Tuesday, July 31, 2018

“Loss and Gain"

"Loss and Gain"

     "What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.  Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ" (Philippians 3:7-8).

   Loss was gain for the Apostle Paul, as it is for all born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.  It doesn't feel that way, however.  Doubtless, Paul felt the pain of the lash as he lost the skin on his back when flogged.  He knew the sorrow of lost freedom while in prison.  His heart ached for lost family members and former friends who rejected the Apostle because they rejected the Christ in whom he trusted.  "The loss of all things," while paving the way for eternally greater gains, nevertheless hurt Paul.   Moreover, no less than the Lord Jesus sorrowed greatly at the prospect of that which He would lose on the cross, even as He embraced "the joy that was set before Him" (Matthew 26:38; Hebrews 12:2).  Thus, in experiences of loss for Christ's sake, we must often trust God for His promised gains while much in our emotional and physical responses seems to flow against the current of our chosen confidence.

   We must embrace Paul's primary position regarding the issue of gain and loss.  Our brother determined to believe, in response to God's Truth, that everything is loss when compared to "the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord."  Any gain that hinders such knowledge is actually loss.  Any loss that furthers such knowledge is actually gain.  This is reality.  This is truth.  Again, however, it will not presently feel as if such is the case.  We must therefore build an altar of doctrine and devotion in our hearts.  Thereupon we sacrifice any notion that contradicts the supremacy of the Lord Jesus as the life, joy, and peace of our hearts.  We choose to believe that the knowledge of Him is gain, even amid the greatest loss.  We will need to often revisit the altar to remember and reaffirm our determination of "Thou art my God… Thou art my hope… Thou art my help… Thou art my portion… Thou art my trust… Thou art my help and my deliverer" (Psalm 118:28; 71:5; 40:17; 119:57; 70:5).  We could lose everything, but if Christ remains, we will have lost nothing.  He is the Life of our lives, the joy of our joys, the fulfillment of our hearts, and Holy One for whom are hearts were made and redeemed.  Having Him, we have all, even in those times when loss tears our flesh and rends our soul.  

"God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever."
(Psalm 73:26)
"Thou art my portion, O Lord."
(Psalm 119:57)

Weekly Memory Verse
     If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
(Galatians 5:25)


Monday, July 30, 2018

“Returns To the Throne"

"Returns To the Throne"

     "Casting all your cares upon Him, for He careth for you" (I Peter 5:7).

    We sometimes hear Christian communicators suggest that we should take our burdens to the Lord - and be sure to leave them with Him.  Certainly we should do this as we heed the Apostle Peter's command to cast our cares on the One who so cares for us.  However, our present lives often involve returns to the Throne of grace for reaffirmation of our confidence, particularly in times of great challenge and stress.    Such requirement does not necessarily mean that we did not trust our Heavenly Father on our previous visit.  Our spiritual enemies do not permanently surrender when we initially pray about a matter, nor are we perfected to the degree that we do not sometimes require more casting of the care.  "I'm back, Heavenly Father, to seek You again for strength and guidance, and to reaffirm to You and to myself - I trust You."

    "Be Thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: Thou hast given commandment to save me; for Thou art my rock and my fortress" (Psalm 71:3).

    The day will come when a perfectly faithful God will unite with the perfected faith of His trusting children in Christ.  A one time transaction of trust will suffice regarding God's promises, as "then shall I know even as also I am known" (I Corinthians 13:12).  No spiritual enemies will challenge our faith, no fleshly proclivity to unbelief will exist in us, and the environment in which we live will flow with the current of confidence rather than disbelief.  No "good fight of faith" will be necessary (I Timothy 6:12).  This is not that day.  Presently, we find ourselves on a battlefield that frequently challenges us, as allowed and even orchestrated by God.  As Joseph said to the brethren who sold him into slavery, "Ye thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good" (Genesis 50:20).  The challenges, rightly understood in the light of Scripture, provide opportunity to walk consciously with our Lord.  Again, some matters require both initial affirmation and frequent reaffirmation as our enemies wage war against us, and our Heavenly Father wages peace by calling us to Throne as often as required.  "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, Rejoice" (Philippians 4:4).

