Scripture reading for July 11th: Psalm 144-147
Key Scriptures: Psalm 145:8-12 “The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The lord is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made. All you have made will praise You, O Lord; Your saints will extol You. they will tell of the glory of Your kingdom and speak of your might, so that all men may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of Your kingdom.”
God’s heart of compassion for the hurting, lonely, poor,, needy, orphan and widow is known by all His people. They are thankful for His great heart of compassion and unfailing love of God for His creation. His people are especially thankful, because without God’s compassion and mercy, they know they would not know the glory of His kingdom and be able to tell of His mighty acts!
The God of all Comfort: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all Comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” (2nd Corinthians 1:3-5)
Scripture reading for August 28th: Ephesians 4
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3) Paul was a prisoner in jail but under the Lord’s direct commission. As a pastor, he wanted the church at Ephesus to live out their faith in Christ’s love and character. Patience and humility with great love would be required to produce and sustain the unity of the Holy Spirit in the congregation.
“It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, and some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-13) God poured out gifts upon His Church. These gift people would prepare God’s people for the works they had been assigned and assist them to grow to maturity in the fullness of Christ. All these contributed to the unity of the faith that we must work to maintain.
“Then, we will no longer be infants, . . .Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Ephesians 4:14-16) God wants His kids to grow up and each person must do their assigned part to see Christ reflected through His church.
Scripture reading for January27: Exodus 21-24
Is there any such thing as a “harmless sin”? We sometimes laugh when our young children defiantly disobey. When our adopted daughters were first released from the orphanage to come with us, they were so cute! Both my wife and I and the girls had a short time of mutual admiration. But on one of our first outings, we were waiting to cross the street and cars were speeding by. One of them (name withheld to protect the innocent!) stuck her foot out towards the street and looked up mischievously to see what we might do! Mary and I had a good laugh but realized that we had a job ahead of us and had a late start!
Sin entered mankind through Eve’s deception by the serpent and through the disobedience of Adam. God’s commands aren’t suggestions. What He says will happen and He has the authority and power to bring it to pass. Sin has consequences. We can choose to sin, but we get the consequences for free! The law that God gave Moses on the mountain included Exodus 21-24. These were practical explanations of the ten commands that helped work out how these laws would play out in the community of Israel. A holy God lived in their midst. He demanded that the people He lived with would be holy too! (1st Peter 1:15-16)
Some of the laws and their that struck me as I read this passage remind me of the “deadliness” of sin! In Exodus 21:15 and 17, the penalty for attacking father or mother or even cursing them was death. If a man owned a bull that was known to gore others and he did not restrain this animal and a person was killed, the bull and the owner would die! (Exodus 21:28-29) A sorceress must be put to death! (Exodus 22:18) Anyone having sexual relations with an animal must die! (Exodus 22:19) Another law in Exodus 22:22-23 was shocking to me; I had never remembered reading that one who takes advantage of an orphan or a widow would die if that orphan or widow cried out to the Lord! God gets angry when we mess with those who are hurting! He is compassionate and protective! (Exodus 22:26-27)
God is compassionate and loves us enough to confront sin. He knows it’s deadly–it cost Him the life of His Firstborn Son! We need to be serious when it comes to sin. In our children, it is not just funny. It will be deadly if not properly addressed. As parents, we need to love our children enough to discipline them and teach them that sin is nothing to mess with. May the Lord continue to love us enough to discipline us so that sin is not our downfall!
“Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good that we might share in His holiness.” Hebrews 12:10