Saturday, June 27, 2009

We See Light

7 How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
9 For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light do we see light.
Psalm 36:7-9, English Standard Version

We See Light

When I read verses such as those shown above from Psalm 36, I do not understand why everyone would not want to be a Christian. Look at what is available to the saints of God.

*God's precious, steadfast love.
*Refuge in the shadow of God's wings.
*Feasting on the abundance of God's house.
*Drinking from the river of God's delights.
*The fountain of life.
*We see light from God's light.

If these verses are true, which of course they are, why do we see so many Christians with sad faces and no purpose in their lives. What could possibly happen in their lives that would tear them away from God's light?

The Psalmist continues in verse 11 with these words.

Let not the foot of arrogance come upon me,
nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.

Here are probably the two most common reasons we Christians are walking in the shadows instead of the full light of God's light, and I am the most guilty of all: Pride and the hand of the wicked. How quickly we are filled with pride when we think of how Godly we are! And, how much we are influenced by the ungodly world in which we live.

Let us this day, look upon the Lord Jesus Christ and cry out to him for help, that in God's light we see light!

May His grace shine upon you.

God Bless You,

Friday, June 26, 2009

Light up My Eyes

1 How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?

3 Consider and answer me, O LORD my God;
Light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death.

5 But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
My heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the LORD,
Because he has dealt bountifully with me.
Psalm 13: 1, 3 & 5-6, English Standard Version

Light up My Eyes

Is it just me, or do others feel that they are too often stuck in verse 1 of this Psalm? It seems as though as soon as I seem to reach a pinnacle in my Christian life, feeling closer to God than ever, He suddenly seems to have forgotten me. I find myself saying, with the psalmist, How long will you hide your face from me? Light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death.

Thankfully, the Christian life is not one of just feelings. When God seems to be far away, we should do just what the psalmist did in verses 5 & 6. This is the time to read the Bible and meditate on all of the things God has done for his people, and for us particularly. Remember, God never moves, but we do!

As we meditate upon the Lord, we should think of his steadfast love for us, and we should rejoice in the salvation granted to us by the Lord Jesus Christ. Did we deserve that salvation? Can we keep ourselves saved by our own actions and efforts? No. We can neither save ourselves nor keep ourselves saved. Our salvation is all of Christ, from the beginning to the end.

Just as our salvation is all of Christ, so is our walk with him. Does that mean that we do not have to put forth any effort? Of course not, we must continually seek to live faithfully for the Lord in obedience to his commandments. However, we must understand that even that is impossible without the help of the Lord. Christ is our All!

So, I encourage you today. If it seems as though God has forgotten you, plead with Christ, as did the psalmist, Light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death. Then meditate upon his steadfast love to you, and rejoice in the salvation he has given to you.

I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

God Bless You,

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Light of His Face

5 Offer right sacrifices,
and put your trust in the LORD.

6 There are many who say, Who will show us some good?
Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD!"
7 You have put more joy in my heart
than they have when their grain and wine abound.
Psalm 4:5-7, English Standard Version

Light of His Face

What is it about our face that makes it reveal our emotions so easily? If I were an artist, perhaps I would understand it better.

Just look at a little child. One look at their face and you know whether they are happy, sad, angry, frustrated, excited, etc. We adults are better at concealing our emotions, but often our face still gives us away. Think of how pleasant it is when someone sees you, and suddenly their face just lights up.

It is even more puzzling to me to understand how we Christians can see the face of God looking down upon us, but I know we can. We can sense if God is displeased with us, but oh how wonderful it is when we see the Light of his face shining down upon us!

Read the Psalmist's words again, and apply them to your life today.

"Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD!" You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.

Spend some time just meditating on the blessings of the Lord, and all of the amazing things He has done for you beginning with your salvation. Think of his long suffering and patience with you and his forgiveness. Think of his control over the sun, moon, and stars as he keeps the stars and planets in their courses.

Yes, there are many who say, "Show us some good." But, as Christians, we know that we are surrounded by the goodness of God. We are filled with joy when we see the light of His face.

God Bless You,

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Light the Way

12 By a pillar of cloud you led them in the day, and by a pillar of fire in the night to light for them the way in which they should go. 13 You came down on Mount Sinai and spoke with them from heaven and gave them right rules and true laws, good statutes and commandments.
Nehemiah 9:12-13, English Standard Version

Light the Way

As we look at the word, "light", today you will note it is being used as a verb in Nehemiah 9 rather than a noun. As I was thinking about that, it impressed me that it is not just that Christ is our Light, but He also lights our way. Whether daytime or night, the light of God shines forth to show His children the way they should go.

How does He do this? Verse 13 tells us that God lights our way by giving us his rules, statutes, laws, and commandments.

What would you think of a person who was stumbling around in the dark, totally lost, refusing to turn on the flashlight they were holding in their hand? At best, it would be very foolish. Yet, that is exactly what Christians do when they do not immerse themselves in the Word of God. What a blessed generation we are! We have God's Word right before us, we have faithful churches and pastors who teach the Word of God, and we even have numerous Internet sites totally devoted to proclaiming the Word of God.

My son and I listen to the Bible most mornings before we start school. Yet, I do not know how many mornings I have decided to forgo Bible reading because we were short on time. That is to my shame. The truth is, the shorter we are on time, the more important it is to spend time together in the Word of God and let other things go.

I encourage you this day to let the Word of God light the way as you partake in the duties assigned to you by God this day.

The song, "You Light Up My Life," is probably one of the most beautiful love songs written, and yet how much more beautiful it is when we apply it to our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

God Bless You,

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Morning Light

1 Now these are the last words of David . . . . the anointed of the God of Jacob, the sweet psalmist of Israel:

2 "The Spirit of the LORD speaks by me; his word is on my tongue. 3 The God of Israel has spoken; the Rock of Israel has said to me: When one rules justly over men, ruling in the fear of God, 4 he dawns on them like the morning light, like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning, like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth.
2 Samuel 23:1-4, English Standard Version

The Morning Light

What a beautiful analogy David makes in his last recorded words in the Bible. Speaking of the king or ruler, he states that when one rules over people justly, and in the fear of God, his rule is like one that:

. . . dawns on them like the morning light, like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning, like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth.

I have, on a few occasions, traveled during the night. I remember how wonderful it felt when the first light of the morning broke through. We all know what it feels like when we have had a week of gloomy weather, and finally a day comes when the sun shines brilliantly in the sky. The last analogy of rain making grass to sprout reminds me of the years I lived in Cheyenne, Wyoming. In the summer, most days were filled with glorious sunshine. Then, in mid afternoon some clouds would gather and sprinkle some light refreshing rain on the lawns and gardens, and then disappear so that we could enjoy a beautiful sunset.

We can understand completely what David is saying; every single citizen is affected by the type of ruler he has. Even in countries like ours where our ruler is elected, the entire nation is affected by the good or bad decisions made by our president.

What a blessing it must have been to live under the rule of David. Yet, unrest still remained in the land. David still had enemies, even in his own household.

However, the day will come for the saints of God when we will experience a perfect kingdom. God, himself, will be on the throne with Christ, the lamb of God, sitting at his right hand. There will be no need for the sun, because God's light will light the kingdom. There will be no unrest, and God will have no enemies. What a glorious time!

So, now we are just experiencing the morning light, but in heaven the full light of never ending days will come.

God Bless You,

Monday, June 22, 2009

Let There Be Light!

3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
Genesis 1:3-5, English Standard Version

Let There Be Light!

As we continue our series of devotions on What is in a Word we will be considering the word, "light." On the very first day of creation God created light; the contrast between light and darkness was born. How important is light?

Only a blind person can truly understand the significance of light. Being cast into a world of darkness, they have had to learn to use their other senses to navigate in this world. This is still not a perfect example, however, because light still exists even though they cannot see it. And, they can still benefit from the warmth of sunshine and can get vitamin D from the sun just as others do.

Our entire world depends upon light from the sun. The sun gives us the perfect balance of heat and cold (along with the spinning of the earth, of course), and very few plants can survive without the sun's light.

How does the Bible use the word, "light?" Christ is the Light of the World; the Word of God is a light. Often light and darkness are used to contrast good and evil.

As you go about the duties of this day, enjoy the sunshine and think about the blessing of light which God gave to us on the first day of creation.

And God said, "Let there be light, and there was light."

God Bless You,

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Perfect Child

8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
1 Corinthians 13:8-12, English Standard Version

Perfect Child

Nestled away in this beautiful chapter about love, are some of the most precious verses for the Christian. Some days the inner struggle against sin in our own hearts makes us long for the days when we will become that perfect child. Until then we are trapped in bodies of sin, living more like children than adults.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.

Have you ever pondered how little we really know? We look around us and marvel at our knowledge. Look at the amazing things that man has accomplished, especially in the last hundred years! We have gone from the horse and buggy days to exploring space. Look at the changes in medical knowledge in that same period of time. Today we transplant livers, kidneys, and hearts!

Before we get too puffed up with pride, let us take a step back, and look at what God knows. He spoke and this world came into being; he cast the sun, moon and stars in their courses. He created this world with a perfect balance in nature, until sin marred God's beautiful creation. Yet, God still guides and protects this world.

When we realize just what a tiny bit of knowledge we really possess, we understand that we are still helpless children.

We must go to Christ this day, and pray for knowledge and wisdom to live as mature saints of God. Though we are trapped in childlike bodies, we know that the time is near when God will wrap us in His loving arms and make us his perfect child who will live with Him forever!

Now I know in part; then I shall know fully.

Amen, so let it be!

God Bless You,

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Only Child

37 On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. 38 And behold, a man from the crowd cried out, "Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. 39 And behold, a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly cries out. It convulses him so that he foams at the mouth, and shatters him, and will hardly leave him. 40 And I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not." 41 Jesus answered, "O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here." 42 While he was coming, the demon threw him to the ground and convulsed him. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. 43 And all were astonished at the majesty of God.
Luke 9:37-43, English Standard Version

Only Child

What a Savior we have! As I was reading through the verses shown above, I realized that, figuratively, we are all like that only child. Where were we before Christ saved us? Look around you. What do you see?

You see a busy life--people rushing here and there living their lives as though this is all there is.

Unless we are children of God, we have no real concept of the reality in which we live. Just like this only child, we are continually being seized by Satan's angels. Oh, we may not be foaming at the mouth, but, apart from Christ, our thoughts and actions are focused on ourselves and the world around us, with no concept of the bigger picture: the angels of Satan at war with the angels of God.

Is there no hope for us? Oh yes, there is hope to be found in Christ, alone. This story is a vivid picture of our salvation provided for us by Christ. Just as Jesus rebuked this spirit, so He cleans our hearts of the evil spirits lurking within and fills us with the Holy Spirit.

Does this mean we have arrived; we no longer have to fight the forces of Satan? Though the spirits of Satan can never indwell us again, they do continually fight and war against our soul. If they cannot own us, they will do everything within their power to discourage us and to make our testimony for Christ powerless.

Paul expressed this inner battle in this way in Romans 7.

22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.

24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

We must open our eyes and focus on Christ. Just as He delivered this only child from the evil spirit within, so He delivers us from the evil forces waging war all around us.

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

God Bless You,

Friday, June 19, 2009

With Child

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 1:18, English Standard Version

With Child

Sometimes the very familiarity of the Christmas story keeps us from gaining some of the depth found in the verses themselves. I would like to focus, today, on Mary, when she found herself to be with child by the Holy Spirit.

Joseph and Mary were engaged, but not yet married. They did not live together; Mary was still a virgin. That is almost unheard of in our day, so far has our culture removed itself from the Word of God.

When Joseph discovered her pregnancy, he planned to divorce her quietly. [When a couple was engaged in the time of Christ, they were already legally bound to one another, and could only be separated by death or a divorce.] However, an angel of God spoke to him, explaining that this child was conceived in her by the Holy Spirit.

What do you think Mary was thinking about through all of this? Being pregnant, in and of itself was an amazing thing, but to be pregnant by the Holy Spirit is something we cannot even imagine. The Bible had prophesied that a virgin would conceive, but do you think Mary had ever thought that she would be that virgin? Miraculous things always happen to someone else, not us, right?

During her time of pregnancy, Mary was probably scorned by those around her. Do you think they really believed her and Joseph's story that she had conceived by the Holy Spirit? Only Joseph and her cousin, Elizabeth, understood the truth.

We are given a few glimpses in other passages of Mary's responses to her child. Luke 2 records the visit of Mary and Joseph to the temple when Christ was a few days old. In the temple they met Simeon who took baby Jesus in his arms and blessed God, saying,

"Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel."
Luke 2:29-32, ESV

How did Mary respond? We are told, And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him.

I cannot begin to understand the things that Mary was thinking when she found out that she was with child, and then throughout Jesus' life until his death upon the cross. What a woman, who was truly chosen and blessed by God for such a special task.

Though I cannot understand Mary's thoughts, I do pray that all women, when they find out that they are with child, will understand the gravity of raising their child. The most important thing to consider, as a Christian woman, is raising this child for the glory of the Lord. God has given us our children for a time, but they are to serve Him alone for their entire life.

Never stop praying for the grace of God to give you the wisdom and strength to complete such an enormous task.

To God, alone, be the Glory!

God Bless You,

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Darling Child

Is Ephraim my dear son?
Is he my darling child?
For as often as I speak against him,
I do remember him still.
Therefore my heart yearns for him;
I will surely have mercy on him
declares the LORD.
Jeremiah 31:20, English Standard Version

Darling Child

I was speaking to a friend recently who is Dutch. He named one of his children Saintja, (I think that is how it is spelled) which has been in his family for a long time. Ending a girl's name with "ja" means, "my darling daughter." What a reminder to his daughter throughout her entire life that she is her mother and her father's darling daughter.

Jeremiah reminds us in chapter 31 that Ephraim is God's darling child. When Ephraim went astray, God's heart yearned for Him, declaring, "I will surely have mercy on him."

Where would we be today if God had not had mercy on us? Do we deserve Christ? Did God see something within us, so therefore He granted us salvation? It does not take long reading the letters of Paul in the New Testament to realize that is not true. He even called himself the chief of all sinners!

As Christians we need to remember that salvation is all of Christ and none of us; before knowing Christ we were dead. No matter how good or righteous we may seem in the eyes of the world, only Christ can make us so!

Yet, when Christ comes into our hearts, we are His darling child; surely, He has had mercy on us. Being a Christian should never fill us with pride or arrogance. When we look upon unbelievers, we must always remember that, but for the grace of God, there go I.

