Monday, June 30, 2014

Prayer Does Work

“Jeb,” asked Steve, “do you ever pray?”

“Pray?” thought Jeb. “Nope. I don’t pray and I don’t carry a rabbit’s foot. Neither one works.”

David had a different opinion. “The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.”

Do you remember the prayer of Noah? God spoke to him and told him that He would destroy the world with a flood. During their conversation, God advised him to build an ark that would save him and his family. He listened to God and when the flood came, they were saved.

Moses prayed and asked God to part the waters of the Red Sea. God answered his prayer, the seas were parted and God saved His people from destruction by the enemy.

Samson prayed one last time for enough strength to accomplish one last task. God granted him that request.

Solomon prayed for God to grant him wisdom. And we see the answer to that prayer on the pages of the Bible and in the lives of the people he ruled.

Elijah was hungry. He asked God for food and God heard his prayer and gave him food for his body.

Daniel was thrown into a den filled with hungry lions. He asked God to protect him and He sealed their mouths.

Hezekiah was on his death bed when he asked God to extend his life. God responded and he lived for fifteen more years.

A thief prayed on a cross and God saved him.

Prayer:  Your Word, Lord, assures us that You not only hear our prayers, but will answer them. Teach us to pray! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today:  Psalm 6:9 The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Highway to Happiness

Have you ever caught “lightning bugs” and placed them in a jar with vents in the lids so they could breathe? It was a favorite activity for children in our neighborhood. The bugs would be “captured” and then placed in a glass jar where their tiny bright “lights” would glow in the darkness of the night. After watching them go “on and off” for a while, they would be “freed” and fly off into the night.

Had they remained in the jar, they would have died. God intended for them to be free and happy and live the life He planned for them.

It’s like that with us. God planned a special life for each of us: a life of happiness. But happiness only comes from being free. Some think that happiness and pleasure are synonymous. They are not. Happiness is not derived from possessions nor destroyed by poverty. There is a story of a king who wanted the shirt off of the back of the happiest man in his kingdom. They found the man but he did not have a shirt. He only had a ragged cloak.

Happiness is not what happens to us. Happiness is what happens within us. It is the by-product of what is lived in agreement with the will of God. Life in His will brings us freedom from being “contained” by the things of the world. Happiness fills lives that are regulated by the Word of God. Following His Word and His way will bring pleasure and productivity to His children.

Psalm 1:1 promises “a blessed - or - a happy life” to those who delight in and obey His law. His law will set us free from being contained and controlled by worldly things.

Prayer:  Father, may we set our eyes on things above, not the things of this world, and find Your happiness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Beginning And the End

Psalms begins with a promise from God and ends with a call to praise God. “Blessed is the man!” shouts the author. Any man? Every man? No. Indeed not. Blessed is “the” man who delights in and obeys the Words and the Ways of the Lord.
Psalms ends with a call to “Praise the Lord.” Any man? Every man? Yes. Yes, indeed. “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.”

The first Psalm makes a difference between the godly man and the ungodly man. But the concluding Psalm does not mention the ungodly. Why?

The godly are “like a tree that is planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” What a beautiful description of the godly: they are happy, have lived a worthwhile life and will live eternal life.

But the ungodly? They are pictured with words that are hopeless. “They are like chaff,” writes the Psalmist, “that the wind blows away. Therefore, the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor will sinners be in the assembly of the righteous.” The ungodly will not be safe on the Judgment Day. Nor will they be invited to stand among the godly. What a tragedy. What an ending to a life that was filled with opportunities to become godly. It is a life that was misspent, misdirected and mistaken.

No matter what we hear from politicians and social scientists, there are only two classes of people: the godly and the ungodly. And two ends: heaven and hell.

