Monday, March 2, 2009

The Promise of His Presence

Psalm 139:7-12 says, "Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, 'Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,' Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike {to You.}" (NASB) This passage is a great reminder that neither depth, dimension, or distance can separate us from the presence of God! How wonderful and reassuring! Because of this great truth, we can know without a doubt that he is with us in the tears of life, the tests of life and even the troubles of life.

He is with us in the tears of life because the Bible says, "The Lord is near the broken hearted." (Psalm 34:18 NIV) Whether it is the loss of someone we love and cherish or even in other significant life changes that cause us to grieve, we know that He is with us to comfort us and strengthen us.

He is also with us in the tests of life. James 1:2-4 says, "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have {its} perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (NASB) To me this passage implies that God is at work, and therefore present with us in the tests of life. Philippians 2:13 says, "It is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." (NASB) Yes, God can and does use the tests of life to grow us and mature our faith and trust him! What a comfort to know he is with us and at work in us in the tests of life.

Lastly, He is with us in the troubles of life. The Psalmist wrote, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." (NASB) The Lord speaks this promise in Isaiah 43:2-3, "When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the LORD, your God . . ." (NLT)

How reassuring it is to know that no matter what we may experience in life, we have the promise of His presence.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Stressed Out and Strung Out?

I recently came across an article written by Dorothy Synder, a freelance writer from Jefferson City, TN. In the article she writes, "With all the time-saving inventions at our disposal, you'd think we would have more leisure time than ever before. Unfortunately, the opposite seems to be true. The ease with which we get caught up in the chaotic world of cell phones, computers, fax machines, and e-mail can make us feel scattered and stressed."

Read carefully these words from the Psalmist:
Ps 23:1-3 - The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul (NASB)
Ps 46:10 - Cease {striving} and know that I am God (NASB)

Are you feeling "scattered and stressed today"? Why not pause for a moment and prayerfully reflect upon the meaning and the blessings of these verses!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Be A Blessing

You never know how & when God is going to use you to be a blessing to someone. You never know how he may use something in scripture that he has shown you to be a blessing to someone else. This happened to me earlier this week. I was studying a passage and it really spoke to my heart. It reminded me of the awesomeness of God and how he is in absolute control in spite of our circumstances. On this particular day I attended a luncheon with some friends. During our prayer time a friend shared with some of us some things that were happening in his life. Immediately the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, reminding me of the passage I had studied earlier that morning. It paralleled in an amazing way what my friend was going through. It was my privilege to pray for my friend that day and in my prayer share the passage and its truths the Holy Spirit had shown me earlier that morning. My friend was encourage and very moved, and so was I. I take absolutely NO credit for this. It was all of God! I almost did not attend the luncheon that day, but I am glad I did. I was reminded from this experience that from time to time, in spite of ourselves, God can and does use us, and what he teaches us, to be a blessing and encouragement to others. Galatians 6:10 says, "Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone, especially to our Christian brothers and sisters." (NLT)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Reflecting the Presence of Christ

In his book "Sheperding the Small Church", Glen Daman writes, "The ultimate test of the Christian faith is not what ones does, but what one becomes." (86) As important as doing is in our lives as Christians, we must not overlook the significance of becoming. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, "As the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him and reflect His glory more and more." (NLT) It is my belief that what we become enhances and gives strength to what we do. Are you and I developing more of a Christ-likeness in our words and actions everyday? As a lake reflects its surroundings, so too, as we become more like Him, will we reflect the presence of Christ.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Spending Time With God

The other day I came across an article entitled "Practical Help for Personal Worship". I am not sure who wrote it or where it originated. When it comes to the time we spend alone with God, things like busyness and laziness tempt us to say no and not now. Quite time alone with God is vital to our spiritual growth. Therefore, it must be be a high priority.
Here are some of the practical helps mentioned in the article:

1. Have a Bible, pen and paper with you (within 72 hours we forget 95% of any impressions we receive.)

2. Make it a priority and do it at your best time, not during left-over time.

3. Come expectantly! You have an audience with the King of Kings.

4. Don't let dry days discourage you.

5. Remember the three parts of a quiet time:
a. Talking with God
b. Listening to God
c. Meditating on His Word

6. As you read a verse, ask yourself is there any:
example for me to follow?
command for me to obey?
error for me to avoid?
sin for me to forsake?
promise for me to claim?
new thought about God Himself?

7. As you pray:
Adoration - reflect on His greatness, His majesty, and His sovereignty
Confession - make sure every known sin is acknowledged to God and forsaken
Thanksgiving - express your appreciation to God
Supplication - ask for specific needs of others and yourself

8. Don't substitue religious activity at your church for your own personal daily quiet time.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wonderful Words of Life

2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, "Every Scripture passage is inspired by God. All of them are useful for teaching, pointing out errors, correcting people, and training them for a life that has God's approval. They equip God's servants so that they are completely prepared to do good things." (GW) How much of an influence is the Word of God having in our lives? How much time do we spend reading and meditating on the Scriptures? This passage reminds us of the impact Scripture can have in our lives. God gave us His Word. What a blessing, what a priviledge! May our prayer and our desire be that of the Psalmist who said: "Guide my steps by your word." (Ps 119:133 NLT)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Let It Shine!

In his book "Signs of Life" Dr. David Jeremiah writes, "It's not enough to just talk about the Lord, as important as that is. It's not enough to serve him in secret with our acts of private devotion. We have to display the lifestyle of the Nazarene in the midst of our corrupt culture. Jesus called it letting our light shine before men that they might see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven." (p3) May it be our prayer and our desire today and everyday to show forth the life of Christ in our words and in our actions.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Going and Telling

According to our Mississippi Baptist Convetion Board 1,200,000 people in Mississippi say they do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. ( Jesus tells us in Matthew 28:19-20, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (NASB) Dr. Ken Hemphill says, "Unless we have an established conviction about the plight of persons outside of Christ, we will never be motivated to develop and sustain an ongoing emphasis on evangelism . . . we must believe people without Christ are lost, that hell is their eternal destiny and that Christ alone is the answer. Anything short of this conviction leaves the church without the passion to reach beyond itself" May we yearn for and pray for a "passion to reach beyond ourselves." May we yearn for and pray for a heart that like Isaiah says, "Here am I, send me."