Sunday, November 30, 2014

Crucified with Christ

{Daily Selah}

Missionary Amy Carmichael's life was filled with trials, pain and bitter disappointments, yet she was a shining beacon of hope in in the darkest places of India for 55 years. 

Her devotion, love and compassion for the lost was a reflection of her love and devotion for her Savior. 

Amy Carmichael wrote many books throughout her lifetime of service to her Master. One book in particular, simply titled "IF," reveals her Galatians 2:20 mindset and manner of life.


I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

The concept of being "crucified with Christ" can sometimes be a hard thing to grasp, but Amy Carmichael saw it for what it really is - a live lived in total devotion and service to the One who was crucified for us. She saw everyday moments as an opportunity to die to self and to live for and in the Lord Jesus Christ. 

The purpose of the Daily Selah here at Faith Reviewed is to give us moments to ponder. Here are just a few excerpts from  "IF" by Amy Carmichael for us to ponder today...



  • IF, the moment I am conscious of the shadow of self crossing my threshold, I do not shut the door, and in the power of Him who works in us to will and to do, keep that door shut, then I know nothing of Calvary love.



  • IF, when I am able to discover something which has baffled others, I forget Him who revealeth the deep and secret things, and knoweth what is in the darkness and showeth it to us; if I forget that it was He who granted that ray of light to His most unworthy servant, then I know nothing of Calvary love.



  • IF there be any reserve in my giving to Him who so loved that He gave His Dearest for me; if there be a secret “but” in my prayer, “anything but that, Lord,” then I know nothing of Calvary love.



  • IF I become entangled in any “inordinate affection”; if things or places or people hold me back from obedience to my Lord, then I know nothing of Calvary love.



  • IF I refuse to be a corn of wheat that falls into the ground and dies (“is separated from all in which it lived before”), then I know nothing of Calvary love.




  • Father, thank You for sending Jesus to this earth. I thank You that He was crucified for us. Help us to live as those who are dead to sin and self and alive in Christ, for Your glory. In Jesus' Name, amen. 


    {Daily Selah} is a mini-devotional, a pause to ponder about the Lord and how He wants us to live.







    Saturday, November 29, 2014

    An Abundance of Fruit

    {Daily Selah}

    When my children were small, each fall we would visit an orchard which grew unique varieties of sweet, juicy, delicious apples not found anywhere else. The boys loved running from tree to tree, trying do decide which had the biggest, shiniest apples for them to place in their baskets. The branches were often so heavy with fruit that they sagged just enough for even the smallest hands to reach. 


    (continue reading below the picture)

























    An apple grower doesn't want trees that will produce just a handful of tiny, shriveled apples. He wants a tree that will perpetually produce bushels of the largest, sweetest fruit. 

    Jesus told us we should also produce an abundance of fruit, saying, Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples (John 15:8).

    When we think of the fruit of the Spirit, we usually think of the expanded list He gave the apostle Paul in Galatians 5:22-23. In John 15, Jesus mentions just a few types of fruit that seem to encompass all the rest. Jesus speaks of love, joy, obedience and relationship with Him. Each of those are are areas in which our fruit must continue to grow, for the Father's glory. 

    Jesus didn't leave us scratching our heads wondering how to get this fruit.  He reveals its Source in verse 5:


    I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

    An apple that falls from the tree before it is mature will not continue to grow. The fruit God wants us to produce for His glory can only grow as we stay connected to the Vine, our Source of nourishment and strength.  

    Let's look at our original text again for just a moment...


    Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples (John 15:8).

    "... so shall ye be my disciples." Producing fruit for the Father's glory really means becoming more like Jesus, following in His steps and in His ways. 

    An abundance of fruit.



    Father, thank You for Jesus being our example and the Vine from where we draw our strength and the nourishment we need to produce fruit for Your glory. Help us to stay close to him and to become more like Him. In Jesus' wonderful Name, amen. 



    {Daily Selah} is a mini-devotional, a pause to ponder about the Lord and how He wants us to live.