    Let us cast our cares on the Lord, and indeed, leave them with Him.  However, let us also expect that we will often require returns to the Throne of grace as reminders that the burdens are safely in His care.  This is the reality of our present existence, wherein "the good fight" provides frequent opportunity to relate to our good Father.  He understands.  We must also understand so that we will not be discouraged by our need to "come boldly to the Throne of grace to obtain mercy, and to find grace to help in time of need."  And, to come again.

"Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving."
(Colossians 4:2)

Weekly Memory Verse
     If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
(Galatians 5:25)

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Saturday Songs -28- "Early In the Morning"

(Friends: each Saturday this year, we are sending the lyrics and a recorded version of one of our songs.  Wrote this one a long time ago, based on Psalm 55:17: “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice.”    I hope you find the song encouraging.  Thanks, Glen)

“Early In the Morning”
Words and Music by Glen Davis

Early in the morning, I will seek Your face.
Early in the morning, my heart will cry out 
for Your grace.

For Your grace, for Your grace.

And as the light of noonday shines,
ever You are on our minds,
brightening the narrow way
of pilgrims who live by Your grace.

By Your grace, by Your grace.

The shadows of the evening fall
as once again Your children call,
as once again Your children call,
call out for Your grace. 

For Your grace, for Your grace.

Weekly Memory Verse
     Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
(Psalm 85:10)

Friday, July 27, 2018

“Reflection and Deflection"

"Reflection and Deflection"

     "Let us not be desirous of vain glory" (Galatians 5:26).

     The truth that we live for the honor and reputation of Another should elicit a hugh sigh of relief and the greatest sense of peace in our hearts.  This includes those who foolishly seek fame in this lifetime, desiring the empty honor that glimmers like a jewel in prospect, but chokes like gravel in possession.  As one person of notoriety ruefully commented, "I wanted to be famous - until five minutes after it happened."  Of course, most of us never achieve - or actually, descend - to the trappings of fame.  However, in our own sphere of life and influence, we all can live seeking to build our reputation in the minds of others rather than joining the Psalmist in the tranquility of "Not unto us, o Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy and Thy truth's sake" (Psalm 115:1).

    We exist for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.  His honor and reputation must be established and maintained as paramount in our hearts, minds, and lives.  This will lead us to do many things that flow with the current of Christ's honor, and to not do many things that move against that current.  The Holy Spirit who also seeks to direct all attention to the Lord Jesus - "He shall glorify Me" - works in believers to fulfill God the Father's determination to honor His Son (John 16:14).  His leadership will motivate us to act, speak, and relate in ways that cast a beautiful light on the Savior.  The Spirit will also sometimes restrain us from words and actions that may appear holy in their content, but which do not meet the test of intent.  As the Lord Jesus said of certain religious figures of His day, "Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast" (Matthew 6:16).  "Look at me!" served as the reason for sacrifice rather than seeking to quietly direct all attention to the only worthy Recipient of honor and glory. 

   A path of peace beckons us in the day, the tranquility of heart that delivers us from the vain glory - empty honor - that poisons the hearts of all who seek it.  In the particular pond in which we swim, we can devote ourselves to reflection and deflection, as it were.  We walk by faith in the Lord Jesus and thus absorb His holy light that enables us to reflect His character, nature, and way.  We also walk in the humility that seeks to deflect attention from ourselves to Him, the "Not unto us!" of the Psalmist.  No greater peace can fill our hearts.  No other peace can fill our hearts.   We were made and redeemed for this, and the path beckons us to reflect and deflect all glory to the Christ so worthy thereof…

"Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in Heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever!"
(Revelation 5:12-13)

Weekly Memory Verse
     Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
(Psalm 85:10)

Thursday, July 26, 2018

"Because You Love Me"

(This is a repeat from 2011.  Our grandson Jackson was five when this was written.  He will be twelve next week.  Whew!  The clock seems to move faster and faster.  This is one of my personal favorites.   Thanks, Glen)

"Because You Love Me"

     "You wrote this because you love me, didn't you?" Our grandson Jackson asked Frances this question as he considered the journal his grandmother has written about him since he was born.

    Frances has chronicled much of our family's lives in a collection of journals that would be among the first items I would seek to rescue if our house was ever in jeopardy.  As many of you know, her words flow deeply from the heart, and deeply into the hearts of those who read her essays.  

