Sunday, December 30, 2007
2And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying,
3Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.
4And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.
5So he went and did according unto the word of the LORD: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.
6And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.
1 Kings 17:1-6, King James Version
Elijah Guided by God
King Ahab continually sought to take the life of Elijah, the prophet. When God determined to bring a famine on the land, he sent Elijah to Ahab, King of Israel, with the news that there would be neither rain or dew on the land for several years.
Elijah was guided by God to bring this news to King Ahab, and then protected by God as He told Elijah to hide by the brook Cherith. The life of the Christian is often filled with turmoils, trials, and difficulties; God often leads His children on the steep and narrow path. But, with that guidance, God also provides shelter and safety from the world. It seems a contradiction that the most difficult and troublesome road is the safest and most joyous path for the Christian.
God has a specific purpose for each of His children to fulfill; it is not an easy road, but in the end, it is the most blessed road. What is your purpose as a child of God? What are your goals in life? Do the two contradict one another, or are they interwoven throughout the threads of your life.
Pray today that as you ponder Elijah, guided by God, you would also ponder your own life and your own relationship to God. Nothing in this world is of more importance than your Christian walk before the Lord of all Glory. Only in Him will you find perfect rest and perfect peace.
God Bless You,
Saturday, December 29, 2007
12And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.
13And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.
14And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?
15And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.
16And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.
Judges 6:11-16, King James Version
Gideon Guided by God
God guides each of us in different ways; this is especially clear in the case of Gideon. Look at the contrast between the way Gideon responded to God versus Moses (from yesterday's devotion). Moses hid his face from God when God appeared to him in the burning bush. Compare this with Gideon's response to God in verse 13.
And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.
Somehow I think we are more likely to respond to God like Gideon. We approach the God of all God and King of all Kings with accusations! Gideon was angry; where was this God of whom he had been told? Where were the miracles; where was the salvation of God when the Israelites continued to be oppressed by the Midianites?
God ignored Gideon's insolence and simply stated, "Gideon, you are the one I will use to rescue the Israelites from the Midianites." Now God had Gideon's attention! "Wait a minute, who am I that I could face the Midianites? I am from the least of all the tribes of Israel."
Sound familiar? We are so like Gideon! When called by God to serve Him, how often are we filled with a million reasons as to why we could never be of any use to Him. And yet, the Bible tells us that God uses the weak things of the world (that's us) to confound the wise. Oh, you may be wise in the things of the world, intellectually, financially, and authoritatively, but in the eyes of God all of our greatness here on earth is foolishness before Him.
How are you being guided by God? How are you responding? As we read further in the book of Judges we know that Gideon, guided by God, did indeed save the Israelites from the hands of the Midianites.
Pray today that the most important aspect of your life is, or will become, your service to God. When your first priority is correct, everything else will fall in line!
God Bless You,
Friday, December 28, 2007
2And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
3And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
4And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.
5And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
6Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.
7And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;
8And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Armorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
9Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them.
10Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.
Exodus 3:1-10, King James Version
What had happened to Moses? Where was this child who had been saved from death by being placed in a basket lined with pitched and placed in the Nile to be discovered by the daughter of Pharaoh? 40 years has passed since Moses fled from Egypt after killing an Egyptian for beating an Israelite. They were 40 years of oppression for the children of Israel. Had God forgotten them?
In Exodus 3 we find Moses, the shepherd, tending the flocks of his father-in-law on Mount Horeb. The angel of the Lord comes before Moses in a flaming fire; Moses only sees a bush burning and yet not being consumed by the fire.
When Moses turned aside to see this great sight, the Lord called to him out of the burning bush. I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. How did Moses respond? And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.
God had not forgotten Moses or the children of Israel. Does it seem that God has forgotten you? Has it been years since you have felt the comforting presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in your life? The years are as nothing to God; God is not affected by time because He is timeless.
God had a greater purpose for Moses than that of attending his father-in-law's sheep. Now was the time!
Through the burning bush, we find Moses guided by God to become the rescuer of the Israelites.
What is God's purpose for your life? Have you been immersed in your life and the things of this world so much that you have forgotten your greater purpose for being here? Go to God; plead with Him to restore you to full fellowship with Him and guide you into a life of service to Him. Moses was called to completely abandon the life he was living and to return to Egypt. However, that is not necessarily the way God guides our lives. Usually He leaves us right where we are and calls us to be a light in the darkness around us.
Moses, guided by God, returned to a life of complete submission and service to God. We know that the life he was called to lead was filled with many burdens and trials, and yet look at the precious relationship he had with God. Christ is all; the joy we share with Him is more precious than anything this world has to offer.
God Bless You,
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Only six short verses of the Bible are devoted to the actual birth of Christ in the small village of Bethlehem among the sheep and the cattle. The entire world remained asleep, totally unaware that God had come to dwell among them so that He might provide their only hope of salvation from the sin of this world.