    Friday, November 28, 2014

    Live in Joy

    {Daily Selah}


    Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Psalm 16:11).

    I tried to fit all of Psalm 16:11 on the photo but it just didn't look right all bunched together.

    As I thought about that, I noticed a progression in this verse.

    First, the Psalmist says to the LORD, "Thou wilt shew me the path of life." The path of life in this context seems to refer to salvation. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6). When we have placed our faith in Him and His finished work on the cross for salvation, then and only then can we experience and enjoy God's presence. 

    "...in thy presence is fulness of joy..." The joy that is ours as we stand in Christ in God's presence is not dependent upon circumstance. It is a real joy of the heart that knows we are in God's loving hands, safe and secure for eternity. 

    Another reason we have for joy is the knowledge that we are blessed not only with God's presence in this life, but also the assurance that we will continually be in His presence when this life is over. 

    "...at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." No matter what we face in this life, as believers in Christ we know that these trials are only temporary and there is yet an even greater joy to come. 

    Live in Joy.


    Father, thank You for sending Your Son so that we can know Your presence. Thank You for giving us Your love, salvation and joy. Thank You for assuring us of Your presence in this life and that which is to come. Help us to live in that joy, for Your glory. In Jesus' Name, amen. 



    {Daily Selah} is a mini-devotional, a pause to ponder about the Lord and how He wants us to live.



    Thursday, November 27, 2014

    What's Your Thanksgiving Story?

    {Daily Selah}

    The American Thanksgiving story began at Plymouth, Massachusetts when the Pilgrims thanked God for His provision, protection and love. 


    (continue reading below the picture)



    The Pilgrims likely read this scripture many times: 

    And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing (Psalm 107:22).


     Charles Spurgeon expounded on this verse:  "And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving.  In such a case let there be gifts and oblations as well as words. Let the good Physician have his fee of gratitude. Let life become a sacrifice to him who has prolonged it, let the deed of self denying gratitude be repeated again and again: there must be many cheerful sacrifices to celebrate the marvellous boon. And declare his works with rejoicing. Such things are worth telling, for the personal declaration honours God, relieves ourselves, comforts others, and puts all men in possession of facts concerning the divine goodness which they will not be able to ignore." 


    What's your Thanksgiving story? Think about the ways God has provided for you, been your Protector and shown you His love. 

    Thank Him, praise Him, live for Him and declare what He has done. 

    Happy Thanksgiving!


    {Daily Selah} is a mini-devotional, a pause to ponder about the Lord and how He wants us to live.

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

    A Humble Heart

    {Daily Selah}

    Have you ever thought, "Well, I did a really good thing there" or, "Hmm... Look at me. I guess I'm doing pretty good."

    We all have, at least once or twice. 

    Did you ever notice that the people in the Bible who really did do good things were those who admitted they couldn't do it on their own. 

    The apostle Paul was the greatest missionary who ever lived. After he saw the light (no pun intended) on the road to Damascus), he spread the good news of Jesus Christ wherever he went. But Paul didn't say, "Hey, check this out. Aren't I doing pretty good?"

    He, in fact, said the opposite...

    For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not (Romans 7:18). 

    Paul had a humble heart, as did Isaiah. Isaiah was a mouthpiece mightily used of God but he didn't think too highly of himself either...

    But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away (Isaiah 64:6). 

    Peter, who denied Christ 3 times, learned there was nothing good in him either and developed a humble heart. He battled his flesh just like we do. He later realized this all-important truth:

    Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time... (1 Peter 5:5-6)

    When we realize there is nothing good in us and realize it is only in Christ that we can do anything, that's when God steps in and lifts us up - not for our glory, but for His. Isaiah experienced God's blessing because he had a humble heart ...

    For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones (Isaiah 57:15). 

    It takes a humble heart to see that "all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" and that we stand condemned, in need of a Savior. It also takes a humble heart to realize that "in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing." And, only a humble heart will be used by God for good things, for His glory. 

    A humble heart. 


