Daily Bible Reading

Harmony

It doesn’t take a musical genius to know when an instrument is out of tune or someone in the orchestra hits a wrong note. It’s obvious. It stands out. It’s not right. But when it all works together—every instrument in tune, in harmony—it’s a beautiful thing.

HARMONY: the just adaptation of parts to each other, in any system or composition of things, intended to form a connected whole; concord; agreement

That same basic principle of harmony works in our relationship with God. The Holy Spirit works in us to be sure that we remain in harmony with God.

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows that the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.

Romans 8:26-27 (NLT)

We can have a relationship with God and go our own way. Later on in Romans 8, Paul talks about how nothing can separate us from God’s love. We can accept salvation, accept God’s love, and go about our business. But why would we want to? Why would we want to live a life in discord with our Heavenly Father? Just like an out-of-tune orchestra, our lives, without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, will always be off. Something won’t be quite right.

But when we take advantage of the Helper God has sent us, that’s when the music happens.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Romans 8:28 (NLT)

On its own, this verse is often taken to mean that, as Christians, everything will always be great! Anyone who has been a Christian for more than five minutes can tell you that’s simply not true. Just because God works for our good doesn’t mean that it will always feel good. There is a reason that this verse follows a verse about being in harmony with God’s will. God works for our good. Meaning that God works things out for our good according to His will, not ours.

Is it always easy? No. Does it always feel good? No. Is there still a divine plan for our lives? Of course!

For God knew is people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn with many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And he gave them right standing with himself, and he promised them his glory.

Romans 8:29-30 (NLT)

When we get our spirit in harmony with God’s Spirit, we put ourselves in a place to be used greatly by Him. We put ourselves in the centre of His will and His love.

Why would you want to play solo when you can harmonize with the entire orchestra?

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 82-84, Romans 8:19-39

Daily Bible Reading

Humility and grace

The story of the prodigal son is one that is well known in the church as well as out. It is a story of great redemption. A story of humility. A story about a son.

Yet it is also a story about a father. The father often gets lost in the wild living of his youngest son. The focus tends to lean toward the boy who left with his inheritance only to return home having squandered it all. But what about the father?

So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long distance away, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.

Luke 15:20 (NLT)

If you were the kid who took your parents money, spent it on drugs, alcohol, and prostitutes, how welcoming would your father be to you if you came crawling back home? As important as the humility of the son is, I believe the grace of the father is not as, if not more, important.

When the older son is found sulking about the warm welcome his rebellious brother received, his father said to him, “Look, dear son, you and I are very close, and everything I have is yours. We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!” The father didn’t pontificate on the merits of remaining at home or the importance of money management. The father runs toward his lost son. The son who was more than likely dirty and smelly and sick.

If we have squandered our gifts, we should be humble like the son, but if we have more to give, we should be gracious like the father. Instead of looking down our noses, we should run to greet the lowly with a cloak and shoes. It isn’t our business how they arrived at their place of humility, our business as the Church is to welcome them, clothe them, and feed them.

For as often as this story is told in churches around the world, what the world still needs most is what the church often seems to lack—both humility and grace.

Daily Bible reading: 1 Samuel 19-21, Luke 15:11-32

 

Daily Bible Reading

Shout out

For my fourteenth birthday, my dad took me to a professional hockey game. I was stoked. I’d never been to an NHL game. We had great seats which made up for the fact that the game was awful. But what made the game was the fact that, somehow, my mom had managed to get a call in to the arena beforehand and, in between periods, there on the big screen was a big giant happy birthday to me! No one knew who I was, but I saw it. My dad saw it. And I told everyone about it. It’s pretty awesome to get a shout out like that.

But a happy birthday on the jumbotron is nothing compare to what Jesus has promised us.

And I assure you of this: If anyone acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I, the Son of Man, will openly acknowledge that person in the presence of God’s angels.

Luke 12:8 (NLT)

Jesus has promised us the ultimate shout out. At what cost to us? Only that we publicly acknowledge his lordship in our lives. Sounds pretty easy to me.

This day and age, though, public acknowledgement of Jesus Christ as Lord can make the atmosphere a little (or a lot) tense. But then you have to ask yourself this: is quietly going about your life never letting anyone know you’re a Christian for fear of persecution worth losing out on Jesus declaring you his brother or sister openly in the presence of the angels? Probably not.

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to having a personal shout out from Jesus on the jumbotron of Heaven.

Daily Bible reading: 1 Samuel 1-3, Luke 12:1-34

Daily Bible Reading

Brother, sister, mother

What does your church family look like? Is it just your blood family sitting in the row next to you? Perhaps some extended family as well? Or is it the church in it’s entirety?

This last Sunday, the young adults in our church did me proud. With no encouragement from myself (or anyone else that I know of), they instigated a church-wide invitation to go out for lunch. Folks that might not normally dine together met up at a restaurant and shared a meal together.

This is what church family is. It is the young and old, married and single, leaders and followers getting together to get to know each other and to enjoy each other’s company. The purpose of the church body, aside from spreading the Gospel is Christian fellowship. It is to extend your family beyond the boundaries of your home and to include those who may not have family at all.

Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!

Matthew 12:50 (NLT)

Daily Bible reading: Genesis 38-40, Matthew 12:22-50