Friday, April 18, 2008

More Than Bread Devotional 4/18/08

Romans 3:19-20
19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

Have you ever been around someone that wouldn't stop talking? You find yourself thinking that you would give almost anything just to get a break from the incessant babble. This isn't quite the same thing, but this passage says that God's Word, specifically His law, can stop the mouth. I have actually seen this in practice a few times. God's Law is able to work in a person's life to stop them from justifying themselves and helping them to understand where they truly stood before God. His Word is like that in all of our lives. It shines a beacon of light inside to help us see our true self, the way God sees us.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

More Than Bread Devotional 4/17/08

Isaiah 26:3-4
3 You will keep in perfect peace
him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in you.
4 Trust in the LORD forever,
for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.

I have written before about our need for something unshakeable to place our trust in. This passage from Isaiah speaks to that as well. We can experience peace when we trust in the Lord. Jesus Christ is the Rock of Ages and He is steady when all around us may be shaking. Hebrews says He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Place your trust in Him today and forever.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

More Than Bread Devotional 4/16/08

Matthew 20:9-16
9 "The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 'These men who were hired last worked only one hour,' they said, 'and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.
13 "But he answered one of them, 'Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?'
16 "So the last will be first, and the first will be last."

Have you ever gotten a little bit jealous or upset because you felt you didn't get your fair share? When Jesus told this parable, He hit on an attitude that occurs all too often in our lives. I know that the quickest way to get me angry is to show me an unfair situation. Here the workers who came and worked all day suddenly raised their expectations based on the pay given to someone else. Jesus quickly corrects them and tells them that they are getting exactly what they agreed to work for that day. This parable is a tough one for many to understand and I can understand why. We all feel slighted when we think we deserve more. But the point of the Gospel flies against our self-deserving notions. The good news of the Gospel is that we don't get what we really deserve from God. Instead, we get a whole lot of good that we could never earn on our own.

More Than Bread Devotional 4/15/08

Luke 12:47-48
47 "That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

I have found a recurring theme in my life lately. Many of us are unaware just how blessed we are and just how much we have been given. I sometimes think I get it and understand, and then God shows me anew how much I have been gifted. This passage tells us that from those of us who have been given much, much will be demanded. It seems funny but this idea was actually incorporated into the tale of Spiderman (with great power comes great responsibility). As a follower of Christ we automatically fall into the category of those who have been entrusted with and given much. Another thing to consider is the words of the book of James when he tells us that if we know the good to do and don't do it it is a sin for us. If God is speaking to you and has shown you something that He wants you to do, the time to do it is now.

Monday, April 14, 2008

More Than Bread Devotional 4/14/08

Ezekiel 13:1-3
1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 "Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who are now prophesying. Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: 'Hear the word of the LORD! 3 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing!

I have been thinking about how many false messages there are out there these days. There are many people, some very popular, who teach what they call a Christian message, but who contradict the Bible itself. They use a piece of a single verse from the Bible but twist it to mean something that fits their message. Be very careful who you listen to and be sure to filter every message you hear through the truth of God's Word; from your local church to that hugely popular television preacher, even to that hugely popular TV talk show host telling you how to live. If it doesn't agree with the whole of Scripture, then it is just their imagination talking. Later in chapter 13 we see one of the identifying marks of a false teacher or teaching. In verses 22-23 it says, "Because you disheartened the righteous with your lies, when I had brought them no grief, and because you encouraged the wicked not to turn from their evil ways and so save their lives, therefore you will no longer see false visions or practice divination. I will save my people from your hands. And then you will know that I am the LORD."
When someone has a hard time speaking about sin or even condemning sinfulness and sinful behavior, you can rest assured that they are not speaking a message from God. We need to always be prepared to offer the full counsel of Scripture. An important part of the good news of the Gospel is identifying what God has saved us from.