Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Devotions: Because He is Good

The Lord is good,
A stronghold in the day of trouble,
And He knows those who take refuge in Him.
Nahum 1:7 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

This verse builds like a tower. The first, most important element is that the Lord is good. There is no evil in Him and He can be fully trusted. We can know that what He does is best and rest in His power and sovereignty. Second, because He is good, He can be our stronghold when trouble comes. He can be that place of refuge, our protection and shelter when we face hard times. A stronghold is a place to seek safety, like in a time of war. When the battles of this life wage, we can seek safety in God because He is good. Lastly, He knows those who do take refuge in Him. This knowing is intimate and personal, not just a number on a list. He knows us because we take refuge in Him. Another translation says He is close to those who take refuge in Him. He isn’t just a wall to protect us. He is that strong arm of a husband to rest in, a mother’s embrace to comfort, a father’s wisdom to guide. He knows us intimately, knows what we need and desire, and will take care of us because He is good. Trust in the Lord, take refuge in Him because He is good.

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Monday, May 20, 2019

Do You Sing a Lie?

As Christians, we will acknowledge that to lie is wrong, and we would balk at the idea that we are living a lie. That is hypocrisy. Of course, we avoid the “bad” sins, and even most of the not-so-bad ones. Yet do our words match our lives? Specifically, do we live as if we agree with what we sing on Sunday morning?

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Devotions: A Promise to Restore

and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

We need to be careful when reading the Bible, especially in the Old Testament, that we don’t take verses out of context and misinterpret or misapply them. This verse is part of promise and warning God gave Solomon, stating that if he and his people remained true to God, He would bless them, but if they rebelled He would punish them. But even then if they turned in repentance, He would hear and restore them. While this is true for Christians individually, there is nothing to denote that it applies to our nation, especially since as Christians we are no longer bound by a specific nation, but are scattered throughout the world. But for individual people, no matter what we have done, if we will turn, repent and return to God He will hear us and heal us from our sins. This promise continues through out the Bible, He will not turn away a penitent heart. Our sin may be terrible, our scars deep, but He is faithful to heal us if we will turn away from our sins and turn back to Him. What have you done? Are you afraid to face God? He loves you, He will not turn you away. Nothing you have done is too bad. Turn back to Him and repent. He will restore you.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Devotions: The Way at Dawn

Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning;
For I trust in You;
Teach me the way in which I should walk;
For to You I lift up my soul.
Psalm 143:8 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

This is a psalm of deliverance and guidance written by David. He is beseeching God to deliver him from his enemies, but also to give him guidance in what he should do and how he should act. David is obviously distraught over the issue, whatever it is, and is seeking God’s comfort. To hear God’s lovingkindness in the morning has many connotations. First, it is important to look for God’s compassion and love in everything He says, even and especially in discipline and rebuke. Second, it is important that our waking thoughts be of God, especially His love and mercy, for that will change the course of our day. Third, trials and suffering are like night, a time of darkness, solitude, even fear, but dawn is the breaking point when those circumstances turn around. I believe David is also looking for that turning point, asking God to bring that change of circumstances to relieve his soul. David looks to all of this because he trusts God. He doesn’t trust God because of it, but rather the opposite, he looks for it because he knows it will be there. This verse is a transition in the psalm where David turns from petitions of deliverance to guidance. This request is one we should utter every day of our lives, not just when we are in trouble. We should continually seek God’s ways, to learn from Him and imitate Him, so that we can walk as He does. He is the One we have given our souls to (in salvation) so we should look to Him for guidance. It doesn’t do much good to say we have given our hearts to God if we refuse to follow Him and walk as He does. We need to be true to our word and our faith, we need to walk where we have put our hearts. Look for God’s lovingkindness, especially at dawn, and give Him your soul so that you may walk in His ways.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Devotions: Light or Darkness

I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.
John 12:46 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Jesus came to bring us light so that we don’t have to stay in the darkness, but where did this darkness come from? Why are we in darkness to begin with? The answer is that in the beginning, when God created the universe, everything was perfect, but then man sinned and all of humanity, present and future, was cast out of God’s perfect light into the darkness of sin and death. That is what sin does, and there is no way out of it except through a Savior. There is no way to have light, to be in the light, apart from Christ. We need His ransom for our sin to redeem us from darkness and free us to be in the light. That is the long and short of it. Every human, no matter how good, begins life in darkness. We must give our lives to Christ in order to change that. We must choose to leave the darkness behind. Are you in the light? Have you chosen to leave the darkness?