    Father, help us to humble ourselves before You and to be usable for Your glory. Help us to rely on Christ's strength alone and not our own. My Your grace and Your love be evidenced by our humility. In Jesus' Name, amen. 



    Daily Selah} is a mini-devotional, a pause to ponder about the Lord and how He wants us to live.






    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

    Real wisdom and knowledge

    {Daily Selah}



    The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew (Proverbs 3:19-20).


    Few things bother me more than  someone trying to puff  themselves up while attempting to make someone else feel foolish. We've all met at least one. The "Know-it-all." You know, the person who has an answer for everything and has a tendency to finish your sentences. That person may some things, but they don't know everything, even if they want you to think they do. Neither do the rest of us. 

    If the "Know-it-all" bothers us, imagine how God feels when mere human beings He created think they know better than He does. 

    We've all been guilty of it,  with every act of disobedience. Our flesh wants its own way and decides its way is best. 

    A humble heart acknowledges that any understanding, knowledge or wisdom we have is really not our own. It was given to us by God. He created us and gave us the ability to perceive and know. 

    God mentions wisdom over 220 times in His Word. Knowledge is in there 169 times and understanding 156 times. Obviously, these are important concept to our God. 

    What kind of wisdom, knowledge and understanding does God want us to have? Not the wisdom of men. Not a limited knowledge, nor human understanding. He wants us to have the wisdom, knowledge and understanding that only comes from knowing Him and His Word and being enlightened by the Holy Spirit. 

    No matter how much we've studied and learned, compared to God, you and I know very little about anything. We don't have the wisdom, power and understanding God does. By comparison, we know less than an ant. 


    The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew (Proverbs 3:19-20).

    God's ways, wisdom and knowledge are high above ours. But, just as He wants to share His love with us, He wants us to know some of what He knows.  

    Look at the way Paul prayed for his fellow believers...

    Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
    That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
    The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints... (Ephesians 1:15-18). 


    God doesn't care how many letters we have behind our names. Education is a good thing, but He wants us to have something of far greater value. He wants us to have "the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him," and to have an enlightened understanding to be able to know His power and love working on our behalf through the Lord Jesus Christ.  Simply put, He wants us to know truth. 


    The only way to really know truth is through a relationship with God through His Son by the power of the Holy Spirit. 


    For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
    Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time (1 Timothy 2:3-6). 


    Do you know that Christ died for you? Do you know that He rose again the third day, just as He said He would? Do you know that He loves you and wants you to "come unto the knowledge of the truth"?


    And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life (1 John 5:20).

    God wants us to continue to grow in our knowledge and understanding of Him. How do we do that? By studying His Word and listening to Him as He reveals Himself and His wisdom, knowledge and understanding to us through it.  

    * Know God. Know His Word.  That's real wisdom and knowledge.



    If you want to know more about God's love for you, visit http://peacewithgod.net




    Daily Selah} is a mini-devotional, a pause to ponder about the Lord and how He wants us to live.


    Monday, November 24, 2014

    JUST DO IT

    {Daily Selah}


    Most Americans have probably seen the popular sports company commercials which use the slogan, "Just do it," promising, among other things, comfortable foot wear.

    The Bible gives believers in the Lord Jesus Christ similar instruction, but following the commands of the Word of God provides a result of eternal importance. 

    When we view God's Word with a "Just do it" perspective, we will find our feet on the right path, going in the right direction and protected from falling.

    Do you remember the wedding in Cana when the hosts ran out of wine? 

    Mary asked Jesus to intervene. Then, she spoke to the servants. She said, 

    Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it (John 2:5).

    That same instruction applies to you and me. 

    Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it

    In other words, JUST DO IT. 

    Throughout the gospels and in many other places in the written Word of God, Jesus, the living Word, of God has given us many commands to follow. The commands of Jesus included in today's scripture graphic are just a few that came to mind as I was making it. 

    Go ye. Seek. Knock. Ask. Obey. Come. Pray. Follow. Watch. Give. Love. 

