Search

First Pres Joliet

A Daily Devotional from our faith community @ firstpresjoliet.org

Month

February 2020

Timing is Everything

Today;s Readings: 

click here  – Ecclesiastes 3:1-13, Psalm 8,  Revelations 21:1-6

 God’s timing, a concept most of have a hard time understanding.  It’s really not for us to understand but to be prayerfully seeking His wisdom, guidance and goodness just knowing

Ecc. 3:1‘ There is a right time for everything, and everything on earth will happen at the right time.’

To me, that timing is not my own.  If something seems off kilter and if there’s a need of changing or fixing, and  I’m not quite sure how or what, this is where I try to be mindful of God’s promises to never forsake us,  to step aside, be patient and trust God in the mix.  Is it that simple? Not always, but pretty much when we remember WHO is ultimately in control.  When we are in unwavering bold prayer for God’s mighty hand in a situation going on in our life, He will show us the way.  When I try to do things on my own, I struggle and stumble.  Things don’t happen easily.  I don’t see clearly.  Frustrations set in. Defeat overshadows. Fear and worry take over and God is left waiting to bless me and show me the way, but I’m too busy doing it MY way that I end up worse than when I started.  

When we indeed deem scripture as our Life Manual, reading such as Ecclesiastes we hear the words of King Solomon proclaiming lessons learned to fear God, keep His commandments, as well as be happy in our works and  life.  That each joy, triumph, struggle, battle, fear, worry,  doubt, anxiety, grief, misery, just about anything we face in life, it is all part of God’s great plan for us. In our weakest moments of impatience and suffering, trust that God is ALWAYS in control, when we let Him.  Jesus is with us, and we are eased  through these moments of our lives to glean God’s glory.

There is an extraordinary commentary written by Matthew Henry on Ecc. 3.    Take a peek if you’d like  Matthew Heny Ecclesiastes 3 commentary . There isn’t anything I could ad that isn’t already written there.  Life is short and full of many all kinds of mountains and valley each day.  We should embrace them with confidence in a God, a BIG God who loves us, has big plans for us and has given us his son Jesus to guide us along through whatever comes our way.

Prayer:   Lord, help me to trust you in the big and small, uncertain changes and unfamiliar obstacles that come my way.  Bring clarity that I may see and act as Jesus would, under all circumstances. Lord Jesus, I trust you as my daily source of strength.   AMEN!

Kris

The Right Ask

Psalm 20
1 Kings 3:5-14
John 8:12-19

Psalm 20 reads like a beautiful prayer over a child. A psalm of David it says and I wonder if it was written for himself, his children, or his people. Maybe all three. In terms of the way today’s reading’s lined up, this beautiful prayer is just before a passage where young King Solomon can ask anything of the Lord and he asks for wisdom.

And he was granted wisdom.

Because it was the right ask. Solomon’s will was aligned with God’s will. He kept a faithful heart. So when he asked, it was granted.

Sometimes we ask for things and our wills aren’t aligned with God’s. And that’s where the “No’s” or “Not Now’s” from God come from. And they can really hurt.

I recognize that hurt and it’s okay for you to recognize it too. See it. Accept it. And go back to the Lord. Ask for a heart that aligns with His and peace in the process.

May you be blessed this morning,
Karissa

What’s Makes You So Special?

sing-a-new-song

 

Psalms 148

Isaiah 49:8-23

Matt 18:1-14

 

In each of these passages from the Scriptures we are told that Jehovah is Great!  Psalm 148 invokes all of creation to praise Jehovah. From the heavens, to the animals, to the trees, to the angels in heaven, all creation, including mankind are to praise Jehovah.  In my classes that I teach at church, I always ask the question, “What has God been doing in your life this week?”  The point being, how aware are you daily of God’s interference in your comings and goings?  He, Jehovah is concerned about you, what you are doing, what you are facing, and what your awareness of Him in your life is.  Do you notice?  If we stop to notice, it’s amazing how involved He is, and worthy of our acknowledgement. The God of all creation cares, He really cares!

Matthew 18:10 reveals that, yes, God cares enough for each of us that He has appointed an angel to each of us for our good, who sees the face of God on our behalf daily.  We are not alone, but have in essence, a guardian who cares for us, appointed by God.

