Exodus 20:3 "You shall have no other gods before me."
Idols can't speak, can't see, and can't hear. So are all who trust in them. This is why discontentment always leads to worship: either of idols that don't satisfy or of Christ who is all-satisfying.
Each of us has idols. Are you willing to admit to yours? What are you doing to kill your idol(s)? In coming to terms with what idols we hold dear, it’s wise to first determine what few idols we don’t have. Not only do we have lovely little idol factories in our hearts, we've created fantasy worlds where our idols reign supreme.
2 Cor. 5:15 reminds us that the purpose of the cross is to completely eradicate your allegiance to the most tempting and powerful of all idols--the idol of self. Idols make promises they can't keep. This is why you can have everything you think you want and still feel empty. But when we open our hand to receive Christ, the idols fall out.
Father, there is none like you, but there are plenty like me. The idol of self may not be what I believe to be the primary motivation of my heart - but I know from practical experience otherwise. All our idols have one thing in common, when we look at them in the right light we can see reflections of ourselves. Help me remember that any of our brethren succumbing today to the idols of consumerism & materialism need gospel, not shame. Use me today to minister in your name to my ownself and those around me. I pray this in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.
Mark 12:30 "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."
The old hymn says:
"Prone to wander Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love. Here's my heart Lord, take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above."
Friend, that hymn, in essence, comes from Mark 12:30 before us. But try wrapping your heart around this truth--The unmerited, irrevocable, immutable, incomprehensible and immensity of God's love for you can never be exhausted. It will never change. Because God needs no help, the door of God's home is the love of God's heart (Psalm 5:7).
I don't know about you, but I am irritated by my mind which cannot comprehend, my heart which cannot contain, and my hand which cannot write about the love of God I see. But let's remember: It was the unconditional nature of God’s love that most captivated the heart of the apostle Paul (2 Cor. 5:14)--and that should captivate ours, too. And the larger our heart for God, the larger will be our heart to love others.
Father, thank you that it is even possible to love. How I am reminded today that you told me I can only love because you first loved us. And that you so loved the world that you gave you one and only son, Jesus Christ. To know that it is possible to be both loved and to be loved by you is amazing. Shatter my idols that keep me from living out this truth before you and others. I pray this knowing that you are worthy and willing to grant it. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Joshua 22:5 "Be careful to keep...to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul."
Whales, worms, plants (Jonah 2:10; 4:6), famines (2 Kings 8:1), wind (Mark 4:41), birds (1 Kings 17:4), and cancer cells, to name a few, OBEY God. It's always worth mentioning: It's not legalistic to obey God or to want to. It is what He has commanded you to do because of who He is.
When we obey God's laws, we become a means of grace to our neighbors. Struggling to know God's will is almost not found in scripture. Struggling to obey God is ever-present. Be satisfied, and when he calls, we should obey.
A life redefined by God's grace is also a life renewed in God's holiness. Mercy alone wins true obedience. We must not make the mistake of thinking our obedience validates our love for God. Rather, genuine affection for God causes obedience.
Father, thank you that you are not concerned with our eloquence; but you desire our obedience. What we do is much more important than what we say. Lord, help me in simple obedience to follow what you have commanded. Lord, since there is none like you, there is no one else to obey or run after. I am free to follow you because you are free from anyone or anything else. Thank you that required perfect obedience. But, Lord, your provision was a perfect Redeemer and the result was peace with you. I praise you for this and more in Jesus' name. Amen.
2 Timothy 3:16 "Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness."
The teachings of scripture are weighty and good, and they help us know if we are born of God (see 1 John). This is why we don't compromise on Scripture. We do people a great disservice when we water down God's Word.
The need of the day: That God would raise up doctrinally-sound Chistians who believe in the inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture. For these people, these are two of the most significant words in all of Scripture: ""but God."" For Jesus, what Scripture says God says (Matt. 19:4-5). Is this not why Jesus said, “Why you are wrong: you know not Scripture or the power of God."" Mark 12:24. Keys to truth: Love God's word and His sovereignty.
Until we have mastered Scripture we have no right to the complaint ""God isn't talking to me lately."" (And you can't master Scripture.) Nurture your soul in the marrow of Scripture... Draw strength from your God in prayer... He is an endless treasure for His people."
