Am I wicked?

“In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.”  Psalm 10:4.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Genesis 47-48, Psalm 10, and Luke 19.

It is easy to look at this verse and think of other folks.  But what about me?

When I lose track of God, I am that “wicked” man.

If God is not being thought about, who is?  There is plenty of Scripture suggesting that Satan moves into unoccupied spots.  If I am godless than I am probably Satan filled.

And that cannot be.  I do not want Satan loose in any part of my life.

How then should I live?  I must get it into my head that God is my companion.  He is wherever I’m at.

How often I forget His whereabouts!  He has promised to never leave me nor forsake me.  And He doesn’t.  How dreadful that I often ignore His nearness and give Satan room to function in my life.

A reason I lose track of God is that I take to running my own life.  When things are smooth, I begin to assume that I am doing a pretty good job of running my life.  Foolish thinking!

When things are tough, I sometimes minimize Him by deciding that He need not be bothered with my troubles.  I’ll find an alternative to take care of things.  Foolish thinking!

“Lord, forgive me for losing track of You.  You are not only near me, but You also care about what I’m doing. I love You for that!  Take me over now.  I surrender to You.  You are my God.”

If I leave God out of my life’s equation I am opening the door to Satan.

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Understanding myself

“God, I thank you that I am not like other people…” Luke 18:11.

“God, have mercy on me a sinner.” Luke 18:13.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; Genesis 44-46, and Luke 18.

The Pharisee and the tax collector.

The approaches of the two are obviously different.

Both reflect perspectives of themselves.

The Pharisee compares himself to others and concludes that he is better than them. The tax collector closes his eyes to those around him because he knows that he isn’t.

One assumes that God is pleased with him while the other knows that he has not pleased God.

Where does my approach to God fit in?  If I see myself as in good shape, why would I need Him?

Why does the Pharisee call attention to himself?  I think that his view of God is so limited that he chooses to “remind” God of his goodness…….in case God missed it.

Why does the tax collector act so humiliated?  He realizes that God is great, and he isn’t.  He has messed things up and God is the only One who can rescue him.

The Pharisee seeks God’s recognition.  The tax collector seeks His rescue.

I must realize that I am unworthy.  That I am an ongoing sinner.  That my only hope is for His cleansing.

I NEED His mercy and thankfully He is merciful. He sent Jesus to bear on the cross my sins and their consequences eternally.  What a Savior!

“Lord, You are good. Thank You, for rescuing me, a sinner, from my sin’s consequences.  Forgive me for continuing to sin.  I know better.  Help me to reflect Your mercy for me on those I meet this day.  I love You, Lord.”

One came to be recognized by God while the other came to be rescued by God.

 

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Wake-up call

“In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.”  Psalm 5:3.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Genesis 42-43, Psalm 5, and Luke 17.

Sound advice.

Get each day off to a Godly start.

The first thing each morning, I begin interacting with my Divine Companion.  I don’t ignore Him.  He’s in the bedroom with me!

Note that I am speaking.  I am putting words together that convey my connection to Him.

I will be telling Him things that He already knows, but I do it anyway.  Why?  It is for my benefit.  It gets me aligned with Him.  It recognizes my dependence on Him.

And note at the end that I must wait.  I have shared with Him things, and realigned myself to Him.  Now it’s His turn.

I do not know what will happen, but I know that He is in charge.  That gives me comfort and confidence.

I will spend the day watching to see what He will do.   If I am to be in difficult situations I will see what comes to me through Him.

Remember that this is all generated by a Godly morning start.  Too often we seek God during the day because we have ignored Him earlier.

“Lord, this day is Yours from the get-go.  I trust You to direct my way this day.  Show me what I should do and not do.  Make it clear to me.  Guide me, O thou great Jehovah.”

Were you aware of God when you woke up this morning?

 

 

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What shall I do now?

“The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now?’”  Luke 16:3.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Genesis 39-41, and Luke 16.

We all get into those “What should I do now?” moments, don’t we.

And where do we turn when those things come our way?

For me, when good things happen I’m quick to praise God for it.

When bad things happen, I’m quick to go it alone.

Someone does something I don’t like.  Do I react in a Godly fashion?  Do I even spend time determining what a “Godly fashion” looks like?

In those negative times, I foolishly turn to my instincts.  And my instincts are usually, blatantly godless.  In those reactions, I lose traction with God.  I slip back and will need to right things later.  Sometimes to apologize.  Sometimes to re-evaluate my relationship with God.

An indicator of spiritual growth for me will be when I am steady with Him.  I crave being reliably Godly.  I cringe at my reactions (this morning) to something that didn’t go my way.  I know better.

My relationship to God must be tight and constant throughout this day.  Good news?  Bad news?  Godly reactions, no matter what, must be my goal.

I certainly can’t pull this off without Him running me.  My life must be second-to-second with Him.  I must build up a necessary resistance to reacting on my own.

“Lord, I love You.  I ask for Your forgiveness for reacting badly this morning to something that didn’t go my way.  You are in charge.  You tested me……and I failed yet another one.  Empower me to understand that the Godly life I talk about is within reach IF I will stay surrendered to You each second.  Apart from You I can do nothing but mess up.  You are the God I must follow. Guide me, O thou great Jehovah.”

Don’t go it alone.

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Why waste time on those losers!

“But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.’”  Luke 15:2.

“’I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.’” Luke 15:7.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; Genesis 37-38, Psalm 7, and Luke 15.

Am I now seeing this story right?

I always thought that the ninety-nine sheep represented believers.

I saw the story in context this evening and I believe that in the story Jesus is once again finding fault with the Pharisees.  How?  They had been complaining that Jesus was interested in spending time with “sinners.”

The point is that of course Jesus would rather be with sinners because they had a quality that the Pharisees didn’t: they realized that they were sinners.  The sinners needed Him.  The Pharisees didn’t.

I will always need God.  I cannot get my life right in His sight without a permanent attachment to Him.

In a day of busyness, I have been loose from Him.

To keep myself mindful of Him, I like to repeat, “God, where are You in this moment and what do You want me to see and do?”  When I stop asking that question, I know that I’ve drifted away from letting Him control me.

God wants my full attention.  He insists that I be mindful of Him.  If I allow myself to drift away from Him, I forget my perpetual neediness.  I imagine that my ways are His Ways……and they aren’t.

I must always be the one who is needy.  I must cry out to Him and plead for His rescue during my day.

“Lord, I need You every second.  Forgive me for living apart from You.  Take my life over now.  I surrender it to You.  Direct my paths.  Guide me, O thou great Jehovah.”

Sinners need God.

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You need to be committed!

“In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.”  Luke 14:33.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Genesis 33-36, and Luke 14.

Hiding out as “one of them” is not enough.

Being committed to something often means a change from a former arrangement.

I am a believer but does my lifestyle indicate it?

Do I fool myself into thinking that I can get away with a semi-commitment?  God is not mocked.

God wants every part of me.  I am convinced that for me to see Him in action, I must live entirely for Him.

This does not mean that I leave my wife and my surroundings and sell everything I own.  It does mean, however, that I would be willing to do those things if He wanted me to.

When Abraham took his only son Isaac up the mountain to sacrifice him, he certainly was apprehensive.  But he knew, even before he headed up the mountain, that God was running the show and he was committed to God enough to let things be.

My relationship to God must be continuous during each day.  I still like the line I’ve memorized: “God, where are You in this moment and what do You want me to see and do?”  I try to say it frequently.  I am often stopped in my tracks when I say it because I “see” better and do something I may have missed otherwise.

“Lord, I give myself to You.  Take me over.  Run my life.  Prick my conscience when I am off-course so that I can make the changes needed.  I love You, Father.”

Are you afraid of commitment?

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Only God could have done this!

“’No, please!’ said Jacob.  ‘If I have found favor in your eyes, accept this gift from me.  For to see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably.’” Genesis 33:10.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Genesis 31-33, and Luke 13.

You do something wrong to someone and you know it’s wrong.  You know that they are going to be ripped about what was done.  So what do you do?  You avoid that at all costs.

That’s “our” Jacob!

Jacob had schemed his way past his older brother and into a blessing from his father Isaac…..then he  ran for his life.

Easy reaction but now Jacob is on his way to a face-to-face with his surely aggravated brother Esau.

No imagination is required about the impending doom that Jacob faces when it is learned that Esau is on his way with 400 men!

BUT GOD.  Jacob has been told by God to return home and Jacob is obedient.

Jacob certainly feared what Esau might (rightly?) do to him but God’s direction was certainly in play for him.

And then everything ended amazingly well!  The expected-to-be irate brother reunites with Jacob.  Remarkable, to say the least.

Note Jacob’s reaction: “For to see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably.”

Jacob was not describing Esau’s appearance.  He, instead, was realizing that only God could have engineered the ending he was experiencing.

God is unlimited.  Think, for a moment, of things that we have placed BEYOND God.  We consciously, or unconsciously, see a situation being bigger than God could handle.  Foolish us!

The Bible is filled with evidence of our amazing God in action.  He is not done with us yet.  We need to commit our lives to Him, do what He wants, and then join the hosts “seeing His face” in our midst.

“Lord, You are remarkable.  Thank You for the Jacob/Esau story.  More evidence of what You can do.  Forgive me for limiting You.  For leaving You out of situations.  I want You in charge of everything I do this day.  Guide me, O thou great Jehovah.”

Is there anything in our lives that we have unconsciously designated as being beyond God’s pay grade?

 

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