With His Own Hands!

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2.7

God spoke and the light appeared. God spoke and the firmament appeared. God spoke and the waters and the dry land we put into their proper places. God spoke and things began to grow in the earth. God spoke and the lights appeared in the heavens. God spoke and the creatures of the sea and the flying creatures on the earth appeared. God spoke and the beasts on the earth appeared.

And THEN “the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground … ” Everything else God spoke into existence, but when He came to the crowning act of creation, He fashioned man with His own hands and He breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life. I’m not sure how that speaks to you, but I am completely humbled by the realization that after God SPOKE everything else into existence, He took time to PERSONALLY form man with His hands and to personally breathe into his nostrils to give him life.

Let’s examine these verses: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him: male and female created he them. (28) And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl o the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” Genesis 1.27-28 Every living thing that God spoke into existence he put under the authority of man.

We were not an afterthought with God. We were the crowning element in His creative process. If that does not cause us to see God differently and see our responsibility to God differently, then we have a real disconnect with truth. May God help us to see how SPECIAL we are in God’s sight, and then to live in the light of that knowledge. Just my thoughts …

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Grace, Faith, Works – Very Interesting!

!“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast. (10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2.8-10

Countless numbers of people have come to Christ after reading and understanding these verses. We are saved by grace through faith. While the concept of grace seems simple, I still struggle with why God would grant me grace. The only answer that makes sense to me is that He loves me and His unconditional love allows Him to extend grace to me (and every other sinner).

When I look at verses 9 and 10, I am reminded of two very significant thoughts: (1) I do not work to earn my salvation. (2) I have been created in Christ “unto good works”, meaning that my salvation experience should lead me to a life of good works that will point others to God. I must be aware of my responsibility to this purpose of God for me. I have been “created in Christ Jesus unto good works … ” Good works is not the ONLY reason God saved me, but it is certainly ONE of the reasons He saved me. How will a lost world know anything about the God whose we are unless we become His hands and feet in the world, and we speak as though He were speaking through us?

This last phrase adds depth to these verses: “which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” This is not something that just popped into God’s head at the last minute. Quite the contrary. This was His plan before the foundation of the world was framed. So our work for God serves a eternal purpose that will make a difference in time and also for eternity. Just my thoughts …

Let God Do It!

The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14.14

Why is it so difficult for us to let God fight our battles for us? At what point in our rational thought processes do we think we have more power than God, or we know more about our enemy than God, or we can win this battle without His help?

The picture here is one of impossible odds if God doesn’t show up. Israel has left Egypt and Pharaoh decides he has made a mistake in letting his 2 million slaves go, so he sets out after them. When he catches up with them, the children of Israel are up against the Red Sea with no way known to them to cross it. In the verse preceding this one we read these words: “And Moses said unto the people Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more forever.

Man, we have a hard time standing still, don’t we? In v. 12 the people said, “Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.” Here is an attitude of utter helplessness. But God … “The LORD shall fight for you … ” Israel needed to believe it and we need to believe it. Never mind HOW God is going to do it. We simply need to believe that He IS going to do it.

Here is the hard part: “ye shall hold your peace.” Just shut up and let God be God. He does that far better than you and I ever could. These are just my thoughts …

Good Advice

“He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.” Proverbs 21.21

The world around us seems to shout a cacophony of sounds that cry out for our attention. Each believer, if he is not careful, can become sidetracked and miss God’s best for him. The writer of Proverbs issues us a challenge here: “He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.” The verse cannot be broken up. It is one complete thought. So what is the challenge?

The challenge is this … how do we follow after righteousness? The obvious answer is not to follow after anything that is unrighteous, but there is a real struggle here, because that is all the world has to offer. Satan wants to counterfeit anything God has to offer us with something that may APPEAR to be good, when it is actually the enemy of God’s best for us. We are told to follow after righteousness and mercy and that will lead to life. I believe Solomon is speaking about a life of quality here when he speaks of finding life.

To complete the thought here we see that when we find this life of quality, we need to embellish that life with right living (righteousness) and honorable behavior (honour). While such instruction may seem unnecessary at the least, or overwhelming at best, we must remember that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable …” These are just my thoughts …

God’s Benefits

Blessed by the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah” Psalm 68.19

Have you thought about the fact that God daily loads us with benefits? What kind of benefits? Let’s take a look: (1) the privilege to live for Him because we are His child, (2) the privilege to be a witness for Him because we are His child, (3) the benefit of a life that is filled with hope because the life He has given us is eternal – it will never end, (4) the benefit of having a life filled with joy because we are always in His presence and Psalm 16.11 says in His presence is fulness of joy. When was the last time you blessed God for His goodness to you? Have you ever done that?

The verse continues with this simple, but profound phrase: “even the God of our salvation.” Let’s meditate on that for a moment. God is the ONLY one who CAN save us. Salvation was totally His IDEA. The gift of salvation cost God the greatest gift He could ever give – His ONLY BEGOTTEN Son. The plan of salvation was in the HEART of God before the foundation of the world. This is not all, but it is enough to think about.

Selah” How can one little word say so much to us? What does it mean? Simply this: Stop and think about it! I dare say that most of God’s children seldom, if ever, just stop and think about the daily benefits we get from God, or the myriads of promises made and kept that have met so many of our needs. Could I challenge each one of us who are reading this to be willing to set aside some time to simply stop and think about God’s benefits to us? The issue is not how much time we spend, but do we ever just take time to do it. I hope you are in with me on this. I am. Just my thoughts …

Thanks and Mercy Go Hand in Hand!

O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: and his mercy endureth for ever.” 1 Chronicles 16.34

A phrase that has been impressed upon me recently is this: “God’s goodness is only exceeded by His grace.” When you think about God’s goodness, where does your mind go? In the verse above we are told to “give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good … ” None of us would deny that God is good. But how frequently do we give thanks for his goodness? Giving thanks is a conscious, intentional action. No one gives thanks by accident. We always do so intentionally. It would seem to me that failure to give thanks is a denial that God is good and none of us would consciously say that.

It is interesting that God’s goodness and His mercy are linked together in this verse. One of the aspects of God’s mercy is that He is good. We must never forget the definition of mercy, i. e. not getting what we deserve. Not one of us deserves anything from God, but all throughout scripture we are reminded of His love, His grace, His mercy, and His goodness. Would it be a different kind of day for you if you chose to live your life by acknowledging the traits mentioned above – love, grace, mercy, and goodness?

What is about our lives that causes the world to look at us and think, “There’s something different about them. I wish I had that.”? I WANT my life to reflect my conscious awareness of these traits of God on a daily basis. In order for that to be true, I must intentionally make the purpose of my life each day to be all about God and His kingdom. That means that the focus of life itself is never about me. Is this easy? Absolutely not! Does it glorify God? That is certainly my prayer. Just my thoughts …

 

Thanks and Mercy God Hand in Hand!

O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: and his mercy endureth for ever.” 1 Chronicles 16.34

A phrase that has been impressed upon me recently is this: “God’s goodness is only exceeded by His grace.” When you think about God’s goodness, where does your mind go? In the verse above we are told to “give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good … ” None of us would deny that God is good. But how frequently do we give thanks for his goodness? Giving thanks is a conscious, intentional action. No one gives thanks by accident. We always do so intentionally. It would seem to me that failure to give thanks is a denial that God is good and none of us would consciously say that.

It is interesting that God’s goodness and His mercy are linked together in this verse. One of the aspects of God’s mercy is that He is good. We must never forget the definition of mercy, i. e. not getting what we deserve. Not one of us deserves anything from God, but all throughout scripture we are reminded of His love, His grace, His mercy, and His goodness. Would it be a different kind of day for you if you chose to live your life by acknowledging the traits mentioned above – love, grace, mercy, and goodness?

