Saturday, June 30, 2012

Righteous Indignation

 28They joined themselves also unto Baalpeor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead.
 29Thus they provoked him to anger with their inventions: and the plague brake in upon them.
 30Then stood up Phinehas, and executed judgment: and so the plague was stayed.
 31And that was counted unto him for righteousness unto all generations for evermore. 

Righteous Indignation

Could it get any worse for the nation of Israel? Repeatedly they had sinned against the Lord their God, and now, as they were on the brink of going into the Promised Land they sinned yet again. The account is found in Numbers 25.
  1And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab.
 2And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods.
 3And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.
(Numbers 25:1-3, King James Version)
No longer were the Israelites content to attempt to cover their sins, but now they sinned openly before the Lord their God. Moses, in an attempt to appease God's anger, commanded that the judges put to death all of those who sinned by committing whoredom with the Moabite women. Then, right before Moses and all of the congregation an Israelite man appeared with a Moabite woman.
  6And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
 7And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand;
 8And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel.
(Numbers 25:6-8, King James Version)
In our day of sexual promiscuity, we would not think too much of the incident; even as Christians our senses have become dulled and we have lost our righteous indignation when we see our society become even more wicked. Even among believers a laxity exists in this area.

It should not be so! God is righteous, pure, holy, and sinless, and demands the same of His children. Though we will always battle our sin nature on this side of heaven, we are called to slay sin in our own lives and cry out to God to help us to live a holy and pure life before Him.

That really is the issue, you know. We look at others and think, "I am really not all that bad. I do not sin like the unbelievers do." That is our problem. We are not to compare ourselves to the unbelievers or even to our fellow Christians. How does our life compare to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ? That is the real question.

By the grace of God may God's people shake off the dust of complacency that has gripped their hearts and minds, and seek to live a pure and holy life before God. May God fill us with righteous indignation against our own personal sins, and then let us seek to be a people who are wholly set apart to God.

There is no such thing as a little sin, or a little white lie. It only took one sin by Adam and Eve and all of creation has suffered ever since. Let us go to God who in His tender love and mercy has sent His own Son to take the penalty for all of our sins, and ask forgiveness for not living before Him as we ought to live. Then let us cry out for His mercy and help to live the remainder of our days to His honor and glory alone.

God Bless You,
Linda



 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Darkest Hour

 24Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word:
 25But murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the LORD.
 26Therefore he lifted up his hand against them, to overthrow them in the wilderness:
 27To overthrow their seed also among the nations, and to scatter them in the lands. 

Darkest Hour

In perhaps its darkest hour yet, the unthinkable happened. The nation of Israel camped on the outskirts of the promised land, ready to move into the land God had provided for them. Twelve men were sent to spy out the land--one from each tribe. After 40 days they came back with their report.
  32And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.
 33And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.
(Numbers 13:32-33, King James Version)
Two men, Joshua and Caleb, encouraged the people to go into the land, for God would protect them and give them victory over the inhabitants of the land. And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.

Yet, ten of the spies gave an evil report causing the children of Israel to murmur against Moses and Aaron.
And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!
Where was their faith? God had performed miracle after miracle on their behalf, traveling among them visibly in a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, and yet they could not trust Him.

Thus God pronounced His judgment upon them. All those, from 20 years old and upward when they left Egypt would not see the promised land, but would die in the wilderness. The nation would wander in the wilderness for 40 years, one year for each day the spies spent spying the promised land. At the end of the 40 years only those who had been under 20 when they left Egypt, along with Joshua and Caleb would enter the promised land.

Each of us must ask ourselves, where is our faith? Do we truly trust in the God we proclaim to love? When we are standing on the brink of our own "promised land" will we lack the faith to proceed, or will we stand tall, in the strength and power of the Lord and push forward?

As we look about us to a world that is trying to quickly distance itself from God, what will we do? When we are persecuted for our faith, what then? Pray today that God would grant you faith--faith that you would not forget God, your First Love. 

Truly we live in an evil time, but there is much work for us to do. Let us, then, be found faithful, living our lives to the honor and glory of God. Let us be the salt and light that we are called to be, as we proclaim the good news of Christ our Lord to a world that is lost and dying!

God Bless You,
Linda




Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Calf in Horeb

 19They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image.
 20Thus they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass.
 21They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt;
 22Wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red sea.
 23Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them. 

