Good morning and Happy Lord’s Day. Let’s praise Him for this day and all others! He is not just worthy; He is more than worthy!
Everyday I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom Psalm 145:2-3 NIV
Living with a constant devotion to praising God, pleases Him. Can you imagine how happy He is to hear our voices praise Him? We can talk, pray or sing praises, giving our all, knowing He is listening! We win God’s approval when we praise Him! The world around us sings a different tune, one that seeks approval from man, but we are GOD’S servants and servants praise their masters.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 NIV
He makes things simple doesnt he? Servants seek the approval of their Master, not other people. I am thankful for this guiding verse.
Have a great day of praise! May the Lord bless you and make you feel safe and calm and loved in His arms.
Yesterday’s devotion leads us into today’s devotion. Recall how the Pharisees sought to accuse Jesus’ disciples of wrongly picking grain to eat on a Sunday? And how He set them straight because He is Lord of the Sabbath? On that same Sabbath, the Pharisees, again, try to discredit Him, but this time in the temple. Anyone else feel like they are breaking a law themselves by accusing Jesus on any day?
Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” Matthew 12:9-10
The Pharisees seriously think they can trap Jesus with a question. There was a man with a withered hand in the temple, so the Pharisees asked Jesus if it is lawful to heal on the Sabbath. Their intent is to accuse Him of breaking the law if He does so. You think Jesus knew what they were planning in their hearts? Of course! Once again, He set them straight by using an example they could relate to. He answers them with a question first.
He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Matthew 12:10-11 NIV
I find it interesting that the Pharisees’ response is not recorded. They really couldn’t answer because if they did they may look foolish. For example, if they were to answer truthfully and say, “Yes, I would save one of my sheep on a Sunday.” then they would prove Jesus’ point. Men are more valuable than sheep, so if you would save a sheep on Sunday, you certainly can save a person. On the other hand, if they told Him, “No, I wouldn’t save my sheep.”, He would know they are lying. They were literally caught between a rock(Jesus) and a hard place!
So, what did Jesus do next? He healed the man and made the withered hand look whole, like his other hand. Yay, Jesus! Do you think this made the Pharisees gave up their crusade against Him? No. They may have gotten even more determined to accuse Him of wrong. They left, but were now plotting to kill Jesus! Again…do you think Jesus knew their secret plans? Absolutely. Did it keep Him from continuing His Father’s work? No, He stuck to His Father’s plan:)
But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus. Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. Matthew 12:15 NIV
What we can learn from this?
1. Jesus knows our thoughts and words before we speak. He knows those we speak but also those in our hearts. He knew what the Pharisees were up to and He could have been angry or irritated, but He showed His and God’s character by simply answering with wisdom and patience and going on His way, away from the place they were at.
2. It is not wrong to question Jesus. Jesus wants us to come to Him, knowing He has all the right answers. Coming to Him knowing He is the Messiah, God and Holy Spirit in One is the opposite of what the Pharisees did. They came to Him to find something wrong, whereas we come to Jesus to find what is right! They did not want to recognize Him for who He was, so they constantly tried to find something to prove He wasn’t who He said He was. An impossible task!
3. We will be challenged in our obedience to God. Jesus was challenged but stayed the course! Resistance to do God’s will may come from within our own heart or from others. Pride or selfishness will challenge or determine our choices in our Christian walk. So what do we do? Turn to the Bible, prayer and God every time. As in Bible times, some Christians in the world today are persecuted for their beliefs. Officials try to accuse them of fault, which reminds me of the Pharisees’ goal. Here in our country, some groups of people are quick to judge Christians. That’s why what they see from us is so important. We can answer the challenge of adversity or controversy by doing our best not to respond, or when appropriate to respond, doing so with the Lord’s wisdom and patience. We must represent Who we follow. Humility and a desire to please our Father and become more like Christ, is more like what the world needs to see from us.
One for the Journal – For what reasons do you question Jesus? To gain strength , for example? I do! List some things you have asked Jesus for and how He answered. Circle all of His answers. Sometimes He acts in a way we don’t expect, but He always answers. Write Him a thank-You note and keep it in the journal or on a bulletin board.
