Sunday, October 7, 2018

He Is My Refuge

My Old Testament reading on a recent morning was Psalms 73 and 74. All of it was beautiful, plaintiff and inquiring, but one verse among them all, Psalms 73:28 stood out to me. It reads "But my chief good is to be near You, God; I have chosen you, Lord God, to be my refuge, and I shall recount all your works."

As I thought about the verse, I realized, thank you God, that His greatest work in my life was to choose me to give refuge. Not only did He choose me, but He had to make a way because I am not, on my own, worthy to be in His Presence.

In John 6, verse 44, Jesus says it plainly, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day."

I may have made my decision for Christ, but it could never have happened unless God had chosen me first. Thank you, God, and I know that I have and will have many more works in my life that I can recount to others that You have chosen.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

"I Am He"

As Jesus knew His time on earth was coming to a close and thought of the things He was about to endure, what must have been going through His mind? The answer is the condition of His disciples and the eventuality of us.

In John 17, verse 15, it reads "I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil one." In other words, we have a job to do, one that was laid out for us before the foundation of the world. Some might say that He was talking about the disciples and apostles in this verse, but continuing to verse 20 we see that we were in His thoughts also...."I do not pray for these alone,  but also for those who will believe in Me through their word...."

Jesus had been talking to His disciples about what was going to happen and He knew they were frightened and really didn't understand that this had to happen and that Jesus was going to "let" it happen. God's word says that Jesus said that they did not take His life, but he "layed it down".

John 10:18 says, "No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father."

When the time came.....I noticed a difference in the account of the arrest in my readings in John and that difference, to me, just further indicated Jesus' concern for the mindset of His disciples who were going to build His church. I don't know why I had'nt notice this before.

In chapter 18 of John, starting in verse 4, it reads "Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him went forward and said to them, 'Whom are you seeking?' They answered Him, 'Jesus of Nazareth.' Jesus said to them, 'I am He." And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. Now when He said to them 'I am He,' they drew back and fell to the ground.

Jesus divinity and power could not have been more evident at the time, especially to His disciples. It seems as though Peter took it as a sign to fight and pulled his sword and attacked, but Jesus rebuked him with these words..."Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given me?"

I am confident of His divinity and comforted by His prayers for me. I am sure I am going to falter and get weary and wonder how I will survive, but I know He has a provision for me. That provision is the Holy Spirit and my prayer life.

In Luke when Jesus found His disciples asleep while He prayed, He woke them with these words, "Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into tempation." Luke 22:46

Lord, help me to remember to bathe everything in "prayer and supplication in the Spirit..." Eph. 6:18

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Take Up Your Cross

In the ninth chapter of Luke, the 23rd verse, Jesus says to those who want to follow Him, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me."

That has always been such an ominous verse to me. With visions of Christ on the cross, reinforced by scenes from 'The Passion of Christ' it has always seemed such an impossible task for a mere mortal, and imperfect mortal at that, to accomplish.

But, as I contemplated God's word and it's implication for me and prayed about what God wanted of me, I began to see a picture. The verse says to pick up my cross daily. I have come to understand that, as a believer indwelled by the Holy Spirit, God has promised to guide, convict and direct my life. His word says, "Acknowledge Him in all your ways and He will direct your path."

To take up my cross daily, I am careful not to ignore or grieve the Holy Spirit, but to listen to His conviction and correction, repent, ask for forgiveness based on the work of my Saviour and nail that offense to the cross and move on in the work before me.

Does that mean it is over and done and I am good to go? No, even the offense crucified today may require it again tomorrow. That is why Jesus tells us to pick up our cross daily and follow Him. And, it is why I can continue in the knowledge that He died and was crucified for my sins...past, present and future.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Another Generation

In Judges, after Joshua's death, we find in Chapter 2, verse 10, this notation and, personally, it is one that scares me.....

"When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel."

The book goes on to tell how the new generation "did evil in the sight of the Lord" and worshiped other gods and it angered the Lord and He "delivered them into the hands of plunderers."

The Jewish people had been told to write the law on their hearts and to pass it on to their children. Obviously, this did not happen. Did they not acknowledge God as He provided for them in both war and peace after bringing them to the land promised to their forefathers? Did they forget what He had done or just take it for granted?

Do our children know the Lord? Are we careful to acknowledge God in the many blessings and mercies that we receive? I was thinking that, yes, I do, but do I share that acknowledgement. It isn't enough to say a prayer of thanks to God, my children and my friends must know that my God provides for me in so many ways, including my salvation and eternity.

In the New Testament, Jesus said the "harvest is great, but the workers are few." We must spread the Good News in both Word and deed. I want to make sure that when I am "gathered to my fathers"  the next generation within my territory knows the Lord and all that He has done for me! I don't want to be any part of the reason God might have for delivering those who come up after me to the plunderers!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Secret of Forgiveness

For years I searhed for the secret of being able to forgive those who do their best to destroy me in one fashion or another. I found, in the last chapter of Genesis a verse that should be the foundation of all your contemplation of forgiveness.

 In Genesis 50:20 Joseph said to his brothers who had sold him into slavery in Egypt, "But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as IT IS THIS DAY, to save many people alive."

As I look back on the wrongs done to me in the past, instead of harboring hate and resentment in my heart against those who did them - as I used to- I try to think of them in the light of this verse. I am not saying it is an easy thing to do or that I have been able to make it happen immediately in all situations, but it is necessary if we are to be in right relationship with God. It helps me to catalogue the good that resulted, good that would not have been had the evil not been first, evil that changed the course of my life in a direction charted by God.

It is a given that this will be our lot in life here on earth thanks to Adam and Eve. When they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they sealed mankind's fate. We cannot have knowledge of good without first knowing evil. What God wants for us is that we choose good when we experience the other and the best way to start is with forgiveness.

Without a doubt, the greatest example of this in found in Christ upon the cross. After being nailed to the cross between two theives, the Man who had led a perfect and sinless life, is recorded in Luke 23:34 as saying, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."

What they all meant for evil against Jesus, God meant for good in order to bring about the very day, so that many people would live in God's presence for eternity.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Get Out Of The Boat!

Matthew 14:28-30
"And Peter answered Him and said, 'Lord if it is You, command me to come to You on the water' So He said, 'Come.' And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, 'Lord save me!'

I guess this just puzzles me when I read it. Peter wasn't scared because he was doing something totally impossible for man (walking on water), but he was scared of something I am sure he dealt with on a regular basis as a fisherman. We have to remember that if God calls us to get out of the boat and we choose to respond as Peter, Abraham and others did, there will be nothing else to fear and , especially, nothing within the humanly common circumstances  or surroundings experienced in the affirmative response to His calling.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Are there any who seek God?

There were a few verses that stood out to me in my reading in Psalms today...

Psalm 14:2,3  " The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside. They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, no, not one."

Psalm 16:11 " You will show me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

Psalm 17:15  "As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness."

I think of the great and catastrophic circle of history.  I thank God for His promise in Genesis, Chapter 8, which reads, "I will never again curse the ground for man's sake, although the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done." When I look at the state of our humanity, I wonder how much worse it could have been in Noah's time? Are we, in general, not as wicked as humanity was then?

I have made a decision to be more along the line of Noah and his family. As for me, I am going to continue to seek God and pray that He will "show me the path of life" until I  am "satisfied when I awake" in His likeness.