Prayer: Lord, may we hear Your Word and Your voice and accept Your invitation to become godly people. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 1 – Psalm 150

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Lasting Impressions

One dreadful day, many years ago, a large sailboat capsized on Lake Michigan. It was near the shore, and the life guard on duty, Edward Spencer, jumped into the lake, and rescued all seventeen people who were on board. Finally, he fell exhausted on the shore and was taken to a hospital to recover. As he was carried to the emergency room, he kept asking, “Did I do my best?”
Years later, Dr. R.A. Torrey, an evangelist, was telling this story in a revival in Los Angeles. Suddenly, a man electrified the audience. He stood up and shouted, “Dr. Torrey, Edward Spencer is here.”
Shaken, Dr. Torrey asked, “Would you please come to the platform?” Slowly, the white-haired Spencer made his way to the platform as the people applauded wildly.

Dr. Torrey looked at him with grateful eyes and asked, “Is there anything that stands out in your mind in the saving of those seventeen people?”

“Only one thing, Dr. Torrey,” he replied. “Of the seventeen, not one of them thanked me.”

“Ingratitude is the mother of every vice,” is a famous French saying. And the Spanish add, “The earth produces nothing worse than an ungrateful man.”

Why is it so difficult to say, “Thanks?” Is it pride? Is it self-centeredness - the attitude that I don’t need you or anyone else? Is it because we are weak and want to appear strong? Is it a false impression of our own value?

How interesting that the last verse of the Psalms reads, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.”

Prayer: Lord, give us an alert mind to recognize the many gifts we receive each day. Give us grateful hearts. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 150:6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Sound of the Trumpets

An old Jewish legend claims that each day in heaven begins with the ringing sound that comes from a trumpet.

After Lucifer, once the son of the morning, had fallen from heaven, he was asked, “What do you miss most?” After a moment’s though he said, “The trumpets that sounds in the morning.” The legend continues that the reason the trumpet sounded was to call people together to thank God for His love and mercy, grace and goodness.

Sadly, the “trumpet of thanksgiving” is absent from the lives of far too many Christians. The sounds of glory and gratitude have been replaced with groans of gloom and grief, greed and godless living.
But we are urged in Psalm 150: to “Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet.” Trumpets were used in Jewish ceremonies to remind worshipers of the greatness, glory and goodness of God and to praise and thank Him.

Perhaps it would be a good idea if each church had a trumpet player to begin each worship service. Perhaps the sound of a well-played trumpet might remind us to “bow down” before our Creator and give Him thanks for His many blessings - the ones we are aware of and those who fall on us unannounced and unrecognized.

Giving thanks is an important part of life - especially in the life of a Christian. All that we have or will have, all that we are or will become, is not accidental. Everything in our lives comes from the grace of God. And not to thank Him is, actually, to insult Him. In ourselves, we have no worth. We only have worth in, through and by God’s grace.

Prayer:  God, give us grateful hearts - hearts filled with gratitude for Your love, grace, mercy, salvation and hope! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today:  Psalm 150:1 Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Reason To Sing

Robert Lowry, a pastor in New York City, was going through a difficult time during an epidemic. Many of the suffering would die in a matter of hours. Day after day he stood beside the graves of those who had died and tried to give hope to their loved ones. On one occasion, however, his faith was deeply challenged and he cried out to God, “Shall we meet again?”
Really? Can a gracious God do this to good people? We are parting at the river of death. Will we ever meet again at the river of life? He took his doubt seriously and began to read his Bible on his knees. Finally he found God’s answer, went to his organ, sat down and wrote the words and music to the great old hymn, “Yes, we’ll gather at the river that flows by the throne of God.”

The Steds were enjoying a beautiful day of sun and sand on the Long Island Sound. Suddenly, they heard a cry for help. With no though for his safety, Mr. Sted ran into the water to rescue the boy - but failed. Mrs. Sted’s heart was broken when she returned to her empty home.

She fell on her knees and began to pray. God heard and helped her and gave her hope. She sat at her piano and wrote the beautiful hymn, “‘Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus”

Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Bicker, missionaries to Peru, were waiting to board a ship that would take them home for a vacation. Just before boarding the ship, Mr. Bicker was killed in an accident. To comfort his wife, and now fatherless children, Dr. Oswald Smith wrote the poem, “God Understands and Cares.”

