“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” (Psalm 19:1)
Lord, You make the wind blow and cause grass to grow.
You give the birds their wings and a song to sing.
You awaken green in spring
From brown of earth’s sleeping.
You paint sunrise at each morning’s light
And sunset near the edge of night.
You give light and breath to all, great and small.
Awesome, almighty–no measure of Your worth,
Maker of heaven and earth.
To those who seek You, You offer more and better life.
Yes, You bestow unbreakable, eternal life.
All thanks and honor to You, O God Most High.
You give rich, abundant love and grace.
O Worthy Lord, please accept our praise.
“[Ask] the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you. … that the hand of the LORD has done this, In whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind?” (Job 12:7, 9-10)
(Scriptures are from the New American Standard Bible.)
How many times my thoughts stray from focus during the day! I find myself going over and over conversations or actions, thinking about what I should or shouldn’t have said or done. Or sometimes I’m planning what I’ll do if such and such happens or if so and so does this or that.
But I have hope. Since I’m in Christ, old things have passed away (died), and new things have come (2 Corinthians 5:17). I have received the Holy Spirit who gives me power to put off the old and put on the new. When I catch myself thinking the old way, I can say to myself,
“No, self. Focus on the task at hand. If it doesn’t take much thought (comb hair, vacuum), think about the Scripture you meditated on this morning or heaven or Jesus or God’s attributes or other wonderful things.”
Then as I begin to focus on the good things and let go of the scattered thoughts, I will be obeying God’s Word by renewing my mind. (See Romans 12:2 and James 1:22.)
(Photo by Paula Satijn, “Mirror.” Found in Flickr Creative Commons, https://www.flickr.com/photos/paulasatijn/79850464800/)
God gave us good gifts on Good Friday, such as the forgiveness of our sins through the death of Jesus on the cross, direct access to God when the temple curtain in front of the Most Holy Place was torn in two, and most important, the proof of His astounding love for us.
Today I want to remember what it cost the Triune God to give these gifts to us. Jesus laid aside His glory, honor, and equality with God to become a lowly human baby and experience temptation, rejection and other struggles as a man. Finally He suffered the agony of Gethsemane and the humiliation and excruciating pain of betrayal, abandonment, mockery, beating, the torturous death of the cross, and the separation of the “Tri-unity” when our sin was laid on Him. The Almighty Father could have said, “These humans aren’t worth letting my beloved Son go through all this,” and then sent His angels to the rescue. But He didn’t. He watched it all.
And God did it all for us when we were still sinners, rebellious and determined to go our own way (Romans 5:8). Incredible love! Yet true. I’m reminded of an old hymn that includes the lines, “Why should my Savior to Calvary go? Why should He love me so?” (“Why Should He Love Me So?”—words and music by Robert Harkness.) I also think of the chorus of another hymn, “Lest I forget Gethsemane, lest I forget Thine agony, lest I forget Thy love for me, lead me to Calvary.” (“Lead Me to Calvary”—words by Jennie E. Hussey.)
Yes, God gave us wonderful things on Good Friday. May I never forget or take for granted the great love He showed at such great cost.
Psalm 42:11 says, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.” (New King James Version)
This is what I need to tell myself when I get disappointed or discouraged: “Self, hope in God. Let the disappointment go and trust God to work it for my good and His glory. O my soul, don’t look to others nor hope in satisfactory solutions. Let God satisfy you. Trust His wisdom, not your own. Remember, soul, that you find rest in God alone (Psalm 62:1). Hope and trust in Jesus our Lord.
“Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.” (from the hymn “I must tell Jesus”)
O Lord our God, the God who hears,
The only God who loves and cares,
The holy One who answers prayers,
You hear our cries, for You are near.
Omniscient God, God all wise
Your love extends beyond the skies.
Let us see truth with open eyes,
Believe Your Word, reject the lies.
We praise You, Lord. In You we hope.
We trust in You because we know
You deliver us from every foe
And comfort, heal, and make us whole.
I read something the other day that triggered a painful memory. I felt sad and angry. But I choose today to wash that recollection with God’s total love for me and for the others involved.
Thank you, Lord, for Your Word which tells me of Your unconditional love for us. You love us when we’re correct and when we’re not, when others approve of us and when they don’t, and when we succeed and when we fail.
So I will receive Your love and allow it to heal my soul. And I will forgive those who offend me because You have forgiven me for my offenses. Thank You for showing me how to deal with this troublesome memory. Amen.
“We love because He first loved us.” –1 John 4:19
“Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so also you must forgive.” –Colossians 3:12-13
(Both Scriptures are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.)
In Deuteronomy 4:26-28, God warns Israel (through Moses) that if they break His covenant with them, He will scatter them among the nations, and only a few of them will survive. But then Moses tells them in verses 29 and 31 of that chapter, “But from there you will search again for the Lord your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him. …For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors.”
What a wonderful promise from You, O merciful Father. Your mercies are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness! (Lamentations 3:23) Faithful Father, You won’t abandon me either (Hebrews 13:5). And You won’t forget the promises You have made to us who are in Christ Jesus. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Amen.
Isaiah 56:4 “For this is what the Lord says: I will bless those …who choose to do what pleases me and commit their lives to me.”
Psalm 62:8 “O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.”
(Scripture verses are from the New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
Ephesians 2:4-5 New International Version: “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions….”
I was “dead,” but now God has made me “alive in Christ.” When I was spiritually dead, it was natural for me to do whatever I felt like doing, act like people in the world who don’t know the Lord, and listen to the devil’s lies.
For example, I see what a good wife and mother my friend is—so wise, faithful, enduring, loving. I wish I were more like that. When I look at these qualities in her, I think of my own failings and am tempted to be ashamed and think myself worthless, even though I’ve already received forgiveness for my past sins.
But that’s the old way of thinking. Now that I’m alive in Christ, I have a new nature. Those old ways are no longer “natural” for me. So God’s Word tells me to get rid of those old ways and think and act like the new creation in Christ which I am.
So because His Holy Spirit guides and empowers me to live my new natural way, I will do that. It brings glory to God and joy to His heart when His children walk according to His Spirit, acting from our new nature.
Dear loving heavenly Father, please help me walk in the light of Your love and forgiveness instead of in the dark of shame and despair. That old way of thinking no longer has any right to rule over me. You have transferred me from (delivered me out of) the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of Your dear Son—the kingdom of light. Let my life in Christ shine in all I do!
Jesus, when I’m tempted to despair, let me remember Your everlasting, perfect love. Amen. (See Colossians 1:12-13)