Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Devotional’

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

Read Full Post »

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

 

 

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

Sometimes we are told to “Make a joyful shout to the LORD” (Psalm 100) and  “Praise Him with clashing cymbals! (Psalm 150)”  Other times, we can be quiet.

We can be quiet in His strength

In Matthew 11:28, Jesus says,  “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

The picture here is of oxen pulling a plow or a wagon.  The two animals would be yoked together.   A yoke is “a device for joining together a pair of draft animals, especially oxen, usually consisting of a crosspiece with two bow-shaped pieces, each enclosing the head of an animal.”  In order to be yoked together, animals must be comparable in size, stamina and desire to work.   This provides an important spiritual lesson to the believer.

When we are yoked to Jesus, we go where He goes (by necessity).  Because of the yoke, we must look at what He looks at, see what He sees.  By being joined together like this, we benefit from His wisdom and His strength, and we can just be quiet.  Sometimes it is good to just walk alongside Jesus, yoked to Him, quietly learning from Him.

Read Full Post »

Putting aside self-sufficiency for good

According to C. Hummel in Tyranny of the Urgent, “The root of all sin is self-sufficiency,  independence from the rule of God.  When we fail to wait prayerfully for God’s guidance and strength, we are saying with our actions, if not with our words, that we do not need Him.”

DEPENDENCE

According to 2 Corinthians 12:9, the Lord told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”  The message is clearly, “Be as weak as possible, and I will make known my strength through you.”

We (mankind), were designed to depend.  If you go back to the garden, God’s design was that mankind should live his life forever (remember they were not prohibited from the Tree of Life) in fellowship with God.  He desired not that man rely on his own wisdom or knowledge of good and evil, but that man would make his decisions based on his close fellowship with God.  Several possible explanations for God’s design come to mind:

  • It could be that God knew that a moral standard of good and evil, right and wrong, would not be sufficient for us.  We, apart from fellowship with God, would choose evil over good.  It could be that God, for His sheer delight, desired to impart His wisdom and guidance to us, one by one and day by day.  The picture is one of a loving and involved father teaching and guiding a beloved son or daughter.
  • It could also be that God knew that we cannot keep very many rules or guidelines on our own without encouragement and reminder.
  • It could be He knew that our greatest need is the constant unconditional love of our Father.  It is the fuel for our human souls.  It is what keeps us healthy and able to move forward.
  • It could be that these reasons and purposes are only known to the Almighty.  In any event, a life of unbroken fellowship with the Father was God’s first choice for us.
It was a grasp at self-dependence that severed that fellowship in the garden of Eden more than 6,000 years ago.  You know the story.  Eve was deceived by the serpent.  She fell prey to two of his well-worn strategies:
  1. First, she was not clear on what God had said, so she was easily deceived by the serpent’s misrepresentation of God’s word.
  2. Second, she was lured into believing the lies of the serpent because of her desire to be independent of God (to be like a god herself).
  3. THE BAD NEWS . . . The root of all independence is that same desire in each of us. The consequence of Eve’s grab for independence was separation from God for herself and her family.

    THE GOOD NEWS . . . The cross is the provision for restored fellowship and dependence on God.  God has made a way to restore what was lost in the garden.  Hallelujah!

Read Full Post »

Have you sung that song “As the Deer Panteth for the waters so my soul longeth after thee . . ?”   I was thinking about that line today, about the thirsty deer.  Does the deer drink and then go away for a week before returning to drink again?  Does the deer drink because it thinks the other deer are watching it?   Does the deer fill its cantine and walk away from the stream for a time in the desert only returning when it is near death from thirst?  No.  The deer comes daily and throughout the day and drinks when it experiences genuine thirst.  It stays near the stream and doesn’t wander so far as to not be able to get back when it experiences thirst.  It does not try to take care of future thirst or worry from where the next drink will come.  The deer relies on its heavenly Father to tell it when it thirsts and to provide a means to satisfy that thirst.

So what spiritual lessons is the Psalmist teaching me in describing this thirst like the deer?

  • It is a thirst that longs for and can be satisfied by the water. I should thirst for the living water, the Word of God, the Holy Spirit and seek to be satisfied by the Word and the Holy Spirit.  It is a natural law that appetite is developed by eating.  Thirst, too can be developed by drinking.  I should drink of the living water and thereby develop a thirst which it alone can quench.
  • It is a thirst that seeks quenching daily, hourly and as the need arises. I should seek to slake (ally or reduce by satisfying) my thirst daily and hourly, if need be, by coming to the font of living water, to Jesus who promises to satisfy my thirst.  I should stay close to the source of living water.
  • It is a thirst that has no other motive than to satisfy the basic need. When I come to the water to drink, my motive should be to quench my thirst, not to fulfill some man-made obligation or ritual or the expectations of others.
  • It is a thirst that trusts in the creator to provide a means of satisfying it. I must come to quench my thirst to the one who created it.  I must trust God to provide the means for satisfying my thirst and not seek to have that need filled somewhere else.

May you be like the deer who pants for the water brooks.  May your genuine thirst for God be quenched by the living water of the Word and fellowship with the One who promises to bring forth rivers of living water from the lives of those who believe in Him.

Read Full Post »

Do you remember the story of the loaves and the fish in John 6?  Although it is a familiar story, it is worth taking a closer look at exactly what was happening.

We are told a boy had 5 barley loaves and 2 small fish.  Apparently the boy gave them to the disciples.  The disciples gave them to Jesus.

Observations:
  • The disciples gave it all (5 loaves and 2 fish) to Jesus.
  • Jesus took it all from them.
  • Jesus gave thanks for all to the Father.
  • The Father blessed it all.
  • Jesus gave it all back to the disciples to give out to the 5,000 sitting on the ground.
  • The people were filled by what they received – there was no want.

So how does this apply to me, to you?  I need to give all that I have (or get from anyone) to Jesus.  I need to hold nothing back as a safety net or back up in case of future need.  It is in the giving of it all that I show my total trust and surrender to God.

Jesus will take all that I have and God will bless it.  The little I had will be multiplied.  Jesus will bless it and divide it – break it to make it useful for others.  Passing through the hands of the Savior, what little I had will become plenteous and abundant.  Giving it back to me after blessing it and breaking it, Jesus wants to help to distribute it.  It is not mine any longer because I gave it all to Him.

May He who has done exceeding abundantly above and beyond what you can think or imagine take what you have and cause it to nourish many.  May you hold nothing back!

Thank you Father that you love us enough to require everything of us.  Thank you that you do not desire us to have any confidence in our own abilities or supplies.  Thank you that we are children of the Most High God, so our every need will be met through Your provision.  May You multiply what we have for Your glory!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »