Faithful in Small Things

Small Things

As I sit here really struggling over today’s entry, I am reminded of the verse that talks about our being faithful in small things. I want God to do big things in me and through me but am I doing the small things faithfully?

How about you? Let’s work through this together.

Matthew 25:21 ESV

“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”

At a Full Run

I love to watch horse racing, but I do not bet or even keep up with stats. I just love to watch them at a full run! It takes my breath away!

Years ago, David had a horse. Her name was Trudi. He got her when she was young before she was saddle broken. He slowly, patiently gained her trust as he put different parts of her equipment on to help her get accustomed to it. If he went too fast, added too much too soon, she would freak out the way horses do. After many hours of patiently working with her, he was able to ride her. Each step of the process was leading to an end result. He needed her to trust him so he could trust her. Their relationship was one of mutual trust.

Walking before Running

Like Trudi, racehorses cannot start out running at a full gallop. They have to be lead, taught, and trained. The rider must know he can trust the horse to walk, obey, and stop when he needs her to.

Racehorses have to be faithful with a little before they are given much. The rider must know that if he bearly pulls back on that bridle, that the horse will immediately obey. Then he can let her run.

Let’s have a closer look at our verse:

“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Jesus told this parable. This master had left his servant in charge of some of his money while he was away on business. The servant had taken the money, invested it and earned more money for the master. Obviously, the master was very pleased when he returned.

“‘You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much…”

Like the horse and rider, because of the servant’s faithfulness, he was given more freedom to be a benefit to the master.

“…Enter into the joy of your master.'”

Because he had been faithful, this servant was honoured and given more responsibility.

Little to Big

I am easily distracted and tempted to not focus where I should. I let other things get in the way until the things God has called me to be faithful to do get my leftovers.

This I know: A million good things will never replace the one great thing. No matter how trivial the great thing seems, I (we) must choose that one thing if I am being obedient to God. Obedience is where the big things are… the great things.

The life of a believer, me, you… any believer is to be to serve and obey God above everything else. This is how we get to see God do the big things.

How about you? Do you want to see God do big things in you and through you?  Maybe not even public things, but big things?

May we be faithful in the things we are doing right now in our churches, our jobs, our families, our homes… That is where He has us, and I for one am going to be more focused on the things I know He is calling me to do – no more leftovers.

When God bearly, pulls back on my bridle, I want to immediately obey.

Let’s Pray:

Thank You, Lord, for Your Word. Help us to seek You and follow You in all we do. Please, help us to be faithful in what we are supposed to be doing on a daily basis. Help us not to be distracted by a million good things and sacrifice the great things You are leading us to. Make us what You want us to be. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

Go Deeper Today:

Matthew 25:14-30

 

 

Good Things

The Worst Thing Ever

Have you ever had something happen to you that was so bad that you qualified it as the worst thing that had ever happened to you? Think back to those days. Looking back on them, what good things or even great things did God do as a result of that terrible thing?

Our Passage Today:

Today, we are studying in the Book of Philippians. It is actually a letter written by Paul to the new Christian church in the Greek city of Philippi. At the time, Paul was in prison because of his preaching about Christ. He and some others had travelled there and preached earlier. Many people became Christians because of the preaching. Paul helped them set up a church there. This letter was to encourage them and help them grow in their relationship with Christ.

One other note: Greece was not a country with a Hebrew background. This church was made up of mostly people who came from a pagan background based in Greek mythology. They worshiped many, many false mythical gods. Christianity was a completely different way of life for the Philippians and unlike us, they did not have easy access to God’s Word, so letters like this were invaluable to them.

Philippians 1:12-14 NIV

“Now, I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the Word of God more courageously and fearlessly.”

Huge Influence

Paul was a dynamic preacher and leader – gifted by God – he had a huge influence in this new church because he had been the one who had introduced these people to Christ, to begin with.

A Leader Out of Commission?

When Paul was imprisoned it would be very easy for the new Christians to become discouraged and even fall back to their old ways of thinking. However, that is not what happened – not at all.

Let’s look at Verse 12:

“Now, I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.”

God’s Work

So you would think that with Paul unable to be free to preach and share the good news of Jesus Christ, that his work would stop. If it had been his work it probably would have. But, this was God’s work and God continued it even when Paul was physically stopped. As a matter of fact, it grew even more than it had been growing!

