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Saturday

God Is for Us = #30 of 30 Days of God's Promises



God is big enough to guide us through perplexing interactions, even with fellow believers.

Sometimes I think it might be simpler, though not necessarily easier, to face outright confrontations than to puzzle our way through convoluted conflicts that make pretenses of politeness.

If an enemy raised a battle flag, we’d pick up our shields and stand our ground. We’ve pretty much got that down.


But when someone garbs himself (or herself) in friendly garments and sociable language, only to knock out our kneecaps when we aren’t looking, we can be caught up in the fray before we recognize it.

And what can we do, if this onslaught comes from someone with whom we have no choice but to interact?

If the apparent attacker is tied to us as family, a close friend, a fellow church member, or an everyday coworker, we may be stuck in one another’s path. We cannot simply claim we are holding up healthy boundaries and move on.

That person will still be there tomorrow, pounding on our hearts. He (or she) may even call it tough love.

But here’s the thing.

Tough love only works, if the love is unquestionable and unshakable.

Without love, tough love is simply tough. Confrontation without compassion is merely contention.


Someone in my closest circle launched such an assault on me last week, lobbing grenades of veiled criticisms and even an ultimatum in a group email. Frankly, it took more willpower than I could ever muster on my own, just to refrain from responding. Lord knows, that would only have prolonged the battle, which I refused to join. Thank God, He held me back.
 

The Lord is there. And He knows.

He sees every hurtful action, and He hears every heart-ripping word. He promises to right every wrong and to protect those who belong to Him.

If God is for us,
who can be
against us?
(Romans 8:31b, NIV).

Many may oppose us – for all sorts of reasons. But, when our closest companions raise confrontations, simply for the sake of contention, can they really make it stick?

Eventually, won’t our God of love find a way to right the wrongs and encourage restored unity among those who belong to Him?

Today’s Bible promise would say so.


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God Forgives = #29 of 30 Days of God's Promises




I’m a day late with this daily blog series. Honestly, I’m not even sure which day I missed.

Here it is, the last day of November, and I have two posts yet to make to finish the project. I’ll catch up and post twice today. And my dear readers will likely be gracious about this lapse, I’d bet.

That’s what brethren do – grant one another grace.

Or at least, that’s what we aim to do.

It’s pretty easy for us to be gracious about little details. But what happens when we slip up in bigger, more hurtful ways? 

How about when we step into areas of behavior that really stir folks up?

Yesterday, as I ran a couple of quick errands, I saw a guy with a tee shirt bearing this message:

Don’t judge me,
just because I sin
in a different way
than you do.

Ouch.

We do that, don’t we?

Why do we like to think some sins are way worse than others? We tend to be more offended by certain sorts of transgressions, but we may be inclined to let others slip. We stare at some slip-ups, but we look the other way at others.

Isn’t sin always sin?

Thank God that our gracious Lord offers freedom from every flavor of foulness.

All of us could stand condemned before the holy Jehovah, but none of us needs to.

He is the Answer. His own life-payment fit the bill forever.

And there is not more condemnation for those who are His. All we have to do is accept His invitation.

No condemnation.

Oh, how He is worthy of our praise.

So there is now no condemnation
for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
For the power of the life-giving Spirit
(and this power is mine through Christ Jesus)
has freed me
from the vicious cycle
of sin and death.
(Romans 8:1-2, TLB)


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Friday

God Leads = #28 of 30 Days of God's Promises



I love to run.

Actually, I used to hate it. When I was a kid in school, I dreaded the days when we’d have to run timed events in gym class. I wasn’t fast, so I was always a bit embarrassed when our 50- and 100-yard dash times were posted on the bulletin board in the hallway outside the physical education office.

But these days, I actually enjoy lacing on sneakers and going for a run.

Maybe it’s the scenery and the solitude that strikes me. And the fact that I can burn approximately 100 calories per mile is a bonus.

Certainly, I find it personally rewarding to tick off each mile I cover, knowing God is helping me to kick back at the potentially crippling medical condition with which I was diagnosed several years ago.

Anyway, running along woodsy trails and county roads sets me to thinking about goals, plans, and life directions. I regard these moments as downtime, even though my body may be working overtime, because my attention is much more focused.

Cars, bicycles, and faster runners may zip past. 


But, in a larger sense, it’s just me and God out there.

Those are the times when God seems to speak clearest to me. He pokes me with purpose. He reminds me of responsibilities. He prods my pride. He stirs my spirit.

And He astonishes me with the beauty of His creation.

He also guards me from all sorts of dangers I may not even notice.

I’ve heard branches fall across the path – right behind me. I’ve read reports of roadway crashes that occurred fairly soon after I arrived home from a run. And I am fully aware that there may be coyotes, bears, and other untamed creatures in the forests near the running paths.

But God goes with me daily, and He goes with you too.

Sure, He expects us to use common sense and keep our wits about us. It would be downright foolish for me to strike out on a solo run through the woods at midnight, as if to dare the Lord to keep dangers at bay.

Clearly, He could.

But God calls us to be wise and brave, following His lead and going under His guidance. Therein lies the blessing.

The Lord says,
“I will guide you
along the best pathway
for your life.
I will advise you
and watch over you.”
(Psalm 32:8, NLT)

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