“The Lord bless you, and keep you; The Lord make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.”
Numbers 6:24-26 NASB1995
“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” “ 1 Samuel 16:7 NASB
When, O LORD, when?
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 NASB
When, O LORD, when?
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.” Psalms 32:8 NASB
When, O LORD, when?
“ ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord , ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’ ” Jeremiah 29:11 NASB
When, O LORD, when?
I haven’t been very patient in my life. I’ve made a lot of poor choices, trying to push God into giving me what I wanted. I’m trying, LORD. I’m just not very good at letting go of my desires and giving You control.
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 NASB
I’m holding on to this promise.
Jesus said: “So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [ For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’ ] For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” Matthew 6:8-15 NASB
Do you remember Jeremiah, the “Weeping Prophet”? When the Hebrews were taken prisoner and moved from Jerusalem to Babylon, most of their prophets were telling them not to worry, this would be a very short captivity and then they would be able to return home. God had other plans, and He chose Jeremiah to give them the real plan….. and they considered him to be full of doom and gloom! I think we do that, too. When we don’t get the answer we want, we tend to be “Oh, woe is me!” We need to concentrate more on the Word and the positive that God is telling us.
“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.’ ” Jeremiah 29:11-14 NASB
Most of us are not in physical exile like the Hebrews were, but we may feel trapped in a job or a relationship. God doesn’t create chaos; we do that through the exercise of our own free will and by neglecting to listen to the LORD. He allows us to do these things, but if we will turn back to Him, we can sometimes remove ourselves/be removed from the bad situation, and other times we learn to be content in it. Remember, bloom where you are planted. I know; much easier said than done sometimes!
“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
Daniel 3:17-18 NASB
• Pray for peace, and for prosperity for the place God has placed you.
• Pray for the economy, citizen safety, wisdom and integrity of our leaders/politics, and for prosperity of the community and the country.
• Beware of false Teachers and Prophets! Biblical prosperity does not resemble health and wealth. It is Peace with God.
• Trust God’s plan. The long term, not necessarily the immediate.
“For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NASB
• Finally, receive God’s blessing.
Don’t be IN or OF the community, but FOR the community you are in. Society today is not pro Christian, nor does it favor Christians. Wherever you are, be ALL there. Seek peace, practice practical loving. A community cannot be at peace, TRUE peace, until they are at peace with God through Jesus Christ. Pray for what you care about.
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:8 NASB
“Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.” James 1:13 NASB
Sin. What is it, anyway? I’m good. I haven’t done anything horrible. It’s just a white lie. Everybody else is going…. doing it. It’s not so bad. It’s nothing compared to so-and-so.
We are so good at justifying our thoughts and behaviors and actions! Mention sin and see how people around you respond. It doesn’t exist. That’s an old fashioned idea; an antiquated thought. Nobody believes in sin anymore. Just be a good person and you’ll be okay. I’m okay, you’re okay, we’re all okay!
“Beware that your hearts are not deceived, and that you do not turn away and serve other gods and worship them.” Deuteronomy 11:16 NASB
Oh people, we have allowed ourselves to be fooled by the enemy. There’s an alphabet soup of aberrant behavior that is not just tolerated, but condoned and celebrated. Whether it is murdering unborn babies, or accepting pedophilia as ‘normal’ behavior; selling your body, living together outside of marriage…. these should be easy for Christians to identify as sin. But what about these? Overeating and gluttony? Abusing the prescription your doctor gave you by not following the instructions? Watching and listening to things that exploit the bodies of young men and/or women; of children. Discrimination, both covert and overt.
Well! I’m certainly not guilty of any of those things!
Oh, but you are. I am. We all are.
“He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.” Proverbs 28:13 NASB
“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8-9 NASB
Thank God for the gift of the LORD Jesus Christ!
“How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered! How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit! When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away Through my groaning all day long.” Psalms 32:1-3 NASB
“I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD’; And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah.” Psalms 32:5 NASB
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” John 5:24 NASB
“And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, JESUS the SON OF GOD, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the Throne of Grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:13-16 NASB
Friends, draw near to the Throne of Grace! We, the children of the Most High GOD need to be on our knees, praying for our country, our leaders, our communities. It doesn’t matter if you are a Republican or a Democrat or an Independent; man, woman, or child; Baptist, Catholic, Church of whatever. As Christians we are called to prayer. It’s the only way to save our home here.
The LORD said this to Solomon. I believe it is relevant to us, today, too.
“…… and [if] My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 NASB
First off, consider this.
“ALL Scripture is GOD-Breathed.” 2 Timothy 3:16a NIV
All of it. Every word. Penned by men, but inspired and written by the Almighty God. He tells us that
“…. ALL have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God,” Romans 3:23 NASB
We are not ‘good’. We can never be ‘good’. Gandhi was not ‘good’. Mother Teresa was not ‘good’. Moses, Peter, Paul, Joseph, Daniel, Buddha, Mohammed were not ‘good’. Any person you can think of is not ‘good’. No matter how great the person or how much good they may have done in their life, no one is ‘good’. We will all be judged against the same standard; against the standard of the only good man to ever live, the only one who will ever live, the God-man, Jesus Christ.
“Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance.” Isaiah 55:2 NASB
I’ve spent my life chasing something, or someone. Lots of money and energy expended trying for the perfect partner, job, house, clothes; friends, family. The “perfect” church. Know what I’ve discovered?
They don’t exist.
What? Of course they do! Don’t try to tell me my searching, my life, is futile! ……. And yet, that’s the truth. Most of us spend our lives trying to have the perfect life as we imagine it, when the reality is that all of these things, and all of these people, won’t satisfy us. Sure, we can achieve momentary satisfaction, but it’s fleeting. I think that’s why our world is rife with ruthless people, in business and politics and in their personal lives. Business takeovers. Public lies and shaming. Affairs in the shadows, and affairs in the open, blatantly flaunting themselves. Desperate people everywhere, searching for nirvana.
It doesn’t exist.
We are a created race. Yes, one race, created by a Creator God, and we are created to worship Him. Nothing else can fill that hole. We can search and scrape and fight trying to find anything else to fill it, and that’s what we spend our lives doing. One thing fills that hole in your heart. One thing fulfills your search. ONE thing.
Son of the FATHER GOD. Second, but equal, member of the Trinity, God, Son, Holy Spirit. Saviour of the world. The One; The Way.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:16-18 NASB
In 1670, Blaise Pascal published Pensées, in which he writes:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 NASB
Change your focus. Look for Jesus. He will fill your heart in a way you could never have imagined. Not only your heart, but He will fill your life, your mind, your soul, if you will just let Him. He will give you Life Abundant. Even if you struggle financially, even if you are on your own, without a partner, or out of work, Jesus can bring a contentment that is beyond this earth.
LORD, I pray today for that person who is searching, that he or she will open their heart to You and realize real peace and contentment today, right now. Amen.
For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13-14 NASB
I’m so tired of seeing my nation, my world, being divided by color of skin. We are Americans. Not African or Irish or Chinese or Mexican or Italian or any other country. We can’t let politicians, who are really only interested in themselves, divide us! Seriously, people! If you hold dual citizenship with another country, then by all means identity with it! Any British-Americans? German-American? Guyana-Americans? See what I mean? I honestly don’t understand why someone wants to self identify as part of a country other than the one they were born in, unless they want to move to that country to live. African-American is very widely used and claimed by hundreds of thousands of Americans. Why? Are they or their parents from Africa? Besides which, Africa isn’t even a country. It’s a continent. I know, we Americans have appropriated the name of the continent we are on as the name of our country, but understand that the world also refers to citizens of the United States as Americans. Are people from Ethiopia considered African, or Ethiopian? Kenyan, or African? Ugandan, or African? See the question?
Racism is promoted and perpetuated by the insistence of some people to identify as anything other than as Americans. I really don’t understand. I was actually polled the other night (a first!) and when asked what race I was, I answered “American.” I know it’s not a race, but neither is African-American. I should have answered “human”, because there is only one race. Sure, we have thousands of cultures and as many colors, but there is only one race, human. It would behoove us all to grasp onto that fact.
I love my country and the melting pot that it is. I will continue to pray for my country and that somehow, people will see through all this “racial” divisiveness, and I will do everything in my power to defend my country from our enemies, both within and without. Celebrate the diversity of all of our beautiful skin colors and cultural differences, but, please, don’t fight over them!
Jesus is the answer. The only answer. Come to Him today. Jesus said:
“I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” John 14:6 NASB
1 Corinthians 13: What is Love?
Love is not jealousy; a burning desire to have what someone else has, or resentment. Those things are an absence of love. When I have to win, and the other person has to lose, is jealousy. Resentment shows in how we respond to other’s success, just as much as how we handle our own.
Love is not bragging, boasting, or publicizing our own success/accomplishments. When we are full of arrogance and puffed up with self importance, we aren’t able to love others because all of our focus is on ourselves. Have you ever known someone who is truly humble? When someone is humble, you cannot humiliate them.
Love is not acting unbecomingly, it is not rude, or discourteous. It is kind and considerate, it is polite. Love is tactful, saying Please, thank you, excuse me. Do the little things.
Love is not self-seeking; it is not selfish. It is self sacrificing. The root of all problems is selfishness, so love is to be empty of ourselves and to look out for others over ourselves. When we allow ourselves to be provoked (i.e. irritable, sharp, prickly, touchy, grumpy, and quick to take offense), these show our failure to love. They are triggers to anger and a temperamental “blast off”, as opposed to a righteous anger or irritability (remember Jesus running the money changers and those turning His Father’s House into a place of business out of the Temple?) We must be at peace with God to prevent this.
Love does not take into account a wrong suffered. Don’t keep track of grudges and resentments! Love lets the past die, it absorbs the wrong. Good friends are good forgivers. Let it go. Choose to forgive. “I distinctly remember forgetting it.” – Sarah Barton, founder of the American Red Cross Ultimate forgiveness is shown by Jesus and His sacrifice. Knowing we were yet sinners, He left Heaven to die on the cross for our sins. For your sins. For my sins!
