“Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in Your instructions.”
So often, the Bible is just seen as a book of rules and regulations by those who have not actually read it. Upon reading His word, you will begin to find that they’re not just words written on paper, but life! David had a great love for the word of God. Yet what David had access to read was probably very limited compared to what we now have (ie, New Testament). Yet he fell in love with what little he could read or understand. He knew that God’s laws were not rules and regulations but paths which lead us to the truth of who God was and is. It is in God’s instructions that we learn how to please God, how to live life for His glory and how to know Him more.
As we read God’s word today, let us pray the same prayer as David prayed, ‘open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in Your instructions.’ May God’s word enlighten our hearts and minds, comforts our souls, correct us when we are wrong, remind us of God’s love, and increase our understanding who God is and who we are in Him.
Then Jesus said to His disciples,“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
One day General William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, was introduced to Queen Victoria, who asked him why God had used him so greatly to help the poor and the suffering souls of England. “I guess the reason,” said Booth humbly, “is because God has all there is of me.”
Jesus didn’t call us to follow Him when it’s convenient or to give Him 99 percent of our lives. Our time on earth is brief, and we’re here on assignment. There’s work to do, people to win, and a kingdom to advance. Our Lord warned against letting “the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word,” rendering us unfruitful (Matthew 13:22). He wants one hundred percent of you.
Our effectiveness for Christ is hindered by unyielded priorities or unconfessed sin. Jesus wants all of us there is to have. He wants all the adoration of our hearts, all the zeal of our souls, and all the days of our lives. Don’t allow the “things” in your life to keep you from doing what Christ is calling you to do for Him.
If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.
“He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
We serve an Almighty God who battles for us against evil, gives us strength when we are weak, power when we feel empty and grace to forgive our sins. God’s ways are just, they are fair and His judgement is always right. Yet He never leaves us to suffer on our own. Even though it might seem like it sometimes, we are never alone. He is there, in the midst of our storm, strengthening us to keep on running.
Today’s verse is a reminder that strength is not found in the things we do, or say but in our trust in the Lord. Isaiah’s words are a clear reminder that our strength is in Him only. Yet Isaiah’s words also speak a promise of renewing, regeneration and refreshment; ‘…those who trust in the Lord will find NEW STRENGTH’! If you feel like you have run out of strength to carry on, then put your hope and trust once more in our God, and let Him fill you with new strength. We will soar, run and walk, not in the power of what we can do but in the power of our King. This is God’s promise to us!
“O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles? O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depth of His understanding.”
Are you going through a hard time? Does it feel like there is no hope or no end to your struggles? Well, there is a good news. There is always hope as long as our hope and trust is in God. Israel were in a bad place. They sinned, committed spiritual adultery with other gods and allowed themselves to be enslaved and separate from God’s best for them. Yet in all that time, God never left them. He never abandoned them or never gave up on them. Yes the consequences of their bad choices were catastrophic yet God in His grace was already preparing an exit for them.
Furthermore, Isaiah through his prophetic words encouraged Israel that God never forgets, never grows weary and always understands. That same God is the everlasting God we serve today. His character has not changed. He is still faithful. He is still understanding. And even if the mess we are in is our own doing, He is still there to lift us out of it. Let us today encourage ourselves with the truth that we serve a faithful God, who never gives up on us, never grows tired of us and always understands what we are going through.
“…Then Jesus explained His meaning: “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do. For John the Baptist came and showed you the right way to live, but you didn’t believe him, while the tax collectors and prostitutes did….”
Jesus uses a story of two sons to illustrate our willingness to accept the gospel and let it change our lives. He explains that a father had two sons. He told the older son to go and work in the vineyards. At first he refused but after changed his mind and went. The younger son, firstly accepted his father’s commands, but eventually never went. Jesus used this imagery to explain the difference in the prostitutes and corrupt tax collectors decision to follow Him and that of the Pharisees decision to not follow Him. The prostitutes and corrupt tax collectors accepted Jesus’ teachings and followed Him but the Pharisees didn’t (even though they should have known better as ‘men of God’).
Sometimes the same is true of our lifestyles. At first we might reject the gospel and God’s love for us, but after we realise that there is nothing in this world that can satisfy, other than being loved by God, we change our way of living to honour Him. We realise, through the revelation of the Holy Spirit, that the end product of our sinful lifestyles is death and destruction, yet choosing and accepting God, is life, joy and freedom. In contrast, there are some who follow God just to tick the box ‘I am a believer’. Yet there is no relationship and eventually they end up not following Him at all, just like the Pharisees.
We have a choice to make, to be honest with ourselves and see what son we are like. Let us not just say we follow Him but let our lifestyles reflect a child of God in a relationship with their Father. It is never to late to turn away from your sins, towards the grace and love of Almighty God.
“Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
We often think, when Paul wrote that the word of God is the sword of the Spirit, that it is an offensive weapon that we use to hack down the enemy’s lies. However, in a recent sermon, a famous preacher gave another interpretation of what this means. He described this ‘sword’ more like a dagger that Roman soldiers used to use to pluck out the arrows that penetrated their bodies during battle. He compared that to the work of the word of God. When the enemy throws lies at us, sometimes we allow them to penetrate our armour because we believe them. But through the truth of the word of God, we learn that these are lies and pluck them out.
It is God’s word that is the dagger to purge out the enemy’s lies. It is the word of God that helps us fight the enemy’s lies. And it is the word of God that protects us from the enemy’s lies. Finally, it is the word of God that tells us the truth about who God really is and who we are in Him.
“Then the devil said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become a loaf of bread.” But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone.””
There is power in the word of God. It is not some fairy-tale story book that was written thousands of years ago to entertain today’s modern readers; it is the words of God. It is the power to save and the power to heal and the power to set us free. Jesus knew the importance of the scripture, hence why He quoted it to the enemy when being tempted by him.
There is great victory in the words that are written in the Bible. The hard truth is, is that we have to know them. If we believe that the battle is already won, then God’s words have even more power than just words. It is our sword, it is our strength and it is our victory. If Jesus, who could have easily just said, ‘get away from me satan’ saw it necessary to use scripture to silence the enemies lies, then how much more do we need to use it. When the devil speaks his native language, lies, we can fight his lies with the truth about what God says about us! When he tries to knock us down, we can remind ourselves that we are not on a loosing side but on the winning side. When the enemy tries to lie to you, stop and stand firm in what the ‘Scriptures say…!’
“How can a young man person stay pure? By obeying Your word….. I have hidden Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You!”
Have you ever heard what the letters B.I.B.L.E stand for? One old pastor said that it meant ‘Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.’ A simple truth yet one that is so true. Without the Bible, we cannot know God’s character fully. We don’t know our purpose and we can’t know what to do. Of course God can divinely speak to us all, telling us all there is to know about Him through His revelation, yet God’s word is His 100% accurate and 100% truth about who He is and who we are. It is God’s very own words written down on paper, preserved throughout history (through many hardships), and translated into thousands of languages that enables everyone to access God’s words personally.
If you buy something new and don’t know how to use it, the first thing to do is check the manual. If you don’t read the manual and your machine or appliance doesn’t work properly, your immediate reaction is to blame the maker or the manufacturer. Yet most probably, the answer to your ‘faulty’ product is in the manual. It is the same with the world. People are so quick to blame the creator (God) for all the problems in the world, yet they haven’t read the manual (the Bible) about how we should live. God has given us His word, as David says, to keep our way pure and holy and away from sin. If all creation would read life’s manual, then we would live in a better world. It is our responsibility to share the truth of God’s words with others, so they too may find their purpose and find their Creator.
Boy Scouts, infantry soldiers, and wilderness explorers are required to have a working knowledge of topography. The key root in “topography” is the Greek word topos, or “place.” So topography is the science of place—as in the places laid out on a map. In the New Testament topos is translated “place,” “locale,” or “opportunity.” When it occurs in Ephesians 4:27, it means not to give the devil a place or opportunity. The New International Version translates that verse as “Do not give the devil a foothold.” That works—a “foothold” being a “place” where a climber can insert his foot when scaling a cliff. A foothold was needed by soldiers seeking to gain entrance to an enemy stronghold or fort.
So what gives the devil this place, opportunity, or foothold? Sinful anger, Paul writes in Ephesians 4:26. The longer anger remains in the human heart, the greater an opportunity, the more secure a foothold, it becomes. All the devil needs to get his foot in the door of the human heart is for us to nurture our hurt feelings, anger, or resentment.
Keep short accounts; fill in the footholds; erase the sinful places from the map of your heart. Give the devil no opportunity.1
1 Today’s devotion is taken from David Jeremiah’s Turning Point Daily Devotionals
“No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.”
We are victorious. Our Father didn’t just rescued us from the enemy but destroyed the power of our enemy, when Jesus died on the cross; and, one day, he will be destroyed forever in the burning fiery lake. As children of our Heavenly Father, we partake in that victory and in every blessing because of it. That means, that although we may go through hardships, we may be persecuted and go hungry, we are still victorious. That means that what Jesus Christ did on the cross, for us, is the ultimate act of love that can never be changed, that never runs out and is eternal. We can have full access to the victory of the cross, in whatever circumstance we face and whatever situation we find ourselves in.
This is the joy of the believer. This is the joy that is found in Christ’s death and resurrection. We are no longer on the losing side, but have overwhelming victory in Christ in Jesus. It is our responsibility to live in the fullness of that victory. Victory is yours. Now go, live in it.