1 Thessalonians 3:8 “For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.”
“If….” That is such a small word with huge implications. “If I had only….” “If you will just….” “He could have succeeded if only he had….” As you can see, the “if” conjures up all kinds of possibilities. In the verse for today, Paul was speaking of his “affliction and distress” when writing to the Church of Thessalonica. Truly he had suffered there for his faith, as he had in other cities in his missionary journeys. How did he overcome these times of affliction? He did so by standing fast in the Lord. Check out the following passages: 1 Corinthians 16:13; Galatians 5:1; Philippians 1:27; 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:15.
But look at that verse closely again. He did not say, “…if I stand fast in the Lord,” but rather “…if ye stand fast in the Lord.” Paul was saying, “I can survive these afflictions and distresses as long as I know that you are standing fast in the Lord.” “For now we live…” in victory, in peace, in joy and in success “if ye stand fast in the Lord.” For the Apostle, he felt that he could endure hardship knowing that the believers in Thessalonica were standing fast in the Lord.
The Apostle John would write later, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” Beloved, these were the words of the Apostle writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. In so saying, it could be said truthfully that the Lord has no greater joy than knowing that His own are walking in truth and that they are standing fast in Him. Let’s make it our goal to overcome all afflictions and distresses, and at the same time bring joy to our Lord by standing fast in Him! Amen!
Job 13:15 “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.”
Through the years I have heard people declare that they would no longer believe in God or trust in Him because of some perceived injustice on His part; He didn’t answer a prayer prayed, or He did not heal a loved one. “I’ll never believe. What good did my faith do me when I needed Him to….” Job did not have that kind of faith.
Some bargain with God. If He will perform the miracle needed, provide the benefit desired or manifest Himself in that undeniable way, then they will believe and be faithful. Beloved, God does not bow to those kinds of demands. He is not a performer. He is not merchant or a businessman endeavoring to build a business. He is the Almighty and Eternal God in Whom we have our being. Every breath we draw is a Divine gift, and the life we enjoy is entirely at His bidding. How dare we then offer to Him a “I will serve You if You will just…?”
Job had lost everything, even his health. His wealth was gone, his children dead, his friends were accusing him of hypocrisy and sin, and his wife was encouraging him to curse God and die. Regardless of all that, Job’s faith in God remained and His statement of faith strong, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him….”
Satan had asked God a question, “Doth Job fear God for naught?” The implication was clear, “Job only fears You for the benefits he receives.” The accuser was wrong. Job’s faith was not based upon the blessings he enjoyed because of that faith. When I read this, my prayer is, “Father, ever increase my faith and my resolve to trust and to serve You regardless of those things I face in this life.”
Isaiah 14:27 “For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?”
I must be honest. There have been many things that I have purposed that have not come to fruition. And, I have no doubt that there are yet purposes that I will have that will not come to pass, and I’m sure that is to my greater benefit. This is not so with our Lord.
Isaiah’s question is filled with thought and with blessed hope. The implied answer to the question is clear. None can “disannul” the purposes of God. We should ever praise His name for that truth. He purposed to save eternally all who place faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He purposed to be with them, never leaving or forsaking. His purposes are clearly stated in His Word, and all His purposes will find ultimate fulfillment.
Child of God, our world is filled with uncertainties. What is going to happen with the economy? What will become of the conflict in Ukraine? Will China invade Taiwan? Will North Korea….” The questions are endless, and the worries these questions cause are also without end. Well, that’s not really true for the person who walks in faith. The reason for that is that our God still sits upon His eternal throne, and all of His purposes will see complete fulfillment. His Word clearly spells out those purposes, and we must trust in His Word and in His eternal purposes. If we do that, we can sing the song:
I care not today what tomorrow may bring,
if shadow or sunshine or rain.
The Lord I know ruleth o’er everything,
and all of my worry is vain.
I Timothy 3:14 “These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly….”
Paul’s desire was to return to Ephesus to spend time with Timothy and the Church there that was started during his second missionary journey. When I read these words, it makes me think of what could be a message from our Savior to His Church, His Bride. Can you not imagine the Lord saying, “These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly?”
He is definitely coming again, and His Church will be gathered to Him in that glorious day. It is a day that we long for and anticipate with great excitement, but it is also an event that expresses a longing and desire of our Lord.
