Monday, March 1, 2021

March 1 – Trust the Immutable God


“The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.”  Psalm 138:8 (NASB)

The importance of the promises, as in our verse today, is better understood when we consider source and context.  This is a psalm of thanksgiving and praise by David. We have considered this verse previously and repetition of God’s promises is always beneficial. David declares our LORD God’s exalted over all His creation while He favors the humble in spirit. By contrast the arrogant, who David calls haughty, are kept far from Him. Additionally, God watches over our lives and protects us from the hatred of our enemies. The conclusion of Psalm 138 has critical importance for us because we do not always turn to God and trust these promises. Our fears and worries distract us and we are prone to believe God gives up on us. He has not because His promise is that He will accomplish and fulfill all that is His purpose for us. God’s love is steady and holds fast in all circumstances. We can always trust this promise even when we strongly feel the need to call on God to continue His work in our lives. When we think we’ve lost, God says it is not finished. God’s work continues in our lives. 


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Sunday, February 28, 2021

February 28 – Sheltering in the Keep


“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge.” Psalm 46:10-11 -  (KJV)


Yesterday we read the first three verses of this Psalm 46 Today the final two are what we want to consider. God promises to be our refuge (shelter) and strength in any threat. Because we have that promise we need not worry.  We can “Be Still” because we know who our God is.  Our God will be exalted among the heathen and unbelieving world where nations reject and despise the truth of God. Even His existence is denied. For those who believe in God and in the Son of God who sacrificed Himself so that we can be redeemed and receive eternal life, danger may seem to exist from the nations that hate God. But God says that one day all the nations, all the heathen unbelievers will exalt the name of God. They will be impotent before the creator of all things created. And were are we? We are with the LORD of hosts. God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is our God and our refuge (like fortress on high ground). God is a refuge in so many ways. From the unexpected dangers and from the known threats from enemies.  God is our stronghold that will never fail.   


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Saturday, February 27, 2021

February 27 – In the Midst of Anything


“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.” Psalm 46:1-3 (KJV)


It was just a few days ago that we considered the promises from God’s Word found in the book of Isaiah. The promise was that  even if mountains may depart and the hills be removed, God’s love would never fail to be here for us. Today we consider again a comparison of God’s attributes with mountains being moved, this time into the sea. God promises to be our refuge (shelter) from storms and danger. Such threats are around us all the time and we may not even know every time we are in such peril. Think of those who were on that jet that lost most of an engine. Disasters happen and we are not always protected from them happening but God here promises that He is still our refuge and strength. Strong enough even to bring us into His presence or see us safely home. Floods and earthquakes are uncontrollable and nearly unpredictable as are the crises and circumstances that might knock us off our feet.  But God is and will be with us protecting us from fear and trouble. Let’s hold tightly to these promises today and next time disaster threatens, no matter what kind it is. 


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Friday, February 26, 2021

February 26 – Picking the Important Things


“And they scolded her. But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. … She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial.”   Mark 14:5b-6, 8 (ESV)


Context is important. Jesus is near the end of his ministry on earth. He knows the ultimate purpose of His coming to earth is to be a sacrifice for all people. He will be betrayed by his own, turned over to be executed by Roman crucifixion. He visits friends in Bethany. Martha, Mary, and their brother Lazarus. Martha is being the perfect host. Mary is overcome with sadness and by her love for Jesus. Perhaps she understands better than others what Jesus is facing. Mary takes very expensive perfumed ointment and anoints Jesus by pouring it on His head. Some, led by Judas were indignant, put-out by Mary’s action. They thought it was wasteful of Mary to do this. “They scolded her.”  But Jesus, knowing why she was doing this defended her actions. He saw it as an expression of love and devotion to Him in light of His approaching death as well as a messianic acclamation. Showing comfort or aid to some out of love for our Lord Jesus brings Him honor and glory. We can trust that God knows our motivations⸺selfish and unselfish⸺He is pleased with our loving sacrifices when they are for His name’s sake. 


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Thursday, February 25, 2021

February 25 – United in True Unity


“Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.” – Philippians 2:1-2 (NASB)


Our passage today from the letter to the Philippians, written by Paul the Apostle continues an appeal he made in chapter one. (Let’s remember that chapter divisions and verse markings were applied 1150 and 1500 years later.)  

In Philippians 1:27, Paul wrote about living our Christian life in harmony with the message on which it is based. He followed that message with a call to show spiritual unity. This unity is possible because of the reality of the four qualities mentioned in 2:1. The “if” clauses speak of certainties, about realities, not questionable things. So in this passage “if” may be translated “since.” Paul appealed on the basis of any encouragement from being united in Christ; any comfort from His love; any fellowship with the Spirit; and any tenderness and compassion. We are exhorted furthermore to demonstrate unity in practical ways. This unity is ours in Christ. Our expression of spiritual unity results in complete joy for all. Matching the four realities are four specific ways in which our spiritual unity will be understood. We will find ourselves being like-minded, sharing and showing the same love; united together as one in spirit; and focused on one common purpose.


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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

February 24 – A Win-Win Outcome

“Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” – Philippians 1:20b-21 (NASB)

The Apostle Paul dedicated his life to work for the exaltation of Jesus Christ from the moment of his conversion to believe Jesus was the promised Messiah. Another version uses the word ‘magnified’ to describe Paul’s main purpose – the glorification of Christ. So Paul could say “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” After years as a prisoner in Rome, his appeal was still pending before Caesar, he was at a fork on the road in the journey of his life.  On one hand, he knew he could be martyred. He was ready for that. Or, he might gain his freedom (we don’t know the details). He did not fear martyrdom  and saw benefit for others if he remained. Paul declared in either outcome, dying or living, Christ would be magnified. Both of these options, continuing to live for Christ, or gaining his access to glory through dying would result in Christ being glorified. This is to what God calls us in our lives. As believers we are promised that dying is a glorious thing, and remaining alive on earth is opportunity to bring glory to Christ through our obedience and service. It is a win-win situation.


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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

February 23 – Absolute Trust in Absolute Truth


“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” - Philippians 1:6 (NASB)


Of what truth do you have such confidence that nothing and no one is able to dissuade you from your belief? A common crisis for many is the struggle to believe the promises of God. Especially that His care for them and their lives are untouchable by the enemy. The good work, the good and blessed outcome promised by God will happen according to His promise in today’s verse. It’s a process. It takes time. In fact, it will take the rest of our earthly lives before God completes the good work He has begun in each of us. We can absolutely trust that absolute truth. 

Warren Wiersbe writes about the battle for God’s truth “God works in this world through the truth of His Word, and (our evil enemy) Satan opposes this truth by substituting his lies. Human nature is prone to believe a lie and resist the truth. Satan accomplishes his best work through people in so-called Christian institutions (churches, schools, etc.) who do not believe God’s truth.”*  Each time the truth of God is spoken, heard, read, and studied, the enemy uses lies to steal it away from us by tempting us to doubt God’s truth. 

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*Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 2:201.