1. Promises From God's Word
"Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever." Psalm 119:160
For quite some time I have been thinking of writing our daily devotions on precious promises from God's Word. So, a couple months ago I began reading through the Bible and writing down the reference for each promise I come to. As we begin looking at these promises I thought about how a promise is only as good as the truth of the person making that promise. I could promise my children that I would leave great earthly riches to them in my will, but since I am not a wealthy person, this promise would not come true. Sometimes our promises are changed through circumstances beyond our control. Many years ago we planned a trip to the zoo and got up that day and it was pouring rain so we had to postpone our trip and the children were greatly disappointed. As we look at promises from God's Word it is imperative that we begin with faith that God's Word is true. This verse in the book of Psalms tells us that God's Word is true from the beginning and endures for ever. That span covers all eternity. Some of the promises are made with conditions on our part, but God is in control and there are never circumstances beyond His control. Let's begin this New Year with some of God's precious promises.
2. The First Promise Or Blessing
“And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” Genesis 1:29-31
Genesis is the book of beginnings, a great place to start a New Year. As I began reading in the book of Genesis looking for God's promises I noticed these verses in the first chapter. God created the heavens and earth, sun, moon and stars, plants and all the living creatures and then on the sixth day He created man. He took a rib from Adam and created Eve and placed them in the Garden of Eden. There, He provided all their needs. God created fruits and vegetables for them to eat. A mist came up from the ground and watered the plants and a river flowed through the garden. People today talk about how much better organic foods are. Can you imagine how wonderful the food must have been in the Garden of Eden? "And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it." (Genesis 2:15) God provided the garden and Adam took care of the garden and had one simple commandment. He was not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Adam had all the food of the garden, but he and Eve disobeyed God's command and sin brought a curse to the world. They were driven from the beautiful garden of Eden and had to work hard with the sweat on their faces, fighting through thorns and thistles to raise their food. God did not break His promise. He still gave them plants for food, but they had to work hard, against the curse, to raise their food. God still provides. We may have to work hard in this sin-cursed world, but God still provides.
3. A Fruitful New Year
“"Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." II Peter 1:1-8”
First of all I want to look at verse 4, "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature..." As we enter into a new year, we can truly say that we don't know what this new year will bring. The nature of the world seems to grow worse and worse with the passing of time. But Peter tells us we are given "exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature..." We don't have to follow the course set by this world, but we can follow the path of the divine nature from God above. And just as the world gives guidelines to follow to reach the highest goals, Peter gives us steps to follow to be fruitful "in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." We begin with faith in God. We are saved through faith and we walk by faith. Peter tells us to add to our faith, virtue, whiich is goodness and righteousness. Next, we are to add knowledge, which we can do by reading God's Word, and then temperance, which is self-control. As we work on these things in our lives, patience will surely follow, as will godliness, and brotherly kindness. All of these things will lift us up to charity or love towards one another. Then Peter declares, "For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." In these few verses Peter has reminded us of the "exceeding great and precious promises" and given us a step-by-step guide to having a fruitful life.
4. Happy New Year!
A Successful New Year
"This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." Joshua 1:8
Did you know that this is the only verse in the Bible that uses the word, "success"? If we back up a few verses, we see that the Lord is talking to Joshua, the new leader after the death of Moses. "Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest." (Joshua 1:2-7) The Lord gives Joshua and the Children of Israel some amazing promises and although some of the promises in the Old Testament were for the Children of Israel, I believe that we can follow verse 8 for a prosperous and successful New Year. "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." God has shown me over and over that His Word makes a difference in my life. When I take time to read and meditate things go better during the day, and when trouble does come, the Holy Spirit brings the Word of God back to my mind and helps me through my problems. Do you want the promise of a successful and prosperous New Year? Then take time each day to read from God's precious Word. If you read just 4 chapters each day you can read the entire Bible through in one year. Open God's Word and see what a difference it can make in your life. Happy New Year!
5. Great And Mighty Things For 2013
“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” Jeremiah 33:3
We shout the message, "Happy New Year" but many are coming into the New Year with less hope and more distress than in years past. Many are still without jobs and don't know how they are going to pay their bills. Days may seem dark and dreary but we can find hope in the Lord. The Lord gave these words to the prophet Jeremiah while he was in a dark and dreary prison. Look at the next few verses at some of the "mighty things" God would bring to pass... "Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth. And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first. And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me. And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it." (Jeremiah 33:6-9) These are some of the same things we may be looking for this year, "health and cure", "peace and truth", cleansing from our iniquity, and the goodness of the Lord. As we seek the Lord for these things for 2013, let's keep this verse in mind. "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not."
6. To Soar With Eagles
"Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:28-31
We have left 2012 behind us. It may have been a good year for you, or it may have been a year of troubles and trials. No matter the outcome of the year, you may be tired and weary. As stated in verse 30 above, even the young get weary and fall. But we have this promise from the Lord, our Creator is never weary. Let's read verse 28 again, "Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding." That's a wonderful promise in itself. We serve a God, the only living God, Creator of the universe, and He never grows weary. Sometimes we get so busy, that even in our work for the Lord we may grow weary, but the promise extends beyond God's awesome mighty power. "He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Have you not heard? We can soar with wings as eagles. Wait on the Lord and let Him increase your strength. We may be faint and weary, and we may fall, but when we wait on the Lord, He will renew our strength. What a promise!
7. The First Commandment With Promise
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1-3
If we look back to the verses found in Exodus 20:1-17 we can find the Ten Commandments. In short, they are...
1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain
4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy
5. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee
6. Thou shalt not kill
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery
8. Thou shalt not steal
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness
10. Thou shalt nto covet
We can turn to Deuteronomy 5:16 and read "Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee." Some of the other commandments have additional statements in the verses above but as Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus, "Honour thy father and thy mother..." is the "first commandment with promise". God wants us to honor and respect our parents. Those who don't respect their parents, will have a difficult time learning to respect all other authority. (Of course, I need to add that parents also need to follow God's Word in bringing up their children.) My point today is, in order for us to claim God's promises for our lives, we must follow His Word.
8. He Never Changes
“For I am the LORD, I change not;..." The beginning of Malachi 3:6
I painted my bedroom last summer and we still have boxes of "stuff" that has yet to find a new home. As we sat and sorted through some of the boxes we bagged up the trash and made another box for personal papers to use to start fires in the woodstove. Among the rubble, Mike found some buried treasure. He found some old home movies and put them in and we took a break and renewed some memories from 1994 to 1996. We watched the children play at White Lake, and sled down snowy hills. We saw several birthdays and some Christmas parties. I watched my Dad turn the six upside down on his cake and pretend he was 91 instead of 61. He had no way of knowing that the Lord would call him home at 67. The children were laughing and playing, and now some of them have children of their own. We have seen many changes in the last 14 years. I noticed how all of us have gotten so much older and so much bigger. We all change, and the changes are not always for the best. As I thought on the passing years, I whispered a prayer of thanks that the Lord never changes. He is the same today, as He was yesterday, and just the same as He was in the beginning. And I can find hope and comfort knowing that He will always be the same. There are some things we can't depend on in the world today because so many things are "up in the air" with the government. We can't always depend on people we love, because they may change as they grow older. But we can depend on the Lord. If you want something to hang on to in the coming year, claim Hebrews 13:8 as a promise, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."
9. The Gift Of God
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23
We just came through the Christmas season and experienced the joy of giving. I enjoy giving. I am not an online shopper. I like to go to the stores and look for special gifts that will be just right for those special family members and friends. Many times I don't have anything in mind, but I like to look and find something new and unique. As I was reading this week, I came to this verse in the book of Romans. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” We are all born in sin. Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, and all of mankind has been born with a sin nature. God's Word states plainly, "For the wages of sin is death..." In the Old Testament, sin required a sacrifice, a lamb was slain to cover the sins of God's people. In the New Testament, Christ came to become our sin offering once and for all. God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross and become our sacrifice. All you have to do to have everlasting life is believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and accept His gift of love. After I spent all that time Christmas shopping, and wrapping the presents, it would have been terribly disappointing if my family and friends would have refused my gifts. But how many people today refuse God's gift of eternal life? What is so important in this life that it could keep you from knowing God? We find in Mark 8:36 & 37, "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" This could be the best year of your life, if you accept God's free gift of salvation. Want you trust in the Lord to be your Savior?
