September 25, 2017

When the Glory of the Lord is Shown Upon You

adventwk4seekHimoholynight

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby,
keeping watch over their flocks at night.
An angel of the Lord appeared to them,
and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were terrified.

Luke 2:8-9

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What happens when the glory of the Lord is shown on you?  Scripture makes clear that it’s possible for every true follower of Jesus to see and understand the glory of God.  Indeed, our Lord reveals His glory to all who ask and seek it diligently.

Moreover, I believe the revelation of God’s glory will equip His people for the perilous days ahead.  Paul states that this revelation “…is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified” (Acts 20:32).  Therefore, as we pray, “Lord, show me your glory,” we’re actually praying, “Father, reveal to me who You are.”  And if/when the Lord does give us a revelation of His glory, it’s a revelation of how He wants to be known by us.

How many of us have prayed a prayer such as this?  This type of prayer is normally prayed when faced with adversaries we feel are beyond our control.   At a time when we are at zero, we always ask for His glory.  Why can’t we also ask for His glory when we are in our highest spirits?  I believe there we can experience more of His glory, too.  Moses’ experience with the glory of God demonstrates this truth.

The Lord sent Moses to deliver Israel without giving him a full revelation of who the God of Israel truly was. The Lord merely told him, “Go, and say I AM sent you.” But He gave no explanation of who “I AM” was.  I believe this is why Moses cried, “[Lord]…I beseech Thee, shew me Thy glory” (Exodus 33:18).  Moses had a gnawing hunger and thirst to know WHO the great I AM was—to know what His nature and character were all about.  I therefore request us, brethren, to cry unto God to show us His glory in all aspects of life so that we can be able to testify to others.  How can we testify of His glory if we ourselves have not experienced it?  The shepherds experienced the glory.  (And, yes, they were terrified…just as the shepherds!)  But the angel said to them “do not be afraid” for he came with good news.  The testimony they had was “God brings good news.”  Trust me, God is bringing His glory in different ways and we will testify.  But I pray we will testify as we have experienced it and perceive it in Jesus’ Name.

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Dear Lord, thank You for being willing to show us Your glory forever more.  And I pray, asking You to open our eyes and ears to see and to hear You when You come in Your glory.  In Jesus’ name, I pray,  Amen.

Hold On To The Promises

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

Sometimes it’s hard to keep believing in what you can’t see
That everything happens for a reason even the worst life brings
If you’re reaching for an answer and you don’t know what to pray
Just open up the pages, let His Word be your strength

Hold on to the promises (hold tight)
Hold on to the promises (all right)
Jesus is alive, so hold tight
Hold on to the promises

And all things work for the good of those who love God
He holds back nothing that will heal you, not even His own Son
His love is everlasting, His faithfulness unending
Oh, if God is for us who can be against us
So, if you feel weak

Neither life nor death could separate us
From the eternal love of our God who saves us

Sanctus Real
Writers: Matt Hammitt, Chris Rohman, Mark Graalman, Pete Provost

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But the steadfast love of the Lord
is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him,
and His righteousness to children’s children,
to those who keep His covenant and remember to do His commandments.
Psalms 103:17 and 18

Such a beautiful promise!  Perhaps words like these ‘…to children’s children’  particularly impact women’s hearts.  Does this promise resonate in your heart like mine?  I have one daughter…and by marriage to her…one son!  And through their love for one another—four grandchildren!  So ‘children’s children’ yes, that catches my eye…and my heart.  I pray every day (just like you!) for the Lord’s love and His righteousness and His blessings to be upon my children and grandchildren.  That they would always be under His protection and receiving His provision is very important to me.  So as I read this promise, I pray, ‘Please, Lord!  By Your grace, Lord!’

But whether you have children or not, the promise of His steadfast love is from everlasting to everlasting <FOREVER!> to every one who has the fear of the Lord.  We play a part in these promises coming to pass, y’know.  Many, many, many of God’s promises have a stipulation attached.  God’s people have something to do to receive the promises that He makes to them.  It is kind of like when I promise my grandchildren, “Okay now, when the playroom is cleaned up we are going to the library.”  I have promised…but they have something to do, too.

According to these verses, the steadfast, everlasting love of our Lord is on those who fear Him (so that’s one thing we need to do).  And His righteousness carries over to our children’s children who remember to do His commandments (another thing we have the responsibility to do).

God’s heart to bless and care for His people’s lives is incredible!  He always wants to do good for those who love Him.  And He is faithful!

And we know that God causes all things to work together
for good to those who love God,
to those who are called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28

Do you remember the message that Moses gave to the Israelites after delivering God’s Ten Commandments  to them?   (Deuteronomy 5 and 6)

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.
Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home
and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9

So we teach all the children in our lives about loving God with their whole heart, soul, mind, and all their strength.  We help them to grow in their understanding of how great our God is, and to have a worshipful fear of His AWEsomeness.  We impress upon them the right way to ‘walk’ with God, and to love everyone around them.  We teach them about Jesus and all that God has made available through Him and how they, too, can make Him Lord of their lives.  And we—they and we—will be blessed with the promises of God!

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Dear Lord, oh how much comfort it brings to our hearts to know of Your promises…not only to us but to our loved ones!  You are so very good to us!   We trust and have confidence knowing that You are faithful to do what You say You are going to do; please help us to remember we have our part to do also.  Our desire is to obey You, trust You, have godly fear…and love You.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

You Are God Alone

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

You are not a god created by human hands
You are not a god dependent on immortal man
You are not a god in need of anything we can give
By Your plan, that’s just the way it is

You are God alone
From before time began
You were on Your throne
You are God alone
And right now in the good times and bad
You are on Your throne
You are God alone
You are God alone

You’re unchangable
You’re unshakeable
You’re unstoppable
That’s what You are

You’re the only God whose power none can contend
You’re the only God whose name and praise will never end
You’re the only God who is worthy of everything we can give
You are God and that’s just the way it is

Billy and Cindy Foote

*  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

I was drawn to the Book of Esther the other day and, as I was reading, I was struck again by the fact that there is not even one single word throughout all ten chapters of the Book of Esther which is attributed to God, or His dealings with Esther, the King, or Uncle Mordecai.  No directive, no command, no blessing…no actual interaction with the Almighty God that is recorded.  However, we clearly can see His hand of blessing, His hand of direction, His guidance and His provision—His providence.   I was reminded again…truly,  humbled again…to recognize God’s providential hand of blessing that is so evident throughout the Book of Esther.

Providence is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as “foresight; timely care; particularly, active foresight, or foresight accompanied with the procurement of what is necessary for future use, or with suitable preparation. In theology, the care and superintendence which God exercises over His creatures.”

The Bible Dictionary says this about providence,  “When applied to God the idea takes on a vastly larger dimension because God not only looks ahead and attempts to make provision for His goals, but infallibly accomplishes what He sets out to do.  And because it is God’s governance that is in view, it encompasses everything in the universe, from the creation of the world to its consummation, inclusive of every aspect of human existence and destiny.  This divine, sovereign, and benevolent control of all things by God is the underlying premise of everything that is taught in the Scriptures.”

And the Scriptures contain oh-so-very-many examples of His divine providence…here are just a few.

  • Baby Moses, being hidden in a basket in the river; found by Pharoah’s daughter and adopted into Pharoah’s family.
  • Daniel a Jewish slave in Babylon becoming Nebuchadnezzar’s advisor.
  • Joseph, envied by his brothers, sold by them into slavery in Egypt and becoming second in power after Pharoah.
  • Jonah’s refusal to obey, his consequences and, through them, the Ninevites choosing to repent.

Throughout the Scriptures, we are reminded of God’s desire to have His people (us!) recognize His perfect care and love as evidenced by His providence.

Earnestly remember the former things, which I did of old;
for I am God, and there is no one else;
I am God, and there is none like Me,
Declaring the end and the result from the beginning,
and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying,
My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure and purpose…
Isaiah 46:9 and 10

The world calls this coincidence…happenstance…serendipity…fate.  We call it the providence of God—His AWEsome watching over, His perfect care, His provision (both immediate and in the future).