FYI: The word “gospel” is the good news of Jesus Christ, which is the message of His saving work on the cross and new life in Him.

Now Verse 13:

“As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.”

Right Place, Right Time

Because Paul was imprisoned everyone in the place he was being held was exposed to his message/purpose. He had access to people that he would not have been able to get to if he was not incarcerated there.

The ESV (English Standard Version) says, “…the whole imperial guard…” instead of “…the whole palace guard…”. That sounds like a lot of people to me. How about you?? And, I am guessing these people went home and told their families what they had heard, too.

Our God is so amazing!!

Verse 14:

“Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the Word of God more courageously and fearlessly.”

Even Bolder!

Instead of creating fear in the “brothers in the Lord”, Paul’s imprisonment actually made them bolder about their faith. Actually, what made them bolder was the Holy Spirit of God at work in their hearts. God used these “brothers in the Lord” to continue to advance the gospel even when the preacher they had been led by was out of the picture.

It Changed the World

It is so incredible that the Lord used this amazing time of excitement and persecution to change the world. Because of what happened in the first few years after Jesus Christ died on the cross, rose from the dead, and then ascended into heaven, we have the Word of God as we know it.

All these New Testament books/letters are a result of Paul, for one reason or another, not being able to get to these new churches that he wanted to encourage, correct and lead:

  • Romans
  • 1 & 2 Corinthians
  • Galatians
  • Ephesians
  • Philippians
  • Colossians
  • 1 & 2 Thessalonians
  • 1 & 2 Timothy
  • Titus
  • Philemon

Paul’s ministry begins in the Book of Acts, but it is not a letter that he wrote to one of the churches. I encourage you to check it out!

 

Talk to Me!

I would love to hear about “worst things” in your life and how God did good to great things as a result. Write in the comment section and I will get in touch. Comments only go public if I post them so your story is safe with me!

Let’s Pray:

Thank You, Lord, for showing us Your beauty and Your power in Your Word today. Lord, I ask You to intervene in our hearts and lives for Your glory. Help us to make ourselves available and ready to answer when You call. Please help us not to be gripped with fear but gripped with a passion for You and holy love for the people in our lives. Help us live our lives out loving You and help us bring You glory, make You famous, every day. In Jesus beautiful, mighty name, I pray. Amen!

Go Deeper Today:

Act 13:1-12

 

 

 

Overflowing with Hope

Very First Post:

This was my very first post when I started the Tapestry Devotional. I know very few people were seeing it then so I thought I would share it again today, and begin our new series of devotionals next time.

Thanks to all of you who join me each day!

I pray that God is using these devotionals in your life for His glory!

Overflowing with Hope

Romans 15:13

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you would overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

 

This has been a life-changing verse for me. Actually, it has been a life-giving, sanity-saving verse for me over the years. I heard a speaker, named Mary Glenn Peoples talk about it at an event I attended. I have made it, actually, I should say, God has made it a very important part of my life since then. He has helped me to understand it more and more deeply and see how it applies in so many different situations.

One of My Lowest Points

In the darkest deepest depression I personally have ever experienced, He basically injected this verse into my brain. At the time, I did not have the strength to go after it for myself. It was miraculous and I will never forget it. He is so awesome and so faithful even when we are totally wimping out or totally overwhelmed!

Let’s Go to the Verse:

“May the God of hope…  “

If you are depressed and you are a Christian ask God to renew your hope and help you keep in mind that the hope you have is in Christ – He is our hope. This kind of hope is not a wishing on kind of hope. It is a believing on kind of hope.

“…fill you with all joy and peace… “

All, not just a small amount of but all of it! I just love that!!

Joy is that underlying bubbly ease and contentment that we as believers can have in Christ. It is not the same as happiness. Happiness is situational. It is about what is going on around us. Joy is positional. It is about where we are and who we are in Christ.

Peace is not only a lack of war and angst. It is residing at the source. When we are peaceful, its because we have what we need.

“…as you trust in Him…  “

Clearly, this is happening as we read it and it makes this an if/then statement. If I do not have joy and peace it is because I am not actively trusting God – the God of hope.

“…that you may oveflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

I tend to pour carbonated drinks, especially root beer entirely too fast. I do not have to tell you what happens but I will. It overflows. When it overflows it gets all over the outside of the glass, the counter, etc. If we are overflowing with hope it is going to get all over the place. Everyone we bump into is going to get hope on them. Better than root beer, right??

