Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Lord, our Hiding Place

As I considered this title of the Lord this week, I read (and re-read) Psalm 48. It actually closes with the designation we focused on last week, Christ as our guide unto death. The verses which spoke to me about Christ as my hiding place precede that title:

Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following.
(Psalms 48:12-13)

My prayer for today’s devotional journey is that we will be encouraged to enter into Him moment by moment…to rest in Him fully and enjoy the power, the perspective and the beauty of His shelter.

‘Stop the world, I want to get off!’ The speed of life makes everyone feel like that sometimes. We all need a place to recharge; a place to hide when the pressures of life weigh upon us. Scripture is full of reminders that the Lord is the Hiding Place we need. All other fortresses: financial security, personal strength, our abilities, the love of others, earthly recognition will collapse. Too often, though, we trust in such temporary earthly things and fail to enter into God’s great strength. We rejoice in the beauties we find in this earthly life, beauties that can not last, and fail to contemplate the perfection of His palaces.

Thankfully anything we trust in besides Jesus will ultimately fail. I say ‘thankfully’ because otherwise we would fail to run to the only shelter which can protect, Jesus Christ! Lives outside of ‘the’ Hiding Place are a tragedy. Living outside of the shelter of Jesus produces empty lives without a legacy for future generations. Recognizing our limitations, our needs, and running to Him offers protection and hope for ourselves and others.

In Second Corinthians Paul reminds us that our weaknesses are our greatest point of strength. We do not want to center our minds on those areas of our lives where we are weak, though. To do that will only weaken us farther. Our need is to heed the instruction of Psalm 48:12, walk where God dwells and consider His power—the beauty of His holiness. We can not do anything for ourselves; He does not draw up strength from within us. He fills us with Himself when we ‘hide’ ourselves in Him. Our weaknesses, placed in Christ, are filled with Him. Jesus emptied Himself and left the glories of heaven to come to a lowly stable; He calls us to empty ourselves and leave the uncertainties of fleshly living to come to His fortified palace. What a tremendous calling…what an incredible exchange!

May we each determine to enter into His shelter moment by moment!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The LORD our Guide

We have a great aspect of God to look at this morning...His everlasting guidance! Your heart is sure to be encouraged as we contemplate His commitment to guide us. Throughout God's Word are reminders of His perpetual guidance. Divine leading is seen in the lives of every Bible character; it is in our lives too. God never intended for mankind to find his own way. In fact, each individual is precious to God, and He has individual plans of blessing and purpose for each. The path to His blessed purposes can only be found by those who trust in Him.

Even in Paradise, man needed--and received--instruction. One piece of counsel was enough to reveal the self-will of reveal the need for God. Like those first children, our eyes are easily diverted from our gentle leader, our Creator, our source of life. Our hearts are tempted to trust our own thoughts about what will please us most. We become our own blind guides. That first decision to ignore God's counsel opened paths of destruction which continue to be heavily trod. Yet God still gives us only ONE way...THE Way, THE Truth and THE Life: Jesus Christ.

The still small voice of God continues to call to us, 'This is the way, walk in it.' The eye of God still directs those who look to Him. The light of His Word continues to shine forth on the path He desires for us to walk upon. His very spirit dwells within those who have accepted the gift of life in Christ and His hand comforts and leads those who walk with Him. Yet the clamor of our hearts, the busy-ness of our lives and the deceptiveness of the one who masquerades as an angel of light diverts us from His path. We wander off His way; we allow our ears to become dull and our hearts hard. The confident hope we had when walking close to Him gives way to confusion and fear. Yet God's guidance is not absent; He has promised to never leave us or forsake us. If only we will stand quietly and look to Him, we will hear His voice and see His eye guiding us toward the Light and toward His perfect purposes. We will feel the comfort of His touch and our hope will be restored.

God never reveals all of His plans for He calls us to walk by faith and not by sight. His longing for our friendship is a longing for our trust. He is worthy. He will lead us to a place of bounty. We know His leading will never take us from the truth that is revealed in His Word. The path will not always be level or smooth; we would be weak and useless if it were. There may be battles on His path but victory is in Him! The route God takes us upon is designed to bring us into the fullness of His purposes despite our weaknesses and strengths! Take His hand, hear His words of love and embrace the adventures and blessings He has designed just for YOU!

