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Daily Devotions - August 24-30

Daily devotions to help you in your faith.

August 24

2 Peter 2:3 "In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping."


TODAY'S THOUGHTS...



One the best reminders as we walk in the Christian life is this: Apart from the eternal, free, and sovereign grace of God, I would be in the center of my world. I’d make up my own laws, worship the creation, and live for my comfort. This is why, in many ""churches,” their worship service has to be ""over the top"" to make up for the fact that their god is not alive. As John 7:24 reminds us, right judgment can't be distracted from false teaching by big smiles and big crowds



Isn’t this, at least in part, what Peter is saying? These false teachers willfully, strategically, and markedly plan out their false teachings to “exploit” (2:3) true believers. Yet, according to Scripture, we can't make up our own versions of reality. The creation is a fixed entity shaped and defined by God. This can make us really angry.


But what does Peter mean “their condemnation has long been hanging over them”? God doesn’t let these false teachers off the hook. In fact, he has planned for their destruction before the foundation of the world. “God has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he raised from the dead” (Acts 17:31). ""Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?"" (Genesis 18:25). No justice in this world. God alone is just.


There’s nothing great about falsehood. My point is it's tragic to see someone ""dressing up"" falsehood. It is like putting makeup on a corpse. To judge the wrath of God as unfair was unthinkable to Paul (Romans 3:5-6). He saw it as essential to the world's better future. Do you?


TODAY'S PRAYER...


Father, thank you that you will set all things right. Thank you that while we may be duped on this side of heaven, we can know that your grace will hold us. You are the Good Shepherd. We are your sheep, Lord. Empower us by your Spirit to discern truth from error. In Jesus' name. Amen.

August 25

2 Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment;


TODAY'S THOUGHTS...


If angels, who've been around forever, long to gaze into the gospel, why would churches even for a second fixate on anything else? The gospel is so resilient! It never gets old. Even eternity-old angels long to look into it. If you're ready to move on, you never got it (1 Pet. 1:12).


But who are these angels mentioned in 2 Peter 2:4? These are those that chose to rebel with satan sometime between creation and the fall of Adam. These fallen angels are now demons, and, of course, led by Satan himself.


Let me just say a few quick words about demons. They are the most serious monotheists in the world are demons (James 2:19). We must understand what faith is. The demons believe & tremble. Thus, they show more piety than many men who claim to possess saving faith.

We deceive ourselves whenever we equate ""doctrinal conviction"" with Christ-likeness. Even demons know ""correct doctrine.""


What’s more, unbelievers do all they can to explain away the spiritual realm: angels, demons and warfare. Believers often do the same. And, finally, demons can be Calvinists or Arminians, affirm Baptist doctrine or Presbyterian. But they can't be Christians


Jesus has power and authority over all demons and all diseases ( Luke 9:1). If Jesus answered the prayer of demons, doesn't it stand to reason he'll answer the prayers of his own followers (Luke 8:31-32)?


But know this: What Peter is stating here is that these fallen angels (demons) have been once-and-for-all condemned to judgment. Nothing can escape them. Their doom is sure. So, too, are the false prophets and teachers. ""Have you come here to torment us before the time?” (Matthew 8:29). Demons know their ""time"" is coming. And I looked up to heaven and said to Jesus. ""All the demons obey you!"" (Matt. 8:32). And then I laughed with the joy of triumph.


The demons recognized and confessed the realities of Christ (Mk.5:7). We are not saved by what we know to be true, but by what we rely upon. Do you?


TODAY'S PRAYER...


Father, for our friends dealing with the lies of Satan, the chaos of evil and the weakness of men, grant your peace and hope. Father, may what you say about us drone out all the accusations of Satan, voices of shame and idol-musings of our hearts. Free me from under-believing the gospel, and over-believing the lies of Satan & spin of my culture. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

August 26

2 Peter 2:5 "If he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly."


TODAY'S THOUGHTS...


Is the statement below true or false?


“Trust yourself. Feelings are facts. There’s always tomorrow. Judgment is only for others.”


Well, Verse Post readers: Is that true or false?


The answer?


False! Don’t be deceived!


""We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,” says 2 Cor. 5:10. Are you ready for that day?


In the previous verse, Peter emphasized that the fallen angels who rebelled with Satan are headed for judgment, and now he reminds us that the ancient world also was judged. God did not spare them. It is a great reminder to us that the most terrifying silence is when God will not speak. Being left alone in this dark world is not liberation – but judgment (1 Sam. 3:1).


But, as long as Christ tarries or we have breath, there is a silver lining—an eternal promise. Just as God saved Noah and his family, so, too, God will save all those who trust in him. Like Noah and his family, no one is saved from God’s judgment because they are more beautiful or brilliant than other. Jesus saves us by His grace and for His glory.


This verse is one of the most fearful examples in all of Scripture. God takes judgment seriously. The great flood is a great comparison for Peter’s readers to the final judgment. The flood came on quickly and was for everyone. Only a few righteous ones were saved—and mocked and ridiculed. Notice Hebrews 11:7 about Noah:


“By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.”


