Crucified With Christ

  Scripture: Galatians 2:19-21 (NRSV) 19  For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; 20  and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21  I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing. Devotion:             In these three verses Paul outlines his understanding of how Christ works salvation for our souls. This is probably one of the most quoted verses from Galatians. Paul here declares that he is dead to the law because Christ came to live within him. This must not be taken as some do, that Paul was delivered entirely from the flesh and sinned no more from this point forward. Rather he had Christ raised to life inside him so that he could be free from the demands of the law.             As Paul says in verse 21, he was justified

How to Revive the Church

  When Faith Becomes an Heirloom Scripture: Amos 5:21-23 (The Message) “I can’t stand your religious meetings.             I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions.             I want nothing to do with your religion projects,             your pretentious slogans and goals.             I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes,             your public relations and image making.             I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.             When was the last time you sang to me ?               Harsh words from Amos. I believe there is a message in these words for us today. The Christian church in America has been struggling for decades of dwindling membership and a general lack of enthusiasm for the cause of Christ. Sunday has become for some people a day of recreation and work not a day of worship and rest from work. Abraham Joshua Herschel has a powerful insight:             “It is customary to blame secular science and anti-religious philosophy

Pray, Pray, and Pray Some More

  Pray, Pray, and Pray Some More Scripture: 1 Timothy 2:1-2 (ESV) First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2  for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. Devotion:             Paul’s letter to Timothy contains encouragement for Paul’s young disciple Timothy. Here in chapter 2, we see Paul using just about every word for prayer in the Greek language in an effort to urge Timothy to be a man of prayer. Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians urges them to “pray without ceasing”. Why does Paul insist that the Christian be person who prays? After all, doesn’t God know what we need without our having to ask for it?             We see that Paul here is collecting four different words for prayer. These words are so similar in meaning that it is almost impossible to separate them. What Paul is doing here is encouraging Timothy and us to

How to Work Like Jesus

  Scripture: Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message) “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Devotion:             Today’s scripture is one of my favorites. I tend to take things too seriously and I need God to invite me to a place of rest and recovery. That place is not necessarily a place of rest and relaxation and ease that we are called to here. God calls all of us to work under his supervision. If we do that, God is saying that we will learn a new way of working. A place in which we will be able to maintain a constant awareness of God’s presence with us as we work.             In today’s society we praise those who spend massive amounts of time and energy into their jobs. Wh

Hold Fast to Hope

  Let Us Hold Fast To Hope Scripture:   Hebrews 10:23-25 (ESV) 23  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24  And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25  not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Devotion:             The aim of our devotion for today is to inspire us to reach out to others and encourage them in their walk with the Lord. The church today in America is not as on fire for the Lord and it could and should be. We have allowed many things to depress our fervor for the Lord. It is past time to shake off the discouragement we have been living under for so long. We must again seek to reach out to God and seek His encouragement in our corporate and individual lives. The scripture chosen for today can help us do just that.             Our first step in gaining enthusiasm for the Lord is to

Jesus vs. Cancel Culture

  Scripture: Matthew 5:43-45 (ESV) 43 “ You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44  But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. Devotion:             The topic I am writing about today is pregnant with danger. Nevertheless, my spirit burns within me, and I cannot hold back what I am about to say. I ask you therefore to put aside your prejudices and previous partisan commitments and pay attention to what I say and if you judge it to be worthy of Christ keep it with you and if not discard it like so much rubbish. As I begin, I pray that I may turn neither to the right nor to the left but turn to scripture and to scriptures Author.             Jesus’ teaching selected for today comes from his famous sermon on the mount. He is contrasting his teachi

True Freedom

  Scripture: John 8:34-36 (ESV) Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35  The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. Devotion:             In these verses Jesus gives us the bad news first then the good news second. The bad news is that our sin causes us to be slaves to sin. We are held in bondage to the sin of Adam that courses through whole human race throughout history. On our own we simply lack the ability to be free from the curse of sin earned for us in the Garden of Eden by our ancestors disobedience to God.             Our circumstance as slaves to sin made our position with God fragile and uncertain. A slave may please or displease the master. However, once Jesus came and freed us from slavery to sin our position changed. No longer would we be seen by God as slaves, but we would be seen as sons and daughters. This is the good news of the gospel

God The Hope Of Us All

  Scripture: Exodus 2:23-25 (ESV) 23  During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. 24  And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25  God saw the people of Israel—and God knew. Devotion:             The above text is sandwiched between the story of Moses meeting Jethro and the scene of Moses with the burning bush. It is easy to gloss over this material without really paying attention to what is going on in these three short verses. Let us take some time and unpack the message God has for us in this bit of scripture.             In verse 23 we read that the king of Egypt died. This is important to the story because now Moses could return to Egypt without being a criminal. We read that the people of Israel groaned and cried out to God because of their slavery. And God heard their cries

Saved by Grace

  Scripture: Ephesians 2:8-10 (NLT) 8  God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10  For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Devotion:             In this scripture we have one of the greatest statements about how and why Jesus came to die for our sin and be raised to glory at the right hand of the throne of God. Jesus came to save us out of our sin simply because he loved us. Even though we were still in our sin and enemies of God, Jesus came to rescue us from this condition. Jesus paid the full price for our sin. All we can do is gratefully receive his freely given gift by faith.             One of the hardest ideas we, as humans, have to learn is that we cannot contribute anything to earn our salvation. One things that I have freq