Devotional

My Covenant

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Isaiah 59:21 **

Isaiah begins Chapter 59 with a wonderful statement. “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save.” The question is : To whom does this remarkable hope extend? Is Isaiah talking to the Jewish nation or individuals of faith, or does he refer to all human beings?

Today many Christians live as the Jews did long ago. As God’s chosen people, Israel became exclusive, carrying the principle of separation from other nations out of the realm of faith. What do I mean? They forgot that households were blessed by the faith of the patriarchs. Foreigners within that household were drawn to the One True God by the wisdom of God working in and through the lives of His chosen people. In fact all in Abraham’s household (foreigners included) were circumcised as a sign of their covenant relationship with God. (Genesis 17:27)

Isn’t it thrilling to know that God extends His mercy and grace to all mankind! Looking at externals we often judge that someone is too hard, too far gone, too disinterested to be reached by the gospel. Recently I had the exquisite pleasure of listening to a young man, sharing quite unexpectedly with me how his life had been changed. He came face to face with Jesus! A drug addict around the age of 12, he continued down that path for 7 years until God got hold of his life. His tattooed body will forever hold a message of where he was, but the sparkle in his steady blue eyes tells where he is now. He was amazed to discover that God might use him to help his old friends and even his family, to whom he had always lied. Truly in this case “The Lord’s hand was not shortened”!

Isaiah describes those who were included in God’s covenant promise, categorizing their sins of injustice and evil. Repeatedly God notes the lack of truth, the propensity to lie: “Truth has fallen in the streets.” (:14) “No one calls for justice nor does any plead for truth.” (:4) ”Their feet run to evil and they make haste to shed innocent blood. Their thoughts are of iniquity.” (:7) Like the blind they walked in darkness. They growl like bears (:10-11)….and on and on.

However, because He is a covenant God, His mercy reaches down to those unable to help themselves. The Lord saw all of the darkness, evil and injustice, and was deeply displeased (:15). Knowing the utter helplessness of mankind caught in such a trap, His own righteousness came into play. With fury God scourged His adversaries in order to rescue His chosen people (:18).

Prophetically Isaiah writes “His own Arm [God’s]worked salvation for Him. Because there was no human adequate to mediate, God gave us salvation through the redemptive work of Christ, His Son! This Redeemer will come, even today, to those who turn from transgression! Imagine such mercy and grace!

For them, as for us, the covenant remains secure. “As for me, says the Lord, this is My covenant with them: “My Spirit is upon you and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants…..forevermore!” (:21)

Reflection:

Do Isaiah’s words mean anything to you today? Do you have salvation through Jesus Christ the Lord?

Are you resting in the assurance of God’s covenant, because you believe, and received Jesus as Lord?

Read John 1:12-13.

By Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)

Devotional

Covered With His Feathers

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Psalm 91

David begins this song with words of reassurance. “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, will rest in the shadow of the Almighty” (:1). In a world torn by violence and anger, war and so many abuses, rest sounds wonderful. Our anxious hearts ache as we see the chaos around the globe. What would peace of mind feel like? How welcome to be free from fear!

Do we know the One who promises to “cover you with His feathers” where under His wings we will find refuge? Can we trust the promise of God that “His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart?” (:4) A rampart is a length of bank or wall forming part of the defensive boundary of a castle, hillfort, settlement or other fortified site. God will protect His own. Isn’t it interesting that He promises the strength of feathers as our protection! However, David’s experience taught him to trust in the Lord whom he called “my refuge and my fortress“ (:2).

Notice this promise is conditioned on one thing. “If” – that tiny word with so much meaning! “If you make the Most High your dwelling….” (:9). Dwelling is another word for home, the place where one lives. In our homes we want to feel a sense of security and safety. When a young couple sets up their first home it is with dreams that the atmosphere will be full of love. God’s love removes any terrors those who dwell in His shadow might feel, night or day (:5-7). Love goes both ways. “Because he/she loves me” the Lord said “I will rescue him/her”. In fact, if we acknowledge His name, God will protect us and will answer our prayers” (:14-15).

Who wouldn’t choose to dwell with God when we read the list of His blessings? He will honour His children with long life. He will deliver us from all sorts of things (:5, 6, 10, 13), and as Jesus prayed, extends His promise to “deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13). God’s people will be satisfied (:16). In our world today there is so much striving for bigger and better things. The attitude that allows us to have satisfaction in the moment is pushed aside, when we feel driven to compete in the workplace. Paul knew “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Philippians 4:11). And God blesses His own, those dwelling in safety, with a visual hope of His salvation (:16).

