Tag Archives: God’s Presence

Lamentations; Great Is Thy Faithfulness

There are some verses in the Bible that have become beacons, or sources of comfort and blessing. They are the go-to verses for most of us like John 3:16. Or the 23rd Psalm. I Corinthians 10:13 has been one of those verses to me, as has Proverbs 3:5-6. I imagine you could quote a few verses that have come to mean a lot to you, too.

Isaiah 40:31 comes to mind.

Lamentations 3:22-23 is a passage that reminds us of God’s love and compassion, His intimate involvement in our daily lives, and His great faithfulness. It inspired one of the world’s most recognizable hymns, loved by millions.

But these verses were penned at a very low period in Israel’s history. They had abandoned God,  and were realizing what devastating consequences come when God abandons His people.

Yet in the middle of this painful time, in the midst of the deepest grief, the writer says these words:

The Lord’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is your faithfulness.

Oh, that we as individuals would turn from our rebellion and know God’s great faithfulness, experience His lovingkindness and compassion when we repent of sin and run to Him.

Oh that the Church would renew our commitment, would turn from our sin, and worship and serve Him like He deserves. Do we not understand how much God longs to draw us to Himself, protect and bless us?

The hymn, “Great Is Thy Faithfuless,” written by Thomas Chisholm, has this powerful verse:

“Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth. Thine own dear Presence to cheer and to guide. Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. Blessings all mine! With then thousand beside.”

May you experience God’s faithfulness as you yield to Him today.

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Isaiah 65-66; A Beautiful Church

Isn’t it amazing to be part of the Church Isaiah describes in these chapters? The whole world is blessed because of us, and we who are faithful produce the fruit of eternal souls saved when God’s children allow Him to work through us to reveal Himself to those who need Him.

From the moment the Holy Spirit came upon His people with a mighty wind and tongues of fire, God Himself became available to anyone anywhere; Jews, Gentiles, men, women, young, old, rich, poor. He doesn’t live in a house made my human hands. He lives in all of us, His workmanship through the blood of His precious Son Jesus Christ.

Ministry is no longer confined to Levites, or priests. All believers have a ministry, we are all to go into all the world and make disciples.

Belief in Jesus makes everything new. The old passes away, the new comes, and we will live forever with our Creator God, our Savior.

These last chapters in the book of Isaiah remind me what a privilege it is to be a part of God’s family, His Church on this earth. And it convicts me to do my part to care for His Church, to help it grow, to show the world how beautiful it really is.

Isaiah 40-43; Hold On To Your Hats

Do you not know? Have you not heard?

Reading these chapters today has me praising God, not only for what He does for His children (which is nothing short of amazing), but in the reality of who He is. I hope you’ll read these chapters today for yourself. Be ready to have your socks knocked off!

It starts off with God wanting to comfort us, to assure us His Word will stand forever. It was true back then, it’s true today, and it will be true a thousand years from now. There is something very reassuring about that fact. I don’t have to wonder, or stress, or hope what I believe is right. If it’s in there… it’s true!

Isaiah tells us God is exactly who He says He is. He’s the God above all gods, the Creator, and the Savior. There is no one like Him. Lift up your eyes and look to the Creator who gives strength to us who hope in the Lord. He gives us everything we need to face our day, and in every situation. He upholds his children (me and you) in His right hand. Doesn’t that give you confidence and peace?

I love 41:17-20. We are thirsty, but God doesn’t just give us a drink. He turns our desert into pools of water, flowing rivers, and bubbling springs. And He doesn’t even stop there. He grows shade trees, fragrant trees, and food-producing trees to sustain us.

I think that’s what Paul meant when he honored God as the one “who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine.” (Ephesians 3:20) We ask for a sip of water, God opens the flood gates!

Isaiah points us to Jesus who opens blind eyes, and sets captives free. He is God! He loves us, redeems us, forgives our sins and promises to never remember them ever again, and He takes us by the hand to guide us.

Isaiah 43:2 is a treasure you can take to the bank.

Oh dear one, take time to read these words God inspired Isaiah to write. But hold on to your hat. You’re going to be blown away. Then join me in praising God, the One who deserves our praise.

Psalms 2-4; Good Night

Who has never laid awake at night and fretted over a problem? Who has never wakened in the morning and felt beat up instead of rested? And have you ever wondered how someone who is going through hard times can seem so together? What’s up with that?

