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Archive for the ‘Devotional’ Category

I love when God reminds me that I don’t have to struggle or fight or worry. He has everything under control. The opening verses of Isaiah 43 are a perfect example of such a reminder:

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” Isaiah 43:1-2 NLT

God holds the reins.
God controls the impact outside forces can have on me.
God is sovereign over everything.
God is concerned and monitoring the things and forces that come against me.

For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom; I gave Ethiopia[a] and Seba in your place. Others were given in exchange for you. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you.
Isaiah 43:3-4 NLT

God chose me.
God values me.
God will choose those who are His–those who love Him and seek Him over those whose hearts are cold toward him.

May the Holy One of Israel speak these truths over you today in such a way that you know that He loves you and will keep you from going under or burning up. He is a good, good Father.

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Dan – Israel

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For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul.
        Jeremiah 31:25

With God everything is done to perfection. Thus, in the Amplified Version, this verse reads, “I fully satisfy the weary soul” reminding us of that complete work God does in our souls when we allow Him.

The Amplified Version also adds “languishing” to the second phrase, so it reads, “I have replenished every languishing and sorrowful soul.” This word languishing carries the meaning of wasting away from sorrow.”

This is my testimony. As I was languishing in my sorrow over my loss, betrayal and humiliation at the hands of one close to me, God gave me satisfaction and healing in my soul, in my innermost being–the place that only God can touch, but which desperately needs touching. My situation remained unchanged, but my soul was replenished and restored.

So remember, when you are languishing in sorrow, you need only wait in helplessness for God for just a short while with an openness to Him, and you shall experience what God promised through the prophet Jeremiah.

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And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. Exodus 14:13

Are you facing a terrible enemy today? Is there someone, a group of someones or something that has enslaved you, kept you bound, treated you cruelly, heartlessly abused you, having no concern for you–crushing all hopes of a future?

Did you escape–flee from the oppressor only to have them chase you down, corner you, leave you no way of escape?

So it was with Pharaoh, his army and the children of Israel. They were slaves to Pharaoh–he was cruel to them–depriving them, forcing them to work under difficult conditions. He was even threatening and killing their babies.

He was against them in every way. He had chased them to the edge of the Red Sea–a mountain on each side. They had nowhere to go. The children of Israel were afraid, defeated and without hope.

At that moment, Moses, filled with faith and experiential knowledge of God, speaks to them.

First, he speaks to their fear: Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today.

Then, he speaks to their future: For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.

May God do for you what He did for them in the midst of your Red Sea experience.

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It is no wonder that the non-believing world rejects the life-changing message of the gospel–the power of God to change a person, to break a chain of addiction, to break a life pattern of infidelity, to remove fear and anxiety, to heal a broken heart, a broken life . . . they see us, the chosen, the ones testifying of the power of God, but we show ourselves to be powerless.

We run like dogs to our vomit. We return to our addictions. We continue our patterns of infidelity, of anxiety. We seek that which God has taken from us. We pick our idols back up.

The non-believer sees this as a weakness of our God. But nothing could be farther from the truth.

Sometimes by our choices and our conduct, we make God out to be a liar.

But God cannot lie.

▸ If the Son makes you free, then you are unquestionably free. John 8:36 (Amplified)

▸ Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life]. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (Amplified)

▸ It is vain for you to rise early, to retire late, to eat the bread of anxious labors—for He gives [blessings] to His beloved even in his sleep. Psalm 127:2 (Amplified)

Believe God and be a true witness.

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It is one thing to be broken. A clean break is not impossible to mend. Align the broken pieces, apply some epoxy, wait and time will heal the fractures.

Crushing is a totally different thing. With a horrible blow or a series of repeated strikes to the fragile porcelain of a human heart, a crushing occurs–thousands of tiny pieces are left with no hope of ever being re-aligned or re-assembled.

Humpty-dumpty all over again.

But God . . .

Indeed, the former things have come to pass, Now I declare new things;
Before they spring forth I proclaim them to you. Isaiah 42:9

If anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life].  2 Corinthians 5:17 (Amplified)

Sometimes with God it is a break, clean and neat. But often with God it is a crushing–to testify to His desire and power and make all things new–to release the fragrance that is within us.

Take heart, beloved, if you are going through a time of crushing right now, He will make all things new for you. Not one of His promises will fall. He will keep each and every one.

 

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According to James 2:23, Abraham was called the friend of God.

What does it mean to be the friend of God?

The friend of God agrees with God on everything. He is not like other friends with whom you can agree to disagree. With God, you must believe every word that comes forth from Him (every word of the Bible).

The friend of God:
obeys God
follows God–doesn’t veer from God’s path
walks with God–goes in the same direction
submits to God–isn’t his or her own boss
speaks God’s language
loves God’s other friends
worships God for who He is

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Psalm 23 is a well-known and well-loved Psalm. It is perhaps the most well-known of the psalms, often quoted at funerals. But Psalm 23 is not a psalm of death, it is Psalm that speaks of the abundant life of a believer–life with The Good Shepherd.

What makes Him the Good Shepherd? Consider what He does according to Psalm 23:1-3:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

My Shepherd removes my want and provides completely for me. He gives me a place to rest where there is food and water available to me.

He cares for my eternal nature–my soul–as well. He alone can restore my soul and make me whole. My soul was once far from God. Even now, my soul is often discouraged, but it seeks after its Maker.

He also is a leader, mentor and coach taking me forward in sanctification, leading me down paths of righteousness. He teaches me about Him and about me. He teaches me to walk worthy, instructing me about our relationship, and leading me through our relationship. These things He does for His name’s sake, to fulfill His promises.

But as we see in Psalm 23:4-5, this life with the Shepherd is not a life of ease or without trials:

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.

I will face trouble in this life. But my Shepherd is always with me. He never leaves me. He promises to be my companion through the dark times, times in the valley where death hovers near, menacing and threatening me. But I am not afraid because He uses His rod and staff to guide me and keep me on the narrow path that leads to life. His prodding and correction remind me that He is near.

He feeds me even when my enemies are near. He is not intimidated by them and let’s nothing interfere with our fellowship. They will not prevail over me.

My shepherd tenderly cares for me, anointing my head with oil to keep the pests from me, to sooth me and calm me. Life with My Shepherd is so full.

I can’t but proclaim as David did in Psalm 23:6:

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

I have no concerns now or for eternity. Blessed by the name of the LORD!

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