Friday, July 31, 2009
He [Abraham] said to the chief servant in his household, the one in charge of all that he had, "Put your hand under my thigh. I want you to swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living, but will go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac."
Genesis 24:2-4, New International Version
As we continue these devotions on the word, "servant," it is my hope that we will better understand our relationship as servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. I thought about that as I was reading from Genesis 24. Abraham asked his chief servant to go to the country of his relatives and choose a wife for Isaac. What a great responsibility was thrust upon this servant, and yet he did not hesitate to obey.
As we ponder this passage we need to ask the question, "How close am I to the Lord?. How willing am I today obey, without question, His commands?" I do not know about you, but I must admit that I would have been more likely to question the commandment of Abraham rather than to submit without question.
Yet, Abraham trusted that his chief servant would do exactly as he commanded, for his servant swore before God that he would be obedient. Not only was the servant obedient, but he was diligent in his mission. He prayed that God would lead him to the woman of God's own choosing. As we read further in Genesis 24, we find that God answered the chief servant's prayer by leading him to Rebekah.
How did this mission of the chief servant end? In Genesis 24:67 we are told, Isaac brought her [Rebekah] into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.
We Christians are servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our chief duty here on earth is to walk in obedience to Christ and diligently perform the mission He has for each of us. How do we compare to the chief servant, who left everything and immediately obeyed Abraham's command?
Let us pray that we would diligently seek to be obedient to the Lord Jesus Christ in His command that we be salt to the earth, proclaiming His truth by our words and actions to all those with whom we interact this day.
God Bless You,
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision:
"Do not be afraid, Abram.
I am your shield,
your very great reward."
But Abram said, "O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezar of Damascus?" And Abram said, "You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir."
Genesis 15:1-3, NIV
Christ emphasized in his ministry here on earth, that we are to have the heart of a servant. As a matter of fact, as Christians, we are servants of God. I thought, then, that it would be good to look at the various ways the word, "servant" is used in the Bible. In our time, especially in the United States, we no longer have servants. I suppose, being an employee is somewhat the same. However, often the servants in the Bible were slaves, so it is rather surprising that Abram would leave his entire estate to his servant.
We know that he had relatives; Lot lived not too far away. One would think that his estate would have gone to his closest relative. Instead, if Abram was left childless, his estate would go to Eliezar of Damascus. Is that what God had in mind?
No. We know that God would bring about the miraculous birth of Isaac, and Abram (later called Abraham) would give his entire estate to his son, Isaac.
Backing up a bit, though, let us think about the status of Eliezar. How does his status toward Abraham compare to our status toward God? We, too, are servants of the most High God. We need to remember that everything good we say or do is because of the Lord Jesus Christ. Left to ourselves, we would be just as wicked and depraved as the unsaved around us. But, like Eliezar we are the inheritors of the greatest estate ever.
Eliezar did not, in the end, receive the estate because Isaac was born. But, Christians will receive a crown of righteousness and a place in the eternal kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. Oh, what an inheritance we have!
Think about that as you go about the duties of this day. Rejoice in your inheritance to come! What a blessing to be a servant of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
God Bless You,
Saturday, July 25, 2009
And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day--and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.
Revelation 21:22-27, English Standard Version
God Gives It Light
What a fitting way to end our series of devotionals on the word, "light." Do you remember those fairy tales we read as children that always ended, "And they lived happily ever after."? We knew, of course, that was only true because it was a fairy tale. No one, in this life, ever lives happily ever after. There are too many unseen troubles that lie ahead. However, for the Christian, there is a "happily ever after." When time ceases to be at the return of Christ and the nations and peoples are judged, those who are children of God will be ushered into the kingdom that has been prepared for them.
John gives us a beautiful description of heaven in Revelation 21. It is good for us to go to these verses and reflect upon them. In our day of great wickedness and corruption, it is soothing to know that all of this shall end. Look at the things John tells us about heaven.
*The Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb is the temple.
*The city has no need for sun or moon, for the glory of God gives it light.
*By its light the nations walk, and the kings of earth will bring their glory into it.
*Its gates will never be shut.
*There will be no night there.
*Nothing unclean, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false will enter it.
*Its citizens will be only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.
When I was a child, I thought heaven would be quite boring because we would do nothing but worship God. As an adult I know how silly that thought was. There is no greater glory than time spent worshiping the Lord. But, I do believe we will also be busy on the new earth. We know that there will be nations on the earth, and kings of those nations. God will have created a new earth totally unmarked by sin for our dwelling. And, we will have access to the temple in the new city of Jerusalem, for its gates will never be closed.
Spend some time pondering these things today. Sometimes, while in the middle of our life here on earth, we forget the amazing things yet to come.
Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus.
God Bless You,
Friday, July 24, 2009
Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. There fore it says,
"Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you."
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:7b-16, English Standard Version
Children of Light
It is not uncommon for us to struggle with our purpose in life.
"I am a Christian, so what do I do with my life? If I am more spiritual, obviously I would go into some full time Christian ministry. Right?"
I find it interesting that nowhere in the Old or New Testament will you find such an acclamation. As a matter of fact, you find just the opposite. Paul never asserts himself above others, but instead calls himself the least of all.
Ephesians 5, in the verses shown above, gives us a charge that all Christians must take seriously, no matter what their circumstances.
Walk as children of light . . . look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
No matter where we live, and no matter what we do, we must walk as children of light. If all Christians were pastors or missionaries, where would the Christian doctors, lawyers, teachers, and moms at home be? Look to the abilities that God has given you, and look at your present circumstances. God is already leading you through those abilities and circumstances in the way He would have you go!
So, I urge you this day, Walk as children of light . . . making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
God Bless You,
Thursday, July 23, 2009
12 And what I do I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
2 Corinthians 11:12-15, English Standard Version
Angel of Light
One of the great aspects of the ministry of Paul was that he was just so down to earth. He was not afraid to step on toes, and did not draw back from comments that might be offensive to some. He was constantly warning Christians to avoid dangerous pitfalls. In 2 Corinthians he is addressing those who boasted of their ministry in Christ, and yet had no heart for the Lord.
Paul knew how easy it was for Christians to be misled by those who looked and acted like Christians, but who were actually wolves in sheep's clothing, trying to destroy the flock of God.
And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.
We would do well to pay particular attention to these warnings of Paul. In our culture today, it is often hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys.
In my youth, we used to attend Saturday matinees for a dime at our local theater. One had no problem telling who were the good guys and who were the bad in the westerns we watched, because the good guys always wore white hats, and the bad guys always wore the black hats. In the 1950's things were much more "black and white". But in our day of political correctness, how do you tell who is good and who is not?
We, as Christians, must not be naive. Satan transforms himself into an angel of light, so that even the very saints of God would be deceived if Christ did not intercede on their behalf. Often, those who are the most evil, act in a manner which would cause you to trust your very life and the lives of your family members with them.
How can we avoid being deceived? The answer is quite simple. Spend time in the Word of God and in prayer. Fellowship with God, study His Word, and pray that He will cause you to grow in the Lord. Remember, this is our whole duty!
God Bless You,
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
6 Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. 7 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, "Get up quickly." And the chains fell off his hands. 8 And the angel said to him, "Dress yourself and put on your sandals." And he did so, And he said to him, "Wrap your cloak around you and follow me." 9 And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. 11 When Peter came to himself, he said, "Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting."
Acts 12:6-11, English Standard Version
A Light Shone
As in our last devotional from Acts 9, our passage today speaks of a light, which shone from heaven. In this case, Peter had been thrown into prison, and on the night before he was to stand before his accusers, God sent an angel to rescue him.
And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him.
I have always loved Peter because I can identify with him. As the angel came, released his chains, and led him out into the city, Peter thought he was just having a vision. It was just too hard to believe that this was actually happening. Finally, when the angel left him alone in the streets of the city, he realized that this was not a vision, but he was, indeed, walking on a city street.
Truth is very much like that great shining light. Our ethics have become so mingled with the world that it is often hard to determine right from wrong. However, when the light of God's Word shines upon us, the fog lifts and we are able to discern right from wrong.
One of the reasons for such confusion in our world is the mass exodus away from the teaching of the Bible. In his frenzy to live in liberty, and not be bound by the Word of God, man has created a new system of situational ethics. What is right for you may not be right for me. Or, what is right in this circumstance may be wrong in another.Let us remember Peter and realize that just as a light shone upon him, so will God's light of truth shine upon us and keep us walking close to the Lord.
God Bless You,
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
1 But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" 5 And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do."
Acts 9:1-6, English Standard Version
Light from Heaven
Christ had gone to heaven, and the new church was in a turmoil. Well meaning Jews, such as Saul were persecuting the new Christians, but, though Christ was gone, His light still shone upon his children. In Acts 9, we have a rather spectacular event. Saul, who was on his way to Damascus to capture believers in the Way, fell to the ground when a great light from heaven shone upon him, and he heard the voice of God.
God had chosen this man, who was feared by all the believers, to shine his light from heaven to Jews and Gentiles alike. Through Saul, whose name was changed to Paul, we have much of the New Testament. God not only used Paul to bring many to Christ during his lifetime, but He is also continuing to use Paul through the many letters in the New Testament that Paul had written to the new churches springing up throughout Asia.
