Devotional · Uncategorized

The Life I Now Live

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Galatians 2:20

Change is ever present in human history. Some people delight in change, but most feel comfortable in what are familiar circumstances. When Paul wrote the words of our title, I wonder if he was reflecting on the life he had lived as a zealous Pharisee. His personality was intense so whatever he took on, he seemed to do it with gusto. Maybe some of us are like that.

Writing to the church at Galatia, Paul is eager to defend faith in Jesus Christ. As a religious Jew Paul had kept the Mosaic law, hoping he would earn eternal life by his good works. There’s a degree of anxiety for anyone trying to earn their way to heaven, isn’t there? What celebration when he discovered he could only get to heaven through Jesus Christ! So, as he wrote to the Galatians “the life I now live”….what was it that made a difference?

Perhaps Paul’s purpose is spelled out in the first verse of his letter. He sees himself as one called by God. When he practised Judaism he also felt called by God to persecute the very One whom he now worshiped. He identifies Jesus Christ as one with God; amazing how Paul learned that the One he had formerly persecuted was actually who He said He was! “The gospel I preached….I received by revelation from Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11-12). This revelation transformed Paul’s life!

Sometimes we find it difficult to define words and grace, God’s grace, may be one of them. It was a meaningful concept to Paul. He talked about the grace of Christ (1:6). Although he was “advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers” (1:14), God called him into His service, by His grace. The church leaders in Jerusalem recognized that this persecutor of the church had indeed been saved by God’s grace (2:9), agreeing Paul and Barnabas should become missionaries to the Gentiles. Who better than one who was also a Roman citizen?

God’s grace rules out any possibility of man accomplishing his own salvation. It is the gift from God (Ephesians 2:8)….a gift which must be believed and received (John 1:12). Paul wouldn’t set aside that fact for any consideration. If there was any other way to eternal life, then Christ died for nothing (2:21). Totally committed to faith in Jesus Christ, Paul was a changed man with a new life. So he writes about the “new life I now live” (2:20).

This new life includes freedom from guilt of the past, power for living the present and hope for the future when we reach our heavenly home. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery [to sin]” (Galatians 5:1). This new life gives us the power to forgive others as we ourselves have been forgiven and to restore. “If someone has been caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). Paul goes on to assert there is ministry for us all in that we then are qualified to “carry each other’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (6:2).

Reflection:

Carrying someone else’s burden call for grace. We need the fruit of the Holy spirit to equip us for that task. Only when we are changed, given new life, do we qualify as servants of God. Then we will experience the fulness of life in Christ, which brings richness, purpose and joy to the “now” in which we live.

Devotional · Uncategorized

James, God’s Servant

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James 1

James is the Greek version of the Hebrew name Jacob, which means supplanter, or one who follows. Several men in the Bible bore the name James; only two were possible authors of the book of James, but one was martyred in A.D. 44 , leaving James the half brother of Jesus as the only other possibility, within that time frame. This brother of Jesus became the recognized church leader in Jerusalem (Acts 15:13-21). This speech, at the council of Jerusalem, very much resembles the wording of this text and therefore is taken as conclusive evidence of his authorship.

There is debate as to when James’ actual conversion took place. One thing we know for certain – he, with his other brothers, his mother and the disciples were all found together in the upper room constantly in prayer, following Jesus’ ascension (Acts 1:13-14). What were their expectations at this time? Jesus had clearly told them not to leave Jerusalem but to “wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard Me speak about” (Acts 1:4, Luke 24:49). Here was James, [obedient] servant of the Lord Jesus Christ (James 1:1).

It is interesting to note that James’ brother Jude also identifies himself as “a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James” (Jude 1). Was it deference which prevented these men from identifying their relationship as half-brothers of Jesus? Looking at the meaning of James’ name, one can see how easy it would have been for him to take advantage of his relationship to Jesus, to perhaps even supplant Him as the leader of the new church in Jerusalem. By humbly identifying himself as a servant we see James does not live up to his name.

Was it because servanthood was a key principle in the new kingdom? Jesus said: ”….the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). Peter instructed God’s elect to ”…use whatever gift he has received to serve others faithfully, administering God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10). Paul asks the question “What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe” (1 Corinthians 3:5) .

