Daily Devotions 8-31 to 9-6

Daily devotions to help your faith.

August 31

2 Peter 2:11 "Yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not heap abuse on such beings when bringing judgment on them from the Lord."

"Isaiah 6:3 ""Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts"" (700 BC).

Rev. 4:8 ""Holy, hoy, holy is the Lord God Almighty"" (80 AD?).

Today's Thoughts...

The angels never get over God!

Everything about Jesus is holy, holy, holy. His being is perfectly holy, as are His words, works, and wisdom. And Jesus left a world where angels cried ""Holy, Holy!"" to enter a world that cried ""Crucify Him! Crucify Him!"" Why? To save us.

If this be true, then why do the angels not follow in the footsteps of the false teachers (e.g., heaping abuse on our God)? Because it is blasphemy to treat Jesus like a sidekick. He is better than you…He’s God!

The only god the first world will not tolerate blasphemy of is the god of feelings. Satan's messages are usually not outright blasphemy. Instead he slightly twists truth & subtly turns us away from Christ. To live in sin does not exalt the gospel, but shows it to be void of power. Such a life is a reason for the unbeliever's blasphemy (Rom. 2:24).

Casualness before God is a mark of foolishness. The humble tremble before Him, the proud find no need for reverence. When we pray to the Lord Almighty, Creator and Sustainer of all, our loving and gracious Lord, can we not help but show reverence to Him? The angels understood this—and the false teachers didn’t. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, its end, and everything in between. We never advance past our need to reverence His holy name.

Today's Prayer...

Father, in this world, how easily we will get dressed up and honor the office of a political person. But, equally, Lord, how easily and casually we treat our relationship with you. Lord, if we have blasphemed you in any way - whether verbally or by our way of life - forgive us. We want all we do to be done in the honor and holiness of your name. Nothing in our lives, we pray, should be devoid of this. Lord, you are worthy. There is no beside you. We thank you and praise you in Jesus' name. Amen.

September 1

2 Peter 2:12 "But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish."

Today's Thoughts...

There is something that sets mankind apart from the animals of this world—the ability to reason and think other than for him/herself. In contrast to this, the false teachers operated in an animal-like instinct. That is, they pursued almost an irrational desire of sin. And, as a result, they blasphemed the very things they thought they understood—the truth of God, his coming, and how to live in this world.

Friends, we need to blaspheme our idols—if I may be so blunt. Notice I didn’t say the Lord. That would go against the very command of Scripture (Exo. 20). However, learn from God—Satan is a hard master. ""I have handed them over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme” (1 Tim. 1:20). Paul faced the same situation in the churches he helped plant and lead.

At his death, Polycarp, one of the earliest church leaders said before being burnt to death: “86 years have I served Him, and He has done me no wrong. How then can I blaspheme my King and my Savior?” Wow! What an attitude! Could we have the same in today’s world?

The point of application: God is more concerned with your character than your career, with who you are than what you do, and with how you live than where you live. “Oh Lord, teach me how to live out my convictions. Unless, of course, they are not from you. In that case, you may make me miserable.”

Today's Prayer...

Father, reading through these false teachers is such a hard task. In our routine world of life and work, we often don’t think about these things. Lord, guard our hearts today from all that is against you. Fasten us close to you and your Word. You are worthy and worthy to be praised. Thank you that in Christ you don’t leave us as we are. You grow us closer to your image. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

September 2

2 Peter 2:13 "They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you."

Today's Thoughts...

The literal reading of this verse could be translated: “Suffering wrong as the wages of wickedness.” Or, as Paul put in Romans 6:23: “The wages of sin is death.” Each and every false teacher will be held accountable. Literally, as with all of us, their earning, salary, and wage is death—not just physical, but eternal.

And they have no shame! What deeds they do they do in front of all to see. Very similar to Absalom defying his father and his wives in broad daylight (2 Samuel 16:22). What evil they do they don’t care what anyone else thinks or says. Finally, so open (“blots and blemishes”) are they to sin, they will openly do it front of even God’s people…and, again, with no shame!

Sin destroys everything. Don't believe its lies. Broken hearts. Broken relationships. Haunted conscience. Guilt. Shame. Despair. Death. Jesus left glory to be shamed by sinners so that He could rescue sinners from shame and let them share in His glory. Gal 5:1 ""Christ has set us free"" from... Sin—Rom. 6:7 Condemnation—Rom. 8:1 Shame—1 Pt. 2:6 Law—Rom. 10:4 Fear—1 Jn. 4:18 Death—Jn. 5:24. What a great God!

If shame before people exceeds shame before God then there is no biblical repentance. Which is true in your life?

Today's Prayer...

Father, let us not harden our heart or callous our conscience. Now, in this moment, we ask for forgiveness of any sin. Father, we praise you that the blood of Christ sufficient and able to save us from all our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Forgive us of willful sin and unintentional sins. Only the God-man, Jesus Christ, can save us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

September 3

2 Peter 2:14 "With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood."

Today's Thoughts...

This verse has connection to the seventh commandment: “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). Also, Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:28 in the Sermon on the Mount: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” These teachers are like a person who can’t stop looking lustfully at someone or something else without fantasizing. They just keep on sinning!

The false teachers also are like the Israelites of old. They were formally God’s people—but not in reality. It is the difference between a real convert and a false convert. This is why Peter calls them “unstable…an accursed brood!”

It is easy to think we could never stoop so far as these false teachers. Yet, apart from Christ, we are capable of any sin. A temptation is simply a promise that claims to provide happiness and fulfillment apart from God. Don't believe the lies. Apart from God’s grace, this could be any of us.

