Saturday, May 12, 2012

I Am Your God

"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

I'm currently in a women's Bible study that requires homework every day. I like to work on mine in the early morning. One of this morning's tasks was to personalize a particular scripture. To put my name in place of  the pronouns in the verse. It's an exercise I've done before and its very effective in helping me make God's promises in the Bible mine. Isaiah 41:10 is such a great promise; one that I think we all need to personalize for those times when we are anxious and worried. So play along with me and let's personalize this one together. I'm using the Amplified Bible version so we really get a double whammy impact of this verse. Ready? Let's get started. Wherever there's a blank, put in your name. Say it aloud:

"Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with ________; do not look around _______ in terror and be dismayed, for I am _______'s God. I will strengthen and harden ________  to difficulties, yes, I will help __________; yes, I will hold _______up and retain _________ with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice."

God loves you and wants you to see scripture as much more than words on a page. He wants you to recognize it as His truth and promise to you. He is faithful and will never forsake you. He says to you, "I am your God"

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Lord Defends His Own

"Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married (for he had married a Cushite woman); and they said, 
“Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? 
Has He not spoken through us as well?” And the Lord heard it."
Numbers 12:1-2

Miriam and Aaron spoke openly, probably publicly, against their brother Moses and challenged his leadership It must have hurt Moses deeply to be criticized by his own family, yet he didn't retaliate. Verse 3 says, "(Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth.)" The basic meaning of the Hebrew root for humble is "to be bowed down." One could be bowed down by force (i.e., subdued) or with submissiveness (i.e., humble) or with care and trouble (i.e., miserable or afflicted). (Expos Bible Commentary). One commentator said that the text would be better translated, "Now this man Moses was more depressed or afflicted than any man of the land." (Adam Clarke Vol. 1 p.1269) In other words, this criticism was so devastating to Moses that he couldn't respond. The Lord heard it too, and He stepped in to defend His servant Moses. He chastised Miriam and Aaron and then punished Miriam with leprosy for a period of time. God certainly made His point. We can learn from this that when we are injured by others we can leave the situation in God's hands. He will avenge us. "For we know Him who said, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.' And again, 'The Lord will judge His people.'” (Hebrews 10:30)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

True Light

"There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man."
John 1:9 

The true Light was and is Jesus Christ. He came to light the way to salvation in the world that He created. He loves us so much that He left His throne in Heaven to take human form and walk among us, to reveal God to us and to give His life to redeem us from bondage to sin. "Whatever spiritual life and light Adam and Eve possessed before the fall, was from Christ. Whatever deliverance from sin and spiritual death any child of Adam has ever enjoyed since the fall, whatever light of conscience or understanding any one has obtained, all has flowed from Christ. The vast majority of mankind in every age have refused to know Him, have forgotten the fall, and their own need of a Savior. The light has been constantly shining "in darkness." The most have "not comprehended the light." But if any men and women out of the countless millions of mankind have ever had spiritual life and light, they have owed all to Christ." (Ryle)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Gentle Spirit

"Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God."
1 Peter 3:3-4

Today a 95 year-old woman came into our shop, a follower of Jesus. Her skin was lined, her hair silver. The bloom of youth had long ago left her face, yet she was incredibly beautiful. Her beauty came from the gentle and quiet spirit that flowed from within her. It was in her speech and in her eyes. She was a wonderful example of the kind of woman Peter speaks of in these verses. A woman with a kind demeanor which is precious in the sight of God. It is imperishable; it only gets better with age.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Walking in a Worthy Manner

"so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God 
who calls you into His own kingdom and glory."
1 Thessalonians 2:12

God calls us into His kingdom. Jesus said none can come to Him unless the Father draws them (John 6:44). The Father draws us and softens our hearts to respond to Him. What an honor it is to be a part of His kingdom now and to have life with Him in glory to look forward to. Paul exhorted the Thessalonians (and us) to walk in a way that is worthy of God. But even the ability to walk in a worthy manner is possible only by the grace of the God who calls us.  "God will help us when we cannot walk, and He will help us when we find it hard to walk, but He cannot help us if we will not walk." (George MacDonald)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Constant Friend

"A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity."
Proverbs 17:17

True friends give unconditional love. This is how Christ loves us, and He is our model for friendship. We most reflect His love when we remain a constant friend. I am reminded of Job's "friends", who were judgmental and failed to show compassion to him at the lowest point of his life. Surely it must grieve the Lord when His children fail to sympathize with a friend in despair. "Compassion is a debt owing to those that are in affliction. The least which those that are at ease can do for those that are pained and in anguish is to pity them,--to manifest the sincerity of a tender concern for them, and to sympathize with them,--to take cognizance of their case, enquire into their grievances, hear their complaints, and mingle their tears with theirs,--to comfort them, and to do all they can to help and relieve them: this well becomes the members of the same body, who should feel for the grievances of their fellow-members, not knowing how soon the same may be their own." (Matthew Henry)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

My Strength

"The Lord God is my strength,"
Habakkuk 3:19

The mountains that surround the valley where I live are like a fortress. Majestic and strong. They remind me of my God. The very One who created those mountains and gave them their strength gives an internal strength to those that turn to Him. In the worst of times He is their solid rock. Their Mighty Fortress. A never ending reservoir of strength. "If you attempt to gain all of your strength from your education, relationships, money, power, authority, or intellect, or any other idol we pursue more than God, at some point you will grow tired and lose heart.  At some point your strength will be lost.  But those who draw near to God no matter what happens in their lives find a reservoir in God to draw from that is never ending. " (David Fairchild)
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