Friday, February 15, 2019

When God Says, "No!"

When God Says, “No!”

II Samuel 7

Up to this time, David’s life has been filled with war, bloodshed, and trouble. David is now resting from his enemies, and a thought comes to mind, a desire to build a special dwelling place for the Ark of the Covenant. The prophet Nathan is introduced in Scripture for the first time and will later record many of the events surrounding David’s life.

We must remember that Nathan is human––like the rest of us and the proposal David gave him sounded great. Nathan would have a new “church” in which to worship the Lord in, so he responded quickly. How did Nathan know God would want a building? Had Nathan talked to God about it? Maybe he reasoned as many of us do. “If it’s in the name of God, it must be okay.” That night as Nathan lay down to sleep, the LORD spoke to him and Nathan realized that he had spoken too soon, and would now have to go to David to admit that he had been wrong. 

Though God had said, “No” to David’s dream of building the temple, He did give to David many blessings. One blessing would be that his son, Solomon, would be allowed to build the temple. We, as children of God, do not have the same promises as David did. But, God has promised that when we hurt, He will be there, when we cry out, He will hear our voice and when we believe and call upon His name, we will be saved. 

What has happened in your life? Has God told you “No” to the most important desires you have longed for? Did that answer make you bitter against Him or are you better because of God’s sovereign work in your life (Romans 8:28)? I pray you will allow the Maker of this universe to do His work in your life even when He says, “No” to your heart’s greatest longing, and the things you treasure and hold so dear. 

Lord, my heart’s desire is to do Your will.

Friday, February 8, 2019

The Depth of Love

The Depth of Love

Ruth 1:16,17 

As the love story of Ruth unfolds, picture three women traveling along the road toward Bethlehem. Their hearts are broken by death, they’re in despair and most likely afraid. Naomi stops them on their journey and lovingly reminds them of the reality of their devastated lives. She relays to them that she has no more children for them to marry and if she would have children, they would be too young to marry. They would be better off going home to their families than to continue with her.

Ruth said to Naomi, “Do not urge me to leave you or to turn back from following you. I want to go where you go, and live where you live. I want your people to be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I want to die and be buried. May the LORD do to me and more, if anything but death parts you and me.” (Paraphrased).

Orpah shows her love for Naomi, kisses her mother-in-law good-bye and walks away back to her gods. Ruth is grieved and weeps as Orpah disappears forever out of their sight. With already so much tragedy and heartache they have endured, to know Orpah would cease to exist in their lives from this time forward, would seem unbearable. Ruth cleaves to her mother-in-law, expressing words of love and devotion to Naomi and to her God. Her words confirm her devoted love for Naomi but most importantly, they show Ruth’s obvious conversion from worshipping Chemosh to the God of Israel, JEHOVAH.

Have you ever wondered how God could save such a sinner as you, as Ruth, or anyone? You will never understand the meaning of the cross, or why Jesus had to die until you begin to appreciate the depth of love shown in His extreme sacrifice. He was willing to give His life for your eternal soul, an everlasting love that will not let you go.

Lord, thank You for a love that will never let me go (John 10:28).

Friday, February 1, 2019

I Am Nothing Without Love

I Am Nothing Without Love
Read I Corinthians 13

We need to ask ourselves this question, “Are we loving?” That could be a hard question to answer. Maybe we should ask, “Are we patient? Are we kind? Are we trusting?” These types of questions are more a matter of the heart. Can we measure ourselves according to these qualities of love? The Word of God says, “If we don’t have love, we are nothing.” 

Jesus said in John 13:35 KJV, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Making the choice to love others is a command given by our Lord to those who would call themselves Christians. 

The Bible never defines love but describes it. Love is an action word and love is only love when it acts. The true Christian is one who loves when he is hurt, wounded, or taken advantage of without seeking revenge. Abraham Lincoln made a lot of friends, and he also made some enemies during our great Civil War. Edwin Stanton, Secretary of War, during President Lincoln’s administration was said to be; rude, explosive, dogmatic, and obstinate. Yet, Lincoln chose him for that particular job.

History teaches us though Stanton was rude and abrasive, he couldn't resist the patience that Lincoln showed him. Stanton couldn't resist the non-retaliating spirit of the man called, Lincoln. Love forgives seventy times seven when it has been wronged.  Long-suffering endures the insults and injuries of others and kindness pays them back only with deeds of goodness, and unfeigned love.

The night of Lincoln’s assassination, in the little room where the President's body was taken there stood Stanton. He was peering down into the silent face of the President in all its ruggedness and is reported to have uttered this famous remark, "Now he belongs to the ages." Stanton knew the kind of man President Lincoln was and appreciated the kind-hearted spirit he shared with those that served with him.

Lord, may I learn to share my love by what I do and not only by what I say.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Believing by Faith

Believing by Faith
John 9 

John’s writings are straightforward in describing Jesus as deity. He was accused of breaking the Sabbath when He healed an invalid man after thirty-eight years of being bedridden. He called God his Father, making Himself equal with God. This infuriated the Jews and why they were seeking to kill Him. In John 8, He calls Himself, “The Light of the World,” and “before Abraham was, I AM.” After hearing this, the crowd picked up stones to throw at Him, but He hid and left the temple because it was not yet His time.

