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First Pres Joliet

A Daily Devotional from our faith community @ firstpresjoliet.org

Month

February 2020

Peace

needgodpeace1

Psalms 29

1 Samuel 7:3-17

Acts 9:-19-31

 

Psalms 29   Says the voice of the LORD is mighty, powerful, majestic, and thunderous!  His voice can be so strong that mighty trees break into pieces at it’s sound, yet is small and quiet enough to aid in the birth of the deer.  A contrast of strength and peace is presented, as the picture is painted of the mighty power of His being and the true care He has for His creation and most surely those who believe in Him.  He brings security and peace through His might to those who love Him.

1 Samuel 7: 3-17  The Ark of the Covenant, was returned to Israel after being captured by the  Philistines for seven months, and Samuel then spoke to all of Israel saying, “if you return to the LORD with all your heart, remove foreign gods and Ashtaroth, ( Syrian goddess of love),  from your midst and direct your hearts to the LORD and serve Him alone, He will deliver you from the Philistines.”  It seems that Israel regarded their relationship with Jehovah as almost superstitious.  Samuel had led them to the Water of Life and they refused to drink.  Again and again He had led them to return to the LORD, and each time it was a temporary reunion.  Israel loved the gods of the other countries around them, and so wanted to be like them.  Yet Jehovah proved over and over His love for them and gave them peace when they listened.  A picture here is presented that the need of Israel is a lasting peace.  In chapter six when the Ark was returned the men of Israel removed the Mercy Seat of the Ark, and peered inside at the artifacts which included the Ten Commandments, they were all struck dead.  This incident presents the image that the “Law with out Mercy” always condemns. The Law cannot save, it has no power to equip anyone for salvation, it only reveals sin.  They surely needed a savior.

Acts 9.19-31  Saul on the road to Damascus, pursuing Christians in the name of Jehovah and the Hierarchy of Jerusalem to suppress the new belief in Jesus as Messiah, is met by Jesus in a blinding light.  He then is nursed by Ananias to health both physically and spiritually.  After a few days Saul of Tarsus, is in the synagogues, saying “Jesus is the Son of God.”  Verse 22, “Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ.”   From the Scriptures Saul proved the Messiah was come, and yet the Jews plotted to kill him. After he was sent away to Tarsus, verse 31, “the church enjoyed Peace, and was being built up.”

The Christian body there then sent Saul away for his safety, for his ministry was not to be to the Jews, but to the Gentiles, verse 15, “For he is a chosen instrument of mine to bear My Name to the Gentiles…”   It seems that God has a set, determined plan for each of us and when we are obedient to that leading we are in complete peace, and not until we are.

Are you equipping yourself for ministry, are you ready when Jesus calls you to ministry, do you know you gifts of the Spirit?  Are you obedient to His leading?  The Christian life is one of complete peace when we are in harmony with God.

Karl

God’s Mighty Power

Psalm 29

Review & Analysis:  This Psalm repeats words over and over again, for emphasis apparently … Give to the LORD you “mighty ones,” glory and strength, and your worship (vv. 1-2) … The voice of the LORD is over the waters (v. 3), powerful and full of majesty (v. 4), breaks cedars (v. 5), divides fire (v. 7), shakes the wilderness (v. 8), makes deer doe’s give birth, strips the forest bare, and those in His temple say “Glory” to Him (v. 9) … “The LORD” is enthroned as King forever (v. 10) … “The LORD” strengthens His people and blesses them with peace (v. 11) … Overall, the tenor is one of “shock and awe” regarding YHWH and His capabilities … Something like a thunderstorm … Speaking of which a golfer, like myself, gains the experience of feeling helpless, miles from the clubhouse, amongst a deafening storm of thunder and flashes of lightening … One feels it in the knees the most … Isaiah echos the same sentiments (Isa. 6:1-4) … Reflect on Christ this Lent, His Passion, His Sacrificial Love, for each of us.

The Lord Can Do All Things

Psalm 29 (NIV)

I Samuel 3:1-9 (NIV)

Acts 9:1-9 (NIV)

We find out in these passages that the Lord God can do anything and all things.  Psalm 29 speaks to us of the glory, strength, creative power, and majesty of God.  And yet at the end of the Psalm we read of God’s interest and protection of his people.  “The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.”  And with David we too can add our thanksgiving to the Lord.  

In I Samuel 3 and Acts 9 we see that God calls people to ministry, whether its a young boy or a persecutor of the Church.   Both Samuel and Saul who becomes Paul respond to God’s call in their own way.  God uses unexpected people to follow him; a little boy and an enemy of God’s people come to trust and serve the Lord God.