10. The Promise Of A Savior
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS." Matthew 1:18-25
A few weeks ago some of the people at church asked me how I wrote the Christmas play each year. I told them that people do not know it, but that I pray about the Christmas play all year long. As we went to bed last night I told Mike that I already have ideas for next year's Christmas play. On January 5th, with my Christmas decorations still out, I am already excited about how God may be able to use the play next Christmas. I thought about it on and off all night and woke up singing Christmas carols this morning. Mike asked me if I was going to sing them all year long. Christmas is so special to me because the Lord Jesus Christ is so special to me. The angel told Joseph that Mary would have a Son "and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins." That was the best promise of all time. God had given this promise down through the ages by prophets, whose words are still recorded in the Holy Bible. Jesus, the precious Lamb of God, was not born in a palace among royalty, but He was born in a manger among the lambs, The angels proclaimed the good news to the shepherds and they were His first visitors. "And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:10 & 11) He is now our Good Shepherd as He said in John 10:11, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." Christmas may come just once a year, but the Lord is my Savior and I want to praise His name every day!
11. A Prayer Of Love
"For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." Ephesians 3:14-21
I was reading in Ephesians and I came to this prayer of the Apostle Paul to "the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 1:1) My King James Bible (Scofield Reference Edition) states that this letter was written while Paul was in prison and in Ephesians 4:1 he begins, "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord..." Paul had been beaten many times for the cause of Christ, and put in prison, yet his love for God and the church remained strong. He prayed for their strength. He prayed that they would understand the vastness of God's love. And he ends his prayer, "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." Paul wanted the church to know that God is "able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think..." but he doesn't stop there, keep on reading "according to the power that worketh in us." God is able, but His work can be hindered by our lack of faith. Let's look back to a time in Jesus' ministry. "And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence. And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief." (Matthew 13:53-54) Jesus loves us and He is able to work His power through our lives, but only as much as we believe on Him.
12. When God Opens The Windows Of Heaven
“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Malachi 3:10
This is one of the promises in the Bible that I have tried and tested. It has been a year and a half since I lost my job and I have not been able to find another job. But, as I was reading through Malachi several years ago I came to this verse and claimed this promise. God told His people to bring their tithes to Him, "and prove me now herewith," and He would open the windows of heaven and pour them out so much of a blessing that they would not have room enough to receive it. I thought it was worded unusually, where God said, "prove me now herewith". God wants us to trust Him. When I started working overtime and my paychecks increased several years ago, I claimed this verse and started giving more back to the Lord. He did indeed open the windows of heaven and pour out His blessings on our family. Because I had trusted Him in the good times, I was able to trust Him when I lost my job. I don't have as much to give now, as I did, but God is still providing my needs and continues to pour our His blessings on my life. I praise the Lord that He has shown me that I can trust Him. The more I give to Him, the more He gives back to me.
13. The Eyes And Ears Of The Lord
"For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil." I Peter 3:12
Preacher Woods has been preaching through First Peter and Wednesday night he used this verse in his sermon. I have been looking for promises in my Bible reading, so this verse was perfect for our verse today. There are multiple promises in this verse which can be very special to all who believe on the Lord. First, "the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous". I remember once when I was a little girl my Dad asked me to go get something out of the car. It was dark and I was afraid to go out in the dark, but my Dad said he would stand at the door and watch over me and that took away my fear. When we are afraid and we realize that the Lord is watching over us, it can calm our fears. Knowing the Lord is watching over us can also help us during times of trial, temptation, loneliness, or pain and sorrow. Next, our verse tells us that "his ears are open unto their prayers:" What a wonderful promise, to know that the Lord hears our prayers. There are many people who have positions of authority that would not even talk with me on the phone. They don't know me and would not take the time to listen to my problems or petitions, yet the King of Kings and Lord of Lords listens to my heart and soul. He hears with love and compassion and knows His children by name. Last of all we see "the face of the Lord is against them that do evil." This reminds me of Romans 12:19, "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord." It will be a sad day when the Lord judges those that are unrighteous, but it will come as sure as the day He will call His children home to heaven.
14. New Year's Resolutions
“For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” I Timothy 4:8
I don't have any statistics on New Year's Resolutions, but with all the weight loss articles on the internet, weight loss commercials and products, and just talking with my friends, I would guess that getting physically fit and losing weight would be one of the top New Year's Resolution for a majority of people. Obesity is a hot topic, not only for adults, but also for young children. I usually begin January with good intentions of losing weight, and last year I lost 20 or more pounds, but when January rolled around for 2013 I weighed the same as I did in January 2012. I lost the weight during the summer months while I was working outside more, but gained them back during the winter and when it was too cold to be outside. Something about cold weather makes me want to curl up on the couch and eat. I read this verse today, and 10 days into the new year, I have kept to my resolution of 30 minutes of exercise daily. I hope to keep it up through the year, but I realize that exercise is not the most important thing in my life. Exercise does profit our bodies, but as Paul tells young Timothy, "godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” The things we do for the Lord not only profit us in this life, but also for eternity. So, even though exercise is on my list of resolutions, it is not at the top of the list. Number one on my list is to begin each morning with a prayer of thanksgiving. In I Thessalonians 5:17 we are admonished to "Pray without ceasing" and I know of no better way to start the day. Another priority on my list of resolutions is reading my Bible. I am trying to read several chapters each day as I look for Bible verses of promises. Something else on my list is, "Do something for somebody." When Elijah was discouraged under the Juniper tree, after the Lord showed him compassion, He gave him something to do. The more we help others, the less we mope around about our own situations. "Sing praises to God" and "Say, 'I love you"" are more things on my list. To sum it all up, “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”
15. Give And It Shall Be Given You
“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." Luke 6:38
At the time of this writing, the people could not go to the store and buy a 5 pound bag of flour, sealed and ready to use. The people went to the market and their food was measured there. Proverbs 20:10 states clearly that men were not to use a large measure when they bought and smaller measures when they sold. "Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the LORD." The Lord not only wants us to be fair in our business, but He tells us to “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." This theme is also expressed by Paul in II Corinthians 9:6-8. "But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:" Not only does God's Word tell us that we shall receive good measure, but we are also laying up treasure in heaven when we give. (Mark 10:21)
16. God Knows My Heart
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
I have a hard time talking with some people. They seem to misunderstand the things I say. These few people often reply with bold, unkind, statements in which they try to explain their position as if I was not giving them full credit for their point of view. I try to be cautious if I put anything in writing to them, and reread my sentences very carefully. I still get replies that show my words were taken the wrong way. My only consolation is that I know that the Lord knows my thoughts and the intents of my heart. He knows that I was actually trying to lift them up. I am thankful that God knows my heart even when I can't find the words to say or pray. There is another side to this promise. If God can hear the thoughts of our heart and mind when they are good, then God also knows our thoughts when they are not good. Psalms 94:11 tells us, "The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity." Again in the New Testament we read, "And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?" (Matthew 9:4) When we silently pass judgment on others because of the way they look, or dress, or talk, God knows. When we have resentment, jealousy, or bitterness towards others, God knows. When something happens to someone and we feel inside, "Serves him right, for the things he did", God knows. As I lay in my bed and prayed a silent prayer, being thankful that God hears silent prayers, I suddenly realized that He hears it all... the good and the bad. What can we do? Pray like David in Psalm 139.
1 O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me.
2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising,
thou understandest my thought afar off.
3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted
with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD,
thou knowest it altogether.
5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me
in the way everlasting.
