Hello, I hope that you will enjoy reading my devotions. I do not claim to be an expert in the word, but I am a student of the word and desire to share the insights that the Lord gives to me. I love the Lord, my desire is to please him above all else. I want to hear him say “well done” at the end of each day. I pray you are blessed and challanged!
Isn’t it wonderful to know that God is with us? Recently we had a serious situation with my brand new grandbaby. Her little body was having issues and she was put into the NICU. Even though we were certain she would be okay, our concern was at high levels. Watching her go through all the needle sticks and procedures that they do was very hard. Even knowing that she will never remember these hard days, we will. I can tell you that knowing that God was with me made all the difference. What comfort in knowing that we never face anything good or bad without God’s presence with us. He never leaves us to handle it alone. I knew when I cried out to God on our sweet baby’s behalf that He was right there listening and acting. Yes, she is home and she is doing great!
Do things always turn out for the good? No, often the unimaginable happens and our hearts are left broken rather than elated. Does that mean God was not present and He did not hear? No, scripture is clear that we are not alone, Emmanuel is with us, hearing us and working out His perfect plan.
I want to encourage any believers out there who are feeling alone to remember what God’s word says and that He is faithful, He is present, He is hearing you, He cares. As our Pastor said recently, sometimes God wraps himself in the darkness because we cannot behold his full glory at once. But He is in that darkness, walking with us and keeping us through it all.
God is Omnipresent. There is no other person or so-called God who can say that. God desires to be with us and promises to always be with us. Even if you cannot feel him, he is there. We are told that when two or three gather in His name, He is in the midst. Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I with them.” In
Isaiah 41:10 we read these words: “Don’t be afraid, because I’m with you; don’t be anxious, because I am your God. I keep on strengthening you; I’m surely upholding you with my victorious right hand.” Isn’t that awesome, when our strength fails, His strength holds and keeps holding us.
You may say where is God if he is with us? I think this scripture is a good indicator of where he is. 1 Corinthians 3:16 “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” He is in us, around us, behind us, before us, He is everywhere at all times. He dwells in the present always.
I love Psalm 139:7-12 “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, You are there. If I take the wings of dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,” Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.”
Wow! No matter where I go, what I go through, On my best day or my hardest day, if I run away or hide in a cave, God is with me. Emmanuel…
I knew as I sat and rocked our sweet girl waiting for the next test that God was with me. Her mommy and daddy knew he was there and all they needed to do was speak that name above all names, Jesus, Jesus. There is power in that name. He comforted us, dried our tears, calmed our fears, and showed up strong for us.
When I said goodbye to my sister as I watched her die on a video camera, God was there. I could feel his presence and I found peace in it. I gave him my pain, I gave him my disappointment, my fears, my tears. I found rest and peace. Days will sometimes be hard, decisions will be harder, know God. Understand He is with you and He will NEVER LEAVE YOU!
Emmanuel-God With Us. Awesome!
Psalm 51:10 “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”
David had sinned. He had Uriah the husband of Bathsheba killed because he had committed adultery with Bathsheba and she had gotten pregnant with his child. Uriah was a faithful servant to the king and his country. David was being crushed under the weight of his sin. He was hard-pressed to feel the joy he once had. Sin was standing in his way. His relationship with God was strained, not because God had changed or done anything, but David had. He missed the joy he once had. Sin had robbed him of his joy. Now what?
We too can find ourselves living in a joyless way. Sin has robbed us of the closeness we once felt with our Lord. We go through the motions of trying to find happiness, but joy is a harder thing to restore. Unconfessed sin will cause you to feel isolated and alone. It will make you feel like millions of miles have been put between you and God. God has not moved or changed his mind about you. He is close, waiting for, what?
When we sin as Christians it causes us to feel as though a wedge has been placed between us and God. The distance to forgiveness and restoration can seem enormous, but is it? When we let sin have its way and we keep it to ourselves unconfessed before God, joy leaves us. As a believer you know when you are wrong; often we simply refuse to confess it going through the motions of normalcy, attending church, smiling, and putting on a good front, but deep inside we know something is wrong. Our smiles are shallow and our hearts are heavy.
We have allowed the enemy of our souls to rob us of our joy, giving us shame in its place. There is a way to make it right, a way to regain your joy in the Lord. How? Confess your sin, and believe God has forgiven you. See, if we confess our sin, yet still think that God is mad at us and holding onto his anger, our joy will not return. It is only when we believe what his word says in Psalm 51:17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” And also in
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Satan will try his best to keep you from confessing, first, he does not want to lose this hold he has on you and the shame he has piled on you; second, he doesn’t want you to stop the sin he has brought into your life. He may even up the anty by making it even more attractive. But, if you confess with true repentance, God will and does forgive. Does this mean the consequences of sin are removed, sometimes, but most of the time we live out the consequences. Just remember consequences are different than unforgiven. God’s word says He forgives. Read it above…He does not despise a broken spirit and a broken and contrite heart.
