What is your view of God?
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.
Isaiah is an interesting Old Covenant prophet. He lived during uncertain times. In this passage he tells of a life-transforming vision he had of the Lord. It causes me to take a step back and ask myself how I view and serve God.
Probably the most important point is when this encounter took place. Isaiah said that it happened in the year king Uzziah died. Uzziah was a great king. He served God with all his heart. He renewed the temple worship of Judah. Because of his devotion to God, he was victorious in his battles against the enemies of Israel. The borders were secure and their cities and towns were returning to their former glory. It was a wonderful time.
Then one day, because of pride, Uzziah tried to worship God in a way that was only reserved for the priesthood. At that point he was struck with leprosy until the day of his death. Now the future of Israel was in the balance.
This was a turning point in their history. The people were slipping back into complacency. Their devotion to God was waning. It’s in this climate that Isaiah saw this vision. He got a glimpse of the majesty of the Lord – enthroned in the heavenlies.
We live in uncertain times. The economy, politics, weather, and a host of other issues scream for our attention. What is your stability in all of this. We need the same vision as Isaiah.
GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE!!!
Don’t let the events around you, rob you of your peace and joy. We are the children of God. Nothing is beyond His knowledge or ability. As a matter of fact, He knows what is going to happen before it does. Nothing takes Him by surprise.
See the Lord on the throne today. Lay your burdens and cares at His feet. Trust Him to guide you through these days in victory and joy. Then we can truly be people of vision.
Tags: Bible, burdens, cares, Christian, devotion, encouragement, faith, glory, Isaiah, joy, majesty, peace, praise, prayer, prepare, presence of the lord, prophet, uncertainty, Uzziah, victory, view of God, vision
Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.
Discipline is one of those words that we don’t want to hear about too often. It brings up all kinds bad memories. But, like it or not, we all need discipline. In this verse, Solomon tells us that discipline and knowledge go hand in hand. Unfortunately it is something that this society seems to know very little about.
There is an attitude that says that I deserve to have what I want right now – no matter what. In many cases people will have their own way no matter what it does to their future. So often we are more than willing to place our future earnings, our relationships, and our health all on the altar of instant, momentary pleasure. Only discipline can keep our destiny safe.
The fact is that knowledge, without discipline, is almost worthless. Discipline is the ability to restrain my actions now and do what I need to do, so that I can have a greater enjoyment in the future. This goes against the “feel good now” attitude of our generation. Too often we are willing to sell our future for gratification in the present. That’s what Solomon is speaking to here.
Correction is when you are willing to listen to critical advice from someone who has been there. The word translated stupid in this version, simply means that they are destroying themselves. If you are not willing to take correction, and show the discipline it takes to change your direction, then you will slowly lose your future benefits.
How many times do we look back and say, “I wish I’d have done that differently.” The time is now to heed the voice of godly correction and allow discipline to shape your future. Don’t lose out on the destiny that God wants you to have. Don’t trade your future blessings for the instant gratification. Let discipline, knowledge, and correction bring you to a life worth living in Christ.
Tags: Bible, Christian, correction, cross, destiny, devotion, discipline, encouragement, future, God's will, Holy Spirit, instant gratification, knowledge, momentary pleasure, now, prepare, protection, self discipline
Does the rain have a father? Who fathers the drops of dew? From whose womb comes the ice? Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens when the waters become hard as stone, when the surface of the deep is frozen?
Water has some very amazing properties. I think about it when I see a rainbow in the sky after a storm has passed. Sometimes I am dazzled by sunlight reflecting off of a field covered with morning dew. I have gotten a other-worldly feeling as I’ve walked through a crystal forest after an ice storm.
God has provided an incredible variety of sights and sounds all related to precipitation. It is wonderful to wake up in the morning and see a world changed by the weather of the night before. It is in times like these that praise to God, the Creator, just seems to burst from my heart.
It is God who established the physical laws that govern the seasons. It is God who set down the properties that all of the various elements and substances (including water) exhibit. It is God who programmed us to respond emotionally to the beauty we see around us.
Praise Him today for His marvelous handiwork. Take the time right now to show Him your appreciation for His love and care for us in giving us such a beautiful world to live in.
Tags: beauty, Bible, Christian, devotion, encouragement, faith, glory, God's faithfulness, holy worship, ice, joy, praise, precipitation, presence of the lord, rain, rainbow, storm, water
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
It is not always easy to press on. Sometimes it is an effort just to put one foot in front of the other. Hikers and joggers have learned to just keep moving forward. There have been times when I was hiking that, because of injury or pain, I have felt like giving up. It is in times like those that I had to keep telling myself, “As long as you keep taking each step, you will come to the end of the trail.”