We must warn people of the danger of sin, not because are unloving, but precisely because we do love them and hope to spare them judgment. The Son of Man was handed over to sinners in judgment (Mt. 26:64-68) so sinners could escape the judgment of the Son of Man (Dan. 7:9-14).


Do you know him?


TODAY'S PRAYER...


Father, how easily we take for granted the fact that you are coming to judge the world. Lord, quicken our hearts to know remember how seriously you take your holiness, and how seriously we should take the coming day. But, Lord, thank you that in Christ, we are forgiven from all of our sin. Jesus, we praise you that if we are found in you, you have covered us in your perfect death for us. Lord, embolden us to share the Gospel. Time is short and the kingdom is at hand! Lord, impress today upon us. In Jesus' name. Amen.

August 27

2 Peter 2:6 "If he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly."


TODAY'S THOUGHTS..


Let’s recap where we have been the last two verses. In 2:4, Peter reminds his readers that God has sovereignly the fallen angels that rebelled with Satan in “chains of darkness to be held for judgment.” That verse began the long sentence we are detailing now. Second, in 2:5, Peter recalls how God didn’t “spare the ancient world” from the great flood. Yet, God saw fit to save Noah and his family in the ark (Which, by the way, is a picture of what Christ did for us in the Gospel. Remember, God shut the door to the ark. Jesus shut the door to the power and penalty of sin.).


Today, Peter continues with a third example: Sodom and Gomorrah. These were once the hub cities of the ancient world and located on the southeast corner of the Dead Sea (Gen. 13:12; 14:8; Deut. 29:23). The area was rich and fertile and was an almost-perfect place to raise livestock and crops. As you probably recall, both cities were destroyed because of their wickedness. This was a judicial act of our God, meaning it was a sentence pronounced on the guilty (Matt. 20:18; Mark 10:33, etc.)


What was the purpose? Peter tells us that God “made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly” (2 Peter 2:6). By the numbers, these two wicked cities are mentioned in referenced to present and future judgment 20 times in the Bible! God wasn’t playing around, to be sure.


If Sodom and Gomorrah couldn't get away with their sin, neither can our nation (or any nation). Our immoral culture today would make Sodom and Gomorrah blush. All of us can and should say, ""The only difference between us and Sodom and Gomorrah is God's restraining mercy"" (Romans 9:29). “Was not Sodom a byword in your mouth, before your wickedness was uncovered?“ Ezekiel 16:56 How easy to condemn until our sin is revealed.


Compared to the wrath that was poured out on Christ, the fire that fell on Sodom was like a tiny spark that could not kindle the driest wood. As a Christian, you may hear about, read about, study about and preach about God's wrath, but you'll never experience it because Christ has. If you are not a follower of Jesus, please hear this: the worst is yet to come. Flee from God's wrath. Flee to Christ. Christians leak, so regularly remind each other that God has not destined us for wrath but has given us eternal life in Christ. It is finished!


TODAY'S PRAYER...


Father, as we look at how wicked these cities were and the example of warning you gave to us, we are silence. Forgive us if we are not mindful of how powerful you are and how thrice holy you are. You take sin seriously, Lord. This isn't a game. This isn't a joke. These are eternal matters. Father, truly, we repent of our easy-goingness in this matter. We have sinned. But, oh Lord, thank you that we have a meditator,, one who has passed through the heavens and is now seated at your right hand. Jesus Christ, your Son, and the righteous one. Father, we praise you. We adore you. We love you. Thank you for the cross, the burial, and the resurrection. We live free from your wrath only because of Jesus and the Gospel. In your name. Amen.

August 28

2 Peter 2:7-8 "And if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)-"



TODAY'S THOUGHTS...


This is an interesting passage. If you recall the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19, you recall that Lot wasn’t really a righteous man to the degree, it can be argued, that Abraham was. So why does Peter include him here? Jewish writings and tradition believe that Abraham’s intercession and pleas on behalf of the righteous in Sodom refer to Lot and this is why he is considered righteous. Of course, there are none righteous, no, not even one (Rom. 3). However, God used a godly man (Abraham) to help save a not-so-righteous man, Lot.


The good news for Lot is that he was “distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless” in the cities. Lot moved to Sodom not for ministry but for money. It did not turn out well. How do you choose where to live (Genesis 13:9-13)?


But don’t pass over this, friends: “He (God) rescued Lot.” God wisely packaged progress in the form of stumbling (Romans 9:33). Jesus is your worst disaster and your only rescue,


Here a few faith lessons from this verse.



First, what are your little sins? Are they smaller than Eve's eating of fruit? Or Lot's wife's looking back? Just a bite and a look.


Second, remember what Jesus said: “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62) And: “Remember Lot's wife” (Luke 17:32). Jesus thinks Genesis 19 is worth thinking about. Spurgeon said: “She looked, she longed, she lingered and she died.