Examine yourself today, look deep into your heart. Is there anything that needs confessing? Is there anything even a small thing standing between you and God. Confess it, bring it to the light, and when you do accept and believe that God has forgiven you. When you do you cannot help but feel the joy rising in your soul. What the enemy had taken is rushed in like a mighty wave. It boils down to believing God has forgiven you. That you are once again in a right place before God. God already knows your sin; he has been with you each time you sinned. He is Sovereign and always present no matter where we go or what we do. He does not force us to as for forgiveness, He waits patiently for us to once again hear His voice and turn away from our sin. He desires to forgive us and to restore a right spirit within us, He waits for our confession.
Do not let fear of unforgiveness or even consequences keep you from confessing sin to God. Do not for one more moment allow the enemy of your soul to lie to you and tell you God cannot or will not forgive you. Remember if his lips are moving, he is speaking lies. He is the father of lies. And remember, when we confess our sins, when we have been forgiven of our sins, God will walk with us through the consequences of those sins and give us grace and mercy even in that.
Let your joy be restored…there is a way. Confession and true repentance.
God is waiting, will you right now bow your knees and ask him, believe him, and let the joy restoring begin. You will not regret it, I promise! He is a good, good Father.
“He will not always harbor his anger forever; 10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. 13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; 14 for he knows how we are formed and he remembers that we are dust.”
Isn’t it great to know that God’s anger does not last forever and that he never treats us as our sins deserve. If you are his, he has compassion on you, just like we do when our children mess up. Yes, there needs to be some discipline, but it is given out with loving measures. It is not meant to crush their spirit and neither is the discipline the Lord gives to us. Or at least in most families, this is true, I realize in some families discipline is taken too far, been there experienced it! I am talking about how most parents react and treat their children. They are kind even in their discipline towards them.
The Lord has given us his word as a guide book on how to live our lives, how to live in this world, and still stay obedient to his word. All too often though we allow sin to shine its bobbles before us and we are intrigued. Our minds start thinking about it and soon enough it drops into our hearts and we allow ourselves to be led astray. James 1:14 says it this way:
“But each one is tempted, when he is drawn away by his own lusts, and enticed. Sin is enticing. We each drawn away to sins that look good to us. My sin may not be the same sin you struggle with and vise versa. God’s word tells us that when we come to Him with true repentance He is faithful to forgive us. He not only forgives us but forgets what we did as well. He casts it as far as the East is from the West. If you have repented of your sin, and you continue to struggle under the weight of condemnation I can assure you it is not coming from God, it is coming from Satan. He wants to keep you locked into a cycle of not being able to fully enjoy Jesus. If you can keep your eyes on you, then they are not on HIM!
I think one of the most precious lines in these verses is this: “for he knows how we are formed and he remembers that we are dust.” God knows me, He knows us more intimately than we know ourselves. He knows every thought, every desire, He knows what gets us all messed up in the first place. He knows what motivates our desires and attractions to sin. He formed Adam from the dirt and dust of the ground, and we all came from there. The feelings and emotions we have in us, He gave us. But because of Adam and Eve’s sin, we are born sinners; and our Lord knows that and His compassion on us is great! Knowing we are mere dust should certainly humble of few out there. But His knowing this just brings out the compassion in him, the desire to help us find our way, at least that is how I see this verse. When we see a toddler hit someone, we do not think bully, we think oh my this little person needs to learn that he cannot hit people, it is not nice, and so we try to teach them the right way. I think that same thing can be applied to God seeing us as mere dust.
In some ways, it is a sobering thing to know that the God of the universe knows every detail of my thoughts and even intents; yet on the other side, it is so good to know that the God of the universe knows my thoughts and even the very intent of my heart and actions. I have had moments where I truly to this day do not know what motivated me to do a certain thing or act a certain way, but my Lord knows and understands. I am not left to my own devices, I don’t even have to figure a way out, when I call on him, he opens the door for me to escape. God loves us, His children more than we can even comprehend. Oh, we can have a glimpse of it in the way we love our children, but it still does not match the love God has for us.
We are to have a holy and reverent fear of God. Not the kind that puts us in a corner shaking and waiting for the hammer to fall, but the kind that realizes who He is and just how Holy He is. The kind that knows that God is Sovereign. All-knowing, and All-seeing and always present. The kind that knows that He can take down a nation just by his word. HE IS IN CONTROL! David had this to say in Psalm 139:1-13 “Where cand I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
He desires that we obey him, but even if we mess up for a little while or a longer time, He will forgive us and forget it, when we repent and turn from our sin. Sometimes we have to live with the consequences and sometimes he even takes those away, He is just that good! So, in closing, if you find yourself caught up in some sin, God already knows and He is waiting with open arms to fill you fresh and new with His spirit and love you back into a right relationship. No matter the sin, no matter how long, no matter who it was with or what it was…God can and will forgive you, do not let the enemy of your soul lie to you and convince you otherwise. Remember if his lips are moving he is lying…He is the father of lies. Always has been, always will be!
Blessings dear friends…May each of us take a close look at our lives and see what pleases the Lord and start doing those things. The hour is growing late.
