Contemplating Life As Worship

If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. -1 Peter 4:11

The entirety of our lives is made up of what we think, say and do. Our active and passive response to what we are born into, what happens to us, and our surroundings — situations that unfold.

Whether we see it our not, God is the author of life; of our lives. Each breath we breathe is from God. His plan includes us. Part of that plan is our free will, our ability to uniquely decide how we’ll respond to the world as it presents itself, including interaction with each other.

Through studying the Bible and from insights gleaned from friends and sages, I have come to believe I should glorify God in all things, making my life a constant act of worship. But without some understanding of who God is, this is difficult. Even though God’s revelation is available to us all and His law is written on our hearts, it seems impossible to consistently glorify God.

If I was able to subjugate every thought, and every word, and every deed to God’s power; or to fully understand His purposes and His perfect plan for my life, who would I be then? It’s worth thinking about. A life focused on giving glory and power to God in all things — a perfect life, perfect alignment with God’s perfect will.

My hunch is this would be better than any life I could dream up, construct, or will into existence on my own. It’s crazy to think about this perfect life I am unlikely to attain — yet by my faith in Jesus, and through His grace, God considers me worthy of total righteousness, offering me a different kind of life. One in which I am able to receive God’s love as if I were His perfect child.

Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross offers the best example of God’s perfect love. This is the reason I choose to surrender all, bowing down to the maker of heaven and earth.

Thank you God for giving me freedom in the deliverance from my sin, through my submission to you. Thy will, not mine be done, as it is in heaven and on earth. Amen.

1 Chronicles 23; 1 Peter 4; Micah 2; Luke 11

All You Need Is Love

When Jesus speaks of the perfect life, He is very clear: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” -Luke 10:27. In perfect love, God desires our wellbeing, our fellowship and obedience.

Obedience is a hard word for me to hear, let alone to say or do! But obedience to God’s precepts ultimately make us better, stronger, healthier and happier. God’s law is no longer imposed, but encouraged in love. It’s not offered in oppression, but in freedom from sin through a life of tangible fellowship with the Creator of the Universe. Obedience to a perfect God is to seek the love Jesus speaks of.

Love gets more complicated when we are concerned for our well being, when others threaten our way of life, our freedom or interests. This is when we must chose between our own understanding or trusting God.

I am fascinated by the intensity of the discourse after this very unusual and surprising election. I have had to remind myself that God is eternally sovereign and we are not.

Living out our faith is about love in action, showing love without favoritism, loving the unlovable, practicing grace and gratitude. It is helpful to recognize our hypocrisy and self-righteousness, avoiding demagoguery, so easily embraced.

Personal spiritual transformation is the true source of social change. It is born in Love. God’s Spirit guides us. There is no other way.

God is sovereign and everything, even political power, comes from Him or is allowed by Him.

We have a lifetime of opportunity to live out values like kindness, humility, forgiveness, bravery, sacrifice, integrity, generosity, and compassion. We might easily claim these as our own, and overlook them in others, but love is the champion of justice and truth.

More than anything Jesus is saying to me, “trust God, surrender all to Him and love each other like there is no tomorrow.”

Perhaps John Lennon had it right; “all you need is love!”

1 Chronicles 15; James 2. Secret: Amos 9; Luke 4

Hall of Faith or Hall of Fame?

Hebrews chapter 11 is often referred to as the hall of faith. This is where the legacies of the heroes of Scripture are chronicled. Very different from the halls of fame we encounter in our culture today. 

Walking through a sporting goods store this past week I noticed a very large banner. An athlete up at the break of dawn, with all the ‘essential’ gear, stared into the camera with determination.  The text read simply “I WILL”. Here is another ad from the campaign. 

Under Armour I WILL campaign
Under Armour I WILL campaign

The memory of the familiar “JUST DO IT” slogan immediately came to mind and I thought ‘at least this “I WILL” campaign was a bit more transparent of a rallying cry, God willing we will have an easier time seeing it empty.’ In my estimation, when comparing and contrasting the heroes of Scripture from Hebrews 11 to this campaign, it was their faith that helped them realize they and their will were the furthest thing from true glory.