17. Jesus Loves The Little Children
“But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 19:14
One of the first songs I sang to my children was "Jesus Loves Me". Now my children are older and I get to sing the song to my grandchildren. Children are special in the eyes of the Lord. He took them in His arms and blessed them. I was able to keep Micah, who is 4, Friday and Saturday. He enjoys helping me do things so I let him help me put away the greenery at church. We were behind the choir and he asked, "MeMaw, why do you have a bathtub in your church?" I tried to explain it to him, but not to his satisfaction because later he asked his dad. After I found a Bible story book with the story of the baptism of Jesus he read the story to Micah. After he finished Micah said, "Now, Dad, tell me the story of why MeMaw has a bathtub at church." Sunday morning I had the blessing of having four more of my grandchildren at church. It is good to bring children up in church. The disciples may have tried to turn the children away, “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven." Remember that wonderful old song. "Jesus loves me this I know, For the Bible tells me so, Little ones to Him belong, They are weak but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so." Each time you sing it, thank the Lord that He loves you, and thank Him for the promise that He loves the little children.
18. Be Humble And The Lord Will Lift You Up
"Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up." James 4:10
I was in my son's house and I saw a plaque in the dining room with this verse. "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up." (James 4:10) It reminded me of something that happened to me at work several years ago. Some of my co-workers had given me a plaque just like that one, and I put it on my cabinet over my desk. My boss came out one day and gave me credit in front of my co-workers for doing a good job on something. I didn't say anything to lift myself up, but I could feel the pride swelling up inside. After I turned back around at my desk and took something I needed from the upper shelf, the plaque fell from over the shelf and hit me in the head before it landed on the floor. It was a heavy molded plaque and the fall broke off two or three inches on the corner. It actually hurt when it hit my head, but I was ok. I kept the broken plaque over my desk as a reminder not to let pride rule my heart. "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall." (Proverbs 16:18)
19. "Lo, I Am With You Alway..."
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:18-20
My son and his family came to town and two of their children stayed with me for a couple days. When I have the children I pray especially for guidance and their safety and I want to thank the Lord for being with us as we carried them home yesterday. Each time I travel with them, we turn a 3 1/2 hour trip into 5 hours, but I know the Lord is with us all the way. I don't know how people cope with the issues of life if they don't know the Lord. When there is no one else around, I know that the Lord is with me and I can talk to Him. When there are medical issues, whether my own, or when I'm sitting in a waiting room for a loved one, I know God is there. When others turn against me, or forsake me, or just forget me, I know the Lord will never leave me or forsake me. If I get discouraged, or fearful, or weary, I know He is there. And what is most amazing, when I fall in my Christian walk, fail in my Christian talk, or forget my Christian duty, Christ is still with me. He forgives, lifts me up, and loves me. I don't have to worry about everything that is happening in the world today, or even tomorrow, for I have this promise, "lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
20. The Promise Of Wisdom
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways." James 1:5-8
King Solomon asked God for wisdom to lead His people and God granted his prayer and gave him great wisdom. Here in the book of James we see that we, too, can ask God for wisdom. If we ask in faith, believing in God, He has promised to give us wisdom. I was married at a very young age, and I was only 20 when our first son was born. I had not been around many babies and did not know much about feeding, diapering, and clothing them. I had read books about how to care for babies, but I still felt the need to pray for wisdom. As he grew older, and we had more children, I prayed for wisdom to know which little bumps and bruises needed a doctor visit and what to do for rashes or bad colds. I read my Bible and prayed for wisdom in how to bring them up in God's Word, so that they would learn how to follow God as they grew older. We can search the internet, or go to school and gain all the knowledge our minds can hold, but God gives wisdom. The disciples asked Jesus why He taught the people in parables. "And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand." (Luke 8:10) Do you want to see and understand more of what you read in God's Word? Pray for wisdom. Do you want to know how to be a witness to others? Pray for wisdom. Do you want to let your light shine for the glory of God? Pray for wisdom. Pray in faith, and God has promised to answer that prayer.
21. Abraham Believed God's Promises
"He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." Romans 4:20-25
These verses are talking about the faith of Abraham. At least twice more in the New Testament we read that Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness. "Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." (Galatians 3:6) "And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God." (James 2:23) We have been looking at the promises of God for a couple weeks now and I thought it would be good to look at the example of Abraham. God promised Abraham that he would be the father of a great nation, and "Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God." Sometimes as I read the Old Testament and the promises made to the Jewish nation, I wonder which of those promises or blessings are good for Christian believers of the New Testament teachings. These verses in Romans include those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. "Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." God has not made the same promise of a great nation to us, as He made to Abraham, but I believe that He is showing us in these verses that if we have faith and believe in Jesus, as our only Lord and Savior, that faith will be inputed to us for righteousness. Abraham had faith and was called the "Friend of God". As we continue in our look at the Precious Promises in God's Word, we need to believe in our heart that God's Word is true.
22. The Lord Can Heal A Broken Heart
“He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds." Psalm 147:3
When my children were young I often worked on cross-stitch pieces while I watched them play, especially when they were outside. I especially enjoyed working Bible verses in cross-stitch and made up my own patterns when I could not find the verses I wanted to do. This week my mother-in-law reminded me of this verse that I stitched for her many years ago. “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds." She had told me that it was her favorite verse and I worked the pattern for her. After all these years she still has it and after all these years the Lord continues to heal broken hearts and bind up their wounds. I can think of times in my life when my heart was broken, at times of death in the family. And even though the world seemed dark and lonely at the time, the Lord healed my broken heart. When those I loved hurt me with unkind words, the Lord bound up my wounds and restored my peace and our friendship. God is good and He cares for us. He has the love and compassion to heal our pain and bring us comfort, if we allow Him to do so. Some people don't want the Lord to help them. They seem to enjoy holding a grudge. They seem to strive on the anger and bitterness in their heart. If you are hurting today, let the Lord carry your load, as we are reminded in I Peter 5:7, "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you."
23. The Promise Of A Place
"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:1-6
I think that we all can be troubled from time to time. In the previous chapter, Jesus himself was troubled. "When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me." (John 13:21) He has told the disciples that one of them would betray Him, and that He was going away to the Father. He even told Peter that he would deny Him. He knew the disciples were troubled. Then He gives us these familiar verses. "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." Just as He promised the disciples that He would come again for them, and that He was preparing them a place, we can trust in that promise also. We can read in the book of Revalations, chapters 21 and 22 of the beauty of that heavenly city. We all have an invitation to come. "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." (Revelation 22:17) We all are invied to come, but there is only one way to get there. Jesus is the only way to go to that wonderful place called heaven. You see, there will not be anything bad or sinful in heaven. "And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life." (Revelation 21:27) We could not go there in our natural state. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Romans 3:23) Jesus came to pay for our sin. He was perfect and holy, but He died on the cross to take the punishment for our sin. We must confess our sin to Him and believe on Him as our Lord and Savior. When we come to Him for salvation, then He promises we can come to Him for eternal life in that wonderful place called heaven.
24. Jesus Is Coming Again
“Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book." Revelation 22:7
"And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." Revelation 22:12 & 13
"He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen." Revelation 22:20 & 21
Preacher Woods used these verses as part of his text on Sunday. Three times in the last chapter of the Bible Jesus said, "I come quickly." This is a promise we can rely on. Jesus is coming again. We saw this in our devotions yesterday, but today I want to share two points from Preacher Woods' sermon. First there is the negative view. "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." (II Timothy 3:1-5) The last days are here, but when the Lord returns and takes us home to heaven we will leave all this behind. Next, we have the positive view. "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son." (Revelation 21:4-7) The positive look at His coming is that we will be released from all the sorrow, pain, and death and the Lord will wipe away all our tears. There were several other positives and maybe I can look at those another day. Jesus is coming! Are you ready?
25. More Promises On His Return
Today I want to continue with some of the positive aspects of the Lord's return.
