Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Glory of the Unseen

"Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:16-18

My first husband was diagnosed with a terminal heart disease at the age of 47. Something beautiful and wondrous happened in Jim's life as he walked through his serious affliction. He began to see it as "light" in comparison to the glory He would one day receive in the presence of Jesus, his Savior. As Jim's physical body became weaker and weaker, his inner spiritual life became stronger and stronger. God spared Jim's life for twelve years, and for that I'm grateful. He was with me to see our son marry and have children of his own. We enjoyed playing with our grandchildren and came to see every day as a gift. But, like Paul, Jim had his eyes on his eternal prize. He understood that what he had on earth was temporal, a small blip on the radar screen of eternity. Never losing heart, Jim rejoiced in what was to come -- the glory of the unseen. Praise God!

Friday, March 11, 2011

The "I Will" God

Then God said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name." I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.""
Genesis 17:15-16

When God says "I will", He delivers.  From the first "I will" in Genesis 2:18 (I will make a helper suitable for him) to the last "I will" in Revelation 21:7 (I will be his God and he will be My son), God keeps His word. He kept His I wills to Sarah and Abraham and to all who came after them. He's keeping His I wills today and He'll keep them tomorrow. This is so important for us to understand and believe, especially for those times when we are in distress. The enemy tries to persuade us that the Lord doesn't care, that He won't help us, but Jesus' promised, "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." Are you in need of an I will right now? Run to the "I will" God.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

God is Our Hero

"The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
         My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;
         My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."
Psalm 18:2 

David wrote Psalm 18 "in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul." Biblical scholars disagree on the exact meaning of horn in this verse. Some believe it refers to the horns of an animal, with which it defends itself against predators and attacks its enemies. Others say horn means "the helmet of salvation", as warriors often placed horns, or ornaments appearing as horns, on their helmets as a sign of protection. Another possible meaning is the same as the corners or handles of the altar in the court of the tabernacle, which are called its horns (the horns of the golden altar were sprinkled with blood from the animal sacrifice to cleanse and purify it from the sins of the Israelites -- Leviticus 4:7, 16:18). Or horn could be a reference to the highest point of a great mountain; its peak. Whichever view we assume, the message is essentially the same. God defends and protects us. He is the source of our salvation and when we run to Him we are far from our enemies. God is our hero.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What Pleases God?

"Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world."
James 1:27

During my widowhood I experienced the love of my Christian friends in ways I never had before. One Valentine's eve, a young couple from my church came to my home with flowers and homemade, decorated cupcakes. Their visit lifted my spirits at a very lonely time and I'm sure their actions brought a smile to our Father's face. He isn't interested in our pious words and rituals, but how we live in this corrupted world. We are to care for those who are hurting, whoever and wherever they are. Widows and orphans are a symbol of all people in need; God's compassion extends to the divorced and sick, the jobless and homeless, and to anyone  else who is in pain -- physical or emotional. Along with putting feet to our faith, God wants us to behave in ways that show we belong to Him. "Don't love the world's ways. Don't love the world's goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity. (1John 2:16 -- The Message)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Prayers of the Destitute

"He has regarded the prayer of the destitute
         And has not despised their prayer."
Psalm 102:17

In those times when we are destitute, feeling helpless in our afflictions, we may feel that there is nowhere to turn. Often others are suffering as much or more than we are, and we don't wish to add to their burden by talking about our problems. This is when we must remember to turn to our God. He is always available and willing to hear from us. We can come before Him with full assurance that He cares for us and will honor our prayers. Even our prayers of complaint. God never gets irritated or annoyed with us, no matter how many times we might pray about the very same thing. He loves us and is filled with compassion. 

Are we weak and heavy laden, 
cumbered with a load of care? 
Precious Savior, still our refuge; 
take it to the Lord in prayer.*

*Taken from the Hymn What a Friend We Have in Jesus
Text: Joseph M. Scriven, 1820-1886 
Music: Charles C. Converse, 1832-1918  

Monday, March 7, 2011

Breakfast Is Ready

Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." None of the disciples ventured to question Him, "Who are You?" knowing that it was the Lord.
John 21:12

John writes of this post resurrection appearance of Jesus to His disciples. It's early morning. Peter, John and 5 others have been fishing all night, but they haven't caught anything. Jesus shows up on the shore, but the men don't recognize Him. The Lord addresses them affectionately and asks if they have any fish (v. 5). They answer "no" and Jesus tells them to cast their net on the other side of the boat.  After doing as He instructs, the net fills with 153 fish. John declares the stranger on the beach is the Lord. (Those who follow Christ always recognize where their success comes from.) Peter jumps in the water and swims to the Lord.  The rest follow with the great catch.  Upon arrival they find a fire with fish and bread already laid out for them.  Jesus invites them to come and dine. He speaks to them and they enjoy sweet fellowship. Our Lord still invites His followers to dine with Him in the morning, to feast upon His word and enjoy His company. "Breakfast is ready," He says, "come and eat."

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Wash Their Feet

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"If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.  For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you."
John 13:14-15

The night He was betrayed Jesus washed the feet of each of His disciples, including Judas.  He knew His betrayal would come from Judas, yet he chose to serve even his enemy. This is an amazing picture of how Jesus wants us to treat each other.  Rarely will we so much as tolerate those who oppose us, much less stoop to humble ourselves before them.  Is there someone God wants you to serve? Listen to the beautiful song "Humble King" by Brenton Brown and meditate on the words.  Let the Lord speak to your heart.

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