In John 9, Jesus passes by a man born blind. His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents… ?” “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” The Jews brought the man who was formerly blind to the Pharisees. (Jesus made mud and opened his eyes on the Sabbath). 

The Jews didn’t believe the man had been born blind, so they asked his parents. The parents were fearful to speak and said, “He is of age, you ask him about his blindness.” The parents didn’t want to be put out of the synagogue by the Jews for it had already been said, “if anyone confessed Jesus to be the Christ they are not allowed.” They reviled (angrily criticized) the man that once was blind and cast him out of the assembly.

Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and went to find the man to ask, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” After finding out who Jesus was, the man said, “Lord, I believe, and he worshiped him.” Jesus will die on the cross after using the phrase, “Son of Man” over 80 times and notably, He used it more than any other title. The proclamation by Jesus that He was the“Son of Man” holds great value in saying, “He is the One given everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, or be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13-14).

Lord, by faith, I believe.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Does God Really Love Me?

Does God Really Love Me?
John 10:14-18

In John chapter 10, Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees and Jews about being a shepherd. The term “Shepherd” has only been given to God the Father up until now but Jesus is telling them that He is the “Good Shepherd.” They didn’t understand all that He was saying to them and so He began to explain His position as the good shepherd.

Jesus makes three declarations to the crowd standing before Him. First,  He says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (Here, He declares His love for His sheep.) He then tells them that He has other sheep that are not of this fold. He must bring them also, and they will listen to his voice so that there will be one flock and one shepherd. (The other sheep means you and me, Gentiles outside of Israel.) In John 10:17-18, Jesus proclaims His love once more. He speaks of the Father’s love for Him because Jesus will lay down His life that He may take it up again. No one takes it from Him, but He will lay it down of His own accord. Jesus speaks of the authority He has to lay down His life, and the authority He has to take it up again which He received from His Father.

The Jews were divided among themselves after hearing Jesus express these words. They thought He may have a demon in Him and be insane. They began to question the others by saying, “Why are you listening to Him?” Many of them said, “These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?” (This statement was referring to John 9 where Jesus healed the man born blind).

Jesus does love you! He willingly laid down His life that mankind may be saved. When we believe in His sacrificial death and miraculous resurrection and repent, we have the gracious gift of eternal life.

Lord, I know you love me.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Life is Unfair

Life is Unfair

                                            Daniel 1:1-5

How many times have we heard a little child or even an adult say, “That’s not fair?” We all have experienced things in our lives that we could say were, “not fair.” Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah all faced difficult times even though they obeyed God. They were not protected from God’s judgment upon the people of Judah and were uprooted from their homes. They were taken away from their families and removed from the way of life that they had been accustomed to living. That doesn’t seem fair! Keep in mind, just because we name the name of Christ and call ourselves a Christian, does not mean that we will be protected from unfair treatment or from the pain and consequences of another’s sin.

As a Christian, we need to understand that we can work through anything if we remember the wonderful riches of our salvation. Ephesians 1:3 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:” God has given to us, “exceeding great and precious promises: that by these we might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:3,4). The word precious means: there is nothing like them, they are utterly unequaled. We possess a precious faith based on God’s precious promises–––what more could we ask for!

When you feel like life is just not fair, please realize; God controls all the details of your life and puts all things together for your good and His glory. Are you thankful even for the things that seem seriously unfair?  Have you forgotten the riches of your salvation? This is a reminder of how great your salvation truly is even during the seemingly unfair trials of life. How tragic the consequences of life are when you have forgotten God’s unequaled promises or, have never known what true salvation really means. 

Lord, may I never forget the riches of my salvation, though life seems unfair.

Friday, January 4, 2019


Isaiah 40:28-29 KJV
Hast thou not known?... that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.  He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. 

God has created us as social creatures that desire fellowship with other people. We, as human beings, cannot be truly happy unless the basic need for friendship or companionship is met. Many people become extremely lonely during the holiday season leading them down the road to depression and hopelessness. The feeling of loneliness can stem from a deeper problem–––not maintaining a proper relationship with God and with other people. Some people are hurt deeply from those that can help encourage but choose not to–––leaving people feeling rejected and depressed.  

For those of you who have tried to reach out to the lonely in their time of need, but have been rejected in your attempt to encourage; love them anyway and be their friend. John 15:17 says: “These things I command you, that ye love one another.” Show genuine concern towards the friendless and rejoice in the Lord with and for them. Aim for restoration and you will be gaining a beloved friend. Bear their burdens fulfilling the whole law of Christ (Galatians 6:2) and continue to share the Great Comforter with them. He knows and understands what it means to be rejected and the pain that comes from being forsaken.He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;...” (Isaiah 53:3).

Being supportive to the people that are closest to you in their loneliness and pain is uplifting and inspiring. Communicating that you are sincerely interested in their needs having compassion on them is nurturing and kind. “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10 ESV).

Lord, help me to see those that are hurting and not be weary in well doing.