Archive for September, 2009



Desiring The Will Of God Inspires Self-Control

Daily God Walk for Wednesday, September 16, 2009

 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul… Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.        – Psalm 143:10

 How often does the night bring a shudder to the soul as the coldness of a desperate time leads us to long for the light. In the night we cry with David, “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.” Morning will come and our trust will be rewarded.

We live in unsettled times and we need to have a refuge, a place where we can relax and just rest in the one in whom we have placed our trust for the future. I can remember a time when my wife and I were in such trial that when we went to bed at night sleep would be far from us. We would hold hands and let the tears drop upon our pillows as we cried out, “How long O God will we have to wait for this night to be over” Then the morning would come.

As we walk with the Lord our faith grows and we are able to trust him to be the God he has promised to be. That is why David could look for the unfailing love of God to be showered upon him. He realized the value of having God’s favor so he desired to do what pleased the Lord so that God could release favor upon him.

It is that desire to know the Lord and to dwell in the safety of his presence that prompts in us to walk in obedience to him. We want to do the will of God because we know his desire is to release blessing upon us and all those who do his will. That is why we exert the discipline of self-control.

When we seek him, as David sought the Lord, he will lead us on level ground; but in order to walk on level ground we must follow where he leads.  The disciplined effort of self-control is rewarded by walking on the level ground of God’s favor.

 Principle: When we trust God morning will come and trust will be rewarded.

 Affirmation: In the freshness of the morning I rejoice in his unfailing love.

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The Goodness Of The Lord Fills The Committed Heart

Daily God Walk for Tuesday, September 15, 2009

 The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.                                     – 2 Chronicles 16:9

 

Asa was king of Judah for many years and for about 35 years there was peace in the land. At the beginning of his reign the prophet Azariah prophesied to Asa; “The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if your forsake him, he will forsake you” (2 Chron. 15:1-3).

In the beginning Asa trusted the Lord and would seek him in all things. He destroyed the idols and repaired the altar of the Lord. He even deposed his grandmother from her position as queen mother because she had made a repulsive Asherah pole. He then returned the silver and gold to the temple.

He made a covenant with all the people to “seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul” (15:10-15). Asa truly walked with the Lord and the Lord was with him.

After ruling faithfully for 35 years a severe trial came. The king of the northern tribes came against him and he was fearful of being overrun so he took the gold and silver he had restored to the temple and made a treaty with a foreign king. He trusted that king to protect him rather than God.

It was in that context that the prophet came to him with a word of warning, chastisement, and promise. He was chastised for finding security in others rather than the Lord, yet there was the promise that if he would recommit his heart to the Lord he would be blessed.

The tragedy of this story is that Asa never turned back to God. Even when he contracted a fatal disease he did not seek the Lord (16:12). There is a warning to all of us in this. How we run the race is important, but not as important as how we finish the race. God is looking for men and women who will run well and finish well. How are you running?

 Principle: The goodness of God is with those who walk with him.

 Affirmation: Yesterday will not save me – I must walk well today.

 Prayer: Lord, grant me the grace to stay faithful to the end so that your goodness and blessing will continue with me. Help me to guard against a hardened heart that trusts men rather than you. In Jesus name, amen.

 Bible Reading: Psalm 104 – Jeremiah 19-20 – 2Thessalonians 2 – Proverbs 15

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Remember… Only God Is Good

Daily God Walk for Monday, September 14, 2009

 One  came and said unto him, Good master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God; but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.     – Matthew 19:16-17 (KJV)

 A very religious young man came to Jesus asking about eternal life. It is hard to tell if he was trying to use this event to boost his ego, or whether he was sincere in his quest for life. Jesus tested his sincerity by posing a challenge.

The young man responded to Jesus by asking which commands he should keep. I think this is where his arrogance may show because he knew what his life was and that he had kept the letter of the law. When Jesus recited a few of the commands he replied, “I have kept those since I was a small boy.”

Jesus saw directly into his heart and said, “Sell all that you have and give it to the poor then you will have treasure in heaven.” Here was the true test of his sincerity; could he surrender his earthly treasure to secure a heavenly treasure?