David had enemies. David hid out in caves for years so Saul wouldn’t find him and kill him. David’s own son wanted him dead. And David never knew from one day to the next whether the people would be for him or against him. How did that man ever sleep?

Psalm 3 is called a morning psalm. Let’s look at how David greeted his day:

Lord, it seems like I can’t get a break. Things were hard yesterday and it looks like they’ll be hard today, too. But You sustain me. You keep me going. You encourage me and hear my prayers. I won’t fear today because You are with me. Take care of my problems, Lord, because I know my deliverance comes from You.

Then, in Psalm 4, an evening psalm, David said this:

God, I’m going to trust You to relieve my stress. Be merciful to me and hear my prayer. Instead of sinning in my anger, I’ll search my own heart, then I’ll be still. I trust You, God. You give me such joy. “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” (4:8)

Sounds like the first thoughts David had each day, and the last thoughts before he went to bed were directed toward God. And that sounds like a good example to follow myself.

Someone has said: If you can’t sleep, don’t count sheep, talk to the Shepherd.

Cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you. (I Peter 5:7)

I find that turning my problems over to God, and trusting Him to bring about the best solutions, is so much better than me trying to solve things myself. He’s so much better at it than I.

Do you trust Him? Tell Him. Then have a good night, and an even better day.

 

Job 38-42; Final Answer

The whole book of Job is a series of questions and answers. Job had questions: “Why is God doing this to me? What have I done to deserve this? Where is God in my suffering?” His friends had answers (or at least what they passed off as answers): “You have done something bad and God is punishing you, Job. You deserve this, admit it.”

So after 37 chapters of this sorry exchange between friends, God is going to finally speak. Job is going to get his answer. But it’s not at all what he expects. Because God never addresses the “why” of anything Job is experiencing. God never tells about His conversation with Satan in chapter one. God never explains His reasoning, or plan to Job and his friends. The answer to Job’s suffering isn’t about the “why” at all.

It’s about the”Who.”

And it’s the same for us. If we are looking for answers to understand our pain, or our circumstances, we are looking in the wrong direction. Looking horizontally prevents us from looking upward.

A Swiss psychologist, Dr. Paul Tournier wrote, “For God’s answer is not an idea, a proposition, like the conclusion of a theorem; it is Himself.” (Guilt and Grace; Harper and Row, p 86)

God doesn’t owe us answers. He Himself is all the answer we need.

Unless you’ve experience His Presence and peace in the middle of a storm, you probably think this is just another example of “church speak,” that it doesn’t hold water when the reality of suffering sets in. And you would be wrong.

Warren Wiersbe (With the Word, p 303) said, “God cannot do much for us as long as we are busy telling Him what to do.” Sometimes we just need to shut our mouths, stop with our demands, and just be still and know that He is God, bowing before Him in complete surrender.

I hope you read these chapters in Job today, and ask yourself how you stack up when compared to God. I know I don’t come close. And it humbles me that the Creator and Sustainer of life wants a relationship with me, wants to spend time with me, wants to be everything I need in good times and in the worst of times.

God.

Final answer.

2 Chronicles 14-16; Not A Happy Ending

I hate it when a movie or book ends badly. The star-crossed lovers remain star-crossed, or the hero dies, or Rhett walks away from Scarlett. Have you ever wanted to throw your shoe at the TV or chuck your book into the fireplace? I have. In fact, if I wasn’t holding the Holy Word in my hand, I might want to toss it out the window after reading Asa’s story.

Asa, son of Abijah, king of Judah, was a good king. Asa did what was good and right in the eye of the Lord his God. (14:2) And because of his obedience, no one wanted to go to war with him during three years of his reign. God gave Asa and the Jewish nation rest. The blessings of obedience!

But something happened in the thirty-sixth year of his reign. For whatever reason, King Asa struck out alone, forsaking God. Did he get too comfortable in his relationship with God? Did he become prideful? Was Asa more interested in what people thought than what God demanded?

Scripture doesn’t tell us why. It only tells us this man of God chose badly, and paid consequences for it.

Dear one, guard your heart. Listen to what God told Asa, “The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.” (15:2)

Hear him say the same thing to you today.

