October 21

Psalms 89:30-33 (NIV) 30"If his sons forsake my law and do not follow my statutes, 31if they violate my decrees and fail to keep my commands, 32I will punish their sin with the rod, their iniquity with flogging; 33but I will not take my love from him, nor will I ever betray my faithfulness.

In this psalm about God's promises to David, we see in a shadow God's promises to the "Son of David", Christ Jesus. We are His offspring, His seed, in Biblical terms (Isaiah 53:12). In type then, we see God's attitude toward us when we sin. We are still sons, but God is neither indulgent nor ruthless. He will not let us go on without dealing with our sin, but He does not deal with it in a way that would crush us or cause His heart to turn from us.

That flogging often goes ignored by us at first. We chalk it up to circumstances, refusing to examine our hearts. When it comes to our own heart, we can be our worst deceiver and the most gullible of fools. We seem to find a justification for anything we wish to indulge in. Meanwhile, the heart of our Father aches, knowing He is going to have to afflict us in a more serious way to get us to open our eyes.

When that happens, we cry out and ask, "Where is the God of love we once knew?" His love is still with you, but it is being expressed in faithfulness to turn you from the sin you refuse to admit is clouding your heart and judgment. Through it all, He weeps with you, hurts with you, as any loving father would when dealing severely with his own children. Thank God for His faithful love, even when it comes in the form of painful discipline. He loves you enough to not allow you to go on deceiving yourself.

Thank Him for His loving discipline that keeps you from self destruction.

October 21

Colossians 4:2-5 (NIV) 2Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.

What does it mean to devote oneself to prayer? What would you say you are devoted to? Paul encouraged the Colossians to make that kind of life commitment, watching for God's instructions, and expressing thanks for all His goodness.

In that devotion to prayer, Paul asks that his team be remembered. He asks for prayers for a door to open for the message they were proclaiming. This is an essential prayer for all those who preach. Unless God opens the doors of hearts to hear, our labor will produce few results.

He also asks for prayers that he might proclaim it clearly. Spiritual truths must be expressed in words. The preacher's ministry is to find the right words so that the message will be clear and understood. Pray that your pastors have a door opened for their message and for their ability to express it clearly. You have a part in their ministry when you pray in this way.

Paul asked the Colossians to be wise in the way they acted toward those outside the family of faith. What a need we have for this today! We lose the opportunity to share the Gospel when we needlessly offend unbelievers. We must act in wisdom, realizing that God may give us an opportunity to speak the truth to them. Every person we meet we must consider a potential child of God seeking the truth. Our actions and speech should always represent Christ.

Consider: Though our passage today has two differing topics, they are united under one great concern. They have in common God's desire to reach the lost with the good news of His Son. If we share His concern for them, our prayers, words, and actions will express that concern.