There have been three times in our married life that Lynn and I have been separated for what seemed to be an extended period. Two trips to Israel and Egypt, and one trip to the Philippines took me away from home for what seemed to be far too long. During those trips, I wrote to Lynn notes that I kept with me until I returned, for I knew that I would carry them to her long before they would reach her by mail. She wrote me notes, hiding them in my suitcase so I would find them and read them while we were parted. I could have written, “These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly.” Our Lord could say the very same thing to us today. We read His blessed Word, feeding on its truths and finding strength in its teachings. We thank God for His Word, but we sure do long for that time when we can see Him face to face, and there hear His blessed Words spoken directly in our hearing. He feels the same way, beloved. I can almost hear Him saying, “These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly.” “Behold, I come quickly….” (Revelation 3:11; 22:7; 22:12; 22:20) “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 22:20)
Joshua 3:5 “And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the LORD will do wonders among you.”
These were exciting days. The wilderness journey was over and the promised land was awaiting the Children of Israel. All through those wilderness years the Lord had done wonders among them, just as He had in delivering them from their bondage in Egypt. He would now do great wonders among them and for them in bringing them into Canaan, defeating their enemies and overcoming their obstacles. And, make no mistake, it would be the Lord’s dongs, His working “wonders among” them.
The message from Joshua was, “Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” He was saying, “Get yourselves cleaned up spiritually. Make sure that all things are right between you and your Lord. Set yourselves apart for His honor and glory, for He is going to be in your midst, doing mighty things on your behalf.”
Beloved, this is a prerequisite for those that would see the Lord moving and working in their lives, their church and their homes. Paul’s words to Timothy reflect this truth; “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” (2 Timothy 2:21)
If Israel was to witness firsthand the “wonders” of their Lord, beholding Him as He did great things for and through them, it would require that they sanctify themselves. He would not bless and use them as unclean vessels, and in that respect He never changes, (Hebrews 13:8) His requirement for the sanctification of His vessels has never changed. So, beloved, His message to us is the same that it was to Israel as they were about to begin this new adventure, “Sanctify yourselves; for to morrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”
Mark 7:7 “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”
Worship can be vain, empty and totally meaningless. Jesus condemned this kind of worship, in this case because it was based upon teachings that were nothing more than the doctrines and commandments of men. In light of Jesus’ appraisal stated here, much of what is called “worship” today is vain. If so called “worship is based on the teachings and commands of men rather than the Word of God, it is vain. If the praise and exalting of man, or the unscriptural philosophical opinions of man is the goal, that worship is vain. All “worship” that is not honoring to Christ is vain.
Read John 4:19-24. This teaches us that only God can determine what is true worship, and He is seeking none other. Worship is in reality the attributing of worth to God. It is to His praise and honor. It is His people praising and adoring Him and gathering before Him in prayer through the leadership and power of His Spirit. This kind of worship is sought by God, is honoring to Him and is nurturing to those who are involved therein. True worship. meets a need in the soul of the saved that nothing else can. Be it public in a “worship service setting, or private in a “prayer closet,” worship was designed by the Lord to bring to the child of God that nothing else can. Father, please guide and aid us into that much needed exercise of true Scriptural worship. Amen!
1 Kings 11:9 “And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice….”
“For unto whom much is given, of him shall be much required….” (Luke 12:48) Solomon was given much from the Lord; riches, wisdom and the throne of the kingdom of Israel were placed in His hands graciously by God. Our verse notes that the Lord appeared unto Solomon twice. What greater blessing could be bestowed upon any mortal?
Why was God angered? “…because Solomon’s heart turned away from the Lord” after being so greatly blessed and enriched. It is ever amazing that the man that was given so much from the Lord, and who had been responsible for the building of the Temple in Jerusalem, was the same man that built false god altars throughout the land of Israel. Scripture declares that Solomon’s many wives turned his heart away from God, resulting in his idolatrous endeavors.
Child of God, our Lord ever wants our hearts. We must learn from men like Solomon the danger of allowing non-Scriptural allurements and practices to draw our heart’s affections from our Lord. If He has our hearts He will have our faithfulness and obedience. Does He have your heart today?
Genesis 22:2 “And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.”
God never required human sacrifice, but has always required obedience to His will, and that from a willing heart. This is what He sought from Abraham. Abraham’s obedience was unwavering and immediate. He was willing to offer up Isaac, and was ready to do so, “Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead….” God’s appraisal of this was, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” (Genesis 22:16-18)
The Lord is not nearly as interested in your sacrifices as He is in your faith and obedience. He wants your heart more than He wants what you can place on His altar. This was a message to Israel from the Lord. “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land….” (Isaiah 1:11-19)
Exodus 3:5. “And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.”
