Friday, July 20, 2012


We are going to jump into our study of Promises in the word of God with one of my favorites:

Call unto me and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not!  Jeremiah 33:3

The context of promises deepens our understanding of when to appropriate them!  This particular promise is especially heartwarming to any who have asked God, “Why?” for it is God‘s reply to just such a question.  Jeremiah, like many Bible greats, often asked God for understanding.  The ways of God are beyond human intellect and reasoning.  Humble whys do not offend the Lord.

At the time of this promise, the city of Jerusalem was under siege, and Jeremiah was in captivity.  God laid it on Jeremiah’s heart to buy property in a city just north of Jerusalem.  It was not a decision a financial investor would advise.  Nonetheless, Jeremiah obeyed, but he asked God to help him understand.  As servants of the Lord, we can expect to find ourselves in just such situations.

The message Jeremiah had been giving was one of future hope.  He shared the message God gave to him--the covenant God had made with Abraham was secure.  The descendants of Abraham remained the chosen people.  Despite the Nation's present experience of consequences for sin, the covenant was not broken.   The reality the chosen people were enduring was not the end of the story.  Jeremiah faithfully reminded weary and faltering hearts:  NOTHING is too hard for the Lord.  So, God presented Jeremiah with an opportunity to show confidence in the words he preached: redeem family property in the disputed territory.   God created a real world occasion for Jeremiah to put his faith in action--to let the Israelites see faith and not just hear of it.

Those opportunities do not come with a banner announcing their great potential.  They usually show up with a sign that says ‘for fools only.’  Our lives must bear out the truths we say we believe.  Words alone are useless…sometimes destructive.  God orchestrates our lives to give substance to those things we believe.  His Word is solid; the lies we believe will always collapse.  The hand of God reaches down to lift us every time we fall, but stepping forward with confidence in His promises keeps us on safe ground!

Jeremiah stepped forward in faith--but he asked God why it had to be that way.  God answered with our promise verse, saying ask me and I’ll show you some great and mighty things.  Humbly asking why is an invitation for God to reveal Himself.  Arrogant whys are another devotion topic!   Jeremiah came to God recognizing who He is and how He operates and God responded!  He will do the same for us.  As Christians, we have received an inheritance--an eternal, glorious inheritance. Humble obedience--faith-filled actions based on His Word--allows us to enter in to the Promised Land.  Sometimes we must choose what seems to be contrary to earthly sense so God can reveal more of Himself to us.  Claim that promise today!

Saturday, July 14, 2012


We complete our alphabet journey of ‘names’ for our amazing God with Zealous!  Our Lord is zealous and desires for us to be as well.  Zeal without knowledge is dangerous--but zeal rightly directed changes everything.  The ‘Zeal of the LORD of Hosts’ delivered Judah from Assyria (2 Kings 19:31) but even greater, that zeal provided total victory in Jesus Christ (Isaiah 9:7; 59:17).  During Christ’s earthly life, He demonstrated the same zeal.  Early in His ministry, the disciples recognized Christ fulfilled the prophet Isaiah’s words:  ‘Zeal for thy house consumes me.’  The LORD described zeal as a cloak wrapped about His armor of salvation and justice; Christ is the earthly reality of that depiction.

Zeal for the ‘house’ of God--the building project of the Father--was and is Christ’s power source.  Paul tells us that we are God’s building and fitted together in Christ we become a holy temple for God’s presence!  Zeal for the Father’s purposes propelled Jesus from heaven’s glory to the gloom of Israel’s defeat.  Zeal brought Jesus into Israel‘s reality: a lost kingdom, submission to Rome and centuries of silence from their King.  Zeal for the Father’s purposes powered every miracle Jesus chose to perform, every word He chose to speak and every undeserved punishment He stoically received.  That Zeal did not fall short; that Zeal raised Jesus from the curse of death to reign eternally just as Isaiah prophesied hundreds of years before.

Our lives, hidden in Christ, are to be cloaked in the very same Zeal.  Built up in our Savior, His life surrounding us, zeal is the natural state of the believer.  We are even commanded to be zealous to do what is right.  Mis-directed zeal destroys but God-centered zeal delights the Father.  In the Revelation to John, the Laodecian church was rebuked for its lack of zeal.  Christ pleaded with them---pleads with us--be zealous in seeking God, turn from self-seeking and have a passion for the things of the Lord!

Thank you for joining me on this exploration of names of our Lord.  My prayer is that you have been as blessed as I by focusing on Him.  It is my delight to tell you that the Baptist Voice has agreed to a new series that will direct our eyes to the living on the Promises of God!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Young Child

Angels announced his birth; faithful saints prophesied of his greatness; his parents pondered all.  The wise men sought and found Jesus as a Young Child…and they bowed down and worshipped Him!  When we consider the Young Child who became our Savior, we, too, will rejoice in His greatness and bow before Him. We will long to be like Him.   Certainly, Jesus grew strong in body, spirit and wisdom during His earthly life—but God chose to have the Savior come as a Young Child.  We will grow as we ponder ‘why’!

Imagine—the Lord of the Universe accepted the limitations of infancy, allowing Himself to be wholly dependent on a teen-age mother because the Father willed it to be so!  The example of humility in the Savior coming as a child transforms hearts.  Our human tendency is to strive for independence—and expect others to do the same.  We do not want to depend on anyone, God included.  Our pride resists every limitation and closes us off from the deepest joys of a humble heart.

Christ’s humble heart did not resist absolute dependence because He knew the heart of the Father.  A Young Child need not strive to possess anything because a child’s heart trusts in the Father’s generosity.  The gentle purity of such a heart is foreign to most of us for we see it very seldom.  Even our children rarely experience such security.  We live in a culture that claims to love children, but many of our choices show a different value.  We rush children through childhood, anxious to share the ‘burden’ of their care with others.  We choose careers and independence above sacrificial giving to our young ones.  Our example reveals a mind-set that says each must be the ‘captain of your own ship’—meeting your own needs first.  Jesus did not give that example. Love puts the needs of another above one’s own—and trusts the Father to care for all. 

In His short, busy years of ministry, Jesus insisted on allowing children to come to Him.  He valued the example children give—and the generous desires the Father has for every soul.  Jesus knew that receiving God’s best necessitates a trusting, child-like heart.  Indeed, such a heart is a precious commodity in this world.  The heart of a Young Child has no concern about ‘honor’ from others for it needs nothing!  A Young Child is open to receive the riches of the Father and no needs exist.  Such a fulfilled heart emanates the gentleness and joy that builds relationships.

Christ clearly saw each of His disciples as a ‘Young Child’ for He often addressed them as such.  The disciple of Christ today must seek to grow into childhood as well.  Adult hearts strive in pride and convince themselves of their humble purity (Colossians 2:20-23).  A Young Child’s heart accepts that Jesus is our only hope.  We must rejoice in His example of trust in the Father’s design—complete dependence is our deliverance.  Self-driven efforts may improve our outward appearance but striving never transforms the inner darkness of our hearts.  Simple youthful joy in the generosity of God is what we must grow into!  Christ began where we are to arrive:  Young Child!  Grow down today.