Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Devotions: The Depth of God's Compassion

But he hesitated. So the men seized his hand and the hand of his wife and the hands of his two daughters, for the compassion of the Lord was upon him; and they brought him out, and put him outside the city.

Genesis 19:16 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The man who hesitated was Lot. Angels of God had come to his city to take him out of it before it was utterly destroyed. Not five righteous men could be found within the city, so it was wiped off the face of the earth. None, that is, except Lot. God had compassion on him and didn’t want him to be destroyed for the sins of others. So He sent angels to take Lot and his family out of the city. Apparently either Lot didn’t believe that God would destroy the city, or he was reluctant to give up his home and comforts. Compromise had entered his life as a result of the influences of those he was around. He was still righteous and loved by God, but he was beginning to fall, all the more reason for him to leave. What is astounding is that God removed him from the city because of His compassion. That compassionate love brought God to action. The depth of His love was so great that He forcibly saved Lot and his family. He could not bear for them to perish
That is the same loving-kindness He has for us. There may be times when we are in company that will destroy us, so God forcibly removes us. It could be a lost job or house, death or illness that require the family to move. Maybe it isn’t punishment or torment but God’s loving hand taking you out of a bad situation. Where have you witnessed God’s compassion?

Monday, March 19, 2018

Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth

It is always helpful to have instruction manuals. Even if one doesn’t use directions to put something together, it still helps to have a resource for trouble shooting, general maintenance, and customer service contacts. There will always be a time when we need help, whether we are willing to admit it or not. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an instruction manual for life? Some basic guidelines for how a Christian is supposed to live? Well, there is!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Devotions: What God Has Made

This is the day which the Lord has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

God made everything. He is also all powerful, perfectly good and loving, supremely just and righteous, and altogether holy. Because of these traits, He can make nothing that is not like that. All the bad things in nature and humanity are the result of sin, God didn’t make them that way. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Because of that, we can trust that what God has, what He has made, what He gives us, is good. We don’t have to worry about how it will affect us, or what bad will come with it. We can rejoice in this day because God made it! He ordained that we live this day. And because He made it and us to live it, it is good and we can be glad! Start your day remembering all the good God has for you, thinking of all the good that can come in the day, rejoicing over God’s love, goodness and sovereign control. Let the bad stuff worry about itself. Focus on the good!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Devotions: The Greatness of God

Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart,
In the company of the upright and in the assembly.
Great are the works of the Lord;
They are studied by all who delight in them.

Psalm 111:1-2 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Great are the works of the Lord…this subject alone should conjure up more thoughts, praises and thanksgiving than could be recorded. What God has done just in our individual lives, let alone in history, is vast and beyond scope. Take a few minutes and list every good thing you have and every way the Lord has worked for your benefit…you won’t run out of material. Now think of all the great things God has done in the Bible, in history, in the lives of those you know. His ways and works are beyond description. We have so many reasons to praise Him! They should lift our voices when we are with others, sharing testimonies of how He has blessed us. The word “studied” in the last line could also be translated “sought out” and denotes remembering or meditating on it. If we delight in what God has done, His blessings for us, we will remember them and dwell on them. We will praise Him for them in the midst of the assembly! The rest of this psalm talks about the goodness of the Lord, take some time now to read it and refresh your memory.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Devotions: The Glory of Nature

The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.

Psalm 19:1 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

All one needs to see evidence of God is a glimpse of nature. The grandeur of mountain lakes, the majesty of ocean shores, the vastness of the universe, all declare the glory of their creator. One only has to look at the intricacies of a rose, the mightiness of a sycamore, or the hardiness of a cactus to see the purpose and care taken in their design. His existence is made obvious in what He has created because He put Himself into what He has made. His beauty, creativity, and purpose are all a part of what He has made. Creation would never deny its Creator, and if people stopped declaring His praise even the rocks would cry out in worship! We need nothing more to be convinced of His existence than nature. Let it speak to you of His glory!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Who Is God to You?

