Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘Justice’

God’s Will for Our Lives

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?  ~~  Micah 6:8 (KJV)

We talk about God’s will.  We pray for healing, if it’s His will. We pray for prosperity, if it’s His will. How do you know what His will is in any circumstance?

Micah 6:8 tells you in plain language. Oh, this is written in King James English and you don’t really understand it?

We can unpack the King James version of the verse from the end to the beginning.

The last noun, and most important one, is God – thy God. Thy God is the person or thing uppermost in your mind and spirit at all times.  If you have truly made Jesus Christ the Lord of your life, you can rest in His provision.

  • Yes, we work to be faithful to His word in all things.
  • Yes, we are responsible for our actions and reactions.
  • Yes, we are responsible for how we live. And that includes how we make our living.
  • But the most important thing we are responsible for is obedience to God.

Obedience begins with a knowledge of His written word – the Bible. As we read His word, we become familiar with His desires for us. Psalm 37:4 says it plainly.

Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

This doesn’t just mean He will give us anything we desire. It means He will sow His will into our hearts to make it our heart’s desire.

The next step is to love mercy. If we are fully aware of the mercy God has shown us, we will want to pass that mercy on to others.

Judge not, that ye be not judged.  ~~  Matthew 7:1

We don’t know what is in a person’s background, what they have suffered, what they have been taught. So while we can judge an action as being wrong, immoral, or foolhardy, we do not ascribe that judgment to the person, just to the action. We remember that the person was so loved by God that He sent Jesus to pay for all that person’s sins – for all my sins. Oh!

This knowledge of God and awareness of His mercies to us will culminate in our doing justice – doing what is right in the sight of the Lord.

And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. ~~ Luke 6:31

If we always treat others as we would wish to be treated, we are doing justice. It’s that simple. Not always easy, but simple.

Father, God,

Help us always to remember Your love, not just for ourselves, but for others as well. Plant in our hearts a desire to know You better, to study Your word, to follow Your lead. Give us the grace to see in others what You see in them, to love them with Your love. Help us always to be what You would have us be in this world.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen.

 

 

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Making Things Right

Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord.
Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord.
And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.
And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord.
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord Our Righteousness. ~~ Jeremiah 23:1-6

Reading this passage, I am struck by its similarity to our times.  We have preachers and teachers who dilute the scriptures and preach a social gospel which is not the word of God. Many of our traditional congregations are dwindling because our church leaders want to be popular in order to garner the gifts of the congregation.

Other congregations are springing up – some of which are true to the Word and others are true to the quest for money.

When we water down the words of God, we are feeding the flock plastic Easter grass, not the nourishing fresh green shoots of a verdant pasture. The Lord promises to let us reap the consequences of our actions. “…behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord.

There are multiple adages that echo this truth. “What goes around comes around.” “You reap what you sow, more than you sow, and later than you sow.” “Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.” “Every action carries within itself the seed of its own reward or punishment.”

We know this truth, but we behave as if it weren’t so.

Do not despair. God has promised a faithful remnant. We may have to endure many faithless shepherds and dedicated charlatans, but there is a Redeemer.  We know Him as Jesus Christ. We just celebrated His victory over death and destruction. We have the benefit of the Paraclete that He has sent to dwell with us personally.

If we listen to the whispers of that Comforter, examine everything in the light of God’s word, and obey His directions from the Scriptures, we can be sure that we are in God’s will, doing His work, and reaping His rewards for the faithful.

The word “righteousness” as used in our text for today carries the meanings of justice, virtue and prosperity. Can we be surprised that justice and virtue lead to prosperity?  I think not.

God is clear in His directions. In His world there are no shades of gray. It’s yes or no, right or wrong. Our choice is also clear. But it is our choice to make. Will we be part of His faithful remnant?

Father, God,

Even as You give us clear choices, help us to make the right decisions. We would hear Your voice only. Grant that we may filter out the din and cacophony of this world and enter into your quiet place where we can hear Your words distinctly.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen

The Basics

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (NKJV)

The word of Christ is the good news of his redemption for us all. It is the best word we can hear. It is the foundation for all our hope. But we so often forget to heed it. Other things crowd in upon us and rob us of the time we intended to spend in His Word.

When that happens, we find ourselves without strength, without purpose. The cares of the world can overwhelm us – drown us in a sea of worry and fretfulness. We need to remember the basics.

John 3:16, 17 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (NKJV)

You can read that verse personally, substituting your name for the world. Had you been the only person in the world, Christ would still have come for you alone — for me alone. What a monumental value God places on each of us!

In return, He asks that we do some very simple things:

Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? (NKJV)

We have a tendency to complicate things so. The Christian life is simple – not necessarily easy, but simple. There are two rules. Love God; love your neighbor.  Everything else is gingerbread.

Father, God,

Help us to remember the basics and to keep things simple. When simple becomes difficult, grant us the grace and perseverance to keep on in Your word. Fill us with gratitude for your grace toward us.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen.

 

Restored

Focus verses: Zechariah 7:4-10

During the rebuilding of the temple, God spoke to Zechariah again, to encourage the builders and to set forth some simpler goals for the people.

The pivotal question here is why do you feast or fast? Are you fasting unto the Lord, or are you doing it from selfish motive. Are you feasting in the joy of the Lord, or is it because that is the expected thing, so you do it grumbling?

The motive for any action is as important as the deed itself. When you give to the church, do you give expecting a return? Or do you give for the use of the Lord without thought of recompense? Do you do something just because the Lord says to? Or do you do it because the Lord promises a reward if you do?

When the motive for any action is to please the Lord – regardless of consequence – then the temple of your life is restored to God’s original design.

Look at what He asks of you. Administer justice, show mercy, Do not oppress the less fortunate. Do not think evil of one another. Two commands to do. Two commands to don’t. That should be simple enough. But why do you do these things? Because He said so. That’s why.

Only when our hearts are restored to complete obedience will we be restored totally to the Lord.

Father, God,

Grant us the keen ears to hear Your voice and the humility of heart to obey instantaneously. We thank You for the saving work of Jesus on the Cross. Keep us ever mindful of our total dependence upon You.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Role Of The Messiah

Focus verses: Isaiah 42:1-7

God gives us a glimpse of the coming Messiah. He tells us that Messiah will bring justice and mercy to the people. And he Promises that He will keep us in His covenant, in His righteousness.

What a beautiful promise!

The tenderness of the Lord in these verses is nurturing and supportive. He will not break a bruised reed nor quench a smoldering wick. His justice is tempered with mercy.

Can we say the same of ourselves?

It has sometimes been said that Christians are the only group of people that shoot their wounded. People who have weaknesses are sometimes not welcome in our services. We look down upon them, as if we could not fall into a similar plight. Those of us who have had relatively painless lives can have a tendency to become smug and self-satisfied. A tendency to feel superior to those who have not been so fortunate as we.

A little humility is in order here. Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. We need to have patience and mercy with the hurting lest we find ourselves in similar circumstances.

Father, God,

Imbue us with Your mercy and tenderness. Keep us from the sin of self-righteous pride. Help us to deal tenderly with Your hurting world.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.