We are reading how You handled evil intent from the hearts of the Pharisees. Lord, help us be more like You. As tempers flare and the world is arguing, help us to be peacemakers with our words, our restraint and love actions, showing the world there is a better way. Urge our hearts to love deeply with mercy as You do. If we have obstacles in our way to being what You want us to be, show us. Then, give us opportunities each day to honor You. We ask all of these things in Your precious name, knowing that You are able to do more than we can ask or think. We thank You for Your abundant mercy and grace towards us. We love You so very much! Amen
Matthew chapter 12 makes me laugh a bit! Jesus was innocently walking through a grain field with His disciples. The disciples were hungry so they plucked a few grains to eat. Apparently they were not alone in the area. The Pharisees saw what was going on and accused Jesus about the disciples’ behavior. I mean, who watches people walk through a grain field? This suggests to me that they were actively looking for something to accuse Jesus with. They told Him…
“Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath!” Matthew 12:2
It is almost like they said, “Aha! We caught you all breaking a law! What do you have to say for yourself?” They thought they caught Jesus being an accessory to breaking the law about grain and Sundays. A few things we can learn from this:
The Pharisees told Jesus to look. I guess they assumed Jesus did not know what His disciples were doing? They said, “Look!” to tell Him they caught them in the act. Do they not know Jesus sees everything? If they truly believed Jesus was who He said He was, I wonder if they would accuse Him. How could anyone accuse Jesus? He is God after all! Jesus sees all. we do not need to tell Him to look at someone else’s supposed wrong.
Jesus could have just said, “You are not the boss of me or my disciples,” but, He didn’t. He gave the Pharisees specific examples of others doing things against the law on the Sabbath in the temple, yet remaining blameless. He basically tells them they are missing the point and that He has authority.
“He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. Or haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent? I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” Matthew 12: 6-8
Jesus is merciful. He exhibits the mercy that He tells the Pharisees about. He could have only said the last line of His answer to them. “The Son of Man is the Lord of the Sabbath.” But, He didn’t. He stopped to explain, to those who disrespected Him. Isn’t He so awesome in everything He does?
We need to be merciful toward others, because Jesus is merciful towards us. John and I were talking last night about our upbringing. I had a consistent faithful example from my parents and church family, as to how to follow the Lord. John did too. Despite our similar upbringings, we both failed the Lord at times. He was merciful to us, though, even though we went to church and knew The Commandments and much of God’s Word. Jesus didn’t say to us. “Shame on you. You should have known better.” He said, “I have mercy on you. You are forgiven.” We can have mercy on others, even if we think they should have known better.
One for the Journal- In our hearts, do we harbor any resentment towards someone for something they did? When we think we know right from wrong, it is tempting to hold a grudge against someone, especially when they hurt you. In your journal, list some things you have been tempted to judge someone for. Then, pray for those people. If they have hurt you, choose to have mercy on them as Jesus does on us.
You are a great Father, teacher, guide and Forgiver of sins! Give us more of Your love so it cannot help but spill out to others in mercy. Guide us as we read Your Word to follow Your example of being merciful. We want to be like You. Only Your righteousness and mercy has any hope of making us that way. Thank You for doing all You do for us every day. Even in the hard times, we will praise You. You are Lord of every day! We love You!
Ever hear the expression, “Endless Possibilities”? At Lowe’s, you will be confronted with “endless possibilities” of colors when you are trying to choose paint. The possibilities are not endless, but it seems that way. Olive Garden has a few meals on their menu that are labeled, “never-ending.” In reality, the food can run out at some point. It is not actually never-ending, but it may seem like it. How about when we are in a trial that seems endless and you wish it wasn’t? Again it seems like the trial is never-ending, but that is not always the case, thank goodness!
Know who comes to mind when I think of a never-ending trial? Joni Eareckson Tada. At age 17, a terrible diving accident left her paralyzed from the neck down. Can you imagine being a healthy, active, fit person and then becoming a quadriplegic? Wouldn’t the suffering be unbearable? It may seem that way, but to me and to millions around the world, Joni inspires others by gracefully bearing it. But she does not simply ‘bear it”, she chooses to be a light and a hope to people everywhere!
You may ask, “How does she do that?” The fact that she can have joy is a testament to God’s love and faithfulness. Only He can accomplish in her what does not seem possible. She founded Joni and Friends, an organization that provides physical and spiritual support to special needs families worldwide. (joniandfriends.org) She has written many books and devotionals and there are movies about her life. Through all of her outreach, she has this message…God’s mercies and light are new every morning and she is living proof.
God has the power to do the impossible! He doesn’t just seem infinite. He is! In every way, He is infinite.
Great is our Lord, and of great power: His understanding is infinite. Psalm 147:5 KJV
He is everlasting and never gets tired!
