God’s Omniscient View

In dealing with any adverse condition, circumstance, or trouble one thing’s for sure: God knows all about it and He has the final say! This was proven at the beginning of the book of Job when He limited what Satan could do (see Job 1:12 and Job 2:6) and at the end when God commanded a double blessing over Job’s life (see 42:10) and we see that “The LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning . . .” (Job 42:12a).

But what about the in-between?  That’s the hard thing about trying to hold on while going through the trials of this life isn’t it?  We don’t know the outcome as we are traveling through those difficult times. How awesome would it be to see the beginning from the end; yet, that would not allow our faith to be exercised and stretched, for the Bible says, “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)” (2 Corinthians 5:7) and “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

While we may not be able to see or even understand everything we are dealing with or going through; while we may not have an omniscient overview of our life, God does.  He is omniscient meaning He is all-knowing.  The Bible lets us know, “Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite” (Psalm 147:5).  There are no limits to what He knows, sees, or understands.

Isaiah 46:10 also reassures us that God is, “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.”  In other words, to reiterate my previous statement: “God has the final say” and His purposes for our lives will stand because He is the only one who knows all about it!

Be encouraged today, my friend, knowing that God’s got this no matter how chaotic, difficult, hurtful, or wrong it seems right now.  He, in His divine sovereignty, sees it all and has it all under control.  His view of our life is so much better than our own.  Hold on and trust the God who is infinitely all-knowing.

Have a very blessed day!

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The Common Thread

There are many things that make us unique creatures.  We all have something that is particularly special about us.

You may be that one with the personality that instantly lightens up a room when you enter in.  Or, you may be a great analytical thinker – a real go-getter and problem solver.

Perhaps you are a great encourager who puts a smile on the face of others.  You may be a great cook, a tinkerer, and a fixer of many things.

As many as there are people on this earth, there are just that many ways to think, do, and perform the things that make you uniquely you.

All the different features and skills – they are remarkably you as God’s unique design.  Knowing this, David says, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” (Psalm 139:141).

But in the community of humanity, looking through the scope of everything that makes us us, there is one thing many fail to remember.  Universally speaking, we all have this common thread: “The rich and the poor have this in common, The Lord is the maker of them all” (Proverbs 22:2, NKJV).  

Not one of us placed ourselves here (truth).

Not one of us was spawned from higher dirt than others (how absurd).

Not one of us gave life to ourselves (can I get an amen).

Through our many differences, there are more things about us that are the same.  And with God being the maker of all, there really is no reason for any to sport a superiority complex or to live under an inferiority complex.

In the grand scheme of humanity, we are all God’s beautiful creation.

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We Who Know God

“With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.” 2 Chronicles 32:8

When you don’t know the true God, your perception of things becomes off.

When the servant of Sennacherib was sent to Hezekiah and those in Jerusalem during the siege, this servant boasted of something that was false; in something that would falter (2 Chronicles 32:9-17).

His boast was that his god was better than the Lord God.

His boast was to mock the worship of one God, before one altar.

His boast was in thinking that God Almighty could be catagorized in the same catagory as other gods who were unable to save their people: “And they spake against the God of Jerusalem, as against the gods of the people of the earth, which were the work of the hands of man” (2 Chronicles 32:19).

Ah, my friend, but we who know God, know Him to be outside of those false catagories.

We who know God, know where our help comes from (Psalm 121:1-2).

We who know God, change the focus of the boast of the enemy and declare the God who is able to deliver; the God who has been faithful in the past; the God who is “with us . . . to help us, and to fight our battles” (2 Chronicles 32:8).

As David before Goliath, we know know God can say, “Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied” (1 Samuel 17:45).

When Isaiah declares, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord” (Isaiah 54:17), we who know God can march forward in the truth of those words and promises.

When Paul asks, “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31), we who know God can readily answer to His call in complete faith.

When God tells Joshua, “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:9), we who know God can move with the same confidence knowing that we have this promise: “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).

“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4).