This Psalm of praise thanks God for His judgment on the wicked (:4-9) and His blessings on the righteous (:10-15). In between, we read “For He will command His angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways”. Angels are “ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1:14). Throughout scripture we read about the service angels render to God, as they took messages to various people, Mary and Joseph perhaps being the best known example (Luke 1:26-36, Matthew 1:20-21). We must remember how they were warned by the angel of the Lord to flee from Herod into Egypt, with the Baby Jesus (Matthew 2:13).

Reflection:

This beautiful Psalm shows us the character of God, who longs to protect us and to bless us with His love. He generously supplies His own agents, angels, to keep our feet from slipping into sin (:12). We know from New Testament scriptures that God has also given us His Holy Spirit to grow us in His likeness (Galatians 5:22-23) and to make us agents of His peace in a world that is weary with care (Titus 3:2).

by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)

Devotional

Principles of Suffering

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1 Peter 2:21

Peter is writing “to God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered….who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:1-2). He praises God who, because of His “great mercy” gives us “new birth” along with a “living hope” and eventual “inheritance” which is kept in heaven for each one who “through faith are shielded by God’s power….to be revealed in the last time” (1:3-5). Does this apply to you and to me today?

He then goes on to say that Salvation comes through the sufferings of Christ (1:12), which were predicted by the prophets, men who spoke about God’s anticipated grace (i.e. Isaiah 53). Let’s pause for a moment to look at the sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ. Long before the cross Jesus wept over Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37). For any of us who weep over loved ones who still reject salvation through Jesus Christ, we know the suffering of His heart! He knew that everyone would not turn to God, even when He gave His life for them. We know the crowd was fickle; just as people are today. How many want what they can get [heaven], without being willing to suffer for principles seen in the life of Christ. He gave up everything…”making Himself nothing” to become a human being, humbling Himself and being obedient to death! (Philippians 2:7-8).

Jesus taught His disciples all about suffering. When He said “ the Son of Man must suffer many things” He then listed rejection by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law before He mentioned being killed (Mark 8:31). Rejection is painful. Every human being has been created with the longing to “belong”, to be significant and secure in relationships. It is hard to stay the course in the face of rejection. But, thankfully He did!

Peter goes on to describe what following Jesus looks like. Even if we suffer for doing good our hearts will be at peace because our intentions were good, and therefore our consciences are clear before the Lord. If someone speaks maliciously against us, our good behaviour may be a rebuke to them. Certainly our attitude of gentleness and respect will be a powerful testimony in the face of adversity (1 Peter 3:13-16). After all we are representing the One who cried from the cross “Father forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing!” (Luke 23:34).

How might we respond to suffering for Jesus’ sake? Peter addresses this too. We must rejoice! Really? Yes, he writes “Rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may rejoice when His glory is revealed” (4:13). He goes on to say what he, himself, knows all too well to be true: “If you suffer as a Christian do not be ashamed”. We mustn’t forget Peter denied knowing Jesus, fearing for his life at one point in time, yet now his perspective ha s totally changed! Why? “Praise God you bear that name [Christian]”. For Peter to be a Christian meant everything! (4:16).

Reflection:


When we think of suffering, often it is with the fear of physical pain. However, emotional pain goes even deeper – right into the soul of every human being. God can rescue us from that, delivering us from evil (Matthew 6:13), as Jesus taught us to pray. The Holy Spirit infuses us with the power to be kind and good and patient (Galatians 5:22), when we encounter Satanic attacks. Let us be “strengthened with all power according to His glorious might, so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully give thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light!” (Colossians 1:11-12).

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in His steps” 1 Peter 2:21

by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)

Devotional

Let There Be Light!

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Genesis 1

It is a simple statement, but what does this tell us about God? His first words indicate He wants us to live in the light of His presence. His glory lit up the darkness at the dawn of creation when “the earth was formless and empty” and darkness prevailed (Genesis 1:2). There was no other source of light! Hovering over it all was God’s Spirit, ready for our world to join the universe, in God’s great creative plan.

Suddenly light burst forth in the darkness! The power of God’s word is manifested as He separated the light from the darkness, preparing a place where mankind could dwell. He “saw that the light was good”! He even named “day” and “night”; these became morning and evening, the first day (1:4-5). In the beginning….! At the end of time there will be a wonderful experience for all who believe that Jesus is “the Light of the world” (John 8:12). We are going to live in a city where there will be no hydro. In fact there will be no need of sun or moon since the glory of God will brilliantly illuminate heaven! (Revelation 22:23). It is going to be beyond spectacular!

