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.

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The Ultimate Priority: Worship, Day 3

Revival

Today’s reading is drawn from Ezekiel 44:15 and Revelation 4:11.

Leading people to and through revival calls us to our ultimate priority; to worship God in the innermost sanctuary of His presence (verse 16).

All ministry must become the natural outflow of an intimate relationship with God, who alone can impart life, healing, forgiveness, and cleansing. Simply stated, Ezekiel sees the temple as “inner court” ministry to the Lord (43:5; 44:15–17) and “outer court” ministry to the people (44:19). The priests who neglected the inner court were called an abomination to God (verse 13). In contrast, faithful priests who ministered to the Lord with worship and adoration in the inner court received God’s enablement to minister to the needs of the people in the outer court.

The God-given pattern in this text calls us to: 1) come near, that is, to daily put God at the center of our lives; 2) minister to God, that is, to give Him the glory, honor, and power that are due Him (verse 4:11); and 3) stand before Him, that is, to wait upon God, totally available to Him, acknowledging His lordship over us.

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Sharing Your Story, Day 10

Today’s reading is drawn from Acts 4:1-22.

Peter and John are “unschooled, ordinary men.” Both are fishermen—a lower-class vocation. Some of the Pharisees who arrest the two for healing a crippled beggar are particularly puzzled by the men’s ability to speak articulately and effect healing. The only possible explanation is that these men have spent time with Jesus.

Jesus’ forgiveness and grace together comprised the only reason Peter and John had a chance to succeed in life. The same holds true for Ken Freeman, who emerged from homelessness to become a lifelong evangelist.

His mother was an alcoholic, and his father didn’t care enough to stick around. In a seemingly unending succession, Ken called nine different men his stepfather, but not one of them proved to be a worthy father figure. His home life brought only continuing abuse and neglect. As a young teen, Ken decided that he was better off on the streets than living the continuing nightmare at home.

When he was 16, Ken heard about a local church revival. He didn’t care about the revival as such, but he was lured by the free pizza being offered. Although he attended with the goal of filling his belly, God had other plans.

That night Ken met Jesus for the first time, and the encounter transformed him completely. He developed a growing passion for teenagers and their families, and at age 19, he began traveling and speaking at youth camps and church revivals across the country. Ken did not attend seminary to learn how to tell people about Jesus. He simply told his story. And people listened.

More than 200,000 people have come to know Jesus through Ken’s ministry. Despite having grown up in a broken home, he and his wife have been married for almost 40 years. Ken credits Jesus for the miraculous changes and incredible ministry that have blessed his life.

  • How do you think Ken Freeman can maintain such a positive outlook on life despite his difficult childhood? Explain.
  • Do you regularly share with others the story of your relationship with Jesus? Why or why not?
 

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