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. Isaiah 40:28 NIV
He lives forever and deserves honor forever!
God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To Him be honor and might forever. Amen. 1 Timothy 6: 15-16 NIV
When we have a trial and we will, we do not need just a physical remedy such as doctors, medicine or other practical solutions, we need a supernatural remedy. And we have One! We have our infinite God to supply us, by His mercy, with truly endless understanding, strength and hope. God says:
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
One for the Journal- Write a prayer to God about a trial you are facing or something you do not understand. Often, writing a prayer, versus speaking it, helps me to be more honest and open, because I do not choose my words to be pretty or spiritual- sounding. God wants us to come to Him raw and real. Be still. Be personal. He is our friend and wants to help you. Remember Jesus had the biggest trial of all and even HE turned to God for help. Tell God your needs and ask for His will and everlasting hope.
Trials are always going to be a part of our life. They won’t last forever, though, if we know You, and we do! Your grace and love have no measure when it comes to helping us. How blessed we are just to call You friend! Teach us how to handle trials Your way by giving us the light and energy and strength to bear them. It would be awesome if we could effect someone else with the hope they see in us, all because of You! We want to be totally Yours to use as You see fit. We love You so much! Amen
This may sound like a strange title but I want to share with you how important our gifts are to God. We are all made special and especially for a purpose. I used to write songs about Jesus, thinking I could write a big hit. Nope. I used to write stories too and dreamed of writing a book. That didn’t happen, mostly because I am not sure that is the direction God wants me to go, but I do still love to write anything. God showed me that things we love to do are often gifts we can use fo I loved to write anything. God showed me that things we live to do are often our gifts to use for Him. Peter writes,
“As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” 1 Peter 4;10
Peter doesn’t say IF we have a gift or IF we know what it is or IF we want to minister to others. He says, ‘as’ we all have gifts. He is basically calling us to take what we have received straight from God and use it to love others. We get to do God’s work! What a high calling! Do you know what your gift is? You have one, whether you know it or not! Wouldn’t it be cool to figure out what it is and love others with it?
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ In these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV
I love red letter words of Jesus in the Bible. Jesus’ words deserve a real good listen. He tells us we are to love God with absolutely everything we have. Everything. He tells us this is the number one commandment among all commandments. After that, we are to love our neighbor just as we do ourselves.
So, if we combine the truth in these two verses, the fascinating truth is even bolder. We are meant to use our gifts. We are to love God with all of ourselves. That means using our gifts and loving others with our gifts.
We all have a calling. It is not just preachers who are called to work for God, we all are! I wasted a lot of time trying to figure out what my special gift from God was. I used to write songs, so I thought that was my calling. Nope. I used to do a lot of things but none of them felt right, like what God wanted me to do.
I tried to do things that others did for God, until I realized we are all different. I cannot sing well, nor play an instrument well, nor do I like being in front of people. So how did I discover what gifts I had? I asked God to show me and I waited. It was that simple. I think He was waiting for me to ask Him:)
He showed me that I am an encourager. It is what I love to do! I used to not think that was a gift. A dear friend at church told me my job for God is to be the best Tina that he made me to be. (I love you, Daddy Dillard!) His words resonated with me and I hope it helps you too. Daddy Dillard is my best friend’s dad and I love Him dearly. My real Dad told me something wonderful too! He said that Jesus is the reason he gets out of bed each morning. What a great attitude he has, even with dementia!
What they are both telling me, I will share with you. You do not have to do what everyone else does. You were made to be you. Whatever you love to do or used to love to do, may be a good thing to do for others, for God. Finding your gift will give you a peace and purpose that will change your life. I promise! Just ask Jesus!
One for the Journal- You are special! God made you to be unlike anyone else. Only you can do the job God has for you! Others are missing out if you do not use your gifts! Write the following quote and verse on a card and put it where you will see it often, maybe on the frig or mirror. If you like list all things you like to do or used to like. Can any be used in church or in your community to love others? I pray you discover your gift, if you haven’t already:)
Know that you were created with love, to love.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
Thank You for making us like You did. We know You had reason for doing so. Please help us know what gifts You gave us. Remind us of things we love to do, things that we could share with others, to bless them. Thank You for dying for us. If that wasn’t love, nothing else is. Noone can come close to being as loving as You, but You tell us to love with all that we have. We are so honored that You would even think of living and working through us! We love You so much! Amen
In Genesis 28 and 29 there is an amazing love story. It all started when Jacob’s father, Isaac, blessed him and told him to go to Padan-Aram to find a wife, specifically one of Laban’s daughters. Jacob left at once as his father suggested.