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope… “

All of this happens by the power of the Holy Spirit. Anything we do that glorifies God is because the Holy Spirit helps us to do it. That is our purpose for being here and He helps us. He does not leave us on our own. That is a really good thing!

Filled to Overflowing

God’s Word is so clear about His character and intention for us. He wants us to walk closely with Him. He wants us to have hope, peace, and joy. Our wonderful God has made a way for us to be reconciled to Himself and not only that but to have an abundant life too!

God has given us His Holy Spirit to help us in so many different ways and here are a few: He helps us understand the Scripture; trust God; have peace. He helps us speak up when we need to and keep our mouths shut when we need to. Walking closely with God, filled with joy and peace and overflowing with hope, powered by the Holy Spirit – surely, this is abundant life!

Ask yourself these questions and just think about where you are in your life now:

  • Are you trusting God today?
  • What is between you and being filled with all joy and peace today?
  • Are you worried about something that is taking its toll on you?

God really is big enough, He really does see your struggle, and He deeply cares for you. 

To Go a Little Deeper Today: 

Read Psalm 40:1-3

A Beautiful Song

A Beautiful Song

Today, we bring this series in Psalm 103 to a close. What a wonderful and beautiful psalm/song King David wrote for us to use to praise God!

Today’s Passage:

David started out this song by telling himself all the reasons he should be praising the LORD, and he kept it up throughout the entire psalm.

Psalm 103:19-22

“The LORD has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all.

“Praise the LORD, you His angels, you mighty ones who do His bidding, who obey His word. Praise the LORD, all His heavenly hosts, you His servants who do His will. Praise the LORD, all His works everywhere in His dominion.

“Praise the LORD, O my soul.”

Emphasis on Praise

The Book of Psalms puts huge emphasis on praising the LORD. Over and over again throughout Psalms, we are told to praise Him. In Christian circles today, we hear the term “praise and worship” often. But what does it really means to praise the Lord?

In my own words, I say that it means to give Him His due credit – in our hearts and out loud. We can say “Praise the Lord!” when good things happen and we know He acted on our behalf to make it happen. He is always intervening and making a way for His children. We definitely need to acknowledge that when we know it is from Him.

Good Gifts

James says, in his letter to the church in Jerusalem, that every good and perfect gift is from the Father, who does not change. (James 1:17) So when He gives us, His children,  good things we should show Him gratitude and give Him due credit as well – praise.

Due Credit

His interventions can be as small, and seemingly trivial, as finding a good parking place in a place like Commercial Street in Portland or getting caught by a traffic light when you are running late. Huh??

Right, that is not a typo. That traffic light may keep you out of an accident that would have happened two blocks up the road. Sometimes it is very obvious and sometimes it is not. Sometimes it is a small thing and sometimes it is a huge thing. God is so good and we do not even know how many times He has intervened for us.

Let’s go to Verse 19:

“The LORD has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all.”

Established

I love the word, “established”. It means built to last. His throne in heaven is as eternal as He is. His eternal-ness is a lot for me to wrap my mind around but it is, nevertheless, true! He and His throne (which signifies His reign/rule) have always been and they will always be.

He Rules

Even though we look around this chaotic world and it looks like no one is really in charge, we can know that “His kingdom rules over all”.

His throne and His kingdom are eternal. Though now, we may not be able to see that as clearly as it actually is, one day (according to Philippians 2:9-10)

“…every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”

In other words, one day, every single person will acknowledge that He is Lord and Ruler of all.

Now to Verse 20:

“Praise the LORD, you His angels, you mighty ones who do His bidding, who obey His Word.”

Angels

David separates out three different groups starting in Verse 20. His angels are His mighty ones who help in spiritual warfare. The Bible says that we do not wrestle against flesh but against powers of that work against us to at least keep us in such a mess that we do not glorify God.

There is an account in the book of Daniel that talks about an angel doing battle with a “Prince of Persia” for 21 days as he attempted to get an answer to Daniel. Another more powerful angel named Michael came to help the first angel so that the message could be delivered.

This is all very fascinating to me but we cannot do that rabbit trail today!

Verse 21:

“Praise the LORD, all His heavenly hosts, you His servants who do His will.”

The heavenly hosts are in heaven worshiping and praising God all the time. Heaven is full of voices praising the Lord!

An angel announced the birth of Christ to the shepherds, then a big group of the heavenly hosts joined the angel, praising God – see Luke 2:9-14.

The first part of Verse 22:

“Praise the LORD, all His works everywhere in His dominion.”

So what are all His works?? That is us!! and all of Creation!

Finishing Verse 22:

“Praise the LORD, O my soul.”

And we end like we began. May we praise the Lord with all that is in us and may we be aware of all the reasons we have to praise him! May our lives be a great display of His goodness, His glory, and His praise.

I say to myself, Praise the Lord, O my soul!!

Let’s Pray:

Oh, Lord, I thank You for Psalm 103. I thank You for Your display of love in it. Thank You that You inspired the words that David wrote down. Thank You for all You are doing in our lives. I ask You that You please help us to see You in action in our lives. Help us be aware of how worthy You are of our praise. Make us what You want us to be and help us to glorify You. In the beautiful, glorious name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Go Deeper Today:

Psalm 100:1-5

 

 

 

Love for Generations

Love for Generations

Let’s talk posterity for a minute – generations. Have you ever thought about how much our lives, daily decisions, diet, and so on carry over into our children’s/nieces’/nephews’ lives? Of course, you have! The kids in our lives just see who we really are, don’t they? We cannot fool them for a single minute, no matter how hard we try.

How about your relationship with God? That greatly affects them too, doesn’t it?

Our Passage for Today:

Thinking back over the past few posts, as we have spent time in this beautiful psalm, I see so much emphasis on God’s love for those of us who fear Him. His compassion is so great and He is ready to lavish His love and mercy on us for generations.

Psalm 103:17-18

“But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear Him, and His righteousness with their children’s children – with those who keep His covenant and remember to obey His precepts.

This is our 6th day in this beautiful psalm and tomorrow will be our final day. I hope that it is blessing you. God is so good. It is amazing how His Word can pierce our hearts and make us different! To look back to the beginning of the series,  click here.

Let’s look more closely at Verse 17:

“But from everlasting to everlasting…”

Eternity not only goes on forever into the future but it also goes on forever into the past. The word ‘everlasting’ means eternity, so “from everlasting to everlasting” would mean forever into the past and into the future.

“…the LORD’s love is with those who fear Him…”

Again, we see how important it is that we have a right perspective of God. He is God and we are not. He could wipe us off the face of the earth with a mere thought. Though He is hugely loving and merciful, He is also holy. We must take Him very seriously and we must take the things that are His very seriously. His love is with those of us who fear Him.

“and His righteousness with their children’s children…”

He blesses for generations. He gives us the righteousness of Christ and His love carries forth.

Now to Verse 18:

“…with those who keep His covenant and remember to obey His precepts.”

What is “…with those…”? We see back in verse 17 that it is His love.

A covenant is a promise and precepts are commandments. He knows we will not keep them flawlessly even as His children who fear and love Him. He looks at our hearts. Remember, He knows that we are dust and has mercy for us.

As we walk into the day, today, and the next few days and weeks, I pray that we will be very aware of our desperate need for Him and also very aware of His amazing love for us. May He etch His love on our hearts and change us into the image of His dear Son, Christ Jesus.

Let’s Pray:

Lord, thank You for all that You are doing in our lives and in our relationships with You. Help us to glorify You with our days. Please make us what You want us to be. Grow in us a deep desire to walk closely with You. Help us to understand what fearing You really is. Make our lives a reflection of You. In Jesus’s name, I pray. Amen.

Go Deeper Today: Psalm 104

 

 

 

Life Is Short

Just Dust

Life is short and dust seems so inconsequential. We try really hard to get rid of it, huh? How about a little different perspective on dust.

Our Passage:

For the last few days, we have been studying in Psalm 103. We will continue today and then for probably 2 more days.

Years ago, God helped me to see how great His love and mercy for us is with this passage, especially Verses 13 and 14.

Psalm 103:13-16

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him; for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.”

Let’s begin in Verse 13:

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him;”

A Compassionate Father

For many people, earthly fathers are not a glowing example of compassion. But here the psalmist is indicating a father as he should be. Fathers should be compassionate but strong to lead. I think about Ward Cleaver, from Leave It To Beaver. If my memory serves me well, he was a compassionate yet strong father. A better example would be the father of the prodigal son in the parable Jesus shared during His earthly ministry. You can find this parable in Luke 15:11-32.

The Perfect Father

Human fathers are far from perfect and even the best most loving fathers fail at times. They are human. God never fails – He is truly the perfect Father in every way. And as we read above, He has compassion on those who fear Him.

Those Who Fear Him

Those who fear Him are truly His children. Those who fear Him are the ones who understand the difference between us and Him, and who understand that the only way to get to Him is through Jesus Christ saving us and our actively trusting in Him for forgiveness and reconciliation back to God.

Verse 14:

“…for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.”

This is where God got my attention.

At Creation:

In Genesis 2:7, there is a details account of God creating the first man. It says that He formed him from the dust of the ground and then breathed life into his nostrils.

The way I relate this to me is, I am just dirt, without God breathing life into me, I would not even be here. God knows that I am just dirt that He breathed life into me. He knows how much I need Him minute by minute. He also knows how easily we humans fall into sin and He has compassion for us.

Oh, how He loves us!!

Tiny little rabbit trail:

It is very important that I understand that I am made of dust too. This is not self-deprecation, self-loathing or even false humility. This is being poor in spirit – He is God and I am not. I need Him every single minute of every single day because I cannot do anything of value for Him without Him. If He fails to make my heart beat… it will stop beating. I realize this may seem extreme – but He is God and I am not. This helps me maintain perspective on that fact.

Verse 15:

“As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field;”

During our days, generally, it seems like we are going to live “forever.” But, life is short. Really, our lifespan in comparison with eternity is very short. Even if we live to be 120 years old, eternity is forever into the future. We are like the grass of the field…

Verse 16:

“…the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.”

Think dandelions. The wind blows and they are gone. I know, if you are a gardener dandelions seem to be eternal… anyway, that one flower blows away.

We may leave a small mark on our world but for the most part, we will just be gone – facing eternity with or without God.

But –

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him…”

Oh! Dear friend, how He loves us!! How He loves you!!

Let’s Pray:

Lord, thank You so much for this beautiful passage that helps us know that You love us and intend for us to belong to You and be with You throughout all eternity. Thank You for making a way for us to be with you, through the work of forgiveness Jesus did on the cross. I ask You, Lord, that each person reading this would come to faith in You and be able to trust that they will spend life here glorifying You and then eternity with You in heaven. Make us all what You want us to be. Help us to love You deeply. In the holy perfect name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Go Deeper Today:

Luke 15:11-32

 

 

How Far Does His Love Go?

Being Watched

Most everywhere I have worked in the past 15 years or so, has had surveillance cameras – banks, jewelry stores, health clubs/spas, even fast food restaurants. So, I have gotten accustomed to being watched. I work hard and really try to do my best so it does not usually bother me. There have been times when something has happened like the phone ringing when the owner is not there or them coming out and saying something or doing something that made it obvious that they had been watching. At only one place, years ago, was I ever really bothered by this –  and the reason was that the owner would just pounce without questions or explanation if he/she thought we were not doing what we ought to be doing.

Are We Being Watched?

Yes, we are being watched. Have you ever thought about God as a big, mean, kind of magical giant who is always watching and waiting to pounce on you when you mess up? Like, “If He hasn’t yet He will any minute”. We are being watched, but by a merciful loving God who gives us chance after chance to come to Him.

God is holy, that is for sure. That means He is perfect and sinless, to the point that He cannot even have sin near Him, under normal circumstances. The work Jesus did on this earth, by dying on the cross and paying for our sins, washed those who believe in His perfect sinless blood. Since He did this, we are able to be near God because, as Christians, spiritually we are covered in Jesus’s blood. Jesus Christ reconciled us back to Himself and the Father and the Holy Spirit – One God – 3 in 1.

Our Passage:

We are still in Psalm 103 for a few more days. To see previous devotionals from Psalm 103 look at The Greatest Love, All His Benefits, and Who He is.

Psalm 103:9-12 NIV

“He will not always accuse nor will He harbor His anger forever; He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

We are looking more at who God is today and how He does things. I hope you are reading this entire chapter thoughtfully at least once a day while we are studying it. It really tells us a lot about God’s character.

Let’s go to Verse 9 now:

“He will not always accuse, nor will He harbor His anger forever;”

Because we have all sinned in this life, we are at odds with God from day 1. We are deserving of His accusations and His anger. (One day we will get into how that works.) But, right here His Word says that He will not always be angry and be accusing… who? We will find out in Verse 11.

