Strengthening Your Core
Day 1: One
A survey of the “gods” of ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome tells much about sinful man and more about the nature of God. The list is long and varied – the Egyptian god Babi (god of baboons); the Greek god Dionysius (god of parties, wine, chaos and drunkenness); the Roman god Mars (god of war,Spring and justice). Ancient Greece even worshiped an “unknown god” just to cover all the bases. Then as now, people worship so many false gods, known and unknown, hoping to appease whatever threatens the satisfaction of our sinful nature.
The one true God, creator of the universe, is just that — One God – all powerful, all knowing, all loving – not the most important God among many – the One and only – the Great “I AM”. Begin the devotional week on this foundation. There is only One God Almighty. There’s no room in our hearts for more than one. He will not share us with anything. For that we are truly grateful!
O Holy God, you are the one and only God, creator, redeemer, and King. We praise your Holy Name forever!
Amen and Amen.
Day 2: Triune
Mark 1: 9-11
There is only one God. He exists in Three Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In Sunday School, we learned that an apple has a skin, white flesh and a core: each is different; all are “apple”.
Early in His earthly walk, God the Son comes up out of the waters of baptism to see God the Holy Spirit descending on Him like a dove and then hears God the Father announcing that Jesus is His Son in whom He is well pleased. We have a unique glimpse of the joyous celebration of relationship that is the Trinity.
God’s Word tells us all three persons of the Trinity were present at creation. While we see distinct references to each person of the Trinity in Scripture, we also see clear teaching that God is One. We can wrestle with these truths and won’t understand them this side of heaven. Don’t let it trouble you. Let it lead you to celebrate the invitation you have for relationship with Father, Son and Spirit. Know this, He loves you!
Holy, holy, holy Lord God almighty Early in the morning my song shall rise to Thee Holy, holy, holy Merciful and mighty God in three persons, blessed Trinity
Day 3: True God and True Man
Immediately after Adam and Eve rebelled against God’s command not to eat from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, God put into motion His marvelous plan to reconcile us to Himself. God is perfect so He had to have a man live a perfect life and then die as a payment for our sin. The only way this could be ccomplished is if His only begotten Son came down from heaven and was made man to take our place. God’s Word tells us this is exactly what happened in the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ of Nazareth some 2000 years ago. His Word is perfect so that is good enough for us.
It has always helped me to realize just how much sense this makes. Because man sinned, God’s righteousness demanded that a man had to pay the price. If Jesus wasn’t true man, the sacrifice wouldn’t be acceptable. If Jesus wasn’t also true God, He couldn’t have lived a perfect life on earth and gone to the cross for us! Much like the Trinity, we won’t fully understand the incarnation until we get to heaven. No matter – Thank God He did!
Christ, the Life of all the living, Christ, the Death of death, our foe, Who, Thyself for me once giving To the darkest depths of woe,— Through thy sufferings, death, and merit I eternal life inherit: Thousand, thousand thanks shall be, Dearest Jesus, unto Thee.
Day 4: Spirit
Can you think of a false god today or at any time in history that wasn’t largely material? The ancients built elaborate idols; golden calves, sun gods, great temples. Today, it can be money, house, national defense, or travel. We often struggle with the fact that God is Spirit. He is at work in our lives in largely unseen ways, intimately close yet untouchable.
He is Spirit and we worship Him in spirit and truth. He has given us faith in Him and a peace that passes all understanding. He is everywhere – all the time – always here. But we want signs – physical manifestations of His presence – now and in powerful ways. Often we want Him to provide the very idols that can take us away from Him. Take comfort. God is Spirit – He is with you always, to the end of the age! Would you want it any other way?
Gracious Lord, I praise you for your almighty, all powerful, loving presence in every corner of my life. May I worship you in spirit and in truth all the days of my life. Amen
Day 5: Love
I John 4:7-12
Some of the latest biology textbooks have coined a new phrase for human behaviors that might be called love — “enlightened self-interest.” Terrific. This concept would suggest that the only reason we do for others is that we better understand how it will benefit us. No room for Love as God defines it.
Instead of self-interest, God’s Love is selfless. Instead of enlightened calculations of how much we’ll get in return, God’s Love is sacrificial. Instead of judging in advance whether someone is worthy of our love, God’s love is unconditional. There is no better example of God’s Love than the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross—Selfless – for us; sacrificial – requiring the Father to turn His back on Jesus as He suffered on the cross and became all of our sins at once; unconditional – while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us!
We love because He first loved us. God is love. We love others only because of His love for us. He lives within us and so we love others and then, His love in us is complete!
Father, thank you for loving us, for living in us, and for moving us to love one another. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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