He Went the Distance

Scripture

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21

Observation

Christ who knew no sin became sin so that we may become righteous and blameless. 

Application

On this Good Friday we are reminded of the depth of Christ’s love for us and the distance he went to in bringing us unto himself. We who were far off and captured by sin needed a Savior to release us and lead us home to our Heavenly Father. Jesus gave up his glory in heaven, took on flesh, lived a sinless, and was fully obedient to the Heavenly Father. He went the full distance and paid the ultimate price, death in the cross. Christ who knew no sin became sin so that we may be made righteous and come into the presence of our Heavenly Father. What an amazing gift we have been given through Jesus Christ. 

Prayer

Lord Jesus, we stop to express our love, appreciation, and devotion to you and the mission you have set before us. May we go the distance and tell others of the good news on this Good Friday.

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Greedy Gain

Scripture

Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain; it takes away the life of its possessors. – Proverbs 1:19 ESV

Observation

There is a warning about joining others who are greedy and are willing to get gain through criminal and unjust measures. 

Application

May I not join in with others who seek personal gain through unjust measures. I am warned not to be enticed by those individuals who want to lead me down a path of greedy gain. Those acts are contrary to the way God calls me to pursue. 

Prayer

Lord may I not live my life driven by greed but by your grace knowing you will provide all I need. 

Wisdom

Scripture

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. – Proverbs 1:7

Observation

Fear of the Lord is foundational to wisdom. The reverence and respect of God’s authority is the source of understanding. 

Application

As I begin a walk through Proverbs I am looking for a greater understanding and wisdom that only comes through a desire to be teachable. Wisdom is only obtained by those who have a reverence for God and His instruction. May I always remain teachable and open to the Lord’s instruction. 

Prayer

Lord, I desire to know more of you and your wisdom and understanding. Teach me wisdom and reveal to me your truths. 

  

Good Gifts

Scripture

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. – James 1:17 ESV

Observation

James moves from tribulation and temptation to the good things of life. Every good and perfect gift comes from the one who created all, the “Father of lights”.  God, our creator, who provided the light of creation continues to bring good things into our life.

Application

It is easy for us to forget where the good things of life find their source. We may begin to see them as a result of hard work, or privileged positions. This passage of scripture reminds us that all “good and perfect gifts” come from God. He is the giver and we are the receiver. While hard work is essential and necessary in life; may we not forget who has provided the abilities and the opportunity to exercise those skills. 

Prayer

Lord, remind us of the good gifts and blessings in life you are providing each day. We turn those gifts back into praise to you. 

 

Unity in Christ

Scripture

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. – Romans 16:17

Observation

Paul is referring to individuals who were preaching a different gospel that required more from the believers, such as Jewish practices. Those preaching these messages were causing division among the churches. 

Application

Division can bring harm to the church’s  testimony in the community around them. Paul warns against individuals who would cause such division through false doctrines and who create obstacles to the gospel. The gospel message is “Christ alone, by faith alone”.  Nothing else is required.  Those who require more are preaching a doctrine contrary to the gospel. 

The only “flag we should fly” is Jesus Christ and him crucified.  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me”.  This is the gospel we preach.  There is no other way by which we can be saved. We also read in Ephesians 2:8-9 that we at “for by grace are you saved by faith and not by works”.  The gospel is clear.  Nothing else is required beyond Jesus Christ. 

Prayer

Lord may there be unity in the church. May we focus on the one essential to an effective church and a saving faith; Chris alone.

  

Harmony to Glorify

Scripture 

5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. – Romans 15:5-7 ESV

Observation 

God is a God of endurance and encouragement. He provides what we need to live in harmony with one another; to live in harmony with Christ’s mission; and to welcome one another. The goal is that God, our Father will be glorified. 

Application

May our fellowship with the body of Christ be characterized by harmony and a welcoming environment. The power to achieve this comes from the endurance and encouragement given to us by our Heavenly Father. May God be glorified by the harmony expressed in our fellowship. 

Prayer

Lord we ask for your encouragement and endurance to live in harmony so that you may be glorified.

  

Building Up

Scripture

1 We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.  3 For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” – Romans 15:1-3

Observation

Paul has instructed the people in Rome not to put their personal pleasures above the spiritual needs of others. In the previous chapter he instructed them in the food they eat. Even though it was good to partake of certain food and wine; they were not to partake of it at the expense of their testimony to weaker brothers and sisters. Utimately we set aside our own pleasures for the spiritual growth needs of others. 

Application

We are to build up others in their discipleship journey. The example of Christ reveals that He was more concerned for the spiritual needs of others than having His own needs met. We are encouraged to set aside personal pleasure and pursuits for the building up of our neighbor. May we be willing to put the cause of Christ above our personal pursuits so that others may know Christ and experience discipleship growth in their journey with Him. 

Prayer

Father, instill in us the desire to serve You and others above ourselves. Use us for the building up of our brothers and sisters in Christ.