There are so many wonderful scriptures of God's leading, I couldn't choose just one but wanted to offer you several to contemplate. May you be richly blessed in His Word:

The Psalms are a rich source of 'guidance' scriptures: Psalms 25:9; 32:8; 48:14 and 73:24. Isaiah 58:11 is a nice tie with last week's devotion of God as the source of living water. John 16:13 reminds us of the Spirit's presence. There are many, many more. Enjoy your search and let Him lead you into greater riches of His Word!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Source of Living Waters

Are you thirsting for some refreshment this chilly February morning? If so, come along on a delightful jaunt to the Fountain of Life...our Source of Living Waters. From Genesis to Revelations, God calls us to drink of His pure life-giving water. The message is clear: God, the giver of life, is the sustainer of life. Our thirst for vitality, for lives of significance, will be satiated only when we come to Him. Let's drink from a spring found in Psalms 36:5-9:

Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast. How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.

God's love, faithfulness, glory and justice are the depths we are called to enjoy. Plumbing those depths provides us with incredible riches. We discover the precious commodities of refuge: peace and security. We are invited to feast upon His riches and drink of His pleasures. The word used for pleasures in Hebrew is 'Eden.' We are invited to enjoy Paradise! Truly, the life God longs to give us is 'exceedingly abundantly' greater than we can conceive. It grieves the Father to see man write his life in the dust as it is described in Jeremiah 17:13; yet we do it so often. We 'write' our lives in the stuff of the world and like dust it will blow away. We are the heritage of God; He wants us to be fruitful trees with our roots in Him.

Just like the trees in our yards whose roots are deep below the frigid snow, our roots need to be deep in the love of God. All around us, tree roots are busy about their work even in this dreary, cold season. Soon leaves will spring forth; the results of the roots' hidden work will be revealed in vibrant life. Our lives are to be the same. The soil, the source, of the roots of our lives is critical. Only roots established in Jesus produce life. Let us heed His call to come unto Him (Isaiah 55:1); to draw upon His provisions with joy (Isaiah 12:3); and to so live in faith in Christ that His life flows out of us (John 7:38). Not only will we be refreshed and vibrantly alive; we will bring life to others.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

End of the Law

Our look at Jesus comes from Romans 10:4 today…

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
(Romans 10:4)

This verse has some amazing depth to it that we will only glimpse as we take this morning jaunt. Let’s begin at the beginning; have you read the Books of the Law lately? The books of Moses (Genesis through Exodus) paint a picture we desperately need of the righteousness of God. We live in a culture of flippancy and irreverence for all things…God included. A recent church sign listed a ‘Worship Lite’ service. While I am certain they did not mean they take God lightly, it is a stark contrast to the way God revealed Himself to the nation of Israel. Though we are no longer under law, it still teaches us, and God has not changed. The Books of the Law portray the holiness of God in awe-inspiring detail and clearly show a God who is not to be taken lightly. Great care was needed in approaching God and the consequences of irreverent worship or disregard for God’s ways were deadly. Approaching God is serious business, which leads us to our first glimpse of the privilege Romans 10:4 provides.

Jesus is the end of the law so believers can receive the very righteousness of God. The end of the law does not mean that God is less holy; it means Jesus is the fulfillment of the law. In Jesus, the goal of the law was reached: access to God. It was God’s purpose from the first word spoke in Creation to have people to fellowship with and to love. His righteousness could not be compromised in reaching that desire, but He provided all that was needed to bring His plans to completion. Jesus provides us with the righteousness needed to come to the Father. No longer are there rules and regulations for seeking God other than coming through Jesus. What privilege we have in Jesus; are you enjoying that privilege with all your heart?

In Second Corinthians, Paul tells us that Jesus became sin, so we could become the righteousness of God by hiding our lives in Jesus. What a trade that is: the best we can offer to God is nothing but filthy rags but Jesus makes the way for us with a yoke that is easy and the burden light! May our hearts rejoice this week that the law is fulfilled and the way provided for us to enter into fellowship with a holy God. Jesus came that we might have abundant life. Don't waste a minute of your life living outside of Jesus...of seeking fulfillment anywhere but in Him! Jesus paid it to the Father and enjoy His glory and His love.