WORDDEVO: "The Weekly Word with Greg Laurie" [12-2 thru 12-8] DEVOTIONALS

 

Seven Days of Devotion

The Weekly Word is a Collection of Devotionals to be read on the Day Listed and presented freely as a service to and for the Body of Christ and Believers throughout the World that We may Hear God Speak to us as the Spirit of God gives us ears to hear and eyes to see what God would have for us daily in relationship to Him.

 

 

Your Heart, a Battlefield 

Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.
— Ephesians 6:11

I am sure the greatest day in your life was the day you put your faith in Jesus Christ. And as we grow in our faith and knowledge of what God actually did for us, we become more aware of how significant that day really was. That was the day when we literally had our eternal address changed from a place called hell to a place called heaven. That was the day when we turned from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. That was the day when, according to Jesus, there was a party in heaven given in our honor—a victory shout, if you will, from the angels and from those who have gone before us.

But it was also the day when a very real spiritual battle began. In fact, it has been said that conversion has made our hearts a battlefield. Just as surely as there is a God who loves you, there is also a devil who hates you—a devil who wants to stop the work God is doing in your life.

In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus talked about the seed that fell on the roadside and was eaten by the birds. He said, "Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts" (Matthew 13:19). It is called an attack, and you had better get ready for it.

If you want to be a spiritual pacifist, then you are going down. You will have to toughen up and put on the armor of God, because in this spiritual battle, you are either advancing or retreating. You are either winning or losing. So you must fight to win. And it is a battle that can be won—if you march with Christ. 

 

 

MONDAY

 

 

HOW TO PRAY, PART 1

 

Matthew 6

 

Most Christians understand that prayer is an important part of their relationship with God. And

most believers make an effort to pray as part of their daily routine. But not everyone understands

why we need to pray.

 

For one, Jesus told us many times in Scripture to pray (Luke 18:1). Second, prayer is God’s

appointed way of asking for things (James 4:2). Third, prayer is the way through which God

alleviates our worry and anxiety (Philippians 4:6-7). And lastly, prayer helps us prepare for the

return of Christ (Luke 21:34-36).

 

Today, let’s look at some key principles regarding prayer.

 

PRACTICAL PRINCIPLES

 

1. The objective of prayer. When we pray, we are not trying to change God’s mind so that He will

give us what we want. We are trying to conform our will to God’s. If we want to see more of our

prayers answered, we need to lock in on God’s will through studying Scripture, and then align

our will with His.

 

2. Contemplating His glory and awesomeness. It’s noteworthy that the first three requests in the

Lord’s Prayer are about God’s glory, not our wants. Before making any requests to God, we need

to acknowledge His greatness and glory. Of course, it’s okay to just call out for help in an

emergency!

 

3. What stops prayer in its tracks. Your prayers are a reflection of your life as a believer. You can’t

live a life of disobedience to God, or a life of selfishness, and expect to have an effective prayer

life. He wants you to put Him first in all things. If you are in unrepentant sin, your prayers will

go nowhere.

 

RELEVANT REMINDERS

 

It’s not always easy to remember the proper format for prayer, but here’s an easy-to-remember

acronym:

 

• Adoration: Worship and praise Him.

• Confession: Confess any known sin in your life that might hinder His work.

• Thanksgiving: Give Him thanks for whatever His response may be.

• Supplication: Make your requests known to God.


 

 

TUESDAY

 

HOW TO PRAY, PART 2

Matthew 6:5-13

 

Most Christians understand that prayer is an important part of their relationship with God. And

most believers make an effort to pray as part of their daily routine. But not everyone understands

why we need to pray.

 

For one, Jesus told us many times in Scripture to pray (Luke 18:1). Second, prayer is God’s

appointed way of asking for things (James 4:2). Third, prayer is the way through which God

alleviates our worry and anxiety (Philippians 4:6-7). And lastly, prayer helps us prepare for the

return of Christ (Luke 21:34-36).

 

Today, let’s look at the template that Jesus gave for prayer—the Lord’s Prayer.

