Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘Provision’

Real or Virtual?

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. ~~ John 8:32 (KJV)

In a wireless phone store the other day, I watched a boy, about seven years of age, entranced by a virtual reality headset. Old as I am, I had no idea what those strange looking goggles were until I asked. After the explanation, it struck me that virtual reality is a kind of prison.

There is a physical reality going on around the user, but the user is totally unaware of it. The visual and aural senses are plugged in to the VR, not anything in real space. Imagine being blinded and deafened by virtual reality when an intruder enters your home.

There is a parallel here with our world. You see, this physical world is not all there is. We are told in scripture that there is another dimension, a spiritual plane.

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. ~~ Ephesians 6:11-13 (KJV)

If we are concentrated only on the physical world that we see around us, we are helpless against that spiritual dimension.

God, however, has made a way for us to be plugged into that spiritual dimension. That is the function of the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit.

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. ~~ John 14:16-17

The Holy Spirit is that within us which is plugged in to the knowledge and wisdom and comfort of God. As we learn to hear Him, we walk more closely the path Jesus would have us walk. Our steps become more sure.

No matter what the world and its evils throw at us, we are secure in the knowledge that nothing will happen to us that surprises God. He is there before us and has made provision for us regardless of what the enemy uses to try to defeat and discourage us.

We’ve read the back of the book. God wins. The enemy loses. Therefore we win!

Father, God,

Help us to become more sensitive to Your Holy Spirit. Quiet our spirits in the turmoil of this world that we may hear clearly and obey swiftly. Thank You for giving us this Comforter, the Holy Spirit.

In Jesus’ most precious name,

Amen

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Who Knows?

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.  ~~ I Corinthians 2:9 (KJV)

Omniscient is a wonderful word – one of three omni words used to describe our God.

  • Omniscient
  • Omnipotent
  • Omnipresent

We’ll look at the others later, but today I want to focus on “omniscient.” This is a compound word made up of a prefix meaning “all” and a verb meaning “to know”. So omniscient is “to know all” – everything. Past, present, future, nothing is hidden from God. He knows it all.

He can know it all because He is infinite. With Him there is no beginning and no end. There just IS.

I don’t remember the comic strip – whether Dennis, the Menace, or Family Circus – that had a Christmas panel. The room is filled with discarded wrapping paper and there is a huge pile of toys in the middle of the floor. The puzzled looking child in the middle of the frame is saying “Is this all there is?”

Sometimes we are like that child. In the middle of the life we are living now, in the midst of the disarray and turmoil, we think “Is this all there is?”

And that answer is “no”. God has more in mind for us than we can ever imagine. It’s said more than once in scripture:

For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him. ~~ Isaiah 64:4 (KJV)

When we focus on this world, we miss the point. This world is NOT the be-all and end-all of everything.

But God is.

When Moses asked God what he should tell the people about who sent him…

And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you. ~~ Exodus 3:14 (KJV)

I Am – the God who IS. Always present tense. He is yesterday, today, tomorrow, forever. Whatever happens in this life, God is there before us. He has made provision for that moment.

But more importantly, He has made provision for our eternity.

Father, God,

Help us to understand, in so far as we can understand, Your omniscience. Remind us that You know all, that You have provided for all the circumstances in which we find ourselves, and that Your provision is more than sufficient. Help us to expand our understanding so that we may rely on You alone instead of our limited intelligence.

In Jesus’ most precious name,

Amen.

 

Searching for Peace?

The Lord is my shepherd;

I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:

He leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul:

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil:

For thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:

Thou anointest my head with oil;

My cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
~~  Psalm 23  (KJV)

David’s psalms are beautiful, but this is probably the most familiar. It teaches you a lot of theology by describing God as a shepherd.

“The Lord is my shepherd.” Notice that He is MY shepherd. He is personal to me. This is a one on one relationship.

“I shall not want.” He is able and willing to fulfill my every need.

Green pastures are areas of abundance and peace. Still waters allow the sheep to drink without the possibility of drowning. Restoration of the soul gives one the ability to rejoice anew.

Heeding and obeying His commandments will keep us from doing evil. No matter where we are, His constant presence reassures us that He is sovereign. When all the world seems to be against us, He provides whatever we need. He adopts us as His children, children of the King.

His presence in our lives is our abundance and provision. Now and always. We are His forever. That is the essence of our peace – not who we are, but whose we are.

Father, God,

Thank you for being our peace, our total provision at all times and in all circumstances. Grant that we, like sheep, may hear and follow only the Shepherd’s voice.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Yahweh

These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,  ~~  Genesis 2:4  (KJV)

The Lord God… the eternal, self-existent one.

As we have pondered on the names of God, a recurrent theme appears. God is first. We have being only in relationship to Him.

Our society today dotes on the concept of “self-esteem”. But really, we cannot esteem ourselves except in relationship to how God esteems us. Our worth is tied up in His knowledge of who we are.

So just who are we?  First we are His creation – created in His likeness.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  ~~  Genesis 1:26-27  (KJV)

Although we are created in the image of God, a picture of God, we are NOT God. And when we aspire to become God, all hell breaks loose.

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. ~~  Genesis 3:1-6

This is the first sin — disobedience. Disobedience always brings consequences. So does obedience, but that’s another story.

Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.  ~~ Genesis 3:23 (KJV)

And now, man no longer enjoys the intimate relationship he had with God. Rather than walking with God in the cool of the evening, man must search for Him, make special time for Him. This is now a broken relationship.

Ah, but there is reconciliation. Consider this. No matter how man has defiled himself, God still loves His creation.

We have the example of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-24. The father was looking for the errant young man to return. He saw him from afar off.

