Author Archives: nborger2017

Exodus 38; John 17; Proverbs 14; Philippians 1

“I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:14-17 ESV

Before his betrayal and arrest, Jesus prays to God the Father to protect His disciples after He is no longer with them in-person. Jesus clearly states in His prayer that His followers will be hated and ostracized just like He was. This is one of the hard truths of true Christianity: it is not the popular choice and will not result in the world’s love and support. The ways of the flesh are at war with the ways of the Spirit and the flesh does not give in, or decide to coexist with, the Spirit. Jesus asks God not to take His disciples into heaven yet, as they still have work to do on this earth. Instead, He prays for protection for them and for strength as they face the hatred of the world because they follow the truth.

Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent,  I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear I still have. Philippians 1:27-30 ESV

Paul reflects Jesus’ statement of the world’s hatred in his letter to the Philippians, urging them to stand firm in the faith and to suffer for Christ’s sake. Paul knew what discipleship cost and wholeheartedly believed that his portion in Christ was worth the suffering he faced on earth from followers of the flesh. Paul’s call to stand firm goes out to all believers. It is important for me to remember that the approval and love of the world is worthless compared to a relationship with Christ and that everything on this earth is temporary and fleeting. It is easy to run from the world’s hatred and to try to fit into its standards, but Jesus is clear, His disciples are not of this world and if they follow Him, they will not be accepted in it.

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” John 17:20-21 ESV

Jesus’ prayer was not only for His immediate disciples, but for all who follow Him. It is important for me to live a life that reflects the gospel and shows God to others, not pursuing the empty love of the world. It is comforting that Jesus prayed for my protection from Satan and that His love and grace are sufficient for me. Instead of the world’s love, I have something much greater.

 

Dear God, thank you for sending Jesus to save me from my sins. Please help me to pursue you wholeheartedly, ignoring the pulls and temptations of the world. Give me strength and peace to endure through the trials of my life. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

 

Nathanael (nborger2017)

 

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Genesis 18; Matthew 17; Nehemiah 7; Acts 17

The LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.” Genesis 18:13-14 ESV

Genesis is the beginning of a lot of promises in the Bible. One of the first and biggest is God’s promise to Abraham that all the nations of the world would be blessed through his offspring. Even though Abraham and Sarah showed incredible amounts of faith in God and obeyed His commands, they still struggled with doubt despite His promises. In their doubt, however, God reminds them of His power. Even if things seem impossible, God’s answer to Sarah’s doubt holds true for me as well. If God has a plan, it will work out, no matter the opposition or how far-fetched it seems.

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. Acts 17:24-25 ESV

Paul’s address towards the men of Athens emphasizes God’s power. God is completely non-dependent on mankind and would continue to be the Eternal God even if man did not exist. Since God gives life everything it needs, He also has complete control over it and directs it how He pleases. God’s control is reflected in both His statements to Abraham and in Paul’s statements about Him. Oftentimes when I feel doubt, I am simply looking at the sizes of the obstacles rather than the power of God. Though it can be hard to reminder, God is clear that He is with me through trials and struggles and that He has a plan and a purpose for my life.

Dear God, Thank You for providing for me throughout my life. Please give me greater faith and help me to trust in You throughout the hard times and trials of my life. Thank You for sending Your Son to take away the weight of my sin and allow me to be considered righteous. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

 

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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Genesis 3; Matthew 3; Ezra 3; Acts 3

He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. Genesis 3:24 ESV

Genesis 3 shows how just one simple choice by man lead to his separation from God and the slow death of the perfect world that was created. Adam and Eve did not immediately physically die when they ate the fruit of the forbidden tree, however they cursed both themselves and the world around them to a life full of toil and trouble that would end in a slow or violent death. As a result of this choice, Adam and Eve were removed from the garden. Even though things may have seemed hopeless for them, God knew the whole story before it even began and had already planned to send a Messiah to offer all of humanity a chance to return to him.

And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:16-17 ESV

Jesus’ baptism marks the beginnings of His ministry and shows both the unification and distinct personalities of the Trinity. All three Persons of God are present at this baptism, which Jesus partakes in to obey the commands of God the Father. Unlike Adam, Jesus perfectly obeyed every command given to Him by God and by doing so, was able to be the perfect sacrifice that was required to reconcile God and man. God knew that Adam and Even were going to sin against Him, but He still gave them a choice, knowing the entire story of humanity’s redemption before He even created the world. Even though I still live in a world that greatly suffers the effects of sin, I can preserve because I know that through Christ I will one day see the new heaven and earth where everything and everyone will be free from sin and death forever.

Dear God, Thank you for the redemption you have given me through Your Son. Please help me to honor You in everything I do and keep drawing me closing to You. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

 

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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Revelation 19-22

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adored for her husband. Revelation 21:1-2 ESV

While much of Revelation can be confusing, the ending of the book leaves no uncertainty: God will triumph, sin and Satan will be defeated, and there will be a new heaven and a new earth. After all the struggles and tribulations described in the book, John receives the complete and final end of the story, where everything is finally set right and the effects of sin are no longer felt.

And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for the murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:6-8 ESV

Once again, God clearly promises that if sinners turn from their sin to Jesus, he will save them and welcome them into his family. Those who follow Jesus lay claim to this heritage and Jesus’ righteousness covers them and washes away all their sins. This is a truth that I need to dwell on. It is too easy to just brush off Jesus’ sacrifice as just another part of His story without fully grasping the weight of it and how He saved me from an eternity of permanent torment. While I am a sinner, through Christ I can conquer and claim my heritage, despite deserving an eternity forever separated from God.