In the life of Jesus we see again the heart of God who desires all people should walk in the light of His glory. Adam and Eve enjoyed that privilege in the Garden of Eden, until they chose to disbelieve God’s Word. Jesus brings us back to God. He said “I am the Light of the world”! That is quite a claim! (John 8:12). This theme is repeated “While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world” (9:5). Miracles performed by Jesus brought light to the blind, but let’s not forget – He also came to bring light to the spiritually blind.

God’s intention is for all people to enjoy the “light of life” brought to us by His only begotten Son (John 3:16). It isn’t complicated. That fellowship comes to those who believe and receive the Light which John clearly identifies in his gospel (John 1:12). “In Him [Jesus] is life and that life is the Light of men”. John is inspired to explain “The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it” (John 1:4-5). However, the truth is that “Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).

Now, the gospel is free. Paul says he offers it through his preaching in order “to win as many as possible”. Isaiah, hundreds of years before Christ came to earth proclaimed “How beautiful….. are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion ‘Your God reigns’!“ (52:7). Today the best preaching is done by the silent witness of lives changed by God to love others!… lives lit by the Light of God, who make a difference – you in your small corner and I in mine! Lives touched by the Holy Spirit with joy and peace, kindness and patience, and forgiveness.

Reflection:

Is God’s Light radiating from your life? How will your eulogy read regarding the way your life has represented faith in Christ Jesus, to the people around you? These are questions each of us would do well to consider. God’s Light is both exquisite and powerful. His love generates tranquility and energy. It attracts because it is real!

Let there be Light!

by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)

Devotional

God Speaks to Joshua

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Joshua 1

Who was Joshua? The son of Nun, we know, but what was it that drew Moses’ attention to this young man? Preparing for battle against the Amalekites, Moses trusted Joshua to choose the Israelite warriors (Exodus 17:9-14). The Lord singled Joshua out when the battle was over, because God wanted Joshua to remember what He had accomplished through him that day (:9). Was this a sign of things to come?

From that time, Joshua was chosen by Moses as his aide, to accompany him to Mt Sinai where he received the 10 commandments. Moses also appointed him to guard the Tent of Meeting where God spoke face to face with Moses. Clearly Joshua had proven himself capable and trustworthy.

We find Joshua gradually being given increased responsibility. At the end of Moses’ life he was commissioned before Eleazar the priest and the whole assembly (Numbers 27:17, 23). Passing the baton must have been a very moving experience for Moses who knew he would never enter the Promised Land because of the sin he had committed at Kadesh.

Joshua’s name meant “Yahweh is salvation”. He was a descendent of Joseph, one of the tribe of Ephraim. He had scouted the land of Canaan with Caleb and the other 10 spies who had given a negative report. After the death of Moses, the Lord spoke to Joshua directly. He had been accustomed to receiving the word of the Lord through Moses. Now Moses was dead.

The Lord’s first words confirmed his Divine appointment. “Get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give….I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses” (Joshua 1:2-3). As a warrior, Joshua was used to war. However, God’s promise “No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life” must have been deeply encouraging (:5). Joshua may have remembered earlier experiences when God was true to His word. Now God was giving him a glimpse into the future of His people. WOW!

Moses had called the people to be strong and courageous. They were not to be afraid, because the Lord their God would go before them, never leaving or forsaking them! (Deuteronomy 31:6.) Now God Himself is making the same commitment directly to Joshua “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5). Three times God repeats “Be strong and courageous” (:6, 7, 9).

Today God calls us to be strong and courageous. Paul writes: “Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong” (1 Corinthians 16: 13). Jesus, as He was leaving His disciples promised “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). He had promised earlier that He would send a comforter, the Spirit of Truth, one who would live with and in believers, Christ-followers (John 14:16-17).

Joshua rose to fame because his life was totally committed to God. Just as God spoke to him, so God will speak to us through His word – the Bible, and even through others in our lives. We need to recognize the role of the Holy Spirit dwelling within. The Lord said: “Take Joshua….a man in whom is the Spirit” (Numbers 27:17).

Reflection:

In what way(s) would you like your life to resemble Joshua’s?

Is our response to God’s call “Here am I – send me”?

