blemishes.
Why would anyone not want to be part of this? Such love. Such eternal love.
The scripture for today, January 21, is Job 1:21 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“ ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.’ “
Job had every reason to turn against God. In one day his entire wealth was stolen from him, nearly all his servants were killed by an invading army, and all his children died in a storm. Why hadn’t God protected him if he loved him so much?
We often forget that Satan exists also. Just remember, whatever Satan does, God can undo.
On a physical level, Satan is the accuser (Revelation 12:10), but God is the forgiver. Satan can cause us to get sick, but God can heal. Satan can cause us to die, but God can bring us back to life. Satan can make us miserable in this world, but God can take us to a better world.
Shall we leave God to fight Satan alone? We were made in his image. And how do we fight Satan? Romans 12:21 says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
On a spiritual level, sometimes we are not only separated from material things, but sometimes we are forced to be separated from other Christians. What can be the result? God’s kingdom arises in yet another place. James wrote to the Jewish Christians “scattered among the nations” (James 1:1).
Peter wrote to “God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered.…” (I Peter 1:1).
Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” There’s more….
In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, Neither angels nor demons, Neither the present nor the future, Nor any powers, Neither height nor depth, Nor anything else in all creation Will be able to separate us from the Love of God That is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39)
How can we be “more than conquerors” Unless we have something to conquer? How can we have “victory in Jesus” unless we have something to be victorious over?
Each of us has periodic assignments from God. What bad thing has happened in your life lately? That is your assignment.