Praise the Judge

Praise the Judge

Almighty God knows everything about what each of us believe, and everything about what we have thought, said, and done. He is holy and will judge righteously.

There will be one standard–His. No one is going to get away with anything. There will be no excuses. 

The horrors, the evil deeds, of this world will be exposed and judged. 

We have mourned so many atrocities, against individuals, against groups of people, against nations. They will all be exposed and judged.

Praise the Judge! 

Shout joyfully before the King, the Lord …  for He is coming to judge the earth; He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with equity. (Psalm 98:6, 9)

All evil will be punished. The great good news is that God is both judge and justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:26). For those who have put their trust in Christ and have received Him as Lord and Savior, Christ has taken the punishment we deserve. 

This good news brings me to my knees. 

Praise the Righteous Judge. 

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I’m so grateful You fixed an unchanging standard of right and wrong. 

I praise Your righteous standards, that truth is not relative. That right is always right. That wrong is always wrong. Thank You that there is no confusion. You are the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I am so grateful You have given us Your standard, that You put evidence in creation, that You gave us a conscience, that You gave us Your law, that You gave us Christ. 

I praise Your just, impartial rule, that You don’t wink at anyone’s sin, that you are always holy. You judge impartially, including the sins of Christians. I praise You that for those in Christ, Christ has taken our punishment. Thank You that we can’t get away with sin, just as no one can get away with sin. I praise You for Your love, mercy, and grace, providing a way that we could come to You. Thank You for showing me that Christ was punished for me.  Help me not sin against You. I want to live the way You would have me.

Thank You for giving us a choice. We can go to God in repentance, believing in Jesus Christ, and God becomes our savior. OR—We can reject You and someday face God as righteous judge. 

Feeling Inadequate?

Do you have a list of goals for this new year? How confident are you that you will be able to achieve your goals?

Of course, you may have set unreasonable goals, or too many goals, or goals that aren’t consistent with the Lord’s plans for you.

But for a goal the Lord has given you, do you feel adequate to meet it?

We can use feeling inadequate as an excuse not to try.

Too young or too old?

God told Jeremiah not to use his youth as an excuse.

Do not say, “I am a youth,” because everywhere I send you, you shall go, and all that I command you, you shall speak.(Jeremiah 1:7)

Old age isn’t an excuse either. Daniel was in his 80s when God gave him the vision of the end times. Moses was 80 when the Lord appeared to him in the burning bush. 

Failed in the past?

Peter denied the Lord Jesus Christ and became a fruitful apostle.

Questionable skills?

Moses tried to get out of what the Lord wanted him to do.

            Moses asked“What if they will not believe me or listen to what I say?” (Exodus 4:1)

            Moses: “Please Lord, I have never been eloquent … for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” (Exodus 4:10)

            Then Moses got frank: Please, Lord, now send the message by whomever You will [but not me!]. (Exodus 4:13). And the anger of the LORD burned against Moses.(Exodus 4:14)

An excuse can be disobedience in disguise.

What to do If you think the Lord has given you a goal, an order, and you give reasons why you can’t:

  • Remind yourself that God has prepared the good work for you, and has also prepared you for the good work.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.(Ephesians 2:10) 

For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.(Philippians 2:13) 

  • Remind yourself that of course (of course!) you are not adequate in yourself but that God makes you adequate for what He asks. 

And who is adequate for these things?(2 Corinthians 2:16)

Not that we are adequate in ourselves…but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant.(2 Corinthians 3:5-6)

  • Pray! Acknowledge your own weakness and ask for the Lord’s wisdom and ability in tackling the work. 

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Father, please help us know which goals are Yours for us. Please help us rely on You and Your almighty hand to do whatever it is You want. Please help us get going and keep at it in Your will.

See also You Are Adequate

How to Be Put into Service

Do you feel that God has put you on a shelf?

Do you wish you could be of service to Him?

If Godhas put you on a shelf, there is a loving reason for it. For example, you may need a rest or you may need more time in the Word and prayer. And you are probably of more service than you realize.

It could be that you need to follow Isaiah’s experience in getting orders.