Samuel grows up and becomes a significant Old Testament leader.  While Paul, a persecutor of Christians, becomes a follower of Jesus, a missionary for Christ, and a New Testament author of many books.

God wants to work in your life and in my life.  Today, let’s ask the Lord to work through us and use us to his glory, however he sees fit. Amen!

At The Corner of Truth & Love

Ephesians 4:15 (NIV)   Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.

Today;s Readings:  click here  – Psalm 72, 1Kings 10:14-25,   Ephesians 4:7, 11-16     

(to open the scripture links – hoover over, right click, open hyperlink)

When we receive Jesus in our heart, and choose to live our lives according to His word and will, Philippians 2:5-11,  we begin to see ourselves, others, and the world more defined,  as if through Jesus’ eyes.   Gradually, we grow and mature in our faith through our trials, errors and triumphs. We understand love when we experience God’s unfailing and unconditional love for us. 1 John 4:16

The further we read and study scripture, we can absorb the beauty of living a life which embodies that of Christ.  We discover truth, honor, prayer and integrity as key components to speak truth in whatever manner we are faced with.  When we trust God IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES, Proverbs 3:5-6,  and with prayer and petition, we can speak truth in love, even if that truth might be painful.  We can trust God that truth will be spoken and received with love and his healing and guidance can begin to take shape.

Act justly, speak truthfully, think reasonably, respond impartially, trust honorably, love unconditionally and your heart will show you the way.  And when we mess up, because we will, God’s grace, through Christ Jesus, covers us and we are washed cleaned and set upright again. Isaiah 1:18.  May we live in truth knowing the freedom that comes with that truth,  John 8:31-32 , and let us love…Love God, Love others…Just Love! Matthew 22:37-39 Because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19.

One of my previous posts, I spoke how music speaks this Truth to my heart, mind and soul, Here is Today’s song “Love You With The Truth” by Casting Crowns , let it speak to you too.

Prayer:   Lord Jesus, help me to be more like you. To understand the magnitude of living a life of TRUTH in LOVE in all circumstances, forms and conditions, to be bold in prayer and steadfast in action, all for your glory and honor.    AMEN!

Kris

How Deep, How Wide

Psalm 72
1 Kings 10:1-13
Ephesians 3:14-21

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:17-19

Wow. Reading that verse from Ephesians makes me need to catch my breath.

It’s so powerful.

“..how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ…”

It’s hard to grasp the vastness of this love if we don’t stay in community or in the Word or maintain our spirit by keeping fellowship with the Holy Spirit. How can it make sense if we’re spiritually sick?

And yet, His love reaches those places. Christ’s love goes beneath our flesh, covers . us from East to West, and reaches as high as the heavens. A few worship songs come to mind when I hear this phrase and I think listening to some worship music this morning would be a great way to start the morning.

This is the song that came to mind while I was reading:

Many Blessings,
Karissa

God Provides

Jeremiah 31:7-14 Sirach 24:1-12 Psalm 147:12-20

 

Psalm 147 & Jeremiah 31: God provides for all circumstances. And for Him, we give thanks and praise for what he provides. 

 

Sirach 24: Here is a book that I have never heard of or read before. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never read any of the Apocrypha books. At first when I saw the name Sirach, I was thinking it was a type of sauce I can get on my wings. 

 

The thought of predestination is something that I’ve always struggled with. It is/can be interpreted as “God has already picked or not picked someone to have eternal life in heaven, so why bother trying?” Or, “how can a god who is loving, omniscient & omnipresent just leave some people behind?” But I interpret the idea of predestination as God already knows who is going to choose Him or not choose Him. He knows who will follow Him, and who will follow the ways of the world or another god. 

 

Reflection: We follow an all knowing and all powerful God who loves us. We have nothing to fear as long as we keep Him in our daily lives. 

Faith Like Moses

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Psalms 72

Exodus 3: 1-5

Hebrews 11: 23-31

 

Hebrews 11:23  “By faith Moses, parents hid him for three months, …and they were not afraid of the Kings edict.”

Hebrews 11:25  Moses..”Chose rather to endure ill treatment with the children of YHVH than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the ‘contumelies’ of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt.”   Obviously I have used a rather archaic word here, ‘contumely,’  rather than the word ‘reproaches,’ as found in your Bible, because it conveys a stronger meaning.  Contumely is defined as “contemptuous rudeness, humiliating treatment, a scornful insult.”  Moses would rather be scolded severely by Christ, than enjoy the obscene wealth, and elite entitlement of Egypt.  I find it fascinating that the writer here places the faith of Moses who lived centuries before Jesus, equal with the same faith we have today in this same Jesus.  The Cross of Christ being the focal point of all history.  Moses was one whom YHVH revealed the Word of God, the Law of God to.  Before Moses, Israel was only a family, rather large mind you, and only after God calls Moses and delivers them from bondage do they become a nation, a people of God’s own choosing.