Understandably, the believers were rather reluctant to follow Paul. Was this just a new trick of his to capture more Christians and bring them to Jerusalem to suffer persecution? Knowing their doubts, God spoke to Ananias in a vision, telling him to go to the house where Paul, now blinded from the light from heaven, was staying, and minister to him.
When Ananias objected, God told him, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name." (Acts 9:15-16)
We, as Christians today are, like Paul, chosen vessels to bring his light from heaven to all those with whom we come in contact. And, like Paul, we are the weak ones in the world whom God has chosen to confound the wise.
Go this day and and be a chosen instrument of God! Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven.
God Bless You,
Monday, July 20, 2009
33 You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. 34 Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. 35 He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. 36 But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. 39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.
John 5:33-40, English Standard Version
Rejoice in His Light
When we see the phrase, "rejoice in his light," we immediately think that the word, "his," refers to Jesus. However, in this passage Jesus is the one who is speaking; He is referring to John the Baptist. John was a burning and shining lamp, sent to testify of the One to come.
This passage is very sobering; Jesus is chastising the people for not receiving Him as the Messiah. Look at verse 37.
And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, and you do not have his word abiding in you.
Think of the many people in our world who, like the unbelieving Jews, have never heard Jesus' voice, have never seen his form, and who do not have His Word abiding in them. Is this because they have never heard the Gospel? Is this because they have never heard the Word of God. No, like the Jews, they have hearts that are hardened against the Lord Jesus Christ. We are told in the Bible that God reveals Himself to all people in the world through His creation. If they truly desire Him, God will send those who will expound the Word of God to them.
Even more sobering, however, are those who search the Scriptures because they believe that their eternal life will come from the Bible. Yet, it is not the Bible that gives to them eternal life. The Bible points the way to our only true God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Think about this today. It is good that we rejoice in his light, that is the light of John the Baptist who bore testimony of Christ, but our really glory and joy is in Christ, our Lord.
God Bless You,
Sunday, July 19, 2009
John 3:19-21, English Standard Version
Come to the Light
Most Christians are quite familiar with John 3:16 and maybe John 3:17, but how about the verses following those? John 3:19-21 gives us one of the most clear descriptions of the heart of the wicked, as well as the heart of the person who follows Christ.
The light has come into the world. To understand the passage, it is important to realize that "light" means Christ. As as matter of fact, we can replace the word, "light" in the passage above with the word, "Christ," to understand that John was, indeed, speaking of Christ.
And this is the judgment: Christ has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than Christ because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates Christ and does not come to Christ, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to Christ, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God."
It is evident that the works we do expose the true nature of our hearts. In this day of politically correctness it is not popular to call someone wicked. Yet, God has no problem calling those who do not come to Christ wicked. Why are they wicked? Because they hate Christ and therefore to not come to Him.
We tend to gloss over that hatred in our day; we do not like to believe that all of these well-meaning people who are not Christians actually hate Christ and therefore hate Christians. That hatred, however, will become more pronounced as we come nearer to the end of time.
Pray for your unsaved friends and acquaintances and encourage them to come to the light!
"Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation."
2 Corinthians 6:2, English Standard Version
God Bless You,
Saturday, July 18, 2009
8 "Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? 9 And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.' 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents."
Luke 15:8-10, English Standard Version
Light a Lamp
Jesus often spoke in parables to his disciples to illustrate a truth. The parable in Luke 15 is sometimes lost to us, because it is hard for us to imagine losing one coin, and then calling together our friends and neighbors to tell them we have found it.
For the sake of comparison, let us say that you received a check made out to you for one million dollars, and you lost the check. How hard would you try to find that check. Talk about spring cleaning! You would light a lamp in every room, upturn all of the furniture, sweep all of the cobwebs from under the beds, look in every nook and cranny, and go through every drawer in your house to find that check.
Now, your house is totally clean, and you still have not found the check! Imagine your joy when, on the next rainy day, you discover the check in the pocket of your rain coat. Now that would be worth throwing a party, would it not?
Now that we have a better perspective of the reality of that woman's joy, we can better understand verse 10.
"Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of heaven over one sinner who repents."
Verse 7 in this same chapter states,
So, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents."
I think it would not be out of context to insert the word, "more" into verse 10 as well.
We are so earthly bound that we cannot even come close to perceiving the spiritual activity that goes on all around us. Just think of the celebration in heaven by the angels of God when one sinner repents.
Do not take your salvation lightly, nor the salvation of those with whom you are in contact each day. Think of the joy in heaven when one person you are in contact with every day sees the light of God in your life and comes to Christ. Should we not experience that same joy as well?
Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16, New International Version
God Bless You,
Friday, July 17, 2009
25 At that time Jesus declared, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:25-30, English Standard Version
My Burden is Light
In Matthew 11, we have a rare conversation between Jesus and God, the Father. Notice the intimacy between them. Also, note that they are in total agreement with each other, as they must be, because they are separate and yet one God. That is not an easy concept to grasp, but I do not think we are meant to totally understand it; in faith, we know that the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit are three persons, and yet one God.
Notice that no one knows the Son except God, the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son, and only those who the Son chooses to reveal him. That is another concept that is difficult to grasp; through the ages Christians have argued the meaning of that phrase. Again, I think it is important that we accept such things in faith, knowing that God will reveal the truth, as well as the understanding of that truth, when we reach heaven.
Verses 28 through 30, however, are quite clear. Here we have a straight forward call of the Gospel, and how sweet it is!
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
It does not take long, as an adult, to realize that we all labor and are heavy laden in this world. There is no rest from that burden except through Christ. As Christians, the yoke of Christ is upon us, but that yoke is easy and that burden is light. God does not leave us in the dark, but He lightens our understanding, as Christ implores us, learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
That is our encouragement as we go about the duties of this day, and what a great encouragement it is. Go to Christ; take his yoke upon you and learn from him. His yoke is easy and his burden is light, for Christ is gentle and lowly of heart. What is the result? Rest for your souls.
Only in Christ can we have perfect peace and rest for our souls!
You will find rest for your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light!
God Bless You,
Thursday, July 16, 2009
13 "You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.
14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light so shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."
Matthew 5:13-16, English Standard Version
Salt and Light
What would we do without salt and light? Just a little salt on our food brings out its rich and delicious flavor. What about light? How easy would it be for us to navigate at night if we had no light other than the moon and the stars? Just as God has provided light for this world, so has He provided His children to be salt and light for the people of this world.
Why are we Christians here? Why does God not take us home to be with Him immediately upon our conversion? God has left us here to be salt and light to the lost all around us. We must then ask the question, "Am I being salt and light to those around me?"
As Christ illustrated in verse 15, shown above, "Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house." How often, so that we may be more excepted by our peers, do we actually try to hide our light under a basket? We fear man, who can do nothing to us, rather than God, who can destroy our soul.
Let us look to Christ, the guardian of our soul. It is interesting to note that even though we know we can never loose the salvation that God has granted to us, even if we try to hide it, we are still like that city set on a hill, that cannot be hidden. But let us pray for boldness to display rather than hide that light for all to see, as we are encouraged by Christ to, Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16, KJV
Salt and Light! Think about that as you go about your duties this day.
God Bless You,
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
3 Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. 4 On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward.
6 On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost. 7 And there shall be a unique day, which is known to the LORD, neither day nor night, but at the evening time there shall be light.
9 And the LORD will be king over all the earth.
Zechariah 14:3-4, 6-7, & 9a, English Standard Version
What a majestic display of our Almighty God! As we witness current events, especially in the Mid East, Bible passages such as this one in Zechariah are brought to mind. How soon is that day when there shall be no light? And there shall be a unique day, which is known to the LORD. Indeed, only our Lord knows the exact day or hour of His return, but we can see that the day is fast approaching.
How we look forward to the return of our Lord and Savior, as King of the whole earth. We must not be overcome with discouragement and hopelessness as we see the entire world becoming more and more wicked. We know that all nations, except Israel, will turn away from the Lord. We certainly see the signs in America. Prayer to God is not allowed in schools, the ten commandments are systematically being ripped from public display, and laws allowing things that are an abomination to God are passed every day.
As Christians, we must keep our eyes focused on the things to come. We know that we have a place in the eternal heavens with our Lord when there will be no light, because God will be our light. Let us take courage as we read through these verses at the end of Zechariah 14.
20 And on that day there shall be inscribed on the bells of the horses, "Holy to the LORD." And the pots in the house of the LORD shall be as bowls before the altar. 21 And every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holy to the LORD of hosts.
Zechariah 14:20-21, ESV
Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus!
God Bless You,
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
2 O LORD, I have heard the report of you, and your work, O LORD, do I fear. . . . His splendor covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. 4 His brightness was like the light; rays flashed from his hand; and there he veiled his power. . . . 6 He stood and measured the earth; he looked and shook the nations; then the eternal mountains were scattered; the everlasting hills sank low. His were the everlasting ways.
You split the earth with rivers. 10 The mountains saw you and writhed; the raging waters swept on; the deep gave forth its voice; it lifted its hands on high. 11 The sun and moon stood still in their place at the light of your arrows as they sped, at the flash of your glittering spear. 12 You marched through the earth in fury; you threshed the nations in anger. 13 You went out for the salvation of your people, for the salvation of your anointed.
