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“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.”
-2 Corinthians 4:17-18
I need a new bedside lamp. My old one no longer works, and I’m tired of stumbling around the bed to find my way in the dark. I’ve even been dreaming about lamp-shopping for the last two nights. Then, today, in my devotional reading, guess which Psalm verse was included?
Psalm 18:28: For You light my lamp/The Lord my God illumines my darkness.
Okay then. I already knew that God has a great sense of humor, but now He’s giving me shopping advice. Apparently, I don’t need a new lamp because I’ve already got one – me. I just need to ask God to turn it on.
Kidding aside, this one verse contains a world of reassurance! The Lord of the universe, my own Savior and King, leads me through my life with His light. As long as I keep my eyes on Him, I can see even through the blackest circumstances of my life; on the other hand, when all I see is darkness, it’s a reminder to me that I’ve turned away from His light, and I need to redirect my attention to His lamp, His love and will for me.
It sounds simple, but oh-so-hard for us egotistical humans. We think we know what we’re doing. We think we can take care of ourselves, that we know what’s best, when the truth is that we live and move and have our being only through the favor of God!
And what a favor it is! We are not only called and chosen and beloved of God, but we have Him right beside us every moment, illuming our path. Today, hold your lamp up and let God light the way!
(PS. I’ve found that nightlights aren’t a bad idea, either…)
Jan Dunlap is the author of the new suspense novel Heaven’s Gate: Archangels Book I, the bestselling memoir Saved by Gracie: How a Rough-and-tumble Rescue Dog Dragged Me Back to Health, Happiness and God (Authentic Publishing) and the acclaimed Birder Murder Mystery series (North Star Press, Inc.). She holds MA degrees in Theology and English Studies and lives in the Hill Country of Texas where she spends every clear night marveling at the stars and the brilliance of God’s creation. She is a frequent contributor to FaithHappenings.com and welcomes visitors at www.jandunlap.com and on Facebook at her two author pages BirderMurderMama and Archangels.
More of Jan Dunlap: http://www.jandunlap.com/
BY THEODORE EPP
In Strength for the Journey
When the king of Sodom tempted Abraham by urging him to take the earthly goods, Abraham's attitude was the same as the Apostle Paul's.
In 2 Corinthians 4:18 Paul said, "We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
Because Abraham had been spiritually fortified beforehand, he was ready when the king of Sodom offered him earthly riches. There was no problem because he had already made his choice between that which is temporal and that which is eternal.
Joshua told the people of his day, "Choose you this day whom ye will serve" (Josh. 24:15). The greatest need among present-day believers is to realize there is a choice that has to be made.
Abraham was ready, and his answer was quick, concise and final. Abraham declared God to be his God and that he was confident and determined that God alone would provide his portion.
Abraham declared unashamedly that he would trust God for his every need. He did not want to give either Satan or man the opportunity to say that he had made him rich. What a challenge to us!
"A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked" (Ps. 37:16).
Devotions.org, a division of Back to Bible has a daily source of devotions to keep you in touch with God and His word, written by some of today's top authors and Bible teachers. Browse the variety of resources completely on their website.
More of Devotions.Org: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions
O God, Thou art my God; early will I seek Thee: my soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.
How amazing it is that finite creatures such as you and I may have fellowship with the infinite God. Yet this is our privilege as Christians; it is our right. But rights always bring responsibilities.
Psalm 63 is a gem of a morning psalm. The eloquent preacher of the fourth century, Chrysostom, testifies, "It was decreed and ordained by the primitive fathers, that no day should pass without the public singing of this psalm." It is easy to see why the early Christians sang this song aloud at the beginning of every day. They would start their song, "O God, Thou art my God." This is easy to say, but difficult to live. To say that God is our God conveys a great deal of benefit. Because He is our God, all that He has is ours as well. We are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17). Ours is not an empty relationship with God but one filled with great blessing, great benefit, great privilege.
But all of us who claim the Lord as our God don't just receive special favors from Him; we return special services to Him. This is why in Psalm 118:28 David says, "Thou art my God, and I will praise Thee: Thou art my God, I will exalt Thee." Because He is our God and because we have special rights it is incumbent upon us to exercise certain responsibilities. This David recognizes when he says, "O God, Thou art my God: early will I seek thee" (Psalm 63:1).
While as servants of God we may claim interest in Him, we also must exhibit our duty toward Him. Before all things, at the dawn of every day, before we seek anyone else, before we have our breakfast, "early will I seek Thee."
There seems to be a direct relationship between seeking God in the morning and success throughout the day. Dr. Andrew Bonar once wrote in his diary: "Tonight I gave myself to a time of waiting upon the Lord. I had not been much in the spirit of prayer, but now several things have become clear to me. I realize I have not communed enough with the Lord, nor come to Him as often as I should. Little forethought has been given to the requests I've made. There has been much conversing and outward engagement with men, but I have not been occupied enough with God Himself. I also realize that a closeness to Him gives abundant strength and is like sunlight shining through the clouds on a gloomy day." Bonar recognized that had he sought the Lord early, at the beginning of his day, and walked with Him consistently throughout the day, his evening time of waiting on the Lord in prayer would have been much more productive. The same is true for each of us.