In just the same way, God is looking for His errant children to return to Him.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  ~~  John 3:16-17  (KJV)

God made provision for man’s reconciliation to Him, to be able to have intimate contact with Him once again, just as in the Garden of Eden.

Because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, we can have daily, hourly, minute-by-minute conversation with God. With God, the all-powerful, all-knowing self-existent creator of the universe!

How do we get back to that intimate relationship with God?

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  ~~ Romans 10: 9-10  (KJV)

So today, look at yourself. If you have believed and confessed, spend this day blessing the God who created you and gives you access to Himself.  If you have never believed, please look at the evidence – and believe. Confess it with your mouth – say it out loud, even if you are alone at the time. Then rejoice that God has re-entered your life intimately – a life He gave you in the beginning.

Father, God,

Help us to see who and what You are and all the benefits You have provided us. Grant us the grace and humility to come to you, proclaiming our faults and begging Your forgiveness. Let us accept with gratitude all that You have done for us, and give us the wisdom to see You for who You really are.

We ask in the precious name of Jesus.

Amen.

Identity – Part Two

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 1:12-13 – King James Version (KJV)
Now that we have decided who Jesus is, perhaps we should look at our own identity.
When we are introduced to someone new, there are several identity type questions that spring to mind. Where are you from? Who are you related to? What do you do?
Take a minute and try to define who you are without answering any of those questions.
Yes, it is harder than it looks.
This is who God says you are. You are His child.
Some years ago, my friend Sandra and I were talking about children. She had five. I had four. And she was laughing at the thought that we were in charge of family planning. “We think it’s because of our love for our husbands that these children were born. We had nothing to do with it. Each child was conceived when God said ‘(Name of child) come forth!’  We had very little to do with it.”
She had come to the same conclusion as the poet, William Wordsworth.
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:    
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,    
        Hath had elsewhere its setting,    
          And cometh from afar:    
        Not in entire forgetfulness,    
        And not in utter nakedness,    
But trailing clouds of glory do we come      
        From God, who is our home:
from his Ode – Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood
We started as His children. We were born into a world of sin and God-forgetfulness, becoming children of the world and of sin. When we believe on Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, we claim our identity as God’s children.
And God claims us as His children.  What a privilege!  What a responsibility!
Father, God,
Help us to understand the depth of Your love that called us forth into this life and that redeems us from the world. Grant that we may be ever aware of Your love, Your generosity, Your provision. Give us the grace to extend to others as we witness to them about Who You are and how much You love them.
In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Peace 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)

In our harried and hectic world, peace seems to be in short supply.

There are

  • wars and rumors of wars (Matthew 24:4-14),
  • terrorist activities,
  • factions,
  • demonstrations, and
  • miscellaneous unrest.

So just what peace are we talking about?

Back to the dictionary:

1:  a state of tranquillity or quiet: as
a :  freedom from civil disturbance
b :  a state of security or order within a community
provided for by law or custom <a breach of
the peace>
2:  freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions
3:  harmony in personal relations
4
a :  a state or period of mutual concord between
governments
b :  a pact or agreement to end hostilities between
those who have been at war or in a state of
enmity
5           —used interjectionally to ask for silence or calm or as a greeting or farewell
— at peace
:  in a state of concord or tranquillity

Aha!  peace is “a state of being”.  A state of our being.
We have little or no control over the events of the world or the circumstances that surround us. But God is sovereign, and he does have control. Nothing that happens surprises him.
I have never taken something to God in prayer and had him reply “Oh, really?  I didn’t know that.” Whatever is going on in our lives is something for which he has made provision. He knew about it in advance.

Therefore, our peace lies in our relationship to the Lord. When we rely on him, disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions have no power over us because we know God is in control.

When we move in obedience to him, he is responsible for the consequences of our actions. He will never ask us to do something not according to his will and his plans for our lives.
 His plan is for us to love one another, so we will have harmony with interpersonal relationships.
Peace.
Father, God,
Thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit. Thank you that you have made plans for our lives, that nothing happens without your permission and provision. Help us to learn to lean quietly on you, no matter the circumstances around us. Help us to hear clearly and obey swiftly the promptings of your Holy Spirit. Thank you for your peace.
In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Voluntary Prisoners

Ephesians 4:1 -3   I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,  With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 

“Prisoner of the Lord” – the phrase finally got my attention.  Paul, in a Roman jail, was actually a prisoner of the Lord. Of course, he was a prisoner of the Lord outside the jail as well.  I did a double take.  He was a prisoner …

I look at our judicial system and wonder what is wrong with this picture. A person commits a crime and is incarcerated.  His activities are limited, true. But he is given a bed, three meals a day, medical and dental care, all at the expense of the state.  He doesn’t have to worry about rent or house payments, utilities, transportation, none of it.

The victim of his crime is left to deal with the aftermath. Replacement of damaged property, medical expenses, reduced earning capacity perhaps, and all the needful expenses of living – rent, utilities, transportation, etc.  At least that’s the way it works in our world.

When we volunteer to become prisoners of the Lord by giving our lives to Him, the Lord does for us all the things that the state does for a prisoner of the state.  The Lord becomes our provider. Our responsibility is obedience. I’m not advocating that we be irresponsible for the financial things in our lives, but I do mean that we need not fret about them.

God knows our needs before we do. He has made provision for all the vicissitudes in our lives. He is there before us and has a plan to see us through them.

Father, God,

Thank you for making provision for our lives. Thank you for letting us be part of Your plan for humanity. Thank you for letting us be your prisoners. Give us the grace to listen for Your voice and be sensitive to the promptings of Your Holy Spirit.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen.