“The heavens are Thine, the earth also is Thine: As for the world and the fulness thereof, Thou hast founded them.” Psalm 89:11 KJV. As the psalmist exalts God, his thoughts turn to God’s rightful ownership of all of creation. And well we should listen to these words. Because God alone is the Creator of Heaven and earth, they belong to Him. This world in which we live does not belong to us and it does not belong to satan. As Creator and Sustainer of all things, God has the right to do with this world as He desires. And because it is His, He is in control of it. How God’s people need to get back to this fundamental truth in these evil days we are living in! So many today mistakenly imagine that this world belongs to the devil. Others think that it is spinning out of control and in unending chaos. But as children of God, we can rest in the truth of God’s divine ownership and control. Before his death in 1901, a minister named M.D. Babcock was inspired to write these words: “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, why should my heart be sad? The Lord is King, let the heavens ring! God reigns, let the earth be glad!”
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.”Revelation 4:11 KJV. This was part of what the Apostle John heard when he was given a vision of Heaven. All of Heaven joined in this declaration of God’s glory and worthiness. As Christians we agree and believe that God is the Creator of all things, including us. But do we pause to consider, that we were all created ’FOR HIS PLEASURE’? This means that we are not here to live for ourselves. We are not here to do whatever pleases us. We are here to please God! In our old life of sin, there was no real peace because we were always going contrary to our created purpose. We lived for our own pleasure. At times, we would try to please other people, which never brought peace. But the good news is, when God saves us, He changes us and gives us a new desire to please Him. What a joy it is to have a renewed heart that loves to please our Lord! This was part of what made the life of Jesus perfect and holy, because “He did alway those things that pleased the Father”. And today, this is still the heart of God’s true children. We desire and aim to please our Heavenly Father.
“If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself.” John 7:17 KJV. Jesus is explaining here a very important spiritual principle, which much of modern religion denies. He says that understanding the doctrine of God does not come through any other way except by obedience to God’s will. This means that if we desire to know and understand the truths of God’s Word, then we must first walk in obedience to God’s revealed will. Today the emphasis in religion has been shifted in other directions. Some assume that they can have special revelations that are often contrary to God’s revealed will. Others think that they will gain understanding of spiritual truth through a word of prophecy. Many think that simply reading and studying the doctrines of their denomination will give them understanding. But all of these methods fall short of what Jesus says. It is not special inspiration nor intellectual ability that brings us to spiritual understanding. It is only the path of humble obedience! The lowly person who is following Jesus Christ in obedience will understand far more of the truth of God’s Word than the brilliant theologian who will not obey. Jesus said in John 14:23, “If a man love Me, he will keep My words…”. By God’s grace, let us be those loving and obedient children who understand truth because we walk in truth.
“Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all…” Revelation 3:10 KJV. When Jesus spoke these words of commendation to the church at Philadelphia, He was reminding them of one of the rewards of a life of faithfulness. He said in verse 8, “you have kept My Word and not denied My Name”. And now, because they have kept His Word, He promises to keep them in the hour of temptation. Many in religion today have the mistaken idea that God will keep them no matter how they live or if they make effort to keep His Word. But Jesus makes clear in these verses that His keeping power is extended to those whose heart is set on keeping His Word. These are the souls who read and believe His Word. They trust in His Word and love His Word. They accept God’s Word as their highest authority in life. And they depend upon the promises in God’s Word to help and strengthen them. It is only in this way that we can keep His Word in our daily walk. The psalmist David wrote, “Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee”. By God’s grace, let us strive to keep His Word and we will be kept by His mighty power.
“Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.”Revelation 3:2 KJV. As Jesus speaks to the church at Sardis, He is very plain about their spiritual failures. He told them that He knew their works and that they professed to be much more than they actually were. But even in these words of rebuke, He also extends His mercy to them. He encourages them to “Be watchful and strengthen the things that remain…” We should realize from this that Jesus will always deal with us in absolute honesty and in love. He wants us to humbly recognize our need so we can look to Him for help. What a blessing it is, that even in these times where we fail and come short, Jesus always encourages us to ‘strengthen what remains’! Thank God, He is not willing that any perish, but that all come to repentance! But even as we rejoice in His mercy, we must also take heed to His counsel. We must BE WATCHFUL! By His grace, we must be vigilant in our souls so that trials and temptations do not catch us unprepared and unequipped. And if we remain watchful, always depending upon Him, we will not fail in the hour of temptation.
“Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer… be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Revelation 2:10 KJV. This was a part of Jesus’ message to the church at Smyrna. They were going through very difficult times on a physical level. They were experiencing poverty and persecution. And yet, Jesus reminds them, that they are spiritually rich! He then encourages them to BE FAITHFUL always and as you are faithful to the end, I will give you a crown of life. This should remind us that true success in God’s eyes is not measured like this world measures success. Sadly, many in religion today try to measure success according to the world’s standards. They look at how big the church is or how many members it has. They try to gauge our lives by the things we have. But may God help us to understand, that true spiritual success is measured by our faithfulness to God. And the good news is, we all can be faithful if we will! We may go through many difficult things and feel at times, as if we are not getting much done. But by God’s grace and power, we can always be faithful! It is the faithful who will receive the crown of life.
“…Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalm 30:5 KJV. There are many times in our lives when we face difficult circumstances that bring sorrow to our hearts. We suffer the pain of loss and separation. We experience the injustice of a cruel world. Family misunderstands us and friends forsake us. And God’s Word reminds us ‘All that live Godly in Christ will suffer persecution’. But through it all we must keep holding on to Jesus! We must hold on to our faith in Him. Discouragement may come against us. Despair may try to grip our very souls. But let us never give up nor give in, because as we hold on, we have this blessed assurance that there will be a better day! The prophet Zechariah wrote ‘At evening time it shall be light’. The world and the devil may cause us to feel that the sun is going down on us and that all will be dark. But thank God, the Light of Christ shines in our hearts and dispels the darkness. Several years ago, Bill and Gloria Gaither experienced such a time and wrote these words which became a song: “Hold on my child, joy comes in the morning. Weeping only lasts for the night. Hold on my child, joy comes in the morning. The darkest hour means dawn is just in sight.” Joy is coming soon for every child of God.
“There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?” John 6:9 KJV. This is the question Andrew asked Jesus when the five thousand hungry men sat before them. All he could think of was how incredibly insufficient this was to meet all of the needs before them. But we know, that Jesus blessed and multiplied that meager amount to fully satisfy a great number. But today, as we labor in a desperately needy world, do we ever think as Andrew did? Do we think of the vast numbers of unsaved souls and the broken lives around us and wonder, “What does the little that I’m doing matter? What are my feeble efforts accomplishing?” But let us remember, that when we are laboring and praying and doing all that we do for God’s glory, He is still able to multiply our efforts by His divine power! Many years ago God inspired the songwriter with these words, ‘Does the place you’re called to labor, seem too small and little known? It is great if God is in it, And He’ll not forget His own. Little is much when God is in it. Labor not for wealth or fame. There’s a crown and you can win it, if you go in Jesus’ name’. Let us not despise the day of small things. Our God is still the Great Multiplier.
“So we Thy people and sheep of Thy pasture will give Thee thanks for ever: We will shew forth Thy praise to all generations.” Psalm 79:13 KJV. We have just come through the Thanksgiving Day holidays. During this time we have been reminded in different ways that we should be thankful. But let us not forget, that as God’s children we should ALWAYS BE THANKFUL To God! The psalmist says here, “We will give Thee thanks forever…”. Certainly we have much to be thankful for now. But when we think of Who our God is and what He has done for us through His Son Jesus Christ, we will realize that everyday is a day to give thanks, no matter what our outward circumstances may be. And not only everyday in this world, but all throughout eternity we will be thanking and praising God for His Unspeakable Gift. Too many times we fail to give thanks because we become consumed by the cares of this world. Our focus becomes too much upon things below, rather than rejoicing in the glory of things above. We look at this mortal body which is getting weaker and fail to think that soon this mortal will be changed to immortality! May God help us to ‘Think on these good things’ as Paul reminds us in Phillipians 4:8. And as we do, we will give thanks to our God forever.
Devo for Monday:
“Yea, they spake against God; They said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? Behold, He smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; Can He give bread also? Can He provide flesh for His people?” Psalm 78:19-20 KJV. The psalmist is reflecting on Old Testament Israel and their struggle with doubt and unbelief. Even though God had done so many mighty miracles in delivering them from Egyptian captivity, yet they forgot so quickly. He had performed mighty acts to defeat their enemies and provide their needs, yet they still would not believe God. But let us ask ourselves today, “Do we believe that God can provide all we need in those spiritual wilderness experiences we go through?” Most of the time our struggle is not about material things, but spiritual. We face trials and dark valleys that sometimes cause us to wonder, “Will God provide what I need here? Can God furnish a table for me in this dry and barren place I’m going through?” Well the good news is, we know that God can! And HE WILL provide for all those who keep their faith and trust in Him. Let us be those trusting children who know our God can and He will provide all that we need.