Saturday, February 2, 2019

Devotional Journaling #5

I am reading two devotionals this year. One is Living Hope for the End of Days: 365 Days of Devotions from the Book of the Revelation by John Samuel Barnett. The other is Joni Eareckson Tada's Diamonds in the Dust.

Living Hope for the End of Days. This week's theme was Christ is Our Refuge. This was probably the best week so far. The last two or three weeks have been duds--fluff without much insight or food for thought. In fact, I was considering abandoning this devotional and starting something else. 

  • Jesus Christ is our hope, our refuge, and our salvation. He is as close as a cry, an outstretched hand, or an upturned heart.
  • The cities of refuge present a clear, but often overlooked, picture of Christ as Savior.
  • The writer of Hebrews is telling us that the only way to experience the power of God that saves us is to run to Christ in desperation for refuge—to that safest place.
  • The cities of refuge were wonderful because: The cities of refuge were easy to reach. Jewish tradition declares that there were signs at the crossroads: Refuge! Refuge! These signs pointed the way to safety. The cities of refuge were open to all. to the Israelite, the stranger, and the sojourner among them (Numbers 35:15). The cities of refuge were always open. The cities of refuge were a completely sufficient refuge. They not only provided legal protection but also completely met an endangered person’s needs once inside. The cities of refuge were the only hope.
  • Anyone can come to Christ because: Christ is easy to reach. We may cast ourselves upon Christ at any time, in any place. His church is to be the teller of this good news that cries “Refuge! Refuge!” to the lost world. Christ is open to all people. Christ’s arms are always open—He never locks His gates. Jesus is “the door” (John 10:7, 9), and that door is never shut. Christ is a completely sufficient refuge. “Christ’s death in space-time history is completely adequate to meet our need for refuge from the true moral guilt that we have. Christ is our only hope. If we do not flee to the refuge, which God has given to us at such a great price, there is no other hope for us.
  • Christ died for the deliberate sinner. Who is that? Every one of us can say, “It is I!” How can a holy and righteous God accept those who are guilty? It is not by giving up His holiness; He does not devalue that, or we would have no moral absolute in the universe. Rather, the reason Christ is able to be our Redeemer is that He is the High Priest, and the sacrifice He gave was His own death. Because of Christ’s death in my place, I will never face God’s wrath. Now I can boldly come before God’s throne and, surrounded by His mercy and grace, find all that I need to live life and serve Him.
  • Christ has entered into God’s presence so that we can enter too. When do we enter this refuge? We enter in once for all at the moment we cast ourselves upon Christ and accept Him as our Savior. At that moment we are declared justified by God who judges us on the basis of Christ’s finished work at Calvary.

Diamonds in the Dust.

  • January 27. Home is wherever your heart resides. That's why many people call heaven or the arms of Jesus, home. But God's Word is home, too. When the apostle Paul says, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly," he is reminding us that Scripture should find a home in our hearts. We should dwell in it. Richly. For like any home, we should know God's Word like the back of our hand. Do you consider God's Word a "dwelling place"? 
  • January 30. Jerry Bridges, in his book, The Pursuit of Holiness, says: "We are more concerned about our own victory over sin than we are about the fact that our sins grieve the heart of God. WE cannot tolerate failure in our struggle with sin, chiefly because we are success-oriented, not because we know it is offensive to God." 
  • February 1. Faith is what will enable us to see God as a God of love at work through hurt and hardship in our lives...How do we cultivate such faith? Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. If we could find the faith that gives invisible things substance, that enables us to live triumphantly, then we must find it by hearing the Word of God. 

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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