When I applied my mind to know wisdom
and to see the business activity
and the painful effort that take place upon the earth
—how neither day nor night some men’s eyes sleep—
Then I saw all the work of God,
that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun
—because however much a man may toil in seeking,
yet he will not find it out; yes, more than that,
though a wise man thinks and claims he knows, yet will he not be able to find it out.
Ecclesiastes 8:16 and 17

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in Your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God!
Psalms 139:16 and 17

Our great God has all of eternity in mind and planned for us.  His sovereign plan (which includes all the faithful who have come before us) will come to pass for one reason alone—He is God, and that’s just the way it is!

And all of these, though they won divine approval
by [means of] their faith,
did not receive the fulfillment of what was promised,
Because God had us in mind
and had something better and greater in view for us,
so that they [these heroes and heroines of faith]
should not come to perfection
apart from us [before we could join them].
Hebrews 11:39 and 40

…making known to us the mystery of His will,
according to His purpose, which He set forth in Christ
as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him,
things in heaven and things on earth.
In Him we have obtained an inheritance,
having been predestined according to the purpose of Him
Who works all things according to the counsel of His will,
so that we who were the first to hope in Christ
might be to the praise of His glory.
In Him you also, when you heard the Word of truth,
the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him,
were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit….
Ephesians 1:9-13

*  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

What other examples of God’s providence do you remember from the Scriptures?  How about His providential hand of blessing in your own life?

(Perhaps you might share your answer in the comments below.)

You Are God Alone

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

You are not a god created by human hands
You are not a god dependent on immortal man
You are not a god in need of anything we can give
By Your plan, that’s just the way it is

You are God alone
From before time began
You were on Your throne
You are God alone
And right now in the good times and bad
You are on Your throne
You are God alone
You are God alone

You’re unchangable
You’re unshakeable
You’re unstoppable
That’s what You are

You’re the only God whose power none can contend
You’re the only God whose name and praise will never end
You’re the only God who is worthy of everything we can give
You are God and that’s just the way it is

Billy and Cindy Foote

*  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

I am reading along through a devotional study of the Book of Esther over at She Reads Truth.  (I know some of you are, too…it’s been great, yes?)  And I am reminded again…truly, I am humbled again…to recognize God’s providential hand of blessing that is so evident throughout the Book of Esther.  There is not even one single word throughout all ten chapters of the Book of Esther which is attributed to God, or His dealings with Esther, the King, or Uncle Mordecai.  No directive, no command, no blessing…no actual interaction with the Almighty God that is recorded.  However, we clearly can see His hand of blessing, His hand of direction, His guidance and His provision—His providence.

PROVIDENCE is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as “foresight; timely care; particularly, active foresight, or foresight accompanied with the procurement of what is necessary for future use, or with suitable preparation. In theology, the care and superintendence which God exercises over His creatures.”

The Bible Dictionary says this about providence,
“When applied to God the idea takes on a vastly larger dimension because God not only looks ahead and attempts to make provision for His goals, but infallibly accomplishes what He sets out to do.  And because it is God’s governance that is in view, it encompasses everything in the universe, from the creation of the world to its consummation, inclusive of every aspect of human existence and destiny.  This divine, sovereign, and benevolent control of all things by God is the underlying premise of everything that is taught in the Scriptures.”

And the Scriptures contain oh-so-very-many examples of His divine providence…here are a few.

  • Baby Moses, being hidden in a basket in the river; found by Pharoah’s daughter and adopted into Pharoah’s family.
  • Daniel a Jewish slave in Babylon becoming Nebuchadnezzar’s advisor.
  • Joseph, envied by his brothers, sold by them into slavery in Egypt and becoming second in power after Pharoah.
  • Jonah’s refusal to obey, his consequences and, through them, the Ninevites choosing to repent.

Throughout the Scriptures, we are reminded of God’s desire to have His people (us!) recognize His perfect care for and love for us as evidenced by His providence.

Earnestly remember the former things, which I did of old;
for I am God, and there is no one else;
I am God, and there is none like Me,
Declaring the end and the result from the beginning,
and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying,
My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure and purpose…
Isaiah 46:9 and 10

The world calls this coincidence…happenstance…serendipity…fate.  We call it the providence of God—His AWEsome watching over, His perfect care, His provision (both immediate and in the future).

When I applied my mind to know wisdom and to see the business activity and the painful effort that take place upon the earth—how neither day nor night some men’s eyes sleep—
Then I saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun—because however much a man may toil in seeking, yet he will not find it out; yes, more than that, though a wise man thinks and claims he knows, yet will he not be able to find it out.

Ecclesiastes 8:16 and 17

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in Your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God!

Psalms 139:16 and 17

Ultimately, our great God has all of eternity in mind and planned for us.  His sovereign plan (which includes all the faithful who have come before us) will come to pass for one reason alone—He is God, and that’s just the way it is!

And all of these, though they won divine approval
by [means of] their faith,
did not receive the fulfillment of what was promised,
Because God had us in mind
and had something better and greater in view for us,
so that they [these heroes and heroines of faith]
should not come to perfection
apart from us [before we could join them].

Hebrews 11:39 and 40

…making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His purpose, which He set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also, when you heard the Word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit….

Ephesians 1:9-13

*  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

What other examples of God’s providence do you remember from the Scriptures?
How about His providential hand of blessing in your own life?
(Perhaps you might share your answer in the comments below.)

CHRISTLife — ThirtyEight: Bold and Confident

cl bold and confidentGod chose us.  He also chose us to do His good works here on earth, as we await His return.  And the most amazing thing about this is He seems to choose the most unlikely and unqualified people to carry out His most important works.

Do you know this to be true? And often the response to His calling is, “Are You sure, God? Me? Why?”  Unintentionally we limit Him by what we think we can and cannot do.  For what’s impossible to us is possible with God.  We just have to believe that He has called us and He has a mission for us to spread His Word to the world.

Feeling unqualified?  When He calls, He equips and qualifies us to do that which we so feel we aren’t qualified to do.  Let’s go to His Word and look at some of those He called…and their response to Him.  And how different the world would be if they had felt they couldn’t do it!

God calls Moses:

Moses was 80 years old when he was sent to free the Israelites from Pharaoh.  His response was something like, “Me? I can’t even speak well. Do You really think anyone would even listen to me?”  When Moses finally quit making excuses and obeyed, the way was paved by God through the Red Sea, across a desert and, finally, to the entrance of the Promised Land.  All along the way, God was providing food and shelter and water for these people who trusted Moses with their lives.

Have you ever thought about what could have happened if Moses has said no?

God calls Jeremiah:

Jeremiah was a teenager at the time that God sent him to deliver news to the Jewish people.  Because He was so young, he thought that no one would take him seriously.  But God did.  He said in Jeremiah 1:5,”Before you were born I set you apart.”  For 24 years, Jeremiah was at God’s call, and all he did was write books filled with God’s words. The first one was destroyed and Jeremiah was imprisoned. His feet were in chains and he was thrown into a pit. But God sent rescuers and made a way for all His messages to be delivered.

God calls Gideon:

Last one on my list today is Gideon—and my favorite, I will have to say!  God called him His mighty warrior!  He told him to save His people who were being attacked constantly by their enemies.  He also wanted Gideon to destroy the idol, Baal.  But Gideon, who was working in a wine press, hiding in fear from his enemies, had many excuses as to why he wasn’t God’s man.  He said that he was a coward and how could God use him to fight for His people?  Fast forward…God fully equipped Gideon to do so much more.  He used his weakness to prove God’s strength.

See?  You are ready for any task that God has laid in front of you.  You may not even know what you are called to do but know this—you are called to do great things!  And He will make sure you have everything you need to complete His will.  God calls you to serve with what you have and just as you are.  All you have to do is trust and believe Him,  and love Him enough to do what He says.

  • Matthew 14:22  If you love Me, then look at me. Keep your eyes on me.
  • Matthew 16:4     If you love Me, follow me.
  • Luke 10:37          If you love Me, go and do likewise.
  • John 21:15-17    If you love Me, feed My sheep…tend My lambs.

And remember, there is only one that wants to see you fail. There is an enemy who wants to fill you with fear and lies and keep you silent so you won’t do the Lord’s work. But God did not give you a spirit of fear, “…but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV).

