God’s Word

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August 3

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2021

It shouldn’t come as a surprise when we come to the conclusion that how we see things is determined by our perspective. Take, for example, the passage from Psalm 139:7-12. (Please take a moment to read it).

Now, the way it is taken is determined by your perspective.

For example: “I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!” (v.7)

That could be a good thing or it could be a bad thing. Right?

If a person is living in sin or simply running from God, that verse is a bad thing. It tells that person that he can never run so far or so fast that he will be beyond God’s vision.

If a person is a Christ-follower and trying to live their life in surrender to Him, it is a good thing. Anywhere that person goes, anything he/she does, He is there with them.

That same principle can applied to all the verses.

  • If you are His what promises!
  • If you are a runner, what distressing verses!

God has uniquely made each of us. He cares about His creation. The words of Psalm 139:7-12 should stand as a comfort to me of His steadfast love.

“Father, may I never lose sight of You, Your concern for me, or Your watchful eye on me.”

July 21

Wednesday, July 21st, 2021

I have a system to my Bible reading. But first, let me say this: my morning Encounter Time (ET) with God is important to me. It helps me start my day out right and helps focus me. I won’t lie and say every morning reverberates in me and I leave having to wear a veil so people won’t be able to see the glory of God wear off my face. (Think Moses). I wish it was always that way but it’s not.

That being said, let’s get back to my original thought. (Have you ever noticed that sometimes rabbit trails are attractive?)  Part of my ET is reading the Psalms. I’m almost always in a continual reading of them. Psalms every day; Proverbs every other month.

One of the highlights of Psalms is Psalm 119-the longest chapter in the Bible. 176 verses long. What I like to do is read it slowly and broken up. Today I finished that chapter-almost 2 weeks in the making. 10 verses here; 20 there. I highlight different Scriptures each reading, those which speak to me that time through.

What is unique with that chapter is the centrality of God’s Word (GW). Of the 176 verses, only a handful have no reference to GW. Here is an exercise you can do as you read: Underline all the words used to describe GW, i.e. statutes, commandments, laws, Your word, etc. Do that and the handful of verses will come out.

But be careful! You may find some gems. Verses like verse 9; verse 97; and verse 105. So, so many. You may literally find your head doing the proverbial spin.

So there is your challenge. Read. Take your time. Underline. BE CHANGED.

“Father, ‘I love your word’ is a frequent saying in Psalm 119. May it roll off my tongue as well. Let Your Word come alive in me.”

July 8

Thursday, July 8th, 2021

We will be returning from Ohio today.  Our grandson’s last baseball game for the summer was Tuesday. Janna’s friend’s last softball game was Wednesday and since we haven’t had a chance to see him play, we decided to combine two birds with one stone by making a quick trip. Your prayers for safety would be appreciated.

Tuesday morning in my reading through the NT, I read Hebrews 7. I must confess a “denseness” and sometimes a clueless factor when it comes to this chapter. I’m still somewhat unsure/confused about it. But here is my weak attempt to break it down.

It is the Scripture about Melchizedek and his relationship/comparison to Christ.

  • There is similarity. See verse 3. Mel is not Jesus but made like the Son of God.
  • Mel was greater than Abraham. Of course, we know Jesus was greater…than both
  • Mel came because with the Law an imperfect life was impossible. Jesus died for those under the Law because of this truth.
  • Jesus qualifies as a priest, not on the basis of a law, but according to the power of an indestructible life (v.16)
  • Jesus became the guarantee of a better covenant AND He holds His priesthood permanently. (v.22,24)
  • Jesus saves those who come to Him forever.
  • The Law was weak with weak mean; the word of the oath (promise) appointed Jesus who is forever; therefore, the promise is forever.

I don’t know. I’m still fuzzy and I sure hope I didn’t confuse you even more. I still have so much to learn. Maybe there are just some things we aren’t meant to understand????

“Father, continue to challenge me with Your Word. I don’t even want to say I have arrived or that I know it all.”

July 1

Thursday, July 1st, 2021

The greatness of the Son. The greatness of Jesus. That is what is going through my mind at this moment.

In my reading through the NT, I started Hebrews 1 this morning. So first, let me stop here. Please drop everything (okay so maybe not your cup of coffee or glass of pop or whatever else you may have in your hand) and open your Bible to Hebrews 1: 1-4. I know. I could link it to this devo so you can read it that way, but sometimes there is nothing like the feel of a Bible in my hand, opening it and reading it. It will take you all of about 2 minutes to read that passage slowly.