A Calf in Horeb

As we continue with the sad commentary of the nation of Israel in their wilderness wanderings, we find that things seemed to go from bad to worse. While Moses was on the mountain communicating with God, the people, led by Aaron, Moses' brother, were dancing and worshiping a golden calf.
They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt; Wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red sea.
What a reminder that our hearts, apart from the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, are filled with wickedness.
  9The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
 10I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
(Jeremiah 17:9-10, King James Version)
The Lord searches our hearts, but what will He find? How can our wicked hearts be changed? Certainly there is nothing we can do to change our hearts, but Christ can change our wicked hearts into hearts of righteousness. With a love beyond our imagination, God sent His only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to this earth. He took on the form of a man, and lived among the people, telling of God's great love for them.

Spurned and rejected by His own people, He was led away to a cruel death on the cross at Calvary. Was that the end? No! All of this was planned by God. Indeed, men did not put Christ to death; rather, He gave up His life so that He might win a people for God.
  6For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (Romans 5:6, King James Version)
How then can we escape if we neglect this great salvation? Falling before the Lord Jesus Christ, we can do nothing but cry out in repentance, asking God to forgive our sins. Amazingly, that is all that is necessary. To the truly repentant heart, God grants a new heart, washed clean of all its filthiness.

Does that mean that we will never sin again? No! While still on this earth we will face a continual battle between our wicked heart and our desire to live a holy life before God. Yet Christ is available to us 24/7; we need just ask for help and He will send His legions of angels on our behalves.

So, when you think of that golden calf in Horeb, remember that, though we are just like the people of Israel, there is hope for us in the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Go, then, in the strength and power of the Lord Jesus Christ, and tell your family, friends, and neighbors what a great thing Christ has done for you. 

God Bless You,
Linda






Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Envy!

 16They envied Moses also in the camp, and Aaron the saint of the LORD.
 17The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan and covered the company of Abiram.
 18And a fire was kindled in their company; the flame burned up the wicked. 

Envy!

God hates the sin of pride, as well as its sister sin, envy! If you will remember the story to which the writer is referring you will recall that several of the Levites under the leadership of Korah, On, Dathan and Abiram rose up against Moses.
  1Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men:
 2And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown:
 3And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?
(Numbers 16:1-3, King James Version)
God called for the children of Israel to separate themselves from the tents of those who rose up against Moses. In His anger, God caused the earth to split apart, swallowing those who led the rebellion against Moses, and then closing it up again. 

Unfortunately, we are so accustomed to seeing pride and envy in others as well as ourselves, that we do not think it such a grievous sin at all, However, pride and envy is at the root of every rebellion. What we fail to realize is that our pride any envy is really against God Himself. We are disgruntled because He did not give the talents, wisdom, or wealth to us that He has given to others.

In the case of Dathan and Abiram, before the day was over, 14,700 people besides those of the families of Dathan and Abiram died. So the rebellion fostered by the envy of just a few spread quickly throughout the entire camp, causing the ultimate death of thousands.

Sadly, do we not see the same thing in our day? Often the most grievous contentions exist between professing believers in Christ. How will the lost ever come to Christ when they see such bitter hatred and envy in God's church? What is at the root of the contentions? Almost always, the root of the problem is envy and pride.

Let us, this day, lift up our hearts to the Lord, and pray for peace among believers. Let us also pray that God would root out the sins of pride and envy from our own hearts. Rather than look about us and covet the things of our neighbors, may we instead look to God, praising Him for the great things He has done for us and given to us. 

May we be busy working for the Lord Jesus Christ using the talents and gifts He has given to us to build up His church and advance His kingdom on this earth.

How wonderful heaven will be, And, perhaps one of the greatest miracles of all is that, in heaven, everyone will get along! There will be no envy or pride in the Kingdom of God.

Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus!

God Bless You,
Linda



Tuesday, June 26, 2012

God was Forgotten!

 13They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel:
 14But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert.
 15And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.

God was Forgotten!

It was a sad day for the nation of Israel; God was forgotten--at least the miraculous deeds He had done were forgotten. Remember, this happened while God still lived among the nation in a cloud by day and a fire by night. How could they forget?

Are we so very much different? The whole intent of this series of Psalms Devotions is to remember God, our First Love. Do you remember how precious God was the hour you first believed? Do you remember how dearly you felt the very presence of God surrounding you with peace an comfort when someone close passed away?

We may not see the presence of God in a cloud by day or a fire by night, but we have the entire Word of God pointing us to God and proclaiming the great salvation purchased for us by Christ, the Lord, the Son of God and Son of Man.

Yet, we forget! We forget this God we love when our hearts are drawn away by the pleasures and cares of this world. We forget God when we immerse ourselves in books and movies where a world without God is the norm. We often forget that fiction is fiction. In the book and movie, The Exorcist, proclaiming the blood of Christ, was powerless against the demon, but is that true?

