Posted by: glorifyhim1 | January 1, 2019

Facing the New Year with Confidence

Facing the New Year with Confidence

 

“But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.”

(1 Peter 5:10, NKJV)

 

It’s that time again – time to begin a brand new year! I’ve always enjoyed looking forward to that fresh slate of 365 days, undoubtedly, with the desire to get it right this time. Yet, before the first page on the calendar is turned, it, too, is often stained with hardships or mistakes, missed opportunities or failures, and various troubles that we all face in this world.

 

None of us are exempt from trouble in this world. As Jesus told His disciples before He departed: “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33b). The book of 1 Peter is a letter that the Apostle Peter wrote to Christians living in Asia Minor. These Christians were facing persecution and many difficulties as they tried to live for God. Peter wanted to encourage them, to help them keep on doing what was right, and to remind them of the eternal reward that Christ had already secured for every believer.

 

The book of 1 Peter can be an encouragement to believers today as well. Peter tried to help the Christians expect and understand their suffering. He called them to live holy lives, not returning evil for evil. Peter reminded them of the example we have in Jesus, who suffered and died on the cross to save us from our sins. And he reminded them: “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you” (5:10).

 

We will face trouble and persecution in this world, but we can face this new year with confidence. As we commit ourselves to God, follow Him, and trust Him in all things, we can be assured that He will not abandon us. He works in us and through us as He…

 

  • Perfects us – mends our brokenness
  • Establishes us – helps us stay steady and secure in an insecure, unstable world
  • Strengthens us – gives us strength, builds us up, helps us succeed in His work
  • Settles us – helps us to remain steadfast

 

1 Peter 5:7 tells us to cast “all your care upon Him (God), for He cares for you.” God cares for us! He will walk with us through the valley. He will strengthen us in our battles. He will carry our burdens and cares.

 

As I set off on this new year with all the blank days yet to be written, I rejoice in the wonder that God is with me – no matter the difficulty, no matter the pain, no matter what I face this year – “may the God of all grace, who has called me to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after I have suffered awhile, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle me.” And may I “be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith” (Philippians 3:9).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by: glorifyhim1 | September 15, 2018

When the Lord is My Portion

When the Lord is My Portion

“I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion;

therefore I will wait for Him.’”

(Lamentations 3:24, NIV)

 

As I write this devotion, people in my area of the world are waiting for Hurricane Florence, or Tropical Storm Florence, by the time the slow-moving storm makes its way to the Western part of the state. The fact that it will be less powerful and faster moving, however, does not allow us to grow complacent. Our water-soaked area is still predicted to receive between 6-10” of rain in a two-day period, and in some areas more.

 

I live beside a small creek that usually trickles by lazily. We wade in it and allow the dogs to play in the cool water. Our grandkids toss rocks into it and watch sticks lazily float downstream. Yet this lazy little creek can become a boisterous stream during high water events. About a month ago, it spread over our driveway and began to make puddles in our yard. When the rain stopped, it quickly began to recede and return to its banks, but not without creating a host of problems for many people at various points along the stream.

 

Federal funding has been denied for repairs on this little creek; the town has appealed their decision; and now, we wait for a tropical storm, predicted to be bringing heavy rains, to come to an area already water-laden and problem-ridden. We do what we can to prepare. We wait and we wonder what will happen.

 

And as He so often does, God reminded me of a verse that I have clung to in the past and that I will cling to today as well – “I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.’” (Lamentations 3:24, NIV). What does it mean for the Lord to be my portion?

 

A couple of Psalms likewise make reference to the Lord being our portion (Psalm 16:5 and Psalm 73:26). It was first found in Numbers 18:20 when the Lord said to Aaron: “You shall have no inheritance in their land, nor shall you have any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the children of Israel.”  God was explaining to Aaron that the priests did not have an inheritance in in the land distributed to the children of Israel. Their relationship was a special relationship with God Himself.

Believers today are like those priests. Nowhere in Scripture are we promised an inheritance in this world. Yet we are promised an inheritance in God’s kingdom to come. Just like Aaron, God Himself is our portion, our inheritance.

 

When the Lord is my portion, I am willing to wait on Him – no matter what. I trust Him – His will, His timing, His way for me. When the Lord is my portion, I wait on Him – not in resignation – but in confidence, keeping my eyes on Him, seeking Him, praying, hoping in Him.

