Saturday, May 26, 2012

Remembering God's Faithfulness

“Will the Lord reject forever?
    Will He never show His favor again?
Has His unfailing love vanished forever?
    Has His promise failed for all time?
Has God forgotten to be merciful?
    Has He in anger withheld His compassion?"
Then I thought, “To this I will appeal:
    the years when the Most High stretched out His right hand.
 I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
    yes, I will remember Your miracles of long ago.
 I will consider all Your works
    and meditate on all Your mighty deeds.”
Psalm 77:7-12 (NIV)

Two lilac bushes stand outside our home. As spring approached this year and I saw the buds begin to form on their branches, my heart began to sing. Soon I would be cutting the blossoms and putting them in vases around the house. Their fragrance would fill the air and their glorious color would delight my eyes. But then a late frost came and killed the young buds. Sadly, this year there will be no lilacs to enjoy. However, I have the memory of last year's lilacs to tell me that there really are beautiful lilac bushes in my yard and there is always next year to look forward to. This reminds me of times I anticipated some good thing from the Lord's hand, only to have Him withhold it. At first I reacted in utter disappointment, just as the psalmist does in this psalm. "Will the Lord reject forever. . .has His promise failed for all time?" But no. God is faithful. As the psalmist reasoned, "I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember Your miracles of long ago." Oh, this is so important isn't it? To recall the past faithfulness and goodness of the Lord. To recount His awesome deeds in the barren times. If we fail to do this we will rob ourselves of the peace and joy of living in the center of God's will. And choosing to remember the beauty and lovely scent of the Lord's past works give us hope for what He will do in the future. "Memory supplies the colours with which hope paints her truest pictures." (Alexander Maclaren)

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Good Shepherd

I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep."
John 10:11

Two men were called on, in a large gathering, to recite the Twenty-third Psalm. One was a renowned orator trained in speech technique and drama. He recited the psalm in a powerful way. When he finished, the audience cheered, requesting an encore that they might hear him speak once again. Then the other man, who was much older, repeated the same words. "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want..." But when he finished, not a sound came from the listeners. Instead, they sat in a deep mood of devotion and prayer.
Then the first man, the great orator, stood to his feet. “I have a confession to make," he said, "the difference between what you have just heard from my old friend and what you heard from me is this: I know the Psalm, my friend knows the Shepherd." Many people can recite Psalm 23, but do they know the Shepherd? Do they know Jesus Christ as their Shepherd Savior? The One who laid down His life for His sheep; who gave His life as a sacrifice for their sins. "'The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.' This is one of the many scriptures which clearly and definitely defines both the nature and extent of the Atonement. The Savior 'gave his life' not as a martyr for the truth, not as a moral example of self-sacrifice, but for a people. He died that they might live. By nature His people are dead in trespasses and sins, and had not the Divinely-appointed and Divinely-provided Substitute died for them, there had been no spiritual and eternal life for them." (A.W. Pink) Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd. Do you know Him? 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

And Christ, too!

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I have hope in Him.”
Lamentations 3:24

Jeremiah describes God as his soul’s “portion.”  This word means “share or booty.”  It refers to “the spoils of war.”  Life can feel like a battle sometimes. Prolonged illness, financial difficulties, or relational problems can overwhelm us. But in the midst of such challenges we have hope just as Jeremiah did. We have the Lord. He is our reward. He is ever with us and for us. We can trust that He has in mind for us only the best, even when it doesn't feel like it. "Some of you are very poor; you have nothing in the world, but you can say, 'The Lord is my portion.' Like the old woman who, when she had nothing to eat but a dry crust of bread, and only a cup of water to drink, broke the bread and said, 'All this, and Christ too!'" (Charles Spurgeon)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

God's Most Valuable Creation

"Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them."
Psalm 139:16

Do you know that you have great value to God? You are not an accident, no matter what your parents made have told you. You were and are part of God's wonderful plan. You were conceived in God's mind before you were every conceived in your mother's womb. He formed you and made you into the unique person that you are. Your DNA is unlike any other person's DNA. Your fingerprints are yours alone. There's not another set like them. God thinks you're a good idea. A VERY good idea. Because you were His idea. And He doesn't make mistakes. No matter what others may think of you or what you think of yourself, God loves you and He wants you to know that He loves you. Every day that you live and breathe is according to His will. "Do you remember how the Bible tells us that God first made man? All the rest of His creation - including all living things - came into existence in the same way: He simply spoke them into being. But when it came to making man, God did something utterly unique. He purposed to create beings who were made in His own "image" - beings who were like Himself in a way that was unique among all His other creations. And the Bible reveals to us that He "formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being" (Genesis 2:7). When He made woman, He didn't simply speak her into being, or form her from the dust of the earth; but He made her from out of man - so that all humanity is a single unit of God's workmanship. This makes the creation of human life something utterly unique from all other things; because it was a creation that God was intimately and uniquely involved with. This makes human life more valuable and wonderful than anything else God has made." (Greg Allen)  Praise God! Exalt Him! For you are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

God's Brilliant Light

"He reveals mysteries from the darkness
And brings the deep darkness into light."
Job 12:22

In October 2002 John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo perpetrated one of the most memorable serial killings in recent history: "The Beltway Sniper Attacks". Ten people were killed and three other victims were critically injured in several locations throughout the Washington Metropolitan Area and along Interstate 95 in Virginia. I remember at the time being part of a women's prayer group and how we specifically prayed one night that God would reveal the location of the killers to the police. He did so the very next day. The two men were discovered sleeping in their car at a rest stop off of Interstate 70 near Myersville, Maryland, and arrested on federal weapons charges. Later they were charged and found guilty of the murders. There's no doubt in my mind that it was God who revealed the location of the criminals to the law enforcement officers. His word says, "He reveals mysteries from the darkness and brings the deep darkness into light." God's brilliant light shines into the pitch black and illuminates it, revealing all the evil hiding there. Nothing can escape His sight. Nothing.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Trusting the Lord

"I will put my trust in Him."
Hebrews 2:13

In our shop we display wall hangings like the one above. "Be Still". Another one very much like it says, "Be". Yesterday both signs sold to two different women. In each case they commented to me how difficult it is to just "be" or "be still". As in "Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10 NIV) It's all a matter of trust, isn't it? Trusting Him with every detail of our lives. Every second of every day. No matter what. "You find no difficulty in trusting the Lord with the management of the universe, and all the outward creation, and can your case be any more complex or difficult than these, that you need to be anxious or troubled about His management of you? Away with such unworthy doubting! Take your stand on the power and trustworthiness of your God, and see how quickly all difficulties will vanish before a steadfast determination to believe. Trust in the dark, trust in the light, trust at night and trust in the morning, and you will find that the faith which may begin by mighty effort, will end sooner or later by becoming the easy and natural habit of the soul." (Hannah Whitehall Smith, The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Time for Everything

"There is a time for everything, 
and a season for every activity under the heavens"
Ecclesiastes 3:1

This morning I watched this pregnant elk grazing in our yard. In a few weeks she will drop her calf and begin the task of mothering. It is a special time of the year for all of us who live around these magnificent creatures. And it reminds me that there is "a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens". This is as true for the animals as it is for humans. It's all part of God's wonderful plan. I'm thankful that the Lord brought this to my mind today. His beautiful creation is a constant testimony to His faithfulness and the truth of His word. There is a time for everything. 
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