19 I have not spoken in secret,
In a dark place of the earth;
I did not say to the seed of Jacob,
‘Seek Me in vain’;
I, the Lord, speak righteousness,
I declare things that are right. — Psalm 45:19 NKJV
Have you ever had one of those conversations or listened to a speech or a sermon and felt like something was missing? You know, the ones where we trust the person speaking and believe that what he/she said is the truth but it still felt like we were missing something. Sometimes the things that are not said can be as important and truthful as the things that are said. In this verse when we put it in context we see that God is reassuring the Jews that if they seek Him, it will not be in vain. He is using the negative to confirm that the times they found Him was when they sought Him with all of their hearts. Before and after this, He used the positive. Over and over, we are told of the blessings of seeking God with all of our hearts both in the Old Testament and the New Testament. We can be assured that if we seek Him diligently, believing that we will find Him, there are blessings and rewards for doing so.
6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him,for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. —
Hebrews 11:9 NKJV
5 I am counting on the Lord; yes, I am counting on him.
I have put my hope in his word. — Psalm 130:5
Psalm 130 NLT
Our hope as Christians is that when we leave this world we will be with Jesus for eternity. This hope is not only built on the Word of God, it is guaranteed by the death and resurrection of His gift to us, His Son. We receive assurances that this hope is true in our own life experiences. As a child, my Mom told me “Son, you are going to have problems in life because you don’t take other people’s word for things, you have to experience them all yourself”. That prophecy came true, much to her regret in a lot of cases. And looking back on my life much to my regret in a lot of cases. But looking back also gives me confidence that my hope is built on Jesus and His Word because of the many times He has rescued me and brought me safe this far.
12 Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means “the stone of help”), for he said, “Up to this point the Lord has helped us!” — 1 Samuel 7:12
My life is strewn with Ebenezer stones and the remembrance of those times assures me that God’s word is true and that He is faithful all the time. What a great hope we have because our salvation is based on His word and His faithfulness.
11 Revive me, O Lord, for Your name’s sake! For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble. — Psalm 143:11 NKJV
There are times in our lives when everything around us seems to be going in the wrong direction. There are situations that we have prayed about on a daily basis, we have checked the Scriptures to be sure that our request does not violate them in any way and we have agreed with others in our request. Yet, we still don’t see any positive results. It is then that we, as the Psalmist does here, must fall on our faces and ask God to fulfill our request, not for our sake, but for the glory of His name. The end of our rope is the beginning of our hope. The surety that God cannot be defeated and that He will not give His glory to anyone else is our hope and our reason for being confident that He will act. Yes, it will be in His time and in His way, but He will act. So, when satan seems to be winning the battle, we appeal to God to act speedily for His name’s sake. And He will do it.
10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
11 For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it; For how should My name be profaned?
And I will not give My glory to another. — Isaiah 48:10, 11 NKJV
38 “Why are you frightened?” he asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt? — Luke 24:38 NLT
As the two men who had met Jesus on the road to Emmaus were sharing their story with the disciples, Jesus suddenly appeared among them. Jesus spoke to them and said “Peace be with you”. But they were startled and frightened, how could this be? After three years of walking with Jesus and hearing HIs teachings on a daily basis, the disciples were still not convinced that Jesus would really be resurrected. They thought they were looking at a ghost. Jesus told them to look closely and see that it was really HIm. He invited them to touch Him and know that He was real. Still, they were not fully convinced, so Jesus asked for something to eat. We can wonder at the unbelief and lack of faith of the disciples but we show that same unbelief and lack of faith when we are fearful and worry about things. We need to examine ourselves and ask ourselves the same questions that Jesus asked the disciples, “why are we frightened and why are our hearts filled with doubt”? God has told us over 365 times in the Bible in one form or the other, :“DO NOT FEAR!”. Yet, is there a day that goes by that we do not express fear and doubt with our words and/or actions? Instead of accessing the peace and the joy that Jesus has promised and is waiting to give each of us so that we can enjoy today with Him, we obsess over what MIGHT happen tomorrow. If we really believe that Jesus can and will provide our every need, then we should just rest in His arms and allow Him do exactly what He said He would do.
31 “God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true.
He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.
