We Can Trust In The Lord Today

For May 17, 2020
Faith is the trust or belief we have in someone or something to perform a task that may be beyond our current level of understanding.

Some try to use it as an instrument to impose our will on God. Here, we look at God not as the almighty and all-knowing Creator and Sustainer, but as a puppet on a string whose sole purpose is to do our bidding, as if He were our own personal genie in a magic lamp.

Yet our God will do exactly what He will do at the precise moment and in the precise manner that suits Him, not us. To us, His ways may appear to be mysterious at times, but they are always perfect because He always knows what is best for us in every situation.

The Lord said that we could move mountains and that nothing would be impossible with faith the size of a mustard seed. Job cursed the day of his birth, and yet he had a tremendous faith in God. To gauge the quantity or fervor of our faith, we can never rely on our feelings alone, because faith is a mystery that is essential to our human experience.

The Lord not only wants us to commit every element of our very lives over to Him , but He wants us to completely trust in Him  also, get out of His  way, so that He can perform His  perfect work in us and through us as Psalm 37:5 (NLT) teaches,

Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him, and He will help you.

Faith, trusting, committing all convey the idea that we believe in God because He not only loves and cares for us, but that He also wants the best for us in every situation. In this life, we will experience pain and suffering as reflected in recent news reports that show how the entire world seems to be paralyzed by fear and panic associated with the covid-19 virus.

Life’s vicissitudes are attributable to our inherent sin nature, our own poor choices, or just because. But despite these challenges to our faith, we can still believe that the Lord is holy, infinite, and His ways are perfect. As He leads us through life, His most perfect purpose for us will take place in the fullness of time (Romans 8:28).

Through faith in Christ, God supplies us with a new spiritual being. He eliminates our sins by way of the New Birth that Jesus described as mysterious as the wind and as the prerequisite for true fellowship with God (John 3:3–8).

We must invite Christ into our lives by faith, and through our obedience and submission, we receive a new internal being that allows us to perform the will of God, secure His eternal favor, and become His beloved children forever.

What a Wonderful Savior!

Then The Lord Showed Up!

For March 29, 2020
There was much excitement among the hundreds of thousands of freed Israelites who camped by the Red Sea. They were celebrating their sudden and unexpected release from 400 years of Egyptian bondage. Their first Passover resulted in the deaths of every firstborn in Egypt, which prompted the immediate expulsion of all Hebrew slaves.

However, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about releasing the slaves and he ordered his army to capture and return them to Egypt. He pursued them in his chariot along with his army, his officers, and all the other chariots.

It was an imposing sight for Israel to look behind and see Pharaoh’s army marching towards them. Especially when there was no physical barrier to protect them, and with the Red Sea in front of them, they were doomed.

As a terrified nation cries out to the Lord for help, Moses offers them these encouraging words:

Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today…The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace. Exodus 14:13-14 (NKJV)

Then the Lord showed up…to protect and defend His children miraculously! The Lord told Moses to stretch out his hands and staff, because they were to cross the Red Sea on dry ground! This was something unheard of.

The Angel of the Lord and the Pillar of Cloud positioned themselves behind the people to separate them from their enemies. The cloud illuminated the way for Gods people, while darkening the path for their enemies.

The Red Sea divided, and the Children of Israel walked across on dry ground; with the water standing like two walls on their right and left sides. Their pursuers would follow them, but at their own peril.  When the Lord disabled their chariots, the Egyptians realized they were fighting against the Lord Himself. And once Israel was safely across, the waters receded to full depth. Not one pursuer survived.

The Lord saved His people so that the entire world would know that He alone is God.

As the Lord saved ancient Israel that day, He is both ready and able to save His people today. We must pray to the Lord, trusting that He is fully capable to deliver us from adversity. For He is ready to protect and defend His people of faith, especially those who trust in Him for salvation through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Many of us are now facing an invisible enemy designated as covid-19, and for some, the battle appears to be hopeless. Nevertheless, the Lord is good and merciful; ready to “show Himself strong” on behalf of those whose hearts are perfect before Him.1

Our Lord can make us witnesses of His miraculous work on our behalf so that we may love Him, trust Him, and serve Him. Therefore, let us call on Him to fight all our battles, and watch Him show up for us.

Our Lord is merciful, loving, and faithful; worthy of our faith, confidence, and love as Lamentations 3:22-24 (NLT) teaches:

The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”

What a Wonderful Savior!

What Ever Happened To Our Faith?

For March 22, 2020
Up until a few months ago, there was much discussion about how we have the ability to manipulate the earth’s environment in ways that will allow us to facilitate climate change successfully.

This was a false notion as recent events have demonstrated how our human efforts are woefully inadequate when addressing environmental, microbiological, or global life science-related issues; especially in light of the ongoing, worldwide covid-19 hysteria.

We are not the Creator, and we do not have the capacity or the means to manage God’s creation. We are mere stewards over His creation. In our pride and arrogance, we’ve mistakenly attempted to elevate ourselves to deity with the insane notion of managing God’s universe.

Yet, it has been astounding to watch how one, single, invisible, microscopic, organism can completely incapacitate 21st century civilization, as has cov-19. Instead of our eradicating the virus, we’ve resorted to fear, paranoia, hysteria, misinformation, “social distancing,” isolation, and despair.

In other words, if we cannot control a simple virus, how can we control our atmosphere? At times we are so overwhelmed by life’s unexpected uncertainties that we overlook the simple answers—right before our eyes: only the Creator can solve creation’s problems.