What made that ground holy? Was it the fact that the bush was burning but not being consumed in the fire? Did the presence of Moses the man of God make that ground holy? No, it was Moses that was told to remove his shoes. What made that ground holy was the very presence of God that created it and sanctified it with His own Person. It was holy because God was there and Moses was being allowed to be in His presence. Moses wasn’t there to talk to his pal, nor was he being invited to share his feelings with the God that created this universe. He was blessed beyond measure to be allowed to draw near to God, and this demanded his utmost reverence, respect and awe.
We must never lose that. While it is true that we can cry out to Him, Abba, Father, (See Mark 14:36; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6) we must ever enter into His presence with our spiritual shoes off our feet, in a holy reverential awe of His glory, majesty, honor and power. He is God! And, beside Him there is no other. (Isaiah 45:22)
John 6:48 “I am that bread of life.”
The hungry crowd had been fed, and they were fed miraculously with a lad’s meager lunch. The thousands were now satisfied from their hunger, but the hunger of their souls remained. It was this hunger the Lord was really concerned with, and it was that hunger He addressed after their meal. The vast majority of that crowd did not like His teachings, and the Bible tells us, “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” They wanted His blessings and provisions, but they did not want Him.
Jesus is the “bread of life.” He had promised the multitude, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” Had they truly believed in Him, had they truly been His “disciples,” they would never hunger or thirst after spiritual things again. He would have satisfied the longing and emptiness of their souls. He will do the very same thing today.
All around us are folks that are starving and thirsting in their spirits. They do not realize it, and they are likely trying to satisfy that emptiness with many things, but only Jesus can insure that they will never hunger or thirst again. If you have never trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, your hungers and thirsts remain. That can be ended today, and will be ended forever, if you will call upon the Lord Jesus Christ, believing in His death, burial and resurrection. Jesus made a promise to these around Him that is still active today, “He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” Believe on Him today and allow Him to do for you that nothing or no one else can do. Amen!
Hebrews 2:1 “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.”
There is a similar warning given to Israel in Deuteronomy 4:9; “Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life….” Like me, you may read these words spoken to Israel and think, “How could they ever forget.” These words were spoken to the generation that had witnessed all that God did for them through the wilderness; the manna and the water supply from the smitten Rock. They had been told of the great deliverance from Egypt, many remembering seeing these miracles first hand as young people. How could they forget the power of God demonstrated in their lives, or the gracious provisions He supplied to meet their every need? But they could! And that is why they were thus warned.
How could we ever let slip the gracious words we have been given from the Holy Scriptures? Beloved, believe me, if it were not a real possibility the warning would never have been given. The call for us is to “give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard.” This admonition speaks of a true necessity for all God’s children. “Earnest” denotes the thought of giving oneself in a greater degree, of above all others giving earnest heed. The word “heed” carries the thought of bringing near or holding something ever closer. We must turn our mind to this admonition, and the Word of God that we have been given, “let at any time we should let them slip.”
Child of God, we have been given precious gifts from above, and with those gifts precious truths, commands and expectations. There is a constant danger facing all of allowing these to “slip,” but this must not be allowed to happen. Hold them close to your heart. Cling to them, and give earnest heed. May our Lord help us so to do! Amen!
Malachi 3:1 “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.”
John the Baptist had a most important mission. It was his task to prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. He did just that. People gathered to him throughout the land to hear his message, to repent of their sins and to be baptized by him in the Jordan River. He was a true revivalist, proclaiming the coming of the Lord.
Think about something with me today. Is this not the duty of all the redeemed in this day in which we are living. We are looking for His Second Coming, for we have witnessed many “signs” of that approaching event. It may be in our days, and it may not be, but He is surely coming again. Our task is to be witnesses for the Lord, letting all know of their need for His salvation. An extra motivation for this is the fact that He is coming again. So, like John the Baptist, we are to endeavor to prepare folks around us for His coming, and that preparation begins with knowing Him as Savior and Lord. Let’s be witnesses for Him, that more may be prepared when He comes again.
Proverbs 11:14 “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.”
