Devotionals

Do not be troubled (Matthew 24:6)

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass. Matthew 24:6


One observation of Jesus we gain in Scripture is His economy of words. He displays tremendous brevity, with yet perfect wisdom. He responds to questions which were not only seemingly impossible, but also intended to trap Him in conundrum.

An example of this is seen in Matthew 22—asked by the legal scholars, He was confronted to wade into the depths of the law and determine which was the most important of this complex collection. Without pause He confidently responds in absolute brilliance– You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind…You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.

The response we likely know well, but let familiarity not cloud the absolute perfection and truth of His knowledge. His inquirers would thought such a question would have stumped Him… the opposite occurred.

Two chapters later, the disciples come to Jesus with curiosity of end times. His response is unusually lengthy. Early in His response we are exhorted by Him to be not troubled.

In the Psalms David writes to us about trouble or fear and the solution to it. From Psalm 27:

  • Notice in verse 1— David knows who to go to— the LORD is the strength of my life…
  • In verse 3, he declares his confidence is not in self-made solution, but confident in God.
  • From verse 4 we see David positioning himself in actual prayer…I have desired of the LORD and that will I seek. His vision is also aligned correctly—
  • Again in verse 4, he beholds the beauty of the LORD… as opposed to the beauty of David’s deliverance or solution. He also inquires in His temple… God is to be worshipped and learned of in the temple. It is in the Word where we learn of God and from God. It is the Word which is to be opened, directing us to Jesus. Hebrews 10:7- In the volume of the book it is written of Me.
  • Verse 6 points us to praise in time of fear, and in verse 14 we conclude with the command to wait… we would say rest!

Most of our fears concern the future. God is lovingly bold in the Word concerning our future. Reflect on—Jeremiah 29:11…I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Proverbs 23:18…For surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off.

I Corinthians 3:22-23…things present or things to come—all are yours. And you are Christ’s and Christ is God’s.

Finally, Romans 8:38-39…For I am persuaded that neither death nor life… nor things present nor things to come… shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This is good stuff! No doubt we truly can be relieved of anxiety, worry and troubled hearts!

Maranatha!

 

A Song for meditation

Fix your Eyes on Him (Genesis 8:5)

In the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the mountain tops were seen. (Genesis 8:5)


Interestingly, the tenth month in the above verse corresponds with our January. Noah and his family had no certainty when, if ever, they would see terra-firma again. But on that first day the flood waters were ebbing and mountain tops were seen by Noah and his family.

There are none of us who have any guarantee what this new year will bring… though we have our hunches, expectations, and plans, we can’t foresee detail. Yet unlike those who choose not to believe, the believer is not in complete obscurity. One thing we can count on are the promises of God. Peter (II Pet.1:4) states that such promises are exceedingly great and precious.

In such promises we have the privilege of fellowship… and that fellowship exceeds the wonderful blessing of fellowship with other believers. I John 1:3 clearly reminds us our fellowship is with God the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.

There are such ‘mountain-tops’ of great blessing, spiritual possibilities and challenging opportunities which are available to us as we consider Philippians 4:13—I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. But the greatest of all the capped mountains is the peak of looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13).

Consider with me some aspects regarding Noah and his family’s view from the window.

  1. The mountain tops were seen from the Ark. In a study of the Word, it is clearly seen the Ark is a ‘type’ of our Savior Jesus. It is in close fellowship…walking with Him, that a clearer vision, a corrected and true vision is gained.
  2. Some linguists suggest Ararat, where the Ark settled, literally means holy ground or curse-reversed. Regardless of exact meaning it is in walking in ways which delight God which ultimately bring you delight. It is there where the great satisfactions are gleaned, and clarity gained.
  3. Noah and his family were not in the dark bowels of the vessel where no window was cut, attempting to gain a view in futility. They positioned themselves where they could and would see. Where is it that we see our Lord Jesus? Of course it is in the Word, it is in placing value and appreciating the act of Communion remembering Jesus, it is in fellowship with His people, and it is in prayer. Is it any wonder that these were the emphases of the early church (Acts 2:42)?

This year, today and daily… position yourself close to the Lord… close to Him. Walk humbly with your God… fix your eyes and look for Him, and to Him, where He is to be found… He doesn’t hide!

Maranatha!

A song for meditation

Deuteronomy 6:7

You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up. 


The truth is in Jesus (Ephesians 4:21). The greatest of all teaching you can give to your child is that which is Christ centered. It occurs in the course of everyday life— as you walk with them, drive them places, play with them and have meals with them. These times are of immense value as you talk with your kids about your Lord Jesus!

Share about the manger and His birth, talk of His death, and resurrection, the Lord, He is in your life. Have fun and talk about Jesus a lot. We are to lead our children to the truth solely found in Him. He is their highest good and their Savior.

Share the stories of the Bible and God’s goodness in your life. Warn about sin, & talk of the cross, repentance and grace. Remind them of God’s desires for them and the value they are to you and Him. Talk of His soon return, Heaven and the hope that is there for them.

We can tend to a monologue with our children. Attempt to have, not a monologue, but a dialogue. Ask them questions, inquire of their thoughts. Learn what they are believing and help to shape that. Know their fears & their doubts… draw out the matters of their hearts (see Prov. 20:5). Give and speak to them with great affection and lots of encouragement… all their days! Celebrate success with them, and warn them of dangers you discern.

And pray… pray with them and pray for them. There are very real (though often unseen) present and powerful spiritual forces battling for our homes. It is easy for us to simply make a rule change, or a situation change and indeed that might be wise. Nevertheless, we must remember the battle is truly spiritual. For our fight is not against any physical enemy; it is against organizations and powers that are spiritual. We are up against the unseen power that controls this dark world, and spiritual agents from the very headquarters of evil. (Eph. 6:12, JB Phillips trans)

I appreciate what Pastor Tony Merida shares on these matters—

Parenting makes you desperate for God’s help. Some days I think success equals keeping my children out of prison; other days I think success is keeping myself out of prison!

But we take great comfort in Titus 2. Paul says the grace of God instructs us for godliness (Titus 2:11-12). While parents have this responsibility to train their children, God in His grace is working in their lives. Look to God for grace and strength. Psalm 127 reminds us of our desperate need:

“Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.
Unless the LORD guards the city; the watchman stays awake in vain.”

Go to God for help; His strength will be sufficient. Weak parents have a mighty Savior!

Maranatha!


Song for meditation