Said the Psalmist, “Sing for joy on beds of pain.”

Prayer: How grateful we are Lord, for the assurance of Your presence and peace, even when life seems senseless. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 149:5 Let his faithful people rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Singing A New Song

It is not possible to overestimate the significance of the Psalms. In them, we find the ideals of a God-filled life that reflect humility, worship, dependence and service. In them, we find descriptions of men whose lives were in constant communion with God. We also find lives that reflect deep sorrow for sin and the search for holiness and perfection. We discover what walking in darkness is like - without fear gripping our hearts and controlling our minds because we see “faith at work.” We are confronted with the results of sin and the benefits of repentance, restoration and righteousness. We see minds once tortured by guilt and shame restored to sanity by the grace and mercy of God - because He is faithful to His Word. We see the beauty of God’s love in comparison to the triumph of evil and wickedness. We see deep serenity following the storms of fear and danger.

More than any other book in the Bible, we see the tragic effects of sin in first-person stories. We also see what God can do for those who fall before Him and ask for His forgiveness. We see the roller-coaster of life ending in God’s peace for those who submit to and worship Him.

In the wisdom of God, His Spirit inspired the writers of the Psalms to take the experiences of men, who were as human as we are. They give us spiritual insight, wisdom, knowledge and courage to deal with every issue of life.

Yet, Psalm 149 says we are to “sing a new song.”

How? Can there be any new songs? Yes, indeed!

“His mercies never cease!” New day - new songs!

Prayer:  Father, make us aware of the unending mercies we receive every day. Fill our hearts with new songs of joy. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today:  Psalm 149:1 Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of his faithful people.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

What's In A Name?

Names are, in fact, a commodity. They have “value” attached to them and can either be “traded” for a favor or used as a “warning.” A name distinguishes one person from another and gives a certain distinctiveness or uniqueness to individuals. Some pay particular attention to their name to make certain that it implies integrity and truth, honesty and hard work, power and influence.

Most of us, from time to time, have been asked by others if they could “use our name” as a reference or as a way of introducing themselves. They assume that our names imply a degree of “significance” for one reason or another.

So, if they are associated with us in one way or another, it will make a difference in what they want to achieve.

But, human names are all limited. They only have worth in certain areas and for a certain amount of time. If people do not know us or have never heard of us, we make no difference in the scheme of things.

There is an unusual statement made about a name in Psalm 148:13 - “His name alone is exalted.”

There is a certain “exclusiveness” in this statement. Of all the names of all of the people who have ever lived, only one name is to be exalted. And that is because of who He is and what He has done. All other names are flawed or contaminated for one reason or another. His name is above and beyond reproach, worthy of worship and praise because He is holy and without fault.

All of us “fall short of the glory of God” and need a “name” that we can “use” to save us. That name? Jesus!

Prayer:  Thank You, Father, for the power in Your name. It assures us of forgiveness and salvation and life eternal. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today:  Psalm 148:13 Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Why Praise The Lord?

All of Scripture is punctuated with outbursts of “praise.” The reason? Praise rises spontaneously from an internal attitude of joy which is in the heart and life of the people of God. The Bible speaks of man being created to rejoice in God’s gifts and God’s grace and God’s goodness. Praising God should be as natural as breathing and as regular as the beating of our hearts.

Perhaps one of the significant aspects of “praising” is that it implies a close relationship with the one being praised. When we praise God, we are letting Him know that we are aware of and recognize His presence in our lives, that we are grateful for His benefits and blessings – big and small – and, that we are dependent on Him for all things. Consider this: If you give someone a gift, and they do not recognize you for it, do you feel unappreciated?

Along with praising God, however, is the duty to exalt His name. Exalt, in Scripture, means to elevate, to glorify and to recognize the place and power of the one being exalted. When we exalt God, we demonstrate His Lordship in our lives and recognize that He is above all, in all and in control of all. As we lift Him up above all others, we naturally bow down in humility before Him.

“Let them praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted,” said the Psalmist. Strange, isn’t it, how the names of athletes and entertainers are more highly praised and exalted than God’s name. How very sad!

