Meditation: September 27

“I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). 

The Apostle Paul uses the language of an athlete competing for the ultimate prize. Intermediate victories are not something he will settle for because his eyes are on something much greater. They may be used as a means to lead him there, but the ultimate prize is the fulfillment of the upward call. This has more to do with becoming someone than getting something. He qualified to enter in to the competition of becoming all that God had called him to become. And out of his becoming, he was enabled by the Holy Spirit to do all that God had called him to do. We too have been called by Almighty God to achieve a standard of spiritual excellence. It is a standard of living out and giving a full and clear expression of the life of Jesus Christ upon the earth. The world is in desperate need of knowing Christ and He can only be known through His Church. He was aware of his imperfections and areas where improvements were needed. But also open for God to reveal to him any blind spots that he at that point was not able to see. His was a matter of progressing in Christ towards the ultimate goal that was before him. To be found in Him, not having his own righteousness or self-justification of deeds, but totally yielded to Christ. We must set this as our goal as well. He has called us to reach up in order that we may touch the world with His love and power. This can only happen when it is all of Him and none of us. 

Meditation: September 26

“The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone” (1Peter 2:7). 

What man often finds most useful, God may reject. And what man rejects God may accept. The materials used by God to build lives, communities, and His Church are not what we would often consider. He builds with character. He makes sure that what is being erected can support the winds of change and the waves of adversity. The example is a house built upon the sand. Even though the structure is elaborate and is a thing of beauty, it has no foundation. Eventually the inevitable will come to test its strength. The strength of a structure relies on its foundation. For us, no other foundation can be laid other than Jesus Christ. The accuracy of the establishment of Christ in the life of the believer will keep him stable in the most difficult of times. Christ is often rejected or misunderstood because the majority of people do not see any use for Him as He is. They attempt to either fit Him in as they please or eliminate Him altogether. Yet He is the only One we can turn to when we are forced to acknowledge how little we really know. He is able to heal and to guide, but He must be in place before our minds are able to acknowledge how much He is really needed. When we understand that we need Him, then we discover what held us together even when we thought it was ourselves. He has become the chief cornerstone among those who worship Him because they realize that in Him we live, move, and have our being. 

Meditation: September 25

”If the Lord can see everything in the world of the dead, He can see in our hearts” (Proverbs 15:11 CEV). 

God examines the inner-workings of the hearts of men. He is able to observe every secret thought and the development of the mindset of men. It is not just the immediate thought or idea that He directs His attention to. He looks at all that contributed to the formation of the thought long before it is given expression. This text expresses His gaze into the dark mysteries of the world of the dead. He has full knowledge of every detail existing there. Even in the underworld of demons and devils and all of the mysteries of hell, God knows. If death itself cannot shroud the degree of knowledge fully known by Him, then it should be clear to all that He knows the hearts or the inner life or the secret life of men. “How then can we hide our thoughts from God?” The Psalmist requested divine introspection from God; “Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; Try my mind and my heart” (Psalm 26:2). He did not trust his own judgments, but requested that God show him what He sees in regards to the inner workings of his heart. We need God to show us what we are incapable of seeing within ourselves. Only then will the Holy Spirit be allowed to free us from the vice grip of sins that in the past appeared justifiable. Then we can be cleansed of secret sins. 

Meditation: September 24

Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, ’The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me’ ” (Romans 15:2-4). 

A selfless heart cannot be prefabricated. The fallen nature of man hinders him from becoming altruistic. Yet God is able through one who has yielded himself to Him, do what is pleasing and for the good of his neighbor. Christ died for us. It was not a pleasant experience leading up to His death. But He had us in mind throughout all He had to suffer. The Scripture does not tell us to do whatever is pleasing to our neighbor. That would reduce us to becoming men-pleasers. We must consider what is good for Him and do what is best even if it cost us in our efforts in assisting Him. The love of God given expression through us will lift him to a level where Christ becomes visible to him. As we seek God for the good of others, expecting nothing in return from them, God’s grace flows freely through us. 

Meditation: September 23

“But the Lord said to Samuel, ’Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart’ ” (1Samuel 16:7). 

God’s eyes are upon the truth in every situation. His judgments are based on the truth that He knows without having to measure circumstantial evidence. This may serve as vindication for the innocent, but will also be an indictment of the guilty. Man can only see what is made known to him. Actions are borne out of motives. We both speak and do what has been brewing in our hearts even before the time comes that we give full expression to it. The matter is already judged in heaven’s court. It is the execution of His judgment carried out when penalties are met. Our judgments or our opinions at that moment do not really matter. When God takes charge of what He sees, it is to our best interest to allow God to be God and for us to take inventory of our own lives. We may have done things differently if we were God. We may even think that what is happening is unfair. But He is God and not us. Our justice system may or may not be accurate. It is not a matter of being innocent until proven guilty from His perspective. It is either guilt or innocence manifested in due time. “He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness” (Malachi 3:3). Regardless of the process, the outcome will be His expected end. He will have the last word. He will get the glory that He alone deserves. 

Meditation: September 22

“Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart” (Jeremiah 24:7). 

