Saturday, October 8, 2011

Please Come Home

"But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God."
Nehemiah 9:31

Throughout the Old Testament we see Israel turning their back on God, but He never turned His back on them. When they repented and returned to Him, He opened His arms wide to receive them. This happened repeatedly, and always God kept His promise to His people. God doesn't hold grudges. He is gracious, giving us what we don't deserve -- His love and forgiveness. He is merciful, not giving us what we do deserve -- punishment for our disobedience. 

Max Lucado tells a story about a young girl from Brazil who wanted to see the world. It's a beautiful illustration of our Heavenly Father's mercy, grace and love.

Discontent with a home having only a pallet on the floor, a washbasin, and a wood-burning stove, she dreamed of a better life in the city. One morning she slipped away, breaking her mother’s heart. Knowing what life on the streets would be like for her young, attractive daughter, Maria hurriedly packed to go find her. On her way to the bus stop she entered a drugstore to get one last thing. Pictures. She sat in the photograph booth, closed the curtain, and spent all she could on pictures of herself. With her purse full of small black-and-white photos, she boarded the next bus to the city.

Maria knew Christina had no way of earning money. She also knew that her daughter was too stubborn to give up. When pride meets hunger, a human will do things that were before unthinkable. Knowing this, Maria began her search in bars, hotels, and nightclubs, any place with a bad reputation. She went to them all. And at each place she left her picture—taped on a bathroom mirror, tacked to a hotel bulletin board, fastened to a corner phone booth. And on the back of each photo she wrote a note.

It wasn’t too long before both the money and the pictures ran out, and Maria had to go home. The weary mother wept as the bus began its long journey back to her small village. It was a few weeks later that young Christina descended the hotel stairs. Her young face was tired. Her brown eyes no longer danced with youth but spoke of pain and fear. Her laughter was broken. Her dream had become a nightmare. A thousand times over she had longed to trade these countless beds for her secure pallet. Yet the little village was, in too many ways, too far away.

As she reached the bottom of the stairs, her eyes noticed a familiar face. She looked again, and there on the lobby mirror was a small picture of her mother. Christina’s eyes burned and her throat tightened as she walked across the room and removed the small photo. Written on the back was this compelling invitation. “Whatever you have done, whatever you have become, it doesn’t matter. Please come home.” She did. (Max Lucado, No Wonder They Call Him the Savior, Multnomah Press, 1986, pp. 158-9)

No matter how far you may have strayed from God, no matter what you have done, it doesn't matter. God hasn't abandoned you. He loves you and He wants you to come home.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Forever Guarding

"The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever."
Psalm 121:8

All of our days are lived under the watchful eye of our Lord. From our first cry outside our mother's womb, to our last breath on earth, He is guarding and keeping the ones who trust in Him. Jesus said, "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand." We don't need to fear the path that lies before us, for God is intimately familiar with each twist and turn it may take. He goes before us and behind us, and at the same time He walks with us. We are surrounded by His presence. The Lord will guide us in this life, and when it is over He will take us into the glory of the next. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Don't Borrow Trouble

“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Matthew 6:34

In the previous verses of Matthew 6, Jesus has been teaching on trusting God with our lives and looking to Him for provision, instead of worrying. Now He ends His dissertation with a most pragmatic statement: Don't borrow trouble. Don't spend today thinking about what's going to go wrong tomorrow. God gives enough grace for each day. His grace is sufficient for today, and His grace will be sufficient for tomorrow. Each day has the potential to bring something for us to worry about. But don't lose the exquisite experience of life with God today, by fretting over what might be coming tomorrow. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

God's Mysterious Ways

 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, 
   neither are your ways my ways,” 
            declares the LORD. 
Isaiah 55:8

I have often heard the words, "God works in mysterious ways." This scripture may be the basis for that addage. In our human understanding we fail to comprehend why God allows certain things to happen or why He does the things He does. If today you're questioning God's ways, Isaiah 55:8 is the answer you're looking for. God does what He does because He's God, and He knows things we never will. Be careful that you don't ascribe human attributes to God. Don't bring him down to your level. Instead, submit to His supremacy, and you will become more and more content with His mysterious ways.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Our Refuge

“I love You, O LORD, my strength.” 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. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, And I am saved from my enemies."
Psalm 18:1-3

This is a psalm of deliverance, written by David after the Lord saved Him from all his enemies and the hand of Saul. David called God his rock and fortress. Rock is solid, a fortress is impenetrable. Then David described God as his shield, the horn of his salvation, and his stronghold. A man uses a shield to protect himself. In the horn of an animal is its strength and defense. A stronghold is a place that has been fortified to protect it against attack. So essentially, David is saying that God is his strength; a solid, impenetrable, place of protection that enemies can't overcome. This is David's song of praise, and it can be ours, as well. Our enemies may not be flesh and blood, as his were. They may come in the form of fear, worry, doubt or hopelessness. When they make their appearance, we must call upon the Lord and take refuge in Him. He has promised to give us His peace. "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful." (John 14:27)

Monday, October 3, 2011


"Abraham called the name of that place The LORD Will Provide, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the LORD it will be provided."
Genesis 22:14

Abraham was prepared to sacrifice his beloved son, but at the same time he believed God had the power to resurrect the boy. God had promised to make a great nation out of  Isaac, and Abraham knew this would not be possible unless Isaac lived. Abraham moved forward in obedient faith and God provided a substitute for the boy. A ram caught in the thicket. Abraham sacrificed the ram and called the place Jehovah-Jireh -- The Lord Will Provide. So many times we are reluctant to do what God has called us to do, because we don't really believe His promises. Like Abraham, we must take God at His word, step out in faith, and trust Him with the outcome. When we do, God will show us that He is Jehovah-Jireh -- The Lord Who Provides.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Seasoned with Grace

"Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person."
Colossians 4:6

Just as salt enhances the flavor of food, so grace enhances the flavor of our speech. Jesus spoke with such love and kindness that those who heard Him marveled at His speech and looked upon Him with favor (Luke 4:22). If we want to have a positive impact on people, then we need to be concerned with how we speak to them. Christians should be so sensitive to the needs, hurts, and disappointments of others that our words are filled only with kindness. When we find it necessary to be firm, there should be no harsh tone in our voices. The Holy Spirit lives within us. The more we yield to His control, the more our speech will be like Christ's. Seasoned with grace. 
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