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Archive for the ‘Devotional’ Category

What if?

WHAT IF?

What if God wasn’t God?
We would still serve something or someone.

What if God was not the creator?
We would never have emerged from the goo.

What if God never made any promises or covenants?
We’d have no assurance of coming good.

What if God had no power to save?
We’d have no salvation.

What if God had the power but no desire to save?
We’d be left in despair.

What if there were no miracles?
We’d have no hope.

What if God wasn’t with us, present in our midst?
We’d be profoundly alone.

What if He were not a refuge, a high tower, fortification, strength, or a hiding place?
We’d be exposed, vulnerable to everyone and everything.

What if God didn’t respond to worship?
We’d have no music, no poetry, no art.

What if God did not offer forgiveness, mercy, or redemption?
We’d be eternally damned and dead.

What if He delighted in our failures?
We’d be a source of never ending delight.

What if He remembered our sin?
We’d be wretched in His sight.

What if our God were made in our image?
He’d be selfish, self-serving, unforgiving, lawless, perverted, wicked and depraved.

WHAT IF?

BUT GOD . . .

God is Holy, Almighty, the Great I AM.
(Exodus 3:14, Isaiah 43:13; John 8:24, 28, 58; Revelation 1:8)

God is the creator of the ends of the earth and everything in it.
(Colossians 1:16-17)

God has made covenants with His people.
(2 Corinthians 3:6; Hebrews 7:22, 8:6, 9:15, 12:24)

God is our salvation. It is His desire that all are saved.
(Luke 9:56; John 3:16, 17; Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:9-10, 14)

He is the God of miracles.
(Exodus 3:3, 4:3, 14:21, 15:25; 1 Kings 17:12-23; Mark 6:35-44; Luke 11:14; John 2:1-11 and more)

He is ever-present in our midst.
(Psalm 139:7-12; Jeremiah 23:23-24; Matthew 18:20)

He is my refuge, my high tower, my fortification, my strength, my hiding place.
(Psalm 46:1, 7, 11; Psalm 91:2, Psalm 94:22; Jeremiah 16:19)

God offers forgiveness, mercy and redemption.
(Nehemiah 9:17; Psalm 130:4, 7; Jeremiah 33:8; Daniel 9:9; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14)

God remembers not our sin.
(Jeremiah 3:34)

We are made in the image of our God.
(Genesis 1:2 ,7; 1 Corinthians 11:7)

Sometimes when the heart grows cold or the sin nature seems to be gaining a foothold, we may forget what we know or should know about our God. He is not like the cold, lifeless idols of the pagans. He does not leave His people, his followers to go on without him.

The Bible teaches that everyone will serve something or someone. It teaches that we will become like the god we serve, based on the how we understand our god and interact with him/it. If we view him as cold and standoffish, harshly judging us or disinterested in us, we will become like him. If we know our God (the Almighty One, the Great I Am, the true and living God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), if we see His face and seek after Him with all of our heart, mind and strength, we will be like Him. That is the miracle of a serving a loving and merciful God.

Thank you, God, for Your abundant mercy.

Copyright MaryBeth Mullin

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In His Arms - 7

 

I sang a praise chorus to myself quietly this morning…

Thy loving kindness is better than life

Thy loving kindness is better than life

My lips shall praise Thee–thus will I bless Thee

I will lift my hands up to thy name

A prayer rose up in my heart.

O Lord, my battered, broken heart remembers the security of your love.

I am a little bird and my beak is open, waiting for you to feed me.

I am fearful and afraid – and you are a great flood of power and majesty.  You are my King Jesus, riding on your white horse.  Sweeping beside me, you scoop me up in your gentle hands and place me safely behind you on the horse.  And ride away to safety.

I love You, Jesus, because you first loved me.  See how love gushes forth from my soul like a fountain – my grateful response to all that you are, to all that you have done for me!  To all that you are doing and are planning to do.

I lift my hands up…please take me with you!

    Copyright MaryBethMullin 2016

 

 

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The Bike Rider

Sometimes, Lord, I imagine that you might let go and leave me alone…

     To see what is in my heart.