Love is not happy with sins or lies. It doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness. Love has boundaries. It is based in God’s Truth. Love doesn’t rejoice in it’s own sins. What of our entertainment choices? Our relationship choices? Are we leading other people into sin through those choices? Love supports the truth, and the TRUTH doesn’t change. It is the same today as it was yesterday or 2000 years ago, and it will be the same tomorrow, and it will still be the same in 20,000 years.
“When love is present, nothing else is needed.” Love is essential to anything I do. Without love, I’m just making noise. Remember this truth – No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care. There is no real sacrifice without real love, true love, which is Agape love. This Love is produced ONLY by the Holy Spirit, through Jesus Christ, Who the church is based on. LOVE personified, the Cornerstone of the church.
Love rejoices with the truth; Love bears/carries, protects, supports, covers or shelters all. Love is everything both for us AND for others. In Genesis 9, when Noah’s sons realized their father was naked and they covered his nakedness without looking at him, that is Love. Real Love offers shelter and protection for our shortcomings and our faults without focusing on them.
“Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 NASB
Love believes – not in a gullible way, and not overly suspicious or cynical. Love is encouraging. It takes the best view of people and holds on to it, for as long as it is possible. Love believes in second chances. Love remembers that God isn’t finished with us yet!
Love hopes and doesn’t give up. It has desire with expectancy and it is realistic, but in the dark days it holds hands with Hope. When you get discouraged because life is overwhelming and everything seems to be falling apart, read the end of the Book. I love reading Revelations, because we win!
Love endures and will hold on until there is absolutely no hope left. It is patient and persevering in all circumstances. Love perseveres, it holds on, it endures.
Paul is saying to the Corinthians: “What LOVE is, you are not.” Will we be like the Corinthians, without Love, or will we search Scriptures and study to be more Christ-like and loving outside of ourselves and our own selfishness?
LORD, be with us, Your people during this unprecedented time. Help us all to not just hold on to Your promises, but give us the courage to live your Love and the Truth. Amen.
References: 1 Corinthians 1:26, 29; 4:7, 4:18-19, 8:1; Philippians 2:3, 5-8; Acts 17:16; Romans 4:8; 2 Corinthians 5:9; Hebrew 10:17; Matthew 18; Romans 5:8; 1 John 5:9; Proverbs 10:12; James 5:20; 1 Peter 7; 1 Peter 2:24; Romans 15:13; John 13:1
Charles Stanley wrote about surviving “the wait” with courage. He says “Continued delays can be disheartening, especially when circumstances don’t go your way or your burdens become too heavy to carry. Most likely, you’ve experienced heartbreaking occasions before—devastating disappointments that have robbed you of the last of your strength and resolve. The days, weeks, months, and sometimes years go by without any answers to your prayers. The illness, financial difficulty, conflict, loneliness, uncertainty, or need persists. You struggle, feeling the overwhelming temptation to give in to utter despair and fall back into destructive habits.”
I’ve been there. I sometimes feel as though I have spent my entire life there, waiting. Sometimes patiently, but mostly impatiently. The years I’ve spent waiting for answers, through my husband’s illnesses, financial difficulties, so many conflicts; through loneliness and uncertainty.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 NASB
We sang this old hymn written by Isaac Watts in 1708 on Sunday. It’s still a great reminder of what we are waiting for, and of our security while we wait.
Our God, Our Help in Ages Past –
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home;
2 Under the shadow of thy throne
Thy saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is thine arm alone,
And our defence is sure.
3 Before the hills in order stood,
Or earth received her frame,
From everlasting thou art God,
To endless years the same.
4 A thousand ages in thy sight
Are like an evening gone,
Short as the watch that ends the night
Before the rising sun.
5 Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
Bears all its sons away;
They fly forgotten, as a dream
Dies at the opening day.
6 O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be thou our guard while troubles last,
And our eternal home.
(Paraphrased from Psalm 90)
“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NASB
Exodus tells of the Israelites leaving Egypt. They had been in slavery for 430 years, but their bondage was all they knew and it was comfortable. We are like that. Our sin is comfortable. Our despair is comfortable. It’s often easier to stay in bondage than to change it, but Jesus has come to redeem us, to loose each of us from our shackles, our bondage, the oppression of sin. It is just as true now as what Moses said then, “The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.” Exodus 14:14 NASB
In Exodus 14:20, God LITERALLY put a barrier between the camps so that the Egyptians cannot attack the Israelites. GOD is working out their salvation; it was nothing that the Israelites did or could do, just as OUR salvation is nothing that we can do. Standing at the edge of death, God creates the way so we can escape death. We are called to live under His Covenant. He has led us through the waters and to our salvation. We are SET FREE from bondage to sin, we are SAVED from the consequences of sin, and we are SPOKEN FOR by the God of the Universe.
“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1 NASB
I may not be free of these things I’ve dealt with during my life until the day I die, but I pray that someone, somewhere, might have seen my struggle and realized that my goal is not of this world. I pray that they might see the One God, and the One Mediator in the person of Jesus Christ Who is taking care of me. I’m a terrible example of a Christian, so it will have to be the work of the Holy Spirit!