Monday, December 19, 2011

Freedom from Shame and Fear

"One Year Bible" Old Testament Passage
Zephaniah 1:1-3:20

"In that day you shall not be shamed for any of your deeds in which you transgressed against Me....and no one shall make them afraid."  Zephaniah 3:11, 13b (NKJV)

What is the condition of your soul today?  Are you operating in joy and confidence or are you laden with guilt and fear? 

How is your anxiety level?  The Bible speaks directly to the condition of your heart.  Isaiah 32:17 says, "The work of righteousness will be peace, And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever."  When we stand in Christ's forgiveness, the result is great boldness and rest.

Scripture clearly teaches that there is forgiveness for all those things that could cause you shame.  He will give you beauty for ashes! (Is. 61:3)  You needn't be afraid any more.  Our God will fight for you.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Nations

"One Year Bible" Old Testament Passage
Micah 1:1-4:13

Many nations shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths". For out of Zion the law shall go forth, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Micah 4:2 (NJKV)

God has always had a heart for the nations. His purposes were never contained in Israel. The Jewish people were never the end; they were the BEGINNING. They were the Chosen People in the Old Testament, but the key question is, "Chosen for what?"

God's desire is always for those who are outside - those who have nothing - those who are far off. This should be our heart, too.

The nature of fallen flesh is selfishness and self-centeredness. Today, lift your eyes off your own circle of need and see those who need the word of the living, loving God. It is there that we will find the heart of God.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Amos and the Plumbline

"One Year Bible" Old Testament Passage
Amos 7:1-9:15

Thus He showed me: Behold, the Lord stood on a wall made with a plumb line, with a plumb line in His hand.  And the Lord said to me, "Amos, what do you see?"  And I said, "A plumb line."  Then the Lord said: "Behold, I am setting a plumb line in the midst of My people Israel ...  Amos 7:7-8 (NKJV)

It is wonderful when God speaks prophetically to His people.  There is ALWAYS encouragement, up-building, and comfort in God's prophetic ministry (see I Co. 14:3). 

But, you might ask why are there so many seemingly scathing prophecies in the Old Testament?  Aren't there times when God absolutely rebukes and judges His people for their sin?  The answer is YES!  But, let's look further. 

EVEN IN THE HARDEST WORDS FROM GOD, THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE OF REDEMPTION.  Even when it seems that He is scolding us severely, there is the touch of mercy and promise.  We must remember this important characteristic of all that God does.  He is by nature a Redeemer.

At times, He drops the plumb line into your life.  He measures you.  He identifies those areas that are out of line with His will.  He shines the light on the errors of workmanship and the times you cut the corners.  This seems to be such a severe rebuke.  What if He condems the whole building because of bad workmanship?!

Always remember: God turns the light on not to hurt but to heal.  If He drops His plumb line into your life, there is always the promise that He will set things right and bring a new era of blessing.  The book of Amos ends with such a promise:

"Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord...the mountains will drip with sweet wine, and all the hills will flow with it.  I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; they shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them.  I will plant them in their land..."  Amos 9:13-15).  The God Who drops the plumbline is also the God Who redeems!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Battle for Truth

"One Year Bible" Old Testament Passage
Daniel 8:1-27

"...and he cast truth down to the ground." Daniel 8:12 (NKJV)

Daniel is an amazing book. It, along with The Revelation, tells us much about the spiritual battle surrounding the end of our world. We can draw valuable instruction and inspiring lessons from the stories and visions of this small prophetic book.

Daniel prophecies the great battles we are fighting today. Perhaps the most crucial is the battle for truth. All Christians should be champions of truth and truthfulness. There is an incredible deception at loose in our world today. False and empty philosophies fill our culture. But we are carriers and custodians of the which Francis Schaeffer called "true truth".

That truth is rooted in the reality of God our Creator. It is embodied in the Person of His Son. It is the wisdom by which this world was created. All facts, sciences, and verities flow out of and are in agreement with God's Word.

Today, you can lift up and walk in that which our spiritual enemy seeks to cast down. You can abide in the Truth.