Through my lens

June 29 Devotion

Scripture:

1 Peter 1:22–25 ESV “1:22 ¶ Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 

1:23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 

1:24 for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, 

1:25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.””

Devotion:  How do I handle times of great trials?

Peter is addressing Christians who were forced to flee their homes because of the great persecution they were facing.  Imagine having to leave your home and move to an unfamiliar place because you are being persecuted for your faith in Jesus Christ.  The difficulties can weigh heavily on one’s heart and life, taking a great toil.  Discouragement and doubt can creep into one’s heart during these times.

Peter encourages the Christians to remember these truths which will be a foundation for your life.

1.  During difficult times, do not forget to love one another sincerely.  

How much we need one another when we are going through great difficulties!  We need their love and care.  We need their encouragement.  We need one another, to love one another with a earnest, sincere love.  When we truly listen to the Lord and obey His command to love one another.

Love helps all.  Love encourages all.  Love heals all.

John 13:34–35 ESV “13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

13:35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.””

Romans 12:9 ESV “¶ Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.”

2.  During difficult times, do not forget you are born again by the precious blood of Jesus and the living Word of God.

1 Peter 1:19, 23 ESV “1:19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 

1:23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;”

We are saved by the grace of the Lord!  We are saved by the precious blood of Jesus, which was shed on Calvary’s cross for you and me.  We are saved by the living Word of God, where the seed is planted in our lives.  The Word grows and grows in faith in our lives.

Remember what Christ did for you!

3.  Do not forget life is short so focus on eternal things, not temporal.

Colossians 3:1–2 ESV “3:1 ¶ If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 

3:2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

Life is short.  Before we realize it, we have grown old.  We spend so much time on things that do not last.  We focus on the temporary, worldly things that vanish away.  Houses come and go.  Possessions come and go.  Jobs come and go.  What we think will last soon fades away.

Keep your eyes on Christ and eternity and it will help you get through times of great difficulties.

Three lessons:

  • Love one another.
  • Remember the blood of Christ.
  • Focus on eternal things.

Stand Out!

Standing out!

I captured this photo yesterday in my backyard. Interesting because all the leaves look exactly the same as the other leaves. None of the leaves stand out. They are all about the same size, color, shape, and location. Nothing unusual or out of the ordinary. They look alike.

Our world is like this. Billions of people who look different up close, but as a group, many features are the same. In this kind of world, how do you stand out? How do you stand out when you are one in several billion?

The problem is this; I am asking the wrong question. The question is not how to stand out but “Am I doing what God has called me to do?”

Each leaf on the fern has a purpose. The leaves perform three major functions: manufacture of food, interchange of gases between the atmosphere and the plant body, and evaporation of water. They know what to do and they do it.

TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram are social medias where individuals try to stand out from the surrounding crowd. They are searching for fame and fortune. Some have achieved this, but it does not last. Fame is fleeting as well as fortune. Here today and gone tomorrow.

We need to learn from the leaf and fulfill the purpose God has intended for us: to live our lives to glorify Christ. When we are following God’s will for our lives, then we stand out to the Lord.

Quit trying to impress the crowd; strive to please the Lord! And when we walk in faith, then our lives are pleasing to Him.

Growing Deeper in 2022

Growing Deeper

Several years ago, one of my favorite trees in our yard came crashing down. Beautiful, full of shade, tall, and magnificent presence it brought to our yard. How much I enjoyed the shade it provide!

Just looking at this tree, you would think it was healthy, strong, and would last a lifetime. But, when the storm rolled through, I watched it slowly teeter over and fall. One thing I notice as soon as it fell was the depth of the root system. For a tree that large, the roots system was shallow. It was out of proportion to the size and height of the tree. No one would suspect how shallow the roots were.

As Christians, we need to examine our roots and see if they are growing deep and strong in our faith. Without depth, we will not survive when the storms of life come.

Jesus warned us about this in His sermon on the Mount.

Matthew 7:24–27 ESV “7:24 ¶ “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

7:25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.

7:26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.

7:27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.””

In 2022 our emphasis is Growing Deeper. Growing Deeper in Christ through the study of God’s Word.

I encourage you to begin the New Year right by taking time to study God’s Word. Be in church on January 2 as we grow deeper in Christ.

Bro. Michael