Extra Credit: Self Examination. From conversations with them, some teammates that went on to pursue and reach the professional level struggled with a seemingly constant battle against selfishness. These people were not selfish but their battle was against a lie that said the only way to make it was a completely self absorbed lifestyle, dedicating every moment to their bodies and skills. A constant placing of themselves, and their training, first.

Compare this to your “making it”. Ask yourself what does “making it” look like to you? Is your definition of “making it” of this world? Titles, money, position… What sort of “training” is required to always be first in your life for your definition of “making it”? Know that the world will lie to you about the answer to this question. Praise God that He has given us the truth!

From the hall of faith we get a sense of what making it looks like to our God. It is simple. It is faith. Where the first verse defines faith, the second verse speaks to the stark difference in the bases for congratulation between the ‘people of old’ and today; where faith was this bases in the ‘people of old.’ Their faith was their accomplishments, not victory on this earth, some position, or peer perception of them. It was their faith in God. Here is the big question that we all need to get right. In your life does faith in God = making it?

Suggestions for prayer: Ask the LORD to show you what success looks like. To give you a deep passion for pleasing Him in this way, a steadfastness for pursuing this with a single eye in meekness, humility and faith.

For further study: Memorize and meditate on Hebrews 11:1. Here we find the definition of faith. Such an important factor in following Christ.

Today’s reading: 1 Chronicles 7–8; Hebrews 11; Amos 5; Luke 1:1–38

A New Covenant

But God found fault with the people and said: “The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.Hebrews 8:8-9

As I read about this New Covenant I wonder: Why did we need one? How does it work?

God once made a covenant with His chosen people. These were the descendants of Noah, and the children of Abraham. He promised to bless them and save them; and to save the world through them. They, in exchange were bound to his law, essentially the Ten Commandments. Law that focused primarily on loving God and each other, putting God above all while striving for purity and relying on ritual sacrifice to receive God’s atonement for sin.

As I read through the book of Kings and 2Kings, it reinforces the tremendous disappointment God experienced in the almost constant rebellion of his people. Though God appeared at crucial times, rescuing His chosen people, offering many signs and wonders, still they turned away — worshiping other gods, sacrificing their children, and leaning on their own understanding.

The New Covenant came despite God’s disappointment, perhaps even because of it. It came as an expression of His constant love for people. This is not His plan “B” but the final reconciliation, through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Considering our tendency to rebel, it’s remarkable God extends salvation to us. When we receive God’s grace, in an instant our sins are washed away and we are made righteous by faith! No longer under the power of the law, we are set free in Christ and given freedom to pursue a relationship with the one true God. A holy God who declares our innocence, though we are guilty. A self-sacrificing God, who takes our place on the cross and dies for our sins so we don’t have to.

The New Covenant is based on an act of love that restores the fullness of God’s intended relationship with us — His created beings. Once set free from sin, we are able to pursue holiness in the power of God’s Holy Spirit and a life in the presence of a living God who offers everything we cannot attain on our own. In this way we are blessed with peace, freedom, power and joy in the truth and security of an eternal, dynamic relationship with the very creator of the universe! This is the New Covenant. Thank you God!

Reading: 1 Chronicles 1–2; Hebrews 8; Amos 2; Psalm 145

Autumn Blessing

What shall I return to the Lord for all his goodness to me? -Psalm 116:12

In the pale light of an October evening, I sat on my patio — under the yellow rain of the locust trees, crows cawing back and forth. The cool air was filled with the smell of distant smoke as I sat wondering: How could I be so blessed?

In this tranquil place I had broken bread with my family and friends, sharing stories of our lives that intertwined like vines in a vineyard, planted and grafted, pruned and picked. Not all bore the best fruit, but the ones that did were special.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.John 15:1-2

Vineyards At Sunset

Why was I so fortunate? Honestly I couldn’t think of anything that I had done to deserve all that I had been given. A strong and healthy family. A beautiful, patient, loyal and loving wife. Three amazing boys, all so different. My businesses had been prosperous in ways that made it hard for me to take the credit.

It had also been a life that revealed the hand of God in the splendor of creation.

Scenery Of High Mountain With Lake And High Peak On A Clear Day

A litany of people offering hope and direction to a scrawny freckled faced boy, and then to an arrogant young man. People investing time in me along the way, wanting nothing in return. Now I worked with trusted partners in collaborations reaching farther than I ever could have imagined. Still, I had this feeling there was more to my life.

The feeling I had on this crisp Autumn day was more than abundant gratitude, recognizing God’s incredible grace. It was a sense of responsibility, but not burdensome — more like the anticipation of greater opportunities around the next bend. Yes I had been given much and there was a reason for this, a reason I wanted to understand.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.John 15:5

Nothing that was given to me was really mine. I had been entrusted with knowledge and treasures beyond my wildest dreams; perhaps even wisdom. I had been the unworthy recipient of unconditional love; this was the greatest gift of all. Yet when I finally realized that I was only the steward of these gifts, now I had to decide how better to use them.

In the brightness of Autumn it became clear, by surrendering all to God, the fulfillment of my purpose was possible. This was now my greatest opportunity.

Today’s reading: 2 Kings 4; 1 Timothy 1; Daniel 8; Psalm 116


Take notice, you senseless ones among the people; you fools, when will you become wise? Does he who fashioned the ear not hear? Does he who formed the eye not see? Does he who disciplines nations not punish? Does he who teaches mankind lack knowledge? The Lord knows all human plans; he knows that they are futile. Psalm 94:8-11

While flying to Los Angeles last week I met a Jewish electrical engineer going to visit his son at UCLA. My new freind had battled obesity, depression and the unexpected loss of the love of his life. He had overcome much. We spoke of God, eternity, the nation of Isreal and God’s promises for almost three hours. When we were saying our fairwell he asked me if I knew the term beshert. I had not, so he told me it meant; something that was meant to be, like the remarkable coincidences we shared and the fact that we, by some unusual circumstances ended up across the isle from each other.

When I was returning home on Friday, at the airport I was approached by a young man near my gate introducing himself as a good Jewish boy who needed help. He claimed to be a chemical engineering student who had flown west for an interview. He was without a credit card and had discovered his trip back east was canceled for weather and couldn’t get out until tomorrow. He couldn’t get lodging vouchers from the airline and had slept in the airport. He needed some cash for a hotel. This complicated story seemed possible, so regardless of my cynicism I gave him the cash, telling him to get a credit card. He said I was one of only two people that would even talk with him and thanked me profusely, called me an angel, while offering to send me my money back, and also pay it forward.

I looked at him and said “shalom;” then asked if he knew the Hebrew term for something that was meant to be. He said it was beshert. So I told him about how I had just learned this term on Wednesday, and it seemed fitting. He thanked me again and wandered off leaving me with my thoughts. Had I been I conned or was I merely taking a chance to help a desperate soul? I hoped it was the latter. Either way I believed I had made the right choice. It was beshert!

My life continues to be filled with surprises and blessing beyond any reasonable explanation. I deserved nothing but had been given the desires of my heart. I believed this was the result of the unquenchable desire placed in my heart to know God. There are five questions that have persisted as I searched for truth in a complicated world. The appearance of these five questions and my pursuit of their answers was beshert.

  • What were the prime sources of revelation and truth?
  • Why do we want to know God?
  • How can we know God?
  • What are our narratives about God and their source?
  • What is my relationship with God?

Trying to answer these questions for many years I came to the conclusion that the requirement for finding God was faith. This began with the proverbial “leap of faith.” I had to suspend my disbelief to open my mind.

Because of this I have come to know a loving God, who in grace offered me redemption through the blood of Christ and transformation in the power off His Holy Spirit. I wish I could say that this was always the case. It wasn’t. There was a time when I believed God was angry and expected perfection from me. The punishment for my lack of perfection wasn’t just the loss of God’s love but the terror of the threat of burning forever in a lake of fire. The worst part of this narrative was that it was foisted upon me by people I didn’t trust or respect; and sometimes even those I cared for who seemed to be trying to trick or manipulate me for the sake of their personal satisfaction.

But God was constantly revealing Himself in the splendor of His creation and through the examples of love in the lives of those who had discovered the power of a covenant relationship (Psalm 19). We all owe it to ourselves to determine the truth about God. It is a personal journey that first requires faith and then intent.

