Limiting God’s Blessings


Daily Bible Reading – 2 Kings 4,5; Psalm 83; 1 Timothy 2

Today’s Key Passage – 2 Kings 4:1-7

 

In today’s key passage, we find the story of a woman who cried out for Elisha’s help.  The woman was the widow of a prophet who was being hounded by a creditor.  In Elisha’s time, debtors were often forced to sell themselves or their children as slaves to pay off their debts, and the widow was afraid that this fate would befall her.  Elisha began by asking the widow about the resources she had on hand, and she replied that the only thing of value that she had was “a little oil” (Vs. 2)  Elisha was a man who knew God well, and he knew that God could do great things with only a small amount of resources, so he had a plan for the widow to help her out of her situation.  He told the widow to go to all of her neighbors and ask for their empty jars.  Elisha further instructed her by saying, “Don’t ask for just a few.” (Vs. 3)  The widow was to take these empty jars into her house and begin pouring oil into them.  Even though the widow only had a small amount of oil, Elisha told her that as each jar was filled, she should put it aside and fill another one.  The widow did what she was told and began filling the jars.  Miraculously, she continued pouring oil until she ran out of jars.  When she told Elisha about the miracle, Elisha said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.” (Vs. 7)

So what can we learn from this story?  As previously stated, we learn the obvious lesson that God can multiply resources exponentially.  He can make a little oil fill many empty jars, just as He can cause one man preaching the Gospel to touch the lives of thousands or even millions of people.  This in itself is a great message, but there is also another less obvious lesson here.  The number of empty jars the woman collected from her neighbors was directly proportional to her faith.  If the woman had doubts about whether or not God was going to bless her, she probably would not have collected many empty jars.  She would not spend her time and energy collecting jars if she did not believe they would be filled.  On the other hand, if she truly believed that God was going to continue filling the jars until they were all full, she likely would have gone out of her way to collect as many jars as possible.  See, all of us want to receive God’s blessings in our lives, but we often forget a very simple fact that is illustrated so plainly in this story.  That simple fact is that God’s blessings for our lives are limited only by the measure of our faith and obedience to Him.  Never lose faith in God’s ability to provide everything you need in your life.  He will provide for us, and He will care for us, but we need faith to ensure we are not limiting the blessings He can bestow. We must believe that God will provide, and not allow worry to overtake our faith.  Do not limit God’s blessings by only bringing Him a couple of jars.  Bring God as many jars as you can, knowing that He will bless you in ways you cannot possibly imagine.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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The Good Disciple


Daily Bible Reading – 2 Kings 1-3; Psalm 82; 1 Timothy 1

Today’s Key Passage – 2 Kings 2:1-18

 

For those of us who have accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, we know that we are called to be His disciples.  When most of us think of the word disciple, we automatically think of the twelve original disciples of Jesus.  We think about all that they did as they followed Jesus during His life, and all that they did after His death.  As we try to live our lives as Jesus’ disciples, we often try to model our behavior around those twelve men, and it can be easy for us to forget that they did not always set the best example for us to follow.  For example, Jesus’ disciples often had moments of weakened faith, and they often had moments when they seemed to forget who it was they were following.  Moreover, when Jesus was arrested every one of them deserted Jesus, and Peter even denied knowing Him three times.  Of course, most of the original disciples would go on to be great men following Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection and would start the church, and it is in those areas where we should follow their example.  In today’s key passage, we find another example of a good disciple, and to some surprise, we find it in the Old Testament.  Many Christians would never think to look at the Old Testament for a model disciple, but we find one in the story of Elisha.

Elisha was a disciple of Elijah in the traditional sense of the word, meaning that Elisha was Elijah’s pupil.  In today’s key passage, Elisha knew that God was going to take Elijah up to Heaven soon.  Three times Elijah told Elisha that he did not have to follow him, but every time Elisha stayed true to his mission, providing a perfect contrast to Peter’s three denials of Christ.  Elisha realized that his job was to follow Elijah wherever he led, and there was nothing that was going to stop him from fulfilling that mission.  Each time Elisha and Elijah arrived in a town, they were met by prophets who tried to discourage Elisha from continuing to follow Elijah because he was about to be taken away, but Elisha never strayed.  Elisha was a model follower, and his faith in Elijah and in God were unshakable.  He knew that Elijah was God’s messenger, and he was determined to stay faithful.  As his final request of Elijah, Elisha asked to be given the ability to carry on Elijah’s work in the world, and when Elijah was taken up in a chariot of fire, Elisha never had any doubts that Elijah was taken to Heaven to be with God.

