PROPITIATION

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Daniel 8:1-27 ESV, 1 John 2:1-17 ESV, Psalm 120:1-7 ESV, Proverbs 28:25-26 ESV

Daily Verse: “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2 ESV)

HILASMOS (2434): “Signifies “an expiation, a means whereby sin is covered and remitted.”  It is used in the NT of Christ Himself as “the propitiation,” in 1 Jn 2:2 signifying that He Himself, through Him alone, the violated holiness and righteousness of God by man’s sin has means through which God shows mercy to the sinner who believes on Christ as the One thus provided.  Provision is made for the whole world, so that no one is, by divine predetermination, excluded from the scope of God’s mercy; the efficacy of the “propitiation,” however, is made actual for those who believe.”[1]

Covered sin.

Christ alone covered our sins.  When Jesus died, He did so for everyone.  Anyone who trusts God’s Son will have their sins forgiven and find eternal life.  You can’t receive the gift Jesus offers if you don’t believe.

Our actions come from the thoughts we have.  What we believe reveals itself in how we live.  Receiving the forgiveness Christ offers gives us the freedom to live our lives without condemnation.

Live free.

Place your faith in Jesus; you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  When Christ died on the cross, He did it for you.  Knowing we can do nothing to save ourselves from our sinful nature, God provided a way.

Believe Jesus lived, died, and rose again.  Accept the grace God offers through His Son.  No one will ever completely understand the workings of the Creator.  We don’t need to know everything to believe. 

Faith requires movement; taking the first step towards Jesus begins the journey.  God loves you, no matter what lies in your past. When we start to follow Christ, our actions change.  Turning from our past sins, like the adulterous woman in John’s gospel, we strive to sin no more by no longer doing what we used to do.

When I turned my life over to Christ in my late 20s, returning to my childhood faith, I stopped having inappropriate relationships with men, focused on Biblically handling my finances, and worked to develop healthy relationships by dealing with my issues.  Something I continue to do today.

Our journey doesn’t end just because we place our faith in Jesus.  No, choosing to live life like Christ begins the trip of a lifetime, one that never ends as we experience eternal life with Jesus.


[1] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. Greek Dictionary of the New Testament (p. 121) Thomas Nelson

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DARKNESS

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Daniel 7:1-28 ESV, 1 John 1:1-10 ESV, Psalm 119:153-176 ESV, Proverbs 28:23-24 ESV

Daily Verse: “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5 ESV)

SKOTIA (4653): “Is used of spiritual or moral “darkness,” emblematic of sin, as a condition of moral or spiritual depravity, 1 Jn 1:5.”[1]

Spiritual depravity.

Darkness symbolizes spiritual depravity in today’s verse.  Separated from God, people find themselves in darkness, directionless.  But when we connect with Jesus, inviting the Holy Spirit to reside within our hearts, God’s light fills our world.

As a worrier, my thoughts quickly jump to the worst-case scenario when things don’t go as planned.  In seconds, my mind can go to a dark and lonely place. But life with God means even in our darkest hours; He will light our path.

John reminds us when we place our faith in Jesus, He illuminates our path, pulling us from our spiritual depravity and giving us life to the full.

Live in the light.

Bask in the glow of God’s love as it pours from heaven into your soul.  In your struggles, turn to the one who controls all things.  Lay your burdens at the foot of the cross, and stop taking them back.  Give your anxieties to Jesus; let Him bring peace to your soul.

Do you remember the moment you first placed your faith in Jesus?  To this day, I still remember the light that flooded my young heart when I gave my life to Christ.  Even though I didn’t completely understand all the nuances at that moment, something changed and continues to change decades later as I let Jesus into more and more of my soul.

Experience the life change Jesus offers.  You don’t have to know everything about Christ to accept the gift He offers.  As you begin to follow Jesus, your faith will grow.  The more you practice God’s teachings; the more your heart will fill with His light.

Let your light shine brightly in the darkness of this world.  Share Christ’s love with all you meet, and pray they will accept God’s gift and experience the life change He offers.


[1] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. Greek Dictionary of the New Testament (p. 229) Thomas Nelson

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BELOVED

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Daniel 6:1-28 ESV, 2 Peter 3:1-18 ESV, Psalm 119:129-152 ESV, Proverbs 28:21-22 ESV

Daily Verse: “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Peter 3:8 ESV)

AGAPETOS (27): “As an adjective, from agapao (25) means “loved,” is used of Christ as loved by God and of believers, often, as a form of address.”[1]

Loved.

Peter calls his audience beloved because the disciple understands the depth of God’s love for them.  Often, throughout the NT, the authors refer to their readers as beloved.  Believing God loves us unconditionally challenges people who think they don’t deserve the love God offers. 

