Using Ephesians 4.1 as his base text today, Ed M. focuses in his devotional on the holy life required by Christ’s call.
A Roman philosopher said, “It is useful for the public good when people believe themselves to be born of the gods.” Why? In so doing “they will pursue worthy enterprises more earnestly.” Should not such a perception draw the children of God away from what is base? Should it not inspire them toward noble thoughts and holy deeds?
Focus question: Where does the concept of calling appear in the NT? How should it shape our behavior?
Do not believe that your life is in the hands of men. It may seem like our well-being depends upon governments and businesses. You might feel helpless before the forces at work in the world. There seem to be plenty of people working against the gospel and the truth, without inventing wild conspiracies. Do not despair! If you follow Christ, O Soul, your life is in God’s hands. He is sovereign. He has control over every government and every power. Nothing can withstand his will. He moves forward with his plan, and no one can stop him. Rest in his omnipotence. Find peace in his governance. Your hope is in his word of might.
In his devotional thought today, Ed M. uses Nahum 2.13 to contrast the messengers of Nineveh (see 2 Kings 18) and those of God. And what a contrast!
The one spoke of submission to the king, II Kings 18:31,32. The other encouraged faith in the King of kings, Nahum 1:12,13. One led to disaster. The other pointed to deliverance. One promised earthly pleasures. The other told of heavenly blessings. Each messenger offered a choice, spoke with conviction, and asked for submission. Only one deserved a hearing.
God’s messengers continue to speak the Word. Let us be among their number.
Focus question: What word of God’s does the world need to hear today?
D. Whitehead comments on 2 Pet 1.2:
It seems that the amount of grace and peace that floods our heart is directly related to the knowledge of God and specifically of Jesus Christ. Our minds don’t naturally gravitate toward grace and peace—we keep trying to prove ourselves, resulting in stress and condemnation. But the person who focuses on the Scripture everyday opens a portal of provision to their soul. The knowledge of God captures our wandering thoughts and the results are delightful.
At first thought, it seems strange to think of varying amounts of grace and peace in the heart. But if faith can grow, why not these? Their relation to the knowledge of God and of Christ is direct. So the first phrase is quite right.
Not infrequently A.B. Simpson’s denominational doctrines get in the way of appreciating his devotionals, but this one comes across well, on how to enjoy this day:
1. Be right with God, for gladness [is sown] for the upright in heart (Psalm 97:11). It is His joy that remains in us that makes our joy full.
2. Forget yourself and live for others, for It is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).
3. When you cannot rejoice in feelings, circumstances or conditions, rejoice in the Lord (Philippians 4:4), and count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (James 1:2).
4. Finally, obey the Lord and be faithful to your trust, and again and again His blessed Spirit will whisper to your heart, Well done, thou good and faithful servant, . . . enter thou into the joy of thy lord (Matthew 25:21).
Also, check out the piece of Longfellow’s poem he shares.
Begin every day, O Soul, with new thoughts, motives, and love. God renews his mercies every morning. Arise from bed with new determination. Get up with new purpose. Declare forgiveness to self and others. Start again with a clean slate. God will give this to you, if you but ask. Make every day a new year, so to speak. You can restart at any time, morning, noon, or night. Your heart and mind can do a reset right now. You may need to repent to do this. You will certainly need prayer. Reading the Word will redirect and empower you, as you get away from influences of the world and the flesh. Start now!
You know your own struggles. Others, too, are engaged in inner conflicts. Do not add to their anguish. You do not know what battles others are facing. O Soul, speak with kindness and humility. Treat each person with due consideration. Seek to encourage. Point everyone to the grace and love of God. Be the example of these before others. Live the faith you profess. Let your own struggles be seen as you move forward with hope. This may be to others the greatest encouragement of all.
Ed M. wrote today in his devotional about worship: “To expect seasons of dryness is appropriate. To become comfortable with them is deadly!” He uses the book of Malachi with Mal 1.11 as the key verse. Another powerful thought to grapple with!
Focus question: Do I assemble with the saints for worship with an attitude of expectation and a mindset to discover truth and new motivations?
While we pray for the victims’ families and the surviving students, we recall Rom 8.28. Our heavenly Father is so powerful that he can bring good out of such evil.