Saturday, May 19, 2012

Salvation Depends On God

"So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs,
 but on God who has mercy."
Romans 9:16

If it were left up to each of us, we would never come to the Lord. We come only because He draws us. He places the desire for Him in our hearts. This completely negates the idea that we can earn our way to God. It is only because of His endless mercy that we are saved. "Everything of human salvation begins in God. His will is to have mercy. His work enables Him to do so. It is only as that will is made known to man, that he wills to receive the mercy. It is only as that work operates within man, that he is able to work out his salvation. Our wills must be exercised, our running must be positive; but we enter into salvation, and shall at last reach the crowning at the goal, only because of the everlasting mercy of God. There is neither merit nor cause for glorying in our choice or our effort. If God had not willed our saving, neither should we. If God did not work within us, we should work nothing out. Even if, of our service, we can ever say we laboured abundantly, we shall have to add: Yet not we, but the grace of God which was with us." (Morgan, G. C. Life Applications from Every Chapter of the Bible)

Friday, May 18, 2012


"For I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes.”
Jeremiah 31:25

When I have long days like today, I'm grateful for the God who satisfies the weary ones and refreshes everyone who languishes. It's not that there was anything wrong with today, it was a great day in our shop. We made lots of new friends and even had a good sales day (thanks to God). But even good days can bring weariness. My husband and I closed the shop a little early and drove down the mountain to do some shopping and have dinner. On the drive back home I snapped the photo above. I sighed and said to my mate, "Now I know what it means to have your soul restored." The reference was to Psalm 23, but it certainly applies to Jeremiah 31:24, too. God restores. He satisfies. He refreshes. Praise be to God.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Breathtaking Faithfulness

"Then the Lord took note of Sarah as He had said,  and the Lord did for Sarah as He had promised. So Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, 
at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him."
Genesis 21:1-2 

When Abraham was 75 years old, the Lord promised he would give him an heir through his barren wife, Sarah. Twenty-five years passed before the promise was fulfilled. When we read the account of those 25 years, we find that Abraham and Sarah did not calmly wait on God. They seemed intent to "help God along"  and the result of their impatience was disastrous (Genesis 16).  However, God graciously "took note of Sarah" and she conceived and gave birth to Isaac. God did "as He had said", "as He had promised", "at the appointed time", "which God had spoken". The "appointed time" was God's appointed time, not Abraham and Sarah's. And even though the couple failed to trust God, He kept His promise to them. The Lord's faithfulness is breathtaking. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

God's Free Gift

"For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: 'The righteous will live by faith.'”
Romans 1:17

It is through the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that we receive righteousness from God. Without it we have no hope of pleasing Him. We are saved through grace by faith. It is faith in the One who died for us that we attain the righteousness God requires for entrance to Heaven. "Here is where the greatness of the Gospel is clearly seen. It provides for us what we could never provide for ourselves. On our own merits we all stand condemned before the Almighty. Who is there who would dare to say, 'I am good enough to go to heaven.' As someone has said, 'A clear conscience is the result of a poor memory.' The only people who think they are good enough to go to heaven are the people who don't know how bad they really are! Righteousness is what we need but do not have. Therefore God, knowing that we could never be righteous on our own, has provided a righteousness which comes down to us from heaven above. It's not earned or deserved, but is given to us by God as a free gift." (Ray Pritchard)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Relating to God's Word

"This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, 
slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man 
does not achieve the righteousness of God." 
James 1:19-20

Phil Newton says, "the focus of James' instruction in verses 19-20 ties in with the issue of the believer's relation to the Word of God." So in this context, if we want to put on God's righteousness, then we need to have a reverence for God's word. We must be "quick to hear" it. We need to maintain a receptive, teachable spirit. We should be "slow to speak". We can't hear God's voice if we're talking all the time. (It's my nature to be so eager to say something in a group Bible study that I don't fully give my attention to what's being said by others. This is something I'm working on. I don't want to miss what God is trying to teach me at a particular moment by cluttering my brain with thoughts of what I want to say at the next opportunity.) "A person who keeps up his own talking makes a bad hearer." (Lenski). We are to patiently absorb what God is teaching us and resist the urge to become angry at God or His Word. Solomon wisely stated "A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly." (Proverbs 14:29). Warren Wiersbe comments: "James warns us against getting angry at God’s Word because it reveals our sins to us. Like the man who broke the mirror because he disliked the image in it, people rebel against God’s Word because it tells the truth about them and their sinfulness." These are hard things, I think, for most of us to hear and believe about ourselves. I know this is true for myself. But if I'm honest and put on my x-ray vision, self-inspection glasses, I have to admit that I'm not often "quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger." But God in His grace is transforming me to be so.

Monday, May 14, 2012

An Extraordinary God

 "And now, behold, bound by the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there"
Acts 20:22

Paul was about to leave for Jerusalem, not knowing what would happen to him there. The Holy Spirit had impressed upon him that he would face imprisonment and suffering wherever he went.  That didn't stop him from going or cause him to worry. He was  walking in the Spirit and entrusting His future to God. We often think of Paul has an extraordinary man --  and it's true that he had an impressive faith in God and was wholly devoted to Him -- but Paul was an ordinary human. Just like us. We have everything we need to be as faithful and productive in our Christian walk as Paul was. We have everything Paul had: An Extraordinary God.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

His Face Shines on You

"The Lord make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you"
Numbers 6:25

There is nothing that brings greater satisfaction, nor more fulfillment than to know that God is looking upon you with favor. Not because of who you are or what you've done, but because you are in Christ Jesus. When you are in that place of grace, You can rest in Him, assured that your eternal future is secure. That no matter what disappoints you here on earth, a day is coming when you will enter into the glorious presence of the Lord. There all striving will cease. Forever.  "Why should he fret when God smiles? What matters though all the world should censure, if Jehovah countenances his servant. A look of approval from God creates a deep, delightful calm within the soul." (Spurgeon)

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