“Who humbleth Himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth! He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill” (Psalm 113:6-7).
When someone with an important position notices someone who has no position, it has always impressed me. I remember a time when I was fifteen years old and was asked to play my trumpet in an orchestra for a Christian musical. It was an Easter musical that was very powerful. The singers were professional, and all of the orchestra except me were professionals. There was a 1,000 voice choir that had assembled from different churches in the Philadelphia area. The music was written and arranged by a man named John W. Peterson. This was a new experience for this tenth grader. We only had one practice; the night before the actual performance. I remember showing up for practice and being very nervous. My mother had to drive me into the city to the large Civic Center. We walked into the 10,000 seat auditorium and I was totally overwhelmed. As we approached the orchestra pit, I noticed everyone talking excitedly to the director. It was John W. Peterson himself! I was in shock! At one of the breaks in the practice, John W. Peterson made it a point to come down and talk to me. I was extremely humbled that this great song-writer would take time to talk to the least important person in the room.
These verses from Psalm 113 show an even more amazing scene. God, Who must humble Himself to view the things in heaven, reaches even further down than that to reach out to we who are poor and needy and in the dunghill! Can you believe that? The same God Who threw the stars into the heavens and named each one … the God Who held the oceans of the world in the palm of His hand … the God Who formed Adam out of the dust of the earth and breathed the breath of life into him, reaches down to you and me.
At our best we are poor and needy. It still amazes me that the God of all eternity cares about me … I really can’t believe it! I am amazed not only that He cares about me, but that He orchestrates events in my life for my good. I don’t always understand everything He does with me, but I am thankful that He is in charge. I thank God for this care He shows me. I am going to do all I can today to show my gratitude by serving Him the best I can.
I will be honest with you … I don’t like complete darkness at all. Light is a wonderful thing! Check out this verse: “Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous” (Psalm 112:4). I know the reality of this Old Testament verse! I thank God I was raised in a home where the light of the Gospel was shining every day through my father and mother. I am grateful that I had two godly grandmothers praying for me on a daily basis for me to know the truth of the Word of God.
When I was just a boy, THE Light rose up and conquered the darkness of my sin. I remember well the day I asked Jesus Christ to forgive my sin and give me a home in Heaven. It was on that day that I trusted Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection to be payment from my sin that eternal darkness left me! I am so thankful that I will never know the horror of the eternal darkness of Hell. The reason is not my own goodness, or my own righteousness, but because the Righteous One came for me! That day I trusted Christ, grace, compassion and righteousness came along with Him! I had no idea the great bargain I was getting when I trusted Christ. I was just thinking of the blessing of having my sin forgiven! Little did I know how great it would be to experience the grace He would give me along my way. I had no idea how wonderful it would be to receive blessings I had not earned. I know very well that I deserve the judgment of God, and instead He declared me righteous in His Son! That is what I call “Amazing Grace!”
I had no way of understanding how important the compassion God shows to me on a daily basis would be in my life. While the world beats down on me on a regular basis, I run to my Heavenly Father and find His arms open wide to me, every time. What a blessing to come to myself, realizing my failures in sin; deciding to return to God and ask for forgiveness; and there to see my Heavenly Father waiting for me on the back porch! What compassion! Not only do I receive grace and compassion, but He has declared me righteous too! I do not deserve any of that. LIGHT has come to my life! Knowing all these things about what Jesus has given me, how can I remain quiet about the LIGHT? I don’t want to be quiet … I want to tell His story for the remainder of my days!
We are living in a world of information over-load. If you have a question about anything (regardless of how trivial it might seem), you can simply enter it in “Google” and find out more information than you knew existed! We have people that have been attending college for most of their adult life, and if you ask them what their plans are to do when they finish the work for their degree, they will probably tell you that they are going to pursue another degree. But you know, for all our learning, we are a very foolish people. I think it’s because we are starting in the wrong place. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do His commandments; His praise endureth forever” (Psalm 111:10).
I don’t know about you, but I need all the wisdom I can get. The Bible clearly states that God has made a way for us to attain wisdom from Him … it is by simply by having a healthy fear of the Lord. We like to talk about God in terms that make us feel better, but we need to realize that the God we serve is not only love, but His is perfectly just and pure. That means that the sin we normally have in our lives is an offense to Him.