James was among those considered to be “Fathers” of the church. As such they led as they had learned leadership from Jesus, who actually humbled Himself in obedience (Philippians 2:8). Fathers today sometimes abdicate their leadership but the Bible gives us some pertinent pictures of what God expects. Leadership in the home isn’t much different from leading the church. There are children involved…children of God to be treated with dignity and respect. We are not to provoke one another, but to think of one another as better than ourselves (Romans 12:3, John 12:43).

Characteristics of James might be copied by believers today. He was obedient, and relied on God’s wisdom (1:5). Although he led the new church in Jerusalem he had a servant heart. He was a man of action as well as gifted with words (1:22-24, 27). He was affectionate and exercised the gift of encouragement (1:16, 19). James had learned that a good leader listens (1:19, 26), taking care that his speech does not offend the Lord or God’s people.

Reflection:

What is your attitude towards the privileged position you hold as a Child of God?

Are you content to emulate James as a minister of the gospel today? (We are each part of a royal priesthood -2 Peter 2:9).

Describe the key principle in the new kingdom Jesus is creating.

Devotional · Uncategorized

The Mind of God

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Micah 7:18 1 Corinthians 2:18

What do we know about the mind of God – He who created the universe, all things large and small? Mankind is discovering a lot about the electric impulses of the brain, how the sun and planets function, disease management, and the secrets of our earth. These discoveries are to be celebrated, but if we think about it, God knows already every detail we are uncovering.

Jesus who revealed the mind of God to His generation, also majored on relationships – that part of life which in the twenty-first century causes so much international angst and individual pain. Is this suffering within the plan of God? Surely not! Jesus told His disciples He came to set them free from guilt and shame. He came to bring peace and joy. Because of His great love, through the Holy Spirit the triune God comforts and directs us. However, we must receive His gift. He is still accomplishing His purposes upon this care-worn world. And….there are consequences for making choices outside of the will of God.

When we lose sight of the magnificence of His will, as it was seen in the creation process as well as in the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we lose heart and hope. That certainly isn’t the design of the God who is relational, loving, provisional, forgiving and kind. It seems “Katie” Wilkinson as she was known, grasped something of this when she wrote the following song.

May the mind of Christ, my Saviour live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling All I do and say.

May the Word of God dwell richly in my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph only through His power.

May the peace of God my Father rule my life in everything,
That I may be calm to comfort sick and sorrowing.

May the love of Jesus fill me, as the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self abasing, this is victory.

May I run the race before me, strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus as I onward go.

May His beauty rest upon me as I seek the lost to win,
And may they forget the channel, seeing only Him.

A member of the Church of England, she was involved in a ministry to the girls in London. She also participated in the Keswick Convention Movement. She would have struggled with the reality of human suffering, but the hope she knew as the greatest reality was to be found in the mind of Christ her Saviour!

Look at what it meant to her to have the mind of Christ:

Triumph through His power! The peace of her heavenly Father ruled her choices giving her calm to comfort others who suffered and grieved. The love of Jesus obviously humbled Katie, but by looking to Him she was strong enough to continue in the race, even to the point of facing enemies. Only then did the beauty which draws others to our Lord, rest upon her, and her ministry to girls.

Reflection:

How does one get to know the mind of God? Certainly we hold His guide in our hands – that Holy Word which reveals His character and His will to us. But I have discovered there is nothing that brings me greater joy than to wait upon Him as I listen for His voice, while on my knees. Worshiping Him for all He is takes practice. Are we willing to spend the time in order to know the mind of God?

Perhaps this hymn will be our prayer.