Surprisingly, for me, and perhaps this is true for others, a meaningful relationship with God was harder and easier than I ever thought. The biggest surprise was that getting closer to God wasn’t so much the result of my actions, or that I stormed the gates of Heaven by the sheer force of my will. It was in the understanding of my failures and shortcomings. So in my selfishness and pride I amazingly came to see that by surrendering my will and desires to God, I was finally able to connect as I was meant to. When I did, I saw that God had been there all along, loving me, calling me, shaping me and welcoming me to receive my salvation in His incredible Grace.

Instead of expecting perfection in me He offered me perfection in Him. This was when my narrative shifted. It was meant to be. This was beshert.

1 Kings 12; Philippians 3; Ezekiel 42; Psalm 94

The Bible: God’s Love Story

I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. -Galatians 1:11-12

Does God love us enough to choose to communicate? I used to wonder about this, I no longer do.

Was the Bible written by man? In a sense, I suppose it was. But does it also have Divine origins? More fundamentally; is there a God who created us, who intervenes at times, having actually stepped into our world as one of us?

After a lifetime of contemplation and prayer, I can only conclude YES!

Christianity is often maligned for being exclusive and arrogant. But if in fact God exists, and has chosen a certain path of revelation, then doesn’t it follow that any information that brings that story into light is worth exploring?

The Bible offers this opportunity by sharing the amazing story of our reconciliation with God. Not for the pious and the self-righteous, but for those of us who are at times broken, struggling to understand morality and hungry for truth. I have found the Bible to be more than a codex for life. It is a powerful love story about rebellion, redemption and salvation. This is a story we all need to understand.

Man is man and God is God — holy and separate from us. Yet it is by His grace that we are redeemed. We are not called to seek adoration or please people, but to love others. Doing this isn’t easy in our limited power. But in our surrender and contrition we receive God’s power to love; not in our strength but in our weakness.

We are made to be the instruments of God — instruments of love.

In the Bible, Jesus instructs us to have genuine concern for ALL PEOPLE. Not in arrogance or judgement, but in humility, service and sacrifice. When I live with an attitude of grace and gratitude I demonstrate a spirit of peace, kindness, and warmth towards others. And this power comes from God.

It’s not surprising that only God demonstrates constant, pure and perfect love. As Christ, God provided the perfect and ultimate example. He calls out through time, to all humanity, inviting us to follow.

I would rather be a Christ Follower than anything else. In the Bible Jesus teaches us by His life, death, burial and resurrection; and that it is possible to be in harmony with God. It is also possible to love other people unconditionally. When I am able to do this I am able to truly love myself. Then my possibilities are aligned with my purpose. Only then am I able to achieve my fullest potential and to bare the fruit of the spirit.

Thank you God for loving me, so that I, in turn, am able to genuinely love you and others. May others see your love in me. Amen.

By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. -Matthew 7:16-18

Today’s reading link: 2 Samuel 21; Galatians 1; Ezekiel 28; Psalm 77

Happiness Isn’t Everything

Many thanks to my friend Erin Straza who was so gracious to agree to write for Bible Journal this week. Her encouragement as a friend and a fellow artist has been a blessing to me over the last year. She is an insightful and heartfelt writer. I am looking forward to her new book about comfort detox that releases in February.

I first met Erin when she was the staff writer for Spread Truth Ministries ( This team is best known for their amazing condensation of the bible to a brilliant, compelling, five minute animation which is inspiring millions across the world in thirteen languages and soon to be twenty two!

Now Erin’s fine work:

God’s Comfort Distribution Strategy

If our country had a national emotion, it would certainly be happiness. The pursuit of it is written into our founding documents. It’s become the highest aim of our lives and even our in-the-moment choices. Although being happy isn’t wrong, it isn’t the only emotion we will experience in this life. When other feelings show up and crowd happiness out, it’s easy to feel like a failure.

Something I appreciate about the Bible is that the authors are real people who experience real feelings—and not just the socially acceptable ones. Even Paul—who seems to be a persistent, get-it-done, no excuses sort of guy—admits to a whole host of emotions.

Today’s reading includes a portion of Paul’s second letter to the believers in Corinth, in which Paul admits to the entire church that he had been depressed (v. 6) because their “bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within” (v. 5). We’ve all had seasons when nothing seems to be going well and it robs us of rest physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Although we don’t know the extent of Paul’s despondency, whether it was short-lived discouragement or debilitating depression, he willingly confesses his struggle, his pain, his weakness.That’s a brave soul, indeed.

Admitting these needs is necessary, however, if we are to receive the comfort of God. He is our Comforter, our solace for every trouble. We know this—in theory. But in practice? Well . . . we all could use a bit more practice!

Practicing the practice of finding our comfort in God takes a concerted effort. We’ve been conditioned by our culture—and ultimately, our sin nature—to grasp for comfort everywhere else but God. Our efforts fall short because God made us for Himself, as Pascal has said. To this end, I see two principles in 2 Corinthians 7 that help us practice finding our comfort in God.

No Hiding: Learn to Receive. When I’m downcast, reaching out to others for help takes all the courage I can muster. I need courage to be real like Paul was—upfront, no mask, no hiding. But mainly I need courage to be tended to in my moment of need. Inviting others to draw near and be close when I am at my lowest is a place of great vulnerability. The people I invite into this tender realm must be trusted allies who speak full truth in full love. Coming to others with my full self requires that I allow others to come to me with their full selves too. This is the mark of Christian community, where everyone is “walking in the light;” it’s essential if we are to enjoy true “fellowship within one another” (1 John 1:7, ESV). Learning to receive help and comfort from others is foundational to a healthy fellowship—and a healthy person.

No Hoarding: Learn to Give. In this world of trouble, it’s tempting to back away from people like Paul who confidently announce their needs. But a healthy fellowship cannot have members who only know how to receive help and comfort—they must also know how to give it away. Sometimes I withdraw from others because I don’t want to invest the energy required to be a comfort. Sometimes the magnitude of a need just plain scares me. But as a recipient of God’s mercy, I am now commissioned as a steward; hoarding the comfort I’ve been given is not becoming of God’s redeemed. Paul explains how comfort is meant to be the gift that keeps on giving:

“But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you.” (2 Corinthians 7: 6–7)

Paul received comfort from Titus, who got it from the Corinthian believers. Ultimately, the comfort came from God who, it seems, “comforts the downcast” through His people. We are truly His comfort agents, commissioned to give away all that God has given us, wherever we find a need. Comfort is never meant for a single, onetime use. It grows in power when we pass it on.

In sum, all comfort comes from God, as He is “the God of all comfort (2 Cor. 1:3). But God often uses flesh-and-bone people to deliver it. Comfort abounds when we readily admit our own needs and readily tend to the needy. In this life, happiness may come and go with our circumstances, but God has a comfort that prevails when His people refuse to hide and learn to give.

Today’s reading link:  2 Samuel 14; 2 Corinthians 7; Ezekiel 21; Psalm 68

Erin Straza is a freelance writer, editor, and marketing communications consultant. Her first book, Comfort Detox: Finding Freedom from Habits That Bind You, releases February 2017 from InterVarsity Press. Learn more at


Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep. You, Lord, preserve both people and animals. How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. -Psalm 36: 5-7

God’s love was hard to miss and yet sometimes people missed it or turned away — sometimes I did too. But why? I knew God was sovereign and would do as He pleased, but did he use affliction and sin to draw us closer? That was sure how it had worked for me, but still I wondered, did He ever cause it? Perhaps affliction and sin were not only the natural consequences of turning away from God, but also the way God drew close to us. This was starting to make sense.

The History of the Jewish nation and the story of David both offer examples of God’s love and power. They are examples of how people respond to God and how God responds to people. These stories are historical treasures and lessons in both faithfulness and spiritual transformation, lessons that still speak truth and power into the lives of people today!

Israel cried out to God:

Remember, Lord, what has happened to us; look, and see our disgrace. Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers, our homes to foreigners. We have become fatherless, our mothers are widows. We must buy the water we drink; our wood can be had only at a price. Those who pursue us are at our heels; we are weary and find no rest. We submitted to Egypt and Assyria to get enough bread. Our ancestors sinned and are no more, and we bear their punishment. Slaves rule over us, and there is no one to free us from their hands. -Lamentations 5:1-8

Despite being chosen by God to be a holy nation and despite God’s frequent demonstration of his love, Israel turned away from God over and over. Their sin of disobedience resulted in affliction that many times led to repentance and reconciliation. When the Israelites were “on track” with God, His grace came in the blessings of provision and remarkable victories over powerful foes.

The stories of God’s anointing of Saul and Saul’s disobedience, when compared to David and his adulatory and act of murder, are in stark contrast to each other. Despite David’s transgressions, because he never stops trusting and loving God, he has a different outcome than Saul who turns away from God, eventually in arrogance and self righteousness as God’s Holy Spirit retreats along with His blessings. On the other hand, David’s faithfulness leads to his forgiveness by God who “washes him white as snow” and separates him from his sin, “as far as the East is from the West.”

The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.” -1 Samuel 16:1

In the examples of David and Saul, it sure looks like, if we remain faithful, God remains with us, despite our shortcomings. But our permanent separation from God appeared to be a possible consequence if we turned our backs on God. This was true with Pharaoh, and Saul, and even Israel. God in His sovereignty reserves the right to take back the gift of “free will”, which could allow our hearts to harden. I certainly didn’t want that to happen to me, but what if in my hesitancy it was possible?

Today’s reading: 1 Samuel 20; 1 Corinthians 2; Lamentations 5; Psalm 36

I often wondered how God’s wisdom was revealed? And how could I know God’s spirit? Often this seemed beyond my understanding. And then there were times when I felt God’s presence so powerfully I couldn’t believe I ever favored my prescription for happiness over God’s. But without the stark contrasts in my life, would I have been able to understand my relationship to God? The list of thoughts and words and deeds that I had chosen that “grieved” the Holy Spirit were too long to list, and yet God still poured His Holy Spirit into me when I turned to Him, when I asked. I was so moved by God’s Grace it literally brought me to my knees.

However, as it was written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”—the things God has prepared for those who love him— these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. -1 Corinthians 2:9-10

Somehow I knew, if I sought God’s will above my own, it would be revealed. I would never know the depth of God’s love and wisdom if I continued to pursue my own understanding and worldly wisdom. I knew I had to change. I was changing.

Somehow I learned that life was so much more than being cool and having fun. As cool and fun as that was, it often became the “honey pot” that distracted me from finding real treasure, a treasure more vast and magnificent than any I ever imagined.

This is what I hungered for. This is what I found. Thank you Jesus.

Faith and Righteousness

You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. -Psalm 18:28

After wrestling with the idea of righteousness, it turns out it wasn’t exactly what I thought. Mostly I believed righteousness was what God required from us to be worthy of His fellowship and our salvation. But how righteous did we need to be? Holiness was impossible and if the standard was anything less, how would anyone determine where that line was drawn?

I believed we were all called to pursue righteousness, but there was a different kind of righteousness, the one that Jennifer clearly described in yesterday’s Bible Journal. It wasn’t the kind that came from discipline or hard work, though they both offered rewards. It was the kind that came from faith, something that comes easy for a child; from the kind of faith that we discover in moments of helplessness, when we surrender to One far greater. This was the righteousness that came from our belief in the existence of a God who loved us so much he took on flesh and allowed himself to be murdered for our un-righteousness. This was the righteousness that came by the grace.

Today’s reading: 1 Samuel 4; Romans 4; Jeremiah 42; Psalm 18

In today’s text (Romans 4:6-8) Paul talks about grace, quoting scripture: “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:6). He also shares David’s proclamation from Psalm 32:1-2 about the blessing from receiving undeserved righteousness. Abraham received this blessing and was credited righteousness by faith, not only Abraham but his descendants, and not only his biological descendants, but his spiritual descendants, for “….He is the father of us all” (Romans 4:16).

I find it fascinating that the message of the gospel, this “new covenant,” was anticipated from the beginning of time. It is mentioned throughout scripture, and offered to all humanity. Jesus’s disciples shared this message of grace and hope to both the Jews and Gentiles of their day, and to us. They offered compelling evidence found in the teachings of the Old Testament and from their personal experience with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. And thier message is still alive today: Jesus lives, God is real and through Jesus, God’s Holy Spirit manifests in millions of lives that are remarkably transformed each day throughout the world.

If an old man with a barren wife, to whom God appears and blesses with children is credited righteousness for his faith, What does that mean for us? A little faith goes a long way with God, faith that He is even willing to provide to us if we ask!