July 24 - 29
Monday, July 24 – “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (John 14:6) The world sees the concept of one way being the only way, as exclusive. Leaving out all who don’t believe in Jesus. And in the zero-sum game perspective of the world, this is very true. Because there has to be winners and losers. Life is nothing more than a series of contractual agreement between two parties. When one party wins, the other party loses. Yet, this verse represents a non-zero-sum game reality. For everyone, regardless of socio-economic standing, race, color, creed, nationality, past experiences and the like can be saved by grace, through faith in Jesus.
Tuesday, July 25 – “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” (Luke 13:24) Being a follower of Jesus is very simple. It just isn’t easy. Following Jesus is like finding and using a “narrow door”. A “narrow door” can’t be seen from far away. Only up close and personal leads the way through a “narrow door”. Once seen, a “narrow door” takes precision to enter. One can’t veer to the right or to the left. For you will miss the mark. Only straight down the middle allows a “narrow door” to be breached. Last, but not least, a “narrow door” can’t be entered by accident, drift or imposition. It can only be entered by your conscious decision to find it and enter through it.
Wednesday, July 26 – “Therefore Jesus said again, ‘Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.’” (John 10:7) In John’s day a sheep pin was a walled area in the shape of a circle. One piece of the wall was open, the gate. This gate was the width of a man lying down. Which was exactly what the shepherd would do at night. This both allowed the shepherd to keep his sheep together, unable to wander away. As well as keep the sheep safe from anyone or anything that would want to enter the pin and kill the sheep. This is why Jesus states that he is “the gate for the sheep”. For he laid his life down to keep us together and to protect us.
Thursday, July 27 – “And many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.” (Matthew 24:11) One of the things that makes following Jesus so tricky is the fact that there are people out here sowing lies, in the name of Jesus. A false prophet doesn’t need to be a world or religious leader. A false prophet could be the person next door that tries to convince you that God hates certain people, because of their actions or decisions. A false prophet is simply someone who teaches untruth, through their words as well as their actions. The good news is that there is grace for all, even false prophets. For even a false prophet can see the err of their ways and turn around and head in a new direction.
Friday, July 28 – “Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.” (Daniel 9:18) Daniel was a part of the diaspora – Jews taken by military conquest, away from Israel. They were forced to live in other countries. That is until they were allowed to go back and rebuild Jerusalem. The city was in ruins. For it had been abandoned. Now Daniel prays to God for help. Not because the people are righteous. But because God is righteous.
Saturday, July 29 – “This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (Hebrews 8:10) As a follower of Jesus, you are part of the “people of Israel”. The name Israel in Hebrew means “wrestle with God”. Thus, as a follower of Jesus you are someone who wrestles with God. You’re in a relationship. You’re asking questions. You’re seeking, knocking and asking. And God is answering. God, in this very moment, is putting his laws in your mind and writing them on your heart. God is becoming your God and you are becoming God’s person. That’s what it means to wrestle with God!