Our earthly bodies will be changed and we will have heavenly bodies. "For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself." (Philippians 3:20)
We shall be like Him. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." (I John 3:2)
We will have a reunion with the Lord. "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." (I Thessalonians 4:17)
God will reveal things to us that we can't understand now. "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." (I Corinthians 13:12)
We shall receive our rewards, to lay at Jesus' feet. "And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." (Revelation 22:12)
The price has been paid. Are you ready to meet the Lord?
26. Blessings From The Lord Jesus
"And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan." (Matthew 4:23-25)
In this fourth chapter of Matthew Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James, and John to follow Him. By the end of the chapter, great multitudes were following Jesus. He preached to them and by His great compassion, He healed them. I can imagine the Lord going up the mountain, and sitting where they could see, and hear Him speak. He looked out over the multitudes and He knew the poor and lowly. He knew the sorrow and pain of those that mourned. He knew the pure in heart who sought after the things of God. And so began the sermon on the mount...
"And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Are you poor in spirit? You can inherit the kindgom of heaven. Do you mourn? The Lord can give you comfort. Do you hunger and thirst after righteousness? You can be filled. Whatever your need, the Lord can supply. Just as the Lord blessed the multitudes on the hillside those many years ago, He can bless you today if you trust on Him and call on His name.
27. Trust In The Lord... And He Shall Direct Thy Paths
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5-6
I will be the first to admit that there are a lot of things I don't understand. I don't understand why I lost my job, but I keep trusting the Lord. I don't understand why someone ran a stop light and totaled my sister's car, but I am thankful she and her daughter were not seriously hurt. On a broader scale, we may not understand why the wicked seem to prosper. The prophet Jeremiah asked that question in Jeremiah 12:1. "Righteous art thou, O LORD, when I plead with thee: yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments: Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously?" We read again in Psalm 73:2-3, "But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked." The Lord wants us to trust His leading, and not our own understanding. Here is our promise for today. "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." No matter what the world is doing around you, or how things may seem to fall apart in your own life, keep trusting the Lord. And notice that the verse begins, "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart..." I once heard someone say, "If you aren't trusting Him with all your heart, then you aren't trusting Him." As far as the questions about the wicked, the Psalmist helps us out with those questions if we continue in that chapter. "When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors." (Psalm 73:16-19) Do you need direction in your life? Don't look to the world for direction. Don't compare your road with the road others are on, because they may not be on the right path. Put all your trust in the Lord and He will direct your paths.
28. "Come Now, And Let Us Reason Together"
"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." Isaiah 1:18
I began reading the book of Isaiah today, and there are so many good verses in this book. Here in the first chapter we have a very familiar verse to many of us. We often think of this verse as an invitation to lost sinners to come to the Lord. Let's read the context with the verse and see how the Lord is pleading with the people as He implores them, "Come now, and let us reason together..." The Lord is giving them a chance to confess and wash their sins away. "Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it." (Isaiah 1:16-20) God makes the promise that if they will "Learn to do well", and "be willing and obedient" then they shall "eat the good of the land." God wants to bless His people. He tells them He can forgive them and cleanse them, and also feed them. But if they refuse and rebel against God, then they "shall be devoured with the sword." How many times do we try to witness to others and tell them that God can cleanse them from their sin, but we don't tell them of the consequences of their sin if they refuse? Lord, help us to follow you and obey your Word, and help us to be better witnesses for you.
29. To Us A Child Was Born
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." Isaiah 9:6-7
As I continue in my reading of Isaiah, looking for promises, I came to this wonderful promise of the Christ child. My manger scenes are still on the mantle and the spirit of Christmas is still fresh in my heart, and I am thankful that the Lord was faithful in His promise. As His name, so He is "Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Just as this promise was fulfilled, we can be just as sure that every promise will stand. We hear many things in this day and age that we may question their validity, but God's Word is true and will stand forever. "But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts." (II Corinthians 1:18-22)
30. Dig A Little Deeper
"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish." Psalm 1:1-6
Mike got an emailed coupon for a free 20 page, 5"x7" photo book that expires the end of this month. Now, most people would probably upload 20 photos from the Christmas holiday and "Voila`" they are done in just a few moments. Well, not me, I always seem to do things the hard way. Since we had the flu at Christmas we didn't get many photo opportunities. And since it may be the only photo book I ever order, I decided to make it a family history book. I spent hours looking through a dozen photo albums and through hundreds of photos trying to narrow the selection down to 20 pages. I knew I had better pictures of the children from when they were small. I finally remembered the picture frames that hung on the wall. I carefully removed the back and found my missing photos behind the front picture. We could hardly afford to have their pictures taken when they were young, much less new frames for each set. So, I would put the new photo in front of the older ones. When I removed the backs it was like finding buried treasure, for there were all the pictures that I thought were missing. I searched through boxes and books before I finally realized that I needed to dig a little deeper. As I thought about this, I thought of the first Psalm. "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night." How much good does it do me to read my token chapters from my Bible and close it up and go on my way? God wants us to meditate on His Word "day and night". We need to think about what we are reading. In other words, we need to not only look at the surface, but dig a little deeper into the meaning of the scriptures and what God is trying to tell us. The next verse reads, "And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." If a tree is planted by a river I imagine the roots go down deep and seek out the water so it can grow strong. Then, when the dry times come, the roots are grounded in the banks of the river. We read in Psalms 46:4, "There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High." Also in the New Testament we read, "Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." (John 4:13-14) I am afraid we only scratch the surface of the blessings God has planned for us; we need to dig a little deeper in the Word of God and find the water of life and hidden treasures for our life. There is a penalty for rejecting God's Word, as we read in the last verses of the Psalm. "The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish."
31. A Promise Of Judgment
"Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them." Matthew 13:13-15
I often read these verses and my mind questioned the meaning so I looked back at the verses in Isaiah. "Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate," (Isaiah 6:8-11) I still could not understand why God seemed to be saying that He did not want the people to hear with their ears, or see with their eyes. Well, as I talked about meditating and digging a little deeper yesterday, I am reading through Isaiah and the Lord showed me the answers to my questions. "Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made:... And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. And the idols he shall utterly abolish." (Isaiah 2:8, 17-18) "For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen: because their tongue and their doings are against the LORD, to provoke the eyes of his glory. The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves." (Isaiah 3:8-9) As I began reading these chapters in Isaiah, God began to show me that just as He had warned, His judgment would fall on Israel. From the very first chapter we see God's warning. "And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood." (Isaiah 1:15) The message is also told by the prophet Jeremiah. "They are turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, which refused to hear my words; and they went after other gods to serve them: the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant which I made with their fathers. Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them. Then shall the cities of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem go, and cry unto the gods unto whom they offer incense: but they shall not save them at all in the time of their trouble." (Jeremiah 11:10-12) They turned away from God and served idols and God turned away from them. God even tells Jeremiah, "Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble." (Jeremiah 11:14) We need to warn our lost friends and loved ones that one day it may be too late to turn to the Lord. I close with one more verse from the book of Isaiah. "Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:" (Isaiah 55:6) Don't wait until it is too late to pray.
32. Nothing Can Separate Us From The Love Of Christ!
"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39
There are many things here on earth that can separate us from the ones we love. My four year old grandson had a birthday party Saturday. We live just over three hours away so the distance separated us from being at the party. We had planned to go, but the ice storm came in before we were able to travel Friday night and the weather separated us from our family. During the Christmas holidays, sickness separated us from spending time with our family because we did not want to expose them to the flu. Many things beyond our control can keep us separated. Things we can't see can cause separation in our love, such as envy, jealousy, bitterness, and even misunderstandings. And in the end, death can cause painful separation. My daughter-in-law posted these verses and it caused me to think about how it saddened us to be separated over the weekend. But God, who in rich in mercy and grace, gave His only Son Jesus to make a way for us to be with Him through eternity. Nothing can separate us from God's love. "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." I am persuaded! Are you?
