Daily Archives: January 3, 2022

Evening Prayer: January 3rd

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Loving God, I thank you for every sign of your presence today: chance encounters, meaningful work, your created world, family and friends who know me and love me still. The night is a gift, just like the day. Stay with me now as darkness comes, bringing with it new promises of your faithfulness. Let the night bring rest and renewal, that I may greet tomorrow with energy and thanksgiving. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Daily Scripture Passage: 1 John 2:29-3:6

1 John 2:29-3:6 (ESV)

29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears[a] we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.

Thoughts to Ponder from Psalm 128:1

Psalm 128:1 (ESV)

Blessed Is Everyone Who Fears the Lord

128 Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord,
    who walks in his ways!

      Being a true Disciple of Jesus is not an easy task. In fact, I would contend that one of the problems with cultural Christianity is that we have perhaps created a discipleship that is not really Christian discipleship at all. In our modern state, Christianity has become a consumeristic endeavor, much like everything else, that centers more on “me” and what I can get out of it, what I can benefit from it, rather than me giving back to God because of the great gift and multitude of blessings God has bestowed upon me. The point of this devotional thought is not to dissect this assertion…rather it is to give us a glimpse into where true discipleship begins. 

True discipleship begins with the fear of the Lord. There are different perceptions of fear, depending on ones’ circumstances or experiences in life. However, the way fear is used in this context is probably quite different than what we are used to. When referring to the Lord, “fear” means a healthy reverence for. To put it another way, fear of the Lord happens when one recognizes the correct order of things. It is when one places the Creator of one’s life above all else, recognizing that without this one we call “God”, we are hopelessly lost to sin, death, the passions and desires of the flesh. Fear comes when we realize that there is something much larger than ourselves that is constantly reaching out to us in love – offering us salvation from the things that erode our souls to the core. Fear of the Lord is understanding that there is much more at stake than the ways of this world. Fear of the Lord comes from understanding that it is ultimately about God, not me. Fear of the Lord is giving God His rightful place at the center of our lives – keeping the cross fully in view – front and center. Fear of the Lord is understanding the gravity of God’s love toward us, what He was willing to do for us, to include death on a cross, and humbly coming before God knowing that we are not worthy and do not deserve it, but because of Jesus and God’s immense love, he was willing to do it anyhow. Fear of the Lord comes from one who knows they are undeserving but understands that God loves them still and is willing to give one’s life back to this one who gave so much.

How does this fear begin? By walking in God’s ways. George MacDonald, in his writing Creation in Christ, sums this up in this manner: 

“But I do not know how to awake and arise!” I will tell you. Get up, and do something the Master tells you; so make yourself his disciple at once. Instead of asking yourself whether you believe or not, ask yourself whether you have this day done one thing because he said, Do it, or once abstained because he said, Do not do it. It is simply absurd to say you believe, or even want to believe in him, if you do not anything he tells you. But you can begin at once to be a disciple of the Living One – by obeying him. We must learn to obey him in everything, and so must begin somewhere. Let it be at once, and in the very next thing that lies at the door of our conscience! Oh fools and slow of heart, if you think of nothing but Christ, and do not set yourselves to do his words, you but build your houses on the sand!

The one who fears the Lord, follows the Lord in obedience. And the outcome? Have you ever noticed the closer you walk with the Lord, the better you face life? Why? Because we are told by the Psalmist a fundamental truth: the person who fears the Lord and walks in his ways is blessed. That does not mean life will go perfectly. It means that we will have a different perspective when life’s challenges come our way. It means our priorities will be noticeably different – our desires will be different…our love will be the central core of who we are. 

Beloved, do you fear the Lord? Are you walking in his ways? Is there something he has asked you to do or to abstain from that you have not? Listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, who bears witness to His desire for you, and do or not do. God wants nothing but the best for you…