January 23, 2018

Truth We Can Depend On

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Every word of God proves true.
    He is a shield to all who come to Him for protection.
Proverbs 30:5  NLT

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 And The Message version reads,

Every promise of God proves true;
He protects everyone who runs to Him for help.

Does it boggle your mind to try to understand that every (all possible) word of God proves (shows beyond doubt) that it is true (accurate, faithful)?  In our human experience, with ourselves and with those around us, we know that kind of perfection and faithfulness doesn’t exist 100% of the time.

Thankfully, it is true for God’s Word.  In the Amplified, it says His words are “…tested and refined like silver.”  And Psalm 12:6 states, “The Lord’s promises are pure, like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times over.”  That leaves absolutely no imperfections.

Your promises have been thoroughly tested;
that is why I love them so much.
Psalm 119:140

Because of this purity, God’s Word is sure and we can trust it.  God is one with His Word.  God promises to protect all who come to Him, and we can be sure He will.

God is our Refuge and Strength [mighty and impenetrable],
A very present and well-proved help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1 AMP

In the midst of life’s conflicts and disappointments, God is our Shield. Shields come in many different shapes and sizes. Some are tall to cover the warrior from head to toe. Some other shapes are made to protect the most vital organs, and to deflect the enemy’s weapons from harming the warrior. Spiritually speaking, God does exactly that.  When we come (run) to Him, He is there to protect us from the “fiery darts” of the enemy.  In Ephesians 6:16, God says, “…in all circumstances take up the shield of faith.”  God is there for us, but in faith we must come to Him and accept (take up) His protection.

  • The more we know Jesus, the more we will know God’s Word:

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,
and we have seen His glory,
glory as of the only Son from the Father,
full of grace and truth.
John 1:1, 14

  •  The more we know Jesus, the more we know the Father:

I and the Father are one.
John 10:30

  • The more we know Jesus, the more we know the Father’s Truth:

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.
No one can come to the Father except through Me.”
John 14:6

 

  • The more we know Jesus, the more we will be sanctified and protected by God’s Truth.

Sanctify them in the truth; Your Word is truth.
John 17:17

If we will study Jesus—His life, His words, His relationships with others, and His relationship with God the Father—we will know that God’s Word is truth and we can trust it.  We will have the assurance that we can run to God and find the protection we need.  We will walk in faith, and be shielded by Him.

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Dear God, we are so grateful that we have Your Word to turn to.  Life is not easy, and, we need Your protection even when we don’t realize it.  Help us, Lord, not to just “pick up” Your shield in times of imminent danger…but to live our lives getting to know Jesus, Your Word, so we can be in Your protection at all times.  Thank You for the promise that “Every word of God proves true.”  In Jesus’ Precious Name we pray, Amen.

God Has The Final Say

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Recorded in the Gospel of John, our Lord made seven statements referring to Himself as I AM

I AM The Light of the World
I AM The Bread of Life
I AM The Door

I AM The Good Shepherd
I AM The True Vine

I AM The Way, The Truth, and The Life
I AM The Resurrection and The Life

Each week during this season of Lent, here on the Seeking Him blog, we will be focusing our devotionals on a different aspect of Jesus’ revelation of Himself as I AM.  The aim of Lent should be to prepare our hearts for the remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice—His trial and torture, the Crucifixion and His death…and above all, the celebration of His Resurrection from the dead.  We pray that this will be a great encouragement to each of you who read them.  And that all of us will consider the significance of Jesus’ words and, through them, be helped as we remember and are thankful for all Jesus went through during the last few weeks of His life on this earth.

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“…I AM the Resurrection and the Life.”
John 11:25

“He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead!
Remember what He told you back in Galilee—
that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified,
and that He would rise again on the third day.”
Luke 24:6-7

I know Easter is all about what Christ has done for us and our sins and our salvation.  Jesus IS the Resurrection and the Life, and because of Him we live. Here’s another way to look at it though…

God has the final say in everything.

When times look rough and just make no sense at all…when bad is just surrounded by bad and worse just keeps getting worse…we have to remember that God has the final say.

