Thursday, January 21, 2021

Plans

 "The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the people." Psalm 33:10 NIV

Our governments have a big effect on our daily lives.  We cheer when the party that we support wins an election, and we fret when the opposite party wins. Yet the Psalmist reminds us that the Lord is the one in control.  Whatever plans nations have, God can scupper them if He chooses to. We are not at the mercy of governments, we are at the mercy of God.  We need to keep our eyes on Jesus. We are told to pray for governments, and I believe in participating in the political process, but this should always be considered as less important than our relationship with God. Our hearts and minds should be meditating on God and his word. When Jesus was on earth, some of his followers wanted him to be their king. He clearly showed them that he was not interested in political power, he wanted instead to save us spiritually so that we could be with him forever.

I pray that I will not loose sight of the fact that God knows exactly what is going on in the world.  He is not surprised by it, nor does it thwart his purposes. I thank God that He has given us governments that allow for order in our countries. I pray that our politicians will turn to God for wisdom and guidance.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

The Heavens' Voice

 "There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard." Psalm 19:3 NIV

"Their" in this passage from Psalm 19 refers to the heavens. What are the heavens speaking about? They are talking about the glory of God, creator of the heavens and the earth. People all over the world have looked up to the sun, the moon, the stars and the planets and have wondered about them. How did they get there? What is the relationship of people to the greater cosmos? Everyone in the world sees the same sun. I think this is one of the messages of God that there is one source of life for the whole world. We do not have multiple suns that sustain life, only one sun. In the same way, there is only one God who created the world and who speaks to us. People have perceived the sun differently but the sun doesn't change depending on our view of it. In the same way God does not change depending on our view of him.  He influences us, not the other way around. 

Every day I can contemplate the dependability of the sun which reminds me of the dependability of God. When I feel the warmth of the springtime sun, I am reminded of the love and care that God bestows on me. I thank God for his revelation in his creation.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Radiant Commands

 ''The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes." Psalm 19:8 NIV

How often are commands described as "radiant?"  Burdensome, difficult, painful, and many other adjectives are usually used to describe commands. But here the Psalmist is telling us that God's commands are radiant - that they are beautiful, life-giving, and heart warming.  They give light to the eyes so that we can clearly see the world we live in, and the work that God is doing in the world.  We see his love and his provision for us. God's radiant commands beam us into a new regenerated life. His radiant commands  don't weigh us down but lift us up. God's commands always purify us and make us more like him. Let's not confuse the way God commands us with the way that other people command us. People may command us in order to have control over us or to take advantage of us, but God's commands are always there to benefit us.

Thank you Lord for your guiding light that shines through your commandments.  Give me a heart that is eager to follow your light. I pray that I may be a light to those around me so that they can see your marvellous love for them.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Suffering and Hope

 "We know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. " Romans 5:3-4 NIV

Paul, in this passage, is speaking to those who have been justified by faith and who, therefore, have peace with God.  Suffering does not always produce perseverance, character and hope.  If a person is not turning to God in their time of trouble, they may simply become bitter, angry and despairing. The perseverance that Paul is talking about is persevering in our faith and trusting that God loves us and wants what is best for us. The character that is produced is the fruit of the Holy Spirit : love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Finally, our hope is in the promises of God based on his character.  God is the great redeemer and He not only redeems us so that we can have eternal life with him after we die, but he redeems our lives and character right now.

I pray that I will not ask "why?" when difficult times happen. I pray that I will not become rebellious when life is not going the way I want it to. I thank God that, no matter what, He is always my loving Father.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Hope in our Hearts

 "And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit." Romans 5:5 NIV

The hope that does not disappoint is the hope that sits firmly in our relationship with God. We are not hoping as in wishful thinking, we are hoping and trusting in the word of God . This hope does not disappoint because the love that God gives us leads us into fellowship with him and with others. Our hearts grow able to forgive and restore relationships, our minds decide that we don't need to worry, and our wills focus on following the Lord's commands.  We begin to grow the fruit of the spirit and become a positive influence in whatever sphere we work and live in.  We will still face challenges but, with our hope in God, we will see him working in our lives and will develop a sure and solid faith.

I pray that I will regularly remind myself of the many promises of God and share them with others.  I thank God for the hope that he gives us and his assurance that his love is forever.

Monday, December 7, 2020

What We Do Not See

 "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1 NIV

One of the biggest challenges for Christians, especially new believers, is accepting the reality of God without being able to see or audibly hear Him.  We read the Bible and want to trust that it is true, but doubts often come our way. In the Old Testament, the Israelites were told to mark certain places to remind them of God's provisions and protection. The Passover feast was to remind them of their escape from Egyptian slavery. At various times in the Gospels, people wanted Jesus to perform signs and wonders to prove his divinity but He knew that only a changed heart could really believe that He was the Messiah. Our hearts are transformed when we step out onto the water like Peter and live our lives taking the Bible as the word of God. Along the way, God will give us significant incidents and answers to prayer that will become our personal markers of God's love.  Those markers will make our faith sure and we will be certain of the God who we cannot see but whose work we can see.

I pray that when I have doubts that I will remember times in my life that God made himself clear to me. I thank him for prayers that were answered in amazing ways. I also thank him for times when I had to wait and learn perseverance and steadfastness. 

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Purified

 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9 NIV

The forgiveness of sins is a wonderful gift that is not only available to take away our guilt, but also to lead us into a righteous life with God. To be forgiven, to be aware that we need a Saviour to save us from our sins, we first have to recognize our sin. If we believe that we are "good" people that occasionally make a few missteps, we will not understand our precarious position. Only when we really understand the depth of our selfishness, lack of love, and rebellion to God, can we take the first step of confessing our sins. This conviction of sin comes from the Holy Spirit who shines a bright light on our dark hearts. Many people would think that it would be devastating to admit to our sinful nature. It would be if that was the whole story, but the Good News is that it is just the beginning. If we confess, Jesus will forgive our sins. And more than that, he purifies not only through forgiveness but by transforming our hearts so that we lose our desire to sin. Our prayers change from "Lord, give me something" to "Lord, make me like you."

I thank God for his forgiveness and his desire to make me more like Him. I pray that I will be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's conviction and quickly confess my sin. I pray for God's help to turn away from my sins. I pray for the strength and courage to follow his guidance resting in the full assurance that He only wants what's best for me.