Monday, March 8, 2021

March 8 – The Only God Who Can


“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” - Jude 24–25 (ESV) 


How is it that we’ve received this promise from God? After all, we possess very little perfection to keep us from stumbling⸺actually no perfection or ability of our own. But, in this one-chapter book of Jude, we are promised that “Him who is able to keep you from stumbling…does so in order to present us blameless to God.” Wow! If that is not a promise that causes our hearts to leap for joy, it should. The ‘Him’ is God the Holy Spirit. After saving us by grace through faith⸺a bundled gift from God⸺we are promised that we will stand before the one and only God who chose to save us and we will do that through what the Son of God, Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.  It is a bit mind blowing if we mediate on this promise. God is One and he is able to keep us from stumbling. God’s Holy Spirit  presents us blameless in the glorious presence of God who saved us according to His will. All this is accomplished because God the Son provided a way through His obedience to death on a cross and God raised Him up from the tomb. 


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Sunday, March 7, 2021

March 7 – The Seal of the Spirit

 “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” - Ephesians 1:13–14 (ESV) 

God never promises the absence of distress or a journey without challenges to meet and obstacles to overcome. What He promises is His presence as the Holy Spirit. The presence of God’s Spirit assures us that we have Him and in Him, is God our paraclete*, alongside as our guide and comforter. We also have the guarantee that our inheritance is reserved for us and kept for us; we cannot and will not lose it. There is no one who can barge into our lives and overwhelm us with anything that will cause us to separate from God.  Like a ship or boat, small or massive, The Holy Spirit invisibly, yet indispensably, is the rudder for the ship of our soul. He keeps us from crashing on the rocks, keeps us afloat and going the right direction. The Holy Spirit is also our pilot. We are not alone on our journey. We’re sealed in Christ. Once upon a time, red wax with an identifying stamp in the wax was used seal the ownership of a letter or document. Sealing declared ownership and secured contents. It is the Holy Spirit as God’s seal that protects us. His word of promise is our seal.


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* The Holy Spirit as Paraclete:  The term Paraclete (παράκλητος, paraklētos) appears four times in John’s Gospel in reference to the Holy Spirit in John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7 and once in 1 John 2:1 in reference to Jesus. English bibles translate the Greek word as Helper, Advocate, Comforter, Counselor. 




Saturday, March 6, 2021

March 6 – More than Job Ever Dreamed - Finding God in Job Part 4


“I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you;” - Job 42:5 (ESV)

It is one of the key lessons about Job and about us that we find in this book. It’s deep and takes time to study. Some use the book of Job as evidence that God just gives us questions and no answers. But to believe that, we need to cut out the rest of the book of Job, for that’s not how Job heard it. All his life Job had been a good man. All his life he had believed in God, but in the storm Job saw God.  If any passage in the book of Job, needs to be underlined, it is this verse: “I had heard about you before, but now I have seen you” (Job 42:5). Job sees God—and that is enough. But it isn’t enough for God. The years to come find Job with his health, family, and wealth restored. His lap is once again full of children and grandchildren. A new beginning indeed. After it was all over, it is conceivable Job would do it all again if that’s what it would take to hear God’s voice and stand in his presence. For God gave Job more than Job ever dreamed. God gave Job himself.


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The book of Job is not easy to read or to understand. When trying to grasp its truth as a whole, it seems nearly unreachable. Thanks to the daily devotional “All Up Words” by Max Lucado. Acknowledgement and thanks for some of these ideas is given to his words     https://maxlucado.com/listen/more-than-job-ever-dreamed/



Friday, March 5, 2021

March 5 – Now I Have Seen You - Finding God in Job Part 3

 

“Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’ I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” - Job 42:5 (ESV)


Job admitted to flunking God’s biology geology, astronomy, meteorology, zoology, and all examinations. Now he asked questions only to learn about God’s deeds.  Job had only heard of God’s doings. The complainer was not an eyewitness of the act of Creation, a fact God called to his attention near the beginning of His first speech. Nor could Job even view firsthand many aspects of natural Creation.  His perspective of God’s total workings was therefore limited and secondhand.  But now Job has seen some awesome things about God.  Max Lucado writes in his book “Begin again:”  “He saw hope, lover, destroyer, giver, taker, dreamer, deliverer. Job saw the tender anger of a God whose unending love is often received with a peculiar mistrust. Job stood as a blade of grass against the consuming fire of God’s splendor. Job’s demands melted like wax as God pulled back the curtain and heaven’s light fell uneclipsed across the earth.” For Job it’s a thrilling view of God; a first-time experience. So Job confesses, “now my eyes have seen You”. It is a spiritual insight not physical vision and when this happens, our appreciation of God and his majesty is deepened. 