Joseph and Mary did not live in Bethlehem; they lived in Galilee. Yet, God had prophesied in Micah 5:2 that the Messiah would come from Bethlehem. But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
As a matter of fact, because Jesus grew up in Galilee, many did not believe that He was really the Christ. God moved Caesar Augustus, however, to call for a registration of all the people, causing Joseph and Mary to go to Bethlehem, the city of David, because they were of the house and lineage of David. God is God, and we are not! It was not difficult for Him to move an ungodly ruler to call for a census so that Mary and Joseph would be in Bethlehem when Mary delivered Jesus.
What a lowly birth for the Savior. No trumpets were blown in His honor; no celebrations were held to herald the birth of the King of Kings. He was not born into a wealthy family, but to the lowly household of a carpenter. He did not have a fancy crib awaiting His birth; when He was born Mary laid Him in a manger!
Christ came to save a people for Himself--just ordinary people like you and me. We are never too lowly or too poor to be reached by the saving blood of Christ. All people, rich or poor, have access to Christ in the same way. The only way to gain salvation is by falling before Christ, confessing our sins, accepting His righteous blood as payment for those sins, and claiming Him as our Lord and Master.
Amidst all of the gaiety of friends, families, food, and presents, let us stop and take a moment to consider the humble birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. There was no room for Mary and Joseph in the inn.
Is there room in your heart for the Savior?
God Bless You,
PS All Scriptures are from the King James Version of the Bible.
Friday, December 21, 2007
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
How we love the Christmas story! Yet, I noted today as I looked through a chronological version of the Bible, that in a one-year Bible reading plan, only two days are needed to cover the entire Christmas story. That, of course, does not include prophecies and other references made to the birth of Christ in other passages. I think, perhaps, this is a lesson for us; it is important for us to note the miraculous birth of the baby Jesus, but we must remember that the true Christmas story includes the entire life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Jews were looking for a sign, and yet when that sign appeared they missed it. How could that be? God purposed for the birth of Jesus to be a very private event; only a very few people were aware that it even happened. When the virgin, Mary, conceived only she and Joseph were visited by angels.
An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
I marvel at Joseph's response:
When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
Joseph showed simple faith, simple trust, and simple obedience. It is no wonder that God chose Joseph to be the earthly father and protector of the boy, Jesus.
What a miraculous event! The God of all Gods and Creator of the Universe chose to come down to man. The baby Jesus, was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin, Mary; He was truly God and truly man. Praise God from whom all blessings flow! What a wondrous God we have!
As you ponder the words, Behold a virgin shall conceive, pray that God would give to you the simple faith, simple trust, and simple obedience of Joseph.
God Bless You,
All Scripture passages are from the King James Version of the Bible.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
46 And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,and holy is his name.
As I was reading through Luke 1:26-38 I wondered why God chose Mary out of all of the Israelite women. Then, when I read the "Song of Mary" in verses 46-55 I began to understand the answer. Upon hearing the news that she would bear the Messiah she responded,
“Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”
We are so familiar with this chapter that the significance of the words of the angel, Gabriel, to Mary lose the impact that they had on Mary. Mary was troubled when Gabriel came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” "What kind of a greeting was this," she wondered.
Gabriel responded with the familiar words,
“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
Her only question was, How will this be, since I am a virgin?
Gabriel explained that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and the child born to her would be holy - the Son of God.
Though our focus must be upon Jesus and not on Mary, we do note her great faith. It is no wonder that she had favor with God and was chosen to bear the Messiah - Son of God and Son of Man.
This is just a short story tucked away in a few verses of Luke 1, and yet it brought the whole world to its knees. Through this lowly entrance into the world, sprang forth our only Hope and Salvation, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
When God brings events and circumstances into your life that seem to turn your whole world upside down, remember that God has an eternal purpose in everything He does. Pray that you, too, would have the faith that Mary exhibited so that you would respond, Let it be to me according to your word.
God Bless You,
All Scriptures are from the King James Version of the Bible.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
2And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
3And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
4So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.
Genesis 12:1-4, King James Version
People Guided by God
There are people today who spend very little time in the Old Testament because they believe it applies to an earlier time period. However, to do so creates a huge void in our understanding of who God is and how He interacts with us, His people. The Old Testament and the events that occurred during that time provide us with pictures of how God deals with His people today.
In Genesis 12 we read the story of God calling Abram to come out from his country and follow Him to a new land God had promised to him and to his descendants. Sometimes it seems to us that the Patriarchs had life much easier because there was no doubt as to what God was commanding them to do. The truth, however, is that we, by having the entire Word of God before us, are able to see the whole picture from beginning to end.
Just as Abram was a patriarch who responded obediently when guided by God, so too should we Christians today find ourselves to be a people guided by God. Be assured that though God may not appear before you as He did to Abraham, He just as assuredly guides your Christian walk today.
Pray that by the grace of God you will follow the guidance of God through prayer and Bible study, knowing that God will continually guide you and sanctify you until that time when you meet Him face to face.
God Bless You,
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
14For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
15And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
16But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
Hebrews 11:13, King James Version
They Seek a Country
Tucked right in the middle of Hebrews 11 are these four verses; I chose to end the study of Hebrews 11 with them because they really express the theme of the entire chapter. Which country do you seek?
I often think of this saying:
He is so heavenly minded that he is of no earthly good.
Is that really possible? What does it mean to be of earthly good? The only good on this earth is the goodness of God in providing a Redeemer who paid the most costly price possible that He might gain a people for Himself. Therefore, the only good you can do for this earth, as a Christian, is to proclaim the name of Christ in all of your thoughts, your words, and your deeds.
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. This is so profoundly simple that we miss it!
Who is the object of our faith? Christ. What do we truly seek? A better country; a perfect world. God is preparing a world for us that will not be tarnished in any way by the sin which has polluted this world. Even the plants and animals here are affected by the sin of man. That will not be so in the new earth.
Pray today that you will not live as though this world is all there is, but rather that you will seek a better country!
God Bless You,
Saturday, December 01, 2007
16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. 20 No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
Romans 4:13-25, King James Version
What is the faith of faith? Why does it matter to us in the 21st century?
The example shown above is that of Abraham having faith that God would give him a son, even though he had reached the age of 100, and Sarah, his wife, at 90 was past the age of child bearing. We are told that Abraham did not weaken in his faith, no distrust made him waiver concerning the promise of God, and being convinced that God would do as He promised, he continually gave glory to God. Verse 22 continues, That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.
Though Abraham's faith was remarkable, it is not the only reason that Paul used this example in Romans 4. The missionary, Paul, was explaining the true meaning of faith to the unbelievers in Rome. It is not those who obey the Law of God perfectly who are granted salvation because no one (except Christ) can keep the Law perfectly.
That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring [all believers] . . . to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.
Here is the key to this passage, But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
There it is, the faith of faith, which is simple and yet profound! What does it take to become a Christian? Faith! Faith in Christ who died for our sins and was raised by God for our justification.
If it is that simple, why are there so few Christians in the world? The answer is faith. Hebrews 11:6 says, But without faith it is impossible to please him [God]. Those without faith are blind; seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear.
Pray today that God would grant to you the faith of faith.
God Bless You,
Friday, November 30, 2007
21But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss.
22And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship.
23For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,
24Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.
25Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.
Acts 27:20-25, King James Version
As we turn to the New Testament, we will discuss the faith of Paul. As you know, the Apostle Paul considered himself the least of all apostles. Having received a miraculous conversion while on the way to Damascus with the intent of killing Christians, God used him as a missionary traveling from city to city to reach the Gentiles for Christ.
In Acts 27 Paul, as a prisoner, was being taken by boat to appear before Caesar in Rome. For days, the ship was tossed by tempestuous winds and eventually ran aground near the island of Clauda. As the storm continued, all hope was lost that any would be saved. After receiving a message from an angel of God, Paul encouraged the men on the ship, saying the ship would be lost, but all of the men would survive.
Look at the last three verses shown above, For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.
No matter what their circumstances of life, God is always right there beside His people aiding and encouraging them as they pass through the fire and the valley of the shadow of death.
Paul believed this. Do you? Pray today that God would grant to you the faith of Paul.
This reminds me of Psalm 23, which was not just a nice little Psalm written by David, but one which powerfully expresses the hope of the Christian. Take a minute to meditate on this Psalm (from the King James Version of the Bible) before you go on with the duties of this day.
2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever
God Bless You,
Thursday, November 29, 2007
26And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
27Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.
Job 19:25-27, King James Version
Have you noticed that we rarely think of the faith of Job? Job is usually associated with patience. As I thought of this passage, I realized that only a man of faith could proclaim the words shown above.
We are first introduced to Job in chapter one with the words: There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
Verses 2 and 3 of chapter one continue: And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.
If you are familiar with the story, you know that Satan came before God and desired to test Job. After given permission by God, Satan caused all seven of Job's children to die, destroyed Job's health (he had boils all over his body), and destroyed everything he had.
After all of this as well as the constant badgering of his three "friends," Job still declared the words shown above. His eyes are focused on heaven above and not on the things of this earth.
What lesson can we take away from this? In this fast paced world we are often overcome by the busyness of life. Often we feel torn on all sides by our families, friends, and coworkers. In the midst of this we are sometimes called to face the death of family or loved ones, our own illnesses, and offences thrown at us from those around us.
Pray, today, that at times like this you will exhibit the faith of Job and cry out with him:
For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me. Amen.
God Bless You,
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
2And when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib was come, and that he was purposed to fight against Jerusalem,
3He took counsel with his princes and his mighty men to stop the waters of the fountains which were without the city: and they did help him.
4So there was gathered much people together, who stopped all the fountains, and the brook that ran through the midst of the land, saying, Why should the kings of Assyria come, and find much water?
5Also he strengthened himself, and built up all the wall that was broken, and raised it up to the towers, and another wall without, and repaired Millo in the city of David, and made darts and shields in abundance.
