“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…” Hebrews 12:2 KJV. In the preceding verse the writer has encouraged us to “lay aside every hindrance and sin”. Then he says to “run this Christian race with perseverance”. But the question implied is “How are we to do this?” “How we can live like this in this evil world?” But thank God the Answer is given! It is only by ‘Looking unto Jesus’. It is by keeping our hearts and minds fixed on Him. It is by recognizing, that not only can we not save ourselves, but we cannot keep ourselves. It is by understanding, that Jesus is the Author of our salvation and He is the Finisher! Too often in our Christian lives we give in to the idea, that Jesus saved me and started a good work in me, but now I have to complete it. But let us remember His Word to us, “…that HE which hath begun a good work in you will perform it…”(Phil 1:6). May we realize that only Jesus Christ IN US can live this life! So let us continually look to Jesus. Let us make Him the focus of our thoughts and our lives. Let us discover Who He is, what He promises to do in us, and then, every moment, allow Him to do it for His glory and for our good.
“For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” II Corinthians 10:12 NKJV. Let us not make the mistake of comparing our lives with others. When we do this, satan will often get our eyes upon someone that we feel superior to spiritually. Also, we must be careful that we do not fall into the trap of ‘patting ourselves on the back’, which is what commending ourselves means. Instead, may we remember that our One Standard is Jesus Christ! He is the One Exemplar of the church, and without Him we are nothing. It is in realizing this, that we are kept humble. It is when we get our eyes on Him that we realize how little we are, how far we have to go and how much we should be striving to be more and more conformed to His image. Notice how this chapter ends: “For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.” (II Corinthians 10:18) So the question is not, what others think of us, or even how much we may think of ourselves. The only thing that truly matters is, what God knows about us. And His approval is worth everything.
“Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.” 2 Chronicles 32:7-8 KJV. In these days when it seems that those against us, far outnumber those with us, we do well to remember what God spoke to Old Testament Israel. We should realize that our enemies will have numbers on their side. They may even have popular opinion on their side. But the reality is, all they have is an arm of flesh! All they have are limited, human resources with them. But we, as God’s people, have the Mighty God with us! We have the One Who has all power, all authority, and all wisdom to do everything that we need! And thank God, He promises to fight our battles if we are willing to depend on Him. If Israel could rest themselves on the word of an earthly king, surely we can rest ourselves on the Unfailing Word of our God! Let us be strong and courageous to go forth and shine as lights in the midst of the darkness. We can depend on God.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 KJV. On this day that we set aside as a Day of Thanksgiving, we should take time to reflect upon God’s goodness to us. We should think upon the things we should be thankful for. And certainly they are many! But what could we possibly be more thankful for than these beautiful words in this verse? To think that the God Who created us, the God Whom we turned our backs on, the God we sinned against, that He would love us SO MUCH, that He would give His only Son for us, and through Him, offer us eternal life. It is almost more than our finite minds can comprehend! I hope today each of us will make this very personal. That we would realize, God so loved me! God has set His love on me! That our hearts would overflow with thanks to God for His love that provided the unspeakable gift of His Son. And as we thank Him for His love, may our faith be strengthened, may our hearts be encouraged, that no matter what goes on in this world, I can rest in God’s love! I pray that each of you has a very blessed Thanksgiving Day.
“giving thanks to the Father Who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.” Colossians 1:12 NKJV. How thankful we should be for this great privilege our Heavenly Father has given to us. How we should praise Him for His marvelous grace that has lifted us up and transformed our lives to where we can partake of a Heavenly inheritance! Before He found us and saved us, we were in every way unfit for such a tremendous blessing. We were strangers from the covenant of grace. We were rebels against God. We had chosen to take this precious gift of life and waste it on our own selfish desires. But now we have become new creatures in Christ! Now we have a new heart and a new nature. He has placed His Spirit in our hearts and made us His own children. And it is only children who are qualified to receive the inheritance. Thank God, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, He qualified us to receive the most wonderful inheritance that any soul could ever receive. Let us give thanks, everyday, to our gracious and loving Father.
