Author Archives: Lory Demshar

The Apple of God’s Eye

I love eyes. I love the colors, shapes and sizes of eyes. Some eyes seem to sparkle, while others penetrate, but the thing that draws me most to eyes are the various emotions expressed in them.

We can see adoration, love, joy, compassion, anger, greed, contempt and so on in one’s eyes. Many years ago there was a saying: “the eyes are the window to the soul,” or put another way,“the eyes are the mirror of the soul.” Its origin is not exact, but its meaning is clear.

There are many references to eyes in scripture. There are even verses that talk about the eyes of God. These references generally reveal the way God sees us. This is an important concept to consider, because many times we may feel that God doesn’t bother to look at us; or if He does, it is in a judgmental or disapproving manner. I think if we look carefully at scripture we’ll see that God looks at us with eyes of love.

In a study on the eyes of God, I found an interesting expression, one that you may have heard before. This expression is: “apple of His eye.” The “His” refers to God.

God Eyes Us With Value
Deuteronomy 32:10 describes God as keeping Jacob (Israel) as the “apple of His eye.”
“He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of the wilderness;
He encircled him, He cared for him, He kept him as the apple of His eye.”

When looking at the context of this expression “apple of His eye,” we see in the previous verse (v. 9 ), the writer is referring to Jacob or the people of Israel.
“But the Lord‘s portion is his people, Jacob His allotted heritage.”

The expression in verse 10 is set among words of love and nurturing such as: God’s finding Jacob (the people of Israel); encircling, protecting, maybe even wrapping His arms around Jacob, and caring for him.

All these words have to do with care and nurturing so it follows that if God has Jacob as the “apple of His eye” it is a good and positive thing, not something to fear or dread. It implies God’s watchful care and does not imply judgment. It indicates that God values His people and centers His attention on them much like a doting parent.

A Truth to Hold Onto
The expression “apple of His eye” refers to the pupil of the eye, the center of the eye, and implies God keeps us at the center of His focus. This expression is not just a poetic description, it is a truth about God. He holds us at the center of where He can see us, and focuses on us because He values us. He looks upon us with eyes and a heart to care for us.

This expression indicates a permanent truth about God’s character, so it applies to us today as God’s people. We see this idea presented in 1 Peter 3:12a:
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are inclined to their prayer…”

There are days when I do not feel especially valued. Sometimes I feel forgotten or overlooked, even hurt. Maybe you have had those times too? Struggles in life, disappointments in relationships, and weaknesses in our own character can discourage our spirit and blur our thinking about ourselves and God. I know I can get my thoughts and emotions in a tangle of untrue thoughts about myself, other people, and God.

But truths like the one stated in Deuteronomy 32:10 reveal God’s character and heart towards us. In those down times we need to recall this truth and let it renew our thinking, untangle our thoughts and encourage our spirit.

Icing on the Cake of Truth
In studying the expression “apple of His eye,” I found an interesting application of it in
Zechariah 2:8 which further emphasizes how much God values His people.
Here is what God says:
“For this is what the Lord Almighty says: “After the Glorious One has sent me against the nations     that have plundered you—for whoever touches you touches the apple of His eye—“

The eye is a very sensitive organ. The tiniest speck of dust or particle that touches our eye can be painful and irritating.  If someone were to actually touch my eyeball, it would be very painful and I would draw back from even allowing that to happen.

In this verse, God says that anyone who unsettles the faith of His people or harms them in any way, is symbolically taking their finger and poking the eye of God. When someone touches God’s beloved ones, those who are “the apple of His eye;” then, God responds in power against that person or persons.

Wow, that is like: you touch God’s people, you touch God. You reach out and harm one of Gods’ beloved, you harm God. He takes it personally and He responds personally.

We are God’s beloved; we are God’s people (1 Peter 2:9). God has this heightened sense of value towards you and me. He is watching and standing ready to defend and help us.

This has many applications not only as to how we see God valuing and protecting us, but it also applies to how we are to speak with and interact with one another. When I harm you – I hurt God. Is not this what Jesus said in Mt.25 in the parable of the sheep and the goats?

“And the King will reply, “Truly, I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.” Matt. 25:40

A Good Prayer
In closing this entry let’s consider this thought:
In Psalm 17:8, David prays and asks God to “keep him as the apple of His eye.”

I wonder how our outlook and relationship with God would change if we prayed: “Lord, keep me as the apple of your eye.” Perhaps we could add to it, “Teach me how to treat others as if they were the “apple of Your eye.”

Portraits of God

The book of Psalms provides some of the clearest and most detailed pictures of God; who He is and how He interacts with man. David, the author of some of the Psalms, journals, so to speak, about his relationship with God. He exposes his fears, anxieties, hurts, disappointments, doubts and joys.

David’s Journaling: A Window to God
By journaling in such an authentic way, David not only unfolds his feelings during the events of his life, but he opens up for us a window to look into an intimate relationship with God. David pens his life and relationship with God in such a way that we, the readers in the 21st century, can relate not only to his feelings but also to the awesome God he tells about in his writings.

Word Pictures by David
In the Psalms we find many word pictures which reveal God. These pictures are actual truths about God. As we understand these pictures we can have a more personal relationship with God because we see Him more clearly.

Psalm 18:2 provides an excellent example of such word pictures. There are several word pictures clustered in this verse. Each word describing God stands alone in its’ meaning but also is connected in meaning with the other word pictures.

“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Ps. 18:2

God is My Rock
In Psalm 18:2, David refers to God as his rock. Rock is used by David twice in this one verse. In the expression “The LORD is my rock,” the term rock emphasizes the qualities of a large, lofty, craggy rock such as the rock wall of a cliff, producing an enduring, safe place – a place hard to reach and difficult to destroy. It is the same word that is used in Numbers 24: 21 describing the enduring dwelling place of the Kenites in the rocky cliffs: “And he looked at the Kenite, and took up his discourse and said, “your dwelling place is enduring and your nest is set in the cliff.”