What is about our lives that causes the world to look at us and think, “There’s something different about them. I wish I had that.”? I WANT my life to reflect my conscious awareness of these traits of God on a daily basis. In order for that to be true, I must intentionally make the purpose of my life each day to be all about God and His kingdom. That means that the focus of life itself is never about me. Is this easy? Absolutely not! Does it glorify God? That is certainly my prayer. Just my thoughts …

 

Transparent Honesty

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51.10

I cannot read this Psalm without remembering why David wrote it. He had sinned with Bathsheba and had her husband killed. God sent the prophet Nathan to confront David with his sin. David was broken and he penned the words of this powerful Psalm. Let’s consider this Psalm and its transparent honesty.

Create in me a clean heart … ” In spite of the egregious sins that David had committed, he was not in danger of losing his relationship with God. But he had most certainly broken any fellowship with God. That is the reason for his prayer for a clean heart. He needed to get rid of the trash he had allowed to collect in his heart. I suspect most who are reading this can identify with David and say, “I’ve been there too.” Without the regular application of 1 John 1.9 we find ourselves in the same condition. Remember John’s words: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Note that David’s prayer is directed to God: “Create in me a clean heart, O God … ” Sometimes we just talk to ourselves about our sin and never get to the place where we talk to our Heavenly Father. Our sin may have affected us deeply, but it was committed against God. He is the One who needs to hear our repentant heart.

and renew a right spirit within me.” What is a right spirit? I believe a right spirit is a spirit that willingly puts God first. I believe a right spirit is a spirit that runs from evil and runs toward righteousness. If you are in need of a renewed right spirit, get alone with God, pour out your heart to Him with transparent honesty, and you will get what David got … a clean heart and a right spirit. Just my thoughts …

God IS For Us!

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8.31

I think most of us have chapters in the Bible that we call our “favorites”. Romans 8 is one of mine. So what are the “these things” of which Paul is speaking here? Let’s look at vs. 29-30: “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first born among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, then he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

What shall we say? We can say that when we received Christ we got a package deal that included (1) being predestined by God, (2) being called by God, (3) being justified by God, and (4) one day being glorified by God. Some people get a little torqued out about the word predestined, but we need to look at the whole phrase: “he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son … ” God wants me to be as much like Jesus as possible while I am living down here on earth. That will require some work on His part to help me be conformed to the image of Jesus.

Then we come to our verse for today: “If God be for us, who can be against us?” If God is on my side (and He is), then it really doesn’t matter who is against me. God and I will win every time when I allow Him to deal with my foes. Remember this, I must never place my self-worth in the hands of a person who can take it away. When I value the opinions of others more than what God says or does in my life, I put myself in a dangerous position. Just remember, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Just my thoughts …

Time to Start This Now!

Not the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: (6) That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15.5-6

I love the description of God given here in the opening phrase: “the God of patience and consolation”. I don’t know if that speaks to you very much, but it certainly speaks to me. Here is a God who is patient with me – who knows my weaknesses and infirmities and yet He is patient. Then He is willing to console me when I am hurting for any reason. God knows how to console us in our weakest moments.

This next phrase is instruction for us: “be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:” One translation reads: “grant you to live in such harmony with one another … ” We are asked by God to live with other believers with patience and be willing to grant them consolation. If you and I are honest, we will admit that there are believers who simply drive us crazy with the way they live and/or behave. And we might just choose to NOT be around them more than we have to. But is God calling us to live with patience around them?

Why are we to live this way? Here is the reason: “That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The entire for our reason for living down here on earth after we are saved is to glorify God. That includes our behavior with other believers. IF we come to grips our purpose for living, then life becomes a little more meaningful each day. As we move from Thanksgiving toward Christmas, let’s begin these simple instructions from the Lord given above. Just my thoughts …