32 For who is God except the Lord? Who but our God is a solid rock?
33 God is my strong fortress, and he makes my way perfect.– 2 Samuel 22:31-33 NLT
2 Samuel 22:31-37
What a mighty God we serve! No religion can make the claim that we Christians can make about our God. No religion can make the claim that they have a God who loved them enough to send His only Son to die for them and redeem them from the curse of sin. There are other so-called gods but they are all dead and buried or if they were only idols having no life, they have been destroyed. We serve a living God, a risen Savior and we are guided by an indwelling Holy Spirit. That is why Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship with a living Lord. The Bible is a book about our God and what our relationship with Him should be. How many times have you read a book and wished that you could sit down and talk with the author? Well, we can do that everyday with the Author and the Finisher of our Bible. Every day of our lives, we can sit at the feet of Jesus and learn about Him from Him. When we do that faithfully and obediently, we learn that all of His promises are true. He is our protector, our Solid Rock, our fortress, our Banner, our Physician and the list goes on and on. Our God is everything we need when we need it the most. He cannot and will not fail us. He is able to deliver us and bring us home to His glory! Praise His Name!!
Jude 24, 25
4 When you make a promise to God, don’t delay in following through, for God takes no pleasure in fools. Keep all the promises you make to him. — Ecclesiastes 5:4 NLT
When we are having problems in our lives, we often make statements to God that we will do such and such if He will answer our prayers with a “yes”. Then, when He has fulfilled His commitment and the seas are calm, we often forget to perform our part of the contract. Perhaps, we have said that if God would bless us financially, we would increase our tithe and we haven’t done that yet. Or, perhaps we have felt that we were in physical danger and God delivered us in answer to our prayer but we have yet to fulfill the contract.. This puts our very lives and souls in danger. When we make a vow to do this or that for God, we must be careful to fulfill this vow as quickly as possible. Take the case of Ananias and Sapphira in the book of Acts. They sold a piece of property for an amount of money, how much we don’t know. Ananias and his wife had agreed to keep part of the money but to tell the apostles they were giving the full amount. Ananias brought some money to the apostles and told them that it was the full amount of the purchase price. This was not true and when Peter pointed out that Ananias had not only lied to them but to the Holy Spirit, Ananias was struck dead immediately. The same thing happened when Sapphira came in and told the same story.
We must be very careful when we make vows and promises to God. He is not a man that He should lie and we cannot keep secrets from Him. If we have made a commtiment to Him, whether the commitment is financial, more time spent with Him or a change in our lifestyles, we must careful to make sure that our actions are consistent with our promises.
5 It is not because you are so good or have such integrity that you are about to occupy their land. The Lord your God will drive these nations out ahead of you only because of their wickedness, and to fulfill the oath he swore to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 6 You must recognize that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land because you are good, for you are not—you are a stubborn people. — Deut. 9:5, 6 NLT
It is very easy for us to read the account of the journey from Egypt to Canaan and criticize the children of Israel for all their stubbornness and lack of faith. God chose them, called them out of Egypt, provided for them and kept them safe by His own arm and great power. Their response was to moan and groan about the things they didn’t have instead of being thankful for what God was doing for them. Had it not have been for the prayers of Moses, God would have compeletely destroyed these people and started over with just the family of Moses. God reminds them that it is not because of any goodness in them that He has allowed them to come this far. It is because of the wickedness of the people that live in Canaan and the oath He has sworn to Abraham, Issac and Jacob. Let us look at our lives today. How often do we, who live in the lap of luxury compared to ninety percent of the world, moan, groan and complain? How often do we consider what we don’t have instead of being thankful for what we do have? Let us honestly and truthfully consider our thoughts and how we spend our time and resources. Are we not just as stubborn and rebellious as these people were? If Jesus came to our house today, would He feel welcomed by what He sees or would He wonder if we even knew Him? If Jesus walked with us everyday, is there anything in our lifestyle that we would change? If the answer is “Yes”, then let’s not be stubborn, let’s change it today because Jesus is walking with us everywhere we go.