Advice is not something that you have to look far to find. In fact, most everyone has an opinion to help shape your decisions and directions. Of course, note all counsel is wise. Some counsel is worse than no counsel at all. Thankfully, believers have a “multitude of counsellors.”
The Book of Philippians is a great counsellor if you are seeking advice on living a life that if joyful and rejoicing, for that theme is found throughout that great book. If the counsel you seek has to do with assurance, a great source is the Book of 1 John, and if it is wisdom you seek you can find wise counsel in the Book of Proverbs. Romans will tell you have to have a right relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ, and there are many sources of counsel concerning the future in the Word of God. Praise the Lord we don’t need to seek advice from palm readers or star gazers, but can find our counsel from the infallible Word of God.
Another great counsellor for the Christian is the Holy Spirit. He will guide you unto all truth, giving you advice that will never fail you. The blessed fact about Him is that He is always with you; has been since you were saved, and will be until the day you stand in Christ’s presence.
There are other sources of wise counsel for the follower of Christ. Faithful older Christians can help through their counsel based upon years of experience. and pastors can help through their faithful preaching of God’s Holy Word. The Christian is not lacking when it comes to counsel concerning life’s important choices and decisions. We just need to wisely seek the right counsel, find its wisdom for us and then follow that on to victory. Amen!
Joel 1:4 “That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpiller eaten.”
Israel had sinned against God, following doctrines of devils. Other nations had been deceived by idolatry for centuries, and had even prospered in their idolatrous ways. Satan had seen to that. But Israel could not get by with such wickedness. Why? They could not because they belonged to God, having entered into a covenant relationship Him. He had plans for Israel, and those plans would see completion. He would chasten them for their sinful ways, and they would never know real peace and prosperity until they were right with their God.
Now read Hebrews 12:1-13. The saved have also entered into a covenant relationship with the Lord. Because of this, they are not their own, but have been bought with a price. That price was the precious blood of the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Along with this, they have been given the blessed Holy Spirit, the “earnest” that guarantees their salvation (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:3-14) While others may be able to live sinful lives and still seem to prosper, the redeemed cannot do so. The Lord will not permit it. He knows what is best for them, and will direct their paths to that place. Child of God, live your life to the glory of God, for there is no other path to peace and joy. Find His will for your life, and be found in that place until you stand before Him. Amen!
James 3:12 “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.”
“…a good conversation….” The Greek word translated “conversation” is not referring to the words one speaks, but to the life one lives. It refers to the manner of life. James is admonishing believers to live good lives. You have heard it said, “He is living the good life.” That means different things to different people. To some the good life is one that is prosperous, with plenty of money to satisfy every need imagined. To others the good life is one of power, but to the child of God the good life is one of faith and obedience to the known will of God.
Biblically, a good life is a life that has believed the gospel of Jesus Christ, and has trusted Him as Savior and Lord. It is a life that is knowledgeable of the Word of God, and is seeking to live in light of its truths, seeking to be molded and obedient to its teachings. The good life seeks to be a blessing to others, and honoring to the Lord.
Those whose “conversation” is in keeping with the will of God, and seeking to honor Him and be a blessing to others, is truly a good life. It is a life that is fulfilling. It is a life worth living. Are you seeking to live the good life?
Matthew 1:1 “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”
This first verse in your New Testament could actually be the first verse of all God’s Word, for the Bible is the Book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. It is His story. The Bible tells us why He needed to come, through which people He came and the purpose of His coming. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible gives us the story of the fall of man, and subsequent redemption provided through our Lord Jesus Christ.
It is a story of marvelous and wonderful grace. This can be seen in the word, “generation.” This word means “a book of one’s lineage, i.e. in which his ancestry or progeny are enumerated.” This is the “generation” of the eternal God that created all things. It speaks of His great condescension, His becoming flesh. The God Who had no beginning had a birth in Bethlehem, a beginning of the days of His humanity. And, why did He do that? That He might in that human form be nailed to a cross for our sins.
It is the Book of the Messiah Whose human name is Jesus: Jesus, the Messiah, or Jesus Christ. As Messiah He came to offer deliverance; deliverance from sin and its consequences. That deliverance is available to all, not just to Jews, but to all. The Jews, the natural born descendants of Abraham, can know that deliverance. All Gentiles have access to that deliverance through Christ. This is the theme of God’s Holy Word; salvation through the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. That God for the Book of the Generation of Jesus Christ, and for the salvation that Jesus Christ purchased and offers to all freely through faith. Amen!
