Friday, August 15, 2008

Religion Belief Daily Devotion Sunday March 20 2011

Religion Belief Daily Devotion Sunday March 20 2011
Our scripture readings for today come from Genesis 12:1-4, Psalm 121, John 3:1-17, and Romans 4:1-5, 13-17. Of course, with such rich passages as these before us it is almost impossible to merely capture a quick word of encouragement and move blithely on. And yet, the limits of space restrain our discussion in an almost criminal fashion. May God pardon our hurry! Time, that great enemy of eternal pursuits, compels us to sort through the riches of the selected texts and focus on one simple theme, a theme that seems to run like a golden thread through each of these verses and pulls firmly in our scattered attention. (How is that for a string of overwrought metaphors?! Lordy.)

This one simple word is "Put your faith in God!" In Genesis 12, Abraham is promised that all nations will be blessed through him and his children. As noted later in Genesis 15, Abraham simply believed God. Romans 4 notes that Abraham understood the universal implications of this promise and believed God that he should be "heir of the world." This is truly astounding! A childless nomadic shepherd hears a word from God that all nations shall be blessed in him and his children, and this newly converted pagan simply believed that God tells the truth. Abraham had no experience with God to speak of at this point, yet he simply trusted that God cannot lie.

John 3 speaks of this sort of faith as the basis for our salvation. Jesus told Nicodemus that we can only enter Messiah's kingdom by placing our faith in the word of Messiah. This is how we are born again. Our repentance, baptism and Spirit-infilling all flow out of the moment of faith when we trust that God means what He says when He offers a full pardon to sinners. Paul teaches us in Romans 4 that this sort of "born again" faith is the faith that fulfills the promise the God made to Abraham. It is all about faith!

Psalm 121 teaches the same lesson. It is God who is our keeper, not we. Psalm 121 resonates with the profound idea that flows out of God's covenant with Abraham: the promises of God will be fulfilled based on the faithfulness of God and not the faithfulness of man. God will keep us! As Paul says, I am persuaded He is able to keep all I have committed into His hand against that day."

Here is the simple word for today: Let the Lord be your keeper. Look to His faithfulness, not your own. Trust Him to fill you with the Spirit, and put your trust in His mediated, indwelling presence within you rather than your own strength and fleshly abilities. When fears rise, they force you to look to yourself, to your failings, your flaws, your intractable inability to produce holiness within yourself. Push those fears aside and choose faith. Choose to believe the truth that God tells rather than the lies that Satan whispers. Whose report will you believe? Believe God! He is your keeper. Let Him do His job.


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