Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘Faithful’

Enduring

Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:

If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:

If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

~~ 2 Timothy 2:10-13 (KJV)

Enduring is an unpopular occupation, but we have been given the grace through Christ to do just that. Enduring hardship serves to strengthen our resolve and make us less soft or brittle. It works much like annealing steel or glass.

My daughter does glass lamp work. She heats a rod or narrow length of glass til it is molten in the flame. She works with it and shapes it into the form desired. Then she puts it into an annealing oven so that it does not cool quickly, but slowly, over a period of many hours. This process makes the glass much stronger and less breakable.

It seems that God does that with some of our lives. We endure hardship of many kinds until we have been shaped into what God wants us to be. And even then, He does not turn off the heat. We sit in the annealing oven for an extended period so that we come out more serviceable than ever.

We can endure all this by focusing on Jesus Christ.

Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him, we will also live with him;
if we endure, we will also reign with him.
If we disown him, he will also disown us;
if we are faithless, he will remain faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.

He is the source of our life and hope. He is the reason for our faithfulness. He is our all in all. So we can keep on keeping on.

Father, God,

When life gets very daily and the going gets tough, reassure us that all things work together for good to those who are called to Your purpose. Help us to keep the faith, doing all that You have commanded, so that we may remain faithful, just as Jesus is faithful.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

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The Accounting

But among these there was not a man of them whom Moses and Aaron the priest numbered, when they numbered the children of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai.

For the Lord had said of them, They shall surely die in the wilderness. And there was not left a man of them, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.

~~ Numbers 26:64-65 (KJV)

After forty years of wandering, the Israelites prepare to enter the Promised Land. God orders a census, a final accounting of the numbers of the men of Israel. This census will be the basis of the distribution of the lands.

Some of the tribes have increased; some have decreased. But the total number of Israelites is smaller. They have been diminished by their faithlessness and rebellions during these forty years.

Korah, the Levite who rebelled, was swallowed up, but God preserved a remnant of his line for entry into the promised land. God always preserves a remnant of the faithful.

Of all the men who followed Moses into the desert, only Joshua and Caleb are alive. The rest have died of one cause or another because the Lord told them they would die in the desert.

But why? Their sin was one of disbelief. God had told them He was giving them the land, but when they went to look at it, they became fearful of the inhabitants. And they believed their own eyes rather than God’s promise.

There is always a day of reckoning. Every action carries within itself the seed of its own reward or punishment. The faithlessness of those men of Israel resulted in their being denied entrance to the Promised Land. Conversely, the faithful report from Caleb and Joshua is rewarded by their being allowed to enter the Promised Land.

How will we stack up at the day of accounting? Have we been faithful to believe all that the Lord has told us? Have we been rebellious? Have we been lukewarm in our ardor to know Him better?

I’m so glad that our salvation doesn’t rely on our personal accounting. It relies, instead, on our belief in Jesus Christ and His atoning work on the cross. Only Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient to cover all our shortcomings — past, present and future.

Father, God,

We thank You for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Keep our hearts faithful to you that we may not be found wanting in the day of accounting.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

 

Reassurance

Focus verses: Hosea 2:14,15

The book of Hosea is the picture of an unfaithful wife. We would call her a harlot or prostitute. But is is a picture of the infidelity of the children of Israel — and by extension all of us who claim the name of Christ.

Despite our best intentions we are drawn away by many things, money, fame, power, sensuality, good causes, family concerns. Anything that takes first place in our hearts before God becomes an idol – an infidelity to God.

But God is faithful to us, no matter how unfaithful we are to Him.

There is a promise in these verses:

Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards and will make the Valley of Achor (Valley of trouble) a door of hope.

We have all had times of darkness and desolation, times when things went very wrong. We have lost a business, a friend, a family member, our self-esteem, something important. In these periods of desolation, God can speak to us.

Our times of trouble are times God can draw us closer to Him. He whispers His love to us. He makes us fruitful again. He restores our salvation. He is patient and faithful. His desire is our reunion with Him, and He will work to bring that about.