Jacob first saw Rachel, a shepherdess, as she was coming to a well to water her sheep. When he found out she was the daughter of Laban and the sheep were Laban’s he watered his uncle’s flock. Then…he kissed Rachel! He lifted up his voice and wept! In my imagination, I see him rejoicing that God is watching from above and blessing Him as God told him He would, in a dream.
“I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 28:13-14 NJKV
Jacob went to Laban’s house and told him who he was. Laban was thrilled. Jacob stayed there and worked one month for Laban. When he asked Jacob what he wanted for wages, he requested Rachel be given to him. Laban agreed but, as was custom at the time, Jacob had to work for her, seven years! So he did. Simple as that. Isn’t the verse the sweetest?
So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her. Genesis 29:20
After seven years, Laban gave Jacob a bride, but it was his older daughter, Leah, that he sent in to Jacob. His own uncle tricked him! Now, Jacob had a wife but not the one he loved. Jacob told Laban to give Him Rachel as he had worked long and hard for her. Laban agreed, but…yes there is another twist. Laban said Jacob could go ahead and have Rachel in one week, after Leah had one full week. At that point, Jacob would have two wives, but had to work for Laban seven more years.
Jacob put up with all that Laban did because He loved Rachel. When Jacob left to find a wife, I doubt he imagined working seven years, getting married to “not Rachel”, then working seven more years for a second bride, Rachel. Despite Laban’s tricks, which were probably done out of a father’s love for Leah and for the custom that older daughters marry before the younger, Jacob did whatever it took to deserve the one he loved.
What can we learn from this? Just everything that matters. True love does what it takes. It is that simple to understand and that difficult to do when we face difficulties. We may have plans and they may be God-honoring plans, but they may not go as we expect. God may have a different plan than we think. But we need to press on. Disappointment is real. When disappointment comes, and it will, we can look at our prize, Jesus! He is worth working a lifetime for! Just remember, and I preach to myself most…anything that is in the way of our relationship with Jesus, He can remove or help us get through!
One for the Journal- List a few things that could easily hold you back from Jesus. Whether it be pride, other sins, or unforgiveness perhaps, write them down. Bring them into the open and talk to Jesus about them. Then, listen to Him. He will speak into your sincere heart. He loves you! He showed you on the cross. He showed us all the meaning of true love:)
You are so dear to us. How can we possibly thank You enough for what You did out of love for us? We want to serve You with a full heart, whatever it takes. Please show us if we are harboring love or strong attachment to anything in the world that takes our eyes off the One we love more. We know You know all things and we do not. When things do not go as we planned, remind us that our disappointments are an opportunity for us to look more directly at Your plan. We trust You to arrange what it best for us. We love You so much! Amen
There is a kind of spiritual “hearing loss” that happens in prayer. We sometimes miss hearing what the Lord wants to say. There is a still small voice that comes to us when we come to Him in prayer, still and small, silent and humble. I have had to remind myself of this multiple times, to sit and listen. I often get too wrapped up in asking for the Lord’s guidance and giving Him my prayer requests, that I do not stop to listen to what He may ask of me.
When my pastor told me once that we should just sit still and be with God sometimes, I was confused. I didn’t understand how that would be better than communicating with Him. Now, I do. The way I see it, we honor God when we are quiet because we are respecting that it is His voice that is more important than ours. Plus, it is good just to be with Him without asking for anything and appreciating that He is always there for us. We can commune with God! Commune with our Creator! Webster’s Dictionary defines commune as intimate fellowship or rapport. What a privilege to be able to have that time with the Lord!
I just had a a thought.. What if God graded us on our listening skills? What if God wants to tell us something and He cannot because we are in a hurry with our prayer? We will never know unless we are quiet with Him. Our souls do need rest at times and it is very restful to sit with the Lord and appreciate that He is in control and He may have something to say. Prayer is all about Him. David acknowledges this often. He exalts God over and over for His faithfulness in answering prayers. David tells us what God says…
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 NIV
Prayer can be a time of refreshing, not just requesting. Joy comes when we spend time with the One our soul loves. We can rest on His promises and rest in His presence. David almost repeats Himself in the same chapter below. He knows the value of praying with God and receiving rest and hope.
Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Psalm 62:1NIV
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Psalm 62:5 NIV
How about we just stop the devotion here and leave more time for prayer? How exciting that we can be with God and we do not need to talk! Maybe we can strengthen our listening skills:) Maybe the Lord will ask us to do something for Him. What an honor!
