He’s looking out for me

“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.”  Psalm 68:19.

God prevents things from getting me down.

I turn on the key in my car/truck and it starts: burden carried.

I interact with those in my midst pleasantly: burden carried.

God knows the effects that non-working vehicles and unhappy relationships can have on me.  So, He steps in a takes care of things in advance.

Have I praised Him for these unseen blessings?  Certainly, not enough!

I am very quick with the, “Lord, the bottom has fallen out, come to my rescue.”  But how often do I thank Him for His good gifts to me? How disappointing it must be to God that I am so often oblivious to Him.

My relationship to God must be so close, and so ongoing, that I don’t overlook His goodness to me.  From the get-go each AM, I must come out of the gate tuned in to what He has done for me.

Conclusion: I must voice thankfulness to God for His goodness to me.

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He sees

“But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand.  The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.”  Psalm 10:14.

What comfort!

God sees all that is going on.

I remember as a kid, with four siblings, constantly hearing, “Did you see what he did?”  Often the question referenced me and was asked to my parents.  They might not have seen what was done but they had their suspicions about who the culprit was!

God doesn’t miss anything.  In the first thirteen verses of Psalm 10, the psalmist sounds like my sisters.  Look at the bad things that are being done.  Can’t you see it?

But then in verse 14, the psalmist comes to his God sense: “But you, God, see the trouble…”

God now only sees the trouble but has promised to punish it.  I’m not in the punishment business.  That’s God’s job and He is the righteous Judge.

In an evil world, what should the Godly do?  I need to be sinless.  I need to be His clean instrument.  I need to be prepared to move in and help.  I need to be constantly interceding for this world’s victims.  I need to be certain that I am not afflicting the helpless by my actions or inactions.  Bottom line?  I must be filled with the Holy Spirit every second.

Conclusion: Give me eyes to see as He sees and a willingness to intervene when He wants me to.

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They’re not like us

“Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good.  Anyone who does what is good is from God.  Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.”  3 John 1:11.

Someone new joins the Bible study group you’re in.

They seldom speak, and you often leave wondering what they think.  You try to draw them out.

Another person joins that same group and is quick to wax brilliant on every topic.  You wish they had less to say.

The instruction in today’s verse fits here: Do what is good.

How does that relate to the over-bearing outsider?  I must ask God to enable me to react in a way that pleases Him.

A man named Diotrephes is an outspoken leader in a church.  Sadly, his approach to outsiders is godless. And he takes it to the next level by ousting those who are not insiders from his group.

When someone new joins the Bible study I attend, I must treat them in a Godly manner.  It may mean listening patiently.  I might mean confronting in a Godly way.

I cannot just drift along with God.  I must be an active believer.  I must do all I can to speak/live as He wants.  How I react to new people/settings reveals much about my Christian character.

Conclusion: A tight relationship to God will help me rightly represent Him in every situation.

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Grace, mercy and peace

“Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.”  2 John 1:3.

I was struck this morning by the three gifts from God that are announced in today’s verse.

Grace is getting something I don’t deserve.

Mercy is NOT getting what I deserve.

Peace is a calmness based on security.

God gives me all of them.

Naturally, I have to “wear” them.  I get a nice, warm hat for Christmas.  It is sure to make me comfortable in the cold weather.  I have it, but will I wear it?

These gifts of God are like that.  I possess them and must live in ownership of them.

When I forget His Grace, I become complacent.  I act as if I was worthy of Him.  It is not true. For His reasons, He chose me.  He enabled me to see my need of Him and to proceed from there.

When I forget His Mercy, I get resentful of others.  I deserve eternal separation from Him because of my sinfulness past and present.  He has spared me.  I must “spare” others as He spared me.

When I forget His Peace, I am sent into turmoil easily and often.  God is with me.  He’s in the boat on the raucous Sea of Galilee resting.  The “waves” of life are real, but He has all the resulting scenarios covered.

(I credit Tim Keller for some of the thoughts I have just expressed.)

What a comfort to know that God is running the show!  I must cling to Him.  I must let my relationship to Him grow and overflow.

Conclusion: Grace, mercy, and peace are mine in Him.

 

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I can’t keep doing that

“We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.”  1 John 5:18.

The voice inside my head that says, “Don’t worry about it,” is not God’s voice.

I am either hearing God or Satan.

Because God is keeping me “safe,” I gain the ability to recognize voices.

As I read the Bible, I learn to know God better.  Jesus is God.  I can read and learn how He behaved and what He had to say.

Because Satan “whispers,” I can confuse the tone for someone who cares.  Satan doesn’t really “care” about me.  He knows that his future in hell is a certainty and his goal is to take as many of us with him as he can.  He hates God, because God has overcome him.

This is a line from a commentary on this verse: “The Christian has an active enemy, but he also has a watchful guardian.”

My part is to maintain a tight relationship with God.  To walk without ceasing with Him.  To listen for His voice.  To hear His Voice so often that I can separate it from the voice of the enemy.

Conclusion: I must lean in to hear Him and then do what He asks.

 

 

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Sin is costly

“If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life.  I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death.  There is a sin that leads to death.  I am not saying that you should pray about that. All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.” 1 John 5:16-17.

Sin is a relation breaker.

Today verses take sin’s consequence even to a higher level. Sin is an affront to God.

I mess up with someone in my midst.  I realize my mistake (sin), apologize, and move on.  If my mess-ups become regular habit, there may come a breaking point.  That “someone in my midst” may opt to permanently separate from me.

That sequence happens with God.  When believers insist privately/publicly that they belong to Him, their behavior should reflect the relationship.  When it doesn’t, there can be ultimate consequences.

Moses angered God.  God told him that he wouldn’t be going into the Promised Land.  Moses repented but God didn’t change His Mind………Moses died before the Promised Land was entered.

This is what the “sin unto death” is about.   God reaches the breaking point with us.  The same thing happened to Samson and Saul.  Their misdeeds led to God leaving them.

How about Ananias and Sapphira?  Their lies led their deaths.

I must analyze the way I live carefully.  Do I have high regard for iniquity in my life?  Am I ignoring His leading into, or out of, things?  God knows what’s going on. Sin has consequence.

Conclusion: My life must be straight and true before Him.  My sin has consequence.

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You do or you don’t

“Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” 1 John 5:12.

We’re talking about a life filled with God.

If my life is filled with God, I have the present and the future under His control.

I can’t see God and I can’t see what my after-life will be like.  It takes faith in Him in both instances.

I can indirectly see God in my surroundings.  I can see Him in people who love Him.

I can only imagine the after-life.  I know that all the terminal things of life will be changed.  All the physical issues will be no more.

If I have not brought God into my life, I have a troubled present and a worrisome future.

The Evil One takes pleasure in minimizing the consequences of a godless life.  “Things will get better.”  “God is love so He will find a place for you in heaven.”  All lies.  Apart from Him my present is rudderless and my future is heavenless.

The lines in today’s verse are VERY clear.  However, we live in a world that is sure that they can lawyer it out and end up with what they want.  “I’ve been a good person.”

Some of the local precincts vote in our church.  Some folks are called “Chreasters,” because they show up at church on Christmas and Easter.  Maybe Election Day could be another time they attend church?

My life must be lived remembering that I have eternal life.  My future is set, and my present is in His Hands.  I must live accordingly.

Conclusion: I must live as a person set for life and death.

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