 

Luke records a story Jesus told in Luke 18:1-8.

 

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought.And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

 

In this parable, Jesus is encouraging believers to remain persistent in praying and seeking Him. When the Lord is my portion, I will remain faithful.

 

In this world we will have trouble. Jesus told us that. (See John 16:33). There will be storms with wind and rain and there will be other storms that can come in many different ways such as an unexpected phone call with devastating news, or an unwelcome and unexpected medical diagnosis. There will be storms that we may not be able to understand and with which we struggle. But regardless of the troubles we may face, when the Lord is our portion, we can have peace in Him. We know Him. He is the One we expectantly wait on, look to, and trust. We can stand – or hang on – confidently, knowing that the Lord is our portion!

 

 

 

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | July 18, 2018

When God Draws Near

When God Draws Near

“When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then you knew my path.”

(Psalm 142:3a)

 

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with things you are facing in life? It is probably safe to say that most of us face days, times, even seasons when life is downright hard. We can just read a few of the Psalms to recognize that the psalmists, too, cried out to God when they were overwhelmed.

 

“Lord, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say of me, ‘There is no help for him in God’” (Psalm 3:1-2).

 

“Why do You stand afar off, O Lord: Why do You hide in times of trouble? The wicked in his pride persecutes the poor; let them be caught in the plots which they have devised” (Psalm 10:1-2).

 

“How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?” (Psalm 13:1-2).

 

“My tears have been my food day and night, while they continually say to me, ‘Where is your God?” (Psalm 42:3).

 

Like the cries voiced in the above psalms, we, too, can face trouble, ridicule, and misunderstanding. Others may try to hurt us. We may experience pain, sorrow, rejection, or discouragement. We can become overwhelmed! So what do we do?

 

Notice that the psalmists went straight to God. The book of Psalms contain the cries and pleas of many as they poured out their hearts to God Himself. And, remarkably, while not every time, most of the time, they completed their petitions with thanksgiving and praise to the God they were confident would see them through.

 

No, their problems were not always solved; their burdens were not always lifted; and I’m certain that sometimes their tears probably still stained their pillows. But they discovered what we can discover too. When we come to God sincerely seeking Him, pouring out our hearts to Him, and placing our trust in Him, God comes near! As I draw near to God, He draws near to me (see James 4:8).

 

What happens when God draws near?

 

He sees us and He hears us.

 

  • I’m reminded of Hagar, Sarai’s maid, pregnant with Abraham’s child. She fled into the wilderness after her mistress, Sarai, dealt harshly with her. Yet, God saw her. The Angel of the Lord urged Hagar to return to Sarai and the Angel told Hagar:

“Behold, you are with child,
And you shall bear a son.
You shall call his name Ishmael,
Because the Lord has heard your affliction.
  He shall be a wild man;
His hand shall be against every man,
And every man’s hand against him.
And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”

(Genesis 16:11-12)

Hagar “called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees” (Genesis 16:13).

 

Just as He saw Hagar, God sees us, too. He knows exactly where we are and what is going on. He sees us and He hears our cries.

 

He strengthens us and helps us.

 

  • In 46:1, the Psalmist exclaims: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

 

When we are in trouble, we tend to think that God is not with us, that He doesn’t hear us. Yet when we come to Him in faith, trusting every aspect of our lives to Him, He is our refuge and strength – even in the hard times. It is hard to describe, but even as we face trials, we can feel a sense of protection and peace because He is with us. As He draws near, He shelters us and strengthens us even in the midst of trouble. The prophet Isaiah reminds us: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

 

He covers us with His mercy, grace, and love.

 

  • This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Throughthe Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion,’says my soul, ‘Therefore I hope in Him!’” (Lamentations 3:21-24)

 

Our God is faithful! When we seek God and walk with Him, each day brings the assurance that no matter what heartache or evil we face, no matter how overwhelmed we may be, our God is with us. He is near with His mercy, His grace, and His love to catch us, to hold us, to equip us, to lead us, and perhaps to even carry us. We can have hope even in the darkest of circumstances.