The second term for “rock” used in the phrase “my God, my rock,” has a similar meaning but is associated with the strength, protection, and stability that a rock or rock structure can provide. We see this definition illustrated in Exodus 33:21-22 when the scripture describes a cleft within a rock wall of a mountain. According the scripture God placed Moses inside this cleft in the rock so that Moses would be safe as the glory of god passed by him.

“Rock” is used often to describe God in the Psalms, and is associated with a place of refuge; strength and safety in times of physical and spiritual troubles.

Ps. 32:1-2 illustrates these concepts: “In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me! Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me!”

Ps. 62:2 says, “He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.”  This verse reveals a picture of God as a strong rock providing safety, stability and salvation when my world is shaken by trouble; be it a sudden severe illness; the death of a loved one; a financial loss; a marital rift; problems with children, or some other problem that threatens to undo me emotionally and spiritually. No matter how shaken up things get, no matter how shaky I get, God proves Himself as a solid rock on which I can stand.

Ps. 71:3 shows a God in whom we can live. He is a rock that is a place where we can live in times of trouble and return to as needed. He is a rock; fixed, immovable and reliable. God is the “stronghold solid as rock” in which I can live.

  • Be to me a rock of habitation to which I may continually come; You have given commandment to save me, for You are my rock and my fortress.” Ps. 71:3 NASB

God is My Fortress
One of the word pictures David provides of God in Psalm 18:2 is a fortress. A fortress is defined as a mountain castle.  It is a stronghold against the enemy. Again it is providing a place of refuge, security and safety. I like the idea that God is my safe place, my fortress of peace in times of storms.

Ps. 144:2 paints a picture of a loving God who provides Himself as a fortress that is strong, that holds me fast, and delivers me from evil.

  • “He is my loving God and my fortress,my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.” Ps. 144;2

There are problems and evils in our world and in our own lives. Concerns about these problems can cause me to be fearful, insecure, and anxious. I believe other people feel these same concerns, especially the millennials of these times.

I believe the underlying fear and anxiety of the young millennials about good and evil in the world today is evidenced in their preoccupation with super heroes. These super heroes have super powers, vehicles, weapons and fortresses to combat evil. The scriptures tell me God is my fortress, my deliverer- hero.

God is My Deliverer
In Ps. 18:2 David calls God his deliverer. “Deliverer” refers to a way of escape; the one who brings me into security and safety; the one who rescues me.

In the New King James version, in Ps. 71:2 the word deliverer is actually translated “way of escape.”

  • “Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape; incline Your ear to me,
    and save me.” Ps. 71:1-2

Other psalms and translations emphasize the concept of God as our rescuer or deliverer. In Ps. 40:17 David acknowledges his needy state and turns to God to deliver him.

  • “Since I am afflicted and needy, let the Lord be mindful of me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God.” Ps. 40:17

In verses 1 and 2, David talks about how God delivered him from the pit. At times, I have been in the pit of discouragement, depression, sadness, or loneliness concerning things in my life. Being able to see and understand God as my deliverer gives me hope in those times. Having this picture of God in my mind leads me to trust Him and seek His help rather than remain stuck in the pit.

God is My Shield
Shields are protections typically used during times of battle. “Shield” in Hebrew is a buckler, a defense, something like the scaly armor-like hide of the crocodile that is fashioned and held up in a way that protects a person from death. Often in the book of psalms God is described as a shield.

  • “But you, Lord, are a shield around me,my glory, the One who lifts my head high.: Ps. 3:3
  • “We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.” Ps. 33:20
  • “You are my hiding place and my shield;I hope in your word.” Ps. 119:114

In these verses we see God as placing Himself around us as a shield; lifting our heads in victory; a shield who is a help; and a shield behind which we can hide.

Describing God as a shield paints an amazing picture of who God is for us. Imagine being in a battle and God, himself steps in front of you as a shield and protection. He offers His body to receive the arrows, bullets or blows for you.

I believe that in the spiritual battles in life God is our shield daily, and most significantly He is this shield in Jesus the Christ, the Messiah: God incarnate offered Himself as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. He stood in our place. He is our shield against the enemy.

God is my Stronghold
The word translated “stronghold” is a different word from both fortress and refuge. It is a place of safety, a sanctuary, and a rock strong protection, but, it is different in that the word “misgav” focuses on the height to which we are removed to safety. It emphasizes a refuge that is up high; a high fortification.

A more appropriate word for stronghold is “high tower.” The King James Version of the Bible translates “misgav” as high tower, emphasizing not only its strength but the safety vantage of its height.

  • “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” Ps. 18:2

It seems that in describing God, David wanted to relate to us all the different aspects of security in the presence of God. Height has always been a vantage point in times of trouble. Most women when they encounter a mouse or a spider get up higher than the creature by climbing up on a chair. Likewise we see pictures of men climbing trees to escape a vicious dog or a bear. During floods we see people seeking safety on the roofs of their homes. So, we understand the concept of safety in a high place.

God lifts us up high to help keep us safe in times of trouble. The ultimate lifting from God is that those who believe in Jesus are even now seated with Him in the heavenly realms (Eph. 2:6-7).

  • “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,  in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” 2:6-7

Concluding Thoughts
It is important to note that God did not remove all troubles and difficulties in David’s life. “Bad things” happened because of choices people made, and even because of some of the choices David made. David was denied the God given position of King by a prideful and jealous man. David was the object of Saul’s murderous intent and was chased around the country side by Saul and his army for years. David’s son Absalom was so rebellious that he ran David out of town and then publicly disgraced David’s servants that were left behind. David was despised by his wife Michal. One of David’s sons died because of David’s sin. In all these things David interacted with God in a real way. He saw God’s presence and love during all these difficulties, and derived help and comfort from God.