Third: “Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt” (Genesis 19:26). Get out of Sodom. And get Sodom out. Take your sin to the Lord—now!


Fourth: One way to know God really has touched you: what you see going on in this generation deeply troubles you (2 Peter 2:7-8). However it goes for our nation in this generation -- we pray for mercy -- we will rejoice in God, just because he is God (Hab. 3:17-19).


As the old hymn reminds us: ""Jesus sought me when a stranger, Wandering from the fold of God; He, to rescue me from danger, Interposed His precious blood.” What a wonderful God and Savior!


TODAY'S PRAYER...


Father, rescue us from any notion which suggests we'll need more than you and what you choose to give us today. Rescue me from small thoughts about you, half-hearted love for you, and selective obedience to you. And rescue us from any spurious, heart-sabotaging notion that your grace won't be sufficient for us today. Father, thank you that you know how to rescue the godly from trials. In Jesus’ name we pray today. Amen.

AUGUST 29

2 Peter 2:9 "If this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment."


TODAY'S THOUGHTS...


Do you like to comparison shop? I do! There are websites that friends have shown me over the years that will search all the major stores and the mom-and-pop stores for the best value and warranty for whatever I am buying. My mama said, “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” So, I always want to get the most “bang for my buck.”


When it comes to buying items, we understand this principle. When it comes to eternity, we, as people outside of Jesus Christ, think there is no comparison. As lost sinners, we believe we are strong enough, smart enough, and sassy enough to take care of our own salvation. Oh, but how Jesus changes things! When we come to Christ by repenting and believing in the Gospel, our whole perspective changes. Instead of trusting in ourselves, we know the righteous run into Christ and are saved.


What is my point? This verse present two destinies and two peoples: The saved and the unsaved. The saved know there is no better “deal” than knowing Jesus! The unsaved believe they can comparison shop for a better deal than Jesus.


Christian, all of your temptations, trials, and tribulations prove the reality of your salvation. How many times has God saved you from these experiences? Jesus' rescue of you from eternal suffering can make your choice to suffer for His purposes sane no matter what (or who) you face. Jesus left glory to be shamed by sinners so that He could rescue sinners from shame and let them share in His glory. Sin exerts pressure. Sin intensifies anxiety. The rescue Jesus brings is relief, space, and calm.


In short, Christian, know this: Our ally the Lord prowls around like a roaring lamb looking for people to rescue. God's agenda of grace is to daily rescue you from you; this is just what every sinners needs, but is unable to do for himself.


But, if you aren’t a Christian, the same God that promises rescue is the same God that promises judgment. Self-righteousness is why we are content with superficial Christianity. Convinced we are okay, we do not long for the daily rescue of grace. And, if you’re not a Christian, you must be saved by faith alone in Christ alone by His grace alone to be saved.


Where are you today? Who is your rescue?


TODAY'S PRAYER...


Father, rescue us from our unbelief today. Let us see how your heart and hand are present and engaged everywhere. You alone are the rescuer—first in salvation in your Son alone and then through the many things we face. Father, grant us wonder and worship, as we hear the gospel today. Restore us to childlike awe and joy. Rescue us from familiarity. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

August 30

2 Peter 2:10 "This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh and despise authority. Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings."


TODAY'S THOUGHTS...


What does sin do to you? Causes you to:


-Indulge in corrupt desires;

-Despise authority;

-Become self-assured and prideful

-Have no fear of the living God in you;

-Curse heaven and all its occupants.


Peter points this out because he is reminding us once again that God holds the wicked in judgment. These false teachers, some argue, have become so self-diluted that they are now even denouncing the fallen angels and calling themselves better and okay. But more than likely, it is the glories of Christ and the salvation he brings they are ranting against. This shows how truly arrogant they were. Even the angels of heaven give way in submission to God’s glory to execute a just judgment. Yet, these false teachers, entrenched in sin, rise above the angels to blaspheme the glories of God and deny the second coming.


A fall into sin does not come suddenly, but after the weight of thousands of small lies eventually become too much for our pride to sustain. Sin will tempt your pride to believe that you can stop enjoying it any time you want. Pride is the gateway sin for the soul. But the power and sovereignty of God put anxiety and pride to death. A big view of God helps sin lose its power in our lives. Thomas Watson said: “God's sovereign power and mercy subdue the pride and enmity of the heart and break off the chains of sin in which the soul is held!”


If a man turns from sin without turning to God, he will find his sin has only changed its name and is hidden behind his pride. Trust God to know the difference between what we want and what we need. He knows what we don't know and sees what we don't see.


TODAY'S PRAYER...


Father, your awesomeness is so majestic that we can't even speak of us without trembling. Yet, in our sin, Lord, we confess to you that we so often and pridefully walk into your presence with your people declaring we are the top. Lord, the affects of sin on us go to our deepest parts. Yet, we thank you that your Son has not cleansed us from just a part of our sin - but the whole of it. We pray this today in Jesus' name. Amen.