Thursday, May 23, 2013


“God sees everything.” We have heard this concept, but do we really know it? Reading through Psalm 139:1-16 helps to paint a clearer picture of this concept.

Verses: O LORD, Thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, Thou understandest my Thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, Thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. (Psalm 139:1-5)
Truth: The Lord knows everything about us. He not only knows who we say we are, but also who we really are – better than we do ourselves. Right now, He is around us seeing what we are doing.

Verses: Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. (Psalm 139:6)
Truth: God, the Creator of the Universe, the Master of the seas, the all-knowing, omnipotent Ruler, know my name! He has bowed down from His Majestic throne to take interest in my life!

Verses: Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from Thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to Thee. (Psalm 139:7-12)
Truth: There is absolutely nowhere that we can go to hide from God. He sees us wherever we are, at all times. Our sins might stay hidden to those around us, but they are open and revealed before God’s eyes.

Verses: For Thou hast possessed my reins: Thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from Thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:13-16)
Truth: From day one of conception, God saw us. He was working in our lives to mold us as He saw best then, and is still working in our lives today – spiritually and physically – to continually mold us as He sees fit. Because God created us and molded us, we are a marvelous work.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sit at Jesus' Feet

Martha was a “restless will, hurried to and fro.” She was busy, but by her busyness, she missed out on what Jesus said was “that good part.” That good part which Mary chose: simply sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening, learning, but otherwise, doing nothing!!!! (see Luke 10:38-42*)

Often, as single girls, we dream of “Martha lives” as we observe what we perceive as dull nothingness. Whether we desire to be an adoring bride, a mother, a pastor’s wife, a girls’ counselor, or a “busy bee,” we cannot move beyond our single, seemingly stagnant years.

In her Bible study book, Living With Passion and Purpose, Elizabeth George reflected how Jesus spent thirty years before ministering for three years, concluding, “He shows us that, if we desire ministries to others, we must start with preparation . . . and then wait for God to provide the opportunities.”

As single girls, we might have many hopes and dreams for ministry. But . . . now . . . as we live our single years in our parents’ homes without the busyness previously mentioned, we should be content to “sit at Jesus’ feet” and learn and prepare. We have no clue what plans God has for us, but we can learn what God’s Word says. We can gird our armor and spiritually equip ourselves for what lies ahead. As busy brides, mothers, wives, and counselors, we will not always have an hour or two to dive into God’s Word – but we do now.

Instead of frustrating our lives with dreams of busyness, why don’t we relax in the time God has given us and sit at His feet, absorbing His Word? Why don’t we learn as much as we can? Let us not throw away “that good part” that we have now and waste it on dreams and frivolous things.

*“Now it came to pass, as they went, that He entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard His word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to Him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:38-42

Thursday, May 9, 2013


A young man is hit while riding his motorcycle to college, suffering many broken and fractured bones.

A mom of seven is diagnosed with stage 4 cancer throughout her body.

A man in his mid-fifties is taken down with a stroke and struggling in the hospital, while children and grandchildren watch.

A woman in her thirties suffers from liver disease and sees her husband suddenly pulled under water and carried away by the undertow.

These are four real-life situations that I have heard of from friends in the past few months. The list can go on as we each add our sorrows and difficulties. As we review the list, our hearts can begin to grow weary and depressed.

Jeremiah struggled with the same thing. He watched his beloved city besieged and God’s chosen people taken captive because of their disobedience. In Lamentations 3:1-20, Jeremiah reflects on the miserable sorrow he felt. Then suddenly, verse 21 comes with, “This I recall to mind, therefore have I hope.” Hope? In difficult situations?

Jeremiah suddenly refocused his thoughts. He chose to take his focus off the difficult situations he was facing and replace that focus to God:
“It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness.
The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him.
The LORD is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him.
It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.”
(Lamentations 3:22-26)

Because of his concentration on God, Jeremiah was able to find hope and joy in any situation.

Are you going through a difficult time right now? Perhaps you need to refocus. Instead of letting the difficulties drag you down and hinder you, count your blessings and reflect on God. Read through the Psalms and copy verses that portray God’s mercy, graciousness, compassion, faithfulness, love, and hope. Praise God for all that He has done for you. Turn your focus from this world and put it on Christ. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Colossians 3:2)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

What Do We Push?

Yesterday's devotion really spoke to me and I wanted to share it with y'all.

"Liberty and the Standards of Jesus"
From My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers

A spiritually-minded person will never come to you with the demand—”Believe this and that”; a spiritually-minded person will demand that you align your life with the standards of Jesus. We are not asked to believe the Bible, but to believe the One whom the Bible reveals (see John 5:39-40). We are called to present liberty for the conscience of others, not to bring them liberty for their thoughts and opinions. And if we ourselves are free with the liberty of Christ, others will be brought into that same liberty— the liberty that comes from realizing the absolute control and authority of Jesus Christ.