We can, however, revel in Christ, realizing that we are nothing apart from Him. Truly, Christ is All! There is no other reason for us here on this earth but to honor and glorify Him in all we do.

God Bless You,

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Nursing Child

15 "Can a woman forget her nursing child,
that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget,
yet I will not forget you.
16 Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands."
Isaiah 49:15-16a, English Standard Version

Nursing Child

I have had the privilege to nurse some of my children. I cannot understand how a woman could forget her nursing child. Even if you get away for a little while you base your schedule upon the next nursing time.

Actually, one does not have to nurse to understand the bond between a mother and her baby. She will do everything in her power to care for her child.

Until you have children of your own, you never quite understand this bond that remains throughout life.

Yet, the woman can forget her child? Other pressures and responsibilities can press upon her until she forgets even her children!

God tells us that even though you may forget your child, God will never forget you!

"I will not forget you. Behold I have engraved you on the palms of my hands."

This is the God we serve! We may forget Him, but as His children, He will never forget us. We are engraved on His hands. (I don't think this just means a tattoo!)

I encourage you, today, to go to God; pray that He will restore to you the joy of being a Christian. Just spend some time with Him; meditate upon His Word and His promises, and delight in Him!

God Bless You,

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Child is Born

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6, English Standard Version

A Child is Born

No more beautiful words have been spoken! Isaiah expresses joy for the people due to the birth of this Child, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Read some of the acclamations Isaiah made in Isaiah 9.

2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.
3 You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy.

Then, read again the verse shown above.

The government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

How is this made possible? Isaiah 9:7b tells us: The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

Through the Bible, we have seen a great light and our joy has increased. As a matter of fact, I do not believe a person understands the meaning of true joy apart from Christ.

Examine your life today. What do you see? No matter what your day brings, pray that God will help you to understand and acknowledge that Christ is All. Your life is but a vapor that is just dust and straw, except for the things you have done for Christ.

As we see unrest in the Mideast, and financial woes around the world, let us not be consumed with worry. Christ is our Mighty God, our Everlasting Father, and our Prince of Peace. We cannot help but feel that the end of time is very near--even at the gate. Let us, instead, be filled with peace and zeal for the Lord, and let our prayer to Him be, "Lord, what can I do for you this day?"

A Child is Born!

Now we are able to say, "A Child was born, and is now seated at the right hand of God the Father, making intercession for His people." How amazing is that?

As Christ's coming fulfilled many Old Testament prophecies, let us understand that all of the prophecies concerning the end times will be fulfilled as well, exactly as prophesied.

Even so come quickly, Lord Jesus!

God Bless You,

Monday, June 15, 2009

Even a Child

Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.
Proverbs 20:11, English Standard Version

Even a Child

We live in a country where children are protected by the courts, which is good as long as the courts do not impinge upon the freedom of parents to train their children according to God's Word. But, does this protection mean that our children are not responsible for their lives before the Lord until they reach adulthood?

This is a difficult concept for me; I have children who loved the Lord as young children, but who have left the faith as young teenagers. At least, their words and actions are definitely not those of a Godly person.

As parents, we must take our responsibilities very seriously to train up our children in the way they should go. That is increasingly harder in the culture we live in today. Do not rely on your church or Christian school to be the only means of training your child in the faith. The real task has been given to parents, realizing that your children are affected by the life they see every single day. Let us pray that our lives will be a consistent testimony before them.

If your situation is similar to mine, you know the griefs I face. I am, however, encouraged by the Word of God which says, Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. I also believe that God allows this to happen so that we would understand that salvation is a gift from God, not something we can implant within our children. Before we become discouraged, we must realize the power of prayer; our God is able to save--even to the uttermost.

What a wondrous God we have!

God Bless You,

Sunday, June 14, 2009

But a Child

5 At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, "Ask what I shall give you." 6 And Solomon said, "You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you. And you have kept for him this great and steadfast love and have given him a son to sit on his throne this day. 7 And now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. 8 And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. 9 Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?"
1 Kings 3:5-9, English Standard Version

But a Child

And now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child.

Have you ever sat down after watching the news and said, "What is wrong with this world?" Of course we know that the world is filled with sin, but I think our Bible passage today gives us some added insight as to the source of our troubles.

Let me ask this, "What kind of leaders do we elect?" Now I do not want to get into a political debate here--I am talking across the board, no matter what party or group they represent. What kind of leaders do we elect?

We know that Solomon was the greatest (and richest king) who ever lived. His gardens are considered one of the seven wonders of the world. What was this man like? Was he pompous and proud of his greatness? Did he think he deserved to be the king to follow after David, his father, who was a great king in his own right?

No! When approached by God and offered anything he desired, how did he respond? I am but a child. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?"

Should we, the people of God, even dare to live our lives, govern the areas of responsibility we have been given, or serve those we are responsible to serve without making the same plea to God?
Solomon's successful rule was given to him by God, as long as he faithfully served God knowing that he was but a child.

