Morning Devotional

Doing Life Together

Scripture Reading — Acts 2:42-47

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

[Acts 2:42]

We learn a lot about what community looked like in the early church. It included things like sharing meals, caring for one another, worshiping together, and praying together. The early church took community seriously. It wasn’t just an occa­sional event or gathering. It was regular and ongoing. They valued spending quality time together, and they did it often.

We see in the early church a focus on what matters—the Word of God, fellowship, worship, and prayer. We see who matters—the body of Christ doing life together. And we see that it isn’t just a once-a-week event. It also isn’t about being a church in one place or even in a building. The Bible says the Lord added to their number every day. There was room for others—more and more.

In our culture of focusing so much on individual desires, biblical community can seem a bit strange to us. But it’s all about relationships, and that is something we can grasp even in this “me first” world. Relationships always involve sharing—time, experiences, material goods, and more—and sharing requires an ongoing personal investment. It endures through joys and struggles over the long haul. Doing life together is one of the strengths of biblical community. The gift we share always has room for others, even when it is messy.

In what ways can you invest more in your relationships with God and others today?

Father, with you, we want to live fully together as your people, wherever you have placed us. Thank you for this gift. Amen.

Quiet Time

serving the Lord with all humility and with tears, and with the trials that happened to me because of the plots of the Jews.

[Acts 20:19 NET]

There is a legend of an artist who long sought for a piece of sandalwood, out of which to carve a Madonna. He was about to give up in despair, leaving the vision of his life unrealized, when in a dream he was bidden to carve his Madonna from a block of oak wood, which was destined for the fire. He obeyed, and produced a masterpiece from a log of common fire–wood.

Many of us lose great opportunities in life by waiting to find sandalwood for our carvings, when they really lie hidden in the common logs that we burn.

~ Orison Swett Marden ~

Wisdom

Also, if anyone competes as an athlete, he will not be crowned as the winner unless he competes according to the rules.

[2 Tim 2:5 NET]

In other words, it is not a bare striving, but a striving according to certain rules. But these rules are spiritual rules; and being spiritual rules, exclude everything of sense, reason, and nature. Now man, in an unregenerate condition, whether he be in a state of profanity, or in a state of profession, has no spiritual knowledge of the way by which to overcome. He may strive against his lusts; he may endeavor to overcome those things that conscience bears testimony against; but he is not crowned, because he strives not lawfully. He strives in his own strength; contends in his own wisdom; and trusts in his own righteousness. Such strugglers and such overcomers (if overcomers they ever are) are not crowned, because they strive not according to the rules laid down in God’s word. This at once excludes all creature righteousness, human wisdom, and natural strength. This takes the crown completely off the creature, and puts it on the head of the Redeemer.

There are certain rules then laid down in the Scripture, according to which we are to fight and to overcome. For instance, the Lord of life and glory is held out in the word as our pattern—“He has left us an example that we should follow his steps.” He fought the battle before us; and he gained the victory, not for himself only, but for his people; and he has left us here below to walk in his footsteps, and to overcome in the same way as he did; as we read, “To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne; even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” All striving then, and all overcoming, which is not in the steps of Christ, and precisely (in a measure) in the same way in which Jesus strove and overcame, is not the overcoming which is crowned with God’s approbation.

Evening Prayer

GODLY CHOICES

[Deuteronomy 30:19; 1 Peter 4:3]

Recognize that life is full of choices. I pray that you will choose the life exemplified by Christ. May God grant you the discernment and conviction to make the right choices in life. May you always choose what brings life – that which is righteous and pure. May you reject anything that will kill your soul – all that is wrong and detestable to God. Realize that you are always going to choose between blessings and curses. I pray that you will choose blessings that come with righteousness so that you may enjoy the abundant peace and prosperity of a godly life.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Believer’s Daily Treasure

Benefits of Affliction — Self-Abasement

For after we turned away from you we repented. After we came to our senses we beat our breasts in sorrow. We are ashamed and humiliated because of the disgraceful things we did previously.’

[Jer 31:19 NET]

Dumb at thy feet I lie,

For thou hast brought me low;

Remove thy judgements, lest I die;

I faint beneath thy blow.