Always measure your life solely by the standards of Jesus. Submit yourself to His yoke, and His alone; and always be careful never to place a yoke on others that is not of Jesus Christ. It takes God a long time to get us to stop thinking that unless everyone sees things exactly as we do, they must be wrong. That is never God’s view. There is only one true liberty— the liberty of Jesus at work in our conscience enabling us to do what is right.

Don’t get impatient with others. Remember how God dealt with you— with patience and with gentleness. But never water down the truth of God. Let it have its way and never apologize for it. Jesus said, “Go . . . and make disciples. . .” (Matthew 28:19), not, “Make converts to your own thoughts and opinions.”

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Key to Forgiveness (Part 5)

{Scroll down to read the first four parts in this series}

Forgiveness Involves More than “I Forgive You.”
Jesus said, “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” (Matthew 18:35, emphasis added)

Forgiveness involves more than us merely mumbling, “I forgive you.” We see clear evidence of this by looking at God’s character.

1) God’s Forgiveness is backed by love
 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17, emphasis added) The whole reason God sent Jesus for us to have Eternal forgiveness, was because of His love for us (1 John 4:10). We can easily accept that love, but we must do more than accept it – we must embrace it as a pattern for our lives. “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” (John 13:34, emphasis added) God’s love was manifested in His forgiveness for us. Our love for God should be manifested in our forgiveness towards others (John 14:15).

2) God’s forgiveness always involves a sacrifice
In the Levitical law, God required that an animal be sacrificed (Leviticus 4-7). He would look down from heaven, see the sacrifice, and forgive (Leviticus 4:31). In an action of love that only God can understand, He gave the ultimate sacrifice – His own Son – for our eternal forgiveness (John 3:16). To forgive God’s way, it involves a sacrifice; most often, a personal sacrifice.

3) God never “grades” sin – He just forgives
Sacrifices covered multiple “types” of sin in the Levitical law. There was no offense that could not be forgiven via sacrifice (Leviticus 4:26, 4:35, 5:10, 6:7, 19:22, Number 14:19, 15:28). When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He died for “small” sins of deceit, murmuring, covetousness, gossip, and idle thoughts as well as the “big” sins of dishonor, rebellion, murder, theft, fornication, adultery, and unfaithfulness. Christ died to forgive all sins (Acts 5:31, Acts 13:38, Acts 26:18, Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:14). If we, through God’s grace, are to embrace Christ-like forgiveness, it means that we must be willing to forgive any type of sin that others commit: lying, thefts, deceit, rebellion, murder, and adultery.

4) God forgives fully without expecting repay
When God sees true repentance, He forgives (1 Kings 8:47-50, Acts 3:19, Acts 5:31, Acts 8:22). He does not hold grudges, wait to see if the person will “prove themselves worthy of forgiveness,” or “get even.” Those are all human actions. As Christians, we are commanded, “If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.” (Luke 17:3-4) Nothing is said of conditional forgiveness (“Forgive if . . .”). Actually, we are commanded to not retaliate or get even (Proverbs 24:29, Romans 12:19, 1 Thessalonians 5:15, 1 Peter 3:9).

5) God does not “just forgive”
God’s forgiveness reaches far beyond the words, “You are forgiven.” When God forgives, He also heals (2 Chronicles 7:14, Psalm 103:3), cleanses (1 John 1:9), covers (Psalm 85:2) and forgets (Jeremiah 31:34). Following His example, we should be ready to restore and heal the relationships – not “turn a cold shoulder.” We should be willing to cover the sins of others – not gossip about them and unearth them for others to see.

With these five points (a deeper study on the character of God’s forgiveness would reveal many more), we see that there are some things that we cannot do with forgiveness:
~Forgive and stay angry (Ecclesiastes 7:9, Ephesians 4:26)
~Forgive and continually bring up the case (Psalm 85:2)
~Forgive and hate our brother (1 John 2:9-12, 1 John 3:15-16)
~Forgive and gossip about our brother (Leviticus 19:16, Proverbs 11:13)
~Forgive and retaliate/get even (Matthew 5:39-42, Romans 12:17, 1 Peter 3:9)
~Forgive and hold a grudge (Leviticus 19:18, Proverbs 24:29, Romans 12:19, James 5:9)

To forgive like Christ forgives us seems difficult if not impossible. But we can be assured that in any trouble we face, we can go to Christ, Who knows exactly how to help us.  “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16)

With every problem, God gives a solution. Our case is not a “singular exception” but rather something that all men struggle with. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

To forgive is not an easy path, but for the believer, it is the right path. We must daily choose whether or not we will follow the right path that God has set before us.
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