   Back to Jackson. "You wrote this because you love me, didn't you?"  I am reminded of Another who affirmed His Father's love for Himself, and also for us. 

    "I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them" (John 17:26).

   The Lord Jesus Christ referred to the many words of God's grace and truth He had communicated to His disciples. In Jackson's terms, our Lord said, "Father, I have spoken to them because You love Me, and I pray that they will know that You love them."  This is true of the entire Word of God.  The Bible is many things, but no more fitting description exists than declaring it to be a gift of love and light from God's heart to the heart of humanity. 

    To Israel in the Old Testament: "I have loved Thee with an everlasting love."  To the church in the New Testament: "But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus" (Jeremiah 33:3; Ephesians 2:4-7).  It is not presumptive for the trusting believer to join Jackson in looking up from the Bible we hold in our hands (and in our hearts), and say with the deepest gratitude, reverence, and wonder, "Father, You wrote this because You love me, didn't You?"  We can be sure the answer is the same Jackson received from Frances: "Yes, I did."

"For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory...to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge."
(Ephesians 3:14; 16; 19)

Weekly Memory Verse
     Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
(Psalm 85:10)


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

“At the Throne"

"At the Throne"

    The book of Job indicates that on two separate occasions, Satan arrived in the presence of God to accuse Job and challenge God to bring calamity upon His servant.  However, Scripture does not record that anyone appeared at the Throne to intercede on Job's behalf.

   "Put forth Thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse Thee to Thy face" (Job 1:11).

    God did not directly touch Job, as Satan suggested.  Instead, He submitted Job to the attacks of Satan's hand (Job 1:12; 2:5).  The man of God lost his possessions, his family, and his health as a result.  The Lord ultimately redeemed Job from the challenge, and blessed him even more greatly than before (Job 42:12).  He also included the narrative of Job in His Word to reveal much truth about Himself and our walk with the Lord amid the challenges of this present life.  As mentioned, one of those truths involves the fact that while Satan appeared in the presence of God, seeking Job's harm, no record exists of anyone appearing in God's presence for Job's benefit.  As the Lord once said of Israel, ""He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor" (Isaiah 59:16).

    Thank God that Someone now intercedes for us in the Heavenlies: "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us" (Hebrews 9:24).  After His death and resurrection, the Lord Jesus Christ ascended into the Heavenlies, where "He ever liveth to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:25).  Our Savior now mediates for us as our great High Priest, and doubtless counters our spiritual enemies' malevolent attempts to harm the sons and daughters of God in Christ.  However, this does not preclude our own high calling to also appear in the presence of God for the work of intercession.  Our Heavenly Father calls us to join His Son, "praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints" (Ephesians 6:18).  Indeed, if our enemy is still allowed to approach God in the Heavenlies, seeking our harm, we can be sure he is challenged by the pleas of the Savior on our behalf.  Moreover, the prayers of believers also bear much weight at the Throne of grace.  "And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us. And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him" (I John 5:14-15).

   Again, if allowed, Satan will arrive at the Throne for his destructive purposes.  Let us be sure that we also day by day arrive there for God's purposes.  Job had no intercessor.  May that not be said of our families, friends, brothers and sisters, and all who inhabit our sphere of influence.  May we join the Lord Jesus at the Throne, and may we share the attitude of the prophet in his realization of such prayerful privilege and responsibility...

"God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you."
(I Samuel 12:23)

Weekly Memory Verse
     Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
(Psalm 85:10)


Tuesday, July 24, 2018

“The Tool of Vigilance”

(Thanks to Peggy for inspiration on this one)

"The Tool of Vigilance"

    The Bible does not indicate that Job ever knew about the Heavenly discourse between God and Satan that led to his grievous trial.

    "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.  And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou?  Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.  And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?" (Job 1:6-8).

    The narrative continues with the devil challenging the faithfulness of Job.  "He will curse Thee to Thy face" accused the devil regarding the possibility that suffering and loss would lead to the end of Job's devotion to God (Job 1:11; 2:5).  The Lord gave His servant into Satan's hand, leading to great destruction and loss of property, family, and health in Job's experience (and ultimately redemption).  Again, nothing in Scripture indicates that the man of God knew anything about the machinations in Heaven between the Lord and the devil that resulted in his sorrows.  Indeed, we cannot be sure if Job even knew that Satan existed.