Revelation 22:21 “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”
This is how your Bible ends, but it is really not an ending at all. It is actually a great and glorious beginning. In our last devotion, we looked at Matthew 1:1, “The Book of the generation of Jesus Christ….” In that devotion we noted that it could really be the first verse in all the Word of God, for that is the message of the Bible. Look at how He closed out His revelation to humanity. He closed out the Bible with a prayer that all may experience the “grace of our Lord Jesus Christ….”.
That grace can only be experienced through faith, “For by grace are ye saved through faith….” (Ephesians 2:8) That “faith” is in Jesus Christ; His death, burial and resurrection. When one places faith in Jesus Christ, that person becomes the full recipient of all the benefits and blessings of His “grace.” His unmerited favor is fully bestowed upon all who trust in Him, and that is gracious beyond words.
“Amen.” That word means, “So be it.” It can be used as a term of agreement, but it can also be an expression of certainty. A prayer is made, and a decree offered; “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.” Then, there is an expression of agreement given; “Amen.” But it is also an affirmation, a Divine affirmation proclaimed in this Divine Book, the Bible. The Lord is adding His decree of certainty to this prayer and proclamation, “So be it.” And, beloved, if you have been saved by faith in Christ, you have been made the recipient of His amazing grace. That grace is with you, and will be eternally. Amen!
If you are reading these words, and as yet you do not know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, the Lord’s desire is that you trust Him today. That way you can experience the “grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” personally. Friend, the Lord’s desire for you is that you might know that “grace” firsthand, and to that the Lord adds His “Amen.” Amen!
Hosea 10:12 “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.“
“Fallow ground” is capable of being cultivated, of producing edible vegetation, but it needs some attention. It is “fallow ground,” but it needs to be broken up, to be plowed and prepared for desirable growth. Some ground is simply not fit for gardening, but “fallow ground” is.
The Lord’s message through the prophet was directed toward the hearts of the people, not toward their gardens. Their hearts were hardened through sin and disobedience. It needed to be “broken up” like fallow ground. if they would do that, the Lord declared that He would do His part by coming and raining righteousness upon them.
There are many things that can cause the “fallow ground” of our hearts to be in need of being “broken up.” Just the cares of this life can cause this need. The challenge for us as God’s children is to keep the soil of our lives broken up, and prepared for the Lord’s growth and blessings. The challenge is to keep the things of this life from hardening our hearts to the things of God. How are we to do that? We are to “sow to yourselves in righteousness, ”to “reap in mercy,” and to constantly be breaking up the “fallow ground” that the growth God desires for us is a realty in or lives. So, child of God, busy yourself in breaking up your fallow ground so that the Lord can rain down His favor upon you. Allow the plow of God’s Word, and the tender prodding of the Holy Spirit to keep your “fallow ground” prepared for His blessings. Amen!
2 Corinthians 13:14 “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.“
This closing of the Book of 2 Corinthians seems very poetic, a trait seen in many of Paul’s writings. These words are not however simply designed to be poetic in nature, but form a prayer that is filled with doctrinal truth. Look at each part of this prayer and rejoice in its poetic beauty.
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be…be with you all.” This part of the prayer comes from a basic Biblical truth that is a primary principle that all humanity should grasp, for all are the beneficiaries of Christ’s undeserved favors. It is grace that imparts life to all with all of its blessings, benefits and bounty. It is so true that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17)
This grace is freely bestowed upon all because, as expressed in 1 John 4:8, “God is love .” He is all knowing, all powerful and omnipresent. His holiness is beyond comprehension, but the simple expression of His love captures the very essence of all His dealings with humanity. “For God so loved the world that He gave….”
“…and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all.” Through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, communion with our holy God is possible by the Holy Ghost. Here is seen the Triune Godhead at work in the beings that were created in His image. This provides an explanation of God’s dealings with humanity and the means through which it is made possible. God’s desire is communion with His own, and this is possible through Christ’s redemptive work and the intercession of the Holy Ghost. This is the prayer Paul makes closing out 2 Corinthians. And, it is prayed for you! Amen!
Zechariah 13:1 “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.“
The fountain of cleansing was opened 2,000 years ago on Calvary’s Cross, but the vast majority of the Jews refused Him and His sacrifice. The day is coming, however, when “they shall look on him whom they pierced” and then they shall know that “fountain” of cleansing. This prophecy of Zechariah speaks of that day, but we can proclaim the message this very day to all, “There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins, and sinners plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains.”
For me that day came 58 years ago when I came to that “fountain” for cleansing. There, at the age of 12, I was cleansed of all sin; past, present and future. Because of the “Fountain,” that which had separated me from God was forever removed. Peter said it this way, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)
It will surely be a glorious day for Israel when they are blessed to experience the Fountain opened for their sins, but you can know that blessedness this very day. If you are reading these words, and have never known the joy of sins forgiven through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, you can do so today. Acknowledge your need for forgiveness of sins, call upon Him in faith believing, and know the joy of sins forgiven and the hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ.
2 Kings 11:14 “And when she looked, behold, the king stood by a pillar, as the manner was, and the princes and the trumpeters by the king, and all the people of the land rejoiced, and blew with trumpets: and Athaliah rent her clothes, and cried, Treason, Treason.”
Athaliah was a wicked, self-proclaimed queen of Judah. Her son, Ahaziah, had been king until slain by Jehu. Wicked Athaliah, upon hearing of the death of her son, had all “the seed royal” slain, removing all that might claim the throne, and assumed the position of queen of the land. One of the “seed royal” was saved, Joash by name, and hidden by priests in the house of the Lord for six years. When Joash was six years old, he was brought out of hiding and proclaimed King of Judah. Athaliah cried treason, but actually she had been the treasonous one, and Jehoiada the priest commanded that she be slain. Thus the treasonous, wicked reign of Judah’s only queen came to an end.
There is a truth proclaimed in Galatians 6:7 that is worthy of note here. It says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” This was true with Athaliah, and shall be true with all that live wickedly. Keep that in mind, beloved, when the wicked seem to prosper seemingly without any retribution. Just as Athaliah had her day of judgment, so shall all.
Numbers 33:1-2 “These are the journeys of the children of Israel, which went forth out of the land of Egypt with their armies under the hand of Moses and Aaron. And Moses wrote their goings out according to their journeys by the commandment of the LORD: and these are their journeys according to their goings out.”
Numbers 33 is a review of the wilderness journey of the children of Israel in which each location of that journey is mentioned. There is something that needs to be noted here. The time Israel spent wandering through the wilderness was caused by their unbelief. God’s intent for Israel was that they leave Egypt, receive the law at Sinai, and then enter into the land of promise, but because they disbelieved Him at Kadeshbarnea, accepting the report of the ten spies, that entire generation died in the wilderness. That generation was delivered from Egypt, but they never enjoyed to the full the blessings of God that was intended for them.
There is a truth expressed in Deuteronomy 6:23 that is worthy of note: “And he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers.” He brought them out of Egypt that He might bring them in to the land of promise, but all that generation from twenty years old and upward did not reach Canaan because of their unbelief at Kadeshbarnea.
Canaan was a picture of the victorious Christian life. In Hebrews 6:1 we read of “leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ” and going “on unto perfection.” This speaks of the Christian developing in faith, growing in grace to the point of completion (which is expressed in the word “perfection”). The “Canaan” land life for the follower of Christ is that place of spiritual completion, of full development and enjoyment of the victorious, Spirit filled life. Sadly, many never reach that point in their lives as believers. They consequently spend the days of their Christian lives wandering around in the desolate, barren wasteland of a carnal, wilderness journey. This is not God’s will for us! Let’s not be satisfied with a wilderness life, let’s move on into the Canaan land experience our Lord intended for us.
Hebrews 6:13-14 “For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.”
When God makes a promise, it is forever sure. His oath to Abraham made thousands of years ago is still active today, and will continue to be so throughout all ages. The Children of Israel are still God’s chosen, and His plans for them will see fulfillment.
What does this mean for me? For us who have placed faith in Christ, there have been many precious promises given. We have been promised eternal salvation, forgiveness of sins and a future beyond compare in the place He had prepared for His own. Our Lord has promised never to leave, never to forsake and never to cast us out. He has promised to supply our every need, and even to do beyond what we could ask or even think. Are these promises sure? Absolutely! They are just as sure as those made to Israel through Abraham when the Lord said, “Surely blessing I will bless thee….”
If today’s trials are particularly trying, or if the path you walk today is a difficult one, just remember that you have been given many precious promises by our Lord, and those promises or more sure than anything else in your life. “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” (2 Corinthians 1:20) Feed on that today, child of God!
