Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Strengthened by Grace Devotional: 12/24/19

Prayer for Tuesday: God, ever blessed, who has given the night for rest and the day for work and service, grant that the refreshing sleep of the night now past may be turned to Your greater glory in the life of the day now before me. Let it create no laziness within me, but instead send me to more diligent action and more willing obedience. Holy God, I would remember before You all my friends and those of my own household, asking You that in Your great love You would keep them also free from sin, controlling all their deeds this day in accordance with Your most perfect will. Amen.

Scripture Reading for Tuesday: 2 Peter 1-3; 1 John 1

Scripture Reflection for Tuesday: Today's journey in God's word visits 2 Peter 1-3 and 1 John 1.

In 2 Peter 1, we see that sanctification, unlike justification, is a lifelong process. To bear fruit believers must give all diligence to add every virtue to the knowledge they possess. The diligent Christian will by her life enjoy confirmation of her election in this life. After this life, she will enjoy a royal reception when she gets home to glory. In what areas of sanctification do you especially need to grow? Has spiritual growth in the past confirmed your sense that you belong to Christ and are headed for glory? If so, how? If not, why not?

In 2 Peter 2, we are reminded that history bears eloquent testimony to the truth of what Peter here says concerning the danger of teachers of false religion. Yet in this age of so-called tolerance, Christians are often afraid to exercise discernment and to speak against heresy. Our silence is wrong, because all error corrupts, and errors against the foundations of the faith destroy souls. What heresies presently endanger the Christian church? Pray for boldness for yourself and preachers to speak against them for the sake of precious souls.

In 2 Peter 3, we see that the day of the Lord is coming. Following the fire of God’s judgment, a new creation will arise where righteousness dwells and sin has no place. Nothing will last except Christ and obedience to His Word. On the one hand, this calls us to reject all heresies and long for the purity of Christ's Bride, the Church. On the other hand, this demands that we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, making it our great priority to gain and grow in our knowledge of Christ and likeness to Him. How could you better live in light of eternity?

In 1 John 1, we are reminded that it was stunning and virtually inconceivable to the ancient Greek mind that the divine Word would become a physical man we could see and touch. It should be stunning to us today that the Lord Jesus would take our lowly nature to His glorious person. Life has come to us in a way we can relate to, with gentleness and sympathy for our weaknesses. Consider these truths and spend some time praising God for what He did for sinners. How can Christians who lack joy in Christ acquire more genuine joy? What role does the Holy Spirit play in helping true believers experience the fullness of joy?

Daily Teaching (Catechism) for Tuesday:

(6.2) By this sin our first parents fell from their original righteousness and communion with God. We fell in them, and through this, death came upon all. All became dead in sin and completely defiled in all the capabilities and parts of soul and body (Romans 3:23; Romans 5:12ff.; Titus 1:15; Genesis 6:5; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:10–19).

May God help you to grow in Christ today,