Habakkuk 3:2, 3b-4, 6, & 9b-13, English Standard Version
Do we really understand God? Do we really know who He is? I fear that in our passion to proclaim the love of God, we may miss the judgment and anger of God against sin. Yes, God is truly a God of love; his love surpasses anything we can imagine. But, in His zeal for His people, God does and will judge the whole earth. That judgment is also a display of His deep love for His own.
Habakkuk questioned God. Why would God let his people, Israel, be overtaken by a wicked heathen nation? The book of Habakkuk is a conversation between Habakkuk and God. God shows to Habakkuk that He is righteous in judging the sin of His own people, and in the end the entire earth will suffer for its sin against Him and against His people.
As we read through Habakkuk 3, the rage of God is revealed, and His splendor is displayed before the prophet. Read through the passage above and marvel at the power and holiness of our God. His brightness was like the light; rays flashed from his hand; and there he veiled his power. . . . He stood and measured the earth; he looked and shook the nations; then the eternal mountains were scattered; the everlasting hills sand low. His were the everlasting ways.
How did Habakkuk resolve this matter in his own heart? May his rejoicing in the LORD, shown in these verses be our testimony as well.
17 Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. 19 GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places.
Habakkuk 3:17-19, ESV
God Bless You,
Monday, July 13, 2009
8 Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me. . . . 9b He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon his vindication. 10 Then my enemy will see, and shame will cover her who said to me, "Where is the LORD your God?"
Micah 7:5, 7-8, & 9b-10, English Standard Version
The Lord Will Be a Light
Where do we put our trust, or should I say, in whom do we put our trust? Being social creatures, we often put our trust in our friends and neighbors. Sometimes they become friends for life, and at other times, difficulties arise to the point that some who were our best friends become our enemies.
What about our enemies; everyone has enemies. When sin entered the world, so did strife and hatred. But, sometimes we meet someone who hates us from the first time we met, and nothing that we say or do improves our relationship with them.
It is not easy, especially if we are ridiculed. But, it is most unbearable when our former friends become our enemies. Those with whom we once shared our deepest secrets now hold us in complete disdain.
With the Lord, it is not so. We can, with assurance, look to the Lord for our entire life, knowing that He will always be a light to us. With Him, alone, can we have eternal joy and peace.
Thinking of these things helps us to keep our priorities in order. It does not matter what anyone else thinks of us, but it does matter what Christ thinks of us.
As we go about the duties of this day, let us say with Micah,
But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. . . when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me . . . . He will bring me out to the light.
God Bless You,
Sunday, July 12, 2009
20 Daniel answered and said:
"Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
to whom belong wisdom and might.
21 He changes times and seasons;
he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those who have understanding;
22 he reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what is in the darkness,
and the light dwells with him.
23 To you, O God of my fathers,
I give thanks and praise,
for you have given me wisdom and might.
Daniel 2:20-23, English Standard Version
Light Dwells with Him
Nebuchadnezzar had a very disturbing dream which his wise men could not interpret. When he contacted his magicians, enchanters, and sorcerers, he refused to tell them his dream, but demanded that they give him its interpretation. They pleaded with Nebuchadnezzar to first tell them the dream and then they would give him its interpretation. Believing they would only speak lying words to him, Nebuchadnezzar denied their request. At their refusal to interpret the dream, King Nebuchadnezzar ordered that all of the wise men of Babylon, including Daniel and his companions, be put to death. In response, Daniel went to the king and requested that he appoint Daniel a time that he might show the interpretation of the dream to the king.
God revealed the dream and its interpretation to Daniel in a vision of the night. The verses shown above are Daniel's response to the Lord.
Sometimes we think that Old Testament believers did not have the same understanding of God as we do, because we have the entire Bible at our disposal. When we read Daniel's testimony from verses 10 - 23, we see that is obviously not true.
It seems that in our day, we are often reluctant to admit that forces of nature such as tornadoes, hurricanes, typhoons, and earthquakes are sent to us by the hand of God. How could a loving God send destructive storms that often claim so many lives?
Look at Daniel's understanding of God.
*Wisdom and might belong to God.
*He changes times and seasons.
*He removes kings and sets up kings.
*He gives wisdom to the wise.
*He gives knowledge to those who have understanding.
*He reveals deep and hidden things.
*He knows what is in the darkness.
*The light dwells with Him.
As we go about our duties each day, is this the God we serve? Do we understand the greatness and power of our God? No matter what we see around us, we Christians should understand the power and glory of God, who controls all things. No matter how much God is resisted and hated by Satan and by those of this world, He is already victorious!
Take some time today to praise and thank God, remembering that light dwells with Him, in whom there is no darkness at all.
