Weekly Devotionals by Pastor Steve Rowitt, Th.M., Ph.D.
July 1, 2012 – Every day is the Day of the Lord
The Hebrew word for day is yom. While it is usually associated with a literal 24-hour day as it is described in the first chapter of the book of Genesis, e.g. the combination of evening and morning, Gen. 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31, it is sometimes used to described an extended time period, as is the case with the phrase “the day of the Lord.” Sometimes this phrase is going to refer to the time of judgment known both as “the Day of Jacob’s Trouble,” Jer. 30:7-9, Ez. 30:1-3; Joel 1:14-15, 2:1-3, 11, 31, Mal. 4:5 and “the Great Tribulation,” II Peter 3:10; Rev. 7:15.
When it is referring to the coming time of judgment, it is clear that the prophets understood this as a limited time frame and not an indeterminate period of time, Is. 2:12-18, 13:5-11. 24:21-23; Jer. 46:9-11, Amos 5:18-20; I Thess. 5:1-3. We understand from certain texts, e.g. Dan. 9:24-26, that there will be a future week, e.g. a period of seven years in which the anti-Christ rises to become a power broker a counterfeit peace between Israel and the Arab nations. The anti-Christ is referred to as the “little horn” in Dan. 8:9-14, 23-25.
It also can refer to the kingdom of the coming Messiah, Is. 4:2-6, 12:1-6, 25:8-10, Hosea 2:13-23; Micah 4:1-7; Zep. 1:14-18; Zech. 2:10-12, 12:7-14 and sometimes we see God referring to both salvation and judgment in the same passage or even the same verse, of Scripture, Is. 61:2; Joel 3:14-18; Zech. 14:1-9, Mal. 4:1-3.
As God’s beloved children, we can see a pattern that emerges from the relationship between the final trial and tribulation that is coming upon mankind and the glorious deliverance and the joy-filled Kingdom that will follow the Second Coming. We easily see this pattern in our own lives as God’s beloved children, in whom (because of Jesus and His sacrifice on our behalf) He (the Father) is well-pleased, 1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 3:22.
July 8, 2012 – How God uses Trial and Tribulation in our Lives
Here the wisdom of the Lord for us as it is clearly outlined in Rom. 5:1-5. We see the following relationships are interdependent upon one another. We can see this dynamic at work in our personal lives as well.
Tribulations (Afflictions) → Patience (Cheerful endurance) → Experience (Proof that God is faithful in the valley as well as the mountaintop) → Hope (Confident expectation that all of God’s promises are true) → Love (Fruit of the Holy Spirit)
God uses these stages to demonstrate how a grace through faith lifestyle is lived one day at a time, one step of faith at a time. We can also see how our daily trials and tribulations are directly connected to the fruit of the Holy Spirit, Gal. 5:22-23.
Nobody saw more trials and tribulation than the Messiah. Yeshua came into this world as a humble Servant. He turned His back on everything He was prior to His incarnation, Phil. 2:5-11. He emptied Himself of His deity so that He could give us the example of how to live and depend completely on our heavenly Father. It is His example of someone who joyfully faced every circumstance, many of them very bad, yet He never gave up hope or became depressed. How did He accomplish this?
July 15, 2011 – Remain Plugged in to the One Who Loves You Best
One of the ways we can remain plugged into our Lord and Savior is to remember His teaching about abiding in the vine, John 15:1-5. We abide or remain in Messiah. Rooted in the living Word of God and grounded upon the written Word of God. In this way, we can receive nourishment from the Lord daily.
In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work, John 4:31-34.
In this teaching, Jesus has revealed an important truth concerning His mindset. He saw His true food as being able to fulfill His ministry. This was the source of His sustaining power, the reality that the Holy Spirit would empower Him to succeed in the plan for the redemption of mankind. He was the Son of God, yet He relied on His heavenly Father, receiving His instructions from Him and living His life by faith according to the Word of God.
But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God,’” Matt. 4:4.
July 22, 2011 – Remain in God’s Sabbath Rest
The writer of the letter to the first century AD Hebrew Christians explained to them that there is a special rest for those who have placed their faith in the risen Messiah, Heb. 4. Because our Savior has accomplished our redemption, we no longer have to work to achieve righteousness because true righteousness is obtained as a gift of God’s grace, Eph. 2:8.
Resting in Christ is the same concept as abiding in the vine, John 15:1-5. There are several ways that we can cooperate with God and, therefore, Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience, Heb. 4:11. We can:
Spend time communing with Him daily - But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed, Luke 5:16.
Remember that we have His perfect peace all the time -You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal, Isaiah 26:3-4.
Remain in God’s Sabbath rest - Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good--not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne, Matt. 11:28-30 The Amplified Bible.
Remember who you really are - But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy, I Peter 2:9-10.
See the End from the Beginning: The Eternal Perspective - And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose, Rom. 8:28.
All of these will aid us in what can be referred to as “Practical Abiding” or walking by faith, one step at a time, one day at a time.
July 29, 2011 – Our job is to cooperate by taking God at His Word
The difference between believers and make-believers is this. Believers take God at His Word. We place our faith in God by trusting in the risen Savior, Messiah Jesus, and obeying God’s written instructions. An acronym for the Word of God appears here:
Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth- B-I-B-L-E
For this reason, the theme of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the body of believers in Rome was to focus on the gospel, the good news.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Gentile.For in it (the Gospel,) the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith,” Rom. 1:16-17; Hab. 2:4; Heb.11:1 & 37.
It is the good news that transforms sinners into saints. Once we have been changed, Rom. 6:1-4; II Cor. 5:17-21, we are instructed to sustain ourselves by fulfilling our ministries as priests and priestesses of the most high God and ministers of the gospel of reconciliation. We are instructed to live lives of faith. Not only is the faith to believe a gift of God’s unmerited favor (His amazing grace), it sustains us causing God’s grace to empower His children to continue to trust and obey Him every day.
“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent,” John 6:27-29.