Tag: righteousness

Dealing with injustice

Scripture reading for May 09th: Nehemiah 5-8:1

Wise and godly leaders stand firmly against injustice!  Our sinful tendencies lead us relentlessly towards selfishness and taking advantage of those who are in need or in crisis or weak.  Slavery in America is an example of these selfish and sinful tendencies.  Slaves were bought and sold to build wealth for those they served.  Slaves did jobs that their owners did not want to do themselves.   Slaves were treated well by some and harshly and cruelly by others.  Injustice in this system led some leaders to take action and a civil war resulted that cost the lives of many Americans and many who named the name of Christ on both sides of this issue.

Nehemiah faced injustice in his day among his own people.  Taxes were high in Jerusalem and the Jews had to pay them to the Persian king.  Their brothers who had money were loaning to these Jews who had no money.  Mortgages were taken on the fields and vineyards and even their homes.  Even sons and daughters were being sold into slavery because of the usury that was going on among the Israelites.  An outcry because of this injustice reached Nehemiah and he pondered this problem. (Nehemiah 5:6-7)   Calling a meeting of all those involved,  he called out those charging unfair interest, commanded them to stop these practices. (Nehemiah 5:9-11)  They publicly agreed to do so.  He even shook out his own robe and prayed prophetically, “In this way may God shake out of His house and possessions every man who does not keep this promise.  So may such a man be shaken out and emptied!” Nehemiah 5:13

God’s people must beware of injustice, even in their own house!  Sin and selfishness can cause us to take advantage of others.  We can abuse or neglect the poor and the weak.  Spiritual leaders and pastors must guard their hearts in how they encourage giving, being careful not to manipulate.  A form of slavery results when our sons and daughters go into captivity and leave the church because of injustice in God’s house!  Righteous leaders are watchful and take direct action when they know about it!  Pray today for those in authority and let them know of any injustice among God’s people!

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Father of a multitude!

January 6th Scripture Reading:  Genesis 15-17

A great deal has happened in the lives of Abram and Sarai in the last three chapters.  They traveled to Egypt and back. They rescued Lot from invaders.  They gave the first tithes to Melchizedek, an unusual man who was a king of Salem (Jerusalem) and a priest of “The Most High God”.  Sarai suggested to Abram that he have a child by her maid, Hagar, to fulfill God’s promise since she was still barren.  A child resulted and trouble ensued. Good ideas are not always God’s ideas!  The child, Ishmael, became a source of trouble in the house and was prophesied to be one who would cause trouble (Genesis 16:12).  We are today experiencing trouble from Ismael’s offspring over 4000 years later! 

God visited Abram and Sarai again about 25 years later.  Abram is now 99 years old and Sarai is 90.  During this visit, God renewed His promise of a son born to Sarai. God confirmed His promise to them in a covenant.  Part of a covenant is an exchange of names.  Abram means “Exalted Father” and Abraham means “Father of a multitude”.  Sarai’s new name means “Princess”.  God took Abraham’s name too.  He became known as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  God gave them circumcision a physical sign of the covenant.  This mark in the male organ carrying the “seed”, would remind Abraham of God’s promise and mark his offspring as set apart for Him. 

Faith simply says “yes” to God and obeys!  Abraham is known as the father of faith because he believed God and God credited him with being righteous!  (Genesis 15:6)  By faith in Jesus we are credited with righteousness and adopted into God’s family. God writes our name in the Book of Life and we have an eternal inheritance in Him . He gives us the Holy Spirit as a mark of His promises! Amen!

Have you ever tried to ‘help God out’ to fulfill a promise He made to you? How long have you had to wait for a promise to be fulfilled? Are you assured of your right standing with God through Jesus?

“Having believed, you were marked in Him (Christ) with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, Who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession, to the praise of His Glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14

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Choosing a firm foundation!

Scripture reading for September 29th: 1st John 2, Psalm 45, Proverbs 9

1st John 2: 15-17 “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the pride of life–is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

There is a war going on for the affections of mankind. We are born centered on ourselves. We love ourselves and want anything that pleases us. The world appeals to the desires of our flesh and whatever pleases our eyes or body, just like a seductive woman appealing to a simple man. John, the Apostle of Jesus Christ, warned believers against loving the world. This world is temporary and passing away. We can’t love the world and love God our Father. There is no room for both. Wisely choose to love God, Whose throne is forever and ever! When we love God, we embrace righteousness and choose to love God and do His will! We depart from wickedness and that which is passing away to embrace the eternal!

Psalm 45:6-7 “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of Your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness; You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness beyond Your companions.”

Prayer: Father God, give me discernment today concerning the seductions of this world and its appeal for my affections. I choose to love God alone and be faithful to do His will and worship Him alone. Anoint me with the oil of gladness today that those in the world might be drawn to ask me the reason for my hope and joy. I will share with them the Good News of a Savior, Christ the Lord, Whose joy is mine!

