In The Beginning

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God (John 1:1).  And that is where we first get off track even though most of us have heard those words early in life.  The Word is not off track, it is us and our understanding.  Many things will develop from our growth as time passes, but it is undeniable where the growth is coming from - our acceptance of its origin and our willingness to comply with its truth.  How about those apples, friend?  You can study and practice over and over again, but to no avail.  Surrender is the source of advancement, believe it or not.

You might be wondering at this point why He didn’t just create us that way, but I am sure you already know that would provide no satisfaction.  Willingness is the frosting needed for this particular cake and what a cake it can be.  You might be wondering why we make it so hard and yet you already know what a flop it would be without the ingredient of effort.  Even with all this knowledge you know we will still fight to get our own way.  What a stubborn bunch we are!

Many of you already have experienced what “giving up” can finally bring about and wondered why it took you so long.  I remember hearing something about a road well traveled and this is definitely not an easy road.  However, those who have traveled it will tell you there is nothing more glorious and nothing more worthwhile.  It’s not very smart to waste the life God gave us learning only at the end what we could have had and could have done for the One who created us.  I do realize however that if He had given us the smarts we needed it would not have given Him the satisfaction over His creation.  I have to believe that most of us desire to give our Creator joy by living the life He created us for.  Our biggest problem is the ditch we have managed to dig along the way.  I don’t believe it was our deliberate intention, but the surprise that came with our assumption that it would  be a simple solution.   Accepting the value and recognizing the cost before choosing the solution is by far the best approach and then having the assurance that we are not alone if we choose to ask for help. 

All things were made through Him…In Him was life, and the life was the light of men and the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it (3-5).  As often as we hear it and as often as we try to comprehend it we will never truly understand it.  We are not puppets pulled by a string; we are pieces of God’s heart, dearer than we will ever be able to comprehend.  Our choices are held in His heart and yet He gave us our freedom.  You have to be terribly mixed up to not comprehend that our joys and our sorrows are also His.  Do you stop to think about that as you put your hand to any plow?

It is very nice to know that we have a God who not only created us, but also loves us.   It seems awfully foolish to worry about anything, but at the same time it is hard to give it all up and never worry about the things we do not know or can’t control.  The bills still have to be paid and we still need to make the money to pay them, don’t we?  And yet what is it that really brings us joy at the end of each day?  If you are honest with yourself most of us will admit that it is not what makes us happy, but when we know that our Lord and Savior is happy with what we have accomplished in the day just finished.  Then we can enjoy a peaceful rest and begin the next day with joy.

O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in Thee;
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow may richer, fuller be.

Living Water

Assuming that you are a Christian you probably are well aware of the term.  Well, today we are seeing for ourselves that while we have always assumed that it simply exists it can be created.  I guess we shouldn’t be surprised because everything that exists was created - but water?  Can mankind himself find a way to create what only God has created?  Is our Lord trying to tell us that if we believe and follow His leading He will show us how to provide one of the very things necessary for life.  I wonder if our ears had been really listening where we might be today.

I realize that the term does not apply strictly to the substance itself although it actually is necessary for life.  It was meant to reference the qualification for life, a life meant to be.  We have occupied His created earth for many years without understanding His original intent for creating mankind.  God has always desired to have a family, one to love and be loved by.  It sounds so simple and yet we have stubbornly replied – “I can do it myself”.

Well, today He has shown us that we can do a lot of things if we turn to Him, but the icing on the cake will be His finishing touch.  I wonder if He has gotten tired of waiting and tired of seeing what mankind has chosen to do himself.  Our world has never before been in such bad shape.  Our intent to “do it myself” has turned into what each and every individual has chosen simply for himself, not for his fellow man.  Well, today we are seeing what can be accomplished as God has decided to show us that He can do what we cannot to alleviate the suffering of many of his children.  Yes, I know you have a faucet in your house, but there are many countries where women tote vessels on their backs for long distances to bring water to their families.  Water, after all, is necessary not only for cooking food, but also for the cleanliness needed for health.  Would you have ever thought God would have to perform “miracles” to get His children’s attention?