No! There is no demon that cannot be stopped when we proclaim the blood of Christ shed for our sins. Yet, the world portrays a life that either has not God, or one in which the "religious" people are wimpy, slightly crazy, or cruel and evil.

Remember, Satan is the angel of light who can appear lovely, beautiful, and desirous as He draws people away from the truth of God's Word. In all his beauty, he is still a liar, who desires to bring as many people with him to his ultimate destruction, which he knows is coming.

Let us, this day, remember this God we love and serve. Let us live this day with complete awareness of God, our Help and Fortress walking beside us, removing the wicked forces which surround us and would cause us to stumble on our way.

That reminds me of a song we sang in church when I was a girl, still at home, written by Vernon Charlesworth in 1880, and set to music by Ira Sankey. The words to "A Shelter in the Time of Storm" are taken from Isaiah 25:4, For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. 

The Lord’s our Rock, in Him we hide,
A Shelter in the time of storm;
Secure whatever ill betide,
A Shelter in the time of storm.

Refrain
Oh, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land,
A weary land, a weary land;
Oh, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land,
A Shelter in the time of storm.

Go, this day, and live in the love and power of God who is your own personal shelter in the time of storm!

God Bless You,
Linda







Saturday, June 23, 2012

Then They Believed

 6We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly.
 7Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt; they remembered not the multitude of thy mercies; but provoked him at the sea, even at the Red sea.
 8Nevertheless he saved them for his name's sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known.
 9He rebuked the Red sea also, and it was dried up: so he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness.
 10And he saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.
 11And the waters covered their enemies: there was not one of them left.
 12Then believed they his words; they sang his praise. 

Then They Believed

Like Psalm 105, the writer of Psalm 106 continues his narrative of the children of Israel, remembering God's faithfulness to His people, and their continual forgetfulness of Him. At the time of the writing of this Psalm, both the Southern and Northern kingdoms of Israel and Judah had been taken captive.

How bittersweet, then, was the memory of the writer as he recounted the faithfulness of God in spite of the sins of the people. After all of the many wonders God displayed before Pharaoh and the nation of Egypt, seeing the many plagues brought upon the Egyptians, while the Israelites were spared, we find them, just a few short weeks later, forgetting the power of the God they served.

Trapped with the Red Sea on one side and the Egyptian army on the other, they were sure that their doomed was sealed. Suddenly, all of the oppression of the Egyptians against them was forgotten as they longed to return to Egypt. Yet, God spared them miraculously when He opened a pathway right through the Red Sea. With a wall of water on either side, they marched through the sea on dry land.

The Egyptians foolishly followed right behind them on their horses and chariots. When the last of the Israelites reached the other side, God brought the waters crashing down upon the Egyptians, destroying Pharaoh and his entire army.

Surely, with such a miraculous event, the Israelites would never dream of forgetting their God, or doubting His protection, would they? We know from history, and also from the rest of this Psalm, that the Israelites continued their pattern of loving and praising God, and yet forgetting Him when difficulties arose.

It is easy to be critical of their foolishness, and yet, when we look upon our own lives, we often do the same thing. How quickly do we forget the marvelous love of God and His saving arm when difficulties come upon us? Even more, how quickly do we forget God and turn to the things of the world when we are lavished with prosperity and peace?

The words of Psalm 106 have a haunting effect when we compare them to our own lives.
Then believed they his words; they sang his praise.
After rehearsing God's miraculous intervention at the Red Sea the psalmist tells us that, then they believed His words; then they sang His praise. How many of us participate in worship services on Sunday, and listen to the faithful preaching of God's Word only to forget what we have heard before we even reach our cars to go home?

Let us pray that, as we seriously ponder the state of God's chosen people and their sad history, we would not fall into the same pattern. Let us pray that we would remain faithful to God in the good times as well as the bad.
  11Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
 12I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
 13I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (
Philippians 4:11-13, King James Version)
God Bless You,
Linda


Friday, June 22, 2012

See, Rejoice, and Glory

 4Remember me, O LORD, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people: O visit me with thy salvation;
 5That I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance. 

See, Rejoice, and Glory
6 But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, (Romans 9:6, New King James Version)
25 As He says also in Hosea:   

      “ I will call them My people, who were not My people,
      And her beloved, who was not beloved.”
       26 “ And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them,

       You are not My people,’
      There they shall be called sons of the living God.”
(Romans 9:25-26, New King James Version)
The psalmist of Psalm 106 rightly understood his relationship to God, and the only means of salvation. For unless God visited him with salvation, he would not be saved. Many of Jewish descent then and now wrongly believe that because they are children of Abraham, they are automatically granted salvation by God. As shown in Romans 9, not all Israel was of Israel. In other words, just because they were Israelites, it did not necessarily mean they were true children of God.