Satisfaction for the soul cannot be found apart from fellowship with the Lord. David the psalmist sought to maintain his companionship with God from early morning until late at night. He made a practice of being in the "presence" of God throughout the day by the blessed privilege of prayer.
When our souls thirst for the Lord as our parched tongues thirst for water, when our appetite for righteousness equals our appetite for food, then we will make it a habit of rising early in the morning to make our first appointment of the day an appointment with God. He will be the first one on our minds in the morning, and the last one on our minds at night.
When morning gilds the skies,
My heart awaking cries;
May Jesus Christ be praised;
Alike at work and prayer
To Jesus I repair;
May Jesus Christ be praised.
Devotional is used with permission from the author. It may be used solely for personal, noncommercial, and informational purposes. Republication or redistribution of this devotional is prohibited.
Dr. Woodrow Kroll served as President and Senior Bible Teacher at Back to the Bible from 1990-2013. Author of more than 50 books, Dr. Kroll's passion is to increase Bible literacy in America by engaging people in the Bible and connecting them with the Author. His clear, incisive teaching of the Word keeps him in demand as a speaker all over the world. - See more at: http://www.backtothebible.org/authors/woodrow-kroll#sthash.7Yrcap6W.dpuf
More of Dr. Woodrow Kroll: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions
“I wish I had a picture of my mom, “the young man said. “You look just like her.”
Sounds nice, yes? Fail.
Just five minutes earlier I learned that he was the baby in the family, the last of nine children—and that his mother just celebrated her 83rd birthday.
“She wears her hair just like yours. And I think she even has those same shoes.”
He smiled at me. I smiled back. It kept me from bursting into tears or screaming hysterically or something else inappropriate for the moment. It was a business setting and those types of outbursts are generally frowned on, you know.
Truthfully, I’m certain I am old enough to be his mother. But I’d have been a lot happier to hear she’d been a teen mom, now still very much a youthful, with-it kind of gal. Not someone 83.
So what to do with his observation . . .?
For starters, I’m getting my hair cut today and may consider refreshing my highlights. And those shoes gotta go. I’m sure that some senior citizen will consider them quite a find at Salvation Army.
In all fairness, our conversation did nothing more than remind me, once again: the sand in the hourglass is shifting. If someone said to me today, “You’re only as old as you feel,” I’d smack him. Life has been both exhilarating and demanding of late. Exhilaration can be demanding. It can also be a carnival ride: bright and colorful, while moving very fast, and right up until the moment you think you might lose your lunch—it’s fun.
And it all requires energy, which has been in short supply lately.
This morning, I recognized my power pack light was blinking. I’ve failed to plug into the source—His power consistently of late. It hit me yesterday on an airplane as I listened to Natalie Grant on my headphones singing “Your Great Name,” and couldn’t keep the tears from streaming down my face right there in seat 3B.
“All the weak find their strength at the sound of your great name.”
It was a moment. Just ask the lady in 3C.
It’s not that I forget I need time in His presence, drinking Him in. But of all the things that pull on me, demanding my time and attention – He is the kindest and gentlest of them all. He doesn’t push His way to the front, knocking my world off its axis to get my attention, but waits with expectancy, believing this daughter who has been given so much – redemption, new life, and unbelievable favor – will appear and sit at His feet. That He waits while I wade through other stuff is a level of love I don’t understand.
“God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being,” Acts 17:270-28a.
God’s plan for my life at this time of my life is ambitious to say the least. He set me on a path I never saw coming and I’m running to catch up with it all daily. I love the path. But I love Him more and I have no illusions about whose power is required for the race.
The enemy would like me to believe there’s a prescribed number of minutes each day required for the recharge I need. Not true. It’s a minute by minute presence with God, talking to Him throughout the day and listening intently for the direction of His Spirit that empowers. It’s an embedded awareness of the living Word in everything I touch. It’s also time to simply sit at His feet and recognize the majesty of our great God.
I’ve been trying to live and move and have my being under my own strength, my own power these last few weeks. It’s embarrassingly insufficient for what He’s called me to. Especially since I’m at the age where I’m reminding folks of their 83-year-old mother.
God has no intention of letting me off the hook for what He’s called me to. His word is clear that He never changes His mind about His plans for us: “For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn,” Romans 11:29 (NLT). Since that’s the case, I’d better change my mind and my practices to include a constant recharge.
I’m back on track. That young man did me a favor.
But I’m still getting rid of those shoes.
This was originally published here and is shared with the author's permission.
Deb DeArmond’s been married to her high school sweetheart nearly 40 years. She has three incredible sons and daughters-in-law and six perfect grand boys (with a girl on the way). But Jesus is her favorite, and the others have learned to live with it. Deb and her husband Ron live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
More of Deb DeArmond: http://debdearmond.com/