33. I'm Free!
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." Romans 8:1-2
We looked at Romans 8 yesterday, and because there are so many wonderful verses in that chapter I thought we would visit there again. So here we are, with the first two verses. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." I was driving down the highway today and I saw some prison inmates cleaning up the trash on the road. I saw the guards with their rifles and wondered how it must feel to have someone constantly watching over you with condemnation. I am thankful that I am free. I was a lost sinner, as we read in Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God", but the Lord Jesus set me free. And in my sin, I was condemned. You see, Jesus said, "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:18) I am afraid that many people are in the middle of the valley of decision, as foretold in Joel 3:14.. "Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision." They think they can make the decision to accept Christ on their own time, when they are ready. They do not realize that they are already condemned. I am thankful that the Lord called to me when I was around 8 years old and I heard His call and believed on Him. I did not know much about being a Christian at that time, but I knew that I did not want to die in my sin and go to hell. I heard my grandfather preaching that Jesus could save me if I asked Him to. Jesus saved me, and the Holy Spirit came to live in my heart and my life has been blessed. I praise the Lord that I am free. I don't have to live in fear of condemnation because Jesus Christ set me free!
34. Children Of God, Heirs With Christ
"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." Romans 8:14-18
We are still in Romans 8 and today we see that when we are saved by trusting in Jesus we become children of God. That is more than my little mind can fathom. If I had not been able to have children of my own, then I might have contemplated adopting. I would probably have gone to the adoption agency and picked out a pretty, little, healthy baby, not yet scarred by the world's turmoils. But, when God gave His Son to die for us, we had nothing to offer. We were scarred with sin. "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:6-8) "He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings." (Psalm 40:2)
35. When We Don't Know What To Pray, The Spirit Prays For Us
"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God." Romans 8:26-27
Here is another promise in this great chapter. Sometimes we just don't know how we need to pray. If our car breaks down we may not know whether to keep trying to fix it, or buy something else, and if we do try to find something else that we can afford, how do we know it will be more reliable than what we have. When someone is going through the storms, we may not know how to pray for them in a way that will ease their fears and suffering. There have even been times in my life when I was so down I felt too low to pray. When we don't know how to pray, or feel like we can't pray, we can find comfort in these verses. "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God." Did you see that? The Holy Spirit and the Lord Jesus make intercession for us. And although we were not living when these scriptures were recorded, the Lord has included us in His prayers. "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;" (John 17:20) Again in this same chapter of Romans we read, "Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." (Romans 8:34) If we have not trusted in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we are condemned. If we have given our hearts to the Lord, then He prays to the Father for us. How wonderful is that!
36. All Things Working Together
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28
I like this verse. I used to have it posted on my wall at my desk at work. It was a reminder to me that the Lord was in control of my life, not just the big things, but all the little things too. I have claimed this verse in many situations. I don't always understand why some things happen, but I "know that all things work together for good to them that love God." When I am facing troubles and trials in my life, I remember Romans 8:28. It encourages my heart to know that God is in control and my life is in His hands. Once we learn to accept and fully trust God at His Word in Romans 8:28, then we can claim I Thessalonians 5:18 "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." Trust Jesus and He will take care of you!
37. "If God Be For Us, Who Can Be Against Us?"
"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?." Romans 8:31-32
Here are my last verses from Romans 8. It has been a joy focusing on this wonderful chapter of God's precious promises. If we could grasp the immense boundaries of these two verses, we could walk daily in peace, free from fear. There is really not much I can say to elaborate on these scriptures. Just read them again and try to fathom the love God has for His children. "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?." Accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior and you, too can claim these wonderful promises and experience the joy, hope, peace, and love of our holy God Almighty.
38. A Promise Of Salvation
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10:13
I have come out of Romans 8, but I did not come very far. The Sunday School lesson in church yesterday was on salvation. There are some young people in our class who have never professed to being saved. They heard it plain and simple in Sunday School, and then they heard it again in our morning worship service. We keep praying that they will call on the name of the Lord and be saved. After all the teaching and preaching they have heard, I think they know how to be saved, but they have not taken that step toward God. You can believe in the Bible stories and still not be saved. We read in James 2:19, "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." You can work for the Lord, sing in the choir, have an office in Sunday School, and still not be saved, as we read in Matthew 7:21-23. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Let's review the Romans road of salvation again. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Romans 3:23) God has an answer for our sin. "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23) "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:9-10) "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:13) Salvation is as easy as A, B, C. A - Admit that you are a lost sinner. B - Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation. He died to pay for your sin, but you must bow your heart and ask Him to save you. C - Confess your sin to the Lord. Don't trust in church membership, or baptism, or any other ritual for your salvation. "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6) Listen for the Holy Spirit to convict your heart. Then ask the Lord to save you and He will. He has promised!
39. A Caterpillar, Or A Butterfly?
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." II Corinthians 5:17
I have often seen this verse posted with pictures of beautiful butterflies. We learned about the caterpillars in elementary school science lessons. A caterpillar transforms into a chrysalis and finally emerges as a beautiful butterfly. How can we compare our state with the butterfly? In Psalm 22:6, David declares, "But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people." We also see this referenced in Job 25:4-6. "How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight. How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm?" And from one of my favorite Psalms we read, "O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens... When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour." (portions of Psalm 8:1-5) God gave His only Son to die for us and lift us up out of the depths of sin. He reaches down to man and "old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." He can do for us, that which we cannot do for ourselves. He forgives us of our sin. "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us." (Psalm 103:12) "He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea." (Micah 7:19) With full forgiveness we can start fresh, washed white as snow. "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isaiah 1:18) Only the love of God can cleanse us from our sin and create in us a new creature. Why spend your life as a worm crawling on the ground, when you can become a beautiful butterfly, free from your sin?
40. God Loves A Cheerful Giver
"But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver." II Corinthians 9:6-7
When I was young my Dad and Mom taught me how to plant a garden. Every summer we worked in the sun and heat to plant, hoe, and finally gather the vegetables. They taught me how to plant different kinds of seeds in rows. I learned to place two or three pieces of corn about five inches apart and cover lightly, usually with my feet. Green beans and okra seeds were planted closer together. I also learned to set out tomato plants. I enjoyed working in the garden. Dad also taught me how to sow. When he planted a field of soy beans for the cows, he would cast out the seed and it fell across the dirt in front of him as he walked. I enjoyed sowing this way. Just sling the seed, take a step or two, and sling more seed. We often looked at the garden to see when the seed would start coming up. As we looked out over the field of soy beans, we could see where the seed was sown sparingly, and where the seed was sown bountifully. In these verses Paul is comparing sowing seed with giving to the work of the Lord. He is asking the Corinthian believers to share their bounty. Would God desire any less of us today? There are many all around us who have lost their jobs and are in need. God has blessed me with a giving heart. Everything I have is from God, and without God I would have nothing. As He allows my cup to overflow, I try to let it overflow in blessings to those around me. I close with these words of our Lord. "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." (Luke 6:38)
41. When We Walk In The Spirit, We Will Not Fulfil The Lust Of The Flesh
"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." Galatians 5:16-23
When the Holy Spirit begins convicting a lost person, he may feel sorry for the wrong he has done and try to become a better person. When people get into trouble they sometimes make promises to God that if He will get them out of the trouble they are in, they will change and live better. I have also heard of people saying that they can't be saved because they can't live a clean life. Well, the simple truth is, that none of us can live according to the law. Jesus came to die and be our sacrifice and we are under grace and not the law. When we accept God's gift of salvation, the Holy Spirit lives in our heart and guides us. The Spirit helps us overcome the sin that once controlled our lives. Only through the Holy Spirit can we have the love, joy, and peace within. Only through the Holy Spirit can we experience longsuffering, gentleness, and goodness with our fellowman. And only through the Holy Spirit can we walk with God in faith, meekness, and temperance. "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh."
