November 9 – Attributes of God – Love

Read 1 John 4:1-21

“Oh, I just love that dress on her!”

“I love pizza!”

“I love that sports car!”

“I love football!”

We use the word “love” in tons of ways every day. But, no matter how much we enjoy something, we are only talking about a surface kind of human love, which can change from love to hate in a blink of an eye.

A harsh word, bad service, burnt crust, lost games can change that love into hate in an instant.

Even a couple said to be “So much in love” can fade into “They were so much in love!” quickly, leaving the rest of us wondering what had happened.

Humans are not perfect.  We mess up.  We say and do stupid or hurtful things sometimes without even trying!

But that is not how God loves.   And, if we think of His love through our human eyes, we can quickly become disappointed in Him too.  He is not a sugar daddy or even a heavenly ATM.  He loves us so much that He won’t let us have what He knows will hurt us in the end.  If we insist on going our own way, He loves us enough to let us do it so we can learn from our mistakes.

As our verse states, it isn’t because we first loved God.  No! He first loved us.  He loved us so much that He couldn’t let us go on living in sin with no hope of redemption.

He  saw how men had changed the perception of a loving God who offered forgiveness for our sins into one of a ritualistic God whom we needed to fear.  He saw the corruption that was going on in the temple, a place where people should have been able to go for comfort. The priests had made up hundreds of laws that they said the people needed to follow in order for them to not be condemned, while all the time lining their own pockets and puffing themselves up to be “holier than thou!”

God couldn’t allow that abuse to continue so He sent us Jesus.

God’s love is often referred to as “agape love.”  That is the highest form of love.  It is defined as a pure, willfully sacrificial love that intentionally desires another’s highest good.  It is an unconditional and enduring love for all.

God sent His son because He wanted to get his children out of bondage to all the regulations and to show us how to truly love each other, not by our human definition of love but with His agape love.

Have you known God’s love in your life? Take time to thank Him for it every day.

If not, all you have to do is ask and receive!

It doesn’t matter if you are rich, poor, young or old. If you think of yourself as a hopeless sinner or not. God is waiting to hear from the one He loves unconditionally. That would be YOU!

Pat Arnold

November 8 – Attributes of God – Truthfulness

Read John 3:33

“Always tell the truth.” Those four little words are ingrained into little ones’ heads almost as soon as they utter their first words. Most parents value teaching honesty. So why does it seem that adults stray from truth so easily? Perhaps it’s because honesty, rather than truthfulness, is taught.

Honesty and Truthfulness; Knowledge and Wisdom; Lie and Deception; Help and Compassion. Each pair of words we tend to use synonymously. However, examining each pair there is one common difference. The first word in each pair primarily deals with the head, while the second penetrates deeper to the heart. Truthfulness is deeper than honesty. Wisdom is the application of knowledge. A lie is a falsity, while deception is a motive. Help can be given even in the absence of compassion. The heart is what moves us to take action. Jesus was always more concerned about the heart.

From the beginning God knew that we would always wrestle with truth. When Satan entered the Garden of Eden, he didn’t just lie, his intent was to deceive. He is the father of all lies and there is no truth in him. In John 8:44, Adam and Eve were deceived because they acted on the lie- the lie that made them question what God said and why God said it. It was a lie that centered around facts and ignored the heart and the consequences. And that is the same lie that Satan still whispers in our ear.

One piece in our essential armor to defend against Satan’s attacks is the belt of truth. Paul didn’t call it the belt of honesty. We don’t just gird ourselves with lack of lies and sincerity, but with truth which calls us to action. Truthfulness puts feet to honesty. It’s what causes us to take the extra effort and return the overdue amount the cashier accidentally gave us, rather than just acknowledging that there was a mistake.

Before Jesus faced the cross, He prayed, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17)  Jesus said that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Sanctify means to set apart or to make holy. Holiness is only accomplished by His word through Jesus Christ. But remember that truthfulness is shown. What greater demonstration of this than Romans 5:8: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God is truthful and Jesus Christ, the Truth, died for us to make us holy by what He did!

We should be so thankful that we not only have an honest God, but a God who is full of grace and truth. A God who calls us to embrace the truth and always act with our heart, not just our head. So today, let’s not only always tell the truth, let’s always act on the truth! That kind of truthfulness will set us apart.