With eyes of faith and hearts that believe, we can overcome because “with him is an arm of flesh” (2 Chronicles 32:8), but we who know God, “may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:6).

We know our God is with us to help fight life’s battles and we can rest ourselves upon the promise of the Word.

More Word Promises:

“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.” Psalm 20:7

“For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.” Proverbs 3:26

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10

“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.” Jeremiah 17:7

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13

“Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.” Hebrews 10:35

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A Day in Your Courts

“For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” Psalm 84:10

Only what we do for Christ will last. Only where we settle our hearts and affection will it ever matter to our eternity as a whole.

David knew that to be where God is, is better than to be anywhere else.

Out of all the clamoring voices and vices for our attention, the still small voice of God welcomes us, lovingly, and ever so gently to come where He is.

Imagine, my friend, the peace of His presence in that place of worship here on earth.

Now, imagine for a moment, stepping into the heavenly courts before the throne of God. The beauty is incomparable. The peace is undeniable. The presence of the Almighty is unexplainable.

“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” Revelation 22:14. I want to enter in, my friend. I want to enter those gates. I want to enter that court and see with my eyes all the glories and wonders that cannot be properly put into words.

“I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness,” David said. And, I agree with him.

I would rather practice being in the presence of God here than to enjoy whatever wickedness is promoting as good.

I would rather work in the house of God here than live a lifestyle that separates me from Him. For a thousand years spent pursuing things outside of God cannot be compared to one day in His true presence.

Dwelling in the tents of wickedness today will forbid us from entering the gates in that time to come: “For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie” Revelation 22:15.

Inside is better than outside.

Inside is beauty indescribable. Outside is pain unimaginable.

There is no comparison.

Imagine the holy thrill of just a day in God’s heavenly courts. Now imagine, and know this truth for yourself, that each of us has been given the invitation to dwell with Him there for all eternity. We would never have to leave the awesomeness of heaven that we behold there.

But to get there, and to experience for yourself that moment, that place, and time, you must repent and surrender your life today to the one true God who offers you the invitation through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. For a day with Him is better than a thousand years anywhere else.

“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” Matthew 25:34

“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Psalm 16:11

“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” 2 Corinthians 5:1

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:2

“Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?” James 2:5

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It’s up to you…

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“Jotham. . . did that which was right in the sight of the Lord. . . and the people did yet corruptly.” 2 Chronicles 27:1-2

It’s up to you to live a life that is pleasing in the sight of God.

It’s up to you to walk the path of righteousness for yourself.

It’s up to you to choose how to live your days upon the earth, days spent honoring or dishonoring the grace of these moments that God has blessed you with.

There is one thing our current culture has forgotten in their attempts to pass the blame for the how’s, what’s, and why’s of life, and that is individual responsibility. While the attitudes and actions of others can negatively affect people, many don’t have this as their reasoning. Rather, they indulge in unrighteous acts and wrong living, celebrating sinfulness, all the while expressing that it is not their fault. They shift the blame to others as a defense for their reasoning to do wrong.

The above verses show that even when you have a leader or a person of influence in your life who chooses to do right and set a good example, the people still had a choice to make for themselves. The old expression “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t force him to drink,” comes to mind here.

There can be one who shows you the way and the hows of choosing the right path to walk, but it is the individual’s responsibility to choose to walk in it.

We are given choices in this life. And ultimately, we are the ones who will determine our eternal futures based on how we invested in this life given to us; based on which path we have chosen to walk: “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

It’s up to you. Choose the blessed life (Deuteronomy 28:1-14).

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” Deuteronomy 30:19

“Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord’s side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.” Exodus 32:26

“Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day:” Deuteronomy 11:26-27

“See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.” Deuteronomy 30:15-16

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

“And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.” 1 Kings 18:21

“For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.” Ecclesiastes 9:4

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

“For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” Romans 8:5

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Uniquely Loved

YOU ARE UNIQUELY LOVED BY GOD!

Do you know how special you are? Do you know of the creative design that brought you here today? Can you fully appreciate your uniqueness, being an altogether separate creature from all others God created?

As part of the human race, you are the climax of God’s design. Oh, the stars and objects above serve their purpose and are beautiful to look at, but they are not you. And as we look out on the horizon to view nature, we may sigh pleasantly at the glorious way the panoramic view displays His beautiful scene before us. But be sure of this, my friend. There is no scene more beautiful to God than those who were made in His image, in His likeness.

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Genesis 1:26-27

 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” Psalm 139:14

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

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“Be Progressive”

“And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward,” Exodus 14:15

Have you heard of the phrase “two steps forward, one step back?” What if we could erase that end part? What if we could subtract from the equation the minus one step? What would the total sum of one’s life be if all they ever did was progress? If all they ever did was to add without factoring in any negatives?

“Two steps forward, one step back.” It’s a phrase that I have used and I know you have, too. But in reality, I actually think that we get too comfortable with that kind of mentality. Everything is not always going to go off without a hitch, we know that.  And yes, we will face obstacles at times, but it’s almost as if we expect to move back every time we try to advance forward. We are factoring in a negative from the very beginning and any time doubt is introduced into one’s advancement in this way, that will almost always sabotage one’s progress, taking away from all that they have done and gone through to move forward. It can subtract from and overshadow the positive with that seemingly bigger negative.

Don’t get me wrong. I know that there are many hard trials and circumstances that everyone will face. I will not trivialize the hurt and disappointments that one may come across in their life. But what will happen, if while we are on this journey, we try our best to look beyond the circumstances that we are in and be determined to move forward toward the promise anyway? What if for once we could factor out the negatives of life instead of factoring them in? Despite the chariots and the enemies pursuing us, we could be more determined to pursue the goals that God has for us.

That is what I really believe God wanted the children of Israel to do here. To stop looking for reasons for not progressing.  To stop looking for obstacles. To stop making excuses for why they can’t get to where God wants them to go. He had a glorious destiny for them. God had already shown them many, many miracles that led up to their deliverance from slavery in Egypt. Yet, as soon as a moment of adversity poked its head around the corner to spy on their progress, they stopped moving. Instead, they stayed in that unproductive state wallowing in self-pity: “Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness?” (Exodus 14:11), they cried.

God has a better plan for you than to keep you still, wallowing in the wilderness, in a state of self-pity. That’s why He said, “Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward.” Stop crying about it and just go! Move! Make some progress! No more backward! It’s time to go on in Jesus’ name! To move it or lose it!

Looking at the stuff one has been through and the possibility of hardship ahead can be very discouraging, but press on anyhow! There is a promised land for you and me to reach. That alone is enough to urge you onward and upward. So, go ahead – be progressive today. Say within yourself, “I’m going to make it this time!”  No turning back!

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The Christmas Purpose Fulfilled

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It will not last, my friends.  The wickedness of the days we see, the corruptness in the land, will all one day vanish away for good.

In this world, we may see the unfolding of many evil deeds.  At times, it may seem as if the leash has been cut, and like a made dog, the world is running rabid.  But rest assured, dear friends, regardless of what it may look like, God will always have the final say and it will not last.

Psalm 37:12-17 expounds on this truth by letting us know:

“The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.

The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.

The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.

Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.

A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.

For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the Lord upholdeth the righteous.”

Therefore, dear one, take heart in what your Lord has done and is doing.  They may rage, but He laughs.  They may try to come against His people, but it is the Lord who will come against those who come against His people.  It is the Lord who will break their attempts and “uphold the righteous.”

When the weariness of this world gets you down.  When you see things that you just cannot seem to understand.  When it seems that things are out of control, remember God is for justice.  God is for righteousness.  And God is for His people.

There is a day coming when all evil will be dealt with and silenced forever.

Take heart, the wickedness you see today will not last.  Zacharias prophesied of our Savior with this promise:

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,

And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;

As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:

That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;

To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;

The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,

That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,

In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.” (Luke 1:68-75)

Friends, let us remember as we have come into the Christmas season, the purpose for it all.

Our Lord, as glorious and celebratory the scene may be, did not come to stay a babe in a manger.  He grew, and died, and rose to crush wickedness once and for all.

Fulfilling prophecies: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15; compare Hebrews 2:14).

Defeating darkness: “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:15).

Ushering in victory: “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Because our Lord grew out of the manger and raised out of the grave, the Christmas purpose has been fulfilled.  The promise of our redemption has come and conquered, and victory over wickedness has been won forever.

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The Greatest Desire

 

“And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.” Mark 14:36

When the will of God clashes with the will of man, which way will you go?

Jesus knew very well about facing this tough choice.  Yes, He was the Son of God with a heavenly origin, but He was also one hundred percent human and knew what it was like to experience and feel everything we feel (Matthew 1:22-23; Galatians 4:4; Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 4:15).

That day, in the Garden of Gethsemane, the prayer of His mouth was for another way.  “Take away this cup from me” were the words spoken when the heaviness and reality of all that was about to transpire weighed upon Him.  During the distressing prayer, His sweat trickled down like great drops of blood (Luke 22:44), so real was this battle.

Though His mouth prayed for another way, the heart of Jesus was settled that above all else, God’s will be paramount.  What the Father wanted from His life, from this moment, was the only choice to make.  With that, His greatest desire was spoken, “Nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.”

Taking everything into account in our lives, how many times do we face the choice to do or not to do the will of God?  Does what He wants for our lives become our greatest desire as it did for Christ?  Or are we insistent on satisfying our own way and pleasing ourselves?

The heart of Jesus was to do the will of the Father, always (John 4:34, 6:38).

Where are our hearts leading us today?

May we follow our Savior’s footsteps and order our lives with the same resolve: “Nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.”

“For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:9-10).

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The Father’s Hand is Still Moving!

When you read the stories in the Bible, stories that tell of God’s great moving power in the lives of people, what goes through your mind?

Do you think within yourself of the possibilities of if you were in Abraham’s shoes, or what it would be like if you present watching David fight Goliath, or maybe if you were there with the three Hebrew boys plus One in the fire, or with Daniel in the lion’s den?

Each of these stories is unique and beautiful in its way.  Each story tells how God took ordinary individuals and did extraordinary things for them and through them.

As I contemplate the stories, or I should say, the recorded events of these lives in the Bible, I see phenomenally mighty works done.

I see God moving faithfully in these lives who said “yes” to Him; in the lives of those who chose His will over their own.

As extraordinary as those events and lives are that are recorded, I am reminded that God is still in the business of working out remarkable things in surprising ways through people’s lives today.

Hebrews 13:8 reminds us, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”  And that with the Father, who does all things perfectly, there is no “variableness, neither shadow of turning” James 1:17.  The faithfulness and moving of God that was present when the pages of the Bible were written are still very much alive and active today.  It may not look like walking on water, speaking dry bones to life, or walking through the Red Sea on dry ground (but, if God wills, those miracles can come to pass again).  Perhaps they look like someone just taking brave steps to step out into the unknown and experience with God something they could have never imagined.  Maybe it may look like a repentant soul rising out of the ashes and coming back to life spiritually.  Or even adversity parting the way because God commanded it to hush that you may receive safe passage.

The point is, no matter how God chooses to move today, He is still moving.  The things He is doing in the lives of present-day people are a reason to get very much excited.

Their stories of deliverance, help, and another chance, are phenomenal miracles to them and us, and we can rejoice because we know the Father’s hand, that we read about moving in those historical lives, is still moving today.

After all, we are here today, also.  And, if we took the time to reflect and review the pages of our personal history, we know that we have a reason to praise God for His moving hand in our lives, as well.

God is still in the moving business today!  You may consider yourself to be ordinary.  But remember, it is the ordinary who God chooses to do the most extraordinary through. “Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered” Psalm 40:5.

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