Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘Lord’

Constant Joy

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.

Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

  ~~  Psalm 100 (KJV)

This is one of my favorite psalms. In the first place it says “make a joyful noise” not “sing sweetly on key.” The criteria for our singing is joy, not musical ability.

But no one can be joyful all the time, can they? That depends on where your joy lies. If the joy of the Lord is your strength, then you can be joyful all the time. God is always with you. If he is the source of your joy, nothing can change it.

When things seem blackest, we can praise the Lord for who and what he is. He inhabits the praises of his people. No matter what circumstances surround us, he is unchanging and always sure. If your security is in him, nothing can shake it.

This truth allows us to be grateful to God for who and what he is, no matter what happens around us or to us.

So at all times and in all seasons, we can bring a sacrifice of praise to him. Blessing his name for who he is.

That sacrifice of praise will hold you together in the roughest of times. It draws you closer to him and reminds you of all his power and righteousness.

In a time when I thought I would drown in grief, the old hymn, Great Is Thy Faithfulness, came bubbling up out of my middle. While the grief was still there, I had an assurance that it would not overwhelm me, that with God’s help I could get through it.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

For that I was and am mightily grateful.

Father, God,

Thank you for being our peace and our strength. Remind us at all times to come to you with praise and thanksgiving so that we may always be blessed of you.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

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A Ruinous Path

These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.~~ Proverbs 6:16-19 (KJV)

This is one of the scariest passages in scripture. It enumerates things the Lord hates. And if we examine ourselves carefully, we find we have probably transgressed on at least one of these personally.

As a nation we are doubly guilty.

  • A proud look: those who have look down on those who have not.
  • A lying tongue: on air not long ago, one of the people who had been privy to the highest offices in the land said “Everyone lies.” It was said with a straight face in a matter-of-fact tone of voice. She could have been saying “It’s Monday.”
  • Hands that shed innocent blood:  we do it in the name of choice.
  • He that soweth discord among the brethren: we have racial divisions (for which there is no genetic rationale) and  political divisions and class divisions. Moreover, there are people who stir up trouble between these factions for their own reasons: power, prestige, financial gain.

Our world is full of deception and wickedness. Our nation has become party to all these evils.

We cannot believe that the Lord will just wink at these things. We have seen how He dealt with the nation of Israel when they were faithless. We must turn this nation around to follow His precepts lest similar ills befall us s well.

We, the Christians, are called upon to pray for our country and its leaders. The prayers of no one else will be sufficient.

As followers of Christ, we must examine ourselves, confess our shortcomings, and be in constant prayer for this land that we love.

Father, God,

Have mercy on our land. Help us to right the wrongs we have done as a nation. Keep us on our knees in prayer for change.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

God’s Will for Our Lives

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?  ~~  Micah 6:8 (KJV)

We talk about God’s will.  We pray for healing, if it’s His will. We pray for prosperity, if it’s His will. How do you know what His will is in any circumstance?

Micah 6:8 tells you in plain language. Oh, this is written in King James English and you don’t really understand it?

We can unpack the King James version of the verse from the end to the beginning.

The last noun, and most important one, is God – thy God. Thy God is the person or thing uppermost in your mind and spirit at all times.  If you have truly made Jesus Christ the Lord of your life, you can rest in His provision.

  • Yes, we work to be faithful to His word in all things.
  • Yes, we are responsible for our actions and reactions.
  • Yes, we are responsible for how we live. And that includes how we make our living.
  • But the most important thing we are responsible for is obedience to God.

Obedience begins with a knowledge of His written word – the Bible. As we read His word, we become familiar with His desires for us. Psalm 37:4 says it plainly.

Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

This doesn’t just mean He will give us anything we desire. It means He will sow His will into our hearts to make it our heart’s desire.

The next step is to love mercy. If we are fully aware of the mercy God has shown us, we will want to pass that mercy on to others.

Judge not, that ye be not judged.  ~~  Matthew 7:1

We don’t know what is in a person’s background, what they have suffered, what they have been taught. So while we can judge an action as being wrong, immoral, or foolhardy, we do not ascribe that judgment to the person, just to the action. We remember that the person was so loved by God that He sent Jesus to pay for all that person’s sins – for all my sins. Oh!

This knowledge of God and awareness of His mercies to us will culminate in our doing justice – doing what is right in the sight of the Lord.

And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. ~~ Luke 6:31

If we always treat others as we would wish to be treated, we are doing justice. It’s that simple. Not always easy, but simple.

Father, God,

Help us always to remember Your love, not just for ourselves, but for others as well. Plant in our hearts a desire to know You better, to study Your word, to follow Your lead. Give us the grace to see in others what You see in them, to love them with Your love. Help us always to be what You would have us be in this world.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen.

 

 

Love Is the Key

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. 

~~ I Corinthians 13:1-13 (KJV)

Love is the key to the Christian life. But I think, sometimes, we miss the mark on our definition of love. While this chapter is frequently read at weddings, I believe it has less to do with weddings than the everyday relationships between friends, family, neighbors and co-workers.

Jesus said the first commandment was to love the Lord. But what kind of love is this? It certainly isn’t the same kind of physical desire and emotion that men and women sometimes feel for one another. It is, in fact, not a “feeling” so much as a decision and commitment. You seek the Lord and His will for your life, so that what you do pleases Him. It is His approval that you are wanting. His “well done, good and faithful servant” is your goal.

