Meditation — LIVING BY FAITH, NOT REASON

God’s promises to mankind are based on His good provision but require our acceptance. Why? Because He graciously gave us the gift of free will. That means we can accept — or reject — life. We cannot reason our way into salvation, where we take control, connect the dots, and conclude that salvation is possible and that we possess the means to attain it. It is a matter of faith, where we place our total confidence in the Lord to provide for our needs. Because we cannot attain salvation on our own, we also cannot lose it on our own. God keeps us for His glory.

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“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 (CSB)

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 (NET)

WE COME TO GOD T56. Prayer-Partners-menHROUGH FAITH, NOT THROUGH REASON.

Our sinful natures and finite minds cannot combine to produce within us a saving power apart from the grace of God. It is His will that we may be reconciled to Him. It is not of our own doing, that we might boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

LET’S SEE HOW THIS WORKS.

A man (or woman, if you’re a woman) comes into your life and asks for some help. He (or she) is struggling with life and thinks you might be able to help. Why? Well, because you’re a bit older, more mature, more settled in your life, which is a good indicator that you may have experienced whatever it is that he (or she) is going through now and lived to tell about it.

So you set up shop, share a cup of coffee and a Danish, and sit back to listen to this person’s tales of woe.

You say: “Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?”

Other person says: “?”

He (or she) is stumped.

He (or she) mumbles something about going to church or having spent a couple of weeks one summer at church camp and, then 20 years ago, memorized a few verses before his (or her) grandmother got sick … and, basically, that’s it.

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NO MATTER HOW HARD YOU TRY, you’re unable to get this person to acknowledge, beyond some lame comment, that he (or she) even has a need for such a personal relationship, assuming that such a thing actually exists.

72.Family_Bible_StudyThe Bible is clear that such a thing actually does exist and that we are ~commanded~ by God to seek it. He promises this: “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” — Jeremiah 29:13 (ESV)

Yes, God draws us to Him first (John 6:44), but we have the privilege — and responsibility — to respond through faith (Ephesians 2:8).

Jesus said to store up for ourselves “treasures in heaven” (Matt. 6:20), not in this world, because our heavenly treasures are under God’s faithful keeping and will not be tarnished or broken or lost. They will be ours forever.

We then pray with our young charge and exhort him (or her) to begin praying to Jesus Christ to ask that He would intervene in their lives and show them where they have 15 minutes a day they weren’t aware of to spend in prayer and Bible reading. You say that if he (or she) is sincere in that prayer, Jesus will deliver.

You remind them of what the Bible says: “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” — 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV).

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AS YOU PART FOR THE DAY and watch this child of God drift away, you raise a silent prayer on their behalf, asking God to give them eyes to see and ears to hear. You know that if he (or she) does not turn to the Heavenly Father, whatever difficulty they may be facing will not end well.

If, however, this person does turn to the Lord, then he (or she) can lay claim to God’s promises to be with them and protect them through the storms of life (John 10:10).


PRAYER

O LORD, our merciful and majestic Redeemer, our Creator and Sustainer,  our Savior, we 44. Cross_on_Biblethank You for the opportunities You give us to reach out to others when they are in need, when they come to us for help. Lord, may we always point them to You, to Your sustaining grace, to Your everlasting love, to Your merciful justice. We pray also, O Lord, that as they ask You in prayer for time in their day to spend personally and intimately with You, that You will shower them with time and desire and so change their lives. In Jesus’ powerful name we pray. AMEN


QUESTIONS:

1. Do you find it difficult, if not impossible, to find a regular time each day for prayer and Bible reading? Do you think it’s even necessary to spend time alone with God every day? Would you feel comfortable asking God to find the time for you, or do you think He’s way too busy with more important stuff?

2. Why do you think it might be a good idea to hear from God’s Word each day and enter into prayer with Him regularly? Do you believe He intervenes in human affairs and longs to intervene in your life?

3. Are you uncomfortable with the idea that our response to God’s gift of salvation is a matter of faith and not of reason? Do you see that faith means we’re placing all of the burden on God, whereas reason means we are the ones who have earned salvation?


Would you like us at LoveAndGrace to pray for you? Just send a prayer request via the Comments section.


