Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘Righteous’

Integrity

He that walketh uprightly walketh surely:

but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.

~~~ Proverbs 10:9 (KJV)

Eventually everything comes to light. We see this everyday in the headlines. People’s underhanded dealings eventually are exposed to public scrutiny.

This political bigwig has taken money from special interest groups.

That public figure has had an illicit affair and fathered a child.

A financial officer is caught with his hand in the till.

All these people thought they could engage in illicit activity and remain anonymous. No one would ever find out. They were deceiving themselves more than anyone else.

God has promised that the truth will come out. We just read it here. We can be sure that if the Lord says it, it is true. Eventually, all will be made known. That’s a scary thought if you’ve been trying to hide things.

Father, God,

Help us to walk in integrity. Keep us from deceptive practices and thoughts, and let us become the righteous people you intended for us to be.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

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.

Prepare The Way

Focus verses: Luke 3:7-14

The mission of John sounds much like some of the old “fire and brimstone” preachers I heard about when I was very young. It seemed like they were determined to “scare the devil” out of the people. That style of preaching is not heard so much any more, but it is no less valid.

We have been fed the pap that God is all love. He is. But He is also a righteous God and will not stand for unrighteousness in His presence.

John’s “brood of vipers” comment is directed to the crowds in this passage, but in Matthew, it is directed to the Pharisees and Saducees. In our day, these would be the church-goers and those who are elders or deacons or generally active in the works of the church.

Our salvation is not dependent upon our position in the church. It depends on our relationship to Christ. The only way we can stand in the presence of a Holy God is cloaked in the righteousness of His Son, cleansed by His blood, dependent upon Him for every breath.

Our good works – or fruit of repentance as John puts it – is not our salvation. It is evidence of our commitment to Christ. If you belong to Christ, your life will show it. If you spend all your time outdoors, you skin will show the evidence of exposure to sun and wind. If you spend time in God’s presence, your life will reflect Him.

Prepare the way. Examine yourself for fault and sin. Ask the Lord to show you your hidden self. We all have corners in our lives that are forgotten and cobwebby. Seek His light in your life and He will show you those hidden corners and help you to clean them up.

We’re preparing the way of the Lord – at least in our own lives.

Father, God,

Shine the light of Your love into the dark corners of our hearts. Help us to see what we need to dust off and use again, as well as what we need to get rid of entirely. Grant that we may be prepared in heart and mind for doing Your bidding at all times.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

God Is All

Focus verses: Job 23:1-12

Job’s friends still insist that he must have done something wrong to bring this calamity upon himself. Even though Job’s life outwardly has been righteous, they tell him there must be some hidden sins that caused all this mess.

But Job knows he did nothing wrong. He is not an unrighteous man. He worshiped God and shunned evil.

But there are times when God seems very far away. His lament here is that he cannot seem to find God. Where ever he looks, God is not to be found. This is simply because God has let Satan have charge of his earthly life for the moment.

Contrast this lament with Psalm 139. Here David says there is no place he can go where God is not. He cannot hide from God.

Nor does God hide from Job. He merely allows him to be tested by the enemy. And Job knows that if he can plead his case with God, he will be vindicated as a righteous man.

Father, God,

Help us to remain faithful in the most dire of circumstances. Grant that we should walk closely with You all the days of our lives, no matter what the enemy throws at us.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Cold Comfort

Focus verses: Job 16:1-17

The dialogue between Eliphaz and Job continues. Eliphaz continues that it is the wicked whom God afflicts. And that Job cannot possibly be righteous.

Job, however, has been righteous. And he knows it. He claims it. He doesn’t understand why God allowed this to happen, nor does he buy into the lie that he must have done something to bring it on himself.

Too often, we tend to blame the victim. If a woman is the victim of domestic violence, she carries a double shadow. What did she do to deserve this? Why doesn’t she leave him? So the situation becomes her fault — somehow.

If you are not prospering in your business or personal relationships, it must be that you have done something wrong. You are not pleasing the Lord, or He would make things prosper for you.

It doesn’t work that way. And those people who insist that is does should stay away from sorrow and tragedy in other people’s lives. The last thing a sufferer needs is someone to shake a finger in his face and point out his shortcomings.

Father, God,

Help me to speak words of life and comfort to those around me who suffer. Let me reflect some of Your light and love into each life I touch.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Ceaseless Praise

Focus verses: Psalm 34

Today’s reading relates David’s exploits while on the run from Saul and includes three psalms. Psalm 34 is a paean of praise. “I will extol the Lord at all times.”

That’s good advice for all of us. We are told that God inhabits the praises of his people. When we focus on praising God, we put all our problems and troubles into perspective. Nothing that comes against us is larger than God. Nothing can separate us from God against our will.

“A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.” This verse delivers rich comfort. No matter what happens, God has the situation well in hand. Events that rock us to the foundations never surprise Him. He is aware before hand and has made preparation for them all.

David sang to the Lord, frequently — one might say endlessly. Singing to the Lord is a good habit. When we sing the old hymns, we learn the tenets of our faith, the attributes of God, and the ways of the righteous. When we sing the new praise choruses, we join in an unending stream of praise. Somewhere, someone is singing to the Lord all the time. Or if they’re not, they should be.

An unending hymn of praise rising from this blue marble in the universe would go a long way toward correcting the problems we’re dealing with in today’s world.

Sing praise!

Father, God,

Renew the song in our hearts. Restore to us the joy of our first love of Christ. Make the waters of praise and thanksgiving effervesce within us. Let us be harbingers of joy and thanksgiving. Help us to lift the spirits of all we meet.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Bethel – Emmanuel

Focus verses: Genesis 28:10-22

AARRGGHH!! Don’t we ever learn?

Today’s reading is full of egos, self-seeking and deceptions. Deceit has had serious consequences in the past and will again in this instance.

However – and this is a big however — when Jacob obeys his father’s directive to go to Paddan Aram to seek a wife, he sets his feet on a righteous path once again. And he is rewarded by this dream and promise from God.

“Surely the Lord is in this place.”

Whether we are aware of it or not, God is with us. Day in and day out, He stands with us. It is our disobedience that builds a wall between Him and us. It’s our wall. It is built brick by brick of little rejections of His call upon our lives.

Do you notice? God’s promise to Jacob is not predicated upon his apology for his deceptions. It carries no contingencies. It is full, complete, absolute.

God knows and we are learning that every action carries within itself the seed of its own reward or punishment. That is called consequences.

But our God is omnipresent – present everywhere at once. With us, beside us, within us if we let Him be.

A few weeks ago we were singing “O come, O come, Immanuel.” That’s nice at advent and Christmas. But it’s redundant. He has come. He is with us. Let us rejoice in His presence.

Father, God,
Help us to be ever mindful of Your presence with us. Teach us to rely on You at every moment.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen