Meditation: January 27

“What wonderful advice you’ve given to a mixed-up man! What amazing insights you’ve provided!” (Job 26:3 MSG). 

We need advice that can straighten out the crooked places in our lives. We cannot allow the advice of those who may have abused their liberties, by spewing out carnal and worldly advice, to close us off and draw us in too closely to ourselves. Yes, there are some who have not explored deeply into the reasons behind the actions, and hurt more than help the situation. But then, there are others who have been sent by God to speak words of edification, exhortation, and comfort. When we turn a deaf ear to all counsel because we cannot trust anything that may come our way, we rob ourselves of one of God’s greatest gifts. It is in a multitude of counselors that safety dwells. Somewhere hidden beneath criticisms and encouragements, lies the insights we so desperately need. God has so equipped us to be sensitive to the human touch and our ears are attuned to human voices. Even among the hypercritical, we must examine if there is even a small element of truth contained in their criticism. As we listen to both God through man and God through much prayer, we will develop and become wiser. 

Meditation: January 26

“This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” (Galatians 3:2). 

It is the Holy Spirit that empowers the believer to become what God wills for him to become. Out of his becoming, he is enabled to do what God would have him do. The reversed order is to do what one thinks may be His will with the expectation of God’s approval. Receiving the Spirit initiates the believer into a life in the Spirit. But the Spirit is quenched if the recipient does not yield to whom he has received. God’s intention is for our efforts to be a response to His initiative. God’s interpretation of the deeper meaning of His truth is hidden within our simple obedience to what is understood. Hearing the word preached is more than an exercise in attempting to retain the information presented. It is also a matter of receiving the Spirit of the Word that becomes life within the hearer. Works alone is one attempt at self-justification but void of God’s approval. Hearing sets the standard for Spirit- life in the believer. He then has a target at which to aim. He is positioned to see Jesus Christ as He is and not a caricature, but as real. Paul’s question was a means of asking them what has been added to their lives by the Spirit as the result of hearing the word preached. The teacher then may learn from his pupil by what is gained when the Spirit takes what is received and adds Spirit-life to it. 

Meditation: January 25

“From where then does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding?” (Job 28:20). 

In order for true wisdom to be known, everything must balance out in the symmetry of thought and actions converging towards a desired end. All that preceded the moment must be fully known, and all that shall come after must be taken into account. Any idea that comes to mind, must not only come to mind, but must be traced back to its origin. Wisdom is birthed out of the womb of the eternal. Every creature merely functions within the limited knowledge allotted to it. God who is eternal is the Source of all wisdom. He does not have to reach beyond Himself for understanding of things, for all things were made by Him and for Him, and by Him they consist and are held together by His power. We know in part, therefore even the seers who prophesied what has been made known to them could only share a portion of what is yet to be revealed. He gives wisdom to the wise and makes wise the simple; but no wisdom given could ever exceed its Source. Therefore, all creatures must seek Him for wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. 

Meditation: January 24

“The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it” (Proverbs 10:22). 

There is the accumulation of wealth among the rich which brings sorrow and a wealth that endures to eternal life. When money becomes the god that replaces the true and living God, it then competes with what He wills to do in our lives. That person, under the control of Mammon, will never know the richness that comes through full surrender to God’s will. The greatest blessing is the passion to love Him with one’s whole heart, soul, mind, and strength; then His joy becomes our own joy. When we are there, all that comes our way is managed and not owned. If we have an abundance of things, we find pleasure in having more options to use them in blessing the Lord. Money does not make the person; it merely gives him more options to express what he already has become. We should not allow anything to stand between us and the Lord, but at all times exercise diligence in pleasing Him. He gives us both the ability to accumulate wealth and the joy of the harvest. 

Meditation: January 23

“And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ’love will cover a multitude of sins.’ Be hospitable to one another without grumbling” (1Peter 4:8-9). 

Love does not ignore or deny the sin, but love loves in spite of the sin. There are some deeds that could make it difficult to love the one who has offended you. That is the true test of love when you are able to look beyond the offense and see the soul that is in a desperate place drifting in a direction away from God. Stephen understood this when he was being stoned to death. He cried out to God in the midst of their throwing stones at him “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” He wanted what was best for them even while they were venting their hatred against him. If this had not been the case, Saul the Pharisee who became Paul the Apostle would have never been saved and used in such a mighty way. God’s will is to use your enemies to come to know Jesus Christ for who He is. Your release of them may pave the way for them to receive what they would otherwise have no knowledge of. Love your enemies. Do good to those who despitefully use you. Your life may be sufficient in mirroring Christ to those who would otherwise perish without your witness. 

Meditation: January 22

“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9). 

