The Upper Room devotional reflection for Friday, April 29, 2022 comes to us from Mark Karpinski of North Carolina.
3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:3-7NIV
“Today and Forever”
The Baltimore Orioles have been one of the worst-performing teams in baseball the past few years. But as a life-long Orioles fan, I still root for them. If I stopped cheering for the Orioles because they have been a losing team recently, I would be a “fair-weather fan,” someone who cheers for a team when they are doing well but ignores them when they are doing poorly. Sometimes I act as if I worship and follow a “fair-weather God.” That is, I mistakenly believe that when I am good and obedient, God is near to me and blesses me. But when I stumble and falter, God pulls away and ignores me.
But the truth is, we have a loving God who is with us always, during our successes and our failures. Titus 3:4 states, “When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” God’s desire is always to be close to us so that we can live in joyful service in this life and look forward to spending eternity in heaven with God. I don’t give up on the Orioles. Most important, God never gives up on us.
When I was a child I lived in Southern California and I was a Los Angeles Dodgers fan. Occasionally, my dad would take me to baseball games at Dodger Stadium. One of the games I will always remember is the one during which the great pitcher, Sandy Koufax, pitched a no-hitter against the San Francisco Giants. Of course, the Giants and Dodgers had an infamous cross-state rivalry, not unlike MSU and UofM. Of course, at that game, it was easy to be a loyal follower of the Dodgers, but I have not followed the team lately. As Mark Karpinski reminds us, God is much more faithful to us than we are to our favorite sports teams. Not only does God never give up on us, God is always cheering for us. God loves us all the time, no matter what.
Dear God, thank you for your promise always to remain close to us. Help us always to remain faithful to you. Amen.
Thought for the Day:
God’s love for me is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)