A great reminder to keep a humble perspective on yourself. We are but dust apart from the grace of God (Gen. 2:7). May pray and remember that we can do nothing apart from Christ. We can bear much fruit through Christ. God gives strength through our humble dependence upon His Son.

Today's Prayer...

Pray for those in your life in such a state as these false teachers. Pray that God may remove the scales from their eyes to see the truth of the Gospel (2 Tim. 2:23-26).

September 4

2 Peter 2:15 "They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Bezer, who loved the wages of wickedness."

Today's Thoughts...

Today, friends, we have another tough verse. In 2:14, Peter called these false teachers non-believers. They were accursed! This is the same language Paul used in Galatians 1 when referring to those who walked away from the biblical Gospel.

What is apostasy? It is simply a departure from the key principles of the Christian life and church life. It is clear and present danger. The trouble is that every sin carries with it the seed to spring up in apostasy.

The good news: the middle of Israel's apostasy, such as in Ruth 2, there is a shining light. God keeps his people. The best news for failures is also here: “I will heal their apostasy; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them” (Hos. 14:4). Is there no end to His love for His people?!? He is able to heal the one who is thinking, ""I've fallen too far. He must hate me by now.""

A professing Christian's greatest danger is not death but apostasy (cf. John 16:1; 1 John 2:19). It's not apostasy that's most likely to derail our faith. It’s all the worries of life (Matthew 6). Know your doctrine—but watch your life.

“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me; I might be lost, I might be found—guess we'll wait and see.” Doctrine matters!"

Today's Prayer...

Father God, who is sovereign, loving, and holy, holy, and holy, we know that only you can keep us on the straight and narrow. We realize only you can keep us from going to the right or to the left, Lord. Thank you for your Spirit guiding us. We are lost without him—now and for eternity. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

September 5

2 Peter 2:16 "But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey—an animal without speech—who spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness."

Today's Thoughts...

Who was Balaam? Let me just take a moment to give you a scriptural rundown:

First, Balaam is a paradox. He acknowledged the true God of heaven and God came and spoke to him (Num. 22:8-9).

Second, Balaam was a false prophet. In the Lord’s providence, though, he spoke some of the most beautiful words in the Bible (Num. 24:15-25).

Third, Balaam was motivated by greed (2 Pet. 2:15; Jude 11). He had no misgivings about using God’s call on his life for money (Num. 22).

Fourth, Balaam was warned by God (Num. 22:21-34). Specifically, an angel of the Lord stood in his way (Num. 22:22). Even the pagan king (Balak) saw the Lord was preventing Balaam (Num. 24:11).

And even today, we hear many people like Balaam say, “I have sinned.” But, most of the time, there is no genuine repentance. Many want to die a death of righteous, but are unwilling to life the life of the righteous (Num. 23:10). This is why Balaam’s doctrine is very popular today. It is the lie that a person (male or female) can get “saved” and live like the unsaved.

Christian, Balaam's donkey, Jonah's worm, Paul's thorn, Jeremiah's pit, Joseph's brothers... don't limit what God will use in your life. But also don’t place limit on God himself. He is faithful, but he is not a genie in a bottle.

Today's Prayer...

Father, fill our minds with truth, flood our hearts with a reminder of your grace, and free us into your purposes today. Lord, how easy it was to see Balaam and Judas, two of your close workers, turn professional in their work for you. May it never be with us! Lord, guard our hearts and mind in Christ to know the power of the Gospel in living wholeheartedly for you and no one else.. In Jesus’ name.. Amen.

September 6

2 Peter 2:17 "These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them."

Today's Thoughts...

I don’t know about you, but I am a big fan of history. One era my wife and I have been looking over in recent days in our “free time” (you know, that one hour between our kids going to bed and us falling asleep watching said documentaries) is about the Dust Bowl. As many of you know (and some have you may have experienced), the late 1920s and early 30s in middle America were marked by unprecedented growth—and unprecedented hardship. Farmers, looking to make a quick buck, tore up the virgin soil of the Great Plains to farm wheat and other semi-arid crops. This worked well for several years—but when the drought came, and for many years it—that once fertile land turned into dust tornadoes.

This picture of the Dust Bowl is what struck me reading and studying through today’s verse. False teachers are described much like the Great Plains of that time—“springs without water.” Contextually, Peter is referring to a dry oasis in the desert or a cloud that looks like rain but contains none and blows over. In other words, false teachers promise great prosperity (rain), but can’t deliver and bring evil, sadness, and sin (drought). They are persuasive and very eloquent—even flashy and creative. Instead of calling people back to holy lives before the thrice-holy God, they appeal to lusts and greed.

But when the Bible runs dry, we run dry. The triune God is magnificent and his Gospel is abounding and astounding. It will never dry up! That abundant supply of daily grace which we all need will never grow weak, get stale, dry up or run out. It's grace upon grace upon grace.

Are you feeling empty, dry, and weak today? Should be a good day, then! If you feel like your well is dry it's because you're drinking from your own self-dug well and not the ever-abounding well of God's grace. He won’t disappoint.

Today's Prayer...

Father, thank you that your well never runs dry. Thank you that when you bring the rain, even when it hurts, you do so for your glory and our good. Protect us from those that promise high and mighty things but, unlike you, they can’t deliver on their promises. Certainly, Father, they may grow for a season, but as quickly as they come they will disappear. Father, thank you that you are the same now and forever. In Jesus’ name. Amen.