There is futility found in the heart of a person who seeks help and solace in any other place than our true God, who resides in the heavens (Psalm 115:3).
God is present for all if all would tear their eyes away from the worthless and look to He who is worthy.
Stop running after the idols of silver and gold. Stop seeking the works of man’s hands (Psalm 115:4) and their ideologies, and start seeking the Creator who sits high above it all. Seek Him who is “high above the nations, and his glory above the heavens” (Psalm 113:4), for our true God – the true God is there in the heavens.
The earth can only offer you earthly things and earthly solutions. Things of this natural world that capture the imagination are just that – imaginary help.
But, our God is in the heavens, and He is real, and His help is real:
“Ye that fear the Lord, trust in the Lord: he is their help and their shield.
The Lord hath been mindful of us: he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron.
He will bless them that fear the Lord, both small and great.
The Lord shall increase you more and more, you and your children.
Ye are blessed of the Lord which made heaven and earth.
The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.
The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence.
But we will bless the Lord from this time forth and for evermore. Praise the Lord.” (Psalm 115:11-18)
If real help is what you are seeking for your life, turn your attention away from the false advertisements of this world, then turn your face, your heart, and your soul toward the true God who is in the heavens. There, you will find help for all you need in this life and the life to come.
“Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” (Matthew 6:9-13)
Boast, soul. Go ahead, and boast. Not in what this flesh has done. But, in what our God has done. Today is a testimony of His goodness in your life. Today says that He still wills to work in you. Therefore, boast, oh my soul, boast.
The greatness of our God is incomparable. He is lovely. And the wonder of Him is beautiful to hold in the heart.
Boast. Let His praises flow from not only your lips but from your heart, let the greatness of Him swell therein. Sing to the Lord within – carry the amazement of Him – for this is where your true boast begins.
Boast, oh my soul, boast in your God, for He alone is worthy.
“My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.” Psalm 34:2
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 2:28
Don’t you know that God has a special plan in mind for every one of us? You and I are uniquely designed by the Father with a beautiful, heavenly intent. Whether or not an individual chooses to get on board with His plan for their life is up to them. But, the plan is there.
And in that plan, God can make “all things work together for good…” (Romans 2:28), “according to his purpose” regardless of how it appears to us presently.
Keep in mind, how we view something as working out for our good and how God views it could look very different. Something that may bring sadness now, God may see a better benefit down the road. After all, He did say in Isaiah, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD,” (55:8). Therefore, we know that His thinking on any subject and circumstance is far more advanced than our own.
When God looks into the meat of our lives He’s looking beyond the here and now. He often operates with one’s future in mind; in a realm we cannot yet see. Therefore, faith compels us to hold on and believe that something will come out of the current messiness of life. That something beautiful will arise even out of these ashes. We are assured of and knowthat what God has spoken in His word concerning His people and His plan will always come to pass, and in His eyes, it is always good.
Therefore, let not your hope be in the current circumstances you may be facing today. Rather, let it be in our great God whose purposeswill never fail in and for our lives.
No worries! If God is caring for the birds, the grass, and the other elements of nature, won’t He take care of you?
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” – Matthew 6:25-27
The heart holds so much in it, and it is there in the heart where we store and follow the things that are most important to us. There, in that place, is where the things we treasure reside.
To God, the heart matters. David is quoted as being a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22), and rightly so. Though he made mistakes in his life, and though he sinned before God, his heart never stopped beating after God. When faced with his wrongs, David didn’t make excuses for his behavior. He repented of them and sought forgiveness.
Solomon, David’s son, was a man especially blessed by God in a way no man had ever been blessed. He was endowed with extraordinary wisdom and wealth (1 Kings 3:9-13; 29-34). God also told Solomon, “And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days,” (1 Kings 3:14).
Although his riches and wisdom abounded, the heart of Solomon turned away from following the Lord and went after false gods (1 Kings 11:1-8). His heart was “not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father,” (1 Kings 11:4). Thus, we see a great comparison between those who follow God with their all and those who don’t, and that comparison starts in the heart.
Although God had appeared to him twice and specifically said this shouldn’t be done (1 Kings 11:10), Solomon, because of the women he loved, allowed his heart to be filled with the false ways of their false gods, which in turn, turned his heart from following the one and only true God.
Friends, we must mind the heart with all diligence. Proverbs instruct us, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life,” (4:23). Jesus said, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh,” (Luke 6:45; see also Matthew 15:18-20; Mark 7:20-23).