6And he set captains of war over the people, and gathered them together to him in the street of the gate of the city, and spake comfortably to them, saying,
7Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him:
8With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.
2 Chronicles 32:1-8, King James Version
As we look at the faith of Hezekiah in 2 Chronicles 32, notice that Hezekiah didn't just sit down and wait for God to deliver Judah from the Assyrians. Sometimes we get the wrong idea that Christians don't need to do anything but wait for God to answer their prayers.
Hezekiah, King of Judah, had a dilema; the king of Syria came into Judah and camped against the cities of Judah, hoping to win them for himself. Have you ever heard the phrase, "God helps those who help themselves"? The first thing Hezekiah did was to meet with his advisers and assess the resources they had on hand. Then, the people of Judah strengthened the walls and made whatever preparations for war they needed to make.
When everything was done, Hezekiah gathered the army and all of the people and spoke these words to them:
Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him:
With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.
What an amazing king! What was the rest of the story? Verses 21 and 22 of 2 Chronicles 32 tell us,
And the LORD sent an angel, which cut off all the mighty men of valour, and the leaders and captains in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land. And when he was come into the house of his god, they that came forth of his own bowels slew him there with the sword.
Thus the LORD saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all other, and guided them on every side.
The Christian life is an active and busy life; though works do not save us, God has put each of us here on earth to fulfill a purpose for Him. Pray to God and ask Him to show you the purpose He has for you - THEN you can pray and wait upon the Lord to come to your aid. Obedience to God truly brings peace and joy.
God Bless You,
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
3And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.
4And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.
5And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court,
6And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?
7Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever?
8And they dwelt therein, and have built thee a sanctuary therein for thy name, saying,
9If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help.
10And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom thou wouldest not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them, and destroyed them not;
11Behold, I say, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of thy possession, which thou hast given us to inherit.
12O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.
13And all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children.
2 Chronicles 2:2-13, King James Version
The faith of Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, is revealed to us in 2 Chronicles 2.
When the children of Israel had left Egypt they passed by the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir at the command of God. Now, these same people have come to attack Judah.
Jehoshaphat did not wring his hands in dismay; neither did his courage fail. His trust was in the Lord God. He called for a time of national fasting and seeking help from the Lord. And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they they came to seek the LORD. Read Jehoshaphat's prayer as recorded in verses 6 through 12, which ends, O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.
Then, look at verse 13, And all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children. I can just picture that, can't you? The entire assembly with heads bowed, waiting for the Lord to answer the petition of their King.
What an amazing effect the faith of Jehoshaphat had on his people! How strong is your faith? What effect does it have on those around you? No matter what our circumstances, we are not called to live in a small box, separated from the rest of the world. Remember the old adage, Actions speak louder than words. So it is with our faith; everyone around you is effected by your strong faith, or lack of it!
We are told later in 2 Chronicles 2, that the Lord set up an ambush against the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, and that not one of them escaped.
Who fights your battles? Go to God and seek the faith of Jehoshaphat; seek the help of God to face your enemies. Just as He was with the children of Judah, so this same God is available to you today!
God Bless You,
Monday, November 26, 2007
1Now it came to pass upon a day, that Jonathan the son of Saul said unto the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over to the Philistines' garrison, that is on the other side. But he told not his father.
6And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.
7And his armour bearer said unto him, Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart.
8Then said Jonathan, Behold, we will pass over unto these men, and we will discover ourselves unto them.
9If they say thus unto us, Tarry until we come to you; then we will stand still in our place, and will not go up unto them.
10But if they say thus, Come up unto us; then we will go up: for the LORD hath delivered them into our hand: and this shall be a sign unto us.
11And both of them discovered themselves unto the garrison of the Philistines: and the Philistines said, Behold, the Hebrews come forth out of the holes where they had hid themselves.
12And the men of the garrison answered Jonathan and his armour bearer, and said, Come up to us, and we will shew you a thing. And Jonathan said unto his armour bearer, Come up after me: for the LORD hath delivered them into the hand of Israel.
1 Samuel 14:1 & 6-12, King James Version
I have always been so impressed with the faith of Jonathan; even in times when his father, King Saul, turned away from the Lord, Jonathan's faith remained strong. In 1 Samuel 14, the Israelites were camped on one side of a rock, and the Philistines on the other; each camp was waiting for the other to begin the battle.
Fearless and tired of waiting, Jonathan decided to go over to the other side of the rock with his armor bearer. Listen to the example of the faith of Jonathan in these words from verse 6:
It may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.
Jonathan then seeks to know God's will by listening to the response of the enemies. If they say thus unto us, Tarry until we come to you; then we will stand still in our place, and will not go up unto them. But if they say thus, Come up unto us; then we will go up: for the LORD hath delivered them into our hand: and this shall be a sign unto us.
The answer came quickly. As soon as Jonathan and the armor bearer were discovered, the Philistines shouted out, Come up to us, and we will shew you a thing. There was their answer from God.