by Marilyn Daniels

http://www.marilyndaniels.net

Devotional · Uncategorized

Tell Me the Old, Old Story

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Ezekiel 3:20
Tell me the old, old story is a well-known hymn which was written as a poem by an English evangelist, Miss Katherine Hankey, in 1866 when she was recovering from a serious illness in London.[1] (Wikipedia). It was recited at a YMCA convention in Montreal where it inspired Bishop Doane to set it to music. As a child I remember my heart thrilling as we sang the words of this old hymn.
Imagine our devotions inspiring us to write about unseen things above. Do we pause in our frenetic world long enough to actually see Jesus and His glory, to sense His love? In the fight to succeed do we recognize our tremendous need as little children in the faith, weakened and weary by the battle to survive feelings of helplessness and guilt?
Time is of the essence today. When might we find time to take the story of redemption in slowly, soaking up God’s remedy for sin through Jesus’ Christ our Lord? Ah! How soon we forget! Perhaps it is only in times of great fear that we recognize our need for comfort from the truths of scripture, and how dearly our pursuit of happiness has cost us in the realm of spiritual reality.
In my own life it has often been through the experience of being set aside that my own needs had been replaced by the deepest joy of abiding in Him. The cost of my personal peace procured at the cross is an old story, but one that I like to hear and tell often, one that I need to hear repeated.
1 Tell me the old, old story  2 Tell me the story slowly
Of unseen things above, That I may take it in –
Of Jesus and his glory,  That wonderful redemption,
Of Jesus and his love. God’s remedy for sin.
Tell me the story simply,  Tell me the story often,
As to a little child; For I forget so soon;
For I am weak and weary,  The early dew of morning
And helpless and defiled. Has passed away at noon. [Refrain]
Refrain:
Tell me the old, old story,
Tell me the old, old story,
Tell me the old, old story,
Of Jesus and His love.
3 Tell me the same old story
When you have cause to fear
That this world’s empty glory
Is costing me too dear.
Tell me the story always,
If you would really be,
In any time of trouble,
A comforter to me. [Refrain]
Reflection:
Which Biblical story (stories) brings you the greatest joy?
Do you find it easy to share your life story with others, and what does it say about Jesus?

By Marilyn Daniels

http://www.marilyndaniels.net

Devotional · Uncategorized

Christ Redeemed Us

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Galatians 3:10-14

As we prepare our hearts for Easter let us consider why the sacrifice of Christ was necessary. I marvel at the cohesive message given in both Old and New Testaments.

As far back as Deuteronomy (21:22-23), hanging on a tree was a shameful thing. There the punishment differed from actual death on a tree…the already dead body would be exposed to shame and ridicule, for all to see. Interesting, isn’t it, how centuries later Jesus was put to death in this most shameful way?

In his letter to the Galatian church the Apostle Paul points out what will happen to those who do not keep the law perfectly. James tells us that those who sin in one point are guilty of all (James 2:10). Of course you and I will not likely commit murder, nor will we break other of the Ten Commandments, but how often do we think we get away with just a little coveting? Or – heaven forbid, what about slandering a neighbour? Do we worship at the shrine of health or wealth? These could cost us eternity in heaven, but for the redemption Christ purchased by His ignominious death.

His death was the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:3: “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you”. We might note that Paul, quoting from Moses’ writings, declared Abraham righteous by his faith. Galatians 3:6 “He believed God and it was credited to him for righteousness”.

Martin Luther discovered “The righteous will live by faith!” This glorious discovery which set Luther’s spirit free from so many laws that bound him, changed his whole life! But it cost. He was persecuted for his very faith.

He wanted others to understand that “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). The Old Testament message of God’s love is consistent with the New, because love is the essence of our heavenly Father’s being. Moses wrote about how God in His unfailing love would redeem His people (Exodus 15:13). That love could last through 1,000 generations, conditioned on the obedient, love responses of His children (Deuteronomy 5:10).

John tells us that those who received Him, believing in Jesus’ name, to them [the Father] gives the right to be called children of God (John 1:12). That’s faith isn’t it?

Many of us are familiar with Lamentations 3:22 “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed for His compassions never fail – they are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness”!

The great love chapter of the Bible is really 1 John 4. “This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (:10). “We love Him because He first loved us” (:19). The apostle John knew Jesus personally. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear” (:18). His experience taught him that the sign of being called the children of God came from the great love the Father lavishes on us (John 3:1)! But it cost.

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, by becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13).

Reflection:

Are you trying hard to be a good person? How far will that get you?

How effective is Jesus’ redemption? To whom does it apply? (John 1:12)

by Marilyn Daniels

http://www.marilyndaniels.net

Devotional · Uncategorized

Immanuel

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Matthew 1:18-23

Our Lord Jesus had many names, Immanuel being one of them. It means ‘God with us’. Most frequently remembered as a name from Isaiah’s prophecy, we sing songs about Immanuel at Christmas time. Matthew records the fulfillment of this prophecy (Matthew 1:23) .