He gives you courage.  Courage is what will help you persevere.  And it’s God’s power that resides in you and gives you the confidence you need to go on and accomplish with victory the will of your Father in Heaven.  The Lord is your Shepherd, you shall not want for…anything!

16 Day Love Challenge: Chapter 12 – Love Always Protects

16daylovechallengealwaysprotectsOn its face, it seems rather simple – we all want our loved ones protected, right?  I can definitely say that I am protective of my friends and family – physically and spiritually. But I have tried to take the “Love Challenge” outside of just my immediate relationships and think bigger each time, so it begs the question: if I am to be loving to everyone, how do I protect someone I don’t even know?

To make sure I understood what it meant to protect, I once again sought the definition of the word.  As I looked into its meaning, and tried to focus on how I could embody this characteristic in my life, I began to get emotional. To protect means “to keep safe from harm or injury” (Google Dictionary); however, another source says further “to keep someone from being harmed or lost” (Merriam–Webster Online Dictionary).  Synonyms of protect include: save, shield, hedge, shelter, guard.  Any of those words look familiar?  Perhaps because in many passages in Scripture, Jesus is described as being any and all of those things for us.  So, to get this straight – if we are showing love to others, we are to save them from being harmed or lost.  Sounds a lot like what is at the heart of the Great Commission, if you think about it. Love always protects.  To get to the meat of this one was actually a little challenging for me, sisters.

It still seems a bit hard to grasp…how can I protect the person that cuts me off in traffic? The person who is in front of me in line at the grocery store?  How can I protect the person at work who is intent on undermining me?

Here are a few things that I was shown:

  • Guard your tongue.  Proverbs 18:21 tells us that “the power of life and death are in the tongue.”  There are many more Scriptures about guarding our tongue and watching what we speak, but let me try to be more specific.  What comes out of your mouth when that person cuts you off in traffic? Be honest, sisters.  Are you speaking life or death over that person? I’ve started trying to pray in those situations that God will watch over the reckless driver and keep him from bringing harm to him and others on the road. What we say holds spiritual power, sisters!  Guard your tongue and choose to speak life over a situation or a person.
  • Intercede. Prayer seems to be a natural partner with guarding our tongues.  However, I am asking you to take prayer a step further.  I am suggesting that if you want to protect someone that you not just pray for them, you intercede for them.  To intercede means that you plead someone’s case – almost like a lawyer.  In Exodus 32 we see that Moses has been in the Presence of God for so long that the Israelites decided to worship a golden calf. God is so angry that He told Moses He was about to destroy everyone and start over!  However, the Bible says that Moses sought favor from God and pleaded with Him to spare their lives—and God relented. Live on a street with crazy neighbors?  Pray that God reveals Himself in such a way that they come to know God. Pray for our nation.  Have a friend or acquaintance that refuses to acknowledge God and ridicules you on top of that? Don’t be angry or offended – pray that they come to know the truth – you may be the only person praying on their behalf!
  • Be merciful.  There is a particularly sobering passage (at least it is to me) in Jude – in verse 23.  Jude says “Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them…” (NIV). Sisters, let me plead with you – show mercy to all. As believers, we have no right to be self-righteous – the only reason we are saved is because Jesus showed mercy to us – extend it to everyone. How can you practically show mercy? Can you donate to a food bank? Give a homeless person a blanket? Can you hold your tongue when you’d really like to give someone a piece of your mind? Can you forgive? Can you reserve judgment? Donate your time? Can you step out of your comfort zone and ask God to show you what it really looks like to be the “hands and feet” of Jesus – and then act that way?? Would you allow God to open your heart to love someone (anyone!) in such a selfless, potentially heartbreaking way that you “snatch them from the fire??”

Will YOU be protection from harm?

 

Let’s pray:

Dear God, I have been challenged so much and in so many ways.  Help me, God, to dig deeper. Help me to love more fully. Help me to see all people as You would see them. Thank You, God, for being my Protection, my Shield, my Rock and my Fortress. Thank You for sending Your Son to die for me to protect me from evil and your angels to stand guard around me. I want to live my life in such a way that I protect and guard not only those that I love, but those You put in my path. Help me to decrease so that You may increase in my life. Help me to walk in love all of my days!  I love You, Lord!  Help me show it. In your Son’s name we pray, Amen.