Charline Engle

November 7 – Attributes of God – Wisdom

Read James 3:17 and Proverbs 19:20

Who is your hero?

Outside of the obvious Christian answer of “Jesus”, who would you say is the person you look up to and idolize the most? A parent? Spouse? Friend? Sibling?

To me, the answer is easy…

Dad.

To many, he is “Pastor Dave”. Many choose to see him as a serious and professional perfectionist while, when he calls me, “Dad” comes across the screen of my phone along with a picture of him photobombing a family photo.

Best. Photo. Ever.

I can confidently say that I would not be the man I am today without my dad. Not even close. His patience and guidance, along with the work of Christ, helped form me into the man I am today (I am by no means a finished product). There were definitely some high and lows, but Dad’s consistency and wisdom guided me through.

When I signed up for the devo about wisdom, my mind immediately shifted to Dad. I read our scripture today about how James describes wisdom that comes from Heaven and all of those words describes the wisdom of Dad that I have grown accustomed to. As long as I can remember, he has always been the source of wisdom for our family.

I remember his gentle guidance to me when Kelly and I had a pregnancy scare when Mattie was only a few months old…we were so not ready for another child! I remember his counsel when I was contemplating huge changes in my life in high school. When I was immature, angry and overly emotional, he would calmly guide me back to Christ. Before marrying Kelly, Dad was always my first call when I didn’t know what to do. He’s now my second : )

However, there is truth that Dad’s wisdom pales in comparison to that of God. When you read James 3:17, I love how he says that wisdom that comes from Heaven is “first of all pure”. This means that it is 100% authentic, natural…perfect. When you think of your own wisdom, would you say that James 3:17 describes it?

Proverbs 19:20 describes how we can grow in our wisdom…listen to wise people. So much of my life was spent thinking that I knew everything I needed to know and I didn’t need to listen to wise and godly counsel in my life. Looking back, I see all of the value in their words and the difficulties I brought upon myself by not listening.

Do you listen to people when they talk to you? Do you let certain people into your circle? Or are you so prideful to think that you don’t need the advice of other people? Proverbs tells us that, if we listen to advice and accept discipline, we will be counted among the wise.

Will you humble yourself enough to admit that other people can speak into your life and bring a positive change? Who do you need to listen to that you’ve been ignoring?

Jake Lawson

October 10 – Attributes of God – Grace

Read Nehemiah 9:17

The last few years I feel I’ve received a lot of grace from the people around me.

Certainly, my wife and family as they had to make many concessions and do many things I couldn’t do due to my health. Also, from my employer and co-workers. They had to pick up the pieces and finish work that I couldn’t complete. We also have unbelievably good friends who did so much for us and I feel that God showed His love through them.

I’m very thankful for all of the above but, as significant as it was, nothing can compare with the grace I’ve received from God.

So, what is grace?

We use the word or a form of it in many different ways:

“That person was very gracious.”

“I’m sure glad they had a grace period after the due date on that bill.”

“That dancer is so graceful.”

Sometimes the words grace and mercy are used as though they are synonymous.

I believe mercy is not getting what I deserve such as, “I’m a sinner and deserve the death penalty but because of God’s mercy I’ve been forgiven and won’t receive that penalty.”

Grace, on the other hand, is receiving what I don’t deserve, in the form of a gift. Receiving Christ’s righteousness and becoming a member of the Heavenly Father’s family because of what He has done for me by dying on the cross.

Here is an acrostic that illustrates this:

God’s

Riches

At

Christ’s

Expense

GRACE is a GIFT!

Grace comes in many different forms and I want to talk about just a few types.

God’s grace is:

Forgiving – Through grace, we can be forgiven (Ephesians 2:8 – 9).

Accepting – God wants us all to be part of His eternal family and He has made a way through Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:9).

Sustaining – He gets us through the tough times if we will turn to Him and trust in Him completely. (Isaiah 46:4).

Freeing – God wants us to be free.

Free from fear.

“So, do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

(Isaiah 41:10)

Free from worry (Ephesians 4:6 – 7)

Free from anything that keeps us from becoming who He made us to be.

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  (John10:10b)

God’s grace is so important, without it we would be utterly hopeless.

It’s also very broad and I’ve touched on just a few points, but I ask you to consider how God’s grace has impacted YOUR life and thank Him.