Dear Christian, that is us today? We are but a child facing the life God has given to us to live. I watched a video my son had made of my almost 3 year old grandchild playing with a train set. She did not speak except to mimic her father's words. In the end, he said, "Say goodbye, everyone," and she responded, "Goodbye, everyone."

Let us pray that we would only speak words that mimic only those God would say. Do you think that would make a difference in our world today? It is something to think about, is it not?

God Bless You,

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sleeping Child

1 Now a man from the house of Levi went and took as his wife a Levite woman. 2 The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him three months. 3 When she could hide him no longer, she took for him a basket made of bulrushes and daubed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and placed it among the reeds by the river bank.
Exodus 2:1-3, English Standard Version

Sleeping Child

The verses above are part of a very familiar Bible story, the story of Moses. As we consider these verses, I would like to look at this from a different perspective. Let us consider Exodus 2 from the perspective of Baby Moses.

Baby Moses was in danger! All boy babies were to be thrown into the river and drowned, yet, what mother could allow such a thing? At three months of age, he was a beautiful child, with so much promise for his future. Desperate to try anything, Moses' mother made a sea-worthy basket to protect Moses from the river water, and placed the basket in the river near the house of Pharaoh's daughter.

Let us back up for just a moment and think about Moses. How did he feel about being placed in a basket-boat in the river? How did he feel about the dangerous position he was in? Was he concerned that the Egyptian soldiers would discover him and kill him on the spot?

Of course not. Moses had no such concerns; his only concerns were comfort and food. The basket provided all the comfort he desired, and I am sure the gentle waves lulled him to sleep. Had the princess not discovered him, he probably would have slept longer. But, when the sleeping child was awakened, he realized he was hungry, and began to cry.

What a picture! Who does Baby Moses represent? He represents the Christian. Here we are in a world filled with danger; our enemy is in constant pursuit desiring to destroy our very souls. But wait; why are we not sleeping as was this baby? Why are we so filled with worry and stress that sleep is often the last thing on our minds?

As we look upon this sleeping child, we need to realize that that should be us! God has placed us in the comfort of a warm and snugly, waterproof basket, totally protected from the world around us. And, when we awake hungry, He has already provided for our food. It is our own lack of faith which keeps us from realizing this daily comfort provided to us by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us take some time today and think about this sleeping child. We must pray that God would take away the worry, stress, guilt, and other emotions that smother us and keep us from a close walk with the Lord. We must pray that God will grant us the sweet peace and comfort of a sleeping child, as we trust in His Almighty love and protection.

God Bless You,

Friday, June 12, 2009

Shall a Child?

15 And God said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her." 17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, "Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?"
Genesis 17:15-17, English Standard Version

Shall a Child?

I know that I have written devotions on this Bible passage before, but today I would like to look at it from a different perspective. Often, in the Word of God, we read accounts of miraculous events surrounding a child, or the birth of a child. Such is the case in Genesis 17. As we look at the significance of this miraculous birth, we should also ask the question, what is the significance in the Bible of the word "child?"

"Child" in the Bible represents future generations. We used to pay more attention, years ago, to carrying on the family name. In my family, my father's only brother was killed in War War II. Because he had no children, it was left to my father to carry on the family name. God blessed my father with two sons, and seven grandsons who would carry his name to future generations.
With the modern trend of choosing either the bride or groom's name, or even a completely different name, the significance of the family name does not hold the same impact.

In the case of Abraham, this is not just a case of carrying on Abraham's name, rather it is a case of carrying on the name of God through the children of Abraham. Just as we look forward to a future child born of the seed of Abraham in a miraculous way, so we see that the son of Abraham was born in a physically impossible situation. Sarah was past the years of being able to bear children; no wonder we see Abraham laughing at the mere suggestion of such absurdity.

Shall a child be born to Abraham and Sarah? Shall a child be born to the virgin, Mary? Shall spiritual children be born through our efforts as parents while here on earth. Do not be caught up, as I was, into thinking that by using the right formula for raising my children, they would automatically follow Christ as they became adults. Even the gift of salvation to our children is a miraculous birth given from the Lord.

Pray for your children, and pray that you will have the grace to never give up on them, though they may choose the wrong path. Our birth in Christ is miraculous, and it is a gift. Both give us reasons to never cease praying for our children, that God would grant to them the miraculous gift of salvation.

God Bless You,

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Like a Child!

15 Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it."
Luke 18:15-17, English Standard Version

Like a Child!

As we continue our series, "What is in a Word," I thought we would look at the word "child." Luke 18 shows us the importance of children when it says, "Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it."

Is it so hard for us to remember what it was like being a child? My grandmother used to tell me that the older she got, the more she remembered details about her childhood. As I grow older, I do not know if I remember more, but I have noticed that I think about it a lot more.

I was surprised one day when I realized that though I am into the beginning of my senior years, I am still the very same person I was as a child. I have some of the same insecurities, likes, and dislikes even though I am decades older. Granted, along with the years comes the maturity and understanding so that those same insecurities do not overwhelm me as they did then.