The word pictures that David and other psalmists write are truths about the nature, character and heart of God; about His interactions with us, and of how we can think about and interact with God.

Many times these truths have provided for me stability, strength, endurance and a true sense of the presence of God in my life. I encourage you to read the Psalms and look for word pictures that make God come alive to you; pictures that cause you to marvel at the intimacy that He seeks with us.

I Have Feelings for You, God!

One time I met a young woman in a book store. She was looking at books in the Christian book section. I love going to the bookstore. I gather an armload of books and sit at a table and browse through them. Truth be told I have at times read whole books at the library, oops, I mean, bookstore. It was on one of those days with my armful of books that this young woman, mistook me for someone who worked there, and asked me a question about a book to study the Bible.

She proceeded to tell me how she is beginning to study the Bible and wants to know how to get the most out of it. She has a sincere desire to know God. I offered to help her to study. We exchanged phone numbers and agreed to meet.

Within a week we met and began studying. She has a craving to know God. She expressed her longing to learn as much about God as she possibly could. She wants to see God in a more real way and even, she said, to hear Him.

It is not everyday you meet someone like this girl. Inside myself, I was jumping up and down. I remember when I first began to study the Bible. I took the whole summer off from teaching and read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. I was mesmerized by the Word. I had never read the Bible before and I was in absolute awe at the God I found in the pages of this book. Do you remember your first days of studying the Bible? Do you remember how eager you were to learn about God? Do you continue to have that eagerness that burning to know God?

Longing for God Looks Like This
Longing is a deep desiring; a yearning after, even a languishing for God. This longing is a yearning, a desperate desire that produces earnest seeking after God; a seeking to be in the presence of God; a seeking to be closely connected to God. The book of Psalms records various descriptions of longing for God.

Longing for God can be so intense it involves the whole body, not just the mind or emotions.

  • “You, God, are my God,earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you,
    in a dry and parched land  where there is no water.” Ps. 63:1

In Ps. 84:2, one can almost see the psalmists whole body engaged in soulful praise to God. It is like watching a singer who is so involved in the words and music of a song that their whole face and body expresses their intensity.

  • “My soul longs, yes faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.”

At times scripture describes this longing as a hungering or thirsting for God.

  • “As the deer pants for streams of water,so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” 42:1-2
  • “I stretch out my hands to You; my soul longs for You, as a parched land…” Ps. 143:6

Longing includes a desire to be with God; to be close to Him.

  • “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.When can I go and meet with God?” 42:2
  • “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple” Psalm 27:4

Longing includes desiring to see God in His Word; to know the will of God in order to please Him.
It is unusual to see someone yearning for God, longing to know Him so much that they beg to know the will of God, the commands of God.

  • “My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times.” Ps. 119:20
  • “I open my mouth and pant, because I long for Your commandments.” Ps. 119:131
  • “Open my eyes, that I may may behold wonderful things from Your law.” Ps. 119:18

Longing includes a desire to know God, to see Him more clearly.
Moses had a very close walk with God. We read that Moses had the privilege of meeting with God regularly. Moses’ times with God were so real and so personal that he came away with his face glowing, literally (Ex. 34:29, 35). Yet, Moses continued to long to see God, to know him more personally. He even had the boldness to ask God to see His glory.

  • “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. . . Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence.” Exodus 33:11, 18-19

Paul was a devout follower of Jesus, he did many great things for God, yet he did not settle in his relationship with God. He continually longed to know God more deeply.

  • “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.I want to know Christ….” Philippians 3: 8-10

What about Me – What about You
I want to be close to God, but I have to ask myself some hard questions.
– Do I take the time be with God by reading and meditating on His Word?
– Do I clear my mind of the cares of this life so I can pursue knowing God?
– Do I praise and thank God and take time to honor Him?
– Do I cry out to God to see Him to know Him?
– Do I value knowing God more than having anything or being with anyone else in this life?
– Do I radiate to others the light and joy of being with God?
What about you?

The God Who Stoops

I have a friend who has a habit of saying a certain phrase almost every time she prays publicly. It goes something like this: “Father God, I thank you that you stoop down to help me.” Or, she might say.” I thank you that you bend down to pay attention to me.”

I used to say in my head, “Stop that! Stop that! God is GOD. He does not stoop down. He is high and lifted up. He is the exalted, almighty God. He does not have to bend, stoop or lower Himself in any form.” Of course I never had the courage to say it, and I am grateful that I did not say it, because I have learned that it is true – God does make Himself lowly for us.

No matter how majestic and powerful God is, and He is, He is in all things a “humble” God! Maybe humility does not fit your profile of God, and I can understand why you think that, especially when you look at God’s creation power and intelligence; His mighty acts of leading Israel and fighting for them; healings; resurrections, and of course the power and love displayed in Jesus. His majesty and glory are impressed upon us when we read passages in scripture that describe what people saw when they saw God. Let’s look at a few of these.

God High and Lifted Up
Isaiah 6:1-5 records what Isaiah saw when he saw God: “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim, each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

Such grandeur! The train of God’s robe flowed through the temple. I can’t imagine the heavenly beings. Even these beings covered their faces because of the glory of God. Isaiah was so blown away he said “I am lost,” which really means I am undone, ruined, destroyed, coming apart.

Ezekiel 1:1-28 records in great detail Ezekiel’s encounter with the living God. Let’s focus on verses 26 – 28; “…And above the expanse over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance. And upward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were gleaming metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed all around. And downward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him. Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.

