Devotional – Recognizing God’s Unconditional Blessings

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May God give you the dew of heaven Genesis 27:28a ESV

Early this morning as I left the house I was careful to avoid stepping on the grass as I walked to my car. The grass was wet with the morning dew. Walking on wet grass would destroy my shoes and possibly stain the cuffs of my pants.

In biblical times the morning dew was a blessing– not a minor inconvenience. Every morning the dew would bring a refreshing break from the harsh conditions of an arid environment.

While it took much work to retrieve water from a well, the dew would arrive each morning without any effort. It was a blessing of God. An unconditional blessing that fell on the just and the unjust.

So each morning when you see the dew sparkling in the light of the rising sun remember the unconditional blessings of God you have received from Him.

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Editorial note: Originally published August 28, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

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Devotional – When God Asks You Questions

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Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Job 38:4a ESV

No doubt Job had questions he wanted God to answer. Many questions. Many legitimate questions. Who could blame him? I’m sure I would have some questions for God if I lost all of my earthly possessions, my family and my health like Job did.

But God never answers Job’s questions. Instead, God has a lengthy list of questions for Job! Job 38-41. Dozens of questions– none of which Job couldn’t possibly give an adequate answer for.

What about Job’s questions for God? Certainly God could answer his questions! But in His wisdom and sovereignty God chose not to. God never even revealed to Job the reasons why no answers were given.

Maybe you have questions — legitimate questions concerning difficult, real-life issues you’re facing– questions God has chosen not to give you an answer for. Questions that keep you awake at night: why do I have cancer? why am I in debt? Why did my mother die? Such unanswered questions are difficult to live with, but remember God has chosen to withhold the answers. It’s not that God can’t answer your questions. Rather, He chooses not to for reasons only He knows.

In the end (Job 42:5,6), Job saw God, recognized his own sinfulness and repented in dust and ashes! Amazing! Job received something far greater than answers… Job received God!

Today, God is offering you something far greater than answers. God is offering to you Himself. Will you repent and receive Him?

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Editorial note: Originally published August 22, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

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Devotional – 200 Million Reasons to Believe

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“The number of mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand.” Revelation 9:16a ESV

2 x 10,000 x 10,000 = 200 Million. A 200 million man army?! For centuries it was virtually impossible to envision that a prophesy of an army 200 million strong could ever be fulfilled literally.

It would be silly to think such an army was possible. It would be silly to read this verse literally. It would be silly not to spiritualize this verse and think it means something other than what it clearly says!

Actually it’s never silly to believe what God clearly says. While such an army seemed impossible in the past, such an army isn’t all too difficult to envision today. With a population of 1.4 billion China could field such an army. With 1.28 billion it is also conceivable India could field an army 200 million strong.

Hebrews reminds us that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 KJV.

When prior generations read Revelation 9:16 it required faith to believe what God said. Why? because there was no evidence such an army was even possible! One had to have faith to believe it! Today a simple Google search quickly reveals how plausible a 200 million man army is.

Are you struggling to believe certain portions of God’s Word? Are you struggling to believe what God says in His book? If so, it is necessary to have faith. Faith that God always speaks the truth… even when there is no visible evidence of that truth. For without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).

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Credit:
Population statistics http://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/ Accessed August 15, 2015.

Editorial note:
Originally published August 16, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

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Devotional – The Pathway of Integrity

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Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways. Proverbs 28:6 ESV

Not all who are rich are dishonest.
Not all who are poor walk in integrity.
However, all who walk with integrity possess something far better than silver or gold.

While there is nothing wrong with wealth per se, the desire to gain and retain wealth has lead many to compromise their integrity.

Our desire to maintain our integrity should always trump our desire to be rich. We must be vigilant. We must be on guard, because the temptation to compromise will come. When it does will you stand the test? Or will you succumb to the temptation to sacrifice your principles to the idol of materialism?

Integrity means nothing until it costs something. Are you willing to forego the riches of this world if the pathway to those riches is crooked? “By faith Moses… considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.” Hebrews 11:24,26 ESV.

Integrity ‘cost’ Moses the treasures of Egypt.

What ‘cost’ are you willing to pay to walk the pathway of integrity?

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Editorial note: Originally published August 10, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

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Devotional – Are You Listening?

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And a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. 1 Kings 19:11b-12 ESV

God is big. So big, it’s easy to forget that He sometimes chooses to work in very small ways.

Tornadoes, earthquakes, and fire storms fit my understanding of God’s sheer awesomeness. After all He is big! He is awesome! He is powerful! I expect His voice to be as subtle as a mighty clap of thunder.

Often times, however, He chooses to speak in a low whisper.

Oh yes, He may use fire, earthquakes and tornadoes to grab our attention– but He comes along afterwards and speaks to us in a still, small voice.

Are you listening?

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Editorial note: Originally published August 4, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

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Devotional – The LORD is His Name

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He who made the Pleiades and Orion,
and turns deep darkness into the morning and darkens the day into night,
who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the surface of the earth,
the LORD is his name. Amos 5:8 ESV

Pleiades is one of the closest ‘star clusters’ to the Earth and is easily observable to unaided human eye. Although 14 stars can be seen with the naked eye, scientists estimate Pleiades is comprised of well over 1,000 celestial bodies.

Orion is one of the most recognizable constellations in the night sky. Visible the world over, Orion has captivated the attention and imagination of mankind throughout history.

