2019-09-09 – Romans 12:9
Verse of the Day Devotion: Romans 12:9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.
Paul here moves to a more practical look at our Christian walk; in this verse dealing with love and goodness. First, he addresses love, urging that his followers ensure their love is real and not just surface level. It needs to be unfeigned, both sincere and not hypocritical. It should go beyond the words we say and have its source be the very depths of our hearts. Too many people wear a mask that covers their true feelings; those being mostly indifference. This is not the love we are to have. It must be genuine. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:34. What kind of love is this? A love that is real and pure and sacrificial. He loved us so much that He was willing to die one of the most horrible deaths imaginable that we could be reconciled with the Father. Is this the kind of love we have? Would we be willing to do whatever it takes to meet the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ? Is keeping what we have more important than meeting a need another has? We must all answer this question for ourselves, with complete and total honesty. If we find we come up short, we must pray and ask God to give us this kind of love. This will show the world that your Christian walk is very real. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35.
The other thing Paul mentions here is that we must look for and do that which is good. This entails not only clinging to what is good but abhorring what is evil. We must hate sin as much as Jesus did. This hatred, when looked at in the context of this verse I believe focuses on malice and unkindness rather than evil in general, however, we are to absolutely hate that as well. We should not speak ill of anyone, but our thoughts should be of love and our desire to help them grow in the faith. He is exhorting us to show genuine love to others so that through this they will be encouraged to do the same.
As for the good, we should cling to it in a way we will not let go. This word has the idea of ‘gluing’, that we will have no excuse but to hold firmly to it. We should never depart from it at any cost. This goodness also has the idea of how we treat others. “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32. This is a great picture of love.
This can be very difficult in this world today. However, submit to the Holy Spirit and let Him give you the strength to love like this. For this is how He loves us.
2019-09-10 – Matthew 5:44
Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 5:44 “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
As Christians, we are called to love everyone, just as Christ did when He was down here. Of course, we are called to love our brothers and sisters in Christ. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:34. He commands us to love each other. We are all one in the body of Christ. There should be no enmity between us, but we should be compassionate with each other. In fact, we should see others as better than ourselves. “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;“ Philippians 2:3
Also, we are to love the lost. We do this by showing them the love of Christ, and the way to salvation. This is why we are here. To reach out to all who are lost and guide them to Christ. He does not want anyone to remain unsaved but wants all to come to salvation. “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9.
However, there is one area that is most difficult, but is no less important. And this involves our focus verse. We are to love our enemies. We are to love all who treat us badly. Paul put it very clearly. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Romans 12:20. So, we are to meet every need they have as well, with compassion. However, what does it mean to heap burning coals on his head? Sounds like a bad idea, however, this is a true blessing as well. Note these verses in proverbs. “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; For you will heap burning coals on his head, And the LORD will reward you.” Proverbs 25:21-22. Notice the similarity of the verses. No doubt Paul was quoting this verse.
Also notice though that heaping hot coals on the head was a blessing back then; note “and the Lord will reward you”. When Proverbs was written, people heated their homes and cooked with fire. But sometimes, a person’s fire would go out during the night, and before they could cook their breakfast, they had to go to a neighbor’s house to get a coal so they could relight their fire. Proverbs 25:22 teaches that if the fire of your enemy goes out, and they come asking for a coal to relight their fire, instead of turning them away or giving just one, we should be extravagantly generous. How? By us giving our enemy so many burning coals they must carry them the way burdens were carried in the Middle East: in a container on the head. Then they can go back and immediately bake their bread without having to wait for the wood to become suitable coals for cooking. A much different way of looking at the heaping hot coals verses. This is the love we should have for our enemies.
As the focus verse says, we are to love our enemies and pray for them. We are also to meet their needs the same as we meet the needs of our brethren. By doing so, it gives us the opportunity to share the love of Christ through words, and by deeds where they will see our light shine into their darkness, and it may turn an enemy into a true friend.
2019-09-11 – 1 Timothy 6:10
Verse of the Day Devotion: 1Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Money is not the root of all sorts of evil, it is the love of it that is the issue. Money in and of itself is not a bad thing. In today’s culture, we could not survive without some money, for it does require funds to purchase food, clothing and shelter. However, when our desire for money goes beyond our needs, this is when we could enter dangerous territory, that being greed and ultimately avarice.
Question. What did Christ say were the two greatest commands? “Jesus answered, ‘The foremost is, Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you will love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, You will love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.’” Mark 12:29-31. This is where our love should be focused; to God and to people.
