Day 16 of 140, Personal Devotion Tweets

curse

The expletive was not deleted:

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. Amazing! God stooped so far to scoop us up

 

The Law’s curse is death. Harsh, but true. Death is the eventuality, the legal sentence every human being bears from Adam’s time to this day.

The Law states those who are hanged from a tree are accursed.

The Romans used the crucifixion to curse the criminals they brutally punished by death.

The death of Jesus was a threefold curse, complete and perfect in vile effect:

  • Jesus took upon himself the curse of becoming sin and bearing sin’s penalty.
  • Jesus took upon himself the historical denigration of being counted with ‘those hanged on a tree.’
  • Jesus took upon himself the jeer of the government which considered him as the worst of criminals even as it confessed it could find no guilt in him.

From the lowest of the low we who are found in Christ Jesus are rescued from the curse. Death’s hold is abolished, our history forgiven, the ‘law’ subjected to Grace.

Don’t miss out the gift of the expletive not being deleted for you.

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Day 15 of 140, Personal Devotion Tweets

Jesus-in-heart-flattened-300x164I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. Power I need everyday.

This simple phrase speaks perhaps the most overlooked truth of the Christian life.

Modern Western Christianity loves to talk about ‘having Jesus in my heart,’ and the ‘inner power of the Spirit,’ and some who consider themselves Christian verbally invoke the Spirit in order to do the bidding of their own desires.

Rarely, however, is there conversation about the Spirit of Jesus ruling a person’s heart toward the end of complete Jesus-like obedience. I am certain that in my own life such a dialogue would be warmly welcomed but also immediately met with the resistance of a heart thoroughly convicted.

Jesus is so much better for me if he is a standard to admire, or a bar to try to jump over, or even the Masterful Savior who is seated at the right hand of the Father. All these things keep the true power of Jesus’ claim on me just far enough away for me to ignore him whenever I wish.

If Christ truly lives in me, then I have no excuse to refuse God’s authority. Jesus, even as he considered the horrific cost of his life, did not every say, ‘no.’

“The faith for which the apostles called involved not simply belief in the factual truth of the story of Jesus as they proclaimed it, but an unconditional self-commitment to the Jesus of whom the story told. This meant that they relied upon Him there and then for the remission of sins that was offered in His name. But it meant more: it meant that they relied upon Him henceforth for victory over the power of sin. It meant that they were now Jesus’ men and women, set apart to be like Him and to carry on His work in the world through the energy supplied by His Spirit within them. There is, to be sure, an initial act of faith in the sincere response to the gospel, but that act of faith, if it is genuine, is but the beginning of a continuous life of faith—a life in which the believer “holds to Christ, and for the rest is totally uncommitted.”–F.F. Bruce

Excerpt from a first century, unsigned letter to Roman official Diognetus explaining how to identify a Christian:They live in their own countries and are strangers. They loyally fulfil their duties as citizens, but are treated as foreigners. Every foreign land is for them a fatherland and every fatherland, foreign.

They marry like everyone, they have children, but they do not abandon their new-born. They have the table in common, but not the bed. They are in the flesh, but do not live according to the flesh. They dwell on earth, but are citizens of heaven.

They obey the laws of the state, but in their lives they go beyond the law. They love everyone, yet are persecuted by everyone. No one really knows them, but all condemn them. They are killed, but go on living. They are poor, but enrich many. They have nothing, but abound in everything. but in that contempt they find glory before God. Their honor is insulted, while their justice is acknowledged. [Water, M. (2001). The New Encyclopedia of Christian Martyrs (p. 69). Alresford, Hampshire: John Hunt Publishers Ltd.]

 

 

 

 

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Day 14 of 140, Personal Devotion Tweets

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age.

I believe many think of ‘the present evil age’ to be outside of us. It is the environment in which we live.

Perhaps not.

What if ‘the present evil age’ is me? What if it is my actions that cause pain, hurt, even destruction? Would the Gift be different for me? Would I understand peace from an unfamiliar perspective?

If the ‘present evil age’ is really me, and those like me, then the peace I receive by the agency of Jesus Christ sent from God, is a peace unlike anything the world has to offer.

This peace could not be an armistice, truce, or even the imposed ‘peace’ of the military victor.

This is the peace which comes after a rescue from immanent death. This is the peace which comes after confusion is banished and understanding arrives. This is the peace which comes after a crushing debt is fully repaid. This is the peace which comes when horrific news is overcome by unanticipated and welcome developments.

This is the peace of God in Christ Jesus.