Every person has at least a little different view of God. The reasons for those differing perspectives can vary greatly, based on background, family, society, education etc. No one perceives God completely as He truly is because none of us has every fully known Him. He is vastly different from us in so many ways that we could never in this life fully know or understand Him. But how many of our perceptions of God are actually wrong? How important is it to have a correct view of God?

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Devotions: The Flip Side of Discipline

For the Lord will not reject forever,
For if He causes grief,
Then He will have compassion
According to His abundant lovingkindness.

Lamentations 3:32 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The fact that we suffer the consequences of our sin and the discipline of God is a very striking reality. It is not reasonable to think that we could disobey God and get away with it. That idea utterly disregards God’s Word and character. But we can take heart because that is not the end. God will not always be scolding and disciplining. He will not be angry or (seem like) He has turned away from us forever. He will have compassion. He has promised to. And not only that, but His compassion is in proportion to His lovingkindness which is limitless. God is just, but He is also love. This will end and we will enter into His grace once again. It is also important for us to know that He does not willingly afflict us. He may do or allow it intentionally, but not because He desires to hurt us. As a father disciplines his child, so God disciplines us, not wanting to harm but wanting to teach and instruct in righteousness. God is also holy, and He cannot tolerate sin without violating His character. He cannot make us like Him and yet allow us to remain sinful. We have to take them both in accord and trust God’s goodness. If you find yourself under the hand of God take heart, this is not the end. It will get better, and He still loves you!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Devotions: Hiding From God

When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away
Through my groaning all day long.

Psalm 32:3 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The New Living translates the first line as “When I refused to confess my sin.” The psalm goes on to talk about how terrible his suffering was as a result of his hidden sin because God’s hand was heavy on him. He fully felt the oppression and discipline of the Lord, physically, mentally and emotionally. It was like being in a desert with no relief. But then David confessed his sin to God, he admitted his wrong and was forgiven. He goes on to encourage everyone to openly pray to God, to readily confess their sin because He will forgive, and those who do and are forgiven are blessed. Then God becomes a shield, a hiding place, our Deliverer. Only after that will God instruct us how to live and give us counsel. Before we confess we are prideful and will not listen to God, but after we confess we have humbled ourselves and are willing to listen. That is why His hand is heavy on us, He hates sin and what it does to us. Like a good Father He disciplines us so that we will learn to obey, learn to listen. Do you feel God’s hand heavy on you? Are you hiding your sin? Confess and enter His blessed presence!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Devotions: Futile Attempts

No man can by any means redeem his brother
Or give to God a ransom for him—
For the redemption of his soul is costly,
And he should cease trying forever—
That he should live on eternally,
That he should not undergo decay.

Psalm 49:7-9 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

It is futile for us to try to pay for the debt of sin. It is absolutely impossible. We could never do it for ourselves or for another person. There is no way, humanly possible, for a person to avoid death or hell. That is the point, with man it is impossible, but with God all is possible. Not only that, but it can only happen through and by God. It is only through a saving faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God that any can escape the penalty due for our sin. And that faith has to be individual. We cannot believe for another person, only ourselves. It is a single-person-only coupon, not to be copied, duplicated or reused. We each have to have our own, and it has to be genuine. It must be a true faith that results in a transformation of the heart, not a mere intellectual acknowledgement. Before Jesus came to earth, all humanity lived under this over-arching futility, the desire to be saved from eternity with no way of achieving it. No amount of fortune, success, good deeds, etc. can save a person from the inevitable. With Jesus, that escape became available to all who will accept His offer. Are you counting on something other than Jesus to save you or someone else? Will you accept His offer to take the place of futile striving?

Monday, March 5, 2018

Follow The Signs

The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis has always been one of my favorite books, partly because it so beautifully mirrors the daily Christian life. There are so many analogies and parallels to draw from this simple but profound story. The basic plot is that Jill and Eustace are called to Narnia to rescue the King’s lost son. Aslan gives them particular “signs” to follow in order to find him and we see the consequences they meet when they don’t. I encourage you to read or listen to it if you haven’t!