We love the Lord by loving what He created. This kind of love is committed to the well-being of the other. We are to work for the benefit of the Lord’s creation. Since man was created in the image of God, when we look at another person, we should strive to see the mark of God on him or her. It is that essence of the divine in each person that we respect and admire.

The qualities of love in Paul’s list spring from the recognition of God’s image in man. We have no clear picture of God except what of God is reflected in man. In eternity, we shall see Him face to face – no veil, no shadow, no dim mirror.

Father, God,

Prepare us to see You face to face. Create in us Your love for all mankind. Help us to hear as You hear, see as You see, and feel as You feel.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen

Saviour and Lord

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

~~ Luke 2:10-11 (KJV)

This season is filled with activity, hustle, bustle, last minute shopping, cooking, package wrapping and stress. For many people it is not a season of good news, but one of disappointment and feelings of inadequacy.

We seem to have lost sight of the reason for the season.

So why do we celebrate?  Is this just an occasion for a day off work? An excuse to party? A competition to see who can spend the most on  gifts of dubious value?

Someone needs to save us from ourselves.

Someone has come to save us – from ourselves and from every other ill in this world.

A Savior – Christ the Lord.

Savior: one that saves from danger or destruction – one who brings salvation

Christ: anointed

Lord: one having power and authority over others

This Sunday, we are pointed to a babe in a stable. This babe had and still has the power and authority to save us from ourselves and all that would seek to destroy us.

If we recognize His Lordship over our lives – the security net He provides us, we need also to recognize His Lordship over our thoughts and actions. He has done all the heavy lifting.

Our job is simply to hear Him and to obey Him. All that follows our obedience is in His hands, not ours.

Today, give yourself a gift – a gift of time to ponder what this Christmas day means – both universally and personally. Take time to kneel at the stable and see the cross on the horizon.

Father, God,

We thank You for Your provision for our lives and our eternity. Give us the grace to recognize our dependence on Your favor. Help us to find time to cultivate a real relationship with You.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen.

Adonai

And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?  ~~  Genesis 15:2  (KJV)

This “Lord” is the first usage in scripture of the word Adonai. It comes from a root meaning master, but it is the emphatic form of that root. It’s like printing it in bold print all caps.  MASTER.

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.  ~~  Matthew 6:24 (KjV)

So we get to choose.  Who will we serve?  Do we serve ourselves in the flesh, eating, drinking and making merry? Or do we serve the Lord, listening for His voice, obeying His commandments?

Don’t misunderstand me here. When we choose to serve God, we have just enlisted in His army. There is an enemy who will be only too glad to throw everything he can at us. He’ll drag out the big guns, hoping to discourage us or stop us in our tracks.

But we have read the book and have it on good authority, God’s own words:

Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.  ~~   Isaiah 45:22- 24 (KJV)

Every knee includes the knees of the enemy, the knees of the unbeliever, the knees of the believers – all of them.  In the end, everyone will know the truth and feel the power of God.  They will have to acknowledge His Mastery over the universe.

Jesus queried the disciples about His identity.

He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. ~~  Matthew 16:15-17

I have long contended that God must either laugh or weep over our sectarian differences, that this question Jesus asked of the disciples is the only one that makes any difference.

Our answer should be “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God, and the Master of my life.”  If this is your answer to that question, it makes no difference which church you attend, which discipline you espouse.

Those who answer that question in this way are all brothers and sisters, members of the same family. As such, what touches one of us, touches all of us.

None of us is truly alone – ever.

Father, God,

Help us to see that with You as the Master of our lives, we can be assured that our obedience is all You ask. We thank You that You have given us many siblings in Your family to come along side to comfort, uphold, rebuke, correct, and just plain love us. Keep us ever mindful of Your generosity in granting us the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, as our most intimate guide and friend.

In Jesus’ most precious name,

Amen.

 

Sick and Tired?

And [God] said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee. ~~ Exodus 15:26 (KJV)

This passage occurs just after God has led the Israelites through the Red Sea and destroyed the horses and chariots of Pharoah behind them.  Why is he saying that He is the God who heals when He has just been the God who rescues?

Let’s go back a minute. The Israelites were completely trapped with the sea in front of them and the chariots of Pharoah hot on their heels. Destruction seemed certain. They were distressed, trapped, afraid.  God opened the sea in front of them and drowned the enemy behind them.

After rejoicing and singing about the salvation of the Lord, they went on their way and came to bitter water. Immediately they went back to grumbling and complaining. Had they forgotten the power of the Lord that they had just witnessed? It seems that people have short memories when difficulties arise.

God showed Moses a tree to cast into the water, and immediately the water became sweet and drinkable.

This is a verse of promise. Promise is an “if – then” construction. If you do this, God will do that.  If you will listen and do right, if you will hear and obey, then God will heal all your diseases.

All your dis-eases. The dis-ease of fear, the dis-ease of hate, the dis-ease of trouble, the dis-ease of forgetfulness, and the dis-ease of ill health.

None of our diseases are beyond His help. We can rest in the knowledge that His will toward us is to make us hale and whole.

Father, God,

Your perfect will is the only thing we desire in this life. Help us to remember Your words and to walk in Your paths. Keep us ever vigilant to be obedient to the least prompting of Your Holy Spirit. Thank You for wanting us well and whole.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen.