8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He [Apostle Paul] writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
All teaching in the Bible, whether coming directly from Jesus or another person moved by the Holy Spirit, is God’s Word. People who ignore or change this Word of God do so at their own peril. We have been forewarned by one who read and wrote, heard and saw the Word of God in action. And – as he himself pointed out to Christians of his day about it, you would do well to pay attention to it, like a light shining in a dark place until the dawn breaks and the morning star rises in your heart (2 Peter 1:19).
• In the grace and knowledge of Christ, I am a disciple of Jesus who seeks to grow in my learning and application of God’s Word in my life.
Father God, may your Word have unparalleled standing and sway in my life. I pray that it enlightens me in all that I am, think, say, and do. Amen.
The one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.
Are you taking this teaching of Jesus seriously? What would you point to as evidence to support your answer to this question? Putting Jesus’ words into practice is like building on a solid foundation; hearing His words and not putting them into practice… well, that is not a good practice and not good preparation for the inevitable storms of life.
Jesus, my Lord, my Master, my Teacher, help me take seriously your teachings; may Your Spirit bring them to bear in my day-to-day walk. In your name I pray. Amen.
P.S. Don’t let the shortness of this devotion disguise its seriousness. Take time to review and acknowledge your wise or foolish practice.
5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.
This bible verse is a tongue twister; unfortunately it is NOT a good one! James shares a sad reality that our tongues can become disgracefully twisted, sharing both praise for God and shameful words about the people he made and loves – people His Son died for. James 3 likens the tongue to a fire of sorts, able to corrupt a person and send his whole life up in flames (see James 3:5-6) May all of our words, whether in communication with God or man, bring honor to the Lord.
Father God, help me guard my heart as the wellspring of life and also my tongue – a potential wellspring of destruction. Let me take this teaching of your Word seriously and use my tongue for good. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Moses addresses God: Why should the Egyptians say, “It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth”? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.
Noted above, the Lord is none-too-pleased at the sinful behavior of His people so recently released from bondage under the Egyptians. Moses, in bold fashion it seems, reminds God of His own reputation and promises rather than drawing on the people’s activities (good or bad). This was a different era and a different covenant would be operating with the Old Testament people of God, yet we can still learn from this story. Our biblical prayer leads our time of prayerful re-centering on God:
On behalf of God’s people, Moses sought the favor of the LORD his God. When concluded with his prayer, the LORD relented and did not bring the disaster he had threatened.
Lord, we seek your favor as well in the name of Jesus our Lord. Though we have sinned time and again and though you would be totally right in harboring anger toward us, we ask for mercy – for ourselves and others.
Almighty Father, we rejoice that you relented with your people back then, and we rejoice now because you are merciful still – just as you promised to be in Jesus Christ. Forgive us sinful people for Jesus sake, Amen.
Lastly, hear these words of absolution today: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, has had mercy upon you and has given His only Son to die for you and for His sake forgives you all of your sins. Have a great day under His grace and go in peace.
[Pray about whatever God has put upon your heart.]
Humility before God's word means we will always be willing to re-examine our beliefs in light of Scripture - making sure they are rooted in the Bible and not just tradition.
p.134, The Prideful Soul’s Guide to Humility, Fontenot/Jones
The goal of providing humility prayers is training you to turn teachings into prayers for yourself and others.
Here is a short example based on the reading above:
Father God, help me always be willing to re-examine my beliefs in light of Scripture and make sure they are rooted in the Bible – even more so that I am rooted in the Bible -- and not just tradition. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Next week Lent begins with Ash Wednesday (March 6).
You will be encouraged to make a covenant with God for the 40-day season preceding Easter and the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. There will be a further opportunity to share that covenant with a few others who could journey with you, agreeing to walk it out together.
This lines up well with God’s desire that we encourage one another and spur each other on in our lives of discipleship.
Prayerfully consider this chance to connect with Jesus – and others – during Lent: We conclude today’s discipleship point with a piece from the Disciple’s Covenant: In my desire to be someone “always ready to share the reason for the hope that I have in Christ Jesus,” (1 Peter 3:15) I am willing to set goals to be intentional about my life of following Jesus.
