Saturday, November 13, 2010

Guarded Hearts

"Above all else, guard your heart, 
   for everything you do flows from it."
Proverbs 4:23

The physical heart is the core of the body, from which life-giving blood flows. From the spiritual heart flows good or evil, depending upon what is poured into it. If the spiritual heart of a person has been surrendered to God and filled with His love and goodness, then he will live in such a way that love and goodness is displayed. On the other hand, if the spiritual heart is callous toward God and alienated from him, then his life will reflect such animosity. Much is said in the Bible about the heart of man. We are wise to guard our hearts diligently.

Friday, November 12, 2010

God's Idea of a Blessing

'The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.'
Numbers 6:24-26

This beautiful benediction was spoken over the people of Israel by Aaron. Of particular interest is that the words were given by God Himself. The Lord wants to bless you, but His idea of blessing may be quite different from yours. He may not choose to give you material wealth, but would have you find your wealth in your relationship with Him. The Lord wants to keep you and give you His character. He wants to smile upon you and extend His grace to you. The Lord wants to lift His head and pay attention to you, and He wants to give you His peace. This is God's idea of a blessing over you. What a marvelous way for us to pray over ourselves and our families.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

God's Quiet Whisper

So He said, "Go forth and stand on the mountain before the LORD " And behold, the LORD was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave And behold, a voice came to him and said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" 
1 Kings 19:11-13

The Lord has handed over a great victory to Elijah in his battle against Jezebel's false prophets. For a short time Elijah celebrates, but then he becomes fearful and depressed when he sees no spiritual conversion, and Jezebel threatens his life. He runs away, wishing to die. But the Lord has His eye on Elijah and sends angelic messengers to minister to him. Finally refreshed, Elijah travels forty days and nights until he reaches Horeb, the mountain of God. There the word of God comes to him and instructs him to stand on the mountain while He passes by. Elijah obeys and three cataclysmic events take place: a mighty wind that breaks the rocks in the mountain, followed by an earthquake, and a fire. But God isn't in any of those phenomena. Instead He speaks in a gentle breeze that comes afterward. Elijah recognizes this and humbles himself before the Lord. This is a good lesson for us. We may expect to hear from God in the spectacular moments of life and completely miss His quiet whisper in the humble ordinary.  

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What Does God Want?

"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."
Micah 6:8

Micah reveals to us what the Lord requires of his children. It may sound easy, but if we are honest with ourselves, we know that to act justly towards others and extend mercy to them when they have wronged us is not natural. These are Godlike characteristics that we do not possess in our own strength. It requires the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. And how do we receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, unless we come before God in humility, confessing our sins and acknowledging our need for a Savior? Micah says, "walk humbly with your God." God must be personal to us. He must be your God. He must be my God. He is not a distant, uninterested deity, but a loving Father who wants us to have a right relationship with him. What an honor and privilege it is to "walk humbly" with Almighty God.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Wishing I'd Show Up

    "I will meditate on Your precepts
         And regard Your ways. 
    I shall delight in Your statutes;
         I shall not forget Your word." 
Psalm 119:15-16

Yesterday the sunshine and  unusually warm fall temperatures beckoned to me, so I grabbed my camera and went for a walk.  Along the way I photographed the autumn splendor. When I came to an empty park bench, I rested and prayed. Sitting there in the sun I thought of how busy I get with daily activities, and how pleasant it is to stop what I'm doing and quiet my soul. When I do, Jesus joins me and I delight in recalling and meditating on His word. I can't help but wonder how many times the Lord is sitting on the bench, wishing I'd show up.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Our High Priest

"But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption." Hebrews 9:11-12

Under the old covenant, the priest entered the tabernacle once a year to offer the blood sacrifice of an unblemished calf or goat as a sin atonement. First, he offered a sacrifice for his own sins, and then he offered a sacrifice for the sins of the people. The repeated sacrifices year after year by the priest were a constant reminder to the people of their sinfulness and separation from God. Then Jesus Christ, the pure, spotless lamb of God, gave His life blood and entered the heavenly tabernacle.  The perfect sacrifice for the sin of all people, for all time. Once for all. He was the sacrifice and the sacrificer. The new covenant was ushered in. Those who accept Christ as their personal Savior receive the forgiveness of sin, direct access to God and eternal life. Jesus Christ -- our High Priest.
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