Isaiah 49. 8 is a prophetic statement spoken that is revealed in 2 Corinthians 6:2, by Paul concerning the Grace of God.  Grace is an enabling attribute of God that comes to us in the form of a free gift from God.  Love drew salvations plan, but it was grace that brought it to mankind.  Love initiated the plan of salvation, grace implemented that action.  Ephesians 2.8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”  Grace is a gift of God, and Paul tells us it is the ongoing gift of God.  All the riches of God in the heavenliness are available to us as we need them, all we must do is ask.  Isaiah 49: 8 “Thus says the LORD, ‘In a favorable time I have answered you; And in a day of salvation I have helped You;’ ”  Quoting this passage Paul says it concerns the grace of God, thus continuing the thought that “Now is ‘the favorable time’ and “Now is ‘the day of salvation.’ ”  So the grace of God is always available to us, for it is always “Now.”

Friends, remember, God cares for you, and God provides for you.  Cry out for His help, He loves you more that you can imagine.

Karl

Christianity 101

1 John 5:1-12

Review & Analysis:  To start, we have the concepts of belief in Christ, being born of God, and begotten from God (v. 1) … Then emphasized is the love of God, a love that compels one to keep His commandments (vv. 2, 3), something previously penned by John elsewhere (Jn. 14:15) … Those born of God overcome the world by believing Jesus to be the Son of the living God (vv. 4, 5) … It’s the believing or one’s faith in the reality of Jesus that causes this to happen … “Faith” is something given to Christians (1 Pet. 1:18-21), not to all … This “water and blood” bit from Jesus is , again, previously penned by our author (Jn. 19:34-35) … The heavenly triune here are the Father, Word, and Spirit (v. 6, 7) … These three bear His witness on the earth ( see Jn. 8:17-18) – Spirit, water, and blood (v. 8) agree or indicate Christ … The result of this believed witness is the Holy Spirit (vv. 9, 10), indicating one’s belief in Jesus at the deepest level … Jesus Christ is life (vv. 11, 12) … Class dismissed … Have a great weekend … Amen & Amen.

On Praise and Persecution

 

Psalm 148 (NIV)

Acts 7:59-8:8 (NIV)

If you need a reason to praise the Lord, if you are wondering about how you will form your praises of God today, just read Psalm 148.  Here we find praises to God from all creation. Here we see the wonder of all that the Lord has made.  From the heavens to the earth, everything is asked to live in praise of the wonderful God of all creation, whose love is immense, for his people are “close to his heart.”

In Acts we read about the early church being persecuted. Stephen, a courageous and faithful leader, is martyred.  Persecution breaks out and what happens? Naturally, the followers of Jesus scatter and flee that persecution.  In the scattering they come to meet people wherever they go.  And wherever they go, they preach the good news of Jesus Christ, the Messiah.  More people come to faith.  In the persecution and scattering, notice the church grows and flourishes.  As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Truth crushed to earth always rises.”

Praise the Lord this day.  Praise God that even in suffering, there is redemption, transformation, and hope.  For God works in and through all circumstances in our world to bring good and empowers the church to flourish.  Even in the darkness there is light, the light of Christ shines!

Sing a NEW Song!

Psalm 98:1,4-6 (GNT)

Sing a new song to the Lord; he has done wonderful things! By his own power and holy strength he has won the victory.  Sing for joy to the Lord, all the earth; praise him with songs and shouts of joy! Sing praises to the Lord!  Play music on the harps! Blow trumpets and horns, and shout for joy to the Lord, our king.

Todays Readings:  click here  – Isaiah 52:7-10 , Psalm 98,  Hebrews 1:1-12

There are many conduits in which God speaks in and through us. Perhaps, you experience Him most through prayer, worship, service, music, or study, to name a few.   Mine seems to be through music, especially full on ‘Soul Engaging’   worship.  It all started with my very first experience at a  Women’s retreat in 2003 as we sang the hymn  Here I am Lord ! The tears came rushing in. I realize now, it was at that moment my heart opened to receive Jesus and follow him… Lord, Here I Am!

I wasn’t quite sure how this ‘Rebirth’ of life looked like, what I was supposed to do, how to act, to pray, to live, but I knew I was different –  Born Again  and  Something In The Water. I  started listening to Christian radio and buying worship CD’s.  I really sensed God speaking to me through the lyrics of so many songs. In those early days of my faith walk, not knowing how to connect with God, but every time, the lyrics of  songs filled my heart with just what I needed to feel, Jesus all around me – Just Give Me Jesus.