In the same manner, Romans 9 continues by saying that God would call those who were not His people (Gentiles), His people. In other words, not all those who were Israelites would be true heirs of God, and many of those who were not from the nation of Israel would be called the people of God.

What is the lesson for those of us who live in the 21st century? The lesson is that we must not take our salvation for granted. Neither should we assume that because we are of a certain nation or because we belong to a certain church, we are true believers. Each person who is a true child of God comes to Christ through faith in Him. We understand that there is no way to God except through His Son who came to this earth with the sole purpose of saving a people for Himself through the shedding of His own perfect, righteous blood.

As the people of God, how do we respond to this wondrous God who brought salvation to us? As the psalmist tells us in Psalm 106, verse 5, as children of God we see, rejoice, and glory! We see the good of being His chosen, we rejoice in the gladness of His nation (true believers), and we glory with all of the saints of God from the beginning to the end of time.

Go, then, this day in the strength and power of the Lord Jesus Christ and see the good of being His chosen, rejoice that He has saved you, and glory, with the saints of all ages, in this precious Savior.

God Bless You,
Linda


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Who?

 1Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
 2Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? who can shew forth all his praise?
 3Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times. 

Who?
Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? Who can shew forth all His praise?
Today we continue our Psalms devotions in the series called "First Love," with Psalm 106. In verse 2, the psalmist asks two questions which he will then answer in the remainder of the psalm.

It is interesting to note that this psalm was written while the Jewish people were still in captivity. Never once does the psalmist charge God foolishly for allowing their enemies to not only conquer them, but to carry them away to a foreign law. Rather, the psalmist spends the rest of this psalm rehearsing the history of the Israelite nation, showing how their sins against God brought them to their present state.

The psalmist demonstrates in verses 1-3, the true heart of the believer. The question is not, how do you view God when everything is going well in your life, but rather, how do you view God when everything is going wrong?

It is one thing when unbelievers charge God foolishly with questions such as: How can a God of love allow babies to die? or, Why does God allow children to suffer from cancer or other debilitating, and often fatal diseases?, or, how about this question, Why does God allow people to remain in a vegetative state for years before they finally die?

Their questions, of course, are implying: We would do things better than God! For those who do not know God, such questions are not surprising, but what about Christians who ask the very same questions?

I have a little saying which I have to repeat to myself often: "God does not run His train on my tracks!"

You see, we see just a little snippet of the big picture, but God, who is timeless, views the entire panorama of this world from its creation to its end. This world is maintaining the exact, preordained course, set by God. Many questions cannot be answered, but we do know that God is a God of infinite love.

What nation ever worshiped a God who would take on the form of man, truly human, yet still truly God, and live among a people who despised and hated Him, so He could show them the true love of the Father? What nation ever served a God who would live among them with the sole purpose of dying a cruel death so that He could save a people from the eternal punishment due to them for their sins against Him?

The psalmist expresses it best:
Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? Who can shew forth all His praise? Blesses are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times.
This is the God we serve! This is the God who lives and moves among us, constantly watching over and keeping His children on the course He has set, ordering events that will bring them closer to Him. This is the God who will bring His children safely home that they may live in the love, peace, and joy of God for all eternity!

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

God Bless You,
Linda



Wednesday, June 20, 2012

He Remembered!

 42For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham his servant.
 43And he brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness:
 44And gave them the lands of the heathen: and they inherited the labour of the people;
 45That they might observe his statutes, and keep his laws. Praise ye the LORD. 

He Remembered!

As you will recall, verses 8 through 41 of Psalm 105, rehearse the fulfillment of God's covenant with Abraham and his descendants.
Everything God promised came to pass. He brought forth His people with joy, and His chosen with gladness: and gave them the lands of the heathen: and they inherited the labor of the people.
Even His moving them from the land of Canaan to Egypt and back again, was done so that His people would remain separate while they grew from 70 people (Exodus 1:5) to over a million people. (Exodus 12:37)

Yet God's people sinned against Him so grievously that He again removed them from the land of Canaan by the hand of the Babylonians and Assyrians. Was that the end of the nation of Israel? No!

In 1948, over 2000 years later, God again established the nation of Israel in the land of Canaan. Since that time millions of Jews, world-wide have returned to their God-given land. Has God forgotten His people? No! Even now He remembers His covenant with Abraham.

