Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘Covenant’

Presence

And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you;

~~ Genesis 9:9 (KJV)

Beginning in Genesis, we see God deigning to communicate with man, making promises to man. The passage above is quoted from right after the flood when God promises never to flood the earth again.

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. ~~ Matthew 28:20 (KJV)

And the promise is found again in Jesus’ words to the disciples. He gives them the great commission and then a promise “lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”

This is not a new concept.

That we should establish ourselves in a sense of GOD’s Presence, by continually conversing with Him. That it was a shameful thing to quit His conversation, to think of trifles and fooleries.  —  Brother Lawrence

But even before that, before Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden, we read…

And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.    ~~  Genesis 3:8 (KJV)

It is said so matter-of-factly that we are led to believe this was a common occurrence. That God walked in the garden regularly.

How many of us are constantly aware of the presence of God in our lives? Whether we are sitting in church or scrubbing the toilet, God is present – with us.

Does this thought comfort you or scare you?

In one way, it scares the puddin’ out of me.

God is a witness to everything I do, or think, or say. Therefore I must be very careful of my thoughts, words, and deeds. They must never disgrace the glory of God. They must never reflect badly on the name of Christ.

Every Christian is commissioned to be a witness for Christ.

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.  ~~ Acts 1:8 (KJV)

That’s not a part time job. It’s 24 – 7 – 365. An awesome responsibility!

But the thought of God present with me at all times comforts me as well.

It comforts me when I am uncertain what to do next. I can simply breathe a prayer for guidance and be led in the right direction or be content to stay still awaiting his nudge.

When things of this world look terribly wrong, it comforts me to know that He is not surprised by this circumstance or happening. He was there before it, and He has a plan to get me through it – no matter how terrible or devastating it may look on the surface.

The presence of God is an awesome thing. It’s reassuring to know that I have His constant companionship. It makes anything the world or the enemy can throw at me of no consequence because my God is bigger than that.

And it’s humbling, too. Why would a God so big He can create with just a word spend time with me, love me as if I were His only child? Amazing!

Neither disease, nor violence, nor natural disaster can make me fear for my life. God knew my last breath before I took the first one. My life is safe in His hands.

So is yours.

Father, God,

Help us to be more aware of Your presence – at all times, in all circumstances. Give us the grace to look to you rather than the happenings of this world. Thank You for loving us as you do. Let us never bring shame to the name of Christ.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen

 

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Faithfulness Fruit

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions  and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  (Galatians 5: 19-23 – NIV)

Faithfulness is a quality I tend to take for granted.  During my formative years, faithfulness was a common expectation within the household. Being unfaithful would not have been tolerated. Since that time, my family and friends have been unfailingly faithful.  (With one notable exception.)

Not everyone has been so blessed. Some people live with others who lie to them, who betray them on many levels, who violate their trust with other abuses.  We live in a dog-eat-dog society where business acquaintances take advantage of others; a culture where morality is relative, with too many shades of gray.

Ah, but there is always one who can live up to the standard of faithfulness.

Definition – 1  obsolete :  full of faith
God has faith in you. He designed you to be exactly who you are and who you can become as your best self. He didn’t make you a reflection of someone else or a duplicate of a parent or grandparent. He made you totally unique – all of a piece – one of a kind – priceless.
Definition – 2:  steadfast in affection or allegiance :  loyal
No one in this world has your best interest at heart as thoroughly as God.  He will never forget you or the plans he has made for your life.
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Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me. (Isaiah 45:15-16 KJV)

 Definition -3: firm in adherence to promises or in observance of duty : conscientious
Whatever God says is what He will do. He doesn’t make empty promises like people do. Sometimes we make a promise with every intention of carrying it out, but something intervenes and makes it impossible.  We are finite, and sometimes unable to do what we say, despite our best intentions.  God has no such limitations. He is all powerful and can accomplish everything He says.
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So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.  (Isaiah 55:11 KJV)
Definition – 4:  given with strong assurance :  binding <a faithful promise>
We write contracts to be able to rely on the promise of others to do what they say they will do or to enforce compliance and/or exact penalties for breach of promise. We need no such remedy when we have dealings with God. He created a covenant with us. Remember the story of Noah. God made a promise then and has kept it ever since.
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I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. (Genesis 9:13 KJV)
Definition – 5:  true to the facts, to a standard, or to an original <a faithful copy>
This is the part of the definition that we need to take to heart.  God doesn’t fit here. He is the standard, the original, the basic fact. It is up to us to be true to Him. We have been given Jesus Christ as the model for our humanity. Our job is to exemplify his standards, to become so transparent that people do not see us, but the reflection of God in us.
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Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.  (Romans 13:8   KJV)
Father, God,
Thank you for the model you gave us in Jesus during His time on earth. It is a daunting example to live up to. Thank you for filling us with your Holy Spirit to be our guide and comforter, to strengthen us for the tasks of fidelity. Help us to hear, to discern, to obey, and to love.
In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Treasured Possession

Focus verses: Deuteronomy 26:16-19

Today’s reading is a renewal of God’s covenant with the people. In it He sets out the results of fidelity to God – blessings – and of infidelity to God – curses.

But the most astonishing part of this passage is that the Lord calls us not only His people, but also His treasured possession, a holy people consecrated to Him.

From our earlier readings we know that the word consecrated means set aside for exclusive use. We have been set aside as the exclusive possession of the Most High God. What in the world can He want with us?

God wants our voluntary and exclusive fellowship with Him. Because He is sovereign and all-powerful, He could coerce this fellowship. But He prefers that we come to Him of our own volition. He wants our willing hearts brought to Him openly.

He asks for our complete trust in Him, telling Him all that is in our hearts and listening for his response, His vision for our lives, His will.

Can we set aside everything else and focus only on Him?

Father, God,

Imbue us with Your Holy Spirit. Remind us constantly that we are Yours and are to keep our eyes and hearts focused on You.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.