Dr. Richard Bucher has found over 100 names and titles given to Jesus throughout scripture. Each one is rich with meaning as it identifies a significant characteristic of our Lord. He suggests that none has such great meaning as this one – Immanuel.

In a sense God has always been with His people – “Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?….Do I not fill heaven and earth? Declares the Lord” (Jer. 23:24). God never lost an awareness of what was going on in the lives of His people. But the reality is they had shut Him out of their lives.

Sin often separated the Israelites from their God (Isaiah 59:2). Isaiah further describes details of Israel’s sins and their consequences, in the rest of this chapter. Other scriptures like Psalm 14:2-3, 1 John 1:8 and James 2:10 clearly reveal that all mankind is sinful before God. However, the Lord’s message was always one of hope “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear!” (Isaiah 59:1, 16, 20). Even in exile, experiencing the consequences of their rebellious hearts, God was present (Ezekiel 16:59-60).

Knowing we cannot live righteously on our own, evidenced by the Israelites’ failure to keep the 10 commandments, the Mosaic law, God knew further help was needed. He who longs for relationship has lavished both His grace and His love on believers (Ephesians 1:8, 1 John 3:1). The condition for receipt of His gift of love is that a person must believe and receive it (John 1:12).

Reflection:

As with His people of long ago, today the same need exists! Sin separates us from a pure and holy God. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, Isaiah 64:6). We need GOD with us! Imagine – we have been given the Holy Spirit to indwell each person who repents of their sin and asks God to reign in their lives! Merry Christmas! This is God’s message to humankind, as the babe became “Immanuel”.

by Marilyn Daniels. http://www.marilyndaniels.net

Devotional · Uncategorized

Pondering the Puzzle!

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Isaiah 7:9-23

One of my favourite hobbies is doing jigsaw puzzles. I have friends who share this interest, so now family and friends have some exquisite scenery lining their walls, over which many happy hours were spent. What makes it so interesting? Tiny bits and pieces require minute examination to see if patterns and colours will match. It is so satisfying when the strangest shapes suddenly fall into place!

For me, sometimes scriptures are a puzzle. Take for example the sign given to Isaiah of the virgin conceiving and bearing a son. We need to look at the context to examine this puzzle piece. Israel had been continually disobedient. By Chapter 7 the Lord has already exclaimed “Stop” three times. “Stop bringing meaningless offerings” (1:13). “Stop doing wrong” (1:16). “Stop trusting in man” (2:22). He has pronounced more than seven woes descrying the varied sins of His people.

Now in the era of King Ahaz, an opportunity to test the nation’s faith presented itself in the design by Syrian and Israelite kings to overpower Jerusalem. (By this time Israel and Judah had split, becoming separate kingdoms.) Ahaz is warned by God “If you do not stand firm in your faith you will not stand at all!” (7:9). Having said that, the Lord challenges Ahaz to ask for a sign that will bolster his faith. He’s given great latitude “Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights” (7:11). I wonder what I would have answered in the same situation….and you?

Ahaz refused, sounded very pious: “I will not put the Lord to the test” (7:12). How would you respond if one of your children refused the offer to ask for something you wanted to give them? Isaiah was exasperated! However, God was not taken by surprise. He had the puzzle piece ready to fit. A virgin will conceive. Some commentators suggest that Isaiah knew this referred to the young woman he was going to marry and that he was prophesying, under the power of the Holy Spirit, that she would bear a son. It is presumed that Isaiah’s first wife had died after the birth of his first son. The second son would not have reached the age of moral discrimination before the rest of the prophecy came true. The kings that Ahaz feared so much would both be dead and their kingdoms laid waste (7:16). Other puzzle pieces yet to be fitted in, include several references to “in that day” (7:18, 20, 21, 23).

Reflection:

Let’s think about this. What do we know about the nation Israel, or learn about God in this scripture? Does this prophecy fit into one time frame or does it cover past and present (for us), as well as future. This is where we require time to ponder. Puzzles were not put together in an instant. They require a right perspective, an overview, some experimentation, patience, and certainty that it will all fit together in the end.

