This boat was dug up in the 1980s. Jesus might have ridden in it. Odds are not favorable, but it’s possible. He likely rode in one like it. May it help to bring home to us even more those stories in the NT when Jesus was near or on the Sea of Galilee.
Ed talks about being double-minded in today’s devotional, based on 1 Kgs 18.21. Here’s a snippet from it:
The danger of indecision. Religious vacillation is a human tendency, Acts 24:25; 26:28. Many people are “closet” believers. They are full of deferred decisions stored away until valueless. In order to make room for more procrastination, postponed verdicts are placed in the “garage sale” of religious intentions. They are treated as cheap merchandize, as useless clutter to give away.
I know people in this situation. I in the past have been one. Spiritually, this is rebellion and rejection of God’s sovereignty.
Focus question: Is there some area where I vacillate? What deferred decision should be made today?
Awake, O Soul, on this Lord’s day. Be mindful that Christ died in your place. Be thankful for God’s grace. Be aware of the power available to you by the Holy Spirit. God’s family is your safe space. Increase in love for your brothers and sisters in the Lord. Meet with them frequently. Serve them with zeal. Give them priority above physical family and worldly friends. Our purification was to put us in communion with God and his children. We have fellowship with him and with one another. The first day of the week is for the Lord and his people. Let us eat the bread of peace and drink the cup of sacrifice.
The aside spoken twixt thee and me in whispers,
Or else is muttered only to my whiskers —
The worldly need not hear at first our struggles,
But see the Spirit of God in human troubles.
Good morning, Soul. This day has been given you. Make of it the best you may. Waste it not. Despise not this gift. Life is precious. Learn to live. For life, discover the only God. Draw near to him. At your door, the Lord Christ awaits to conduct you into his presence. About this would the Spirit speak to you in Scripture.
With Romans 12.17 as the main text today, Ed’s devotional looks at Christians’ behavior before the world. He wrote, “Being aware of public scrutiny is not bowing to public opinion.” Saints live for God’s approval, in order to influence people in the world. They live powerful lives and speak powerful words, for the conversion of many.
Focus question: How does integrity prevent a saint from seeking public approval?
The world has little use for the old and infirm:
“What can the powerless do for me?” they ask.
To them the low and helpless hold little charm,
But God — to welcome them is his loving task.
Friends know I’m not a fan of the word leadership. In spite that that, Ed’s full devotional thought for today merits close reading. It hits home.
Moses was a “servant,” Numbers 11:11; Joshua 1:2,7,13,15b; Hebrews 3:5. Every Church leader is a servant. Their job is to copy the Master. The burden of guiding belongs to God. The task of following belongs to man. The Lord commissions the work, II Corinthians 5:18,19. He also provides the competence to lead, II Corinthians 3:5. Still, we can be certain, the task will be challenging. Courage will be needed. Trials will come. Decisions must be made. Discipline will be necessary. And doubt will hover nearby in all situations.
Focus question: How to urge people to follow the Lord and obey the will of God without compulsion, force, or manipulation?
There are many legitimate ways to describe discipleship. In today’s “Plow New Ground” devotional, Ed Mathews provides one you may not have heard before: “… discipleship is doing what we ought before getting what we want”. Indeed!
Focus question: What does Jesus call me to do today in order to be his disciple? How do I consider the very idea of duty?
Let the inner person encompass the outer self and the self’s interests and activities. From the heart to the circumference make the direction flow. If the starting point is somewhere other than the inner person — and the inner person, it must be said, controlled by the Spirit of God — there is no chance of unity and integrity of being. There will only be a partial collection of the self, and the mind will feel the self’s disconnectedness. Even many saints of God, by their lack of prayer and meditation upon the Word of God, live a disjointed existence. The presence of God must be poured into the soul by the spiritual means of prayer, Scripture, and the community of disciples. From his presence flow unity which binds all of one’s existence and peace which no jarring threat can disrupt.