One for the Journal- Write a prayer to God. Write to Him about your struggles and requests then praise Him for who He is. Now the best part. Sit still and just feel Him near. Think of all He has done for you. Rejoice in your heart that He lives there. Just be with Him. He may or may not have something to speak into your heart, but there is still so much rest and hope to be found in your quiet time with Him.
Have we told You lately how awesome You are? We will tell You again and again. You are beyond anything we deserve. You are always here for us. We want to be quiet more often in prayer and let You do the talking if You want. Teach us a new and better way to be with You. Calm our hearts and minds so we can feel Your presence fully. We always want more of You and we want to hear what You have to say always. We love You so much! Amen
With more than a month before Valentine’s Day, the stores are already loaded with red hearts, chocolate candy and huge stuffed animals with a high level of cuteness, to tempt your wallet. I feel bombarded when I visit a store for necessities and what I want is moved back in the store, to make room for Valentine presents the store hopes I will buy. They are selling the idea of love. They are banking on the fact that we all want to celebrate love.
Love is more than emotion. It is action. God loved us and sent Himself and His love to us in the form of Jesus. He also sent the Holy Spirit of love to live in us after Jesus went to heaven. God is all about love. In a way, Jesus was, and is, God’s ‘valentine’ to us. From the day we ‘buy into’ that love until the day we die, we are bound in love with Him. Wait…that’s not quite right. He is in us and we are in Him until the day we die and beyond! Can you fathom how much love He has, that He cannot stand to be separated from us, EVER?
Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:7-8
Love is stronger than hate. God proved that by sending His only Son to people that would hate Him. Love is stronger than hate. Jesus proved that. Jesus died on the cross for all, even those who hated Him. Love is stronger than hate. The Holy Spirit proves that every day in us. We have a supernatural love in us that loves others despite how they feel about us. Love is stronger than hate. Now, more than ever, the world needs to know what we know…these greatest actions of love. Like me, you might be thinking, “But there’s SO much hate and anger and divisiveness in the world. Can we really make a difference?” Yes. The Bible tells us that what we have in us, the Spirit of God, is greater than any spirit in the world!
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 1John 4:4-5 NIV
There are so many major differences between our viewpoint and the world’s. Here are a few:
The world’s viewpoint is based on self. Our viewpoint is from heaven. It is higher. It is denial of self.
The world’s viewpoint is what they feel like saying at the time. Our viewpoint is what God says! It is obedience to what God says, not ourselves.
The world exalts itself. We, as children of God exalt Him. He is higher, better, more, fuller, perfect (and we, ourselves, are not.)
We can only keep our God-focus when we are deeply rooted in Him and His love. In Ephesians 3:16-19, Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians describes the extent and treasure of God’s love:
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
One for the Journal- Today write down 10 things or people you love a lot. Next write down ten things God loves. Make sure to put your name on that list! Then, consider how you can show God He is number one on your list today. An idea…what if we wrote on a card… “God what can I do today to show You I love You?” What if we read that card the minute our feet hit the floor in the morning? I just wrote my card and will ask that each day.
Dear Father in Heaven,
We are so humbled to even say Your name because of who You are. You are God! You are also the definition of love. May all we do and say and think and plan relate to You and Your love. Thank You for Your love that sustains us in a world of hurt and anger that confuses us. We want Your love and Spirit to fill us with what we need to accomplish Your will of loving others with actions, despite theirs. You loved us even they we are imperfect. The way we interact with the world needs to be all about You and Your love, not about what we do, but why we do it. We love You so much! Amen
It is a southern thing, perhaps, to ask your dinner guests to ‘come hungry.’ If you have ever been told to come hungry, then you have been invited to share a big meal by someone else’s hands. It is an act of hospitality and love. Someone wants to, on purpose, prepare a meal that will satisfy your hunger. You know who always wants us to come hungry so we can be filled? Jesus.
“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:33
That is great news! We will not lack spiritually if we dine on His sustaining food. He is speaking of spiritual hunger. What a blessing to have Him to run to when we are spiritually hungry or we want to thank Him for feeding us. As hands prepare a meal in love, so the scars in His hands prove He did the work of preparing a meal that lasts forever and a forever home. With Jesus, we will never be uninvited or hungry or homeless. The Bread of Life and the Living Water that Jesus is will sustain our hearts and souls. Isaiah tells us what the Lord says:
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. Isaiah 55:1-3
Notice above how many times He uses the word ‘come’ and ‘hear’ and ‘give ear’ and ‘listen’ What an invitation we have been given! We can come and receive all that we hunger and thirst for, the good, rich food of the Lord! He spared no expense for us. He gave all that He could possibly give, Himself.