Okay…now that you have done that, let’s break those verses down.

  • God speaks to us through His Son. Prophets and word-of-mouth can’t hold a candle to the impact of Jesus. His Word is the only and last word.
  • God promised an inheritance through Jesus.
  • They (Father and Son) created the world together. “Let us make man in our image” we are told in Gen. 1:26.
  • Jesus is the exact representation of God, the Father.
  • Jesus cleansed us from our sin (the cross) and is now seated at the right hand of the Father.
  • No angel comes close to Jesus. (Sort of pushes aside our worship of angels don’t you think?).

Only Jesus.

Only Jesus can do what Jesus has done. Only Jesus could do what was needed for us to be cleansed. Only Jesus receives the highest praise and the honor we are to give.

Only Jesus.

“Father, may my worship and trust be placed in Jesus. He alone is the exact representation of You. He is You in the flesh and totally worthy of my adoration and worship.”

June 28

Monday, June 28th, 2021

A number of years ago (around 2002), I read a book by Tom Morrisey entitled Wild by Nature. At the time I really enjoyed the book, but for the most part it was a one-and-done read. I truly enjoyed WBN, subtitled True Stories of Adventure and Faith. Last week we went to Ohio to see our grandson play baseball (and see his mom) 🙂 . I decided to take the book with me to read it again.

In the Introduction, Mr. Morrisey wrote something that struck me. In reference to his use of the Bible in his stories, he writes a brief introduction to the Bible. Then he wrote this:

I offer this brief introduction to the Bible because, while the references given may make it seem that it (the Bible) is a companion volume to this book, the reverse is actually true-this book was written as a companion volume to God’s Book.

I like that. All too often we are guilty of deciding then looking to the Bible to confirm. The opposite should be true. First the Bible; then our decision/choice. The Bible was never meant to be a handbook but a guidebook. The Bible was never meant to be checked for an okay; it was meant to be read and applied. Psalm 119: 105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” It lights the path as it goes in front. It wasn’t meant to be a back light.

Those are important thoughts for us in this day and age. The Bible needs to be our guide, not our handbook. We allow the Bible to direct us, not do then seek approval.

“Father, may Your Word by my guide…always.”

June 22

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021

“The battle belongs to the Lord.” We will hear that often from pastors/teachers as they admonish us to fight on, to carry on, to not give up.

I read an interesting story from Our Daily Bread yesterday (6/21/21). During what has been The Charge of the Light Brigade, Lt. Colonel de Salis had a horse named Drummer Boy who was injured during battle. He decided his horse deserved a medal as much as his valiant men. Even though their military action failed, Drummer Boy was awarded a medal. And even though it failed, that battle goes down as one of Britain’s greatest military moments because of the valor of both men and horses.

That brings to mind several Scriptures:

“The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But the victory belongs to the Lord.” (Pr.21:31) (NASB 2020)

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” (Ps.20:7) (ESV)

Those are just a couple of verses which show our strength is not our own. Nor is our strength that which is strong on earth. Over and over in Scripture we are told that God is the one who fights for us. He is the One we are to trust not that which appears strong. I like what Deut.20:4 says, “For the Lord your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you the victory.” (NLT)

Not much more to say is there? God has promised to fight those battles with us and for us. Lean on that.

“Father, may I trust You when it comes to battle. Help me to stand firm against sin and evil and remember the battle is Yours.”

June 21

Monday, June 21st, 2021

During my time of working through Wild at Heart by John Eldredge, I watched a movie that was different for me. John was talking about fathers and the wounds we often get from them. The movie was based on a book by Norman MacLean called A River Runs Through It. It was the story of a somewhat harsh (at times) Presbyterian pastor played by Tom Skerritt, and his two sons, one of whom was Brad Pitt. The father would preach on Sunday morning and knowing Sunday evening was coming and he would do it all again, he would take Sunday afternoons to walk through the woods with his sons or to fish. He especially loved to fly fish and taught his sons how to as well.

I am not a fisherman and make no pretense to be. Or to understand the mystery of fly fishing. Growing up near Pittsburgh did not afford many opportunities to fish or hunt, especially when you had a father who did neither.

It is easy to pick at our fathers-of not being there, of not teaching us or spending time with us. I’ve related that my relationship with my father was tenuous, as best. He loved baseball and so did I so I tried to excel.  I see now some of it was for his approval. He didn’t like basketball but I tried to excel regardless. But I’m not here to bash my dad. I tried to be a good father but didn’t always succeed. I know how hard it is.