As you work to become a good disciple of Christ, follow the example set by Elisha.  Realize that your job is to follow Jesus wherever He leads, and do not let anything stop you from fulfilling that mission.  When others try to discourage you from continuing to follow Christ, do not stray.  Let your faith in Jesus be unshakable, and ask Him for the ability to carry on His work in the world, never doubting that He is now seated at the right hand of the Father.  When we follow the example of Elisha, we can truly be called good disciples.

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Disregarding God


Daily Bible Reading – 1 Kings 22; 2 Chronicles 18,19; Colossians 4

Today’s Key Passage – 2 Chronicles 18:1-28

 

In today’s key passage, we read the story of Jehoshaphat’s alliance with Ahab.  Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, was a man who followed God, but Ahab, the king of Israel, was evil.  Jehoshaphat aligned himself with Ahab by allowing his son to marry Ahab’s daughter Athaliah.  This decision would later haunt Jehoshaphat, but that is a story for another day.  In today’s passage, Ahab asked Jehoshaphat to help him attack Ramoth Gilead, and Jehoshaphat immediately agreed.  Jehoshaphat told Ahab that they should seek the counsel of God, so Ahab called 400 false prophets and asked them if they should attack Ramoth Gilead.  The false prophets, only concerned with keeping the king happy, told Ahab that an attack would be successful.  Jehoshaphat knew that these prophets were not speaking for God, so he asked Ahab if there were any true prophets they could call on for advice, and Ahab suggested they speak with Micaiah.  When the prophet Micaiah arrived, he told Jehoshaphat and Ahab that the attack would not succeed and that Ahab would be killed in battle.  This prophesy angered Ahab and led to the imprisonment of Micaiah, but it also created a big problem for Jehoshaphat.  He had done the right thing in seeking God’s advice about the attack, but God’s advice that the attack would not be successful clashed with the commitment Jehoshaphat made to attack Ramoth Gilead.  In the end, Jehoshaphat chose to disregard God’s advice and attack Ramoth Gilead with Ahab.  Jehoshaphat was almost killed in the battle, and Ahab lost his life as predicted by the prophet.

Jehoshaphat’s error is an easy one for all of us to repeat.  He was correct in seeking God’s counsel, but the problem was he had already made up his mind about how he was going to proceed.  When God’s advice did not match his expectations, he chose to disregard God and continue down his intended path.  Anytime we make up our minds about how we should act in a certain situation prior to consulting God, we run the risk of falling into this same trap.  Once our minds are set or we have committed to one course of action, it becomes easy for us to ignore God’s advice if it contradicts our expectations.  It is not enough for us to simply seek God’s counsel; we must be willing and ready to also act in obedience to God’s will and His plan.  From our story today, we learn the importance of seeking God’s will with an open mind, and we learn the importance of not deciding on a course of action without God’s instructions.  The next time you are facing a decision, go to God first.  When you find out His will, act in obedience even if His will is different from your expectations.  When we commit to doing things God’s way instead of our own way, we will never have to worry about going down the wrong path.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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A Change of Wardrobe


Daily Bible Reading – 1 Kings 20,21; 2 Chronicles 17; Colossians 3

Today’s Key Passage – Colossians 3:1-17

 

When I was in college, I had a favorite T-shirt that I liked to wear.  It was well worn and soft, and it was my “go-to” shirt for wearing on a lazy day.  When I got out of college and got a job, I slowly started to change my wardrobe.  The shorts and t-shirts of my college days were replaced with suits and ties for my new career.  The funny thing was that every time I cleaned out my closet to make room for new clothes, I would always leave this one old favorite t-shirt behind.  It was just too comfortable to part with, and I firmly believed that I wore it well.  No matter how many brand new shirts I had hanging in my closet, I would keep going back to my favorite old t-shirt on the weekends.  If that t-shirt would have held up through the rigors of time and hundreds, if not thousands of times through the laundry, I would probably still have it today.  Sadly, it eventually became so tattered that I had to throw it away.