God Bless You,
Saturday, July 11, 2009
and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
2 For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the LORD will arise upon you,
and his glory will be seen upon you.
3 And nations shall come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your rising.
5 Then you shall see and be radiant;
your heart shall thrill and exult.
Isaiah 60:1-3 & 5, English Standard Version
Your Light Has Come!
It is good for us to think upon the future time when we can arise and shine, for your light has come, foretold in Isaiah 60:1 Why do you think God has spoken of His coming in so many places in the Word of God? It is good for us to ponder that glorious day so that we do not become overwhelmed with our own circumstances in life.
As we read verse 2, shown above, we realize that this is fast becoming true! Darkness is creeping upon the entire world, and thick darkness of unbelief is spreading to its people. But, this is not the end; rather it is the beginning of the time of the return of Christ.
When Christ, our Light, has come, entire nations will come to that light, and kings will come to the brightness of the rising of the light of Christ.
Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and exult.
Let us immerse ourselves today in the hope of Christ's return. Even today, when we believe, we already can see the radiance of Christ, and can thrill and exult in His light. Just as the glorious beauty of a new dawn, after days of dreariness and darkness, so, even more, will that day be to us upon the return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Today, let us thrill and glory in the Light of Christ, which washes away the dreariness of this world.
Arise, shine, for your light has come.
Even so come quickly, Lord Jesus.
God Bless You,
Friday, July 10, 2009
1 "Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the LORD: look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug."
4 "Give attention to me, my people, and give ear to me, my nation; for a law will go out from me, and I will set my justice for a light to the peoples. 5 My righteousness draws near, my salvation has gone out, and my arms will judge the peoples. . . . 6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, and the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner; but my salvation will be forever, and my righteousness will never be dismayed.
Isaiah 51:1 4-5a, & 6, English Standard Version
Justice For a Light
Take the time to read all of Isaiah 51; what a powerful chapter! As I think of the world in which we live, I am drawn to verse 4: I will set my justice for a light to the peoples. As I look at the great nations of the world, I have to ask, "Where is justice?" Nation after nation is quickly abandoning the Bible and making laws which are more right in their own eyes than the commandments of God!
As a child, I never dreamed that laws would be written in our country in direct opposition to the Word of God. Such is the world in which we live.
What hope do we have as Christians in such a world? God tells us in verse 6 shown above, Lift up your eyes to the heavens . . . the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment . . . but my salvation will be forever.
God further encourages us with these words from verses 7-8.
Listen to me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear not the reproach of man, nor be dismayed at their revilings. For the moth will eat them up like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool; but my righteousness will be forever, and my salvation to all generations.
What a wonderful hope we have in Christ. As we see nation after nation abandon God's Word, we still know in our heart that God gives us justice for a light. No man can make laws contrary to God's Word. They are not true laws, but empty words upon a piece of paper.
As wickedness increases in this world, we Christians will face more and more hatred and derision from the world around us. Let us be strong in the Lord, holding on to the righteousness of Christ, which will be forever.
God Bless You,
Thursday, July 09, 2009
he who formed me from the womb to be his servant,
to bring Jacob back to him;
and that Israel might be gathered to him--
for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD,
and my God has become my strength--
6 he says: "It is too light a thing that you should be my servant
to raise up the tribes of Jacob
and to bring back the preserved of Israel;
I will make you as a light for the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth."
Isaiah 49:5-6, English Standard Version
Light For the Nations
We Christians have a charge to keep! Though the verses above refer to Isaiah the prophet, we have no less of a duty to our God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
God has formed us from the womb to be his servant (verse 5). Though we are frail creatures, struggling daily with sin and temptations, we are honored in the eyes of the Lord. How can this be? Through the saving blood of Christ our Lord, we walk in the strength and righteousness of God!
Look at the two uses of the word, "light" in this passage.
"It is too light a thing that you should be my servant . . . I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth."
Do we take God for granted? We must consider, is it too light a thing that we are the servants of God? But, even more than that, God has given this charge to us as well as to Isaiah. While here on this earth God uses us so that his salvation may reach to the end of the earth!
No matter who we are, no matter where we live, and no matter what our social standing, as Christians, God is using us to spread his Gospel to the end of the earth. That supersedes any other purpose we have in this life.
Go this day and be that light for the nations!
God Bless You,
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
I am the LORD, and there is no other.
7 I form light and create darkness,
I make well-being and create calamity,
I am the LORD who does all these things.
8 "Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain down righteousness;
let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit;
let the earth cause them both to sprout;
I the LORD have created it.
Isaiah 45:6b-8, English Standard Version
I Form Light
I believe that every Christian should be an avid reader of the Old Testament as well as the New Testament. Passages such as Isaiah 45, give us a clear picture of our LORD God. Read again the powerful verses shown above.
