Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Patience & Power in the LORD

     Today as I was doing my devotional readings, God gently spoke to me.  I have started to notice, (yes, some very obvious things take much longer for me to observe), that God can be very blunt, very subtle, gentle, obvious, etc--in other words, He can speak to you however He sees fit, but it is usually how it will get across to you the best.  Whichever method He uses, it will always be profound, and it will always get His point across.
     As I have been dealing with some spiritual battles of late, (of my own doing), God has abeen dealing with me.  He never lets me go, for He is a good God, Father, Lord, Master, Saviour, Friend....He loves me too much.  I never exactly know how God will speak to me through the Bible as I read, and when I ask Him to reveal Himself to me and what He wants me to learn, I never know quite what to expect.  Sometimes I think I am going to get a real whopper of a spankin'; and, sometimes, I do.  Other times, I just am clueless, and get wonderfully surprised at His power.  Today, I was definitely amazed by my Master...again.
     Sometimes the directness of our Lord Jesus Christ to the problems at hand, are eerily right on the nose.  I mean, the Precious Lord and Saviour of my life puts His finger right on the dot, without error, without being even a millimeter off point, of the issue. WOW!  I know I should not be surprised, but it sends chills up and down my spine.  There are times I feel like maybe there are more important things going on for Him, and my issues are waiting in line.  He points out to me, most definitely, that He is aware; and, I do not know whether to cry, shout for joy, or run...I just do not know.  I mean, this is the CREATOR, SAVIOUR, and GOD--What would you do when He shows you He has a specific interest in you?
     Today, he shared with me His wisdom, and if I am smart, I will heed it.  "That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God....Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD."--I Corinthians 2:5; Psalm 27:14.  When you are paying attention and listening to God, you will hear Him and see His love for you.  I am thankful He gave to me today a listening and attentive heart.  Otherwise, I probably would have missed these precious words of love.
     I find myself all too often taking heed to man's words of wisdom.  I might get caught up in what a person is saying:  whether they are preaching, teaching, or offering advice/opinion.  I will say to myself:  "Well, they must know what they're talking about, for God's using them." 
     Most certainly He uses His children, but I should not be taking their views or words as the Gospel.  I need to take the Gospel as the Gospel.   My faith needs the rest solely on the cross, God's power, not man or man's wisdom.
     I also need to be patient as God builds my faith.  It is not going to be this colossal mountain of faith; though, if it is in His will, it could be.  I need to be patient as God works within me.  He will strengthen my faith and my heart, but He is taking His time with me:  so that I do not overload and explode.  I know He knows me better than myself, and many times what I think I need right now, is not what I need right now. Rather, I receive bit-by-bit that which I need, so that I will be steady throughout this journey. I also need to stay in His Word and prayer to keep receiving that bit-by-bit that I need.
     I am glad that our God is a personal, caring, loving, and gentle Lord.  He knows how much we can bear, and does not overwhelm us to the point of not being able to endure.  Just contemplating Him for a minute makes my spirit well up inside of me.  Thank You, my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the King.  Thank You for loving me and setting me free.

Friday, August 1, 2008

My First August Devotion

     I am so excited over the devotion I had today!  God really opened my eyes and had me pay attention to Him, and boy was it worth it!  I would like to share today regarding this wonderful time with the Lord and Saviour of my life!
     I am reading out of a KJV One Year Bible, which has put together passages so that one will be able to read the whole Bible in a year.  Today I read out of II Chronicles, Romans, Psalms, and Proverbs.  I am really enjoying reading about King Hezekiah, for his heart truly was seeking the Lord.  Specifically, I like how his desire to obey the Lord, out of his love for Him, caused him to take action for a nation that was backslidden.  While reading some of it, (though I know it is dealing with Israel), I could not help but think of the United States of America.  I love my country, my people; yet, we as a nation are so far gone from the Lord, just as Israel in King Hezekiah's reign.
     
"And be not ye like your fathers, and like your brethren, which trespassed against the LORD God of their fathers, who therefore gave them up to desolation, as ye see. Now be ye not stiffnecked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the LORD, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified for ever: and serve the LORD your God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you. For if ye turn again unto the LORD, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him." 
II Chronicles 30:7-9

     We have not had a truly God-fearing leader for some time.  Of all the time I have been allowed on this earth, I cannot remember ever having had anyone lead our country, who was solely relying upon God. I cannot comment on a single person's salvation, but I can see with my own eyes that our nation is not what it once was.
     The first President of the United States of America, George Washington, gave this prayer to the Almighty God, "...Which appears on a plaque in St. Paul's Chapel in New York City and at Pohick Church, Fairfax County, Virginia"--America's God and Country, Encyclopedia of Quotations, pg. 647:

'Almighty God; We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy Holy protection; and Thou wilt incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to Government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow Citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the Field.  And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that Charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the Characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation.  Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.'"