Those who have a love for money and longing for as much as they can get, covet it. And the enemy can take that and tempt us to increase our love for it until money becomes more important than other people, and ultimately could lead to being more important than God. And one of the tools he uses is comparison. We compare what we have with what others have, or we compare what we do not have with what others have. It is very easy to fall into this if our focus is things, and ultimately money. The writer of Hebrews put it this way. “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 Comparison of what we have will often lead to discontentment. We begin to feel that what God has provided for us is not enough, we want more.” At this point, our wants become our needs even though we do not really need them. “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19. If He does not supply something to us, then do we really need it? Paul alludes to No as the answer.
If we have more than we need, then our focus can be on those who do not. Often, the way God supplies the needs of others is through the treasures of another. We should think of money as a tool we can use to do the work of God here. There was a Christian music performer who chose to give 90% of his money to others and live off the remaining 10%. He brought in way more than he needed and he made the decision to meet the needs of others as his needs were met. Is there a way we can take our excess and bless others who absolutely need it? Let’s examine our situation and see where God leads us. Not only will we be blessing others, but we will be blessed as well by the Father, and the knowledge that someone else is now in a better place.
2019-09-12 – Psalm 1:1
Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 1:1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
Psalm chapter 1 to me is a wonderful read. This looks at the differences of those who follow God, and those who do not. This verse says how blessed the man is who does not follow the ways of this world but follows the ways of God. And what are the ways of the world? First, by walking in the counsel of the wicked rather than the righteous. He gives ear to the advice of the wicked. He is not at peace with His relationship with God and listens to that which is contrary to His word.
I have seen too many people who niche out their lives, some to their Christian walk, and some to the ways of the world. I know because I did it myself. There was my church life, then there was my regular life. If there was a decision to make, many times I would take the wrong advice down the wrong path. I would listen to worldly people, and this often did not turn out well. However, when I became a true Christian, one that lived it as well as professing it, I stopped listening to the world, and I found I was much more at peace. I did not have to worry about being caught or having to answer to my wrong decisions. I was truly at peace.
We are not to go and linger in places where ungodly things happen and focus our attention on what is going on. If we come across a place like this, or people who live in ungodly ways, we should be willing to present the truth of the gospel to them and help them turn their lives to God. But we should not go somewhere and participate in their worldly ways. This destroys the light we want to shine in the darkness, and our witness to the unsaved.
And we are not to participate in mocking or derision of others. Especially where we do it regarding people who are leaders in the church. We can differ in what we believe, and we can counter those beliefs. However, we should never deride or mock the people involved. We are to love them, and how can we say we love them if we speak evil of them? And why would they listen to us when endeavoring to help them understand the truth when they see our mocking?
We must not listen to the wicked, participate in the activities of sinners or join in mocking of those we disagree with. Aside from these activities being wrong or sin, we can instead live a blessed life which is pleasing to God, where we can be at peace because we are living a life of love and not animosity. “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Colossians 3:15. We can do this only by following the words of the psalmist in our focus verse. “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!” Psalm 1:1
2019-09-13 – Romans 8:1
Verse of the Day Devotion: Romans 8:1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
In Genesis 3 Adam and Eve sinned causing all of mankind to be under the curse. “Therefore, just as through one-man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned”. Romans 5:12. Because of the sin of Adam and Eve, death came into the world. But even more important in my thoughts, perfection was lost, for sin was passed on from generation to generation. Man could not address this problem himself, for the solution was the shedding of the blood of an innocent, perfect man, who would have the sins of all imputed to him, thus paying the penalty for us. Also, we would be justified, declared righteous, if we choose to accept this work done by Jesus.
This is what happened. Man, himself could not do it, for no man was innocent, without sin. Therefore, God had to come down himself and die for us. And He did, through the second person of the trinity, Jesus the Christ. Peter says the following when describing his calling, “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:21-24. Because of the death Jesus died for us, we are justified by our faith in His work. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2
I know this is understood by all who are Christians. However, do we rejoice because of this? This is the most incredible picture of love ever exhibited in this world. We were condemned and bound for eternal punishment because of our sin, and there was nothing we could do. So, God did it for us. He spent over thirty years here on earth living an absolutely perfect life, ending in dying a horrendous death to pay the penalty for our sins. Do we show our appreciation for this as we should? As I said above, we were condemned, but now the condemnation has been done away with for us who are truly saved by faith in the work of Christ.
We must rejoice with everything we have, for we are reconciled with God and we now have access to Him. “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” Romans 5:10-11. Never let this work of Christ be minimized at any cost. Be mindful of it at all times, for without this work, we have no hope, but through this work we have absolute hope, for our sins are forgiven and we are now children of God. “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” Luke 2:14.