What treasure is your heart holding? As we go through life, there will be times when we must take a heart examination to make sure it is in good health producing good treasure. This world can wreak havoc on a heart and if one is not careful, the heart can become tainted and impacted in a very negative way.
David took the matters of his heart seriously. When he sinned against the Lord he sought to realign his heart to the will of God. Instead of ignoring the problem and letting the problem grow worse and worse, David took his heart before the Lord, and prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me,” (Psalm 51:10).
What David showed us is, if one does not like what the heart is producing or has produced, we can take these matters of the heart before God and seek His help to get it straight. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise,” (Psalm 51:17).
It is in the heart where we store up our trust in God (Proverbs 3:5). It is there in the heart where we hide God’s Word (Psalm 119:11). It is in the heart where we show our true love for God (Matthew 22:37). And, it is in the heart of man that God looks upon and judges (1 Samuel 16:7).
Outwardly, Solomon seemed to have everything, but inside he lacked what God was looking for the most – a heart that was after Him.
A heart that is after God is a heart that has prepared itself to be after God. There are so many choices one can turn to and each choice will fill us with something. When Solomon made his choice to fill his life with that which is false, false ways and ideas took root in his heart and led him astray.
In comparison, even in his wrongs, David took his heart to God, admitted his wrongs (Psalm 51:4), and sought restoration (Psalm 51:12).
When one seeks to have a heart filled with the things of God, God will fill it, and that filling will produce beautiful treasure.
Material wealth will fade, but the treasure of one’s heart will follow them through all eternity. What treasures are you storing today?
Lord, increase me in You. Help me to look to You and Your ways continually. Help me to keep my heart and my feet on Your righteous pathways. Fill me up with more of You till my life and my heart is overflowing with Your good treasures. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, I pray, AMEN!
Uncertainty. If it is not a word on many lips, it’s a word that many are feeling in their hearts. A bothersome restlessness that leaves one’s thoughts in an upheaval of mess because they just don’t know what’s around the corner next. Will this happen or that is a question many are asking.
Worrying about our times and futures seem to be among many normal conversations of the day. Not that any can blame one for expressing their concerns regarding the menagerie of mess that seems to be swirling around us. With so much hanging in the balance, making many feel like their load is going to capsize at any minute, what can we, as individuals do?
In the natural, I think the most any of us can do is prepare as best as we can with the means we have available to us. This will not look the same for each of us. For many, these times bring greater stress than for others and it really stretches one beyond their comfort zone.
There are just things that we as individuals cannot control. We just can’t. And the constant worry and stress over it gets us nowhere.
Then, there are things we can control, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem to others.
Physically, everything is dependent on what a person is able to do or not to do. But the preparation for a better spiritual future is the same for everybody and is not dependent on any earthly resources, means, or ingenuity. The greater spiritual outcome we hope to obtain, and the heavenly reward up ahead is only dependent on what Christ already did on the cross for us, and us choosing to believe and accept Him and follow Him with our whole heart and our whole life, for He is the only way to experience that greater future. Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven (John 14:6).
As we watch the news and look out into this world, we may scratch our heads wondering what this world has come to. It’s hard for us to digest some of the despicable acts of human nature. It’s hard to see evil running rampant. It’s hard to see innocent people being hurt. People making wrong choices. Disfunction knocking on so many doors. It’s hard to witness what this world has come to.
It’s also hard dealing with some of our own personal issues and struggles. And the word “uncertainty” seems to just get bigger, and bigger, and bigger, and bigger, taking on a life of its own.
While uncertainty in the here and now seems to keep growing for myriad of reasons, in Christ, we really do have a future that is certain, secure, and real. It’s better than anything we can prepare for or lay up in our present-day. For everything here will pass away one day and all that will matter is the future we have prepared for in the time to come.
John, in the book of Revelation, wrote, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sin,” (Revelation 21:1).
One thing is certain, all that we see with our natural eyes will one day be gone for good. Our hope is to be in what we have laid up for spiritually. Jesus said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also,” (Matthew 6:19-21; see also Luke 12:34; read Luke 12:33-44).
While many are so focused on the here and now, how many are living this life for that life to come?
I’m in no way bashing being prepared and taking steps to secure things needed for family and friends. Rather, I want us to examine the focus of our hearts and where our treasure truly lies. Putting more stock in the here and now will not ultimately profit us (read Luke 12:16-21). We must ask ourselves, are we worried about being more “rich toward God” (Luke 12:21) or toward the things of this world?
Live this life for the life to come and no matter what takes place down here, you will have a greater reward, a greater treasure up ahead that will never fail you or be taken away from you. The word “uncertainty” doesn’t exist there.
