With all of our activities, worries, and work, we can find it quite easy to forget what is most important in our lives. We are focusing on the minors and ignoring the primary purpose for our lives. Majoring on the minor things does not just happen today, but it happened in the lives of God’s people in the Old Testament. Jeremiah made this clear: ” (Jeremiah 2:32)
Why do we allow activities to crowd God out of our lives? Many times we are not even conscious of God’s absence. Each day passes, and God becomes more and more distant. How do we return to God?
Our return to God begins with God. He will often bring things into our lives that will humble us and make us see our need for God once again. He breaks us to remake us. God always has His hands wide open, saying: “Come back to me.” Will we?
“Dear Lord, we get so busy doing many things that we find it easy to forget you. We don’t want to forget you, but it just happens. Thank you for your patience with us. Please help us to return to you with a heart of humility and love.
Trouble, trials, and tragedy strike every person who has ever walked upon the earth. When crises come, do we blame God? Do we ignore God, or do we trust Him?
King David had his share of problems, but he never forgot the goodness of the Lord. He writes: “O taste and see that the LORD IS GOOD: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” (Psalm 34:8) How does God show His goodness in the troubles, trials, and tragedies of life?
1) God shows His goodness in His attributes. “The Lord is Good” Every trait reflects His Goodness. We see this goodness in His love, in His Compassion, in His Mercy, as well as His Longsuffering. The more we know God, the more we can trust Him in a time of crisis.
2) God shows His goodness in His promises. “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great His promises bring hope, encouragement. and strength in times of trouble.
3) God shows His goodness in His Actions. “Thou art good, and doest good” All that God does is Good. (Psalm 119:68) We may ask why does God allow this or that to happen; however, God’s actions demonstrate His wisdom. Our heartaches enable us to trust God and what He is doing in our life. “All things work together for good to those that love God.” (Romans 8:28)
4) God shows His goodness in His Love. “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” (Jeremiah 31:3) God’s love is His motive for what He is doing in our lives. Our trials are an expression of His love. He knows that our tests only make us a stronger Christian.
5) God shows His goodness in His Wisdom. ” In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:3 ) God’s thoughts are way beyond our comprehension. God’s ways are not our ways. We may try to outguess God, but His way is always the way of wisdom.
Amid trouble, trials, and tragedy, remember the reality of God’s goodness. His goodness is an anchor for our soul in troubled times. Have you tasted His goodness lately?
Ruins tell the story of decay, neglect, and destruction. We can also face times of ruin and decay. We feel hopeless and in despair. The Prophet Jeremiah experienced a time in his life when he was in the midst of the ruins of Jerusalem. Babylon had destroyed the city. All hope was gone. How did Jeremiah handle this hopeless condition? How can we manage our desperate situation?
Jeremiah, amid the ruins of Jerusalem, looked up to God. He said in Lamentations 3:21: “This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.” He knows in himself there are no answers: ” My strength and my hope is perished from the LORD:” (Lam 3:18) Jeremiah knows in himself there are no answers; however, he knows that his hope is in God alone.
When we are facing hopelessness in our lives, our only hope is in the Lord alone. We must take our eyes off the ruins around us and in us. Our focus can only be on the Lord. Jeremiah focuses on five attributes of God that bring great hope in his life in spite of the ruins around Him.
1. God is Merciful– “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed” (Lamentations 3:22) God’s forgiveness brings restoration and hope in our life. As we come to Him with a repentant heart, He takes the mess of our life, and He restores us
2. God is Compassionate. “because his compassions fail not.” (Lam. 3:22b) His compassion gives us a reason for hope. He takes our hopeless situation, and in His love, He rebuilds our life.
3. God is Faithful– “They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness“. (Lamentations 3:23) God’s promises give us hope amid the ruins of our lives. God’uses His promises to rebuild our lives.
4. God is Omnipresent. (He is with me) “The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore, will I hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:24) God’s presence gives us hope. He walks with us amid the ruins. He is with us throughout the rebuilding project of our life.
5. God is Good. “The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.” (Lamentations 3:25) God’s goodness brings hope to us. We know that God will take the ruins and make our life into something beautiful and glorifying to Him
What will we do amid our hopelessness? Will we stay defeated and discouraged, or will we look up to our great and mighty God? Jeremiah discovered great hope in a hopeless situation, and so can we!!