In today’s key passage, Paul reminds us of a different kind of wardrobe change.  He is speaking to the Christians in Colosse, and reminds them of how they should live as followers of Christ.  He begins by talking about their old selves by saying, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” (Vss. 5-10)  Paul goes on to tell the Colossians to put on their “new clothes” in Christ.  He says, “clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Vss. 12-14)

As followers of Christ, the changes in our behavior following conversion should be like a complete change of wardrobe.  We should throw out the old clothes, and fill our closets with brand new ones.  We should, “set [our] minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Vs. 2)  The problem is that for a lot of us, we tend to not throw away all of the old clothes.  Sure, we throw out most of them.  We get rid of most of our bad habits and most of our sinful desires, but sometimes we find ourselves tempted to hang on to that one comfortable old shirt.  We keep it hanging in our closets, and we keep wearing it from time to time.  God, however, is not looking for a partial change in wardrobe.  He is looking for us to wear only the new clothes He has provided us through His Son Jesus Christ.  If you have a favorite old t-shirt lying around in your life – one or two things from your past sinful life that you are not willing to give up – save yourself a lot of time and trouble and just throw it away.  The new clothes are in much better shape, and they will last for eternity.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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The Testing of Faith


Daily Bible Reading – 1 Kings 17-19; Colossians 2

Today’s Key Passage – 1 Kings 17:1-24

 

When was the last time your faith was tested?  Has it been awhile, or has it happened recently?  One of the certainties of our Christian lives is that at times our faith will be tested.  Just as it takes a tremendous amount of pressure to form a diamond, it sometimes takes trials and tests to build our faith.  How we react to these tests indicates where our hearts are in relation to God.  How we react to these tests shows our true character.  When our faith is tested, we can choose to turn and run away from God, or we can choose to keep our focus firmly on Christ and maintain strict obedience to His Word.  In today’s key passage, we find a great illustration of the testing of faith in the story of the great prophet Elijah.  In a single, relatively short chapter of the Bible, Elijah’s faith was tested four times.  Moreover, these are not small tests.  The tests Elijah faced in 1 Kings 17 are all big ones.  Today we will look at the four tests Elijah faced and how he reacted to each one.

In the first test of his faith, God spoke to Elijah and wanted him to go before the King of Israel and tell him about a drought that was coming.  Elijah needed to confront Ahab, the most evil king in Israel’s history at that point, and tell him that because he did not follow God and because he led the Israelites away from God, he was going to face a punishment in the form of a great drought.  Imagine how Elijah must have felt walking into that room to confront Ahab.  Despite the hostile environment and the unpleasant message he needed to deliver, Elijah did not waiver in his faith.  He obeyed God, and delivered the message to Ahab.

In the second test of his faith, God again spoke to Elijah and told him to go into hiding to spare his own life.  God told Elijah to hide in the Kerith Ravine, and God promised Elijah that he would find water to drink in the brook, and that the ravens would bring him food to eat each day.  Imagine what must have been going through Elijah’s mind when God told him he would be fed by ravens.  I do not know about you, but I probably would have asked God to repeat that message to make sure I heard him correctly.  Elijah, on the other hand, did not waiver in his faith.  He obeyed God, and he went to the Kerith Ravine where he found water in the brook and was fed meat and bread twice a day by ravens.

In the third test of his faith, God told Elijah to go to Zarephath where he would find a widow who would feed him.  When he arrived in Zarephath, he found the widow, but soon realized she was almost as poor and destitute as Elijah himself.  She was getting ready to prepare one final meal for herself and her son, as she was almost out of flour and oil.  Imagine the shock Elijah must have felt when he learned that the widow who was supposed to feed him only had enough flour and oil for one meal.  As before, however, Elijah did not waiver in his faith.  He obeyed God, and told the widow to make him a small cake of bread with the flour and oil she had left, and miraculously the woman’s jar of flour was never used up and her jug of oil was never dry.

In the final test of his faith (in this chapter anyway), the widow’s son became ill and died.  Grieving the loss of her son, the widow blamed Elijah for his death.  Imagine how Elijah must have felt being accused of bringing death to this boy.  In the midst of these accusations, Elijah did not waiver in his faith.  He cried out to the Lord and asked Him to heal the boy, and God returned the widow’s son to life.