There, “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away,” (Revelation 21:4).
There, “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son,” (Revelation 21:7).
There, “The nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it…” (Revelation 21:24).
There, in that heavenly place, “There shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads,” (Revelation 22:3-4).
While uncertainty may remain here, there in heaven, will be nothing but blessed assurance, peace, beauty – everything good, right, and holy.
Live this life for the life to come and your preparedness will not be for naught, and your treasure will never be misplaced or lost.
WORK WHAT GOD GAVE YOU! “Through hard work, perseverance and a faith in God, you can live your dreams.” – (Benjamin Carson) God wants us to put our hand to the plow, keeping moving forward in our work that He might bring us to a place of blessings. “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.” (Proverbs 22:29)
“Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.” (Isaac Watts)
Christmastime, as they say, is the most wonderful time of the year. Christmastime often brings with it sweet thoughts and times of reminiscing with loved ones over the years past. There’s a celebration of joy in the atmosphere that isn’t felt as prominently during other times of the year.
But, I’m here to tell you that Christmastime is so much more than an emotional response to a holiday and family. It’s more than the gathering of sweet fellowship and food.
Christmastime is a declaration of all God has wanted to do for mankind since the time He created him. It’s the time we celebrate God’s love on display in holy determination to have that relationship with man that He so desired.
Christmastime is a celebration of the healing. There was a rift that was torn by sin between God and man – now it comes together in an era of reconciliation and peace.
Isaiah prophesies of the means by which God ushers this in. He said, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace,” (Isaiah 9:6). This is the very foundation of the Christmas story. Matthew picks it up and tells us in the New Testament,” And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins,” (1:21). Mankind had fallen short of the glory of God, but this little baby had an assignment on His life to save people from their sins!
The Christmas story tells us that He is the fulfilled prophesy that states, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel,” (Isaiah 7:14). We see that come to pass in Matthew 1:23 which states He shall be called “Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”
Down forty-two generations He traveled (Matthew 1:1-17) to be with us. That’s why the carols ring out, “Veiled in flesh the God-head see; Hail the incarnate Deity, Pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel,” (Hark! The Harold Angels Sing – Charles Wesley). He was that “Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth,” (John 1:14).
That’s why Luke lets us know, “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end,” (Luke 1:32-33).
This is what the Christmas story is all about. Joy to the world – He came!
The Bible declares, “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn,” (Luke 2:7). He was shunned by the world with no one to care other than Mary and Joseph. Nonetheless, He came!
The angels proclaimed that night, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord,” (Luke 2:11). The deliverance of all mankind made His way into the world. God’s plan of salvation broke through the flesh of humanity to rescue in the Spirit.
Joy to the world – He came!
God incarnate manifested Himself in the humility of man. He stepped off His throne in glory to dwell with a sinner like me. He pulled off His royal attire to associate with the filthy dregs of this life.
Joy to the world – He came!
Christmastime we celebrate His birth; we rejoice in His coming. But, that’s not the end of the Christmas story.
He came once so that He could come back again. The first time He came He was encapsulated in His mother’s womb, riding on a donkey toward Bethlehem to be born. But, the true end of the Christmas story is the next time you see Him, He won’t be that same baby from the womb riding with His mama on a donkey. He’ll be standing in the air riding the clouds of heaven.
The first time He came He was wrapped in swaddling clothes. The next time you see Him, He will stand before you as the King who broke free from the grave clothes that tried to bind Him, gaining the victory over the grave; gaining the victory over sin and death.
The first time He came only a few lowly shepherds and a few little wise men came to honor Him and pay tribute to the miracle that occurred on that night. The next time you see Him, “Every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father,” (Philippians 2:10-11). That same baby they ignored. That same baby they refused to find room for, their mouths are going to open and declare that HE IS LORD!
We celebrate the Christmas story as the ultimate gift of God’s love toward humanity. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” (John 3:16).
But, the Christmas story is more than the celebration that He came. It stands as a reminder every year that if He came once as He said He would, then He’s coming back – just like He said He would!
We love this time of year. There’s no greater feeling than the fellowship and gifts of love shared. But, once the gifts are unwrapped and once the food is eaten and people return to their homes; let the Christmas story remind you, the King came once, and the King will return once again.
Pope Francis is quoted as saying, “God never gives someone a gift they are not capable of receiving. If he gives us the gift of Christmas, it is because we all have the ability to understand and receive it.”
In preparation of His return, I must ask, “Have you received His gift?”
Joy to the World – He came. And, He’s coming back again. That’s the true end of the Christmas story.