We ought to fear failing our God. The reality of life is that we are not perfect. The best of us is at our best a sinner saved by the grace of God. Not one of us has earned the right to stand before a holy God. There ought to be a fear that we live with every day. I notice in my own life that I often treat sin with a very casual attitude. This is a trap of my own sinful flesh, and one that I need to guard against at all cost! When I sin, I am failing my righteous and holy God. This ought to strike fear into my heart! This fear of failing God should drive me to my knees. Fearing God, living in fear of failing God, is simply the beginning of wisdom. It is not the end, but it is the important beginning.
If you ever wonder how exactly you fail God, He gave us a set of commandments that are designed to help us walk in a right way before Him. We fear Him because as we seen His commandments clearly, we realize that we have not obeyed those commandments. Today is a good day to begin to see your sins as God sees them. This is the launching point to you beginning to understand the fear of God. Because you are beginning to fear God, you now are also beginning to gain wisdom. The people I have known that walk the closest with God, have all had one common characteristic. They all knew their sinfulness and were overwhelmed with the grace of God in their lives. Join them today and begin to know the wisdom of God!
I can remember lying on my back when I was in High School on a weight-lifting bench. My arms looked toothpicks than muscular structures. My body resembled more of a distance runner than a weight-lifter. There I was under that bar with about 150 pounds on the bar. While my friends lowered the bar to my chest, I began to try to push it upward. I grunted … I groaned … I even squealed (much to my disappointment), but that bar remained on my chest. I couldn’t even budge that bar! I realized at that time that I was exactly as weak as I looked!
Just as I realized that I have physical limitations, I am equally aware that I have spiritual limitations that are just as real. The prophet Isaiah wrote, “Trust ye in the LORD forever; for in the law of the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength” (Isaiah 26:4). Did you catch that title? The LORD JEHOVAH is our God, not simply the “higher power,” or the “big guy in the sky,” or some other name that does not carry the respect that is due His name. We hear many people say today that it does not matter what you call your god, as long as you have faith in something, or someone who is greater than you.
The reality is that the author of the religions of our world today is no other person than the Devil. As non-threatening as other religions may seem, they are definitely a part of the plan of the Devil to deceive men into a false hope for eternity that does not exist. The verse that I am writing about today says very clearly that the strength you and I need for the day is not going to be found in some religion, but only in a meaningful relationship with the LORD JEHOVAH. Isaiah was living in a time when his own people, the Jews, had become captives because of their worship of idols. Isaiah warned them to return to their own God.
I began this devotional by speaking of my own weaknesses, but the reality is that anything or anyone compared to our God IS weak. Today you are going to face challenges and situations that are far beyond what a “religion” can handle. Will you trust your own strength, or will you trust this powerful God that Isaiah spoke about. Your natural tendency will be to trust yourself, but I want to encourage you to fully depend upon God and Him alone. Don’t substitute anything in the place of God, including your family, friends, or your own wisdom. God alone is able to care for you today and every day. I am so glad I can write this devotional about Him and what I know He can do for you. Trust Him fully today.
Today I want you to consider an incredible verse describing an amazing meeting between God and man. “And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle” (Exodus 33:11). First of all it amazes me that God repeated the Ten Commandments for Moses and the children of Israel. Remember, God had already given these once before and etched them on tablets of stone. While God’s finger was writing out these commandments, the children of Israel under the leadership of Aaron were busy breaking them! Moses saw their sin and threw the original tablets to the ground in his disgust with the sins of Israel. God wrote a new set for Moses and these sinful people. Thank God today for His mercy.
What really touched my heart in reading this verse is the response of Joshua to all that was happening around him. Notice the description of him … he was a servant … a young man … (but the last phrase is what really touched my heart) he departed not … This young servant knew there was something special in the presence of God! He knew there was more there to be gleaned from time alone with God. We don’t know all that happened as Joshua lingered after Moses left because the story in our Bible follows Moses’ actions.
Allow me to draw two applications for each of us today from this part of Exodus 33:11. First, I don’t care what your position might be in this world today; God is interested in meeting face to face with you on a daily basis. I have noticed that God is not nearly impressed with the titles we earn here on this earth as we are. He loves the lowest person just as much as He loves the person that we think is important. He brought Joseph out of Pharaoh’s prison and placed him second in command. He did a similar thing with Mordecai with King Ahasuerus. Remember today that God loves you as much as He can love you, and He has invested all that He can invest in you. You can be used by God today if you will surrender to His will.
