Bird

God’s Artistry

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~Wordless Wednesday~

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The Spirit of God’s Law

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The Pharisees spent their lives trying to appear holy by keeping the meticulous rules they had added to God’s law.  Jesus’ accusation (see John 7:14-36) that they didn’t keep Moses’ laws stung them deeply.  In spite of their pompous pride in themselves and their rules, they did not even fulfill a legalistic religion, for they were living far below what the law of Moses required.  

Jesus’ followers should do more than the moral law requires, going beyond and beneath the mere do’s and don’ts of the Law to the spirit of the Law.  The spirit of God’s Law is captured in love for God and one’s neighbor.  We must never allow rules to keep us from following the true intent of God’s Law.  Obedience to God must be from the heart.

Commentary from The One Year NIV Devotional New Testament, August 27.  Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. 2003

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His Strong Hand

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The scene is usually a cliff, a waterfall, a window ledge, or some other precipice – a fall from which would result in certain death.  One person is over the precipice, kept from falling only by holding to the outstretched hand of another.  Three things can happen to the one hanging over the edge; the grip is unintentionally broken due to a failure in strength, the grip is released intentionally due to malevolence, or the person is pulled to safety due to the strength of the rescuer.

One of the strongest images of the believer’s eternal security in Christ was painted by the Savior’s own words: “Neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.”  Too often, Christian’s feel that eternal security depends on their strength, their faithfulness, their perseverance – their ability to hold on to the Savior’s hand.  The opposite is actually the truth:  It is Christ’s strength, Christ’s faithfulness, Christ’s perseverance – Christ’s ability to hold on to the believer’s hand – that keeps the Christian eternally secure.

When you wonder if you have been faithful enough, hold out your hand – and picture it enveloped in the strong hand of Christ.

“Once a man is united to God, how could he not live forever?”  C. S. Lewis

Commentary from the Pathways devotional, by David Jeremiah, June 6.

Choose

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“No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life” (2 Timothy 2:4).  The word for “entangle”, which also occurs in 2 Peter 2:20, means to be so wrapped up in something that movement is hindered.  This is the term the Greeks would have used to describe a rabbit ensnared in a thorn patch.

Peter’s letter admonished followers not to return to past sins, but Paul was emphasizing a different lesson: He was warning Timothy against allowing essential daily pursuits to supersede a commitment to Christ.  Paul himself at times worked as a tent-maker while carrying on with ministry; however, he realized there was potential for an occupation to become all-consuming, to the detriment of a person’s spiritual life.

Growing and managing wealth, providing for one’s family, and taking advantage of leisure time are important activities.  In fact, God encourages all of them.  However, these blessings are not to become distractions that draw believers away from church or regular prayer and Bible study.  Nor are we to compartmentalize our life into “Christian ministry” and “regular work/play”.  We are Christ’s soldiers, no matter where we are or what we are doing – there is no such thing as a part-time warrior.

It’s important for believers not to draw artificial boundary lines between the secular and the sacred.  Everything God gives – from vocation and wealth to leisure activities – is to be used for His glory.  By keeping priorities straight and activities in balance, you can prevent hobbies and interests from becoming a snare.

Commentary from the In Touch Devotional by Charles Stanley, June 7, 2017.