What is more thrilling than to remember those significant moments in our lives when God has used us to His glory?

by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)

Devotional

Jonah’s Judgment

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Jonah 4

Today there seems to be an imperious spirit among the developed nations. Everyone has an opinion and without hesitation it is expressed in public. Talk shows on TV abound with the wisdom of every person bold enough to tell the most intimate details of their lives, in order to prove some point. How much error is promoted as evidence of truth! It is my opinion against yours.

The prophet Jonah was ahead of his time. He was willing to go to war with God over whose opinion ranked first. The word of the Lord came to Jonah, but Jonah ran away (Jonah 1:1-3). Surely he had read “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139:7). David knew it was impossible to escape from God’s all-seeing eyes.

What motivated his flight? Jonah was convinced God was making a mistake. He knew in his heart of hearts that God was ready to pour out His love and forgiveness on an evil nation, enemy of Israel – the Ninevites (4:2). He was called to administer God’s mercy to Nineveh. Without considering the consequences, Jonah fled.

Jonah was justified in condemning the Ninevites. They were an ungodly nation internationally known for atrocities in war, and in peace. There was absolutely nothing about this nation that was worthy of being saved, yet here was GOD, Yahweh, willing to bring them to repentance, and He wanted to use Jonah. Nothing doing!

In Jonah’s judgment this was a mistake that would ruin the Israelites. After all the Ninevites were heathens to begin with, and Gentiles – the very people God had told Israel to keep away from for fear they would be spiritually contaminated by their evil practices. Israel would disgrace the very God they served by association with these people! Perhaps Jonah feared his own interpretation of the Word of the Lord that had come to him. He wasn’t going to get involved.

Just suppose these people, hardened and ungodly, decided to turn from their wicked ways. Difficult as that was to imagine, there were questions – how they would worship together, for one? No, Jonah couldn’t trust God for that sort of a miracle.


Then there was the issue of grace…..God’s grace had been withheld from various heathen nations surrounding the promised land. Why of all of these more deserving people groups would God choose to honour the Ninevites with His grace and mercy?

Reflection:

Does this strike home a chord within our own hearts as we think judgmentally of people groups we feel are unworthy of God’s favour? In light of Jonah’s default, let us examine our own hearts to see if in the twenty-first century we might be guilty of similar attitudes, judgment. Might we be at war with God over the fact that He is not willing that any should perish?

by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)

Devotional

Go and Sin No More

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John 8:3-11 (KJV)

What are our thoughts when we read this verse, words from the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself. Is this a suggestion for Godly living? Perhaps it’s a thought, which in reality is impossible because we are still warring with our old nature and prone to fall when faced with temptation. After all the Apostle Paul tells us he, the mighty giant of New Testament faith, struggled with conflicts in his own desires. Maybe it’s only situational, for surely the sin, the sin of immoral choice, is something anyone could avoid (John 8:10-11).

Or is it? Doesn’t scripture warn us to beware, for he who prides himself on standing, may suddenly find he has fallen (1 Corinthians 10:12)? How often do we continue to sin, excusing ourselves on the grounds that we are only human and God will surely understand? The question then arises – would God ask something of us that is impossible?

I was thinking of some of the excuses we use when faced with the difficult truths of scripture. We are faced with the reality of God’s holiness time and again. So far from what we find within ourselves, does He truly mean “Be holy as I am holy?” Peter makes frequent use of this word (1 Peter 1:15-16, 2:5 & 9). He makes it an “ought” in his second epistle, in answer to the question “What sort of people ought you to be?” He tells his readers, including you and me “You ought to live holy and Godly lives” (3:11).

Paul solves the problem of holiness for us. In many of his letters, to the Romans, to the Corinthians, and the Ephesians he illustrates by using the root of the tree being holy, therefore so are the branches; he refers to Timothy’s calling to a holy life and so forth. Writing to the Hebrews, he confirmed what he said earlier about holiness….he gives us hope. When Christ came into the world, it was with the express purpose of doing His Father’s will. “And by that will we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all!” (Hebrews 10:10).

The goal of a holy people (“holy nation” 1 Peter 2:9) is to “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy” (Hebrews 12:14). Now if I find I have failed to be holy, if temptation has overpowered me, I have recourse to the Father’s forgiveness, but without true repentance it’s useless to ask for it. True repentance expresses the attitude, intention, determination not to do it again. Whatever it takes, I am to flee the devil. I cannot continue to live in circumstances that bring this same temptation before me without placing some safeguards against it. Certainly blaming God for the way He made me will never hold water in the face of His holiness. If God’s word says it is wrong, then I have to examine what it tells me to do to protect myself. If a child has a murderous temper, the parents are obliged to curb it, to teach the little one to control that urge.

