Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘Destruction’

Purpose

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.

For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;

Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you:

Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.

For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.

Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.

But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.

And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.

Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.  ~~ 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15  (KJV)

In Paul’s letter to the church at Thessalonica, he warned them against idleness. What he referred to was the idleness of not earning your way in the world. Not doing the work of the Lord with the purpose He had in mind for your life.

He points to himself as the example of working while teaching. This was not because his teaching was not worthy of payment, but because he wanted to show them the industriousness that needs to accompany the teacher. It is not enough to sit idly by and just think in an ivory tower. One needs to have the experience of the work at hand to base one’s theories upon.

I don’t believe it is any accident that this warning immediately follows Paul’s dissertation on the second coming of Christ. Early church fathers knew and accepted the principle that our time is short (in light of eternity) and that we must be busy about the Lord’s work.

The book of Proverbs was well known in Paul’s time. I memorized Proverbs 29:18 in the KJV when I was a child.

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Sometimes it is a struggle to see the vision God has for your life. When the world seems to cave in upon you, when everything you thought you had is ripped away, when tragedy and destruction mark your path, you have great difficulty seeing a vision of your purpose in God’s world.Those minutes and hours, once spent, are irredeemable.

Our purpose is to serve the Lord and His church. For that we need all the time eternity can offer.

Father, God,

Teach us to number our days so that we may give a good account of them when Your Son returns. Grant that we may be useful in Your kingdom. Help us to see the vision You have for our lives.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

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Fear Not

Focus verses: Jeremiah 46:27-28

After God has told Jeremiah about the destruction of Judah and the scattering of the people, He goes on to tell Jeremiah about the destruction of the nations which He has used to punish Judah. Can you imagine the consternation of the people? Not only will they be forcibly ripped from their homes, but the nations to which they will be scattered will also be destroyed. What is to become of them?

These two verses are filled with reassurance. He calls the people by the name of their father, Jacob. You will remember that Jacob wrestled with God and his name was changed to Israel.

It would seem that the descendants of Jacob continue to wrestle with God. They worship Him and then they are drawn away. They cannot seem to remain faithful in their obedience. They struggle with the world and the flesh.

But God reassures them here. He tells them he will not utterly destroy the descendants of Jacob, but He will completely destroy the nations to which they have been scattered.

Then He tells them He will discipline them with justice but He will not let them go entirely unpunished. In effect, they will reap the consequences of their infidelities.

God is always just. He may be merciful, but justice demands a discipline from a righteous God.

Father, God,

Help us to see Your righteousness and Your justice in the disciplines You enforce in our lives. Make us willing to see Your perfect plan as You reveal it to us day by day.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Two Sins

Focus verses: Jeremiah 2:10-19

The words of the Lord here are a somber charge against the children of Israel. God compares them to the nations of idolaters surrounding them — unfavorably, I might add.

The other nations remain faithful to their idols, even though those idols are powerless to help them. But the people of God have exchanged the glory of God for worthless idols. The heavens are to be appalled and shudder with horror.

These verses are as valuable for us today as they were for the nation of Israel when Jeremiah was speaking them.

We have exchanged the glory of God for the idol of secular humanism. God is no longer the measure by which we judge ourselves. Man is to be the measure of all things.

This shift in values can lead only to destruction. It smacks of the fall of an angel to become a demon.

Our only hope lies in prayer followed by appropriate action. God calls us to pray for the nation and He promises to hear us. But there is action in the call besides just praying. Those actions are humble themselves, pray, seek and turn. Prayer is only a part of it.

Humble ourselves, recognize that we are not the measure of all things.
Pray, get on our knees and petition the Lord, recognizing His Sovereignty.
Seek, actively study to learn more of Him.
Turn, change our behaviors – another way to say repent.

We are called to these actions to try to save our nation from the destruction appointed for the idolatrous.

Father, God,

Show us our place in Your scheme of things. Keep us mindful of our pettiness in the face of Your majesty. Help us to follow Your call to action for our homeland. Stay Your hand yet a little longer while Your faithful pray and seek change.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Who Is Like You

Focus verses: Micah 7:14-20

Despite the sins of the people. God is eager to forgive as soon as they return to Him. His anger does not burn forever. He is a merciful God.

