Saturday, January 21, 2012

Our Search for Significance

"O LORD, what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that You think of him? Man is like a mere breath; His days are like a passing shadow."
Psalm 144:3-4

In our search for significance and affirmation, we need look no further than the very fact that God Almighty cares for us. There is nothing we have that He needs. The universe is His and everything in it. And besides, everything we have He has provided. Our intelligence, our talents, our money -- all of it. We don't have to work to get His attention. We already have it. God loves us and wants to have a relationship with us. Now. Our time here on earth is short. The psalmist wrote that we are a "mere breath", a "passing shadow". How sad to waste our life on earthly pleasures that will never last, instead of taking pleasure in the One who can give us life everlasting. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Name to be Loved

"And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, 
For You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You."
Psalm 9:10

Take just a moment to look at these Old Testament names for God. They reveal His attributes and character: 

ELOHIM......Genesis 1:1, Psalm 19:1
meaning "God", a reference to God's power and might.
ADONAI......Malachi 1:6
meaning "Lord", a reference to the Lordship of God.
JEHOVAH--YAHWEH.....Genesis 2:4
a reference to God's divine salvation.
meaning "The Lord thy sanctifier"
JEHOVAH-ROHI......Psalm 23:1
meaning "The Lord my shepherd"
JEHOVAH-SHAMMAH.......Ezekiel 48:35
meaning "The Lord who is present"
JEHOVAH-RAPHA.........Exodus 15:26
meaning "The Lord our healer"
JEHOVAH-TSIDKENU......Jeremiah 23:6
meaning "The Lord our righteousness"
JEHOVAH-JIREH.........Genesis 22:13-14
meaning "The Lord will provide"
JEHOVAH-NISSI.........Exodus 17:15
meaning "The Lord our banner"
JEHOVAH-SHALOM........Judges 6:24
meaning "The Lord is peace"
JEHOVAH-SABBAOTH......Isaiah 6:1-3
meaning "The Lord of Hosts"
JEHOVAH-GMOLAH........Jeremiah 51:6
meaning "The God of Recompense"
EL-ELYON..............Genesis 14:17-20,Isaiah 14:13-14
meaning "The most high God
EL-ROI................Genesis 16:13
meaning "The strong one who sees"
EL-SHADDAI............Genesis 17:1,Psalm 91:1
meaning "The God of the mountains or God Almighty"
EL-OLAM...............Isaiah 40:28-31
meaning "The everlasting God"

The Lord says, "You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:13). God always comes to the one who seeks Him. And He comes in the fullness of who He is, encompassing all these names. Those who place their trust in Him will never be disappointed. "But let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them ever sing for joy; And may You shelter them, That those who love Your name may exult in You." (Psalm 5:11)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Life Which I Now Live

"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me."
Galatians 2:20

Far too often professing Christians -- those who have trusted Christ as their Savior -- still spend their lives trying to win God's favor. They feel there is some Christian standard they have to live up to; a standard so high they will never attain it. And by not attaining it they live in a constant state of discouragement, believing God is disappointed in them. The Lord never meant for His beloved children to live that way; to be robbed of joy through a false belief that there is more to do. It has already been done. Jesus said when He drew His last breath on the cross, "It is finished." Christ won the victory over sin by the shedding of His blood. He won the victory over death through His resurrection. This is what pleases God. It's not us or anything we do -- or don't do. It's what His Son did on our behalf. So does this mean we can sin all we want and God will be ok with that? No. God wants us to experience the full freedom of growing more and more like Jesus -- in holiness, and that happens through Christ's transforming work in our lives. "To live under the principle of grace, you must first cease to live under the principle of law; and the only way to be released from the principle of God's law is to die to it. You and I will never, ever be able to live with a genuine sense of freedom and liberty before God -- we'll never be able to enjoy a sense of full acceptance before Him, and a sense of release from the bondage of the curse of the law -- until we see ourselves as having ceased from living. We must reckon it to be true of us -- we must consider it to be a true fact in our case -- that we have died with Christ, and that it is no longer we who live, but Christ lives in us. Spiritual union with Jesus Christ is the basis of living under the principle of God's grace." -- Pastor Greg Allen. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Only Door

"I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture." 
John 10:9

Jesus gives an incredible invitation to sinners in this verse: Come to me and be saved. He will never force Himself on anyone, but everyone is welcome to enter into His rest. Jesus says, "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me  — watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly" (Matthew 11:28-30 The Message). People fight and wrestle to find some other door to God when Jesus showed us the one and only door is Him. Now knowing this is not the same as entering through the door. The door is open as long as we have the breath of life, but we have to make a conscious decision to walk through it. On which side of the door are you standing?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Believe God

"As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him."
1 Samuel 17:48

When the time came for David to battle Goliath, he "ran quickly" to meet him. David didn't shrink back. He was zealous to uphold God's honor, and he moved forward with boldness. The battle was the Lord's and He would deliver the Philistine into David's hands (1 Samuel 17:47). David believed God. Are you facing a spiritual enemy today? Remember, "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12). Don't give into fear. Don't shrink back. "Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God (see Eph 6:13-18), so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil" (Eph 6:10-11). Prepare yourself, then run quickly to the battle line with confidence. Believe God.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Confident of This

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:23

It is God's desire that we have peace with Him. He desires it so much that He provided a way for us to be presented blameless at the coming of His Son Jesus Christ. It is the way of the cross. For without the cross there can be no forgiveness of sins. And without forgiveness of sins we stand condemned before a holy God. It is God who calls us to Christ and it is God who sanctifies us completely. "'Sanctification' comes from the same Greek word that means 'holy'; and this sanctification is the process by which God works to make us increasingly holy in the way we live - making us to be more and more like the One who died for us. This sanctification is said to be 'complete' - that is, in the sense of the wholeness of our person." -- Greg Allen. God does it all: He calls, He sanctifies, He preserves. What a relief that my acceptance at the day of the Lord's return doesn't depend upon my performance, but depends solely on God's -- "being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

When We're Ready

"I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now."
 John 16:12

As a young girl, I had many questions for my mother about life. Sometimes she would tell me, "Wait until you're older and I'll tell you." She discerned that I wasn't yet ready to receive what she had to say. I needed more maturity to comprehend it. In the Upper Room discourse, Christ had things to share with His disciples that they were not yet ready to receive. Later these things would be revealed to them by the Holy Spirit when they had the strength to bear them. In our own lives we find that God does not reveal everything to us at once. He has not told us some things out of His love for us. At some point we may be mature enough to handle it and He will tell us then. Other things He will not show us until we see Him face to face.  "Compassed with these veils of flesh and weakness, groping amidst the shadows of time, bewildered by the cross-lights that fall upon us from so many surrounding objects, we have not yet eyes able to behold the ineffable glory. . .Let us wait with patience until we are ready for the illumination. For two things go to make revelation, the light that reveals and the eye that beholds." -- Alexander MacLaren
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