Who around you needs to hear about the hope and love that is embodied in God’s grace?

Please pray that God will:

  • show you who needs to hear about Him
  • create opportunities with that person
  • give you the words that will point them to Jesus Christ.

God’s grace is the best gift ever. May we never take it for granted!

Mike Molter

October 9 – Attributes of God – Patience

Read 1 Timothy 1:16

In the summer of 2019, I was able to see in person the statue of David in Florence, Italy.

This amazing statue of David is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture created in marble between 1501 and 1504 by the Italian artist Michelangelo. David is 17.0 ft tall and weighs about 6 tons.

I didn’t really know that much about David but I wondered why somebody would spend three years making a statue of a guy who lived in 970 BC, which was about 2500 years ago to Michelangelo and 3000 years ago to me.

So I have been reading about David in the year 2020, and I have learned that he was a patient warrior.

In the movie HOOSIERS, the Hickory Huskers play for the state championship against a very worthy opponent. The school Chaplain reads the story of David and Goliath to the team in the Husker’s locker room right before the game starts. The Huskers plan was to be patient against a team that likes to fast break. Be patient, work for a good shot, make the opponent work on defense and have a patient attitude. It worked. Just like patience is such a great fruit in life! Jimmy Chitwood takes a shot at the buzzer to make the greatest ending to a sports movie I have ever seen.

When participating in sports such as basketball or golf, you will see patience in action. Patience is a real key to being successful in sports. Good things take time. A beautiful garden doesn’t happen overnight. A beautiful relationship and friendship does not happen overnight. And patience is a real key to success, especially if you honor Jesus Christ while you are patient.  It is a great thing to strive for. It is not easy. Patience is a fruit of the spirit. Patience is at the top of John Wooden’s pyramid of success. Good things take time.

Paul speaks of patience in 1 Timothy 1:16. He talks about how Jesus gave him strength and considered him faithful, even though Paul was a prosecutor and a violent man. Jesus showed him mercy. Paul says that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom he is the worst. Jesus would display his unlimited patience as an example for those who believe in him and receive eternal life.

God was patient with David. The statue in Florence is of a young shepherd who gains fame first as a musician and later by killing the enemy champion, Goliath.

God was patient with Paul. God is patient with you and I.  Are you and I patient with others?

Tom Weckesser

October 8 – Attributes of God – Jealousy

Read Exodus 34:10-14

“Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” (v.14)

His is a perfect jealousy. Untainted by sin, the one true and holy God calls Himself Jealous and mankind struggles to catch on.

We see the word ‘jealous’ and picture angry spouses and possessive friends whose doubts have turned them into green monsters. We picture resentment that demands more of what cannot be had. That’s what comes to mind when we think of someone jealous, not the God who named Himself as such.

But the God called Jealous is also called Love. He’s called Holy and Faithful and Merciful, and His jealousy for His people is of an entirely different sort.

The kind of jealous we know comes from a fear that maybe we aren’t enough, an uncertainty that we’ll ever have enough to fully satisfy us. But the jealousy of God stems from the secure truth that only He is enough, only He can ever give enough, only He will ever provide everything we need for real life.

So when God made a covenant with the Israelites, He made sure they understood they would only come to Him for worship. Any other god would leave them wanting. He called Himself Jealous because He wanted the whole of their affection and would take nothing less than whole-hearted followers.

That same God has made a covenant with us, His followers, through His Son’s blood. He is still called Jealous. He wants nothing less than everything we are because He knows that devotion to anything or anyone but Him is not real life.

The God called Jealous wants us to only know real life and He knows the only way to real life is being all-in with Him. No side glances at other could-be loves. No flirting with pretend life-givers, the things making like they’re going to fill us up but fall desperately short. Only Him. Only all-in with the one true God called Jealous.

Is there anything in your life that has caused your gaze to wander from truly worshiping the one true God called Jealous?

Bria Wasson

October 7 – Attributes of God – Wrath

Read Psalm 7:11 and Romans 9:14-24

Wrath.

Oxford defines it as “extreme anger”. Inside and outside the church, it can be a stumbling block to rightly understanding God’s perfect character.  When talking to people about God’s wrath, judgment, punishment, even Hell, it is imperative that we know how to discuss these difficult topics in a way that lovingly points people to Jesus.

