1 Thessalonians 5:11 (KJV)

Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (KJV)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Cornerstone and a Stumbling Stone


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Pocket Devotions

Romans 9:32b-33
They stumbled over the "stumbling stone." As it is written: "See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame."

Thoughts for Today:

This is a quote from Isaiah 8:14 and Isaiah 28:16. Previously, Paul makes the point that Israel has tried it's best to follow laws which should have led to righteousness, but was left without it. However, their greatest error was in ignoring and rejecting the final step in God's plan for redemption. Ephesians 2:20-21: "...built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord."

Consider Jesus' words in the following two passages:

Mark 8:34: "Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said, 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.' "

John 6:37: "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away."

So what does all of this mean? Answer: If we are to be saved we have a responsibility. What is it? To say "No" to the sinful nature ("deny self"), and faithfully follow Jesus. Paul tells us the Jews tried to pursue a righteousness of their own by following the Law. It didn't work for them and it won't work for us. We too will fail if we attempt (like the Jews) to arrive at righteousness through our own meager, self-serving, and prideful enterprises -- it is our "stumbling stone". Perfect righteousness only comes from faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Questions to Ponder:

In John 8:37, Jesus spoke these words to the Jews:
"I know you are Abraham's descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word."
Jesus asks us this same question today: Do you have room for My word? Do we keep the teachings that suit us, and throw out the ones that don't? Give it some careful consideration:
What has Jesus said that causes you to stumble?
Are you like the Jews?
What teaching are you ignoring?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Less of Me, All of Him

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Pocket Devotions

Romans 9:16
It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy.

Thoughts for Today:

One of the hardest lessons I had to learn as an adult was to rely on God's mercy versus my own drive, desire, or effort. I would ask: "How can it be with God -- that less of me means more of Him?" I think this question is well answered by the words of Saint Augustine: "We must be emptied of what we are full, so that we may be filled with what we are empty."

Too often mankind looks upon God's mercy as recognition or reward for the work we've done. We think our efforts cause God to look upon us with more favor. However, if God rewarded our desire or effort with His Mercy, then we would be filled with pride because of what we had accomplished. The election of God is not something we can run for, earn or win. It does not depend on anything we do.

Do you know why God saved me?
It certainly wasn't because of anything I did.
God saved me because He is God and He had mercy on me.

Questions to Ponder:

Of what are you full?
Pride at what you've accomplished, or gratitude for God's mercy?
We must lessen so He might increase. What is your perspective?
Which of your attitudes need adjustment?