Saturday, July 4th

I used to live in fear that something would happen and I would lose my faith.  But one day, that fear was gone.  I think I slowly realized that I had faith not because I kept such a good grip on God but because God had such a firm grip on me. Paul says that the Lord Jesus will help us to stand firm in him, so that we can be blameless on that day when we stand before our maker.  So take heart, knowing that your relationship with God isn’t dependent on how tightly you can cling to God but instead on how secure God’s grip is on you.

Friday, July 3rd

Paul says that the people are eagerly waiting for Jesus to be revealed, that is to come back to earth.  When Jesus returns, heaven and earth will be merged and justice will reign.  This should be the longing of all our hearts, but I think sometimes we may be afraid to hope for this because so many have thought they knew when Jesus would return, and they were wrong.  It’s hard to make oneself hope for something that one doesn’t think will happen.  But this should be the central thought of so much of our lives.  Come Lord Jesus.  Come.

Thursday, July 2nd

Paul says that the people have been enriched in every way and that this enriching is confirmation that Jesus is who they said he is.  Think about that – the way the people used their spiritual gifts was the proof, to themselves and to others, that Jesus is who they said he is.  That means that the ways we use our spiritual gifts are the proof, to ourselves and others, that Jesus truly is God.  Let us ponder and pray about this great truth, that we may be emboldened to serve God with the spiritual gifts he’s given to us.

Wednesday, July 1st

Paul says that when he remembers the Corinthians, he praises God for them.  What would it be like if we lived our lives in such a way that people praised God for us?  How would things be different if that were our goal – to live in such a way that people could not help but praise God?  It’s a worthy thought and a worthy goal.

Tuesday, June 30th

Notice all the “calling” happening in this passage.  Paul is called.  We’re called.  And then what do called people do? They call.  They call on Jesus.  Jesus calls us and marks us as his own, not so we can remain as we were, but so that we can grow and change into his image.  And how do we do that?  We call on Jesus.  We tell others about Jesus. And we grow in our sanctification, that is the process of becoming holy, of becoming like Jesus.

Monday, June 29th

Paul said he was an apostle because of the calling of God on his life.  Then he says we are called to be a holy people.  While we may not have had a Damascus Road experience like Paul, Jesus has called us and we have found his grace to be, as Calvin terms it, irresistible.

Sunday, June 28th

Much of the time we think of uncertainty and fear as the opposite of faith, but sometimes we must walk through the path of uncertainty and the path of fear in order to find ourselves planted on the solid ground that is Jesus Christ.  In this time in which we’re living, we may feel like so much of our lives is topsy-turvy, but let us walk this path of uncertainty that we may encounter Jesus and bolster our faith.

Saturday, June 27th

In human relationships, we often fear rejection, particularly from those we love.  So we put on masks or try to minimize our flaws.  But we don’t have to do that with God.  Why?  Because God first loved us.  God saw us, God knows us, and God still has planted a desire within our hearts to know him and love him more.  So if that desire is in your heart, then rest easy, knowing you need not fear rejection from God, because God has first loved you.

Friday, June 26th

John says love is perfected in us, and we have boldness before God on our day of judgment, because we have lived our lives as Jesus did.  Um…I’m not sure that’s true for me.  I want it to be.  But much of the time, I feel like I’m doing good just to have made it through some days by the skin of my teeth, much less that I’m living like Jesus.  But perhaps all we can do is strive to be faithful, day after day, so that at the end of our lives we can see the testimony of a life built not on our faithfulness to God but rather on God’s faithfulness to us.

Thursday, June 25th

John says we are to test the spirits, to see if a message is from God.  We are still called to do this.  Just because someone says a message is from God doesn’t mean the message is itself of God.  Perhaps a good test is to ask ourselves if we can imagine Jesus himself saying something; do the words fit Jesus’ mouth?  Because many will still claim to speak for God in order to advance their own agendas.

Wednesday, June 24th

Having become a follower of Jesus at the age of 18, I remember what life was like before having the Holy Spirit and what it’s been like ever since.  In many ways, this is a gift, as John writes that the proof of God abiding in us is this Spirit that God’s given to us.  Let us never be so familiar with God’s Spirit, so accustomed to his presence with us, that we ever take him for granted.

Tuesday, June 23rd

When my boys want something, they all come to me and ask BOLDLY.  Perhaps a bit too boldly at times.  But as they mature, they also have come to trust me, knowing that I will give them what they need and is best for them.  I think maybe that’s how we should approach God:  in confidence, with boldness, but also with humility.

Monday, June 22nd

John writes that when we are living our lives by love put into action, we can trust that even when our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts.  The implication being that God is not condemning us.  Sometimes, we have to give ourselves a bit of a break, accepting that we cannot be perfect.  This is not to be an excuse for inaction or complacency, but it is to be a word of freedom for those who continue to pursue holiness but still falter and fall, because we are all human.

Sunday, June 21st

My wife Maria reminds me, at least a few times a week, of this verse from Ephesians, about not provoking your children to anger.  She has to remind me because I have this tendency to tease too much.  On this Father’s Day, it’s good to remember that our Father in Heaven provides the perfect example for us to follow when we are looking to be the best parents possible.