“He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me.” Psalms 55:18 KJV. One of the most important things to know in the midst of a battle is, that someone is with me. Someone is there to help me, to watch my back. We need someone to encourage us and lift us when we’ve fallen. And so, one of our enemy’s greatest tactics against us is, to make us feel alone. To cause us to think that no one is with me. No one is standing by my side. That it is up to me to face the battle alone. But may we open our spiritual eyes, to see and believe that we are surrounded by a great host of witnesses! (Heb. 12:1) That we do have a spiritual family in this world. That there are angels encamped about us. And best of all, that our Triune God is with us! We have the promise that Father, Son and Holy Ghost will be with us all the way through this world, and all through eternity! Hallelujah! How we should thank God today, that we are not alone! Rejoice in the words of the old song, “He promised never to leave me, no never alone”.
“Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,” Ephesians 3:20 KJV. As we face the many challenges of Christian life, we must understand that our Heavenly Father never expected us to do this in our own strength. He promises to provide His own divine power, that truly is wonder working power! The same power that created this world and universe is available to work in us to transform our lives in every way. If there was some lesser power working in us, then we would be careful what we asked for, lest we go beyond it’s capability. But the apostle reminds us in this verse, that God’s power is able to do far more, exceeding abundantly, above what we can even imagine! So while we do have big problems and we are very weak, inadequate creatures, yet may we believe, that the almighty power of God Himself is available to every humble soul! Our part is to be willing to admit how much we need Him, and then to let Him have His way in us. Then we will find what the songwriter said to be true: ‘You can’t ask too much of my God’.
And Asa cried out to the LORD his God, and said, “ LORD, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O LORD our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude…” II Chronicles 14:11 NKJV. King Asa was crying out to God for help, because a formidable enemy army was coming against them. But the key to his prayer is what he meant in these words: “for we rest on You, and in Your name we go…” The reality is, God will always help those who have placed their faith and hope in Him. This is what it means to rest on Him. It means we understand that the battle is too big for us, our enemy is too strong, and so we are looking to the One Who is greater than all. It means we have humbled ourselves to leave the battle in God’s hands, because we know He will not fail. And only then can we go forward in His name. Only then can we go forward with peace and rest in our souls and be assured of victory. May we understand, that every spiritual failure and defeat we suffer, is because we do not rest on Him, and we try to fight the battles in our own strength. God will always bring victory, when we rest on Him.
“Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?” Ruth 2:10 KJV. The story of Ruth is a very beautiful and touching account of human kindness and mercy. But far more important, it is the story of all of us. Even as Ruth asked this question of Boaz, so each of us should ask of Jesus, “Why did You have mercy on me? Why have You shown such grace and favor to me? Why would You save a wretch like me?” We should all marvel at the grace of God to us! We should be amazed everyday that Christ would set His love on us! So the real reason for us to ask “Why?” is actually a lot different than most people think. It should not be “Why did this happen, or why did I have to go through that?” Instead our question should be like Ruth’s. “Lord, why would You show such love and mercy to me, who am so unworthy and undeserving of even the least of Your blessings? Why should a beggar such as I, be able to walk with the King of glory? Why would You suffer and die in my place?” And when we learn to ask “WHY?” for the right reasons, then our hearts will overflow with thanksgiving into God.
“The humble He guides in justice, And the humble He teaches His way.” Psalms 25:9 NKJV. One of the great blessings of walking humbly with God is, that we can be sure that our Heavenly Father will lead us and guide us in the right way. But too often we are like the man who has lost his way on a trip, and yet is too proud and stubborn to admit it and to ask for directions. His pride keeps him from admitting he needs help and then seeking for someone to point the way. Only the humble soul desires to be led. Only the humble heart knows he needs to be taught. And only the person who knows he needs help will humble himself before God to seek His guiding hand in his life. So each of us have this choice. Will I choose to direct my own steps because I believe I am sufficient to navigate through this life? Or will I humble myself before God and let Him lead me, guide me, and teach me how to walk in the right way, and one day make Heaven my home? Let us do as the songwriter encourages us to, ‘Humble thyself to walk with God’.