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Listen while you read: "Jesus Saves"1 (Lyrics)
The city of Ottawa, Canada, where I live, is on an active seismic fault line, and we occasionally experience earth tremors. As a college dorm student, years ago, one such tremor at night woke us all up by shaking our bunk beds, and at breakfast next morning, we all laughed at the stories of roommates telling each other to stop shaking the bed! Of course, a full-on earthquake is no laughing matter: recently, the people in Turkey and northern Syria have suffered terrible loss of life, injury, and devastation from a powerful quake. The people of the Middle East have experienced earthquakes and tremors for many centuries.
The writer to the Hebrews used the imagery of an earthquake to describe God's shaking of His people.
Hebrews 12:25-29 – See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, "Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven." Now this, "Yet once more," indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire. (NKJV)
I like how The Message puts "yet once more" as "one last shaking". It means a thorough housecleaning, getting rid of all the historical and religious junk so that the unshakable essentials stand clear and uncluttered. At Mount Sinai, God shook the earth with His voice, but the new covenant with Jesus has shaken earth and heaven, too! Like sifting a bowl of flour for lumps, He shakes our lives to remove everything that can't stand the test: the reliance on what we own and our efforts to save ourselves. Compared to all that is unstable in our world, Jesus' kingdom cannot be shaken, neither here on earth nor in the realm of heaven eternal. We see some of His rescuing power at work in our lives today, but it is nothing compared to that awe-inspiring day when we will arrive in His eternal kingdom where we are citizens.
God's shaking clears away all that is temporary and outside of His perfect will. What's left in our lives will really last, leaving us to rejoice now and forever in His kingdom.
How do you respond to this shaking up of your life? How do you live now, in the presence of a loving, powerful God? Today, don't miss the gift of God's grace and His approval won for us by His Son Jesus, all of which cannot be shaken! Since gratitude leads us to grace, be thankful for what He has done, and worship our mighty God with reverence.
Prayer: Praise, my soul, the King of heaven! We come to You in gratitude today, dear Father, for Your salvation and acceptance into Your kingdom here on earth and Your greater one in heaven. Amen.
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Beautiful words, thank you.
Thanks for the comforting words, Shirley.
Daily I pray “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done.”
Thanks, Shirley, for another of your special writings. Yes, we sure have a great time to look forward to when the Lord receives us into His heavenly home. Blessings.
Thank you, Shirley. I grew up in California, so experienced a few earthquakes! And my life has certainly been shaken up a few times. This is a good challenge for us.
I’ve been choosing a word to live by each day during Lent. Today’s was “dwell” which dovetails perfectly with your Daily Devotional.
Bless you for this timely message,
What powerful words you have shared Shirley! I really appreciate the words Peterson chooses. Blessings.