The test we face today is no less challenging. Can we surrender to him all that we have and all that we ever hope to have? It’s a big question.

A misconception that the young man had was that a man could become good enough to enter eternal life. He recognized Jesus as good, and perhaps in doing so implied that if Jesus was good surely he could be good too. Jesus surprised this young man by saying, “Why do you call me good – there is just one who is good and that is God.”

Man can perform good deeds, but man cannot on his own become good. Only God can make one good. The point that Jesus seemed to be making was that all we can do by good deeds is transfer our treasure, but we cannot earn a place where only good resides without a transformation taking place in us.

Only God is good, but we, through Christ, can taste of his goodness and receive the nature of God’s goodness through the work Of the Holy Spirit.

  Principle: We can receive the nature of God through the Holy Spirit.

 Affirmation: I can only become good by the work of the Holy Spirit.

 Prayer: Lord, we receive recognition through good works, but we can only become good by your grace. Grant me your grace. In Jesus name, amen.

 Bible Reading: Psalm 74 – Jeremiah 17-18 – 2 Thessalonians 1 –Proverbs 14

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Gives Thanks For His Love Endures Forever

Daily God Walk for Sunday, September 13, 2009

 Give thanks to the Lord for he is good –  His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of gods – His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord of Lords – His love endures forever.

 

To him who alone does great wonders –  His love endures forever

… who by his understanding made the heavens – His love endures forever.

… who spread out the earth upon the waters – His love endures forever.

 

Who made the great lights – His love endures forever.

… the sun to govern the day – His love endures forever.

… the moon and stars to govern the night – His love endures forever.

 

[Give thanks to the Lord of Lords]… to the One who remembered us in our low estate – His love endures forever

…and freed us from our enemies – His love endures forever

…and who gives food to every creature – His love endures forever

Give thanks to the God of heaven – His love endures forever. – Psalm 136

 

The psalmist is heralding the goodness of God as he tells the story of Israel being led out of Egypt to the promised land. This psalm is antiphonal, much the same as scripture reading in a service when a leader will read a portion of scripture, or make a declaration, and the congregation will affirm what is said in unison.

You can imagine the emotion generated when hearing these statements made to the congregation then hearing thousands of people respond with, “His love endures forever.” The purpose of this psalm is to point to the goodness of God in redemption and to reiterate his enduring love and grace.

I encourage you to make a list of events in your life when the hand of the Lord was evident and after each entry write, “His love endures forever.” When you have done that get with friends or family and recite it together.

 Principle: Remembering God’s works reminds us of his enduring love.

 Affirmation: I will take time to reflect on the goodness of God.

 Prayer: Lord, you have been so good to me and my family. I agree with the psalmist that your love does endure forever. Amen.

 Bible Reading: Psalm 44 – Jeremiah 15-16 – Proverbs 13

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Jesus – Our Example Of Doing Good

Daily God Walk for Wednesday, September 9, 2009

  God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and… he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.              – Acts 10:38

 God was not only in the Christ but it was the God in Christ that anointed him with power to go around doing good, healing the sick and casting out demons. The good that Jesus did is an example of the good God wants to continue to do through those who have the Spirit of the Christ in them today.

There is far less of the power of God being made manifest in the world of believers today because too many of us receive the power of God unto salvation, and the power of God to live a godly life, but we do not receive the power of God to affect the world around us.

Our relationship with God is more ego-centric than it is theo-centric and others oriented. We tend to be in relationship with God because of what he can do for us rather than for what we can do for him and the world around us.

The primary function of the power of God in Jesus when he was on the earth was to do the works of God. The works of God include teaching the truth of the kingdom of God, restoring mankind to relationship with God and answering the ills of mankind, including poverty, sickness and demonization, by the power of God.

Those of us who have received the Spirit of the Christ, and claim the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, have access to the same power and have the same responsibility to carry the message of the kingdom to our world. Jesus said as he was leaving this world, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses… to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

Mark 16 records certain signs that would be evidences of believing in the Christ. The book of mark ends with this verse: “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” Think about it.

