Sky

Delaying

IMG_5902

Christ’s return at an unexpected time is not a trap, a trick by which God hopes to catch us off guard.  In fact, God is delaying His return so more will have an opportunity to follow Jesus.  During this time before His return, we have the opportunity to live out our beliefs and to reflect Jesus’ love as we relate to others.

People who are ready for their Lord’s return are 1. not hypocritical, but sincere; 2. not fearful, but ready to witness; 3. not anxious, but trusting; 4. not greedy, but generous; 5. not lazy, but diligent.  Are you delaying?

Commentary from The One Year NIV Devotional New Testament, June 25.  Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.  2003.

The Testing of Our Commitment

IMG_5804

In situations when God is testing us, He will teach us new and deeper truths about Himself, His purposes, and His promises.  Though we feel stretched in painful seasons, such difficulties are always designed to be beneficial.

From a human perspective, times of testing can be baffling, because we don’t understand how anything good could result.  Consider God’s command that Abraham sacrifice his long-awaited son Isaac.  Abraham’s earthly viewpoint could have regarded this order as:

UNREASONABLE.  “I cherish my son above all else.  How could you ask this?”

UNTIMELY.  “Why now, Lord?  My son is still young.  He is the one through whom my descendants are to come.”

UNFAIR.  “It’s not right that You ask this.  Haven’t I left home to follow You?”

UNBEARABLE.  “This is too hard for me.  I cannot take this pain.”

Abraham rejected that kind of thinking.  Instead, he trusted God.  The trial revealed Abraham’s unshakable commitment to the Lord’s plan.

Knowing which circumstances will help us grow, our Father asks us to exercise faith and choose His way.  Recalling His unending love and wholehearted commitment to His children will help us do this.  Be assured that God makes no mistakes in His dealings with us.

Imagine Abraham’s joy when the Lord provided a ram as a sacrifice in Isaac’s place.  We will receive that same reward of spiritual joy when we remain steadfast.

Commentary from the In Touch devotional by Charles Stanley, June 19, 2017.

Wonderment and Awe

IMG_5670

Every week, thousands of worshipers flock into the great cathedrals of Europe to feel a sense of the majesty of the architecture-the high ceilings, massive pillars, stained windows, and reverberating sounds.  The ancient builders wanted to inspire us with a sense of the majesty of worship, and they designed their cathedrals with that in mind.

Every week, thousands of visitors flock to the National Parks of America for the same reason.  We’re awestruck by the vast desolation of Big Bend, the immensity of Grand Canyon, and the sheer cliffs and plunging waterfalls of Yosemite.  The towering peaks of the Tetons and Rockies are a wonderment.  The human heart is hungry for a sense of God’s majesty.

Yes, we are God’s friends who, in prayer, can call Him, “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15); but He is also clothed with majesty and girded with strength (Psalm 93).  Our worship should be warm and personal, but we shouldn’t forget the awe and reverence due His name.

Commentary from the Pathways devotional by David Jeremiah, June 19.

His Strong Hand

IMG_5758

The scene is usually a cliff, a waterfall, a window ledge, or some other precipice – a fall from which would result in certain death.  One person is over the precipice, kept from falling only by holding to the outstretched hand of another.  Three things can happen to the one hanging over the edge; the grip is unintentionally broken due to a failure in strength, the grip is released intentionally due to malevolence, or the person is pulled to safety due to the strength of the rescuer.

One of the strongest images of the believer’s eternal security in Christ was painted by the Savior’s own words: “Neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.”  Too often, Christian’s feel that eternal security depends on their strength, their faithfulness, their perseverance – their ability to hold on to the Savior’s hand.  The opposite is actually the truth:  It is Christ’s strength, Christ’s faithfulness, Christ’s perseverance – Christ’s ability to hold on to the believer’s hand – that keeps the Christian eternally secure.

When you wonder if you have been faithful enough, hold out your hand – and picture it enveloped in the strong hand of Christ.

“Once a man is united to God, how could he not live forever?”  C. S. Lewis

Commentary from the Pathways devotional, by David Jeremiah, June 6.