"But I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations ... But I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations... But I withheld my hand and acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations... but my holy name you shall no more profane with your gifts and your idols... And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I deal with you for my name's sake" -- Ezekiel 20:9, 14, 22, 39, 44
Thursday, June 30, 2011
There was a time when the family name was honored above all other things. Whether in business or social activities, the family name was to be held high and protected from any blemish. In fact, Solomon considered a good name of utmost value. (Proverbs 22:1)
The Lord's Name, above all other names was and is to be hallowed. It must never be profaned. This truth was stated as the third commandment in Exodus 20:7 and the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9. Yet, we find it profaned in word and deed during the later history of Israel. His name had lost all value to His people.
Do you value the Name of the Lord my friend? Do you honor His name in word and deed? Are you careful to protect His name from blemish by your lifestyle and public walk? Be careful to hold the Lord’s name high and keep it hallowed before the world.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
"Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?... For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.”" -- Ezekiel 18:23, 32
There are those who believe that there is a God of the Old Testament and another God of the New Testament. They are persuaded that Jesus is a messenger of love and the prophets of old were messengers of nothing but wrath. There is the sense that the God of Israel found pleasure in the death of the wicked. This couldn't be farther from the truth.
There is only one God and He is full of mercy and redemptive love. When a wicked person refuses to repent, that one is responsible alone and no one else. But when that individual willingly turns from their wicked ways in repentance, the Lord will forgive. God never found pleasure in the death of the wicked... whether Old or New Testament.
Have you found your way into the redemptive and forgiving arms of the Lord my friend? If you have, are you making every effort to walk in His light and bring others into His loving care? We serve a Savior who is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
"On the mountain height of Israel will I plant it, that it may bear branches and produce fruit and become a noble cedar. And under it will dwell every kind of bird; in the shade of its branches birds of every sort will nest. And all the trees of the field shall know that I am the Lord; I bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish. I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it.” -- Ezekiel 17:23-24
The history of Israel and the years of mankind have been filled with rebellion and dark days of judgment. Will there ever be a kingdom of fruitful, noble living? Will there ever be a place of shade and rest, without years of hatred and war? This day is coming, because the Lord Himself will plant a tender twig and it will bear branches that produce fruit.
In the darkness, there shines a ray of hope my friend. You may wonder, of what value is prophetic teaching? Such promise gives us reason to press on and not give up. Yes, the Lord is never frustrated, because He has a plan that will not fail. Be faithful and true, for the king is coming and the entire world will know that He is the Lord.
Monday, June 27, 2011
"Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy." -- Ezekiel 16:49
Our judgment upon Sodom has often been more focused on the sexual perversion than anything else. But, how does such a condition develop? Was there other guilt that offended the heart of God? The above passage enlightens us concerning the excessive sin baggage of that people. And the people of Israel were guilty of walking the same path.
Look around my friend and you will see the same condition today... "pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease", failing to "aid the poor and needy". When the Lord was confronted with their haughtiness and abominable ways, He removed them. Once again, let us humble ourselves, turn from our wicked ways and pray for our nation.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
“Son of man, how does the wood of the vine surpass any wood, the vine branch that is among the trees of the forest?" -- Ezekiel 15:2
The taunting to be strong and great like those around us is always difficult to deal with. The temptation to strive toward being something other than what God intended is great. Israel failed in this test and made every effort to be greater than the other nations by being like those nations. She forgot to be spiritually fruitful for God.
Believers are called to be the very same as Israel. We are not expected to surpass other trees around us in strength and stature. We have been called to be fruit bearing vine branches. Jesus put it this way in John 15:5, "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing."
Remember what you are my friend. We are branches, not trees, and we are sent forth to bear fruit as we abide in the vine. As with Israel, so with us... "If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned." (John 15:6) Our worth is in our fruit, not our stature.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
"My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and who give lying divinations. They shall not be in the council of my people, nor be enrolled in the register of the house of Israel, nor shall they enter the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord God. Precisely because they have misled my people..." -- Ezekiel 13:9-10a
Today there are many voices that speak across the airways for God. They tell of coming events and speak as if inspired by the Lord. But what are they foretelling, and is it true to Scripture? Those who mislead the people of God are just as culpable today as they were in Ezekiel's day.