Reflection:

Do we think with shame and embarrassment how often we have failed by repeating the same sin?

When something is difficult is that an excuse for not trying?

Doesn’t this command “Go and sin no more” place the responsibility on us? Does God extend extra mercy and grace to help us?

by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)

Uncategorized

What is Faith?

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1 Corinthians 13:13

The dictionary defines faith as “complete trust or confidence in something or somebody”. The Bible also defines faith as the basis for understanding that our universe was made at God’s command (Hebrews 11:2)….tying in with the dictionary definition, because our confidence is in God who created all things. John spells it out in definite terms. “Through Him all things were made, without Him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:3). John was referring to Jesus in his introduction to His gospel.

Somehow in the intervening time, since John wrote that under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, his firm conviction that God created all things has become distorted by the wisdom of man. Another idol has replaced God…the idol of scientific knowledge. Sadly Satan has succeeded in diverting man’s attention away from the One who designed the universe for a purpose. Hearts have become hardened. “For although they [mankind] knew God, they neither glorified Him as God, nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21). These have lost faith in their Creator.

One might ask “Why?” Is this a control issue? Why is it so difficult to glorify God for what He has made? Other questions come to mind. Is living in the darkness described in Romans, bringing any greater happiness into our world? We would do well to consider the situation in our world today when the environment brings us to the verge of extinction, because we have wasted our resources in indulgent living. There is certainly enough to go around if those who “have” would share with those who “have not”.

“Faith is being sure of what we hope for” (Hebrews 11:1). Paul writes to the church at Rome “Hope that is seen is no hope at all”. We don’t hope for what we already have (Romans 8:24). He notes that people have to wait patiently for the things we hope for to materialize.

Patience isn’t a popular virtue. We live in a world of instant gratification. We can get instant food and drink. We expect medication to bring instant relief from pain. Modern communication creates the expectation that our wants and wishes will be instantly gratified. Instead of developing patience, which actually is the fruit of the Holy Spirit living within God’s children, we find ourselves getting angry if we have to wait. Might we suggest that patience while waiting is part of loving? Faith, hope and love – which is the greatest of these? (1 Corinthians 13:13).

Reflection:

“Hear the conclusion of the whole matter” Solomon wrote. “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man”. Whether we believe it or not, God is central to the life we each live and we will be judged for our faith response to Him. “For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). God offers us every opportunity for everyone to believe and worship Him. Just looking at nature leaves each of us without an excuse for not recognizing God (Romans 1:20). Through Jesus Christ He has made a personal relationship with Holy God possible, and offers us the gift of faith to participate in that exquisite relationship (Ephesians 2:8-9). The question is “Will we receive and believe?” (John 1:12-13). Will we accept God’s gift of faith?

by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)

Devotional

Confession

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Psalm 51

What is the purpose of confession? Here’s the truth: God knows everything. He doesn’t need to be told what we have done, because He is aware. King David recognized this. “Before a word is on my tongue You know it completely!” (Psalm 139:4). The Psalm begins with a call to worship this Lord who knows every detail of our lives, perceiving our thoughts, familiar with all our ways!

Way back in time, God made clear a need for confession. Written in the Torah we read “If they confess their sins….their treachery against Me and their hostility toward Me…I will remember My covenant” (Leviticus 26:40, 42) Why is this necessary? Again we turn to David for an explanation. “Against You, You only have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight” (Psalm 51:4). We may harm other people, but in doing so we are breaking God’s standard for holy living. Thus confession needs to be made to Him, while perhaps restitution needs to be made to those we have hurt.

Our confession is a recognition of the standard of God. In violating His perfect will, we need to remember the seriousness of our offense against a Holy God! Confession, if nothing else, is an act of humility. If that is genuine, we will be restored because God is faithful to His covenant. He has promised us eternal life, which begins at the moment we believe, and receive Jesus as Lord (John 1:12). Too many want Him as Saviour, but deny His Lordship by living their own way. Do we really want “Thy will be done”?

