Archive for November, 2010

GOD’S INTERVENTIONS

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Day 260

“And these three men, firmly tied,
fell into the blazing furnace”
Daniel 3:1-30

It is a well-known story: Shadrach, Mesach and Abednego refused to bow before King Nebuchadnezzar’s image of gold that he had made. The King also had given an order that anyone not falling down to worship the image would be thrown into a blazing furnace. He was so furious over the three men’s refusal that he ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual. The three were bound with their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes on and thrown in the furnace by three of the strongest soldiers. The three soldiers were killed when they threw the three men in the furnace because the flames were so hot

Viewing the fierce fire, the King saw four men walking around; unbound and unharmed. He approached the furnace and called them out. The account tells us they were not harmed and “there was no smell of smoke on them.” The King then gave recognition and honor to God, and promoted the three men.

There are many trials and tribulations in life. Note that God intervened only after the flames surrounded them. God did not save them from accusation, sentencing, and being cast into the flames. Christ did not come to Lazarus’ bedside when he was sick. He died and then Christ came and raised him from the dead. In both incidents, there was a greater purpose in the suffering. We seek God’s intervention the minute we enter a crises, but He responds when He responds, which is in His time. In the end, He is there with us and His glory will be seen.

“When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze”
Isaiah 43:2

HIS GRACE

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Day 259

“My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness”
2 Corinthians 12:9

Many Christians wonder about besetting sins in their lives. In addition to besetting sins, Christians face character flaws, poor judgement with important issues (getting themselves into bad situations like financial or job loss, hurting relationships, etc.), and other maladies that beset them. They believe that God cannot use them, they are defeated and surely will not see eternal salvation.

There is a power greater than sin and failures. When you consider God’s people, it is very evident that many of them struggled with sin throughout their lives. Moses murdered a man, was a coward, and expressed great anger. David was adulterous, murdered a man, and never invested in his children leading to rebellious and wickedness in some of them. Peter attempted to hinder the Lord and denied Him three times. Martin Luther expressed anger continually, was anti-Semitic, filled with resentment and quit preaching for a while and didn’t want to be pastoring. Recent famous saints in the past hundred plus years suffered from constant depression, had massive business failures, were cold towards their wives, etc. The list is endless.

Francis Fenelon, a French mystic, wrote, “I have found God leaves, even in the most spiritual people, certain weaknesses which seem entirely out of place.” We do not understand this except to know that God has a long history of redeeming our sinful failures and most terrible and botched messes and turning them into opportunities for His kingdom. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

“I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not
be disqualified for the prize”
1 Corinthians 9:27

GOD IS LIGHT

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Day 258

“God is light and in Him is no darkness at all”
1 John 1:5

One of the final declarations in Revelation says, “There will be no more night.” The entire character of God is light. His light purifies us from all sin and we have true fellowship with Him when we walk in the light. We also have fellowship with all others that walk in His light.

What is this light? It is the very Word of God reflecting His glory and character to us. His Word gives us guidance and wisdom, instructing us in His ways. “Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). Light shows us how to know Him, how to be in conformity with the very character and heart of God.

There is no darkness in Him. He is pure, righteous and holy. There is no mixture of evil, sin or flesh, as it is with us. His very character is light and in saving us, He has chosen to dwell in us and make us part of Him (2 Peter 1:4). This is the glorious nature of our Father. He loves us and His love is known not only by our salvation but also by His sealing of our inheritance and dwelling with us on our earthly journey. With all this, how can we fail?

“We know that we live in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. . . God is love”
1 John 4:13, 16a

KNOWING GOD

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

Day 257

“He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the people of Israel”
Psalm 103:7

God has made Himself known. He has revealed Himself progressively; first through prophets and leaders, then through His acts, and as the culmination of time came, through His Son. Jesus Christ is “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being.” A greater revelation of God’s character, excellence and glory is in Christ.

We can know God. John declares, “You have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, in your hearts, so that you don’t need anyone to teach you what is right. For he teaches you all things, and he is the Truth (1 John 2:27). We now can know Him in an intimate manner. Knowing Him means much more than intellectual knowledge. That implies grasping things by reason, analyzing, and seeing the relationships of cause and effect. To know God means communion and an intimate acquaintance with Him. He is not only our Lord, He is a Father and friend. Let us seek to know Him more and more every day.

“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have put aside all else, counting it worth less than nothing, in order that I can have Christ, and become one with him, no longer counting on being saved by being good enough or by obeying God’s laws, but by trusting Christ to save me; for God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith–counting on Christ alone. Now I have given up everything else–I have found it to be the only way to really know Christ and to experience the mighty power that brought him back to life again, and to find out what it means to suffer and to die with him. So whatever it takes, I will be one who lives in the fresh newness of life of those who are alive from the dead.” Philippians 3:8-11

GOD OF ENCOURAGEMENT

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Day 256

“The God of patient endurance and of encouragement”
Romans 15:5

Paul has outlined a very important principle for us. Everything in Scripture is written for us. Scripture is relevant because it speaks to our deepest needs. It is God’s letter to us and the emphasis is on being (living) in Christ, that is, walking in His character and nature.

The Holy Spirit reveals God’s word to us. As we read Scripture, it gives us light over our nature and our ways. We will increasingly become more and more conscious of how sinful we are and how holy God is. We see our need and realize how much God’s grace and mercy has covered us and how we must set ourselves to seeking righteousness. Paul says that through patient endurance of applying the word, we have hope.

Paul closes with a prayer declaring God our Father as the Source of patient endurance and encouragement. So, as God’s word reveals more and more of our sinfulness and need, He, at the same time, is the very source of our endurance. He is our strength. We may be wounded, but He will heal. We are given hope. We are given eternal promises in Him. Glorify God today for He is our hope, encourager and Source of endurance.

“Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession, to the praise of His glory”
Ephesians 1:13b-14

TENDER MERCIES

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Day 255

“I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion”
Exodus 33:19

An extraordinary characteristic of God our Father is His mercy. God is sovereign and in His sovereignty, He chooses according to the pleasure of His will. We, as his children, are not the only ones to receive His blessings and mercy. He pays the workers hired at the 11th hour the same as those who worked all day [Matthew 20:1-16]. He gives sunlight to everyone, regardless: the evil and good, and sends rain on the just and unjust [Matthew 5:45]. He even has mercy on those who commit murder.

Cain belonged to the evil one and his actions were evil and unacceptable to God. When he and his brother brought their sacrifices to God, Cain’s was rejected. Jealousy rose up in his heart that led to anger. Yet, God spoke tenderly to Cain, asking why he was angry? Why has your countenance fallen? Will you not be accepted if you do well? Cain sinned and God met him with graciousness and compassion.

Cain’s sin went from anger to hatred and ignoring God’s graciousness, his wickedness came to fullness. He killed his brother. God then cast him out and sentenced him to be a wanderer. Cain, in the midst of this great wickedness and judgment, says to God, “my punishment is greater than I can bear.” He does not repent, he has no remorse; yet he boldly complains to God. Cain’s sins were great and God had mercy, granting him his life.

How great Your mercy is O God! How tender you are to the just and unjust.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” Matthew 5:7

THE LAMB

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Day 254

“Follow the Lamb wherever He goes”
Revelation 14:4

The first call we hear in our hearts is when Jesus said, “If a man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.” He satisfies our deepest needs by reconciling us to the Father. He tells us to come and He will give us rest. If we are willing to take His yoke on us and learn from Him, we will find rest for our souls. His promise is that streams of living water will flow from within us.

The second call we hear from Jesus says, “If any one wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Now that we are his children, we find maturity by living for Him and others instead of for ourselves. We die to our own self-desires, wants and needs. We die to the world and its lusts. In its place are servanthood, humility and meekness. We become His ambassadors and bear the message of the good news. Then with Paul, we cry, “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.”

Then there is a third call, one for those who know Him intimately and rely on His love. They follow the Lamb wherever He leads them. They are willing to go where they do not want to go, but they go because the Lamb of God leads them. Peter heard this the day Jesus said, “… but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Some 156,000 Christians, 17 an hour, were led where they did not want to go; they were martyred last year.

“Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of His saints”
Psalm 116:15

THE BREAD OF HEAVEN

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Day 253

“This is the bread that came down from heaven. Our forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever”
John 6:58

He is the source of our life. we will live forever if we eat the bread He gives us. Feeding on Christ not only imparts life, it continuously sustains our life in Him. We are nurtured through His life in us. Those in the desert died. We will not because the new manna banishes death.

God miraculously fed manna each day to the Israelites in the desert. This bread sustained them throughout their whole journey and lasted until they possessed the promise land. As in the desert, where God rained manna on the Israelites from heaven, Jesus Christ has come to us from heaven with new manna every day. So, as we are met with new grace and mercy each day [Lamentations 3:22-23], He also imparts sustaining life to nurture us with His bread.

Consider this today; why do we rush to the latest books to feed us and show us the way? Why do we look to reports of God moving here and there and desire to be there? There seems to be a restlessness in Christians to “find” greener grass. Yet, the very living God, His Son Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit lives in us, the hope of our glory. He has given us everything we need pertaining to life and godliness. Every day is new in Him. Yesterday’s manna is dead. This day He has new manna for you.

“Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richness of fare” Isaiah 55:2

THE KINGDOM

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Day 252

“Fear not, little flock, for your Father takes pleasure in giving you the kingdom”
Luke 12:32

This is the very heart of God our Father.

It reveals the tenderness of God and His pleasure in giving us gifts. He not only has freely given us grace and mercy, but now He imparts His kingdom to us. He gives of Himself so that we may rest under His kingship, rule and sovereignty.

He says to us, “Fear not.” We need not be anxious about our life. We are not to live in fear of man or the world. He takes care of the less and menial, so how much more will He care for us. We are His children, He is our Father and knows our needs and will supply them. We are free from worry to live in His kingdom, a gift to us.

We are the crown of His creation, the joy of His heart and He takes great pleasure in us. God is so pleased, joyful and happy that He sings! Yes, He sings—”He will rejoice over you with singing” [Zephaniah 3:17].

“Fear not, little flock”

“He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart;
He gently leads those that have young”
Isaiah 40:11

THE MERCY SEAT

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Day 251

“For a tabernacle was prepared . . . which had the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat”
Hebrew 9:2-5

The Tabernacle in the wilderness had three areas; the outer court, the holy place and the Holy of Holies. The Ark of the Covenant was located in the Holy of Holies and was overlaid with gold. Three items were kept in it; the original stone tablets with the ten commandments, the golden pot with manna and Aaron’s rod. The three items spoke of the law, bread of life and resurrection power.

Covering the ark was a lid. The lid was the mercy seat. It covered the law that exposed sin. This is where the High Priest, once a year, placed the expiatory blood from the sacrifice at the brazen altar. It is explained in Romans 3:25; “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.”

A beautiful and glorious picture is seen here. The word “propitiation,” the covering of our sins, is the same as “mercy seat.” God had made provision for us. As He placed the tablets of the law, which exposed sin, under the mercy seat, so Christ’s propitiation averts our deserved wrath for sin. Praise His Name for we are covered by His mercy.

“The Lord is righteous in all His ways
and loving toward all He has made”
Psalm 145:17