December 5

Isaiah 57:14-15 (NIV) 14And it will be said: "Build up, build up, prepare the road! Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people." 15For this is what the high and lofty One says– he who lives forever, whose name is holy: "I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.

Before a great dignitary of Rome would enter a city, a work crew would go before and make sure obstacles were cleared from the road. Damaged areas were repaired, and washed out areas were filled in. Have you done as much for the Lord Jesus? Is there a cleared highway for Jesus to enter your heart? Does He have a clear path to your heart, desires, and plans? This passage was written to a nation that had idolatry and greed in their "roads", and is applicable to us too.

The God of eternity, who transcends space and time, who sees and knows all things that ever were and are or will be, is utterly separate from us. He can at the same time be the One who orders all things and yet comes to the hurting soul in need, with a gentle word. Pride holds out a stiff arm to God. Humility and recognition of need draw us to an intimate place with Him. Could pride cause us to go our own way without consulting Him? He promises to live with the contrite and lowly person. It takes humility to say, "I need Thee, oh, I need Thee. Every hour I need Thee!" It takes humility to repent for going our own way.

If you want the presence of God in your life and the voice of God to renew and encourage, you need a heart that is humble and repentant. Whatever blocks the road, keeping you from that state of heart and mind must be removed.

Consider: Check the roadway of your heart. Is it open to our Savior?

December 5

1 Peter 3:1-4 (NIV) 1Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.

In many homes, the woman is more spiritual than her husband. She longs for a man that will lead the home spiritually, and so she often prods her husband. Maybe prod is too gentle a word, how about "nags"? She leaves books open to chapters that explain his faults, and cuts out articles that describe men with similar shortcomings. She always invites him to church, but he rarely gives in. Every once in awhile it all gets to be too much, and she just lets him have it, declaring how she wishes he were a better husband.

That may be the natural reaction of a wife to an unspiritual husband, but Peter says it is not the way to win him. It has the opposite affect. He feels he can never measure up to her high idea of spirituality, so he avoids spiritual things altogether. Don't forget, men like to win. If they feel their wife will out perform them at church, they just won't go.

Peter says that the love and honor that the wife gives the husband will win his heart. It draws him near. It doesn't take words; it takes a pure and reverent life with the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. Not only will that be beautiful to your husband, but to God as well.

Consider: Have you been trying to change your husband? You can only change yourself. Peter is describing a woman that is overflowing with the fruit of the Spirit. She realizes that inner beauty is infinitely greater than outward beauty. A powerful woman has her tongue under control and her hope in God.