Saturday, February 4, 2012

Go Forward

"Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward.'"
Exodus 14:15

The Israelites had come to the Red Sea with Pharoah's army in hot pursuit. God had already promised he would deliver them, but the people were afraid and doubted, preferring  to go back into Egyptian captivity rather than trust in the Lord's deliverance. This exhortation to Moses from the Lord comes on the heels of Moses' answer to the grumblings of the Israelites. Moses had told them. “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent.” Moses' faith was intact, but his spirit it would seem was crying out to God. What he was praying, we're not told. (Perhaps, like other times, he was interceding with the Lord on behalf of the Israelites. Afraid that their contentious behavior would stay God's hand.) The Lord's response to Moses was to go forward. There is a time to pray and a time to act. The Lord didn't answer Moses in anger. Moses had been in communication with God and had been told the plan. He didn't need to pray about it any more. He needed to act on what God had told him. "There is a time to quit praying and start marching." -- Pastor Chuck Smith. If God has already told you what to do. . .go forward.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Remembering His Work

"Splendid and majestic is His work, 
And His righteousness endures forever. 
He has made His wonders to be remembered; 
The LORD is gracious and compassionate." 
Psalm 111:3-4

All creation tells us of God's existence. From mountain peak to mountain peak His glory resounds. But of all God's works, the greatest is the the giving of His Son for our redemption. It is only by the Lord's grace and compassion that we are saved. To know that we have eternal life through Christ brings peace and contentment like nothing else can. Yes, this life is hard. Jesus said it would be. "In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). We can have courage because we have a Savior, and when our time on earth is finished all who trust in His work on the cross and not their own "good works" will go to be with Him. This is what God wants us to remember. He made it so we would.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

God Taught

"I have not turned aside from Your ordinances, 
For You Yourself have taught me." 
Psalm 119:102

I visited a blog today where the woman had a list of "self help" books that she recommended. Honestly, I steer as far away from the self help section of the bookstore as I possibly can. This wasn't always the case. There was a time before I turned to God when I read a long list of books filled with human wisdom. Trouble is, the wisdom changed from author to author, and each new book promoted whatever pop psychology was prominent at that moment in time. It was an exhausting experience. Then God called me. I answered and began to study His word. At last I found the truth. And the truth set me free of the endless search for help, just as Jesus said it would." (John 8:31-32). Solomon -- the wisest man who ever lived -- said, "There's no end to the publishing of books, and constant study wears you out so you're no good for anything else. The last and final word is this: Fear God. Do what He tells you." (Ecclesiastes 12:12-13 The Message)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

When Anxious Thoughts Multiply

"If the LORD had not been my help, My soul would soon have dwelt in the abode of silence. If I should say, 'My foot has slipped,' Your lovingkindness, O LORD, will hold me up. When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul. "
Psalm 94:17-19

There may come a time in the life of a Christian when his soul feels adrift. It's not that she has left God, nor has He left her (for the Lord has said He will never leave nor forsake us). But there's a dryness, a thinness of spirit, that takes hold and threatens to lay God's loved one low. I've been there and maybe you have, too. Or maybe. . .just maybe. . .you're in that place today. If so, I want to encourage you to stop and let God be your help. It's so easy to allow ourselves to feel estranged from our Lord at times like these. We must make a conscious decision to let Him console us. Meditate on the Lord's words, such as these. and let them delight your soul:

"The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness." -- Jeremiah 31:3

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS." -- Matthew 11:28-29

"Do not fear, for I am with you; 
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, 

Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’" -- Isaiah 41:10

"You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah (pause and reflect)." -- Psalm 32:7

"From my distress I called upon the LORD; 
The LORD answered me and set me in a large place. 
The LORD is for me; I will not fear; 
What can man do to me?"
Psalm 118:5-6

The Lord loves you with an everlasting love. He's drawing you to Him with lovingkindness. The Lord beckons you to come to Him in your weariness and give Him your burdens. He will give you rest; rest for your soul. Don't fear. He's with you. Don't be anxious, He is your God. He will strengthen you and help you. He will hold you up with His righteous right hand. The Lord is your hiding place. He will preserve you from whatever is troubling you. He surrounds you and will deliver you. Call upon the Lord in your distress. He will answer you and place your feet in safety. God is for you. Don't allow fear to persuade you otherwise. There is nothing that man can do to you that God cannot overcome. God loves you, dear one.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Our Bodies, His Temple

"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, 
whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?"
1 Corinthians 6:19

It is a great mystery how Christ lives in us once we receive Him by faith. Yet time and again we see reference to this in the Bible. Paul said our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. I wonder how deeply this truth has settled into all of us who call ourselves believers. Are we so aware of the fact that the Holy One resides within us that we consider Him before we take action on some thought? Do we ask ourselves before we engage in a certain behavior if we are pleasing the Lord, or if what we are about to do will grieve Him? Paul warned the Corinthians against sinning with their bodies, but he addressed other sins, too. For example, in his letter to the Ephesians he wrote: "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." (Ephesians 4:30-32) Why would we want to grieve our Savior -- the One who gave His life to save us? Let's live like we remember we are the Holy Spirit's temple.

Monday, January 30, 2012

True Knowledge

"Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence."   
2 Peter 1:2-3

We come to Christ because God calls us. If He didn't do so, we would never come on our own. Jesus said, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:44). From the moment we are saved through faith in Christ we have everything we need to continue to walk in obedience to God. We are no longer bound by our past. We are free from the burden of trying to measure up to God's standards (the law). "It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery." (Galatians 5:1). Now we are free to live the life God has designed for us through "His divine power". We have "the true knowledge of Him" in the scriptures and the Holy Spirit to teach us. "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you." (John 14:26). We live in a time when so-called Christian pastors, teachers and authors are telling us we need something other than what's between the covers of the Bible to live a godly life. Not so! "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;" (2 Timothy 3:15). God will deal with those who teach another gospel other than the one of Jesus Christ. "But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves." (2 Peter 2:1). It is up to us to study the Bible and learn the truth. "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:2). May  "grace and peace be multiplied in your life as you continue in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord."

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Beautiful Love

"No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us."
1 John 4:12

When we are true believers in God, our love for others will be a reflection of that belief. We can't say we are believers if we don't love God and, furthermore, we can't say we are believers if we don't love others. "God is love. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love." (1 John 4:7-8)  The love that really counts is the love we give, not the love we receive. As believers we have already received all the love we could ever need -- God's love. "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4:10). God's love for us sent Jesus to die so that we could live. "Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us." (1 John 15-16). God is perfect love and when we let Him into our lives our eyes are opened to all the truth of who He is and how much He loves us. His perfect love fills us and flows from us to others. Beautiful.
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