In hind sight we know that Jesus was the future predication fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy – the babe born of a virgin! The fulfillment of this sign assures us that other prophecies will be completed in His time. As much as the reality of God’s outworking in the faith of Ahaz, so is this a reality when our own faith is tested.

For example – what signs have been fulfilled in your life and mine? Do we know we have been freed from our sins by the blood of Christ? Do we know the power of the Holy Spirit when we are tempted and tried? Have we seen the hand of God leading us into paths of righteousness, for His name’s sake? Looking back, how has God fit the puzzle pieces of your life together?

by Marilyn Daniels

http://www.marilyndaniels.net

Devotional · Uncategorized

Journey Through Darkness

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Jonah 2

 

Do you remember being afraid of the dark? How many little children express fear of the dark? As adults can we identify with those fears? Dark moments in adult life may look different from the physical darkness that envelopes the imaginations of little kids, but they are just as real, none-the-less.

 

The Bible tells us of one man who experienced darkness physically and spiritually. He was near death – certainly a cardinal moment for us all. He knew he needed God to walk with him through this experience, but being out of fellowship with God made that an even more humbling experience. In spite of feeling banished from God’s sight, as he deserved to be, he tells us “When my life was ebbing away I remembered You, Lord, and my prayers rose to You” (Jonah 2:7).

 

How often is this the human experience? We feel engulfed, threatened, trapped. Everything is swirling around us as the breakers roll over our spirits. Isn’t it then that we think of God?

 

Recently I watched “Call the Midwife”, a programme set in the late 50’s which reminded me of the community nursing I did in the early 60’s. The young nurse in the series was shocked by the conditions she faced in the east end of London, as was I in Regent Park, Toronto. The lifestyle of people who were suffering deprivation of every kind, could only be called ‘dark’.

 

How much they needed to know God listens and answers prayer. He alone can bring our lives out from the pit. “Salvation comes from the Lord” (Jonah 2:9). He is the source of all comfort because He is the God of grace (Jonah 1:8). He is described by David : “You are my lamp oh Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light” (2 Samuel 22:29).

 

Why did Jonah struggle in the dark? He was running away from God. God had called him to do something he didn’t want to do. Can you empathize with Jonah? Jonah recognized his punishment came from God. ”You hurled me into the deep” (Jonah 2:3). But he also knew God didn’t leave him there. “You brought my life up from the pit!” (2:6).

 

In his subsequent dealings with the Ninevites one might have supposed Jonah would have identified with them. They were displeasing to God and yet He saved them. In his darkest hour Jonah experienced God’s mercy and grace, but still begrudged it to the Ninevites. In a way, his own attitude kept him in darkness. Do we face this same struggle on our journey through life?

 

Reflection:

In the month of November we remember some of the darkest days in recent history – two great wars, called “World Wars” because humans from every continent met in combat. Principles of righteousness and democracy were at stake. Many nations paid dearly for the depths of darkness that nearly annihilated a whole generation of young men. Running away from the truths of God’s Word, the enemy assaulted the very chosen people of God. This was indeed a journey away from God!….a journey through darkness!

 

By Marilyn Daniels. http://www.marilyndaniels.net

Devotional · Uncategorized

Seeing Through Stained Glass

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1 Corinthians 13:8-12

Someone coined the phrase “looking at life through rose-tinted glasses”. This is described as an unduly idealistic, optimistic, sentimental, or wistful perspective on or about something. People looking through rose-tinted glasses only notice the good things about them, a view that is unrealistic. Its good to be positive in one’s outlook, but it is also important to be balanced.

The Apostle Paul was aware of mankind’s tendency to look through a glass darkly – a view through which our judgment is somewhat clouded. God gave Paul the reason why we do not see things clearly, which thankfully he recorded for our own understanding. In his first letter to the Corinthians church, Paul explains that our knowledge is only partial (:9). God who is omniscient, needs you and me to rely on His wisdom, knowledge and love. Sometimes we see in part because we don’t want to accept responsibility for things we do; as with the first people on earth, its easier to blame someone else than to accept the rebuke of a friend. “Rebuke a wise man and he will love you” (Proverbs 9:8).