Ezekiel recorded the majesty he saw: the appearance of sapphire; gleaming metal (maybe like shining gold); the appearance of fire; brightness all around; rays of light as a rainbow, and the glory of God.  Ezekiel’s only response was to fall down before this great God.

Another account of seeing into the throne room of God is in Revelation 4. Reading verses 4 through 6, John describes the glory he saw with descriptors like: the appearance of jasper and carnelian; a rainbow with the appearance of emerald; lightning peals of thunder and a crystal sea, all indicating majesty, splendor and shades of the glory of God!

God Comes Low
It is true God is more majestic and awesome than we can ever think or imagine, yet God is humble! The word “humble” is used to characterize God in Psalm 18:35.

“You have given me the shield of your salvation; your right hand upholds me,
and your humility exalts me.”

The Hebrew word anava is used in this passage and it means: a lowly mind; modesty; meekness; humility and condescension (in the sense of lowering oneself to do something for another such as in God bending down to help us, as my friend mentions in her prayers).

Ps. 113:5-6 echoes this thought of God making Himself low on our behalf: “Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth.” (NIV)

The New American Standard Bible uses the words “humbles Himself” instead of stoops. In this verse the word shaphel means: to become low; to abase oneself; to be humble. So the psalmist is saying that God, who sits enthroned on high, lowers Himself to look into the affairs on earth; to intervene in the lives of men and to work on our behalf.

Proofs of God’s Humility
If you think about it, there are numerous examples of God’s humility in the Bible. The most powerful is in Philippians 2:5-8 states Jesus “emptied Himself” and took the form of a man and became obedient unto death, even the most humiliating death of crucifixion.

But, I want to look at an example of God’s humility that actually preceded Jesus becoming a man and dying on our behalf. Let’s look deeper into Ephesians 1:4-5. It is just one short passage that I think displays God’s humility in a powerful way.

“Even before God made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” Eph. 1: 4-5 (NLT)

Before God created the world He, the majestic – all powerful God on high, deliberately made a plan to send Jesus into this world to die on our behalf in order to bring us into His presences as His sons and daughters.

God looked down through time and saw all the evil, the hate, the immorality, the deceit, the greed, the pride, and the selfishness of each one of us. He knew we would reject Him, ignore Him and worship ourselves over Him, yet in His great love, He humbled Himself and provided for our salvation. He sent His Son in the form of a man (in a body that could suffer, bleed and die) as the atonement for our sins. He lowered Himself to do all this so that we could come into His presence and have a relationship with Him.

God’s Humility and Us
As I walk in my relationship with the God , I see that He is constantly humbling Himself to work in my life. He is God and needs not to prove Himself to me, yet He proves His love and promises to me all the time. The God who is surrounded by heavenly hosts and angel armies takes time to know me and to support me in my daily struggles.

The God who is all knowing and is everywhere at once, listens to me and responds to my questions, and my calls for help. The God who created all things fixes my brokenness. The God of all power comforts me in my fears. The God of all purity and holiness understands my weakness and forgives me my sin. The God who has all rule and authority chooses to lift me up.

When I think about God’s humility it is too much to take in, nevertheless it is a truth about Him. I believe true humility is the off shoot of great love. This thought enhances my awe of God, and challenges my own sense of humility towards others.

Today, take some time to think about God’s humility in His relationship to you. If you cannot see it, ask God to open the eyes of your mind and your heart to see His great love which responds in humility to you.

Special Post:
At this time I would like to share a link with you. I have a friend who understands the majesty of God and who loves to thank God and praise God in song. She is making an album of praise songs. For more information on this check out the following link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1440539986/morgan-minsks-solo-album-praise

Get a Lawyer – Second Look III

The idea that I would need an attorney is a scary thought to me, because it means I broke the law and am going to be liable for some type of punishment unless I can prove my innocence. The closest I ever came to this was when I was attending graduate school in Abilene, Texas. I hopped in my car to go to a friend’s house and forgot my purse, in which was my wallet, in which was my driver’s license. Wouldn’t you know that on that day as I approached the campus there was a police car in the middle of the road with a police officer stopping all cars and checking driver licenses!

I confidently reached for my purse, which was not there, and immediately was filled with fear. To my relief, I did not get hauled off to jail, but I did receive a citation stating that by such and such a date I had to show up at the police station and prove I had a current driver’s license. I went on my way, relieved.

However, about a month later, I received a notice saying there was a warrant out on me and that I could be picked up at any time because I did not show proof of a driver’s license. (Just another thing I forgot)! I was instructed to report to the courthouse on said date. I immediately was filled with panic, fear and dread. I wasted no time, called an older friend and asked for help.

We both went to the courthouse. It was comforting to have someone by my side as I faced the judge. The friend who stayed by my side was there for moral support, so to speak. He did not do any pleading on my behalf.  It turned out that I did not have to go to jail or even pay a fine. I simply had to show the judge my valid driver’s license. Nevertheless, it was a frightening experience, which if I had been found guilty would have had a penalty to pay.

I Need a Defender
When I studied the scriptures to learn about Jesus and the salvation He offers.  I understood that Jesus took my sins on Himself, and that He paid the penalty for my sins which was death and separation from God.

However, after I believed and was baptized into Jesus (Gal. 3:27), I thought I was done with sin and that I would be sinless from that point on. So, when I did sin, I became fearful and anxious forgetting what God did for me in Jesus. Obviously, I was very naïve about my fleshly nature.

Since I came to Jesus I have overcome some sin tendencies, but I still sin. Infact, I have been a disciple for many years and through the years God has helped me to see sins I had committed that I never realized. This became a new source of anxiety. Have you ever felt that way or wondered about these things?

The thought of sinning bothers me, because I thought I would no longer sin and the scripture calls us to stop sinning. There are many verses in the New Testament that call us to live a holy life, such as Col. 3:4-7.

