Thursday, June 30, 2022

Repaying God for His Goodness to Us

When someone does something nice for us, we often feel compelled to pay them back in some way. Most often, we repay them by doing something nice for them. The same goes for receiving gifts. Once someone gives us a gift, we feel like we ought to reciprocate. This is just a great way to make sure we show people we appreciate their kindness to us. However, there are those situations where we receive such a blessing that it would be impossible for us to pay the giver back. The ultimate example of this would be trying to repay God for all of the things He has done for us. (Psalm 116:12) That is why the psalmist asked the question, "How can I repay the Lord for all the good He has done for me?" Of course, that is totally impossible, but there are some things we can and should do to show God we appreciate His goodness to us.

God's greatest gift to us is the gift of salvation, given to us by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. Jesus alone could die for us and provide salvation. We can't earn that salvation or do enough good works to cause God to give it to us. However, once we hear what Christ did for us, the least we can do is to turn from our sins, put our trust in Jesus as the Only One who could save us, and surrender to Him as Lord of our life. In this way we do not renounce the goodness of God toward us, but we gladly accept it. I believe that makes Jesus very happy and there is rejoicing in heaven over our decision. Then, of course we can show our love for the Lord and Jesus by praying with Him all of the time. He has blessed us with being able to pray to Him, so we need to take advantage of that privilege and talk with Him about everything. That shows Jesus we appreciate Him. Finally, we can submit to Jesus and serve Him in whatever He wants us to do for the Kingdom. After all, we owe Him our life, why would we not be willing to give ourselves to Him, as He gave Himself for us? Our service is a small way to show Jesus our love and thankfulness for His goodness to us.

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Tomorrow, I intend to read Psalms 117-119.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Blessing and Being Blessed

 The Bible is clear that we, as Christians,  should look out for the needs of others before meeting our own needs. That is the essence of unselfish service. Jesus is our Perfect Example, and God's goal for us is to be conformed to Christ's image. Therefore, God has given us spiritual principles to lead us into Christlikeness. The psalmist gave us a very practical one. (Psalm 112:5) Good will come to us if we lend generously and conduct our business fairly. That is something we all need to hear and do to be a blessing to others and to be blessed.

Jesus was the most Generous Lender of all. He gave His body to be broken, His blood to be the payment for our sins, and His life to die for us, so we could have forgiveness for our sins and eternal life by repenting of our sins and trusting Him as Lord and Savior. Now, He gives us what we have, so we will use it to help others. Then, He blesses us, and others will see our love and bless us, too, even though we don't do it for the blessing. Also, when we conduct our business fairly the same two things will happen, because we act righteously. Other people see that, and they are grateful. Let's decide to be like Jesus in these ways, so we can be a blessing to others and be blessed.

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Tomorrow,  I intend to read Psalms 114-116.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

The Father's Declaration to the Son

 I never cease to be amazed at how much some of  the Old Testament believers knew about Jesus. It shows us how close they were to God and how the Father was ready to reveal Himself and His plan for this world to them. Of course, if He did it then, He will do the same for us today, as we seek Him with our whole heart. Today, God doesn't add anything to His Word, but the Holy Spirit illuminates the Bible for us, so we see how everything works together. God revealed the Lord Jesus to David 1,000 years before His incarnation. (Psalm 110:1) David heard the Father say to His Lord, Jesus, "Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool." David saw even beyond the Cross to the Second Coming of Christ. 

After Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to Heaven,  He took His seat of honor and power at the right hand of the Father. He is praying for all of us now and waiting for the Father to tell Him it is time to return to earth and rule the world for 1,000 years, the Millennium.  As Jesus is waiting, God is preparing all of Jesus's enemies to be His footstool. The Father will set up the battle of Armageddon and send Jesus to end it by killing the enemy armies with the sword of His mouth. Then, Jesus will proceed to Jerusalem to rule over His enemies. It will happen just like God told David. Now, we need to make sure we are right with God and not His enemies, so we are ready for His return. It could be at any moment now. 

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Tomorrow, I intend to read Psalms 111-113.

Monday, June 27, 2022

injustice Shuts Its Mouth

 We live in a world of injustice. That is going to be the nature of things until Jesus comes back. Injustice is the result of sin and sinful people. The world is full of both of them. Don't get me wrong. I hate injustice as much as anyone. I believe all of us, as Christians, should live by God's justice and seek to ensure justice for all people. The problem comes in when Jesus Himself told us we would always have poor people among us. There is no social or political solution to poverty and other injustices brought on by human nature and sin. God is the only One who can bring true justice, and the Bible assures us that He will. (Psalm 107:41-42) The psalmist assured us that God lifts the needy out of their suffering and makes families multiply like flocks. Then, the upright see it and rejoice, and all injustice shuts its mouth. I believe this promise should give us all comfort and cause us to pray and to work for God's power to bring justice.

Being needy has all types of challenges. It makes life hard. It makes it hard for families to function as God designed. It brings challenges to provide all that is needed for the families. The needy are not without hope, though. God sees their need. He allowed their need, and He is ready to meet that need. It doesn't matter who we are and how well off we are, God allows us to have needs to drive us to trust Him more. Then, when we do, He lifts us up out of our suffering in a way that no human agency could ever do. He is the One who can and will cause families to multiply in healthy ways, so all of the family can be blessed together. Remember, God's way is the best way. Then, when we, as believers, see God's hand at work to bless the needy, we rejoice in what He has done to meet these needs, either through other people of by His mighty hand. Then, there is nothing for injustice to say, so it just has to shut its mouth. That should be our desire for which we pray and work, knowing God is on the side of the needy, and He will make sure all who call on Him are taken care of here or in heaven.