Maybe that is exactly what He is doing.  Water in some places has been a problem – so let’s fix it!  Sounds great, doesn’t it?  Well today it has been more than words – Israel has solved the problem; they have discovered how to create water from thin air.  So what obstacle do we tackle next?  Just maybe it is the biggest one ever, harder for some than others.  Maybe we should give up our earthly battle and agree with our Lord that His battle is more important than ours; maybe we should simply re-prorate our time and give our Creator His due.

We know what sorrow this world has faced from our own efforts so maybe it is time we accept the fact that it and our very selves are not and never will be in control.  God is not only our Father but also our Creator.  Most of us have been taught since children that we should honor our Father.  I think it is well past time to remind ourselves of what we were originally taught and turn to the One who not only created us but loves us like no other  Love has always been a two-way street, one where, hopefully, our Lord and ourselves meet each other face to face and become one as originally designed; one entity, part of one body, filled with all the goodness God first created, motivated by the vastness of love for one another.  You might be thinking that will never happen, but it is our Creator’s plan and it will occur at the designated time.  Until that time, which very well could occur soon, we must live according to His plan to the best of our earthly ability ever aware of His presence and His desire for our individual lives, to be living water.

Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place;
I can feel His mighty power and His grace.
I can hear the brush of angel’s wings, I see glory on each face;
Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.

The Hills

I will lift up my eyes to the hills – from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.  He will not allow your foot to be moved.  He who keeps you will not slumber.  Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep (Psalm 121).

How many times in this life do we feel like we need help?  We all have had those times when we simply feel like we just cannot – whatever the situation.  If you are one of the fortunate who were taught early in life by your parents that there is an answer, hopefully you still trust in that.  If not I sincerely hope you will know just where to turn.  You are probably saying to yourself at this point  that you are not Israel, but if you check the commentaries written for our understanding you will read for yourself – the new community in Christ is a spiritual Israel.  Thus, in a sense, the history of Israel can never really end; it can only be brought to fulfillment (Layman’s Bible Encyclopedia).

Hmm! that does put a new twist on things, doesn’t it?  It is a guarantee that nothing else can possible give us.  However, it does have one requirement – you must believe in the One who created you and the Word He gave for the fulfillment of your life which you will hopefully accomplish with His help.  We have been so very blessed, but the price is still beyond the reality of understanding.  It is doubtful you ever will comprehend your value or the love you have been given.

Moses did his best to teach the people of his day as the Lord imparted to him.  The words he spoke have been recorded for us in the 5th and 6th chapters of the book of Deuteronomy.  You might want to read them again to refresh your understanding and possibly change the way you think about your day to day lives. 

Over the years many books have been written and many wise words spoken to show the changing generations in their language what is right and what is wrong.  The problem is that we have incorporated so many changes as our world has changed that the truth has often been diminished with the excuses of supposed learning.  The truth is that with the many changes we currently see we have lost the truth of what God has always seen.  He still loves His creation as when it was first formed, but we have misplaced the original truth as we have chosen to make things easier by watering down the old regulations and replacing them with what seems easier and more timely for our day.

Is it possible that we have simply forgotten or is it that we no longer see the need as we have supposedly increased in wisdom as well as common sense?  Our Father gave us His Son because He knew we would need not only His words, but also His example.  Many of us have had times of shedding tears when we realize the cost of our lives, but then they become so easy to put back on the shelf as we are faced with what we consider must be done right now.  We will return to the story when we have time.  We have so easily managed to rewrite the book of life according to what our individual plans and problems are.  Also it is easy enough to put off until tomorrow even things we consider important.  We still have time.  Do we?

In today’s world individual preferences and responsibilities seem to have overcome those of God’s place in the substructure of the world’s population.  Does it really matter?

Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store,
Take myself and I will be ever only all for Thee.

Do You Know What Time It Is?

Gotcha!  If you are most people you just looked at your watch.  However, as you should have known, since you were reading devotionals, that is not what I meant.  I don’t know about you, but if you are like most of us and have recently been reading or listening to the news you might be wondering just how much longer we are going to be here (in the world as we know it).  While it is true that the small patch of land you are currently occupying is still, for the most part, safe and sound, it might not be tomorrow.  So! What can you do about that or maybe I should be saying what should you be doing about that?