Now Verse 10:

“…He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.”

What kind of treatment do we deserve because of our sin? According to Romans 6:23, the payment for sin is death.

We can try to justify this and say, “I am not as bad as some people. I have never killed anyone or robbed a bank.” Where that reasoning falls short is in the fact that the standard we are judged by is not other people, but the standard is God Himself.

At work, when I take a chain in to be repaired I measure it. I do not guess how long it is. I measure it against a ruler that is on the edge of the counter. That ruler is my standard for measuring chains.

Like that ruler is for the chain, God, Himself, is the standard we are measured by.

All that being said, this is saying that He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities (another word for sin).

But who is the psalmist talking about???

Verse 11:

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him;”

There it is!! For those who fear Him! That is who all this applies to. Not every person who has ever lived gets this wonderful beautiful merciful treatment. It is for those who fear Him.

His love for those who fear Him cannot be measured. It is as high as the heavens are above the earth! That is HUGE!! His love is extreme!!

Verse 12:

“…as far as the east is from the west, so far He has removed our transgressions from us.”

Another extreme: He takes our sins and separates us and Him from them – as far as the east is from the west.

When we live a life of loving Him and knowing that He is God and we are not; when we know that He loves us and it is in our best interest to obey Him; and when we want His will above all else – we are living life out fearing the Lord. He is not our buddy or our pal. He is God. As believers, we must take Him and our relationship with Him seriously. When we do that, He will make His love evident, even obvious, to us.

How Far Does His Love Go?

My dear friend, His love is so great and so worth whatever we have to give up! His love is the absolute greatest thing in life!

May we all experience the fullness of His love even as we go into this day! I love you and I am praying for you!

How far does His love go? It went all the way to the cross for you and for me. It is as high as the heavens above the earth!

Let’s Pray:

Thank You, Lord, for Your beautiful Word and Your beautiful love. I thank You for bringing us together again today, to share in it! Lord, please help us to seek You and strive to know You well and to glorify You with our lives. Please make us completely Yours. In Jesus lovely name, I pray. Amen.

Go Deeper Today:

Matthew 25:1-13

Who He Is

Who He Is

The entire Bible is about God and who He is. As we read, if we keep that in mind and think about what it is saying about God, then we will get to know Him better.

Today’s Passage:

In the past two days, we looked at Psalm 103 as a whole and then honed in on Verses 1-5. Today, we will be looking at Verses 6-8. This entire psalm is just such a wonderful picture of God and His great love for us! If you want to read the whole chapter, click on the first link above (in the first line of this paragraph).

Psalm 103:6-8 NIV

“The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.

“He made known His ways to Moses, His deeds to the people of Israel: The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.”

Let’s start in Verse 6 now: 

“The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.”

He is Working

We may never see it for ourselves, but God is working for those who are oppressed by others. He may use us at times to intervene but His hands are never tied. He is able to intervene at any time as He so chooses. We do not know the beginning and end of His plan for this person or situation. God does know and He is at work.

Now to Verse 7: 

“He made known His ways to Moses, His deeds to the people of Israel:”

Freeing from Slavery

God heard the cries of the Israelite people when they were enslaved to the Egyptians. He worked amazingly to put Moses in a place where He would later use him to intervene on their behalf. In God’s perfect time, He brought the Israelites out of Egypt with Moses leading them.

Doing Miracles

He did countless miracles as He brought them out of slavery and into the land He had promised them. He made a way for them to get through the Red Sea to the other side on dry ground and away from the pursuing Egyptian army! God made water come from a rock when they could not find fresh water to drink. Then, He made food fall out of the sky when they were hungry. He disciplined them and then He healed them. He proved over and over to them that He is God and He was faithful to them even when they were not faithful to Him.

Consistent

He was and is consistent in who He is. He does not change.

Verse 8:

“The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.”

If you look at the sentence structure, you will see that (in the NIV) this is following the colon at the end of Verse 7. So, the psalmist is saying that this is what God revealed about Himself to Moses and the Israelite people.

Let’s Break It Down into Smaller Parts:

Compassionate

“The LORD is compassionate…”

The AMP uses the word “merciful”. Compassion and mercy are interchangeable with love in Scripture. So, the LORD is loving.

(Reminder: LORD in all caps is the covenant name that the Israelites use for God – Yahweh.)