 

When God comes near, we can rejoice in Him! Instead of the worries and problems that hound us, we see a God who loves us, who sees and hears us, who cares for us, who strengthens and helps us, and who covers us daily with His mercy, grace, and love. God may change our circumstances. Or He may give us understanding and direction in and through our circumstances. Either way, we will be able to rejoice in our faithful God, who is always with us – The Almighty God over all people and things, who draws near to us! “Therefore, I hope in Him!

 

 

 

“But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord,
    I wait for God my Savior;
    my God will hear me.

(Micah 7:7)

 

 

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | June 27, 2018

In This Crazy World

In This Crazy World

“But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in the time of trouble.”

(Psalm 37:39)

 

It seems that each new day brings another story of division and controversy, of unimaginable evil and hate, and of a growing disregard for human life. As this world seems to grow more and more crazy, I am reminded that Jesus told His disciples: “In this world you will have trouble.” But thankfully, He continued: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

 

“But take heart!” Oh, how we need to hear those words when our troubles discourage us and try to dampen our hope. Jesus reminded His disciples and He reminds those us today that He has overcome the world! No matter what we endure in this world, all of us who belong to Christ, who have trusted Him as their Savior and Lord, can know that their eternal future is safe in Him.

 

But how do we live today? How do we live in a world where more and more, “wrong” is deemed right and “right” is deemed wrong? Scripture reminds us, however, that this is not new. Even the prophet Isaiah cried out: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20). Yes, we live in a fallen, crazy world, but God has not given up on us yet. As 1 Timothy 2:4 states, He “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

 

Jesus taught His disciples to be salt and light, “to let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). He instructed them to love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). While this seems so out of step with the self-centered focus in our world, believers are still called to walk according to God’s Word. As believers walk in obedience, they can help demonstrate God’s love and grace, His mercy and compassion, and be an instrument God can use to draw others to know Him, too. In other words, no matter what others do, no matter how crazy the world may be, we keep on keeping on. We do not stop being the men and women we are in Christ!

 

It can be hard – especially when evil triumphs and righteousness is ridiculed. It can be difficult when the wicked prosper and the godly suffer. Yet we are still called to be who we are in Christ. The Psalmist reminds us of this and encourages us in Psalm 37 with some “do’s” and “don’t’s.”

 

Do not …..

 

  • fret (worry or be anxious) because of evildoers
  • envy the workers of iniquity

 

 

Do …..

 

  • trust in the Lord
  • good
  • dwell in the land and feed on God’s faithfulness
  • commit your way to the Lord
  • rest in the Lord
  • wait patiently for Him
  • cease from anger
  • forsake wrath

 

Worry, envy, anger, and wrath can hinder us and keep us from being the people God wants us to be.   James tells us that “human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” (James 1:20). Instead, the Psalmist encourages us to trust in the Lord and to keep on doing good. The writer of Ephesians motivates us: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).

 

Today, in this crazy world, it still matters how we live – but it more importantly, it matters in whom we place our trust. The prophet Jeremiah declared: “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord.  For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7-8). When we trust in the Lord and commit our way to Him (i.e., read the Bible, pray, seek His direction in all we do), we can rest in Him and wait patiently for Him. We can do good and forsake wrath. As we press hard into Him, our God will bless us with His faithfulness, give us a peace beyond understanding, and remind us that God is still in control. He has already won the battle over this crazy world. He is just waiting – waiting for others to turn from their sin and come to Him.*  Meanwhile, let us dwell in the land and be faithful – faithful to His Word, faithful to His call, and faithful to Him – even in this crazy world!

 

“He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?”

(Micah 6:8)

 

 

 

*If you would like to come to know Jesus as your Savior and Lord, please read the page “How to be Saved” for more information.

 

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | June 6, 2018

My Resting Place

My Resting Place

“I am at rest in God alone.”

(Psalm 62:1a)

 

I have a few places that quickly come to mind when I think I really need to get away to get some rest, to relax and get recharged. No matter how beautiful or restful a place may be, however, sometimes rest – true, peaceful rest – is hard to find. We may be tired from a hard day’s work, or perhaps we are weary from a heavy load we’ve carried far too long. Yet even in our weariness, we may be unable to discover true rest. How do we come to a place of true rest when we are weary, anxious, discouraged and spent?

 

Recently, I was reading in Mark 6 about a time when the disciples of Jesus were surely weary.

 

Jesus had sent the disciples on a mission – to preach repentance, to cast out demons, to anoint and heal the sick. As they worked, they heard the news that King Herod had sent an executioner to behead John the Baptist who was in prison. The disciples went to the prison, took John’s body, and placed it in a tomb. Then they gathered with Jesus to tell him about their journey and all that they had done.

 

Don’t you know they were tired? They were surely tired from their journey and work, but as they struggled with the death of John the Baptist, they were probably also emotionally spent. What did Jesus say to the disciples? “He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest for a while.’ For many people were coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat” (Mark 6:31). Jesus called them away to a quiet place – to rest awhile.

 

However, by the time the disciples arrived at the quiet place, it was no longer deserted. Many people, knowing Jesus, ran ahead on foot and arrived ahead of them. When Jesus saw the people, He was moved with compassion and began to teach them. The text does not tell us what the disciples did while Jesus taught, but as it began to get late, they said to Jesus: “This is a deserted place, and already the hour is late. Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy themselves bread; for they have nothing to eat” (Mark 6:35-36). But Jesus told His disciples to feed them. The disciples responded in disbelief. How could they feed so many people? Jesus told them to find out how much food they had which was a young boy’s lunch of five loaves and two fish. Jesus blessed the food, broke it into pieces, and gave it to the disciples to distribute to the people. Not only did everyone eat and were filled, but there were 12 baskets left over! Could it be one basket for each disciple who was tired, hungry, and emotionally spent?  

 

Once again, Jesus sent the disciples away in a boat to the other side of Bethsaida, while He sent the crowds away. When the disciples were in the middle of the sea, Jesus could see them struggling to row the boat because of the wind. Jesus came to them, walking on the sea. At first the disciples were frightened, thinking they had seen a ghost, but Jesus called to them: “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid” (Mark 6:50b). He got into the boat with the disciples and the winds ceased.

 

As I thought about these events, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the disciples. It seemed that ability to truly rest just kept on escaping them. Yet, it occurred to me that in each situation, the disciples found what they needed in Jesus. Perhaps their rest did not come the way they expected. Yet Jesus helped them find their rest in Him.  

 

  • Jesus saw their need. The disciples needed rest, encouragement, and strength.  
  • Jesus helped the disciples see Him and what He could do. They brought him the meager lunch they had and Jesus multiplied it to supply food for the hungry crowd and the worn out disciples. Was anything too hard for Him?
  • Jesus revealed His control over His creation – He walked on the angry sea and He calmed the wind and waves. And the disciples “were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled” (Mark 6:51b).

 

And, ultimately, Jesus showed His disciples and us as well, that He, Himself, is our rest and peace no matter what difficulty or storm that we may face. He fully knows our need; He can meet our need; He is in control! We can rest in Him, His mercy and grace, and His faithfulness to us.

 

Just as the disciples did not clearly understand, we do not always fully comprehend either. Sometimes, we cannot make sense of  the circumstances or situations in which we find ourselves. We may not really know what we need or the answer to our problems, but nothing is too hard for Jesus. We can discover rest for our souls even in the midst of chaos and confusion when we keep our eyes on our Savior and place our trust in Him. Jesus invites us to come to Him and to find the rest for our souls that we all so desperately need. He is my true resting place, the One in whom I can always take refuge. He can be your resting place, too!   

 

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

(Matthews 11:28-29)

 

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | May 19, 2018

The One Who Changes Me

The One Who Changes Me

 

“Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.”

(Psalm 61:1-4)

 

Recently, during my devotions I read the story of Zacchaeus, the tax collector who, short of stature, climbed a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus. You can read this story in Luke 19:1-10. I have read this story countless times, animatedly told it to preschoolers, and sung songs with them about the “wee” little man. Yet I’m not sure that I was prepared for the question that God placed on my heart during my devotional time – What are you willing to do to be closer to Jesus?

 

Is there something I need to give up?

 

Is there something I need to do?

 

Is there an attitude that needs an adjustment?

 

What am I willing to do to be closer to Jesus? What are you willing to do?

 

Zacchaeus eagerly sought to get close to Jesus as he climbed up the sycamore tree to watch Jesus pass by. When Jesus told Zacchaeus he needed to go to his house, Zacchaeus gladly welcomed Him. However, as Zacchaeus got close to Jesus, we discover that not only did he welcome Jesus into his home, but he also welcomed Jesus into his heart. Getting close to Jesus made a change in Zacchaeus. “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold” (v.8). Zacchaeus willingly gave half of his goods to the poor and vowed to restore fourfold anything that he had taken from anyone falsely. Jesus had changed Zacchaeus’ heart. And that’s what happens when we truly get close to Jesus. We are changed!

 

Jesus wants to have a relationship with you and me just as He did with Zacchaeus. Do I seek Jesus? Do I read my Bible, study His Word,  and spend time alone with Him in prayer? Do I welcome Him into my life and heart just as Zacchaeus did? The writer of Hebrews stated: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts you double-minded” (Hebrews 4:8). The Psalmist exclaimed: “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth” (Psalm 145:18). As we look to Jesus in every circumstance or situation, in every joy and every need, as we seek Him in all we do, He comes to us and envelops us with His Presence. He draws us closer and closer to Him.

 

In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he urged them: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

 

As I come to Jesus just as I am, as I seek Him with all of my heart, and as I bring everything before him in prayer – my worries, my struggles, my fears, my frustrations, my sorrows, my hopes, my dreams …. – He meets me where I am. Through the years I’ve learned that problems do not necessarily go away, burdens are not always lifted, the miraculous does not always happen. Yet God is faithful. He walks with me, helps me, strengthens and encourages me, comforts me, and gives me peace.

 

And, in the midst of my circumstances and situations, He changes me. He teaches me. He guides me. He may give me understanding that helps me grow. He may shine light on a situation that helps me be patient and wait. He lovingly and tenderly works to fashion me to become more like Him. And when I get discouraged because I seem to grow so slowly, He covers me with His mercy and grace and guards my heart and mind with His peace. This peace protects me from thoughts, attitudes, pre-conceived notions, and any other thing that can hinder my closeness to Him and His work in me.

 

I am so very thankful for Jesus, the One who comes near, draws me close, and keeps me near to Him. He is my Savior (Matthew 1:20-21), my Redeemer (Mark 10:45), my Shepherd (John 10:11), my Friend (John 15:13) – and the One who changes me! Thank You, Jesus!

 

 

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | April 11, 2018

Sitting at the Feet of Jesus

Sitting at the Feet of Jesus

 

“Thus says the Lord: ‘Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest? For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist,’ says the Lord. ‘But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word.’”

(Isaiah 66:1-2)

 

One of my husband’s favorite spots is a glider swing in our backyard. Often I’ll spot him there taking a break or resting after completing a project. He may be watching our resident woodpecker battle the starling who tries to move in on his property, or he may be in deep thought planning his next project. When asked what he’s thinking about, his favorite reply is: “Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit!”

 

I have my favorite places to sit and think, or to just sit, too. You probably do as well. One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story of two sisters, Mary and Martha. You can find this story in Luke 10:38-42. Martha had welcomed Jesus into their home and was busily serving and taking care of her guests while Mary found her favorite place to sit – on the floor at Jesus’ feet, eagerly listening to every word He said. Martha finally approached Jesus and pointed out that she was doing all the work while Mary just sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to Him. Martha exclaimed: “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me” (v.40b). Jesus, however, gently replied: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her” (vs.41b-42).

 

I have been a Martha; oftentimes I’m still a Martha. I can worry and become troubled over many things and lose my focus on what is most important. But, thankfully, Jesus is helping me learn how to be more like Mary. While I may not be able to physically sit at Jesus’ feet like Mary, I can curl up at His feet in my heart. Mary let go of everything around her to feast on her Master’s words. How about me?

 

  • Do I seek Him daily, talk to Him, and rest in His mercy and love?
  • Do I read His Word and search for His guidance and direction?
  • Do I walk with Him, constantly aware of His Presence (Spirit) within me, guiding me, convicting me, helping me, giving me understanding, and blessing me with His comfort, joy, and peace?  
  • Do I determine in my heart, daily, to choose “that good part” and devote myself completely to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?  

 

When I choose “that good part” and sit at Jesus’ feet in my heart, it really doesn’t matter where I am. He is with me in the quiet, still moments. He is with me in the crowds and noise. His Words in my heart lead me and guide me. His Presence strengthens and helps me. The more I choose “that good part” and devote myself completely to Him, the more He can use me and complete His purpose for my life. I pray that I will grow to be more and more like Mary and choose “that good part.” Will you join me – sitting at the feet of Jesus?

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | March 22, 2018

The God Who Is….

The God Who Is….

 

Whom have I in heaven but You?

And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.

My flesh and my heart fail;

But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

(Psalm 73:25-26)

 

Life can be hard sometimes. We experience problems and difficulties – oftentimes through no fault of our own. We endure suffering and sorrow. Things may not work out the way we hoped or planned. Then there are those especially hard times when we know we’ve sinned and failed. It is hard to even approach God because we feel so ashamed and undeserving of His mercy and grace.

 

What do we do when life is hard? What do we do when we don’t know what to do?

 

The psalmist Asaph shared his struggle in Psalm 73. Asaph was envious of the wicked who seemed to continually prosper and have no trouble. They were proud, boastful, and even scoffed at the mention of God. Asaph cried out: “Behold, these are the ungodly, who are always at ease; they increase in riches. Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocence. For all day long I have been plagued, and chastened every morning” (Psalm 73:12-14). Asaph could not understand how the wicked could live lives of ease while his efforts to live righteously seemed to go unnoticed and with no reward.

 

Asaph continued: “When I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me – until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end” (Psalm 73:16-17). When Asaph went to the sanctuary, He remembered something he had probably allowed himself to forget as he focused on the lives of the wicked. Asaph had something that could never be taken away from Him. Unlike the wicked who could be “brought to desolation, as in a moment” (verse 19a), the Lord was continually with Asaph. “Nevertheless I am continually with you; You hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory” (vs. 23-24).

 

Asaph’s hope was in the God who was always with him, who held him by his hand, who guided him and gave him counsel, and who would one day welcome Asaph to live with Him forever. Asaph took his eyes off the wicked and turned them to His God – and he received understanding.

 

I think God wants me to do the same thing. When I truly place my trust in Him, I recognize that even when I do not understand, God is in control. He will lead me and guide me as I look to Him. The writer of Hebrews expressed it well: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). Sometimes we see the way God rewards and comes through for us. At other times, we cling to Him, knowing He is our reward and that He will lead us through, hold us up, and take us home to live with Him forever.

 

Like Asaph, however, we can become so consumed with our personal struggles, what is going on around us, and our own lack of understanding that we focus on those things rather than the God who is always with us. In Psalm 145, David praises this God who is good to all, who upholds those who fall and who raises up those who are bowed down and broken. He remembers the God who opens His hand and satisfies us, who hears our cries, and who saves us.

 

When life gets hard, my friend, may we like Asaph, turn and look to God and remember the God who Is! Like David, may we exult in all He is to us and praise this God who is…..

Great

Mighty

Gracious

Full of compassion

Great in mercy

Slow to anger

All-powerful

Filled with majesty

Glorious

Kind

Righteous

Near to all who call upon Him

Everlasting – His kingdom endures forever

And like Asaph, may we, too, discover that it is good to draw near to God and put our trust in Him, for even when “my flesh and my heart fail; God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26).

 

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | February 28, 2018

When Jesus Is Enough

When Jesus is Enough

Whom have I in heaven but You?

And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.

My flesh and my heart fail;

But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

(Psalm 73:25-26)

 

Is Jesus enough for me? Is He enough for you?

 

Recently, I was reading Hebrews, Chapter 11, often referred to as the chapter of faith. This chapter names many Old Testament heroes who were faithful to the God who called them. It also declares that nameless others “who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again.” (Hebrews 11:33-35). Surely, the promises of God were enough for these faithful ones.

 

Yet, the writer of Hebrews continues. Other faithful ones were tortured, mocked, scourged, chained, imprisoned, stoned, sawn in two, tempted, and slain with the sword. Many were destitute, afflicted, tormented. (See Hebrews 11:36-38.) Yet, these, too, remained faithful looking forward to the realization of God’s promises in Christ.

 

The promise of Jesus Christ and His coming kingdom kept these early believers faithful. Jesus was enough – whether they were overcomers or whether they were overcome.

 

Today, we look backward to when Christ came. We read eye-witness accounts of His death on the cross and His resurrection and ascension into Heaven. When we trust Jesus and accept what He did to save us, we have the very Spirit of God living within us to guide, empower, and help us. This same Spirit imparts understanding, gives comfort, and works in us to complete God’s work in our lives. And, we, too, can look forward with joy to our coming inheritance in His kingdom.

