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The Today Show

October 8, 2018

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”  Hebrews 3: 13.

 Many of us watch a morning news program on television while exercising, getting dressed, or eating breakfast.  We do many things every day, or almost every day—eat, sleep, exercise, watch, listen to, or read the news, go to work, make phone calls, send and receive text messages and emails.  We realize the importance of routine.  We know that routine helps cement good habits.  This week’s epistle text suggests that we are in need of daily inspiration and encouragement to avoid the subtle snare of sin: “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” (Hebrews 3: 13).[1]

Sin creeps into our lives like Robert Frost’s description of fog: it comes in on little cat feet. We hardly notice its subtle creep into our daily routine.  Sin starts out small and grows slowly and quietly.  Its tentacles attach themselves to us and grow like a vine up a wall.  Sin distorts our judgment, and we rationalize its existence in our lives—which is why the author of Hebrews counsels us to deal with it daily.   How?  Through prayer, study of the Word, reading inspirational books, fellowship with other believers, and practicing some of the traditional spiritual disciples, such as occasional fasting.  One of the most effective habits that you can develop to stave off the ravages of sin is by taking a few minutes a day to delve into the Word.

There are many terrific daily devotional materials.  Many denominations publish and distribute their own daily devotionals. Two of my favorites are “Tabletalk,” a monthly publication of daily devotions published by Ligonier Ministries and Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young. Both contain Scripture verses and a short devotional on the Scripture text.

In the 1950’s, Maxwell Maltz, a plastic surgeon, observed that it takes a period of time to adjust to changes in our routine and to adopt new behaviors.  He postulated that it takes a minimum of 21 days to form a new habit.  I challenge you to begin a new habit todayof dedicating a few quiet moments of your day to a daily devotion.  If you don’t have a daily devotional in your home library, get one at a bookstore, or order one on-line.  If you stick to it for at least 30 days, you will be well on your way to forming a habit that will bring you closer to God and help you throughout each and every day of your life.

When you form the habit of getting into the Word on a daily basis, the text stays with you throughout the day, and helps you get through the challenges of your day. The prophet Amos wrote: “See good, not evil, that you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you” (Amos 5-14).  When you turn to the Word daily, you will understand the psalmist’s words: “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days” (Psalm 90: 14).

The wealthy young man who came to Jesus to ask him what he could do to get eternal life would have benefitted from a daily devotional time with God.  In his ignorance, arrogance, or pride, he announced that he had kept all of the commandments since he was a boy—or at least his superficial understanding of them.  But Jesus saw immediately that his love of money was the primary barrier to his love of God, and called him on it: “Jesus looked at him and loved him. ‘One thing you lack,’ he said.  ‘Go sell everything you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven’ “(Mark 10: 21).  In condemning the young man as money-obsessed, we often overlook the beginning of the sentence: “Jesus looked at him and loved him.”  Jesus did not condemn him—he was simply pointing out to the young man that his love of money had come between him and God.  God wants the best for us. He wanted the best for that young man.  Money itself is not bad—but the love of money– to the exclusion of God–is bad.

There are many obstacles to a relationship with God besides love of money.  What is keeping you from working on your relationship with the God of the universe?  Are you a procrastinator, constantly putting off what should done today to tomorrow, but tomorrow never comes?  Are you obsessed with your work, hobbies, or other activities?  Are you too overcome by guilt to work on your relationship with God?  Is working on your relationship with God at the bottom of your To Do List instead of number one on your list?

Start your own Today Show—consisting of getting into the Word every day when you have a few quiet moments.  It will be a program that will contribute greatly to your well-being and to your relationship with the God of the universe who looks at you every day and loves you.

Get to know the God who loves you more than any human being ever could.  How can you turn down an opportunity like that?

Diane Cieslikowski Reagan

[1]The Scripture texts for next Sunday are Amos 5: 6-7, 10-15; Psalm 90: 12-17; Hebrews 3: 12-19;

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