Be wise my friend and quite discerning in these days of false teachers. Know the Scriptures and pray for insight when "new" truths are being promoted. Remember that the hand of the Lord is against those who see false visions and speak lying tales. Follow the Spirit of God, who is the Spirit of truth, for He will guide you into all the truth. (John 16:13)
Friday, June 24, 2011
"And they shall know that I am the Lord" -- Ezekiel 15, 16, 20
I well remember when I experienced a major chastening of the Lord in my life. The message was clear and brought significant results. I returned to serious living for God and gained a deeper appreciation for His holiness. Putting it all together, I came to know the He was Lord... not me.
The people of Israel were under the persuasion that they were in charge with no accountability for their actions. They had strayed far from the Lord and His chastening hand was about to place them in exile. All this was done with one great goal in mind... that they would know that He was Lord.
My friend, have you bowed before Jesus and prayed as Paul in Acts 22:10, "What shall I do, Lord?" Have you acknowledged that He alone is Lord, not yourself? Does He sit on the throne of your life every week, day and hour? Only one can be Lord, and that one in not you.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
"'And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God." -- Ezekiel 11:19-20
Why does anyone have major surgery? What are the expectations for life afterward? Do we not look for a better quality of life? That is the real key; "quality of life". When we receive a heart by-pass or heart transplant, the experience is life changing and the quality of life should improve dramatically.
The prophet tells of a spiritual heart surgery promised for a future day. That day has come for those who have faith in Jesus Christ. They have received a new heart and spirit that they may walk in the Lord's statutes and keep His rules and obey them. Basically, their "quality of life" is expected to improve dramatically.
Has your life improved dramatically my friend? Since you have trusted Jesus as your Savior, has there been a marked change? God gives us everything new so our daily walk will be new. As a result of a new heart and spirit working within, are you experiencing a better "quality of life"?
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
"Then he said to me, “The guilt of the house of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great. The land is full of blood, and the city full of injustice. For they say, ‘The Lord has forsaken the land, and the Lord does not see.’" -- Ezekiel 9:9
Were we not shocked when our mothers knew what we did in the kitchen? We couldn't figure out how she found out, since she was upstairs. Is it really true that mothers have eyes in the back of their heads? That may not be true, but there is certainly one maxim that is… "no creature is hidden from his sight, but are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account." (Hebrews 4:13)
The people of Israel were suffering from more than just a sin condition. They believed that God was out of touch and out of town. There was a sense of abandon to sinful desires and idolatry that concluded that God was unable to see all and know all. We live in a similar state today.
Are you aware that your every move and thought is in plain sight of the Lord my friend? Consider the words of Psalm 139:2-3, "You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether." This comforting fact can also be a most convicting truth, because the Lord certainly does see.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
"Now the end is upon you, and I will send my anger upon you; I will judge you according to your ways, and I will punish you for all your abominations." -- Ezekiel 7:3
The day is approaching when the end will come and the Lord will judge us according to our ways as a nation. While Israel was filled to overflowing with rebellion and idolatry, our nation is not far off. How long before abortion is judged? How long before our moral depravity is called into account? How long before our worship of the mighty dollar is dealt with? We sing and pray that God will bless America, but when will she turn from her wicked ways?
Before we celebrate our independence this year my friend, let us seek a new dependence upon the Lord. Let us humble ourselves, pray and turn from our wicked ways before "the end is upon us." Don't ever think that America is more privileged than Israel. If the Lord reigned terror down on the "apple of His eye" (Deuteronomy 32:9), we need revival before it's too late.
Monday, June 20, 2011
“Thus says the Lord God: This is Jerusalem. I have set her in the center of the nations, with countries all around her." -- Ezekiel 5:5
As the Lord set Jerusalem in the center of the nations, so He has set his church. His expectations are by no means any less. He looks for us to obey His rules and walk in His statutes. He desires that we would make a difference in our world for Christ. We have been sent among the nations as His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20)
The judgment upon Israel was severe, but why? Not only did she rebel and sin, but she abused and misused her privileges as the chosen of God. With a great calling comes great responsibility. How faithful are you with your gifts and Biblical knowledge my friend? What kind of impact are you having on those around you? We are in the center to make a difference for the Lord; are you influencing your world or being influenced by your world? Think about it.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
"And he said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly with this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it.” Then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey." -- Ezekiel 3:3
In bitter days of great rebellion and darkness of soul, there is sweetness to found. When the morning news speaks of godless agendas and immoral conduct, there are pleasant words of which to partake. When the heartache and grief surrounds us with painful wails, there are comforting songs in which to rejoice. Where can we find such relief and promising words? Look to the pages of God's Holy writ and hear His counsel... "Son of man, all my words that I shall speak to you receive in your heart, and hear with your ears." (Ezekiel 3:10)
My friend, search the Scriptures and you will find sweet truths to nurture and feed your soul. No matter how troubling the days may be, there will always be a word from the Lord. And that word will lift you high above the storm and sooth your heart with unspeakable joy. These are the words that are... "More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb." (Psalm 19:10)
Saturday, June 18, 2011
"On the fifth day of the month (it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin), the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the Chebar canal, and the hand of the Lord was upon him there." -- Ezekiel 1:2-3
We open the Bible and read. There are portions that comfort, others that counsel and still others that correct. But why should we accept these words as an authority to guide and direct our lives? The above passage gives the answer. We have "the word of the Lord" written by one who had the "hand of the Lord" upon him. These are not just inspiring words, they are inspired words. They are specific words given at a specific time for a specific purpose.
