Today’s reading is John 16.
When I read the last verse of today’s reading, I can’t help but think of the Israelites heading into the Promised Land. Multiple times, God spoke of the land He had already given them (cf. Deuteronomy 9:23). That is, even before they took possession, God had already overcome Canaan land. When they listened to God and maintained their covenant relationship with Him, they overcame. We are not looking for military conquest today. However, we are at war. The world is fighting with all of its might. Often, that is discouraging and disheartening. Of course, I can’t tell you what the casualties will be. As we watch those casualties, it is painful. Especially when those who cave to the world are close to us. However, we are fighting on the winning side. No matter what it may look like, God always wins. In fact, through Jesus Christ He has already won. The world is already conquered. God is already victorious. Whose side will you be on today?
Tomorrow’s reading is John 17.
Continue reading “We’ve Already Won”
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.
Continue reading “Living in a Modern Crete”
Today’s reading is Matthew 2.
You’d think Satan might wait until Jesus had a chance to grow up a little before starting his all out assault. But no. The dragon takes on the woman and her child in His infancy. Herod is the adversary’s instrument who slaughters a city full of children in this first attack. However, Jesus escaped. Please understand, our enemy is ruthless. He doesn’t care who gets hurt or killed in the fight. He will do whatever it takes to conquer the offspring of the woman (yes, I’m mixing this with the imagery of Revelation 12). He will do whatever it takes to conquer you. However, God is on your side. God will win; God does win. Even if we are killed in the battle, we will still have the victory in Jesus because He not only survived this beginning battle, He won the war. No matter how Satan attacks, hang on to Jesus. That is the only place of victory.
Tomorrow’s reading is Matthew 3.
Continue reading “The Battle Begins”
Today’s reading is 1 Thessalonians 5.
Paul’s language is the language of battle and war. We have an enemy that is ready to take advantage of every chink in the armor we have. So, Paul reminds us we are children of the day. We aren’t children of the night. What does that mean? It means we need to be sober and alert. We need to be vigilant and clear headed. Obviously, he isn’t saying we are never allowed to sleep (consider Psalm 127:2). And, frankly, I’ve almost given up on trying to convince even Christians that maybe God wants us to stay away from intoxicating drinks (people don’t seem to want to hear that anymore). But, I know this. He wants sobriety and alertness to describe our lives and our days. How alert and sober does He want us to be? He wants us to be as sober and alert as an on duty soldier. Interestingly, to be sober and alert, we actually have to get appropriate amounts of rest and sleep. On the other hand, to be sober and alert, we need to stay away from intoxicants. So, if you were at war and your life was in the hands of a wing man, how sober and alert would you want that person to be? How much rest would you want them to have had as you go on duty together? How much alcohol, pot, or narcotics would you want them to have just had? Why not strive for that same kind of sobriety and alertness today in your war? After all, night time behaviors do not become us, we are of the day.
Tomorrow’s reading is 2 Thessalonians 1.
Continue reading “Sober and Alert”
Today’s reading is 2 Corinthians 10.
We are in a kingdom. Our king is Jesus. He is opposed to all other kings. The battle is on for domination of the world. However, our kingdom is different. We do not wage war according to the flesh. Sadly, this has been overlooked throughout the centuries. Perhaps the worst of these oversights was the Crusades. Then there were the holy wars during the Reformation years. Of course, there was the Inquisition. But is it any different today when churches mount political campaigns and try to mobilize social justice marches and movements to get the world to act like Christians are supposed to act? These may use voting booths instead of military offensives and sit ins instead of bombing raids, but they are still weapons of the flesh. We bring the gospel. Then we live by the gospel, holding those in Christ’s kingdom accountable to the gospel, and let the kingdoms of the world see what that looks like. These are our weapons. They worked in the first couple of centuries of Christianity. Let’s pick them up again.
Tomorrow’s reading is 2 Corinthians 11.
Continue reading “The Weapons of Our Warfare”
Today’s reading is Acts 21.
How many people throughout history have been willing to die for their king? It is not surprising at all to hear of a knight, soldier, ambassador who says he will put his life on the line for his lord and liege. And yet, we are surprised when we hear Paul say that about his King, Jesus. However, he is saying what so many others have said. Paul understood what was happening. This wasn’t just evangelism, personal work, missionary work. This was war. There was a battle between the forces of evil and his King. He was ready to step up to the fight. Of course, unlike literal war, the battle isn’t fought with sword and shield, but with the Word of God. He was ready to take the Word of God that he might be part of the enemy’s defeat and the deliverance of his prisoners of war. He was ready to die in service of his King. I have a long way to grow. Let’s grow there together.
Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 22.
Continue reading “Ready to Die”
Today’s reading is Revelation 6.
Having met the Hero and His Bride, our story now begins in earnest. The Hero is the Groom who has already paid the Bride price with His blood, purchasing her out of the world. However, before the wedding can occur, He must go out and conquer the enemies arrayed against Him and His Bride. As the story begins, we see Him going forth conquering and to conquer. What we expect is one victory after another. Sure, there will be enemies, but what can they do before the one who has already faced death and conquered? You can imagine, of course, that the early Christians felt that way. Yes, there may be enemies against Christ’s church, but there should be nothing but one progressive step forward to victory after another. However, after the Hero goes forth, He is not followed by increasing peace. Rather, He is followed by war, by famine, by death. These impact even His own people who wonder how long it will be before the victory is secure. Be aware, Jesus always wins. However, it is often a long road to victory. Keep reading to learn how this is going to work out, but hang on. It will get dark first, but the light is coming.
Tomorrow’s reading is Revelation 7.
Continue reading “The Long Road to Victory”