“[Jesus] said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn around and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven!”
Jesus is the great truth-teller. There is absolute, objective truth to tell. He wants to get our attention. Pride and desire for greatness will keep us out of heaven.
Am I a truth-bender? Do I justify my competitive spirit? Do I make myself the center of all? Am I Jesus’ follower or judge? Have I turned myself around?
#votd #Matthew #truth
“When God’s spirit came upon Azariah, Oded’s son, he confronted Asa: ‘Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin,” he said. “The Lord is with you as long as you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you abandon him, he will abandon you.'”
2 Chronicles 15.1-2 CEB
The prophet Azariah stated the basic principle of reform. God treats his people in reciprocal fashion. They will not be blessed by God when they refuse to seek him.
In what way might I not be with God, might I not be seeking him? By failing to listen to some commandment? By not showing the same spirit? By putting my interests first?
#votd #2-Chronicles #reciprocity
“For a long time Israel had no true God, or priest to instruct them, or law.”
2 Chronicles 15.3
This was a perennial problem in Israel. The people followed idolatry, neglected the teachings, and ignored the law. The prophet Azariah urged King Asa to inaugurate reforms.
Congregations can abandon the true God, also. They may lack faithful men to teach. The may ignore God’s commandments. Then it is time for repentance and obedience.
#votd #2-Chronicles #repentance
“He was driven from human society, his mind was changed to that of an animal, he lived with the wild donkeys, he was fed grass like oxen, and his body became damp with the dew of the sky, until he came to understand that the most high God rules over human kingdoms, and he appoints over them whomever he wishes.”
Daniel told Belshaazar the meaning of the writing on the wall. Before, he reminded the king of what happened to his father Nebuchadnezzar. He failed to learn!
What will it take for us to understand who God is and how he rules? Does my life reflect his sovereignty. Do I seek his Kingdom first in all things?
#votd #Daniel #sovereignty
“I can guarantee this truth: A single grain of wheat doesn’t produce anything unless it is planted in the ground and dies. If it dies, it will produce a lot of grain. Those who love their lives will destroy them, and those who hate their lives in this world will guard them for everlasting life.”
John 12.24-25 GW
Jesus often spoke in paradoxes. We live by dying (to self, to the world). Death occurs through attempts to preserve one’s life. Eternal life is the greatest prize.
How do I practice this necessary death today? How much do I value eternal life? Where do I go to learn to hate my life in this world?
#votd #John #self-denial
“So then, get rid of lies. Speak the truth to each other, because we are all members of the same body.”
Ephesians 4.25 GW
Lies do harm. Honesty blesses others. Why then do harm to yourself by lying, since Christians all belong to the body of Christ?
Some people disfigure parts of their bodies. We wonder why they would do this. But many Christians harm Christ’s body with dishonesty and hypocrisy.
#votd #Ephesians #truth
“But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his warnings, and ridiculed his prophets. Finally the Lord got very angry at his people and there was no one who could prevent his judgment.”
2 Chronicles 36.16
God felt compassion toward his people and the place of his habitation among them, v. 15. But Israel’s rejection short-circuited his compassion. Jerusalem was destroyed and the people suffered.
People today make fun of the Kingdom’s teachers and evangelistas. They will be judged. Do I speak harshly of those who work in the gospel?
#votd #2-Chronicles #rejection
“And when he sent you from Kadesh-Barnea and told you, ‘Go up and possess the land I have given you,’ you rebelled against the Lord your God and would neither believe nor obey him.”
Moses cited several examples of Israel’s rebelliousness. This was but one of many. What God gives must often be fought for. His gifts require faith and obedience.
What is the nature of the rebellious spirit? Are there areas where I demonstrate such a spirit? How willing am I to fight for what God wants to give me?
#votd #Deuteronomy #rebelliousness
“For we do not write you anything other than what you can read and also understand. But I hope that you will understand completely”.
2 Corinthians 1.13
Paul defends himself against accusations that he is being equivocal in his communications and, hence, dishonest. He appeals to his directness and clarity as proof.
Scripture can be understood. Those who apply themselves can know what it says, even though removed from the original setting. Am I throwing up barriers (excuses?) to comprehension?
#votd #2-Corinthians #perspicuity
“You were complacent in your evil deeds; you thought, ‘No one sees me.’ Your self-professed wisdom and knowledge lead you astray, when you say, ‘I am unique! No one can compare to me!’”
The prophet denounced the arrogance of Babylon. The Lord used Babylon to punish Israel, v. 6, but they showed them no mercy. Now, destruction would fall on them, v. 11.
Do I remember that God sees all? Do I believe that I am so special that I can sin without being punished? Is my wisdom leading me astray?
#votd #Isaiah #self-deceit
“They will not be hungry or thirsty; the sun’s oppressive heat will not beat down on them, for one who has compassion on them will guide them; he will lead them to springs of water.”
Through his prophets, the Lord provided many vivid pictures of how he would bless the people of Israel after their restoration to the Land. These are suggestive of spiritual blessing, also.
Christians do not have the physical promises given to Israel. They look forward to greater things. What pictures of eternal life does my mind cherish?
#votd #Isaiah #blessing
“The evil person is ensnared by the transgression of his speech, but the righteous person escapes out of trouble.”
Evil is full of lies, obfuscation, half-truths, and self-interest. The righteous person is honest, true, transparent, unselfish. Righteousness pays!
For all the talk of how evil has the advantage, it’s really not true. In the end, evil suffers from its own undoing. God is in control and rewards the righteous!
#votd #Proverbs #evil
“For in [Christ] all the fullness of deity lives in bodily form, and you have been filled in him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.”
Christ’s physical fullness brings to his followers spiritual fullness. He is supreme. Nothing prevents him from filling his followers with his life.
How to realize this fullness? By developing our love for him and his people. By strengthen our hope in his coming. By growing in faith that all will be fulfilled in his time.
#votd #Colossians #fullness
“With regard to food sacrificed to idols, we know that ‘we all have knowledge.’ Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.”
1 Corinthians 8.1
Some Corinthians gloried in their knowledge. Their worldly perspective caused them to ignore or despise others who were not as advanced as they thought they were.
Without love, people exalt themselves because of knowledge. See Jeremiah 9.23-24. Here applies the old phrase that it’s not what, but who, you know.
#votd #1-Corinthians #knowledge
“Woe to you who are well satisfied with food now, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.”
The second and third woes of Jesus reverse fortunes. The woes are for those who live for these things, “those who make merriment … a constant aim” (Fourfold Gospel).
For the partier, eternity will not be a party. Think weeping and gnashing of teeth. Jesus challenges what it is we live for.
#votd #Luke #woes