Category Archives: Devotions

Faith is doing while waiting

Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are you when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake, Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you”

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Not everyone believes the same way I do. If they did there would be no need for me. There are those who disagree so strongly they cast arrows of disdain and rejection in my direction.  There have been times when I had to patiently bear disgrace, persecution, malice, defamation, mockery, privation and ignorance. I write into oblivion in the slow meanderings of my own river of life and I am content.  I am blessed.  I am at peace.  I am well assured of the ultimate end of my personal flowing. If there is no other reason to have joy and gladness it is this: there is a reward in Heaven for me.

Take time and listen to the blessings and reasons for life. I feel the same breeze that Jesus felt on the edge of a mountain.  A breeze that cools the brow.  Yet, Jesus knew there would be a time when that cool breeze of refreshment would become a storm. A storm filled with revulsion, slander, lies and a cross. But first he had to tell us it is OK. I sit at his feet and listen; it is enough for now. “Rejoice, and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in Heaven.”

Blackness

Matthew 5:13-16 “You are the light of the world…”

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The world that we know is in turmoil.  I am in a black room with no window or door. I try to bring figure it out.  I have tried philosophy to understand why I am in this room.  I have tried psychology to determine my thinking process of living in a dark place.  I have tried education to learn enough to know all the characteristics of the blackness. Medicine has no hope to lighten my room it only lengthens my lives in this blackness. Drugs to enlighten our surroundings create shadows, but they do not last. Politics do not seem to help; they have no program of support for the dark.  I can depend upon myself with a humanistic outlook and say “to thine oneself be true”, but it is still black. I can feel for the sides of the room and slid down the wall and give up. Agnosticism in a dark room says there is nothing more.  A realist would say, “what is, is.” The only answer to the world’s bewilderment of total blackness is Jesus.  Any other answer is simply darkness.

A believer’s peace

John 14:27  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

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Jesus, The Prince of Peace, at the end of his disciplining of his disciples.  He knew there were terrible times ahead.  He knew that He could not keep them by his protecting, loving, caring, gentile, patient arm.  He had to go.  And if he had to go, Jesus would impart something to them and to me: Peace.

I am a believer in Jesus.  I put my full confidence in a loving God. I am thankful in every circumstance because of a gift presented to me in love. I have an inner calm that dominates my soul. Only a believer will ever experience this inner peace.  Despite all the cares, woes, and raging tempests around me, I have peace. No one outside of Christ will ever be able to fathom this peace.  To most, it will remain a mystery.  They will look and marvel at the peace that passes understanding. I pray that those who don’t have it, will come and partake of it.

Justice at God’s speed

John 5:21-23 – For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.

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Jesus is totally just; there is no injustice in Him at all. I look forward to the time when righteousness and justice will be the order of the day and injustice will be banished forever. My concern is in the delivery system.  I often would like to either speed it up or slow it down.

God delivers justice in different ways. There are times of conviction and resulting repentance. Occasionally justice is served through routine personal and peaceful interaction. There are times when confrontation following normal church procedures result in a just solution. And sometimes justice will not be revealed until after our deaths, recognizing that God sees an eternal picture that we cannot comprehend while wrapped up in our temporal, earthly matters. But do know this: God will bring about justice. Maybe it won’t be as dramatic or as timely as our expectation. But in the end, God’s justice will most certainly be done.

Tension of Justice

John 5:26-30 “For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

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In the world today, I sense a tension between the implementation of Justice as man sees it and justice as demanded by a God. One a man-centered approach and the other a God-centered approach.  The vision of the current man-centered justice is one of bringing a utopia through policies.  To see government as the savior to all the world.  They would legislate morality, through laws and regulations.

The God-centered approach sees Jesus as savior.  Jesus bringing heaven to earth when He returns. At His return, Christ will restore all things and execute perfect justice. In the meantime, I will express God’s love and justice by showing kindness and mercy to those who are less fortunate.  I will be the hands and feet of Jesus to my little world around me.