Proverbs 9:13-118 “The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing. She sits at the door of her house; she takes a seat on the highest places of the town, calling to those who pass by, who are going straight on their way, “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” And to him who lacks sense she says, “Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” But he does not know that the dead are there, and her guests are in the depths of Sheol.”

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The Kingdom Law of Love

Scripture reading for June 2nd: Romans 14, Psalm 110, Proverbs 17

Romans 14:15-19 “For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”

God’s people are governed in His kingdom by the law of love. The central focus is not rules about foods, eating or drinking, or not eating or not drinking. We must all respect our brothers and sisters and their current growth and understanding. Mature believers should limit their liberties to help the younger believers. God’s kingdom rule is one of love and righteousness through faith in Jesus. As we rest in Jesus, we have peace with God and with those around us in HIs kingdom. This promotes joyful living and friendship with God and others.

Psalm 110:1-3 “The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool.” The Lord sends forth from Zion Your mighty scepter. Ride in the midst of Your enemies. Your people will offer themselves freely on the day of Your power, in holy garments; from the womb of the morning, the dew of your youth will be yours.”

Prayer: Father God, I thank You for Your rule of righteousness, peace and joy coming from faith in Your Word and grace through Jesus Christ. Your scepter is one of righteousness! I give myself to You freely to be filled with Your Spirit and love for my brothers and sisters. Make me sensitive to their needs and growth in faith (or the lack of it); that I may love them properly, bring peace, and build them up.

Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

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Unwavering faith of Abraham

Scripture reading for May 19th: Romans 4, Psalm 100, Proverbs 7

Romans 4: 18-22 “In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised. That is why his faith was counted to him as righteousness.”

God’s promises are precious and should be treasured and trusted. Abraham was promised fatherhood of many nations. He was shown the stars of heaven and told that would be what his offspring would be like in number. Time and barrenness of Sarah, his wife, tested their faith in that promise. When God again reminded them of that promise, Abraham was near 100 years old and Sarah 90 years. Against human understanding, Abraham and Sarah trusted God and received the promise! His faith was counted as righteousness as a gift of grace. Their dead reproductive systems were made alive and Isaac was brought into the world. Faith in Jesus Christ brings eternal life to our dead-in-sin souls as well! Hallelujah!

Psalm 100:1-2 “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into His presence with singing! Know that the Lord, He is God! It is He Who made us, and we are His; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.”

Prayer: Father God, Hallelujah! I shout praises to Your Name and serve You with gladness because of Your promise of righteousness and eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ! I am convinced that You have done and will do what You promise for me and all who believe by faith in Your Son. Fill me with your Spirit and empower me to share this Good News with those still in bondage to sin and self. Amen!

Proverbs 7:24-25 “And now, O sons, listen to me, and be attentive to the words of my mouth. Let not your heart turn aside to her (the prostitute) ways; do not stray to her path, for many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng.”

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Grace as a gift to all!

Scripture reading for May 18th: Romans 3, Psalm 99, Proverbs 6

Romans 3:21-25 “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it--the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, Whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith. This was to show Gods righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over former sins. It was to show His righteousness at the present time, so the He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

Man’s deepest need is righteousness. Our sin nature and subsequent rebellion against God and His Word has brought darkness over our hearts. God gave the Law, the ten commandments, to the Jews to reveal sin and cause them to confess their need for God’s forgiveness and grace. They were to bring a blood sacrifice as a covering for their sin to the priest. But God never intended to give righteousness through keeping the law, a form of works. God showed His righteousness through His Son, coming to earth in a human body and living without sin in complete obedience and surrender to His Father. God’s righteousness is now a gift to all who will believe on His Son and trust His blood sacrifice on their behalf.

Psalm 99:3-4 “Let them praise Your great and awesome Name! Holy is He! The King in His might loves justice. You have established equity; You have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob.”

Prayer: Father God, I thank You for Your amazing plan to place all mankind on level ground at the foot of Your Son’s cross. Thank You for Your justice in meeting our need of forgiveness through paying our penalty of death for our sins through Jesus Christ. Thank You for justifying us through faith and grace! Thank You for wiping away the guilt of my sins and restoring righteousness through repentance. Amen!

Proverbs 6:32-33 “He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself. He will get wounds and dishonor, and his disgrace will not be wiped away.”

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The Baptism of Jesus Christ

Scripture reading for April 10th: Matthew 3, Psalm 71, Proverbs 9

Matthew 3: 13-17 “Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me? But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, immediately He went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on Him; and behold, a Voice from heaven said, “This is My beloved Son, with Whom I am well pleased.””

Jesus was a truly righteous man, never having sinned. He lived under God’s Law in pure obedience, enabling Him to become the perfect sacrifice for our sins. However, He was directed by the Father to be baptized by John. John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. What was Jesus doing in this baptism? I believe that as our representative, He was identifying with us in our need for cleansing. He was establishing a pattern for His disciples to follow of humility and obedience to the desire of the Father. All followers of Jesus are told to believe and be baptized (immersed) in water in identification with Jesus Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. Have you been obedient and faithful to follow Jesus?