“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.  Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.
You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.” Col. 3:5-7

I have since come to realize that putting off my old self and putting on and growing in Godly character is a lifelong process. But the problem of sin remains. So, what do I do with the sins I commit after I have come to Jesus? In 1 John, a letter written to 1st century believers, the Spirit reveals the truth about this dilemma and provides God’s solution.

Jesus Our Defense Attorney
Jesus is not only our Savior, but also He is our advocate as stated in 1 John 2:1.

 “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.”1 John 2:1

The term in New Testament Greek for advocate is parakletos which is two words. Para means “alongside” and kaleo means “make a call”. It refers to coming alongside someone to give aid. This word is often used in the New Testament when the scripture refers to the Holy Spirit. However, in 1 John 2:1-2, it is specifically applied to Jesus.

In this verse the term advocate is used in a legal sense. It was used to indicate one who pleads a cause before a judge. Our equivalent today might be a “defense attorney.”

A defense attorney comes alongside a person to plead their cause before a judge. By using this word in describing Jesus, John paints a picture of Jesus as our legal representative coming along side us, in a spiritual sense, and pleading our case before the Father.

Jesus is in heaven, seated at the right hand of God presenting evidence to God on my behalf. The interesting thing is that Jesus’ advocacy is not a onetime thing, but rather it is a continuous process. The word “have” in the phrase “we have an advocate with the Father” is a present tense indicating a continuous action!

Jesus advocated for me on the cross and he continues to advocate for me. So, when I first came to believe in Him He presented my case to God, and He continues to advocate on my behalf as I walk along with Him. This is so reassuring to me, because I “mess up” a lot.

Jesus Is the Evidence
What evidence could Jesus possibly be presenting on my behalf since I know I am guilty of sinning, of going against the commands of Jesus? As a skilled defense attorney Jesus presents His evidence before God. The evidence that Jesus presents in not what I have done, but what He has done. All of His evidence on my behalf is based in His sacrifice, 1 john 2:1-2.

Article of Evidence#1: Jesus Became the Criminal
Jesus took my sins on Himself. In other words He became me and my sin. He gave up His status of being without blame, of being righteous or sinless. He took on my status as the transgressor, the law breaker, and He choose to give me His righteousness.

  • “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the      righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21)

Article #2: Jesus Took My Punishment
He took my punishment of death on Himself and gave me life.

  • “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
  • “But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” Hebrews 2:9

Article of Evidence #3: Jesus Made Restitution for My Sin
Jesus made up for my transgression by offering His blood to the Father. He met the requirement of the law by doing this.

  • “… He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.” Hebrews 9:12

Article of Evidence #4: Jesus Wiped My Record Clean
Jesus cancelled out all the charges that were against me and He satisfied the requirement of the law in His sacrifice on the cross. So my “record,” so to speak, is clear and clean before God.

  • And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. (Col. 2:13-14)

Yes, these are some of the pieces of evidence that Jesus presents to the Father on my behalf. Maybe He says to the Father, “Father, this woman is innocent. I carried her sins on me. Actually, Father, I am the sinner. I already took the punishment and I offered to You my blood to make up for her sins. She is righteous and blameless, free to live life with You, Father.” I don’t know, maybe that is carrying things too far. I am not sure how Jesus advocates for us, but I believe 1 John 2:1-2 is true and presents reassurance for me and you.

The purpose of this article is not to say we can sin and it is ok, but rather, it is to magnify God and Jesus and what He has done for us on the cross and what He continues to do for us.  When I take sin lightly, it dishonors Jesus and makes a mockery of His sacrificial death.

The truth that Jesus is my advocate reminds me of Jesus’ steadfast love for me. It is reassuring to know that when I do sin and have a repentant heart, Jesus is talking to the Father for me. He is presenting His evidence and interceding for me. I can be at peace and rest in the sacrifice of
Jesus.

“Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.
Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” Romans 8:33-34

 

The Point of Kindness – A Second Look II

What I am about to tell you is a true story. It happened in a school in which I worked.  A young woman, who was a frequent substitute at the school, applied for an interim job teaching Spanish. She had taken a course in high school and several courses in college. She could read basic Spanish especially if she had access to a dictionary, and she was able to speak in a limited manner. So she felt confident in her ability to teach basic Spanish at the middle school level.

As part of the interview she was engaged in a conversation in Spanish by one of the teachers on the panel of interviewers. In addition she had to translate a passage from a book. Imagine her shock and embarrassment when she realized her knowledge was not broad enough or deep enough to qualify her for the teaching position.

In a some sense, I could apply this to my knowledge of Jesus. Maybe I need to think again about what I really know about Jesus, and how I apply that knowledge to my relationship with Jesus.

Why a Second Look at Jesus
In the previous post, “A Second Look,” we explored taking a deeper look into the truths about Jesus, who He is and what we have in Him. It is important for us to keep growing in our knowledge and understanding of Jesus.

In Phil.3:7-8a, Paul says this knowing of Jesus is so important to him that he considers everything else as a waste in comparison to knowing Him: “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.”

Paul put a high value on growing in his relationship with Jesus, in his understanding of who Jesus is and what Jesus has done for us. We should have this same hunger and thirst to know Jesus more, to know Him beyond the boundaries of the routine ways we look at Him. It is my quest to look at the scriptures that talk about Jesus and the blessings we have in Him, so that I might fully know Him, understand what He has accomplished for me, and more truly honor Him.

Jesus Manifests the Kindness of God
Life has its trials and troubles. Sometimes, when I am going through a difficult situation like dealing with financial pressures, sickness, death of a loved one, a consistently difficult relationship or any number of problems, I am tempted to think that God has some type of bad intention towards me, to hurt me or harm me. Have you ever thought that?

