Always holding someone up

Always holding someone up

You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. – John 15:16

John 5:24 I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.

John 1:12 But to all who have received him – those who believe in his name– he has given the right to become God’s children

On the afternoon of June 18, 1956, ten people were in a powerboat on Schroon Lake. Suddenly a wave struck the boat, hurtling two of them into the water, a young girl and Dawson Trotman. Dawson held the young girl above water long enough for her to be rescued. Dawson however, drowned. Time magazine published his obituary, with the caption under Dawson’s picture, “Always holding someone up.”

The Father took Dawson home at the time appointed by Him in eternity past. Dawson had spent 30 years in Christian ministry. He founded the Navigators which focused on discipleship and Bible memory. But things did not begin that well for Trotman.

His father was an atheistic cowboy who wound up living in Arizona. Trotman was on a gallop down the same dusty trail, until the Father intervened. He was arrested for driving under the influence. The policeman asked, “Do you like this kind of life?”

Trotman replied, “Sir, I hate it.” Three hours later, he sobered up. He made a pledge to do better and the policeman returned his keys to him.

He soon found himself in a church and began memorizing Scripture. He memorized John 5:24 I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. He realized that he did not have eternal life. He prayed, “O God, whatever that means, I want to have it.”

A verse flashed into his mind, “But as many as received Him [Jesus], to them he gave the power to become sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1:12). Immediately, Dawson pleaded with God, “Whatever it means to receive Jesus, I do it right now.”

His life changed. And he began to devour the word of God, memorizing as he went. He taught a sailor named Les Spencer how to live for Christ. Another sailor asked Spencer what was the secret that changed his life. Spencer brought the man to Trotman and asked him to teach the other sailor. Trotman told Spencer, “You teach him!” That was the beginning of the Navigators. It was 1933.

Spencer and his shipmate were soon teaching 125 men aboard the USS West Virginia. They, in turn, taught others aboard many other ships. Lamentably, several of those ships were destined to be sunk at Pearl Harbor.

At the core of his ministry were many important scriptures, one that stands out is, You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name (John 15:16).

Dawson Trotman was born and then reborn to reproduce.

What about the rest of us?

REFLECT & PRAY

“Soul winners are not soul winners because of what they know, but because of Who they know, and how well they know Him, and how much they long for others to know Him” (Dawson Trotman).

Father thank You for choosing us to be Your children. Thank You for inviting us into the family business of redemption. Please enable us to go and bring forth lasting fruit.

INSIGHT

John 15:15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.

Pause for a moment and attempt to try to grasp the magnitude of what the Lord Jesus Christ has done. It is seemingly incredible! He has invited us to be friends with Him. More than that, He has already made friends with us. He declares succinctly, “now you are my friends” (John 15:15). He established the friendship. How should we respond to such a magnificent offer of friendship with the Son of God? At the top of the list is shouting out “Yes! Thousand times Yes!”

I can’t think of a better, BFF, can you?

What kind of fruit is the Lord Jesus Christ talking about? Perhaps we need to ask another question first. It will help us to gain a better perspective. What kind of business is the Father God in? He is in the Redemption Business! He desires that no one should perish, but that everyone would possess eternal life. He offers eternal life to all.

Revelation 22:17 Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.

The Father has invited us to become His partners in His family business of inviting His children to come to Him. We have been appointed to go and produce lasting fruit. Lasting fruit are people just like us. They hear the message, and come to the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ in faith. “Jesus chose us, first to come to him, and then to go out to the world. And that must be the daily pattern and rhythm of our lives” (Barclay).

Do you think we can make the Father happy? Is it possible for us to bring great glory to the Father? Can we glorify Him by our actions? And if so, what actions would they be?

John 15:8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great honor to my Father.

What do we have to do to bear much fruit? The Lord Jesus Christ told us how to do it.

John 15:1-5

 1 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener.

 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.

 5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

In some remarkable way, children of the King have become fused to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the vine and we are His branches. We are united with Him. Grapes only grow on the branches, not the central stalk or vine. For there to be fruit, branches are necessary. But what must the branches do?

