Daily Devotional

Spiritual formation requires practice and discipline

Solitude and silence, fasting and frugality, study and worship, service and submission—and other practices that serve in the same way (there is no complete list)—are therefore integral parts of any reliable program of spiritual formation. They should be a substantial part of our private lives and of our associations with others in the body of Christ. They do not earn merit, but they do allow us to receive from God what will not be passively bestowed. They are not righteousness but wisdom.

From The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus’s Essential Teachings on Discipleship. Copyright © 2006 by Dallas Willard. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.


Living His Word

2 Chronicles 3:6 ERV: He made us able to be servants of a new agreement from himself to his people. It is not an agreement of written laws, but it is of the Spirit. The written law brings death, but the Spirit gives life.Paul had been called by God to be a servant or herald of an agreement or covenant between God and His people. This covenant was a new agreement. The old covenant no longer applied, the new covenant was in force, and Paul was called to be a herald of the new covenant God had made from Himself to His people. It was necessary for heralds like Paul to do this, because people needed to become aware of the new covenant God had put in place. People needed to start living life in terms of the new covenant, instead of the old.The new covenant was not like the old covenant. The old covenant was a covenant of written laws. Under the terms of the old covenant, the people of God were required to obey a large number of laws. The problem with this was that the people were not able to keep the laws. Even worse, the penalty for not obeying the laws was often death. That’s why Paul could say that “the written law brings death.”The new covenant, on the other hand, is a better covenant. Instead of a covenant of written laws, the new covenant is a covenant of the Spirit. Under the terms of the new covenant, the Holy Spirit is given to those who place faith in Jesus Christ and the Spirit empowers and enables them to be and do everything God wants of them. The people of God, in other words, are given the life giving power of the Holy Spirit. That’s why Paul can say that the “Spirit gives life.”Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the true heralds of the gospel like Paul, the people of God often live life as if some form of the old covenant is still in force. That is, they sometimes act as if they must be obedient to a set of laws – or else. Instead of relying on the Holy Spirit to empower and enable them in life, they rely on their own strength and ability to obey laws.The old covenant, however, does not apply anymore. Today, then, turn to the life-giving power of the Spirit.
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365 Daily Devotional

I AM (Exodus 3:14)

God provided his people with a name that denotes his uncaused, independent and eternal character. Moses, faced with the unenviable task of asking Pharaoh for the freedom of the Israelites, asked God for his name. He knew that the Israelites would ask for the name of the one who gave Moses these instructions. God told Moses to call him, “I AM.” He is and will always be. He owes nothing and no one for his existence. Rather, he is the supreme, uncreated, sovereign and sole God of the universe. All things owe their being to him.

Jesus used this same name to declare his identity during his earthly ministry. While the people argued about the relationship of Jesus to the promises God made to Abraham, Jesus defied their understanding by declaring that he is not merely one in a long line of those whom God uses. Rather, he is the “I am” (Jn 8:58). The immense nature of this claim caused many to attempt to stone Jesus because they knew the implications of this term. By using this term Jesus announced himself to be God, committing the ultimate sin of blasphemy in the minds of his Jewish audience. They simply could not comprehend that this carpenter from Nazareth could be the very Son of God, in human form, to whom all people owe their allegiance and worship.

Jesus, you are the great I AM. While I cannot understand all that you are, I praise you with all that I am. Help me to worship you every second of every day, even while I sleep. Amen.

Taken from NIV The Jesus Bible