Sharing the Gospel starts with God’s creation.  Implicit in His creation is an important distinction that often gets overlooked; God’s ownership.  God makes the rules, He judges, and He always judges rightly! Misunderstanding this concept sounds like this; “How could a loving God ________?”  or “Why would a loving God do this/allow this to happen to me?”  Paul obviously heard these objections and others like it; just read Romans 9!  Here are some excerpts: “Who are you, O man, to answer back to God?”, and “What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known His power, has endured with much patience vessels prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy…”  These are HARD concepts that we need to pray on, and ask for help with our understanding!

I can remember vividly a recent circumstance where one of my children had done something extremely rude and disrespectful to my wife and I, and I reacted with emotional violence.  Towering over my child (physical intimidation), yelling at my child (verbal intimidation); I lashed out in ANGER.   The problem is, my anger was rooted in sin, it was not righteous, and it was not for my child’s good.  There was nothing LOVING about the way I acted.

We shouldn’t think of God’s wrath like this.  God has many attributes.  Here, we are discussing wrath.  He is also loving, merciful, just, holy, etc.  God is perfectly ALL of these things, ALL of the time.  So, while exercising His judgement on His creation, He is exercising Love and Mercy at the same time.  Our inability to understand this is an issue with us, not an indictment of Him.

Think about it like this… God hates evil, and speaks strongly against it throughout scripture.  Would you want to serve a God who turns a blind eye to sin; who tolerates evil?  Without God’s wrath, would you have any idea just how serious your sin really is?  We need to understand that it’s God’s wrath that cracks open the door for His Mercy and Grace; His judgment creates a NEED for a Savior.

The truth is, we are uncomfortable with God judging or punishing.  Our discomfort is an important human response, however.   It is this spiritual and emotional discord that drives us to repentance.   When confronted with God’s unchanging Holiness, we fall short, and we wrongly defend, posture or justify.  Know this…when God displays wrath he is showing His POWER, asserting His OWNERSHIP.  Brothers and sisters; it is done for OUR GOOD, and HIS GLORY.  The cross displays all of this PERFECTLY, Praise God!

Want to see God’s perfect wrath?  Look at the cross.  Want to see God’s perfect love, mercy and grace?  Look at the cross.

Craig French

October 6 – Attributes of God – Justice

Read Deuteronomy 32:4

“He started it.”

“She told me to do it.”

“No one said not to . . .”

I hear these phrases frequently from my young students at school. They really do want to please the teacher at their age, but even more so, they don’t want to get in trouble. For the most part, they are rule followers and expect everyone to be held accountable. Believe me; they are quick to tell me if someone is NOT following the rules. And surprisingly, they like to see their classmates get their deserved consequences. In some way, it is reassuring to them that all is in order; that bad behavior is not tolerated and good behavior is rewarded. In a very basic way, they are seeking justice. They want to know that right is right and wrong is wrong.

We serve a God who is just. It is His very nature. God always does what is right. He cannot help but do what is right. In Deuteronomy 32, Moses is addressing the Israelite people and he proclaims that “God is the Rock; His work is perfect. Everything He does is just and fair.” It is almost like a warning to the people:  Look out, Moses warns, nothing gets past this guy. He doesn’t bend the rules to let you off the hook.

Haven’t we grown to expect just that? We have become accustomed to, and even expect, people to cut us a break instead of sticking to the rules. When driving, we know we can get away with driving a little bit over the posted speed limit, so we do. We expect deadlines to be extended when we can’t quite meet them. We want the person who tickets cars for parking too long to extend a little grace and allow us to park a few minutes longer than posted.

Prior to Moses’ proclamation to the people, He delivered the Ten Commandments to the Israelites. These rules were meant to establish right from wrong. God was helping His people by setting these rules in place and creating an equal playing field for all. However, when things didn’t go as the Israelites expected, they started bending those rules. They bent them so far, they broke. And God, being just, couldn’t look the other way. He won’t look the other way for us either.

It should be reassuring to us that we don’t have to hit a moving or changing target. He will be consistent and fair to all.