This type of thinking is far from the truth. Ephesians 2:6-7, clearly shows God’s kind intentions towards us and His kindness is shown to us “in Jesus.”

“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”

 God’s kindness towards us is manifested “in Jesus.” This reference Ephesians 2:7 about the kindness of God in Jesus is sandwiched within a context of God’s outpouring of love and grace for us in Jesus. We see how He has made us alive in Jesus when we were dead in sins; and, how He has raised us up and seated us with Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-8). This passage enumerates many ways God worked in and through Jesus, and then the writer sums it up by saying all these things show us God’s good and kind intentions to us “in Jesus.” It is important to note that apart from Jesus we would never experience God’s kindness.

I don’t know about you, but the very thought of me being the recipient of kindness from the God who creates and sustains all life is an amazing thought.

So the next time I am feeling discouraged about my circumstances in life and am questioning God’s intentions towards me, I will remember this passage and set my thinking right. I will choose to thank God for His kindness to me in Jesus, my Savior, rather than to blame God for any discomfort I feel in this life. What about you?

“For at one time we too were foolish, disobedient, misled, enslaved to all sorts of desires and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not by the righteous deeds we had done, but according to His mercy, through the washing of new birth
and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:3-6

 Special Post:
At this time I would like to share a link with you. I have a friend who loves to thank God and praise God in song for His many blessings in Jesus. She is making an album of praise songs. For more information on this check out the following link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1440539986/morgan-minsks-solo-album-praise

 

 

A Second Look

In the early 1970’s, I remember driving around in my VW Beetle listening to a song by Johnny Cash in which were the words “I see men as trees walking.” This song told the story of the encounter of a blind man with Jesus in Mark 8:22-25. This passage relates how Jesus spit on the man’s eyes, put His hands on him and asked him what he saw. The man said,” I see people, they look like trees walking.”  Jesus touched the man a second time and the man saw clearly.

Do you ever feel that way, like you need a second touch? Like you need to read it again or take a second look at it? I do!

Routine Obscures the View
I think I can get busy with life and busy doing the activities associated with a “walk with God” that my sight of Jesus gets off. My sense of wonder and awe become veiled. Sometimes things begin to become more of a routine performance than heart relationship.

That is when I need a second touch, a second look into Jesus. The story in Mark 8:22-26 reminds us that true sight comes from God, so I start with prayer, asking God to show me Jesus, to take me deeper into knowing Him. As I progress in “knowing Jesus” I am sure I will need more of these second looks.

I started this quest by looking at what we have “in” Jesus and “through” Jesus. These are little words that open up another dimension to knowing Jesus.

Created In Jesus For
In the letter to the Ephesians in chapter 2 and verse 10, Paul reveals an eye opening truth about Jesus. It reads:

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Three important truths come from this passage.  I am God’s handiwork. That word is also translated workmanship. I am His workmanship. When I think of “workmanship,” I think of a carpenter or a violin maker holding the wood,maybe even caressing it as he cuts, bends, shapes, shaves,  joins and engraves it. God enthroned above is actually involved in forming something in and through me and my life. This truth should dispel any doubt about my value or His love for me.

This working of God is happening in me as I am “in Jesus;” and this creative action is towards the purpose of my doing good works.

A Truth to Sustain
So in Jesus, I am given value and purpose for life. In the more mundane or ho-hum moments in life I can be tempted to think, “What am I doing here? What is my meaning or value here?”

This passage gives me meaning and purpose “in Christ Jesus.” I learn what the “works prepared in advance for me” are as I read more of His Word, and as I participate in the community of believers, the body of Christ, His church.

Encounter God Through Jesus
It is an amazing thought to think we can be near to the One who creates and sustains all life. Yet we can do this “through Jesus,” and only through Him. Salvation through Jesus brings us into the presence of God.

In the context of the letter of Hebrews to the Hebraic disciples the writer is explaining how Jesus is the true high priest and what He has done before God on our behalf. We read:

“The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing, but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:23-25

This thought is associated with understanding of the system of priesthood and atonement recorded in the Old Testament. But, the truth remains that because of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus and His eternal priesthood, we can draw near to God through Jesus based on His merits, not ours. Through Jesus we can approach God, actually through Jesus we have consent to come near God.

This is an amazing thought to me, especially when I am plagued with self-doubt and feelings of not being good enough. The truth is that I, in and of myself, am not “good enough.” I cannot come into the presence of God, or achieve a close relationship with God through my performance and achievement.  Jesus, through His atoning blood and resurrections from the dead can bring me into the throne room of God.

Jesus Prays for Me
Another amazing truth in this passage in verse 25 is the fact that Jesus intercedes for me. He, so to speak, prays for me.  Jesus presents me and my case to God the Father.

Jesus, God in the flesh (John 1:14) came to earth, showed us the character and heart of God, died as the atoning sacrifice for our sins, was raised from death to live eternally, is seated at the right hand of God, and continually intercedes on our behalf. Amazing and true!

Jesus always lives to make intercession for me. His sacrifice on the cross was a one-time event, but Jesus continues to work on my behalf. His approaching the Father on my behalf is one such way I am blessed through Him.

There are times when darkness obscures light and truth in my life; when I am discouraged; confused, tempted or worn down. At times like these, I bring this truth to my mind, remembering that Jesus is bringing me before God and speaking on my behalf to our Father, gives me hope.

And There Is More
There are so many blessings that we have within our salvation in Jesus. Sometimes we just need to take a second look into Jesus. We have much in Him, with Him, by Him and through Him. He truly is our all in all.

