Morning Devotions: Week of July 6

During the summer weeks we will send one devotional guide for the week rather than daily devotions. This week the readings from the Old and New Testament reflect on Jesus’ kingdom mission to seek and to save the lost. Devotions are included as a pdf.

The reflections quoted with each day’s readings this week are from the book “The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat Up, and Burnt Out” by Brennan Manning: “My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.”

Monday, July 6

Psalms 26-30, Proverbs 6, Luke 19:1-10
“The kingdom is not an exclusive, well-trimmed suburb with snobbish rules about who can live there. No, it is for a larger, homelier, less self-conscious caste of people who understand they are sinners because they have experienced the yaw and pitch of moral struggle.”

Tuesday, July 7

Psalms 31-35, Proverbs 7, Luke 15
“Because salvation is by grace through faith, I believe that among the countless number of people standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands (see Revelation 7:9), I shall see the prostitute from the Kit-Kat Ranch in Carson City, Nevada, who tearfully told me that she could find no other employment to support her two-year-old son. I shall see the woman who had an abortion and is haunted by guilt and remorse but did the best she could faced with grueling alternatives; the businessman besieged with debt who sold his integrity in a series of desperate transactions; the insecure clergyman addicted to being liked, who never challenged his people from the pulpit and longed for unconditional love; the sexually abused teen molested by his father and now selling his body on the street, who, as he falls asleep each night after his last 'trick', whispers the name of the unknown God he learned about in Sunday school.

'But how?' we ask.

Then the voice says, 'They have washed their robes and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb.'

There they are. There *we* are - the multitude who so wanted to be faithful, who at times got defeated, soiled by life, and bested by trials, wearing the bloodied garments of life's tribulations, but through it all clung to faith.

My friends, if this is not good news to you, you have never understood the gospel of grace.”

Wednesday, July 8

Psalms 36-40, Proverbs 8, Psalm 119:169-176
“The Word we study has to be the Word we pray. My personal experience of the relentless tenderness of God came not from exegetes, theologians, and spiritual writers, but from sitting still in the presence of the living Word and beseeching Him to help me understand with my head and heart His written Word. Sheer scholarship alone cannot reveal to us the gospel of grace. We must never allow the authority of books, institutions, or leaders to replace the authority of *knowing* Jesus Christ personally and directly. When the religious views of others interpose between us and the primary experience of Jesus as the Christ, we become unconvicted and unpersuasive travel agents handing out brochures to places we have never visited.”

Thursday, July 9

Psalms 41-50, Proverbs 9, Ezekiel 34:15-16
“The sinners to whom Jesus directed His messianic ministry were not those who skipped morning devotions or Sunday church. His ministry was to those whom society considered real sinners. They had done nothing to merit salvation. Yet they opened themselves to the gift that was offered them. On the other hand, the self-righteous placed their trust in the works of the Law and closed their hearts to the message of grace.”

Friday, July 10

Psalms 51-55, Proverbs 10, John 10:1-6
"Getting honest with ourselves does not make us unacceptable to God. It does not distance us from God, but draws us to Him—as nothing else can—and opens us anew to the flow of grace. While Jesus calls each of us to a more perfect life, we cannot achieve it on our own. To be alive is to be broken; to be broken is to stand in need of grace. It is only through grace that any of us could dare to hope that we could become more like Christ. The saved sinner with the tilted halo has been converted from mistrust to trust, has arrived at an inner poverty of spirit, and lives as best he or she can in rigorous honesty with self, others, and God. The question the gospel of grace puts to us is simply this: Who shall separate you from the love of Christ? What are you afraid of? Are you afraid that your weakness could separate you from the love of Christ? It can’t. Are you afraid that your inadequacies could separate you from the love of Christ? They can’t. Are you afraid that your inner poverty could separate you from the love of Christ? It can’t. Difficult marriage, loneliness, anxiety over the children’s future? They can’t. Negative self-image? It can’t. Economic hardship, racial hatred, street crime? They can’t. Rejection by loved ones or the suffering of loved ones? They can’t. Persecution by authorities, going to jail? They can’t. Nuclear war? It can’t. Mistakes, fears, uncertainties? They can’t. The gospel of grace calls out, Nothing can ever separate you from the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord. You must be convinced of this, trust it, and never forget to remember. Everything else will pass away, but the love of Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Faith will become vision, hope will become possession, but the love of Jesus Christ that is stronger than death endures forever. In the end, it is the one thing you can hang onto.”

Saturday, July 11

Psalms 56-60, Proverbs 11, Philippians 3:7-9
“What makes authentic disciples is not visions, ecstasies, biblical mastery of chapter and verse, or spectacular success in the ministry, but a capacity for faithfulness. Buffeted by the fickle winds of failure, battered by their own unruly emotions, and bruised by rejection and ridicule, authentic disciples may have stumbled and frequently fallen, endured lapses and relapses, gotten handcuffed to the fleshpots and wandered into a far county. Yet, they kept coming back to Jesus.”
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