It is the same thing in life. It is usually not the big things that knock us down, but the continual monotony of our daily lives, day after day, week after week. It is the constant grind that saps our strength and weakens our spirit.
In order to overcome, we need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. We know that if we keep to His course for our lives, we will come out with His result. We will lay hold of the prize for which He has called us.
Don’t give up. Go to the Lord today and ask for His strength for the road ahead. Don’t live a day without allowing His renewing Spirit to work in your life.
Tags: Bible, calling, Christ, Christian, daily grind, devotion, disciple, effort, encouragement, faith, giving up, glory, God's faithfulness, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, monotony, move forward, overcoming, path, prayer, press on, problems, renew, renewal, strength, trust, victory
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
Whenever we exert ourselves we are given signs of the mortality of our bodies. Sometimes every muscle and ligament is crying out to be fixed. The weight of a heavy box, playing sports, pushing a lawnmower, or the wrong turn of an ankle – it all causes us to experience pain and stiffness.
I have some good news for you. The day is going to come when this is no longer true. Jesus Christ is going to return soon for His people. When He appears we will trade this body in for a new one – a perfect one. We will have a body like Christ had after His resurrection.
As a part of creation we are all in a state of decay. The best humanity can hope for is to hold off the inevitable as long as possible. But the “Blessed Hope” of the church is that those of us in Christ will arise with a resurrected body just like Jesus had. We will no longer be shackled with the pain of mortality.
Praise God today for the future expectation of glory that we have as believers. Thank Him for the perfected body that is in store for you. You can also meditate on this as you go through the day, especially if you’re feeling some aches in your body, knowing that it’s only a temporary condition.
Tags: aches, Bible, blessed hope, Christ, Christian, decay, devotion, encouragement, expectation, glory, Jesus Christ, mortality, overcoming, pains, problems, resurrection, return of Christ, stiffness, victory
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.
Now that we are in the Spring season, my mind starts to think about hiking. I love to get out and walk the Appalachian Trail. In order to be ready, I have been either walking or riding my bike each morning. I want to strengthen those lazy winter muscles.
Strength is a necessary part of the outdoors experience. When my wife and I started to add children to our family we stopped hiking because of the limited time we had. Since I have started back up again I have lost 30 pounds. (Pounds that I had “found” up till that time!)
I can tell you by experience that out of shape people cannot enjoy hiking as fully as those used to the rigors of trail life. I remember well the pain in my legs and back when I first started. I had to stop every few feet while going uphill, just to breathe. Thank God, I am starting to get in shape again!
More important than physical condition, however, is the shape of your inner being. The spiritual trail you are on is far tougher than any wilderness trail. God wants to strengthen you for that journey.
It is going to take quality time spent in the presence of the Lord. That is why your time in the presence of the Lord is so beneficial. It builds you up internally. To do this you must free yourself from distractions so that you can concentrate on Christ.
Let Him strengthen you today. Spend time before Him just drinking in His Spirit. Take the time necessary so that your inner man is ready for the road ahead, no matter how rough the path.
Tags: Appalachian Trail, Bible, Christian, devotion, distractions, encouragement, Holy Spirit, inner growth, inner man, inner strength, intimacy, out of shape, path, prayer, prepare, presence of the lord, problems, spring, strength
Abraham was an intercessor. He was concerned about people he didn’t even know. The following passage takes place when the Lord told Abraham about His plans to judge the cities around Sodom.
The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the LORD. Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it?”
There was a Bible scholar, Dr, Joseph Parker, who had some insightful things to say about the intercession of Abraham. He made four observations (I will put them in bold type) that I think are very applicable to the church today.
1. “God holds inquest upon the moral conditions of cities.” I believe that even though we, as individuals, live under grace, God treats cities and nations differently. Many times a city will sow injustice and reap disaster. That’s why I call all believers to pray for the USA. As a nation we cannot keep telling God to keep out, and then expect Him to protect us from catastrophe.
2. “God is accessible to earnest human appeal.” That is the basis of intercession. We need to be spending quality time in prayer for our families, friends, neighbors, and officials. That’s when we see the miraculous happen. When God’s people join with God in His work.
3. “The few can serve the many.” Sure, there are very few Christians that take the call to prayer seriously. Just look at the difference in attendance between a church dinner and a prayer meeting. The fact is, it doesn’t take a lot. God only looks for a few committed intercessors who are willing to “stand in the gap” for those around them.
