Thursday, November 24, 2016

The God Who Sees Me

The God Who Sees Me

God promised Abram many descendants; but his wife Sarai could not have children. Instead of waiting for God to fulfill His promise within the bounds of her marriage, Sarai took matters into her own hands – she told her husband to have a child with her female servant Hagar (Genesis 16). The Bible doesn’t tell us what Hagar thought or how she felt about these developments. She was a slave; she had no option but to do what she was told. Was she disgusted, angry or scared at the thought of being forced to have a child with her master’s husband? Could she have been honored, hopeful or brave when she was told about the arrangement to marry and bring forth a child with the patriarch of God’s chosen people? We just don’t know.

But what we do know is that once she conceived a child with Abram, she became proud and despised her master Sarai. Then Sarai, empowered by Abram to do so, treated Hagar cruelly in response to her attitude. Trapped in this horrible situation, Hagar fled.

Slavery, impatience, anger, pride, jealousy, retaliation, hate…, our sinful actions and reactions result in human suffering. Hagar was in a no-win situation and ran away from it. She was pregnant, homeless, with no means of support; she had no hope.

But God, our loving Heavenly Father was watching. He came to Hagar and told her to return and submit. God revealed to Hagar that her descendants would multiply exceedingly through her yet unborn son Ishmael. In her darkest hour, feeling desperate and alone, Hagar encountered and was encouraged by ‘The God Who Sees Me’.
  • Genesis 16:13-14 Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?” 14 Therefore the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; observe, it is between Kadesh and Bered.
    • Beer Lahai Roi – ‘the well of the Living One who sees me’

Regardless of Our Situation
Regardless of Our Past
Regardless of Our Hurts

God Sees Us
  • Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and the good.

God Knows Us
  • Psalm 139:1-3 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.

God Thinks About Us
  • Psalm 139:17-18 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! 18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.

God Has Plans for Us
  • Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

When We are Broken
When We are Humble
When We Turn to Him

God Hears Us
  • Psalm 22:24 For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from Him; But when He cried to Him, He heard.

God Forgives Us
  • Lamentation 3:22-23 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

God Blesses Us
  • Psalm 145:9 The Lord is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works.

God Saves Us
  • Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

The God of Heaven sees you!
Jehovah loves you! 
His desire is to be in a right relationship with you!

So, whether you:
  • Already know Him as Lord but have sinned against Him
  • Have turned your back on the One you trusted
  • Have never surrendered your life to Him
  • Have denied that He exist
  • Are confused and not sure where to turn

Humble Yourself Before God
  • 1 Peter 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,

Confess Your Sins To Him
  • 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Accept what Christ Has Done For You
  • Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Surrender Your Life to Jesus Christ
  • Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Begin Your New Life
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Embrace Who You Are In Christ
  • John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:


Dear Lord: You are the God Who sees me. You are the God Who loves me. You are the God Who died for my sins. Help me to remember that, as a loving and faithful God, Your eyes are always on me. You keep watch over me and all Your creation. May the attention and care You show for me and to me inspire me to honor You in all that I do. Turn many hearts to Yourself Dear Lord. I pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ my Savior. Amen.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

First Things First

First Things First

There is no shortage of good works, worthy causes and meaningful tasks for those who have surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
  • Sharing and Showing the Love of Jesus
  • Speaking the Truth
  • Standing for what is Right
  • Strengthening Families
  • Serving Others
  • Supporting the Church and Those in Need

But, to bring honor and glory to God by doing these and countless other things, there is something else that must come first – you must put Christ above everything else in your life.

Christ’s Preeminence

Understanding Who Jesus Is
  • John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
    • Jesus is the only way to a right relationship with God the Father.
    • Jesus is the embodiment of God’s eternal truths.
    • Jesus' sinless life, sacrificial death and resurrection from the dead is how our sins are forgiven and our eternal life in Heaven is secured.

Acknowledging Who Jesus Is
  • Philippians 2:9-11 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
    • Every knee will bow to Jesus
      • You can bow in worship and surrender to Him as a joint heir to His inheritance in Heaven and spend eternity fellowshipping with Him
      • Or you can bow in defeat and defiance as a condemned foe of His and spend eternity suffering in a real place called Hell separated from Him

Honoring Who Jesus Is
  • Colossians 1:17-18 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
    • Jesus Christ is to come first in our lives; He is ranked above everything and everyone else.
    • Jesus Christ is to be the number one influence on and in our lives; we take our direction from Him.
    • Jesus Christ is to be our absolute top priority.

