Thursday, May 24, 2018

May 27, 2018

"May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us—so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations."  Psalm 67:1-2

Is it proper for me to ask God to bless me? Is that selfish? Is it conceited?

In I Chronicles 4:10, a man named Jabez prayed this prayer requesting God's blessing, "Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request."

Jabez boldly asked for God's blessing and he received it.

We have a God Who is exceedingly gracious and kind! He delights in blessing His people!

The Psalmist mentions several ways He wants to bless you!

He will bless you with His grace! Grace is His undeserved kindness and goodness to you. When you deserved judgment for your sins, God sent Jesus to take your guilt and suffer the penalty so you could receive mercy rathr than judgment.

Have you asked Him for his mercy? Have you received His grace?

Also, God wants to bless you with His favor.

What does that mean?

Essentially, it means you become one of His favorites! He picks you out of the crowd because you have chosen Him to be your Lord. He directs His attention and His protection and His pleasure in your direction!

God's greatest blessing is His salvation - saving you from your sin and selfishness - delivering your eternal soul from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. When you receive His salvation you come into possession of His greatest blessing, for when you have His salvation you have His grace and His favor!

May 26, 2018

"Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” And God said: “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:  I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.  It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud;  and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.  The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”  And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.” Genesis 9:11-17

Promises are simple to make hard to keep and easy to break.

Broken promises can break hearts and shatter trust. No doubt you have suffered a broken heart as result of a broken promise. Or, perhaps you have hurt someone else by not keeping a promise.

Most promises are not broken because they are forgotten but because someone promised more than he could deliver.

God made a century long promise to Noah that if he would build an ark to the exact specifications that he was given, God would save his family from the impending judgment via the flood. A Noah promised he would do it. He kept his promise and God kept His.

Let me tell you why this story matters so much. The Christian life is a life of faith and faith is built upon your expectations of God. Your expectations of God grow out of the experiences you have with God. When we you inexperienced in your walk you can learn from the experiences that others had with God - people like Moses and the disciples and Joshua and Noah. One thing you learn from them is they believed the promises of God and God kept His promises.

When the flood was over and Noah's family was delivered from the flood God had kept His promise and Noah had done his part, God put a rainbow in the remnants of the storm. The rainbow was a visible symbol of a promise kept and the seal of a new promise made. Never again would God destroy the earth in this manner.

Think a moment about what a rainbow is. Rainbows appear as you look back in the direction the storm came from. It is the result of the sun shining through the clouds in the aftermath of the storm. It is the promise that the storm is over and the sun is coming out and you will be safe. As you remember that you begin to understand what a perfect reminder the rainbow is! God's rainbow reminds you that this storm is over and His Son is coming and you are safe!

The Christian life is lived in promise-land until you get to THE Promised Land and the rainbow is the reminder you can trust His promises in life's storm and between the storms. So, if you are in the storm right now, remember the rainbow. God does!

So you can trust the promises of God, you can know what to expect from Him and you can be sure what He expects from you. God gave His rainbow as a reminder that He keeps His promises. That reminder is primarily for you to remember since God always remembers His promises. I guess you could say that the rainbow reminds you that He remembers to remember His promises. God will never forget His promise nor can He ever make a promise that He is not able to keep. So, His promises are as good as gold! The gold at the end of the rainbow?

May 25, 2018

Now the flood was on the earth forty days. The waters increased and lifted up the ark, and it rose high above the earth."  Genesis 7:17

What can you expect from a God Who can do anything, anytime, to anyone when ever He wants to?
From the perspective of Noah, you can expect God to keep His promises!

And, indeed, He did! And trusting in God's promise strengthened Noah before the storm. But that is not all! Noah also found that trusting God's promise also supported him IN the storm!

Can you get your mind around what Noah did? He spent 120 years preparing for an catastrophic event that would be caused by a meteorological phenomenon never seen before! That's faith! That is believing God!

Noah expected that the same promise that strengthened him while he prepared for the storm would also support him IN the storm!

What do you trust during your storms? What supports you?

This stirring story of Noah reminds us that life is stormy! As you read this you are either in a storm, coming out of a storm or headed to the next one! When those storms come you will either sink or swim! That's the way it is! Where will you look for support?

There are so many great lessons to learn from this story, but one that I want to focus on is this: when you expect God to support you in the storm He will use the flood that would have destroyed you will lift you up!

Faith floats! When you claim the promises of God and live by them every day, faith will keep you afloat! When you base your decisions on the promises of God, faith will keep you afloat! 

God's promises will lift you above your doubts! His promises will lift you above your despair! His promises are based in His character and guaranteed by His power so you can hope in them like Noah did.

Don't be fearful in the storm! Don't sink and don't get swamped. Cling to His promises and they will support you!

I promise!