 

PRACTICAL PRINCIPLES

 

1. Our Father who art in heaven. This is a reminder that we aren’t just coming before the Lord God

Almighty, but we are also approaching our heavenly Father. Even though God is the Creator of

the universe, He also desires a close, intimate relationship with you.

 

2. Your Kingdom come. This is a three-pronged request: global, personal, and evangelistic. It’s a

request for Christ’s soon return (global), a request for Christ to rule in our lives (personal), and

for Him to bring new people into His kingdom (evangelistic).

 

3. Give us this day our daily bread. God wants to bless you and provide for your every need. This

verse is not only a request for God to fill our needs, but also an acknowledgement that everything

we have comes from Him. We are told many times in Scripture that God will provide for all of

our needs.

 

4. Forgive us our sins. This is just an affirmation that we are people who sin on a regular basis, and

need forgiveness on a regular basis. The more that you are in God’s presence, the more that you

will realize that you are a sinner in constant need of forgiveness.

 

5. I should also forgive others. If you know anything about the forgiveness of God, then you must

learn to forgive those who have sinned against you. It’s human nature that we will offend one

another and hurt others. In a society where vengeance is cherished over forgiveness, it takes more

strength and will to forgive someone than it does to get back at them.

 

6. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. This is a petition where we are

asking God to guide us so that we will not get out of His will and unnecessarily place ourselves

in the way of temptation. We are essentially saying, “Lord, don’t give me more than I

can handle.” 

 

 

WEDNESDAY

 

A Wall of Protection

And don't let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one. 
—Matthew 6:13

God is omniscient, which means that He is all-knowing. God is omnipotent, which means that He is all-powerful. And God is omnipresent, which means the He is present everywhere.

In sharp and direct contrast to this, the devil does not reflect God's divine attributes. He is not omnipotent. Although he has great power, his power is clearly limited, and he is nowhere near to being God's equal. Nor is the devil omniscient. He knows many things, but he doesn't know all things. And, he is not omnipresent. He can only be in one place at one time.

What the devil doesn't want you to know is that he can do nothing in the life of a Christian without God's permission. The devil complained that God had put a wall of protection around Job (see Job 1:10). So we see from this that even though Satan has a wicked agenda, he has to ask permission to touch the child of God. There is an impenetrable wall that God has placed around you that Satan cannot breach. That doesn't mean you can't be tempted. It doesn't mean you can't be harassed. It doesn't mean you can't be attacked. But God never will give you more than you can handle. So when the devil comes knocking at your door, I would suggest that you say, "Jesus, would You mind getting that?" I am so glad He is there, because I am no match for the devil. And neither are you.

Temptation will come into your life. Jesus even taught us to pray, "And don't let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one" (Matthew 6:13). So the next time you are facing temptation, remember that God never will give you too much. He will provide a way out. 

 

 

THURSDAY 

 

The Way Out

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but is God faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 
—1 Corinthians 10:13

As believers, we have God's promise that He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle. But here is the problem: sometimes we unnecessarily put ourselves in the way of temptation. As one person put it, "Lead me not into temptation. I can find it myself." Instead of hearing what God is saying and taking practical steps to stay away from the things that could drag us down, we unnecessarily put ourselves in the path of temptation.

We live in the real world, and all around us are things that can distract us, things that could ultimately entice us. But it is another thing to put ourselves in places where we know we are weak.

The person who has a problem with drinking shouldn't be spending time in a bar. The single guy who is struggling with sexual temptation shouldn't be spending time alone with his girlfriend late at night, in the dark. That is putting oneself unnecessarily in the way of temptation.

We know that God "will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it" (1 Corinthians 10:13). And sometimes the way of escape is the door.

Case in point: Joseph. Day in and day out, Potiphar's wife was trying to seduce him. Eventually, she cast all subtlety aside and just pulled him down on the bed. So what did Joseph do? He did what any clear-thinking young man would do under the circumstances: he ran like crazy.

God will never give us more than we can handle. There is always a way out. But sometimes we just need to take practical steps to resist temptation. What steps are you taking today? 