In our hysteria, we have disregarded how Genesis 1:1 tells us that in the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth. We also have overlooked how Psalm 115:11 tells us to trust in the Lord because He is our helper and shield.

As our Sovereign Creator and Sustainer, God never abandoned His creation. He alone preserves and sustains the whole universe and us, just as Nehemiah 9:6 (NKJV) declares:

You alone are the Lord; You have made heaven, The heaven of heavens, with all their host, The earth and everything on it, The seas and all that is in them, And You preserve them all. The host of heaven worships You.

One theologian describes God’s ability to preserve us:

Preservation is that continuous agency of God by which he maintains in existence the things he has created, together with the properties and powers with which he has endowed them. Preservation implies a natural concurrence of God in all operations of matter and of mind. Though personal beings exist and God’s will is not the sole force, it is still true that, without his concurrence, no person or force can continue to exist or to act.1

God is our Sovereign Lord, Creator, and Sustainer in Whom we live, move, and have our existence as Acts 17:28 declares. His sovereignty provides us with comfort and assurance we need in our distress, because we know He cares for us and that His special preservation towards His creation cannot fail since nothing occurs or exist independent of His sovereign will.

Those of us who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and in the vicarious merits of His  death and resurrection, which paid the price for our sin and reconciles us to God forever, are certain to experience the Lord’s continual care as Matthew 10:29-31 (NIV) illustrates:

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

1 Peter 1:5 tells us that we are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Ultimately, our faith should never be placed in our finite human strength, because it will always be inadequate in and of itself. Instead, we must put our faith in God’s almighty power and loving care, for He’s got this and He’s got us—now and forever!

What a Wonderful Savior!

 

What Ever Happened To Prayer?

For March 15, 2020
During the glory days of ancient Israel, King Solomon had the Temple constructed to honor the name of the LORD; the Creator of Heaven and Earth; the God of Israel. Upon its completion, Solomon offered a prayer of dedication to invoke God’s presence and blessing on the Temple and His people forever in 2 Chronicles 6:18-21ff (NLT):

But will God really live on earth among people? Why, even the highest heavens cannot contain you. How much less this Temple I have built! Nevertheless, listen to my prayer and my plea, O LORD my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is making to you. May you watch over this Temple day and night, this place where you have said you would put your name. May you always hear the prayers I make toward this place. May you hear the humble and earnest requests from me and your people Israel when we pray toward this place. Yes, hear us from heaven where you live, and when you hear, forgive….

Solomon continues his prayer and closes with the following:

O my God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to all the prayers made to you in this place. And now arise, O LORD God, and enter your resting place, along with the Ark, the symbol of your power. May your priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation; may your loyal servants rejoice in your goodness. O LORD God, do not reject the king you have anointed. Remember your unfailing love for your servant David.   2 Chronicles 6:40-42 (NLT)

After the prayer, a remarkable thing happened. God answers with fire from Heaven, which consumes the burn offerings and sacrifices dedicated on the brass altar, and the glory of the Lord fills the Temple to such a degree that the priests could not enter the Temple to perform their sacred ministerial duties.

Then those who saw the fire consume the sacrifices along with God’s glory filling the temple, bowed themselves, worshipped and praised the Lord saying: “For He is good; for His mercy endures forever!”

An even more astonishing thing happens a few days later. God appears to Solomon at night and affirms his prayer by saying: “I have chosen this place to myself for a house of sacrifice.”1

Then God utters those timeless words that I believe are especially relevant and applicable for us today (my emphasis):

At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you. Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.  2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (NLT)

None of us are exempt from adversity, sickness, peril, or even death. Job aptly observes that our lives are relatively short, yet full of trouble.2 In addition in Matthew 5:45, Jesus assures that both the Children of God (just) and those who are not of God (unjust) will encounter random, uniform difficulty as  long as we live on earth.

Unfortunately, it is often during our times of trouble when we doubt the Lord’s goodness, presence, and protection on our behalf. But hardships do not negate God’s love, grace, and mercy, nor are they signs of His desertion.

Recently, quarantine, mass testing, hording of supplies, and widespread panic have resulted from our fears concerning the coronavirus. However, in 2 Chronicles 7:14, God provides the formula to address our troubles appropriately: 1) Humble ourselves, 2) Pray, 3) Seek God’s face, and 4) Turn from our sin. God is faithful and can deliver us as Psalm 34:19 (NLT) teaches, “The righteous person faces many troubles, but the LORD comes to the rescue each time.”

What ever happened to prayer? In other words, why are we not calling for prayer; seeking God’s help and intervention instead of wildly running into a panic mode? Why not humble ourselves, seek God, turn from our wickedness and allow Him to be God—not us—in this and every situation we face?

Jesus Christ suffered adversity on His way to Calvary’s cross. But there, His death paid the price for our sin so that we can have a restored relationship with God the Father that will last forever. In the final analysis, Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection help us to understand that all the things we experience will work together for our good just as Romans 8:28 teaches.

God has not abandoned us. He will give us the extraordinary resolve to count it all joy3 because our unspeakable treasure is not on the earth—it is in Heaven. Jesus assures us that in Him, we have the ultimate victory:

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. John 16:33 (NLT)

We can be steadfast and ever vigilant in pursuit of our incorruptible inheritance because we are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.4 Our toils serve as constant reminders of the presence of sin in our fallen world, which contrasts God’s magnificent Heaven. There, all our toil and suffering will be forgotten instantly the moment we see Jesus Christ in his full majestic splendor.

What a wonderful Savior!