April 30, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO CHANGE A PERSON

Luke 19:8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.

Zacchaeus had a good little business going. Collecting taxes was a necessary thing. It was better to be the tax collector than to be the tax payer. Of course, there was not a fair ethical tax system. And apparently there was not an ethical tax collector. Zacchaeus would collect extra from people and pocket the rest. There was not really anything they could do about it. It was a common practice, and there was no one they could go to, to lodge a complaint about it. He had legally cheated a lot of people. I’m sure it might have bothered him when he first started doing it, but over time, he got more comfortable with it. That’s usually how it works with us. Our conscience is bothered at first, but if we do it long enough, we don’t feel the guilt anymore. The longer we go, the harder our heart gets. Yes sir, He was doing pretty good for himself, until that day when he heard that a man named Jesus was coming through Jericho. Before heading to the public town meeting, I could see Zacchaeus doing some last-minute collection in case he needed some extra spending money. Being a short statured individual, Zacchaeus had to climb up in a tree to get a clear shot of this Jesus.

As Jesus went by, he looked up into the tree and looked eye to eye with Zacchaeus. Jesus said, “Zacchaeus, come down out of that tree, because I am going to your house.” And that is exactly what Jesus did. You see, when Jesus comes to your house, He changes your house!

The power of God. Who could describe His power? As Jesus went to his house, Zacchaeus’s heart had already begun to change. Listen again to what he says:

* Luke 19:8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.

*He decides to give half of everything he has, to those in need.

*He decided to restore fourfold anything he had taken by false accusation

What a change. He did a total 180. Many people want to get right, but some actually make the effort to “be right”, so they can “get right”. Zacchaeus did it. He became a changed man. Imagine how surprised his customers were after that. God was able to change Zacchaeus, and God is able to change you.

April 28, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO BE THE TRUE GOD

Jeremiah 10:10 But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.

In our last devotion, we discussed how God can make peace in a nation’s borders. In this verse, we are told that a nation cannot withstand God’s anger. In other words, don’t mess with the “Maker”. Presidents, Prime Ministers, and kings ultimately answer to the King of Kings.

First, the Lord is a LEGITIMATE GOD

He is the “true” God. Every other so-called god is a “fake” or “false” god. The Lord is the only legitimate God. This Hebrew word for “true” means stable, trustworthy. In other words, you cannot trust these other fake gods. But you can trust the “true”, trustworthy God. We tend to make a god out of many things in life. Money, possessions, popularity, and especially entertainment and sports. These things can consume our life. That is how you know if we have made something a god in our life. When it consumes our time, our mind, our attention, and our affection, it has become a god. Remember, you can’t trust it. It is vain. It is a false, temporary god. It will leave you empty.

Second, the Lord is a LIVING GOD

He is not dead. The so called false gods are dead, or one day will be. Our Lord is alive and well.

*Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

“He ever liveth.”  We would not have any hope, if our God was not alive! How much could a dead god really do for you? They obviously could not help themselves, how could they help you?

Third, the Lord is a LASTING GOD

We are told that our Lord is an everlasting King. As you know, I love talking about God being King. It is comforting to me. The fact that our God reigns and is in control. He will build and protect His kingdom. We were enslaved to sin, but after we were saved, we serve a new King. We belong to a new kingdom. Even better, He will always be King. There will never be a replacement, or a new regime. There will never be a transfer of power. He is able to be the only TRUE GOD.

April 27, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO MAKE PEACE AND FILL THE PANTRY

Psalm 147:14 He maketh peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat.

America has numerous defense systems set up to protect the borders of America. Some that we know about, and I am sure some that we do not know about. There seems to be constant turmoil between us and other nations, but great attention is paid to make sure we are ready to defend our borders. The problem, I believe, is that the greatest danger America has is not outside our borders. I believe our greatest danger is from inside our borders. Our country is divided, and is growing more divided every day. There is racial divide, political divide, social divide, and religious divide. That is just a few. Sometimes the hardest place to really have peace is “inside thy borders”. Only God could do that. If God does not intervene, America’s destruction will be caused by themselves. That is how it is in a family, a marriage, and even a church. If we are not careful, we self destruct. We protect ourselves from outside dangers, but we spend little time protecting ourselves from the inside. Only God can make “peace in thy borders”.

“Filleth thee with the finest of the wheat”

Is that not what God does? God always “fills”. God never does anything halfway. He gives us life “more abundant”. My cup “runneth over”. Notice what David said in this verse:

*Psalm 13:6 I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.

But God does not just fill us with wheat, He fills us with the finest of wheat. God gives us the best harvest. By the way, if there is no food in the house to feed my family, there will not be much peace. God “fills” our life with the “finest”, so there will be “peace in thy borders”. Only God can do these things. I do not know about you, but God has always filled my pantry. God has always provided. God has always “dealt bountifully with me”. God has given me “life more abundant”. My cup always “runneth over”.

*Psalm 81:10 I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.

*Psalm 107:9 For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.

If you haven’t noticed, look at the verse and here is a good outline. God gives:

  1. PEACE
  2. PROVISION
  3. PROSPERITY

April 26, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO BE GREATER THAN US (Part 2)

Psalm 147:4 He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.
5 Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.

In verse four, God is greater than us in His “knowledge”; and in verse five, God is greater than us in His “power”.

Third, God is greater than us in His “understanding”. In fact, this verse tells us that God’s understanding is “infinite”. The word for “understanding” in this verse means discretion, reason, skillfulness, wisdom. God not only has more knowledge than we do, He knows how to process and use that knowledge. God understands “discretion”. He knows what to bring to light, and what should be concealed. God knows how to use “reason”. He takes all the facts, all the feelings, all the angles, and from that knows our heart, our motives, and our best path. God is so skilled at everything He does, that He is perfect. We see skilled athletes all the time in sporting events, but we never see any perfect athletes. Humanity in its very nature is imperfect, but God in His very nature is perfect.

The word “infinite” in this verse means unable to be numbered or measured. So, God’s knowledge, power, and wisdom will never be measured by us. We will never be able to fully understand God, what God knows, and what God can do. He is above us, beyond us, and over us. I guess I have made my point, but why is this so important to us?

1. GOD IS PATIENT WITH ME, EVEN WHEN I ACT LIKE I KNOW MORE THAN HE DOES.

2. GOD IS ABLE TO OVERCOME MY WEAKNESS WITH HIS POWER

3. GOD FORGIVES ME, EVEN WHEN I DOUBT HIS PLAN

4. GOD IS A GREAT, EVEN WHEN I AM NOT

5. GOD LOVES ME, EVEN THOUGH HE IS ABOVE ME

6. GOD UNDERSTANDS ME, EVEN WHEN I DO NOT UNDERSTAND HIM

“GREAT IS OUR LORD”

April 25, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO BE GREATER THAN US (Part 1)

Psalm 147:4 He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.
5 Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.

The smartest of men on earth, with the latest available technology, cannot number the stars. They have no idea how many stars there are, because they cannot see them all. Not only does God know exactly how many stars there are, He is the one that made them, and He named them all. Why is that important to even mention in this chapter? Does it change my life at all that God created, counts, and calls all the stars? (Do you see what I did there?) How does that affect me?

First, it proves that God is greater than us in His “knowledge”. This is just one of many things that God knows, that we do not. We cannot create the stars, we certainly cannot know the names of each of them, and we cannot even see them. God just knows a lot of things that we don’t. God knows how many hairs are on our head, He knows how many fish are in each body of water, and He knows how many insects are in the whole state of North Carolina. We need to remember today that God knows more than we do.

Second, God is greater than us in His “power”. “Great is the Lord, and of great power.” God not only knows more than we know, God can do more than we can do. Look at these verses in this chapter:

* 8 Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains. 9 He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.

You and I cannot do that. If you have a dog or cat in the house, it is a big responsibility to make sure they get fed every day. Then if you have children in your house, that is a great expense and responsibility to make sure they get fed every day. Could you imagine making sure that you fed every wild animal on the earth every day. God does. Just because we don’t see how something can be done, does not mean it cannot be done. God is greater in power than we are. Let me remind you:

* Matthew 6:26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

God is greater than us. In our next devotion, we will discuss the third area in this verse where God is greater than us. I don’t know about you, but I am humbled already.

April 24, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO BIND OUR WOUNDS

PSALM 147:3 He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.

As we have discussed in the past, it is a wonderful promise that God can heal a broken heart. Hearts do not brake like other things do. Hearts break but keep working. Hearts are fractured but keep feeling. Hearts are shattered, but the pieces are still in place. When a person brakes an arm, people notice. If they break a foot, a shoulder, or a hip, it is visible. But a heart can break, and no one might notice. There are broken hearts in church every Sunday morning that most people there would never notice. God does, however, and God can heal those broken hearts.

Sometimes, however, hearts that were broken and even healed by God can leave deep seeded wounds. Just because the heart is healed, doesn’t mean the mind is. I counsel all the time with people facing lasting, nagging issues, from things done to them years ago. God says that He can “bind up their wounds”. THIS WORD “binding” means to wrap or mend. Think about that statement:

1. The wound first needs to be cleaned and free from infection
* This means the PURE NATURE OF GOD

2. The wound needs to be wrapped in protectant material to prevent outside infection from coming in
* This means the PROTECTIVE NATURE OF GOD

3. Wounds do not heal overnight. It takes time.
* This means the PATIENT NATURE OF GOD

4. Certain activities must be avoided not to agitate the wound
* This means the PRUDENT NATURE OF GOD

5. Healing a heart, and binding wounds that will take a while to heal is a sign of
someone that greatly cares
* This means the PATERNAL NATURE OF GOD

GOD LOVES US. THAT IS WHY HE HAS PROMISED TO HEAL OUR BROKEN HEARTS AND TO BIND UP OUR WOUNDS. HE IS OUR FATHER. THAT IS WHY IT IS PERSONAL WITH GOD. HE WILL NOT ALWAYS STOP US FROM BEING WOUNDED, BUT NO ONE CAN STOP HIM FROM HEALING THE WOUNDS.