by Brian Frable
SUNDAY, October 31
Right here, right now, our call is to abide in Jesus. In love, I invite you to read Psalm 46 with the understanding that the lifeblood of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, given to us by the Father, is coursing through our entire being. Slowly breathe in this reality. Such beautiful words of prayer and devotion. Is God truly your refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble? Whatever you are facing, think about this: the Lord of hosts is with you. You and I are utterly at the mercy of God. Whatever provision we need, our loving Lord will give it to us as we lean in and trust our life to him. In a world where it seems impossible to be still, looking at our phone multiple times a day, checking this thing or that, thoughts fleeting everywhere, let us be still and believe that God cares for us.
Lord, may my life be completely centered on you, trusting you in all things, willing to be still, declaring you as my constant help and peace. AMEN.
Monday, November 1
Hungering for God’s Way
Psalm 119 may be one of the least-read chapters of Scripture in its entirety. Bits and pieces are quoted for sure. But the whole thing? It seems too long in most settings for our quickie soundbite culture. Let me encourage you to read the whole psalm right now if you are able, which is how it was intended to be read. As you do, think of the words of Jesus before he ascended into heaven, “And teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20, NRSV). As you read this psalm, think about how much you love all that Jesus commanded and how much you want to obey his commands. Jesus says in John 14, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (v. 15, NRSV).
Each of us must be honest with ourselves. Do we love Jesus so much that we have studied all his commands and have worked with the Holy Spirit to put them into practice?
O Lord, renew my faith in you. Help me believe that your commands teach me best how to love you and all people.
Tuesday, November 2
Let us not miss this. God wants us to obey him. Why? Because he loves us. If we believe that God is love, then we must believe that his commands are loving. To remain in his love, we obey. We are blessed to live after Christ’s death and resurrection, after the teachings of Jesus have been recorded, and in the age when the Father has given the Holy Spirit to all who will receive. We now can read Deuteronomy 6 in a new light, because by God’s grace, his teachings and commands have been clarified by Jesus and have been put in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. The question comes again. Do we love God and trust him with everything? If yes, read today’s passage anew. Think about all the teachings and commands of Jesus as you do. Apply this instruction to yourself and your household and be blessed by the gracious loving commands of Jesus.
Lord, help me surrender my life completely to you this day. AMEN.
Wednesday, November 3
In these verses we see Jesus quoting from yesterday’s text in response to the question put to him, “Which commandment is first of all?” And then without being asked, Jesus adds the second. Many of us get lost in the woods and lose sight of what is truly important to God. Perhaps we should get a periodic checkup with those around us and ask the question of those who see us daily, “Based on what you see of me, how I live and the words I use, what would you say is the most important thing in my life?” I encourage you to not take this suggestion hypothetically. If living for God is our top priority, let us invite others to give us feedback. Let us humble ourselves for the sake of getting real before God and others. Learn anew how to seek God’s kingdom and his righteousness, which is our clear calling as followers of Jesus.
O Lord, remind me every hour how to love. AMEN.
Thursday, November 4
Praise God for how he clarifies. Our theme continues, but is now refined. God wants us to understand the difference between dead works and true worship. At this moment, are you able to articulate what true worship of God is? Let’s get one thing straight: worship does not equal singing and music. Those practices are just tools for worship expression, which actually could be part of “dead works,” depending on the heart brought into it. True worship is a life given over to the holy transformation of God’s Spirit, living in the purification of the flesh made possible through the blood of Jesus. One way we might distinguish when we’ve walked into the way of the kingdom, moving from death to life, is we no longer say, “I have to, so that…” Instead, we find ourselves saying, “I want to, because…” May the way of Jesus be a “want to” from within.
O Lord, purify my conscience from dead works. May my life be an expression of holy transformation from the inside out. AMEN.
Friday, November 5
Let us not lose sight of the teachings of Jesus found in this text. “Bear the abuse he endured” (v. 13, NRSV). “Continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God” (v. 15). “Do not neglect to do good and share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God” (v. 16).
What is the “good” we are not to neglect? Check out the beginning of this chapter in Hebrews. Let mutual love continue. Show hospitality to strangers. Remember those in prison and feel their suffering. Be absolutely faithful in marriage, including abolishing all pornographic engagements and sex outside of marriage. Don’t love money, but be content with what you have. Trust God as your helper.
My God, thank you for all the ways you teach us how to love you and others. My desire is to bend my life to your way and my will for your glory. Holy Spirit, remind me and guide me through the teachings of Jesus today. AMEN.
Saturday, November 6
1 John 5:1-12
Bringing Glory to God
Breathe this text in. Through the resurrected Jesus, our great leader and guide, by his blood, God intends to make us complete in everything good so that we may do his will. It is this work and miracle of God that brings glory to Father-Son-Spirit. Without this kind of transformation, words, thoughts, and philosophies are meaningless. How has God transformed your life? How is he transforming your life right now? Only you and God know the depth of love that’s in your heart toward him and people. A transformed—from the inside out—life is God’s witness to the world. It is Jesus showing himself to others through you. If you don’t know this life yet, ask for it now. If you do, may you shine brighter today than ever before. This is the true power of God on display for all to see. Such grace and love.
Father, may your will be done within the deep recesses of my life. AMEN.