Today, I would like you to think back to your childhood. Why is Jesus telling the disciples that they must come to Him like a child? I certainly do not have all the answers, but here are a few things that I thought about.

When the children came to Christ, they did not care how good looking, rich, or famous He was. They were attracted to His openness and friendliness to them. They knew that, in spite of their age, they were immediately accepted by Him.

They also felt secure in His presence. Do you think they worried about food or clothing when He was with them? No, they were more interested in what He was telling them. Perhaps He told them stories, but whatever He said, it was in words they could easily comprehend.

When Jesus spoke to the children, they did not doubt His words. They simply believed that what He said was true. They did not dispute among themselves how these things could be so, and they certainly did not segment themselves into groups according to their understanding of His teachings.

Well, those are just a few ideas. I know you can come up with many more.

Let us go to Christ this day like a child, and may our lives honor and glorify His Holy name.

Amen, so let it be!

God Bless You,

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bread for Food

10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.
2 Corinthians 9:10-11, English Standard Version

Bread for Food

I thought this was a very appropriate text to end our series of devotions on the word "bread." In some ways it seems to summarize what so many of the verses we have read have been saying. God provides bread for food. This verse is using the deeper sense of the word, meaning spiritual bread. Do we have what it takes in our own being to faithfully live for the Lord or to spread His Gospel to all the world? No!

As in all things, we are helpless apart from the Lord Jesus Christ. We are dependent upon God for everything! Why is that so hard for us to realize? Unfortunately, it often takes catastrophes for us to realize who we really are, and how helpless we are apart from God.

If God blesses us with a rich ministry for Him, is cause for us to be filled with pride and self-glory? Absolutely not! It is God who supplies seed for the sower and bread for food. It is He who will multiply our seed for sowing and increase the harvest of our righteousness.

Do you remember what the disciples asked Jesus? "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" We tend to look at great evangelists, missionaries, and pastors, and say, "Surely, they must be the greatest in God's kingdom." But is that true! Jesus pointed to the poor widow who gave the last coin she had to the Lord, and said that she had given the most because she gave all that she had.

As we face this day, let us ask the Lord for seed to make bread for food, that we may sow righteousness for the kingdom of God, for His glory and might alone.

What an amazing God we have!

God Bless You,

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Bread of Sincerity and Truth

6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
1 Corinthians 5:6-8

Bread of Sincerity and Truth

Before we think of the passage above, what is the significance of unleavened bread? Leavening for bread is used throughout the Bible as a representation of sin. As leaven is put in the flour, it grows and spreads throughout all of the dough, causing it to rise (or grow). Such is a little sin within our hearts, or within a church!

That is exactly what Paul is addressing in this passage to the Corinthian church. As Christians we need to be constantly examining our own lives to see if sin is taking root and growing. No Christian is too strong for this to happen. As a matter of fact, the closer we come to God, the more Satan will attack us. What a blessing when we reach the kingdom of heaven and no longer have to face the constant warring of our own sin within our lives!

The church of Corinth was not dealing with a man who had relations with his father's wife. What must Christ think of our churches today? What church is not polluted with the sins which have become so commonplace in our day that they are accepted, even in the church. Yes, the church is for sinners, but let us pray rather than criticize those caught up in such sins. Remember, except for the grace of God, that could be us.

God demands sincerity and truth, as well as obedience to His Holy Word. Pray, this day, that God would fill your life and the lives of those around you with the bread of sincerity and true found only in Christ, our Lord.

Amen, so let it be!

God Bless You,

Monday, June 08, 2009

Bread of Life

35 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."
John 6:35-40, English Standard Version

Bread of Life

What is life? We tend to think of our life on this earth as life. While that is true, we must realize that our existence on this earth is but a vapor compared to the eternity to come where we will either be cast into hell forever, or brought in the kingdom of God to live forever. Considering this, what should be the most important "life" for us to consider?

We know that the forces of Satan and the angels of God are in a constant warfare all around us, and that we are affected by that warfare. Yet, as Christians, we tend to live as the world does, totally ignoring this battle. But, consider, why are we here? Are we here to have a good life, make a name for ourselves, become prosperous, etc.? There is nothing wrong with these things, however, our focus always needs to be on Christ.

Do we spend all of our time laboring for that which will pass away, or do we feast upon Christ, the bread of life, who will never let us hunger or thirst again? Jesus said, I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. There, dear Christian, is the reason you are here! You are here, not to do your own will, but to do the will of God!

So, this day, look to Christ, the bread of life. May your focus this day and every day to come be upon Christ, and your service to Him!

God Bless You,

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Bread of God

27 "Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him, God the Father has set his seal." 28 Then they said to him, "What must we do, to be doing the works of God?" 29 Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent." 30 So they said to him, "Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? 31 Our Fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat. '" 32 Jesus then said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." 34 They said to him, "Sir, give us this bread always."
John 6:27-34, New English Standard Version

Bread of God

How confusing this must have been for the people living in the days when Christ walked upon this earth. This man named Jesus, was speaking strange things they had never heard. And, He was equating himself with God--but He did not look like a God. He just looked like one of them.