Gracious

“…and gracious…”

God is full of grace. What does that mean?? To show or give grace to someone is to give them something that they do not earn or deserve. Though we deserve hell because we all sin, we have been given a way to salvation. God made a way for us to live for Him on earth and live with Him throughout all eternity when we die. The key is that we must receive it. We can refuse the terms and live without Him in this life and be separated from Him in hell for all eternity.

How often have you been given something that you did not earn or deserve?

Bears With Us

“…slow to anger…”

Have you ever been around a quick-tempered person? You never quite know what to expect, do you? God is not quick-tempered but bears with us as we learn and grow in our faith and grow in our relationship with Him.

Has Plenty of Love

“…abounding in love.”

He is abounding in love. Abounding is an old word that we do not hear much anymore. It means there is plenty of whatever it is talking about. So, God has plenty of love for us. His love is huge and it is boundless. It does not have boundaries or limits.

God has so much love that He has enough for every human being who has ever lived and who ever will. Wow! It is just crazy that anyone would refuse it. His love can and will absolutely change our lives – for the better!

God, please help us to understand that You love us personally and boundlessly!

He loves you! and He loves me! He loves us more than we can grasp!

AW Tozer said, “What I believe about God is the most important thing about me.”

That is so true! Today, let’s ask God to help us believe that He loves us deeply, personally, and individually… because He does!

Let’s Pray:

Thank You, Lord, for Your great and amazing love. Thank You that You made a way through Jesus’s death on the cross for us to be reconciled to You for now and all eternity. Help us to live in Your love and help us to live to love You back. Please make us what You want us to be. In Jesus’s holy name, I pray. Amen.

Go Deeper Today:

John 17:20-26

 

 

All His Benefits

All His Benefits

Have you ever watched an eagle soaring high in the sky and just thought about how powerful, majestic, and even peaceful they looked?

They did not start there, did they? They climbed against gravity and wind to get to the place where they could just ride the wind with their wings straight out, apparently, just taking in the scenery. The eagle is probably looking for food but, WOW! what a way to grocery shop!

Can you imagine soaring like that? What kind of strength does it take to get to those heights?

Today’s Passage

Today, we are looking at Verses 1-5 of Psalm 103. Please, click here and go back to yesterday’s post and read the entire psalm through at least once, then come back to today’s devotional.

Psalm 103:1-5 NIV

“Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits – Who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, Who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

I hope you will let me know how God is using Psalm 103 in your life as we spend these few days in the chapter.

I, myself, am just overwhelmed by His great love for us… for me. Every single thing that David talks about in this chapter, is there because of God’s great love for us!

So, let’s get into Verse 1:

“Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name.”

Last time, I mentioned that Psalm 103 is Hebrew poetry. What I did not say is that psalms are songs written for the Israelites people to sing together in worship to the LORD.

This first section – Verses 1-5 – is the singer singing to himself. He is telling himself to praise the LORD from the deepest part of himself and why the LORD deserves his praise.

The Amplified Bible (AMP) says Verse 1 like this:

“Bless – affectionately, gratefully praise – the LORD, O my soul, and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name!

This busy world tends to overwhelm the quiet wonderful things that God has for us. We need to stop and consider Him, who He is, who we are, and how He loves us. Then, we will have no choice but to praise Him!

Verse 2:

“Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefites – …”

AMP:

“Bless – affectionately, gratefully praise – the LORD, O my soul, and forget not [one of] all His benefits – …”

God has so very many benefits for us! How could we ever consider all of them. However, for the ones we do think about, we need to affectionately and gratefully praise Him! The more we grow in Him the more benefits we will be able to see in our lives.

Verse 3:

“…Who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases…”

By itself, like this, this phrase, and the next 2 as well, could be taken as a question but of course, it is not. At this point, David has moved into listing some of God’s benefits.

Forgiveness

I am so thankful that my sins are forgiven. From the brand new Christian to the one who has been a Christian for 50 years – we all still sin. God is still working on all of us, right where we are in the journey of being made like Jesus. That being said, we know we all sin and we can and should be so thankful for God’s forgiveness!

Healing

You may be thinking about someone you knew who passed away with some terrible disease that God did not heal. It is amazing how we as Christians fight death so hard, but death in this life means we go to be with God in heaven. We receive ultimate healing then. It is God’s decision whether He heals a believer in life on earth or in life in heaven. But He definitely heals us.