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Tomorrow, I intend to read Psalms 108-110.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Total Forgiveness

 It is not easy for most of us to forgive others who hurt us. We tend to hold on to our memory of what happened and our hurt. Then, whenever anything else happens our mind wants to go back and relive the previous hurts, too. It is a terrible way to live. We need to learn how to forgive others totally, so that we are free from any further consequences of what happened in the past. In order to do this we must learn to forgive like God forgives. It is possible if we really have that desire. As Christians, He gives us His Spirit to guide us and empower us to do His will. God commands us to forgive others, so He will help His children accomplish this important task. David gave us a clear picture of how God forgives us. (Psalm 103:12) He told us that God removes our transgressions from us as far as the east is from the west. Isn't that an amazing description of God's total forgiveness? Of course, the east goes infinitely to the east and the west does the same in the opposite direction. Therefore, God will never bring those sins back up to us. They are gone forever, totally forgiven.

Please, remember that when we do not forgive others, it doesn't hurt them, but it hurts us. We might hope that our unforgiveness would punish them for their offense, but that is like drinking poison and thinking it will hurt the other person. Unforgiveness is a cancer to our soul. It grows into resentment and bitterness. Then, the bitterness affects all of our relationships in one way or another. Therefore, we must cast away the sins of others against us, just like Jesus cast ours away. We must remove them, cancel the debt the person owes us, once and for all, so that we are able to love them fully once more. That is what Jesus does for us when we have our sins forgiven. The sins that had separated us from God are gone, when we trust Him as Lord and Savior. He never brings them back up. Even in the Day of Judgment it will not be about our sins. It will be about our works, whether we did God's will He had planned for us or not and how we did it. Let's all ask God to empower us to forgive like He does. Then, let's do it and see just how wonderful life can be when we are free from that burden on us.

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Tomorrow, I intend to read Psalms 105-107


Saturday, June 25, 2022

Avoiding the Practice of Transgression

 Living the Christian life is a challenge for all of us. The key is to go through the process of spiritual transformation or sanctification after we come to know the Lord. In that process of practicing the spiritual disciplines we become more and more like Jesus by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. Part of the process is taking in the Word of God so that we are transformed by the renewing of our mind. Then, we can avoid being conformed to this world, and we can do the will of God. I believe David realized a lot of this in the Old Testament way of trusting God and following Him before Jesus ever came to die for us and rise again for our sins. (Psalm 101:3) David had made the commitment to God that he would not let anything worthless guide him. He had come to hate the practice of transgression, the breaking of God's law. He was determined that it would not cling to him. I think this mindset would help all of us today, too.

We have so much information available for us today because of the Internet and all forms of media that we need to be very careful about what guides us. The Word of God must come first, so that we judge everything we hear by the standard and wisdom of God's Word. I know this takes extra time, but it is worth it in the long run. Then, we need to love the Lord completely, as Jesus commanded us, while at the same time hating the practice of evil. Both are necessary. No matter how much we love Jesus, if we do not hate the practice of transgression, we can't become more and more like Jesus. When we sin, we must confess it quickly and repent, so that we do not let evil cling to us. We must allow the Lord to wash it away, as we confess. (I John 1:9) If we will do these things consistently, we will experience the grace of God and the power of the Spirit, so that we can avoid the practice of transgression and do the will of God.

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Tomorrow, I intend to read Psalms 102-104.

Friday, June 24, 2022

The Splendor of His Holiness

The concept of God's holiness is difficult for some people to grasp and to apply in their lives. I think the problem is that we tend to associate holiness with monks and nuns who are living secluded lives and depriving themselves of many earthly pleasures. That is not at all what holiness means. Yes, its basic meaning is to be "set apart," but not in that physical sense. God's holiness is because He is totally separated from any evil, so that He doesn't ever sin or cause others to sin. At the same time, God is separated to always do what is right and good. Therefore, God's holiness compels Him to reward those who are righteous and punish those who are sinful. The splendor of His holiness is that His nature shines forth from Him, so all can see that He is so different from us. That is why we should worship Him in the splendor of His holiness as the psalmist commands. (Psalm 96:9) This amazing holiness should cause us to tremble before Him, because we know that He is always ready to punish us for our sins, while being ready to forgive those sins, if we will worship and love Him as we should, so that we confess our sins and repent of them. It is a holy fear that comes when we behold the splendor of His holiness.

God is perfect. He is complete. God lacks nothing, so He is always enjoying the best life possible. Since He never sins, He never has any negative consequences of sin. Since He always does the right thing, He receives the satisfaction of doing good. That is how God lives and how He designed for us to have the best life possible. When we worship Him in the splendor of His holiness and tremble before Him in godly fear, it should inspire us to live a life of holiness, too. We should stay as far away from evil as possible and always follow the Spirit's direction to do the right things. When we live like that, our lives will be complete and satisfying, too. Yes, I know we can't be perfect, but we can be more and more like Jesus, thus being holy. I believe if we can grasp holiness and live in it, as we worship God, we will experience the abundant life God desires for all of His children.

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Tomorrow, I intend to read Psalms 98-101.