Closer to home we are blessed with the reliability of the rising of the Sun each morning, and the setting of the Sun every evening. No matter how dark the night we know the darkness will not last indefinitely… the light of the rising Sun will conquer the darkness of the night.

Even closer to home we are mesmerized by the mighty waters of the World’s oceans. The rise and fall of the tides, the power of the crashing waves, and the unfathomable volume of water that fills the oceans mystifies the human mind.

Who made Pleiades? The LORD.
Who made Orion? The LORD.
Who turns night into day and day into night? The LORD.
Who filled the oceans with water? The LORD.

The LORD is His name!

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Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleiades
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orion_(constellation)

Editorial note:
Originally published July 29, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

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Devotional – Look, Wait and Pray

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But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. Micah 7:7 ESV

Micah declared he would do three things: look to God, wait for God and pray to God.

To look to God implies we stop looking at everything else! When Peter’s eyes were squarely focused on Jesus Christ he walked on the waters of the raging sea. The moment he looked away the ravenous waves began to devour him alive.

If the raging storms of life are eating you alive you are looking in the wrong direction! By faith, look to God alone! Though He may not immediately halt your storms– He will reach out His hand and take ahold of yours!

To wait for God implies we stop living life by our calendar and live according to His. The problem, of course, is that He usually does not reveal to us His timetable. Why? Because His desire is for us to walk by faith one step at a time.

Will you trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding? Will you acknowledge Him in all of your ways? If so, God promises to make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV

To pray to God implies we believe He hears our prayers. The scriptures tell us our prayers reach into the very throne room of Heaven where our Advocate, the Lord Jesus Christ, hears our prayers and petitions the Father on our behalf.

Do you believe God hears you? If so fall to your knees and pray!

Micah determined to look, wait and pray. Will you?

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Editorial note: Originally published July 23, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

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Devotional – God’s Strange Work

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“You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.” Micah 7:18 NIV

“The LORD will rise up… to do his work, his strange work, and perform his task, his alien task.” Isaiah 28:21 NIV

God does not delight in executing judgement, rather God delights in showcasing His mercy. Isaiah describes judgement as God’s ‘strange work’ and as God’s ‘alien task.’ Peter reminds us that God’s desire is for ‘everyone to come to repentance.’ God is patient and longsuffering! God does not want any to perish in their sins!

Have you ever heard a ‘hell fire and brimstone’ sermon that went so far as to say God enjoys punishing sinners? Unfortunately, I have. For a preacher, or anyone else, to outright say or imply that God enjoys judgement is to misrepresent God’s character. The thought that God enjoys sending guilty sinners to Hell should make us recoil in horror. His delight is not in judgement; His delight is in mercy! Even His angles rejoice (Luke 15:10) when a guilty sinner repents!

Yes, God hates sin but He absolutely loves the sinner. How can we know this is true? We can know by looking at the cross of Jesus Christ! God sent His Son to suffer and to die on the cross so He could rightously display His mercy by forgiving repentant sinners.

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Editorial note: Originally published July 17, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

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Devotional – Understanding the Times

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“men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.”
1 Chronicles 12:32 ESV

1 Chronicles 12 tells us of the “mighty men” who rallied to David’s side during his days of rejection.

Not surprisingly those who came to David were highly skilled warriors. They were swift, mighty and experienced. Experts with the weapons of war including spear, shield, bow, and sling. By the tens of thousands they came to David’s aid equipped and battle ready.

There were others who came to David who brought an entirely different set of skills. Yes, they may have been warriors too– but they possessed something much greater than military prowess, they possessed wisdom and discernment. They were ‘men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.’

Today, perhaps more than ever, God’s Church needs men and women who understand the times. Wise and discerning believers who know what the church ought to do and have the courage to stand up and lead the Church in the ways of God!

Are you such a believer? Will you rally around the Lord Jesus Christ and His Church? Will you, with all wisdom and discernment, seek out God’s will for the Church today? Do you posses the courage to rise up and pursue God’s will?

Lord, I pray for Your wisdom. Wisdom to understand the times. Discernment to know Your will. Courage to stand battle ready. And the audacity to do your will regardless of the cost.

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Editorial note: Originally published July 11, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

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Devotional – The Clouds are the Dust of His Feet

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“The Clouds are the dust of his feet” Nahum 1:3 ESV

On a recent afternoon I was overwhelmed with awe as I gazed up at the summer sky. Large, puffy clouds stretched across the expansive sky– seemly forever. Brilliant white clouds juxtaposed against a deep blue sky. It was grand. It was majestic. It was overwhelming. The beautiful vista defies description.

While looking at the clouds Nahum 1:3 came to mind, “the clouds are the dust of his feet.”

Wow. God is far greater in majesty than any cloud that has ever drifted across a summer sky. God’s grandeur far exceeds the grandeur of any cloud the human eye has ever seen. God is so much bigger than the clouds that, in comparison, even the largest clouds are smaller than even the smallest particle of dust. He is far more beautiful to behold than the sum total of all clouds human eyes have witnessed.

God is so beautiful, so great, so grand, so big, all clouds pale in comparison. All clouds are as insignificant as dust.

Today we gather together to collectively worship the one and only true God– the creator of heaven and Earth. May we be filled with awe of Him. May our thoughts be only of Him. May our worship, adoration, and praise be wholly focused on Him. May we wash away any thoughts that are not of Him, as we would wash our feet clean of the dirt of this world.

To God be the Glory!

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Editorial note: Originally published July 5, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

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