That does not mean that we can presume upon His mercy. We cannot assume that He will forgive the unrepentant. We have seen the destruction of the wicked.

Every action carries within itself the seed of its own reward or punishment. The reward of fidelity and obedience to God is His favor. The reward of disobedience and faithlessness is separation from God.

“Who is knocking at the door of my heart?”
Pleading, “A lonely little sin.”
“Slip in” we whisper.
And all of hell is in!

Disobedience and faithlessness is sin. And it doesn’t matter if the sin is a big one or a little one. Sin is sin, and it’s always bad.

But repentance — a real change of heart and action — appeal to God’s mercy and forgiveness.

If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9 – paraphrased by me)

No one is like God. We have a hard time forgiving even the repentant. But God is eager to forgive at the first sign of repentance.

Father, God,

Show us Your mercy. Help us to realize the all-or-nothing-ness of obedience and faithfulness. Keep us faithful to you. And grant us the heart to forgive others as You have forgiven us.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Sin Paraded

Focus verses: Isaiah 3:8-15

Unacknowledged and unrepented sin is fatal. When a people will not acknowledge its sins as sin and will not repent of it, they have marked themselves for destruction.

I read this verse and shuddered: “They parade their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! They have brought disaster upon themselves.”

As a nation, we, too, parade our sins like Sodom. We parade the sin of sodomy and give it place in our world by trying to legitimize it.

We make laws that put innocence in danger and justify expediency over righteousness.

We reward those who manipulate and scheme and commit fraud.

Our legal system has been skewed to favor the powerful over the just; it has overstepped its boundaries at the behest of the powerful.

As a nation, we are in terrible shape. We have committed every sin in the book. We have earned all the reprisals listed in the book.

God is just and merciful to those who acknowledge their sin and repent. But God is also righteous, and those who flout their sin proudly will not receive mercy.

As individuals, let us examine our hearts to root out and repent of our personal sins. As a nation, let us work to return our country to the righteousness of the Lord.

Father, God,

Shine the light of Your love into our hearts to show us our sins that we may repent of them. Give us the discernment to see those who would lead us astray, and let us have the courage not to elect leaders who will pull us down that path.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Kings Without Consent

Focus verses: Hosea 8:1-14

God has spelled out the sins of His children. You see, He created man with a free will, and He will not override that freedom. That is the only place where we can limit God. Our free will is a double-edged sword.

If we choose wisely, we can live in God’s approval. If we choose wrongly, we reap His disapproval. It’s a frightening thought.

They set up kings without my consent; they choose princes without my approval. With their silver and gold they make idols for themselves to their own destruction.

This passage looks like it was written for the United States in these days. We leave God out of our politics and business dealings. We have done so for many years. We set up goals – all based on money in some fashion. Our politicians are not public servants as the early presidents were, but many are seeking self-aggrandizing power. Our businesses are built on greed. The consequences for this behavior are dire.

They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no head; it will produce no flour.

In Kansas, we know the whirlwind. It’s power is terrible, and it’s path seems capricious. It is unpredictable. If one comes your way, you can only take shelter and pray. If it hits, you can expect enormous destruction. The hail that frequently accompanies those storms can thresh a field of wheat as it stands so that there is no harvest for the sower.

Do we not see the parallel? When we neglect God, when we put other things ahead of Him, we can only expect negative consequences.

Father, God,

Show us the right paths. Keep us seeking You and Your instructions at all times. We would be faithful, not faithless.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Discerning Wisdom

Focus verses: Proverbs 2: 6-15

The wise words of Solomon are as true today as they were the day they were written down.

Here, wisdom is a prize greatly to be desired. You can get it from God, and implied is the thought from God only.

Seeking wisdom from the Lord, you can be certain that he will guard your steps so that you will not fall into bad company.

Note please, that wisdom will enter your heart. It is not just a function of the intellect, but is also a function of the emotions. When you have wisdom, you can follow what we’ve called “that gut feeling” with confidence.

Wisdom will keep your feet on the secure path. All other paths will lead to destruction and dishonor, but wisdom will keep you on the Lord’s path, walking in His ways.

Solomon asked the Lord for wisdom and was given wealth and honor and power as a result of his wisdom.

Father, God,

Grant us Your wisdom so that we may walk in Your ways and become more and more Your children.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.