Hebrews 4:12-13 “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any sword, it penetrates even to dividing of soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give an account.”
I am not sure how these verses hit you, but they hit me hard! To know that at any moment of the day, throughout my day, everything I think and do is known by God. There is NOTHING hidden from Him. I do not have any secrets. I may have things I do not share with others, even thoughts I do not share with my husband, but God sees them all. He even sees into those deep areas of my heart, even its intent is known. Wow and scary at the same time. Knowing this should make us constant in our efforts to live Holy lives. To constantly take our thoughts captive, making sure they are not a stench in our God’s nostrils. There is not a creature on earth that is not fully known by God. He sees all things, at all times, because He is fully present in the entirety of heaven and earth.
God’s word is not just a collection of words for our enjoyment, it is life-giving and life-changing. God’s word cuts through everything. It reveals exactly who we are and who we should be. It goes deep into our moral and spiritual life and sees all of it. It has the power to discern the good and evil in us, and His word demands that decisions be made. Are we merely going to read his word and ignore what it tells us to do, and how we should live? Are we going to read it as though it is just an interesting set of stories, or are you going to apply those things you read to your life? We must decide to obey God’s word, (all of it) or ignore it. Because it is living and active something has to change. When you read it with the intent to know God, to see yourself in the pages, then it demands you either follow or not.
As you read God’s word ask in advance that it be opened to you. Ask God for wisdom, discernment, and understanding as you read. Take time to think about the words you are taking in. Let them drop from your eyesight to your heart. God’s word convicts, changes and grows us. It will reveal what we think and know. Sometimes it is not pretty. Sometimes I read God’s word and think, oh no, this is me! I want to be fully surrendered to God. I want to obey every word that is written. I want him to be the Lord of my life, and when I get the “Oh no” I need to bow my head and repent of whatever it is that made me say it.
We also must decide if we believe what he says in all our troubles and trials. Do you believe God is with you and will never leave you? Do you trust that all things work together for good? Do you believe he can help you through any circumstance? Do you believe he can forgive you and save you? Do you believe when troubles come that God is with you and that he will not forsake you? Do you believe he is faithful and good? Do you believe that even when heartache comes God has allowed it for a time to strengthen your faith? Do you believe he is the only way, the truth, and the life? Do you believe he is victorious over everything, even when life is hard and evil seems to be abounding? Do you believe he can save that hard-nosed, hard-hearted loved one? Do you believe that when bad things happen, God is still good? These are just some of the decisions you must make, that God’s word demands you make.
We cannot know how to live and be if we do not search the scriptures to find out, and we cannot be those things if we do not apply what the Word says to our lives and hearts. We must do more than read it, we must apply all of it! God knows when we are sincere in our efforts. What we must realize is that one day we will all stand before God, we will give an account. Knowing this should make us want to know him fully, surrender fully, let his word answer our questions, and soothe our hurts. Life can be hard, sometimes brutal. It can feel as though the thought of another day is too hard. Pain and disappointment abound. But know this, God uses all of those things that touch us to complete the work in us. I don’t know how, but I do not need to know the how, I just need to trust his word that says he does.
As we approach this Ressurection Day, (Easter) may we once again with new effort dig into God’s word. May we let this past year of hard, motivate us to know our Lord more fully, to allow his word to change us, heal us, grow us, reveal in us those things that need to change. Let a Ressurection of your heart take place in a new way. Jesus came to give us life, He died so that we might live. There is no question his word cannot answer, no pain so deep he cannot heal it. Your thoughts and concerns are not silly to God, He wants us to come to him as little children, and like a child allow him to comfort us and teach us.
I pray you will enjoy a wonderful Ressurection Day! If you do not read God’s word regularly I encourage you to start. If you do read God’s word I pray that you ask for fresh eyes and discernment that you miss nothing he has for you. And mostly I pray that if you do not know the Lord as your Savior and King that you bow your head and ask him into your heart, and if you do, but feel you need a fresh filling that you bow your head and rededicate yourself to knowing him more fully. The time is drawing near friends, today could be the day of his return, and we are not promised tomorrow, so do not delay! Get to know Him….Read His word…It will change your life….There is power in it….It Is LIVING AND ACTIVE!
Habakkuk 3:17-19 “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. 19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of deer, he enables me to go on the heights.
As we read through the book of Habakkuk we see that he too had questions. He wondered as we do often why it seems that evil is winning; why do evil men seem to prosper. The broken and evil world he was living in troubled him. He asked and God answered. Habakkuk did not ask men for their thoughts, he asked God and received answers from him; he took his complaints, his hurts, and frustration straight to God.
Do you know that we too can take all our requests, complaints, and concerns to God? He wants us to come, he desires to clear up our confusions and hurts our disillusionment and frustrations. Right now in our day evil seems to be winning. The wicked seem to be gaining speed and prospering in their evil deeds. God reminded Habakkuk that although they seemed to be prospering right that moment their end was not a good one. There would be a payment extracted for their sin and rebellion against God. In the end, they would lose out. Theirs would be a fiery pit of hell, and eternal separation from God for all eternity, if they did not repent and turn from their wickedness.