While it is true that we have no control over tomorrow’s happenings there is one thing that we still have control over and that is the soul we were born with.  God gave each one of His created human beings a choice, always and forever, their own.  You don’t have to be intelligent to realize that no one can take that away from you.  I am sure that His hope and purpose were that you would use the intelligence He gave you to make the right choices.  Of course, He knew what would happen, but He still hoped a few would understand and make the right decisions.  I sincerely hope you are one of those.

However, we (the smart ones) have had to learn how to live in a world of uncertainty while wishing it could have been different.  Do we have the power or intelligence to find and maintain the right solution?  Of course, as you already know, the solution is only valid for our individual life even though hopefully we will continue to pray for those less fortunate.  You probably understand as do I that while we pray for our future we have no control over how it will end or even if we will be ready for it, having all our ducks in a row.  Even though that is true, I do believe we should try to think ahead even as we live in the present.  What kind of a heritage will we leave for those we love?  Will we have left them with a Christian heritage or will they know nothing of the Lord who created them as well as us?  Whatever our current condition, we should consider more than just what we shall leave behind financially.  Even more important is what we shall leave behind spiritually.  Do our children know the Lord we love; do our friends know that they can see us again and where?  Hopefully we have planted seeds, but have we also watered them?

Jesus, himself, left us an example as well as a promise.  We are told in the book of Galatians 3:29 – And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise and in 1st John 2:25 – And this is the promise that He has promised us – eternal life.

Be honest, would you rather have a pot of gold now or those things that are completely beyond your current understanding in a secured future where you will be able to enjoy your good fortune forever?  I feel sure your choice is the same as mine even though we might wish for it in the framework of our current understanding.  Our God is the Father that loves us more than we can possibly understand.  Let us choose to believe Him now, trusting without the proof our current lives desire.

Charles Spurgeon tells us that None of us can come to the highest maturity without enduring the summer heat of trials.  That sounds reasonable even if not desirable, but Craig Greenfield goes a little further and his experience provides another tough one - I have found that if I pray for God to move a mountain, I must be prepared to wake up next to a shovel. 

Well friends, I give up, I am headed to the shed to find my shovel.  Will you join me?

Action or Reaction?

I think you would agree with me that there are seldom things that happen in our lives that we do not react to.  The major difference is found in the reason for either good or bad, right or wrong.  Of course we hope, as do our parents and those that love us that we will make the right choices.  As you read and look at the condition of our world today you can see for yourself many things that you would have done differently and wonder why evil was ever allowed in this beautiful world created by God from the very the beginning of earth’s existence.

You will come to the conclusion that there can be no good or bad without action and/or reaction so   why did God allow us choices in the first place?  You are right.  God wanted love from His children for no reason other than that He was their Father who created them from His heart of love.  Because of this He provided them with a beautiful garden full of everything necessary for a good choice with only one drawback.  He gave them a choice.  It is at this point that you might ponder why children who had everything would choose ego over love.  The reason in God’s eyes was that value only comes when one is given a choice.

So here we are today in a world of confusion, with evil abounding all around us.  How did we get here – choice.  While it is true that there are many who are grateful and love the Lord dearly, the one who chose wrongly is busy at work spreading his evil in God’s world.  He has convinced many that they will only truly be happy if they are the ones making the decisions in all areas of life and that they will only receive the best if they fight for it.  Where has that gotten us?  It doesn’t take many newspapers or many television programs to show us just exactly what we have accomplished in our time spent here and it most assuredly doesn’t show us the way out of our dilemma.  However, there is still an answer and it can be found in one Book, one given us by our true Father because of His undying and everlasting love – a simple book called the Bible.

In it we can read for ourselves the results of good and bad behavior.  The biggest problem seems to be that we just can’t find the time to read for the busyness of life and it also is not the most exciting reading since it constantly reminds us of our bad choices.  However, it also reminds us that life goes on forever and there will be no end to suffering if we choose wrongly.  Surely that is something we can understand.  In today’s world we pay hard earned money to insure that our lives will be covered through the bad times of which there seem to be plenty.  You would think we would choose to save our money for the ice cream and spend our time following the laws laid down by the One who really loves His children.  Does independence without love give us the satisfaction that we really need or desire?

His Word tells us plainly Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you (Matthew 6:33); And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations (Mark 13:10); first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have (2 Corinthians 8:12); And this commandment we have from Him; that he who loves God must love his brother also (1st John 4;21).  Don’t you think it is time we act instead of reacting; isn’t God’s plan for our lives better than ours?

This is my Father’s world, O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the Ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world, the battle is not done,
Jesus who died shall be satisfied, and earth and heaven be one.

Waiting - Until When

Waiting is not something many of us are good at.  We want what we want right now, not tomorrow, not next week and surely not next year.  Often the reality of waiting is not really in our hands to determine.  Sometimes it belongs to our parents, sometimes to a boss, sometimes to the one who delivers the mail we are expecting.  None of us like to wait, but have you ever stopped to think that someone, maybe even someone very important, could be waiting for you to put your hand to the plow.  You were not created to sit around dreaming or spinning tales about what wonderful thing might happen to or for you tomorrow.  The fact of the matter is that you were created for a purpose and not one of your own choosing.  The problem is how long will it take you to discover just what that plan involves and then how willing will you be to attempt whatever it is.  God’s Word tells us, however, that those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31).

Most of us are familiar with the words in the beginning.  The problem is that we consider those words to be for a one time situation not for an ongoing individual situation.  Our heavenly Father’s plan didn’t stop once He set things in motion.  He has individual plans for each and every one of us who walk upon His earth.  Whoops! you haven’t really thought of it quite that way.  I have to admit that rarely crosses my mind either, but the Lord has been reminding me lately that He has not given me unending time to accomplish my purpose on this earth.  However, it is true that God’s very preparation will take time and that, depending upon the plan, could be several days or even several years.  However, the plan still exists and we should not stand around waiting, thinking we will surely hear a voice when the time is right.  Many plans will involve years of preparation.

Paul tells us in the book of Romans But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance (8:25).  In these days I think it more likely that we will begin to get impatient and often times decide to skip whatever it was deciding it has little value after all.  That could turn out to be a big mistake.  Maybe we should consider if there is any part we can play to hasten the issue, assuming of course that we truly believe it is God’s will.

You will have no trouble recognizing that patience is not one of our best virtues.  We want what we want right now.  I don’t know whether we were simply spoiled or if we were never taught patience, but you will have to admit that speed often does not provide the best result.  I am sure many of you have noticed that the products in today’s world are not as good or as lasting as those made in former years.  Rush has cost us quality.  I wonder if the things we will bypass could possibly cost us something more serious such as our souls.

I am sure that you, like me, have noticed the lack of quality in many items that we see as necessary in today’s world.  You will also realize that it is because we are rushing to get through with one project in order to start another.  It has served to take the enjoyment out of what we accomplish as well as not providing adequate solutions for whatever problem is confronting us.  Has the quality of vision become cloudy by the rush of the clock to which we pay too much attention?  Has the vision of our Creator become less important as we find ourselves progressively becoming more concerned with what we desire daily instead of what we are stocking up to pay for tomorrow’s heavenly home?

Standing on the promises I cannot fall,
Listening every moment to the Spirit’s call,
Resting in the Savior as my all in all -
Standing on the promises of God.

One In The Spirit!

Time changes so many things – not simply the look or style of life, but the spirit of life as we each attempt to find ourselves in the midst of our surroundings and our growth.  Depending on how serious we are about it, some of us will change some things and some of us will simply say to ourselves “that is nice” and go on about our life with little or no change.  I wonder if one day our choice will come back to hit us in the face as we begin to realize what we could have done if we had only listened to that still, small voice.  There is no way we can actually know, but we will wonder – what if, what if?

When and where is the point when we will begin to ask ourselves – What if?  Unfortunately we do not possess a crystal ball so whenever the question arises we must ask ourselves as well as the God who created us just where we made our wrong turn and is there any way in which we can reverse our steps and try again to fulfill the original plan for our life.  Also will He give us another chance?

God’s Word has all the answers we will ever need.  Sometimes we will have to search, but sometimes if we were fortunate enough to grow up in a Christian home with the determination of our parents to show us the right path the answer will be quickly found.  Then it is just a matter of turning around and making the choice to be who we were created to be.  As we achieve our goal we might ask why it took us so long and find ourselves regretful for what we have missed.  Fortunately though the end result will be the same for our Creator is ever forgiving and His love for His creation never without hope.  It could make you wonder why we are often so determined to test fate.

