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Archive for the ‘Devotional’ Category

From the early chapters of Genesis, God has been promising a land of their own to His people, the Jews. He also promised to remove their enemies (who would be in the land) from before them and to cause the fear of them to make their enemies to flee before them.

Reading these types of passages in the Hebrew Bible, one could get the idea that conquering this land would be straightforward, but when God promised the land to them, they had a part in possessing it.

They had to battle. They had to crush idols and kill every idolatrous thing in their path–even items of great value. They had to rely on God for their support.

It is the same for us. The promised land and God’s people taking possession of the promised land is a picture of the abundant life God promises to all of His children.

In John 10:10, Jesus said, “I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].” Jesus is promising the abundant life to us, but we have a part in it.

We must take possession of the land God is giving us. We must walk in the paths He has laid for us. We must not trust in riches or the treasures of pagans. We must not trust in the chariots or horses of our fallen enemies. We must trust only in God–Maker of Heaven and Earth.

Sea of Tiberias

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If we obey

22 For if you carefully keep all these commandments which I command you to do—to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, and to hold fast to Him— 23 then the Lord will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess greater and mightier nations than yourselves. 24 Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours: . . . 25 No man shall be able to stand against you; the Lord your God will put the dread of you and the fear of you upon all the land where you tread, just as He has said to you. Deuteronomy 11:22-25

When I obey God–that is, when I lovingly walk in all His ways every day and hold tightly to Him–He promises to eliminate my enemies and give me the land wherever I walk as my possession.

Moreover, He promises that no human will try to oppose me because God will cause them to fear me. This passage is not speaking of heaven, but rather of life on Earth, in time–the abundant life. This is the life I desire.

Father, teach us to walk in the paths you have laid for us. Let us be worthy and ready to take–and fully possess–the land you are giving to us.

Alaska

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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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