Sunday, February 22, 2009

Compassion

This Sunday we were reminded of the compassion and love and mercy that God has for us.  It is only right for us to show compassion and love and mercy to others.  Here is a ministry that is doing that in Ghana, West Africa.  




Pray for the Volta Home for Children.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pray for Glory

We must ask to see God’s glory each day.

Consider the account of the golden calf at Sinai.

The children of Israel grew impatient as Moses was on the mountain. In their arrogant impatience they decided to make their own god and so fashioned a golden calf.

Moses went to God to plead for mercy for the people. After God promised mercy Moses had some other requests that culminated in his request to be shown God’s glory.

God’s reply was to tell Moses that no one could see God’s glory and live. However, he would place Moses in a hole and cover him with his hand and then pass by. After he had made his glory to pass by, God would remove his hand and Moses would then see the remnants of God’s glory.

And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation."

The glory of God is compassion and grace and patience and love and faithfulness and forgiveness and justice. The glory of God was nailed to the cross, providing man with grace and love and forgiveness as God’s justice was poured out on his son.

Reading this moves me to meditate on these attributes of God and to consider how I can demonstrate them in the fallen world we live in.

When we ask God for compassion and grace, or patience, or forgiveness, or for justice we are asking to see his glory.  It is God's glory to love us.

Pray for his glory in your life, both because you need it and because everyone you come in contact with needs it as well.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Put Your Hope in God

This morning for my devotions I read Psalm 42 and 43. These psalms fit together. Three times in these two psalms the psalmist asks this question, “Why am I so depressed, Why this turmoil within me?” This must have been dark days for him. There are times in all of our lives when we go through the darkness, the pain of doubting that things will ever get better.

At that time, when our souls are asking that questions, we have a choice in how we will answer. The psalmist answered it the same way every time, “Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him,my Savior and my God.”

After I read in Psalms, I read Genesis 39, the account of Joseph in Egypt. In that difficult place Joseph kept his hope fixed on God. Despite temptation to follow the path of fleshly indulgence he kept his hope fixed on God. When lied about and unfairly punished he kept his hope fixed on God. In the typically terse language of Genesis, Moses assures us that God continued to bless Joseph, even in those dark circumstances.

After I read and meditated on that, I read 2 Chronicles 16. This chapter tells us of the last days of Asa, king of Judah, one of the good kings. Asa had instituted massive reforms in Judah, had turned the hearts of the people back to God, had seen God’s blessing throughout his long reign. We are told how Asa continually sought God until we get to chapter 16. Here, near the end of his life, Asa is confronted with an attack from his northern neighbor, Israel. Asa’s response this time is to seek help from Syria, instead of going to God. It is interesting how the Chronicler records the story. Asa is apparently successful, the King of Israel retreats and the immediate crisis is resolved. Then these verses are inserted: “At that time Hanani the prophet visited King Asa of Judah and said to him: “Because you relied on the king of Syria and did not rely on the LORD your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped from your hand. . . ” The prophet goes on to remind Asa of how God has protected him in the past, how he would have had an even greater victory if he had just put his hope in God instead of the king of Syria. Instead of repenting, Asa gets angry and puts the prophet in prison.

The end of the chapter shows that the Chronicler understood completely the issue that was involved here. He says that after reigning for 39 years, Asa had a disease of his feet. Here is how it is put: “In the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa developed a foot disease. Though his disease was severe, he did not seek the LORD, but only the doctors. Asa passed away in the forty-first year of his reign.” For three years Asa suffered with this and did not put his hope in God, only in man’s wisdom.

As I meditate on the Psalmist’s words and these two godly men and their very different responses to dark trials, I am encouraged and I am admonished. I am encouraged that even in the deepest, darkest of times I can and I should put my hope in the Lord. He is accomplishing his purposes in my life and in the wider world around me. I am admonished that so often I forget this principle and blithely seek men’s wisdom instead of going to the Lord and trusting him.

Oh, that I might regularly remind my soul that I must hope in God first, that his mercies are great, that his concern is more than any man’s, that his way is perfect and that he will accomplish his purposes.

I am encouraged by the words of William Cowper’s poem, God Moves in a Mysterious Way.

God moves in a mysterious way

His wonders to perform;

He plants His footsteps in the sea

And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines

Of never failing skill

He treasures up His bright designs

And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;

The clouds ye so much dread

Are big with mercy and shall break

In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,

But trust Him for His grace;

Behind a frowning providence

He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,

Unfolding every hour;

The bud may have a bitter taste,

But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err

And scan His work in vain;

God is His own interpreter,

And He will make it plain.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

That's My King

I shared this with our people today after our lunch. This is a marvelous reminder of who Jesus is. A soul stirring presentation of the attributes of Christ.
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