Just be branches and “hang in there.” He does the rest. “Continue to be a part of me even as I am a part of you” or “continue to be joined to me even as I will remain joined to you” (UBS). The result is much fruit.

“He called us to be his partners. Slaves could never be partners. A slave was defined in Greek law as a living tool. The master never opened his mind to a slave. Slaves simply had to do what they were told without reason and without explanation. But Jesus said: ‘You are not my slaves; you are my partners. I have told you everything; I have told you what I am trying to do, and why I am trying to do it. I have told you everything which God told me.’ Jesus has given us the honor of making us partners in His task. He has shared His mind with us and opened His heart to us. The tremendous choice laid before us is that we can accept or refuse partnership with Christ in the work of leading the world to God” (Barclay).

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© Dr. H 2022

We long to be cared for

We long to be cared for

Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the LORD, who had spoken to her. She said, “You are the God who sees me.” She also said, “Have I truly seen the One who sees me?” – Genesis 16:13

Genesis 16:7-14

 7 The angel of the LORD found Hagar beside a spring of water in the wilderness, along the road to Shur.

 8 The angel said to her, “Hagar, Sarai’s servant, where have you come from, and where are you going?” “I’m running away from my mistress, Sarai,” she replied.

 9 The angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit to her authority.”

 10 Then he added, “I will give you more descendants than you can count.”

 11 And the angel also said, “You are now pregnant and will give birth to a son. You are to name him Ishmael (which means ‘God hears’), for the LORD has heard your cry of distress.

 12 This son of yours will be a wild man, as untamed as a wild donkey! He will raise his fist against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live in open hostility against all his relatives.”

 13 So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”

 14 So that well was named Beer-lahai-roi (which means “well of the Living One who sees me”).

The need to be understood, accepted, and cared for is a common human trait. Some people have the innate ability to be caregivers. They concern themselves with the interests of others wanting only their best. They also watch over them. The term caregiver is used mainly in American English. The British equivalent of caregiver is carer. They are natural empaths. They give emotional or physical care and support to those who receive their care.

Caregivers can be complete strangers. Consider the story of the Good Samaritan. On the other hand, they can be very close friends, guardians, or family. The recipients of care cannot earn or become worthy of receiving it. In fact, it is their neediness that often stirs the caregiver into action.

Talk about dysfunctional families, Abraham’s wife Sarah was barren and unable to have children. But the Father had promised that she would provide Abraham with an heir. Sarah felt great sadness, shame, and ultimately guilt for not being able to have a child.

After years of trying, Sarah could wait no longer. She wrongly came to believe that could no longer trust the Father to come through. She had a better idea. She had a female handmaiden, a slave, Hagar. Hagar could serve as a surrogate mother and bear a child in her place. This is a common custom in the Ancient Near East. Abraham would have a physical heir. Abraham would be the father; Sarah simply would not be the mother. An heir is an heir. She allowed the cultural norms of the day to influence her choices, rather than trusting and waiting for the Father to fulfill His promise.

“It was a serious matter for a man to be childless in the ancient world, for it left him without an heir. But it was even more calamitous for a woman: to have a great brood of children was the mark of success as a wife; to have none was an ignominious failure . . .. But wealthier wives preferred the practice of surrogate motherhood . . .. The mistress could then feel that her maid’s child was her own and exert some control over it in a way that she could not if her husband simply took a second wife” (Wenham).

Sarah did not think this through and consider the consequences. Hagar was elevated from a lowly slave to a concubine, quasi-wife. Can you imagine the tension this must have created between the women? But when Hagar becomes pregnant, things take a turn for the worst.

Genesis 16:4-6

 4 When Hagar knew she was pregnant, she began to treat her mistress, Sarai, with contempt.

 5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “This is all your fault! I put my servant into your arms, but now that she’s pregnant she treats me with contempt . . ..

 6 Abram replied, “Look, she is your servant, so deal with her as you see fit.” Then Sarai treated Hagar so harshly that she finally ran away.