 

Break Out

Have you ever seen someone who seemed to glow?  Everything about their face and movement radiated joy? The other day in the worship service of the church I saw a young woman who had this glow about her. She was standing next to her husband singing praises to God. Her arms were raised and her body moved slightly to the rhythm of the song and her face beamed out joy. Actually her face looked a little incandescent. Every now and then she would look at others with this light in her eyes and smile on her face as if she were saying, “Isn’t this great? Isn’t God good? How blessed we are!” Her appreciation for God bubbled up and out of her heart.

Let Your Joy Break Out
Recently, I saw a video clip on worshiping God that defined the Hebrew word “patsach” from Psalm 98:4 as it relates to worshiping God. The verse commands, “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music.” Another translation says: “break forth into joyous song and sing praises!”

The speaker in this clip goes on to show a video of boiling lava inside a volcano. The picture shows lava roiling over and over and bubbling up and bursting up in splashes and spurts of fiery lava. He compared our hearts to this volcano.

My heart should be so full of truths about God, His power, His love, His faithfulness, His mercy, His holiness, and His grace, that my joy, thanksgiving, praise and awe for Him just breaks out of my heart, like it did for this young woman.

The Radiance from Being with God
As I saw this young woman praising God, several images from scripture flashed through my mind.

I thought of Moses and how his face reflected the light of God. Exodus 34: 29 describes it; “When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD.”

Radiance comes from times of deep interaction with God. When I take time to read, study meditate on and take in the truths about God from His word, my heart becomes full of adoration, joy and my faith is inspired and enlarged. I am not sure my face glows but my heart does.

Celebrate the Presence of God
A second picture that came to mind is of David dancing before the ark as he joyfully celebrated the return of the ark (2 Samuel 6:13-16). I consider myself a fairly serious person somewhat intense, a little reserved. I can’t imagine myself dancing before the Ark of the Covenant. Yet David did. In fact the scripture says he leapt about before the ark.

Why such a display of joy? The Ark of the Covenant symbolized the presence of the Lord among His people. Remember the ark held a piece of the history of God with the people: the tablets of the law, the jar of manna and Aaron’s rod. All these things reminded them of the great deliverance God worked for His people as He led them out of slavery in Egypt, but also the ark reminded them of the covenant God had made with them. He would be their God and they would be His people.

But even more significant is that the cover of the ark was the Mercy Seat. It covered over the Law and it was the place where God met with the high priest as he offered atonement to God on behalf of the people.

True celebration of God happens only when I value the privilege of being able to come into the presence of God. As I think about myself and worshiping God, I have to ask myself some questions: Do I value the privilege of the presence of God in my life? If so, does my appreciation and joy bubble over and, so to speak, leap out? Am I too caught up in myself, my life to be enthusiastic for the blessing of being with God?

Be Humble and Honor the Lord
A third picture, slightly more intense, is the image of a “sinful” woman pouring expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet and washing His feet with her tears, in a public display of her gratitude and understanding that Jesus was the Messiah, the Savior, and the Son of God.

“A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.”

This depicts a different type of worship but the same heart, that is, a heart of absolute adoration of God and genuine gratitude for forgiveness and new life.

Honoring God comes from a deep sense of humility in understanding who God is and who we are in relationship to God. This woman knew she needed the forgiveness of God, and she humbled herself and displayed how much she valued the one who gave her that forgiveness.

Again, this prompts me to ask myself some questions: Do I understand the depth of my unworthiness before God and the depths of His love and mercy? Do I take a relationship with the God, who created and sustains all life, for granted? Am I so self-absorbed in the “practice of religion” that I miss the joy of the wonder of the greatness of the love and the glory of God?

I end this article with a simple prayer. Father God, teach us to worship you and honor you as our Creator, as God most high.  Help us to stand in awe of You to Whom all praise is due.

Picture This

Picture This
I have always wanted to see God. I am sure I am not alone in this desire. We know in the scriptures that Moses asked to see God, Exodus 33:18.  Actually, Moses entreated God with a craving that begged for a favorable response. When reading this account today it seems a brazen request, after all, Moses had quiet the amazing experience with God in the “burning bush,” and in meeting with God amidst thunder and lightning atop Mount Sinai, how could he imagine more.  Yet in Exodus 33:18 Moses puts forth this entreaty, “Please show me Your glory.” God does not think it vain or out of order. God actually draws close to Moses and answers that request. From the description in Exodus 33:17-23, God showed His glory to Moses.

Jesus Reveals God
Our deep yearning to see God with spiritual eyes, to plumb the depths of His character and nature is available through  word pictures God has scattered throughout scripture. Many of these word pictures are seen in Jesus.

In Hebrews 1:3, the scripture clearly states that Jesus “is the radiance of His (God’s) glory, the exact representation of His (God’s) nature.” So if I want to see God then I need to look more intently at Jesus.

A Place to Meet God
A very revealing image of Jesus starts back in the Old Testament in Exodus 25. God gave Israel specific instructions for building the Tabernacle which was a portable dwelling place for God and a house for worship which later would be replaced with the temple.  Within that “dwelling” was a specific place where sins would be atoned for and where God would meet with man.

This separated area of the tabernacle/temple is known as the “Holy of Holies.”  The Ark of the Covenant was placed in the Holy of Holies.  The “Ark of the Covenant was a gold covered chest that contained the rod of Aaron, the tablets of the Law, and a jar of manna. These items represented the covenant of God with Israel. Placed atop this chest was a covering, a seat made of gold with two golden cherubim (angels) on each end of the seat. This covering is referred to as “the mercy seat.”

In Exodus 25: 22 God states that this is the place where he will meet with Moses and speak to him from above the mercy seat. (“There I will meet with you; and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony; I will speak to you about all that I will give you in commandment for the sons of Israel.”)