The second application for us is the obvious one … Joshua lingered in the presence of God. When was the last time you hated to put your Bible down? When was the last time you needed to leave your prayer time and regretted that you had so little time? When was the last time you just took the time to meditate on a truth from the Bible and let it sink deeply into your soul? Linger awhile with your God today. You will not regret it!
“Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man” (Psalm 108:12). Give us help … we have trouble … we have asked for the help of other men … they have given it … we are still in trouble. When will we wake up to the fact that there is only one place we are going to find the help we need? We know that God is the source of the help we need … so why is it that we continue to trust others more than we trust God? Why is it that the advice given to us in the Bible many time is our last resort, rather than our first choice? Why do we depend more on unsaved people and what they think than we do about what our God has to say?
The answer to these questions and others is that it seems easier for us to depend on those we can see as opposed to depending on the God we cannot see physically. There is one other thing that I have not mentioned, that is a reality we all need to deal with; we have a sin nature that is absolutely opposed to the holiness of our God. Knowing that these things are true, let’s determine today to live dependent upon God. Let’ live today asking for His advice and help before we ask for others. Let’s honestly and repeatedly ask for the help of God. He has the answers and the influence that we need for whatever we are going to be facing today.
There have been many times that I was in a leadership position and doubted that I had the wisdom needed for whatever decision was in front of me. I can recall during those times having a sense of what should be done, but doubting my own judgment so much that I was skeptical about saying what my “heart” was telling me. After following what the Holy Spirit was telling me to do, I saw the incredible blessing of walking in the center of the will of God. I want to encourage you to stubbornly fight to stay in the middle of the will of God. I want to encourage you to listen to that “still small voice” that comes from within you (that is the Holy Spirit).
In the life of every Christian there comes a time when you must trust God fully and ignore the clamoring of the world and other believers. Take time today to ask God for wisdom in knowing what He thinks about what you are facing. Rather than running from friend to friend, or even family member to family member, turn to Him first and last. Give God the opportunity to touch your heart in this busy world today. Read His Word with a heart that is yearning for His wisdom and instruction. Don’t turn away from what He reveals to you in His Word. Decide that you will trust the leading of the Holy Spirit today and remember that man is vain when compared to God.
I remember taking a Literature course while in college. At the beginning of the class, our teacher explained that there would be differing points of view in the class, and that if we could prove our point of view that she would not consider our viewpoint as wrong. This got my creative juices flowing. The last half of our semester, we all read a story about a doctor and a situation he face. The final exam was a two question exam … who was the main character, and why. I decided to take the least likely person in the story and try to build a case for them being the main character. The obvious main character was the doctor. The entire story revolved around him … but I chose his father-in-law (mentioned only briefly in the story). I think explained that this father-in-law had a great influence on his daughter, and that she had the greatest influence on the doctor. I got an A+ (I think it was the first and last of my life).
Today I read a verse that reminded me that I am not the main character in my life’s story. Paul wrote, “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy” (Romans 9:16). So many times in our everyday lives, we elevate ourselves to the position of the main character. There are many times that we think that the entire world revolves around us and our opinions, or it should! We get the idea that our problems are the biggest problems on the face of the earth. We imagine that the things we see as right and wrong are the same as what others see as right and wrong. We cannot understand why others don’t see our situation and have mercy on us!
The Bible clearly states here that all the mercy we will need for this day is in the hand and control of our Heavenly Father! He really does know you and what you need. He is totally aware of what you will face today and He has all the mercy you are going to need for the challenge. You see, He is the main character of any story. We are simply the “character actors” that surround His story. We have value because He loves us! We have value because He cares for us! Take heart today … you are worthy of the love of God! Let’s do our very best to make Him clearly known to the world we live in. They need to know the Main Character of the story of life too. Don’t become so self-centered today that you miss exalting the One Who deserves all the praise of every person in this world! He is worthy!
“Do all you can – to all the people you can – in all the ways you can – for as long as you can.” – D.L. Moody
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: For we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26).
Has there ever been a time in your life when you were so overwhelmed with the situation facing you that you bowed your head to pray … but words to describe your hearts burden could not be found? Have you ever had joy that was unspeakable and you bowed your head to offer thanksgiving to God … but he words to describe your heart of joy could not be found? These times come to all of us. You might be in one of these two right now. If you are, I am hoping it is the heart of joy that you have.