How Isaiah was Put into Service

Woe is me

Isaiah saw the Lord, and realized his sin. 

Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”  (Isaiah 6:5)

We must be followers of Christ in order to be put into service for Him. 

We also must confess our sins after coming to saving faith. We must be in fellowship with Him.

Forgiveness

When we confess, agreeing with God about our sin, He forgives.

Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.”  (Isaiah 6:6-7)

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  (1 John 1:9)

Routinely recognizing our sins and confessing them are essential to a fruitful life in the Lord.

Hear the Lord

When we have confessed, and therefore forgiven, we can hear the Lord. We must pay attention!

Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” (Isaiah 6:8)

Volunteer

When we hear the Lord, we must make ourselves available. Volunteer! 

Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”(Isaiah 6:8) 

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Father, help me recognize and confess my sins. Help me understand and follow Your instructions to become closer to You. I want to hear Your voice and get Your instructions. I long to be of service to You. 

The Dangers of an Easy Life


If I were God, my life would be easy. I’d be satisfied with my relationships, my resources, my activities. I would be spared trouble.

But I’m not God (duh!) and an easy life would not be good for me.

The Dangers of an Easy Life

Self-Sufficiency

Did you catch the use of “my” in the first sentence? If “my” life were easy. “My” relationships, “my” resources, “my” activities. I would think I had it made and that I didn’t need God. 

Pride

If my life were easy, I would think my easy life was because of my talents, my behavior, my wonderfulness. I might look at people having a hard time and be smug about my own life. God hates pride.

Lack of Growth

If my life were easy, I wouldn’t feel the need to grow. “Why bother? I’ve got it made.”

The Benefits of Trouble

The Bible details a number of benefits of trials. (See, for example, Romans 5:3-5, James 1:2-4, and 1 Peter 1:6-7.) Right now, though, look at the three dangers of an easy life and how trouble affects them.

Less Self-Sufficiency

Trouble takes us out of our comfort zone. The worse the trouble, the more we know we can’t rely on our own resources, and the more we need God.

Less Pride

Trouble breaks down pride. If we were perfect, after all, we wouldn’t have this trouble!

Growth

Trouble requires us to behave differently, to learn. We can’t do everything like we’ve always done it. God uses trouble to make us more like Christ.

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Father, thank You for trouble. Thank You that You love us so much You don’t let us stay in a comfortable rut, but push us out into rough water where we learn to rely on You. Thank You for helping us see our worth in You, and also our need for humility and reliance on You. Thank You that You are making us into the image of Your Son, and that You wisely use trouble as a tool. 

Redeem the Time

Redeem the Tine

Long ago, I memorized Ephesians 5:15-16, and seared in my memory was: “Redeem the time, for the days are evil.”

I interpreted that (wrongly—see below) as a time (clock) management command.

The word in Ephesians 5:16 translated “time” is kairos, which means era, season, or opportunity. The word for clock time is kronis.

Maybe that difference wouldn’t matter to you, but it has to me.

When I was working, my days usually were scheduled back to back to back to back. I’d wake up with a “To Do” list running through my mind. I would often think of the verse to redeem the time and try to make every moment count. By the end of the day, I was desperate to find a way to relax. I took several time management courses, but finally decided I wouldn’t take another unless they promised 25 hours a day.

The wrong interpretation of “redeem the time” stuck with me even after years of Bible study.

Make the Most of the Opportunity

Certainly, we need to:

Walk wisely, making the most of our time. (Ephesians 5:15)

Conduct ourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. (Colossians 4:5)

And we need to:

Number our days that we may present to You a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90.12)

I’ve been retired nearly 10 years and still rejoice at days with no schedules. Initially, the lack of projects and schedules was disconcerting. What do I do? See Rest for the Glory of God.

How does “Redeem the time” apply to retirement? More accurately, what are my opportunities in retirement to serve and glorify God?

Every season of life we have the challenge to make the most of opportunities. Every season. Even if you feel put on a shelf, you have opportunities. Make the most of them.

At the same time, I think we are prone to create projects and goals that are not God-given. I, at least, have to watch out for filling up my days with so much I miss the true opportunities to glorify and serve God.

