Our Everlasting Consolation

 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself,
and our God and Father,
who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation
and good HOPE by grace,
comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.
—2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

One of my favorite places to spend time is at the coast, although we live far from there now. About 20 years ago I went on a solo road trip that took me up the California coast and back, where I decided to spend several days in Monterey. I enjoyed lots of time on the beach just sitting and contemplating the seemingly endless rise and fall of the ocean’s white-crested waves.

Recently it occurred to me how much the ocean is like God. For one thing, when you’re looking into the horizon, the ocean seems to go on forever. The rising and crashing of the waves keep occurring in a constant and mighty display of God’s power. This is not very surprising, considering the fact that He’s the one who created the oceans in the first place.

Think of some of God’s attributes:

  • unchangeable
  • infinite
  • eternal
  • omnipresent

and several names we associate with Him:

  • everlasting
  • living
  • mighty
  • eternal

Some of these designations could describe the ocean’s characteristics, but all of them depict a God who is unchanging and always there for us, no matter what is going on in our lives.

So many of us experience times when we feel like certain stressful circumstances will never change for the better. Or we’ll never find a decent paying job. Maybe we’ve finally realized that this chronic pain illness will never get any better. And then there are days when we think there is no one who truly understands what we’re going through.

We start to believe we are completely alone.

That’s when we need to lean on God, “…who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful HOPE….” We can always be assured that He will “…comfort you and strengthen you…” to persevere in spite of our circumstances.

Never give up, Beloved, because our God will never give up on you!

Please allow me to pray for all of us: Heavenly Father, I’m so thankful that You love us enough to be our everlasting consolation, comfort and HOPE. Help us to remember to always turn to You no matter what we’re going through. Amen.


[All emphasis on the word HOPE is mine.]

National Day of Prayer 2015

Please pray for our nation!

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Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant
is praying in your presence this day.
—1 Kings 8:28

Please pray along with me:

Heavenly Father, our nation has strayed so far from our Christian roots. We seem to have forgotten that kingship belongs to You alone. You are the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and deserve all of our worship and praise.

Please forgive us for all the times we have not first looked to You for guidance in everything we say and do. Forgive our country for the willful disregard and hatred of You and all You are to us, for not trusting You enough, for not believing completely in the saving grace of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Please renew the faith of those who love You and glorify You as we watch and pray for a nation in the midst of tremendous turmoil.

Father, we love You, although we don’t always show it. And though we don’t deserve it, please don’t abandon this country. We plead with you to turn the unbelieving and untrusting hearts of a nation intent on setting standards that go completely against Your will for us, into a country that once again seeks to follow Your ways. Please protect those who love You, and keep us close to You.

Amen.

All the ends of the earth shall remember    
and turn to the Lord,    
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before you.   
For kingship belongs to the Lord,   
and he rules over the nations.
—Psalm 22:27-28

 

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Thankful for God’s Salvation

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This is another of the devotionals I wrote for the anthology titled Anytime Prayers for Everyday PeopleThis particular devotional was included in the section titled Prayers of Praise and Thanksgiving and is perfect for this time of the year as we are contemplating the true meaning of Resurrection Sunday.

 

When I want to thank God for His salvation . . .

I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God
for salvation to every one who has faith.

—Romans 1:16 RSV

I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor,
now is the day of salvation.

—2 Corinthians 6:2

The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock;
and exalted be the God of my salvation.

—Psalm 18:46 NASB
 

[Peter said] Jesus is the only One who can save people.
His name is the only power in the world that has been given
to save people. We must be saved through him.
—Acts 4:12 NCV

If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and
believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead,
you will be saved.

—Romans 10:9 NKJV

 

. . . I will pray.

Redeeming Lord,

I am always amazed when I consider the depth of Your love for me. You, who created everything in the universe, care for me so much You sent Your Son, Jesus Christ, to die for my sins. And I will never be able to explain why Jesus came—willingly, determined to rescue me and make me part of Your family. My salvation is more wonderful and amazing than I could ever comprehend.

Lord, You could have simply walked away from Your human creation, washed Your hands, and moved on to a new project. Instead, You walked beyond Your personal disappointment and went to extraordinary, even miraculous, lengths to salvage us. Knowing that moves me beyond words. And then to think that even in the face of so great a gesture toward us, You’ve made Yourself vulnerable by leaving us with the choice to take Your gift or leave it.