The preeminence of Jesus doesn’t cause us to neglect God honoring relationships and endeavors; putting Him first enables us to excel at all we do for His glory, to further His Kingdom, and to love and serve others.  To be the best we can be for all those we love and in all that we do:

No Person Should Come Before Jesus
  • Matthew 10:37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
    • Love others better by loving Jesus first.

No Possession Should Come Before Jesus
  • Philippians 3:7-8 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
    • Your relationship with Jesus is the most valuable thing in your life.

No Purpose Should Come Before Jesus
  • Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
    • Wherever it may take you, your number one goal must be to follow Jesus in love, submission and obedience.

First Things First

Put Jesus Above All Else


Father, there are so many ways I don’t put Jesus first in my life. Please forgive me for not making Your Son preeminent in all areas of my life. Guide me by the truth of Your Word and the power of Your Spirit to the place where Jesus is Number One in my life. Work in the hearts and minds of those who love You to make Jesus their top priority. And for those who don’t know You through Jesus, please Holy Father, draw them to Yourself for salvation in Jesus Christ. I pray in the name above every name, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Battle To Do Good and Right

The Battle To Do Good and Right

Although we are in a war with Satan and his demons, and though we live in a fallen world where perversity and injustice are the norm, for followers of Jesus Christ, the battle to do good and right ultimately comes down to an internal struggle. With God living in us, we long to be the lights in this world that He has called and empowered us to be. But the fact of the matter is, in each and every moment, in each and every struggle, we have to make a decision about how we will think, what we desire, what we say and the things that we do.

Victory is not found in good intentions. Although God is pleased when we make right and good decisions based on the truth of His Word, God is glorified when we follow through on those decisions. We must live out our faith!

We know what God expects. We desire to please and honor Him. But our flesh (that part of us that rebels against God) is the final obstacle to living out His perfect plans for us. In Romans Chapter 7, the Apostle Paul shares very openly about his struggles with the flesh.
  • Romans 7:18-19 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.

And when it comes down to how we treat other people, if we are faithful to our duty to share the love of Christ with others, it comes down to our attitudes and our works.

AttitudesHow followers of Jesus are meant to think.
  • Philippians 2:3-4 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
  • Ephesians 4:32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

WorksWhat followers of Jesus were made to do.
  • Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
  • Titus 2:14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

Working together, our attitudes and our works are meant to express the love of God to everyone we encounter.
  • Mark 12:29-31 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

This is all well and good in theory; but what about practical application in our daily lives? Jesus didn’t beat around the bush – He made this very real and personal for each person who professes faith in Him. Here are a few powerful examples Jesus gave as documented in the Gospel of Matthew.
  • Matthew 5:43-44 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
  • Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
  • Matthew 25:34-36 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

We have been called and commanded to emulate God’s character. We are His ambassadors on earth.
  • Ephesians 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.
  • Luke 6:35-36 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.

But how; how can we actually do this? Our spirits are willing, but our flesh is so weak.
  • Matthew 26:40-41 Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

The power of God’s Holy Spirit lives in us. When we surrender ourselves to Him and obey His Word, we win the battle to do good and right.
  • John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
  • John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
  • Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
  • Romans 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
  • Galatians 5:22-25 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

As Christians, we are called to be like God. We are called to extend grace and to show mercy. It is easy to love the loveable, to forgive the repentant, to give to victims, to right what we see as wrongs – that feels so good and we are so proud of ourselves when we do it.

But what about when we think someone doesn’t deserve what we have worked so hard for? The battle with the flesh begins with thoughts like:
  • ‘She hasn’t made good decisions; she needs to learn from her mistakes.’
  • ‘I’ve worked hard for what I have; he needs to get a job.’
  • ‘I’m only supposed to help those who are willing to help themselves.’
  • ‘We don’t want to be enablers.’
  • And so on...

If God had used this type of ‘logic’ with us, we would be headed straight to hell!
  • Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),


Imitate God, forgive, don’t judge the heart of man, etc., so…
  • Matthew 5:45-47 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?


Father God, Your Word, Your Spirit and our circumstances all reveal the battle to do good and right that rages within. Please dear Lord, guide us, help us, strengthen us to fulfill your commandment to love others as we love ourselves. Help us to generous and kind, not stingy and judgmental. You have set the example and have provided all we need. I pray that those who have given themselves completely to You will honor You by truly loving others; the loveable and the ones that we may not see that way. I praise You and pray to You in the name above every name, Jesus Christ. Amen.