It is common for us to see a poor reflection of ourselves in a mirror, rose-tinted or otherwise darkened by sin. James gives us some further insights on how to deal with this problem. When looking at oneself in a mirror there are two options. If we don’t like what we see, we can do something about it, or we can go into denial. The Holy Spirit gave James an important truth – humans have the tendency to immediately forget what they might recognize and work to improve (James 1:24). Is this wise?

God longs for us to be pure, when we claim to follow Jesus. His Word gives us the direction we need, clarifying His will for our lives. When we spend time studying the Bible we are freed, James goes on to say (1:25), and blessed by the liberty God gives to us, from the sin that so easily bests us. Once our spirits have soared into the heavenlies , let loose like a balloon floating up into the sky, who would return to the darkness of this world’s thinking and degrading behaviours?

Paul and James agree that maturity, gained through love and perseverance is the Christian’s goal…..mature in understanding God’s character, we grow to be more like Him…..mature in our understanding of what true love looks like – that amazing love of God which is more than compassionate, which is impossible without His unconditional love flowing through us.

Growing in our faith requires action on our part. He has given us the means to know Him….His Word, David said, saved him from sinning against God (Psalm 119:11). It wasn’t just reading it or hiding it in his heart, but by obeying God’s word, David was blessed. God in turn blesses us, wiping away the darkness that clouds our vision, as we persevere. Its hard to do God’s will, to be obedient but He stands ready to give us all the wisdom and knowledge required to do His will. He doesn’t leave us to flounder alone!

Reflection:

Will you accept responsibility for your own sins? How does God want you to deal with them?

Does your life and mine bring joy to the heart of God?

Have you been freed by the perfect law of God?

Do you understand what God requires of you in His perfect law? Its not complicated –

If anyone considers himself/herself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his/her tongue, he/she

deceives themselves and his/her religion is worthless” (James 1:26)

http://www.marilyndaniels.net

Devotional · Uncategorized

Overwhelmed With Dread

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Psalm 14

Technology takes us around the world today to where we can view the detailed sufferings of humankind. Should war and famine, abuses arising from anger or hatred, political unrest and persecution become an immediate threat to us in North America, we ourselves might be overwhelmed by dread.

David wrote that the Lord looks down on the sons of men, from heaven. His vantage point may seem external, but the Bible also tells us that God knows the thoughts and intentions of each heart. This is what He finds: “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) How hopeless does that sound? Yet God who created humans, blesses the man/woman who trusts in Him, making him/her as secure as a tree planted by the water (Jeremiah 17:7).

God does not want you or me to feel overwhelmed by dread. He assures us through the Apostle Paul, who wrote: “God did not give us a spirit of timidity [fear], but a spirit of power, of love and a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). What causes us to dread something? The knowledge that our hearts are not right before God may be a contributing factor. We do have a conscience that informs our psyche, allowing us to be a peace in the midst of turmoil and even suffering, but also condemning us when we are wrong.

Some people think God searches our hearts to punish us for our evil thoughts and desires, but really God is looking for righteousness, those who are seeking fellowship with Himself (Psalm 14:2). When He sees that, God will go to any lengths to ensure such fellowship is vibrant, real through a relationship with Jesus Christ our Lord. We see illustrations of that in the lives of the Centurion and Lydia, recorded for us in the book of Acts.

Certainly God will punish evildoers, those who persecute His people. These folks never seem to learn. They just don’t get it! We see the problem occurring over centuries of time. The tendency of that heart which denies God, is to “do what is right in their own eyes” (Judges 21:25 KJV).The evil is not confined to what they do, but stems from the notion that they are their own god. This is what ought to fill us with overwhelming dread.

In this Psalm David yearns for the establishment of God’s Messianic kingdom (:6-7). When Jesus returns to earth the powers of evil will be overwhelmed by the radiance of His glory! Every knee shall bow (Romans 14:11). What a glorious hope that overwhelms every dreaded thought!

Reflection:

Who is it that searches your heart and mine? (Jeremiah 17:10)

What is God’s attitude towards evil?

How far will God go to provide a way for you and me to escape evil? (1 Corinthians 10:13)

What frees you from a spirit of dread?