    You can probably think of many more examples of commands given us by Jesus. But, please note that this is not about trying to obey to earn salvation. That's not even remotely possible (see Ephesians 2:8-9). The fact that we have been saved by the grace of God because of the blood of Christ should motivate us to obedience. 

    It is not enough to simply know what Jesus has said to us in His Word. We need to obey what He says... JUST DO IT. 

    Several times in the gospels, we read Jesus' words, "If any man have ears to hear, let him hear." Having "ears to hear" means more than simply listening to His voice. It means acting upon it in obedience. 

    Do you know why God said all nations would be blessed through Abraham? God said to Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice (Genesis 22:18). The blessings came because Abraham had a "JUST DO IT" perspective when God spoke to him. 

    God made a special promise to the children of Israel when they obeyed His voice and left Egypt. 

    Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine (Exodus 19:5). 

    Jesus also gave us a promise...
    My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (John 10:27). 

    Why should we have a "JUST DO IT" perspective of His Word to us? 

    Jesus told us why...

    Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:16). 

    Not only do you and I receive God's blessing for obeying His voice, but others benefit too. And, God gets the glory due His Name through our obedience and by those affected by the living, breathing, day to day testimony of our lives.  

    Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it (John 2:5).

    JUST DO IT.




    {Daily Selah} is a mini-devotional, a pause to ponder about the Lord and how He wants us to live.



    Sunday, November 23, 2014

    Love AND Obedience

    {Daily Selah}


    We establish rules and boundaries for our children because we love them and we want them to do well. 

    Our house rules can be summed up in 2 simple words: obedience and respect. 

    My oldest son lives in his own home about an hour away and, thankfully, he still treats his mother with respect. 

    My youngest children are now 17 and 18. They still live at home and they know the rules still apply no matter how old they are.  

    As our loving Father, God has also established rules and boundaries for His children because He loves us and wants us to do well. God expressed this desire of His heart to Moses:

    O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever! (Deuteronomy 5:29)

    One day, Jesus was asked which commandment is the greatest. 
    Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matthew 22:36-40).

    God doesn't just want our love. He wants our love AND our obedience. The rules (commandments) God has given are for our protection. He knows the devastation sin can unleash in our lives. He knows what is best for us. If we love Him completely and completely trust Him to do what is best, it will be evidenced by our obedience. 


    If you know that God loves you, you should never question a directive from Him. It will always be right and best. When He gives you a directive, you are not just to observe it, discuss it, or debate it. You are to obey it.  -Henry Blackaby

    O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever! (Deuteronomy 5:29)

    Love AND obedience. 




    {Daily Selah} is a mini-devotional, a pause to ponder about the Lord and how He wants us to live.

    Saturday, November 22, 2014

    No Matter What...

    {Daily Selah}

    This may come as a surprise to some, but God never promised to make our lives easy. Believers in Christ experience the same trails of life as unbelievers do. 

    The difference is, our God has promised to be there through it with us. He has promised to never leave us (Hebrews 13:5) and has promised to hold us up (Isaiah 41:10). 


    Not only that, God has also promised to work all things together for our good (Romans 8:28). And, He always keeps His promises. 


    Regardless of what life may bring, we have a reason for hope and a reason to rejoice. We're not alone, we have been saved by God's amazing grace and He is in control. 


    Habakkuk had this hope and reason to rejoice, saying,

    Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

    He was saying, in essence, that no matter what happened, he still had a reason to rejoice. He could be left with nothing, but Habakkuk would still have a reason to rejoice and to find joy in the God of his salvation. 

    In the very next verse, Habbakuk testifies, The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. 


    We often quote that verse but sometimes miss the context. Habakkuk first was determined to trust in God, his deliverer, "the God of my salvation" and rejoiced in Him alone, despite the storms of life raging around him. When Habakkuk's faith was tested and he was still rejoicing, that's when he found his strength in God alone. 


    The high places Habakkuk experienced had more to do with spiritual blessing than temporal things. As his trials grew, so did his faith and he drew nearer to God as he drew strength from Him alone. No matter what his circumstances looked like, Habakkuk was able to rise above it all to those high places because he trusted in, rejoiced in and found his strength in "the God of my salvation."


    No matter what, we too have a reason for hope, a reason to rejoice, a Source of strength and the opportunity to rise above to the high places with the God of our salvation.


    No matter what...





    {Daily Selah} is a mini-devotional, a pause to ponder about the Lord and how He wants us to live.


    Friday, November 21, 2014

    A Compelling Love


    {Daily Selah}

    We live in a world filled with hate. Regardless of where you live, you have been exposed to it in some way. We see it on social networking sites almost daily. Posts and comments bashing Christians, Jews, God and the Bible are rampant. 

    What's the best response?

    For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).

    When we respond in anger, who are we serving? Our responsibility is to live as those for whom Christ died and live compelled by His love. 

    In the video at the link below, a Lebanese man trained from childhood for jihad tells how the love of Christ expressed through other people brought him to seek the One, True God. Click here to see a testimony of love.


    My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth (1 John 3:18). 

    God requires us to live a life of love. Love is more than words. Love is expressed in what we do... for our families, friends, neighbors and even for our enemies. 

    A Compelling Love.



    Father, thank You for expressing Your love for us by sending Your Son to die in our place. Help us to live as those for whom Christ died by expressing His love to everyone we meet, for Your glory. In Jesus' Name, amen.

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

    The Wonderful Exchange

    {Daily Selah}

    Have you ever really thought about the wonderful exchange that took place at Calvary?

    God became man (John 1:14). He died to give us life (1 Thess. 5:10).. 

    He, who is holy, became sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21).

    He took our sin on Himself so we could be clothed in His righteousness (Isa. 61:10). 

    Yesterday evening, my mother introduced me to a beautiful song that speaks of this wondrous exchange. 

    Listen to His Robes for Mine and be blessed (lyrics below)...







    His Robes for Mine
    His robes for mine: O wonderful exchange!
    Clothed in my sin, Christ suffered ‘neath God’s rage.
    Draped in His righteousness, I’m justified.
    In Christ I live, for in my place He died.

    I cling to Christ, and marvel at the cost:
    Jesus forsaken, God estranged from God.
    Bought by such love, my life is not my own.
    My praise - my all - shall be for Christ alone.

    His robes for mine: what cause have I for dread?
    God’s daunting Law Christ mastered in my stead.
    Faultless I stand with righteous works not mine,
    Saved by my Lord’s vicarious death and life.

    His robes for mine: God’s justice is appeased.
    Jesus is crushed, and thus the Father’s pleased.
    Christ drank God’s wrath on sin, then cried “‘Tis done!”
    Sin’s wage is paid; propitiation won.

    I cling to Christ, and marvel at the cost:
    Jesus forsaken, God estranged from God.
    Bought by such love, my life is not my own.
    My praise - my all - shall be for Christ alone.

    His robes for mine: such anguish none can know.
    Christ, God’s beloved, condemned as though His foe.
    He, as though I, accursed and left alone;
    I, as though He, embraced and welcomed home!

    I cling to Christ, and marvel at the cost:
    Jesus forsaken, God estranged from God.
    Bought by such love, my life is not my own.
    My praise - my all - shall be for Christ alone.

    His Robes for Mine
    (Lyrics by Chris Anderson, Music by Greg Habegger)
    __________________________


    We've been forgiven because Jesus was forsaken (Matt. 27:46), we've been made alive because He died for us (Eph. 2:1) and we've been set free because He was taken prisoner  for us (Matt. 27:2). 

    Bought by such love, my life is not my own.
    My praise - my all - shall be for Christ alone.

    The wonderful exchange.  


    Father, thank You for this wonderful exchange - that Jesus would give His life for mine. Help me to live for Him alone. In His glorious Name I pray, amen. 





    {Daily Selah} is a mini-devotional, a pause to ponder about the Lord and how He wants us to live.