Envy and jealousy erupted into resentment and outright animosity. Hagar becomes the victim of Sarah’s indignation and rage. We are not given the details. They are left to our imagination. But things got so bad, that Hagar ran away. She fled into the wilderness, all alone and full of fear. For all practical purposes, she felt there was no one left to watch over and care for her. Was she destined to be an unwed single-parent? She was in desperate need, all alone and without help or hope in the desert.

REFLECT & PRAY

“Hagar had to learn that as children of a sovereign God, we are never victims of our circumstances. God does not want us to run away from our problems, but to face them with His help” (Stanley).

Father, we all long to be cared for. Children of the King need to have the support and care of others who love us and want our best. Thank You for being that Person.

INSIGHT

But, Hagar was not alone. The Father was watching over her. The Father reacted to her dire predicament with a wake-up call. It was time for her to stop and think. He sent a messenger. His angel gently asked, where have you come from? Where are you going?

Genesis 16:8-10

 8 The angel said to her, “Hagar, Sarai’s servant, where have you come from, and where are you going?” “I’m running away from my mistress, Sarai,” she replied.

 9 The angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit to her authority.”

 10 Then he added, “I will give you more descendants than you can count.”

Hagar’s answer mirrors what is too often sadly our own. I’m running away, I want to be anywhere but home. Life is just too tough; I cannot take it anymore.

She answered the first question. However, she did not answer the second question. Perhaps she was wandering aimlessly, afraid, unsure of her future. The angel provided, assurance and instruction. Her reaction was extraordinary. The unseen God suddenly became more real to her than she could ever have imagined.

Genesis 16:13 So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”

Hagar had felt unseen, alone, and worthless. But now she realizes that the Father looks after her! He sees. He hears. He cares. He knows our future. He is always our ever-present hope, source of encouragement, and guidance.

Hagar is the only person, male or female, in the Old Testament who provided a name for God based on their personal experience. She called Him El Roi, God of seeing. El Roi has many possible translations and nuances: God of seeing, that is, the all-seeing God; God of my seeing, that is, whom I have seen; God who sees me. Perhaps these various meanings are simultaneously intended. “When God ‘sees,’ it is, of course, that He shows His concern and extends His protection; when Hagar ‘sees,’ she experiences God’s self-manifestation” (Sarna).

“There are no great people in this world, only great challenges which ordinary people rise to meet.” (Bill Halsey, Jr.). With apologies to Christopher Robin and Pooh, remember in the Father’s kingdom: “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think” (A.A. Milne).

In the Father’s kingdom, challenges faced and vanquished are the wellspring of spiritual growth and development. As children of the King, today’s struggles are marvelously transformed into the strength and confidence for tomorrow.

If you were to provide a name for the Father based upon your personal experience with Him, what would it be?

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© Dr. H 2022

Have we loved enough?

Have we loved enough?

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. – Romans 13:8

Romans 13:8-10

 8 Owe nothing to anyone – except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law.

 9 For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These – and other such commandments – are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

 10 Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.

What is persistent debt? In modern terms, this normally refers to credit card debt. It has also been extended to other forms of debt as well. Persistent debt occurs when a consumer pays more in interest, fees, and charges than they do to reduce their balance. Thus if they do not increase their payments, they will never pay off their debt. Persistent debt has become a regulatory issue for the government. Credit card issuers are required to identify credit card customers who carry persistent debt for over 18 months. The goal is to provide strategies to pay down the debt and eventually pay it off and be debt-free.

Children of the King are required to repay any debts incurred promptly fulfilling any agreements that have been made regarding them. Freedom from debt is a grand and honorable goal for all children of the King.

Due to our fallen DNA, we are naturally selfish and self-centered. We want to keep as much as we can for ourselves. We focus on working hard to protect and keep “what is mine.” The Lord Jesus Christ addresses this issue simply and directly.

Matthew 6:19-21

 19 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.

 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;

 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Paul elaborates and instructs us not to keep things for ourselves or worse, hoard. We are not to strive to maximize our treasures on earth.

However, this is not simply an accounting problem regarding money. Our obligations are not only financial. Rather, they encompass our priorities and the attitudes of our hearts.

