Monday, April 29, 2013
What task has God assigned you? Has He assigned you to
establish a home,
strengthen a marriage,
lead a family,
serve a church,
teach in a classroom,
or comfort in a sick room?
Check your attitude toward the assignment. Do you grumble and complain about it? Do you neglect and ignore it? Do you resent and reject it? Or do you enjoy fulfilling it as your service unto the Lord? God wants you and me to enjoy our service to Him, whatever it may be. And He also wants us to discuss each detail with Him as we do the work. One of His pleasures, as well as ours, is the joy of working together as we complete the task. Often, the more difficult the task, the greater the joy because it enables us to see the power of God and just what He can do in and through and for us.
Saturday, April 27, 2013
You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand. Isaiah 64:8, NKJV
The principle that suffering leads to glory is illustrated in Scripture by a vivid description of clay on the Potter's wheel - clay that was once cracked, shattered, and broken, clay that was totally useless and ugly. The Potter took the clay and broke it down even further, grinding it into dust then moistening it with water before He put it on His wheel and began to remake it into a vessel pleasing to Himself. The cracks and chips and broken pieces disappeared as the clay became soft and pliable to the Potter's touch.
But the clay was still soft and weak, the color dull and drab. So the Potter placed the vessel into the fiery kiln, carefully keeping His eye on it as He submitted it to the raging heat. At a time He alone determined was sufficient, the Potter withdrew the pot from the furnace. The blazing heat had radically transformed into a vessel of strength and glorious, multicolored beauty.
You and I are just little clay pots destined for glory!
Thursday, April 25, 2013
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV
The apostle Paul went through a period of intense suffering that he described as being impaled with a spike! He testified that three times he pleaded with God to remove the suffering, but his prayer was unanswered. When he must have cried out through clenched teeth, "Why?" God reassured him, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Paul's response indicates he caught sight of the big picture when he responded, "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Cor. 12:9-10, NIV).
What kinds of trials have caused you to suffer? Could it be God has given you a platform of suffering from which you can be a witness of His power and grace to those who are watching?
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
In Your hand is power and might; in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. 1 Chronicles 29:12, NKJV
The crowning jewel of Creation was man himself. He was created for a distinct purpose. If the purpose is lived out, life is fulfilling. If the purpose is rejected or ignored, life will never be what it was meant to be.
A light bulb is a simple glass globe. If placed on a desk or table, it is meaningless as well as useless. But if it is fitted into a lamp and plugged into a power source, it fulfills its purpose for existence, taking on meaning as a source of light that is useful for daily living.
Apart from the Creator's purpose, you and I are like a light bulb lying in a meaningless, useless state. We need to fit into the Creator's original design, plugging into the power source - our relationship with Him - if our lives are to be what they were meant to be.
Sunday, April 21, 2013
You come to him, the living Stone. . . . Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. 1 Peter 2:4, 7, NIV
Have you ever denied the Lord?
Denied Him with your silence?
Denied Him with your behavior?
Denied Him by calling yourself a Christian yet not acting like one?
Denied Him by the priorities and plans and people and places in your life that are Christ-less?
If you have denied Jesus - and surely all of us have in some way - then you know something of the price Peter paid in shame and humiliation for his denial. Instead of repressing your shame and guilt, will you confess it to the Lord so that you can experience the same forgiveness and restoration that Peter did? When you do, you can share the testimony with Peter and the saints down through the ages who know from their own experience that He is precious! "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening" (1 Sam 3:9, NIV).
Friday, April 19, 2013
Wait for the Lord and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land. Psalm 37:34, NIV
"On the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat" (Gen. 8:4, NIV). When Noah first gazed out of the window, drinking in the warmth of the sunshine and breathing the clean, fresh air, it must have looked like he was on an island in the midst of a vast lake with the tops of the mountains looking like other islands in the sea. But as the water continued to recede, what did he think when he realized he was on top of a mountain range seventeen thousand feet high?
As Noah became aware of the gradual yet drastic changes taking place in his circumstances, he must have feared what they would mean to his everyday life. He was an old man to be starting out in a new job requiring a new home and a totally new environment. But like the psalmist, Noah knew he should "wait for the Lord and keep his way." He had to keep trusting that the same God Who had saved him from the storm of judgment that had "cut off" the wicked would enable him to inherit the "land" of his new life.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
"To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power for ever and ever!" Revelation 5:13, NIV
The apostle John gives us a thrilling glimpse into a universal celebration that one day we are going to participate in. He describes four living creatures who surround the throne on which Jesus reigns supreme over the universe. These living creatures never stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come" (Rev. 4:8, NIV).
Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne, the twenty-four elders fall down before him and worship him. And as the elders praise the person of Jesus Christ, millions of angels join in the chorus, singing in a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!" Then John describes the entire universe beginning to roar in the continuous, contagious acclamation of Christ as every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea sings: 'To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power for ever and ever!'"
Monday, April 15, 2013
Direct my steps by Your word, and let no iniquity have dominion over me. Psalm 119:133, NKJV
"Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God" (Gen. 6:9, NIV). Noah was right with God when everyone else was wrong. Noah was blameless among the people of his time when every other person was to blame for every kind of evil. Noah walked with God when the entire world followed in Cain's rebellious footsteps and ran away from God. Yet Noah's attitude seemed to be so confident it was as though he considered the whole world to be crazy while he was the only one who was sane! Surely he received much-needed strength and encouragement from his wife and three sons, but his confidence came from listening to what God had to say.
Noah listened to God as he walked with God, cultivating the awareness of His Presence. Are you a good listener?
Saturday, April 13, 2013
If we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. 1 John 5:15, NKJV
During the days of Ezekiel, God poured out His heart and shared what He wanted to do for His beloved people. Then He revealed an astonishing fact: "I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them" (Eze. 36:37, KJV). God was waiting to be asked!
My mother said that if there are any tears shed in heaven, they are going to be shed over all the answers to prayer for which no one ever bothered to ask! What blessing is God waiting to give you, but you haven't asked Him for it?
Why does He wait for us to ask? Maybe He wants us to acknowledge our need of Him. Maybe it's one way of getting our attention. Maybe it's the only way we will know when the answer comes that it comes from Him, and we don't credit ourselves or someone else for it.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Cain went out from the Lord's presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden. Genesis 4:16, NIV
Cain had been created by God. He had been created with life from God. He had been created for God. And now he was separated from God. Unconfessed sin and rebellion makes a person so miserable in the presence of a holy, righteous God that the sin must either be confessed and cleansed or the sinner must leave God's presence.
Cain's tragic life illustrates the hard lesson that guilt is our friend if it drives us to God. However, if we refuse to turn to God in repentance and confession, guilt will drive us away from God to our own destruction. Cain's bitterness that was rooted in resentment and rebellion bore wicked fruit in his family for generations to follow. Cain's sin, left to take its own natural course, intensified with each generation until the entire civilization of the world in his day was ravaged by it.
What sin in your life - if left unchecked - will ravage the life of your children?
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
"I will never leave you nor forsake you." Hebrews 13:5, NKJVIn the midst of our suffering, it can often be difficult to glimpse the glory to come. Suffering is so immediate and can seem so permanent that we can easily lose sight of the big picture. The pain can be so crushing and our hearts can be so broken that we just don't understand why! Why me? Whenever that question tends to fill my mind, I hear Him whisper to my heart, "Taz, why not you? Just trust Me! Trust Me to be with you. Trust Me to bring you through. Trust Me to be enough for you. Trust Me - because I love you!"
When I don't understand why, I trust Him because . . . God loves even me!
Are you hurt because you've thought that if God truly loved you, you would be exempt from pain and problems and pressure? Lay your hurts at His nail-pierced feet - and just trust Him because He loves even you!
Sunday, April 7, 2013
God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27, NIV
Nothing like man had ever existed in the universe prior to his creation. Through the power of God's Word, man was brought into existence from nothing. What sets man so distinctly apart from the animals that he required a separate creative process of God? The distinct difference between man and all other animals and life forms is that man was created in the image of God.
By creating man in His own image, God fixed a gulf between animals and man that will never be bridged. Animals always have been and always will be animals. Man always has been and always will be man. The fossil evidence confirms this. No one has ever found the "missing link," and no one ever will because it's missing! It doesn't exist!
Since Creation, approximately ten billion human beings have been born, yet there is not a single recorded case of one ever being genetically less than a human being. Man was created in God's own image with a capacity to know the Creator in a personal relationship. Do you know Him?
Friday, April 5, 2013
We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only Son who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14, NIV
Today countless people look for a god within themselves or in crystals or in trees or in a former life or in some statue or in a religious experience or in the stars. But John declares the awesome truth that the glory of God is not confined in any of those things, just as it is no longer confined on a mountain or in a Tabernacle or as a cloud or fire or as a reflection on a face. Instead "the Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only Son who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."
John is saying emphatically, "I have seen Him!"
"I've seen Him when He was alone."
"I've seen Him when He was surrounded by a crowd of people."
"I've seen Him dead,"
"I've seen Him buried,"
"I've seen Him risen,"
"I've seen Him ascended."
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
"When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth." John 16:13, NIV
One reason I never approach the Scripture without praying first is because it is the person of the Holy Spirit Who clarifies the truth for you and me. Jesus identified His role in this way: "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come."
The Bible is a wonderful book of history and poetry and prophecy and ceremony. Anyone can be blessed by just reading this truly magnificent piece of literature that spans the years of human history. But there is a unique blessing that is reserved for those who prayerfully, earnestly, and humbly approach it by faith as the truth, seeking to go past the surface reading into the deeper meaning. And it is impossible to reach this deeper level of understanding and blessing without the Holy Spirit's guidance.
How do you approach God's Word?
Monday, April 1, 2013
We eagerly await a Savior . . . who . . . will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Philippians 3:20-21, NIV
As wonderful as my loved ones are and as much as I miss them, they are not perfect! And if your loved ones are like mine, your relationship with them on earth has not been perfect either. To think of living forever in the same home with my brothers and sisters would give one pause! But when we get to Heaven, the joy of seeing our loved ones once again is immeasurably increased when we realize that all of us will indeed be perfect! There will be no more . . .
disagreements or cross words,
hurt feelings or misunderstandings,
neglect or busyness,
interruptions or rivalry,
jealousy or pride,
selfishness or sin of any kind!
There will be nothing at all to mar our full enjoyment of being with our loved ones forever and ever!