Whether the words are hard to understand or helpful to under-gird, they are a sure foundation to build your life on, my friend. As we begin the study of this great prophetic book of Ezekiel, remember that these are God's words for then and now and days to come. Pray for wisdom as you read, and understanding to apply these great revelations.
Friday, June 17, 2011
"Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well." - Romans 16:3-4
Life is full of risks. But what or who do we consider worthy of risking our very lives? Paul said it earlier in Romans 5:7, "For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— " and then he presented the love of God expressed and exampled in verse 8, "but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
The Christian life is all about living for others and risking everything for God's family. Prisca and Aquila risked their necks for Paul and the Gospel ministry; are you willing to do the same my friend? What are you prepared to sacrifice for the cause of Christ? Life is a risk, but eternal values are always worth risking our necks. Go ahead... stick your neck out for Jesus!
Thursday, June 16, 2011
"May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." -- Romans 15:5-6
My lovely wife works diligently as the Director of Music at our church. Among her many responsibilities, she serves as the Choir Director. Jayne works with the talented and not so talented seeking to bring the highest praise to our Lord. She labors for hours before practice and hours during practice to accomplish one of many goals; that together we might, with one voice, glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
As my wife, so did Paul strive toward the same goal... one voice glorifying God. There is no greater testimony of heaven on earth than a church that lives in harmony with one voice for God's glory. Let your prayer and every effort be given to this end my friend. By this alone will the world know that the Father has sent the Son.
Jesus prayed in John 17:22-23, "The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me." Let us glorify the Lord today in harmony with one voice.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
"Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand." -- Romans 14:4
Within the community of believers there is great diversity. And we all serve one King with our skills and convictions. God uses us where we are and as we are to His honor and glory. So, how could any one of us be critical of another? We are all like the flowers of a garden. Each one contributes its beauty and fragrance distinctly.
You may never fully understand the unique life and convictions of your brother or sister my friend, but give them room to serve in their own way. Pray for them rather than criticize, and trust that the Lord can and will use them. Encourage them in their standing before their King and help them rather than hinder them.
"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." - Ephesians 5:1-2
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." -- Romans 12:1
Worship; is this something that we do on Sunday morning and call it quits? Is it basically a hymn, a prayer with a Scripture reading, all tied together with a proper organ prelude and postlude? Is worship a moment in life or a movement of life?
Worship can happen when we wake with a word of thanksgiving and praise. It can happen when we give the love of Jesus to another throughout the day. It can happen when we stop to pray for the Lord's leading in the next decision. It can happen when we say no to the temptation that would cause us to dishonor the Lord. It can happen when we perform the mundane task that helps our loved one. Worship is never just a moment in life... it's a movement of life for God.
Think about it my friend, and offer your life every moment as a sacrifice of worship. Let your worship of six days grow into the seventh and the worship of the seventh blossom into the next six. Worship is never just moment... it's a movement.
Monday, June 13, 2011
"For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen." -- Romans 11:36
In keeping with our thoughts from yesterday, what is our ultimate goal in serving God? Do we look for that pat on the back and the words "well done"? Are we excited when our name is listed on a program or sign? Whose glory are we seeking anyway?
There is no greater privilege than to be invited by our Lord and Savior to join Him in His kingdom work. But, we will do well to always remember that "from Him and through Him and to Him are all things". It's all about Jesus. We should always keep the words of the seeking Greeks of John 12:21 in mind, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”
As you begin this new week my friend, seek to serve the Lord for His glory alone. Be devoted to His purpose and His praise. Take to heart the words of John the Baptist in John 3:30, "He must increase, but I must decrease."