 

Jesus is enough – in fact, He is more than enough! Yet, sadly, we often live our lives in defeat rather than in the victory we have in Him. As we live in a world that is increasingly turning away from Christ and Biblical truth, we need to live our lives more and more in ways that help others see this Jesus who is more than enough!

 

  • We need to remain faithful to God’s Word and trust Jesus even when our way is difficult and when we may not understand. We know that Jesus is faithful. Our confidence is in Him.
  • We need to show goodness and mercy and Christ’s love to all people – even to those with whom we disagree. Christ died for all people and wants them to come to Him.
  • We need to invite the Spirit to work in us and bear fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness – and not live lives that give way to conceit, envy, and provoking others (see Galatians 5:22-26). We do not want to hinder Christ’s work in the lives of others, but if at all possible, live in such a way as to draw them to Christ.
  • We need to to rejoice in the life we have in Christ and live with hope as we seek, work, and pray for Christ’s kingdom on earth.  

 

The book of Acts records words Paul spoke as he stood before the Areopagus: “for in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28a). When Jesus is enough, our lives are all wrapped up in Him. It is in Him that we live and move and have our being. Even when we endure troubles or difficulties in this world, we can rejoice that our relationship with Christ, the inheritance we have in Him, transcends any trial we may face on earth (see Psalm 16:5-6). And as we place our trust in Him and walk with Him, day by day, His Word assures, and His Spirit confirms to us, that nothing – absolutely nothing can separate us from His amazing love (see Romans 8:37-39). We can live victorious lives, whatever our circumstances, when we fully surrender ourselves to Christ, knowing that Jesus is enough!

 

Posted by: glorifyhim1 | February 16, 2018

My Savior and My Shepherd

“For this is God, Our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to death.”

(Psalm 48:14)

 

As I listened to the news reports of yet another school shooting where at least 17 innocent people were killed, I found myself asking once again, how, then, do I live? I had written a post with this title last year. You can read it here: https://glorifyinghim.wordpress.com/2017/09/25/how-then-do-i-live/  

 

As believers and followers of Christ, we can surely make a difference as we try to live our lives in ways that honor Him. Yet, sometimes, when we become overwhelmed with tragedies in our world, or adversities we face in our own lives, it is easy to lose heart and become discouraged. Yet, at times like these, I remind myself – I have a Savior! His name is Jesus.

 

Jesus came to seek and to save the lost (see Luke 19:10), but He also came to give us abundant lives. Jesus Himself stated: “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10b). When we accept Christ’s forgiveness, place our trust in Him, and surrender all that we are to Him, we can have this abundant life. It is this abundant life we have in Christ that can help us live with confidence in the midst of a broken, troubled world.

 

I have come to treasure the words found in John 10:1-18 and Psalm 23. In verse 14 of John 10, Jesus states: “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep…” He knows me! When I am happy, He knows me. When I am sorrowful, He knows me. When I am weary and worn, He knows me. Yet, in addition to knowing me, He cares for me. Psalm 23 beautifully expresses how Jesus shepherds and cares for you and me.

 

The Lord is my shepherd;I shall not want.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside the still waters.

He restores my soul;

He leads me in the paths of righteousness

For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil;

For You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

You anoint my head with oil;

My cup runs over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

All the days of my life;

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord

Forever.

We have a shepherd who –

 

  • Knows us and cares for us.
  • Helps us find rest and restores us.
  • Leads us in the paths of righteousness, giving us wisdom and discernment.
  • Walks with us through our valleys.
  • Comforts us with His Presence as He protects, rescues, and guides us.
  • Lovingly provides for us and honors us.
  • Pursues us with His goodness and mercy all of our days.
  • Promises that we will dwell with Him forever.

 

It is this Savior, this Shepherd, to whom we cling, with whom we walk, who surrounds us with His Presence, and who blesses us with abundant life – now and forever. It this Savior, this Shepherd, who gives us joy, provides a place of refuge, and helps us walk with confidence in our world today. I am so thankful for my Savior. I hope you know Him, too.*

 

“You will show me the path of life; in Your Presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

(Psalm 16:11)

 

*Click here to learn how you can come to know this Savior: https://glorifyinghim.wordpress.com/how-can-i-be-saved/

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