Psalm 71:15-16 “My mouth will tell of Your righteous acts, of Your deeds of salvation all day, for their number is past my knowledge. With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come; I will remind them of Your righteousness, Yours alone.”

Prayer: Father God, Thank You for the humble example of Your Son in His identification of our need of repentance and cleansing from sin. Thank You for the holy ordinance of water baptism that You have called Your people to obey if possible. I am not saved by water baptism, but through obedience and identification with Jesus Christ, I receive grace and forgiveness and His righteousness as a gift! Amen!

Proverbs 9:10-11 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. For by Me your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life.”

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Fall in love with Jesus, our Wisdom!

Scripture reading for April 3rd: James 3, Psalm 66, Proverbs 4

James 3: 13-18 “Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but it is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

The letter of James is often likened to the proverbs wisdom of the Old Testament. Like the Jewish rabbi’s, James asks a question about who is wise and understanding. James answers his own question, stating that the wise are meek and do good works in a righteous manner. This is contrasted with those who are jealous and selfish and because of this bring disorder and chaos. God’s wisdom is likened to a godly woman in Proverbs 31 and again in Proverbs 4 where lady wisdom will keep you and guard you if you love her! Like the godly woman, wisdom is pure, peaceable, gentle and full of mercy and good fruits. Godly wisdom brings in a harvest of righteousness and peace in contrast to the worldly wisdom’s disorder and demonic activity. Let’s fall in love with Jesus, the true Wisdom from God!

Psalm 66:1-4 “Shout for joy to God, all the earth; sing the glory of His Name; give to Him glorious praise! Say to God, “How awesome are Your deeds! So great is Your power that all Your enemies come cringing to You. All the earth worships You and sings praises to You; they sing praises to Your Name.”

Prayer: Father God, I shout for joy and sing glory to Your Name for the Wisdom of God in Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior! Through the Holy Spirit help me to walk in the purity and gentleness of Your Wisdom in all my actions and relationships. Keep me from jealousy and selfish ambition. Use me to make peace with my brothers and sisters and reap a harvest of righteousness and peace in my own life. Amen!

Proverbs 4:5-6 “Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the Words of My mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you.”

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Only faith and grace can truly justify!

Scripture reading for March 23rd: Galatians 2, Psalm 59, Proverbs 28

Galatians 2:15-16, 20-21 “We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law by through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. . . .I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ Who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”

Paul had been a zealous Jew like many in the church at Galatia. He worked hard at keeping the law and had sought to imprison and harm those who preached the Gospel of God’s grace through faith. After a face to face meeting with the resurrected Jesus, Paul was converted and then spent time in the desert learning from Jesus the truths of the Gospel message. The works of the law could only expose sin, not bring the needed change and produce righteousness. Only our humble confession of our sins and appealing to Jesus Christ for mercy through His sacrifice on the cross obtains for us the gift of His righteousness. His mercy through faith produces what all our works cannot: justification and righteousness! That makes us sing for joy in true freedom!

Psalm 59: 16 “But I will sing of Your strength; I will sing aloud of Your steadfast love in the morning. For You have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for saving me through Your Son’s sacrifice! I identify with Christ and His cross as my only hope of true righteousness and eternal life. I have been born again through faith in His blood and His resurrection to life! Through confession of my sins and forsaking them I have obtained mercy and the joy of living in God’s eternal covenant of love!

Proverbs 28: 13 “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”

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Jesus the joyful and glorious King!

Scripture reading for March 3rd: Hebrews 1, Psalm 45, Proverbs 14

Hebrews 1:3-4, 8-9 “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the Word of His power. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the Name He has inherited is more excellent than theirs.” . . .“But of the Son He says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness beyond Your companions.”

Hebrews opens with a powerful statement about Jesus Christ, Son of God. The writer of Hebrews stated that Jesus was the full radiance of God’s glory and was an exact representation of God’s nature. Not only that, but the Son of God upholds the entire creation by His powerful Word. After defeat of death and hell on the cross, the Son has taken His rightful place at God’s right hand, ruling with authority. The writer of Hebrews then declares the truth of Psalm 45:6-7 by quoting them as applying to Jesus Christ. Like God, Jesus is an eternal ruler who loves righteousness and hates wickedness. Because of this, the Father anointed His Son with the oil of gladness above all others! He is the meek Son of Man who now is the victorious Son of God calling out to all mankind to join in His glad and glorious and righteous reign!

Psalm 45:4-6 “In Your majesty ride out victoriously for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness; let Your right hand teach you awesome deeds! Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; the peoples fall under you. Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of Your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for sending Your Son to earth in the meekness of human flesh. Thank You for raising Him from the dead in victory over sin and death, making a way that all sinners such as I might enjoy an eternal relationship with You. Thank You for the gift of righteousness and the oil of gladness you pour out on all who believe and join in the bridal company awaiting the coming king!

Proverbs 14:34 “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”

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