Friday, November 30, 2007

Faith of Paul

20And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.
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.

1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
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
.


Amen.



God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Faith of Job

25For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
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,
Linda

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Faith of Hezekiah

1After these things, and the establishment thereof, Sennacherib king of Assyria came, and entered into Judah, and encamped against the fenced cities, and thought to win them for himself.
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,
Linda

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Faith of Jehoshaphat

2Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria; and, behold, they be in Hazazontamar, which is Engedi.
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,
Linda

Monday, November 26, 2007

Faith of Jonathan

I am returning today after a 3 day holiday break; I had intended to write devotions, but found that one can only do so much. I had a wonderful time seeing all of my children and my granddaughter over the long weekend. I hope your holiday (for those of you in the US) was a good one as well. Today we will continue with our series on "People Full of Faith" with a passage from 1 Samuel 14.

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,
Linda

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Come, Ye Thankful People

6As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
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,
Linda

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Faith of Caleb

7Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadeshbarnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart.
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,
Linda

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

People Full of Faith

1And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.
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,
Linda

Monday, November 19, 2007

Perfect in Weakness

7And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
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,
Linda

Sunday, November 18, 2007

God Walks on the Wings of the Wind - Psalm 104

My sister-in-law passed away Tuesday, November 13. Because I will be out of town for a few days, I am going to publish some Psalms devotions from my archives through this Sunday, and then will be writing again for the Monday, November 19th devotional.

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,
Linda

Saturday, November 17, 2007

God Sets the Lonely in Families - Psalm 68

This devotional from Psalm 68 was first published August 6, 2006.



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,
Linda

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Righteous Shall Inherit the Land
Psalm 37

This devotional from Psalm 37 was originally published on July 30, 2006.

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.
Psalm 37:25-29

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,
Linda

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Lord knows the way of the righteous. Psalm 1

This devotion on Psalm 1 was first published on June 6, 2006


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,
Linda

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Christ, the Good Shepherd

My sister-in-law passed away yesterday. Because I will be out of town for a few days, I am going to publish some Psalms devotions from my archives through this Sunday, and then will be writing again for the Monday, November 19th devotional.

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.
John 10:11

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.

Psalm 23

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,
Linda

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Would Have Killed Himself

20And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,
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,
Linda

Monday, November 12, 2007

Lord, Remember Me!

39And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
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,
Linda

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Soldiers of Jesus Christ

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,
Linda

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.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Ask and Receive

5And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;
6For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?
7And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.
8I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.
9And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
10For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Luke 11:5-10, King James Version

Ask and Receive

Rather than speaking of a specific person, Jesus tells a story to illustrate a truth. It is in the middle of the night and you and your family are sound asleep. A friend of yours comes knocking at your door asking for food. He just received word that he has company coming at any minute and he has no food. You yell, "Go to Wal Mart and get your own food." Still your neighbor keeps knocking. Finally, just to get rid of him, you get up and grab some food and give it to him.

What is Jesus trying to illustrate to us? Does it seem to you that you pray and pray and yet God doesn't answer your prayers? Jesus said, "Keep asking!" God is a God who answers prayer; it may not be the way we had hoped or thought He would, but He answers exactly in the way that is the best for us!

What about the lost?

If you come before Christ, confessing your sin to Him, and crying out for salvation, Christ will answer your prayer. Some of the most precious words in the Bible are found in Luke 11:9 and 10:

And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Jesus always responds to the sinners prayer by saying, "Ask and receive."

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Blind See

29And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him.
30And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David.
31And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David.
32And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you?
33They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened.
34So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.

Matthew 20:29-34, King James Version

When I read the passage recorded above, I thought of the words of Solomon when he said, There is no new thing under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9) In this passage we read of two blind men who, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out to Him, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David. The people standing nearby chided them, telling them to be quiet.

Just like in our day, these blind men were of no account to those around them; they were not rich or powerful so they didn't deserve the attention of Jesus. As is so often shown in the Gospels, Jesus did not have such a prejudice. He shows us through His own humble birth, that money or power does not make a person worth more.

How did He respond to the blind men? And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you? They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened. So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.

Jesus responded to their simple cry of faith just as He still responds to our simple cry of faith today. We have a Savior who was tempted just as we are, yet He never sinned. He understands the power of temptation, and is ready to heal our sins when we cry out to Him in faith.

What an amazing God we have; He never slumbers or sleeps, but is always their beside us, helping and encouraging us to live faithfully for Him. Because of Christ it is still true in our day that the Blind see.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, November 08, 2007

People Crying to God

24But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
25And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. 26And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
27But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
28And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
31And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
32And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
33Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.


Matthew 14:24-33, King James Version

As we continue in our "People" series, the next few devotions will cover the topic, "People Crying to God." Our first devotion is about Peter, who is my favorite of the disciples, because he is so human! Often he leaps forward impetuously only to discover that, The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41) We find him doing just that in this Bible passage from Matthew 14.