What lessons do we, as Christians, gain when we ponder God's marvelous works among His people? Just as God remembered His covenant with the Children of Israel, so God will continue to remember it, not only to the natural descendants of Abraham through his son, Isaac, but also to the Gentiles who have been brought into the fold of God.

Will all people of Jewish descent be brought into God's eternal kingdom? No! Only those who come to God through the Lord Jesus Christ, confessing their sin against God, and accepting Christ's sacrificing of Himself, the perfect Lamb of God, will come into God's heavenly kingdom. In other words, those of Jewish descent come to Christ in exactly the same way Gentiles do.

Just as those religious Jews of Christ's day rejected Him, so do many Jews today. Yet, as God prophesied in His Word, many of Jewish descent are returning to Christ, as they understand that He was and is their Messiah.
  24According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them, and hid my face from them.
 25Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name;
 26After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid.
 27When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations;
 28Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there.
 29Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.
(Ezekiel 39:24-29, King James Version)
This prophesy is being fulfilled right before our eyes!

This is the God we serve! He loved us, He saved us, and He will bring us safely into His kingdom where we will live with Him forever!

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

God Bless You,
Linda


Saturday, June 16, 2012

God Provides

 37He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes.
 38Egypt was glad when they departed: for the fear of them fell upon them.
 39He spread a cloud for a covering; and fire to give light in the night.
 40The people asked, and he brought quails, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven.
 41He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a river. 

God Provides

As illustrated in Psalm 105, when God delivered His people, nothing was left out. Considering that the Israelites were slaves, despised by the Egyptian people, one would not have even considered the remote possibility that the Egyptians would heap treasures of silver and gold upon them, glad that they were leaving. Yet, that is exactly what happened.

In other words, God did not simply bring His people out of the land of Egypt, He brought them out as a wealthy people, respected and even feared by the Egyptians. Covered by His cloud of protection by day and fire by night, no evil could possibly harm them. 

How did God feed over a million people in the middle of a dry and thirsty desert land? God sent quails for their meat and manna, the bread of the angels, to sustain them. When no water was to be found, God literally opened the rock and the waters gushed out, running in the dry places like a river.

What about Christians today? Does God provide for us as He did for the Israelites? Yes! That does not mean that we are all wealthy and never hungry, at least as far as the things of this earth, but we are all wealthy with treasures from Heaven--a wealth that is far greater than any wealth known on this earth.

God has placed every single one of His children right where they are, and has given each one a specific purpose. Then, He equips and enables them to do the task He has ordained for them. No matter what way we turn, God moves us through the good and bad things that come our way, gradually shepherding us toward the path for which we were created.

Like sheep, we do not necessarily run along our pre-ordained path, but seem to try every detour we can. Our natural inclination toward sin seems to push and tug us continually in the wrong direction! As He was toward the children of Israel, so He shows patience, guiding and directing us back to the right path. 

Is their no hope for us? As creatures of this earth, we will always struggle in our walk with the Lord. Yet, God, by His infinite love and mercy moves and works among each of us, gradually bringing us closer and closer to Him. As He provided abundantly for His people, the children of Israel, so He provides for us as well.

As we read through today's verses from Psalm 105, let us remember that this same God provides just as faithfully for us, if we are His child! Little are we aware of the forces of evil that surround us and seek to keep us away from God, yet His angels are sent to keep watch over our souls. 

Yes, we can walk with confidence, as a child of God, knowing that our God provides everything we need!

How amazing is that?

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, June 15, 2012

Devastation and Death!

 26He sent Moses his servant; and Aaron whom he had chosen.
 27They shewed his signs among them, and wonders in the land of Ham.
 28He sent darkness, and made it dark; and they rebelled not against his word.
 29He turned their waters into blood, and slew their fish.
 30Their land brought forth frogs in abundance, in the chambers of their kings.
 31He spake, and there came divers sorts of flies, and lice in all their coasts.
 32He gave them hail for rain, and flaming fire in their land.
 33He smote their vines also and their fig trees; and brake the trees of their coasts.
 34He spake, and the locusts came, and caterpillers, and that without number,
 35And did eat up all the herbs in their land, and devoured the fruit of their ground.
 36He smote also all the firstborn in their land, the chief of all their strength. 

Devastation and Death!

Our portion of Scripture from Psalm 105 today gives a quick summary of God's judgments upon the country of Egypt and the resulting devastation and death of the firstborn. The message clearly portrayed by these eleven verses is: God will bring judgment upon those who persecute His children.

