Just For Today
A Daily Approach to Prayer and Scripture
Tuesday, January 17
“I had great bitterness; but You…delivered my soul.”
Isa 38:17 NKJV
At ninety-two, Jenny never missed a chance to recall how her sister refused to buy her a pair of shoes fifty years ago! All those years marinating “in the gall of bitterness” (Ac 8:23). Anne Peterson says: “An offense burrows into our hearts. We replay it…creating ruts that’ll be hard to rebuild later…we enlist support, which pushes us further into resentment. We decipher the offense as intentional, and our offender as full of spite. As we find reasons, real or imagined, to dislike them…we form another layer of bitterness…Then like a beach ball we try to submerge it…[but] it pops up…splashing everyone.” The Bible says, “Make sure…bitterness doesn’t take root and grow up to cause trouble that corrupts many” (Heb 12:15 GWT). So remember: (1) Forgiveness isn’t optional. “If…possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Ro 12:18 NIV). It may not be possible to live in harmony with everyone, but God still requires you to forgive those who’ve hurt you. (2) As you forgive, you’re forgiven. The Bible says when you’re “full of bitterness” you’re “captive to sin” (Ac 8:23 NIV). Don’t forget that Jesus didn’t just die for you, He died for those who offend you. Do they deserve forgiveness? No. But then again, do you? (3) Pray for your enemies. Ask God to bring to mind the people you need to forgive, and melt the bitterness in your heart toward them. It’s impossible to harbor resentment toward somebody you’re praying for. Yes, sometimes it’s hard to forgive; but you “can do all things through Christ” (Ph 4:13).
Wednesday, January 18
“Our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s.”
1Jn 4:17 TM
JUDGMENT DAY WILL BE A GREAT DAY FOR YOU
Will you get into heaven because you are worthy? No, you’ll get there because Jesus, the One in Whom you’ve placed your trust, is worthy! “As we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love” (vv. 17-18 NLT). On the day of judgment earthly wealth won’t matter. Physical beauty won’t be factored in. Fame will be forgotten. You might stand next to Napoleon or Julius Caesar, but you won’t be asking them about Waterloo or Brutus. All eyes will be on Jesus. Those who ignored Him will hear the words, “Depart from me” (Mt 25:41). But for those who accept Him as their Lord and Savior there need be no fear. “We can face him with confidence because we live like Christ here in this world.” Think about that! God sees you the way He sees Christ—worthy and accepted. And since you’re “in Christ” you can view judgment day the way He does—with confidence. Does Christ fear judgment? No, a sinless soul needn’t. Does He fear death? No, the giver of life wouldn’t. So should we who are “in Christ” fear judgment or death? Not at all: “Our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s.” So judgment day will be a great day for you!