4. “Human prayers fall below Divine resources.” One thing I know beyond a doubt – our prayers never even scratch the surface of God’s ability. From our perspective the task looks so daunting. The problem seems insurmountable. Yet to God, it is a simple thing for Him. He specializes in the impossible. Our prayers don’t even come close to challenging Him.
Answer the call to intercession. Our cities and nation are in desperate need of a move of God. Be on the cutting edge of the Lord’s work. Cry out to Him and see His power manifest in our lifetime.
Tags: Abraham, Bible, calling, Christian, church, devotion, disciple, encouragement, God's will, intercession, intercessor, intimacy, prayer, presence of the lord, revival, Sodom, sowing and reaping, victory
He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
This verse is referencing our Heavenly Father. In the book of James He is called the Father of Heavenly Lights. It is His light shining on us that brings us life. In His love and wisdom He sent Christ into the world to bring us life.
This verse is clear. We have been given a new birth. A birth that was not of flesh and blood like our original entrance into this world. This birth was through the Word of Truth. I believe that James is referring to something more than the Bible, as wonderful as that Word is. It is a Word that speaks to our inner being.
One of the names of Christ is the Word made flesh. He was not a matter of ink and paper coming alive. He is the living and enduring Word of the Most High God. Christ said of Himself, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but by me.” He is the direct expression of the Word of Truth.
It is through this Word, Christ Himself, that we have been given new birth – if we have accepted the free gift of His salvation. He did this so that He could begin the renovation of the human race in us. That is what the last part of this verse is all about. The firstfruits of all He created.
This is the beginnings of the kingdom of God manifest on earth. Right now it is difficult to see. It is taking root in the hearts of men and women throughout the world. But they are changing, becoming what God intended them to be. His Kingdom is starting in us.
The more time I spend in the presence of that Word, the more I become like Him. Don’t ever take the presence of the Lord for granted. It is a privilege to have access to the throne room of God. It was paid for by the precious blood of Christ. Let the living Word do the work in you that only He can do. Spend quality time with Him today.
Tags: Bible, Christ, Christian, devotion, disciple, encouragement, firstfruits, God the Father, God's word, Holy Spirit, holy worship, intimacy, Jesus Christ, kingdom of God, living word, new birth, overcoming, presence of the lord, revival, testimony, word, word of truth
2 Corinthians 1:8-10
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us.
It is my hope and prayer that you are never in a life-threatening situation. I know, however, that weather, accidents, and natural disasters can come when least expected. It seems like everyday there is something going on in the United States that could have tragic results. If and when that occurs, you will be faced with a choice – do you despair and give up or do you continue to put your hope in God?
I have been in that kind of situation. I know what it feels like to be trapped by an unforeseen incident with no way out and no help in sight. It is truly in those times of need that God proves Himself faithful. I can say, without hesitation, that God has never abandoned me to my problems.
The key to making it safely through a future problem is to make the choice now, that whatever happens, you will not abandon your trust in God. You will find that He is always there with you to help you in your time of need. In your prayer time today, reaffirm your trust in the Lord to take you through the hard times. Place your life fully in His hands.
Tags: accident, Bible, Christian, Christian witness, deadly, despair, devotion, encouragement, fear, God's faithfulness, God's love, hope, hope in God, natural disaster, overcoming, peril, prayer, prepare, problems, protection, strength, trust, victory, weather
We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Faith, hope, and love – they are the three things that the Bible says will be with us eternally. Too often we think about them in spiritual terms. We get the idea that these are just good feelings that Christians should enjoy. Like they are wonderful gifts that should be tucked quietly away in our hearts.
NO WAY!!! Faith, hope, and love are the sparks that ignite our ministry before God. There are three different things that happen as a result of their influence on us.
First, faith produces our work. That word literally means your assignment. It is the task that God has given you. As you go before God in faith, He gives you grace for the calling He has placed upon your life. Faith causes you to stand in your assignment.
Then comes love – it prompts us to labor. That word means to use up your strength in performing a task. Without the love of God, we will never pour ourselves into the calling He has placed upon us. We are called to work with all of our strength. Without love, that will never happen.
Finally, hope inspires endurance. It’s easy to start out strong, but it’s how we finish that matters the most. Hope is the biblical word for expectation. If I do my part, then I can expect God to show up and do His part. That’s what keeps me going even when I don’t feel like it. Hope gives you the endurance to persevere to the end.
Let faith, hope, and love give you more than just a warm feeling. Let them spur you on to accomplishing your destiny in the Lord’s Kingdom.
Tags: assignment, Bible, calling, Christian, destiny, devotion, disciple, encouragement, endurance, expectation, faith, God's faithfulness, God's will, hope, labor, love, ministry, prepare, strength, victory, work