    Wednesday, November 19, 2014

    He is Listening

    {Daily Selah}



    Have you ever had a conversation with someone and known they just weren't listening? Maybe they were trying to talk over you or were looking at something else while you were speaking. 

    I'm so thankful we don't have to wonder whether or not the Lord is paying attention. He hears even the smallest cries of our hearts. 

    David was convinced that God was listening and was able to say, "The LORD hath heard my supplication; the LORD will receive my prayer." (Psalm 6:8).  

    Matthew Henry writes on this verse:

    By the workings of God's grace upon his heart, he knew his prayer was accepted, and did not doubt but it would, in due time, be answered. His prayers will be accepted, coming up out of the hands of Christ the Mediator

    We don't have to wonder if God is listening. We know He is because He has said He is. We can trust Him to hear and answer. 

    Talk to Him today. Tell Him what's on your heart.

    He is listening. 




    {Daily Selah} is a mini-devotional, a pause to ponder about the Lord and how He wants us to live.



    Tuesday, November 18, 2014

    Grow

    {Daily Selah}

    But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen (2 Peter 3:18).

    In this verse, we are told to grow in 2 very important ways.

    Grow in grace. We don't become instantly perfect and holy in the moment God pours out His grace on us for salvation.  But, God requires us to live and grow as those who have known His grace.

    And in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Growth happens as we get to know Jesus better. How do we get to know Him? By spending time in His Word and time alone with Him in prayer. 

    At one time in my life, I was very rebellious (my testimony is that of a prodigal who met God's grace). Since God poured His grace into my life, He has brought change in my thinking, speech and actions. This change came because He helped me get to know Jesus better. 

    Change will continue to happen for each of us as we get to know our Lord and Savior  more and more. I'm not perfect and I'm thankful that God isn't done with me yet. By God's grace, I'm not where I used to be and not where i'm going to be. He's still working on me. 

    The instruction we have been given in 2 Peter 3:18 is really quite simple:

    Live like you've known grace. Get to know Jesus better.

    Grow. 

    {Daily Selah} is a mini-devotional, a pause to ponder about the Lord and how He wants us to live.

    Monday, November 17, 2014

    Follow in His Steps

    {Daily Selah}


    The photo selected for today's Daily Selah was taken right outside my back door early yesterday morning. 

    While I was looking at the bunny trails, this verse came to mind:

    For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow his steps (1 Peter 2:21). 



    Jesus left us an example to follow. He showed us the right way to live so that we could follow in His steps. As we study His Word and spend time with Jesus, we will learn His ways and learn to follow in His steps. 


    Through the Word of God, we can clearly see what direction Jesus' footsteps will lead us. Following in His steps is not as easy. Our flesh very often wants to go its own way. But, He didn't leave us to follow on alone.


    God commanded Israel, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you (Jeremiah 7:23). Many times, Israel went their own way instead of following in the steps God had laid before them. Sometimes, you and I do too. 


    But, we can follow in Jesus' steps if we choose to. Remember Peter? He went his own way at times and denied Jesus 3 times, but look at how he later changed direction followed in Jesus' steps. Moses was a murderer and a guy afraid to speak up (see Exodus 3) but he changed direction, followed God's ways and took his people in a new direction. David went his own way when he sinned with Bathsheba and had her husband killed. He changed both his direction and his desires:



     As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God (Psalm 42:1). 

    As we noted above, Jesus didn't leave us to follow in His steps alone. Not only does He lead the way for us, He is also right here with us. Paul knew this. He battled the direction his flesh wanted to go just like we do but learned: 



    I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Philippians 4:13). 

    You and I can enjoy the same kind of victory as Paul did, if we just rely on Christ's strength.  


    Following in Jesus' steps isn't an optional activity for those who have been saved by His grace. It is our calling.



    For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow his steps (1 Peter 2:21). 

    Follow in His Steps.




    {Daily Selah} is a mini-devotional, a pause to ponder about the Lord and how He wants us to live.


    Sunday, November 16, 2014

    The Best Preparations

    {Daily Selah}




    Yesterday afternoon, I watched a few episodes of show all about "preppers."