These verses begin with the command of Christ, "Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life." I love their response! "What must we do to be doing the works of God?"

Then, here it comes: "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent." Here is where it always begins, is it not? Unless we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (the bread of God), we have no Christianity and no true relationship with God! It was true then, and it is true now!

The manna, the bread of God which was sent to sustain the Israelites in the wilderness, was a picture of the true bread of God which would sustain all believers for all eternity. "For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."

Do not be deceived, there is no other way to come to God, except through the blood of Christ shed on the cross in payment for the sins of his people!

Oh, Bread of God,
My joy, my life.
Oh save me from this world of strife!

Oh, Bread of God,
My Shepherd King,
To Thee all praises do I bring.

In you I trust forever more,
And for your grace I do implore.

Oh, Bread of God,
In You I trust,
For you alone are wise and just!

God Bless You,

PS The poetry is mine, humble though it be.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Give Us Bread!

Give us this day our daily bread.
Matthew 6:11

7 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him?
Matthew 11:7-11
(Both Bible references are from the English Standard Version.)

Give Us Bread!

I had an interesting thought as I read through the verses shown above. How many of us really believe it? Do we really believe that our bread comes from God, and that if we just ask him for bread, he will give it to us? Now, think about that for a moment.

Yes, these verses are absolutely true! But, often, we Christians just give lip service to verses such as these. We know that it is our hard work that brings bread home for the family, right? Maybe we all have had a greater tendency to think along these lines as we see such an unstable world economy.

Let us first look at this issue: your hard work brings you bread. Who created you with the abilities you have? Who has given you good health so that you may continue to work? Who has kept your employer stable so that you do not have to worry about job security? You see, in reality, Christ controls all of the aspects surrounding your very lives (including weather); we only seem to realize that when things are taken away!

What if you are a Christian, and these things are taken away from you? How is God providing for you then? I do believe that, in the years to come, those of us who are acquainted with unbelievable prosperity (I am even talking about the low income people of America), God will show us the true difference between wants and needs. And, He will endow us with a better understanding of the command to go to Christ for our needs.

So, as you go about the duties of this day, do not forget to call out to God, "Give us bread."

God Bless You,

Friday, June 05, 2009

Bread of Temptation

1 Then Jesus was lifted up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." 4 But he answered, "It is written,
'Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"
Matthew 4:1-4, English Standard Version

Bread of Temptation

Temptation! How old do your children have to be before they are faced with temptation? Even before they are a year old, you find yourself constantly trying to teach them the word, "no." Did you realize that when Christ left His throne in heaven to come to this sinful world, He, too, had to endure temptation?

After having gone forty days and forty nights without bread, the devil grabbed this opportunity to tempt the Lord to make bread from stones. Could Jesus have done this? Why would that have been a sin? The sin would not have been in the making of the stones into bread, but of following the temptations of the devil, rather than the commands of God.

Christ was on this earth for one reason, and everything He did and said was focused on that goal alone. He was not about to be thwarted from that goal by Satan's temptations. Where does that leave us?

We are constantly being bombarded by temptations from the world, our own flesh, and the devil. Yet, like Christ, we Christians are to be focused only upon the goal Christ has for us in this life. Everything we do and say should be to that end!

That sounds impossible, does it not? Actually, it is! Not one of us can face the temptations of the devil successfully apart from the power of the Lord. If you are a person who follows the Word of the Lord, and seems to thrive in your Christianity, fall down on your knees and thank God for the grace He has given to you to keep you from sin! Unfortunately, most of us find ourselves constantly struggling with temptations.

Go to Christ; He understands. He, too, faced the bread of temptation, and He won!

God Bless You,

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Famine of Bread

11 "Behold the days are coming," declares the Lord GOD,
"when I will send a famine on the land--
not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water,
but of hearing the words of the LORD.
12 They shall wander from sea to sea,
and from north to east;
they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the LORD,
but they shall not find it."
Amos 8:11-12, English Standard Version

Famine of Bread

My mother often told me of a time during the depression when her family ran out of food. Each day they ate less and less to try to preserve the little they had left. Finally, my mother told her friend on the way home from school that she would not be able to go to school anymore because she was too weak to walk that distance. Her friend was horrified, and ran home to tell her mother that the Miles' family was out of food. Her mother, who had a car, drove to my mother's house and took Grandmother to the government commodity distribution center, so Grandmother could get bread and cheese for her family.

In our prolific days of money and material things, we can hardly imagine such a thing. But, did you know that there is something even worse than a famine of bread? The Lord tells Amos, in verse 11, shown above, that He is about to send a famine of "hearing the words of the LORD."