From the days of Abraham and onward, God chose a people for Himself. Beginning with just Abraham and Sarah, through their son, Isaac, the nation of Israel now numbered over a million people. Egypt, seeing the increasing growth of this nation chose to commit them to slavery lest they overcome the Egyptians and take over the rule of the country for themselves.

Nothing done on this earth, however, is hidden from the eyes of God. Even in our 21st century, God blesses those who bless the nation of Israel and He curses those who persecute His people. Not only do we see this in the Bible, but we saw it happen to Germany in the 1940's, we see it happen in the Middle East, and we see how God has blessed the United States for their good relationship with Israel.

Is that about to change? Only God knows the future--many opinions have been offered for what is coming, possibly in our own lifetimes, but what all can assert, regardless of their views of the end times, is that God will preserve His people. He will bless those who bless His people and curse those who curse His people, ultimately bringing devastation and death upon them.

Christians today are sometimes referred to as the Israel of God. As Paul states in Romans,
  6 But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, 7 nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.” (Romans 9:6-7, New King James Version)
In other words, not all Jewish people are Christians. Being the physical seed of Abraham does not make them believers. Just as is true of the Gentiles, the Jewish people need to come to God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, God's people today are a mixture of those believers who are of Jewish descent and those who are not.

The church of God today has had relative peace, except in a few countries of the world where the believers are persecuted severely. However, as time progresses, we are likely to see widespread persecution against the true people of God. When that occurs, we can be assured that God sees everything done to His children. 

Just as the nation of Israel was destroyed due to their treatment of God's people, so, too, will God bring devastation and death upon those who harm His people. As Christians, let us remember that this world is not our home. Even if we spend our entire lives under persecution by the enemies of God, heaven awaits us where we will be immersed in the love, peace, and joy, of our dear Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who suffered an ignominious death, that He might save a people for Himself.

Let us remember that Christ is All! There is no greater purpose given to man than to live this life honoring and glorifying God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit!

Go, then, this day in the power and glory of God alone!

God Bless You,
Linda



Thursday, June 14, 2012

He!

 23Israel also came into Egypt; and Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.
 24And he increased his people greatly; and made them stronger than their enemies.
 25He turned their heart to hate his people, to deal subtilly with his servants. 

He!

As we read the three short verses shown above from Psalm 105, we see that there is no doubt who is in control. God, years before the birth of Moses, was already planning for the return of His people to the Promised Land. As a matter of fact, even before Jacob and his entire family fled to Egypt to escape the famine, He had a plan in place to bring them back.

By God's design Joseph, hated by his brothers, was sold by them into slavery, and was carried away to Egypt. Little did they know, this was all by God's plan. Joseph, accused falsely, was thrown into prison, but still remained faithful to God. Little did Joseph know that God had hand-picked him to bring his family into Egypt to escape a coming famine.

It is interesting to note that God, by moving the children of Israel into Egypt for 400 years, kept His people pure. As shepherds they were shunned and despised by the general Egyptian populace, thus avoiding a mixture of the races. They were not to remain there forever; as shown in Psalm 105, God turned the hearts of the Egyptians to hate His people, and to deal subtilly, or craftily, with them. By God's design the stage was being set for the coming of Moses and the return of His people to the Promised Land.

In our day, it is easy to forget that this same God is still turning hearts to achieve His purpose. Nothing that happens is apart from the plan of God. As Christians we can, and should rest comfortably in the knowledge that God's purposes will come to pass exactly as He wills them. As we see unrest in the Mideast and nations (including the United States) on the edge of financial ruin, we know that God is moving and acting among the nations to accomplish His perfect will.

Are we then to sit and do nothing? Are we just robots or pawns in the hands of God? No! Though it is beyond our understanding, we know that God has given us wisdom and understanding which we are to use as we make choices for our own lives. We know that we are not here by chance, but are here by the perfect will of God who knew us even before the creation of this world. 

We each have a specific God-given purpose for our lives; we are not here to live wasted lives of pleasure and emptiness, but rather, are to be busy about our Father's business. Every child of God is a missionary, showing the love and truth of God and His Word to an unbelieving generation. No matter where He puts us, God brings people into our lives who need to hear the great truths and hope made available to the lost through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We carry the greatest knowledge and hope ever imagined to a world that is cascading away from the things of God. May we spend our lives in His service, for we know that He will care for us and provide for us until we have finished the task He has ordained for us. Then, He will gently carry us into His everlasting arms to live with Him forever!

It all seems too good to be true, does it not? What an amazing God we serve!

Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus!

God Bless You,
Linda

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sent by God!

 16Moreover he called for a famine upon the land: he brake the whole staff of bread.
 17He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant:
 18Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron:
 19Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.
 20The king sent and loosed him; even the ruler of the people, and let him go free.
 21He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his substance:
 22To bind his princes at his pleasure; and teach his senators wisdom. 

Sent by God!

How does God work among His people? To answer that question we turn to the Old Testament, for in it we have a glowing example of God's interaction with the children of Israel. Psalm 105 gives us an abbreviated view of God's preserving His people during the time of Joseph, showing us that everything that happened to Joseph was ordered by God.

God called for a famine upon the land; it did not happen by chance, but was ordered by the Lord. Yet, He already had plans in place to preserve His people, for years earlier He sent a man before them who would be instrumental in preserving their lives. Who did He send? He sent Joseph. 

Wait! I thought Joseph ended up in Egypt because his brothers sold him to some Ishmaelites traders who were headed in that direction. Could it be, that though his brothers meant to do evil to Joseph, God was ordering His steps, even then? He was only a lad--probably in his late teens. His feet were hurt with fetters; he was laid in iron. Yet God was trying His servant, Joseph--preparing him for his future.

Wronged in Egypt, Joseph was thrown in prison. It certainly did not seem like God's hand was upon him, but it was! Though he was treated cruelly for a time, yet God raised him up so that he became second in power only to Pharaoh himself. The time came when his brothers (the princes) came to him; he had every opportunity to repay his brothers (his senators) for the the evil they had done to him. 

However, Joseph looked upon his brothers and finally understood the hand of God ordering all of the events of his life. How could he wickedly repay his brothers when his steps had been part of God's great plan to preserve his people?

Does God work among His people in the same way in our day? Is He truly intimately involved in all of the details of our lives, ordering events to occur so that His will might be done? Yes! Like Joseph, we are called to look beyond the immediate causes of our mistreatment or discomfort, and see the hand of God. For God orders our lives to accomplish His almighty purposes and to bring us safely home to Him.

We have a God who is touched by the feelings of our infirmities--who loves us and cares for us more than we can comprehend. Nothing occurs in our lives without the stamp of God's faithful hand ordering our lives that we may grow in the knowledge and grace of our dear Lord and Savior. Christ is all! Nothing else matters.

It seems to take a lifetime for us to truly come the the acquiescence that our lives belong to God. The things of this life are meaningless in light of eternity. Only what is done for Christ will last!

Let us go, then, in the grace and power of the Lord and live this day for His honor and glory alone--sent by God!

God Bless You,
Linda


Saturday, June 09, 2012

A Thousand Generations!

 7He is the LORD our God: his judgments are in all the earth.
 8He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.
 9Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac;
 10And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant:
 11Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance:
 12When they were but a few men in number; yea, very few, and strangers in it.
 13When they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people;
 14He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes;
 15Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm. 

A Thousand Generations!

How long is a thousand generations? There are varying opinions--between 20 and 100 years. If a generation is 20 years, 1000 generations is 20,000 years; if a generation is 100 years, then 1000 generations is 100,000 years.

I do not think the psalmist actually had a specific number of years in mind when he wrote this Psalm, but was using a definite for an indefinite. In other words, God's faithfulness endures forever! We see that marvelously displayed in the example of the Israelites. How many times, since the time of Abraham, has Satan tried to exterminate the Jews--God's chosen people? Even now, many of the Arabs in the Middle East would like nothing better than to exterminate the "Little Satan," their name for the nation of Israel.

Yet, time and time again, God has faithfully preserved His people. Even though, in this day, the greater majority of those of Jewish descent do not believe that Jesus was the Messiah, God still protects and delivers them. Those of us who are Gentiles have been grafted in as adopted children, sometimes called the "Israel of God."

Our God is faithful, preserving, helping, and delivering us from untold attempts by Satan and His angels to destroy us, or at least destroy our testimony for the Lord. They know that time is short. They know that at the end of time, their doom is sealed, but they would like nothing better than to bring as many men, women, and children with them as they can.

It is a sobering thought, is it not? But, one only has to stop and examine one's own life to realize how effective the attempts of Satan are. How often are we distracted and driven away from the things of the Lord? How often do we find ourselves immersed in the cares of this life with no thought for the things of God? Do you really think that happens just by chance? Do you really think you are so unimportant that Satan will not bother with you?

