Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Sept. 27, 2005

Have you ever had one of those days, where it seems that the whole world is against you? Situation after situation is mounting up, and hope seems to drift away by the minute. Honestly, this is where I'm at right now. I find myself in this spot from time to time, but this time, something is different. Through the trials I've endured, I'm finding that God is more real to me than ever before. I've always known that He's been right next to me through all I've gone through, but this time, it seems that He is closer. And more than ever, I am realizing that He is my source, and He will take care of me.

My particular trial is financial in nature. I know, join the club. But with a wife and three kids to feed, fear can easily knock me down. Will we lose the house, or the minivan? All of us, I'm sure, know what its like to be kept awake at night by worries such as these. David faced many trials and hard times himself. His weren't financial, but I wouldn't trade him for his. He was constantly on the run, knowing that King Saul wanted him dead. Even after he became king, he still faced difficulty. For instance, his son Absolom rising up against him, to take the kingdom. But through it all, David knew he had a Father he could run to. He knew that in the time of trouble, God would hide him in His pavillion, in the secret place of His tabernacle (Ps. 27:5). He knew that when his heart was overwhelmed, there was a Rock that was higher than himself.

The longer I walk with the Lord, and with every trial, I'm realizing that a little bit more. I spoke of my particular situation, and yes, it has my heart overwhelmed. And the financial forecast of times coming in the very near future further overwhelm me. But, "my God shall supply all of my need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus"! So with a heart weighed heavy, but full of faith in this Wonderful Savior, I too will run to the Rock that is higher than I!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Sept. 22, 2005

Last night was pizza night for my family. We don't get it too often, because it's really not cheap, unless you don't mind bad pizza. Being the pizza conisuer myself, I like a pricey pie. But pizza night left me with a decision to make: order out from Hungry Howie's, or go the local Meijer store and get one of their 18 inch monsters that you take home and bake yourself. At only $9 for the do-it -yourself pizza, and a few more for toppings, it costs a little less than ordering out for a family of five. It was a good pizza.

If only our decisions in life were that easy. But many decisions have long-term ramifications. Can I afford that car for the next five years? Do I really need a house that big? And the list goes on.

Sometimes, however, good people make bad decisions. Such as the decision King Jehoshaphat made to allow his son to marry the Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. Not only was this union possibly the reason Jehoshaphat had to go to Israel's aid 2 times, and almost losing his life once, but eventually, Athaliah would rule the land, and attempt to kill off her own grandchildren who could claim the throne (2 Kings 11). It's a good thing that someone made the good decision to hide one of the dead king's sons, Joash, from his wicked grandmother.

When it comes to major life decisions, be wise. Pray about it. Remember, "In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths".

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Sept. 21, 2005

Some months ago, I was having problems with my computer. I can use one, but when something goes wrong, I have to call on an expert. It just so happens, I have a computer expert in my family. He's my cousin. When I ran into the problem, I hopped on the phone and called him. No big deal so far, right? The problem wasn't that I was calling on him while in need, it was that was all I would call him for. Call it a busy life, or whatever, but I did not keep up a relationship, or maybe I should say, fellowship, like I should have.

How often do we do the very same thing with the Lord Jesus? We get too "busy" for Him, and neglect our relationship! We get so busy, that fellowship with our Lord goes out the window. Perhaps, we allow life's circumstances to regulate our relationship, and, like the Israelites often did, we only seek His face when trouble comes knocking.

Don't get me wrong-if you need God's merciful and gracious touch, by all means, that's what the throne of Grace is for. Regardless of what you've done, or not done, go boldly to that throne. I guess my purpose in writing this devotion today is to encourage us all to steal away in fellowship with our Lord. David said, "One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD And to meditate in His temple." God help me to call on Him, not just in times of trouble, but at all times. May I always show myself friendly, knowing that I have a Friend that sticks closer than a brother(Pr. 18:24)!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Sept. 16, 2005

Last night, I set out to do my many things that being a dad requires of me. With my wife at class, I began the task of cooking dinner (mac & cheese), and get my kids ready for bed. However, 2 of my 3 kids have asthma, so I have a plethora of medicine to administer. I had gotten my 2 girls all ready, and sent them upstairs, while I gave my son his asthma medicine. As we sat there, giving Timmy his breathing treatment, I began to think about the medicine we've been having to give him in recent months. Not just breathing treatments, but antibiotics for various infections, I realized that though in the short term, change isn't always noticeable, he is getting stronger. It reminded me of 1 Peter 2:2, which says, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby". Now, I know medicine and milk aren't the same, but picture is very much the same. When we take what is needed for our physical bodies, it will affect us positively. Just as milk gradually helps a baby to grow, and just as medicine gradually helps to clear what ails us, so the Word of God, taken day by day, through the power of the Holy Ghost begins to change us. Gradual the change may be, but change is nonetheless happening. Let me encourage you. Take your medicine. Eat your food. Let the Word of God mold you into His image. Remember, "He that began a good work in you will complete it by the day of Jesus Christ"

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Sept. 14, 2005

Luke 17:1-10

"And the Lord said, "If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and be planted in the sea'; and it would obey you." v. 6
As we all know, life can throw us some pretty tough curves. Every one of us has some situation in our life that has caused difficulty and pain to some degree. Jesus knew that. He told us that offenses will certainly come. But here, He describes one, in the form of someone who repeatedly sins against us, yet realizing his wrong, repents. Jesus told us to forgive 70 x 7! In response, the disciples, understanding how hard it is to continually offer such forgiveness, ask for an increase in their faith. Jesus told them the verse I quoted above, and then offers an illustration. Servants should not expect thanks or reward for simply doing their job. He was telling them, and us, that their are some things He expects us to do. Forgiveness is one of those. "Forgive those who sin against you, or your Father won't forgive your sins" (paraphrase). But the with commands He gives us, He also gives the ability to do them. God has given to us all the "measure of faith", Rom. 12:3. He has given to us the faith needed to forgive that person who hurts us, to love that unlovable person, the faith to cross the stormy sea. Jesus said, "if you love Me, keep My commands". So let us out of our love for Him take our place as His servants, knowing that it is God who is at work in us both to will, and to do of His good pleasure.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Sept. 12, 2005

Do you ever just sit and reflect on the goodness of God? When I think of how good He has been to me and my family, it simply hushes me. There is a story in the Bible, 2 Samuel 9, that so beautifully illustrates God's grace and mercy. In the story, David, now the king for quite some time, remembers a covenant that he had made with his best friend Jonathan, the son of King Saul. That covenant stated that if anything ever happened to Jonathan, David would see to it that his family was taken care of. As fate would have it, Jonathan was killed in battle with his father. Perhaps years later now, David inquires about any left of Saul's house, that he can show kindness to for Jonathan's sake. Saul's former servant, Ziba, tells David that indeed, Jonathan had a son, and as a small boy was taken into hiding when Saul and his son were killed. Out of fear, and making haste, the nurse took the boy, Mephibosheth, and ran. Whether she dropped him, or what, he became crippled. He lived for years in a plave called Lodebar, which means, "not a pasture". David sought him out, and poured marvelous grace and mercy into Mephibosheth's life, making him as one of his own sons. What a great picture of God's seeking us out, and pouring His own grace into our unworthy lives! Like Mephibosheth, let us pull up to the KIng's table, and feast on all His Goodness!