I want to be very clear, Lord—I take it! Every bit of it—all You have or want or plan for me! I choose to love You back every day of my life. Thank You for Your lavish gift of salvation.

Amen.

It is not your hold of Christ that saves you,
but His hold of you!
—Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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[From Anytime Prayers for Everyday People. Copyright © 2006 Bordon-Winters LLC]

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The Month of March

The Month of March

 by Patricia Knight

The month of March is often described as “coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb,” frequently applicable in the Northeast area of the country where I live. As February continues its hold on winter, March originates with raw winds and significant snow cover. Soon, milder temperatures precipitate melting snow, ushering in gentler weather. By the end of March, there is hope of spring, with its array of new growth and vibrant colors.

wind-vector-149701_1280--AMPThe above metaphor compares the aggressive, domineering prowess of the lion to the submissive, docile lamb. Due to its size and ferociousness, the lion has earned its title, king of the jungle. Scripture, however, is replete with examples of the gentle, compliant lamb.

In Old Testament times, lambs were frequently used for clothing, food, and as an animal sacrifice to atone for the sins of the people. A sacrificial lamb had to be perfect, without blemish or defect. In the New Testament, Jesus was named the Lamb of God when he willingly sacrificed His one perfect life for the salvation of all mankind, eliminating the need for an atoning animal sacrifice ever again.

Meek was a term associated with Jesus. Weak is not synonymous with meek—far from it! Jesus was patient and kind, humbly acknowledging the goodness and grace of God and betraying no arrogance toward others. “By the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you,” (2 Corinthians 10:1) is an introduction used by the Apostle Paul to the Corinthian people, an indication of his own affectionate desire to mirror Jesus’ qualities.

We are commanded to “be imitators of God, and live a life of love” (Ephesians 5:1). For us to emulate Christ, we must live a humble, unpretentious lifestyle. Assuming no attention for ourselves, we live to glorify and serve God, the priority Jesus expressed during His entire life on earth. “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2).

We are further commanded to avoid arrogance, to assume modesty and humility. It has been explained that once a person declares his humility, he is no longer humble! Humility involves our attitude and performance in life, a perpetual challenge for each of us. “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (2 Peter 5:5).

Photo credit: "Panthera leoP1040181" by Winfried Bruenken (Amrum) - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Panthera_leoP1040181.JPG#/media/File:Panthera_leoP1040181.JPG

Photo credit: “Panthera leoP1040181” by Winfried Bruenken. Wikimedia Commons

The lion shows no mercy. With arrogance it stalks and attacks its victim, tearing the flesh and gorging on the meal. The lion is large and loud, throwing its weight around to its full advantage. Gentle ways are unknown to the species. In contrast, the lamb peacefully grazes in the meadow, unaware of danger and defenseless against attack. The shepherd must lead his sheep and their lambs, providing them with protection and food. Jesus is the True Shepherd, who gathers His lambs (believers) “and carries them close to His heart” (Isaiah 40:11), just as any shepherd would comfort the vulnerable lambs in his care.

The extreme antithesis between the lion and the lamb is adequate for explaining seasonal changes, but for our lifestyle it is preferable to be aligned with the character traits of the Lamb of God, Savior of the world!

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What Must I Do to be Saved?

Reblogged from As Seen Through the Eyes of Faith.

My bloggy friend, Raymond Gary Candy, has a wonderful blog called As Seen Through the Eyes of Faith. He shared this great post there a couple of weeks ago, a good reminder for those of us who already know Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. However, this would be a good tool to use if you’re unsure about sharing your faith with unbelieving family and friends.

Thank you so much, Raymond, for the granting me the privilege of sharing this with my readers.

What must I do to be Saved?

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“And brought them out, and said, Sirs,what must I do to be saved?
(Acts 16:30)

“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi,we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.” (John 3:1-2)

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee,Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)

“Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” (John 3:4)

Read the rest here.

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My Soul Exalts the Lord

 

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And Mary said: My soul exalts the Lord,
my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave;
For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.
For the Mighty One has done great things for me; and holy is His name.
And His mercy is upon generation after generation
toward those who fear Him.
He has done mighty deeds with His arm;
He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones,
and has exalted those who were humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things;
and sent away the rich empty-handed.
He has given help to Israel His servant, in remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.
–Luke 1:46-55

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