From “Me” to “Us”

Today’s reading is Psalm 31.

Track the pronouns in this psalm. Sometimes the main pronoun is the first person singular, sometimes it is the second or third person plural. That is, in some parts it is, “In you, O Lord, do I take refuge.” In other places, it is, “How abundant is your goodness, which you have…worked for those who take refuge in you.” Sometimes it is “I trust the Lord.” Other times it is “Love the Lord, all you his saints! The Lord preserves the faithful…” In this, David moves from praying about “me” the Lord’s anointed to praying about “us” the Lord’s people. This isn’t just some weird poetic thing. This is David setting himself up as the example. This is how God deals with His anointed, the head of His people. Therefore, this is how God deals with all His people. Especially when we get to the ending thoughts. David’s point is, “Look at me, people! Do you see how God has demonstrated himself faithful and loving with me? Do you see how God did deliver? I get it, I had some troubles along the way. But do you see how it ended? The same will be true for you. Hang on through the trouble. Stay faithful. Through me, God has proved Himself faithful.” We should see the same principle in our King. After all, a disciple is not above the teacher but when fully trained will become like the teacher. Do you remember what happened with Jesus? He was persecuted. He was afflicted. It even seemed that the hands of the enemies prevailed against Him. However, on the third day, He burst forth from the grave victorious. That is how the Lord gave victory to our King. We too, though the hand of the enemy seems to prevail, perhaps even killing us, will be victorious. We will also burst forth from the grave. So, commit your spirit into the Lord’s hand and hang on to Him no matter what.

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 31.


Click here to take about 15 minutes and listen to the Text Talk podcast conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier sparked by this post.

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Ananias: An Example of Faith

Today’s reading is Acts 9.

Can you imagine being Ananias? Can you imagine having heard about church enemy #1 and knowing that he is on his way to wreak havoc among your brothers and sisters? Can you imagine getting prepared for the persecution to come in your new home town that had driven you and your family from your previous home town? That is likely the case for Ananias. Where did the Christians in Damascus come from? They came from Jerusalem or were converted by people who came from Jerusalem following the martyrdom of Stephen and the persecution started by Saul. And now he is on his way to Damascus. Then Ananias in a vision is told to go visit that very same Saul. I am not at all surprised he responded with shock and question when God first called him. Yet, when God explained, Ananias went to Saul. Ananias taught Saul. Ananias baptized Saul. That is faith. What an example Ananias is for us. God doesn’t always ask us to do easy things. Yet, when God asks, we need to step up and be Ananias. We need to walk in faith. Thank God for the Ananiases among us. May we all be one.

Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 9.

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A Good Living OR a Good Life

Today’s reading is Luke 21.

Most of us spend our lives trying to earn a good living. However, Jesus highlights the widow who hardly has any living at all as the epitome of all His teaching. In Luke 12:15, Jesus pointed out that life does not consist of possessions. In Luke 19:18-23, the one we call the rich, young ruler had a good living, but he walked away from true life. Here, a poor widow shows that she was focused on real life. She was willing to sacrifice her life so she could have real life. The point, of course, is not that simply being poor qualifies anyone for the kingdom. Neither is the point that being wealthy excludes anyone from the kingdom. However, we do learn that the idea that material goods are not the indicator of God’s approval. If God blesses you with a good living, that’s cool. Use it to glorify Him and serve your brothers and sisters. But don’t waste your years chasing a good living, invest your time pursing a good life. And through Jesus Christ find what is life indeed.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 21.

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A True Example

Today’s reading is Luke 21.

You know what would be super cool? To be Jesus’s ultimate example. Think about it. How would you like it if Jesus called His disciples together, pointed at you, and said, “You know all this stuff I’ve been talking about for the past three years? That person right there, that person is getting it right. That person is what I’ve been talking about.” Wouldn’t that be cool? That actually happened. Luke recorded it, but I’ve overlooked it most of my life because it is just four verses, the person isn’t even named, and I always thought it was just written to teach us about how to give into the collection. I’m talking about the unnamed widow who put two little coins into the temple treasury. Really, I encourage you to reread all of Luke and see if you can’t see how so much of what Jesus taught culminates in the example of this widow. Even in this immediate context she is set up as a contrast not merely to the rich that are likely looking down on her paltry contribution, but as a contrast to the scribes from the end of the previous chapter. You would think that men who spend their days copying and teaching God’s law would stand out as the ultimate examples. No. They are pretenders who look spiritual but actually defraud widows. As Luke records it, almost as soon as Jesus highlights this about the scribes he sees a literal widow who isn’t defrauding others. She isn’t taking from the less fortunate. Rather, she is defrauding herself in order to support the temple. As Jesus had said to the brothers arguing about an inheritance, life isn’t made up of possessions. Now we see a woman who really believes that. Wow! I want to be more like her.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 21.

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Love Your Enemies

Today’s reading is Luke 6.

I’m going to go off the beaten path for this blog and daily devo. You have probably already seen this, but today I just want us to think about loving our enemies, doing good to those who hate us, praying for those who abuse us. Today I want us to think about being merciful as our Father in heaven is. I don’t think I can add anything to the great example set recently in the public news. Even if you’ve already seen it, watch the video below to see a stellar example by a brother in Christ.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 6.

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They’re Watching

Today’s reading is Luke 6.

It was Saturday. Jesus and His disciples were walking through a grain field–a harmless, even seemingly pointless activity. They were just out walking, going from point A to point B. But who was on hand? The Pharisees. “Ha! We caught you. You’re breaking the Law!” Then on another Sabbath, in the middle of their time of worship and teaching, what were the scribes and Pharisees doing? Listening to the teaching? Worshiping God? Examining their own lives to see how they measured up to the teaching? Nope. They were watching Jesus so they could figure out some way to accuse Him. The fascinating thing, of course, is Jesus never sinned. Yet, they drummed up plenty of accusations to make. Fast forward to today. People are still watching. Those who don’t want to surrender to Jesus, who don’t want to curtail their sin, who don’t want to have a King other than self, are looking for reasons to make accusation. Understand, there are going to be enough things that we do that are not sinful that they will use to accuse, let’s not give them additional reasons. I am leery of even posting this because in its most extreme application, I’m essentially saying, “Don’t sin.” While that is a true and necessary instruction, I also know if we try to say we don’t have sin and we won’t ever sin again, we’re lying and don’t have truth in us (see 1 John 1:8, 10). I don’t want to overwhelm us with an instruction none of us believe we can attain. I’m not asking us to be perfect today. I’m just asking us to be aware. They are watching. We are an advertisement for Jesus. Sometimes that advertisement is the humility to admit when we messed up and seek forgiveness. But let’s remember, when we use the world’s tactics in our discussions with them, when we call names, when we get in faces, when we yell and holler and scream, when we gloss over facts to make our case, and when we pursue brazen hypocrisy, they are watching. Look, the world is going to forever throw up in our faces the ungodly Crusades and Inquisitions. We can’t do anything about that. But we can make sure we aren’t going on our own personal crusade and inquisition today. Again, they’re watching. Let’s give them something positive to talk about.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 6.

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Living in a Modern Crete

Today’s reading is Titus 3.

According to historical study, the Cretan populace was, in general, sinful and immoral in the extreme. And not just by the standards of the likes of Paul. The rest of the Roman world looked down on Crete and Cretans as vile, beastly, immoral liars. That means they were pretty bad. So we can imagine when Paul wrote to Titus about what to teach the Christians, he had a lot to say about how the Christians should wage the culture war among the sexually immoral, morally destitute, sinfully wicked Cretans. No doubt, he encouraged them to have public demonstrations, to take every opportunity to shout down the immorality, to argue constantly with everyone who disagreed with the revelation coming from the apostles, to belittle and shame the sinners. Or wait. Maybe he gave different instructions. Look again at today’s reading. 

  • Be submissive to rulers and authorities 
  • Be obedient
  • Be ready for every good work
  • Speak evil of no one
  • Avoid quarreling
  • Be gentle
  • Show perfect courtesy toward all people

Wow! Why? Because we are surrounded by people who need a Savior just as we do. The only difference between us and those who still pursue sin with reckless abandon is through Jesus Christ we have the empowering strength of the Holy Spirit. Obviously, this doesn’t mean we are to neglect teaching truth and correcting opponents (see Titus 1:9; 2:1, 7-8). However, let us think about Paul’s instructions to the Cretan Christians before we act, before we interact, before we react.

Monday’s reading is John 1

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Today’s reading is Acts 7.

There are a lot of good works I find hard to do. Perhaps this is the hardest, and yet it makes us most like Jesus. On the cross, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.” Stephen, while being stoned says, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” That is the gospel. That is the gospel in action. That is the gospel in our lives. Certainly, sacrificing money, time, resources, opportunities for others is Christlike. But sacrificing my right to anger, my right to payback, my right to get even, to get vengeance, my right to hold a grudge, my right to just not like them, my right to view myself as better, and on the list goes. Yet, here is Stephen walking in our Savior’s footsteps. What have you been forgiven by Jesus on the cross? Who do you need to forgive?

Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 8.

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Today’s reading is 2 Timothy 3.

One of the greatest mistakes I make about discipleship is thinking being a faithful disciple means life should be easy, no hardships. After all, I’ve turned to the Lord. He should keep me out of messes, shouldn’t He? Yet, Paul demonstrates a completely different perspective. Faithful disciples will suffer hardships not just like everyone else, but sometimes specifically because we are not like everyone else. While God does not keep us from that, He does rescue us from it. Satan wants us to believe God has forgotten us when we suffer, rather we need to learn from our suffering that God is good at rescue. Like Paul, lean on God no matter what you face and know that He will rescue you. Our God is good at rescue.

Tomorrow’s reading is 2 Timothy 4.

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When God is With Us

Today’s reading is Acts 7.

We tend to think when God is with us we won’t ever get into problems or hardships. However, God was with Joseph when he went into Egyptian bondage. Jesus explains that as we make disciples, He will be with us all the way, even to the end of the age. That doesn’t mean we won’t suffer hardship. It means He will bring us through the hardship and we will be better off once it is over. Satan will use our hardship to get us to abandon God. Don’t let him convince you to do that. Hang on to God, He is with us. He will rescue us out of all afflictions and bring us to glory in the end. So, whatever you’re facing today, hang on to Jesus who is with you.

Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 8.

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