I’m here to talk about my other Father, my good good Father. The Father who has unquenchable love for me. The Father who has unconditional acceptance of me. The Father who spoke the Truth and kept His Word. The Father who stuck by and continues to stick with me through thick and thin; through good and bad; through sin and service. He is my good, good Father. Check out this song.

“Father, I know I could never and will never be the Father you were and are to me. But I want and need you to be my Abba, the Father who loves me unconditionally.”

June 4

Friday, June 4th, 2021

FOCUS. REMOVE. PUT ON. REPRESENT.

I read Colossians 3 this morning. That is how my mind worked and wrapped itself around my reading. In fact, it went into “preacher mode” (unfortunately) and actually did an alliteration. 🙂  I’ll share that with you at the end of this devotion.

FOCUSVerses 1-2

  • Seek the things that are above
  • Set your mind on things that are above

REMOVEVerses 5-9

The focused life-the one centered on Jesus- needs to be cleaned. Old garbage needs to go. Removed. Deleted actually. Killed. Buried. For good.  The list is very inclusive of what needs to be removed. It really brings to light the sins which lurk within.

PUT ON Verses 10-16

The old is removed-stripped off-and put to death. It needs to be replaced with clothes worth wearing. One wouldn’t strip of dirty work clothes, shower, then put those-or dirtier-clothes back on. No. New ones. Clean ones. Fresh-smelling ones. That is what the new nature calls for.  This list includes the gifts of the Spirit; the importance of forgiveness; and the exceptional quality of love. (I Cor.13 sure needs to be read at this point). The message overwhelms us, changes us, challenges us, makes us different so we can…

REPRESENT Verse 17

All of the stripping away and renewal (re-clothing) comes with a purpose-to represent Jesus in all things. That’s why it is so essential that the order be followed: Focus. Remove. Put On. Represent. 

And now for my “preacher mode” which likes alliteration: Rivetted. Remove. Re-clothe. Represent.

“Father, may I represent You clearly. No questions. No cause for sideways glances. No questioning eyes. Focus me. Strip me. Re-clothe me. Let me be a good representative of You.”

June 1

Tuesday, June 1st, 2021

Responsibility.

That word carries a lot of weight. What does it conjure up in your mind?

A husband/father who feels the weight of providing for, taking care of and protecting his family,

A teenager’s maiden (and each subsequent) voyage in his/her dad’s car.

Dad/mom/teen reporting to work on time each day and giving a full day’s work while on the job.

Daily chores. Taking care of animals. Cleaning the house. No age limit on that.

Here is one I have: “God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire message to you. This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people. For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you.” Col.2:25-27 (NLT)

Such a weight! To know that the great responsibility I have is to take the message of the Gospel and give it to the people God has entrusted to me.  Admittedly, sometimes I feel like Frodo carrying the ring-the ring is too heavy to bear. But to see a face light up; to see someone grasp the truth of the message; to see acceptance of that Good News as it sinks in, is worth it all.

Even if I need a SamWise to carry me for awhile.

“Father, the responsibility is there. May I be faithful to carry out that responsibility.”

May 25

Tuesday, May 25th, 2021

If someone were to pin me down and ask me what is my favorite passage of Scripture, I would be hard-pressed to find just one.

Probably my favorite single verse is Psalm 37:5- “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and he will bring it to pass.” My way is to be His way. The NLT says, “Trust Him, and he will help you.” That sort of clarifies that last phrase for me.

But probably, in my mind, the greatest long form Scripture is Romans 8.  There is so much there it is like a mine that needs to keep being mined. There is more treasure to be found! I especially like verses 28-29 with the promise of being conformed to the image of Jesus. But verses 31-39 are the highlight. {Take a moment and read them right now}. To know God is for me. To know God stands with me. But what can be greater, more refreshing, more satisfying than to know that nothing can separate me from God’s love? I know of N.O.T.H.I.N.G.

To know that I am going to face all kinds of loss, trouble, and disappointment is one thing, but to know that it will never separate me from the Father’s love is overwhelming.

There is something special in knowing I will not be severed from Him. No one will snatch me out of His hand. Nothing in this world or another world can sever our bond.

“Father, thank you for the truth of Romans 8. How reassuring it is to me to know that I’m Yours forever.”