I am the LORD, and there is no other.
I form light and create darkness,
I make well-being and create calamity,
I am the LORD, who does all these things.
In our busy day-to-day lives, we have a tendency to forget our Creator and Redeemer. God, our Father, is in control of all things. When sin entered our world, God could have banished all of mankind for eternity, but look what He chose to do instead.
Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the earth open,
that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit;
let the earth cause them both to sprout;
I the LORD have created it.
Let us pray this day that we will walk in obedience and faithfulness with our God who has brought righteousness to His people. Pray that you will not be one of those who strives with God. The temptations of this world are strong, but this God who said, "I form light," is the only true and faithful God that we should love and obey.
What an awesome God we have!
God Bless You,
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
2 The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shined.
6 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 9:2 & 6, English Standard Version
A Great Light
As I was thinking about the verses shown above, I thought how tragic it was that so few people in Christ's day understood who He really was. A Great Light was born to them, but most of them did not see it. Their Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace, lived and breathed among them, and yet most did not know him.
Realistically, it is not much different today, is it not? Christ has come, died for the sins of His people, and was resurrected, and now sits at the right hand of God the Father, making intercession for His sheep. All of this is plainly revealed in the Bible, and yet how few walk in the steps of the Lord. How few have even paid any attention to their greatest need!
Every now and then, we Christians just need to take a "time out," and think about this great Savior of ours; He is a Great Light, shining through all of the circumstances of our lives. Without Him, we can do nothing. In Him, all power is given to us! It is not a power that makes us famous, but rather a power to live this life in the full knowledge of our purpose for being here.
Pray this day that, by the grace of God, a Great Light would shine through your life, illuminating everyone around you with the Light of the Gospel.
What an amazing Savior we have!
God Bless You,
Monday, July 06, 2009
6 In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.
7 Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun.
8 So if a person lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember that the days of darkness will be many. All that comes is vanity.
Ecclesiastes 11:6-8, English Standard Version
Light is Sweet
I have always loved reading through the book of Ecclesiastes. Written by King Solomon, it is a summary of his search for the meaning of life. In his quest to own and try everything, he concluded that all of life is vanity, or emptiness. Yet, the book is not full of gloom and doom; in verse 7, shown above, he tells us that light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun.
I believe he is implying a double meaning, as shown by verse 8. We are encouraged to rejoice in all of the years he is given, but also to remember that many of those days will be days of darkness.
Why, as Christians, are we surprised when trials and troubles come upon us? Many places in Scripture give examples of great servants of the Lord who wrestled through many dark days. In the New Testament we are reminded again and again that many days of trials and sorrow will envelope us.
What are we to do? We must remember that light is sweet! In Christ dwells every good thing! As we center our eyes upon the sweet light of the Lord Jesus Christ, even the dark days will be light.
Life is empty without Christ. Only in Him do we find purpose and meaning for our lives. Solomon concludes Ecclesiastes with these words.
Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
What a great life verse that would be! Go this day, and remember, light is sweet!
God Bless You,
Sunday, July 05, 2009
30 The light of the eyes rejoices the heart,
and good news refreshes the bones.
31 The ear that listens to life-giving reproof
will dwell among the wise.
32 Whoever ignores instruction despises himself,
but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.
33 The fear of the LORD is instruction in wisdom,
and humility comes before honor.
Proverbs 15:30-33, English Standard Version
Light of the Eyes
Often, in the book of Proverbs, the verses of proverbs do not seem to be related to one another. That is not the case in Proverbs 15. Beginning with verse 29, one thought seems to continue and then expand, all the way to verse 33. Verse 29 tells us, The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous. The following verses then deal with the righteous.
As I read verse 30, I wondered, what causes the light of the eyes, and what is the good news that refreshes the bones? I think the explanation is found in the last three verses of Proverbs 15. Look at the commendations given to the righteous.
*Their ears listen to life-giving reproof causing them to dwell among the wise.
*They do not ignore instruction, but rather listen to reproof and gain intelligence.
Then, verse 33 sums it all up.
The fear of the LORD is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.
So, where does the light of the eyes come from? Those who fear the Lord by listening to life-giving reproof and not ignoring instruction, display the light of the eyes.
This is so simple, and yet so profound. We run everywhere seeking happiness, peace, and contentment, and yet it will never be found without the fear of the LORD. I challenge you this day to walk before the Lord your God in wisdom and humility.
God Bless You,
Saturday, July 04, 2009
Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
Psalm 119:105, English Standard Version
Lamp of Light
We have a room in our apartment with no windows; it is so dark when the lights (and computer) are turned off, that you have to feel your way to find the door. That made me think of this verse from Psalm 119. Spiritually speaking, our lives are rooms with no windows apart from the lamp of light provided for us from the Lord.
