The Veil

Whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of
the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord.
And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.
-2 Corinthians 3:16-18 NLT

Using the veil that covered Moses face as a backdrop, Paul speaks of a religious veil that covers our minds so we cannot understand the truth. He teaches us that this veil is removed when we turn to the Lord and surrender to the Holy Spirit. I have found that to be an ongoing process. It is like the veil has many levels that need to be peeled back.

As each layer of that veil is removed we become more and more like Jesus. With each removed layer our vision of God becomes clearer. This speaks to me of the transforming and unveiling ministry of the Spirit in our lives as he prepares us to be an accurate reflection of God's glorious image. This is the unveiling journey of someone who turns to the Lord.

I am in need Lord. My vision is obscured. Come Holy Spirit. Remove the veil that clouds my vision.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on words in the bible.


From such a vantage, He is able to save those who approach God through Him for all time because He will forever live to be their advocate in the presence of God. -Hebrews 7:25 VOICE

The Greek word entugchanó is translated here as advocate. In other translations it is rendered intercessor. This word, used here to characterize Jesus, is also used to describe the Holy Spirit. The word speaks to me of how God is forever for us. When we sin, he forgives. When we hurt, he comforts. When we are accused, he defends us as an advocate.

This image of God stands in stark contrast to the one that mischaracterizes him as a lightning bolt throwing deity that is angry with us. It is the image that rings true in my soul because I know Jesus as the one who is for me and loves me unconditionally. This Jesus is the one that I see ministering in the Gospels. The one who gave all that we might be whole.

We are not worthy of you advocacy Lord. Yet we are thankful that you are for us when everything seems against us.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on words in the bible.


Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NRSV

These verses teach me about the interconnectedness of joy to prayer and the giving of thanks. The words 'always', 'without ceasing' and 'all' point me to an integrated life - lived from within. In reality no one can live these out 24x7. Yet the heart of these verses seem more about an inner attitude than an outer performance. And a life connected to God.

Jesus put it this way: "Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water." The promise of the new heart is the promise of connection to God - the source of joy. This joy flows like a river from our heart as we connect with God through prayer and the giving thanks. In a sense prayer and thanksgiving are the gateways to these springs of joy. Always.

Open our eyes Lord to the joy that is ours when we pray and give thanks.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on words in the bible.


A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. -Matthew 7:18 ESV

I love the way this version uses healthy and diseased to represent the Greek words that are more precisely translated good and evil. It begs the question of whether an unregenerate person is, in a spiritual sense, healthy. Certainly the context (v23) of this verse reveals that the unhealthy person is one who does not know God and is not known by Him.

In his letter to the Galatians Paul speaks to us about what a healthy person looks like. The apostle tells us that a spiritual person is, and is becoming, loving, kind, joyful, gentle, patient, peaceful and faithful. These model goodness and self control. Such fruit can only be produced from a root system that is connected to God. Such is a healthy person.

Help us Father to draw strength and health from our spiritual root system. Cause us to be like your Son.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on words in the bible.


To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery,
which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. -Colossians 1:27 NIV

Strong's Greek dictionary refers to the word doxēs (translated here as glorious or glory) as "the unspoken manifestation of God". Paul tells us here that this manifestation is a mystery and it is the very thing that we hope for. A mystery because the ways and workings of God are not easily discerned. And so hopeful because Christ is living in and threw us.

That I think is the heart of this verse. We have hope of being glorious, both now and forever, because Christ is in us. Being united with Jesus means we are united with glory - the glory of the Son of God. In Him we are the unspoken manifestation of God. His glory is on display each time we love unconditionally and serve sacrificially. Simply glorious.

Lord, please help us to walk in ways that manifest your presence and reveal your glory.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on words in the bible.


He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you. But to do justice, to love kindness.
And to walk humbly with your God? -Micah 6:8 NASB

The Hebrew word חָ֫סֶד (checed) is translated here as kindness. In other versions it is rendered mercy, faithfulness or goodness. Each of these words communicate an aspect of life to be cherished. Who has not been the recipient of mercy? Have we not all been witnesses to extravagant acts of kindness. Are these not reflective of God's goodness?

When I think about the word I am drawn to memories of my father. He was a kind man. He was merciful in his actions and in his speech. He seemed to have a desire to always speak well of others. Perhaps this is where we all stumble in our quest to be kind. It is so easy to see the faults in others and in ourselves. It is an act of kindness to overlook them.

Teach us to walk the path of kindness Lord. Help us to see others as you see them. With mercy and compassion.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on words in the bible.


"I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." -Luke 19:40 NIV

Such was the response of Christ to the Pharisees as he entered Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. This seems to be the first time that Jesus openly acknowledged his divinity. In saying this he affirmed the worship offered to him as people waved palm branches with shouts of Hallelujah. Indeed, the worship all creation, even stones, is due him.

Yet in just a few moments, he would say of Jerusalem that their enemies "will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you." The contrast is great. Stones crying out. Stones being torn down. Would that mankind would have recognized God's visitation. Would that our voices would silence the stones.

Our need is great Lord. Help us to not be silent. Cause our hearts to sing out your praise.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on words in the bible.


Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. -Ephesians 6:11 ESV

We are not able to stand against evil by ourselves. It is why we need the armor that Paul speaks of in this verse. He goes on to describe this armor as both defensive and offensive in nature. Truth and righteousness protect us. Evangelical feet cause us to stand against lies. Salvation protects our minds. Faith guards us as a shield and scripture as a sword.

Each aspect of this armor is actualized when we pray. Paul puts it this way: "praying at all times in the Spirit". As we pray the Spirit opens the eyes of our heart to truth. He wraps us in His righteousness. He leads our feet to walk in paths of peace. He gives us the mind of Christ. He cause us to overcome by faith. He awakens our hearts to the Word of God.

Lord, help us to arise and, through prayer, clothe ourselves with your armor. That we might stand as your child.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on words in the bible.


Jesus said, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven." -Luke 10:18 NCV

Satanan, the Greek word used here, could be translated 'adversary'. Other Greek words like diábolos (slanderer) and peirazōn (tempter) give us further insight into the nature of Satan. Yet some wonder. Is Satan an individual entity or a description of evil. I am not sure that it makes a great difference. To stand against Satan is to stand against evil.

When we refuse to gossip and slander, we stand against Satan - the father of lies. Saying no to temptation is saying no to the Tempter. Each day we are confronted in small and large ways with Satan. The lure of evil confronts us in every aspect of our lives. In the end the Adversary can only be overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Lead us Lord. Not into temptation. Deliver us from evil. We stand by grace. We trust in your name.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on words in the bible.


The joy of the Lord will make you strong. -Nehemiah 8:10b NCV

I have found this to be true in my life. Joy strengthens me in hard times. Reminds me of this Victor Hugo quote:
"Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face."
There is something about joy that helps us persevere. Sitting in the presence of joyful friends can lift our burdens.

Some think that joy is different from happiness. I am not one of those people. Some say that joy is internal while happiness is external. In my view a person that is happy only on the outside is not happy. Joy is a heart state that bubbles into happiness. Joy, or the lack of it, affects every part of us. When it is not there we are weak. When there we are strong.

Help us Lord to trust you in hard times that we might experience your joy - an evidence of your Spirit in our lives.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on words in the bible.