God’s Promise – I am righteous in all My ways and kind in all that I do.
Because we are fallen beings, we can’t be counted on to always do the right thing. And since different people have different ideas about morality, what’s right in one’s eyes is wrong in another’s. When it comes to righteousness, there is only One who is perfect in every thought, word, and deed. In all His ways, the Lord our God alone is eternally, just, honorable, and honest. And because righteousness isn’t something God does, but who He is, He shows us kindness. An unmeasurable kindness in the form of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Once we were dead in our sins, eternally separated from God. But, “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor. 5:21) Sparing nothing, not even His own Son, God provided the path of righteousness through the blood of Christ. Now all who receive Jesus as their Savior stand before the Father washed clean and declared righteous!
God’s Promise – I am the everlasting God
How would you answer if someone asked, “Who is God?” Most of us would describe Him as our Heavenly Father, Savior, and Friend. And while all of that is wonderfully true, there is so much more to the Creator and Ruler of all things. The eternal “Alpha and Omega,” (Rev. 1:8) God is without beginning or end. He is the one and only Supreme Being, perfect in judgement, wisdom, and righteousness. And He alone is worthy of our worship, praise, and reverence. His promises are true, His goodness knows no bounds. And from that goodness springs forth an unmerited, unconditional, and unending love that God offers freely and joyfully to all who would accept His gift. A gift of eternal joy, peace, and fellowship. And a gift no enemy can ever steal or destroy. What awesome comfort it is to know that our Father is from everlasting to everlasting. And has called us to live an everlasting life with Him!
Deborah is a beautiful example of a woman whose faith in God shined as a light to Israel. She loved the Lord and served Him faithfully. When others faltered, Deborah courageously obeyed God and insisted that His will, not hers be done. And because she followed God’s direction, the armies of Canaan were defeated and their king destroyed. The Lord rewarded Deborah by giving her the honor for the Israelites win. Even better, because of her service to the Lord, “the land was undisturbed for forty years.” (v. 5:31) And after the victory instead of patting herself on the back, Deborah sang a song giving God all the glory. No matter who we are, male or female, great or small, when we are open and willing to be used by God, great things can be accomplished in His name and for His glory!
2 Kings 6:16
When the king of Aram found out that the prophet Elisha was informing the Israelite army of his every move, he sent a great army of his own to surround the city where Elisha and his servant were staying. Filled with despair the servant asked Elisha, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” (2 Kings 6:15) But Elisha wasn’t afraid. Because through eyes of faith, he saw what God saw. A mountain full of horses and chariots of fire. Often when we look at the troubles facing us, our first response is worry, fear, and despair. We fail to see past our problems to what God sees. And what He sees is victory that comes only from trusting in His power, protection, and provision. The Lord will always provide the resources we need to get through any challenge. Elisha prayed for his servant’s eyes to be opened. We too need to pray for open eyes of faith. Eyes that allows us to rest in the knowledge that even if we can’t see them, we are surrounded by a mountain full of horses and chariots of fire.
Throughout the ages people have asked how a loving God could allow suffering in the world. And in the depths of my despair I too have asked that same question. How could my Father let me, His child, become broken, in pain, and filled with sorrow? But time, hindsight, and prayer have taught me that instead of asking why, I simply need to trust. Trust that no matter the suffering I endure, God always has a purpose for my pain. As long as there is sin, there will be suffering. And whether or not we know the reason behind God letting it in our lives, of this we can be certain. He will never make us suffer alone. For, “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart” (Ps. 34:18) Not a single tear we cry goes unnoticed by our Father in heaven, who collects each and every one in His bottle. (Ps. 56:8) And if we let Him, He will be there each step of the way. Lovingly God will see us through the pain, ready, willing, and able to fill our aching hearts with peace and gladness.
My childhood home had a small crab apple tree that grew in the backyard. It had thick, bushy leaves which provided perfect shade from the summer heat. And at the end of each branch dangled the most inviting apples. I’ll never forget the first time I twisted one of those apples from its stem and took a bite. Far from sweet juiciness, the taste was so sour and bitter, I spit the apple out and threw the remainder on the ground to rot. That day I learned not all trees bear good fruit. Jesus says that each of us is a fruit bearing tree. And the way in which we live our lives, meaning the decisions we make, the words we speak, and our actions towards others, determine the goodness of our fruit. A tree that produces the sweetest and most choicest of fruit, is the one whose roots run deep in God’s Word. And whose branches bravely follow the example of Jesus, reaching out in love to a starving world.
Have you ever felt disheartened when someone shuts you down while you’re sharing the Gospel? Or been discouraged when the works you do for God don’t produce the fruit you want? If so, you’re not alone. The Bible is filled with stories of the disheartening, discouraging, rejection of God’s prophets and messengers. And one of these is Stephen, the church’s first martyr. Falsely accused and brought before the Jewish leaders, Stephen faced a sentence of death. Yet instead of giving a defense for himself, he gave a condemning testimony about the sins of Israel. Far from afraid, Stephen was so full of faith that as he spoke, all who looked upon him saw the glory of God. I want to be like Stephen. To be that full of faith. Boldly obeying God’s call no matter the consequences. Joyfully and courageously sharing with others how the Lord has worked in my life, why I place my faith in Him and how they too can know Jesus as their Savior.
1 John 5:14-15
We as Christians are in a battle for our very souls. The apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:12 that there is a great spiritual war waging around us even as we speak. As such, we are commanded to be courageous warriors in God’s army. Soldiers armed against the Enemy’s attacks, and at the ready with our spiritual weapons. And some of the greatest ammunition we have is prayer. Prayer is an unbreakable bond between us and God. There is no special formula, ritual, or words that have to be said. All God wants is for us to come to Him in complete and humble faith. Through the blood of Jesus Christ we have unlimited access to the Father and His throne. And He wants to hear from us! James 4:2 tells us we don’t have, because we don’t ask. So today I challenge you to ask! Go to God in prayer. Give to Him your heart and all it holds. And have unshakable faith that if it is His will, He will see it done!
2 Peter 3:4
Throughout history people have denied the existence of God, and scoffed at His Word. They reject His gift of salvation calling it folly, and ridicule those who follow Him. His holy name should be spoken with reverence, fear, and love. Yet even by Christians, it’s used as a form of cursing and thrown around like just another word. And when warned of the soon return of Jesus, many fearlessly mock the message. But those who dare scoff at God and profane His name would do well to not mistake His patience for weakness. A patience stemming from His perfect love and desire that everyone would receive the chance to accept His gift of salvation. (2 Pet. 3:9 ) But make no mistake. God will not wait forever. The day of the Lord will come, and on that day all will bow before Him. (Phil. 2:10–11) Jesus is returning soon. Upon His glorious appearance, the truth will no longer be denied, scoffers will forever be silenced, and all will say, “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name!” (Mat. 6:9)
Many times my heart has felt faint, consumed by discouragement and fear. And it’s during those times when praying and drawing nearer to God is a necessity. Because the Lord is our “higher Rock”, our unshakable foundation that will never fail. No matter what is going on in this fallen world, God goes before us and makes our paths straight. Deut. 33:26 reminds us that, “There is none like God, O Jeshurun, who rides through the heavens to your help, through the skies in his majesty. The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Satan loves to fill our minds with “what if” scenarios that all result in defeat. But God promises those who trust in Him and not the world, can live in peace and joy. King David who was protected by a mighty army knew better then to place his security in chariots and soldiers. He understood that it was only God who could lead him to victory!