 

 

 

FRIDAY

 

Out of His Control 

We know that God's children do not make a practice of sinning, for God's Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them.
— 1 John 5:18

When Jesus Christ comes into your life, he becomes the sole occupant. Yet some people have suggested that Christians can be demon-possessed. However, Jesus is not in a timeshare program with your heart. The Bible says, "What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there be between God's temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God" (2 Corinthians 6:15–16).

Yet the devil would love you to think that you are powerless against his attacks, that you have no recourse, that you are no match. He would love you to believe that you will always be a victim, an addict, a puppet for him to control. And I want to tell you that is 100 percent wrong. Though it is true that a believer can be hassled or tempted or oppressed by the devil and his minions, he cannot control us.

If we yield to his power, he will have his sway in our lives. But if we resist him, we can be free from it. And here is what you need to remember: God is greater than Satan. As the Bible says, "But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world" (1 John 4:4).

You cannot cast out temptation. You cannot cast out things that attack you. Instead, you need to deny and resist them. You need to put your spiritual armor on. The Bible says, "So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7). The key is to stay as close to God as you possibly can.

 

 

SATURDAY

 

Strength in Weakness 

And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
— 2 Corinthians 12:9–10

Why does God allow hardship? Why does God allow illness? Why does God allow tragedy? We can go on and on asking why, but we can't always answer these questions. Yet listen to what the apostle Paul said as he explains why it was allowed in his life in particular:

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. (2 Corinthians 12:7–8)


We don't know what Paul's "thorn in the flesh" was. Most commentators believe it was some kind of physical disability that he probably acquired after one of his multiple beatings or stonings. Whatever it was, the devil wanted to use it to get Paul down. And it worked. Paul got down on his knees and called on God. The devil wanted to drive Paul away from God, but instead the apostle clung to Him that much tighter.

When we go through suffering and hardship, it can be so difficult at times. I have never had a more difficult time in my life than the past 19 months. Yet the fellowship I have had with God has never been sweeter. I have never been more dependent on Him. There are times I don't think I can handle it, and then God gives me the strength that I need. And I have learned things that I would not have learned anywhere else. I don't know the "why" of it all, but I trust God, cling to God, and rely on God.

Are you facing hardship and suffering today? Pour out your heart to God. He is trustworthy. 

 

THE WEEKLY WORD WITH GREG LAURIE

Can be found here:

 http://theweeklywordgreglaurie.blogspot.com/

 


QuestionoftheDay: "7 Questions" [WordDevo] 12-2 thru 12-8 ANSWERS

 

 

"Seven Questions and Seven Answers; One for each day of the Week usually posted by Saturday"

  

ONE

How is Jesus "the Truth"?

Randy Alcorn

Truth is rooted in the eternal God who’s all powerful and unchangeable. Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is Truth” (John 17:17).

Truth is far more than facts. It’s not just something we act upon. It acts upon us. We can’t change the truth, but the truth can change us. It sanctifies (sets us apart) from the falsehoods woven into our sin natures.

As Christ the living Word is truth, so his written word is truth. Though heaven and earth will pass away, God’s truth never will.

Over half the New Testament uses of “truth” (aletheia) are in John’s gospel. Truth is reality. It’s the way things really are. What seems to be and what really is are often not the same. As I develop in my novel Deception, “Things are not as they appear.” To know the truth is to see accurately. To believe what isn’t true is to be blind.

God has written His truth on human hearts, in the conscience (Romans 2:15). Shame and twinges of conscience come from a recognition that truth has been violated. When the world hears truth, if spoken graciously, many are drawn to it by the moral vacuum they feel. The heart longs for truth—even the heart that rejects it.

As followers of Christ, we are to walk in the truth (III John 3), love the truth, and believe the truth (II Thessalonians 2:10, 12). We’re to speak the truth “in love” (Ephesians 4:32).

Truth is far more than a moral guide. Jesus declared, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no man comes to the Father but by Me” (John 14:6). He didn’t say He would show the truth or teach the truth or model the truth. He is the truth. Truth personified. He is the source of all truth, the embodiment of truth and therefore the reference point for evaluating all truth-claims.

TWO

Get Ready for Spiritual Warfare?

Greg Laurie

When it comes to the Christian life, we will either gain or lose ground. We will either win or lose. But we have to be involved in the spiritual battle. Spiritual pacifists will be knocked down, because the Christian life is not a playground, but a battleground.