We have a responsibility to be in a right relationship with others, particularly human authorities. For many children of the King, this is a major paradigm shift. It necessitates a major attitude adjustment from selfish possessiveness to unselfish giving.  

Romans 13:7 Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.

However, there is one kind of debt that can never be paid off: a love debt.

Romans 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other . . ..

The thought here can be translated, “Owe nothing to anyone; but you ought to love one another” (Moo), “Owe no one anything, except to love one another,” “Be in debt to no one,” or “Do not be under financial obligations to anyone” or “Do not be under obligation to anyone” (UBS).

REFLECT & PRAY

The Father has set no limit on the obligation demanded of the children of the King to love one another. Loving one another is not an unpaid debt. It’s a perpetual obligation (Cottrell).

Father thank You that what You are asking us to do in loving one another without regard to our loveliness, is nothing less than what You did for us when we deserved nothing at all.

INSIGHT

Debts are not merely monetary. Each child of the King also has a sin debt that is been accrued through our thoughts, words, and actions. It is so great we could never pay it off. The Father knows this. He paid off our sin debt completely and redeemed us from the power of sin. Consequently, we are no longer in debt to the Father. However, a persistent debt remains on all our accounts. “The one debt that is always outstanding is the obligation to love” (MacDonald).

“We do have a debt that continues forever. It is our obligation to seek the welfare of our fellow human beings (Romans 8:4). The Mosaic Law required the same thing (Leviticus 19:18, cf. Matthew. 22:39)” (Constable).

“God is love, and the law reflects God’s character; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Obedience is never about slavishly following rules, but always about eagerly pleasing a loving God” (Stanley).

But something was missing in the Old Testament. There was no internal power to energize the person on the street to keep what the law demanded. That has been overcome in the New Testament. The indwelling Holy Spirit produces love for others within us. The Greek word translated as love is agape. Agape love is selfless love.

Agape is a “deep, unselfish, superhuman affection that one person has for another. This otherworldly love is not activated by any virtue in the person loved; rather, it is completely undeserved. It is unlike any other love in that it goes out not only to the lovable but to one’s enemies as well . . .. It is primarily a matter of the will rather than the emotions. The fact that we are commanded to love indicates that it is something we can choose to do” (Mac Donald).

This is clearly seen in the children of the King who lived in Colossae. Paul references the report provided by Epaphras regarding their godliness, determination, and love.

Colossians 1:8 He has told us about the love for others that the Holy Spirit has given you.

Paul was pleased, very pleased, but he was not satisfied he wanted more. He was motivated to pray.

Colossians 1:9-11

 9 So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding.

 10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.

 11 We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy . . ..

“‘Love one another’ is the basic principle of the Christian life. It is the ‘new commandment’ that Christ gave to us (John 13:34). When we practice love, there is no need for any other laws, because love covers it all! If we love others, we will not sin against them” (Wiersbe).

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© Dr. H 2022

The image of the invisible God

The image of the invisible God

You alone are the LORD. You made the skies and the heavens and all the stars. You made the earth and the seas and everything in them. You preserve them all, and the angels of heaven worship you. – Nehemiah 9:6

Colossians 1:15-19

 15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,

 16 for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see – such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him.

 17 He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.

 18 Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything.

 19 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ.

From time immemorial, people have pondered where the planet Earth, stars, human life, animal life, and everything else came from. How did it all begin? Who created the heavens and the earth? Religious beliefs throughout the world suggest answers that are often less than stellar. The Scriptures answer emphatically that God created all.

The truth of the Scripture is infinitely layered and progressively revealed through roughly 2000 years. It begins with a simple statement.

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

In simple terms, God created all that is. God is thought of as the ultimate supreme being. He has created everything with a simple word.

Genesis 1:1 is a one-line summary. It is an introduction to the rest of Scripture where the details are elaborated. For example, Genesis 1 covers the six days of creation. Genesis 2 focuses on the creation of Adam and Eve.

Psalms 33:9 For when he spoke, the world began! It appeared at his command.

Isaiah 45:11-12

 11 This is what the LORD says – the Holy One of Israel and your Creator . . ..

 12 I am the one who made the earth and created people to live on it. With my hands I stretched out the heavens. All the stars are at my command.