Ecclesiastes 1:4 All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.“
The history of humanity, and the perfect description of modern man is wrapped up in this one simple statement, “…the eye is satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.” This explains just about every addiction known to man, and at the same time explains why some steal, cheat and connive all their lives for things that will never satisfy. Many of the wars we read of in history, and that we are observing today, could be explained by saying, “the eye is not satisfied with the seeing….” Lynn’s uncle used to say jokingly, “I don’t want all the land in the world, just what’s joining me.” Funny, but also true!
Eve wasn’t satisfied with seeing, and neither was King David. The seeing led to wanting more, and the wanting more led to sin and sorrow. This reality is why we find such advice as is given in Proverbs 4:26-27 where we read, “Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.” Paul wrote, “Let your conversation (manner of life) be without covetousness; and be content with such things as y have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5)
Advertisers play on this tendency of man. They make their goods so attractive, knowing that folks aren’t going to be satisfied with just the seeing. I heard of a lawsuit this past week in which someone was suing one of the fast food chains because the products they were selling didn’t match the pictures in their advertising. I guess they weren’t satisfied with the seeing. Beloved, “O, be careful little eyes what you see. O, be careful little eyes what you see. There’s a Father up above, looking down in peace and love. O, be careful little eyes what you see.” Father, help us to be content with such things as You have provided us, and help us to find the wisdom in this passage in Ecclesiastes. Amen!
2 John 1:8 “Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.”
Christians have been promised rewards for faithful service. The Lord has promised to reward His own that live their lives in obedience to His Word and that seek to please Him in all they do. However, according to John’s warnings in our verse for today, it is possible to lose those rewards. This is not speaking of losing salvation, but rewards.
In Revelation 4:10-11, we read of the elders falling down before Him that sat upon the throne in worship, and of them casting their crowns before Him as they say, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou has created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” He is worthy! And, although rewarded for faithful service, God’s children are fully aware of their unworthiness, and of His worthiness to receive these rewards. However, if we lose our rewards, we will having nothing to cast before Him when we stand in His presence.
Rewards are lost through sin and disobedience. Can a believer really lose rewards earned in his or her life? Yes! That’s why we are given the warning of 2 John 1:8. Let’s pray that the Lord help us to continue in faithful service to Him throughout our days so that we will have crowns to cast before Him in thanksgiving and praise for His blessings on our lives. Amen!
Mark 10:16 “And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.”
Can you see this in your mind? Little children gathered around the Lord Jesus, and He took them up in His arms. He loved them, and they felt safe in the arms of the Lord. Don’t you imagine that He was smiling, and laughing as He talked to these little ones? Some of them surely put their hands in His hair, or felt of His beard. I can imagine one of the children hugging His neck as hard as possible, and maybe a mother saying, “Not so hard honey. Jesus won’t be able to breath.” The disciples thought Jesus too important and too busy to be bothered with children, but Jesus didn’t feel that way. And He still does not feel that way!
Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world. The little song is right. Our newest addition to our mission program told us the other night that the largest portion of the population of his field of service, Burkina Faso, is youth. His conclusion was right when he said that a very important aspect of his ministry in that country must be trying to reach children with the Gospel of Christ.
Beloved, let’s pray for the youth of our area. Satan’s efforts to destroy them are relentless. So must our efforts be to see them trusting Christ unto salvation. O what a blessing to see little children held in the arms of the Blessed Savior, being blessed by Him from Whom all blessings flow!
Nahum 1:7 “The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.”
“Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.” (Psalms 1:1) In fact, God is good to all, for all are the recipients of His blessings and favor. All breath His air and partake of His gracious bounty. His is, however, especially good unto all “them that trust in Him.”
His blessings are good! His comforts are good! His promises are good! His salvation, His eternal peace and His abiding presence is good! “God is so good, God is so good, God is so good, He’s so good to me.” We sing that, and we mean that because it is true!
God has truly been good to me. He introduced Himself to me when I was 12 years old. He became my Lord and Savior, and has never left me since that day. He has directed my path, corrected my errors and has manifested His love to me in countless ways. His comfort has been mine more times than I could tell, and His light has illuminated my path through many dark days. His provisions have been without number, and His favors immeasurable. God is good!
Every child of God could testify to this truth. I’m sure that all reading these words would have to agree to the goodness of God. What a sad state of affairs for all those who regard Him not, and do not recognize His goodness even on their unbelieving lives. He is good whether they know it or not, and whether they are thankful for that goodness or not. He is good!