What the gospel of Jesus Christ offers us is not a false peace which enables us to avoid the implacable light of judgment, but the grace to courageously accept the bitter truth that is revealed to us; to abandon our inertia, our egoism, and submit entirely to the demands of the Spirit, praying earnestly for help, and giving ourselves generously to every effort asked of us by God.–Thomas Merton

God’s peace does not peacefully coexist with falsehood, sham, or injustice; so God’s peacemakers cannot simply ignore peace-destroying sin and error, any more than a surgeon can simply close up an infection wound: an abscess is bound to develop.–Dennis E. Johnson, Peacemakers

I want neither a blood’n’guts religion that would make Clint Eastwood, not Jesus, our hero, nor a speculative religion that would imprison the Gospel in the halls of academia, nor a noisy, feel-good religion that is a naked appeal to emotion. I long for passion, intelligence, and compassion in a Church without ostentation, gently beckoning to the world to come and enjoy the peace and unity we possess because of the Spirit in our midst.–Brennan Manning

 

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Day 13 of 140, Personal Devotion Tweets

…4 I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven.

I came to the office today to be greeted by some dear friends burdened by the deepest of sorrow. A child they knew, loved, and taught at school, four years of age, died yesterday as the result of a playtime accident.

Every death is a tragedy. The death of a child seems to be a particularly poignant kind of tragedy. It is days like today, when death is ‘in the face,’ when it is crucial to remember truths fundamental to our faith.

  • God hates death and did not create us to engage in it. We chose it and choose it for ourselves.

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because we all sinned– (Romans 5:12, ESV)

  • God’s graceful mercy is the remedy to all death.  God-in-the-flesh endured death so that death would be vanquished.

I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4, NLT)

But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died. So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. (1 Corinthians 15:20-22, NLT)

  • God is not distant from our anguish.

He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. (Isaiah 25:8, ESV)

You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? (Psalm 56:8, ESV)

Jesus wept. (John 11:35)

  • God takes responsibility to comfort those who grieve. He does so through His Word and His Spirit.

Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life. (Psalm 119:49-50)

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. (John 14:16-18, NLT)

I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world. (John 16:33, The Message)

  •  God knows and receives into eternity those who were unable to respond yet to the gift of salvation.

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. (Romans 5:8-9, NLT)

Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. “And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me. (Matthew 18:2-5, NLT)

  • God does not need us to defend Him or His sovereign acts. He has placed us in relationship with each other so we may be His hands extended in times of exuberant joy and crushing sorrows.

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us. (2 Corinthians 1:3-7, The Message)

There is much more to be said, to be sure. Questions are left yet unanswered, some of which may surely only be addressed by the Lord Himself. God is big enough for these questions and loving enough to endure them patiently, lovingly and with the perfect heart of a Father for His child.

The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust. (Psalm 103:8-14, NLT)

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Day 12 of 140, Personal Devotion Tweets

helptagGod helps those incapable of helping themselves. He walks with us and is in us since life is truly 2 much to handle

Today is Monday, the week stretches out long for some, short for others. Some will look ahead with confidence, others will peer into the week through the slits in fingers covering the eyes…teeth gritted in anxiety.

Regardless of perspective, the truth of the need for God’s empowering presence is the same for us all. The confession, ‘I need thee, O I need thee, every hour I need thee,’ is the cry of every honest heart.

Some days are seemingly easy, others are so overwhelming that to make it to the place of rest is the only accomplishment for which we could hope. Either day is an expression of God’s grace and His ability to keep us from falling.

My purpose in life is simply to glorify God. We have to be careful that we don’t let the pursuit of our life’s goals, no matter how important they seem, cause us to lose sight of our purpose.- Tony Dungy

Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.-Jude 24-25, NLT

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Day 11 of 140, Personal Devotion Tweets

EmptyBox

I, even, I am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins. Isaiah 43.22

Although I learned faith from the perspective of freely bestowed grace, I struggle with the immensity of this Truth. If there could be some merit found, some evidence I could present that would require the Sovereign of the universe to take pity on me then the conundrum is solved.

But I cannot.

God claims exclusive right to His grace and He bestows it for ‘His own sake.’ As I look out my window into this world, I know God’s judgment is not necessary for perdition to be real. Humans seem to be quite capable of pulling hell up and inviting it to reside. God could just leave us and not bother with the mess we create ‘without’ Him.

But He doesn’t.

Instead God, because He is God, graces the rabidly rebellious with goodness, graces the unfaithful follower with constancy, graces the confused with intelligence, graces the hopelessly indebted with an empty box.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.-Romans 5:8, NASB

“No-one can understand the message of Scripture who does not know the meaning of grace.  The God of the Bible is ‘the God of all grace’ (1 Pet. 5:10).  Grace is love, but love of a special sort.  It is love which stoops and sacrifices and serves, love which is kind to the unkind, and generous to the ungrateful and undeserving.  Grace is God’s free and unmerited favor, loving the unlovable, seeking the fugitive, rescuing the hopeless, and lifting the beggar from the dunghill to make him sit among princes.”

-John R. W. Stott

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