Also, we see how we should respond when things are not going well for us. Even in hard times, when finances are hard, jobs may be scarce, trouble abounds on every side, there is a wrong and a right way to respond to the troubles and trials we face. First, we need to take our eyes off of the problems. We need to see our problems through the lens of our faithful Lord and Savior, and not the Lord through the trials and tribulations. We need to remember that God is always in control!! Nothing happens in our world, or our personal lives that he is not fully in control of. He does not have any surprise moments! Our feelings should not be controlled by the events around us or with us. Our response should always be one of faith, hope, and a calm assurance that we are not alone and that God is with us. He will give us what we need in those moments to stand firm and even have joy in the process if we will let him. God is our strength in hard times.
One day God will rid this world of evil. Those who do not know him will die in their sins and be forever separated from God. There will be no hope in hell. We have a difficult time understanding eternity. We have 24-hour days and we live our lives around that. But in God’s kingdom, there is not a 24-hour clock to dictate life. God can give his children surefooted confidence as they run across life’s mountains and valleys. He can make even the rough hard places passible with joy intact. Does this mean we will not have moments of tears or frustration, no, but those should not last long. There is a difference between happiness and joy. Joy resides deep in our souls and can bubble to the surface even in hard moments. Whereas happiness comes and goes.
We all need to be laser-focused on Jesus. We all need to read and pray as we go through trials, and sometimes we need to just sit in His presence and let him refill us. We need to rejoice in the Lord always! Until God brings about justice and rids the world of all evil, keep looking at him, keep trusting his faithfulness and goodness in your life. He is your strength, He is our hope and our future. He is and always will be God, and there is nothing too hard for him. No problem too big, no disappointment too deep, no hurt that he cannot cover and comfort. Let God be God and you praise him anyway, trust him because He truly does have it all under control, He is truly is victorious in all things!
I am sure like me there have been times when you were not sure where how you were going to pay your bills, where your next meal was coming from, the thought of having enough money for gas seemed overwhelming, figuring out how to budget on nothing for groceries brought tears to your eyes, clothes for your children, but God…
But here I am having always had what I needed just in time. I have never had to do without those things, somehow God always came through. It was never in the way I thought it would happen and it always seemed to cost me some of my pride, but as we know pride goes before the fall : )
I sit here blessed beyond measure, with more than I need, surrounded by all of the blessings God has richly poured into my life obviously, I made it through, and if you are reading this, so have you! Now let’s all give God the praise he deserves! He alone is worthy, He alone is Sovereign, He alone is able… Praise His Holy Name, Jesus, that name above all other names, Master, Savior, Jesus…Count your blessings, stop looking at what is not right and look into the face of the One who can hold you, keep you, bless you and strengthen you, and provide everything you need, and often those things you just want : )
Evil does not win….God does!
Ephesians 6:10-18 “Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of the dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers, and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
Did you know that you are living in a war zone? At any given time there is evil all around you. Spiritual battles are taking place in that realm beyond what we can see with our natural eyes. This evil wants to hinder you, confuse you, stop you, hurt you, and especially make you doubt God. These fallen angels of Satan’s are vicious fighters, they do not get tired or back down. How then can we withstand the attacks and even win the war? Bear in mind we are already victorious in Christ Jesus. And Satan is already a defeated foe operating on borrowed time that he has been given. But for us, we need to be ready at all times. We need the full armor of God in place to withstand the assaults that happen. The goal of the devil and his fallen ones is to defeat Christ’s church, his people.
We are assured of victory, but we must still withstand the battle, we must still stand and fight. To move forward in this battle we need all the equipment to fight. We need supernatural armor. What is this supernatural armor that we are to be clothed in at all times? The verses above tell us. Let’s look at them. First, we need to be strong in the Lord. How do we get this strength? We need to know God’s word, we need to read it daily. We need to pray always. We need to resist the enemy. When we are prepared and full of God’s words we will not be so easily fooled by the devil’s tactics. We have to know the truth to recognize a lie when we hear it.
We are told in the scriptures above that there is a day of evil that is coming. I believe we are in them. Look around at all the things going on. Look at how scripture has been perverted to be inclusive in things clearly against it. What was once wrong is now right and vise versa. People think they can live any way they want and go to heaven, not so my friend, not so!
We are told to stand firm, and when we have done all we can to stand, we are told to STAND FIRM then! We must be wearing the “belt of truth.” What is this belt? For one the belt is where Roman soldiers stored their weapons. Without this belt, they would be defenseless. For us, it means to know God’s truth, His word is to be hidden in our hearts and we should live and walk-in “honesty,” “truthfulness,” “integrity,” and “sincerity that surrounds every part of us. Next, we are to have the “breastplate of righteousness” in place. For Roman Soldiers, this protected what was under it, their heart, lungs, and other organs. If the soldier did not wear his breastplate he was vulnerable. For us, we need to live in ethical conduct; moral principles.
As we continue to read we see we are to have our “feet fitted for readiness.” For soldiers their shoes were fitted with spikes or textured souls, these added things on their shoes also allowed them to stand their ground, and navigate over rough terrain. Our shoes are a little different. They are the footwear of peace. We need to have a readiness to share the gospel with someone at any time. As Christian’s, we should always be prepared to “give an answer.” Others are watching us, how do we react to situations around us? We are to be peacemakers, not fighters, angry all the time. Next, we are to take up the “shield of faith.” What is this faith? For soldiers, it deflected blows they received and gave them overall protection while in battle. For us; It is believing God. The more we believe and have faith in God and his word, the more effective we are when we fight. The enemy hurls unseen arrows at us all the time, we may not even realize that when we believe God, we are fighting and winning!
Next, we are told to take up the “helmet of salvation.” It is obvious that for soldier’s this protected their heads. Our helmet is our assurance of salvation. Jesus told us to “not be afraid” because he wanted to remind us that even though we can die physically, we never die. When we leave this body our next step is into eternity with Jesus. The enemy cannot take our salvation away! Ever! The power of the cross silenced the enemy on this point. When we are “born-again” we belong to God forever. After this, we are told to take the “sword of the spirit”- God’s word. For soldier’s, this was an offensive weapon against their attackers. For us, if we lack knowledge of God’s word, we are in trouble. It is not a means to attack others, but to show us the truth. God is truth. His word speaks truth to us and drowns out the voice of the enemy. It shows us how to live, move and be in this world.
The last couple of things we are told is to pray and be alert. Why pray? We cannot know the heart of God without it. Prayer does not change God it changes us. It helps to align us with His will for our lives. It tells us to pray on all occasions. To be prayerful at all times. Prayer should be our habit, short prayers, long prayers, tearful prayers, prayers of repentance, etc. We need to pray, to commune with. our Lord, to be changed by time with him. How do we get to know someone, by talking to them and listening to them. It is the same with God.
Lastly, we are told to be alert. Soldiers needed to be alert and looking around, checking their armor to make sure they had every piece, that it was in good shape. Going into battle unprepared could end in death for the soldier. We need to be filled with the Spirit of God and His word. We need to read and pray, pray and read. We never know when or how the enemy will attack us, but rest assured he will. We cannot stand firm on what we do not know. We cannot know a lie unless we first know the truth.
We are in a War Zone. If you do not read and pray regularly, I encourage you to do so. This past year has been hard, and there will be more hard days ahead. This world is going the way of the evil one. False prophets all around, the truth twisted to fit lifestyles, and so on. Be a good soldier in God’s army, get to know you Commander and Chief. Listen and obey. Live the way he says to live, be a peacemaker, not a fighter. Let the light of Christ be what others see in you. Talk it, Walk it, Live it! Be ready, Stand firm until the end. It could be any day now!
James 2:1-4 “My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism. 2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand here” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”
Wow! Evil thoughts! Do you see your favoritism towards people who have more, or are better dressed as evil? God calls it that. All too often in society the well-dressed, the seemingly more important people get better seats and are treated as though they are royalty and deserving. When I think of people who get special attention when they come into a room, my mind goes to celebrities, athletes, and high powered business people. And sometimes even preachers and teachers of God’s word. Sad, but true. A person should never be judged by their lack of. When Jesus talks about our loving our neighbor as ourselves, he means everyone we come in contact with. We do not get to pick and choose who we love and are kind to.
I think the reason we will treat a well-dressed seemingly important person better is that we want to identify with them. We want to see ourselves as more than we are. We fail to realize that not all of these people have gotten where they are by honesty and hard work. Some may have cheated or been born into wealth and privilege. They may even be gaining their lifestyles at our expense. So often those who have much find it hard to follow Christ, who came as a humble servant. Too often a person’s appearance is more important to us than their character.
When we show favoritism because of someones standing, wealth or position, we are looking at the outside and not the character and depth of a person, we are showing selfish motives. All people need fellowship, the rich, the well dressed, and the poor and needy. All are human beings made in God’s image. We are told that showing favoritism is wrong. Yet, Christians do it all the time. Churches even do it, wanting the rich inside the doors, blessing the offering plate! Shame on us!
All too often people view someone being rich as their being abundantly blessed, approved, and favored by God, not true my friend. Often those riches are stumbling blocks to a right relationship with God or any relationship with God. People trust in themselves, they seem to have all they need, so why need God? Following Christ means that we are told to live humble lives, ready to give it all up for Christ’s name and hold onto eternal life. We must live faithful in this life. Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
God’s word tells us that many who are first in this life will be last. (Matthew 19:30) For those who walk faithful regardless of their earthly wealth and circumstances, God promises riches untold in eternity. (Matthew 19:29 reads:) And everyone who has left houses and brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. The world views those who have and those who have not differently. But we as believers need to view people the same, with the same kindnesses and places of importance because we are all made in God’s image.
Why is showing favoritism bad, here are a few footnotes from my bible.
- It is inconsistent with Christ’s teachings.
- It results from evil thoughts.
- It is a by-product of selfish motives.
- It insults people made in God’s image.
- It goes against the Biblical definition of love.
- It shows a lack of mercy to those less fortunate.
- It is hypocritical.
- It is sin.
Showing favoritism IS SIN. Have you ever thought about it that way? Be honest. We are told in verses 10-11 of James: “10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.” We cannot use this verse to justify any sin, by saying “well I have already broken one of God’s laws, so why try? God’s mercy is great towards us, and when we repent of our sin, He forgives us. We all need to do our best to not let sin reign in our bodies. Even Christians sometimes sin, but it is not a lifestyle of sin. We need to always measure ourselves against God’s standard, not man’s. We are not saved by the law, but by God’s grace, but as believers, we are to obey God’s word and not only hear it, but do it. One day we will all, even the rich, the poor, the needy, sinners, all appear before God’s throne of judgment to be judged for our conduct. (2 Corinthians 5:10) God’s grace does not cancel our duty to obey him.
So, in conclusion, before you decide to show favoritism to someone who seems of better standing, wealth, or privilege, remember these words found in the last couple of verses of James 2. “Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!” I want to live a life that pleases God in all I do. I want to treat others as I want to be treated. I have experienced being treated differently because I did not seem to measure up to what the world thinks my financial status should be. I have been judged and found wanting because my academic history did not seem to be enough. I have been judged and found wanting because I have chosen the path of homemaker over a business woman. I am sure at one time or another each of us has been either favored or found lacking.
I want to love as Jesus loves, I want to see others as he sees them. I want to mimic my Lord in all I do and say. I want to see those in need as people made in the image of God, just as deserving as I. I want to; “Act justly, Love mercy and Walk humbly before my God.” (Micah 6:8) The world and its ideas of who should be lifted and given privilege are messed up. Choose mercy over judgment. Let God work out the details of others’ lives. Do not assume that because someone is homeless, out of a job, dresses shabbily, did not go to college, does not make lots of money, or is not in the limelight, that he or she is just lazy, unintelligent, unmotivated, etc. Maybe they are in that state so that you can show mercy and kindness and act like Jesus. Maybe theirs will be the untold riches story we read about. Look into the eyes of everyone and see that they are image-bearers of their Creator. Be Jesus to them…show mercy, show love, act like the One in whom you believe, the Lord Jesus Christ!
We all come into this world with nothing, and we will take nothing with us when we leave. And we will all stand before Him. Be ready!
Have any of you read the accounts of Daniel in your bible? Most Christians have at least some knowledge of Daniel. So, the back story is this King Darius appoints 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. Now Daniel was obedient to the Lord, faithful, trustworthy, and did nothing to draw attention to himself and did nothing wrong in his work or private life. He obeyed God, prayed three times a day towards Jeruselum, and God blessed and advanced him. Fast-forward, Daniel had so distinguished himself among the other administrators because of his exceptional qualities that they decided he needed to go. They plotted and tried their best to find fault in his work but could not.
Here is where the story takes a turn. The other administrators and officials knew that Daniel was faithful to God, the true and living God. They knew he prayed to God daily, so this was the basis for their going to the king to get him to issue an edict and enforce it that if anyone prays to another god or man during the next thirty days, except to the king himself, they would be thrown into the lion’s den.
Let’s pick up the story from the word of God.
Daniel 6:10-15 “Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened towards Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to God, just as he had done before. 11 Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help. 12 So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree: “Did you not publish a decree that during the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or man except you, O king, would be thrown into the lions’ den?” The king answered, “The decree stands-in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.” 13 Then they said to the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.” 14 When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed, he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him. 15 Then the men went as a group to the king and said to him, “Remember, O king, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed.
Wow! Daniel had heard what would happen if he disobeyed, yet being obedient to God was more important than his life. He continued to do the right thing, knowing what might take place. It seemed that now around 70 to 80 years old. God had been faithful to him ever since he had been taken captive around 17 years old. He trusted God’s plan. From day one of his captivity, Daniel had been faithful to do what the Lord had instructed him to do. He did not allow the enticing things around him to sway his devotion to God. Can we say the same? Are we faithful to God? Do we look at our circumstances and allow them to dictate our obedience?
Moving on: Daniel 6:16-22 “So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” 17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep. 19 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. 20 When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” 21 Daniel answered, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king.”
Daniel had no promise from God that we read that said that God would for sure rescue him from the lions’ den, but Daniel knew God had always been faithful and whether he lived or died, he was going to serve God. I am sure he must have felt some fear, at least the kind of fear that does not want pain, one’s body to be torn to shreds and eaten while still alive. But Daniel had made up his mind a long time ago that he would not serve any other God. No matter what happened. Nothing could change his mind. He had been given favor with his captors. The king respected Daniel and it sounds like he even liked him. This was a hard night for the king, sleepless, probably walking the floor, wondering what he would find. He had witnessed Daniel’s faithfulness to the living God. He had seen the blessing God had given to Daniel. We will see now that God will punish those who were wrong, and we hear these words fromencounter we hear the king.