     Needless to say, we are not the "happy nation" we could be.  Lusts are never being satisfied.  The only one who can satisfy is Jesus Christ; but, one must repent first, and repentance is a dirty word in our day and age.
   
"So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh even unto Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them. Nevertheless divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem. Also in Judah the hand of God was to give them one heart to do the commandment of the king and of the princes, by the word of the LORD. And there assembled at Jerusalem much people to keep the feast of unleavened bread in the second month, a very great congregation." 
II Chronicles 30:10-13

     So, those in charge of sharing the message from the king to the people were "laughed...to scorn, and mocked..."  People sharing the message from the KING today are dealt with in the same manner...Most of the time.  Yet, as we see just in the next sentence, there were a few that were told the message and were humbled by it.  We can experience the same blessing, but we must tell the message first.  Our nation needs people who are truly saved to do as the Lord says:   reach out to those who are lost and confused, and share the message that God gives in His Holy Word.  Then, we can see a people humble themselves through the power of God's Word:  Jesus Christ.

"For there were many in the congregation that were not sanctified: therefore the Levites had the charge of the killing of the passovers for every one that was not clean, to sanctify them unto the LORD. For a multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim, and Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet they did eat the passover otherwise than it was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, the good LORD pardon every one That prepareth his heart to seek God, the LORD God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary. And the LORD hearkened to Hezekiah, and healed the people." 
II Chronicles 30:17-20

     Are we willing to pray for a people who have not yet been cleansed?  Jesus Christ is our passover, and His blood our cleansing.  There are some who do not realize that they need to first be sanctified by Jesus Christ; are we willing to pray for them that they may see?  I know that many times I fail in praying for my lost friends and family.  I get so caught up in my own selfish desires, or I simply do not contemplate the situation of my nation.  Yet, I must!  God is allowing me to be here, and I need to pray for those who are not cleansed in the blood of the blessed Passover--my LORD and SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST!  I want to see my people healed!

"And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah, and wrought that which was good and right and truth before the LORD his God. And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered." II Chronicles 31:20, 21

     These last two verses are convicting to me, but also encouraging.  I am convicted, for I know I do not always do what is good, right, and honest before my God.  I do not always do with all my heart the service of the Lord to His Church, nor do I obey His commandments, nor do I seek Him as I should.  I am a horrible sinner, yet God loves me. Praise His name, He sees me through Jesus Christ!
     I see myself as I am, a sinner; and I aspire to be always like Christ.  Yet, I set myself up to fall every time I choose wickedness over righteousness.  Every moment I choose to do things my way, I know I am going to mess up things.  Yet, when I seek God with all my heart, I will prosper like Hezekiah did!  That indeed is my confidence in the Lord:

"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths...The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is sweet reward." 
Proverbs 3:5, 6; Psalm 19:7-11

     I am encouraged by Jesus Christ, the Word of God:  "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men." John 1:1-4.  He is my life and my light.  He is my reward.  He is the reason I am not going to hell and the lake of fire.  I know I deserve hell and the lake of fire, for I am a horrible sinner.
     Yet, because He loves me enough to have accepted me at the age of twelve, when I humbly pleaded for His forgiveness, turning away from living the way I always had (my way:  trusting in myself to get to Heaven), desiring things His way (righteousness), and trusting Him as my Saviour and Gate to Heaven--He will not let me die and go to Hell.  He is not like people, for I can trust Him.  I cannot trust man's word, for even when they mean well, keeping their word can be difficult.  It is not difficult for God to keep His Word.
     So, if God can do that for me, He can do it for a nation who is repentant as well.  Pray for our nation....Pray for our nation! Pray that they will get saved, and turn from their wickedness.  Pray that they will see they are sinners, but that they can be sinners saved by God's grace!

"Unto thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me. Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause. Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness' sake, O LORD. Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way. The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way. All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies. For thy name's sake, O LORD, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great." 
Psalm 25:1-11
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