Christian Devotions

Archive for the ‘Knowledge’ Category

The Lamp of the Lord

The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly.  ~~  Proverbs 20:27 (KJV)

In Genesis, the opening of creation is God’s “let there be light.” it is not only the beginning of creation, it is the beginning of our understanding of ourselves.

When we allow God to shine the light of His love into the dark corners of our hearts, we learn what we’ve hidden there. Sometimes we find our sins – of omission or commission – that we’ve left un-repented. And seeing them, we are given the opportunity to repent and set things right.

Sometimes we find the dregs of discouragement or disillusionment. In the light of God’s love we can see them for what they are – temporary setbacks designed to grow our faith and patience muscles.

Occasionally we find the scars of hurts and injuries we’ve suffered in the past. Perhaps they are inflamed and swollen because we’ve not completely forgiven the offender, but simply stuffed the emotions. God’s light can help us to see the offender through His eyes – as a beloved child who has strayed.

When we cooperate with God’s investigation of our spirit, we are enriched. He doesn’t search our hearts to be informed. He searches our hearts to inform us.

Father, God,

Shine the light of Your love in my heart today. Help me to see those things that You would have me see and to correct those things You would have me correct.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

First Published 19 May 2009 in Garment of Praise.

Spiritual Renewal

Therefore thus saith the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale.

But when he seeth his children, the work of mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel.

They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.

~~  Isaiah 29:22-24 (KJV)

This reading is full of promise. Promise of forgiven sins, returned blessings, restoration and spiritual renewal.

There is to be a time when the people will acknowledge the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob and will stand in awe of the God of Israel. People who have been rebellious will learn of Him.

In conversation with a friend yesterday, he mentioned a class reunion. He said that when they graduated half the class was Christian and the other were simply secular. But at this reunion, it seems that all had come to a saving knowledge of the Lord. One who had had a miserable childhood with no instruction of the Lord had become a strong proponent of God. Another has a blog where the prayers and writings are evangelical and strong teaching.

His question was, given his experience, why do we not hear about the growth of faith in this country. We came to the conclusion that the media hypes the exception, not the rule. The strident voices do not necessarily represent the majority, just the most vociferous.

Our conversation reminded me of the passage in II Chronicles 7:14:

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Although we all know those who have no understanding of the Lord, there are many who do. And if we who know Him continue to teach, explain, and provide example for those who don’t, He will draw all of them unto Himself.

Every Christian is the seed of spiritual renewal in his circle of influence. Let us be fruitful.

Father, God,

We ask for a fresh wind of Your Holy Spirit to sweep across our land. Breathe on us the renewal we so urgently desire. Help us to be fruitful in this time of harvest.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

First published 7 July 2009.

Thank you for your indulgence.

In light of the inauguration of a new president and the gathering of both celebrants and protesters,

I thought it prudent to remind ourselves that God is still in charge.

They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.

Knowledge and Wisdom

Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews.
They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live for ever.
Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, shall fall down and worship the golden image:
And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.

Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?

Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.
And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.
Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.

He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.

And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.

Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.

Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.

Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.

~~ Daniel 3:8-30 (KJV)

The story of the fiery furnace has been quoted time and again. It’s told in Sunday School and in Summer Bible School frequently.

Our focus today, Nebuchadnezzar. He acknowledged the wisdom and knowledge of these Jewish slaves earlier by promoting them to positions of authority in his kingdom. But he was willing to destroy them because they would not worship him and his golden statue instead of their God.

When that failed, when they came through the fiery furnace untouched by flame or smoke, he acknowledged the power of their God.

Ah, but did he believe? Did he worship God. There is no evidence that he did.

We have knowledge of God today, but intellectual acceptance of the existence of God and His power are not enough. Daniel and his friends communed with God four times daily. They went on purpose to a quiet place where God was the only thing on their minds. The bowed in prayer and listened for His Word.

The key to heaven is a relationship with God. Not just a position in a hierarchy, but a relationship.

I have a friend that meets me for breakfast every Wednesday morning. We eat together; we pray together; we share the daily happenings in our lives.  When something good happens, we celebrate it. When something not so good happens, we pray over it. This is a relationship.

Do you meet God on a regular basis? Do you invite Him into your life every minute (even when you are scrubbing the toilet)?

Knowledge of God is a good thing, but it is not enough. A relationship with God gives you everything you will ever need.

Father, God,

Help us to understand that You are all we need. But we need You desperately. Give us the grace to acquire knowledge of you and even more grace to cultivate a relationship with you. Grant us the awareness of Your presence at every hour of our day. Let us be purposefully seeking you at all times.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen.

Who Do You Believe?

Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. ~~ Romans 11:11 (KJV)

We live in an age of information. It’s available in print, over the airwaves, on our cell phones, everywhere. You can find something about anything or anyone.

This is a political year, so I googled “Trump lied” and “Hillary lied”. I came up with pages of references to the lies both candidates had told. But the sources of most of these references could be questionable.  Many of them were from newspapers espousing one candidate or the other. Therefore the “facts” in any of those stories need to be corroborated from independent and neutral sources.