God does not respond merely to needs. He looks for passion. Even when we think we have the passion to press in, we are often disappointed because the passion has not reached its peak. God may measure what we thought to be an earnest prayer as being only a passing fancy. Good thoughts and warm feelings about God are not enough. There has to be passion exuding from the heart whereas knowing God is desired more than any other thing. Whatever else may be there is in competition with the knowledge of God. It rises up as an idol to compete with what He wills to show us of Himself. These things must be rooted out of our lives and only God can do that. Israel was allowed to be placed in the land and under the government of the Chaldeans. It was their place of learning. But God was not through with them even though they were being chastened there. It was the place of purging, a place where they had to reassess their priorities in order to enter into true worship. Are there idols among us today that are yet to be removed? Maybe that is why deliverance is delayed. God wants us to return to Him with our whole hearts. God measures half-heartedness as using Him as an addendum to our lives and practice. Something else is keeping us preoccupied. He then allows whatever that something else is to be our deliverer. It is incapable of doing what He alone is able to do. He will be our God and we will be His people when we have given all to Him. It’s not too late to do it now! 

Meditation: September 21

“Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). 

Note the faith released to enable us to initially respond to Him. That is our starting point. There is also a faith that sustains us along the way. When it is difficult and sometimes impossible to see what lies ahead, active faith would find the faithful waiting and anticipating whatever God is about to do. They will accept His will even when they do not fully understand it. It is a state of the soul and mind of saying “yes” to God even before the question is asked. Many have relied on their own understanding and are moving in a direction that pleases them. But the Son of Man is coming back. He does not give warning, but immediately appears on the scene. Then the Truth will be made known. All pretense is exposed as error, and hypocrisy is uncovered as evil. When He comes, He will reward the faithful. Those who continued to withstand the pressures of compromise brought to bear against them will be rewarded. He will find them wherever they may have been driven for true faith is like a magnet to Him. It has attracted us to Him and He will prove the fact that He is attracted to us. Even though faith will be a rare commodity, nevertheless it will survive among the faithful. Some will remain as witnesses of His grace and carriers of His testimony. He will find the faith hidden in their hearts. 

Meditation: September 20

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path“ (Psalm 119:105). 

In a dark place, all things seem to be the same. No distinction can be made between a man and a mannequin if both stand together. Things that are false and counterfeit can appear to be more perfect than things that are real in dim light. They are painted with beauty and are a piece of art, but are lifeless idols. Without the light of the Word of God, we would naturally gravitate in the direction that appears to be real, but is only real and beautiful to the spiritually blind. Our senses once ruled us and every decision was made on the basis of our perception of reality. The darkness was not just before us, but the darkness was in us as well. Then the light of the Word entered our world, and all things changed! We were then able to see the nature of all things and the danger that lay ahead by following the path of the blind. The very Word that changed us was also there to guide us. We have been changed in order to discern the difference between the real and the artificial, that which blesses from things that curse our souls; things that are harmful from things that are hurtful. We are on a different course requiring constant illumination of the path and assistance in order to keep walking straight. When God’s Word determines the daily choice of our lives, we are not walking alone or following the crowd on the path of destruction. We are walking with Jesus in the Light as He is in the Light! 

Meditation: September 19

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17). 

The words “good” and “perfect” are given deeper meanings when God is speaking. He does not restrict Himself to our definitions of these terms. There is a goodness that transcends all efforts on our part and remains good even when what man is able to produce turns sour and withers away. The reason that God’s goodness is so special is because it is perfect goodness. There is no separation between the good and the perfect gift of God. The gift is good because it is perfect and it is perfect because it is good. He then sends it to us from His holy habitation. It comes from the Throne of God where He rules and reigns without the slightest hint of sin and confusion. Heaven is a perfect place; therefore perfect gifts can come from there. The gift reaches us with His signature on it. Not only does He sign it, but He remains attached to His gift. Not that the gift has not been given to us but as a man’s gift makes room for him, God’s gifts cannot be received without Him being attached to it. If the gift is to remain good and perfect the One that is both good and perfect must be constantly engaged in its use. If we manage what He has given us without Him, we corrupt it and it is misdirected towards some evil means. He extends Himself to us and to the world through giving us what is of Him and in Him. As we receive the gifts of God, may our hearts be open to all that He is and has for us. 

Meditation: September 18

“Give us help from trouble, for the help of man is useless” (Psalm 60:11). 

None has ever trusted God so completely that they never had a shadow of doubt. It is in the shadows where we look away from God in search for what appears to be strong but is lacking in content and in character. The challenge came to us and we wondered why we were chosen for adversity. Even then, there arose among some what appeared to be further evidence that God was absent. Many have abandoned God completely with thoughts that He was unreliable, while there are others who learned the lesson and passed the test. Without the test, there would be no need for help. The awareness of our need fostered the acknowledgement that we could not carry out our assignments alone. Without Him we can do nothing. The assistance of man is useless unless God is involved. The help of others only further complicates the issue. It is above our heads, and the heads that stand tall are not tall enough. Their arm of strength cannot reach far enough to bring remedy to the deep wound left within. The need must first be identified if it is ever to be rectified. Does anybody really know where we hurt; where the pain is? Even when we may cover it with a smile or a friendly gesture, the silent cry of the soul is unheard. The prayer that the Psalmist was praying could be stated as, “Lord help me to see the trouble that is before me by making foolish choices when things are not going my way. When I take matters into my own hands and recruit the assistance of others to help me, I become a candidate for failure.” He gives us His help and does not just lend us a hand. Those times when God was not relied upon, there remained a search for something or someone to place our confidence in. Those distracted moments and the results of being distracted must be remembered. The Psalmist, through trial and error; being in trouble and having to be rescued knew how to direct his cry towards his only help. His cry was not just for himself, but included those who may have lacked the experience to direct their prayers as he had learned. “Give us help from trouble.” We all need His help for trouble increases all around. Give us help that we may not be led in the direction of trouble. And if we find ourselves there Lord, help by delivering us from the trouble that we may find ourselves in. The arm of flesh will only give us a false security as if we are being saved while we are falling deeper into the seemingly inescapable trap of delusions.