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The book of Job is not easy to read or to understand. When trying to grasp its truth as a whole, it seems nearly unreachable. Thanks to the daily devotional “All Up Words” by Max Lucado. Acknowledgement and thanks for some of these ideas is given to his words     https://maxlucado.com/listen/now-i-have-seen-you/   



Thursday, March 4, 2021

March 4 – God’s Questions - Finding God in Job Part 2


“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.” - Job 38:4 (ESV)


God answered Job’s “Why?” questions with a great deal of pointed interrogations. God asked: “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much.” One such question would have been enough for Job, but it isn’t enough for God.  God pours out the questions to Job and holds him accountable for his presumption of knowing and understanding God’s ways. Like a furious waterfall, or huge breakers, questions burst forth. Questions dash against the walls in the chambers of Job’s heart. God’s questions to Job aren’t intended to teach; they are intended to shock. They aren’t intended to stir the mind; they are intended to bring him to his knees.  “Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty?” God pins Job’s ears to the wall. “Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine” (Job 41:11). Job has no argument, no snappy comeback. Our Sovereign God owes no one anything. No explanations, no excuses. It’s this astounding fact that flattens our feeble human reasoning in wonder and awe that God has given us anything at all⸺including his only begotten Son Jesus to die in our place for our sin. 


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The book of Job is not easy to read or to understand. When trying to grasp its truth as a whole, it seems nearly unreachable. Thanks to the daily devotional “All Up Words” by Max Lucado. Acknowledgement and thanks for some of these ideas is given to his words        https://maxlucado.com/listen/gods-questions/




Wednesday, March 3, 2021

March 3 – Finding God in Job Part 1


“I loathe my life; I will give free utterance to my complaint; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.  I will say to God, Do not condemn me; let me know why you contend against me. ”  - Job 10:1-2 

“Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:  “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me.” – Job 38:1-3 (ESV)

Do any of us understand why we encounter trials in our lives as Christians?  When they come we all have a hasty conversation with God about them. We send up a few “why?” statements. The best place to learn is the book of Job. For a few days, we will take a brief and light look at Job. He asked God a few such questions and God’s answered eventually.  In the book of Job the Holy Spirit provides a clear lesson on God’s sovereignty. Job is put to the test as he experiences the most severe catastrophes and disasters to test his faith in God. God gave permission, with limits, to Satan to afflict Job. Satan claims Job will deny God. God says, Job will remain faithful.  In the account, Job lost nearly everything including his family other than his wife. Job asks, “God, let me know why you contend with me?” All of us would identify with Job’s question. God’s answer to Job is for us as well. For each of us who have encountered a devastating event, whatever it may be. It’s the question we might ask; “If God is God, then…why?”  He speaks to us.


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The book of Job is not easy to read or to understand. When trying to grasp its truth as a whole, it seems nearly unreachable. Thanks to the daily devotional “All Up Words” by Max Lucado. Acknowledgement and thanks for some of these ideas is given to his words        https://maxlucado.com/listen/he-speaks-out-of-the-storm/ 



Tuesday, March 2, 2021

March 2 – Trust Only One Way


“The [this] saying is trustworthy,
for if we have died with him,
    we will also live with him;

if we endure, 
    we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, 
    he also will deny us;
if we are faithless, 
    he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.”
                - 2 Timothy 2:13 (ESV)

We have heard quotations repeated and often we hear “That’s true.” tagged on for emphasis. The Apostle Paul used the ‘trustworthy-sayings’ formula in his letters to individuals to introduce a familiar saying. It was Paul’s way of confirming the truth in a common saying. In our verse today four comparisons or couplets are set forth. The first two are positive; those who have identified with Christ’s death as a sacrifice accomplished for them, are assured that they will enjoy eternal life with Him. “If we endure” is our identification with Christ through until the end. Our present suffering is related to our and glorification later. Then two negative couplets. Those pretending to believe but are found to be faithless deniers of Jesus will indeed be denied by God. There is no way we can by being good enough to save ourselves. We must believe and trust Jesus Christ and what He did and said for us. The players, the deniers, and the faithless can’t affect any change to Christ’s offer of new life. God’s promises remain true. He cannot deny the truth for He is the Truth and the only Way to eternal Life. God: forever faithful to His word.

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