The God of Empathy, Day 2

Today’s reading is drawn from 2 Samuel 22:26-28.

Observation

God accepts everyone regardless of their season of life or the state of their maturity. He isn’t a one-size-fits-all God but rather one who knows us inside and out: “The LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:13 – 14).

If we come to God with humility, he will respond with compassion, but if we come to him proud or thinking we are right and everyone else is wrong, then he will humble us.

The Pharisees came to Jesus proud, and he pressed hard against them. On the other hand, the woman caught in adultery came to Jesus with humility, and he forgave her with kindness.

Application

Let us be careful as to how we approach the things of God, for he is holy. Ecclesiastes 5:1 – 2 tells us: “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.”

Prayer

Lord, thank you for reminding me of your holiness. I am privileged to relate to you in honor and fear. You are a great and awesome God, yet you are merciful and kind. Thank you for allowing me to learn your ways in order that I might cooperate with you each day.

Bible Gateway

Doctrine: Atonement; God’s Forgiveness, Day 2

Today’s reading is drawn from Leviticus 6:6-7 and Leviticus 4:26.

On August 7, 2007, baseball slugger Barry Bonds hit career home run number 756, the home run that broke Hank Aaron’s record. However, many questioned whether or not the new record should count because Bonds was alleged to have used steroids. Sports buffs said if his name is listed in the record book, it should be accompanied by an asterisk to indicate that the record is a sort-of record, a tainted record. In 2008 Mark Ecko, the man who bought the ball Bonds hit to set the record, branded the baseball with an asterisk and donated it to the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. It’s not unusual for Christians to imagine we have an asterisk by our name. We may be destined for that Hall of Fame called heaven, but aware that our lives our tainted, we’re left with a sour taste in our souls. We’re grateful to enjoy eternal life with God, but we wish there wasn’t that sense of being tainted. The gospel is hard to believe at just this point, but it is nonetheless the great truth. There is no longer a need for sin offerings. The forgiveness we are offered through Christ’s sacrifice doesn’t just make our sin null and void, it also erases the asterisk. God doesn’t see a fixed sinner, but someone righteous and pristine. We are in Christ, and Christ is in us. We are a new creation. The old has passed away — so much so that there is no need for an asterisk — and all things have become new.

Bible Gateway

“Ordinary” Love

Bible Gateway

“Live a life of love, just as Christ loved us.” Ephesians 5:2

We’ve been talking about romantic love and how to preserve it. There are times in every marriage, however, when husbands and wives feel apathetic and “flat” toward each other. Jim wrote me the following note during just such a time, which occurred on our eighth wedding anniversary: “I’m sure you remember the many occasions during our eight years of marriage when the tide of love and affection soared high above the crest. This kind of intense emotion often accompanies a time of particular happiness. We felt this closeness when the world’s most precious child came home from the maternity ward. But emotions are strange! We felt the same closeness when you were hospitalized last year. I felt it intensely when I knelt over your unconscious form after a grinding automobile accident.

“Both happiness and threat bring overwhelming appreciation and affection for our sweethearts. But most of life is composed of calm, everyday events. During those times, I enjoy the serene love that actually surpasses the effervescent display. I find myself in that kind of love on this anniversary. I feel the steady, quiet affection that comes from a devoted heart. I am committed to you and your happiness now more than ever.

“When events throw us together emotionally, we will enjoy the thrill and romantic excitement. But during life’s routine, my love stands undiminished. Happy anniversary to my wonderful wife.”

Just between us…

  • When has our marriage provided the most romantic excitement?
  • How can serene love enhance romance between us?
  • Do we enjoy this kind of love? Why or why not?

Dear God, thank You for the intense feelings that accompany romantic love. Help us cherish them. May our love also remain strong and enduring on ordinary days or when feelings are at ebb tide. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.