Sunday, June 12, 2011
"I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh." -- Romans 9:1-2
What makes a Paul? Why does God use one believer far more than another? How does one leave a greater impact than anyone else in ministry? These are all very interesting questions, and they are quite difficult to really answer. But, maybe... just maybe, we are looking at the answer in the above passage.
I do believe that the person who gives his or her very heart and soul for others to know Christ is the most effective in ministry. As John Piper put it in a recent book title, "Brothers, We Are Not Professionals". Ours is not a business, but a labor of love. God uses those who are willing to lose everything for the sake of Christ and lost souls.
How about you my friend? Why do you serve the Lord? And how important are those that you are seeking to reach for Him? Never count the cost, just give it your all and the Lord will use you in great and mighty ways.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
"The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." -- Romans 8:16-18
Believers are always ready to embrace their inheritance and blessing, but what about the suffering? If we are heirs with Christ, then we share in His suffering for righteousness. Many of our brothers and sisters suffer everyday around the world for their faith, but do we?
When we "suffer" the least little bit, we are quick to complain and ask the Lord why. We tend to question the fairness of it and wonder if our inheritance is worth the trouble. Yet, Paul is quite encouraging when he tells us that "that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us."
You can be sure that suffering for righteousness is part of our walk with Jesus my friend. We may not suffer as much as our Christian family in China, Sudan, Kazakhstan and other places of persecution, but there is no suffering that compares to our ultimate glory. We are heirs with Christ and that should encourage us every day to stay the course until He comes. Be true to your Lord, because He will always be true to you!
Friday, June 10, 2011
"Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness." -- Romans 6:13
When the instrumentalists arrive on stage they are prepared to contribute melody and harmony. Together with others they will hopefully perform a symphony of musical delight. Each musician has a part to play and they present themselves to the conductor to follow his lead. In the same way, believers are expected to offer themselves to the Lord to produce beautiful music.
As the Lord graced us with forgiveness and new life, He desires our contribution to bring harmony, not discord. We are not set apart to play our instruments in any way that our passions may lead. We have been set free to present ourselves to our Divine conductor to follow His lead.
Who are you presenting yourself to this morning my friend? And to what end are you offering yourself? Are you looking for the opportunity to be an instrument of righteousness, making a melody in your heart and harmonizing with the Lord? Be an instrument of delight, not of discord!
Thursday, June 9, 2011
"For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly." -- Romans 5:6
After all is done and we come to the end of ourselves, at just the right time there is hope. In the dark of night when we are totally honest with ourselves, we might be willing to admit our spiritual and moral weakness before God. We need a Savior and a friend who will stand up for us in courtroom of heaven. The only one who can give us peace with God is Jesus.
Jesus taught us in Matthew 5:4 that “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." When we come to the place of mourning for our sin and embracing the Savior there is finally comfort for the soul. Are you at peace with God my friend? Have you been set free from your guilt and received lasting comfort? At the right time Christ died for you and now is the right time to say yes to Him.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
"No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised." -- Romans 4:20-21
Faith for salvation is the very first step into a life of faith. True faith is not so much the strength that saves or sustains; the real issue is in whom do we place that faith? Abraham trusted God implicitly and he believed that God was able to do what He had promised.
Do you believe that God is able to handle your life my friend? Are you convinced that He can and will fulfill His promises for you and yours? True faith is never mingled with distrust that makes you waver. The more glory that you give God for His promises, the stronger your faith will become. But always remember, it's not so much the strength of your faith as it is the strength of your God!
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
"For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith." -- Romans 3:22-25
We are all on an even playing field. There is no distinction, for whether religious or not, rich or not, educated or not, powerful or not, every person on the face of the earth has sinned and has fallen short of God's expectations. We are left helpless to remedy the situation on our own, so we need a redeemer, someone who will pay the price for our transgressions. That person is Jesus.
Not only is Jesus our redeemer and sin payment, He is our justifier by grace as a gift. We can be free of sin and all our guilt by a simple step of faith. My friend, if you have lived your life as a religious person, trusting in your church work and benevolence to save you, think again. These chapters have put a death blow to such a belief. Forgiveness and salvation is a gift, and it can only be received by faith, not by works.
If you have never received this precious gift, then do so today! If you have experienced the wonderful grace of the Lord, then don't lose time telling others the good news. There are untold millions that are still untold!