But the day is coming when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!

Prayer: Lord, You are so thoughtful and generous. All that we are and have is because You care. Thank You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 148:13 Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Ways of the Wind

An army brigade was on a field training exercise in Texas near the Davis Mountains. Without warning the skies turned dark and the winds began to blow. Then, a swirling tornado began to travel across the training area. As it passed through the command area, a mangled mass of canvas with a soldier wrapped in the middle of it, dropped right in front of the colonel leading the exercise.

“Soldier,” barked the officer, “what nerve you have. Coming into my area without permission or cause. Have you no respect for your leader?”

“Sir,” said the soldier, trying to free himself from the ropes and canvas, “I had nothing to do with this. I was simply trying to put my tent up when the wind came through and picked me and my tent up, and away we went. And here I am, Sir.”

“But, I didn’t see the wind, soldier,” said the officer.

“Neither did I, Sir, but I sure felt it,” came the reply.

In the Bible, “wind” is an emblem of the Holy Spirit. And in Psalm 147:18 we read, “He sends the winds, and the ice thaws.” (NLT)

On one occasion, Jesus said, “The wind blows where it wants to. You can hear the sound of the wind, but you have no idea where it came from nor where it is going. So you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”

Nor can we explain the work of the Spirit. He is not predictable nor do we understand Him. eHe is a gift of God who works in our life to save us and empower us to serve.

Prayer:  We thank You, Father, for Your Spirit who gives us eternal life and strengthens us in our daily walk. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today:  Psalm 147:18b he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

God's Never-Ending Grace

George and Will had been best friends since they were in grade school. Unfortunately, Will was having a difficult time financially. So, he went to Will and said, “I’m having a difficult time with my finances. Can you help me out with a loan until I get back on my feet?”

“Sorry, Will, I just can’t do that,” said George.

“We have been best friends forever,” said Will. “How can you do this to me? We grew up together, studied for our exams together, and went camping together. And I even rescued you when you were about to drown. Why, George?”

“I remember all those fun times together, Will. They were good times and I think of them often. But here’s the question: What have you done for me lately?” said George.

Often we ask God the same question: “What have you done for me lately? I know that You love me because You sent Your Son to be my Savior. And I know You have answered my prayers in the past. But where are You now when I really need You? Have You given up on me?”

The Psalmist in his wisdom said, “He covers the sky with clouds; He supplies the earth with rain and makes the grass grow on the hills.” He always does what He said He will do: in His time and on His terms. But He does it!

The beloved spiritual reminds us that “He’s got the whole world in His hands,” and continues, “He’s got you and me, brother, in His hands.”

Our God is a powerful God and a personal God. He cares for us and will never abandon us. When we don’t get what we need when we want it, trust Him. It’s coming.

Prayer: Father, there’s no doubt that You love us and will meet our every need. Please add patience to our trust. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 147:8 He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Our Limitless Lord

“Understanding,” said an angry husband, “is one thing my wife knows nothing about.” No doubt, there are many who could make the same statement anytime they feel that they are misunderstood. Not only do we want to be loved, but we all want to be understood as well. And all too often, when we pour out our heart to our dearest friend, it seems that they, too, don’t really care.

How precious, then, are the words of the Psalmist: “Great is our Lord and mighty in power, His understanding has no limit.” Our God is a God whose understanding is unlimited!

God knows our abilities as well as our possibilities, what we can and cannot do. When we understand and accept that simple fact, we will realize that He is the only one who can direct and guide us each day of our lives. He has given each of us a special skill set and has endowed us with talents and gifts that are uniquely ours and to be used to His glory. So, when He offers us an opportunity to serve Him, He will take the gifts that He has given us and empower us to do what He has called us to do.

God knows our spiritual limitations. We must never forget for a moment that He alone can deliver us from the temptations of life if we want Him to! If we trust Him and turn to Him, we can be assured that “no temptation will ever overpower us” if, when we are being tempted, we will look to Him for an escape route. He will protect us from anything that will destroy us if we want Him to.

He is great, mighty and understanding. Trust Him!

Prayer: Lord, when we come to the end of our limits, may we realize that we are just at the beginning of Yours. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 147:5 Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Just Try!

Mrs. Burrell, my fourth grade science teacher often visited the students in her class at night to teach them how to identify the various constellations. Every now and then she would ask, “Well, how many stars can you count tonight?” Obviously, no one was ever able to give an accurate accounting. But, we would giggle and make up some unreasonable number just to humor her.

However, on a clear night, it is possible to see about two thousand stars. With some of the large telescopes now used to research the universe, astronomers can take a photograph and count about thirty billion. But there are still many more that are beyond the power of the eye of the telescope.

Sir James Jeans once suggested that there are as many stars as there are grains of sand in all the beaches of the planet. So, there’s good reason why no one has been able to number them.

Except One. “He determines the number of stars and calls each by name.” Now, that may be difficult to believe. But, when we realize His power and might and majesty, it fits right into His character.

Numbers, however, are not as important as His love. However, our great God, Who created and named the stars and hung them in orbit, is more interested in us than He is in His stars. In fact, He loved us so much that He gave His only Son for our salvation. This God of measureless might is also a God of limitless love. And this very God extends an invitation to us to become one of His children.

Prayer: How blest we are, Lord, that we are of such value to You that You willingly gave Your Son to save us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 147:4 He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Healing Hearts - Binding Wounds

No matter where we look, we find pain and suffering.
Hospitals are crowded with people who were once healthy but are now waiting to heal. Our prisons are filled with shattered lives and unfulfilled dreams where hope once lived. Mental institutions have waiting lists for troubled minds and broken spirits. Divorce courts are now busier than ever as people “uncouple.”

Every home seems to have its share of sadness. Eyes once filled with joy and expectation are filled with blank stares. Hearts that once sang praises are now hushed in silence because faith has been overcome by earthly wants. Minds once focused on “things above” are now filled with self-centeredness and greed.

Years ago there were craftsmen who were “jacks of all trades – masters of none.” George placed a sign above the door to his shop that read: “We can mend everything but broken hearts and bodies.”

But the Psalmist reminds us of the One who can do just that: “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

Recently, I sat in the office of my neurosurgeon to review my post surgery status. As I sat there, I reflected on all who were involved in “restoring” my health: nurses, surgeons, pharmacists, anesthesiologists, dieticians – and the list is endless. And then God spoke to me and said, “You’re right. They were only involved. It’s up to Me and My Father’s grace as to what the outcome will be.”

“He” – and only “He” – can bind up and bring healing.

Prayer: Help us, Lord, to realize what You can do in us, for us, through us and with us because You truly love us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Opened Eyes, Closed Mind

Sir Isaac Newton is generally recognized as the most original and influential theorists in history. His impact on physics and mathematics was profound and he is the one who discovered gravity.

One day a visitor to his study remarked, “Sir Isaac, I don’t understand: you seem to be believe the Bible like a little child. I have tried, but I can’t. Many of the statements mean nothing to me. I can’t believe and I can’t understand why.”

Sir Isaac replied, “Sometimes I come to my study and in my absentmindedness I attempt to light my candle when the extinguisher is over it. I fumble about trying to light it but cannot. But when I remove the extinguisher, then I am able to light the candle.”

“I am afraid the extinguisher in your case is your love for sin. It is deliberate unbelief that is in you. Turn to God in repentance, be prepared to let the Spirit of God reveal His truth to you, and it will be His joy to show the glory of the grace of God shining in the face of Jesus Christ.”

It is unbelief that keeps the truth of God’s Word from entering our minds, hearts and lives. Reading and doubting are the opposite of reading and accepting. If we expect God to speak to us from His Word, we must first take Him at His Word by accepting the truth that is in His Word: “For by grace are you saved through faith.”

“The Lord,” said the Psalmist, “gives sight to the blind.” He will open our eyes if we open our hearts.

Prayer: Lord, open our hearts to the grace You offer us through Christ and our eyes to see the truth in Your Word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 146:8a the Lord gives sight to the blind,

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Finally Free

A clerk in Birmingham, England was placing a package on a shelf in a post office. As he was lifting it from a cart, it broke open and out fell what appeared to be a pair of “heavy-duty” handcuffs that were not put together and locked.   

Jokingly, he said to an associate, “I dare you to try these on for size.”

“I’ll take the dare,” he said, put them on and locked them. After a few laughs, they went to the box to locate the key and unlock them. To their surprise, there was no key.

They hurried to the police station to get a key to release the lock. They inserted it properly, but when they turned the key, it broke. What was once comical now became serious. The broken key either had to be drilled from the cuffs or the thick, heavy chain sawed apart.

But, it was Sunday and no one could be found to help them out of their predicament. Finally, they went to the police chief who said, “Well, this looks like a good time to teach you a lesson. You’ll have to go to Derby, explain your problem to the person who made the handcuffs and then come back and we’ll remove them. You need to learn a lesson about playing with things that can harm you.”

What a picture of sin. At first, it promises to bring pleasure and enjoyment - a time of fun and pleasure. Then, it takes one “captive” and one is no longer free. But, we know there is one who can free us: Christ our Savior. “The Lord sets prisoners free,” promised the Psalmist.

Prayer:  Help us, Lord, to accept the freedom that can be ours through Your Son. May we place our trust in You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today:  Psalm 146:7c The Lord sets prisoners free,

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

One Powerful Promise Keeper

“Promises are like pie crusts,” begins an old proverb. “They are made to be broken.” Not so God’s promises.
Read this amazing statement: “The Maker of heaven and earth, the seas and everything in them, the Lord…remains faithful forever.”

Behind God’s promises are His past performances. He is a God of truth and will not forget or forfeit His Word. Whatever He said He would do, He did. Whatever promise He made, He has kept. If He said it, He meant it and He will do it!

Behind His promises is His passionate love. He is the very definition of the word, love. Whenever we doubt the fact that God loves us, look at Christ on His cross. Unfortunately, we tend to only look at an empty cross. But, never forget that Jesus, our Savior, at one time hung on that cross for three painful, lonely, humiliating hours. How can we ever doubt God’s love?

Behind every promise is His power. As the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, all of the laws that govern it are under His control. No one or no thing can stand in the way of the fulfillment of the laws that govern His universe – His creation. And if that is not enough, look once again into the empty tomb. He has the power to do whatever He said He will do.

On a very special occasion, Alexander the Great gave one of his loyal supporters a generous gift. Said the recipient, “This is too much for me to receive.” Said the giver, “But it is not too much for me to give.”

Prayer:  Forgive us, Father, for those times when we have doubted Your promises, passionate love or power. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today:  Psalm 146:6 He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— he remains faithful forever.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Two In One

Have you ever heard anyone accuse Jacob of being the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of the Bible? This way of looking at Jacob was brought to my attention recently. A very strange description of one who has such a significant role in Scripture.

Consider these facts: We see a constant struggle of good versus evil. He rises up, yet falls short of his goals. His life is one constant battle between two natures: one earth bound and the other filled with divine intentions.

No one is able to describe his life in a single word. It is certainly appropriate to speak of Abraham as a man of faith or Joseph as a person of purity. But it does not seem possible to summarize Jacob’s many sided life into one word unless it would be the word “inconsistent.”

His early years present a vivid picture of this inconsistency. He was a cheat - having cheated both his father and brother. Yet, he constantly tried to do better.

He might have died as a Jekyll and Hyde, but one night he was forced to face his sins and make a decision about his future. And when he realized that he was at the end of his resources, he finally turned to God to be saved from his sins and self-destructive ways.

After that God-changing event, he went from victory to victory, with hope and help from the Lord.

There is no limit to what God can do for each of us. What He did for Jacob, He can do for us: “Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God.” Wrestling with sin? Turn to God now!

Prayer: How foolish we are, Father, to struggle in our own strength when Yours is available. Save us now! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 146:5 Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.