March 31, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO PROVIDE EXCELLENT POWER

II CORINTHIANS 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

We are “earthen vessels”. We are vessels that are of the earth. The Bible says that God created man out of the “dust of the earth”. And our physical bodies will go right back to earth one day when we die, but our soul will live forever.

The verse also says “in” earthen vessels. This means that God created us as vessels for the purpose of being “filled” with something. For God to say that something was “in” us as earthen vessels, means we were made to “hold” something. We were made to “House” something. We are empty vessels that have the capacity to be filled up. This verse tells that as believers, we have a treasure that is in us. That treasure has filled that empty area that we were created with as earthen vessels.

Now here is what is interesting. The vessel isn’t that valuable, but the treasure is. If you bought me a Rolex watch and wrapped it in a box, I would not throw away that watch and keep the box. The box wasn’t what was valuable, the watch was. What makes us “earthen vessels” valuable here on earth is the fact that we are carrying a treasure inside of us. What is that treasure? Well the treasure in us is God the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit in us provides the “excellency of power” directly from God the Father Himself. We were made to be filled by the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit came to fill us with excellent power. As long as we know that the excellent power is “not of us”.

Excellent power is created by God, it is delivered to us by the Holy Spirit, and it is manifested in our lives when we rely upon God for it, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

March 30, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO DEFEND ME FROM THOSE THAT RISE UP AGAINST ME

Psalm 59:1 Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God: defend me from them that rise up against me.

It sure is difficult, when individuals are against us, to stay still and let God take care of it. The word “enemies” is used here in this verse. I do not know about you, but so called “enemies” don’t really bother me so much. It is the so called “friends” that cause me issues. I guess David understood that also. We believe that David is writing this as he is running from Saul who is trying to kill him. Saul was his so called “friend”. Saul was his king, his mentor, and his father-in-law. There are occasions where you friends or family can feel like “enemies”. Now I dare say that none of us are running from for our lives from an individual, hiding in caves, bushes, and mountains as David did. I sure hope not. If you are, stop reading this devotional and call the police. 😁

In all seriousness, people in our lives do not usually throw spears at us as Saul did David. However, they throw words, criticisms, lies, and accusations. Sometimes that hurts worse than maybe a spear would. A spear wound might eventually heal, but words can hurt for a lifetime. David here asks for God to “deliver” him, and “defend” him from that. That phrase “them that rise up against” is interesting. It means individuals that you did not expect to do that. There are some people that you know are against you, and it won’t surprise you if they say something about you. But then there are people that you never thought would do that, and that hurts the worst. It literally, as described in this verse, came out of nowhere. Usually it is an individual that you have done a lot for, or spent a lot of time with. It is sometimes a person that you care about, or even love.

Please hear this from me today, if you hear anything. There are just some things that we cannot defend ourselves from. There will always be things said that we didn’t know were said. There may be lies told about us that we will never hear. There could be critical remarks spread around that we can never seem to be able to trace back to who started it. You can be frustrated your entire life, and trying to defend yourself your entire life, and never get anywhere. Your true friends won’t believe it, your enemies won’t believe you, and the rest do not care. You will wear yourself out and everyone around you will be tired of hearing you complain. Just let God do the defending. He knows you, He knows them, and He knows the truth.

David said here to God, “you are ‘my God’”. And dear friend, if you are redeemed by the blood of Christ, He is your God to. Ask Him to “deliver” and “defend” you from it. And He will!

March 29, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO PROVIDE GRACE DURING GRIEF

 

Lamentations 3:31 For the Lord will not cast off for ever: 32 But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. 33 For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.

 

Sometimes discipline is necessary. Let me remind us of these verses:

Hebrews 12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?   8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

The first thought is an encouraging one, that when God disciplines us, it will not be forever. It may feel like it, and it may take longer because of our stubbornness, but God will not put on us “more than we can bear”. “The Lord will not cast off forever.”

I do find the next two verses very interesting and extremely personal. Think about this statement, “Though He cause grief, yet will he have compassion”. What a personal statement. Even more specific, what a “parental” statement. God the Father is acknowledging that although He must, at times, discipline His children; God will still always have compassion for us. There are occasions where grief may come to our life, but if it comes as a result of God’s purpose, it is for our good. God is trying to encourage us here. Yes child, grief may be necessary, but I still feel compassion, and have a multitude of mercies available. After all, the chastisement is proof that we are God’s children.

The most personal is verse thirty three. “He doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.” God is lovingly, and meekly letting us know that He may have to allow difficult things in our life, but He does not enjoy it. God doesn’t do it “willingly”. God would rather love you back to where you need to be, and I am sure He has been trying to. is His “last resort”.

I do not love disciplining my three sons, but I love them enough to discipline them. One thing we need to get beyond right now is this: People are sometimes convinced that much grief has come into their life because God was picking on them, and that somehow God was enjoying ruining their lives. As if God gets some sick satisfaction from your pain. That is simply “Satanic” thinking. That sounds exactly like Satan’s lie to Eve in the garden. Most grief in our life is caused by us, not God. But even the discipline that God must do to us, He makes it very clear that He does not enjoy it in the least bit. In fact it breaks his heart.