The moment you asked Jesus to forgive your sins, and you claimed Him as your Savior, Jesus sent the Comforter (the Holy Spirit) to live within you. The book of I Corinthians speaks about your body becoming the temple of the Holy Spirit. You have living in you, God Himself! He ministers to us in many ways throughout our lives that we sometimes do not even notice. One of the things He does is described in Romans 8. During these times when words fail us, He has a way of communicating to God exactly what we want to express but cannot.
I remember a time when I was standing with a father who just lost his three-year-old son in a house fire. The father fell on me and screamed the question, “What do I do now?” I did not have the answers that he was asking for. My training for ministry did not equip me for this kind of situation (none could). My experience in ministry past did not help me. I could not think of one Bible verse that I felt would meet the need that this father had at that moment. I whispered a prayer to my Heavenly Father, but even in whispering the prayer, I could not find the appropriate words to speak.
The blessing to my heart was the reality of this verse. I did not need to put my desires into words; I had and have a Holy Spirit living within me Who knows exactly how to convey my heart to my Heavenly Father. What an incredible comfort to me! What an incredible comfort to you today. No matter what you are facing, God is able to fully understand your situation and leans toward you with a compassionate ear to listen. What a great God we serve! What a blessing to have the Holy Spirit living within us!
“Sometimes you only see the present – God sees the future.” – Unknown
Have you ever felt that God had forgotten you? Have you felt like you were doing your best to live a godly life in an ungodly world, but you seem to be the one who gets the bad luck? Have you noticed other Christians who do not even seem to care about living godly getting noticed or promoted while you seem to be over-looked and forgotten? Life just isn’t fair … but God is always fair! What you cannot see is that God is working His plan for your life, and for His good to perfection.
I was reading about the history of Israel described through Psalm 105. A verse caught my attention that speaks to this very subject. “He [God] sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant” (Psalm 105:17). God had a plan for Israel that involved one of His chosen servants becoming a slave, and even worse, a prisoner. I’m sure that when Jacob (Joseph’s father) envisioned the great things that would happen to his son, prison was not in the dream. I am sure that when Potiphar’s wife accused Joseph of raping her, I think Joseph might have thought that God had forgotten him.
We know the rest of Joseph’s story … we know that God had not forgotten him, but was actually positioning him for greatness beyond his imagination. Looking deeper into this verse will reveal the way God might be working in your life. It says here that God “sent” Joseph to the position of a slave. If Joseph was still with his family in Goshen, he would never have met Potiphar. If he had not met Potiphar and been such a good worker, he would never have been left alone with Potiphar’s wife. If he had not been alone with Potiphar’s wife, he would never have been accused of the crime that sent him to prison. If he had not been sent to prison he would never have met Pharaoh’s butler and baker. I think you get the idea. God hand-picked Joseph to be in the exact places he found himself in order to carry out His plan for him and for the nation of Israel.
Regardless of the challenges that are facing you today, you can be sure that God has not forgotten you. You can be sure that He is working out His plan for your good and for His glory! You might not be able to see the end of the plan, but you can be sure that what you are going through is a part of His plan. Nothing can happen to you today without having gotten God’s stamp of approval first. Don’t allow yourself to focus so intently on the situations you are facing that you forget you have a God with an eternal perspective who is working things together for your good!
“No problem is permanent.” – Unknown
Each of us has days when we are discouraged, or depressed as we look at the situation around us, or the things we think are coming toward us. If we are not careful, we will become so focused on the troubles around us, that we forget how great our God is. It is good for us to remember all that God has done, and is doing in our lives when these times of discouragement come.
“I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. My meditation of Him shall be sweet; I will be glad in the LORD” (Psalm 104:33-34).
Reflection on all that God has done … is encouraging. He has created the world and the universe and holds them together. He placed the sun at the exact distance that is perfect for our good here on the earth. He causes plants to grow to feed us and to sustain us. He continues to cause it to rain to replenish our earth. He does not need my help, and He is bigger than any man/woman on this earth.