As you can see, in each of these four illustrations, Elijah’s faith was tested.  Each time, he could have chosen to turn away from God, but each time he did not waiver in his faith.  Elijah understood that during the testing and trials that come in our lives, our obedience to God is paramount.  The next time your faith is tested, take a lesson from the story of Elijah.  No matter what God asks you to do, or how bad the circumstances might be, do not waiver in your faith, and live in obedience to God’s commands.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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Praying for Others


Daily Bible Reading – 1 Kings 16; 2 Chronicles 15,16; Colossians 1

Today’s Key Passage – Colossians 1:9-14

 

As followers of Christ, we all understand the power of prayer.  Prayer is a powerful thing, and it is one way that we can connect with God on a personal level.  For most new Christians, prayer typically begins with asking God for the things that they need in their own lives.  As we mature in our faith, we will usually find that more and more often we will be praying not just for ourselves but for other people.  In fact, we will likely spend more time praying for others than for ourselves.  This change in our prayers happens because as we grow in Christ and get to know Him better, we get more and more of His heart for other people.  As our love grows for others, we will want to spend more time praying for them.  If you have never spent a lot of time praying for others, though, this can seem like a daunting task.  What should we pray for?  What should we ask?  In today’s key passage, we can find the answers to these questions.  Paul is praying for the church in Colosse.  Keep in mind that Paul had never actually met the Colossians, but that did not stop him from praying for these brothers and sisters in Christ.  His prayer can be used as a model for us as we pray for others, because he prays for the things that all believers need in their lives.  Today we will look at Paul’s requests for the Colossians:

He prays they will know God’s will – (Vs. 9)

He prays they will gain spiritual wisdom – (Vs. 9)

He prays they will live a life worthy of God and pleasing to Him – (Vs. 10)

He prays they will bear fruit for God – (Vs. 10)

He prays they will grow in their knowledge of God – (Vs. 10)

He prays they will be strengthened with God’s power – (Vs. 11)

He prays they will have great endurance and patience – (Vs. 11)

He prays they will have joy – (Vs. 11)

He prays they will give thanks to God – (Vs. 12)

As we review this list of prayer requests, we can quickly see the beauty of Paul’s prayer for these people whom he had never even met.  When you think about your own life, are these not the things you would ask for yourself?  These nine requests represent the most basic of needs for any follower of Christ, so it is appropriate that these would be the things we would ask God not only for ourselves but for others as well.  I encourage you to spend time in prayer asking God for these nine things, and I encourage you to spend time praying for others.  Pray for your friends in need.  Pray for the people you know who do not know Christ.  Pray for your pastors and church administrators.  Pray for missionaries who are spreading the Gospel in far-away places.  For people you know and people you do not, pray for these nine things, and praise God for His willingness to answer our prayers and for His never-ending faithfulness.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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Finding Victory over Temptations


Daily Bible Reading – 1 Kings 15; 2 Chronicles 13,14; Philippians 4

Today’s Key Passage – 2 Chronicles 14:2-15

 

In today’s key passage, we are introduced to Asa, one of the kings of Judah.  During the first ten years of his reign, Asa followed God and walked in His ways.  He did much to reform Judah, and our passage today outlines some of the things he did during these first few years.  Interestingly, while his story is not specifically about overcoming temptations, as I read it today I could not help but realize that some of the things he did in Judah can actually show us a clear path to victory over temptations.  Every one of us are going to face temptations to sin, so searching for ways to find victory over these temptations is vitally important.  Asa’s story today provides us with three key steps to finding that victory.

Removal – “He removed the foreign altars and the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles.” (Vs. 3) – One of the first things Asa did was remove the items that were causing the people of Judah to be led astray from God.  To find victory over temptations, we must first remove anything from our lives that might cause us to sin.  For some people, this might mean changing some behaviors.  For others, it might mean finding a new job or moving to a different neighborhood.  If there is anything in your life that causes you to be tempted to sin, remove it from your life completely.

Preparation – “He built up the fortified cities of Judah, since the land was at peace.” (Vs. 6)  While Asa was following God, God gave him and his people peace with all of their neighbors.  During this peaceful time, Asa could have chosen to bask in the peace and get lazy, but instead he realized that the peace allowed him an opportunity to prepare.  Asa knew that if an attack occurred, it would be too late in the heat of battle to begin thinking about building up defenses, so he began the process ahead of time.  He built up the towns and put walls around them with towers, gates, and bars in preparation for an attack that would inevitably come.  Likewise, when a temptation to sin attacks us, it will be too late at that point to begin thinking about building our defenses.  Instead of waiting for the heat of temptation, we can begin building our defenses now during times of “peace”.  When we decide ahead of time what we will do when temptation strikes, we will be better able to defend ourselves from sin.

Prayer – “Then Asa called to the LORD his God” (Vs. 11)  A large army from Cush advanced against Judah.  When Asa saw the great army, he knew that he was outnumbered.  Before the battle began, he cried out to the Lord in prayer, and asked God for victory.  Though he was greatly outnumbered, God gave him victory over his enemy.  For us, when the temptation to sin strikes, we should also cry out to God.  Even when the temptation seems so strong that we do not think victory is possible, we can still go to God in prayer.  When we ask God to give us victory over temptation in these moments, we can rest assured that He will deliver us.  He will give us the power to overcome any temptation, and all we have to do is ask.

Temptations to sin will always come against us as we walk our Christian lives, and how we react in those times of temptation will define us.  When we follow the three steps provided by the story of Asa, we can get one step closer to overcoming these temptations.  When we follow these steps, we can find victory.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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The Deceived Prophet


Daily Bible Reading – 1 Kings 13,14; 2 Chronicles 12; Philippians 3

Today’s Key Passage – 1 Kings 13:1-25

 

In today’s key passage, we find the tragic story of a deceived prophet.  An unnamed prophet went from Judah to Bethel and spoke out against Jeroboam and his practices of appointing priests outside of the tribe of Levi and erecting idols.  The prophet spoke the words of God and was used by God for His good purposes.  Part of the message he received from God was that he was not to stop and eat any bread or drink any water on his way back home, and he was not to return the way he came.  As he left Bethel, he was stopped by another prophet who wanted the unnamed prophet to return to his home to eat his bread and drink his water.  At first, the unnamed prophet stood firm and told the other prophet that he was under strict orders from God.  Eventually, however, the other prophet was able to convince him by claiming the Lord spoke to him, and the unnamed prophet returned to the man’s house.  As he was eating, the other prophet received a word from God condemning the unnamed prophet for disobeying God’s commands, and when the unnamed prophet left he was killed by a lion along the road.  In the span of just a few short paragraphs, this unnamed prophet went from being a man through whom God spoke, to being a man condemned to die by God’s righteous punishment.

So what can we learn from this tragic story?  First, we can learn that when we are given specific instructions by God we cannot allow anyone or anything to sway us from doing what God told us to do.  We all know what God wants us to do.  It is spelled out in His Word for all of us to see.  We are to obey His commands.  We are to love other people.  We are to reach others for Him.  We are to be His ambassadors to the world.  Sometimes others will try to turn us away from God.  Sometimes, our own rationalizations will try to turn us away from God.  We must not allow this to happen.  This leads to the second point we can learn from this story, which is that God expects complete obedience from us.  He does not expect us to obey Him some of the time.  He expects us to obey Him all of the time.  He does not expect us to obey some of His commands.  He expects us to obey all of His commands.  He gave the unnamed prophet specific instructions and He expected them to be followed.  When they were not, the result was tragic.  Likewise, He has given each of us specific instructions that He expects to be followed, and if they are not the results will be tragic.  My prayer today is that all of us can learn a lesson from the deceived prophet.  My prayer is that none of us will allow anything or anyone to sway us from our mission, and my prayer is that all of us will practice complete submission and obedience to our sovereign God.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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Following Bad Advice


Daily Bible Reading – 1 Kings 12; 2 Chronicles 10,11; Philippians 2

Today’s Key Passage – 1 Kings 12:1-16

 

The period following Solomon’s death was a tumultuous time in Israel.  Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, succeeded him as king and went north to Shechem to try to maintain good relations with the northern tribes.  While there, the Israelites led by Jeroboam came to Rehoboam with a request.  They said, “Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.” (Vs. 4)  The Israelites were looking for relief from the forced labor and the high taxes imposed by Solomon during his reign.  Rehoboam did not immediately know how to answer the Israelites, so he told them to return in three days for his answer.  During the three days, Rehoboam sought advice from two groups – the elders who served his father and the young men who had grown up with him.  The elders advised giving in to the Israelites’ demands, but the younger men advised that he should answer them harshly and refuse to back down.  In the end, Rehoboam chose to listen to his younger friends, and this decision caused the nation to be divided in two with the ten northern tribes following Jeroboam and the two southern tribes continuing to follow Rehoboam.

In reading today’s key passage, we can learn a lot about making leadership decisions from Rehoboam.  The first thing we learn is that when a request is made of us, it is often a good idea to delay our response if we do not immediately know the right decision.  Rehoboam was right in allowing himself extra time to make a decision instead of simply answering off the top of his head.  Rehoboam made another good decision when he sought advice from the people he trusted.  When facing a difficult decision, it is often a good idea to seek the council of others.  Sadly, the list of what we can learn from what Rehoboam did ends here.  The remainder of our lesson lies in what Rehoboam did not do.  To begin with, Rehoboam did not remain impartial to the advice given by the two groups and allowed himself to be swayed by his personal relationships with the young men he grew up with.  In addition, Rehoboam made his final decision based on what he believed to be his own best interest instead of the best interest of the group.  Finally, and most importantly, Rehoboam failed to consult God.  When facing a decision, we should always consult God first to determine the best direction in which to proceed.  This can be done by reviewing His Word and through prayer.  Rehoboam had all of the tools he needed to make the right decision, but instead he failed in these key areas, followed bad advice, and ultimately made a choice that cost him dearly.

The next time you are facing a decision, remember the story of Rehoboam.  Remember the things he did well, and remember the things he failed to do.  Give yourself time to make a good decision.  Seek the council of others, and do not be swayed by personal biases.  Make a decision that reflects the best interest of the group instead of yourself.  Above all else, seek God’s wisdom in discerning the right decision.  When we follow bad advice, we can set ourselves up for a tremendous fall, but when we follow God’s advice we will always make the best decision.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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A Life Under Construction


Daily Bible Reading – Song of Songs 5-8; Philippians 1

Today’s Key Passage – Philippians 1:3-11

 

Awhile back my wife and I were driving home after visiting my parents house when we noticed the passenger airbag light in her car illuminated.  We were not sure what the light meant or why it was on, but when the driver’s airbag light also illuminated on the dashboard we realized that obviously there was a mechanical problem somewhere in the vehicle.  As I stared at those two lights, my mind raced with thoughts of our safety while driving the car the rest of the way home as well as the impending repair bill that would undoubtedly accompany these lights.  To put it mildly, my reaction in the car that day was less than Christ-like, as my worries and frustrations boiled over and I reacted in the flesh.  Following my mini-tirade, I immediately realized how inappropriate my behavior had become, and I looked at my wife for her reaction.  As I looked in her eyes, I found that the judgment that I expected to see and rightly deserved was not there.  Instead, I saw in my wife’s eyes compassion and love, as she supported me in repenting from my sin.

At times like these, I am reminded of a couple of things.  First, I am reminded how far I have come since I began my walk with Christ.  It was not that long ago when outbursts like this one were so common from me that I would not have given them a second thought.  More importantly, I am reminded of how far I have yet to go.  I am reminded that no matter how far I have come, I am still a project under construction.  In times like these, we can find comfort in today’s key passage.  In it, Paul is expressing his thanksgiving for the church in Philippi.  In verse 6, he gives all of us hope as he says, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  No matter how far along each of us are in our walks with Jesus, we are all still under construction.  We all have times of failure.  We all have times of reacting to things in the flesh instead of the Spirit.  We can be confident, though, that God is not finished with His work.  He has been working for all of us since the beginning of time.  He worked for us when He created the world, and He worked for us when Christ died on the cross.  He began His work in each of us when we first came to Him and were saved.  By the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of us, He will continue His work in us throughout our lives until we are called home or Christ returns.

During a trip to New York, my wife and I went to Ground Zero where the World Trade Center towers once stood.  At the time, there was a constant motion of people and equipment working on building the new memorial site.  The site under construction was not much to look at, but there was no doubt in our minds that the men and women working on the project were not going to stop until their work was finished.  Likewise, during our lowest points we may not be much to look at, but there is no doubt that God is not going to stop working until we are complete.  The next time you have a moment of failure, remember Paul’s words to the Philippians.  In those times you might think God is looking on you with all of the judgment and condemnation that you feel you rightly deserve.  Instead, what you will find is His unyielding compassion and his unlimited love as He supports you in repenting of your sin.  In those moments, praise God for His work on the cross, and thank Him for His promise to complete the good work He began in you.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

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