20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” — Matt. 28:20 NLT
7 For the Lord your God has blessed you in everything you have done. He has watched your every step through this great wilderness. During these forty years, the Lord your God has been with you, and you have lacked nothing.”’ — Deuteronomy 2:7 NLT
If you have ever taken a road trip with your kids then you have heard the question, “when will we get there?” or “how much longer?”. One Mother’s answer was “Your Father is in charge, he will take care of us and we will arrive safely. We can just enjoy the trip.” That is a lesson that the Israelis never seem to learn. Their stubbornness and refusal to learn it changed a trip that should have taken only eleven days into an adventure that lasted over forty years. Because of their attitude, we read in Hebrews, that the original generation of Israelis never entered the rest that God had prepared for them. Instead of enjoying the trip, the Israelis continually moaned, groaned and whined. How many days have we wasted whining when we could have just relaxed and enjoyed the trip? How many more days will we waste moaning and groaning because, like the Israelis, we don’t trust our Father to provide for us and bring us safely home? Moses told the children of Israel “during these forty years, the Lord your God has been with you, and you have lacked nothing.” They wanted a lot of things they ddin’t have, but they had everything they needed to make the journey. The Lord our God is still with us and we lack nothing that we need. If we could ever learn to rest and enjoy the trip, it would not matter when we got there because each day would be a new experience enjoying the presence of the Lord. Remember that God is our provider and our shield, rest in His presence and repeat as often as necessary.
6 So God’s rest is there for people to enter, but those who first heard this good news failed to enter because they disobeyed God. 7 So God set another time for entering his rest, and that time is today. — Hebrews 4:6, 7a NLT
17 Jesus knew what they were saying, so he said, “Why are you arguing about having no bread? Don’t you know or understand even yet? Are your hearts too hard to take it in? 18 ‘You have eyes—can’t you see? You have ears—can’t you hear?’ Don’t you remember anything at all? — Mark 8:17, 18 NLT
Depending on what version of the Bible you are reading the word “remember” appears between 148 to 168 times. Moses used it quite often when the Israelis would murmur and complain. He asked them to remember how God had delivered them out of the bondage of Egypt. Not only did He deliver them, but God brought them out with an abundance of riches that the Egyptians gave to them. Still, every time they got tired of the manna or they got thristy, they would complain and wish they were back in Egypt. The disciples, even after seeing all the miracles that Jesus had performed up to this time, were concerned about food for their physical needs. They had just witnessed Jesus feeding thousands of people with a few loaves and a few fish, yet they were concerned about what they would eat. Jesus admonishes them for not remembering these things. Had they remembered them, they would have been at peace with their situation, knowing that Jesus could provide for twelve people very easily. Jesus, the Bread of Life, wanted them to be conerned with Spiritual things and allow Him to be concerned with their physical needs. They needed to stay focused on Jesus and be content with what they had. The same thing applies to us. When we are in a rough patch, we need to stay focused on Jesus and what He has delivered us from in the past. We need to remember the situations He has carried us through. If nothing specific comes to mind, then just remember this — satan would like to kill us right now and he would, if Jesus allowed him to. Whether we draw another breath or not is dependent on the goodness of God and nothing else. So, every breath that we take brings life and when that breath goes out, it should carry a prayer of thanksgiving and praise for God’s goodness and protection for it is “in Him that we live and move and have our being”.
3 For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. 4 While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. 5 God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.— 2 Cor. 5:3-5 NLT
When God first made man in His image, He looked at what He had made and said “it is very good” (Gen 1:31). Decay and death were not known at this time. Then sin came into the world and things were no longer “very good”. Our bodies, along with all creation, started to deteriorate and eventually die. Jesus came into the world as a man to redeem the fallen creation and restore it to the order that had been in the garden. Jesus brought hope to a dying world. He came that we might be made “new creations”. Newness requires that we get rid of the old. We are saved when we accept Jesus and our Spirits are renewed but we remain in a fleshly body in a sinful world. The Spirit is being renewed day by day but the flesh is decaying day by day.
16 So we have no reason to despair. Despite the fact that our outer humanity is falling apart and decaying, our inner humanity is breathing in new life every day. — 2 Cor.4:16 The Voice
Our hope, the thing that makes Christianity different from anything else, is that we will one day leave these rotting, fleshly bodies and live in those heavenly bodies that God has created for each of us. Bodies that do not suffer pain and will not decay or die. God has prepared and continues to prepare us for this transition. We have a guarantee of this that lives inside of us so that we are never alone or without hope. Until the process is complete and Jesus comes again, we live hopefully and joyfully “looking unto Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith”.