The Word of God has permeated throughout the world, but there still are places where people have not heard the Word of God. That, however, is not the famine spoken of here. A famine of hearing the words of the LORD, is brought about by the people, themselves! When the people of the land refuse to hear and obey the Word of God, God sends them exactly what they are asking for. God sends them pastors and shepherds who no longer fear God, and no longer teach the Word of God.

Does that sound familiar? We may not have a famine of bread in the United States, but we certainly do see a growing trend of those who refuse to believe or follow God's Words, but rather become a law unto themselves. You can see how much it has ingrained itself into our culture when you see laws passed which give a license to do things forbidden by God.

Be careful dear Christian, lest you find yourself caught up in a trend which will force you to become an enemy of God! These are sobering words, but we must not be naive. God is not mocked; His Word stands pure and holy. He demands His people to seek a holy life before Him.

Go to Christ today, and cry out for Him to conform you to His Word, alone.

God Bless You,

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Bakes Bread

14 . . . He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. 15 Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. 16 Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, "Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!" 17 And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, "Deliver me, for you are my god!"
Isaiah 44:14b-17, English Standard Version

Bakes Bread

I am always amazed by this passage of Scripture. It is laid out in such a manner, that we are able to see the utter absurdity of it. But, is it not a true picture of man, even in our day? We are a proud people; we make our own way in life, and then worship the gods of our own choosing.

Look at the picture created. Man plants a cedar tree, and watches the rain nourish it so that is grows big and strong. He cuts the tree down, uses part of it to build a fire to warm himself, he uses part of it and bakes bread on the fire, and he takes the rest and carves it into an idol. Then, he bows down before the idol and exclaims, "Deliver me, for you are my god!"

But wait a minute, do not we often do the same thing! What things do we worship in our modern day? Here are just a few to consider: money, fame, and power. It always amazes me that because a man or woman is an actor or actress, they suddenly become an expert in whatever theme the movie represents. Also, who do we look to for advice? Those who are wealthy. But does their wealth suddenly make them an expert in all aspects of life?

Who or what do you worship? You may say, "God." The question we Christians must continually ask ourselves is, "Do we really worship God, alone?" Do we rely upon him alone as our Leader and Guide? Or, do we fall into the sins of the world, going after those who are rich, or famous, or powerful.

Jesus Christ is the only "Hero" we should follow. Our God is omnipotent! No man or creation, including Satan himself, can even begin to approach the power of God.

Take some time today to analyze your life. Are you like the man who bakes bread in the fire made by the wood of the tree, and then carves an idol to worship from the remaining wood?

Go to Christ; He, alone, is worthy of your worship!

God Bless You,

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Bread of Adversity

18 Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you,
and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the LORD is a God of justice;
blessed are all those who wait for him.

19 For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. 20 And though the LORD give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. 21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.
Isaiah 30:18-21, English Standard Version

Bread of Adversity

The end is near! A day is coming when the bread of adversity and the water of affliction will be no more.

This has been a rather difficult year for my family; it seems as though we have been hit with one "storm" after another. I know the comforting words, "God never sends more than we can bear," and yet I must admit, I did not know that I could bear this much!

In the end, however, I must say that it is true. I am re-learning many truths that have been tucked far away in my memory, the most obvious being, the Lord does not run his train on my track!

I had everything planned! I knew my schedule, and was content just to follow it every day. Now, however, my life runs on the triage effect; I do the most critical thing, and let the other "necessary" duties go. It has been an interesting experience, because a lot of pressure has been relieved!

You see, in all of this, my Teacher has not hid himself from me. Instead, He has faithfully said, "This is the way; walk in it." Do you realize how amazing that is? Even though we may have the best of intentions, it is important for us to understand that God's purposes are not always our purposes, and that His ways are not always our ways!

So, though God may be sending you the bread of adversity; pray for the strength to go forward. As you beseech the Lord, He will say to you, too, "This is the way; walk in it." In the end, that is all that matters!

God Bless You,

Monday, June 01, 2009

Bread for the Hungry

21 If your enemy is hungry give him bread to eat,
and if he is thirsty give him water to drink,
22 for you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the LORD will reward you.
Proverbs 25:21-22, English Standard Version

Bread for the Hungry

Who ever heard of such a thing? Feed you enemy, and give him water to drink? No wonder people just do not understand the Christian! The set of values which we follow runs totally contrary to anything they know.

But, first, let me back up a little. Do we follow this set of values? God calls us to a life which is totally unnatural to us. For years we have fought the enemy, and now we finally have him! He is about to die of hunger and thirst. What does God command us? Feed him bread and give him water to drink! You have got to be kidding!

The Christian life is an impossible life for us to live! But, with God all things are possible. Is our purpose here in this life just to win against our enemies? No! Our purpose is to show Christ to an unbelieving world through our words and actions. Remember, we were all enemies of Christ until that great day He brought salvation to us.

Look around you today. What do you see? You do not have to look far to realize that our world is reeling in sin and misery. Pray today that God would help you fulfill His great commission by providing bread for the hungry and water for the thirsty.

How we look forward to that great day when man will neither hunger or thirst any more.

God Bless You,