 

God Is True to His Promises

God is truth. His word is truth. That is not an easy concept for us to accept, because in our human world, truth is flexible. God remains a constant. He is love; He is mercy; He is just. Because He is just, He is dependable. We can trust him.

Verses From the Bible to Guide Us Through the Week

MONDAY Numbers 23:19 (GW) “God is not like people. He tells no lies. He is not like humans. He doesn’t change his mind. When he says something, he does it. When he makes a promise, he keeps it.”

MEDITATION: Most of us have been burned. We believed in someone, or at least believed in something they told us, only to learn that he/she could not be trusted. Painfully, many of us are aware that we have been the ones who let someone else down. When pressed, we could share a shameful moment when we misled someone or caused harm to them in some way, even if we weren’t aware of it at the time.

How comIMG_0090forting to read that God is not like that! The Lord of all creation is good to His  word. When He tells us something, He is truthful. When He says He loves us, He really does. When He tells us He will forgive our sins when we admit them, He does. When He tells us that He will grant us eternal life with him in Paradise, we can count on that, too.

PRAYER: O Lord, our Heavenly Father and creator of the universe, we are so grateful that You are a God who keeps His word, that we can believe in Your promises to us. Thank You for your love, your mercy, and your forgiveness. In Jesus’ name,  Amen

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TUESDAYPsalm 119:114 (TLB) “You are my refuge and my shield, and your promises are my only source of hope.”

MEDITATION: “Refuge” and “shield” are recurrent images in the Psalms as King David and his contemporaries pointed to Jehovah as the source who not only could rescue them from danger but would protect them from the onslaught of the enemy’s arrows or spears.

While the Old Testament’s wars and conflicts were real and physical, the New Testament reminds us that we are daily at war with celestial enemies. Paul tells us in his letter to the Ephesians that “our struggle is … against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)

We are in the midst of a spiritual struggle between a sovereign God who created the universe and His most disobedient creation, a fallen angel – Lucifer – who, filled with rage, vows to sow discord.

We humans are assaulted by our own sinful natures, which gives the devil a foothold into our thoughts, our words, and our deeds. Against this power, we are in desperate need of a Savior, a Lord Protector who can “shield” us against the evil forces and  provide a safe “refuge” from the struggles of physical life.

Not only can Jesus provide that shield and refuge from evil, but He offers us eternal life with Him in Paradise, where tears will be wiped from our eyes, pain will be ended, and there will be no more decay or death.

PRAYER: Our Father God, in a world of pain and sorrow, we take great comfort in Your promise of protection if we just call on You, place our trust in You, and believe in You. You never let us down; You never lie to us; You never forget us. In You, Lord, we are safe, secure, protected, and loved. We give praises to Your Holy Name! In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen

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WEDNESDAYJohn 17:17 (HCSB) “Sanctify them by the truth. Your word is truth.”

MEDITATION: In a Bible with so many miraculous, unexplainably wonderful scenes, one of the most humbling is listening to Our Lord pray to the Father for us! Yes, Jesus walked the earth to tell the salvation story to a fallen world in desperate need of redemption only to be rejected by His own; yet, when faced with the work He came for — bearing our sins on the Cross — He prayed for us.

Jesus knew what many of us have been blessed to learn, that God is Truth and outside God there is no truth.IMG_1150

It is by God’s truth that we are saved from eternal punishment, but His truth protects us from our earthly predicaments, as well. When we are faced with our sin — whether it’s anger, addictions, promiscuity, faithlessness, lying, bearing false witness, stealing, disrespecting our parents, provoking our children, ignoring our duties as husband or wife, father or mother, provider or nurturer — His Truth is the way out.

Believing in the Truth of Our Lord brings us peace in this life … and everlasting joy in the next.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, we owe You our very lives. Without You and Your plan for redemption, we are simply passing time in struggle until we reach oblivion. Yet, You reach out to help us as we stumble, and You provide a pathway to eternity. Thank You for being Truth, so we have something solid to believe in. Amen

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THURSDAYJohn 8:45 (CEV) “Everything I have told you is true, and you still refuse to have faith in me.”

MEDITATION: How sad. The Lord Jesus gave up the glory of Heaven to walk the earth with us, His creation, with a message of hope. Life can be more than struggle, more than enduring, more than suffering. It can be joyous … and it can be eternal … and yet, they did not believe Him.