42. Promises For The Gentiles
"For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:" Ephesians 3:1-6
We have been looking at many promises in the New Testament. I am still reading in the Old Testament looking for promises from God's Word. There are many promises in the Old Testament which were written for the children of Abraham, or the Israelites. I feel that a large majority of those promises were for the Jews and as a Gentile, I can't always claim those promises. I can give two examples of promises which I read in the book of Jeremiah this morning. God gave this promise to Jeremiah and I have faith that God can answer this promise in my life also. "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." (Jeremiah 33:3) Just a few verses later, in the same chapter we read, "And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first." (Jeremiah 33:7) It is obvious that this promise was made to the Children of Israel. It may be difficult at times to determine if an Old Testament promise is to everyone or just to God's chosen people. But one thing we can be sure of... In our verses from Ephesians above we can see that Paul has made it clear that Jesus Christ came to save the Gentiles, as well as the Jews, and we are "fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:" Whether you are a Jew or Gentile, Jesus Christ will save you when you call on His name and put your trust in Him, and that's a promise!
43. Every Knee Shall Bow
“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:9-11
There is so much arrogance in the world today. It seems as though pride has lifted individuals up beyond belief in the fields of entertainment, sports and even the business world. There are many young adults still living at home under the misconception that their parents owe them a place to live, eat, sleep, entertain, and anything else that they desire just because they are their parents. I often see young children in stores who don't have any respect for their parents, and they will grow up with no respect for any authority, from their teachers to their bosses. I think that is one of the reasons we don't see many people saved in our area today. People do not want to bow to anyone, not even to a Holy God. Well, the day is coming when they will bow to a righteous Holy God. There is coming a day when every knee will bow and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Are you ready to meet the Lord? The right choice is to humble ourselves to the Lord while we live. "But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up." (James 4:6-10)
44. Peace That Passes Understanding
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7
Let's begin with the first four words, "Be careful for nothing." That is not a phrase we would use today, but think of the word "careful" as being full of care, or worry. Paul is telling the Philippian believers not to worry about the things they need, but to go to God in prayer for their needs. Supplications, or urgent prayers, should be made with thanksgiving. When we pray to God and ask Him for the things we need, we should thank Him for the way He has provided already, and I believe we should also thank Him for the way He will provide in the present and future. When we have this heart of thanksgiving and faith that God will provide, we can have "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding." Let's see what the Lord Jesus had to say about this. "Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Luke 12:27-31)
45. God Can Supply All Your Need
"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19
This verse is a continuation of Paul's letter to the Philippian believers. He has assured them that God will supply all their need. I often see this verse printed on pocketbooks and tote bags and I believe there are many who claim this verse as a promise to them. However, I think we need to look at the context of the verse. Paul had just commended this church for giving. "Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God." (Philippians 4:15-18) They were willing to give even when they may not have had much to give. I believe that we can claim this promise and have faith that God will supply all our need. But I also think that we are accountable to how we use what the Lord provides. We are to be good stewards with our money and use our assets wisely.
46. "I Can Do All Things Through Christ"
"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13
Another wonderful verse from Philippians 4. This is another verse I see printed on various materials. It is a good verse to claim, but once again, I think we need to look at the context of the verse. "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I 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." (Philippians 4:8-12) First of all, verse 8 shows us that Paul has the right mindset. He instructs us to think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report. If we followed Paul's instructions, how much of our music, television, entertainment, and friendships would we have to let go? Secondly, in verse 9 we see that Paul was a good example. He was confident that the life he lived was close enough to the teachings of Christ that his fellow believers could copy not only what he taught, but also the way he lived. Do we live so much like Christ that we could hope people would follow our example? In the next verses we see that the Philippians had given above and beyond their means and that Paul was content with what he had. With a Christian life like this, Paul could say, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." If we follow the example of Paul, and even greater the example of Christ, then we too can gain the assurance that Paul had. We can have the strength and boldness to do all things for the sake of the gospel.
47. The Conditions Behind The Promises
"Then said Jeremiah unto Zedekiah, Thus saith the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel; If thou wilt assuredly go forth unto the king of Babylon's princes, then thy soul shall live, and this city shall not be burned with fire; and thou shalt live, and thine house: But if thou wilt not go forth to the king of Babylon's princes, then shall this city be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and thou shalt not escape out of their hand. And Zedekiah the king said unto Jeremiah, I am afraid of the Jews that are fallen to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand, and they mock me. But Jeremiah said, They shall not deliver thee. Obey, I beseech thee, the voice of the LORD, which I speak unto thee: so it shall be well unto thee, and thy soul shall live." Jeremiah 38:17-20
I talked a little about reading promises in their context. As I was reading in Jeremiah this morning I came to a good example of promises with conditions. Jeremiah spoke clearly to King Zedekiah of what God told him to do. If he obeyed God's Word, and went to Babylon, then he would live and Jerusalem would not be burned. If he refused to go in subjection under King Nebuchadnezzar then the city would be burned and he would be taken captive. The message was clear and the choice should have been obvious. Let's see what the king decided. "And it came to pass, that when Zedekiah the king of Judah saw them, and all the men of war, then they fled, and went forth out of the city by night, by the way of the king's garden, by the gate betwixt the two walls: and he went out the way of the plain. But the Chaldeans' army pursued after them, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho: and when they had taken him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he gave judgment upon him. Then the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah in Riblah before his eyes: also the king of Babylon slew all the nobles of Judah. Moreover he put out Zedekiah's eyes, and bound him with chains, to carry him to Babylon. And the Chaldeans burned the king's house, and the houses of the people, with fire, and brake down the walls of Jerusalem." (Jeremiah 39:4-8) What a sad outcome. God promised King Zedekiah life, but he didn't listen and had to watch his sons be killed, and his city burned. How many times did Zedekiah see the death of his children over and over through his blinded eyes? How many regrets did he have over not trusting the Lord for all He had promised? In my search for precious promises, I have found many that come with conditions. It is fruitless for us to claim God's promises if we don't obey God's Word.
48. God Is Love
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16
Many will celebrate today with candy or roses. Others will give cards to the love of their life. And some, will pass the day with sadness of love lost. And even though it is Valentine's Day, a celebration of love between two people, I wanted to look beyond that love. I want to look at the greatest love ever known. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) It is a verse we learn as children, and yet as adults, we can put all our faith in that precious love. How great is that love? "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:6-8) It is easy to love someone who loves you first. But God loved us, even when we were nothing, lost in a world of sin. Today is Valentine's Day. Let's share God's love with someone today. "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another." (I John 4:7-11)
49. Promises Of Rewards
"And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ." Colossians 3:23-24
When I started out looking for precious promises in the Word of God a few months back, I guess I had verses like these in mind. I have found many promises based on conditions, such as this one. "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ." We will receive a reward, if we do all that we do unto the Lord and not for men. Jesus gave three examples of things we might do seemingly for God, but in reality for the praise of people. "Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.... And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.... Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward." (Matthew 6:2, 5, & 16) In addition to promises with conditions, I have found many, many promises in God's Word to those who don't follow God. We can see this in the next verse, Colossians 3:25. "But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons." When the time of judgment comes, people will not be able to use their title, position, rank, money, name, or any other earthly detail to escape the righteous judgment of Christ. It reminds me of the line used in old movies, "I want to get what's coming to me" and the person usually got it in a bad way. Christ died for my sin and I don't have to get what's coming to me. I trusted in Him for my salvation and eternal life is enough reward for me. For those who don't accept God's gift of salvation, they "shall receive for the wrong which" they have done. Won't you trust Him today?
50. The Promise Of Our Resurrection
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." I Thessalonians 4:13-18
Once again in these verses we see a contrast between Christian believers and non-believers. We see that Paul is speaking to Christian believers because he calls them "brethren". He is giving them encouragement, "Wherefore comfort one another with these words" and setting them apart from those "which have no hope."