    "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour, whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you" (I Peter 5:8-10).

    Job very likely had no portion of the Bible.  He certainly did not have the Scriptures in their completed form that we so blessedly possess.  Thus, he could not know about the "roaring lion" who sought his harm.  He had no tool of vigilance such as God has given to us in His written Word.  Thankfully, Job ultimately overcame the devil's challenge.  He never cursed God to His face.  However, the narrative of Job reveals great ignorance of the Lord's ways, and the enemy's ploys.  He knew very little compared to the Light we possess in Scripture.  Thus, we bear far greater responsibility regarding both the knowledge of God, and the attacks of our adversary.  "Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required" (Luke 12:48).

    We read the Scriptures first and foremost to know our Lord, understand His truth, and relate to Him in loving faith and faithfulness.  "The Scriptures… testify of Me" (John 5:39).  However, we also ponder God's truth to prepare ourselves for vigilance regarding our "adversary the devil."  We cannot know all of His machinations, or of God's allowances regarding the devil's challenges.  If our name is mentioned in Heaven, we - like Job - are not there to hear it.  We can nevertheless know enough to overcome with far great insight than our brother Job long ago possessed.  Again, Job did not possess the tool of vigilance, the Bible.  We do.  Much has therefore been given to equip us to "fight the good fight of faith" (I Timothy 6:12).  Much shall be required.

"Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
(I Thessalonians 5:5-6)

Weekly Memory Verse
   Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
(Psalm 85:10)

Monday, July 23, 2018

“Just and the Justifier”

"Just and the Justifier"

    "But there is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared" (Psalm 130:4).

    The Psalmist provides what seems to be a strange correlation in his declaration that God's forgiveness should elicit fear.  We might rather think - rightly - that the contemplation of Divine mercy should lead to thoughts of praise, thanksgiving, wonder, and a sense of adoring appreciation that our Lord is "ready to forgive and of plenteous mercy unto all them that call upon Thee" (Psalm 86:5).  However, the Hebrew word for fear in this passage, yare, means what it says, that is, to be afraid.  Thus, the proper consideration of Divine forgiveness must be accompanied by a solemn sensibility of the utmost seriousness regarding God'willingness to forgive and pardon sinners.

   Such seriousness, or fear, results from our awareness of the means of mercy that makes possible the Lord's bestowal of forgiveness.  "Without shedding of blood is no remission (forgiveness)" - Hebrews 9:22.  God's character, nature, and way are of such moral purity that He cannot forgive by fiat, as it were.  Sin must be judged.  It's consequences must be remitted.  Somebody has to die.  "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).  A lesser God might look the other way when unrighteousness occurs in His universe, but not the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  His delight in mercy cannot compromise His holy disposition.  He must retain His integrity as He bestows His grace.  For us, this constitutes forgiveness in terms not only of joyous affirmation, but of genuine fear.

    "Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God, to declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (Romans 3:24-26).

    The Apostle Paul'revelation that through Christ, God can at once be both "just and the Justifier" provides one of the most important truths in Scripture.  We must view our Lord in terms of both fearful justice and marvelous mercy.  The Father smote His Son with wrath and forsakenness on the cross of Calvary.  Thereby - and only thereby - He graces trusting hearts with forgiveness and salvation.  Moral purity united with merciful propensity in Christ.  In Him, "mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other" (Psalm 85:10).  This should drive us to our faces in awe - "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" - and raise us up in gladness - "He delighteth in mercy" (Proverbs 9:10; Micah 7:18).  "Just and the Justifier" - we rightly cannot know and relate to God apart from the recognition that He loves to forgive, but that such disposition also speaks to us of One whose moral purity must also elicit in us a proper fear based on the price of our pardon…

"We did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all."
 (Isaiah 53:4-6)

Weekly Memory Verse
   Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
(Psalm 85:10)

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Saturday Songs -27- "Blue Jewel"