Father, some say there is no safer place than the middle of God's will. Scripture says there is no more dangerous place but that Christ is worth it! "He restores the fortunes of His people" is often repeated in Scripture. Our hope in loss and devastation. Our God restores! Thank you for these truths, Lord. You are amazing, and your Word is all I need for all matters of faith and practice. In Jesus' name. Amen.
John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. "
This verse reminds us that Jesus was with God, is God, and became man. At His birth, Jesus was unlike any baby ever born, eternal Deity joined to sinless humanity, the Infinite Infant.
Yet, a professing Christian's greatest danger is not death but apostasy. Some of the world's most well-known and largest false religions have started on the heels of misunderstand this key verse. But that's what John does here: He takes us from blindness to the blazing deity of Jesus.
Biblically speaking, Jesus' sonship, kingship, and lordship all testify to his deity. Jesus is God, which means that you are not (and neither am I). The full deity of Jesus Christ is the solid rock upon which He builds His church, our family, and our lives. To deny this is to deny what authority Jesus has as the God-man and what His Word—the Bible—testifies to.
God is so good. He is so sweet to me. Not trying to be eloquent or pithy. God owes us nothing. But he is constantly promising us things. Innumerable causes for joy, distilled into one great cause: ""Jesus, I'm just overcome by the gospel today."" Thank you, Jesus!"
Father, thank you so much that your authority is unrivaled. We praise you today that your Son, Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, came into this world, not as a created one, but as Creator. That even now He is praying for us and reminding us of the eternal sacrifice on calvary. To the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power & authority through Jesus Christ our Lord before all ages now & forevermore! We praise you for this and so much more! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
2 Peter 1:20 "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation of things."
Each literary genre in the Bible--narrative, poetry, prophecy, gospel, epistle, etc.--is a different lens through which we uniquely see Christ. Every religion has a super-prophet who is pointing people to whatever god (little ""g"") or the one God. Jesus is the only prophet who says ""I'm God and I am coming after you.""
The prophecies of the prophets are our hope before we were born. A child to be born - Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, Everlasting Father. Every promise of Scripture will be kept, every prophecy fulfilled, every right rewarded, every sin punished, every judgment executed--just as God said it would be. This is what gives the Bible its authority and truth over any book out there.
The Bible offers the only reasonable explanation for man's state & the presence of evil. History proves that what it says about man is true. Reality is what it is. And the Bible is a true statement of it. On that I will stake my life.
What if every promise and threat in the Bible will prove true? What if God, not man, will end it all? How should that change us now? If the Bible is perfectly true and doesn't contradict--and it doesn't either--then we do not have time to play games with our lives & we do not have time to play games in our churches.
Father, we thank you that your Word is true. It is infallible, inerrant, inspired, and without equal. We praise you that no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, men spoke from God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. We thank you that what you predicted through the mouth of all the prophets-- that His Messiah would suffer—you have fulfilled in this way. There is no other holy book. There is no other God. There is no other Savior. Only your Son who gave his life for us. We praise you for this—for eternal life! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Matthew 4:4 Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'
Scripture alone is the foundation and faith alone in Christ alone is the heart of the faith once delivered to the saints. Contend earnestly. The Bible doesn't suggest that we must believe in Jesus apart from evidence, let alone contrary to evidence. God gives us testimony.
Bread exists, then, to help you know what it is like to be satisfied in Jesus. Jesus gives bread of life (Jn 6:35) & is the bread of life (6:51). He speaks the truth (8:45) & is the truth (14:6). The gospel is daily bread, but I want my life and preaching to make it sound like it's chocolate.
""Give us this day our daily bread..."" I am not self-sufficient--but dependent--on the goodness of God for my most basic needs. The Spirit gives us the bread of God's word and also the taste buds with which to savor it. Our Father is ready to give us bread but we keep asking for stones. Daily tasting of the Bread of Life ruins one for all the world's paltry morsels.
If you want to be alone with God you only need get alone with your Bible. To be still and quiet and alone and read the Bible for a while -- deeply renewing.
Father, we shall not live by social media alone, family alone, or anything else alone. Father, we live in your power alone by your grace alone by your Spirit growing us in the Word alone. Help us to get back to this basic in our churches. If we must choose between Bible and breakfast, help us to choose Bible. And grab an energy bar. Then plan better. Man shall not live by bread alone—that’s your promise to us, Lord, and we believe it. We thank you for it in Jesus’ name, amen!