God is Love, not Romance

Today’s reading is 1 John 4.

We love because God is love. We love because God loves. We love because real love is from God. We love as God loves. However, God is not romance. God is not romantic feelings. God is not infatuation. God is not sexual attraction. God is love. Sadly, our modern culture blurs the lines between all these things. Because someone feels sexual attraction or infatuation or even romantic devotion, our world calls it love and says it must be divine and divinely sanctioned. That is not what God is. God is love. How does God love? By sending His Son to be the sacrifice to save us from our sins. Loving like God does not mean pursuing others we find sexually attractive or marrying those we feel romantic inclinations for. Loving like God means sacrificing ourselves and our interests in order to serve the salvation interests of those around us. God is love. He is not romance.

Monday’s reading is 1 John 5

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Know God

Today’s reading is John 17.

Pop Quiz: Where and when did Jesus say, “Know thyself”? 

Pop Quiz#2: Where and when did Jesus say, “To thine own self be true”?

How did you do? Do you remember when Jesus said those things? If you are having trouble remembering, don’t beat yourself up. Jesus didn’t say either of those things. Neither did Paul. Neither did any other person in biblical history. The first is actually attributed to Socrates. The second to Polonius in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” Imagine that. Neither one of these statements came from Jesus. Do you know what did come from Jesus? “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” In a world focused on the idolatry of self, it might do us good to remember that today, I need to spend more time getting to know God than getting to know myself. By extension, if I start by being true to God, I will be true to myself and others as well. What are your next steps for getting to know God better?

Tomorrow’s reading is John 18

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God’s Glory Matters; God’s Authority Matters

Today’s reading is John 7.

Why does the issue of authority matter? Is it because we have to prove we are better at keeping rules? Is it because if we don’t cross all the Ts and dot all the Is we’ll go to hell? Is it because we have to earn our way into heaven by following the pattern? No. None of these things is the reason. The reason authority matters is because God’s glory matters. When I act on my own authority, I’m seeking my own glory. When I’m seeking God’s glory, I act on His authority. It’s just that simple. Whose glory are you seeking? How can you tell?

Tomorrow’s reading is John 8

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I Know Whom I Have Believed

Today’s reading is 2 Timothy 1.

Paul was unashamed. Why? Because he knew whom he had believed. He knew who God was. He knew what God was capable of. He knew what God had promised. He knew he could trust God. Jesus has abolished death and brought life and immortality through the gospel. Paul knew it and was convinced. So, no matter what the world dished out, no matter what society said about him or did to him, he would be unashamed of Jesus. He would wear Jesus like a badge of honor. May we be so convicted that no matter the shame society tries to heap on us, we will revel in believing Jesus and belonging to Him.

Tomorrow’s reading is 2 Timothy 2.

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The First Step of Humility

Today’s reading is 1 Timothy 6.

Do you, like I do, need more humility? We find the very first step of humility in today’s reading. Paul says if we disagree with the words of Jesus, we are puffed up. There it is. The first step of humility is to agree with Jesus. Anything else is arrogance. Anything else is an unhealthy craving for controversy. Anything else is lifting ourselves above our Lord. Of course, we all like to think we agree with Jesus. Let’s be careful to actually agree with Him and not just to agree with the culturally acceptable picture of Him. Let’s dig deep into humility. Let’s agree with Jesus.

Tomorrow’s reading is 2 Timothy 1.

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Hope, God, & Godliness

Today’s reading is 1 Timothy 4.

Our hope is set on God. He is the Savior. He alone is the Savior. Our hope is not set on wealth. Our hope is not set on health. Our hope is not set on family. Our hope is not set on our job. Our hope is not even set on ourselves. We are not our own saviors. We cannot save ourselves. God is our hope. The natural consequence of our hope is not what many believe. Today, when some hear that God is our hope of salvation and we are not, they believe the natural consequence is godlessness. That is, they believe this truth about God’s grace and salvation will lead us to abandon God’s will. After all, if I don’t earn salvation by obeying God, why obey God at all? But this is not the natural consequence of our hope. The natural consequence of our hope is actually godliness. It is reverence for and submission to God. Really, it makes sense. If God is my hope, I won’t abandon Him or ignore Him, I will seek Him and serve Him. He is my only hope, why would I respect and respond to anyone else? God is our only hope, let us, therefore, search Him out and surrender to Him. Let’s do this today.

Tomorrow’s reading is 1 Timothy 5.

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A Friend of God

Today’s reading is James 4.

We have a choice today. We can befriend the world or God, we can’t befriend both. And yet, that is exactly how so many try to conduct their spirituality. In fact, it amazes me the number of people who act as if the more we become like Jesus the more the world will actually like us. It just isn’t true. The more we become like Jesus, the more the world will by its very nature despise us. And the more we cozy up to the world, the more God by His very nature will separate from us. Light and darkness do not mix. May I suggest then that whichever you choose, go all in. If what you want is the blessings and pleasures of the world, quit trying to modify them with God. Go all in. Pursue the blessings of the world with reckless abandon. Of course, those blessings will fade, come to a dismal end, and be burned in the fire. But if those are the blessings you choose, get as much out of them as you can for as long as you can. However, if what you want is God’s eternal blessings, that never end, then go all in. Pursue the blessings of God with reckless abandon. Trying to live with one foot in the world and one in heaven means you’ll never enjoy either. Make your choice today. Whom will you befriend? The world or God?

Monday’s reading is James 5.

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