February 18, 2015

Today you should read: 1 Chronicles 7

What’s in a Legacy?

What is a legacy? It’s what we leave behind for our kids to follow. It’s the good and the bad things that people remember – that represent us in their minds.

What are you leaving behind for others to follow? Let me suggest a few ideas…

1. An obvious commitment to Christ.
The most important thing for others to see in us and remember us for is our commitment to God. Would those who know you best remember you for that? Are you genuinely committed to God above all else? Does it show? Don’t hide it – let your little light shine.

2. Evident disciplines.
A man once said – show me your checkbook and your calendar and I’ll tell you what matters the most to you. Do you take time daily to read God’s Word and to pray? Do you make a regular effort to share the Gospel with others around you? Are you serving faithfully? These disciplines reflect what you believe. We teach through what we do…

3. Love for people.
The Bible underscores the importance of our love for others in many places. This is evident in how we treat people, what we do for those less fortunate than us, and the way we treat our neighbors. How we feel inside shows on the outside.

4. A heart for the world.
God loves the world – all of it. Our investment in giving, going, and sending show our love for the world we live in. Leveraging our wealth to advance the Gospel to places that have not heard.

What’s your legacy look like? What will you be remembered for? The good news is – you can change that and affect the outcome starting today…

After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone
And our children sift through all we’ve left behind
May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover
Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find

May all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful

Posted by: Tim Parsons

February 17, 2015

Today you should read: 1 Chronicles 6

If you are anything like me, when you saw the list of the genealogy of Levi you were not sure how God was going to use this in your life. The key is not to focus on the list but more on why the list exists. The significance of the tribe of Levi is shown by the amount of space that is being devoted to it. Why did it matter that the tribe of Levi kept a pure line? It was important because God had designated the tribe of Levi to be Israel’s priestly representative (Numbers 3:32). Although they served their purpose in the Old Testament to help Israel walk faithfully with God they were only a foreshadowing to a greater high priest.
For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and I will surely multiply you.” And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise. For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute. In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 6:13-20)
God has given those who believe in the name of Jesus hope because Christ goes before God on our behalf. The sacrifices that the Levites made in the past pales in comparison to the sacrifice that Jesus has made for you and I. He gives us a lasting hope that cleanses us from all of our sin forever. Because of his priestly representation and sacrifice for us we can claim the words of Paul today:
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Posted by: Chad Wiles

February 16, 2015

Today you should read: 1 Chronicles 5

Even with skill, we must depend on the Lord …

Control is a funny thing…because it’s just a mirage. It’s not real. It’s just a figment of imagination. In fact when we hold on most closely to control, we will actually feel like things are mostly out of control. This is true, because we don’t actually have the capacity to control. God does. It’s when we release and draw on those around us that we can embrace not having control. Which is a good thing. We can embrace it and simply trust in the goodness of God to fulfill His promise to us, and that’s when we are free to dream and fulfill the task God has assigned. The best thing we can do is embrace our inability and do nothing but trust His, knowing that He is in control.

I think that one of the reasons we often fight for the feeling of control is because we truly believe we have the skill to control the outcome. Here’s a news flash….we don’t. We do not possess any skill that is able to make things successful. God alone is the driving force. Do you believe that? Well, think about this…first, who gave you the skill? And who can take it away? And, if you used your entire God given skill can you guarantee a certain outcome? Nope. God alone decides, fulfills, grants success, and gives grace. Even with skill, we must be most deeply dependent upon the Lord.

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

In our passage today we see an overall picture of God fulfilling His promise…still…in His people. Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh are still considered God’s people, and God is still fulfilling His promise. And within this story, we see a picture of a war.

In verse 18 we see that these three tribes waged war against the Hagrites. This passage tells us that the three tribes had, “valiant men who carried shield and sword, and drew the bow, expert in war, 44,760 able to go to war.” We are told that they waged war against the Hagrites and defeated them. Did they win because of their skill? They had plenty of it!! Nope. They won because “they cried out to God in the battle, and he granted them their urgent plea, because they trusted in Him” (v. 20).

Even with their mad skills, they were not sufficient. God was. God is. In the same way, we need to embrace our weakness in order to more fully depend on God. He is in control and we are not. And when we depend on God, more than trust in our skill, good things happen.

So, today, throw off any confidence in self. Cling to God as life-blood. Being in a constant state of dependence on Him is the best place we can be.

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione

February 14, 2015

Today you should read: 1 Chronicles 4

This chapter in Scripture is probably best known for it’s 2-passage reference to the prayer of Jabez (v. 9-10) in which a best selling Christian book was written about. I remember reading this book in my junior year of High Schools, as a 2 year old Christian. I was on fire for Jesus at the time, bringing friends to youth group regularly, going on mission trips and leading my school’s FCA. I remember reading this book fairly quickly and started praying the prayer habitually with the best of intents, to be used by God. The book (and prayer) is fairly simple, You pray and ask God for 1. God’s Blessing. 2. An expansion of territory. 3. Guidance from God. 4. Protection from harm. Jabez’s prayer was answered and the book encourages that your prayers will be answered to.

In application for today’s Scripture, let me encourage you to pray for such things as well. As encouraged from the book and modeled by Jabez, we should routinely pray for all four things. God, who is our good, perfect Heavenly Father delights in the requests of His children and giving his children such good gifts. (Matthew 7:11). We should pray for blessings in each area of our life. We should pray for bigger opportunities in ministry and expanding the kingdom. We need His guidance on this earth for we are lost without it. We depend on His protection as the world around us is full of sin and temptation of sin. In fact, it would do you well to pray for such things right now and maybe God is using this devotion to rekindle a passion for praying to God for such things. However let me also warn you to not go beyond what the Scripture says in praying for such things, as the book does. You may have not read the book, or you may have read it and saw nothing wrong from it but one thing I did not mention yet is the book’s promise in God always answering such prayers. A promise from the author but not from God. A prosperity prayer of sorts that has left many disappointed and confused, including the author of the book. ( http://www.challies.com/articles/the-bestsellers-the-prayer-of-jabez ) Instead you can trust in a Heavenly Father who does delight in answering such prayer requests, but will also say No to such things or Yes but not right now. Who allows us to go through seasons of suffering to grow closer to Him or to glorify Him through the suffering.

Posted by: Erik Koliser