Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘Creator’

All Gone

At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city was besieged.

And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, and his servants did besiege it.

And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign.

~~ II Kings 24:10-12 (KJV)

This reading talks about the greatest dispersion of the children of Israel. King Nebuchadnezzar took prisoner all the assets of Judah.

He took the king, his mother, his attendants, his nobles and all the officials. He took the gold implements and treasures from the temple. He took all the fighting men in the army. And he took all the craftsmen and artisans.

Nebuchadnezzar took control of the ruler and the political structure. So the civil authority was under Nebuchadnezzar’s control.

He took all the gold implements for worship from the temple of Solomon. And the religious activity was under his control.

He took all seven thousand of the army, so there was no military force for him to contend with.

And he took all the craftsmen and artisans.

Whoa! Why would he want the artisans and craftsmen?

Our God is a creator. He gave man the gift of creativity. That creativity is most active and expressed in the work of artisans and craftsmen. But when these artisans and craftsmen create, they sometimes reflect the root of God that is in them. Their works point to the greatness of God.

But Nebuchadnezzar didn’t want the people of Judah remembering their God or continuing to worship Him. Therefore he took all the craftsmen so that they would be occupied only with the commissioned pieces that Nebuchadnezzar wanted made. They had no artistic freedom to create their pieces as God inspired. And there was no one left in Judah to create either.

He left only the poorest people of the land, those without money – and perhaps without talents or skills. He robbed the land of those who could make it shine – who had the heart and the wherewithal to make things better.

But God had promised that Judah will be restored.

For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after.   ~~  Jeremiah 30:17 (KJV)

And it was so.

Our nation today is being usurped by the forces of evil. We have watched as the government is being taken over by lying, cheating, immorality and general evil.

Churches are being forbidden to speak the truth of God in fear of an accusation of bigotry, narrow-mindedness, and hate.

And creativity has been lured away by the phantom of riches and fame which have been usurped by wickedness in all its forms.

We must remember that God can restore, but we must do our part to speak out, to let our voices be heard, to quit cowering before the assumed powers of the world.

We need to remember that God is sovereign.

No matter what the world may take from you, God can restore. Nebuchadnezzar took it all, intending to wipe out Judah entirely — but God restored.

Father, God,

No matter what the world does to us, remind us that You are the restorer. You can take the broken heart and heal it. You can take the ruined family and restore it. You can take the broken spirit and help it soar and sing. Help us to soar and sing Your praises at all times, no matter what else is happening around us.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

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Back to the Basic

We have heard it with our ears, O God;
    our ancestors have told us
what you did in their days,
    in days long ago.
With your hand you drove out the nations
    and planted our ancestors;
you crushed the peoples
    and made our ancestors flourish.
It was not by their sword that they won the land,
    nor did their arm bring them victory;
it was your right hand, your arm,
    and the light of your face, for you loved them.
You are my King and my God,
    who decrees victories for Jacob.
Through you we push back our enemies;
    through your name we trample our foes.
I put no trust in my bow,
    my sword does not bring me victory;
but you give us victory over our enemies,
    you put our adversaries to shame.
In God we make our boast all day long,
    and we will praise your name forever.
But now you have rejected and humbled us;
    you no longer go out with our armies.
You made us retreat before the enemy,
    and our adversaries have plundered us.
You gave us up to be devoured like sheep
    and have scattered us among the nations.
You sold your people for a pittance,
    gaining nothing from their sale.
You have made us a reproach to our neighbors,
    the scorn and derision of those around us.
You have made us a byword among the nations;
    the peoples shake their heads at us.
I live in disgrace all day long,
    and my face is covered with shame
at the taunts of those who reproach and revile me,
    because of the enemy, who is bent on revenge.
All this came upon us,
    though we had not forgotten you;
    we had not been false to your covenant.
Our hearts had not turned back;
    our feet had not strayed from your path.
But you crushed us and made us a haunt for jackals;
    you covered us over with deep darkness.
If we had forgotten the name of our God
    or spread out our hands to a foreign god,
would not God have discovered it,
    since he knows the secrets of the heart?
Yet for your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.
Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep?
    Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever.
Why do you hide your face
    and forget our misery and oppression?
We are brought down to the dust;
    our bodies cling to the ground.
Rise up and help us;
    rescue us because of your unfailing love.

Psalm 44 (NIV)

“Rise up and help us; rescue us because of your unfailing love.”

The hand of the Lord reaches to His people because of His love, not because of anything we have or have not done. There is none pure enough to stand righteous in the face of God on his own merits.

We are a weak and sinful creation. Left to our own devices, we fall into sin and wantonness. We tend to follow the lust of the flesh rather than the love of God. We satisfy our immediate appetites regardless of the consequences. We behave as if there were no consequences.

This psalm should be our prayer for our nation today. Look at all the things we’ve done.

We’ve allowed prayer to be stripped from our schools.

We have gagged the word of God and removed symbols of our faith from public lands.

We’ve misconstrued our own Constitution and the amendments thereto, twisting them to read that not only can government not interfere with religion (which was the original intent), but religion can have no say in government (which was not true even when the constitution was written).

The Declaration of Independence refers to a Supreme Being three times. Look for these three phrases: “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” – “endowed by their Creator” – “the Supreme Judge of the world.”

The foundation of our freedoms lies in our understanding of God and His moral laws. Having flouted those laws and turned our backs on the Author of those laws, we are now reaping the consequences of His disfavor.

Father, God,

Remember our beginnings. In Your unfailing love, draw our nation back to Yourself. Restore us to the values of our roots and cleanse us from our iniquities.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

This was first posted 26 February 2012.

Thank you for your indulgence.

Introduction To The Gospels

Focus verses: John 1:1-18

The Book of John begins with Genesis – in the beginning – and establishes the presence of the Son of God in that moment when time began.

Much of what we know of Jesus is corralled in these eighteen verses of scripture.

He is one with God. (v. 1,2)

He is the Creator. (v. 3)

He is life and truth. (v. 4)

He is our salvation. (v.12)

It is mind-boggling to think that the Creator of the Universe would humble Himself and take on the limitations of our flesh in order to identify with us and become the propitiation for our sins. But that is exactly what He did.

Jesus is the Messiah. He is not the Messiah the Jews were expecting. He did not come with a rod and scepter. He is not a valiant general. He is mild and humble. That is not to say that He cannot exemplify righteous wrath and give us a glimpse of the wrath of God. Witness His turning the money changers out of the temple.

Looking at this beginning, I can hardly wait to get into the New Testament readings. This is the nugget of gold in the mountain.

Father, God,

Let us never forget Your benevolence toward us. Keep us ever mindful of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. And grant that we may understand the unity of the triune Godhead.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Boasting

Focus verses: Jeremiah 9:23-24

People are natural braggarts.

They love to brag about their accomplishments, their possessions, their skills, their powers. But these are not things to brag about. There will always be someone who has accomplished more in less time. Someone will possess more. Someone else will have greater skill in the same field. Another person will be more powerful.

All these things are vain and empty.

God asks us to be proud of only one thing: that we know Him.

So exactly Who is He?

He is the Creator of all things. He is compassionate and gracious. He is slow to anger. He is loving and faithful. His love is shown by His willingness to forgive. He is righteous. He punishes the guilty. He is just.

It is only when we have a close relationship with Him and understand His ways that we have anything to boast about.

If we have accomplished anything, it’s only because we’ve had His favor. Anything we have acquired to possess has been a gift from Him, because He has made it possible for us to acquire it.

Any skills we have are the gift of God for the natural talents He has given us. Without that innate ability we could not have acquired these skills.

Any power we may have is through His grace. Physical strength is His gift from our birth. Political strength is His gift of favor. Financial strength is His blessing.

None of the things people boast about are theirs to brag about. They are all gifts from God. He is the only thing worth bragging about.

Father, God,

Let our mouths be full of Your praise always. Let our speech reflect Your power and might and majesty. Help us to speak of You, not our selves, that we may draw all men unto You.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.