Jesus answered, ‘You would have no power over me at all
unless it were given to you from above…’
John 19:11a

  • At the Red Sea, when the Israelites appeared to be trapped with nowhere to go, God appeared and made a way. When Pharaoh and his army began to follow, God washed them away. (Exodus 14)
  • In the boat during the storm, the disciples were afraid they would die, but Jesus delivered them. (Matthew 8:23-27)
  • When Lazarus died and all hope was lost, Jesus brought him back! (John 11)

When life starts to beat you down and nothing makes sense, and the fight seems lost remember the next sentence in Luke 24:

“Then they remembered that He said this.”
verse 8

The great thing is this—when all else fails remember, no matter what you are facing, God has the final say.  It’s not over until God says it is, and (in case you forgot!) we win at the end!

Things in this life are simply things in this life.  1 John 2:17a says, “And this world is fading away…”  This is not the end.  Nothing can happen to us that can rob us of our ultimate prize.  Whether it be illness, death, sorrow, or fear…we still have a place in Heaven.

Yes, it would be awesome to have an easy life here on Earth, and for everything to be just comfortable and perfect, but that’s not how it works!   This is not the end, and nothing will be perfect until we are home in Heaven.   So, keep that in mind.

Yes, we are may face some horrible situations and circumstances
but, in the end, everything will be okay.

I AM The Resurrection and The Life

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Recorded in the Gospel of John, our Lord made seven statements referring to Himself as I AM

I AM The Light of the World
I AM The Bread of Life
I AM The Door

I AM The Good Shepherd
I AM The True Vine

I AM The Way, The Truth, and The Life
I AM The Resurrection and The Life

Each week during this season of Lent, here on the Seeking Him blog, we will be focusing our devotionals on a different aspect of Jesus’ revelation of Himself as I AM.  The aim of Lent should be to prepare our hearts for the remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice—His trial and torture, the Crucifixion and His death…and above all, the celebration of His Resurrection from the dead.  We pray that this will be a great encouragement to each of you who read them.  And that all of us will consider the significance of Jesus’ words and, through them, be helped as we remember and are thankful for all Jesus went through during the last few weeks of His life on this earth.

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So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off;
and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary,
to console them concerning their brother.
Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him,
but Mary stayed at the house.
Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here,  my brother would not have died. 
Even now I know that whatever You ask of God,
God will give You.”
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus said to her, “I AM the Resurrection and the Life;
he who believes in Me will live even if he dies,
and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ,
the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.”
John 11:17-27

from The Gospel of John movie (2003)
narrated by Christopher Plummer; Henry Ian Cusick as Jesus

Live For Today

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Sittin’ in my room staring at the wall
Wonderin’ about the meaning of it all
Why is it this thing called life
Has got me goin’ crazy
So I open up Your Word and let it speak to me
The purpose and the plan that You’ve designed
Is clear to see, and I believe

I’m gonna live for today
I’m gonna follow in Your way
I’m gonna let my little light shine
Like there’s no tomorrow
I won’t worry about the past
I know my future is intact
So I’ll choose to live my life one way
I’m gonna live it for today

You told me not to worry
About what lies ahead
So I am gonna focus on today instead
Making every moment count and counting
Every single blessing
I’m gonna set my mind on the
Here and the Now
This is what I want my life to be about
And this is how….

 Listen while you read….

Singer / Songwriter: Miss Natalie Grant
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One of my favorite sayings on how I live my life is “One day at time, sweet Jesus, is all I am asking of You….”  Taking one day at a time instead of being concerned with what lies ahead.

The Word that gives life
was from the beginning,
and this is the one
our message is about.
Our ears have heard,
our own eyes have seen,
and our hands touched
this Word.
John 1:1 Message

God tells us to ‘Seek ye first the kingdom…’ We are to live each day as God gives us EXACTLY what we need for that given day.  I love how this is stated:

“There is value in engrafting every single verse in the Bible, because ‘all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness’ (II Timothy 3:16).  There is great benefit in focusing on the verses that contain commands, because they express the foundational message of Scripture: how to love God and others.”

for more: How Can I Engraft God’s Word into My Life from iBible.org

May we choose to live for today and not worry about what lies ahead…trusting God in each moment. We are to let our lights shine….

You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its flavor, how can it be made salty again?
It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled on by people.
You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill cannot be hidden.
People do not light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a lampstand,
and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way,
let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good deeds
and give honor to your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5: 13-16 NET

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Heavenly Father, thank You for the strength to live each day as if it was our last. May our little lights shine to honor and glorify You in all that we do… In Jesus’ name, Amen!!

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.

“I AM” Chapter 7 – Day 3: I AM..the LIVING ONE

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What a wonderful way to close out this study knowing that our God is the “Living One.”

 Our Living God from A – Z

A- AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH (HEBREWS 12:2)

B- BREAD OF LIFE (JOHN 6:35)

C- CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD (ROMANS 8:39)

D- DELIVERER (ROMANS 11:26)

E- ETERNAL LIFE (1 JOHN 5:20)

F- FAITHFUL AND TRUE (REVELATION 19:11)

G- GREAT HIGH PRIEST (HEBREWS 4:14)

H- HEAD OF THE CHURCH (EPHESIANS 5:23)

I- I AM (JOHN 8:58)

J- JESUS (MATTHEW 1:21)

K- KING OF KINGS (REVELATION 17:14)

L- LIGHT OF THE WORLD (JOHN 8:12)

M- MEDIATOR (1 TIMOTHY 2:5)

N- NAZARENE (MATTHEW 2:23)

O- OUR PASSOVER (1 CORINTHIANS 5:7)

P- PRINCE (ACTS 5:31)

Q- QUINTESSENCE – THE MOST PERFECT EMBODIMENT OF SOMETHING (REVELATION 1:8)

R- REDEEMER (JOB 19:25)

S- SAVIOR (LUKE 2:11)

T- TEACHER (JOHN 3:2)

U- UNMATCHABLE – NO ONE IS EQUAL TO HIM (ISAIAH 40:28)

V- VINE (JOHN 15:1)

W- WORD (JOHN 1:1)

X- EXCELLENT (PSALM 8:9)

Y- YOURS – HE IS FREE TO YOU IF YOU BELIEVE (ROMANS 10:9)

Z- ZION, KING OF (PSALM 9:11)

Revelation 1:18  I am the living one.  I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever!  And I hold the keys of death and the grave.

WOW!  God’s Word speaks for itself to show us Life (living life-Himself)

People go around asking all kinds of questions daily.  Some of the many questions we have heard are: Who made the trees?  The flowers?  The birds?  The animals?  The earth?  The rocks?  The stars, sun, moon, ocean, mountains?  Who made you and me?  And the answer is:   Someone who is greater, more intelligent than all, made them!

That Someone is the only true and living God. He is invisible to our eyes, because He is a Spirit.  He lives in heaven.  He is eternal.  He has always existed and He always will.  We know Him because we see the things He has made and because He has given us His book called the Bible in which He reveals Himself to us.  We don’t find His bones in a grave, like other gods who have died, because our God lives!

Do you know the only true and living God?  If not, would you like to?  Do you want to be free from your daily burdens of sin and have a sweet assurance of “living” with the “Living One”?

If you are ready to meet the “I AM” and “live” with the “Living One” for eternity then all you have to do is ask Him.

“Dear Lord Jesus, 
I know that I am a sinner, I believe Jesus died on the cross and shed His blood for my sins, was buried and rose from the grave.  I ask You now, Lord Jesus, to come into my heart, and take away my sins, and save my soul.  Change my heart and life, Lord, to be what You want me to be!  I thank You, Lord for the forgiveness of my sins, Your gift of salvation and everlasting life, because of Your mercy and grace!  AMEN.

Oh what a precious journey you will have as you will get to know the “I AM” – the “Living One” now that you have accepted Him as Christ your Savior.  I may not ever get to meet you personally here on this earth, but know, my friend, that I will be praying for you as you begin your new life with Him, and on the day He returns I will meet you in heaven!  Hallelujah!

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Let’s Pray:

Dear God,

I thank You for these past seven weeks that we have been able to dig in Your Word together, Lord, and truly get to know Who You Are and who we are in You.   I thank You for any that have received You as Savior and I ask that You help them to continue to dig in Your Word and become the beautiful creation that You intended for them to be and help them to spread this wonderful news of salvation with the world.  In Your name, I pray.

Amen!

“I AM” Chapter 4 – Day 5: I AM the Resurrection

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This week in our study, we have been learning about Jesus’ character from someone who knew Him very well—His chosen disciple, and friend, John.  Throughout the gospel written by John, we learn much about Jesus.  We come to understand, know, and love Him through

  • The 7 ‘I AM’ statements
  • His relationship with His Father
  • His promises
  • His incredible love for His followers
  • His prayers and intercession for them (and us!)

It is this deep love and tender care for His followers that I would like to focus on today.  With all that we have come to understand and know about our Lord as He walked this earth, should it surprise us at all that He had great relationships?  His love…unconditional.  His forgiveness…just amazing.  His patience…looooong-suffering (think about the manner in which the Pharisees seemingly were constantly looking to snare Him).  His grace, His mercy…just amazing!

In today’s lesson, Teresa wrote about Jesus identifying Himself as ‘I AM – The Resurrection.’  And she shared the record from John chapter 11 about Jesus’ dear friend, Lazarus’ death…and Jesus raising him from the dead.  I always love reading the account of Jesus dealing with Mary and Martha’s deep grief.  He loved these three siblings very much!  (You can read the full account here.)

Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the same spot where Martha had met Him.  When the Jews who were sitting with her in the house and consoling her saw how hastily Mary had risen and gone out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to pour out her grief there.  When Mary came to the place where Jesus was and saw Him, she dropped down at His feet, saying to Him, Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.  When Jesus saw her sobbing, and the Jews who came with her [also] sobbing, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.  And He said, Where have you laid him? They said to Him, Lord, come and see.  Jesus wept.  The Jews said, See how [tenderly] He loved him!

(verses 30-36)

What a true Friend, and how tender, gentle, compassionate Jesus was to these two sisters!  This record gives us the opportunity to know more about our Lord and Savior.  We know from the Scriptures that ‘…we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning’ (Hebrews 4:15).

But He knew there was a purpose and plan in the waiting.  He told them that their brother would be made alive again.

Jesus said to her (Martha), Your brother shall rise again. (verse 23)

Can you imagine how hard it must have been for Jesus to not run immediately to them when He first heard that Lazarus was sick!  But He—Who was always busy about His Father’s will—denied His own desires to bring glory to God!

Then Jesus said “Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?”
So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said,
“Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.  I knew that You always hear Me,
but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here,
that they may believe that You sent Me.”
(verses 40-42)

This great care and concern for others was supremely evident all throughout His life; we could talk about time after time after time after time when He loved to the utmost…even up until the very end.  As He hung on the Cross, His very life dripping out of His Body, He made sure that His mother, Mary, was taken care of.

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her,  “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple,  “Here is your mother.”  From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
John 19:25-27

This same love, care, and compassionate concern that our Lord had for those who lived and walked this earth with Him—He also has for us!  Nothing less!  The worries, the burdens, the cries of our hearts…all are known by our Lord.  He intercedes for us as He reigns at God Almighty’s right hand.  There is not a moment of our lives that Jesus is not watching over us.  There is not a need we have that He is not providing for.  There is not a tear that falls that He is unaware of.  There is not a burden that threatens to overwhelm us that He is not willing to help us carry.  And so we must do the following.

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace,
so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:16

Let’s Pray:

Dear Lord, we come before the Almighty’s throne of grace and mercy acknowledging Your perfect provision of everything we need!  We love You, Lord, and we are so thankful for the privilege of learning and knowing more about You, our Precious Savior!  May we speak and shout to the world about You, Lord Jesus, helping them to know the Truth that we know—YES!  Our Jesus cares!  He cares for You!  We pray, Lord, for each life we reach out to and each heart that we speak life and peace and truth into…by Your grace may they be drawn into a relationship with You—You Who are The Way, The Truth, and The Life!  By Your grace!  We love You, Lord…and pray and ask this in Jesus’ name.

Amen