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Archive for December, 2009

The Present Time

December 31st, 2009

And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

Romans 13:11-12

We often misunderstand the times in which we live. The darkness is passing and the coming of Christ awaits the prophetic moment determined by God. Our associations with the world, our affections for what it offers should also be passing away, “For everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of the eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:16-17).

But before it passes away, the darkness will make one more play for our affections, one more display of its power and persuasiveness. So we need to be aware of the danger of its appeal to our hearts. The Apostle Paul had given two thoughts to keep us fulfilling the moral commandments of the Law of God in this passage: the love of God that changes our motivation and the future establishment of the eternity of God that changes our orientation.

“Wake up” is a comforting thought. The night is passing and the beauty of that golden morning of the peace of God is approaching. This reality is already planted in our hearts and it should be expressed in our words and actions. We can now by faith live in the promise of this new age, and “clothe” ourselves “with the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 13:14).

In a trip of my childhood leaving after my father got off work, we drove to visit a family farm. I fell asleep in the car but woke up in the ranch house. Of course, I had to dress for the ranch, complete with boots and chaps. Our orientation of eternity with God is to bring us everyday to understand that our eternity has already begun, and we are to dress in the clothes of our future, to think the thoughts of our future, to live as though it will be completely fulfilled any moment. We are people of the future of life with God, not the past of the darkness of sin.

Prayer:

Lord, let us understand the time in which we live, awake from our slumber and live with You in our hearts and in our values. Let us experience the hope that You bring to every day. Amen.

Evening Devotionals

Sustaining the Humble

December 30th, 2009

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. The LORD sustains the humble…the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.

Psalm 147:3-6,11

The stars are a fitting comparison to the brokenhearted. Often a single star is eclipsed by the brightness of others and we might forget that it even exists, but each has its place in the mind of the Almighty.

The same is true with us: others may seem to outshine us on earth, our dreams may be unfulfilled and our hopes dashed to pieces, but the love of God for us remains a constant and His intention toward us remains forever. Even among the seemingly most religious people, some can exude some air of superiority, at least they think themselves to be like that in their minds, but those close to the heart of God realize the love of God for every person, and His sustaining power is active in every life, especially for those who believe.

The Lord takes no delight in the proud and arrogant, but longs for the person who feels a need for God. It is part of His nature to reach out to that person who feels forgotten, who has suffered abuse at the hands of others, or neglect, and needs a touch of love. Even among those who seem to think themselves superior, there are many brokenhearted whose pride serves as a coverup to their deeper need. We each retain a great need for God throughout life, and into eternity. Some sense the need along economic lines, others for health, and others for companionship — all of us need should sense our need for Him in forgiveness and the grace to cover our sins — but whatever challenge you are facing today, stop long enough to consider the compassion of God for you. He who knows the stars each by name, knows you as well. You are precious to Him and He longs to bring His healing power and apply it at your point of need.

Prayer:

Lord, we thank You for Your compassion, for Your sustaining power that is active in our lives. Let us see how You will answer the need we feel at this moment. We bow before You, seeking Your help and seeking Your face. Amen.

Evening Devotionals