Satan does not want one single believer to enter heavens gates unscathed! We, as Christians, need to take our walk with the Lord seriously, for Satan certainly does! Let us pray, today, that we will shake off the cares of this life and immerse ourselves in our walk with the Lord. Reading Psalm 105 is a great way to begin. 

As we ponder God's faithfulness to us, let us sing, pray, and rejoice in such a marvelous Savior. 

This is the day that the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!

God Bless You,
Linda



Friday, June 08, 2012

No New Post!

Just a note - I will not be writing a new devotion every day this summer, so please take advantage of the archives when there is no new post. Right now I have 1797 posts in the archives, dating as far back as 2009, so you have quite a few devotions from which to choose.

Thanks for reading this blog, and may God richly bless you as you endeavor to love and serve Him.

Linda

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Seek the Lord

 1O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.
 2Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.
 3Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.
 4Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.
 5Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;
 6O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen. 

Seek the Lord

As we begin Psalm 105 in our "First Love" series, the Psalmist calls all of God's children to "Seek the Lord" and His strength. What, in this life, can we possibly do successfully apart from the Lord? What, in our own personal lives is there that is so unimportant that God would not come to our aid?

I wonder how many of us, as Christians, truly call upon the strength of the Lord in all we do? I wonder how many of us suffer untold troubles because we try to live our lives in our own strength? When you really take a moment to stop and view your life and all of its complications, you begin to realize that, as a Christians, it is all about Christ! There is nothing of any value--eternal value, that is--apart from the Lord Jesus Christ.

If you find your life haphazardly flowing along the turbulent rivers of life, where do you start in your quest to become more like Christ? Let us look at the suggestions of the writer of Psalm 105.

*Give thanks unto the LORD
*Call upon the name of the Lord
*Make the deeds of the Lord known among those you see each day
*Sing to the Lord--sing Psalms to the Lord
*Talk of all the wondrous works of God
*Glory in the name of the Lord
*Rejoice as you seek the Lord
*Seek the Lord and His strength
*Seek the face of the Lord forever
*Remember the marvelous works that the Lord has done for you
*Marvel at the wonders of the Lord
*Marvel at the judgments of the Lord

That is a pretty good place to start, is it not? Take some time today and meditate upon that list as you ponder all that God is, all that He does, and all that He will do for you! That, dear friends, is the secret of the Christian life--it is all about the Lord, and nothing about us!

Seek the Lord, and find in Him everything necessary for peace, joy, and eternal life with Him forever!

God Bless You,
Linda


Friday, June 01, 2012

As Long as I Live!

 33I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.
 34My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.
 35Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless thou the LORD, O my soul. Praise ye the LORD. 

As Long as I Live!

How long will you serve the Lord? How long will you sing praise to God? At first these questions seem to be redundant. We have given our hearts to God, our First Love, and, of course, we will serve Him forever. 

I would call that overconfidence!

I base my thoughts on the times in which we live, and on the state of God's church today. God's true church is spread out across this world in thousands and thousands of splintered congregations, and yet what affect do they really seem to be having on the ungodly of this age? I fear that too many have latched unto God, because who would not want to go to heaven, and then have shaken the dust off their feet and plunged forward to live this life with gusto and get all the money, honor, and glory they can.

Do you think I am being too hard on the church? I hope I am wrong, but I fear that, not only am I right, but we will all know one way or another shortly! Does anyone not realize that our world is on the brink of disaster? The economic state of this world is on the verge of total collapse. What then? 

Christians, who have been somewhat respected 50 years ago, then basically ignored 30 years ago, held in suspicion 10 years ago, are soon to be hated and feared. Slowly we see some very uncomfortable signs. Hate crimes, targeted against racial prejudice in the latter 1900's will soon be foisted upon true believers. Because we believe the Bible and hold to its laws and commandments, we will be considered unloving toward those the Bible addresses as immersed in sin.

I fear the time is quickly approaching when we will have to make a choice to serve God or to serve the passions of this world. When we look upon the world and see the "giants" will we, like the children of Israel cower back and say God is not powerful enough to protect me. He is too busy, or does not really love me, or will not come to my aid when I need Him the most. How much do you really love God?

Have you found the sweet meditation with the Lord spoken of by the psalmist in verse 34? Are you weary of the state of this world? Are you weary of evil being called good and good being called evil? Are you ready to say, "Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more."?

I pray that as you ponder these questions, you will rise up and say, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord"--as long as I live!

God Bless You,
Linda

Just a note: I will be gone for a few days. I encourage you to go back through my archives. At this time I now have 1795 posts in my archives, some of which have appeared on my web site, but most of which have not! So, please take some time and look back -- this is one time that looking back may very well help you to look forward!