I don’t know if it is really true, but my pitiful mind tells me that when we learn from experience it often changes the picture and our appreciation for the wisdom of our Creator.  Of course, we are sorry it has to be that way, but then maybe we become more serious and spiritually activated to correct our thinking and our actions.  The wisdom of our God will always be challenged, but never overcome by the thinking of His children no matter our supposed learning and confidence.

Paul in the book of Romans  talks about  those who are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law (Romans 2:19-20).  But then we find in the book of Proverbs, written by Solomon and other wise men, that Happy is the man who finds wisdom…for her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold  (3:13-14).  While it is true that experience often gives us wisdom, it is also true that we can achieve wisdom without having first to experience foolishness.  That is one of the best reasons to spend time studying what Jesus, himself, tried to teach His followers in His day, the whole truth of God’s purpose in creation.

We have been taught in these days that experience is the best teacher, but it can also end up in the greatest sorrow.  Maybe we should rethink the wisdom of learning from the words of our Creator.  You would have to admit that we are currently living in times that require great wisdom, times when the leaders of our various countries are simply men who often have not found wisdom themselves.  Is there an answer to this major problem?  You, as well as I, know the answer to that question.  It was set out for us in a book that has always had more wisdom than any other – the Word of our living Lord.

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
And we pray that all unity will one day be restored,
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love;
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

Hark, The Voice of Jesus Calling!

What is the hardest thing you can think of that might change your plans for the day?  I am just like  you so I already know what your answer will be – for someone else to tell you what you must choose to do especially when you have already made your own plans.  There is always tomorrow when you can please someone else so that should leave us free to fill our day with our own desires, shouldn’t it?  You also know, as do I, that you did not create your own life and consequently there is one to whom you owe everything.  Debts surely must be paid, at least that is what we have been told.  So what shall we do?

You might wish you could play dumb, but we both know we can’t.  So okay, Lord, just what is it you want me to do?  While true that it is often hard to do it is also the best thing you will ever do.  In this life we live we may have had the experience of doing something we really didn’t want to do, but it was likely that it also gave you the most fulfilling result you had ever known.  If you are a believer of history giving you the best example you will already realize that the disciples of our Lord were more than richly blessed by their obedience.  Is it possible for us to have a similar blessing from simply doing something He has created us for?

Our Father knew that as human beings we would be weak so that is why He lovingly provided His Son for our example.  It has been many years ago and if you are a reader of history you already know that we have made little progress over time.  Have we lost reason, become lazy, or just don’t understand that our entire future rests on the decisions we make each and every day?  I would like to believe that as our years pass we have grown wiser instead of simply more lazy and willing to put off until tomorrow.  You may have already realized that sometimes what is put off simply disappears never to be remembered.

Okay, Lord, I am ready and listening. You are telling me the same thing you told the people years and years ago and reminding me that some things never change.  We can find Your words of wisdom in the Sermon on the Mount in the 5th book of Matthew and again as we struggle today to find peace and joy in our lives you reminded us in the book of Luke – And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise (6:31).  I guess some things never change, but it does seem in today’s world that we think change is our only answer.   Can we back up and start over?  I know that is not possible, but maybe we can backtrack our thinking and attempt to live again as You once taught us how.  After all, even though we sometimes choose to forget – This is my Father’s world, O let me ne’er forget, that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the Ruler yet.  This is my Father’s world, the battle is not done, Jesus who died shall be satisfied, and earth and heaven be one.

I know we all, in our hearts, want the best of what life has to offer, but life is not a free gift.  It is like a field waiting to be planted, hoping to grow life’s very best while knowing we are a part of its success.  God, our Father, had a beautiful plan and made us for this purpose and I pray there is still time to accomplish the task He gave us in love.  Can we do it?  I pray it is so! 

Let none hear you idly saying,“ There is nothing I can do,”
While the souls of men are dying, and the Master calls for you:
Take the task He gives you gladly, let His work your pleasure be;
Answer quickly when He calleth, “Here am I; send me, send me.”