Justice and Righteousness [Amos 5:24 Devotional]

Justice and Righteousness devotional cover image. abstract art of a mountain and river. amos 5:24 is overlaid

Justice and Righteousness [Amos 5:24 Daily Devotional]

“But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!”

Amos 5:24

Amos, the source of this verse, is an Old Testament prophet. What Amos is saying here, then, is God speaking through him. And that means that what Amos says here is what God wants. God wants justice and righteousness and a lot of it! Justice is making sure that the external world is made right, and righteousness is making sure that our internal world is made right. Both are impossible without God.

Justice and Righteousness

Without getting into moral arguments about what justice and righteousness are really about, we can look to Jesus to see how we can apply this verse from Amos. Jesus wants you to take care of the poor and vulnerable in society. Give to the poor; serve at your church, which should be making a difference in your community. All that community outreach is an example of justice. You’re called to help people who are oppressed by the systems of this world. So, when you do that, you are doing justice.

You’re also called to be righteous. You can do this by getting your heart right with God. That means taking some time to rest and listen for God through silence, solitude, and Sabbath. It also means giving generously so you can break money’s hold over you. Do whatever it takes to free yourself from anything that seeks to enslave your spirit.

Prayer

Jesus, thank you for providing a way for me to do justice and develop in righteousness. Help me to do the things that you’ve called me to do. Give me the strength to stand up for the oppressed, but also give me the grace to deal with the oppression within me. It’s in your name I pray, amen.

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Sabbath Day [Matthew 11:28 Devotional]

sabbath day devotional cover image. a field of flowers with the words to matthew 11:28 displayed above the field.

How to Participate in the Sabbath Day [Matthew 11:28 Daily Devotional]

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Matthew 11:28

This verse is very timely for me. On a personal note, I struggle with resting and relaxing, so reading this verse makes me squirm a little bit. Maybe you’re like me and you think that you can’t rest because you have so much to do. Jesus knows that, but he’s still telling us to rest. As encouraging as this verse is to those who are overwhelmed, it can feel too good to be true. But Jesus is being very clear here. He wants the weary, burdened, and overwhelmed to come to him so he can give them (you and me) peace and rest.

How to Participate in the Sabbath Day

I like to work. I enjoy my job, and I enjoy picking up side work. These are both good things, and I encourage you to do your work and whatever else you put your hand to with excellence. There is a point, though, where even something as good as work can become a hindrance or even an addiction. That’s where Matthew 11:28 comes in.

Jesus is inviting you to lay aside your work to find your rest and peace in him. How do you do that? It’s through Sabbath that you can rest in Jesus, find peace for your soul, and break the bondage work and busyness have on your life. This is something new that I’m going to try as well, so, full disclosure, this is the one recommendation I’m making that I don’t currently do.

Sabbath is just an Old Testament word used to describe a period of no work and all rest. If you don’t know where to start, I invite you to join me starting Friday at sunset until Saturday at sunset. I’m simply turning off my electronics and enjoying time with friends and family. I will read, play music, exercise, think, pray, and read my Bible. My daily devotionals are scheduled ahead of time, so you can still enjoy those during that Sabbath time if you choose to.

I think this will be a great time of growth for you and for me, so I really hope you’ll participate in Sabbath with me.

Prayer

Jesus, thank you for the rest that you promised me. Help me through rest and Sabbath to find peace in you. When boredom strikes or distraction tries to snap me out of rest, give me the strength to focus back in on you. It’s in Jesus’s name I pray, amen.

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How to Renew Your Mind [Romans 12:2 Devotional]

How to Renew Your Mind devotional cover image. a man looking away from the camera, covered in a black and white filter. the words to romans 12:2 are displayed

How to Renew Your Mind [Romans 12:2 Daily Devotional]

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Romans 12:2

We have two options when it comes to our thought-life. We can either be conformed or transformed. Conformity means adjusting our mind and spirit to the things around us. In the case of what Paul is talking about, this means giving up our thought processes to the “patterns of the world.” We can break those patterns, though. Through transformation, we’re allowing God to work on our minds and hearts and change them to match his will. This comes through the renewing of the mind.

How to Renew Your Mind

So, how can you renew your mind? It’s hard work, but it’s simple. You, first, need to submit your thoughts to God and allow him to transform them as he sees fit. This sounds mystical, but it’s really clear. Whenever you have a thought that you feel is shaped in the pattern of the world, acknowledge that thought and pray quietly to yourself. Offer up that thought to God and think about something else. This is why memorizing Scripture is so important. When you give a thought to God, it’s best to replace it with a promise from Scripture to fill in that void.

This, unfortunately, is not a one-and-done kind of thing. You may continuously have that same thought, so you must stay vigilant in offering it back to God. It’s hard to break a pattern, especially a mental pattern. So, be patient with yourself as God continues to renew your mind in him.

Prayer

Jesus, renew my mind. I give you all my negative and ungodly thoughts for you to do what you will. Give me patience as I seek you in this journey of renewing my mind. It’s in Jesus’s name I pray, amen.

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Where the Spirit of the Lord Is, There Is Freedom [2 Corinthians 3:17 Devotional]

Where the Spirit of the Lord Is, There Is Freedom devotional cover image. the words to 2 corinthians 3:17 are displayed over green leaves in the background

Where the Spirit of the Lord Is, There Is Freedom [2 Corinthians 3:17 Daily Devotional]

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

2 Corinthians 3:17

Paul, the author of this letter, is writing about freedom. God brings freedom wherever he goes. He provides freedom from addiction, spiritual slavery, and sin – among other things. He also gives us the freedom to pray for others, serve them, and give generously. Generally, we can get caught up thinking that our freedom in Christ is simply the freedom to not do something. But actually, the freedom we receive from Jesus is the freedom that allows us to do the things he’s called us to, which we know is to love God and love people.

Where the Spirit of the Lord Is, There Is Freedom

The concept of “freedom” is somewhat of a hot topic nowadays, at least in the United States. The bottom line, though, is that the freedom Paul is talking about here is the freedom that comes from following Jesus. In that, you have the freedom to do pretty much anything you want, but Paul writes elsewhere that, while you do have that freedom, not everything is beneficial.

I encourage you to use the freedom you have in Christ for beneficial things. You have the freedom to either give food to the poor or not. You also have the freedom to give money to your church or not. However, withholding either of those things causes your heart to harden. You have options to serve others or let them suffer, but in doing so, you’re preventing God from working in you and in them.

Find ways to serve people; meet their practical needs. Find ways to give more and be generous. And find ways to pray for others and build them up in Christ. This is, in my opinion, the best use of the freedom we have in Christ.

Prayer

Jesus, thank you for setting me free from my sin and shame. Help me to use the freedom I have in you to serve others well. Give me the courage to share where my freedom comes from. It’s in your name I pray, amen.

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Let Us Love One Another [1 John 4:7 Devotional]

Let Us Love One Another devotional cover image. four friends walking down a street with the words to 1 john 4:7 displayed.

Let Us Love One Another [1 John 4:7 Daily Devotional]

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”

1 John 4:7

Jesus left us with only a few commands, and they all revolved around one thing. We’re required to love God with everything we have one another as God loved us. John, the author of this letter, is harping on this same chord. We know that love comes from God, and we can only love because of him. So, loving others starts with loving God; without him, we don’t know what it is.

Let Us Love One Another

Since this verse is all about love, you probably want to do whatever you can to do that well. In order to do that, you need to serve people. Jesus showed God’s love by serving those around him, so that means that you can show God’s love by doing the same. Get involved with ministries within your church, or volunteer at a local homeless shelter and help people in need. Serving people doesn’t have to be a big event. It simply requires you to be obedient to what you feel God is calling you to do.

Prayer

Jesus, thank you for showing me what love is. Help me to love others as you have loved me. Give me opportunities to serve others and pray for them. It’s in Jesus’s name I pray, amen.

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