There is urgency associated with the command to make the most of our opportunities. We don’t know how much time we have left. We don’t know if we have tomorrow. When today is over, whatever opportunities we had for this day are over. We can’t repeat the day (although there are times I’d sure like a “do over!”)

My goal is to give my Lord “my” day, commit to His plans, and ask that I recognize the opportunities He is giving me. Sometimes I do that before I get out of bed; sometimes at my desk at the beginning of the day. I find it helps keep Him in mind and be alert to what He wants me to do. I need also to pray that I understand the difference between my manufactured busy-ness and what He wants me to do.

How about you?

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Father, thank You for giving me work to do and time to serve You. Thank You that You are in control of how much time I have. Please help me see my time has a definite end and give me a sense of urgency to do what You have for me to do. Help me see the opportunities You give me and help me make the most of them. Help me do everything, including rest, for Your glory. Help me finish the course You have set for me.

Praise I AM

Harry Durgin/Facebook

Praise I AM

God—Father, Son, Holy Spirit—has progressively revealed Himself to us. To Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, He showed Himself as God Almighty. (Exodus 6:3)

It wasn’t until Moses that He declared His name to be Yahweh, I AM.

I AM WHO I AM. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations.  (Exodus 3:14-15)

God further revealed Himself through Jesus. (See Hebrews 1:1-4)

Jesus is I AM

Before Abraham was born, I AM. (John 8:58)

Remember:

Jesus told us when we saw Him, we saw the Father. (John 14:9)

And the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and was sent by the Son. (John 15:26)

In Jesus, therefore, we see I AM. Jesus explained and demonstrated I AM.

I AM:

The bread of life (John 6:35)—our source of eternal life, and the food to satisfy our spiritual hunger.

The Light of the world (John 8:12; 9:5)—our illumination so we, His followers, won’t walk in darkness.

The door (John 10:7)—our way into heaven.

The Good Shepherd (John 10:11)—who laid down His life for us, His sheep.

The resurrection and the life (John 11:25)—so that through Him we, believers, will have eternal life.

The way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6)—He showed us the Truth, marked out the way, and demonstrated true life. He is how believers come to the Father.

The true vine (John 15:1)—when we abide in Him, we bear fruit.

The Great I AM

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God—Father, Son, Holy Spirit—we praise You, the great I AM. You are eternal and unchanging. We praise You for being faithfully and permanently with us. We praise You as Savior, redeeming us, and assuring us a glorious eternity with You. I can say these words, believing them, yet knowing I have only a glimpse of Your awesome being and character. Thank You that You are working in us to make us what we should be. Help us honor You with all we think, say, and do. Help us praise You, the great I AM.

See also Praise Yahweh.

Be Holy

Hawaii East Rift Zone
Harry Durgin Facebook

Be Holy

Like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, forI am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15–16)

The word “holy” appears nearly 700 times in the Bible. Some of them refer to the Holy One, some relate to our being holy.

Believers are holy

Children of God, those who believe in Jesus Christ and have received Him as Lord and Savior, are holy. We are saints. (See Good Morning, Saint!).

This is our position in Christ, but our behavior needs work.

Let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)

How to Become More Holy

View God as Holy

God is holy, incomprehensibly above us, infinitely perfect. He is wholly other than us.

God is not the “Man Upstairs,” or our buddy. He is the awesome, great, all-powerful God. (See Praise the Holy One.) When men saw Him, they were terrified.

Believers have the incomprehensible privilege of being the children of God, and going to Him, our Father, with confidence. We must not forget, however, that our Father is the Holy One.

Meditate on this truth. Pray for understanding. Ask to have this truth guide your thoughts, words, and deeds.

Determine to Treat the Holy God as Holy

By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, and before all the people I will be honored. (Leviticus 10:3)

When we sin, we do not treat God as holy.

Sin is rebellion against Almighty God. Sin is despising the word of God. (Isaiah 5:24)

Whom have you reproached and blasphemed? And against whom have you raised your voice and haughtily lifted up your eyes? Against the Holy One of Israel!(Isaiah 37:23)

Like Isaiah, we should have the attitude “Woe is me,” and seek forgiveness and cleansing. (Isaiah 6:5)

Be Conscious of His Presence

God–Father, Son, Holy Spirit–are all-knowing and all-present. Nothing we think, say or do is hidden from God.

