Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Our Passionate Guardian

Zephaniah 3:17 - “The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy."

As the prophet reminded Israel, we often need a greater awareness of the One who guards our souls. Our perception can become skewed when we see the Lord as a detached Guardian that reluctantly watches us as disobedient children. However, this verse tells us different. Nothing slips His eye, nor does He allow anything to separate us from the love of Christ. He is forever there to keep us in the presence of God with fullness of joy, if we will but allow Him to do so.

Just as God created us with emotions, so the love and joy of the Lord ebbs and flows in demonstration. Sometimes, we will sense the Watcher of our souls in a quiet sense of love for His beloved. At other times, we will experience the Lord's approval in joyous exaltation as He rejoices over us. In each and every instance, we experience a God that is multi-faceted in His affections but never diminished in the way He expresses them.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Broad Expressions of God's Love

Psalm 18:19 - "He brought me forth also into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me."

God delights in all of His children. He rescues us, not out of a sense of obligation, but one of deep desire for His beloved. Never let the enemy of our souls say that God wants to restrict our lives and keep good things from us. The "broad place" of His will is full of liberty and peace. Our only requirement is obeying Him as we would look to a loving Father.

Sin's pleasures will pass and leave us with an emptiness that will continue to increase over time. However, obeying God results in a continual filling of His goodness until we embody Christ's character. The wide expanse of God's blessings will never make us feel restricted. They are meant to give us boundaries, but at the same time remove any and all limitations regarding what He wants to do in our lives.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Slaves of Obedience

Romans 6:16 - "Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?"

The entire human race is in spiritual slavery. Most do not know this, nor would they believe it if presented with this fact. In truth, we are either slaves to sin or God. However, those who know the Savior understand how Jesus Christ is not a cruel taskmaster like sin and the law. He never demands but always desires we do according to His will out of a heart of love. Obedience in this manner does not seem like slavery, but is instead a relationship of a bond-slave with his Master (Exodus 21:5-6).

We are all presenting ourselves daily to our respective master. Whether it is sin or God's grace – it is ultimately our choice. Both require surrender and obedience and will eventually turn us into the image of the one who controls us. Beloved, may we desire not the world for if we serve our flesh we are already dead. If we obey Christ and cling to Him, we will experience all the fullness of the Lord in this life and the one to come.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Path of Life

Psalm 16:11 - "You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever."

Many desire to find the "path of life." Symptomatic of finding God's path is the joy that always confirms we have chosen the right way. Some might suggest they find peace in their religion. However, unless there is accompanying joy, there is no true relationship.

God the Father invites His faithful to enter into the joy of His presence when we will one day step between time and eternity (Matthew 25:23). However, He invites us all to practice His presence now and taste the joy we will experience for all eternity. All we must do is proceed with surrender to Jesus down the path of life.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Unshaken Peace

Psalm 16:8 - "I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken."

Many purport their fidelity to the Lord. Yet, many of these, when the going gets tough, will often falter and wring their hands in despair. It is admirable to spend time in daily devotions with the Lord. However, in order for us to stay in the peaceful eye of the storm, one has to create a habit of setting the Lord continually before us. Our "devotions" must span the entire day in whatever we do. Whether it is time in the word, or time washing the dishes, our affections should be continually stayed upon Him.

Things will constantly shake all around us. Whether they are relationships, situations, or circumstances, the world's power is prone to upset our peace. Instead, the peace of God can be the heritage of every believer if we will but look to the author and perfecter of our salvation (Hebrews 12:2). Our continuous gaze toward the Beloved is our only hope of unshaken peace.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Eternal Wages

Romans 4:4-5 - "Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness."

How many of us demand our wages from God? Romans 6:23 tells us regarding our true earnings. What religion will never understand is that what we do for God will never amount to anything of eternal value. However, what we do in God will ultimately remain for eternity. If we are motivated to be good out of a sense of obligation, then we will be disappointed in our wages on that last day. But if we are empowered by a great love for the Savior, allowing the Holy Spirit to work through us for His glory, then we will not view it as our work whatsoever.

What will we have credited to our accounts when we cross the veil to eternity? Will we be a sheep or a goat on that final day? (Matthew 25:31-46) It will depend whether we have religion or relationship. If we are seeking anything other than Jesus, our pursuit has become a religion of dead works (including the religion of self-seeking). If we desire to know Christ, then He will empower His works through us and credit His righteousness to our accounts. In both instances, we will enter into either the joy or sorrow of our respective master.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sure-footedness in God

Habakkuk 3:19 - "The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, and makes me walk on my high places."

It is quite amazing to watch a video of an Israeli Ibex as it traverses the steep mountains of the Judean Desert. Their sure-footedness is uncanny how they can securely place their back hooves in front of their front ones, providing them stability as they climb or descend. The amazing coordination between their sight and their sense of touch with their surroundings is certainly something the prophet marveled at regarding the heritage of the Lord in his regard.

Like the hind or the Ibex, Habakkuk understood there is no fear as long as God is in our midst. The high places can often seem scary to an onlooker. However, when God is with us, we can be sure He is instinctively giving us the wisdom to step according to His will. There is nothing more comforting to know that no matter what we see or feel, God is leading and guiding us through both the high and low places of life.