Monthly Archives: January 2012

2 Samuel 22:17-18

“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.

This was a song that David sang when he was delivered from King Saul, who was trying to kill David. A feeling of relief is throughout the song as David recounts that he could not deliver himself, but God saved him. Have you ever felt in waters so deep that you knew you couldn’t swim out of them? Take heart, for the same God who delivered David can rescue us. When you know that the opposition is far stronger than you are, let God take hold of you in your despair. He can and He will deliver you.

John 10:10

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

This passage is in the middle of Jesus teaching that He is the good shepherd. Shepherds in that day would build makeshift pens for the sheep to sleep in. If a thief wanted to try to steal sheep, they would have to scale the boundaries that the shepherd built. To keep this from happening, good shepherds would sleep in the doorway of the pen, ever alert to danger. The boundaries that Jesus sets up are not to make our lives dull and meaningless, but to repel the attacks of those who want to steal, kill and destroy. Jesus offers us life, and life to the fullest.

Nehemiah 2:4-5

The king said to me, “What is it you want?” Then I prayed to the God of heaven,

Nehemiah has been praying and preparing to ask the king for supplies and military protection to rebuild Jerusalem. Now comes the great moment. Notice that when the king presents the opportunity that Nehemiah has been waiting for, Nehemiah does not rush headlong forward-he says a silent prayer just before his answer. These prayers don’t have to be out loud or long, but the art of the internal prayer to God can keep us on track when opportunity opens itself to us.

Matthew 21:31b-32

Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

One of the things that we have to glean from this passage is that the Kingdom of God will probably not be a socially sanitized place. Heaven will be filled with people that are considered undesirable on this earth. Jesus was making this point to religious leaders; for religious adherence creates blindness to the reality that we are all sinners in the eyes of God, and in need of a Savior.

Hebrews 12:1-2

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Perseverance is steadfastly, patiently, holding fast to our faith in Christ through the life course God set for us. As our gaze is fixed on Jesus’ plan, we move forward at a pace that allows us to stay within Christ’s reach, sustaining us to our finish line. Even through our struggles that may cause us to hit the wall, His strength pushes us through tough times. Relying on God’s strength, we cast aside sins and keep running the race. That is the perseverance that will get us to the only finish line that really matters.

Isaiah 26:3

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

Notice that peace comes from God, and not our mind. Peace is the response of God to those who seek Him, for God’s presence places all of our circumstances in a different perspective. Our minds are prone to project the worst that can happen, but a mind that is steadfast upon God is confronted with the fact that God is in control. Renewing our minds with this reality causes trust, and that trust opens our hearts to peace.

Judges 6:23

But the LORD said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.

 

The angel of the Lord is speaking to Gideon, who seriously doubts that he is the right man to lead the Israelites into battle against the Midianites. Hiding in a wine press, Gideon is paralyzed by a fear of the enemy and a low self-image. Yet these are the kind of people that God uses for His glory. “Do not fear” is the command that appears more than any other in the Scripture, for God chooses those who know they need His help over those who think that they can do it themselves.