We see how the salvation story bears out because we have the advantage of reading (and hearing) the entire story, from the beginning (Genesis) to the end (Revelation), and yet, how many of us fail to believe?

Many say they believe, or at least profess a knowledge of what Jesus has done for them, but do they actually believe? Does His life have meaning for their lives? Is He relevant to their existence?

Jesus proclaimed the Truth, but, sadly, concluded that His creation did not have faith in Him.

PRAYER: O Merciful Father, You are the Lord of lords and the King of kings. Your word is Truth. You alone are God. You created existence with Your breath, with merely the thought, and the universe came into being. How sad that so many of us fail to believe You, and how many of us who claim to believe You, ignore You. Lord, forgive us, and help us see clearly Your Truth for our lives. Amen

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FRIDAYJohn 3:16 (GW) “God loved the world this way: He gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.”

MEDITATION: Today’s Bible verse is the pivotal verse in the entire Holy Scriptures. Those words by Jesus, delivered in love to a disbelieving world hungry for salvation, encapsulates everything the God tries to tell us in all 66 books of the Old and New Testaments: God loves us, and through His Son, Jesus Christ, He has given us the promise of eternal life if we just believe in Him and His Message. It’s just that simple.

The most wonderful part is that God is believable. He does not lie. He does not shade  the truth. He does not mislead. His fingers are not crossed behind His back. He’s not trying to sell us something we don’t want. He’s not accusing us. He just loves us and yearns for us to respond.IMG_0800.jpg

Is this offer available to anyone, or is it reserved for a select few? Let’s let Him tell us in a verse that appears verbatim in both the Old and New Testaments:  Romans 10:13 (NIV)” “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (The verse first appears in Joel 2:32, and the Apostle Peter references it in Acts 2:21).

That seems clear: Anyone and everyone who believes in God’s promise of eternal life qualifies for the offer.

PRAYER: O Merciful Father, You alone can be trusted. You don’t lie; it’s not in Your nature. When You tell us You love us, You sent Your Son to die for our sins, and then, through His resurrection, You assure us of eternal life. Lord, be praised forever! Amen

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SATURDAYRevelation 3:20 (ESV) “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”

MEDITATION: What an incredible offer! Here’s the Lord Jesus Christ standing outside a door and knocking. He offers all the riches of Heaven. Eternal life. Complete joy. Exquisite happiness. On the inside of the door is man. A life that’s a fleeting shadow. Pathway of tears. Loneliness. Anger. Resentment. Watching helplessly as death quickly approaches.

There’s the knock again. The offer is still good. Open the door, and I will enter. I promise you. I will enter. When I come in, I will bring with me all of the good blessings I’ve told you about. They’re yours, just by opening the door.

If you don’t open the door, I’ll leave … eventually. It’s your choice. Open the door to eternal life or ignore my offer and perish.

Are we opening the door to Jesus, or are we ignoring Him?

PRAYER: O Lord, what an amazing offer You make, holding out eternal life in your hand for the price of repentance … and You let us choose! It’s our choice whether we want eternal life on Your terms or death on ours. May we hear your knock, O Lord, and fling that door wide open and reach out for Your hug! Amen

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SUNDAY John 18:37 (ESV) “Jesus answered, ‘For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth.’”

MEDITATION:  When the question is asked, “Why did Jesus come to the earth to walk with mankind,” there are many possible answers that Scripture gives us: to give us life abundantly, to fulfill the prophets, to restore a fallen creation to God’s original intent. All are true, but Jesus gave us yet another answer that supersedes all others.

To bear witness to the Truth.IMG_0010.jpg

The world is fallen because men and women have rejected the Truth in favor of a lie. We have let the devil twist God’s intent into an unrecognizable form, and Jesus left Heaven to fix things.

He did so by telling us the Truth. To those who believe Him, He has promised eternal life. As sheep follow their shepherd, the Lord’s followers hear His voice. His message may be foolishness for those who ignore Him, but to those of us who listen, who hear Him, who believe in Him, He is Truth, and His Truth is the very power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18).

PRAYER: O Lord, we are so thankful for Your love and tender mercy. We are thankful for Your patience, Your healing touch, Your grace. Forgive us our hearts of stone. Replace them with hearts that love, Lord. Help us praise Your holy name. May we understand Your Truth, Lord, which is the eternal Word of God. Amen