Lord Jesus, as I follow you, I pray for strength and courage to step out in faith and intentionally add this opportunity to be in your Word, to connect with fellow disciples, and submit to your Spirit’s leading. Help me make it happen; In your name I pray. Amen.
David Spares Saul’s Life
1 After Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, “David is in the Desert of En Gedi.” 2 So Saul took three thousand able young men from all Israel and set out to look for David and his men near the Crags of the Wild Goats.
3 He came to the sheep pens along the way; a cave was there, and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were far back in the cave. 4 The men said, “This is the day the Lord spoke of when he said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.’” Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.
5 Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe. 6 He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.” 7 With these words David sharply rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul. And Saul left the cave and went his way.
8 Then David went out of the cave and called out to Saul, “My lord the king!” When Saul looked behind him, David bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. 9 He said to Saul, “Why do you listen when men say, ‘David is bent on harming you’? 10 This day you have seen with your own eyes how the Lord delivered you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, ‘I will not lay my hand on my lord, because he is the Lord’s anointed.’ 11 See, my father, look at this piece of your robe in my hand! I cut off the corner of your robe but did not kill you. See that there is nothing in my hand to indicate that I am guilty of wrongdoing or rebellion. I have not wronged you, but you are hunting me down to take my life. 12 May the Lord judge between you and me. And may the Lord avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you. 13 As the old saying goes, ‘From evildoers come evil deeds,’ so my hand will not touch you.
14 “Against whom has the king of Israel come out? Who are you pursuing? A dead dog? A flea? 15 May the Lord be our judge and decide between us. May he consider my cause and uphold it; may he vindicate me by delivering me from your hand.”
16 When David finished saying this, Saul asked, “Is that your voice, David my son?” And he wept aloud. 17 “You are more righteous than I,” he said. “You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly. 18 You have just now told me about the good you did to me; the Lord delivered me into your hands, but you did not kill me. 19 When a man finds his enemy, does he let him get away unharmed? May the Lord reward you well for the way you treated me today. 20 I know that you will surely be king and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hands. 21 Now swear to me by the Lord that you will not kill off my descendants or wipe out my name from my father’s family.”
22 So David gave his oath to Saul. Then Saul returned home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold.
How would you handle an enemy that is delivered into your hands to deal with as you want? Think of him (or her) as the kind of enemy that has been abusing their position of authority to come after you and try to destroy you. Would you be gracious and forgiving? Maybe harsh and vindictive? Would your perspective change if the person who delivered this enemy to you was God himself?
That scenario plays itself out in our story today. The anointed and soon-to-be-king David is being hunted by King Saul. Through an odd turn of events, David finds Saul in his hands to do with whatever he wants. Read and find out how he handles his blood-thirsty enemy. You will find that, like our theme for the week iterates, David takes the commands of God quite seriously – like life or death seriously.
Father God, let me build the foundations of my life on your Word and teachings. Let not the scheming of enemies nor tribulations of this world shake my resolve to stay diligently on and in your word. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
This blessing (grace and peace to you) says more about the One doing the blessing than the ones receiving it. That’s not a bad concept, focusing on the one giving the blessing, just as it’s more important to relate to the bless-or than the blessing itself.
Father God, Your worldwide church exists to celebrate your love and grace in Jesus Christ as well as introduce people to that love and grace.
Let it be first that we drink deeply of these blessings and second that we share the blessings abundantly and freely as you’ve shared with us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Lord God, as Father, Son and Spirit, you have a fellowship beyond our understanding. Nonetheless, we pray to experience a similar fellowship among us. Jesus, you prayed that we would know such unity. Bless the fellowship of this congregation at small group and micro-group levels, in our worship experiences, and in our day-to-day interactions. Bless us with godly fellowship among all Christians, and bless even our fellowship among non-Christians, so that such opportunities enable your light to shine in all of our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.