SOMETIMES DISCIPLINE IS NECESSARY. WHEN IT IS, GRACE IS THERE WITH THE GRIEF.

March 28, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO BE GOOD TO THOSE THAT WAIT (part 2)

LAMENTATIONS 3:25 The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. 26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.

“WAIT AND SEEK”
May I point out first what the verse does not say. It does not say, “the soul that seeketh a solution”. It does not say, “the soul that seeketh a way out”. While you and I wait for God, we are to seek God, not just what God can do for us. Instead of seeking a solution, why don’t we seek God? Instead of trying to get out of our problem, why don’t we seek God presence in it. Instead of complaining during our trials, why don’t we seek to know God better through our trials.

The point here is not to just sit back and wait. The point here is to seek God while we wait. To use the waiting season as an opportunity to get closer to God. To use our trials as an opportunity to know God better. Even Job, after all the suffering that He went through, finally saw the point of seeking God while we wait. This is what Job said was the result of that:
Job 42:5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye
seeth thee.

You see, Job knew a lot about God, but after seeking God while he waited, he ended up “seeing” God. Then God says in our key verses “that a man should both hope and quietly wait”. Let me give you a little outline:

WE SHOULD:
1. WAIT
2. WORSHIP
3. WATCH

What are we to hope for; “The Salvation of the Lord”. That is our hope. Knowing that somehow, some way, God will come through and accomplish something good. Do you see it?
* WE LEARN TO WAIT ON GOD
* WE LEARN TO SEEK GOD WHILE WE WAIT
* WE LEARN TO TRUST THAT GOD IS DOING SOMETHING GOOD
* GOD DOES SOMETHING GOOD
* WE ENJOY THE GOOD THING THAT GOD DID
* WE NOW KNOW GOD BETTER BECAUSE WE SOUGHT HIS FACE THROUGH IT

That is how it works my friend. “The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him.”

March 27, 2018

 

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO BE GOOD TO THOSE THAT WAIT (part 1)

LAMENTATIONS 3:25 The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. 26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “WAIT AND SEE”? Well I have a new one: “WAIT AND SEEK”! Neither option comes easy to us.

I hate waiting. I don’t like to wait in traffic, I don’t like to wait in line, and I don’t like to wait for a train to go by. I have things to do, people to see, projects to finish, donuts to eat, etc. Not necessarily in that order. In fact, we have been trained in our culture that we should not have to wait for almost anything. We have instant coffee, instant tea, instant milkshakes, and instant mashed potatoes. We have fast food, fast cars, and fast oil changes. We can get quick sun tans, our teeth whitened in an hour, and anything we need at Walmart twenty four hours a day. I remember years ago in the church office, when I was a youth pastor, we purchased an automatic paper stapler. Who would have ever thought?

Well God does not work that way. God is not on our time table. We are on His time table. We are just one piece of God’s master plan. The world does not revolve around us. Sometimes, we have to wait on God. But God gives an incredible promise here. We are told that God is good to those that wait for Him. Let me remind you that God does not owe us that. We should be willing to wait for God whether He rewards us for that or not. God has done enough for us already. But if we wait, He will be good to us. You see, we need to wait because the whole reason we are having to wait is for God to accomplish good things in our life. God is working hard to do good things for us, but if we don’t wait, we limit what God was wanting to do. Because God is “good”, the end result of God’s purpose is always “good”. His very nature requires that.

Psalm 73:1, “….Truly God is good”.

Exodus 34:6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,

Psalm 107:8 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

March 26, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO GIVE NEW MERCY AND COMPASSION EVERY DAY

LAMENTATIONS 3:22 It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

Just so each of us understand how important the mercy of God is. We are told what life would be like if we did not have it. In short, we would have no life. We would be “consumed”. That is pretty clear. Consumed by what?

* Consumed by our own sin
* Consumed by our circumstances
* Consumed by our own weaknesses
* Consumed by Satan’s power
* Consumed by our own confusion
* Consumed by God’s wrath

And there are others, but that is enough to make the point. Any number of things would be too much for us if not for the mercy of God.

As if that was not enough, we are also the benefactors of God’s compassion. It never fails. God creates man, and man sins against God. God provides redemption, and man rebels against God. Do you notice a trend here? And yet God still has compassion on us. So the mercy and compassion of God are two things that we are very undeserving of. And yet, we are told that we are given fresh, new mercy and compassion every morning. That means it “resets”. It always new. They do not wear down or wear out. Trust me, if they could wear out, we would have worn them out. But God starts it new every day. We have a clear slate with God. When we wake up everyday, we have brand new compassion, and brand new mercy for that day. Yesterday is forgiven, last week is forgotten. No matter how much of God’s mercy we used up yesterday, God has a fresh load for us today.

How could God do that? How could we deserve that? Well there is just one answer to that. The Faithfulness of God is “great”. It is so great, that you can count on it. When I go to bed at night, I know when I wake up that God will be faithful to provide me with new mercy and new compassion for that day.

What a combination: new mercy, new compassion, and great faithfulness!

I am persuaded that He is able!