Clouds Parting Revealing the Heavens

A daily devotion for July 3rd

To Him Who Loves Us

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father — to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

Rev 1:5b-6

This is a paean of praise that recognizes the greatness of our Lord. He loves us. That is in the present tense, not past tense. It is true that he loved us, but Jesus loves us now. Everything in the life of a believer ought to be based upon the love of the Lord Jesus. It is the most amazing thing, to know in our hearts that we are faithless and foolish and often arrogantly sinful and selfish, yet still he loves us. What a difference it makes when one begins to believe that.

Years ago, I met a man who told us the story of his conversion. He was a student at Cambridge University when D. L. Moody was invited to speak there. He was one of a group of students who were angry that an invitation was given to a backwoods American preacher who often murdered the king’s English. They determined that they would upset the meetings by jeering at him. When the meeting began, they were in the front row ready to upset the meeting. But before Moody spoke, Ira Sankey, his gospel singer, sang. His voice quieted the crowd and when he finished, Moody stepped to the platform, pointed his finger at the young men in the front row and said, Young gentlemen, don't ever think God don't love you, for he do. They were so stunned by this ungrammatical beginning, that they listened quietly to Moody. He came back to his theme later and said again, Young gentlemen, don't think God don't love you, for he do. This man said that Moody went on to speak of the love of Jesus for a lost race, and he told us, I began to see myself in a different light, and by the end of the meeting I gave my heart to Christ.

John dedicates the book to Him who loves us and, in addition, has freed us from our sins by his blood. He breaks the shackles of evil habits in our lives. He sets us free from dependencies that we have allowed to shackle us. Those who have struggled with alcohol dependency know what a grip it can get on your life. But here is one who frees us! We are all sinfully dependent people. We have all been shackled by evil of one sort or another: selfish attitudes, hot tempers, lustful passions, angry self-centered talk. We are as much victims of evil as any alcoholic may be, but here is one who has freed us by the sacrifice of his own life.

But more than that, he has made us a kingdom of priests to serve the Lord our God. A priest was to heal the alienation which people felt with God. Sinners feel estranged from God. They cut themselves off from a holy God by their behavior. But they are to be brought near by priests. That is the work of believers today. We are to help lost people realize that God is longing to draw them to himself and heal their alienation. For this work Jesus has made us a kingdom of priests. Do you ever think of yourself as a priest? That is what God has sent you to do.

Lord, your love has conquered me, and I pray that I might grow in the knowledge of you love and the calling you have given me as priest to serve you and the Lord my God. Amen.

Life Application

Is your service as a priest in His Kingdom being fueled and motivated by the love of Christ or the desire to be loved by Christ?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

Behind the Scenes of History

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