We will never understand God’s timing as we travel through this life.  When life’s burdens weigh you down, and the solution seems simple from your eyes but not God’s, we can become negative.  God’s seeming lack of involvement makes you scratch your head.  But our concept of time and God’s differ drastically.

Full bloom.

A quote I came across recently made me pause:

“Until our time to bloom, we will for you in the soil, Lord.” Anonymous

Writing the words on a sticky note I have it hanging above my desk.  The words remind me that God’s timing and mine don’t match.  “with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” Each day, we come closer to blooming as we pursue life with Christ.

Plant a seed in the soil, and watch as it grows into full maturation.  Imagine the darkness surrounding the small kernel; how oppressive it must feel.  But in the dark, the beauty begins as sprouts appear and make their way towards the sun, eventually bursting through, the tendrils journeying to their full potential.

Jesus discovers us in the dark, buried in our sins.  As we place our faith in Him, new sprouts begin to form.  Each day, as we pursue life with Christ, we bloom into God’s beautiful creation, one act of love at a time.

What seems like a thousand years to us doesn’t to God.  His timing and ours don’t align most of the time.  But one thing remains true; God’s never late or early; He always intervenes at the perfect time.

Take heart today, the journey may seem long, but it will end in the blink of an eye.  Full bloom occurs when we receive our perfected bodies in heaven.  Trust God’s timing, even if He’s not working on your timetable.


[1] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. Greek Dictionary of the New Testament (p. 2) Thomas Nelson

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FALSE

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Daniel 5:1-31 ESV, 2 Peter 2:1-22 ESV, Psalm 119:113-128 ESV, Proverbs 28:19-20 ESV

Daily Verse: “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.” (2 Peter 2:1 ESV)

PSEUDODIDAS (5572): “A spurious teacher, i.e. propagator of erroneous Chr. Doctrine: false teacher.”[1]

Propagator of erroneous

False teachers promote lies, and in today’s world, many exist.  People who don’t believe in God or rebel against Him will do and say anything to get you off track.  Their lies slide by so subtly that you hardly notice.  One seed planted can lead you down the wrong path.

The best way to stay alert to the lies of others happens when you focus on Jesus.  Instead of figuring out other people’s tall tales, focus on understanding God’s word well.  The better you know Christ, the quicker He reveals the lies.

Solid truth.

When you know something so well, you can easily spot when something doesn’t line up.  My young farming friend in Delaware can identify the different fields as we drive by because she knows them so intimately, but they all look the same to my untrained eye.  She can spot what I can’t.

In the same way, when we know Jesus so intimately, the false prophets become apparent.  And God gives us the Holy Spirit to guide us from within, helping us discern the truth.  The closer we follow Jesus, the more sensitive we become to His Spirit, and the more readily we’ll recognize the lies.

Only Jesus saves; no other god can do what ours does.  People worship many things, but only one true God exists.  Anything else will inevitably fail.  Staying tuned into Christ will expose the false teachers in your life.

Make truth a priority by spending time each day with Christ.  Apply God’s teachings to your life, and trust in His word.  With Jesus as your foundation, you will find solid ground that stands the test of time, breaking down all falsities and exposing the truth.


[1] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. Greek Dictionary of the New Testament (p. 274) Thomas Nelson

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INEFFECTIVE

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Daniel 4:1-37 ESV, 2 Peter 1:1-21 ESV, Psalm 119:97-112 ESV, Proverbs 28:17-18 ESV

Daily Verse: “For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:8 ESV)

ARGOS (692): “This word denotes “idle, barren, yielding no return, because of inactivity” is rendered “barren” (2 Peter 1:8).”[1]

Yielding no return.

Peter gives the church a list of qualities to exemplify in their lives:

“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.” (2 Peter 1:5-7 ESV)

All things end with love when following Jesus.  If our actions don’t emulate the divine affection we receive from above, we have work to do.  And it does take effort to live like Jesus.  We must constantly put our desires away and put God first.

Fruitful effort.

When we pursue virtue and righteousness, taking the high road in difficult situations, we’ll become fruitful.  Our actions come from the choices we make.  You have at least two options in any case: God’s way or mine.

Following Jesus means we forgive the offense and seek the motivation behind the actions.  What causes people to respond differently often comes from what they learned from others.  As we know more about Christ, we should respond as He did.

Pursue virtue, and acquire knowledge and self-control as you remain steadfast in your relationship with Jesus.  Let your actions reflect God’s love for His people, and love the world for Jesus with brotherly affection.

Continuously increasing the qualities of Jesus will help you produce fruit in abundance.  Become known for your love, giving glory to God.  Watch as the kingdom increases because of your efforts to follow Jesus.


[1] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. Greek Dictionary of the New Testament (p. 40) Thomas Nelson

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SOBER-MINDED

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Daniel 2:24-3:30 ESV, 1 Peter 4:7-5:14 ESV, Psalm 119:81-96 ESV, Proverbs 28:15-16 ESV

Daily Verse: “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.” (1 Peter 4:7 ESV)

SOPHRPNEO (4993): “Signifies “to be of sound mind,” or “in one’s right mind, sober-minded.”[1]

Sound mind.

Peter warns the church that things will end.  Remaining vigilant in prayer requires self-control and a sober mind.  Jesus taught responsible living, keeping our minds alert and aware by not overindulging in things of the world.

When my sweet Sophia, an 11-year-old, 7-pound rat terrier, broke free from her leash and ran off, my mind went into a frenzy.  Panic set in quickly as I rushed around the neighborhood, trying to find her.  Self-control took a back seat to my emotions in those first harrowing moments.

Pray, not panic.

One of my often-used prayers from “Three Word Prayers for Everyday Living” calmed my frantic mind, “Pray, not Panic.” Reason began to return as I focused my thoughts on God and asked for His intervention. Sophia didn’t return immediately, but peace came to me and helped me reason.

Prayer settles our souls when we feel panicked.  Unlike any other coping tool, enlisting God in our daily lives keeps us focused, not allowing our human desires to overcome us.

But if we overindulge in things that alter our mental state, our prayers become less effective because of our altered states of mind.  Remaining self-controlled and sober-minded help maintain a realistic view of the world around us and keep our minds focused on prayer.

Time never stops, passing quickly.  Life on earth requires alertness to the happenings around us.  When we use self-control and keep our minds sound, we can use effective prayers to guide us through our days.

Stay in touch with God today.  Talk to Him often through prayer and supplication.  Start your conversation with thanksgiving and praise, lifting your requests to the Creator, knowing God will answer in His time.


[1] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. Greek Dictionary of the New Testament (p. 246) Thomas Nelson

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SYMPATHY

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Daniel 1:1-2:23 ESV, 1 Peter 3:8-4:6 ESV, Psalm 119:65-80 ESV, Proverbs 28:14 ESV

Daily Verse: “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” (1 Peter 3:8 ESV)

SUMPATHES (4835): “Having a fellow-feeling, mutually commiserative: having compassion.”[1]

Mutually commiserative.

As Christ’s followers, we should agree we should exude the qualities in today’s verse.  Showing sympathy and brotherly love towards everyone we meet should become a usual way of life.  Asking God to keep our hearts tender and minds humble will help us show those qualities to others.

Feeling or expressing sympathy towards someone means putting yourself in their place and imagining what they feel.  No one can truly understand someone else’s pain unless they’ve experienced the exact same thing as the individual.  But we can try to understand their feelings of sorrow and express compassion to people in distress.

Express compassion.

Sympathizing with someone means expressing compassion to them through words or actions.  When my husband’s knee bothered him, I expressed sympathy by sitting with him when he couldn’t do everyday activities, getting him ice bags, and serving him, so he wouldn’t have to move.  Similarly, if I’m sick, my husband takes care of me. 

Sympathizing with someone lets them know that someone shares their pain with them.  Simple actions, like sending a card or cooking a meal, can lighten someone’s heart and make them feel better in their pit.

Everyone has pain in their life we can’t see.  People respond to the world around them from their hurts, trying to protect themselves from further harm.  When we express compassion, they let their guard down, allowing their hearts to soften and receive God’s love.

Become known for your compassion and sympathy towards others.  If someone’s actions hurt you, before concluding, remind yourself that they have pain too.  Hurting people hurt others, often unintentionally.  Allow God’s grace and mercy to flow through you to them.

Jesus lived His life sharing brotherly love and sympathy towards others.  Christ exemplified a tender heart and humble mind.  As followers of Him, we should do the same.


[1] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. Greek Dictionary of the New Testament (p. 238) Thomas Nelson

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SOJOURNERS

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Ezekiel 47:1-48:35 ESV, 1 Peter 2:11-3:7 ESV, Psalm 119:49-64 ESV, Proverbs 28:12-13 ESV

Daily Verse: “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.” (1 Peter 2:11 ESV)

PAROIKOS (3941): “Having a home near, i.e. (as noun) a by-dweller (alien resident).  In 2 Peter 2:11, “strangers.”[1]

Alien resident.

None of us belong on earth; our eternal home waits for us.  In the meantime, we must battle our worldly desires by keeping our eyes on Jesus.  Getting wrapped up in the trivial things of this life takes us off the narrow path.