Divine Protection

SeekingHimLogo

Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from Him cometh my salvation.
He only is my Rock and my Salvation;
He is my Defense; I shall not be greatly moved…
Psalm 62: 1-2

Let me take you back to Exodus 33….

It came to pass when Moses entered went out into the tabernacle
the cloudy pillar descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle
and the Lord talked with Moses.
Verse 9 KJV

(I strongly urge you to read through the conversation between God and Moses). My concentration is on THE ROCK and SALVATION.  What is the type of Rock and Salvation being talked here?  If we combine Psalm 62 and Exodus 33, it equals Isaiah 53.

In Exodus 33 God was telling Moses that He would put Moses under a cleft (the back and the sides of the hands but the front God will cover with the arm). Let us imagine—how big is the arm of God?  Who is this Arm?  Isaiah 53 explains the Arm of God…it is JESUS.

So as long as we are in Christ Jesus we will be covered.  He is the solid Rock—nothing can harm us.  We are protected. He is our salvation.  He died for our sins only to be served when He rose again for it was for our righteousness.  Death alone was for our salvation; if He had not risen, then there would have been no righteousness being imputed for us.  He rose for our righteousness.  We should count ourselves blessed for the Blood that was shed was for our good.  We should be thanking God for His love for us. Today we walk freely for Someone paid the price and saved us; and we are defended at all angles.

Look back and think how many times we can say the Rock covered us. I see many prayer requests (and praises thereafter) in the GCH Fellowship group.  Who takes us through those times?  It is this Arm and Rock!  Let us embrace this Arm with all our hearts.  Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father but only through Him.  That is why in Exodus 33 when Moses was insisting that he wanted to see God face to face, God told him that he could not see God; that He would put Moses in a Rock (Jesus) and cover him with His Arm (same Jesus) and that He would pass by Moses and he would only see God’s back. God was protecting Moses since once Moses had seen His face he could have died for no one has ever seen the face of God.  That is why God said to Moses “you will be covered by the rock at your back and in front there will be my arm.”  We are at liberty to interact with Jesus for Him to cover and protect us completely and all around — 360 degrees.

* * * * *

Father God, we thank You for Your goodness and mercy that follows us all the days of our lives. We appreciate Your presence in our lives—the Rock and the Arm that saved us from all un-righteousness.  In Jesus name, I pray. Amen

Esther – Chapter 8:1-2

As I read Esther chapter eight, one phrase continually comes into my thoughts: “There is none like You…You alone are God!”  And I praise and exalt Him for His sovereignty, His all-knowing and His ALWAYS knowing!  Would you praise Him along with me?

We have watched this incredible story of redemption, blessing,  provision, protection, and submission unfold day by day over the past seven weeks throughout our study of Esther: The Beauty of Courageous Submission.  At times, my heart has been so caught up in the moment-by-moment real life drama of Esther’s life.

There are no words throughout all ten chapters of the Book of Esther which are attributed to God, or His dealings with Esther, the King, or Uncle Mordecai.  No directive, no command, no blessing…no actual interaction with the Almighty God that is recorded.  However, we clearly can see His hand of blessing, His hand of direction, His guidance and His provision—His providence.

PROVIDENCE is defined as “foresight; timely care; particularly, active foresight, or foresight accompanied with the procurement of what is necessary for future use, or with suitable preparation.  In theology, the care and superintendence which God exercises over his creatures.”

The Bible Dictionary says,

“When applied to God the idea takes on a vastly larger dimension because God not only looks ahead and attempts to make provision for His goals, but infallibly accomplishes what He sets out to do. And because it is God’s governance that is in view, it encompasses everything in the universe, from the creation of the world to its consummation, inclusive of every aspect of human existence and destiny. This divine, sovereign, and benevolent control of all things by God is the underlying premise of everything that is taught in the Scriptures.”

And the Scriptures contain so many examples of His divine providence; here are just a few.