1 Samuel 14 goes on to tell us that Jonathan and his armor bearer killed about 20 men, after which God sent an earthquake. In verse 16 we are told, The multitude melted away, and they went on beating down one another.
What remarkable faith and what amazing results!
The God of Jonathan is the same God we worship today; just as the faith of Jonathan was revealed in this Bible passage, so should we pray that God would grant to us the same kind of faith. How quickly we go about living our daily lives without even thinking of reaching out to God to guide us and take us through the day.
Pray today that God would grant to you great faith in Him, and that you will be aware of His presence and leading throughout this entire day.
God Bless You,
Thursday, November 22, 2007
7Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
Colossians 2:6-7, King James Version
15And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
17And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
Colossians 3:15-17, King James Version
Come Ye Thankful People Come
Today is Thanksgiving Day in my country, and so I have deviated one day from the series on People Full of Faith, to bring a special Thanksgiving devotional.
It was only a few days ago that my husband and I went to the funeral of his sister, Diane. It would seem that when one is in the midst of grief, it would be hard to find reasons to be thankful.
If you will check back in the archives, on November 12th, the day before Diane's homecoming with the Lord, I mentioned her in a devotional. Little did I know what would happen within 24 hours of the devotion's publication. Yet, in only ways that God could understand, He used that devotional to become a comfort to those who knew and loved Diane. For that I am extremely thankful to God.
I'm learning that we, as Christians, grow more in times of affliction, as well as in times of grief. It is during these times that we experience that special grace of God to strengthen and comfort us.
There are many things, this Thanksgiving Day, for which I am especially thankful. especially for having known Diane and seeing the strength of her faith during some truly difficult times.
*I am thankful for her children, and the faith I see in them.
*I am thankful for her grandchildren, continuing to be instructed in the Word of the Lord.
*I am thankful for her parents, who have become parents to me, who have taught all of their children to believe and love the Lord.
*I am thankful for her brother, my husband, who because of the faithful prayers of his mother, stands firm in his faith this day.
*I am thankful for Diane's sisters, Barbara and Jill, who are also my sisters in Christ.
*I am thankful that my life has been made richer by being a part of this wonderful family.
Oh, there are many more things I could say, but I would like you to just ponder this thought today. For whom are you thankful? Who has prayed for you, taught you God's Word, prayed with you, encouraged you in your Christian walk, ministered to you in times of grief or illness, and helped you to be a better Christian today than you were yesterday.
Also ponder this, how many others are thankful because of your life? How many others have you touched, by God's grace, through your walk with Him.
Of course, all of our thankfulness and allegiance goes to God Almighty, for His grace in our lives and the gift of salvation He has given to us. But God uses us, the weak ones of this world, to spread His Gospel message to those whose lives we have touched.
Thank you, Diane. We miss you, but are so happy and comforted to know that all of your struggles in this world are past. We would never wish you to leave the glories of Heaven you have found to return to this world.
God Bless You,
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
8Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the LORD my God.
9And Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children's for ever, because thou hast wholly followed the LORD my God.
10And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old.
11As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in.
12Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.
13And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh Hebron for an inheritance.
Joshua 14:7-13, King James Version
A series of devotions on People Full of Faith would not be quite complete without looking at the faith of Caleb. As you remember, he and Joshua went out with 10 other men to spy out the land. It had only been a few months since they had left Egypt and had seen God miraculously protect them by parting the waters of the Red Sea and giving them safe passage to the other side, and then destroying the Egyptian army.
Here they were, on the brink of the promised land; the end of their journey was near at hand. The report that 10 of those 12 people brought back to the Israelites devastated them. There were giants in the land and fortified cities; the Anakim were there. How could they ever win any battles against these people? Only Joshua and Caleb encouraged the Israelites to move on into the land; the same God who had protected them thus far, would give them victory over the people living in the land God had promised to give to them.
It was this sin of the people and their lack of faith that made God condemn them to 40 years of wandering in the desert until the last of those over 20 years of age would die. Only those 20 years of age and younger, at the time of the disobedience of the people, as well as those born during the years of wandering would be allowed to enter the land.
Joshua and Caleb, because of their good report of the land and their faith in God, would be allowed to enter the promised land. It is now 45 years later; Joshua is the new leader of the Israelites and Caleb is as strong at 85 as he was 45 years earlier. Caleb did not give up and say, I'm too old to fight, let the younger fellows go to war. This is what Caleb said to Joshua, in verses 11 to 12:
As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in. Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.
Not only was Caleb still as strong physically as he had been 45 years earlier, but his faith had remained strong as well.
Have you ever pondered what the years have done or might do to your faith? Remember, Jesus is the same today, yesterday, and forever. This same God whom you embraced at the birth of your salvation is the same God today and will be the same God forever. If your faith has become weak, then cry out to God. It is God who gave Caleb the strength to conquer that mountain at 85 years of age, and it is this same God who will continue to grant you faith throughout your walk here on this earth.
Praise God for the Faith of Caleb!
God Bless You,
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
2Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.
3Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.
4For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.
5And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him.