Monday, June 6, 2011
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” -- Romans 1:16-18
Following the closing thought from yesterday's devotional; is there any hope for those who are the enemies of God? Especially since the wrath of God still remains on rebellious unbelievers. The answer is yes, there is a power that will break through and bring everlasting change to all who believe. The righteousness of God is available by faith, and with it comes freedom from sin and hope for the future.
This passage should greatly encourage your heart my friend. Sharing your faith with those living under the wrath of God can be done with true expectation. We are proclaiming the gospel, which is the "POWER" of God for salvation. So be confident as you witness, that God will definitely use you to "...snatch others from the fire and save them". (Jude 2)
Sunday, June 5, 2011
"The punishment of your iniquity, O daughter of Zion, is accomplished; he will keep you in exile no longer; but your iniquity, O daughter of Edom, he will punish; he will uncover your sins." -- Lamentations 4:22
Peter wrote in 1 Peter 4:17, "For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?" This statement is not far from the above passage concerning the impending punishment reserved for the enemies of Judah. Both warnings are sobering for those outside the family of faith.
I find no pleasure in promised judgment, but when the Lord deals as firmly with the very apple of His eye, how will He deal with His enemies? While His hand is heavy on His own to bring about repentance and renewal, the day will come when the children of darkness will fall into the hands of the Living God... and that will be a fearful thing. (Hebrews 10:31)
The simple conclusion my friend is for us to pray for our lost community. Furthermore, let us witness with fervor to "...snatch others from the fire and save them". (Jude 23)
Saturday, June 4, 2011
"For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men." -- Lamentations 3:31-33
When I found the need to discipline my sons in their younger years, I never enjoyed the process. After all was said and done, I was as much relieved; even more than they were. My love for them was a driving force to see them joyful again.
Jesus taught, in Matthew 7:11 "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!" Therefore, if my love was a driving force for my son's happiness, how much more is our Heavenly Father's love for us? As Jeremiah said, "he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love".
While there may be occasions that require a corrective work from God my friend, "He does not willingly afflict". All that He does in our lives comes from a loving heart that desires the very best for His children. In response, consider the words of verse 40, "Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!"
Friday, June 3, 2011
“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”” -- Lamentations 3:21-24
The picture that Jeremiah paints for us is more desolate than one can imagine. The days had become darker than ever and the hardships were too great to bear. Every prophetic warning had come to pass and the chastening hand of God was heavy upon His people. Yet, there was hope. There is always hope when we look to the Lord.
Even when sin has wreaked havoc in our lives and we've lost everything on earth that we valued, the Lord will be our portion forever. His love is steadfast; His mercies are never ending, coming to us fresh every morning; all because His faithfulness is great. In these wonderful truths we will always find hope.Whatever the reason for your discouragement my friend, the Lord is your portion and in Him you may have an undying hope. No matter what may change around you, the Lord is the same yesterday, today and forever, and you can always depend on His faithfulness!
Thursday, June 2, 2011
"She weeps bitterly in the night, with tears on her cheeks; among all her lovers she has none to comfort her; all her friends have dealt treacherously with her; they have become her enemies." -- Lamentations 1:2
When one trusts in someone other than the Lord there is bound to be disappointment. Jeremiah had warned his people in Jeremiah 17:5-6 "Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come." In dark days, there will be no one to comfort.
It is a sad lesson to learn my friend, when you find yourself in the midst of pitfalls from rebellion and your bedfellows are all gone. What's worse is when those who were party companions become accusers that afflict you at every turn.
Make the right choice every day and trust in the Lord and you will be "like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:8)
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
"For because of the anger of the LORD things came to the point in Jerusalem and Judah that he cast them out from his presence. And Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon." -- Jeremiah 52:3
From the earliest of time men have understood the sorrow and great tragedy of being cast form the Lord's presence. Cain spoke of this in Genesis 4:13-14 with the words, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden." There is no greater devastation than to live apart from the Lord's presence.
The unbeliever may not fully comprehend the loss, but when a believer lives in rebellion and suffers the loss of close fellowship with God, there is an emptiness that seems to crush the spirit irreparably. David cried out in Psalm 51:11 "Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me." He knew how great the loss would be from spiritual rebellion and grieving of the Holy Spirit by unrepentant sin.
Treasure your walk with God my friend and never jeopardize the closeness of the Lord by a hard and selfish heart. Join David in Psalm 63:1, "O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water."