It is up to us to fight the good fight of faith. So we need to suit up and learn the principles from God’s Word that teach us how to be more than conquerors in Jesus Christ.

First, we need to put on the full armor of God as we engage in the spiritual battle. Ephesians 6:11 tells us, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (NKJV).

The phrase “put on” carries the idea of doing something once and for all. It speaks of permanence. The full armor of God is not something we put on and then take off again. We are to keep it on all the time.

Second, we need to be aware of the fact that Satan is not the equal of God. The devil would like us to think that whatever God can do, he can do, as though they were two sides of the same force.

Although Satan is a powerful spirit being, he is far from God’s equal. You see, God is omnipotent. God is omniscient. God is omnipresent. God can do anything that He wants to do, anywhere and anytime.

Satan is none of those things. He has limitations as to what he can do.

Third, we need to realize that the devil will primarily attack us in the realm of the imagination. The apostle Paul mentioned this in 2 Corinthians 11:3: “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (NKJV).

The devil knows that if he can get us to think about something, we are only a step away from actually doing it. He knows that our minds are “command central.” It is here that we reason. It is here that we remember. It is here that we dream.

Our minds are the hard drive, the place where everything originates. Satan knows that it is only a short step from a thought to an act.

Last, we need to understand that the devil works with two very close allies: the world and the flesh. “The world” is the world system that is hostile toward God. It is living for personal gratification, our own will above all else.

Then there is the flesh. When the Bible speaks of the flesh, it speaks more of the depraved, fallen human nature in which we are gratifying sensual appetites

 

THREE

 


What Was the Triumphal Entry?

Doug Bookman

When Jesus came to Jerusalem for the last time, He arrived to the adulation of many and the cheering approval of the crowd. The Triumphal Entry, as it is called, served a deeper purpose than simply a parade in His honor, however.

His coming in this manner had been revealed clearly in the Old Testament: the method, the timing, and the meaning. Zechariah 9:9 had told of the King's coming on the colt of a donkey so that Israel would recognize Him. From Daniel 9:25-26 the exact time of the Messiah's arrival can be calculated. Psalms 118:21-29 had announced the meaning of Christ's arrival, which the crowd realized in their shouts.

This event also fulfilled Jesus's promise. Several weeks earlier, some Pharisees came to lure Him back to Judea. Jesus said that He would not return until such time as the citizens of Jerusalem would say, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord" (Luke 13:31-35). Perhaps He intended this to further establish His credentials as the promised Messiah.

The Triumphal Entry accomplished two major goals. Because of the heightened excitement caused by the resurrection of Lazarus and then the public entrance into Jerusalem, He piqued the curiosity of the people there—important because of the many pilgrims who had come to the city for Passover. In addition, the approbation of the crowd protected Him, at least initially, from the murderous desires of the spiritual leaders in Jerusalem. The delay allowed the prophecies of the Old Testament to be fulfilled.

In a way, His entrance established a test for the people in Jerusalem. While many cheered His arrival, their faith would be challenged when He did not live up to the conquering Messiah of popular imagination. Instead, He effectively took over the Temple and called the people to the Kingdom of God. After several days, the shouts of praise turned into shouts for crucifixion.

 

 

 

FOUR

Why Did Jesus Curse the Fig Tree?

Dr. Ray Pritchard

Fig trees are for making figs.

Pretty simple, really. We plant apple trees because we want apples, peach trees because we want peaches, orange trees because we want oranges, and fig trees because we want figs. We might as well ask what good is an apple tree that doesn't produce apples? You might as well cut it down. Or curse it, as Jesus did the fig tree (Matthew 21:18-19).

How did Jesus know the fig tree was barren? Because the leaves and the fruit typically appear at about the same time. To see a fig tree covered with leaves but with no fruit meant that it was barren.

Three insights will help us understand this story. First, in the Old Testament the fig tree often stood as a symbol for the nation of Israel (Jeremiah 8:13; Hosea 9:10). Second, we also need to observe that the cursing of the fig tree occurs on Monday of Jesus's Passion Week, four days before his crucifixion. Third, this story is placed next to the story of Jesus cleansing the temple in Jerusalem (Matthew 21:12-17). The money lenders had turned the Lord's house into a den of thieves. They were profiteers who exchanged foreign currency and also sold the animals that worshipers from distant towns would buy to sacrifice before the Lord. By shrewd marketing they could charge exorbitant rates and make a killing off the pilgrims who came to worship. The whole scene angered our Lord because he knew that the temple should be a house of prayer for all nations.

Cursing the fig tree was Jesus's way of saying that the whole nation had become spiritually barren before the Lord. They had the form of religion but not the reality. They knew the right words to say, but their hearts were far from God.

 

 

FIVE

How is Jesus Our Substitute?

John Barnett

On the cross, God treated Jesus as if He had committed every sin ever committed by every person who would ever believe. Did you get that? God treated Him as if He committed, personally, every sin ever committed by every person who would ever believe though the fact is He committed none of them. That’s the great doctrine of substitution. And that’s the first side of imputation. God imputed our sins to Him. He was guilty of none of them. God treated Him as if He committed all of them. And He just unloaded His fury for all the sins of all the people who would ever believe in Him in the history of the world. He unloaded all His fury against all their sins on Christ.

To borrow the language of Leviticus 16, Jesus became the “scapegoat.” The scapegoat was guilty of nothing. But the High Priest, as it were, laid all the sins of the people on the scapegoat and sent him away. He was without sin. But sin was credited to His account as if He had personally committed it and then God punished Him though the fact is He never committed any of it. That’s imputation.

Have you ever asked yourself the question, “When Jesus came into the world why did He have to live all those years?” If I was planning the plan of redemption I’d have had Him come down on Friday, die, rise on Sunday and go back to Heaven Monday. Why 30 years? Why 30 silent years?

Jesus lived a full life was that He might live a complete life fully righteous. That He might live a complete life absolutely without sin, absolutely perfect, so that that perfect life could be credited to your account. That’s the backside of imputation. On the cross, God treated Jesus as if He lived your life so He could treat you as if you lived His life. That’s the Gospel. That’s substitution.

 

SIX

 

 

Why Did the Crowd Turn Against Jesus So Quickly?

Alfred Edersheim

During the Passion Week, the crowd in Jerusalem seems to have had a major swing in opinion. Jesus entered the city to praise and adoration but, by the end of the week, faced a crowd shouting for His crucifixion. Can such a change really happen so quickly?

We must consider first that the people shouting "Hosanna" when Christ arrived were not the residents of Jerusalem. Instead, He rode in the company of pilgrims coming to the city for Passover. Because of the news about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead and hopes that the Messianic Kingdom would soon begin, these pilgrims took to shouting and praising in their enthusiasm. Singing on the road to Jerusalem was not uncommon, and with their false ideas about a Rome-conquering Messiah, the enthusiasm spilled over into palm branches.

Most of the people in Jerusalem, to put it mildly, disagreed with the "unlearned" rabble from the country. Among these types we find the Pharisees, who urged Jesus to rein in the crowd. When Jesus refused and claimed the rocks would praise Him if the people didn't, their animosity only grew. Between these two opposing currents, Jesus rode into town.

We can envision a Jerusalem packed with outsiders pressing close to hear Jesus answer the challenges of Israel's leaders who came to embarrass Him. But this only incited more anger. Jesus had at least the superficial support of the outsiders, but the insiders—though they feared the temporary crowds—only needed opportunity, which came soon enough.

Thus, when those insiders arrested Jesus and brought Him to trial, the former supporters likely felt intimidated by the authority of the leaders. Supporting someone is much easier when there's a reduced chance of being imprisoned for it (e.g., Peter's denials). And perhaps some of those wrapped up in the enthusiasm for Jesus were just as quickly wrapped up in the fervor against Him.

Not all those who supported Jesus turned against Him. Some, in fact, later wrote the accounts we have today.

 

 

SEVEN

 

Why Did the Romans Allow the Triumphal Entry?

G. Campbell Morgan

Look for a moment at the Triumphal Entry of Jesus as a Roman would have looked at it. Has it ever occurred to you that it was a very remarkable thing that the Roman officials did not interfere with this demonstration?

The Romans were there to quell insurrection, to hold in check the turbulent Jews, and yet, there was no interference on their part! They were accustomed to see these vast multitudes gathered for religious exercises at Jerusalem; but they were perfectly aware of this strange movement and this unusual excitement manifest. They knew of the prophet of Nazareth, but they did not interfere. Why not? Because the whole thing was so utterly and absolutely contemptible.

I put it more strongly still and say that which we describe as a triumphal entry would have been in the eyes of the Roman a laughing stock; the Roman who had seen in the eternal city sitting on its seven hills, the triumphal return of a conqueror! I need not stop to describe in detail those triumphal entries, in which the conqueror, with kings whom he had overcome in war chained to his chariot wheels, amid the acclaim of the assembled multitudes, entered the city in military magnificence. Some old soldier who had seen such an entry into Rome would look at this entry characterized by old clothes, broken trees, unarmed peasant folk, and would have held it in supreme contempt.

It was just a mob; unorganized, shouting, tearing branches from trees and casting them in the way, taking their garments off and putting them across the back of the colt upon which a man rode. A man riding upon old clothes, in the midst of broken trees, surrounded by a shouting mob. That would have been the Roman outlook upon the whole scene: Grotesque!

 

QUESTION OF THE DAY

WORDDEVO: "The Weekly Word with Bob Coy" [12-2 thru 12-08] DEVOTIONALS

 

Seven Days of Devotion

  The Weekly Word is a Collection of Devotionals to be read on the Day Listed and presented freely as a service to and for the Body of Christ and Believers throughout the World that We may Hear God Speak to us as the Spirit of God gives us ears to hear and eyes to see what God would have for us daily in relationship to Him.

RELATABILITY

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15 (NKJV)

"You just don't understand!" How many times have you said that? Who have you said it to? Your parents, your boss, your spouse, your kids, your customer service representative?


There's one person you can't say that to: God. None of us, regardless of how tested, tried or tempted we may be, can ever accuse God of not knowing or understanding where we're at. The Book of Hebrews tells us that God Himself, in the person of Jesus Christ, was exposed to the full range of human experiences, short of actually sinning.


Keep in mind that God didn't settle for reading a manual or attending a lecture on what it's like to be a human being. He didn't seek out any second-hand information. He actually became one! And by so doing, He's able to fully relate to us.


Think that one through. The One who is able to hold the entire universe in His hand, the One who spoke everything that is into existence, that same God is able to identify with everything you're going through at this very moment. You'll never hear Him say, "I'm sorry. I wish I could help you with that, but I just don't understand."


By coming to dwell in the rags of human flesh, God forever took the "you just don't understand" card away from us. He does understand, and He's able to give us the support and strength we need to overcome all things.


For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted. (Hebrews 2:18 NKJV)

What does this passage reveal to me about God?

What does this passage reveal to me about myself?

Based on this, what changes do I need to make?

What is my prayer for today?

 

MONDAY

JOYFULNESS

But the fruit of the Spirit is?joy? Galatians 5:22 (NKJV)

Contrary to many misconceptions, God isn't a grumpy old man. He's doesn't putter around Heaven murmuring under His breath about how much better things used to be. He's not cranky, cantankerous, or crabby. As matter of fact, take that irritable image in your mind, find it's polar opposite, and you'll understand God as He truly is...a God of joy.


Joy. It's more than mere happiness, which depends on external circumstances and events. You're happy when you get a promotion, when you win a free lunch, or when you receive a gift of some sort. You feel good-but take away the prize, the promotion, the free lunch, or the gift-and you're right back where you started.


That's not joy. Joy is independent gladness. It doesn't matter what's happening. Joy is glad no matter what. And when we look to Scripture, we find that God and joy are inseparably and intimately linked: 
For the LORD will again rejoice over you for good as He rejoiced over your fathers... (Deuteronomy 30:9 NKJV)


And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you. (Isaiah 62:5 NKJV)
The LORD your God...He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV)


You cannot get away from the fact that God is joyful, and those around Him can't help but be brought under the influence of His joy. The fruit of God's Spirit in a believer's life includes joy, and it's a good indicator of a person's proximity to God's presence. 

So if joy is lacking in your life, go to God. Set aside some time, and spend it in His presence. For when you do, it won't be long before you sense His Spirit speaking and singing His joy over you!

What does this passage reveal to me about God?

What does this passage reveal to me about myself? Based on this,

what changes do I need to make?

What is my prayer for today?

 


   

TUESDAY

Vulnerability

"But you? killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead." Acts 3:14-15 (NKJV)

The words "vulnerability" and "God" don't seem like they should go together. After all, as we've been looking at God's attributes, we've seen how He is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-authoritative. That certainly prevents Him from being vulnerable, doesn't it?


It does unless He decides to make Himself vulnerable, which is exactly what He did. As unbelievable as it sounds, God opened up and made Himself vulnerable to His creation by willingly putting Himself in a position to be hurt by us both physically and emotionally.


We don't need to look any further than the cross to see this. It's there that God's vulnerability is most vivid. Not only did the Son submit to the physical torture of crucifixion, but think of how the Father's heart broke on behalf of His Son. That isn't a picture of a stoic or distant deity interacting at arm's length. That's God caring enough about His creation to be vulnerable.

And He continues to be vulnerable. In Ephesians 4:30 we're warned against grieving the Holy Spirit who lives inside of us. To grieve someone is to hurt them, and it's actually possible for us to hurt the Holy Spirit by living outside of His will for our lives. For when we do, we subject Him to our disobedience. Again, this is Almighty God putting Himself in a vulnerable position.


So what do we do with it? Do we live in blatant disregard to this amazing attribute of His? Or do we appreciate it to the point where it breaks our heart to knowingly hurt Him any more than we already have? God has made Himself vulnerable to us, so let's do Him the honor of surrendering to Him.

What does this passage reveal to me about God?

What does this passage reveal to me about myself?

Based on this, what changes do I need to make?

What is my prayer for today?

 

 

WEDNESDAY

HUMOR

Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by. Mark 6:48 (NKJV)

Deep down, at one time or another, most of us have probably wondered if God has a sense of humor. At the end of the day, does God have the ability to laugh and be funny? The answer is yes, and we're given a glimpse of some heavenly humor here in Mark's gospel.


The backdrop: Jesus sent His disciples to row across the Sea of Galilee without Him. As night fell, every sailor's nightmare was realized: a storm. This storm was so violent that they had been rowing all night and had only managed to get halfway across the sea.


In a state of extreme exhaustion and stress, Jesus decides to drop in on them and ultimately rescue them. He walks towards them on the water, and this is where it gets very interesting. The sacred scriptures specifically tell us the Lord made like He was going to walk right past them!


Read between the lines here: Jesus, God Almighty in the flesh, is having some fun with the disciples. He pretended to not see them and pass them by, knowing all the while they were scared beyond belief for their lives. Matthew's gospel tells us that when they saw Him they began shrieking like teenage girls at a slumber party. "It's a ghost! It's a ghost!" (Mathew 14:26). And there's Jesus, nonchalantly walking around like it's no big deal!


There's something very comforting in this. It shows us
a side of God we seldom associate with...His humor. But humor is an important part of who we are, and remember that God made us in His image. So it shouldn't surprise us that our sense of humor has a heavenly source.

What does this passage reveal to me about God?

What does this passage reveal to me about myself?

Based on this, what changes do I need to make?

What is my prayer for today?

 

 

THURSDAY

VERY BAD

"But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." Genesis 2:17 (NKJV)

As we saw yesterday, in the beginning God had created something "very good." It was perfect and flawless and man enjoyed the ultimate existence. The Lord personally created a wife for him and placed him in a fruitful and flourishing garden, abounding in beauty and provision. It was all there for his enjoyment and pleasure.


There was just one thing that God wanted him to be mindful of. There was one tree that man and woman were supposed to steer clear of...the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. We all know what happened:


So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3:6 NKJV)


It was at this moment, at this instance of disobedience, that evil entered into the human experience. Innocence became infected with iniquity, and death began its dominance over mankind. God's promise that they would die came true as their hearts became corrupted and tainted with sin. What had started out as "very good" had now become very bad.


And it's here, under the shadow of sin, that the human race remains in darkness. Everything that's wrong with the world can be traced back to this single act of disobedience. Like opening a hatch on a submerged submarine, sin came in and consumed God's creation. And as we will see over the next several days, it's against the blackened backdrop of sin that the purpose and priority of the cross can best be seen.

Think about it…

What does this passage reveal to me about God?

What does this passage reveal to me about myself?

Based on this, what changes do I need to make?

What is my prayer for today?

 


FRIDAY

WE’VE GOT A PROBLEM

For the wages of sin is death? Romans 6:23 (NKJV)

At this point we need to step away from the Garden of Eden so we can take a closer look at this thing we call sin. The word sin literally means to miss the mark. It speaks of the great gap that exists between God's perfection and our imperfection. Everything that does not meet His perfectly righteous standard is sin. Our thoughts, our motives, our words, our actions...it all falls short of Him, and as such, is sin.


So, we're sinners...so what? The "so what" is this: Sin is something that must be punished. As much as God loves and cares for people, there's another side to His nature that demands justice, a side that holds people accountable for sin. Understand that God cannot just look the other way or sweep our sin under the rug. If He did, He wouldn't be God because His righteousness and justice would be compromised.


Most of us acknowledge that know we are sinners and that our sin needs to be punished. But the punishment that is required is a little hard to swallow: The Bible says the only adequate punishment for sin is death. What?! Is it really that big of a deal?


Although many of us are quite comfortable with sin, we need to see it from God's perspective. From His perfect vantage point, sin is so offensive, so destructive, so opposite of what's right-that it only has one fitting fate-death! And that, my friends, presents a problem: Every single one of us deserves to die because we're all sinners. Since the moment Adam sinned in the Garden up until this very day, every human being has been guilty of sin and has earned the punishment of God's judgment. Except One.


And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. (1 John 3:5 NKJV)

Think about it…
What does this passage reveal to me about God?
What does this passage reveal to me about myself?
Based on this, what changes do I need to make?
What is my prayer for today?

 

SATURDAY

FIRST HINT

"He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel." Genesis 3:15 (NKJV)




Take note: It's in Genesis 3:6 where we see mankind's fall from the perfect existence God had created. Adam and Eve disobeyed the Lord when they disregarded His instructions, and as a result, sin infiltrated and infected humanity. But just nine verses later, in Genesis 3:15, we find the first hint of God's remedy for their failure. The Lord addresses the serpent (Satan) who had a hand in man's fall. He tells Satan that he'll face certain judgment for what he's done:


So the LORD God said to the serpent: "Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust All the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed." (Genesis 3:14-15 NKJV)


Notice that God says Satan's judgment would consist of an ongoing conflict between his seed and the seed of the woman. What's that all about? When we pull back and consider the whole counsel of God's Word, it's clear the serpent's seed refers to Satan's demonic forces, and the seed of the woman is a reference to Jesus Christ.


This showdown would culminate with Christ bruising Satan's head, and with Satan bruising Christ's heel. It's important to see that the wound Jesus receives isn't fatal, yet the wound Satan receives is. Christ would be wounded, but He would emerge victorious.


You don't need to be a Bible scholar to understand that this is actually a foreshadowing of the cross. This is our first hint that God had a plan in place to undo what Satan had done to us and what we've done to ourselves.

Think about it…

What does this passage reveal to me about God?

What does this passage reveal to me about myself?

Based on this, what changes do I need to make?

What is my prayer for today?


THE WEEKLY WORD WITH BOB COY

Can be found here:

 

http://theweeklywordbobcoy.blogspot.com/

 


VidDevo Meditation :: "the World and its ways"


"Last Generation Forums" :: VidDevo :: VidDevo Meditation :: "the World and its ways"
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Bible Buddy 365 Daily Reading Day 105


"Last Generation Forums" :: MORNING DEVOTIONS :: Bible Buddy 365 Daily Reading :: Bible Buddy 365 Daily Reading Day 105
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