Sixteen years later, and countless lyrics still speak to my heart even when I don’t realize my heart needs speaking to. So often song lyrics pierce my heart, making a lasting impact and bring me to my knees. One day on a brisk morning walk I heard this song:  Through Your Eyes   Lyrics ‘You told me I had something beautiful inside, You brought to life the part of me I thought had died, ‘Cause you stood right there until I saw ME, I saw Me through YOUR  eyes’  This song explained exactly how I felt when Jesus opened my heart and this song confirmed that When Mercy Found Me  Lyrics ‘And in one moment everything changed, who I was got washed away, when mercy found me.’  Even Christmas was different as I heard each song like it was the first time, because before they were just words – my favorite Joy To the World !

Feeling beaten down in this falling world around us, I hear this song, We’re Almost Home Lyrics ‘Brother, it won’t be long, Soon all your burdens will be gone. With all your strength, Sister, run wild, run free. Hold up your head. Keep pressing on. We are almost home.’   These words shout out that Jesus is coming, to hold on, We ARE almost home.

The truth of knowing we are a child of God affirms through so many songs like this one Who You Say I Am Lyrics ‘Who the Son sets free, is free indeed, I am a child of God’.  A  favorite song by Crowder, Red Letters reminds me the freedom I have in Jesus.

Feeling unworthy of God’s love? There’s this song that confirms we are worthy… A God Who Stays Lyrics ‘You’re the God who stands with wide open arms and You tell me nothing I have ever done can separate my heart, from the God who stays.’

Through the fears of storms of troubles and struggles, God IS with us in the  Eye of the Storm  Lyrics ‘You remain in control in the eye of the storm’, or Praise You In The Storm is another good one!

Searching for validation of our works and service Live Like That  Lyrics ‘I want to live like that and give it all I have, so that everything I say and do points to You’. He sees all of  me –  Clean .

And on and on the songs flood my mind, heart and soul with God’s truth  How Can I Keep From Singing  Lyrics ‘There is an endless song echoes in my soul, I hear the music ring.’ 

I encourage you, NO I challenge you to give it a try.  Listen for one month to Christian radio/music whenever you are able.  Listen to the words as God speaking to you,  and you speaking to Him in prayer. Letting good STUFF fill you from the inside out allows God to weed out the fear, doubt, shame, unbelief, troubles and darkness to shine His light through us From The Inside OutSING A NEW SONG, SING FOR JOY!  Open your heart to hear and be near to the ONE who never lets go –  You Never Let Go .

Find a Christian Radio station in your area –  CLICK HERE.   My favorite in Joliet area WBGL 104.7 FM.

‘The Message’ on  Sirius XM Radio’.  ‘Christian Contemporary’ on Alexa.

Open the links  (right click and open Hyperlink) for each song to hear God speak to you and be changed!                                     I was!

Prayer:   Lord, let my ears hear your words through the beautiful lyrics of worship  music and as they point and lead  me to know you more and awaken me to your presence, I will trust you are with me through the storms and valleys of life. Speak to me Lord through A NEW SONG and  I will praise you.   AMEN!

Kris

The Righteousness of the Lord

Isaiah 62:6-12
Psalm 97
Titus 3:4-7

In the Isaiah passage we see God’s righteousness in the form of redeeming His people. He promises to give them the fruits of their labors. His righteousness is in redemption, He gives redemption and second chances continually in the Old Testament. The Lord only ever asked for people to be sincere in their hearts and they would be heard and considered alive–I talk about that concept a lot because it’s so important for us to understand.

The more we realize that God wants nothing more than our hearts, the more we come to love the Lord.

It’s easy to fall into onto a mindset that says now that we know better as Christians we should be better and then beat ourselves up when we aren’t better. Likewise, it’s just as easy to say “I’m saved by Grace, I’m gonna do what I want when I want.” Both are wrong ways to live.

God doesn’t want us beating ourselves up nor does He want us sinning just because we can.

All God wants is for us to love Him.

He says it over and over and over again.

That’s His nature. It’s merciful, loving, just, and righteous.

The Psalm shows us that God is so righteous mountains melt before Him and fire surrounds His steps. The Psalm goes on to command the righteous people to praise His name.

How did we become righteous people? Don’t worry, Paul reminds us in Titus. It’s not our righteousness that’s saved us, it’s the righteousness of Christ that was poured over us by the Holy Spirit.

The Lord saw were distant from Him and made a way for us to be closer. It’s mercy that allows us to be in the presence of such righteousness.

And this morning I am so grateful for that. How about you?

Blessings,
Karissa

 

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