  • Baby Moses, being hidden in a basket in the river; found by Pharoah’s daughter and adopted into Pharoah’s family.
  • Daniel a Jewish slave in Babylon, and becoming Nebuchadnezzar’s advisor.
  • Joseph, envied by his brothers, sold by them into slavery in Egypt and becoming second in power after Pharoah.
  • Jonah’s refusal to obey, his consequences, and through them, the Ninevites choosing to repent.

Throughout the Scriptures, we are reminded of God’s desire to have His people (you and me!) recognize His perfect care for and love for us as evidenced by His providence.

Earnestly remember the former things, which I did of old; for I am God, and there is no one else; I am God, and there is none like Me,  Declaring the end and the result from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure and purpose,
Isaiah 46:9 and 10

The world calls this coincidence…happenstance…serendipity…fate.  We call it the providence of God—His AWEsome watching over, His perfect care, His provision (both immediate and in the future).

Ecclesiastes 8:16 and 17

When I applied my mind to know wisdom and to see the business activity and the painful effort that take place upon the earth—how neither day nor night some men’s eyes sleep — Then I saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun—because however much a man may toil in seeking, yet he will not find it out; yes, more than that, though a wise man thinks and claims he knows, yet will he not be able to find it out.

Psalms 139:16 and 17

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in Your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God!

Ultimately, our great God, has all of eternity in mind and planned for us.  His sovereign plan which includes all the faithful who have come before us will come to pass for one reason alone—He is God, and that’s just the way it is!

And all of these, though they won divine approval by [means of] their faith, did not receive the fulfillment of what was promised, Because God had us in mind and had something better and greater in view for us, so that they [these heroes and heroines of faith] should not come to perfection apart from us [before we could join them].
Hebrews 11:39 and 40

…making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.  In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.  In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit….
Ephesians 1:9-13

What other examples of God’s providence can you remember from the Scriptures?  How about His providential hand of blessing in your own life?  (Perhaps you might share your answer in the comments below.)

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Let’s Pray:

Almighty God, the Great I AM, throughout time You have always taken such AWEsome care of Your people providing in ways that are beyond our ability to fathom or understand.  We thank You, as we continue to read about Esther’s (and the Jewish peoples) life, for Your providence— Your perfect provision and guidance. You have ‘declared the end from the beginning’ and Your plans always come to pass.  Please help us, Father, when we cannot see even the next step to be comforted in trusting that You see far into the future…truly to eternity!  We love You and trust You!  And pray in Jesus’ name.

Amen.

Jesus Christ our Rock

SeekingHimLogo

Unto Thee will I cry O Lord my Rock, be not silent to me,
lest if Thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.
Psalm 28:1

There is a song that we sing; one verse of the words are “Rock of Ages, cleft for me; Let me hide myself in Thee! Let the water and the blood from Thy wounded side which flowed; Be of sin the double cure… save from wrath and make me pure.”

The composer of this song had a revelation that, on our own, we cannot hide from anything except that Christ Jesus is involved.   For us to be covered from all unrighteousness we need Christ to cover us up for He arose on the third day for our righteousness. When faced with challenges of this world let us not focus on the problem; rather be focused on Christ Who is our ever-present help in time of need.

We need to understand the following: the power—the rule—the principle of prioritization.

We need to understand the above types of prioritization.  Since without understanding them we will perish for we will walk without direction. Exodus 33:15 says “…and he said unto Him, if Thy Presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.”

Moses understood the power/rule/principle of prioritizing. What is it that we prioritize in this day to day life? The Bible says “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and its righteousness and all the things shall be added unto you.” This is part of prioritizing. Since Christ is our Rock, let us not make Him redundant or declare Him redundant when we lose focus ourselves.  We are not seeking His face so that all things should be added to us.  We need to invite Him into  all aspects of our lives. Be it at our workplace, be it at school, etc.  If we focus on Him as a Rock where we can hide ourselves, we will excel in this life since He will not remain silent when we cry to Him.  He will hear and open the flood gates of heaven.  He will open the windows of heaven and pour out such a blessing that we will have not enough room to contain it.

Christ in us is the Hope of glory; hence He is the Rock of Ages.