The disciples were out on a boat in the middle of the sea trying desperately to keep their boat from sinking in the tempestuous water. Jesus suddenly appeared walking on the water; not knowing who He was, the disciples were filled with fear. Jesus then spoke to them saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. How did Peter respond? Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. Peter then stepped out on the water and began to walk toward Jesus, but seeing the wind tossing the water, he became afraid and began to sink.

He cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

Do you see yourself mirrored in Peter? I certainly do. How often do we boost up our faith and then get ourselves in circumstances over our head and begin to sink? God knows us; He knows our hearts and He knows our frailties. Just as Christ reached out His hand to save Peter, so He reaches out His hand to us as well.

Are you sinking in the middle of a deep, storm-tossed sea? Cry out to God. He saves us, watches over us, and keeps us until the day we join Him in Heaven and live with Him forever.

Sometimes I feel like it is unfair for me to ask God to get me out of circumstances I fell into because of my own sin. For the Christian, however, God is always there saving, helping, and keeping His children. Do not despair because of your circumstances; go to Christ. He will either change the circumstances or give you the grace to bear them.

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Poor Widow

1And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.
2And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.
3And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all:
4For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.


Luke 21:1-4, King James Version

When Jesus commends this poor widow in the above passage is He saying that we should give every penny we have to Him? Is Jesus only speaking of money? These are good questions to ponder. How should we apply this passage to our own lives?

First, we must remember that we look on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. This woman, out of her full and complete love for Christ, cast in the two mites that she had. When we give to the work of God, do we do so grudgingly? Do we tithe only because we have to? In 2 Corinthians 9:7 God tells us, Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

Is Jesus only speaking of money? When I was a child I remember learning in Sunday School the 3 T's of Giving: Time, Talent, and Treasure.

When we give our tithe to the Lord have we taken care of the debt we owe to Him? How do you spend your time? Do you go to church once or twice on a Sunday and then put your Bible away until the next Sunday? What about the talents and abilities God has given to you? How do you use these for the work of God? These are tough questions which can make us feel quite uncomfortable.

Truly, nothing that we could ever do could pay the debt we owe to Christ. God knows our propensity to selfishness; He also knows that true joy and peace for His children come from spending time in His Word and in prayer.

The words of a familiar hymn really say it all:

O for a closer walk with God,
A calm and heavenly frame,
A light to shine upon the road
That leads me to the Lamb!

Where is the blessedness I knew

When first I sought the Lord?
Where is the soul refreshing view
Of Jesus and His Word?

What peaceful hours I once enjoyed!
How sweet their memory still!
But they have left an aching void
The world can never fill.

The dearest idol I have known,
What e'er that idol be,
Help me to tear it from Thy throne
And worship only Thee.

So shall my walk be close with God,
Calm and serene my frame;
So purer light shall mark the road
That leads me to the Lamb.

Amen!

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

John the Baptist

24And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind?
25But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings' courts.
26But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet.
27This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
28For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.


Luke 7:24-28, King James Version

In the last devotional we turned to Luke 7 and read the story of the Centurion commended by Christ. Today we return to Luke 7 and read of Christ's commendation of John the Baptist.

Who was John the Baptist? The people knew from the prophecy of Malachi 3:1 that a prophet would come before the Messiah appeared proclaiming his imminent arrival. Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

But, who did the people go out to see? Jesus asked this same question. What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings' courts. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet.

They expected the coming of the Messiah to be proclaimed by one who would be gorgeously appareled, because they expected the Messiah to come as their earthly King and overcome the rule of Rome.

Again and again we are reminded of the proclivity of man to look to the rich and powerful for salvation. Christ purposely came as a babe in a manger, born into a poor family. Then, when it was time for His earthly ministry to begin, He sent John the Baptist as the prophet who proclaimed His coming. God chose the weak things of this world to confound the wise!

Who do you go out to see when you look for a savior? Who do you go out to impress as you live your own day to day life? What is your chief purpose in this life that has been given to you?

John the Baptist was commended by Christ because He knew and fulfilled his chief purpose in life: Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. (Westminster Shorter Catechism)

As Christians, no matter what our social status or profession, our chief purpose is to glorify God in everything we do. Through the Christians on earth who represent all walks of life, God chooses to advance His Kingdom.

God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, November 05, 2007

Centurion Commended by Christ

2And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die.
3And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant.
4And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this:
5For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.
6Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof:
7Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.
8For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
9When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
10And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.


Luke 7:2-10, King James Version

The familiar story of the Centurion commended by Christ is recorded for us in Luke 7. What do we know about this Centurion? What is so remarkable about this man that he should receive a special commendation from Christ? How is his faith in Christ revealed?

The Centurion was a Roman soldier in command of 100 men. When his servant fell ill, he went to the rulers of the synagogue and told them to go to Jesus asking that his servant would be healed. He felt that he was too unworthy to approach Jesus himself, so he sent the religious rulers. What did they tell Jesus? And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this: For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.

The religious leaders still did not get it, did they? The Centurion knew that He was too unworthy to approach Christ, but the religious leaders, not understanding who Christ was, proclaimed the centurion worthy because of his love for the nation and his building of a synagogue. Don't we tend to do the same thing? We see the those who spend their money in behalf of the church as being somehow more worthy than others.

In spite of their misunderstanding, Jesus went to the Centurion's house. When Jesus was not far from the Centurion's house, the Centurion saw Him and sent friends to Him, saying: Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof: Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.

How did Jesus respond? When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.

This Centurion had not seen Jesus; he had only heard of the miracles that he had done. We, too, have not seen Jesus, the God Man, performing these miracles, but we have heard of them through the recorded Word of God. We are called by God to have faith in this Christ who came to this earth to die on behalf of the sins of His people. Many read the Bible and do not understand or believe it; no one comes to Christ except by faith. In faith we read the Bible, and through that faith the Holy Spirit grants us understanding.

What do we learn from the centurion commended by Christ? Christ commends those who have faith in Him; as a matter of fact, this faith is more important that anything we do or say to advance the Kingdom of God. Only by faith do we fall down before Christ and, knowing our own unworthiness, cry out to Him for salvation. May God grant you this same faith!

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow!

God Bless You,
Linda

Sunday, November 04, 2007

A Memorial of Her

3And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.
4And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made?
5For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.
6And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me.
7For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.
8She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.
9Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.

Mark 14:6, King James Version

A Memorial of Her

I find it quite interesting that Jesus chose to memorialize this woman, Mary the sister of Martha. As a matter of fact, this particular occurrence is also recorded in Matthew 26:6-13 and John 12:1-7. What are we to learn about Mary anointing Jesus with spikenard (a fragrant oil from the root of a plant of the ginseng family)?

Never take lightly, in both your prayer life and in your daily living, the importance of praising and honoring God. Take some quiet time alone just meditating on God and on His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. Though it is a song we usually sing at Christmas, O Come All Ye Faithful is a song we should sing all year long. Look at the words of verse 3:

Sing, choirs of angels,
Sing in exultation,
Sing, all ye citizens of heav'n above;
Glory to God in the hightest.

O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

All the citizens of heaven adore Him, and so must we! In my own personal experience these times of adoration are often what draw me closest to Christ.

Though it was just another dinner to the people at the house of Simon the leper, God used Mary to anoint Jesus for His burial.

Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.

God Bless You,
Linda

Saturday, November 03, 2007

People Commended by Christ

22And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.
23But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
24But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
25Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
26But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.
27And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.
28Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

Matthew 15:22-29, King James Version

Who were the people commended by Christ? Were they religious leaders, rulers, wealthy, important people in their synagogue? Jesus Christ was an affront to the religious leaders of His day; they expected a king who would surely give the greatest honor to them for their devout religious practices.

In the passage shown above, we are told of a Samaritan woman who approached Jesus on behalf of her daughter who was demon possessed. Jesus seemingly ignored her; Jews were not to have anything to do with Samaritans. Because of her persistence, He finally said to her, I am only sent to the lost sheep of Israel; in her great adoration and faith in Him she knew that even the "crumbs cast to the dogs under the table" were enough. He alone could save her daughter.

Look at the conclusion in verse 28: Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

What do we need to do to be a part of the people commended by Christ? We need to cast ourselves totally upon His care; He alone can save us from eternal death. His commendation assures a place in eternity with Him forever.

Whose commendation do you desire? Pray that your life would be totally surrendered to the will of Christ.

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, November 02, 2007

Sons of Adam

1Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.
2My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass:
3Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God.
4He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
5They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children: they are a perverse and crooked generation.
6Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?
7Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.
8When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.


Deuteronomy 32:1-8, King James Version

Sons of Adam

Even from the time of Adam and Eve, the sin of man was evident when Cain killed his brother, Abel. God, however, separated a people for Himself through the line of Adam and Eve's son, Seth. Throughout history, God always maintained a people for Himself, first through Seth, then the Children of Israel, and then through all believers who became the Israel of God.

Never forget, that as a child of God you are not a child of the world; you have been separated unto God. How does God publish the name of the Lord? God accomplishes His proclamation in verses 1 to 4 through His children here on earth. He has given each one a purpose for accomplishing this task.

I do not know why God does not save everyone; I do not know why He chose, instead, to save a people for Himself. But, I do know that God is perfect and that everything He does is right! In verse 4 above we read, He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.



How, then, do you requite (repay) the Lord? Do you live in this world as the ungodly do? Are you like the children of Israel of whom God said in verse 6, Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?

When God separated the Sons of Adam, He established a boundary between His children and the children of this world. Pray, today, that by the grace of God you will live above the world and not in the world.

God Bless You,
Linda

Sorry for the Delay!

Sorry for the delay in devotions. I was having internet difficulties.



LC