Strive, moment by moment, to honor Him.

Resolve to behave as a child of the King.

Worship the Holy One!

Close Out the Old–Rejoice in the New

Close Out the Old–Rejoice in the New

I love brand new notebooks, a fresh page on the calendar, a new year.

I know time is continuous, but it still feels like a fresh start. No mistakes yet!

Close Out the Old Year

Despite my eagerness to shut the door on 2018, I know I need to review the year with my Lord.

  1. How did I do?
  2. Do I love Him more than I did 12 months ago?
  3. How is my walk with Him?
  4. What did I do well?
  5. Is there someone I need to forgive or ask forgiveness of?
  6. Is there something I need to confess?
  7. What did I learn from the trials He gave me?
  8. Have I thanked Him?

Rejoice in the New Year

Once I’ve “closed out” the old year, I rejoice about how God will build on my past to give me new opportunities and trials as He makes me into the image of His Son.

He has given me the Helper, the Holy Spirit, to guide me through the year.

And, no matter what, I can rejoice because my name is recorded in heaven. (Luke 10:20)

Theme for the Year

In 2018, I had one core goal: Hallow His Name (See Hallow His Name).

As I review with the Lord how I did, I’ll ask Him how I did with that one core goal.

This year, my one core goal is:

Rejoice!

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)

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Happy New Year!

 

Christmas–The Glory of God

Christmas—the Glory of God

The glory of God is revealed in Christ, shown in a baby, manifested through His life, displayed in His crucifixion, and declared the Son of God with power by His resurrection.

At His birth, the angels praised God, saying “Glory to God in the highest.”

We are told that God showed us Himself through creation, through His various actions, through His Shekinah glory, through His prophets, and through the Old Testament.

But now, He “in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.” (Hebrews 1:2)

And Jesus Christ “is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.”  (Hebrews 1:3)

For in Him [Christ] all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.(Colossians 2:9)

What wonder that Almighty God chose to reveal Himself to us through His Son. Even more, that His glory is revealed in us.

God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.(Colossians 1:27)

The Old Testament is replete with prophesies about Christ (first and second coming). But it took Christmas for us to begin to see.

This Christmas, I challenge you—and me—to see God, and the glory of God, in that manger.

 

 

 

Praise the Holy One

Hubble photo. Nasa.gov

Praise the Holy One

Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lordof hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory. (Isaiah 6:3)

Holy, holy, holy is theLord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come. (Revelation 4:8)

Holy God, Holy Father (John 17:11), Holy Lord Jesus Christ (John 6:69), Holy Spirit.

Holy

The use of “holy” with reference to God conveys His absolute distinctness and separateness. God is wholly other, wholly different than we are. He is totally morally perfect. He is infinitely above His creation. “Holy” refers to His flawless perfection.

Visions of the Holy One

A glimpse of our Holy God has a profound impact:

When Isaiah saw the Lord, he said: Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips… (Isaiah 6:5)

When Ezekiel saw the Lord, he fell on his face. (Ezekiel 1:28)

When Daniel saw the Lord: No strength was left in me, for my natural color turned to a deathly pallor, and I retained no strength. But I heard the sound of his words; and as soon as I heard the sound of his words, I fell into a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground. (Daniel 10:8-9)

The men who were with [Daniel] did not see the vision; nevertheless, a great dread fell on them, and they ran away to hide themselves. (Daniel 10:7)

When John saw the Lord, he fell at His feet like a dead man. (Revelation 1:17)

Our Response to His Holiness

If we understand His holiness, even a little, we have a better comprehension of our own sinfulness, and wonder at God’s incomprehensible love for us. Seeing the Holy One spurs our desire to please Him and serve Him.

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Holy God, we praise You. You are beyond our comprehension, infinitely above ourselves. We praise Your perfection, Your absolute righteousness. Help us fall at Your feet, worshipping You. Help us never be casual about You. Help us see our sinfulness in light of Your holiness. Help us seek You and strive to be holy ourselves as You commanded.