May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you. (Ps. 33:22)

IN “LETTER TO DIOGNETUS,” we learn from a sympathizer with the Roman Empire that Christians in the early church lived differently than others at that time. They married, like everyone else and had children, but they did not destroy their offspring. They shared a common table but not a common bed. They existed in the flesh, but they did not live by the flesh. They passed their days on earth, but they were citizens of heaven. They obeyed the prescribed laws while surpassing the laws by their lives. They loved all and were persecuted by all. They were unknown and condemned. They were put to death and restored to life. They were poor yet made many rich. They lacked everything yet overflowed in everything.

How did the early Christians make such an impression on their society? While the Roman citizens put their trust in other things, these Christ-followers put their trust and hope in the Lord. Furthermore, they lived this unusual lifestyle out of a loving and joyful heart. This type of trust and hope requires submission, a willingness to let God be God for His love never fails. Regardless of the circumstances, each generation of God’s people witnesses the new acts of His love. He is our help and shield.

The Lord honored the obedience of the early church Christians and transformed a society through them.

With a joyful heart, make a Christlike impression on someone today.

Jeremy Summers is ministry director at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, GA and coauthor of Awakening Grace and Paradox (WPH).

July 11

Luke 18:9–13

God, have mercy on me, a sinner. (Luke 18:13)


NOBODY ENJOYS being with arrogant people who flaunt their goodness; there’s something annoying about them. In the Bible, we read that God doesn’t exactly enjoy being around them either. The apostle Peter made that clear when he said, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Pet. 5:5).

The Pharisee in today’s passage is proof of that. In prayer he compared his goodness to that of others and bragged about his good works. His prideful heart wasn’t right before God, and this was obvious as he prayed. Unfortunately, because of his arrogance, the Pharisee went home in the same condition he entered the temple: unchanged, far from God, and full of himself.

The tax collector, on the other hand, acknowledged his sinfulness. Feeling deep sorrow because of it, he cried out to God for mercy. By God’s grace, he went home justified, transformed, and revived by the One who declared, “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite” (Isa. 57:15).

As we pray, let’s come before our Father God the right way, acknowledging His supreme holiness and our need for His forgiveness and mercy.

—Kathern Nemec

Approach God humbly and leave His presence transformed.

Kathern Nemec and her husband served in Argentina for twenty-seven years as missionaries.