Genesis 7:1-5, King James Version
We begin this series of devotions on People Full of Faith with Noah. The story of the flood is perhaps one of the most loved stories of the Old Testament. It is also one of the most controversial; today many say it is just a myth, or just a local flood. I do not believe that; the Bible says that the waters covered the whole earth. So, I believe that the waters covered the whole earth!
Noah was a man whom I really respect; he was undaunted by the lack of faith all around him. God told him to build an ark-not just a small fisherman's boat, but a huge boat able to hold the people and all of the animals that would soon use it as a refuge. It was not a simple task; it took Noah almost 100 years to build the ark.
During all of this time, there was no physical evidence to prove Noah's "hypothesis" that a flood was coming that would destroy the whole earth. He was taunted continually, and no one, not even one person, responded to his calls to repent of their sins and turn to God. Noah was a man of faith!
No matter how alone we might feel in our Christian walk as we live in a wicked and ungodly time, we are never as alone as was Noah. We still have good, Bible believing churches to attend, Christians with whom we can fellowship, and Christian homes which can be a haven amidst the storms of life.
Do you lack faith? Does it seem a myth to you that Christ is going to return someday to take His people to be with Him forever? It has been 2000 years since Christ walked this earth-that is a long time. Surely we can not believe He really is going to return to this earth!
The Bible is a book of faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God, and it is impossible to understand His Word. What seems so unbelievable to the lost around us becomes a fact to us. By God's grace, He opens our eyes to see and understand truth. Noah waited 100 years; it has been 2000 years since Christ lived on this earth. We the people full of faith understand, with no doubt, that the Bible is true; Christ will return.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. (James 1:5-6, KJV)
God Bless You,
Monday, November 19, 2007
8For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10, King James Version
Perfect in Weakness
Much of what we know about actually living the Christian life to the glory of God, comes from the Apostle Paul. I think the passage written above by Paul in 2 Corinthians is one of the most precious Bible passages for the Christian. How can we, in our weakness, ever do much to glorify God and advance His kingdom?
Paul, a person much like us, had his own affliction to deal with. Though we are never told exactly what that affliction was, we know it was grievous to Paul. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.
How did Paul respond to God answering his prayer by not removing the affliction?
Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
That is the true sign of Christian maturity; I know I have a long way to go to be so content in Christ that I glory in my physical weakness and pain. Having a proper focus on the real meaning of life will, I know, help me to come closer to understanding Paul.
God has given us many wonderful things to enjoy, but those things are not what bring us peace, happiness, and joy. Don't look to others or to things to bring what only Christ can bring to you. As Christians, we are on this earth for one purpose, and one purpose alone: to bring glory to God and be a testimony for Him.
Praise God that He did not cast us aside, as He so easily could, because of our sin, but rather, He provided a way for us to fellowship with Him through the shedding of the blood of His only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Praise God for our afflictions; may those very afflictions be the things that drive us to Christ!
For My strength is made perfect in weakness.
God Bless You,
Sunday, November 18, 2007
This devotional from Psalm 104 was first published on October 4, 2006.
1 Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD my God, You are very great: You are clothed with honor and majesty, 2 Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment, Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.
3 He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters, Who makes the clouds His chariot, Who walks on the wings of the wind, 4 Who makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flame of fire.
31 May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in His works. 32 He looks on the earth, and it trembles; He touches the hills, and they smoke.
33 I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. 34 May my meditation be sweet to Him; I will be glad in the LORD. 35 May sinners be consumed from the earth, and the wicked be no more.
Bless the LORD, O my soul! Praise the LORD!
Psalm 104:1-4 and 31-35
This Psalm is filled with beautiful imagery! God covers himself with light, He stretches the heavens like a curtain, He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters, He makes the clouds His chariots, He walks on the wings of the wind. After a thorough reading of the entire Psalm it becomes really obvious that everything in this world is kept by God. He created everything with a purpose; nothing came about haphazardly.
Is it no wonder that we can live in complete confidence and trust in such a God who orders everything perfectly? When God looks upon the earth, it trembles! We humans would do well to consider the reaction of all nature and animals to God! The animals do not doubt the existence of God.
Pray today that you would be filled with praise to God when you consider His mighty creation and the salvation that is ours through Him.
God Bless You,
Saturday, November 17, 2007
4 Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds—his name is the LORD—and rejoice before him. 5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. . . 19 Praise be to the LORD, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. 20 Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign LORD comes escape from death. . . . 32 Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth, sing praise to the LORD, 33 to him who rides the ancient skies above, who thunders with mighty voice. 34 Proclaim the power of God, whose majesty is over Israel, whose power is in the skies. 35 You are awesome, O God, in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!
Psalm 68:4-5, 19-20, and 32-3
What is God really like? What kind of a God do we have? Psalm 68:5 tells us that He is a father to the fatherless and a defender of widows. Verse 6 says He sets the lonely in families! (I like the way that is phrased.) He also leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land. He daily bears our burdens (19), and He is a God who saves (20). He rides the ancient skies above and thunders with a mighty voice (33); His power is in the skies.(34) God is awesome; the God of Israel gives power and strength to His people (35).
