Saturday, February 5, 2011

What Delights God?

"For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;
         You are not pleased with burnt offering. 
    The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
         A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise."
Psalm 51:16-17

It's not the work of our hands that delights God, but the work of our heart. It begins when we repent of our sins with broken and humble hearts that yearn to be in fellowship with Him. When we accept the sacrifice that Christ made on Calvary, understanding that it's nothing we do that puts us in right stead with the Father, but rather the work of Christ on the cross that is our claim for pardon. At last we are free from the bondage of sin, never to return to it as long as we remain in Christ, and we serve the Lord out of love and not out of guilt. This is what delights God. This is the truth that our Father wants us to grasp. This is the joy inexpressible that He wants us to experience. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

God's Love vs Our Suffering

So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, "Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick."
But when Jesus heard this, He said, "This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it." Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
John 11:4

The fact that Jesus loves us does not mean He will shield us from sickness or even death. Jesus loved Martha, Mary and Lazarus, yet he allowed Lazarus to become ill and die. His purpose in doing so was to glorify the Father through Lazarus' resurrection. The love of God and the pain He allows in our lives are not in conflict. The very God who loves His Son, allowed Him to suffer an excruciating crucifixion for our sins, and then raised Him from the grave for His glory. We must remember this as we face suffering in our own lives so that we do not lose heart.  

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Always Blessed

"The LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning;"  Job 42:12a

So often when we speak of Job, it is in the context of his troubles and not his blessings. True, Job was severely tested. He lost everything. His estate, his children, his health. Only his life, his peevish wife and a few judgmental friends remained. But, after a certain period of trial, God restored Job's health, his estate, and his family. In fact, Job's blessings at the end of his life far exceeded his blessings at the beginning. He lived another 140 years and saw his son's sons to the fourth generation. The outcome of Job's suffering shows us that God is able to restore what we have lost and bless us with more than we had to begin with, if He chooses to do so. If, on the other hand, He doesn't take away the object of our suffering, as in the Apostle Paul's case, then we are still abundantly blessed. For we have the blessing of Christ's sufficient grace (2 Corinthians 12:8-9a) to sustain us.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Lord's Hands

"The right hand of the LORD is exalted;
         The right hand of the LORD does valiantly."
Psalm 118:16

The Bible speaks often of the right hand of the Lord. He defends with His powerful right hand (Ex 15:6). Lightning flashes from His right hand (Deut 33:2). Eternal pleasures are in His right hand (Ps 16:11). There is refuge in His right hand (Ps 17:7). His right hand sustains (Ps 18:35). There is saving strength in His right hand (Ps 20:6). He discerns by His right hand (Ps 21:8). His will is accomplished with His right hand (Ps 44:3b). His right hand holds those He loves (Ps 73:23).  He provides land for His people with His right hand (Ps 78:54). He spread out the heavens with His right hand (Is 48:13). He swears by His right hand (Is 62:8). I love the right hand of the Lord, but I cherish the left hand of the Lord just as much. For the scar of Calvary's nail is on my Savior's left hand, too.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Bigger and Better Door

They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; and passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. A vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." When he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
Acts 16:6-10

This passage from scripture is rich with God's wisdom. Paul and his companions have it in mind to preach the gospel in the Roman Province of Asia Minor, which is modern day Turkey. God says "no" and instead, through a vision, directs them to the region of Macedonia, across the Agean Sea. Paul wanted to win his local region for Christ, but God had a bigger plan; to send Paul and his missionary team to Europe and win an entire continent. What encouragement we can glean from this for those times when God closes a door. Trust Him and know that His hand is poised to open a bigger and better one.

Monday, January 31, 2011

"I Was Just Thinking Of You"

"How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
         How vast is the sum of them! 
    If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand 
         When I awake, I am still with You."
Psalm 139:17-18

Most likely all of us have heard the words, "I was just thinking of you" when we initiate contact with a friend or family member. Or we have said those words ourselves upon hearing from someone. The phrase is typically said with surprise, as if we didn't expect the other person to have us on their mind. Isn't it amazing that God always has us on His mind? David said God's thoughts toward him were vast, innumerable and unending. Think about it. God never stops thinking about you. Never. Even if you aren't thinking of Him. Imagine if you were to say to the Lord, "I was just thinking of you." His response would be, "I've never stopped thinking about you...and I never will." Awesome!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Open the Door to Praise

"I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the peoples,
         And I will sing praises to You among the nations.
For Your lovingkindness is great above the heavens,
         And Your truth reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens,
         And Your glory above all the earth."

Psalm 108:3-5

The world needs to know of the love and kindness of our God. When we testify to others of what He has done in our lives, giving thanks and all the praise to Him, we open the door for them to praise Him, too. In this God is exalted and His glory fills the earth. Sing His praises!

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