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Father, we thank You for You are our Rock where You hide us when we call.  All our attitudes are hidden in You, our unrighteousness is hidden in You just because of Your love which is unconditional.  May Your name be glorified and be magnified!   In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen!!

Esther – Chapter 6:1-3

During that night the king could not sleep so he gave an order to bring the book of records,  the chronicles, and they were read before the king.   It was found written what Mordecai had reported concerning Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs who were doorkeepers,  that they had sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus.   The king said, “What honor or dignity has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?”  Then the king’s servants who attended him said, “Nothing has been done for him.”

 Esther 6:1-3

The favor of a man (in this case King Ahasuerus), while a blessing, is always temporary.  As we read this record, we see that the king realized that something should have been done to show honor, or favor, to Mordecai for saving Ahasuerus’ life. (Look back here to see exactly what had happened.)  For some reason…perhaps God’s timing…it did not happen at that time.

We have seen ‘favor’ being given here in Esther’s story before…let’s look back.

…Now Esther was winning favor in the eyes of all who saw her.
And the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the maidens….
Chapter 2, verse 15-17

And when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, she obtained favor in his sight, and he held out to [her] the golden scepter that was in his hand. So Esther drew near and touched the tip of the scepter.
Chapter 5, verse 2

In the first account, Esther was favored not only by everyone she met but…far more importantly…she was favored by the king.  And, in the second record, because of the favor that Esther received from her husband King Ahasuerus, she was allowed to approach his throne and granted her most unusual request.  When favor is given from person to person, there is always the chance it will be withheld, or delayed…as in the instance between Ahasuerus and Mordecai.

However, God’s favor—His grace to us—is never withheld.  We are never left waiting for His blessing.  When we receive favor from the Lord it is always timely…perfectly on time.   There are many records throughout the Bible of people being favored by the Lord.  Here are a few of my personal favorites!

Noah — found favor in God’s eyes; and we know what came from that!

Genesis 6:6-8
And the Lord regretted that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved at heart.
So the Lord said, I will destroy, blot out, and wipe away mankind, whom I have created from the face of the ground—not only man, [but] the beasts and the creeping things and the birds of the air—for it grieves Me and makes Me regretful that I have made them.
But Noah found grace (favor) in the eyes of the Lord.

Moses — also was favored by God and through His life the children of Israel benefitted from that favor and were led to the Promised Land.

Exodus 33:17 and 18
The Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing of which you have spoken; for you have found favor in My sight and I have known you by name.”
Then Moses said, “I pray You, show me Your glory!”

David — Psalms 5:12, 30:5 and 7, 69:13 (and others)

Acts 7:45 and 46
So it was until the days of David, who found favor in the sight of God
and asked to find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob.

Mary — Can you only imagine being told these things!

Luke 1:28-31
The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.
But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.
You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call Him Jesus.

As we read through these records and remember the fullness and importance of each account, I think that we recognize the incredible value there is in finding ‘favor with God.’  I have read numerous times that ‘favor’ (Old Testament word) and ‘grace” (New Testament word) are the same thing.  So favor = grace

Well, we HAVE found favor, or grace, with God!  And the favor/grace that we have with Him can never be withheld, delayed, or taken away!  (For a beautiful picture of God’s favor, His grace to us, read Romans 5.)

Read through the following verses…I pray that God will enlarge your understanding so that you will see and know of His favor and grace towards you!

I always thank my God for you because of His grace given you in Christ Jesus.
1 Corinthians 1:4

Romans 6:14

2 Corinthians 9:8

Ephesians 1:2-6

Ephesians 2:5-8

Ephesians 4:7

Philippians 1:7

Hebrews 4:16

Titus 3:4-7

2 Peter 1:2-3

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Let’s Pray:

Almighty Father, we thank You…we praise You…for the immensity of Your grace towards us!  Where would we be without it?!!  Truly, still dead in our trespasses and sins!  Your grace, your favor, Your blessing for our lives cannot be earned; we are so thankful!  May we hold the TRUTH regarding Your wonderful grace in our hearts…and rest in that truth.  Thank You, Father; we love and adore You!

Amen.