The Words We Speak, Day 5

Power and Promise of God’s Word

Today’s reading is drawn from Genesis 17:5 and Numbers 14:6-9.

One of the explicit teachings of the Bible is the importance of the words we speak. In this text God changes Abram’s name to Abraham and promises Abraham that he will become the father of many nations. “Abram” means “High Father” or “Patriarch.” “Abraham” means “Father of a Multitude.” Thus, God was arranging that every time Abraham heard or spoke his own name, he would be reminded of God’s promise.

Adam Clarke’s Commentary states it well: “God [associates] the patriarch more nearly to Himself, by thus imparting to him a portion of His own name,” noting God added this to Abraham “for the sake of dignity.”

The principle: Let God’s words, which designated His will and promise for your life, become as fixed in your mind and as governing of your speech as God’s changing Abraham’s name was in shaping his concept of himself. Do not “name” yourself anything less than God does.

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A True Family, Day 5

Today’s reading is drawn from Mark 3:35.

Does Jesus have anything to say about dealing with difficult relatives? Is there an example of Jesus bringing peace to a painful family? Yes there is. His own . . .

It may surprise you to know that Jesus had a family at all! You may not be aware that Jesus had brothers and sisters. He did. Quoting Jesus’ hometown critics, Mark wrote, “[Jesus] is just the carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And his sisters are here with us” (Mark 6:3).

And it may surprise you to know that his family was less than perfect. They were. If your family doesn’t appreciate you, take heart, neither did Jesus’ . . .

[Yet] he didn’t try to control his family’s behavior, nor did he let their behavior control his. He didn’t demand that they agree with him. He didn’t sulk when they insulted him. He didn’t make it his mission to try to please them.

from He Still Moves Stones

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The Garden No One Visits, Day 5

Today’s reading is drawn from Luke 5:16 and Luke 6:12.

In the middle of the bustling Honolulu Airport, where travelers scurry around the clock to their destinations, a garden awaits. The green repose, which seems almost out of place in the chaos, is a quiet place. It invites frazzled passengers to site awhile under beautiful trees offering protective shade.

The garden is beautiful. Birds perch by the dozens in the branches of the trees, but humans seem to avoid the garden. The last time I was there, one lady was using it — to walk her dog. One man sat and finished his lunch on the bench. But I passed it by — for some undecipherable reason, I hurried past that quiet place. I was hurrying to get to my departure gate, even though I would sit there for another 45 minutes before boarding.

The business of the world is a vortex that claims much of our richest potential, only to replace it with empty activity. Out of all that’s going on in the book of Luke, this one out-of-the-way verse is like a garden, inviting me to stop and sit awhile. Jesus would slip away, not just on occasion, but often. He’d take time to recalibrate his heart and reorient his course, regain balance and return to communion with his Father.

Often I think I will be less fruitful if my activity is replaced by quiet times with God. How I want to see fruitfulness — but the only way is to stop by the garden and sit with the Savior for a while, to return to what is most eternal.

Heavenly Father, I have been moving at Mach IV for quite a while, and I need to take more time to be like Jesus. Teach me that fruitfulness is only possible when I take time to slip away with you to pray.

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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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