Friday, March 27, 2015

God's Steadfast Love

Your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me! (Psalm 40:11b ESV)

God's Steadfast Love
Throughout various events we experience we don't always comprehend what is happening in our lives. Life changes. Situations change. People come and people go but God remains God. It seems our lives are always changing and we are always having to adjust to the situation at hand be it job changes, new beginnings, births or someone going home to be with the Lord. 

Unbelievers experience frustration and set backs just as believers do. Everybody has challenge and struggles to deal with. Recent reports indicate that persons who pray regularly appear to have a different security than those who do not. They seem to have a hope and a confidence with peace of mind when they are struggling with problems. Why is that?

It would seem to me first and foremost that Christians seek God's hope and security in good times and bad. And, hopefully, a Christian will realize that whatever befalls them God already knows how to show us how to live by faith knowing God has a plan for us in this situation. For the Christian who practices dependence upon the Lord there are certainties in their approach to life:

  • God is in control
  • He does not waiver
  • He is faithful
  • He loves us
  • He gives us refuge and hope in times of trouble and despair
  • He will never leave us or forsake us

Struggling in life allows us to draw on God's strength and peace. It shows us that our situation, no matter how it appears to us, will provide us more opportunity to know our Lord's caring touch is upon us. Throughout our struggle, whatever it is, we can know God is our refuge and our beloved Father. And, as a father watches over his children, our Lord watches over us with every breath we take and every step we make. God truly and genuinely cares for each of us and He is faithful to keep us as we turn our faces towards Him and seek His guidance. 

Oh, that I would strive to be as faithful to the Lord as He has been to me. Oh, that I would not doubt or fear but that I would completely trust Him in whatever comes my way. Oh, that my faith would expand and enlarge until I would not fear when I am shaken by life's trials and hardships. 

But the Lord is faithful and He has mercy on me and you Christian friend. Even when we fear, there is no reason to fear. Even when we feel alone, we are not alone; for He is our steadfast hope, our reason to rejoice, our peace, our love, and our Redeemer no matter what comes into our lives. Frances Loftiss Carroll

Thank you Lord. I give thanks to you in all things and praise your holy name. Thank you Lord for the gift of salvation through your grace. Amen.

Friday, March 20, 2015

God is Limitless

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV)

God is Limitless
Anytime I come across this passage, whether it be for a personal devotional reading, preparing for a sermon or teaching in a small group study, I am always reminded how often I limit God. I certainly teach and encourage others that God can work in amazing and mysterious ways, but often I fail to believe that myself. Sometimes, it’s much easier encouraging others than actually living it out myself. I’m reminded that I need to also believe that God can and will do things in life that are beyond our comprehension.

Don’t we so often limit what God can do? We often say, “Oh, that will never happen.” God is never bound by limitations. He is so far beyond us and far greater than anything we could ever think of. Look at the words, “immeasurably more”. Our God is an awesome God who is capable of so much more than we could ever possibly understand. He works in mysterious ways that we most often never see and didn’t think would happen. 

I’m encouraged by Paul’s words to the church in Ephesus about how God works in amazing ways and beyond our understanding. I hope you are encouraged by his words as well. Not only can God do amazing things beyond our imagination, but He also works amazing ways within us. He does great things all around us as well as working through our lives and changing us in ways we never thought possible. 

I have to admit that I’m ashamed sometimes at how I limit what God can do in my life. I often doubt and see things only from a certain perspective and forget that God is above my thoughts and ideas. I have to constantly remember that God is not bound by limitations that we sometimes want to put on Him. He is beyond us and is greater than we could ever imagine. I hope we are all thankful to serve a Heavenly Father Who is so great, awesome and beyond our understanding! Zach Wood

Friday, March 13, 2015

God in a Box

My thoughts are completely different from yours … And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. (Isaiah 55:8 NLT)

God in a Box
Amos wasn’t happy but my daughter was. I guess I wouldn’t be happy either if someone boxed me up and took me from my familiar surroundings. But such is the life of a pet hamster.

Amos made his disgust known as soon as we got in the car. As my daughter held the box, a hole appeared and then teeth. Amos was on a mission to escape. He was so intentional I had to stop the car, put his cage together and insert him in it.

Amos wasn’t a fan of boxes. God isn’t either. God states his thoughts and ways are far beyond our imagination. To paraphrase, Don’t try and figure me out. The only certainty is that God will act according to his nature of love and holiness. Beyond that, we can’t hem him in. He will escape every time.

Amos and God remind me of the vintage child’s toy, Jack In The Box. Jack was in a metal box waiting for a handle to be cranked. Turning the handle made Jack pop out. Just when I thought I had him pegged, he would pop out unexpectedly.

God does the same. We build up philosophies of how we think God should or will act and he surprises us by doing something totally different. He answers a prayer unlike we want or think he should. I pray for instant healing. He lets the illness hang on a few days. I pray for extra money and expect help momentarily. God gives me time to consider decisions I’ve made and to let my faith increase.

God is a God of surprises who will not be boxed in. He will, however, always act in our best interest whether his answer makes sense to us or not. Martin Wiles

God, enable me to let You be God. Help me be still and know that You love me and will care for my needs in ways that will amaze me and others.

Friday, March 6, 2015

God has a Better Way

Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials. But Daniel said to the overseer, please test your servants for ten days and let us be given vegetables and water to drink, then let our appearance be observed in your presence. So he listened to them in this manner and tested them for ten days. (Daniel 1: 9, 11-13 NAS)

God has a Better Way
The rules in Nebuchadnezzar’s court are unchangeable. He has a certain way of achieving his goals, some of which involve breaking God’s laws; written on the hearts of Daniel and his friends.

What do you do when those over you try to force you to violate your conscience in order to achieve their goals? This may not be a common occurrence but it does happen especially in countries ruled by tyranny.

Daniel gives us an example of what to do in such a situation. First he prayed for wisdom. Second God gave him favor with the man in charge. (This speaks of the importance of gaining respect by behaving properly). Third Daniel offered an alternative solution that would accomplish the same goals without disobeying God.

God in his mercy took charge and brought about these results:

  • Healthier bodies
  • Greater wisdom and understanding
  • A personal audience with the king
  • Promotion in the court (resulting in a longer occupation)

God’s way is always the best way, and while we may not experience the same results as Daniel, God will bring about one tailored for you. Henry Jaegers