Safety from Enemies, Day 4

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Today’s reading is drawn from Psalm 27.

The words of Psalm 27 drip with hope. Although his enemies are near, David is defiantly confident that God will conquer his fears, strengthen him and grant him the desire of his heart: to “dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of [his] life.”

During times of tremendous trial, we often turn to the Lord in hopes of feeling his presence. This was never more true for Robert Honeycutt than during the time he spent as a prisoner of war.

During World War II, each member of the United States Air Force was required to fly 50 missions before going home. Having already participated in a mission, 19-year-old Robert Honeycutt was eager to put the war behind him, so he volunteered for the dangerous task of photographing the damage inflicted during the air attacks. He reasoned that this would afford him more fly time, but it also meant that he would be in the last plane to fly over each time—the most vulnerable position.

On his 29th mission, Bob’s plane was shot down over the Austrian Alps. In his book, The Eleventh Man, Bob recounts how God was with him even as he parachuted out of the burning plane. As he was floating toward earth, an enemy bomber approached him in the air. Bob knew he was an easy target. The pilot of the plane slowed down but did not open fire with his machine gun. Instead, for a moment, the two men made eye contact … and then the pilot waved. Bob waved back.

Soon after he hit the ground, he was captured by enemy forces. Isolated and unsure of what awaited him, Bob began to pray fervently. That day God became real to Bob. For the next 11 months, Bob’s faith would be his strength even as he was taken to a concentration camp and marched around Germany for more than 800 miles before his eventual release.

  • Can you think of a time in your own life when you cried out to God? What happened?
  • Meditate on Psalm 27 and ask God to make David’s hope your own.
 

The Truth About Forgiveness, Day 6

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Today’s reading is drawn from Acts 10:23-48.

As Peter shared the gospel with Cornelius and Cornelius’ relatives and close friends, he referred to God’s forgiveness of sins (see Acts 10:43). At that moment, all the people who heard Peter’s words believed and received the Holy Spirit (see Acts 10:44–47). What is so significant about the forgiveness of sins? It is significant because we have all gone our own way and fallen short of God’s standards (see Psalm 14:3; Romans 3:23). Our sin alienates and disconnects us from God, his love, and his care. Our sinful nature puts us in an isolated and hopeless state.

Forgiveness through Jesus’ death is God’s solution; it rescues us from our hopelessness and restores our connection with God. As the psalmist put it, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has [God] removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). Or as Hebrews put it, “Their sins and lawless acts [God] will remember no more” (Hebrews 10:17; see also Hebrews 10:22).

If we ask God to forgive us, he will (see 1 John 1:9). He then sees us as completely new people. We are clean, washed with pure water; whatever we might have done is forgotten and put away “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12). Paul said that “there is now no condemnation” for those who have been forgiven and are “in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

The knowledge that we are forgiven and have a clean slate is powerful. We can stand upon that solid ground. We can live from a place of growth instead of brokenness. We can ask Jesus for that forgiveness now. If we do not know him, we can ask him to be our Lord. If we turn to him in faith, he will cleanse us and we can walk in a guilt-free state. It is a strong statement indeed.

 

He is Faithful, Day 4

 

Today’s reading is drawn from Deuteronomy 31:6, Deuteronomy 7:9, Deuteronomy 32:4, and 1 Corinthians 10:13.

The Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

He is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.

He is the Rock, his works are perfect,
and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,
upright and just is he.

God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.

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Doctrine: Jesus, the Image of God, Day 5

Today’s reading is drawn from Hebrews 2:14-15 and Galatians 4:6.

When pastor Clark Cothern was a child, his mother was the dean of women at Grand Canyon College in Phoenix, Arizona. What he saw of college presidents, he saw from floor level, while he played beside his mother’s desk in the administration building. “I would watch as students walked down the hall toward the president’s office and stop. They would rub their sweaty palms on their pants or skirts, take a deep breath, straighten their shoulders, and knock. The door would creak open. That’s when I would catch a glimpse of the president’s shiny, black wingtip shoes. The student would then disappear inside the mysterious chamber known as ‘The President’s Office.’ It was terrifying.” One day Clark was playing with his toy car in the hall outside the president’s office when the door opened. Then he saw them — those shiny, black wingtip shoes. Unexpectedly, President Robert Sutherland, dressed in his pinstriped, three-piece suit, knelt down and asked, “May I have a turn?” They played cars together, and President Sutherland asked young Clark to call him “Dr. Bob.” The result? “That’s the day my opinion about the college president changed.”1 In a similar way, God came to us in Christ to share his life with us and to reveal that he is not a distant and terrifying being but a loving Father full of grace and truth.

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