(Friends: each Saturday this year, we are sending the lyrics and a recorded version of one of our songs.  We wrote and recorded "Blue Jewel" about 10 years ago.  It concerns some of the most beautiful photographs I've ever seen.  During the Apollo 8 mission in December, 1968, Astronaut Bill Anders captured images of earth from lunar orbit.  One, known as "Earthrise," reveals our planet as a sublime work of art, floating in beautiful hue and color as it hangs in the gallery of dark space.   The contrast is stunning, but even more, the beauty of the "Blue Jewel" reveals the wonder of the One who made it.  Indeed, the Apollo space program involved many goals and accomplishments.  Earthrise was the among the greatest as it fulfills so beautifully the Psalmist's emulation: "The heavens declare the glory of God" - Psalm 19:1).   I hope you find the song encouraging.  Thanks, Glen)

"Earthrise" by William Anders; Image Credit: NASA

Blue Jewel
Words and Music by Glen Davis

Blue Jewel, floating out in space,
Who painted the beauty of your lovely face? 
Blue jewel, you make me think of grace.
You make me want to fall to my knees,
You make me want to cry holy, holy, holy,
You make me want to sing, you make me want to sing.

Blue jewel, I see the prints of Feet,
That once walked upon your lanes and streets.
Blue Jewel, it was the Prince of peace,
The Maker of your loveliness,
The Savior of your citizens,
It makes me want to sing, it makes me want to sing.

For as lovely as you are, how much more must your Maker be?
And as brightly as you shine,
Oh how I wonder of His glory. 

Blue Jewel, as lovely as you are.
One day, you’ll be purified by fire.
And your beauty will be greater, greater far
(We will walk your streets of holiness,
Your every way will be filled with righteousness,
And we will forever sing, 
of your wondrous King.

Blue Jewel, Blue Jewel, Blue Jewel.

Friday, July 20, 2018



    As Frances and I take daily walks in our sub-tropical home city of Mobile, Alabama (USA), our bodies become acclimated to the hot temperatures we experience.  The heat doesn't seem as hot, a physical response built into human bodies by their Creator to enable our functioning even in challenging climates.  More importantly, the acclimation enhances endurance, allowing us to walk as much in the summer as in other seasons of the year.  

    "We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22).

   In our walk with the Lord, trouble will always feel like trouble, regardless of how much we experience His gracious working on our behalf during times of pain, loss, and difficulty.  However, the longer we know our Heavenly Father and the more we discover His "very present help in trouble," the more likely we are to faithfully endure during seasons of challenge (Psalm 46:1).   We become spiritually acclimated.  "Tribulation worketh patience, and patience, experience, and experience, hope" (Romans 5:3-4).  Battle tested believers should be far more equipped for "the good fight of faith" than younger Christians just embarking on their journey into the challenges of life wherein we increasingly discover our Lord's faithfulness (I Timothy 6:12).  Experience is no guarantee of present enduring and overcoming.  Acclimation to trouble and God's "very present help" nevertheless make it more likely we will "glorify the Lord in the fires" (Isaiah 24:15).

    The heat of this day prepares us for the heat of tomorrow and all days to come.  This is true physically, and far more true spiritually.  Trusting and submitting to God in our present challenge strengthens us for today.  "As thy days, so shall thy strength be" (Deuteronomy 33:25).  Availing ourselves of such grace also means we will be far more likely to overcome the challenges that await us further down the road.  Failure to avail in this day can equally mean we will not be as ready for future difficulties.  We therefore seek to overcome in today's battles for today's sake, and also for the spiritual acclimation that prepares us for the heat of tomorrow's opportunities to walk faithfully with our Lord.

"We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth, so that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure" (II Thessalonians 1:3-4).
"Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."
 (Hebrews 12:11)

Weekly Memory Verse
    "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by Thy name, O LORD God of hosts" (Jeremiah 15:16).

Thursday, July 19, 2018

"Daily Offering"

"Daily Offering"

    Each new day offers born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ fresh opportunity to visit a spiritual altar in our hearts whereupon we sacrifice the delusion of self-centeredness in order to embrace devotion to God and others.

    "That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee" (Proverbs 22:19).