The three persons of the triune God are seen in the Old Testament. The Son and the Holy Spirit are somewhat veiled and elusive. The majority of the focus is on the Father God who is simply referred to as the Lord, Yahweh, or God.

The New Testament provides more detail. It indicates that the Trinitarian Godhead is a unity of three individual persons the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

REFLECT & PRAY

Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation. – Colossians 1:15

Father thank You for the clarity You have provided regarding the creation and the Lord Jesus Christ. It is marvelous to know and understand that the Lord Jesus Christ is the visible expression of You the invisible God.

INSIGHT

Something somewhat startling and heretofore unknown is alluded to in John 1:3 and Hebrews 1:2. The Father created everything through the Son.

John 1:3 God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him.

Hebrews 1:2 God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the member of the Trinitarian Godhead that is responsible for the creation and maintenance of all that is.

Colossians 1:15-19

 15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,

 16 for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see – such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him.

 17 He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.

Everything was created by God through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. Further, the Lord Jesus Christ holds all of creation together. Historically, theologians have referred to Him as the agent of creation. He is the one through whom everything came into existence.

But there’s more.

Colossians 1:15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation.

Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

What is the meaning of the phrase, the Lord Jesus Christ is the firstborn of all creation? This is not about His physical birth. But rather the relationship between the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father. He is the eternal Son and heir of the heavenly Father. “The use of the word ‘born’ or ‘begotten’ emphasizes the unique relationship between God and Jesus which is best expressed in terms of father and son; unlike all other human beings, Jesus’ relation to God is not expressed in terms of creature and creator” (UBS).

This expression is translated in many ways. The World English Bible (WEB), an updated revision of the 1901 American Standard Version (ASV), renders it “He takes precedence over all the created universe.” The New English Bible NEB translates it as “his is the primacy over all created things.” Lightfoot paraphrases: “He is the Firstborn, and as the Firstborn, the absolute Heir and sovereign Lord, of all creation.” The term firstborn emphasizes the position of the Lord Jesus Christ as the heir of His heavenly Father.

The Greek word translated as firstborn is prototokos. Prototokos is derived from protosfirst and tikto – to bear, bring forth. Prototokos is “often used in the literal sense of the first to come from the womb, takes on a metaphorical significance based on the ancient attribution of preeminence to the first to be born” (Moo).

When people seek to know what is God like? The answer is the Lord Jesus Christ.

John 14:9 He who has seen Me has seen the Father.

Paul gets even more specific explaining this truly extraordinary fact.

Colossians 1:15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.

If you want to see the Father, look at the Son.

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© Dr. H 2022

The intelligent design of creation provides encouragement

The intelligent design of creation provides encouragement

O LORD, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all. The earth is full of your creatures. – Psalms 104:24

Psalms 104:10-32

 10 You make springs pour water into the ravines, so streams gush down from the mountains.

 11 They provide water for all the animals, and the wild donkeys quench their thirst.

 12 The birds nest beside the streams and sing among the branches of the trees.

 13 You send rain on the mountains from your heavenly home, and you fill the earth with the fruit of your labor.

 14 You cause grass to grow for the livestock and plants for people to use. You allow them to produce food from the earth –

 15 wine to make them glad, olive oil to soothe their skin, and bread to give them strength.

 16 The trees of the LORD are well cared for – the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.

 17 There the birds make their nests, and the storks make their homes in the cypresses.

 19 You made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to set.

 20 You send the darkness, and it becomes night, when all the forest animals prowl about.

 21 Then the young lions roar for their prey, stalking the food provided by God.

 22 At dawn they slink back into their dens to rest.

 24 O LORD, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all. The earth is full of your creatures.

 25 Here is the ocean, vast and wide, teeming with life of every kind, both large and small.

 26 See the ships sailing along, and Leviathan, which you made to play in the sea.

 27 They all depend on you to give them food as they need it.

 28 When you supply it, they gather it. You open your hand to feed them, and they are richly satisfied.

 29 But if you turn away from them, they panic. When you take away their breath, they die and turn again to dust.

 30 When you give them your breath, life is created, and you renew the face of the earth.

 31 May the glory of the LORD continue forever! The LORD takes pleasure in all he has made!

 32 The earth trembles at his glance; the mountains smoke at his touch.

Whenever specific needs and requirements demand unique design, planning, and implementation, producers develop made-to-order items for their customers. Made-to-order products meet special and individual demands. They are custom-made to fit a particular niche or need.