When I was a child I was afraid of thunder and lightening. One stormy night, however, my sister and I lay at the foot of our beds and watched the lightning strike again and again, and listened to the constant booming of the thunder. Right then, even as a small child, I knew I would never be afraid of thunder and lightening again, because as I watched the storms roll and twist, I knew that I was looking right at God's power being manifest in the storm! Every bolt of lightening was ordered by His command; every crack of thunder echoed His mighty voice. Here was something man could not do; he was helpless before the face of God.
Just think of what a mighty God we have! He rules over the skies and seas; He dwells among the mountain grandeur, and yet, He is never too busy to meet our needs. He’s a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, and he even sets the lonely in families! He rules the heavens and earth, and yet knows when a single hair falls from our head.
Pray today that you would live this day in praise to such a Majestic and yet Personal God who is right there beside you no matter what you are doing.
God Bless You,
Friday, November 16, 2007
I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lends; and his descendants are blessed. Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell forevermore. For the Lord loves justice, and does not forsake His saints; they are preserved forever, but the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell in it forever.
This is one of those Psalms that is so powerful I'm almost afraid to say anything so that I don't detract from it. Read this entire Psalm as you will do yourself an injustice if you don't read it.
I've chosen verses 25 to 29 as they seem to epitomize the entire Psalm. The theme in this Psalm is again, the faithfulness and justice of God toward the righteous as well as the wicked. I have clung to verse 25 for many years, I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread.
Remember, God is the One who is providing for you; not your place of work or business or even the government. Our response must be, Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell forevermore. The Lord knows our innermost beings; we can fool those around us, but not the Lord. Live to please Him only and don't worry or think about pleasing those around you.
A part of God's justice is in the judgment of the wicked. Who are the wicked? Those who refuse to bow down to a Holy and Righteous God and make Him their King forever. Psalm 37:9a and10 says, For evil doers shall be cut off . . . For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; indeed, you will look carefully for his place, but it shall be no more.
We are so focused on the world around us; but do not make that a world without God and His righteousness. Even as Christians, the Bible says, We see through a glass darkly. What does that say about the wicked? They are blind.
Pray today that God would grant you the faith to believe in Him and that you, too, will be among the righteous who will live forever more.
God Bless You,
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. . . For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Psalm 1:1-2 & 6
When I was a girl (a long time ago - sigh), I remember thinking that Christians and non-Christians were so much alike, that one really couldn't tell the difference. Everyone dressed conservatively, you didn't hear the kids swear (well, at least not when the teacher was around), and life seemed to go on pretty smoothly. I realize that I was very naive but, although evil existed in our society at alarming rates, it was still pretty much "under the table." Today, however, we live in the I'm OK, you're OK lifestyle, otherwise known as "live and let live."
As Christians, it's easy to get pretty complacent about our Christian lives. After all, I'm sure not as bad as almost everyone around me. That, is where the problem lies. So often we do just like the non-Christians do in comparing ourselves to each other instead of comparing ourselves to God, and the pattern of perfection He has established in His Word.
We will never be able to perfectly obey God's Word until we join Him in Heaven, but we should be continually striving toward that end.Keeping that in mind, just look at the what the Bible says about the Christian in Psalm 1.
The Godly man doesn't listen to the counsel of the non-Christians around us especially regarding who we are and where we came from, we don't walk in their lifestyles, and we don't sit around and talk about people behind their back.
I hope you got a little uncomfortable in reading that last paragraph. I know I did! It's not easy, is it? We know God is everywhere, but so often we live each day as though He's off visiting in another planet or something. But look at verse 6. The Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Pray that God will help you today to take Jesus everywhere you go. Oh, I know He's already there -- but, put your hand in His, and think about Him being right there beside you all day. Observe how much harder it is to join in the revelry of the world around you.
God Bless You,
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
This devotional from Psalm 23 was first published on February 19th of this year.
11"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Who is Christ? Christ is the Shepherd.
Notice the Bible passages above; in John 10, Jesus is making a proclamation, telling us that He is the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep.
In Psalm 23, the Psalmist says that the LORD is MY shepherd. Christ is the Shepherd, and Christians who have gone to Christ for forgiveness for their sins are the sheep.
What does it mean that Christ is the Shepherd? Why is this important for Christians?What does a Shepherd do for the sheep?
A shepherd cares for the sheep. When the sheep are sick he nurses them back to health, when they wander away he goes and finds them, he takes them to good pastureland to feed, he makes sure they have water to drink, and he uses his rod and staff to discipline them for their own protection. A shepherd also protects his sheep; sheep are extremely vulnerable. If they happen to roll over onto their back, they will die unless someone comes and rolls them back onto their feet. They also have no defense against their predators: lions, bears, wolves, etc. Unless their shepherd is close by to protect them, they will die when their enemies enter their flock.