Because of sin, however, we are told by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:12,
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face; now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (King James Version)
It is so important that we guard our lamp of light. Our lives can become tarnished as the shade on our lamp becomes darker and darker because of sin in our own lives.
Oh to be perfect! I am the worst at putting my foot in my mouth. I love satire, but I try not to become immersed in satire that harms the lives or names of others. That is pretty hard to do when it is so popular today to "slam" other people.
Think about the Lamp of Light that is provided to you by the Lord God of Hosts, and pray that, by the grace of God, your lamp will not become tarnished with sin. Perfection will come for believers when we meet our Lord Jesus Christ face to face, and our lamps will remain clear for eternity.
Lord, hasten the day!
God Bless You,
Friday, July 03, 2009
10 O you who love the LORD, hate evil!
He preserves the lives of his saints;
He delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
11 Light is sown for the righteous,
and joy for the upright in heart.
12 Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous,
and give thanks to his holy name!
Psalm 97:10-12, English Standard Version
Light is Sown
I had a note on my home page of Facebook today from my nephew, Landon, reporting that his crops are in and he can actually enjoy the 4th of July. As a farmer, his holidays depend upon sowing the seed and harvesting the crops. I thought of that when I read the verses shown above.
The Psalmist commands us to hate evil, and then goes on to tell us that light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart. What a wonderful reminder of God's love for his people.
However, when Landon sows his crops his work is not done. All summer and into the fall he must fight the weeds that seek to take over and destroy his crops. So, too, do the weeds of sin seek to overtake us. Why would we be encouraged to hate evil, unless evil continues to seek to destroy our testimonies of God's grace in our lives?
What do you think is involved in hating evil? I can think of a few things; perhaps you can think of others. We think of turning away from sin, but more must be done to insulate us, even from our own selves! Spending time in the Bible and in prayer are the most obvious forms of insulating us against the prongs of the devil.
Why is it that taking a few minutes from each day to read and meditate upon the Word of God, and in fellowship with God in prayer seems to be too much to ask? In our busy lives, we view a quiet time with the Lord as optional.
I would encourage you today and in the days ahead to rekindle that precious time with the Lord each day. Light is sown, but what do you do to protect the light of God from being overpowered by sin?
God Bless You,
Thursday, July 02, 2009
12 I must perform my vows to you, O God;
I will render thank offerings to you.
13 For you have delivered my soul from death,
yes, my feet from falling,
that I may walk before God
in the light of life.
Psalm 56:12-13, English Standard Version
Light of Life
I used to be a morning person; I could hardly wait to get up in the morning, especially in summer when I could run barefoot outside in the cool grass still wet with dew. I probably would still be a morning person, but now I wake up in a fog, often in pain. I find it hard to go to bed at night, especially if I am having a good day, because I know that I will have to face the next morning again.
It is so easy to become spiritually buried with the circumstances of our lives which often seem to overwhelm us. How much better would it be for us to wake up every morning and recite Psalm 56:12-13?
As Christians, we have everything to live for! Our soul is no longer bound in the chains of sin that sought to destroy us. God has delivered our very soul from death, and has kept our feet from falling. We, by the grace of God, need to change our focus that we may walk before God in the light of life!
Think about that as you go about the duties of this day. God is the light of life! Nothing can blot out that light that will shine before us forever. Bathe yourself this day in the light of life!
God Bless You,
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill
and to your dwelling!
4 Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God my exceeding joy,
and I will praise you with the lyre,
O God, my God.
Psalm 43:3-4, English Standard Version
Send Out Your Light
Years ago, one of my Bible professors said that one of the proofs that the Bible is true is that the men of God were presented with all of their weaknesses and sins revealed. They were not presented as perfect people. I was thinking of this as I read through this Psalm of David.
As the Psalm begins, David is discouraged, feeling like God has rejected him. How many times have we felt the same way? How many times do the circumstances of life seem to overpower us? How many times does it seem that even our very best friends have disdained us; we are despised on every side?
When that happens, what do we do? Do we seek to justify our name, do we speak evil against those who have wronged us, or do we immerse ourselves in a major pity party? Look at what David did; David turned his focus upon God. He understood that his only true help would come from God. First he appeals to God.
Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!
Then he turned to the altar of God and praised him.
Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.
In verses 5 and 6 of Psalm 43, David ended with the question we should all ask.
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?
Let us pray today that our answer to that question would be the same as was David's.
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
That is the essence of all of our hope, is it not? Let us all pray today, "Oh, God, send out your light."
God Bless You,