Father, God,

Thank you for Your faithfulness to us even when we are unfaithful to You. Grant us the softened hearts of the desolate that we may hear Your whispers of love to us and hasten to return to fidelity to You.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Abandonment

Focus verses: I Kings 6:11-13

God promises Solomon that He will never abandon His people Israel. What a wonderful assurance!

When we believe in God and follow His precepts, God will not abandon us. However, when we abandon God, He allows us to reap the fruit of our own actions. It may feel like He is far away, but He never moves. We do.

Our closeness with God depends on our being faithful to His commands, singing His praises, and watching for the signs of His presence in our lives.

When we find ourselves drifting away, we can do one of two things. We can continue to drift like so much flotsam, or we can turn back to Him. He is faithful and unchanging. We’re the fickle and flighty ones.

He waits for us with open arms, eager to restore us to His favor. We need not disappoint Him.

Father, God,

Thank You for remaining faithful to us, even when we are errant children. We are grateful for Your forgiving heart. Help us to remain steadfast in our love for You.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

The Desires of Your Heart

Focus verses: 1 Samuel:6-18

Hannah was a woman who wanted to be a mother. So she took her desires to the Lord. She recognized that he was the one in charge of lives. But she was so fervent in her silent prayers that she was accused of being drunk.

When she explained her desires to Eli, the priest, he verified her request saying “may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked Him for.” (Where ever two or three are gathered, there He is in the midst of them.)

Now Hannah had made a deal with the Lord, that if He would give her a son, she would give that son back to God. So when Samuel was weaned she took him back to Eli.

The Lord did as Hannah asked. Hannah did as she had promised. And the Lord rewarded her with five more children.

It doesn’t always work that same straight forward fashion, but God rewards the faithful.

Psalm:37:4: Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. (KJV)

Father, God,

Help us to realize that You should be the desires of our hearts. Teach us that Your plan for our lives is better even than we could know to ask for. Give us the grace to live within the parameters of the life You have planned for us. And grant us the ability to live it to the fullest.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen

As For Me And My House

Joshua 24:14-18

God is gracious. He gives us multiple opportunities to be faithful to Him.

Joshua speaks to the people to remind them of all the Lord has done for them. Then he challenges them. Choose you this day whom you will serve. But for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Choose! Daily we make choices. They bring us closer to God, or they take us further from God. But we make these choices with the free will God has given us.

God has not created us as automatons or robots. He gave us the ability to make choices. It is up to us to see that those choices take us closer to Him.

In his notes, Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of The Scarlet Letter, wrote “every action carries within itself the seed of its own reward or punishment.” And that is true. In scripture it says if you sow the wind, you reap the whirlwind. That’s just a way of saying you reap what you sow, more than you sow, later than you sow.

If you sow obedience to God, you reap the rewards of your fidelity to Him. If you are disobedient, you reap the rewards of rebellion.

In my estimation, fidelity is better, serving the Lord is better.

Father, God,

Help us to be faithful to You, to Your commandments, to Your will. Keep our hearts steadfast with on You and obedience to your decrees.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

You and the Alien

Focus verses: Numbers 15:13-16

Today’s verses talk about the prescribed offerings to the Lord. And these particular verses tell us that theses laws pertain not only to the Israelites, but also to the stranger living among them.

What are we to make of this? These laws pertain to everyone. The faithful and the rest of the world. God is not to be taken lightly. If one is living among the faithful, one is required to behave like one of the faithful

God is no respecter of persons. The requirements are the same for all. The community is to have the same rules for the member and the alien. But what does this mean for us today?

We are to have the same rules for the member and the alien. When we compromise the laws of God and allow others to violate them, it is as if we had violated them ourselves.

In our society, we have allowed the mores of the unfaithful to be equal to the laws of God. People call it alternate lifestyle, but God calls it abomination. People call it choice, but God calls it murder. And we have gone along with these euphemisms and made space for them in our laws and lives.

God will not be mocked. The law is the same for the Israelite and the stranger. Our country will reap the fruit of our assimilation of these infidelities. We will be held accountable for the innocent lives lost to abortion, for the lives ruined by alternate lifestyle.

God help us.

Father, God,

Forgive us our lack of fidelity. Help us to speak out when your laws are violated. And give us the boldness to work for the reinstatement of your precepts in our country.

In Jesus most precious name.
Amen.