Spiritual Life

Devotionals



 

2021 Spring Weekly Devotionals

List of 3 items.

  • January 18th

    Finding Fault.

    We are literally surrounded by brokenness. People are hurting everywhere…some we know about and many we do not. Diseased, marginalized, oppressed, abused, heartbroken people all around us.
    Compassion SHOULD be our heart's first response and most overwhelming emotion. As a matter of fact, Colossians 3:12 tells us to “put on compassion”…and Jesus models compassion every time He sees a hurting person or group of people (Matthew 9:36). His form of justice is about restoring people in whatever state He finds them.

    Often, however, as we see hurting people our first response is to wonder how they got there. What did they do wrong to find themselves here? Whose fault is this? Jesus never looked at people that way (aren’t we glad He doesn’t look at us that way?). John gives an account of a teachable moment between Jesus and His disciples…

    As He was passing by, He saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” John 9:1-2

    “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” Jesus answered. “This came about so that God’s works might be displayed in him. John 9:3
    Does it matter? Are we seriously going to analyze whether or not there were actions or circumstances that put a person in a certain situation, or are we going to see a need – as Jesus did – and meet the need? Are we aware that God is honored and glorified when His people respond in love and compassion, and minister to hurting people?

    Jesus was crystal clear in His mandate in Matthew 25,

    “For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; 
    I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink; 
    I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; 
    I was sick and you took care of Me; 
    I was in prison and you visited Me…”
    “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.”

    The restoration and reconciliation of broken people is at the heart of what it means to follow Jesus. Surely we won’t be a people who stop to wonder if they are worthy or not before we help? “…so that God’s work might be displayed.”

    Prayer: Father, we are part of your strategy to minister to the broken in this world. May we step into those relationships with Your love and Your compassion. Amen.
  • January 11th

    Flourish.

    “The Bible’s teaching on justice is much more comprehensive than simply punishing the wrongdoer. A life following Jesus will bring us to the most difficult corners of the world, ministering in deed and with his Word to those encountering the greatest suffering and marginalizationTo follow Jesus in the world is to join in his story of restoring all of creation to its God-intended flourishing. Our labors following the perfect shepherd will be partial, flawed and prone to setback, sure. But the direction of the story is comprehensively forward, so let’s follow Jesus in his full work of restoration. Of justice. Of shalom.” Mike Kelly

    Scripture reminds us that when Jesus came to earth one of His priorities was to “bring justice to the nations”, to “bring forth justice”, and to “establish justice on earth” (Isaiah 41:1-4). This speaks volumes about the Kingdom that Jesus was ushering in…it also speaks volumes about the condition of the world. There was a justice problem…justice was not being upheld. Justice was not being practiced. Injustice was the norm. 
    • Roman oppression was heavy as taxation led to hunger and poverty
    • Favoritism was being shown to the religious elite, leaving “others” out
    • The sick and diseased were neglected and cast out
    • Dishonesty was rampant 
    • People were judging one another
    Just to scratch the surface. And Jesus came to set these wrongs right. But His kingdom was to be bigger than simply setting what was wrong, right. Jesus also taught that justice was about embracing all that was good and all that was right, in the name of restoring creation back to Himself. 

    Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (also translated “justice”), for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6

    As Mike Kelly mentions, Jesus wants us to join Him as He restores creation “…to its God-intended flourishing”. Flourishing is a beautiful word…it speaks to creating an environment where one can grow and develop in a healthy and vigorous way. Sweet spot. Each of us living our best life.

    Jesus came to establish justice so every human (having been created in the Image of God) could flourish…could live their best life. 

    And, He has invited us to be a part of this beautiful story. This is why you and I have got to be passionate about championing justice. A life flourishing under a compassionate, loving, and Holy Father is what we were all created for. Will we join Jesus in “establishing justice on earth”?

    Prayer: Father. Thank you for the example of Jesus as He establishes justice here on earth. May we hunger and thirst for justice as well! Amen.
  • January 4th

    Bringing Justice.
    “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations...In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope” Isaiah 42:1-4

    The Prophet Isaiah is known for many things…most famously, however, he is known for beautifully introducing the Messiah. As he declared the coming of Jesus, Isaiah described how he would come as a child who would be a “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace” (Isa 9:6). He described how He would come from the line of David and from the “stump of Jesse” (Isa 11:1). He told how Jesus would “not have an impressive form or majesty” (Isa 53:2), and how would be “pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities” (Isa 53:5). 

    In chapter 42 however, Isaiah reminds us that a major part of Christ’s reign on the earth would be to establish justice. Jesus came to bring justice to the nations. Justice was a priority to Jesus…it was at the top of His agenda. It was crucially important to Him, so it should be important to those of us claiming to follow Him as well. 

    When Jesus came justice was crying out on two fronts:
    1. Humanity…all of which was created in the “image of God”, was not treating each other with justice. They were not treating each other with equality. Favoritism, oppression, abuse, neglect, and poverty were all prevalent. Jesus came to establish justice…
    “The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free…” Luke 4:18
    1. The world was broken and justice demanded that someone pay for sin. Jesus established justice in this way as well.
    For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21

    So Jesus paid the ultimate price for us…satisfying justice, so we would be covered in the gracious gift of His righteousness. How beautiful and sacrificial is that? How could we not then, be passionate about justice with others in the same way that Jesus is? How could we not be moved with compassion for the poor, the oppressed, the neglected, the marginalized, and the broken?

    When Jesus came to “establish justice on earth”, His aim was also to establish Justice in our hearts. May the things that are important to Jesus become of utmost importance to us!

    Prayer: Father, establish justice in my heart. May I see and treat my fellow man as Jesus did, and as he still does today. Amen.
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