AMP:

“…Who forgives [every one of] your iniquities, Who heals [each of] your diseases…”

Iniquities = sins – as you probably already know.

Verse 4:

“…Who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion…”

AMP:

“…Who redeems your life from the pit and corruption; Who beautifies, dignifies, and crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercies…”

Redeems

When you redeem a coupon you get the value of that coupon back.

Think about it, God redeemed us to get us back. He redeemed us  – paid for our sins – and got us back. He got us back from the “pit”. Corruption is sin and the pit is death. According to Romans 6:3, the payment that we owed for our sin was death. Jesus Christ stepped in and paid that for us.

A Crown

This brings to my mind the passage about the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. As the Holy Spirit works to make us more like Jesus, His beauty shines through us.

A crown is a mark of royalty. Jesus Christ is the King of all kings. When we become His, He gives us a “crown” made up of loving-kindness and tender mercies. He identifies us as one of His family – His heirs.

Verse 5:

“…Who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

AMP:

“…Who satisfies your mouth [your necessity and desire at your personal age] with good; so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle’s [strong, overcoming, soaring]!

Satisfies

He satisfies our desires. By the way, we should keep in mind that the word “desire” in this context, is talking about the things that we desire that are within God’s will for our lives. “Good things” are only according to God’s will because anything that is outside of God’s will for us is harmful to us and not a good thing.

Renewed

God can renew our energy even when we feel that we are done. When God gives you a “second wind” – you will be strong, overcoming setbacks and be able to soar above circumstances in His peace and exhilaration!

Make a List

Take a few minutes today and make a list of all the ways God is blessing you – all the benefits that He has put in your life. Look for them. They are there!!

Let’s Pray:

Lord, thank You so much for Your Word and making it clear that You love each one of us. Thank You for all that You are doing in our lives. Please help us to let You have Your way in our hearts, without resisting You. Help us to know that Your way is always best and Your Word is where we will find Your way. Please make us all completely Yours and help us to glorify You in all we do. In Jesus beautiful name, I pray. Amen.

Go Deeper Today:

Romans 3:21-31

 

 

The Greatest Love

All Together?

So, how are you doing? Do you have it all together? Are you feeling beat up? Are you tired?

I have a quote hanging in my kitchen that sums me up pretty well. “Some days I amaze myself; other days I put my keys in the fridge.”

Just when we think we have it all together, someone or something reminds us that we do not.

So What?!?

Do you know that the God of the Universe loves you with an immeasurable love? Yes, you! God loves you! He loves you – personally! He loves you – individually!

His love is the greatest love in the Universe!

Our Passage

Psalm 103 is a wonderful example of Hebrew poetry. However, it is so much more than that! In these 22 short verses, we see a snapshot of God – His flawless character, His unfathomable ways, His great love, and His mighty power.

For today, I was looking at one or two verses but I could not find a stopping point anywhere from the beginning of the psalm to the end of it. We will be spending a few days in this beautiful chapter, so please read the whole chapter with me each day. It will change your life!

Psalm 103:1-22 NIV

A Psalm of David

Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits – Who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, Who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.

He made known His ways to Moses, His deeds to the people of Israel: The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will He harbor His anger forever; He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on His children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him; for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear Him, and His righteousness with their children’s children – with those who keep His covenant and remember to obey His precepts.

The LORD has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all.

Praise the LORD, you His angels, you mighty ones who do His bidding, who obey His word. Praise the LORD all His heavenly hosts, you His servants who do His will. Praise the LORD, all His works everywhere in His dominion.

Praise the LORD, O my soul.

Let It Sink In

Dear friend, I sincerely hope that over the next few days, you will really think about this passage. Let it sink into your heart and into your soul. Read it a couple of times each day. Read it out loud. Write it down in your journal. Process through it slowly and make notes.

Boggles the Mind

God loving us is mind-boggling! I mean – Why would He?

Because He wants to. Because that is Who He is. So now, just read about Him and His great love and we will talk more tomorrow.

Let’s Pray:

Lord, thank You so much for loving us, knowing that we do not deserve it. Thank You for telling us so many times in Your Word that You love us. Help us to get a grasp on it and begin living like we are greatly loved by You. Make us aware of Your love. Help us to see it in Your Word and in our lives. May we know You better and better through Your Word. Help us to know Your character and Your personality. May we love You back! In holy Jesus’s name, I pray. Amen.

Go Deeper Today:

Romans 5:1-11