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Revelation 22:12-14 ESV

Dear God, Thank You for sending Jesus so that I can spend eternity with You. Please help me tell others the Good News so that they may be with You for eternity too. Thank You for Your promises. I will faithful wait for Your return. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

 

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Nehemiah 13; Malachi 1-2; John 19

Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers? Judah has been faithless, and abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem. For Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the LORD, which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god. Malachi 2:10-11 ESV

Malachi is the last book in the Old Testament and features yet another prophet who is sent to correct the peoples’ wrongdoing and give them God’s words. Even after their exile and return, the people of Judah still committed abominations against God and had fallen into sin yet again. As the Old Testament reaches its end, it because very clear that it is impossible to please God by myself. Time and again, the people of Judah repent, only to start sinning again. Their half-hearted sacrifice of blemished livestock bares a stark contrast against God’s sacrifice of Jesus, a pure and unblemished Lamb.

After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:28-30 ESV

When Jesus declared, “It is finished,” he finished my condemnation by taking all my sin upon Himself. Because I trust in Him and believe what He says, His purity is put on me and my sin is cast upon Him. Like the people of Judah, I sin often and repeatedly, even when I know what I am doing is wrong. The Old Testament showcases both the faith of those who trust in God and how it is impossible to please Him on our own. Everything in the Old Testament lead up to Christ crucifixion and resurrection, making it possible for me to come to God with a clean and pure heart. While I am not perfect, I strive to be more like Christ while remember that His sacrifice has washed away all my sins.

Dear God, Thank you for sending Your Son to die for my sins. I know that I could never be perfect enough to please You. Please give me strength to fight against sin and temptation and forgive me when I fail. In Your Holy Name, Amen.  

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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Ezekiel 42-45; 2 Peter 2

And the vision I saw was just like the vision that I had seen when he came to destroy the city and just like the vision that I had seen by the Chebar canal. And I fell on my face. As the glory of the LORD entered the temple by the gate facing east, the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the temple. Ezekiel 43:3-5 ESV

Between many other prophecies and visions that fill the book of Ezekiel, I also read about his personal interactions with the living God. Many of these passages include images and similes that are hard to understand because they describe things that very few have seen and are very hard to describe. God decided to use Ezekiel to show me a vision of Himself, however, these passages do not scratch the surface of the entirety of God’s glory. When faced with the glory of the LORD, Ezekiel, like many others in the Old and New Testaments, falls on his face in fear and awe. Passages like this remind me of the awesomeness of our God and how powerful and unsearchable His ways truly are.

“This shall be their inheritance: I am their inheritance: and you shall give them no possession in Israel; I am their possession. Ezekiel 44:28 ESV

While God stated this to the Levitical priests through Ezekiel, it is true for me and all those who follow Jesus. We are now the royal priesthood, the ones whose inheritance is the LORD. I can take nothing with me from this world and everyone’s sole inheritance is dependent if they believe Jesus is their Savior. It is important for me to live a life that pleases God because in the end, he is my only inheritance and the only one who deserves all my time, attention, and devotion.

“Thus says the Lord GOD: Enough, O princes of Israel! Put away violence and oppression, and execute justice and righteousness. Cease your evictions of my people, declares the Lord GOD. You shall have just balances, a just ephah, and a just bath. Ezekiel 45:9-10 ESV

God’s command to the princes of Israel through Ezekiel also has application for me today. God is eternal and unchanging. His command for justice in the time of Ezekiel is still His command for justice today. Treating others with the respect and loving them as myself is essential to living a life devoted to justice and righteousness as God commands. Every person I meet has a living soul and is made in the image of God. I am called to love those who do not love me back and to care for others even when I don’t feel like it. Ultimately, the call of Christ is not one of my own comfort, but instead for my own good. Even when faced with hard challenges and struggles, I can always remember: the LORD is my inheritance and I gain my strength from Him.

Dear God, Thank You for saving me and becoming my inheritance. Please give me the strength to follow you and to love others as I have been called. Please help me shine as a light for You in this world and give me Your strength and Your peace. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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Habakkuk 1-3; 1 Timothy 4

O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? Habakkuk 1:2-3 ESV

Habakkuk opens with an almost Job-like situation. Habakkuk is complaining to God because he feels that God isn’t listening to him and doesn’t care about the problems he is facing. And, like in Job, God responses to Habakkuk, not in anger, but in explanation.

Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith. Habakkuk 2:4 ESV

The LORD calls for faith during confusion or misunderstanding. While it is easy to get angry or upset about how my current situation can sometimes be, it is important for me to remember that I cannot see the whole picture while God can. I am to live by my faith even when it hurts or when things don’t make sense.

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock b cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3:17-18 ESV

After hearing God’s message, Habakkuk prays a prayer of thankfulness and wonder in response. Habakkuk recognizes God’s power and strength and rests assured knowing that God has a plan, despite how bad the current situation may seem.

Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:7-8 ESV

Part of living by faith is training for godliness. Doing what God has commanded is hard in my current sinful nature and takes time and work. While physical training is important, it’s effects only last this life. Training in godliness, however, extends far beyond this life on Earth. It is important for me to follow God’s Word in my daily life and to pursue righteousness in everything that I do.

Dear God, Thank You for working everything together for my good even when I do not understand. Please help me walk in faith according to Your Word as You have commanded. Give me strength to follow You even when things are hard. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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