The Levites obeyed your word
and guarded your covenant.
They were more loyal to you
than to their own parents.
They ignored their relatives
and did not acknowledge their own children.
Dt 33.9 NLT

After the Israelites worshiped the golden calf in the desert, Moses ordered the faithful to kill the sinners among the people, Exodus 32. The Levites fulfilled the order and were blessed by God for it. The Lord reserves a blessing for him who obeys his commandments instead of bowing before the desire to be accepted by one’s loved ones.

Translated from the Portuguese-language devotional DeusConosco.com.

identity-activity

If an unclean spirit could identify you and proclaim to the world your identity and your activity, what would it say? This happened to Paul and Silas, in Philippi.

She followed behind Paul and us and kept crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.”
Acts 16.17 NET

The unclean spirit did not want anyone to be saved. It was alerting everyone, in a way, to avoid them. But it knew very well who they were and why they had come to Philippi. And it described the two of them and their mission very well.

May the same be declared about us today.

Regardless of circumstances, says Paul, be it even life or death, “we make it our goal to please him,” 2 Corinthians 5.9 NIV.

This matters, because the world—especially, people close to us—pressures us to please it. Every day is a choice between pleasing God or pleasing the world, being a friend with God or with the world. Continue reading

Clarity of holiness

Without a life dedicated to God, we lack certainty of his cause and the clarity of holiness. With such a life, we speak with confidence.

The LORD judges the nations.
Vindicate me, LORD, because I am innocent,
because I am blameless, O Exalted One!
May the evil deeds of the wicked come to an end!
But make the innocent secure,
O righteous God,
you who examine inner thoughts and motives!
Psalm 7.8-9 NET Continue reading

Love of moneyEvery man has his price. So says the cynic. And there are enough people like the soldiers at Jesus’ tomb to give him reason for his affirmation.

So they took the money and did as they were instructed.
Matthew 28:15 NET

The guards at the tomb had seen a horrifying angel. They knew about the resurrection of the Crucified One. They saw up close the power of God.

Even at that, they accepted the bribe and lied about the facts.

Throughout his gospel, Matthew says much about money. In the Sermon on the Mount, he cites Jesus’ words, “You cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6:24b).

For whoever serves money has his price.

DiscipleshipDuring his ministry, Jesus found people to call as disciples. In the parable of the banquet, the servants were sent to go out in the streets “and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet” (Matthew 22:9, 10 NET).

Jesus also told, shortly before his death, the parable of the good and bad servants, and pronounced this blessing, “Blessed is that slave whom the master finds at work when he comes” (Matthew 24:46).

But when the moment came to carry Jesus’ cross, no one among his followers is found.

As they were going out, they found a man from Cyrene named Simon, whom they forced to carry his cross.
Matthew 27:32 Continue reading