January 23 - 28
Monday, January 23 – “’This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,’ declares the Lord. ‘I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.’” (Jeremiah 31:33) Notice that God’s covenant with the nation of Israel predates the law. God is and has always been, about a covenantal relationship with us. When it comes to God, it’s all about relationship, not law keeping. In fact, God makes a covenant to put the law in the hearts and minds of the people. So, even the law of God comes from a covenant of God.
Tuesday, January 24 – “’I will stand there before you by the rock of Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.’ So Moses did this in the sight of the leaders of Israel.” (Exodus 17:6) Sometimes faith requires you to do things that seem silly or embarrassing or even counter intuitive. Yet, since when did faith make sense, from the perspective of this world? If it did, would it truly be faith? Faith requires you to stretch, to bend, to learn and to risk. Faith requires you to seem silly or simple or even gullible to this world. So, go ahead strike that rock and see what God does!
Wednesday, January 25 – “God said to Moses, ‘I Am who I Am.’ This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I Am has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14) Did it ever occur to you that nothing ever occurs to God? How do you describe someone who is the beginning, the end, the middle, the up, the down, the right and the left of everything? How do you describe that to someone? The only way to describe that to someone is to name them as the present, “I Am”. Name them as this very moment in space and time. God is all that is, which will influence all that will be. God is also all that is, that was formed by all that was.
Thursday, January 26 – “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:14) “Fear” and “serve” are two words with which you probably struggle. Yet, you know how to “fear”. You drive on your side of the road. You don’t play with loaded guns. And you won’t walk up to a Bear. Fear can be very healthy. You also know how to “serve”. You rearrange your schedule and spend your discretionary income to support your favorite team. You work every weekend in your yard. And you pick up the phone every time your kids call. Serving can be very healthy. Why then is it so hard for you to “fear” and “serve” God?
Friday, January 27 – “Who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” (Titus 2:14) Jesus came so that we could, once again, have an open, honest, face-to-face relationship with God. In response to this relationship with God, we can live our lives in such a way that we will be a blessing to everyone around us. Jesus didn’t come to judge us or condemn us. Jesus came to save us, from ourselves. To release us from our captivity to sin and punishment. So, today, go out and live like it!
Saturday, January 28 – “You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5) This weekend, contemplate this: God wants to use you to bring the good news of Jesus to this world. God wants you to use your life as a living testimony (“a living stone”) to build a place where God’s love, grace and forgiveness will be experienced. God wants you. All of you. God wants to use you and your life as a testimony for the world. As a follower of Jesus, you are a member of a holy priesthood!