The Lord is good, and His goodness is everlasting. Let’s share that goodness with others. Maybe through your sharing of the goodness of the Lord, another will be brought into that relationship with Him that allows them to understand and appreciate His goodness. Meditate today, beloved, on the goodness of our God. Amen!
Lamentations 3:24 “The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.”
Jeremiah lived to see the day when the Children of Israel were literally losing everything. He is known as the weeping prophet, with tears flowing as He observed the suffering of his people under the judging hand of God. They were losing homes and land, and many lost their lives or the lives of those dearest to them. The prophet observed as the Babylonians were taking over the land of promise God had given to Abraham and his descendants. Israel was losing their inheritance, the “portion” that God had graciously given them. That loss came from Divine judgment due to their idolatrous ways. As Jeremiah observed this, he realized that there was something in his life that could not be taken or lost. That was his relationship with the Lord. He knew that his “portion” in the land of promise could be taken, but that nothing could sever his relationship with the Lord. The Lord was his portion, and that truth his heart rested in.
The economy is up and down, ever changing from good to bad. At any time our most prized material possessions could be in jeopardy. Automobiles , and even homes could be lost. Think of the homes that were lost in the floods in Haywood County not so long ago. Some literally lost everything, but if they knew the Lord they could say, “The Lord is my portion.”
Beloved, we that know Christ can also know as did Jeremiah that the Lord is our portion, and nothing can change or even jeopardize that. “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine.” Ever hold to that truth, child of God. In a world filled with uncertainty, you can be certain of your relationship with the Lord. Amen!
2 Samuel 7:18 “Then went king David in, and sat before the LORD, and he said, Who am I, O Lord GOD? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?”
David was overwhelmed with God’s grace in his life. So are we at times, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound….” Stop to think for a moment, child of God, at all He has given you and done for you.
Who am I that a King should bleed and die for?
Who am I that He should pray, “Not my will, Thine Lord?”
I wonder what I could have done to deserve God’s only Son,
To fight my battles till their done,
O, who am I?
God’s grace in our lives is amazing! Throughout the endless ages we will be praising Him for all the gracious things He has done for us. And, like David, we will be asking that question, “Who am I?” Bless the Lord, O, my soul!
1 Samuel 3:7 “Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him.”
Even the greatest of God’s saints had a day when they did not know the Lord. Our text records the day that Samuel come to know the Lord as a young boy. He became one of Israel’s greatest men of God, but it all started when the Lord called him to Himself.
It is the Lord’s will that all come to faith and repentance. (See 2 Peter 3:9) Sadly, most will not. (Matthew 7:13-14) The Lord uses His Church to spread the message of the Gospel, using the ministries of the Church and individual members of His body to tell others the “good news” of His offer of salvation. This has been the method the Lord has chosen from the beginning. What a glorious privilege to be instrumental in people coming Christ for His salvation.
Let’s pray as a Church that the Lord would use us in bringing souls to Himself. I have every confidence that we will someday find that many have come to Christ through the various outreach ministries of our Church. And, I am praying that we will see people of all ages trust Christ here. Pray that with me about this! Amen!
Genesis 15:1 “After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.”
Do you know how many times the phrase “fear not” is found in the Word of God? Sixty-two times! Why do think the Lord recorded that phrase so often in Scripture? He did so because of our fears, and we do have fears; fears of the unknown, of the uncertain future and of the path our nation seems to be taking. There are scares we face about our health or the health of those closest to us. The Lord knew that, and He knows that today and He sends the message to us through His Word that we need not fear. We need not fear for He is with us. He governs the affairs of our lives. There is absolutely nothing that will come our way outside His sovereign will, and if He wills it He will carry us through it. We literally have nothing to fear for He is in control.
That cannot be said for the unsaved, for they have much to fear. Their future is uncertain for sure, and Satan will plague them with fears their entire lives. What a sad state of affairs to have all hope penned upon some politician, or a doctor or other some other mortal being. Our hope is in the never changing, all powerful and all loving God we call our Heavenly Father. Our hope is in the promises He has given us, and all His promises in Christ are positive. (2 Corinthians1:20)
Child of God, the next time the adversary tries to rob you of your peace by flashing some dread fear before your eyes, just remember the 62 times in the Bible that your Heavenly Father sends you the message, “Fear not.” You have nothing to fear! God is good, and He is your God! Praise His Name!