Friday, June 21, 2013
Romans 2:4 WEB
Or do you despise the riches of his goodness, forbearance, and patience,
not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
Promise #172: My goodness will lead you to a change of heart.
I love this promise. Romans 2:4 basically says it is the very goodness of God that leads people to repent. Many times, when we think of repentance, we think of it as a shame based response to some form of judgment in our lives. But really, it means to go in another direction or to change our mind.
When Jesus said, 'Repent for the kingdom is near', He was calling people to go in a new direction, a new way of thinking where they would know the truth and the truth would set them free. For too long, the word repentance has had far too many negative connotations.
There may be a place for a fire and brimstone, or a turn or burn message in the proclaiming of the gospel. But there is also a place when we simply proclaim God's goodness and His love and the result is that people will respond by going in a new direction... towards their loving Father through Christ. I believe that it is the love of God that will cause people to truly repent. In John 4:19, it says...We love because He first loved us.
God loved us while we were still His enemy. I believe it is the love of the Father that will melt the hearts of humanity and draw each one into His bosom through the free gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. It is our Papa's goodness that will lead us to change our minds and go in a new direction.
When I think of this promise in this light, it changes the way I see evangelism. It is the goodness of our heavenly Father that will cause the biggest transformation in a person's heart.
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Isaiah 61:3 WEB
to appoint to those who mourn in Zion, to give to them a garland for ashes,
the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
that they may be called trees of righteousness,
the planting of Yahweh, that he may be glorified.
Promise #170: I will give you a garment of praise in exchange for your spirit of heaviness.
Isaiah 61 is full of amazing promises from God that were fulfilled when Jesus came to the world two thousand years ago. Verse 3 alone contains at least 4 promises that we could take all day to talk about! But in this devotional, I will stick to the promise where God says that He will give us a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.
Many of the translations that I studied agree with the KJV that God promises a garment (or mantle) of praise for a spirit of heaviness (or despair - NIV). The Amplified version describes the spirit of heaviness as 'a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit' that God wants to lift off of us.
We all get discouraged. We all despair at times. Some of us struggle with this more than others. It is part of the human condition. I am thankful that modern medicine has helped us to better understand issues surrounding depression. Through the wisdom that God has provided, there are many helpful medical solutions to treat these issues. We need to be wise and continue to follow our doctor's advice if we are being treated for such a condition.
But what about those instances in life where a fearful thought or a discouraging thought makes us feel heavy and burdened? What can we do to combat these negative thoughts that come from the enemy of our soul? In today's promise, we read that God will give us a garment of praise in exchange for our spirit of heaviness.
I am not sure how it works for other people, but for me, when I take my eyes off my circumstances and begin to praise God, then I seem to get a new perspective on things. All of a sudden, my eyes are fixed upward rather than inward and my outlook on the problem starts to change.
My prayer today is that we would all see the bigness and greatness of our God and Father. I pray that we would all receive a supernatural perspective from heaven itself and the result would be that God would clothe us with a garment of praise in exchange for a spirit of heaviness.
Monday, June 17, 2013
Isaiah 43:2 WEB
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned,
and flame will not scorch you.
Promise #168: When you walk through the fires of adversity, you will not be burned.
I took this photo when my wife and I were in New Zealand a few years back. These volcanic geysers continually release boiling hot water onto the earth's surface and it is a truly amazing sight to see. In the natural, no one could walk through these gushing waters without getting burned.
Yet in this Bible verse, God says that even if we walk through fire, we will not be burned. When I think of this promise, I do not think of passing through literal waters or fires, but the raging waters and fires of adversity that we all face in life. The NLT Bible calls it 'the fire of oppression' that we sometimes experience. I find great comfort in knowing that God promises that He will be with us as we go through our trials and that ultimately these trials will not overcome us.
One day when Jesus comes back or we go home to be with Him, we will be in a place where there is no more pain or suffering. But in this life, we will continue to experience hardships simply because we live in a fallen world. The next time you go through a difficult experience, remember God's promise to be with you in the midst of the trial.
My prayer is that the flames of adversity will not consume you as you pass through them. May you be kept safe in the secret place of the Most High (Psalm 91) no matter what life throws at you!
Friday, June 14, 2013
Jeremiah 33:3 WEB
Call to me, and I will answer you, and will show you great things,
and difficult, which you donít know.
Promise #165: Call out to Me and I will show you wonderful things you do not know.
Little children are the most inquisitive people on the planet. They are filled with awe about their surroundings and continually asking their parents questions about what, where, when, why, how, etc. I love to see the interaction between these little ones and their loving parents. Daddy, why is the sky blue? Mommy, how come I have five toes?
It is wonderful to see the patience that loving parents have for all of these questions. Though most of the time their children cannot comprehend even the most simple of answers, it isn't the answers that are what's important. It is the fact that parents have made themselves available to their wee ones and have all the time in the world to answer their questions.
When I think of this promise and how God has invited us to ask Him all the questions we want, I am reminded of the loving interaction between a parent and a small child. To think that the God of the universe has all the time in the world to answer my questions is amazing! If you have had parents that weren't available to answer your questions when you were younger, you might think that God will respond the same way to you.
The truth is that God is the perfect Father and He invites us to ask Him questions and His promise to us is that He will answer us and show us wonderful things that we do not know!
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