Sunday, December 29, 2019

Strengthened by Grace Devotional: 12/29/19

Prayer for Sunday:Mighty and merciful Father, whose power and whose love always work together for the protection of Your children, give me grace today to put my trust in You. Father, I pray for faith to believe that You rule the world in truth and righteousness. I pray for faith to believe that if I seek first Your Kingdom and righteousness, You'll provide for all my other needs. I pray for faith to let go of any anxious thought, to believe Your mercies will always continue. God, so many people who came before me have trusted You and weren't disappointed, so remove now all my useless anxieties and paralyzing fears. Give me a cheerful and positive spirit, and peace in doing Your will. For Christ's sake, amen.

Scripture Reading for Sunday: Revelation 12-15

Scripture Reflection for Sunday: Today's journey in God's word visits Revelation 12-15.

In Revelation 12, we see that Christians fight in an invisible war against Satan. The church’s enemy aims at nothing less than its total destruction and condemnation. Therefore Christians must be vigilant and prepared to suffer. They must cling to Jesus Christ and His shed blood as the only solution to the guilt of their sins. They must never let go of their gospel witness but trust that God will use the persecutions they face to glorify Himself and build His church. How does Revelation 12 encourage you to stay in the fight for Christ?

In Revelation 13, we see that Satan has long wedded political tyranny with false religion to rule the world. Believers of all ages have suffered under such unholy alliances of persecuting powers, whether under Babylon, the Roman emperors, Nazi and Communist totalitarian states in the twentieth-century, or under ISIS and terrorist regimes in the 21st-century. Though differing widely in ideology, all such powers display the Devil’s methodology: use violence and economic penalties to unify people around a common idolatry. How do you see this principle operating today?

In Revelation 14, we see how beautiful is the Bride of Christ! In the midst of a world of oppression, lies, and idolatry, the true church is salt and light. Though hindered by remaining sin, the godly take up their crosses, deny themselves, and follow Christ. They are devoted to Him and reject the spiritual adultery of the world. Do you belong to this church? This is not just a question of official membership, though that is important. According to this chapter, what are the marks of true, spiritual membership in the church of Jesus Christ?

In Revelation 15, we see that worship and missions are intimately related. Missions aim to see God create new worshipers, while worship declares God’s worthiness of the praises of all people. Ironically, sometimes people set the two against each other: one group in the church promotes worship and neglects evangelism, while another group does the opposite. Why can we never be faithful worshipers without missions? Why must missions be grounded in worship?

Daily Teaching (Catechism) for Sunday:

(7.1) Though rational creatures are responsible to obey God as their Creator, the distance between God and these creatures is so great that they could never have attained the reward of life except by God’s voluntary condescension. He has been pleased to express this through a covenant framework (Luke 17:10; Job 35:7, 8)

May God help you to grow in Christ today,