For those who have trusted in the Lord for salvation, death is just a passing from this life to eternal life with the Lord Jesus Christ. It may seem painful at the time, but it is a comfort to know that we will see our loved ones again. It has been almost 11 years since my Dad died, and I still think of him and miss him at times. I cried at the funeral, but not as those which have no hope. I know by the life he lived, the prayers he prayed, and the fruit he bore, that He is with the Lord and I will see him again when God calls me home. In these verses Paul speaks of the dead in Christ as being asleep. We can read in John 11:11 and see that Jesus also referred to Lazarus as being asleep. "These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep." If we think of our Christian loved ones as being asleep we truly can find comfort in these words.
51. The Desires Of Your Heart
"Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart." Psalm 37:4
Saturday night we had our Heart to Heart Banquet at church. The parents of the youth prepare the food and the youth serve the adults and provide the entertainment. We went early to fix the salads and heat the bread and the snow began falling so heavy we could not see anything out the windows. It really looked like a blizzard and we began talking about how we would have to eat all those lasagnas and baked spaghetti dishes if it didn't get better soon. I prayed that God would have his way. Only He can control the weather. The sun started shining and the snow stopped falling. By the time we started the snow had melted. My father-in-law, who lives about 15 minutes from church had 3 inches of snow on his car. God let the beautiful snow fall, and God also let it melt away as quickly as it came. There have been many times in my life that I did not know how to pray, and I just prayed for God to have His way. He always comes through in the best way. Our verse for today is "Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart." This verse has been very special in my life because He has given me above and beyond my desires time and time again.
52. The Lord Gives Grace To The Humble
"Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." I Peter 5:5-7
Pastor J. Woods has been preaching through the book of I Peter and Sunday's message was taken from these verses. It was a good message of exhortation to the church to serve the Lord with humility. As I continue to look for scriptures with promises from God's Word, I noticed three promises from these verses. The first is in verse 5, "God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble." There is so much in the Bible against the sin of pride. Proverbs 6:17 tells us that God hates a proud look. When we lift ourselves up in pride, we are in essence saying that we can make it on our own and we don't need God. It is hard to help someone who does not want help. Maybe that is why the verse tells us that "God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble." I need and desire God's grace in my life. The next promise I see is in verse 6. "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:" We see this again in James 4:10, "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up." The next promise is in verse 7, "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." We can take all our cares and worry to the Lord in prayer, and know that He cares for us. If I sat down on a bus and started telling all my problems to a stranger sitting next to me I might feel a little better just getting it off my mind, but I don't think it would help me a whole lot. On the other hand, it I had a problem and I went to a close personal friend who cared for me and told her my problems she would try to console and comfort me and help me get through them. If I have problems and I pray to the Lord, my Lord and Savior, I know He cares and I know He has the power to help me through the storm. He may not always deliver me out of the storm, but I know He will be with me in the storm. I have this promise, "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you."
53. The Promise Of A Crown
"Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." II Timothy 4:8
I have read that back in Bible days the crowns awarded at the ancient games were made of leaves woven for the winner to wear around his head. Of course, these types of crowns would have lasted only a short time before they faded away. Maybe that is why I Peter 5:4 is worded as it is. "And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." I don't understand all about the crowns that are promised in the scriptures. I have heard preachers say that we will receive crowns to lay at the feet of Jesus when we get to heaven. Here are a few verses about the crowns promised to believers.
"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible." (I Corinthians 9:24-25)
"Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him." (James 1:12)
"Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." (Revelation 2:10)
"Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." (Revelation 3:11)
"And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold... The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." (Revelation 4:4, 10 and 11)
54. God Is Good
"There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety." Psalm 3:4-8
The world is in turmoil. It breaks my heart to ride through town and see so many empty buildings where men and women used to work and make a living. Food prices and gas prices keep rising and pay checks are decreasing. Sinful living that we never dreamed we would see is now a way of life for many. Even in King David's day there were bad times. We could say like David, "There be many that say, Who will shew us any good?" The only answer we have today is the same answer David had so long ago, "LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us." God is our only hope. Even in the midst of turmoil David praised the Lord. "Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased." He also put his trust in the Lord. "I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety." The next time things seem so bad that you can't sleep, remember this verse. God can give you peace so that you, too, can lay down and sleep in peace.
55. The Watchman Cries, "Be Saved! Be Saved!"
"When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul." Ezekiel 33:8, 9
There was a little girl, a smart, pretty little girl who was very sweet. Her Mom put her in a Christian school because she wanted her to grow up right and learn about God. When the little girl got older she visited the home of a friend and her friend's mother gave the young girl her first taste of drugs. Now the little girl is a young lady and she is addicted to drugs. She has always been special to my heart and I have told her many times that I am praying for her. I had the chance to talk with her this week and I prayed that the Lord would give me the right words to say. Verse 22 in the book of Jude tells us, "And of some have compassion, making a difference:" For the last few years I have tried to show her compassion, so I started a conversation with her and as she started talking about her problems I said, "I love you very much and I pray for you everyday. You need God in your life." She said, "I know, I pray every night." We talked a few more minutes and she made an excuse and left the room. I prayed for her and thought about our talk a while and the next verse in Jude came to my mind. "And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh." (Jude 23) Compassion had not moved her, I had to try again. When she was alone in the room I sat down next to her and told her again that I love her and I don't want to see her go to hell, to which she replied, "I'm not a bad person." I explained, "We have all sinned. We can't take our sins to heaven. God is a holy God. You can't take your sins to heaven." All the time I was talking with her I was praying that God would show me what to say. I tried to explain that sin has to be paid for and Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sin but we have to believe and trust Him. When I felt that I was not getting anywhere I told her the story about the watchman in Ezekiel. "Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand. So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul." (Ezekiel 33:1-9) I told her again that I love her and I did not want her to die and go to hell and I had tried to warn her, and I would still pray for her everyday, but what she did was her decision. She made an excuse to get up and again left the room. Please help me pray for this young lady. I love her dearly and she really does need God in her life. You, too, may have heard the watchman cry many times, "Be saved! Be saved!" Now it is up to you as to what you will do with the message.
56. Something To Shout About
"But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield." Psalm 5:11-12
When we put our trust in the Lord we have something to shout about! Did you notice that three times in verse 11 we are told to rejoice? David tells all who put their trust in God to rejoice, even "shout for joy". He assures us that God will defend all who put their trust in Him. Then David says that those who love His name can be joyful in Him because He will "bless the righteous" and place His favour around us "as with a shield". These are great promises that we can really shout about! I think it would be fitting to close with Romans 8:31. "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?" Rejoice Christian believers! We are on the winning side!
57. The Lord Is A Righteous Judge
“But the LORD shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment. And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness. The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee." Psalm 9:7-10
If we go all the way back to the Garden of Eden and look at the sin of Adam and Eve we see that Eve blamed the serpent and Adam blamed Eve. When we are confronted with our sin we usually try to find someone else to blame. How many times have I heard parents blame teachers for all their child's problems? These same children may grow up and blame their parents for all their problems. Bosses blame their employees, while they blame their employers or one another. Even tiny little children may blame another when something gets broken. When we stand, or fall on our knees before the Lord, we won't have anyone to blame for our sin. The Lord is a righteous judge and He knows our hearts. In Luke 16 we read of the rich man and Lazarus, the beggar. When they died Lazarus was carried by angels into Abraham's bosom and the rich man lifted up his eyes in hell. (Luke 16:22-23) In verse 24 the rich man cried out for mercy and a drop of water to cool his tongue. In verses 27-28 the rich man prayed for someone to warn his five brothers so they would not come to that awful place of torment. He did not make excuses for his sin. He did not blame someone else for his sin. And he did not ask to be delivered from his sin. I was reading the book of Hosea today and the last verse goes along with our thoughts. "Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein." (Hosea 14:9) Are you ready to stand before the Righteous Judge, the Lord God Almighty?