2 Kings 6-8; The “Eyes” Have It

Roman philosopher Cicero said, “The face is a picture of the mind, as the eyes are its interpreter.” The French have a saying, “The eyes are the mirror of the soul.” We’ve all heard it said, “The eye is a window to the soul.” Even Jesus spoke to this in Matthew 6:22&23 when he said, “The light of the body is the eye…”

My dad was a great story teller. But the older I got, and the more I heard his tales, the more I was able to recognize the truth or fiction in what he was saying by the twinkle in his eyes.

Have you ever run into someone and asked the question everyone asks, “How are you,” hear them say “Fine,” like everyone always says, but can see in their eyes they are anything but fine? There really is something about the eyes, isn’t there?

God uses “eyes” several times in the chapters I read today. The first is found in 6:16-17. The king of Aram is out to get Elisha. The prophet and his servant, fearful for their lives, are hiding out in Dotham. When the servant steps out the door, he panics when he sees they are surrounded by the Aramean army. Elisha tells the servant not to be afraid. Then he prays that God would open this man’s eyes. What the servant saw then was God’s own army, horses and chariots of fire, enveloping Elisha, ready to defeat Elisha’s enemy.

Are you facing a battle that threatens to defeat you? Are you panicked at the impossibility of victory when you look at the hopelessness of your situation? Ask God to open your eyes, that you might see glimpses of truth He has for you. He might reveal His Power and Presence in any number of ways. But if you are His child, and if you ask Him, I believe He will give you the assurance you need. He did for Elisha’s servant.

The second time “eyes” are mentioned is in the very next verse. The Aramean army is at the door, unaware that God’s army is also there. Elisha didn’t pray that God would destroy them. He prayed that God would blind them. And He did. As a result, the army was rendered useless for battle.

Then, and I love this, Elisha led them to their salvation. The man they would have killed, took them out of danger (away from the army of God set to do battle – and we know who would have won that one), and led them to dinner before releasing them.

No one died that day.

Friend, non believers ARE blind. Many hate us because of our love of God, and devotion to Jesus. And some would rather see us dead than hear what we have to say.

First of all, I think God would have us know His army is surrounding us, ready to fight our enemy, to give us victory over those who would do us harm. But I also think He wants to remind us that He wants to save them, too, that Jesus died for them as much as He did for us, and that anyone who believes in Him will be saved. God wants us to lead them to the cross.

If Elisha had fought that day, people would have died with no hope. But because Elisha asked God to blind them, he was able to lead them to the place where their lives were spared. Remember Jesus told us to pray for our enemies, turn the other cheek, do good to those who mistreat us, and make disciples (you do know He didn’t tell us to go into the world and pick out just nice people to make disciples of, don’t you?)

Another reference to “eyes” is found in 7:21. This time it’s a sad message. The army officer questioned God’s power. Oh, he eventually witnessed that power up close and personal. But he wasn’t allowed to share in the blessing.

I am reminded that at the Name of Jesus, EVERY knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. For some it will be too late to receive the blessings of heaven. That truth breaks my heart. I can imagine how it effect’s God’s.

8:11 refers to “eyes” again. This time it was a gaze that bore right into Hazael’s soul, and caused him to be embarrassed. Elisha looked deep into Hazael’s eyes and saw the evil there, and Hazael knew Elisha wasn’t fooled by his outward behavior.

I think some people don’t want to get too close to God for that very reason. They’d much rather live their lives concealing the truth within their evil hearts, than looking into God’s eyes and know He sees that truth. They go through life avoiding eye contact with God, as though if they ignore Him, He won’t see what they are hiding. They can fool people into believing they’re ok, but try looking into God’s eyes. That’s a different story.

People who study human behavior say that, generally speaking, you can tell if people are lying by watching their eyes, you can recognize fear, love, anger, joy by the brightness and shape of their eyes. Eyes just might actually be a window into our souls.

So, what are your eyes saying about you today? Have you allowed God to reveal His Presence in your life? Can you see His hand at work, are you praying and seeing answers to your prayers? Are you assured that He is right beside you, ready to help you defeat Satan?

Or are you walking around blind, hoping someone will lead you to salvation? Do you question, or are you rejecting God’s Truth? Understand that rejection, that unbelief may be leading you to an eternity without hope.

Are you avoiding God because you know His gaze will make you face your sinfulness? Dear one, that same gaze will assure you of His love and forgiveness if you ask Him.

This is my prayer for you; that you will look forward to the day when you look into the eyes of Jesus Himself, and see His love and acceptance because you accepted Him as your Savior while you were on this earth.

Those are the eyes I am anxious to see!