Imagine wandering in the desert. You are hot, tired, and extremely thirsty. As you are in despair, you come upon a spring of water! There is joy, strength, and encouragement because of the water! YOU ARE REFRESHED. Are we like that spring of water in the lives of others? Do we bring refreshment to their lives? “For they (Stephanus, Fortunatus, and Achalcus) HAVE REFRESHED MY SPIRIT AND YOURS.” (1Co 16:18): God used these three men to REFRESH others. Will we be a spring of water to someone in despair, discouragement, or depression? Here are ways that we can bring refreshment to others.
1. We can refresh others by our presence.
2. We refresh others by our words
3. We refresh others by our prayers
4. We refresh others by our example
5. We refresh others by our kind deeds
6. We refresh others by forgiving them.
7. We refresh others with our love.
“Dear Lord, help me to look beyond myself and see the needs of others. There are people around me who need to be encouraged. Others need emotional healing. Some people need a friend. Guide me so that I can be a refreshment to others as you daily refresh my soul. Amen”
Why do we feel alone? Does anybody care? Does anybody understand what we are going through? Where is God in all of this?
In this life, we often feel that people do not know the “real me.” They know us superficially, but they do not our real person. We go days on end, feeling as though we are an unknown cog in the wheel of life. What does God say about this?
“He calleth HIS OWN SHEEP BY NAME, and leadeth them out.” (John 10:3) What a comforting thought! Our Good Shepherd knows us! In God’s eyes, we are not a number, but we are the objects of His love! He knows what we are thinking. He knows our sorrows and joys. He knows our defeats and victories. He knows our loneliness and confusion.
His love and His commitment are the basis of His knowledge of us. For this reason, He takes us by the arm and says: “This is the way, walk ye in it.” (Isaiah 30:21) God knows us intimately, and He knows the pathway that is best for us. Not only does He show us the way, but He walks with us as we travel the path that He has laid out for us.
As Christ’s sheep, we do not have to walk alone. Jesus knows us, and He knows the way! The question is: “Will we travel with Him, as He leads us each day?”
FOUR VERY COMFORTING WORDS! “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for THOU ART WITH ME; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)
The valley of death is a place of fear, anxiety, loneliness, vulnerability, and doubt. When David wrote this Psalm, he knew that whenever he faced danger, the Good Shepherd would be with him to provide for him and protect him. Are we alert to the presence of our Good Shepherd whenever we enter the deep valley?
1. When I am lonely, thou art with me.
2. When I am discouraged, thou art with me,
3. When I am without hope, thou art with me.
4. When I am sick or facing death, thou art with me.
5. When I am confused, thou art with me.
6. When I am lukewarm spiritually, thou art with me.
7. When I am facing a trial, thou art with me.
8. When I am being tempted, thou art with me.
9. When I am sorrowful, thou art with me.
10. When I am rejected, thou art with me.
Let Jesus walk with you today, no matter what you are facing.
“Thank you, Lord, for being my Shepherd. I know that your perfect love casts out every fear in my life. Help me to be alert to your presence at all times. Too often, I focus on my circumstances instead focusing upon you as my Good Shepherd. Your presence gives me hope in despair. Your presence gives me the strength to go through whatever valley that I may enter. Thank for your constant presence in my life. Amen”
Guilt can paralyze us! Guilt can cause us to doubt God. Guilt can kill our joy and peace. Guilt can isolate us from others. Guilt can even bring us to the point of taking our own lives.
What causes guilt in our lives? Guilt is caused by our own sins. Guilt also occurs because of regrets in our life. We think of things that we could have done in our life that we never did. Guilt is also caused when we feel as though we failed those whom we love.
Guilt never brings us to God, but takes us further away from Him. We often confuse guilt with conviction. Conviction comes from God. His purpose is to bring us back to Himself. His conviction says: “Yes, you have sinned, but you can repent and confess your sin to me and you will be completely cleansed and forgiven” (See 1 John 1:9)
Guilt doesn’t come from God, but from within ourselves. Also, guilt can come from others who want to manipulate us to do their bidding. Lastly, guilt can come from Satan, who is called the “accuser of the brethren”. Whatever the source of our guilt it must not find a home in our lives.
What can we do with our guilt? “Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O LORD.” (Psalm 25:7) We can take our sin and guilt to God and leave it there. His mercies are new every day. When we come to God with a repentant heart, He will never send us away unforgiven. He assures us time and time again of His love and mercy. He will never hold our confessed sin against us.
A Prayer Concerning Our Guilt “Dear Father, I thank you for your mercies that are new every morning. I thank you for your love that never quits on me. You know the regrets, the guilt, the sins that have come into my life time and time again. You have seen the results of my guilt. Yes, I have tried to deal with my guilt on my own, but without success. Father, you alone can take my guilt and shame from me. You alone can restore the confidence, joy and peace in my life when I deliver all my guilt unto you. Thank you for your work of restoration and cleansing in my life. Amen.”
HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all the followers of this blog! I thank you for following this blog. It has been about three years since I have contributed to this blog. Recently, I have restarted writing. I hope to write more consistently this time. I have also changed the name of my blog to: “Bible Treasures for Today”. I have done this to focus on the purpose of the blog. Using my name as the title did not really reflect the purpose of the blog. I do hope that you will join me as we continue once again to explore the treasures of the Word of God. Please encourage others to subscribe as well.
Here are some verses which help us to focus on all that we have in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jeremiah 31:3 “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”
Heb 13:5 “For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
On this Thanksgiving Day, let us be thankful for God’s love, presence and grace!
“Have you heard the news? Jesus is coming!” The excitement was building in the lives of ten men who were filled with leprosy. Their lives were miserable. Not only were they suffering physically, but they also were suffering socially, emotionally, and spiritually. They were desperate. Soon, Jesus was on the outskirts of the village. This would be the lepers last chance.
“There He is!” They all shouted in unison. Jesus was a distance away. If only they could shout loud enough for him to hear. They began to shout: “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” Then Jesus turned and saw the ten lepers and said these beautiful words: “Go shew yourselves unto the priests.” Their excitement could not be contained. As they left the scene to go see the priest, they realized that they were completely healed! However, in the midst of their excitement only one of them returned to thank Him.
As the one healed leper approached, Jesus questioned the people. “Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?” Only one man had the realization that Christ merited his heartfelt gratefulness.
Today, many people come to Jesus with their needs. Like the lepers, we have physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs. Many people don’t ever think about thanking Jesus. Yes, people will say: “I am thankful for this or for that.” However, they do not give their thanks to anyone, especially Jesus. In reality, giving thanks demands that there is someone who is the recipient of our thanksgiving.
Today, Jesus asks the same question: “Where are the nine?” Are we one of the nine or are we like the one leper who returned to Jesus to give thanks?
How we start our day often dictates how we view the rest of the day. There are many days when I feel confused or even anxious. I feel like I am running on empty. What is the problem? Perhaps, I have forgotten the pleasure of starting my day with the most important person in my life, my Heavenly Father. The Psalmist, David, understood the importance of starting the day with a time of prayer with the Lord. “My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” (Psalm 5:3)
1. Morning prayer is a pleasure because it reminds us of our need of God. David lived his life with one trial after another. These trials were a constant reminder to him that he needed his Heavenly Father daily. When we start our day with prayer, we are saying to God: ” I need you throughout this day. I need your wisdom. I need your strength. I need your protection.” Morning prayer enables us to come to God with all humility
2. Morning prayer is a pleasure because it reminds us of the greatness of God. David recognizes the greatness of God when he writes: “Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God.” (Psalm 5:2) David constantly writes about the attributes of God. Morning prayer enables us to start the day focusing upon God. We remember that our God is faithful, merciful, loving, holy, just, all-powerful, omnipresent, all-knowing, and wise. We also remember that He is our Father, who wants to take care of us throughout the coming day.
3. Morning prayer is a pleasure because it enables us to sort out our priorities. David says: “I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” (Psalm 5:3) David was a man after God’s own heart because he had the proper priorities in his life. David started his day by seeking direction from God. His relationship with the Lord was the top priority of His life. When we start the day with the Lord, we are saying to him: “My relationship with you is the most important priority in my life.” Wrong priorities create confusion and very anxious days. When our relationship with the Lord is right, everything else will fall into its proper place.
4. Morning prayer is a pleasure because we can share our burdens with the Lord. David writes: “Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies: make thy way straight before my face.” (Psalm 5:8) David faced many enemies. These enemies were a great burden upon David. We begin our day with many burdens. We have burdens in our family. We have burdens at work. We have financial burdens. We have health burdens. We have many other burdens. Our morning prayer time is a great opportunity to cast these burdens upon the strong arms of our Heavenly Father. “Cast thy burden upon the LORD and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” (Psalm 55:22).
Every day begins with a great opportunity to talk to our loving Heavenly Father. When you love someone deeply, it is a pleasure to start the day with them. Prayer is not a chore, but a pleasure. God is always available to listen to us, but are we ready to speak to Him?
“Dear Heavenly Father, there are many mornings that I forget to take the time to talk with you. I have forgotten the pleasure I derive from spending this time with you. You are patiently waiting for me every morning. You are always ready to listen. Help me to come to you each morning with an open heart, remembering that you also take pleasure in hearing from me. Amen”