That is exactly how the Father created the universe, the planets, atoms, molecules, elements matter, energy, and all life forms. All things that exist have been intelligently designed and custom-built to meet the requirements, functions, and usage of the living things He made.

The Father’s creative work reveals His thoughtfulness and consideration for the living creatures He made. Psalms 104:10-11 reveals that the Father was considering His flora and fauna while creating the streams of water. His intention was usefulness and blessing, not of “harm” (Tesh and Zorn).

“The creation reveals our God with a vast intellect that we cannot begin to comprehend. Our best scientists must regularly revise their theories to try to explain what He created – and He puts all His wisdom at our service” (Stanley).

Romans 1:20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

When we pause and consider the Father’s marvelous creation, we marvel at the Father’s perspicacity and creative power. Upon reflection, we recognize the Father’s kindness, thoughtfulness, and provision. Omnipotence and tenderness, omniscience, and kindness are clearly seen. What an extraordinary combination of abilities and characteristics.

Psalms 104:24 O LORD, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all. The earth is full of your creatures.

His creation is not limited to what we can see. It is infinitesimally small and also infinitesimally large. Living things are His “customers.” He foresaw and provided for all that He has made.

REFLECT & PRAY

His fingers formed the bough which grew the thorns that crowned His brow;

The nails which pierced His hands were mined in secret places He designed;

He made the forest whence there sprung the tree on which His body hung;

He died on a cross of wood, yet He made the hill on which it stood

(Phil Keaggy – Maker Of The Universe).

Father Your creation reveals Your character. It proclaims Your power. Yet it also whispers Your thoughtfulness, goodness, and kindness. Please remind me and encouraged me of Who and What You are in difficult times

INSIGHT

Where do we find encouragement in our fallen world which is seemingly in a downward spiral to oblivion?  

Psalm 104 celebrates the Father’s power, greatness, and magnificence. Encouragement rarely comes to those looking for ways to justify themselves” (Stanley).

So often we are tempted to give up and throw in the towel. One of the enemy’s favorite weapons is discouragement. He seeks to devour the children of the King and render us useless through whispers and shouts of doubt and fear. His goal is to entrap us in a web of discouragement and self-pity. Regrettably what often follows our frustration are feelings of anger and depression. Where do we turn to avoid becoming filled with rage and fury, lashing out and blaming others?

2 Corinthians 1:3  All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.

The Father has our back. He is for us. He is not against us.

All that is happening in the world and our own lives at present was known to the Father before He created anything at all. He has always known the end from the beginning. Nothing ever surprises Him. He has never been caught off guard or unprepared.

Matthew 24:12  Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold.

2 Timothy 3:1 In the last days there will be very difficult times.

The Greek word translated as difficult is chalepos. The basic sense of chalepos is difficult to deal with or hard to bear. The word itself means hard, troublesome, perilous, grievous, violent, harsh, dangerous, fierce, even savage.

When we are thrown into these trials during the savage times, what are we to do? Reflect upon the truth of the word of God. How much of it have you hidden in your heart? Several scriptures apply directly to this situation. They are promises from the Father.

1 John 5:4 For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.

Revelation 17:14  Together they will go to war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will defeat them because he is Lord of all lords and King of all kings. And his called and chosen and faithful ones will be with him.

In our fallen world, tribulations and disappointments are a certainty. But children of the King can live above them.

“Refuse to become discouraged. Ask the Lord to reveal His will and plan for your life. Commit yourself fully to Him and pray to obey no matter what it costs. If you take this approach, then God will provide for you in ways that far exceed human understanding” (Stanley).

¯\_()_/¯ 3-03-2

© Dr. H 2022

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