Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Word Of Hope

Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.  ~Psalm 119:49,50

My hope is in the empty tomb!
In the Holy Bible one can find many promises that God has made, and it would seem as if the psalm writer has found one which brings him great comfort. He has asked God to specifically mark His Word so it will be recognized or remembered later on, because it has brought him hope. When the psalmist is afflicted and his life is in turmoil, he thinks on what God has said and it brings him great comfort. The very Word of God revives him and ultimately brings him life! I too find comfort in what God has said...

Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.”  ~Isaiah 44:6

When it seems the entire world is on a runaway train and things have spiraled out of my control, I find great comfort in the sovereignty of God. Even though Satan rules and manipulates events here on earth, he can only operate within the bounds God has set for him, and ultimately, all he does and attempts, works to the glory of our Heavenly Father! When you consider the evil that we as humanity are responsible for, all the pain and suffering that we impose on one another, you risk falling into despair, for the darkness is very great. Dear Christian friend take heart, for the light of God shines bright and whom shall we fear?

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?  ~Psalm 27:1

There is great comfort in knowing God as the psalmist does, as long as you are in a "right" relationship with Him. To know that you are a child of God and your heavenly Father watches over you should bring peace and joy, even in troublesome times, but for those who have not received forgiveness of their sin, knowing God should produce a fear that goes to the center of their soul! If, after hearing the truth of God's Word, one chooses sin over salvation there is no hope of eternal life. To know God without trusting in the shed blood of Christ will not bring comfort, it brings fear...

For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.  ~Hebrews 10:26,27

All who have trusted in the finished work of Jesus Christ and received Him as Savior, have that promise of eternal life! There is no power on this earth or anywhere else that can separate us from Him. The deceiver of this world himself cannot even remove us from the hand of God and he hates us for it. Though Satan comes against us with all the powers and evil he can muster, God Himself is our light and our salvation, He is our shield and strength, and He is our hope! The psalmist is right; there is comfort in God's Word in which He has caused us to hope...

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.  ~John 10:27-29

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Staying In God's Will

Confirm to your servant your promise, that you may be feared.  ~Psalm 119:38

Sometimes God's will for our lives is not exactly what we would have chosen on our own.
When we look to God for guidance and direction in our lives, we should not be surprised when He provides it. Sometimes, however, we are confused or unsure what God's will is for our lives and often times the confusion is not in the knowing of His will, but in the accepting. The psalm writer has asked that God would confirm and accomplish that which is promised in His Word, in the life of His servant. God already has revealed to us what His will is for our lives, it is in His Holy Word and it has already been accomplished in Heaven. Our constant prayer ought to be "let Thy will be done..."

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  ~Matthew 6:9,10

The perfect prayer is not one which is long and goes on and on for hours, or one that is eloquent and well spoken, and the perfect prayer is not one which even comes word for word out of the Bible. The perfect prayer is one uttered in the will of God. Yes, God has a plan for our lives. He has direction and purpose for our very being established long before we were even born. Time spent in prayer isn't for us to have a way to plead with God and possibly change His mind, but to align our will with His perfect plan. There is no confusion when, in faith, we submit to God's Word. Instantly we will know whether the thing is of God or not, Jesus said so.

“If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.”  ~John 7:17

If we would only trust God's Word and submit our lives to it, all doubt would flee as to whether it is the truth or not. Jesus tried to explain to the people as He taught them in the temple if someone were to do the will of God, which has already been revealed in the Scriptures, then they would know it was of God. It is when we choose a path for ourselves other than that which God has ordained when trouble and uncertainty creeps in. Doing God's will does not prevent trouble from coming, but doing God's will puts us in a place where we are equipped to handle the trouble. It is like following someone in a rainstorm who is carrying an umbrella. If we walk where they are going we remain dry, but if we step out in our own direction...

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.  ~Proverbs 3:11,12

Yes, sometimes we come under the disciplinary hand of God. When He chastens us we must remember He has our eternal state in mind and will go to extreme lengths to return us to the path He wants us on. Some say God is mean and cruel for the discipline He may use. But which is the most cruel, to chasten one's children for playing in the street or to let them play there until a car hits them? He loves us so much He will cause Himself pain by chastening us. You don't think God feels pain? I invite your attention to the eleventh chapter of John...

Jesus wept.  ~John 11:35