“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” —2 Chronicles 7:13-14:
In the early chapters of Second Chronicles, the narrator takes us through the building process of the temple, the magnificent architectural wonder that was built in order to house the presence of God. At the end of the building process, a seven-year endeavor, King Solomon dedicates the temple to the Lord and asks for His presence to enter into it. The Lord, in His all-mighty power, lets down a fire from heaven, one that consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and right after His glory filled the temple.
“Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” —Genesis 15:1
Abraham was one of the great Bible heroes, primarily for his faith, because he boldly picked up his entire life and walked as God called him to walk.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; a part from me you can do nothing. —John 15:5
God wants us to bear fruit, in the form of love and kindness to others. He gives us Christ to be in us, so that we develop into the holy and fruit-bearing creatures He desires for us. Christ too, has expectations, as the Son serving the Father; He desires each of us to bear fruit, indeed, but wants each of us to do so by intimately connecting with Him, in love, in truth, with a full heart.
Matthew 4: 1-4 —Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
God puts us through periods of our life where we may undergo serious contemplation and serious reflection, both inwardly on ourselves and outwardly toward Him. In these periods, it is often we may be tested, so as to overcome the tests in front of us and be transformed, transformed more to His intended shape for each of us and ultimately closer to His standard of pureness and holiness.
Then Moses said to him, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?" —Exodus 33:15-16
Because of the life and death of Christ, the wall that that once separated us from God has been torn down, allowing us to come humbly to Him, to plead with Him, to ask for His great mercy.
3Jesus answered them, "Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4He entered the house of God, and taking the consecrated bread, he ate what is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions." 5Then Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath." —Luke 6:3-5
When Jesus came to this earth, He came with a triumphant message about the kingdom of God, about the eternal life possible by choosing to follow Him.
7 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” —1 Peter 5:7
Letting go is not easy to do, especially when emotions are involved. As humans, we tend to carry around a substantial amount of heavy baggage, and eventually that wears us down physically, mentally, and spiritually. There is a way to let go: cast your worries on Jesus Christ.
39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, 40 God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us. —Hebrews 11: 39-40
In Hebrews, the book that speaks mostly to the newly converted and the seeking Jews, the author gives a very deep and multi-faceted account to the primacy of Jesus Christ. He spends most of the chapter in linking the authoritative order of the high priest to Jesus, the ultimate High Priest, who went into the heavenly tabernacle to sacrifice for us.
Teach me your way , O Lord, and I will walk in your truth, give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. —Psalm 86:11
In order to fulfill our calling to be a child of God, we must be devoted to Him, to be devoted to following His way of living holy and righteous. Most simply: we must walk in His truth, as we walk in His light.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. —Colossians 2:6-7
Some of us can recall that moment vividly, when Jesus Christ came into our hearts and changed us forever. For most, that changing was a slow and steady process, one where His Word and His Way made its way into our soul and began convicting us on a number of life aspects.
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all thing by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. —Hebrews 1:3-4 (NIV)
The book of Hebrews, whose authorship is unknown, is meant to minister to the Judean people, both the unconverted and the converted, to both portray to them the deity and magnificence of Christ, and how it is by His grace alone (not the law), which accounts for salvation.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart. These O God, You will not despise. —Psalm 51:17
God wants the heart. He does not want our words, our acts, or even our sacrifices.
11 Why are you cast down, O my soul?And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God. —Psalm 42:11
Life gets the best of us sometimes…in a way that we lose the peace, we lose the essence of joy that Christ instilled in us when He allowed us to be a new creation in Him. A number of things can trigger our self-pity and despair, be it getting stuck in a traffic jam, losing a job, or even worse, losing a loved one. But, by being in God, being in His truths and His comforts, we need to retain the fruits of the Spirit no matter what.
See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me. —Isaiah 49:16
He’s got the whole world in His hands…literally! The wise prophet, Isaiah, reminds us that God sees us exactly as we are. He sees everything and knows everything about us. There is no wiggle room, no hiding place. We are who we are, and we are continuously in God’s sight.
God has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” —Hebrews 13:5
Living on this earth, with death and decay all around, brokenness continually prevails. We have all had a relationship with another person that turned sour or abruptly ended. As a collective society we have seen divorce and other circumstances splinter families; we have lost touch with old friends, sometimes due to a dispute; or for some of us, had a loved one die suddenly. Despite all these hurts that can cripple our soul, we have God - the only solid rock upon which we have to stand. We can be absolutely sure of this: He will never fail nor leave us.
8 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. 9 I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. —Psalm 8 and 9
Walking through psalms, one experiences an amazing set of emotions from pleading to God to praising God. The praises are varied from sparing one from enemies to God and His perfect provision.
Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path. —Psalm 119:105
God, in the process of creation and when He manifested Himself as man, is greatly linked to light.
I and the Father are one. —John 10:30
This six-word verse is short, but oh so sweet. It paints a picture of the solid unity in identity and purpose between the Father, God in heaven, and His Son, God in the flesh-manifested as Jesus Christ. Prior to this verse, Jesus is talking about being the good shepherd, being the one that will lay down His life for His sheep, to keep them safe in a world where a multitude of evil beings—Satan particularly—want to harm them. Before He speaks this, Jesus praises the Father as being “greater than all” and the Father who “has given them to me,” meaning that the Father has passed His people over to the Son, Jesus Christ. In this way, Jesus links the Father’s sovereignty as ruler over all and to the sovereignty entrusted to Him as the Son, keeper of the sheep, and those that believe on Him as the Son, will have eternal life and not be harmed.
I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. —Job 19:25
The story of Job is one that describes the deep suffering of an individual, one described to be righteous, at the hands of Satan. God allowed Satan to ‘test’ Job, in order for there to be proof that Job followed the Lord not for material benefits but simply out of dutifully love and obedience to a supreme being. Satan had questioned Job’s true faith, as if it were done to attain blessing. The testing was harsh: Job’s whole family was killed, his wealth and land were taken away, and he personally was in deep pain with sores all over his body.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” —Revelation 1:8
At year’s end, we come to a moment of reflection and are given a perfect opportunity to set a new/modified path for ourselves as we enter into the new year.