Daily Bible Readings:
Monday, August 15. Read 1 Peter 1:17-20. 1) How does Peter say God judges us? 2) How should regard ourselves while we live? 3) What ransom did Christ pay for us?
Tuesday, August 16. Read James 5:7-8. 1) How should we live before the Lord returns? 2) How soon did James think the Lord’s coming was to be?
Wednesday, August 17. Read 1 Corinthians 1:4-9. 1) What did God do for the Corinthian church? 2) How were they to use their gifts? 3) For what purpose do you think the gifts were to be used?
Thursday, August 18. Read 1 Timothy 6:11-16. 1) What did Paul tell Timothy to do? 2) To what was Timothy to “hold tightly” to? 3) What, ultimately were Paul, Timothy, and us looking forward to?
Friday, August 19. Read John 17:6-8. 1) What did Jesus “reveal” to his disciples? 2) What else did Jesus do for his disciples? 3) What did the disciples believe about Jesus?
Saturday, August 20. Read Revelation 1:1-8. This is Sunday’s sermon text.
Prayer of the Week:
O God, we are moved by the way that you and John taught the seven churches how to live in the midst of a pagan culture. And also how you helped them to grasp the idea of a hopeful future. We pray that we too will live that way. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Hymn of the Week:
Jesus, Lover of My Soul
By Charles Wesley, 1740
Jesus, lover of my soul,
let me to thy bosom fly,
while the nearer waters roll,
while the tempest still is high;
hide me, O my Savior, hide,
till the storm of life is past;
safe into the haven guide,
O receive my soul at last!
Other refuge have I none;
hangs my helpless soul on thee;
leave, ah! leave me not alone,
still support and comfort me.
All my trust on thee is stayed,
all my help from thee I bring;
cover my defenseless head
with the shadow of thy wing.
Plenteous grace with thee is found,
grace to cover all my sin;
let the healing streams abound;
make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art;
freely let me take of thee;
spring thou up within my heart,
rise to all eternity.
Devotional Article of the Week:
More Than a Façade
Will your character collapse under pressure?
by Phil Ware
A good person produces good deeds from a good heart, and an evil person produces evil deeds from an evil heart (Luke 6:45 NLT Ed. 1).
A number of years ago, on the Monday before Thanksgiving, we awoke to a sea of stench. Raw sewage flooded our house and ruined our carpet, tile, and bedroom furniture. When we replaced our furniture, we were given a much greater allowance than we expected for our bedroom suite. Our bedroom suite was ten years old, but it was solid ash. The adjuster told us it was almost impossible to replace because nearly everything today, except very very expensive furniture, was made of laminates and pressed woods with a pretty veneer. “It’s mostly sawdust and glue with a pretty shine on the outside. This won’t come close to truly replacing the quality of your furniture today. We’re sorry. But you can get a nice replacement suite that is fairly comparable.”
When Stephen R. Covey wrote The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, he made this key point: during the first 150 years of success literature in the USA, the focus was on developing character, but during these last 100 years it has focused on developing a powerful and winning personality. In other words, our culture has focused primarily upon “sawdust and glue with a pretty shine on the outside.”
A number of years ago, Gordon MacDonald struck a deep note of truth when he wrote Ordering Your Private World. He emphasized that we spend most of our time on our façade — the part of us that is visible. However, the part of our lives that ultimately determines who we are is what happens in our private worlds. When trouble comes upon us, many of us collapse like a sink hole because there is nothing of substance underneath the façade.
What are you spending your time working on — your façade or your character? Jesus says that ultimately the inner person will show itself. So what are you preparing for your show? I’m trying to honestly ask myself, “Who am I really?” It’s not an existential question or a faith question. It’s a character question. I’m trying to be honest with myself about my character. “Is the public persona I want to portray congruent with the person I am inside?” I’m not always pleased with what I see, but at least I see and can begin to address the gap!
Don’t get caught with only a façade. None of us wants to be “mostly sawdust and glue with a pretty shine on the outside.” Be more than a façade; be a person of holy character!