 Principle: We must have power to affect the world to fulfill God’s purposes.

 Affirmation: Without God I can do nothing – With God all things are possible.

 Prayer: Lord, help me to take the focus off of what you can do for me and focus on what I can do for you and the world around me. In Jesus name, amen.

 Bible Reading: Psalm 103 – Jeremiah 7-8 – 1 Thessalonians 3   – Proverbs 9

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Called By The Goodness Of God

Daily God Walk for Tuesday, September 8, 2009

 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.       – 2 Peter 1:3

 

From before the age of time and creation God had a purpose for mankind. Even before the first man walked on this earth God had already planned to have a people to whom he could show his glory and the goodness of his nature.

It was with his purpose in mind that God established the laws that govern nature and man’s relationship with him. God knows that by living in harmony with the laws of nature we are in harmony with creation and with him. The problem that we as humans have is that we are not inclined to submit to a higher order, but our desire is to establish our own order.

From Adam and Eve partaking of the forbidden fruit to the Tower of Babel man has shown himself to be in rebellion against God’s order. It is that warring against the divinely established order that has created the ills of the world. War, famine and disease are all the result of man’s rebellion against God.

The good news is that God has made available all that we need to live in harmony with him and his creation. By grace he has given us the ability to live godly through faith in our knowledge of him. It is his goodness that has called us into his glory and by his grace he has given us life that is eternal.

God has not only called us, but he has also empowered us, to show the world his glory through living out the goodness of a godly life. Our challenge is that we must turn loose of our self-oriented nature and commit ourselves to living according to his purposes. When we do that he graciously honors our faith by releasing his goodness to us. That is his glory in the world today.

Paul, in Colossians 1:27, speaks of God’s hope and says it is “Christ in you.” Yes, the purpose of God from before creation was that his goodness would be known to the world through the Christ he would birth in us.

 Principle: God’s purpose is to show his goodness through Christ in us.

 Affirmation: The grace of God enables me to display the glory of his goodness.

 Prayer: Lord, it is my nature to want to do it my way, but I am learning that my way is not adequate. Grant me the grace to walk in your way. In Jesus name, amen.

 Bible Reading: Psalm 73  – Jeremiah 6-7 – 1 Thessalonians 2 – Proverbs 8

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His Power In Us Fulfills Every Good Purpose

Daily God Walk for Monday, September 7, 2009

 We constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.          – 2 Thessalonians 1:11

 I have often been amused by new converts who are so excited about what God has done in them that they believe everyone in the world would believe if they just had the chance. With faith, courage and boldness they set out to win the world only to find out that the rest of the world is just as disinterested in hearing the gospel as they were before their conversion.

It has saddened me to watch as these newly enthused believers become disillusioned with witnessing and conclude that “no one wants to hear the gospel.” The fact is that people do not want the gospel preached to them – they want to see it lived before them.

What is the gospel? It is not the doctrine that we have developed from the life of Christ, but it is the effect of the Christ-life. Jesus came with the purpose bringing the good news of restoration to the poor, the broken hearted, the afflicted and the oppressed – and he did restore them.

I believe that Paul’s prayer in this passage is that we who have received the grace of God, and have been empowered by the Holy Spirit, will affect the world with the good works produced by our faith. It is not the words of the gospel that changes lives it is the work of the gospel.

The most respected person of the modern age is a woman who surrendered all of her life to serving needy children in India. Just the mention of Mother Theresa evokes reverence and admiration. The power of this woman of God was not in her words but in her deeds.

Our prayer for the church today should be that we who are believers in the Christ will accept the power he has given us to do the good works of the gospel so that the world will know that God is alive and will give them life.

 Principle: The gospel is more than words – it is the effect of the Christ-life.

 Affirmation: I serve others so they will hear what they see.

 Prayer: Lord, grant me the grace to show the world the good purposes you have placed in me by serving them with good works. In Jesus name, amen.

 Bible Reading: Psalm 43   – Jeremiah 5-6 – 1 Thessalonians 1 – Proverbs 7

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Paul ”Hope Preacher” Smith

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