Christ does all of these same things for His sheep! He never leaves or forsakes them, but is constantly watching over them 24/7. Christians can completely trust in Him; even when going through the valley of the shadow of death, He is right there beside them. Because of this goodness and mercy follows them all the days of their lives, and they will dwell in His house forevermore!
Who is Christ? Christ is the Shepherd. What an awesome Shepherd we have!
God Bless You,
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
21And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.
22And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.
23And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely:
24Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
25And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
26And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed.
27And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.
28But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.
29Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,
30And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
31And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
32And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.
33And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.
34And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.
Acts 16:20-34, King James Version
And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.
Paul and Silas had been put in prison when an earthquake occurred; all the prison doors were thrown open, and the prisoners bands were loosed. The jailer, assuming that everyone had escaped was ready to kill himself, when Paul called to him. Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.
The keeper of the prison came trembling before Paul and, knowing that this could only be of God, cried out, "What must I do to be saved?" So, an event that could have had horrible consequences for the jailer brought a time of joy instead.
And he [the jailer] took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.
Just as the jailer cried out to God for salvation, so can we cry out to God today; as God saved the penitent jailer, so will He save us today when we fall before Him as sinners, unworthy of His grace. What an amazing God we have!
Pray for your non-believing friends and neighbors; you never know what circumstances God may bring about to answer your prayers.
God Bless You,
Monday, November 12, 2007
40But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
41And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
42And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
43And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.
Luke 23:39-43, King James Version
The account of the crucifixion of Christ as told by Luke is a very familiar passage to us. How often have we heard the account of the thief on the cross crying out, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
This passage reminds us that it is never too late to cry out to Christ; death-bed conversions are very real! And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise. Here was one last task that Jesus Christ needed to fulfill before He could give up His life willingly for the sins of His people.
One remarkable thing that we often fail to realize is that our death is predetermined by God, and the life we have, no matter how frail, still has a purpose to fulfill before God takes us home to be with Him.
My sister-in-law suffered a brain hemorrhage in May of this year and has been in a coma ever since. In September I had the opportunity to go and visit her; her room at the care center amazed me. All over the room, in a colorful display, were notes from people who had visited her as well as birthday cards that had been sent to her. I realized what a testimony to Christ and to her salvation the room portrayed.
Even though she is in a coma, her life still displays a vibrant testimony to Christ.
We do not know what God has ordained for our future, but we do know that up until the moment of our death we are still being a testimony for Christ.
Never give up on your unsaved friends and loved ones; where there is life there is hope. Keep praying; keep crying out to God!
Praise God for the thief who cried out, Lord, remember me!
God Bless You,
Sunday, November 11, 2007
The following devotional was first published in my Holiday Devotional Ezine, November, 2006.
1 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. 5 An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. 7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.
2 Timothy 2:1-7
In the United States, Veteran's Day is celebrated on November 11th; many other countries have similar days devoted to the honoring of their soldiers. In this devotion for Veterans Day let's look at 2 Timothy 2:1-7 to discover the proper attitude for a soldier.
As far back in history we go, when cities and countries were formed, each found it necessary to protect themselves by developing an army of soldiers. The Bible records information about Kings and soldiers in the book of Genesis. The Bible also tells us in 2 Timothy that every Christian is a soldier of Jesus Christ.
God uses the illustration of the soldier to help us how to understand our responsibilities as soldiers in the army of God.
We know that soldiers have suffered and died throughout history to protect their own country. Many times God also calls the Christian soldier to suffer, and sometimes die for his faith. This should not come as a surprise to us. If you've been reading my Psalms devotions, you know that many of the Psalms of David are filled with laments over David's suffering, especially when the enemies of God were devoted to killing him even when he had done nothing wrong.
When God calls us to suffer, we must cry out to God for help, for He alone can help us. You'll find that the more you are consistently reading God's Word and praying to Him, this becomes almost second nature. You will find yourself talking to the Lord throughout the day. I think that is exactly what Paul is referring to when he tells us to pray without ceasing.
What would happen in the midst of battle if each soldier decided to fight the battle the way he thought best. Chaos would soon set in. You would hope to fight against an army such as that because you would be guaranteed to win! Verse 4 tells us that the soldier seeks to please the one who enlisted him.
My father served as a paratrooper in World War II; during that time his first son was born, and his only brother, Buddy, died on a Coast Guard ship that went down. Don't you think that would make him want to go home and forget about being a soldier? But, he did not go home because the battle was not over. I am so very proud of my father and the men and women like him who knew that their first allegiance as a soldier was to their country.
As a soldier of Christ, finish the battle! Don't give up midstream' don't go back to the sins of your youth. Rather just as the athlete is not crowned until he competes according to the rules and finishes the race.
Pray that you will be a faithful soldier of Jesus Christ so that you, too, will receive the Crown of Life at the end of your battle!
God Bless You,
PS Thanks Dad, Grandpa, and Buddy for your loyal service to our country even through injury and death.
This Veterans Day, I Salute You!
PPS My father passed away in May of this year, so this devotional has even more meaning to me.