Sunday, July 15, 2018

For I AM, Am I Willing To…

For I AM, Am I Willing To…


In Exodus chapter 3, in response to Moses’ asking for His name, the God of the Bible referred to Himself as ‘I AM’.
  • Exodus 3:14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”
In this name, the only true God, existing as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, identified himself as both self-existent (He was not created) and eternal (He has no beginning and no end). But He is not a distant, uncaring God. Our heavenly Father has revealed Himself and His love for us in countless ways.


He Created Us
With love and care, Father God intentionally and purposefully made each one of us.
  • Psalm 100:3 Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. 

He Protects Us
With wisdom and power, the Lord shelters those who turn to Him.
  • Psalm 18:2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

He Forgives Us
With compassion and mercy, Jehovah God pardons the sins of the repentant.
  • Psalm 86:5 For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.

He Frees Us
With the shed blood of Jesus Christ, I AM delivers the souls of those who have faith in Him.
  • Psalm 34:22 The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.

I am a born again believer in Jesus Christ. I have surrendered my life to the truth of His life, death, burial, resurrection and ascension. Jesus is my Lord, my Savior and my God. He is the bridge between me and Father God – the one and only way by which my sins have been forgiven and my relationship with God has been reconciled. But as much as I love him, as much as I long to please Him, I wonder, if for I AM, am I willing to:


Submit
Do I completely trust in this Savior that I cannot see and these truths that I may not fully comprehend?
  • John 20:29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed, Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Surrender
Do I always consider Father God’s standards, desires and plans as I make decisions?
  • Matthew 6:10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.

Serve
Do I joyfully prioritize other people’s needs ahead of my own?
  • Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.

Suffer
Do I unconditionally put my personal comfort, possessions, freedoms and/or life at risk for His glory and purposes?
  • 2 Timothy 3:12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.


Do I completely, always, joyfully and unconditionally live for Christ? The honest answer is no. But I want to. I long to.

Thankfully, the liberating truth of the gospel is, Jesus had to die on the cross. I am incapable of living a perfect life. That is what He did. And that is why, when I put my trust in Him, His shed blood pays my sin debt.
  • Galatians 2:21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”
  • Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
  • Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

For I AM, I am willing to:
  • Depend on His perfection, righteousness, faithfulness and strength, not my own!
  • Acknowledge my deficiencies and shortcomings as I confidently trust Him for the forgiveness of them!
  • Resist the temptation to give up the fight – for He never once gave up on me!
  • Persevere in this walk with Him – because He gives me the desire and ability to do so!
  • Trust that His Word and His promises are true!
  • Honor Him by being honest, humble, repentant, forgiving, loving, kind and merciful!
  • Learn as I go – I am a work in progress.

Prayer

My Lord and King, help me trust in You, not in myself. Teach me to submit, surrender, serve and suffer in Your strength and goodness, and always for Your glory. I pray that my life will point others to You. Thank You for being the gracious, merciful, just and loving Father that You are. I pray these things in the name of Your Son and my Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Our Miraculously Practical God

Our Miraculously Practical God


Have you heard the story about the Christian who died in the flood?

A faithful servant of God lived his entire life on the banks of a beautiful river. He thanked God daily for his home and the provisions and blessings associated with his land and its close proximity to the picturesque waterway. But one day, a tremendous storm came through the area upstream of his home. As the water level of the river started to rise, the man began to pray. He prayed with great faith and passion for the protection of his home and his life. When the waters reached his front door, he continued in prayer and moved his most precious belongings to the attic. And as the unrelenting waters rose higher, he persisted in prayer and went up to the roof. At this point, realizing his home and belongings were lost to the flood, He thanked God for keeping him alive. He rejoiced at the blessings of his life and again faithfully asked God to deliver him from the flood waters.

After just a few hours, a man came by in a boat. He urged the man on the roof to abandon his home and leave with him in the boat. The man on the roof confidently proclaimed, ‘I have faith in God. I prayed for Him to spare my life and I know that He will deliver me. Please, go rescue those who need your help.’ The boat left.

Another couple of hours went by and the floodwaters had almost covered his entire roof. Faintly at first, then louder and louder, the man heard a tremendous noise. It was a helicopter. The National Guard lowered a basket to the man and pleaded with him to climb in. Without hesitation, the man on the roof shouted up to the helicopter, ‘There are many others who need your help! I have prayed that God will deliver me! Please go help someone else!’ Reluctantly, the helicopter flew away.

Within two hours of the helicopter leaving, the man on the roof was washed away and drowned. When he got to heaven, he asked God, ‘Why didn’t you save me?’ God smiled and said, ‘My son, I gave you time to leave your home. I also sent a boat and a helicopter to deliver you from the floodwaters.’ A little embarrassed, and now with a smile on his face, the man simply said, ‘O, that was you.’


We serve an amazing, all-powerful God who has demonstrated His character, His love, His justice and His will in many ways that are beyond our complete comprehension.

Creating Something from Nothing
God created all physical matter when nothing physical existed.
  • Genesis 1:1-2 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
Making a Way of Escape
With the Israelites trapped by Pharaoh’s army, God provided a path to safety through the Red Sea.
  • Exodus 14:21-22 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.
Raising the Dead to Life
Lazarus had been dead four days when Jesus commanded him to walk out of his tomb.
  • John 11:43-44 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!”44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”
Calming the Wind and the Sea
Jesus’ disciples went from fear to awe as He displayed His divine authority over nature.
  • Matthew 8:25-27 Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” 26 But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”

But sometimes, in awe of who He is, in astonishment of the incredible things He has done, and in anticipation of what great things He may do, we lose sight of His engagement with the everyday aspects of our lives. Yet, despite our lack of observation, understanding and appreciation, in the midst of our daily struggles and sometime mundane routines, He is there. We serve a miraculously practical God who answers our prayers and graciously meets our needs according to His will, in His time, and often with wondrous sovereign acts that can mistakenly be viewed as mundane.

Artistic Ability
God gave a man incredible talent, insight and wisdom to complete the work He had commanded to be done.
  • Exodus 31:1-5 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2 “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 3 And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, 4 to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, 5 in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship.
A Close Friend
King Saul sought to kill David. But God provided a friend and advocate for David in Saul’s son Jonathan.
  • 1 Samuel 18:1 Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.
True Rest
Jesus gives His love and gave His life so that in Him, we might find rest from the heavy burdens life.
  • Matthew 11:28-30 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Victory Over Temptation
The gift of God’s indwelling Holy Spirit provides the power, wisdom and conviction to overcome the enticements of sin.
  • Galatians 5:16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Don’t miss the miracle from God
that may appear ordinary
because you are waiting for Him to do something
that will be perceived as extraordinary!


Focus on loving, obeying, pleasing and glorifying Father God, and He will take care of everything else. Our walk with Him isn’t always easy (sometimes it is very difficult); but He is always there. He is lovingly and sovereignly watching, anticipating, overseeing, providing and guiding.
  • Psalm 139:1-6 O Lord, You have searched me and known me. 2 You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. 3 You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. 4 For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. 5 You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.
  • Matthew 6:31-34 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Prayer

Holy Father, help Your children to recognize and appreciate the miraculously practical ways You work in our lives and in the world around us. Forgive us when we want or expect something viewed as extraordinary instead of gratefully acknowledging the innumerable ways you express Your love in less blatantly obvious ways. Help us to surrender to Your will and Your ways. I ask these things in the name of Jesus my Savior. Amen.