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First Pres Joliet

A Daily Devotional from our faith community @ firstpresjoliet.org

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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.

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!

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