Political years are rife with promises about taxes, about health, about welfare, about jobs, about national security. You name it; someone has promised something about it. Who do you believe? Who can you believe?

In fact, you can believe God. Sarah did, and the impossible happened. She judged him faithful who had promised.

You can believe the Word of God. It has stood for ages and has been proven true time and again.

You can believe the Holy Spirit. He speaks only what God speaks. Listen to Him. Cultivate an eager ear to hear what He would tell you. Make room for communing with God, listening to His words for guidance in your life.

Father, God,

We ask that You sharpen our ears to hear Your voice alone amidst the chaos of our overstimulated lives. Grant us the favor of quiet time with You. Speak simply and clearly that we might know Your will for our lives.

We ask in Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen.

Lord of Hosts

And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the Lord of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the Lord, were there. ~~I Samuel 1:3 (KJV)

Jehovah Sabaoth is a name of God used more than 200 times in the bible. It is so easy for us to get caught up in the fact that God is personal to each of us that we forget His majesty and power.  Translating the Hebrew, we see that the Eternal, Everlasting God commands “masses of people arrayed as for a battle.”  Those are the hosts.

This name of God appears only once in the New Testament:

Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.  ~~ James 5:4 (KJV)

How interesting that it is connected with the pleas of the downtrodden – the underdogs.

I would not like to be among those who kept back the hire of the reapers in this instance. The Lord of Hosts is not a person that I would like to tangle with from the other side of the dispute.

But look at the comfort for the reapers. They are assured that the Lord of Hosts is on their side, that He cares about them, and that He will ultimately make things right.

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. ~~ Romans 12:19

We do well to remember that the Lord we serve is a loving, comforting, personal God as well as the majestic Lord and Commander of multitudes of both people and angels.

We do well to remember that when we think to take things into our own hands, we overstep our boundaries.

Father, God,

Help us to remember who You are in all of your majesty. Remind us that if You are for us, no power in the universe can stand against us. Not that we are able, but that You will undertake for us. Accept our gratitude for Who and What You are.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen.

  Join me as we worship His Majesty!

Awesome!

I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me. ~~ Psalm 57:2 (KJV)

Sometimes we take God for granted. We know He is there. We know He loves us. But we forget His awesome power and might. We disregard the fact that nothing, not even the littlest thing, escapes His notice and attention.

We can believe that He is concerned about the state of our nation and the condition of our hearts. But are we aware that He is also concerned about our stubbed toe, our hangnail, and our most fleeting vile thought?

There are more than seven billion – yes, billion with a “b” – people on this planet. That’s a 7 with nine zeroes behind it. And our God is intimately concerned about each and every one of them, their hearts, their lives, their hangnails. Every hair on each of those heads is numbered – counted one by one. (Matthew 10:30, Luke 12:7) I cannot begin to count to seven billion, nor to count the hairs on even my own head, much less everyone else’s.

But God can.

Not only that, but He is concerned about our lives on a global scope. He sees the migrations of people trying to escape totalitarianism. He sees nations and factions at war with one another and cares about those conflicts. He is even concerned with our politics – local and national.

It is impossible for me to wrap my finite little mind around the capacities and abilities and thoughts of our Infinite God. There are no boundaries for Him. No degrees of separation and importance.

With one hand, He can sweep the seas aside and bring forth dry land. He can speak and the oceans will rage or become serene. He whispers in our ears and, if we are listening and obedient, our lives can change forever. Tenderly, He reaches forth and dries our tears.

All knowing, all powerful, always there, He is truly awesome — AWESOME!

Father, God,

Help us to put ourselves into perspective with our ever expanding knowledge of who and what You are. Grant us the vision to begin to see glimpses of Your power and might, Your tenderness and love. Give us the ability to share You with those around us, helping us to see them as You see them.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen.

Where God Is

It was round about eighteen thousand measures: and the name of the city from that day shall be, The Lord is there. ~~Ezekiel 48:35 (KJV)

This verse ends the passage where God has divided the land between the sons of Israel. If you read from verse 29 forward, you will see that He made provision for each of the twelve tribes. And He was very specific about it.

As we look at our society today, sometimes we wonder where God is and what He is doing. Doesn’t He know that as a nation we’re in terrible trouble? Can’t He see that we need leadership and direction?

In fact, He can and does see all that is going on in our lives and in our world. Read all of Psalm 139. It tells us that He is with us – each and every one of us individually – at all times and in all circumstances.

Verse 5 is particularly comforting.

Psalm 139:5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. (KJV)

Read it in The Voice translation.

Psalm 139:5  You have surrounded me on every side, behind me and before me,
    and You have placed Your hand gently on my shoulder. (The Voice)

It tells me that He goes before me like the point man in an army unit and follows me like a sheep dog herding the sheep. Nothing can get to me without His foreknowledge and permission. Nothing can happen to me that He will not bring me through.

Go to your bible and read the entire psalm. Let the words sink into your heart and mind. There is no place you can go where He is not there.  Wherever you are, there He is.

Listen to the words of this song.

Father, God,

Help us to see you at all times and in all circumstances. Let us feel your guiding, protecting hand on our lives. Grant that we may always be aware that where ever we are, You are there.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen.