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Sweeter than Honey


SUNDAY, November 6
Psalm 119:97-104

What do you think about “all day long” (v. 1)? Money? Your to-do list? Something someone said to you? What the future holds? While all of these things are important, the words we find in this psalm remind us not only what is important, but what is good. I love the metaphor of how the Word of God is sweet. The psalmist shares how when we think about the words of God “all day long,” this practice makes us wise, gives us guidance, protects us from going in the wrong direction, and opens us up to experience the sweetness of life. A life meant to be sweeter than honey. Are you experiencing that kind of life? As you reflect on these words today, get some bread and honey. As you eat and reflect on this psalm, imagine for a moment a life sweeter than honey. 

Lord, may we experience the sweetness of life you desire for us. May your words help us experience a life that is sweeter than honey. Amen. 

PRAYER FOCUS: APPRECIATION FOR TODAY

 

God and the Broken


MONDAY, November 7
Jeremiah 31:27-34

Isn’t this wonderful? A new covenant. A new promise. A new reality. Notice how these words are not in response to Israel’s or Judah’s faithfulness. They are spoken in the midst of human brokenness and wickedness. God sees and knows our brokenness. God sees and knows us. Injustice and wickedness do not go unpunished (vv. 28-29), but punishment is not the final word. Over and over again, Scripture reminds us that when we go astray, when we sin, when we choose other “gods,” God draws near and chooses us. This is the message I hope you hear today: nothing can separate you from God’s love, for God has written deep within our hearts, that “I will be [your] God and [you] will be my people” (v. 33, NLT). This is the new covenant. Thanks be to God. 

Gracious and loving God, thank you for choosing us to be your people. Thank you for mercy and kindness. May we be ambassadors of your love and extend the same forgiveness and mercy to those around us. Amen. 

 

God of Justice


TUESDAY, November 8
Luke 18:1-8

Do you think God will give justice? Do you think God is making things right, back to the way he created them to be? Is God fixing broken relationships, laws, and systems that sin has damaged? Is God repairing things so that all people have an equal opportunity to be everything God created them to be? Do you have faith that God will do this? Do you live in such a way that you believe God is going to bring justice? 

Jesus certainly did. Jesus showed us what it looks like to live by this kind of faith: healing the sick, comforting the brokenhearted, restoring dignity to the poor and outcast, welcoming children, giving up his life for the sake of others, proclaiming the good news that the God’s kingdom (i.e., a world ruled by God) was near! Let us, in the words of Jesus, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge” (v. 6, NLT). God will—and is—bringing justice. 

Lord Jesus, may we have faith in what you have spoken. Give us the faith to hold onto your promise to bring justice. Even in the midst of all the brokenness, hurt, and sin we experience, may your Word be more powerful in our lives. Amen. 

PRAYER FOCUS: WISDOM IN VOTING

 

God’s Temple


WEDNESDAY, November 9
Luke 19:45-48

Imagine the scene described here. Jesus is disrupting normative religious practice, i.e., the status quo. He is throwing tables. He doesn’t come gently. He doesn’t ask permission. Jesus brings God’s restorative work into the heart of worship by removing what doesn’t belong. Quoting Isaiah 56:7 and Jeremiah 7:11 he speaks reality, the truth of what is—that the Temple, the center of worship for the people of God, has been “turned into a den of thieves” (v. 46, NLT). 

The people of God had created barriers to worship, keeping others out instead of inviting them to draw them closer. We are called God’s temple (1 Corinthians 3:16) and today, these words call us to consider the ways we do this in our own walks with God. What in your life needs to be driven out so that you can be a “house of prayer,” a Temple for all people to experience the presence of God living in you? 

Lord Jesus, you have come to bring God’s restorative justice and healing to the broken areas of our lives and the world. May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is heaven. Amen. 

 

You Have Heard


THURSDAY, November 10
2 Timothy 2:1-7

Much of the Christian faith is rooted in the personal. Paul begins his letters with a personal greeting and is particularly relational (“I am writing to Timothy, my dear son” [2 Timothy 1:2, NLT]). The tone of the letter is rooted in intimacy. Paul leads with relationship as he communicates with Timothy on how to faithfully follow Jesus and lead a community of faith. In his tone and words, Paul is reminding Timothy of the deeply personal and relational truths of the Christian faith. Late pastor and theologian Eugene Peterson illuminated the personal nature of the Scriptures, noting how, “a letter, handwritten, is the most personal way to write words.” Have you ever thought about this? Take a moment to reflect on the personal nature of Scripture. Let us remember that the God we worship is personal, the “Word made flesh” who “made his home among us” (John 1:14). Today, let God’s Word make its home in you. 

Word of God, thank you for the gift of your personal presence. May your Word today make its home within us. Let us remember the truth that you are with us, living and breathing among us. Amen. 

PRAYER FOCUS: TMILITARY CHAPLAINS

 

The Jesus Way


FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11
2 Timothy 2:22-26

We are quarrelsome people. Much of our life is spent fighting, arguing, or disagreeing with others. It’s no secret the church is known more for what it’s against than what’s for. As a result, our witness falters. In this passage, Paul writes, “A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people” (v. 24, NLT). Is this your experience? Is this how you live the Christian life? Carey Nieuwhof, a former pastor and current podcast host, writes, “Most people are not judged into change, the majority of people are loved into it.” This echoes the words of James, “Mercy triumphs over judgment” (2:13, NIV). Perhaps if we begin to live this way, leading with mercy, “God will change people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth” (v. 25, NLT).

Lord Jesus, help us to “pursue faithfulness, love, and peace above all else so that we may enjoy the companionship of those who call on you with pure hearts” (v. 22, NLT). Amen. 

 

Scripture Must Change Us


SATURDAY, November 12
2 Timothy 3:12–4:5

How often is reading Scripture uncomfortable for you? Paul writes that the Scriptures “teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives” (v. 16, NLT). Human beings are quintessential “change-resistors” and it’s in our very nature to resist “what is true…and to do what is right.” Yet by its very nature, the Word of God calls us to change and makes us uncomfortable because we resist recognizing what is wrong in our lives. The author of Hebrews gives us a powerful image of how the Word penetrates and judges our minds and hearts, our most protected and private strongholds (4:12). No wonder it’s uncomfortable. And still, we are called to preach the Word of God, to not be afraid of suffering for the Lord, to tell others the good news even if it’s uncomfortable. We are called to confess and repent, which always involves change. 

Lord God, we confess that we are resistant to change, but we know you call us to confess what is wrong in our lives so that we may do what is right. May we be people who are prepared and equipped to do every good work. Amen. 

PRAYER FOCUS:VETERANS

 

About the Author

  • Michael John Taber III

    Born and raised in upstate New York, I serve on staff with the Highrock Churches as the middle school pastor. I am married to my high school sweetheart, Grace, and she also serves on staff at Highrock. We have three spunky, sweet children: Kiah Joy, Jianah Kara, and Immanel James. Aside from spending time with my family, I love sports (particularly basketball), listening to a great podcast, exercising (especially strength training and yoga), learning about homesteading, reading books, discussing theology and faith, spending time with friends, watching movies, and eating great food. I have a master’s degree in theology and a master’s in religion from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. I am currently pursuing ordination in word and sacrament in the Evangelical Covenant Church.

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