Thursday, May 25, 2017

Psalm 37

Those who belong to the Lord experience true wisdom, prosperity, and success.  They may not be wise in the world's view of things.  They also may not be successful or wealthy according to the world's standards.  A true child of God, however, has all he or she needs for time and for eternity! As children of God we experience the Lord walking beside us and directing all of our steps!  As children of God we possess the Lord's wisdom.  We experience the Lord's definition of success and prosperity in our lives.  The secret to being wise and successful according to the Lord's definition is to trust in the Lord.

We need to not only trust in the Lord, but we need to actually delight ourselves in the Lord.  We must have a sense of the Lord's presence in our lives.  We must have a passion for the things of the Lord. We must delight in reading His Holy Word.  We must delight in seeking to do His will. Our ultimate delight should not be in our homes, our jobs, or even our families.  Our delight and purpose for our lives should be found in the Lord and in serving Him.  Then the other things in our lives will take their rightful place in our lives.  Then the Lord's desires will become our desires, and thus we will also be given the desires our hearts.

As children of God you and I are rich in His blessings and promises!  All the wealth and wisdom of this world can not begin to compare to the joy and blessings of belonging to the Lord.  He promises to always be with us.  We read in Psalm 37:5-6, "Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this:  He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun."

Even when we face insurmountable problems the Lord will see us through or around our problems, if we trust in Him.  No problem is too big or too small for the Lord.  God is all sufficient.  We only need to come to Him with our needs and leave them with Him.  Psalm 37:7 tells us, "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret---."  We need to calmly wait in trust for the Lord to work out the details of our lives.  We need to be busy in God's kingdom, but we need to be trusting the Lord to work out His plan of our lives.  The Lord's command to us is "do not fret" and do not worry.

The child of God is rich and successful in the Lord!  The child of God is successful in things that matter for eternity!  The child of God is rich in the blessings of God's promises.  Psalm 37:17b-19 says, "---the Lord uphold the righteous.  The days of the blameless are known to the Lord, and their inheritance will endure forever.  In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty."

God never promises that we will have all days of sunshine and days where everything goes according to our plans.  He does promise, however, to always be with us and meet our needs. Psalm 37:23-24 promises, "If the Lord delights in a man's ways, He makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand."  What an awesome promise!

No wealth or success we might experience in this world can begin to compare to the wealth and security we have in the Lord and in His promises!  Verse twenty-five is one of this devotional writer's favorite verses in Psalm 37.  It reads like this, "I was young and now I am old. yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread."  This devotional writer doesn't like to think of herself as old, but she has lived long enough to see that the Lord is always faithful. His plan is always best, and His timing is always perfect.  God's people will always be protected forever, and there is a future for the child of God!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

II Corinthians 12

II Corinthians 12:1-10

"My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness."  II Corinthians 12:9

The apostle Paul had an affliction or infirmity of some kind.  The precise nature of this infirmity that plagued Paul's life is uncertain.  Paul called his affliction in II Corinthians 12:7b "a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me."  It would seem as if the "thorn" that Paul experienced in his life was significant.  Paul went on to say in II Corinthians 12:8, "Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me."

God's answer to Paul's prayer in II Corinthians 12:9 was "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  God was telling Paul that His love and kindness would be enough for Paul.  The Lord was telling Paul that with the Lord's strength in his life Paul would be able to bear the "thorn" in his life.

The "thorn" of affliction in Paul's life had been given to him to keep him humble.  It was given to Paul to keep him from self-reliance and to cause him to rely on the Lord alone for strength.  The Lord's strength and grace in Paul's life would be sufficient.  Because Paul was willing to accept God's will in not removing the "thorn" from his life, Paul experienced the Lord's blessing.  Even the "thorn" became a blessing to Paul!  Paul's "thorn" or weakness enabled Paul to experience the Lord's strength in his life.  God's strength was more clearly exhibited and completed in Paul's weaknesses!

God sometimes allows problems and afflictions in our lives also.  The Lord does not always remove every affliction and problem that we ask Him to remove from our lives.  He will instead give us the grace that we need to live victoriously in spite of those problems.  The Lord's grace is sufficient for every circumstance and need.  Only as we lose our dependence on self and avail ourselves of the Lord's strength do we become dynamic instruments in the Lord's hand. Sometimes the Lord allows afflictions and trials in our lives to keep us close to Him and dependent on Him.  Relying and resting on the Lord's strength brings glory and honor to the Lord. Trials are in this way turned to blessing and triumph in our lives!

Paul went on to say in II Corinthians 12:9b-10, "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Through Paul's affliction Christ became increasingly real to him.  Through his trials Paul grew in his personal love relationship with the Lord.  Paul was willing to endure his affliction the rest of his life; if it would better display the power, presence, and glory of the Lord in his life.  Paul even delighted in his afflictions, because he knew they were bringing about favorable results in his life. He also knew they were bringing greater glory to the Lord.  Paul knew that his weakness in his own human strength resulted in a greater flow of the Lord's strength in him.

We also can glory and delight in our trials and weaknesses.  It is in our weakness that the power of our Lord is most clearly displayed.  The Lord can not use our foolish attempts at self-reliance. When we depend on the Lord and His strength alone, however, we can be used in powerful ways for the glory of the Lord.  Let it be our passion to rely on the Lord's all-sufficiency, power, and grace alone!