Thursday, December 10, 2015

Omnipresence of God

"'Am I only a God nearby,' declares the LORD, 'and not a God far away? Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?' declares the LORD. 'Do not I fill Heaven and earth?' declares the LORD." Jeremiah 23:23-24
This is a warning to false prophets that they cannot hide themselves from God. God sees all their lies, deceptions, and selfish intentions. No one can be hidden from God. God is omnipresent. He knows all our inner thoughts, motives, and feelings. He sees everything...near and far, now and forever. He is not limited by time or space. Whatsoever we think, feel, desire, speak, and do, is known to God.

"Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me; Your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,' even the darkness will not be dark to You; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You." (Psalm 139:7-12)
Everything that goes on in Heaven and on earth is in God's view and under God's sovereignty. There's no boundary to His providence and power. Some people still try to hide from God in the sense that they think (hope) He could not see the evil things they do or see their disobedience. How foolish and/or delusional they are! Jonah learned the lesson when he tried to hide/escape from his God-given mission and failed miserably. There is no such thing as committing a sin in secrecy! Never forget God's constant presence. "A man who sincerely believes the omnipresence of God, cannot be indifferent to sin." (George Everard) The more conscious we are of God's presence, the more comforted and contented we feel and the less likely we will sin/be tempted to sin.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

I AM With You Always

This is Christ's wonderful reassuring promise that goes with His final command (the Great Commission). Jesus commands us to go and make disciples of all nations, baptize them in the Name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (a confirmation of the doctrine of the Trinity), and teach them to obey His commands. Lord, send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden upon me, only sustain me. Sever any ties but the ties that bind me to You and Your service.” (David Livingstone) 

Jesus gives us an important task to do but He doesn't just leave us to figure it all out by ourselves. Christ's promise of His presence is precious. He knows that when we obey what He commands us to do, we will face hardships, obstacles, distractions, attacks, and dangers from the Enemy. He promises to be with us always in all places at all times. He confirms that He is indeed ImmanuelHis constant Spiritual presence encourages, comforts, strengthens, guides, guards, empowers, and preserves us. Jesus is with us on days of discipline, days of drudgery, days of doubts, days of difficulties, days of disappointments, days of discouragement, days of distress, and day of death. Every. Moment. His everlasting arms will sustain us and carry us. He encompasses us. He is our ever-present Guide, Shield, and Deliverer! He is our Forever Faithful Friend! If all we have left is Christ, we still have more than enough!

"
Every day will be a day of temptation. In the home, in the business, in company, in loneliness--I shall encounter the devil's subtle snares. But let my Lord be with me, and temptation will but reveal the closeness and blessedness of the tie. It will be an instrument which He uses to impart more maturity to my graces--more courage, more patience, more trust... ALL the days He is with me--to the end, and through the end, and beyond the end forever and ever! Whether I live, therefore, or whether I die--I am His and He is mine!" (Alexander Smellie)


"You are never for an instant . . .
out of His heart,
out of His thoughts,
out of His hands,

or out of His eye! 
Go then, and lay your weariness on Christ!
(Octavius Winslow)

"The Christian has a remedy which never fails, when properly applied--the Savior's presence. This... 

turns poverty to riches;
invests the humblest meal with luxury;
makes crowded cities as pleasant as the mountain top;
imparts refreshment in the midst of labor;
fills voids with Christ's fullness; and
gives us the presence of the best of friends." (George Mylne)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for saving me and for always being with me all the days of my life! Please help me to boldly share the gospel with those who need to hear. Please guide me in Your way and guard me from the Enemy's assaults and snares. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

God Is With Us

God commands the Israelites (and us) to not be afraid or be dismayed and He gives us five reasons/ promises.

1. God is with us. 

God's presence makes all the difference in the world. He will never leave us nor forsake us. No matter what trial and storm we're going through, God is bigger than our storm and He is right there with us to bring us through it. His presence gives us peace, confidence, and comfort. Fear not!

2. God is our God.

We are His by creation, redemption, purchase, and choice. We are Christ's in all circumstances and for eternity. We belong to Him, Who is sovereign over all. He makes it His business to take care of us/our needs. He loves us and cares about us. He is personally engaged in our present and eternal welfare. Fear not!

3. God will strengthen us. 

When we are weak, in Christ we are made strong. "He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) His divine power and strength will cover our weaknesses. "The LORD gives strength to His people." (Psalm 29:11a) "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." (Isaiah 40:29) "It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure." (Psalm 18:32) "The Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one." (2 Thessalonians 3:3) We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). Fear not!

4. God will help us.

Trust in His infinite wisdom, omnipotent power, and unending love. He knows what we need and He will provide, guide, and equip us. He delights in helping us. "The LORD will fight for you; you need only be still." (Exodus 14:14) "I lift up my eyes to the hills--where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of Heaven and earth." (Psalm 121:1-2) Fear not!

5. God will uphold us with His righteous right hand. 

"The LORD makes firms the steps of the one who delights in Him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with His hand." (Psalm 37:23-24) Our lives are in His capable, all-powerful hand! Fear not! 

"What a precious promise this is for all God's feeble children, who are daily fearing that they shall fall or be crushed under the weight of their troubles and trials! 

Oh, what a mercy! God says that He will uphold you. He will put strength into you; He will enable you to bear your afflictions and will bring you safely through all your troubles.

Satan may say, "I will trip you up." 
God says, "I will uphold you!"

Unbelief may say, "You will one day fall and perish."
God says, "I will uphold you!"

Your flesh may cry out, "I can never bear up under this cross."
God says, "I will uphold you!"

Your feeble heart may say, "How can I endure such privations, such bereavements, such buffetings of Satan, such temptations, such losses, such fiery trials?"
God says, "I will uphold you!" (James Smith)

Prayer: Father, thank You for Your faithful promises! Please help me to always look to You and Your Word whenever fear, anxiety, doubt, or discouragement try to creep into my heart and mind. I am weak but You are strong. Please uphold me, empower me, and strengthen me so that I may serve You, please & honor You, and live for You all the days of my life. In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen.


Monday, December 7, 2015

Immanuel


"The virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son, and they will call Him Immanuel (which means 'God with us')." (Matthew 1:23)
This is the fulfillment of the prophecy mentioned in Isaiah 7:14. 
The virgin (Mary) gave birth to Jesus (God incarnate, conceived by the Holy Spirit). He is called Immanuel (God with us). Christ's presence is the best Present! We are never alone! Jesus came to reconcile us to God and to be with us. It is truly mind-blowing that the Creator of the universe desires to have a deep, intimate relationship with us, wretched sinners. He knows everything about us (the good, the bad, & the ugly...struggles and dreams...trials and joys) and lovingly walks with us through it all.

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you." (Deuteronomy 31:6)

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'" (Hebrews 13:5)

"Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." ~Jesus (Matthew 28:20)
"O honored saint of God! You have . . .
the Divinest in the universe to love you,
the Mightiest in the universe to shield you,
the Loveliest in the universe to delight you,
the Dearest in the universe to soothe, cheer, and gladden you!
O favored disciple of Jesus--you have such a one ever at your side!
This is the promise of promises--the richest pearl of all the promises, exceeding in its mightiness and preciousness; while it is the substance, sweetness, and pledge of all the rest!" (Octavius Winslow)

As we recapture the wonder of our Redeemer’s birth, may we be reminded of His amazing grace, be refreshed by His awesome love, and be aware of His constant presence. Rejoice…rejoice…Immanuel…God with us and in us and for us! He is always present with us even when we don't feel His presence. I'm glad that He doesn't leave us here on earth to fend for ourselves. He is here with us through His Holy Spirit, teaching us, guiding us, & empowering us on our way to eternity.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You that You are Immanuel! It's such a comfort to me that You are always with me in every moment of my life...in every circumstance. With You by my side, I don't need to fear or worry about anything. I have everything I ever need because I have You.


Friday, December 4, 2015

Unto Us a Child Is Born


Isaiah announced a prophecy about the Messiah: God has come to the world in the form of a child (fulfilled in Luke 2:1-20). Jesus Christ is born to be the Savior of the world. He is Hope Incarnate. I love how the prophets declared prophecies with absolute confidence (notice the verb form used by them) as if they had already taken place (even though they're future events), demonstrating the certainty of their fulfillment. Isaiah said, "For unto us a child is born" about 700 years before Christ's incarnation. "Unto us a Son is given"--Jesus is God's greatest Gift given to us...for us. He came to live a perfect life and die the death we deserve as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins so that we could live with Him forever. He came to set us free from bondage of sin and death. This verse speaks of Christ's humanity (born as a child) and deity. He is God Himself ("Mighty God"). The four titles for our Messiah speak volumes about Who He is.
"Wonderful Counselor"--Jesus is the Wisdom of God who leads us and counsels us. He is wonderful in all aspects.
"Mighty God" also indicates Christ's omnipotence. He is a powerful Warrior. Nothing is too difficult for our God!
"Everlasting Father"--Jesus is our compassionate Provider and Protector. He is Father of Eternity; He is outside of time. "Before the mountains were born or You brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting You are God." (Psalm 90:2)
"Prince of Peace"--Jesus reigns and rules. His rule will bring wholeness/peace (shalom) that has no end. This part will be fulfilled by His second coming. Yet even now He is our Peace. Through Christ, we have peace with God and in Christ, we have peace within as we trust and obey Him."'Your life is hid with Christ in God,' and the imperturbable peace of Jesus Christ is imparted to you." (Oswald Chambers)

Prayer: Lord, thank You for saving me and being my Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace! Please help me to seek You & Your will in everything and to trust You with every area of my life. Thank You for being my constant Hope and Anchor! Please empower me to be an effective ambassador representing You accurately to the world. May this Christmas season be a joyous season of reflection, celebration, and gratitude for Who You are and for all You have done for us!





Thursday, December 3, 2015

Worship God


"All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: 'Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!'" (Revelation 7:11-12)
All the angels, the elders, and the four living creatures joined together in adoring and worshiping God by celebrating His attributes. Their falling down on their faces demonstrates their utmost submission and reverence. The verses (9-10) before these show a great multitude of the redeemed standing before the throne and before the Lamb and praising God. If there's much joy in Heaven over one repented sinner, can you imagine the magnitude of rejoicing over this culmination of salvation?! Verse 12 is a sevenfold doxology which may symbolize the perfect attributes of God or the perfect nature of the end-time events (the number seven symbolizes perfection). One good reason why we should study names of God is to ponder His marvelous attributes. "Who" is more important than "why". We can always trust in Who God is even when we don't understand why God does what He does. When we know and trust "Who" so well, we feel less need to know "why".

"The first fruits of Christ having led the way, the Gentiles converted later follow, and ascribe their salvation to God and the Redeemer, with triumph. In acts of religious worship we come nigh to God, and must come by Christ; the throne of God could not be approached by sinners, were it not for a Mediator. They were clothed with the robes of justification, holiness, and victory; and they had palms in their hands, as conquerors used to appear in their triumphs. Such a glorious appearance will the faithful servants of God make at last, when they have fought the good fight of faith, and finished their course. With a loud voice they gave to God and the Lamb the praise of the great salvation. Those who enjoy eternal happiness must and will bless both the Father and the Son; they will do it publicly, and with fervour. We see what is the work of heaven, and we ought to begin it now, to have our hearts much in it, and to long for that world where our praises, as well as our happiness, will be made perfect." (Matthew Henry)

Prayer: Lord, thank You for Who You are! I love You! Please give me a heart of worship. May my life be a constant praise song to You! I want to know You more and to make You known. Please use me for Your work and for Your glory. Amen.




Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Want Wisdom?

"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." (James 1:5-6)
- We can always use more wisdom, can't we :)? Indeed, we need God's wisdom to do God's will. Wisdom includes practical insight, discernment/sound judgment, and spiritual understanding. This is not a one-time thing. God doesn't fill us up with His wisdom once to last our whole lifetime. We must come back to Him again and again. This helps us understand our dependence on Him and it also builds our relationship with our Heavenly Father.

- When we're facing trials, we need God's wisdom to know how to deal with them, how to endure, how we can have joy in the midst of them, and to see what God's purpose is in those trials. 
"The wisdom God gives is not necessarily information on how to get out of trouble but rather insight on how to learn from one's difficulties. It is not more information about how to avoid times of testing but instead a new perspective on trials. The wisdom of God begins with a genuine reverence for the Almighty and a steadfast confidence that God controls all circumstances, guiding them to His good purposes." (from my NKJV Study Bible's commentary)

- There are two conditions/requirements for receiving wisdom: 1. Ask God for it and 2. Believe/don't doubt. Pray with unwavering faith that stands firm and undisturbed in all the storms of life.


- God could simply give us the wisdom but He requires us to ask for it so that we recognize our need for it and we understand & acknowledge where that wisdom is coming from.


- God is generous and He enjoys giving. He wants to give us wisdom because He is a loving Father desiring to see His children live a blessed life.


- "Without finding fault" = without reproach, without reminding us how we don't deserve it, without expressing disappointment about how foolish we are or how slow we are (at learning and trusting), not begrudgingly

- Here's a test to see if we lack wisdom :).

"Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom...The wisdom that comes from Heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere." (James 3:13, 17)
- Prayer: Father, thank You for being patient, gracious, and generous with me! Please give me wisdom to do Your will, to know Your heart, to understand Your Word, and to learn what You want me to learn. Please help me to be humble, pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy & good fruit, impartial, and sincere. In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Source of Wisdom and Knowledge

Paul was refuting a heresy (Gnosticism) that emphasized knowledge/"higher thought" as the means of salvation. Paul once again tried to point people back to the deity and all-sufficiency of Christ, Who is the Embodiment of God's wisdom and knowledge. "For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding." (Proverbs 2:6) God's fullness is in Christ. Jesus is totally God with all God's powers and attributes. "In the person, character and work of Christ--is included all that man can need and all that God can give!" (Cornelius Tyree, "The Glorious Sufficiency of Christ" 1879) To know Christ is to find the treasures of true wisdom and knowledge! "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts have good understanding. To Him belongs eternal praise." (Psalm 111:10)

"Jesus is infinitely wise and immutably holy--therefore His love is a wise and holy love. He wisely manifests His love, so as to...discountenance sin, encourage holiness, and further His people in their heavenly way and work... 

His wisdom and holiness shine in every part of His works--but in none more than in His dealings with His people. Was He less wise, we might have more comfort--but it would injure us. Was He less holy, we might have fewer trials--but we would assuredly be losers. Divine love, wisdom, and holiness combined--drew the plan of the Christian's lot; and the same divine love, wisdom, and holiness--executes that plan... 

There is divine wisdom in every trial--and divine love in every cross! Holiness and wisdom in Jesus, demand that our way should at times be hedged up with thorns. The infinite love of Jesus, shines in every painful discipline...May His love shed abroad in my heart--lead me to love, seek, and pant for holiness!" (James Smith)

"All that Christ has--is mine!
Christ's love is mine to pity me! 
Christ's mercy is mine to save me! 
Christ's graces are mine to beautify me! 
Christ's power is mine to protect me! 
Christ's wisdom is mine to counsel me! 
Christ's Spirit is mine to comfort me! 
Christ's Word is mine to teach me!
Christ's glory is mine to crown me!" (William Dyer)

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