Tammy Finney

October 5 – Attributes of God – Kindness

Read 2 Samuel 22:51

Kindness is an attribute of God. It is a fruit of the Spirit of God that Christians can choose to possess. David appreciated the kindness of God so much that he sang an entire chapter in 2 Samuel to God. Chapter 22 is a song that David sang to the Lord when God’s kindness delivered him from his enemies. Written around 930 BC, people have taken some of these verses and turned them into music. Here are some songs I listen to and sing that are based on 2 Samuel 22:

THE LORD LIVETH, by Petra, based on v.1

“The Lord liveth and blessed be the Rock

And let the God of my salvation be exalted…”

I WILL CALL UPON THE LORD, by Elevation Worship, based on v. 4

“I will call upon the Lord

Who is worthy to be praised.”

CONSUMING FIRE, by Third Day based on v.9

“And yes our God, he is a consuming fire

…He reaches inside and he melts down this cold heart of stone.”

LOVE CAME DOWN, Kari Jobe. v.10

“I could sing about His forgiveness

I could praise Him till the sun goes down.”

HE RESCUED ME, by Lids S. Leech (1909 hymn), based on v.18

“He rescued me, His own to be,

A brand from the burning, He set me free.”

FLAWLESS, by Mercy Me, based on v.31

“No matter the bumps, No matter the bruises

No matter the scars, Still the truth is

The cross has made you flawless.”

David writes and actually sings about kindness in the final verse 51. He speaks here in the third person about unfailing kindness that God has given to he and his descendants forever.

Solomon wrote about kindness:

“Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” 

Proverbs 12:25 NIV

“Whoever is kind to the needy honors God.”

Proverbs 14:31 NIV

Paul wrote about the nature of kindness and then the kindness of God:

“Love is patient, love is kind.

1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV

“…in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”

Ephesians 2:7 NIV

Kindness is selfless, compassionate, and forgiving. For a perfect example of biblical kindness, look no further than Jesus. We all have opportunities to share God’s kindness. Let’s seize that opportunity!

Tom Weckesser

October 4 – Attributes of God – Mercy

Read 2 Samuel 24:14

I can remember it like it was yesterday.  It was my senior year of high school.  At the beginning of my accounting course, we were warned that, if we were caught cheating in class, we would receive an “F” for the nine weeks and we would fail the course.  So, with only a few weeks to go until graduation and senioritis kicking in, I, along with four friends, thought it would be wise to copy one of our friend’s ledgers for the final assignment.  AND it was wrong.  All five copies with identical mistakes.

One by one we were questioned by our teacher at different times so we did not have the opportunity to discuss our “interrogation.”  We were busted and the teacher knew it.  The punishment for cheating was failing the class and we knew it.  When questioned by the teacher what I had done, I confessed (without naming my accomplices) that I had cheated and that it was wrong.  I felt awful!

The following day my teacher called me into her empty room before class where I feared that I would receive my sentence of failure.  To my surprise, I received something else – her mercy.  She did not fail me for the course.  She said I was the only one who had admitted and confessed what I had done so she did not fail me, even though I deserved it.

Mercy is one of the great attributes of God revealed to us in Scripture.  It is often confused with the grace of God.  However, there are differences between God’s mercy and His grace.  While the two are indeed similar, there is a difference between them.  Mercy is defined as compassion or forgiveness that is extended to someone where another has the power to punish or harm them.  It is when punishment is deserved, but it is withheld to the benefit of the object of the mercy.

Grace is a gift that we do not deserve.  It is God blessing us, despite the fact that we have not deserved it. Simply put, grace is getting what we don’t deserve and mercy is not getting what we do deserve.

From the fall of humanity, the sin of Adam, we have deserved nothing but the wrath and punishment of God.  Romans 3:23 says, “. . .for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  We are all guilty.  We have all sinned against our perfect and Holy God.  We are also told that, because of our sin, our punishment is death.  Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  We deserved death and eternal separation from God.  But thankfully that is not what we received!

God has shown us his mercy!  Over and over again, He is merciful to us who daily fall short of His perfection.  Each and every day we live is an act of mercy from God.   Rather than receiving the punishment of eternal death, those who follow Jesus receive the free gift of eternal life.

The greatest example of mercy is shown by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, paying our debt on the cross.  Jesus paid the debt for our sin.  The punishment He received was for all of my sin (past, present and future). We do not need to look any further than the cross for the perfect example of mercy.

Nate Mills