Each year on the Day of Atonement, the high priest entered the Holy of Holies and sprinkled the blood of an animal for the atonement of the sins of God’s people (Lev 16:1-17).  Earlier it was noted that the mercy seat was the covering for the ark in which was the tablet of the Law, or the commandments.  The blood of a sacrificed animal was sprinkled on the mercy seat by the high priest before God as atonement for the sins of the people.  Therefore, the mercy seat, which covered the demands of the law, was the place of atonement where God and man could meet; they could be together in fellowship.

Jesus –Our Mercy Seat
In Hebrews 9:5, the writer talks about the Holy of Holies and the mercy seat. The Greek word hilasterion is translated mercy seat. Hilasterion was used in the Greek Old Testament as the equivalent of the Hebrew word (kapporet) for mercy seat. In Romans 3:25, this word hilasterion is translated propitiation or atonement, and it is used to describe Jesus.

“… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a       gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” Romans 3:23-25

A form of the word hilasmos, with the same meaning as hilasterion is used in reference to Jesus in 1 John 4:10, “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (Also see 1 John 2:2).

I believe the Holy Spirit specifically selected a word for the covering on the ark to identify what Jesus is to us. Jesus is the true, living – mercy seat. He is the mercy seat sprinkled with His own blood. You and I can come into the presence of the most Holy God in Jesus our mercy seat. Jesus is the place we can meet with God. Through our faith in Jesus and His atoning sacrifice, He opens the door for us to come into the presence of God.

I don’t know about you, but this is good news to me, because ever since I was a young girl I had a longing to know God, to see Him, to be with Him. I used to sit in a sanctuary amidst candles and incense, staring at the statutes and pictures of God thinking if I just sit quiet enough and meditate enough maybe He will come and meet with me and talk to me. I did not understand much about a Holy God and sinful man back then, but this picture of the mercy seat and its fulfillment in Jesus opens the way for this to be true for me. I see myself standing with Jesus before the throne of God enjoying fellowship with Him. Picture that!

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

Sweet Spot Truths

I believe there is a sweet spot in our relationship with God that is a refuge and a guide to us in the many and diverse difficulties in our lives from the heavy duty issues like grappling with a terminal illness, a debilitating accident, a broken marriage, depression, or to the prickly thorns of our insecurities and the stresses of everyday relationships and activities.

Huh-What is a Spiritual Sweet Spot?
A “sweet spot” is primarily a sporting term. It refers to the area or point of contact on a bat, racket or other instrument with the ball that yields the most effective result.  To me a “spiritual sweet spot” is that place and time in my relationship with God in which I am hiding in Him, covered by Him, protected within the confines of His love for me and my trust in the truths of His character.

I believe we come into our “spiritual sweet spot” through knowing God and growing closer to Him. We do this by looking closely at truths in God’s Word and seeing the nature and character of God and making a choice to trust and rely on Him.

Here is a passage that paints a picture of a spiritual sweet spot; it is based on the character and actions of God.

  • “How great is Your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You, which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You, before the sons of men! You hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the conspiracies of man; You keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues.” Ps. 31:19-20

The sweet spot in this passage is being hidden in the secret place of God’s presence, and being kept secretly by God in a shelter. Yes, that is what God does. That is His heart towards us.

My “spiritual sweet spot” is a place of peace, a place of refuge, a place of belonging, a place of learning, and a place of strengthening.

“Spiritual Sweet Spots” in the Bible
There are some “spiritual sweet spots” described in the Bible. I believe some of the following events recorded in scriptures reveal people who are in “spiritual sweet spots.” Among these are: angels tending to Jesus after fasting 40 days and nights; Jesus sleeping in the boat in the midst of the storm; Jesus feeling power leave Him in the midst of the crowd; Moses covered by the hand of God in the cleft of the rock; Elijah under the juniper tree in the wilderness being fed by the angel of Lord; two disciples on the road to Emmaus come into a sweet spot with Jesus. I encourage you to look for more of these spiritual sweet spots in the Bible. They are there, and they will encourage you.

Sweet Spot Truths
Listed below are some truths about the character of God that can lead you into the “sweet spots” of your relationship with Him.

Truth: God is personally involved in your life. There are times when I forget this, when things seem on fast forward in my life or when I am facing a painful challenge or wrestling with a character sin. In the midst of the struggle or pain, I have sometimes asked, “Where are you God? Do you know about this? Do you care?” Here are a few passages that remind me of this truth.

  • Psalm 56:8 – “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” (God knows about our hurts and He cares intimately).
  • John 10:3 –“The gatekeeper opens the gate for Him, and the sheep listen to His voice. He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out.” (Jesus is the Good Shepherd always watching over His sheep. He is so personal that He knows us by name and leads us. He is a faithful shepherd, even when I don’t see His leading or feel it. He is there).

Truth: God is faithful. He is faithful to love us and to extend His grace to us. In the midst of difficulty I can forget this truth. When I have seriously sinned, I can feel hopeless, like I am a lost cause, but God is faithful to extend His love and grace to me when I turn to Him.

  • Lamentations 3:22-24– The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.  Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.  I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”

There are times when I fear having to stand strong on truth, and times when I feel weak in the battle against worldliness and darkness, but the truth is God is faithful to help me.

  • 2 Thess. 3:3 – “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.”

There are times when I feel like I won’t make it to the end and that I can’t move forward. Then I grab onto the truth of God’s faithful commitment to me as evidenced in this verse.

  • Philippians 1:6And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

These are a few of the truths about God that pull me into a “spiritual sweet spot” with Him. When I see beyond myself to the truth about our great God, and when I make a choice to believe that truth in my own relationship with God, I am strengthened even in the midst of difficulty and pain. The Word of God is full of these truths about God. I urge you to search for truths about God that will encourage your faith and magnify God to you.

“Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.”  Psalm 25:5