True love is balanced with an attraction towards purity and truth and a distain and hatred towards evil. It is not the imbalance that embraces any behavior as being acceptable for the sake of peace. True love often disturbs the peace of the wicked, in order to confront his wickedness. There are matters of the heart in need of deep change. It is mere pretense to ignore the initial promptings that occur within one’s own conscience, until it is silenced for the sake of expediency. The more those warning signs are ignored, the stronger and bolder are the steps taken in the direction of hypocrisy. People are not born hypocrites. They become hypocrites by much practice. Once the person moves in that direction, true love is never known because the person that is not real himself cannot accept realness from others. Their own hypocrisy raises suspicion regarding all who would be honest with them. We must hate evil in order to embrace what is good. It is never both ways. We must choose either good or evil. 

Meditation: January 21

“It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24). 

God anticipates the call or the cry of His children. He readily responds to their sincere hearts with the very best remedy to their deepest needs. They are the ones who are full of questions in need of answers. Most of their questions are too difficult to effectively communicate in words; but God is not looking for the articulate, He seeks out the sincere. He looks into the far distant future while a prayer is in the formative stage and releases from heaven the answer that reaches him on schedule. He does not wait for an intellectual grasp of the concepts to start the supplicant on his own way out of his ditch of confusion. No! He listens to his thoughts that are connected to his heart. What He hears is what they intend, rather than merely say. While they were yet speaking, the Lord stops them in the middle of their sentences and calms their anxieties and fears by letting them know that He understands. His listening ear is the result of His understanding heart. The Lord will hear the calls of those whose hearts are perfect towards Him. 

Meditation: January 20

“Known to God from eternity are all His works” (Acts 15:18-19). 

What may appear as a difficulty or even defeat for many who are engaged in the works of God is no more than a part of a sentence in a complete story. The script has been written and complete while each has entered onto the stage with an assignment. It is only when everything comes together as the Author has prearranged, will we fully understand the significance of portions that do not seem to make any sense. “Known to God from eternity are all His works.” God has always known what He is about to do next in time because it is already established in eternity. This little stretch of time, in the vastness of eternity, is like a little boat in the sea. There is much more to life than we have been given to know and understand. That is why life often doesn’t make sense. Some would think that God doesn’t make any sense because their judgments of Him are based upon the little knowledge made known to man. God’s will is that we participate with Him in what He is doing. There we will find both rest and peace. There is an eternal purpose, a God-given task with which the sons of men ought to be occupied. As we are faithful to align ourselves with His will, He will then show us from His perspective more of what He is all about. All is contained in Jesus Christ, His Son. 

Meditation: January 19

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?” (Jeremiah 32:27). 

Impossibilities are not a part of the language of God. The finite mind stretches to its limits in understanding which are far below God’s abilities. For God made man as much as He has made all things. He has full knowledge of how they function and their purpose for He is the Lord, that is His name. Therefore, they were created to bring Him pleasure and give Him glory. The flesh puts forth its best effort to rule. Even though one’s flesh may feel its liberty to rule over another’s flesh, the Lord is the God over all flesh. Every being and every thing on the face of the earth is under His jurisdictional rule. Men usually equate both failures and successes on the basis of their own experiences. They cannot see nor understand that God has no limits. He reveals Himself to them and asks them a rhetorical question. He addresses them as one who would otherwise think of Him as a man would think of another man. “Is anything too hard for Me?” Only those who have come to know Him intimately can rightly respond to His question. They have learned of their own limits and no longer attempt to live their lives without Him. When they face both the simple and the most profound of circumstances, they have learned to fully trust and depend upon the Lord to see them through. 

There are things that man cannot think nor possibly do, but the Lord, who by His name alone, reminds us that all things are subject to Him. He is the Lord over all. In a day when rulers exalt themselves above measure, it becomes difficult for many to conceive of One who is Lord over all. Surely in a hierarchically structured world, there will always appear as though something ought to be higher than that which is being currently considered. 

Meditation: January 18

“For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire ofAll Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts” (Haggai 2:6-7). 

The people of God were discouraged because God’s presence appeared to be withdrawn from among them. Their temple had been destroyed for over seventy years and the workers who would rebuild it had become weakened and wearied. There are times when it may appear as if God is silent and all hope is lost; then God gives us a prophetic message that He will restore all who put their trust in Him while all things that others relied upon will be shaken. There will be signs in heaven and signs upon the earth. Strange phenomena will happen so that the nations of the earth will be forced to look beyond themselves for help. Then there will be people of all walks of life that will look in our direction because our eyes will be constantly focused upon Him. Only the Church of the Living God, where the message of Jesus Christ is heard, will provide a sanctuary for the bewildered souls who opted to trust in other things rather than in God. Nations or people-groups will be shaken so that God’s original intent may be established among them. Then His “glory will fill this temple” says the Lord of Hosts.