     To see if I will believe.

How well I remember the days when I taught my little girl how to ride a bike.  I close my eyes and it all comes back to me – I’m holding the bike front and back, balancing her, encouraging her to pedal.  At first I’m doing ninety percent of the work.

Then, she begins to pedal on her own, but I’m still holding the bike.  She’s still not as steady as she needs to be, and she turns to look at me.  Her expression tells me she’s still very much unsure of herself.

But I know it’s time for the next step.

Suddenly I’m only holding the back of the bike – and letting her do the rest.  I’m running behind her, shouting, “Good job!” – providing the slightest help with balance but nothing more.

“Don’t let go, Mom…I’m gonna fall!”  Her voice is insistent.  Fearful.

Oh, how I know that feeling – not just from learning to ride a bike, of course, but from learning to trust Him.

To trust what He’s taught me.

To trust what I’m still in the process of discovering.

In learning to ride a bike there is stress and uncertainty.  That’s because there’s a big step in the process that simply can’t be skipped – that inevitable moment of truth.

Every good teacher knows that a test must come eventually – an assessment of the student’s acquisition of her knowledge and skills, a real-world application.

And it’s in times like these that I cry out, “Abba, Abba!”  I can’t see Him and my pain threatens to overtake me.  And I’m unable to remember what He said.  How am I to make it through?

When darkness envelopes me I wonder where He is.  I start to lose my balance.  Then I start falling!

“Don’t let go! Abba, don’t let go!”

This is my cry of desperation, and hearing my own fear, I tremble.

But He who is both wise and good keeps me in the place of testing long enough to assess whether I’m getting the lesson, and He always makes sure I’m never in this place any longer than I need to be.

Looking back on these moments, I see that I have learned to trust Him and abide in Him (albeit falteringly).  But more importantly, I see that He is the one who has done everything else.

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

copyright MaryBethMullin 2016

bike

Young girl learning to ride a bike.

 

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Here’s a great post written by a friend of mine from high school.  It offers encouragement to those who are facing difficult circumstances.

The Ultimate Rescue Operation

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Is your life crazy busy?  Do you have a husband, kids, grandkids a house, a job, another job or just commitments?  We live busy lives, spent rushing from one thing to the next with little time for spiritual disciplines like prayer, fasting, Bible study or simply listening to God.

In his letter to Timothy in 1Timothy 2:1-4, Paul offers some ideas on how to have “quiet” in our daily lives, and he provides the rationale for doing so.  “I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men,  for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

How do I have “quiet”?

  • Supplications (humble prayer, entreaty, or petition)
  • Prayers (a spiritual communion with God)
  • Intercessions (a prayer to God on behalf of another)
  • Giving thanks for all men, for kings and all who are in authority
Why is this important?
Paul offers the following by way of reason for seeking to lead “a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence:”
  • It is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior
The center of living the quiet and peaceable life is relationship with the Father, through the finished work of the Son.  We can come boldly to the throne of grace because of Jesus, our High Priest.

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Have you ever seen a sponge that has been left in the closet or on the shelf too long.  It is misshapen and hardens into something like a rock.  It is not much good for cleaning any surface in this state.  However, once soaked in water, the sponge becomes flexible and soft.  It absorbs the water and within a short time is a great tool for cleaning.

The Christian is much like a sponge.  Without the water of the Word of God, the Christian becomes hard, inflexible, not very useful for his or her intended purposes.  But once allowed to soak in the water of the Word, the Christian becomes soft, absorbent, flexible and more useful for his or her purpose.

It begs the question, what kind of sponge are you?

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The expression “born of the Spirit” is used by the Apostle John in Chapter 3 of his gospel.  Being born of the Spirit means to become a new creation by the spiritual washing or purification of the soul, by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God at Salvation.

2 Corinthians 5:17-18 says, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.”

As a result:

  • What was before (the old life) is gone
  • The past does not control the  future
  • All things have become new (they are not what they were)
  •  All things are now of God (God is ruling my life, so everything is subject to Him)

Hallelujah!  What a Savior!

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