Daniel 6:23-28 “The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in God. 24 At the king’s command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought and thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crused all their bones. 25 Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples nations and men of every language throughout the land: “May you prosper greatly!” 26 “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdon people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. “For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdon will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. 27 He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.” 28 So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reighn of Dyrus the Persian.”
God used this time to open the eyes of the king. Daniel was a living witness and testimony to God’s faithfulness. He knew whether he lived or died he would be with the Lord. His faith was strong, his mind made up! Nothing, not even the threat of death would or could sway him. Now ask yourself this question: “Is your mind made up?” Even if you thought you were going to die a horrible death, would you still be obedient to the Lord?
We are living in uncertain strange times. Christian’s are fast becoming the enemy to many; evil does not like the light. We do not know where the paths of life may take us, but we better know before we get there what our answer will be, who will you serve? I see people/Christians who are already realing from this pandemic and the changes in our way of life. Some have mouthed such mean and vile things, others live in fear. God’s word tells us that ,”He is the same, yesturday, today and forever.” (Malachi 3:6)
No matter your past faithfulness or how you are right now, you can ask the Lord to fill you with fresh fire. To grow your heart in faith and faithfulness. You can this very moment decide that no matter what comes your way, you WILL be obedient to the Lord and His word. Even if death is a possiblitly you will stay the course. God may or may not deliver you as he did Daniel, but not matter what happens you will still be with him. If your eyes close in death hear on this earth, remember the very next step is eternity with Jesus, your faith will become sight!
None of us know the paths that we will have to walk on. Some paths are harder than others, but all paths are meant to draw us closer to our Lord and Savior. They are completing the work started in us at the moment of our salvation. We are never promised an easy road, but we are promised that God NEVER LEAVES US OR FORSAKES US, He is faithful to the end! Is your mind made up?
I feel impressed to remind myself and everyone else just who God is. During these chaotic and often scary times, we are witnessing and many are experiencing we all need to be reminded of who God is.
God is Infinite. Colossians 1:17 “And he is before all things, and in him, all things hold together.” God is self-existent. He has existed forever. He is Jehovah; He is the I AM.
God is Immutable. Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Malachi 3:6 “I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.”
God does not change his mind, his plans, his character. He can never be better or worse depending on the situation. His promises never change. We can depend on God, He is faithful in all things.
God is self-sufficient. John 5:26 “For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.” God has need of nothing. Unlike us, we have needs that must be met. Because God has no needs, and we are needy, we can go to him and trust that he will meet our needs. He has all wisdom, goodness, understanding, power, ability and so much more; and He is the supplier of all our needs. We just need to ask!
God is Omnipotent: Psalm 33:6 “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath fo his mouth.” God has unlimited power. There is nothing He cannot do. God does anything that is in alignment with his will. He will not go outside of his perfect will to act. If God wills something it will happen. God’s will is always in line with his character. If He has a plan and a purpose, it will come to pass. Nothing can stop His plan from unfolding. No man, no evil, nothing. So, when he says He will come again, we can trust his word. John MacArthur says it this way: “Although such power might seem frightful, remember that God is good. He can do anything according to His infinite ability but will do only those things that are consistent with Himself. That is why He can’t lie, tolerate sin, or save impenitent sinners.”
God is Omniscient: God is All-Knowing. Isaiah 46:9-10 “Remember the former things, those long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” God is aware of everything at all times. He does not sleep or get distracted. He knows every detail of your life, your thoughts even before you think them. He knows the full content of your heart and what dictates your actions. You are an open book to him, you have not secrets. This is both comforting and frightening, don’t you think? It also means He understands us, better than we do. We need never fear telling God all of our junk, he already knows and sees it; we cannot tell him anything that will change his mind about us.
God is Omnipresent: God is everywhere. Psalm 139:7-10 “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your Presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me.”
Jeremiah 23:23-24 “Am I a God at hand,’ declares the Lord, ‘and not a God afar off? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him?’ declares the Lord. ‘Do I not fill heaven and earth?’ declares the Lord.”
God is all places at all times. You may run, but you cannot hide. The fullness of his presence is always with us. No matter what our situation, no matter where we are, He is there. We should be deeply comforted to know that God is always with us and around us. I find it very comforting to know that even on my worst day, He is with me.
God is wise: Romans 11:33 “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgements and unfathomable His ways.”
God knows it all, every fact, every reason, every everything! He is always wise, consistent in his wisdom. He always does what is the wisest and best thing for us; even during those times when we would say, really God? Why? Or I can’t? He does not have off days, and all his decisions are perfect and right. No matter the paths we wander down in life, even sinful ones, God can still use it for our good and his glory to accomplish in us what needs to be done. Our sin and rebellion will not and cannot thwart his plans. He tells us that he will finish the work he has started in us.
God is Faithful” Deuteronomy 7:9 “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.”