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Monday, May 13, 2019

Christian Living 101

Almost everything comes with a handbook, manual, guide, etc. except life. The Bible is a handbook for life, but it is so big. If only there were a condensed version. Well, there is!

Psalm 101 gives great insight on what the upright do, how they should live:

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Thankful Thursday!

Matthew 11:28-30 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

I love the way God works! These were the last verses in my reading yesterday, and it was just what I needed for the day! I corresponded with my prayers and wisdom from a book on healing, and got me through some moments of trial through out the day! God is so good! He is faithful to give us what we need when we need it!

Devotions: The Blessings of Dependence

He will not fear evil tidings;
His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
Psalm 112:7 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

This entire psalm is about the prosperity of one who fears the Lord. This fear is not terror but reverential awe and respect. Those who have a proper fear of God will be prosperous. That does not mean that we will always have an abundance of wealth and no troubles. That is not how the Bible defines prosperity. It means we will have abundant spiritual life, peace with others and with God, a good reputation, lack of fear of others or the future, and wisdom. All of this is encompassed in the idea of being steadfast in trust of the Lord, and this comes through prayer. We cannot trust God if we are not connected to Him, lack of prayers means lack of security. Prayer also means dependence on God, and if we are dependent on Him it means we trust Him and leave the future in His hands. We will not worry about what will happen because we know God is in control. Because we are not worried, we will sleep better, have less stress, and our relationships with others will be less strained. Prayer is the foundation of it all. We need God, and we will never have security or peace if we try to maintain control on our own. It is so tempting to think that the only way to have peace and security is to have control, but that is the world’s wisdom. God’s wisdom says we can only have that if we allow Him to have complete control, if we depend on Him. Do you trust God completely? Do you allow Him to have control of every detail of your life? Ask Him to help you give up control, to help you trust Him, to help you depend on Him. And keep praying!

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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Devotions: The First and Last Line of Defense

With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,
Ephesians 6:18 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

This is not a suggestion, but a command. We are to pray always, for everything. Nothing is too small or insignificant for God to take notice. He wants us to come to Him with everything, to keep that link open all the time. It helps grow our hearts, keeps us in line with Him, keeps us humble and thankful, and also reminds us of our need for Him. All of these are essential for godly growth and maintaining our relationship with Him. When it says to pray “in the Spirit”, it refers to allowing the Spirit to guide our prayers. It requires having a heart that is open to the Spirit’s leading (including conviction of sin), and also a heart that regularly confesses sin. Prayer is not only the battle ground, it is the battle. That is how we fight the schemes of the devil. That is why this verse says to be on the alert. We have to keep watch, defensive against the enemy’s subtle attacks. We also need to be attentive to the Spirit’s guidance, ready to act when He says to act, and speak what He instructs. We have to keep a humble, sensitive heart. One of the main things we are to pray for is other believers. We need each other, so we need to lift each other up regularly. We are all in a spiritual battle, and our prayers for others helps them wage their war. But we need to persevere. It is not easy. The enemy will do all he can to keep us away from prayer because he knows that is where he loses. He will use distractions, busyness, tiredness, whatever he has to to keep us thinking about this world and forgetful of the spiritual. In the words of Lysa Terkeurst, if he can isolate us, he can influence us. We always need to be on guard with prayer because the enemy never sleeps and we never have a time when we don’t need God. It is our first and last line of defense. Stay alert, stay humble, and keep praying!

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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Devotions: Becoming Dependent

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
James 5:16 NASB

Prayer is the cure-all for anything which ails a Christian. It may not change our circumstances immediately, or ever, but it will heal our hearts and change our perspective. Prayer is one of the main signs of a heart that trusts and depends on God. If we are praying to God for help, healing, wisdom, or thanksgiving, it shows that we acknowledge His power over our lives and His provision for all we need. Those who don’t pray either don’t believe God cares, or believe that they don’t need Him. Both are sad states for a believer. Another sign of dependence on God is confessing our sin because it shows we acknowledge we are not perfect and that God is the answer to our sinful state. Confessing our sin to other believers also shows our need for others to keep us accountable, encourage and pray for us. Both of these signs are the key to being healed. They do not mean that we will always be healed if we have both of them, but we cannot be healed without them. We need God and we need others. Denying those is choosing to remain in bondage. And we have to have them both together because harboring sin in our hearts closes the prayer “link” to God. He cannot hear our prayers if they are clouded with sin. We must have clean, confessed hearts in order to have effective prayers. Do you depend on God? Are you willing to allow others to help you? Make confession and prayer regular parts of your day.

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