Reflection on all that God is … is encouraging. God is love, and because of that, we know the blessings of love in our relationships. God is pure. We don’t need to worry that He will fail to be perfect. It is His character. God is truth. What a great thing to know that whatever He has promised must come to pass. Everything He says He will do will happen exactly as He said it would. God is a Righteous Judge of the world. He will never be fooled on the day of judgment. He is God.
Reflection on all that God will do … is encouraging. God has promised to care for His children. He has promised to care for His sheep. There will never be a day in our lives where God is not paying attention to what we are facing. Be comforted to know that your Heavenly Father is in control of what is going to happen in your life, not some politician, or banker, or doctor, or lawyer. God is the final authority in this world … don’t lose sight of that fact. There are times when the voices that are against God are so loud that if you are not careful you will think they are right. Read these two verses again and remind yourself that your God is still in control.
Today there are many things that might discourage you, or cause you to become depressed. When that happens, don’t go to the psychiatrist, read these verses again. When looking around you discourages you … look up, you will not be discouraged any more. God is still in control!
“He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him” (Psalm 103:10-11).
What incredible promises in these two verses! We all ought to stop what we are doing and thank God for His mercy. If you want a definition of mercy, it is contained here in this verse. Mercy is God not dealing with our sins, or rewarding us (negatively) for what we have done. Instead, He gives us a home in Heaven. There it is in clear print for you and me to see. What a blessing to know the mercy of God on a daily basis! We need His mercy daily. We know from another chapter in the book of Psalms that God’s mercies are new every morning!
Have you ever gone to God and confessed a sin like this … “God, I asked for forgiveness for this yesterday, and I’m back again with the same sin I need to confess?” Unfortunately, I think if we were honest with ourselves, we all have done this at some point(s) in our lives. What an absolute joy to know that we have a God Whose very character is one of mercy.
God is willing to offer mercy to those who fear Him. Knowing this let me ask personal question for each of us to consider … Are we as willing to offer mercy to those who have hurt us? Are we willing to extend love where normally vengeance would be in order? If your God, Who is absolutely pure and holy is willing to offer you mercy (knowing every sin you have ever committed), shouldn’t we offer mercy too?
Let me also point out the depth/height of God’s mercy. Verse eleven says that it is as high as the heavens! That is some infinite mercy. What is the limit of our mercy to others? Are we willing to offer mercy if we think that person will later offer us mercy? Are we willing to offer mercy even if there may be judgment that returns eventually to us? I want to recommend to each one reading this to look for opportunities for mercy today. There are many in the world that are searching for mercy! There are many in your local church that are searching for mercy! Will you resemble God today as you offer mercy, or will you follow this world’s example and be unyielding and ruthless? This is your choice, and will be your responsibility completely. Follow God’s example and thank Him for His mercy today!
Is it possible to live a holy life in our world today? How can I remain pure in an impure world? Is there a special plan that will result in holiness? Is there a roadmap for a holy life? The answer to these questions is that God has given His plan for holiness in our Bible.
“I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness” (Romans 6:19).
You see, holiness, or the lack of holiness is really a choice that each of us makes multiple times every day. We either choose to yield the members (hands, feet, mind, tongue, arms, eyes, etc.) to the world and unholiness; or we yield those members to righteous behavior. Which will you do today? When I was working on getting my driver’s license (many, many years ago), I remember studying the difference between what it meant to YIELD and to MERGE. The simple difference (that I still remember after all those years) is that the person YIELDING will stop and wait for an opening in the traffic on the road they wish to enter. A person MERGING does not slow down, but maintains their speed, blending into the traffic they are joining.
The Word of God urges us to YIELD our members to righteousness. That means that we need to come to a stop and wait for God’s leadership in our decisions today. There will be multiple decisions you and I will make today that will affect not only our own lives, but the lives of those associated with us as well. If we MERGE without slowing down and thinking about it, we will naturally be making decisions that will lead to uncleanness and sin. I want to urge you today to take the time to stop at the Word of God and ask God to show you the “opening” in the paths you are entering today for His righteousness.
There is a possibility for you and me to live holy lives today. If we are going to do that, it will be because we have allowed God to direct our steps (decisions). If we do that, we will see righteous and holy results. If we do not do this, we will see unrighteous and sinful results. It is not easy to live a holy life in an unholy world. Trust God and yield to Him today. He is the only hope you have of living a holy life! Sell out to Him today!
“God will bring out the best in you. The Devil will bring out the worst in you.” – Ted Camp