There is grave danger in using a “profession of faith” to get into heaven. That is not what the Christian life is all about. It is rejoicing in our salvation with such strength of purpose that life takes on a whole new meaning. We are indeed “…a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come” when we are “in” Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

People in New Testament times, once they confessed their sins, were baptised. That is another act of faith, a demonstration to God and the world that we are serious about becoming children of God. Now we truly are one with the Father [united], depending on Him to guide and protect us (John 17:11). When we take control of our own lives, laying plans without consulting God’s wishes, we need to confess our waywardness.

Confession opens the door for cleansing. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Of course there are those who deny they have any sin. This is a dangerous practice because it denies what God knows to be true. We often sin in our thoughts, or with feelings of anger, or fear, or hatred, resentment and the list goes on. Then there are those times when we do not do what the Holy Spirit is prodding us to do, called the sin of omission. If the truth about our personal sin is not something we are prepared to confess, then John says “His [God’s} Word has no place in our lives” (1 John 1:10). That is such a dangerous place to be!

Reflection:

What is it that prevents us from confessing to God? Do we deny we continue to sin, fearing if we do God will punish us? Have we presumed on God’s grace, believing He will overlook our sin because we are covered by the blood of Jesus? Do we look at sin casually – “it’s just a little white lie” mentality? The danger is if we are not obeying God’s Word. Satan takes hold of our weakness by inserting misunderstanding of what it means to relate to a Holy God! Our Father is also our judge…and a fair one, at that. However, we must not presume upon His mercy.

“It is written: As surely as I live, says the Lord, ’Every knee will bow before Me; every tongue will confess to God’. So then each of us will give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:11-12).

by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)

Devotional

It Doesn’t Matter

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Revelation 9-10

The preacher actually said those words “It Doesn’t Matter”. To what was he referring? His passionate message was serious, actually about – and I quote – “life and death”. Reviewing recent studies in Revelation, he was pointing out the dangers of trying to attach significance to dates, times and places, causing us to lose the thrust of the entire book.

Revelation is not written in chronological order. It is like a picture, giving us different perspectives on the same story. It is the tale of completion – in God’s perfection His seven seals, seven trumpets, seven bowls present us with God’s judgment. In the midst of it all, God still warns people, calling them to repent, yet they refuse His mercy (Revelation 9:20-21). Revelation is not just about a seven-year period, but rather it is all about the battle between good and evil which has coloured the existence of mankind from the very beginning, when God created all things, and called them good (Genesis 1).

Interwoven into this picture is God’s amazing grace. The end of the story is glorious! We who know Him, whom to know is life eternal (1 John 5:13), will witness the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ who will reign forever and ever (Revelation 11:15). The Alpha and Omega will sign His painting with a great flourish! “Almighty” (Revelation 1:8). The timing doesn’t matter. Jesus told His followers to be ready – it might happen any day (Matthew 25:13).

Our focus is to be on Him….watching for His return. “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning…..It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when He comes…..even if He comes in the second or third watch of the night!” (Luke 12:35-38). This is what does matter…”The Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him” Surprise! Will you and I be watching? (Luke 12:40).

The danger for all people is that our hearts may become hardened to the Word of God. God’s children are not immune. Impacted by cultural norms we may stray away from the Truth, from the path (Way) Jesus laid down as He modelled purity of vision and purpose and practise. Someone said to me the other day “Lots of young people walking with God are living together (outside of marriage). Is this a reality that Christians today accept? Are we alive in Him, who came to give us Life? (John 14:16). We need that relationship to prepare us for the push-back Satan will bring against those who declare their faith. After we taste that the Lord is good, life may turn sour (Revelation 10:9). Our responsibility is to share the truth. Ezekiel was warned that it may not be received well (Ezekiel 3:1-7). Nothing has changed thousands of years later.

The blood of martyrs cries out: “When will the end come?” (Revelation 6:10). God is waiting for every tribe to enjoy the knowledge of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord, because He is not willing that any should perish. He also must be true to His covenant with Abraham, promising to bless every nation through his descendants (Genesis 12:3). However, the time will come when “there is no more delay” (Revelation 10:6).

Reflection:

Sadly, the pastor noted, the Gospel has become soft, inoffensive, non-confrontational as we try to make it “seeker friendly”. When we read about the need for repentance, do we believe that God means business? Do we doom others to a lost eternity by sharing their terms guided by cultural sensitivity? In an age when “if it feels good, do it” is a norm, are we ready to talk about the lengths to which God has gone to make salvation possible? Sacrifice? Am I prepared to die for my faith? And in the midst of it all we misplace our energy by trying to figure out the symbols God has given to us as hints of things beyond the scope of our imagination. What is it that truly matters?

by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)