It is my decision

Luke 16:10-13 He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. Therefore, if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous 1awealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?  No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

My belief includes a concept of stewardship.  I am called do many things in the name of my God.  One of them is to give to others.  If I have a Christian heart for the unborn, I can support charities that promote the sanctity of life.  If I have a Christian heart for the hungry, I can work in a food pantry distributing food.  If I encounter someone who is broken down along the road, I can stop and see if I can provide assistance. If I am prompted to mow my neighbor’s lawn because she can’t physically do it, I can pull the lawnmower out. I listen to the voice of God, that little, small voice within me revealing my responsibilities. It is not the responsibility of the local government.  It is not justice warriors standing on the steps of the capital holding signs for justice who dictate my love.  It is not those people or the sum of all these people that dictate to me what I can do for my neighbor.  I do because that is what God expects of me.  It is not your picture of justice, or some politician.  Lord give me a heart for those you want me to help.

I will wait

Isaiah 51:4-5 “Pay attention to Me, O My people, And give ear to Me, O My nation; For a law will go forth from Me, And I will set My justice for a light of the peoples. “My righteousness is near, My salvation has gone forth, And My arms will judge the peoples; The coastlands will wait for Me, And for My arm they will wait expectantly.

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If you haven’t discovered it yet, I believe all justice. Further, no matter the level of acceptance or measure of punishment, Justice is set by a single standard.  That standard is God.  I guess that would put me at odds with the current social environment.  Those who would cry for social justice rejects the premise of a single standard. All I see in the current cultural revolution of “wokeness” is a rejection of one justice for all. There seems to be an obsession with control of the result, or the end justifies the means. Justice is seen as a bendable thing.  Is it acceptable to burn down a building in the name of justice?  Does the new norm permit the invasion of a public building if it is in the name of justice? The new social understanding of justice sees the world divided into groups. One group includes the oppressors and the other victims. There is no place outside of this separation.  Every issue is shadowed by which group you are put into. There is no middle ground. There is no place for equality. There is no place for justice before God.

Oh, God, please, if there was ever a time and place for your justice it is now and right here. Lord until that time comes, I will wait.

Micah and justice

Micah 6:7-8 — Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

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Micah was a prophet from the Old Testament. Here is an instance of his boldness, courage, and impartiality.  Here he strikes out at the ruling class of the land, and charges them with sins, and reproves for them, and denounces judgments on account of them; that abhor judgment, and pervert all equality.

It is a sad day when the very character of those charged with justice are not doing so. In our culture our elected who should well know and love justice. They should take delight and pleasure in the distribution of justice to all. It is terrifying to have judges see justice with a personal perspective and not in equality. Here in Micah, he was almost overwhelmed with the terribleness of it all.  The powerful hated to do that which was right and just; and perverted all the rules and laws of justice and equity, clearing the guilty, and condemning the innocent.

What does the Lord require?  Act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with God.

True Justice

Romans 3:28-31 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

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Paul was a dedicated, energetic, almost driven keeper of the Law. For Paul, the law was kept by acts of the will: doing things. Further the law was a social construct of behavior: it was designed for his group, his ethnicity, his class. All his life he had been taught the exclusivity of the “People of God”, the “God of the Jews”.

Then he encountered Jesus. That encounter changed everything. No longer was his fixation on class, race, gender, or lifestyle.  No longer were they a part of his life.  He saw through the eyes of God and saw the unity of faith. He now saw the law and justice as divine gifts, bestowed upon everyone. No longer was anyone defined by the group to which society was placing upon them. Sure, the law was kept.  But it was kept by faith in the perfect vision of God’s image of all people.  True justice.

Rule of Law – Equality

July is justice month day 9

Numbers 15:14,15 And if a stranger is sojourning with you, or anyone is living permanently among you, and he wishes to offer a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the Lord, he shall do as you do. For the assembly, there shall be one statute for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you, a statute forever throughout your generations. You and the sojourner shall be alike before the Lord.

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Just societies are founded and kept by the rule of law.  Further this established law must, if it is just, applied equally to everyone.  It is of little consequence if the person is a foreigner, same law.  It does not matter if a person is citizen or not, same law.  Those who create the rules and regulations for the well being of the people must adhere to that same law. Politicians who adapt or bend the law to produce a preferred outcome is simply wrong. They are not free to set one interest above another anymore than you can choose which law to obey or not to.  Equality or respect for the rule of law is and always be, one of the foundation stones of our culture. Justice before God is equality.