58. How To Wait On The Lord
"Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD." Psalm 27:14
There are less than four weeks until the first day of spring. February has been wet and cold and I am ready for warmer weather. People say things like, "I can't wait 'til spring!" But complaining about the weather does not make time pass any quicker. We may be tired and weary of the cold weather, but we know that spring is just around the corner. There may be other areas in our lives that seem to make us grow tired and weary, and often we don't know what we can do. Sometimes our patience may grow thin and it helps to have something to do while we wait. In the first verse of Psalm 27 David shows us that he is trusting the Lord. "The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" I also like what David says in verse 8, "When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek." David is waiting, but he is also trusting the Lord and seeking God. We often associate waiting with doing nothing. That is the wrong way to look at it. While we are waiting, we need to keep trusting the Lord and seeking His face. In this we have a promise, "Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD."
59. The Lord Is My Shepherd
We are still looking at some of the Precious Promises In God's Word. Before I began with this devotional theme I started reading through the Bible listing all the promises as I found them. Sometimes the Lord leads me with a special thought and I use that promise and at other times I look through the list I have been keeping. Last week I began looking at some of the promises from the book of Psalms. I can't write on all the promises, because there are so many and I keep finding more as I keep working my way through the various books. When I pulled my list out for this devotional and tried to see where I was in the book of Psalms I noticed that I had skipped over the 23rd Psalm. I really don't know how I missed seeing it on my list. I imagine David as a young shepherd boy sitting down by the still waters and looking out over the green pastures as he wrote this Psalm. This is a very familiar Psalm and there is nothing I can add to aid in the understanding. All I ask is that as you read through these lovely passages, look for the Precious Promises found in these verses. If you don't know the Lord as your Good Shepherd, now would be a wonderful time to put your trust in Him.
1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
60. Joy Comes In The Morning
"Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." Psalm 30:4-5
Preacher Joe Bryant visited ourt church Sunday and part of his text in the evening service included Galatians 6:9 "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." He gave so many reasons that can cause us to get weary. We can get weary helping bear another's burden as in verse 2 of Galatians 6. "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." We can also grow weary from the burdens that we must bear on our own, those that no one else can help us carry, as in verse 5 of the same chapter. "For every man shall bear his own burden." Our weariness can come from physical weakness or mental pressure. I have experienced weariness from both these situations. I have also known weariness from having a spiritual burden for others. In times like these I need to turn to 1 Peter 5:7, "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." We can take our burdens to the Lord as we see in Hebrews 4:16. "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." If you are weary in well doing, as I often find myself, I hope you can find some rest in this promise from Psalm 30:5, "...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."
61. God Can Guide Us With His Eyes
"I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye." Psalm 32:8
Since I was let go from my job, there have been several little repairs and jobs to do around the house that we just did not have time to do when we were both working. I really enjoy how things look so new with a fresh coat of paint, so I have worked on painting the porches and several different rooms in the house. With some family help, we have tackled one project after another; rescreening the back porch, putting a tile floor in the laundry room, and clearing some underbrush from the wooded area in front of the house. I have enjoyed all these little projects and look forward to warm weather so I can get started again. Sometimes things come up that we can't do for ourselves. Last summer we needed a plumber and a tree service man. I prayed and prayed that God would lead me to the right people, who would be fair in price and still give us a good job. When the plumber was here he noticed our driveway needed a little work and he used his ditch-digging machine to scrape our driveway. I think that was very thoughtful of him. When I mentioned the trees we were going to have cut down because they were hanging so far over the house, he gave me the name of a tree-service man that lived nearby. I try to pray about everything. I could say the big things and the small things, but there is no difference in God's eyes. Now, I have noticed that my kitchen floor needs to be repaired. The floor feels a little soft in front of the refrigerator. I have been looking at different types of flooring and the more I look, the more confused I get. I am praying that God will instruct me, teach me, and lead me in the way I need to go just as the verse says above. When my children were small and I was talking with someone or doing something and they needed me, I could often guide them with my eye. They could see from the look in my eyes if they were about to do something that they should not do. Our smiling eyes can also tell others that we are pleased with the descisions they are making. I pray that God will open my eyes to see the right path and help me to follow Him as He guides me through His Word and with His eyes.
62. The Lord Holds Us Up With His Hand
"The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand." Psalm 37:23-24
I have a grandson who is 10 months old and he is learning to walk. He can crawl over to a chair, or even to the wall and pull himself up. He can then walk until he comes to the end of having something to hold on to. He really enjoys holding on to your fingers and walking because then he can go where he wants to go. But in all reality, he is not always going where he wants to go. He may try to turn in a different direction, but the person holding his hands is actually determining his direction. When I was walking with him at church he would go so far and then try to turn in a new direction. Most of the time I went where he was leading, but sometimes there would be several people standing and talking and I did not want to interupt them, so I would lead him in another direction. He was so excited to be walking he did not seem to notice we changed paths. This verse reminds me of helping little Jedidiah learn to walk. "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way." If we took the time to realize that the Lord is holding our hands to keep us on the right path, then we could keep on going in the assurance that He knows the best way to go. The Lord can see up ahead and knows the way we need to go. Now, verse 24. "Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand." In learning to walk, little Jedidiah is also learning what it is to fall. When he is walking by holding on to the couch and one of his toys is on the floor in his way, he may stumble over it and fall. When he is walking and holding on to our fingers he sometimes starts going too fast, or steps onto objects and because he is holding our fingers we can't always catch him and he falls. As he learns to take steps on his own he will fall many times, but most of the time someone will be there to help him back up. In our lives, there are times when we fall. We may go in the wrong direction and meet with obstacles beyond our control. We may go too fast and get ahead of the Lord's plan for our lives. We may think we can make it on our own and not consult the Lord in our descisions. But aren't you glad for the promise! "Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand." I thank the Lord for all the times He has guided my steps. I am even more grateful for all the times He lifts me up when I fall.
63. God Will Be Exalted
"Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10
I have noticed a common thread in reading from the Old Testament recently. As God led the Children of Israel out of bondage in Egypt He wanted them to know Him. "And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians." (Exodus 6:7) "Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else... Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;" (Deuteronomy 4:39 & 7:9) When they turned away from God and He allowed them to be taken into captivity again the message is repeated by several of the prophets. "So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward." (Ezekiel 39:22) What I find disturbing about this message is the attitude of people today. I have seen people give God the glory for things done in their lives, and then someone speaks up boldly and says that God had nothing to do with it. I can't believe the audacity of people today who think they can stand up against God. The message to God's people, to Pharaoh, to the heathen nations, through the Old Testament, was that through God's awesome power, they would know that He was and is the only true God. The Lord Jesus came and the message of the New Testament is that we can know God through Christ. "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." (John 17:3) The Psalmist said, "Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." The world in general may deny that there is a God in heaven today, but there will come a day when they will know that He is God. "For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God." (Romans 14:11-12)
64. Praise The Lord For His Goodness!
“For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me... But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth." Psalm 86:5-7 & 15
"Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!" Psalm 31:19
"O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him." Psalm 34:8
"Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever." Psalm 106:1
God is good! I am collecting so many verses with promises that I decided to group some together under the common thread, "God is good!" These are only a few of the many that tell us of the goodness of our Lord. There are many attributes of God that I could mention, but the opening words of the first verse listed above is probably the most important of all. “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee." What could we do without the love and mercy of a forgiving God? We would be lost without hope. We would be drowning in a sea of sin. One of the very first prayers I learned as a child is, "God is great. God is good. Let us thank Him, for our food." As adults we would benefit greatly from remembering this astounding promise, "God is good." When we fail Him and feel so ashamed, God will reach out in mercy with forgiveness. When we go to Him in fear because of the storms in our lives, God will reach out to us with His unfailing strength and lift us up in love. When we go to Him in need, God will open the windows of heaven to meet our needs. "God is good." The next line in our little prayer is, "Let us thank Him..." "Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever." I have so much to thank Him for. But, if I didn't have anything else in the world, I could spend the rest of my days thanking Him for His goodness and mercy. Thank you, Lord.