Morning by Morning, July 27 - Growing Faith, Increasing Love
Good morning, Lord Jesus. Help me begin my day in the deep communion of prayer -- embraced by my Father, centered in Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit. ...
"We must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of everyone of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith during all your persecutions and the afflictions that you are enduring. This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, and is intended to make you worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering" (2 Thessalonians 1:3-5).
With growing faith and increasing love, we can endure all things by the power of Your grace. We shouldn't think it strange or get stuck in self-pity or confusion when we experience persecutions, afflictions, and suffering for Your sake. But rather, we should embrace Your Presence as You bring us through every challenge as an opportunity for You to increase our steadfastness and faith, making us "worthy of the kingdom of God."
As Your Word encourages us, "Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ's sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when His glory is revealed. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory, which is the Spirit of God, is resting on you.... Yet if any of you suffers as a Christian, do not consider it a disgrace, but glorify God because you bear this name.... Therefore, let those suffering in accordance with God's will entrust themselves to a faithful Creator, while continuing to do good" (1 Peter 4:12-19).
There's suffering that comes from choosing to stand firm in Your truth by Your Spirit. There's often mockery, ridicule, judgment, and resentment. Somehow it even gets turned around that we are the "haters" who love You, Your Word, Your truth, and Your Spirit. Somehow it gets turned around that the ones seeking to be changed and transformed into the image of God in accordance with Your plan and Your power for every one of us are wicked and cruel because we're not willing for things to just remain the same when there's the power of Your grace to be changed. And somehow it gets turned around that seeking to live in trusting submission to the authority of Your Scripture and the conviction of Your Spirit is self-righteous, arrogant, and mean-spirited instead of seeking to be humble, faithful, and true disciples of Jesus Christ sent to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
As You prophesied long ago: "Ah, you who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Ah, you who are wise in your own eyes, and shrewd in your own sight! Ah, you who are heroes in drinking wine and valiant at mixing drink, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of their rights!" (Isaiah 5:20-23) Yet, You said, as the very Personification of love and faith, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.... Those who love Me will keep My word, and My Father will love them, and We will come to them and make Our home with them. Whoever does not love Me does not keep My words" (John 14:15-24).
You saw it all coming. You are not surprised at this turn of events. And you don't want us to be surprised either.
By the power of Your grace -- growing our faith and increasing our love -- Your Word continues to encourage us: "But you, beloved, must remember the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; for they said to you, 'In the last time there will be scoffers, indulging their own ungodly lusts.' It is these worldly people, devoid of the Spirit, who are causing divisions. But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who are wavering; save others by snatching them out of the fire; and have mercy on others with fear, hating even the tunic defiled by their bodies. Now to Him who is able to keep you from falling, and to make you stand without blemish in the presence of His glory with rejoicing, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time and now and forever!" In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Be encouraged today! In the Love of Jesus, Tommy Hays
I pray you continue to grow boldly in your love and your faith, as the kingdom of God advances mightily in you and through you, growing up to maturity, steadfast in obedience, through every struggle and overcoming every challenge, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same for me. God bless you, my friend!