Scripture for Today: Hebrews 12:11 “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”
This morning I had wild blackberries on my cereal! I had no idea that the thorny weed I had been meaning to pull out would bear fruit! I have been annoyed brushing past it but I kept putting off doing anything about it. Now, I am glad I procrastinated! Those berries were a sweet surprise! Getting at the fruit was difficult without getting stuck on the thorns, but well worth the effort.
Our verse for today speaks of fruit as well; the fruit of righteousness. It comes as a result of thorny sorrowful discipline. Every believer goes through it from time to time. The Lord disciplines those He loves. And He does it for our good so that we can share in His holiness (Heb. 12:6 &10). It is not exacting punishment as He took that on Himself at the cross. His discipline is proof that He loves me and that I belong to Him (Heb. 12:8). He uses it to correct and teach. Nevertheless, it hurts.
Probably, when He is in the process of disciplining me, I resemble that thorny weed. I wonder if other believers look at me and think I need to be pulled out of there! Do I sometimes look at other believers the same way?! We are all in process of becoming like Him and becoming more fruitful. He is patient and loving with me and I need to be the same way with others!
I am thankful that at the end of sorrow, there is joy at seeing what He has produced! As much as it hurts, thank you, Lord, for Your loving discipline.
Scripture for Today: I Corinthians 3:6-7 “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who makes things grow.”
I am a basketball game enthusiast. I kind of have to be as I am married to someone passionate for the game! But over the years I have learned to appreciate it more and more. I even know some basketball vocabulary to throw around so I can pretend I know what I am talking about!
The shot made in this photo was amazing! What was more amazing is what led up to that basket. There was dribbling, there was passing and there was setting of picks. It was a real team effort. When a team works together the score always reflects it. If there is ball hogging and no assists, things tend to fall apart. The game is never about just one player.
Although the context is division, our verse for today can also refer to a team effort. Paul and Apollos both had different but essential roles. The important truth is that God is the One at work changing hearts and transforming lives. Neither Paul nor Apollos could take the credit.
When it comes to building God’s Kingdom, I am not anything. I may think I am, but I am not. Can I change a heart or transform a life? Of course not. No matter how well I think I am doing, it is God’s doing. If there is increase than the glory clearly belongs to Him! That means I do not have to be the one making the basket. Sometimes He asks me to throw the ball at the player who is open!
Scripture for Today: Ephesians 2:12-13 “Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenant of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
We visited this ancient Roman aqueduct in the south of France. It is so impressive, especially given it was built in the 1st century AD! Pont du Gard is one of the five top tourists attractions in France. This bridge near Nîmes is 31 miles long and has three tiers of arches standing 160 feet high.
During the height of the Roman Empire, this aqueduct brought over 200 million liters of water a day to the fountains, baths, and homes of the citizens of Nîmes. After the empire fell, it was used as a toll bridge, bringing together communities on both sides of the Gardon River.
Without a bridge there is separation and exclusion. But a bridge brings near what was far away. Our verse for today uses these same words when describing our condition before Christ. As those outside of the covenant made with Israel, we were once strangers, separated and excluded. As such, we were without God and so without hope as well. Christ’s coming and sacrifice changed everything! His cleansing blood made a way to approach Him.
Jesus is that bridge bringing me near. Not only does He bridge the gap, but He is the living water that the aqueduct provides! He has provided the only Way. The distance between us was too far and impossible for me to cross on my own.
If there had been no Bridge I would still be without God and without hope. Thank you, Lord, that You have brought me near.
Scripture for Today: Job 37: 3, 5 “Under the whole heaven He lets it loose, and His lightnings to the ends of the earth. God thunders with His voice wondrously, doing great things which we cannot comprehend.”
We are experiencing some incredible summer storms here in France. The heat builds and builds and then there is noisy relief! The thunder can be deafening and the skies seem to split with the lightening! The thunder is especially impressive as the sound bounces off the Vosges mountains. From our balcony I watched the storm approach over those mountains. But seeing all the metal of the balcony railings, I decided I had better go in!
Our verse for today likens thunder to God’s mighty voice. The fear that a clap of thunder can evoke is the fear I ought to feel at God’s powerful Word. The Law was given to the Israelites in the midst of thunder and lightning. It inspired such fear in the people that they insisted that Moses approach God in their place. It is that fear which leads to obedience and wisdom (Psalm 111:10).
There are times that I lose that sense of fear at God’s greatness. But all it takes to remind me is a huge storm that unleashes its fury! God is bigger than the biggest storm. His power transcends everything! I am so thankful that my fear of Him does not include fear of punishment! Jesus took on Himself all the condemnation I deserve. But my fear of Him is one that inspires knee-bending awe of His greatness and power.
One day my voice will be like thunder at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev.19:6). With a vast multitude I will be shouting, “Hallelujah! For now the Lord God the Omnipotent reigns!” That will be the best kind of thunder!
Scripture for Today: Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”
I can still remember seeing Old Faithful, the geyser at Yellowstone National Park as a little girl with my family. This geyser was named for its frequent and regular eruptions The rangers can predict with amazing accuracy the next “show.” We sat in front row seats and saw nature’s impressive display! That boiling water can shoot in the air as high as 184 feet!
It has only been recently that scientists have understood the underground workings of a geyser. Old Faithful has a huge egg-shaped chamber 50 feet underground. This cavern, which never completely empties, is what feeds the conduit leading to the geyser. As a young girl, I was more interested in what I could see above ground.
Our verse for today speaks of God’s faithfulness. My hope is built on the certainty of His faithfulness to do as He has promised. But to be honest, there are times when I am tempted to waver. That is because I do not always see Him at work. Like the hidden underground cavern that feeds a geyser, I am not always privy to what He is doing and how He is working. But He remains faithful for He cannot deny Himself (II Timothy 2:13). What He has promised, He will do.
Contemplating His faithfulness is what makes faith stronger. It is said of Sarah in Hebrews 11:11 that because she considered God to be faithful, she would believe that He would work the miracle He had promised. Her faith grew when she considered His faithfulness.
My faith can grow and my hope can be unwavering when I meditate on His faithfulness. Thank you, Lord, that because You are faithful, I can hold on tight no matter what!