(1 John 4:7-12)
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
Lord, You have provided a simple but sobering test of Christian spirituality – our love for You can be measured by our love for others. And we have all, without exception, failed Your test. Every time we refuse to lend a helping hand, to listen to a hurting friend, to curb a critical tongue, we refuse to love You or to obey Your commandments. Strip away our selfishness, Lord, and help us to love our neighbors as ourselves, and in doing so to love You wholeheartedly.
(1 Timothy 4:4-5)
4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
We give You thanks, our great and gracious God, for all the good things You have created. These innumerable blessing are daily showered upon us by Your good will and You delight in sharing them with us.
(Romans 5:6-8) You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
I thank You, merciful Lord Jesus, that You did not wait for us to repent. You did not wait for us to change our ways or to clean up our act. You saved us while we were still sinners. And we are all sinners, sinners by birth, sinners by nature, sinners by choice, sinners by default—sinners for whom You died. There is no sin that Your blood cannot cover, no stain Your blood cannot cleanse. There is no one so lost that You cannot find him, no prodigal so distant that You cannot hear her prayer. There is no person so sinful to be saved—just too stubborn to accept Your gift of salvation.
(Ecclesiastes 2:10-11) I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor,
and this was the reward for all my toil.
11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun.
How often I delight in what I have done: my achievements my victories, my possessions, my family… my, my, my. But what is it all worth apart from You, Holy God? “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” Unless You walk through me, my labors will be empty. Unless I abide in You, I can do nothing that matters. Unless I do Your bidding, my life will never bear fruit that will last. But when I live by Your grace and for Your glory, then my toil will not be in vain. Help me, Lord, to devote my life to doing Your will, for then I will have treasures in heaven, treasures that will last for eternity.
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
I praise You, Lord, for Your merciful kindness and love. More frightening than the thought of letting go of You is the thought of You letting go of me, of relinquishing me to the consequences of my sin. You could have abandoned me. But instead You led me to repentance. O God, may I never take Your kindness for granted!
They do not cry out to me from their hearts
but wail on their beds.
They slash themselves, appealing to their gods
for grain and new wine,
but they turn away from me.
Lord, how you long for us to reach out to You–to cry out for Your company. Instead, we cry out only for the things You can give to us. Cause us to hunger and thirst for fellowship with You. May we never forget that You are the source of every good thing in life.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
Lord, I believe! This faith first to last is a faith in the One Who is the Beginning and the End. Your gospel is indeed the best news in the world. It is the headline imprinted on every saved heart. Knowing, seeing, believing what You have done for us—that You have purchased us from a sure death with Your own life—how can we keep silent? O Lord, open our mouths and create praise on our lip. Empower us to tell the world the Good News of Your mercy.
For I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.
Make my heart Your sanctuary, O God. Light a fire of holy passion in my soul. Move me beyond a spiritual life of empty rituals and religious observances. You are worthy of so much more, and You have called me to so much more. Let this love we share become the driving force of my life. Let it move me to love and compassion for all those You have loved and have given Your Son to save.
(1 Timothy 3:16)
Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great:
He appeared in the flesh,
was vindicated by the Spirit,
was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations,
was believed on in the world,
was taken up in glory.
The mystery of Godliness is beyond comprehension. What we know of You has only been revealed by Your mercy. And if we do not fully understand what we have seen, how much greater is the mystery of that which we have not seen? It is only fitting that YOU who are beyond comprehension would grant us gifts that are infinitely beyond our wildest imaginings.; hope that surpasses all doubt; love that overrules all conditions; strength that exceeds all challenged and peace that transcends understanding. Let us not try to explain You but simply worship You with reverence and awe.