January 23, 2018

Your Hand Is Upon Me

SeekingHimLogo

You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot attain to it.
Psalms 139:5 and 6

Dear Lord, such a picture that is—‘enclosed…behind and before’…with ‘Your hand upon me’!!  Truly that IS too wonderful for me…and if I did not read it in Your Holy Word quite possibly I wouldn’t believe it.  You are such an awesome God!  You remind us in the most tender ways of Your great love and care for us.  We are held in Your hand and protected, provided for, guided, loved.  Lord, help us to hold this vision—this Truth—in our minds and hearts so that when those times of worry and doubt and fear come (and they do!) we will be drawn quickly back to You and Your providential lovingkindness.  Thank You, dear Father, thank You!  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.  <3

CHRISTLife — ThirtyTwo: Bride, Friend, and More

cl bride friend and more

Yesterday we read in our study of CHRISTLife: Embracing Your True and Deepest Identity that we are ACCEPTED by God through all that Christ accomplished for us.  It is “in Christ” that we are accepted by God Almighty.  God knows every bit of you—every thought, every action, every single thing that makes you you—and He accepts you because you have been made new.  You are righteous, you are justified, you are sanctified, you are purified, you are His child.  He has brought you into a relationship with Him that is like no other!  And you belong to Him!

In today’s reading, Mrs. Myers continues to encourage us by communicating more and more proper images to hold in our thoughts of who we really are.  She writes about God being our Husband (Isaiah 54:5) and that we collectively are the Bride of Christ (Romans 7:4).  She reminds us that Jesus calls us ‘friend’ (John 15:14-15), and that we are now citizens of God’s heavenly Kingdom (Hebrews 13:14).  And that we are God’s servant, just as Jesus Himself gave us His example (Philippians 2:7).

And, as she writes (page 136), “Our belongingness also means that God accepts us as His true worshippers…made possible by our spiritual oneness with Christ.”   To worship is to acknowledge Who and What God is—and God has made Himself known to us through His Word. Through the Scriptures, we find the knowledge of Him.

May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness,
through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence,
2 Peter 1:2 and 3

We never have to worry or be concerned that we might be worshipping the Almighty God in a wrong or disrespectful way. We have been given the Truth—God’s Word is Truth.

During Jesus’ prayer just before He was taken captive in the Garden of Gesthemene, He prayed to His Father for those who were with Him, and also for us (“I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word…” verse 20). He prayed,

Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy]
by the Truth; Your Word is Truth.
John 17:17

And for their sake I consecrate Myself, that they also may be sanctified in Truth.
Verse 19

We not only have the Truth but, by God’s grace, we have been sanctified by the Truth.  Being sanctified <purified, consecrated, separated out, made holy> we are able to truly worship God in holiness.  As such we can come before Him, holy and acceptable, worshipping Him as we will do throughout eternity.  Oh, what glory that will be!  But no need to wait…remember we are accepted through Jesus’ accomplishments…we can worship Him now!  We can bring Him honor and glory and worship, all due to His mercy and grace.

For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
1 Corinthians 6:20

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,
to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God,
which is your spiritual worship.
Romans 12:1

We have the privilege to worship Him…just as the angels and the saints around His throne are doing right now!  But not everyone, at this time, can truly worship our God—only those who are His.

Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well,
But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

John 4:23 and 24

For we are the true circumcision, who worship God in spirit, and glory in Christ Jesus,
Philippians 3:3

For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.
Matthew 4:10

God is the object—the sole object—of our worship.  Not wonderful people, not saints, not angels.  As John was warned by the angel sent by Jesus to give him the prophecy in the Book of Revelations:

Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me,
“You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you
and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus.
Worship God.
Revelation 19:10

Worship belongs to Almighty God, the Great I AM.  King David knew this.  David worshipped God alone.

O come, let us worship and bow down,
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For He is our God,
and we are the people of His pasture,
and the sheep of His hand.
Psalms 95:6-7

Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name;
bring an offering, and come into His courts!
Worship the Lord in holy array;
tremble before Him, all the earth!
Psalms 96:7-9

I will extol You, my God and King, and bless Your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless You and praise Your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable.
Psalms 145:1-3

It is our joy and our privilege to worship our God!  We have been accepted and made holy, like He is, and given the right to come before Him to worship Him in spirit and truth.

Unfailing Love

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Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
Your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
Your justice like the great deep.
You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.
How priceless is Your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.
Psalms 36:5-7

If God’s love is unfailing, then why does it <seem to> fail?”  This seems like a silly question, but as I read the above passage, statements like “it’s not enough,” and “it doesn’t feel unfailing” arose in my mind.

Memories of heartache, depression and disappointment flooded to the surface. At first I was scared—those type of thoughts are not good and, according to what I had just read, they were contrary to the word of God. I fought the urge to stuff the thoughts. I wanted to ignore them, but also felt compelled to examine them and whether I believed them or not.

Failure in itself is very subjective. What one may see as a failure another sees as a success. I don’t know about you, but my feelings and God’s words often clash. Thankfully, God’s Truth also trumps my feelings. So, of course for comfort, I went to my Bible.

God’s love never fails. By definition it’s unfailing. But I found some people who momentarily felt like it did.

  • Both Mary and Martha exclaimed (John 11), “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Even others in the crowd questioned, “This man healed a blind man. Couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying?” God’s love had failed…or so it seemed. We know that Lazarus was raised from the dead.
  • The Israelites said, in Exodus 14, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt?” They were trapped by the Red Sea. God’s love had failed…or so it seemed. We know they crossed through the sea.

The more I thought on this concept of unfailing love, the more I realized that I myself have felt failed by God’s love, i.e., when He called me to Hermitage, alone and away from my support system. I felt failed then, but the Lord has showed me the truth of the this situation.
This is what it boils down to: the truth is that God’s Word is Truth. It says His love is unfailing…and so it is. Every situation needs to be viewed with this in mind and if you cannot see His truth, ask.

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Lord, thank You for awesomeness.  Forgive me for the times when I momentarily allow my feelings to trump Your truth and when I make my circumstances bigger than Your awesome power.  Thank You for Your unfailing love that never, ever, ever fails!  And for Your faithfulness and reliability. In Jesus name, I pray.  Amen.