Archive

Archive for January, 2010

The Everlasting Arms

January 31st, 2010

The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.

Deuteronomy 33:17

 

We have many expectations concerning God’s blessings and encouragement. When we come together with other believers and worship Christ together, when the music is inspiring and the sermon uplifting, when we get a glimpse of the heaven of God and the God of heaven, on the mountaintops of spiritual high moments in life – these are all wonderful blessings of our Heavenly Father – we expect to be encouraged.

 

But let us not suspect that God is only found in those places and in those ways, for “underneath are the everlasting arms.”  In our moments of fatigue, in times of heavy responsibilities, in days of grief over what has been lost and anxiety over what may happen, in the season of suffering and loneliness, there we find the eternal arms of God supporting us from beneath.

 

To some God has given special golden moments of joys and blessings, to others He has entrusted periods of darkness and difficulty, but we all pass through the fire at some point along our journey of life. In the moment of fatigue in our journey of faith, when the race pace seems to have fallen off and we trudge forward one step at a time, faith is given a precious promise of God, that “underneath are the everlasting arms.” For those of us who have experienced these strong arms supporting us when everything else would give way, what would otherwise be a cup of sorrow is tinged with the sweetness of God’s love. His is the voice that whispers love in the darkness, peace in the storm, and strength in the face of unrelenting pressures.

 

Prayer:

 

Lord, your greatness is immeasurable and your glory is above the heavens, but your strength is also beneath us. In all that we face these days, may we personally know your protection and grace. Amen.

 

 

Evening Devotionals

In Repentance and Quietness

January 29th, 2010

In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength…

Isaiah 30:15

 

The Prodigal had long ago lost his money and his friends, but his pride and stubbornness kept him working at the Gentile pig farm for a bit longer. He kept thinking that somehow he could turn this all around, that he could get a better job, save and invest, and become wealthy again. Eventually, however, he realized how hopeless his position was and in shame and humiliation trudged home toward the father. From the way he had disrespected his father he only expected to be treated like another hired servant, but that was far better than what the Gentile was paying.

 

But one miracle had worked its way into his heart: he had become truly repentant, truly sorry for what he had done. He returned in repentant quietness. The reception by his father completely surprised him. The father refused to hear him talk about working as a hired servant: he was a son! His shame was covered and his dignity was restored. His repentance led to his salvation.

 

The prophet Isaiah proclaimed to the nation of Israel that their repentance would also bring salvation. They had wasted precious time by turning to Egypt for help, looking for solutions that God did not sanction. Their strength was not in others, not even in their own ingenuity. They needed to repent, to turn from what was false and turn to Him who is true. They were to rest in God, meaning that they were to return to God in utter dependence and reliance. The Hebrew parallelism of the verse connects quietness with repentance; quietness means to wait on the Lord and to listen to His commands. It is the opposite of an argumentative or adversarial spirit.

 

These inspired words apply to our lives as well. God invites us to turn to Him with our sins, for there we find our salvation. Like the Prodigal, pride and stubbornness keep us working on spiritual pig farms far too long, hoping against hope that we may be able to change our spiritual condition by ourselves. But there is only one solution for sin – the blood of Christ – and only One who heals from its effects – the Lord Himself. When we have gone the wrong way, when we have wasted precious moments of our life in pride and rebellion against God, when our alliances are all wrong, contrary to the will of the Father, when our spiritual strength is gone, then we find our salvation and strength in repentance and quietness before God. As the Prodigal’s father did for him, when we return to the Father we discover grace, reconciliation, and restoration.

 

Prayer:

 

O Lord, be for us our Redeemer in all ways, who cleanses us from sin and restores us to the fortunes that You have prepared for us to receive. Amen.

Evening Devotionals