I feel both convicted here and also extremely thankful. The convicted part…Often, I donate money to the needy at the cash register when the cashier asks me. Why? For the same reason Jesus did, because He could and did, because He was asked and there was a need. I feel convicted to carry that thought process to my home and give away what I have extra of. As I tell cashiers when they ask for donations, “Yes, I will give. If I am able to spare a dollar, and someone needs it, shouldn’t I always do it?” This is in NO way a credit to me, but the Lord telling me to be thankful for what I have and be generous with it.
The thankful part”…There was a time when I couldn’t give anything away because I had so little. He has blessed me with what I need to live on and more. Whatever we give out of love for Jesus must be generous, as He was generous with the life He gave. Hospitality towards others is hospitality toward Jesus:
And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ Matthew 25:40
The Lord put a lot on my heart this morning, so it may seem I got off track, but I just write as He leads my simple brain and heart. The Lord will always feed us what we need. We can, and should, come hungry to Him, wanting to be feed on all His goodness. As a gesture of love to copy His example to us, let’s think about feeding others physically. It is not just at Christmas time that they are hungry. As we are hungry and God blesses us with food, let’s bless Him right back by being generous to others with what we have.
One for the Journal- List a couple people you know that need encouragement. Can you meet their need? A note, phone call or a meal can totally change someone’s day and make them feel loved as the Lord makes us feel loved. What are your spiritual needs? Come to Jesus hungry today, asking for spiritual nourishment you need from Him. It is not selfish to ask for encouragement from Him. He will always give it!
Fill our minds today with Your goodness. We may have resisted being generous at times, with what You have given us. Help us to listen to what You need us to hear about coming hungry and feeding the hungry. Help us to give for Your sake as well as for others. Keep prodding us as your sheep to stay on right paths and feed on Your Bread of Life. Thank You for what You did for us on the cross and still do for us. We love You so much! Amen
We are in a storm. The thunder and lightning are arguing with each other. The ocean is all riled up and wave after wave crashes the beach, taking more sand with each attack. The dark sky is angry and its fast-moving clouds threaten to explode with a flood. That is how I see our world at times. It is enough to make one ask, “God, when will this storm end?”
We are in a storm of broken relationships. Differing political opinions are coming before our love for each other. The future looks bleak. As the churning waves of opinion, grit, stubbornness and pride hit us, some of us go down with it. We see others as our enemy because they believe differently, and we clash, threatening to explode. The world is flooded with tears over the state of our country. We feel like we are drowning in an angry sea.
When afraid we must go straight to Jesus. As He beckoned Peter to join Him in a walk on the sea, He beckons us to trust Him and His Father and walk on top of the storm. That may not sound like solid ground, but walking towards Jesus is always the safest place to walk. We can stand upon His promises! The Bible tells us what He will give us if we ask, peace!
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 NIV
That precious peace, that makes no sense sometimes that we should have it, during a storm, is much like walking on water. It truly is the “peace that transcends all understanding.” Jesus tells us,
“And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!” John 16:33 The Passion Translation
His name is “Conquerer! ” Our name is “Courageous.” As Jesus bore the cross because He knew what awaited Him, and He obeyed His Father. Let us also bear the trials of this world because it is God’s will and because we have hope and a home in heaven to look forward to!
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:2-3 NIV
When we are in a storm, and we are, let’s keep our eyes on the One who saves and the One who made us. Our relationship will keep our hearts light with His amazing peace! We are only here for a moment. We can not only endure, but thrive on peace and visions of what is waiting for us in heaven. We will see Jesus someday! That thought alone brings so much joy!
One for the journal- Write out three promises in the Bible that that bring you joy, such as the one above about peace we are promised. An idea…consider putting your Bible in front of the tv or in a place you will see often, as a way of reminding yourself that the Good News in the Bible gives peace:)
Thank You for calling us to You and holding us up in turbulent times. Your peace makes all the difference in our sometimes crazy world. Thank You for giving us courage to weather the storms. Give us courage also to tell others who makes us calm. We have full confidence that You will deliver us from any doubt or trial we have. You are our Rescuer and Conquerer! We praise You for Your obedience to Your Father, Our Father. We love You and will obey too. Amen