I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness I have drawn you. – Jeremiah 31:3
Who can describe or measure the love of God? Our Bible is a revelation of the fact that God is love. When we preach justice, it is justice tempered with love. When we preach righteousness, it is righteousness founded on love. When we preach atonement for sin, it is atonement necessitated because of love, provided by love, finished by love.
When we preach the resurrection of Christ, we are preaching the miracle of love. When we preach the abiding presence of Christ, we are preaching the power of love. When we preach the return of Christ, we are preaching the fulfillment of love.
No matter what sin we have committed, no matter how black, dirty, shameful, or terrible it may be, God loves us. WE may be at the very gate of hell itself, but God loves us with an everlasting love. The proof? Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, went to the Cross for us. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
DEVOTIONAL BY CHARLES STANLEY – ON HOLY GROUND
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things become new. – 2 Corinthians 5:17
To get the grasp of this verse, imagine the old you as a caterpillar and the new you in Christ as a mature butterfly. What you may find in your life experience, however, is that even though you are a butterfly, you are still drawn to the caterpillar way of life. How can you end this tension?
In his letter to the Romans, Paul wrote to exhort them to consistent “butterfly living.” The
temptations in their society to relapse into “caterpillar living” were strong, much as they are today. He wrote, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove that the will of God is, that which is good and
acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).
This principle is so dynamic; you cannot afford to miss it. “Transformed” is a translation of the Greek “metamorphosis,” the process by which a caterpillar becomes a butterfly.
Renewing your mind is in essence taking on the mind of Christ; it means changing your thinking in accordance with the truth of God’s Word. What you believe about God defines the quality of the relationship. Remember, you are not a caterpillar with wings glued on – you are truly a butterfly.
DEVOTIONAL FROM POSTCARDS FROM HEAVEN – CLAIRE CLONINGER
I have hidden the treasures of my heart from the worldly wise and cynical, but I am revealing them to now to you, for I see that you are willing to humble yourself and come to me like a child. What pleasure you give me when you are simple and trusting and childlike! Then, more than ever, I delight in you.
I am known to no one but my Son and those to whom he chooses to reveal my nature. When your heart is open to him, my heart is open to you!
Come now, bringing the things that worry you or trouble you, the things that produce stress in your life. I did not create you to bear these things in your human strength. If you let me, I will carry you.
You have much to learn from Jesus. Spend time with him. You will find that his yoke is light and his burden is easy. This is the kind of load you were created to carry. Put on his gentleness and humility, and enter into my rest.
The Parable of the Tenants
“Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.
“The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.
“But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
“Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”
“He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.”
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
“‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
“Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth.
The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.
The decrees of the LORD are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
DEVOTIONAL BY OSWALD CHAMBERS – MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST
God’s Total Surrender to Us
For God so loved the world that He gave . . . —John 3:16
Salvation does not mean merely deliverance from sin or the experience of personal holiness. The salvation which comes from God means being completely delivered from myself, and being placed into perfect union with Him.
When I think of my salvation experience, I think of being delivered from sin and gaining personal holiness. But salvation is so much more! It means that the Spirit of God has brought me into intimate contact with the true Person of God Himself. And as I am caught up into total surrender to God, I become thrilled with something infinitely greater than myself.
To say that we are called to preach holiness or sanctification is to miss the main point. We are called to proclaim Jesus Christ (see 1 Corinthians 2:2). The fact that He saves from sin and makes us holy is actually part of the effect of His wonderful and total surrender to us.
If we are truly surrendered, we will never be aware of our own efforts to remain surrendered. Our entire life will be consumed with the One to whom we surrender. Beware of talking about surrender if you know nothing about it. In fact, you will never know anything about it until you understand that John 3:16 means that God completely and absolutely gave Himself to us. In our surrender, we must give ourselves to God in the same way He gave Himself for us— totally, unconditionally, and without reservation. The consequences and circumstances resulting from our surrender will never even enter our mind, because our life will be totally consumed with Him.