I managed a small leather store in Williamsburg, VA, in my twenties.   A.R. Leather no longer exists, but I rode my bike to its doors when I worked for the company.  Mooretown Rd., a five-mile stretch, has a small gap between the edge of the road and the white line outlining it. 

I imagined the small black strip as the narrow path following Jesus each day.  If I left the trail, I would get back on as quickly as possible, knowing I’m safe when I’m on the right path.

Course correct.

As sojourners, an alien in a foreign world, we must do two things.  Know our destination and learn how to course correct.  Life with Jesus gives us our destination, heaven.  One day, we’ll walk through the pearly gates.  Until then, we must journey this life, sharing Jesus with others through acts of love and compassion.

Now and then, the flesh wins, probably more than we would like.  Like me on my bike,  make course corrections during those times.  Re-adjust your focus, place your eyes on Jesus and remember your mission: love God, love others.

Repeatedly, until the day God calls you home.

Never in this world will you get it entirely right.  Accepting the truth helps me let go of my aspirations of perfection.  Nothing I can do can save my soul, only Jesus, and He does it freely.

With Christ, our weaknesses become strengths.  The more honest and transparent you become with the Lord, the more God will use you.  Embracing our imperfections helps us receive God’s perfect love into our lives, then share it with the world.


[1] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. Greek Dictionary of the New Testament (p. 193) Thomas Nelson

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PREPARING

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Ezekiel 45:13-46:24 ESV, 1 Peter 1:13-2:10 ESV, Psalm 119:33-48 ESV, Proverbs 28:11 ESV

Daily Verse: “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:13 ESV)

ANAZONNUMI (328): “As a verb, means “to gird up” and is used metaphorically of the loins of the mind 1 Peter 1:13.”[1]

Gird up.

Preparing our minds for action means girding them for battle.  Our tongue’s readiness comes from our mind’s preparedness.  As the saying goes, when squeezed, what comes out?  Oranges produce orange juice under pressure.  Christ’s followers should reflect Jesus.

Intentionally setting our minds on Jesus will help prepare us for life’s battles.  Memorizing scriptures that address whatever issue faced will bring you God’s peace.  Remembering God’s promises will achieve victory when the adversary tries to derail your thoughts.

Set your intention.

You can prepare your mind for the battles you must face.  Some skirmishes will come out of nowhere, but we often know when we feel pressure.  Any warrior preparing for battle knows to put on their armor.

Philippians 4:13 carries me through many battles:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

I can have difficult conversations, ask for help, seek sound advice, do the right thing, and take the more challenging path.  With Jesus, we can do anything; without Him, we fail.

Guird your mind by thinking about Jesus.  Remember the unconditional love Christ extends to you and give it to others.  Let grace and truth, spoken in love, lead the way in your relationships.  Prepared minds make quick work of the enemy’s attacks. 


[1] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. Greek Dictionary of the New Testament (p. 19) Thomas Nelson

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INEXPRESSABLE

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Ezekiel 44:1-45:12 ESV, 1 Peter 1:1-12 ESV, Psalm 119:17-32 ESV, Proverbs 28:8-10 ESV

Daily Verse: “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory” (1 Peter 1:8 ESV)

ANEKLALETOS (412): “With this word, the words can be found, but due to joy, they are overwhelmed and not spoken 1 Pet. 1:8.”[1]

Overwhelmed silence.

Peter understood the unspeakable joy journeying with Jesus brings to your life.  Peter’s affection ran deep after walking with Christ and witnessing His death and resurrection.  Experiencing Jesus’s overwhelming love will make you speechless.

Embracing Jesus into your life will bring you joy you can’t put into words.  In the worst circumstances, Christ’s presence gives peace we can’t understand.  In the good times and in the bad times, God never leaves our side.  But first, we must believe.

Directed faith. 

We all have faith, whether we think we do or not.  Everyone thinks the sun will rise and set but doesn’t know if it will.  We trust our cars to run correctly and get us where we want to go.  Sometimes we place our faith in doctors that they will cure us.  Other times we trust a bank teller to put our money in the correct account.  Faith means believing in things we can’t see; we do it without thinking.

Placing faith in Jesus challenges people because He’s not tangible. Spirituality lives outside the physical realm.  Trusting in something we can’t see becomes more challenging when we also don’t completely understand it and can’t put it into words.

God’s relationship with His children varies.  How I connect with God differs from how my husband does.  But we still worship the same God and experience the same joy.  Faith doesn’t come with all the answers; if it did, you would no longer call it faith.

Place your faith in Jesus and experience the inexpressible joy it brings.  Stop trying to find all the answers and just believe.  Dive into the scriptures and get to know the Master; you won’t regret it.


[1] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. Greek Dictionary of the New Testament (p. 25) Thomas Nelson

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