2 Timothy 2:13 “If we are faithless, He remains faithful for he cannot deny himself.”
God’s faithfulness d with his immutability. He does not change. God does not forget. He acts according to his will and way and does all the things needed for us and in our world. He promised us that He would be with us and He is. We often wonder why if God is faithful that he allows us to suffer, but it is only because we cannot fully understand His wisdom and the reasons He allows the things that He does. We try to reason it in our finite minds, and we just can’t. He is always good, always with us, never changing, and always available.
God is good: Psalm 34:8 “O, taste and see that the Lord is good.”
God is kind, He is tenderhearted towards us, He is long-suffering with us. He always acts in a manner that is right and perfect. He is gentle and loving with us, even when we sin and come to him for forgiveness we need not be ashamed, for he is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us. He takes pleasure in our joy and happiness. We can experience God’s goodness as we learn of him and obey him. He delights in giving us good things. Even when bad things happen the bible tells us that he can make it good for us and bring glory to himself in the process.
God is just: Deuteronomy 32:4 “The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.”
God’s justice means more than he is fair in all he does. He acts rightly in all situations. God is fully just and fully merciful. God will have justice for sin, and He is right when sinners go to hell, and right when those who call on his name are saved, “born-again” and go to heaven. We either get God’s mercy in this life or his justice, both are right. God cannot and is never wrong.
God is merciful: Romans 9:15-16 ” I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.” God’s mercy is underserved by us. We are born sinners at birth, but God chooses whom He will have mercy on and whom he will have justice on. Without God’s mercy, we would have no hope of heaven. We are the work of his hands. If I make a beautiful piece of pottery, I shape it and paint it until it looks great, is it not my right to smash it if I choose? Or I could set it on my shelf to admire and possibly use. As it’s maker I get to choose how I use it or do not use it. God is our creator.
People want to argue that if God is so good why do people go to hell, it is simple, unbelief.
God is gracious: Psalm 145:8 “The Lord is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.” God’s grace is something we cannot earn and we cannot lose it. He bestows it on us. God’s common grace is given to all, but his Saving Grace is for those who trust in His name and belong to him. Common grace: Matthew 5:45 “For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.” His Saving Grace sanctifies us, it enables us to live for him and eventually enjoy being with him for all eternity. If you belong to Christ His Saving Grace has been extended to you and you have received His mercy and not His justice. Unmerited favor is yours. You did not earn it, He was gracious in bestowing it upon you.
God is loving: 1 John 4:7-8 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
God’s love is unchanging, infinite, all-consuming, sovereign, perfect, eternal. He does not need us, but he allows us to be loved and to love him. God wants our love. His love for us has no end. God will not one day stop loving you. Nothing you can do will make him not love you. Why? Only God knows. But aren’t you thankful that he loves us and that he has chosen us?
God is Holy: Revelation 4:8 “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord Almighty.”
Holy, is set apart, sacred, and divine. Trying to describe the Holiness of God is hard. God’s holiness binds all his other attributes together. He is completely perfect, complete in every way. There is no one like him. God tells us that because he is perfect, we need to be perfect as well. Matthew 5:48; but the reality is we cannot be perfect that is why we needed a Savior, it is why Jesus died on the cross to satisfy the Father. There is no other way that we can meet the standard, we must be born-again. And when we place our trust in Jesus and we turn from sin, God sees us as perfect. Wow! Isn’t that amazing. We will never receive the sentence we deserve for our sin. Jesus paid the price.
God is Glorious: Habakkuk 3:4 “His radiance is like the sunlight; He has rays flashing from His hand, And there is the hiding of His power.” God’s radiance shines forth in all that He is and all that He does.
John Piper says it this way: “The glory of God is the infinite beauty and greatness of God’s manifold perfections. The infinite beauty-and I am focusing on the manifestation of his character and his worth and his attributes; all of his perfections and greatness are beautiful as seen- and there are many of them. That is why I use the word manifold.”
God is often referred to as light. We are told to be salt and light. When I think of God’s thrown I think of a light so bright shining from it that it nearly blinds me in its uniqueness and brilliance. In Revelation 4:3 we read: “And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance.” All that God is, Is glorious…Radiant…Perfect…Unchanging…All-Powerful…All-Knowing…Merciful and Good…God is…
As you read this I pray that the cares of this world faded away. I pray that you were reminded that no matter what is happening around you or in you, God’s got it! You can relax, live, love, laugh, and continue walking with the Lord, and have no fear for the future. God has always been and will always be in charge! Right now He is working out the plan he put into place before the beginning of time, if you could not handle it, you would not be here now. It is for such a time as this that you are living in this world. He has promised to complete the work he started in you and get you to heaven…Relax…trust Him.
And if there by chance is someone reading this that does not know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, know that today all your sins can be forgiven when you put your trust in him. Your slate can be wiped clean and you will be made perfect before God the Father in an instant. For if you die without Christ yours will be an eternity in hell, forever condemned without hope. Utter darkness and unspeakable things to endure, forever.
So it is either forever in heaven where everything will be perfect and we will forever be with Christ or it is hell. Think about it!