MONTHLY ARCHIVES: February 2014

All Dressed Up

Posted on February 25, 2014 by Karah

Pause

Take a few moments to sit outside or take a walk. How is God’s majesty evident in His creation? Praise Him for revealing His majesty through the world He has made.

“The Lord reigns! He is robed in majesty; The Lord is robed, enveloped in strength.”

—Psalm 93:1

Read Psalm 93 in its entirety in your Bible. Re-read verse 1, then list several synonyms for each of the following key words. For each word, circle the synonym that you think most closely resembles God.

Reigns: rules, governs, leads, controls

Majesty:

Strength:

• What are some things you would describe as being majestic? Why? How is God’s majesty different than those things?

• “Robed in majesty” calls to mind the regal robes a king would wear after a decisive victory. It pictures grandeur, stateliness, and dignity. Knowing that, what does it mean to say God is majestic?

Respond

Meditate on the truth that God defines majesty. He is regal, stately, a King who reigns forever. As that truth sinks in, praise God that His majesty isn’t just an act He puts on, but is at the center of His being. Journal your praise.

For further study on how God is clothed in majesty, read Psalm 104:1-13.

Behind the Story

Psalm 93 is an enthronement psalm, which means that it boldly declares God to be the sovereign, majestic King over the entire earth. It is part of a group of psalms (93-100), written as worship songs, which celebrate God’s reign. It places God’s sovereignty and majesty in direct opposition to the sinful state of this world, demonstrating that, despite the depravity of humanity, God’s reign is mighty and sure.

The Point

God doesn’t just look majestic or carry Himself in a royal manner. He defines majesty. He is clothed in it, wrapped in it, and made up of it. It is who He is.


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Clean Hands, Pure Heart

Posted on February 18, 2014 by Karah

Pause

Look over the last few devotions, recalling what you’ve learned about God’s justice. Spend some time praising God for who He is—just, always right, always good.

Read Isaiah 1:16-18 and consider the questions that follow:

“Wash yourselves. Cleanse yourselves. Remove your evil deeds from My sight. Stop doing evil. Learn to do what is good. Seek justice. Correct the oppressor. Defend the rights of the fatherless. Plead the widow’s cause. “Come, let us discuss this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they will be like wool.

—Isaiah 1:16-18

Where do you see God’s desire to fight injustice in this verse? Underline any words or phrases that highlight how you should respond to injustice.

According to this passage, what is God’s attitude toward sin?

God called His rebellious children to repent of their sin and return to Him so they could live lives full of His compassion and justice. How has He done the same in your life?

Respond

• Thank God for His compassion toward you and His gift of salvation in Jesus. Ask Him to help you see others through the lens of His love and compassion.

• Take a hard look at yourself. Are there any areas of your faith where you’re just going through the motions, looking good on the outside, but rife with sin on the inside. Admit them to God today and ask Him to make you as white as snow.

• For further study on God’s love for the defenseless, read Jeremiah 7:5-7, 22:3; Zechariah 7:10; Matthew 23:23, 25:31-46; and James 1:27.

Behind the Story

Isaiah was a prophet in Jerusalem around 700 B.C. He lived in a time when the Israelites had turned their back on the Lord. While they went through the motions and rituals of their faith, their hearts were far from God. He called this corrupt, rebellious people to repent and return to Him and His ways. Today’s passage stresses an important truth: God doesn’t care how good we look on the outside or the things we do. He cares about our hearts and how we live out the ordinary days of our lives.

The Point

If you’re a Christian, God has called you to a new way of life characterized by His compassion and love, especially in our treatment of the defenseless, poor, and forgotten.

 


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Example

Posted on February 11, 2014 by Karah

Pause

Concentrate for a moment on the presence of pain and suffering in the world. What troubles you most? Lift these troubles to God, trusting that He is already at work in those situations. Ask Him to prepare your heart for how He might use you to fight injustice.

Parents often tell their kids to be a good example. Think back over your life. Who has been a good example to you over the years? How? Sketch or jot down your thoughts below.

As a Christian, you don’t have to search for an example of how to live your life. Through His actions, His Word, and Jesus’ earthly example, God has told us how to live. He is our example. As you think about this concept, read Deuteronomy 10:17-19 in your Bible. Where do you see God being an example to us?

“He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner, giving him food and clothing. You also must love the foreigner, since you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.” —Deuteronomy 10:18-19

• The words “fatherless” and “widow” point to people who have no one to defend them. Who are those people in your life?

• A foreigner is a stranger, someone who doesn’t fit in, a wanderer, an alien. Who are the people in your life who just don’t fit in?

• Verse 19 is a directive to follow God’s example in our dealings with the defenseless, homeless, and different. Does your attitude toward these people reflect God’s? Why or why not?

Respond

Look over the names you listed earlier. Pray over them, asking God how He would have you reach out to the fatherless, widows, and foreigners in your life. Record any actions He brings to mind. Circle one that you will take this week.

Behind the Story

Moses first spoke the words recorded in Deuteronomy 10 to the Israelites. Now 40 years after their exodus from Egypt, they were poised to enter the Promised Land. Moses took the opportunity to remind the people of their covenant with God and how He expected them to live their lives. Moses did all of this knowing that he would not lead his people to their destination. For more on that, read Numbers 20.

The Point

God calls His children to follow His example. Because He fights injustice and stands up for the defenseless, homeless, and overlooked, we should, too.


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The God of Eternity

Posted on February 4, 2014 by Karah

Pause

What prevents you from giving the God of this universe your undivided attention? Remove those things today and ask God to help you focus on what He wants to say to you.

You’ve just been stopped for driving 50 mph in a 35 mph zone. The police officer has returned to his car, and you don’t know what’s going to happen. As you sit there, waiting for judgment to come, how do you feel? Circle any words that describe how you would feel.

scared                          belligerent                   upset

anxious                                    hopeless                       angry

Thankfully, God isn’t like that. We don’t have to muddle through this life anxiously wondering what the outcome will be. In His Word and through the gospel, God has clearly outlined the paths we can take.  Read Psalm 37:27-29 for more.

“For the Lord loves justice and will not abandon His faithful ones. They are kept safe forever, but the children of the wicked will be destroyed.” —Psalm 37:28

According to these verses, what are the two possible ways to live your life? Underline them.

What are the two possible outcomes for your life?

God wants us to know what our eternities will hold. He doesn’t keep His judgment of the wicked or His provision for the faithful a secret. How is this an example of His just nature?

Respond

• Are you trusting Christ for your eternity or just muddling through, unsure of your purpose or your future? Seek God today. Repent of your sins and trust your life to Jesus.

• If you are a Christian, thank God for the grace He has shown you in Jesus. If there is anything causing anxiety about your purpose or future, turn those over to Him now. Journal your response.

Behind the Story

The word “safe” in verse 28 comes from the Hebrew word shāmar, which means “to hedge about (as with thorns),” “preserve,” or “protect.” The image is one of God placing His faithful children in a safe place, then building protective walls or placing thorns around them where they cannot be harmed.

The Point

Because God is just, you don’t have to live your life wondering if you’ve been good enough or done enough. Those who turn to Christ and repent of sin to “do what is good” can live securely, knowing God’s protection and provision in this life and enjoying His presence for all eternity.


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