    Days rightly known, whatever their circumstances, situations, and conditions, must be viewed in the light of love, as revealed in the Lord Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and directed by the Scriptures.  We are to "walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us and hath given Himself an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor" (Ephesians 5:2).  Such a journey begins with simple, but heartfelt acknowledgement that the Maker of our days has made this day.  Moreover, He makes it with the holy intention of revealing His love to us, in us, and through us.  Sacrifices will be made, based upon the sacrifice at the aforementioned daily altar of acknowledging we belong to God for His glory and the blessing of others.  This is the light to which every believer awakens as the Spirit of God seeks to make known unto the reality of this day. "Choose you this day whom ye shall serve" (Joshua 24:15).

    The necessity of such daily offering keeps our fellowship with God fresh, pertinent, and living.  In Christ, God grants to us the privileged responsibility of determining our devotion.  "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (John 8:36).  Walking in the Spirit involves His indwelling presence whereby He provides the power to walk in love for God and others.   However, we play a vital role in the matter by responding to the moving of the Spirit upon our hearts.  A life of love does not just happen.  We are not programmed automatons, but rather living persons who must choose to view God, others, and ourselves in the light of reality, or the darkness of delusion.  As our Heavenly Father makes known unto us this day, He offers us the power, the privilege, and the responsibility to walk in its holy light.  Or not.  Devotion to God and others awaits us in the realm of reality, offering peace regardless of what the day may bring circumstantially.  The alternative?  As our days begin, may it die on the altar of sacrifice as we acknowledge the love of Christ, again, for us, in us, and through us.

"Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors."
(Proverbs 34:8)

Weekly Memory Verse
    "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by Thy name, O LORD God of hosts" (Jeremiah 15:16).

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

"The Throne of Grace"

"The Throne of Grace"

    In our relationship with God, any confidence that is not Christ-based involves deception and delusion.  Moreover, any lack of confidence involves failure to realize the magnitude of grace provided through the Lord Jesus:

    "Christ Jesus our Lord: in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him" (Ephesians 3:11-12).

    So long as we come with humble, trusting hearts that "look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith," we can always approach the aptly termed "Throne of grace" (Hebrews 12:2; 4:16).  In times of faith and faithfulness, we make our approach through our Savior, affirming all credit to Him for our obedience and realizing that we come "by the faith of Him."  The way to God remains Christ and Christ alone in even our best moments.  "Our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Romans 5:1-2).  Such recognition maintains our walk in Truth, guarding us from pride and directing all honor unto the only One worthy thereof.  "Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy, and for Thy truth's sake!" (Psalm 115:1).

    Thankfully, our worst moments also involve "the faith of Him" as our basis of "boldness and access with confidence."  Unbelief and disobedience do not bar our way to the throne of grace, again, so long as we come with humble, trusting hearts that "look unto Jesus" in honest repentance.  The prodigal found a faithful Father awaiting him when he arose to return home from his wayward journey (Luke 15:18-24).  Born again believers find the same.  However, we also recognize that a faithful Son paved the path to the throne of grace whereby He originated our access - "being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1).  The Lord Jesus also maintains our access - "He ever liveth to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:25).  Thus, we may come, so long as we come through Christ.  This is our confidence.  He is our confidence, in times of both faithfulness and failure.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.  Nothing else.  Or, as the hymn writer so beautifully expressed, "Nothing in my hand I bring, only to Thy cross I cling!"

    How we need to consistently approach the throne of grace.  How we need the confidence that motivates consistent approach.  Our Lord's faithfulness provides such access and assurance.  We must therefore increasingly know His Person and work on our behalf, as revealed in the light of Scripture that illuminates the Blood-stained way to the Throne, the Throne of grace.

How can it be, o Lord, 
that You call me to this place, 
to gaze upon Your face?
Oh it must be, it is!  Thy Throne of grace!

I see the Blood-stained way
that nail-scarred Feet have traced,
I hear the Spirit call, O come unto this place.
Oh it must be, it is!  Thy Throne of grace!

All other paths my broken feet would stay,
I could not come by any other way, 
no other access could I find to this blessed and holy place,
Oh it must be, it is!  Thy Throne of grace!

"There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."
(I Timothy 2:5)

Weekly Memory Verse
    "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by Thy name, O LORD God of hosts" (Jeremiah 15:16).