    It was interesting to see the extremes to which some people have gone in their preparation to provide for and protect themselves and their families in case of some major disaster.

    (Please don't misunderstand. I wholeheartedly support the rights granted by the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and feel that reasonable emergency preparedness is an exercise in wisdom.)


    Some have built elaborate underground bunkers and stockpiled enough food to last 10 years or more. Others have simply ensured they have sustainable sources of food and water.



    There were several things I noticed that the "preppers" highlighted on the show seem to have in common. First, for many of them, it seems their preparations have become an obsession to the point of causing friction in their family and other relationships. Secondly, they all seemed to be very concerned about amassing various types of weapons and ammunition. 

    And, although one man did say he and his wife are Christians, not one of the "preppers" in the episodes I watched said anything about how the Lord or their faith factored into all of the possible scenarios they labor to prepare for. 


    We can make preparations for all kinds of possibilities in this life. A devastating earthquake may happen, a massive EMP burst could knock out the power grid. Some day our country might be under attack. 

    While I agree that it is wise to have plan in place to care for one's family if a disaster should happen, I'd rather not spend my days worrying or preparing for the "what ifs" of this life. I would rather make preparation for the certainties of eternity. 

    God, in His Word, speaks frequently of making preparation for things of eternal importance. He prepares for us and we should be preparing for Him.  Take a look...


    Preparing for the Lord
    After seeing God's deliverance, Moses sang a song of praise to Him, which included these words: 

    The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation... (Exodus 15:2).


    Moses was offering all of himself to the Lord as a vessel for His use, prepared for the Lord.

    When Solomon dedicated the temple, he prayed, "O LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto theeAnd give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep thy commandments, thy testimonies, and thy statutes, and to do all these things, and to build the palace, for the which I have made provision" (1 Chronicles 29:18-19)


    David had prepared many items and supplies for the building of the house of the LORD. Solomon had prepared for the building and fulfillment of his father's dream of a place for the Most High God to dwell. Now Solomon asks the LORD to prepare his heart and that of his people to make them a fit dwelling place for Him. 

    Later, another man prepared his heart. Jotham was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem...Jotham became mighty, because he prepared his ways before the LORD his God (2 Chronicles 27:1,6). 


    Jotham was remembered as a mighty man, not because of his accomplishements, but because "he prepared his ways before the LORD his God."

    Ezra was a leader among the captives who returned to Jerusalem from Babylon. Ezra 7:9 says, "For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him." Why had God blessed Ezra in this way and opened the way for him to return to his homeland? The answer is given in the next verse:


    For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments (Ezra 7:10). 


    Ezra was blessed because he had prepared his heart to learn, know, live and teach the Word of God. 


    God prepares for those who prepare for Him
    Ephesians chapter 2 makes it clear that our salvation is not based upon anything we have ever done or ever could do. Salvation is a gift of God's grace based on what His Son accomplished for us in His death, burial and resurrection. Take a look at the last few verses of that chapter.


    For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

    When we placed our faith in Christ alone for salvation, He Himself made it possible for us to be "an habitation of God through the Spirit." In other words, Jesus' blood covers us, washes us, makes us clean in God's sight and prepares us to be a dwelling place for Him. 

    Jesus is actively making preparation right now for those who have believed in Him. How do I know? He said so. Look... 


    Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you (John 14:1-2).


    Most Christians are familiar with the wonderful promise of Psalm 91:1.
    He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

    In that same psalm, the Lord gives another precious promise:
    Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

    God prepares for those who prepare for Him. 


    But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him (2 Corinthians 2:9).



    Father, thank You for preparing a way for my salvation through by giving Your Son to take my punishment on Himself. Thank You that He is preparing a home in heaven for me right now. Thank You for how You have blessed me and prepared for me in so many ways. Help me to continue to prepare my heart as a fit dwelling place for You. In Jesus' Name, amen. 






    {Daily Selah} is a mini-devotional, a pause to ponder about the Lord & how He wants us to live.