Monday, June 24, 2013

God's Love and Faithfulness Abides Forever

God’s Love and Faithfulness Abides Forever
Read: Psalm 89:1-17
I will sing of the Lord’s unfailing love forever!  Young and old will hear of your faithfulness.  Your unfailing love will last forever.  Your faithfulness is an enduring as the heavens.  (Psalm 89:1,2 NLT)
            It was November 9, 1966 that I made the frantic drive to Normandy Osteopathic Hospital.  With my pregnant wife sitting beside me, we raced down Natural Bridge Road in the midst of torrential rain storm to reach the emergency room of the hospital before the anticipated arrival.  I was so scared that we wouldn’t make the hospital in time, and a baby would be born in our car.  Wow!
            Attendants were waiting for us when we raced into the emergency room entrance and wheeled Elaine into the hospital.  Before I could even sign my name on the admittance papers, I heard a piercing cry.  A newborn baby girl was born.
            As the parents gazed upon the face of their baby girl, love and joy filled our hearts.  Finally, after five boys (we lost one a birth), we had a lovely little baby girl.  We were so happy that we named her Carol Joy.  She was so tiny weighing only five pounds, four ounces.  She lost some weight so it took two weeks before we could take our bundle of joy home. 
            Parents love for their children is not unlike the love that God showers upon his offspring.  We provide for them safety and protection, instruction in the word of God, impart moral values, counseling, consoling, reprimanding for wrongs committed, food, clothing, shelter, and spiritual leadership. 
            King David was declared to be “a man after God’s own heart”; yet he sinned grievously.   After confession and repentance, God forgave him and promised, “I will love him and be kind to him forever; my covenant with him will never end” (Psalm 89:28 NLT). 
            Just as a parent’s love for their children reaches beyond the grave, so also God’s love for David reached beyond the grave, for he promised to love and bless David’s heirs.  “His dynasty will go on forever; his throne is as secure as the sun.”  (Psalm 89:36 NLT)
            What have we learned as a family on our pilgrim journey with the Lord?  Just this: no matter how great our trouble, God’s love and faithfulness are greater.  No ocean is deeper or mountain higher than the love our heavenly father has bestowed upon us.  Human relationships will falter and break down, but your heavenly Father’s love never fails.  We are safe and secure “in the arms of Jesus.”
Thought for the Day: God will always be a loving and faithful Father.

Prayer:  Dear Lord, how thankful I am for your love and faithfulness to me and my family

Friday, June 21, 2013

Misplaced Faith

Misplaced Faith
Read: 1 Samuel 17:32-50
David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies – the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.  Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you, and cut off your head…” (1 Samuel 17:45-46a NLT)
          When you look at great Bible characters such as Abraham, Noah, Moses, David, the prophets, Peter and Paul, just to name a few, you see people whose faith is solidly placed in the God who commands Heaven’s Armies.
          On the other hand, there are numerous accounts of misplaced faith in the word of God:
·        Cain had a misplaced faith and slew his brother Abel because his offering was rejected by God.  The Lord said to him, “Why are you so angry?  Why do you look so dejected?  You will be accepted if you do what is right.  But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out!  Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you.  But you must subdue it and be its master.”  (Genesis 4:6-7 NLT)
·        Achan had a misplaced faith and stole articles of clothing, silver and gold from Jericho in disobedience to God.  Joshua said to Achan, “Why have you brought trouble on us?  The Lord will now bring trouble on you.”(Joshua 7:24 NLT)  Achan and his family were stoned in the Valley of Anchor (Trouble). 
·        King Saul had a misplaced faith.  He was so insecure that he trusted in his army and his armor rather than the God who at one time had ordained his rule.  He endeavored to thrust his armor on David who volunteered to fight Goliath, but David wisely refused.
·        Goliath had a misplaced faith trusting in his pagan gods and his religion.  His cursing and mocking of the army of Israel was soon silenced by a single stone from the sling of a shepherd boy named David.
        Every time I read this story it convicts me in my daily life.  The question arises, “Am I more like Goliath than David?  Is my faith misplaced at times?  Sure, I ask the blessing at meals, and say Lord willing this or that will happen, but do I really trust God when the tough times come?  How do I react when I walk onto the field of battle and a difficult relationship occurs, or an ongoing temptation arises?  Do I resort to my own strength, my own skills, my own weapons of war?  Do I hedge my bets by trusting in my own strength (a misplaced faith) or do I exercise faith like that of David?

        David killed the giant because God was with him, and as a result of his rightly placed faith in Jehovah. 

Thought for the Day:  God honors the faith of those who trust completely in him.

Prayer: Dear Lord, give me the kind of faith that the shepherd boy David had.  


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Christian Love Involves Doing Good

“We know what real love is because Christ gave up his life for us.”  (1 John 3:16)
          A group of people were overheard discussing the subject of love.  Words such as “affection, concern, attraction, loyalty, benevolence, passion, devotion, tenderness, caress, and emotion were heard.  Finally, a Christian standing silently on the fringe said, “I believe to understand true love we need look no further than the cross where Jesus gave his life to save others.”  This statement was supported by quoting Romans 5:8, “But God showed (demonstrated) his great love for us by sending Jesus to die for us while we were still sinners.”  (NLT)
          John the apostle further explains this love by quoting Jesus’ words, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  (John 15:13)  Then Jesus says, “You are my friends if you do what I command.”  (15:14)
          Love is viewed by the prophet Isaiah as both positive and negative.  “Wash yourselves and be clean!  Get your sins out of my sight.  Give up your evil ways.  Learn to do good.  Seek justice.  Help the oppressed.  Defend the cause of orphans.  Fight for the rights of widows.”  (Isaiah 1:16-17)
          The test of Christian love is not simply turning away from doing evil to others.  Love also involves doing them good. 
          Cain is our example of false love; Christ is the perfect example of true love that believers should display.  Christ not only wants us to know true love, but he also wants us to experience this love by doing good to others.
          Jesus along with other New Testament writers emphasized showing love by our good works.
Jesus said, “In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly father.”  (Matthew 5:16)
“But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.  Give your gifts in private, and your father, who sees everything, will reward you.”  (Matthew 6:3-4)
Paul said, “Tell them (the rich) to use their money to do good.  They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others.”  (1 Timothy 6:17-18)
James said, “Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, ‘Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well’ – but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing.  What good does that do?  So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough.  Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.”  (James 2:15-17)
Peter said, “Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors.  Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.”  (1 Peter 1:12)
          John’s readers were struggling to find out how to share the love of Christ with others.  No wonder he spent so much time and space in this letter dealing with showing love to others.  John pointed them to the cross, where Jesus “laid down his life for us.” 
          How can you show the love of Christ to those around you, especially the household of faith?  When asked by a Pharisee what was the greatest commandment Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-38, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.”  Then notice what he said in verse 39, “A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Did you see the word equally? 
          When was the last time you spoke to your neighbor?  Have you ever offered your services?  Or asked if they had any prayer needs?  Or shared the love of Christ with them? 
          What are some other ways to show the love of Christ? 
1.     Put a note of encouragement in someone’s mail file.
2.     Give a word of affirmation to someone .
3.     Write a note telling someone you are praying for them.

4.     Greet everyone with a smile and happy greeting.