Moses was surely a type of Christ, who was raised with wealth, beyond our imagination, and yet made the choice to endure poverty in order to secure freedom for his people.  2 Corinthians 8.9 ” For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.”  Moses, in obedience to God, by faith approached the Pharaoh of Egypt with the demand “Let my people go.”  He then put the blood of a lamb on the door posts and headers of his home, in hopes of warding off the Angel of death.  He then led Israel to Mount Horeb in Arabia to receive the Commandments of God.  By faith Moses, being a type of Christ, trusted Christ, without ever even imagining such grace.

Moses delivered God’s Law to Israel.  How could he imagine that Israel would not be able to obey that Law, how could he imagine that the Law would not enable them to obey, and thus prove nothing more than to reveal their sin.  Moses was a type, a promise, an example, a prophecy of a Savior, a deliverer.  By faith Moses saw the future, he saw Jesus, he regarded His chastisement as better than the wealth of this world.  Moses was a promissory note, an I O U, of a payment due.  Jesus was the full payment, the actual bullion.   Moses was a physical example of what Jesus would then fulfill as a Spiritual reality.

In the Exodus passage Moses comes upon the burning bush, and regards it with faith, hearing the word of God and by faith obeys the instruction given.  To be called to face your enemy, the most powerful man on earth, and make ridiculous demands of him who could snuff you out like a candle, requires a view of God, beyond intellectual assentation. It requires a saving faith.  A faith beyond rescue, a faith above hope, a faith of complete dependance.  Before God had even revealed a coming Messiah, a Savior, Moses trusted in Him.

It’s always good to be reminded that we have a loving God, who by His grace and mercy has provided us with a salvation that is a surety.  From ages past and for ages to come Jesus is our deliverer.  A Savior in whom we can surely trust.

Karl

The Future King

Psalm 72

Review & Analysis:  A king is installs his son as co-ruler, his equal (v. 1) … The ideal ruler is one who is fully God endorsed and rules in complete order and fairness … This son of the king rightly deals with the poor; the children of the needy (vv. 2-4, 12-14) … His kingship is characterized by a healthy respect for it by all along with complete dominion and control over all of the earth (vv. 5-9) … All the kings and rulers of the nations will serve and answer to him (vv. 10, 11) … His kingship is all encompassing (cp. Isa. 11:3-9) … Prayers will be made to him (v. 15) … His time will be characterized by and abundance for all (v. 16) … The duration of his rule is without end (v. 17) … An ending doxology is expressed by Solomon (vv. 18, 19) … With the final verse (v. 20), the second book of David’s Psalms is complete … The world has never had a ruler like the one described here, not even close … Only the returning Messiah is capable of it … And so we wait … Come Lord Jesus, come.

Faith Is Needed

Psalm 20 (NIV), Genesis 12:1-7 (NIV)Hebrews 11:1-12 (NIV),

Faith in the Lord is the basis for our life as followers of Jesus.  We see this in the three passages for today and throughout the scriptures.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1) The rest of the verses, in Hebrews 11, reveal examples of faith and particularly Abraham.

In Genesis 12 we see the faith of Abraham.  It’s easy, now, for us to imagine a family leaving their home town to travel to a new place to live, which they have never known.  It happens all the time.  However, I can remember when I was a kid growing up, it was very different.  Families stayed in the same cities and did not move away.  Imagine how unusual it was in Abrahams day and time, many centuries ago, for anyone to leave their city, town, or village to travel to an unknown place.  It took great faith in God for Abraham to go from his country, people, and father’s household to a new land he had never seen.

We read in Hebrews 11:8, “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”

We might ask ourselves if we have such faith in God or enough trust in the Lord Jesus that we would journey into the “new” which the Lord has for us.  Would we try new ministries, new ways of being church, new ways of meeting and relating to other people for the ministry and mission of the Lord Jesus?  Will we dream the dreams of Jesus for our day and time, fresh and new ones in faith? Or will we only cling to the old?

Psalm 20, a Psalm of David, reveals to us what life is like when we live in faith in the Lord.  When we trust God we find answers, protection,  and help. We realize that God remembers our worship and accepts what we give. The desires of our heart correspond to what God wants and the plans of God for us succeed.

How good it is when we trust not in our own strength, wisdom, and abilities but instead “trust in the name of the Lord our God.”  Yes, God gives us strength, wisdom, and abilities, for which we are grateful.  But our bottom line trust is in the Lord God.

May we live in faith this day and always! Amen! Perhaps we can all pray that prayer to today.

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