“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:6-7 (NASB)
It is a true statement and worthy to be learned. “God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble,” (Proverbs 3:34; Matthew 23:12; James 4:10). As we are told by the Apostle Paul in Philippians “be anxious for nothing,” here Peter tells us to “humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God.” This is an Old Testament symbol of the power of God working in the experience of men, always accomplishing His sovereign purpose. But humility can cause anxiety. Peter also tells us what to do with our anxiety – get rid of it! Cast it ALL on Him! This is a good practice to follow and we have a good reason we can trust it – He cares for us. How wonderful it is to know that we have a heavenly Father who cares and knows that we have special concerns. We stumble and fall because of our worry but He is always there to help us up. Our Lord tells us here to turn to him and turn those cares over to Him. Transfer the anxious thoughts and worries from your ledger to His ledger. Then observe how much He cares for you and me. He truly does, it’s a promise.
“For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” John 1:16 (NASB)
The Apostle John begins the account of Jesus’ life with a promise. The Word made flesh (John 1:14) is the source of grace, which is the sum total of all the spiritual favors God gives to people. The words “we … all” refer to Christians and include John the author. Out of His fullness His grace … “grace in place of grace”. This phrase emphasizes the superabundance of grace that has been displayed by God toward mankind, especially believers. Grace comes to Christians in the way that waves continue to come to the shore in both calm and tempest. The Christian life is the constant reception of one evidence of God’s grace replacing another. God does not run out of a supply of grace to give us and He does not consider that any of us have received all the grace we need or will ever get. It is out of His fullness which never is exhausted and love which never ends. We hope the Lord has blessed you many times in the past. In many different ways and He continues to bless us these days. What a promise we have all received – an unending supply of grace.
From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” – Psalm 61:2 (NASB)
Although King David was not actually at the end of the earth, it felt like that to him. He was in exile from his city Jerusalem. Perhaps each of us have been in a place away from home that seems like the end of the world for us. Absalom tried to overthrow his father and seize the throne of Israel. Discouraged and exhausted, he needs to be led out of danger to a place of safety. David cries to God and pleads that God would hear and respond to his prayers. He has a specific request that God would lead him to the rock that “is otherwise too high for me.” He asked God to lead him to a rock that was higher than any place he had so far attained and could not do so on his own⸺he needed God to lead him there. God has things to show us, each which are beyond anything we have yet experienced. This is the promise we have that when we need Him, God is here with us, leading us to greater things in our lives and to new promises in our spiritual life we need God to lead us to.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” – Romans 15:13 (ESV)
Three words which we use often in our thoughts and conversations. But does our use reflect the power and fullness of these words for us? The first is Joy and this verse should fill our hearts with rejoicing. We fully believe that these blessings are for us today just as they were available to the Christians in Rome to whom these words were written long ago. God desires to fill us with joy. God also offers to us Peace. But the peace God gives is not the peace found in this world. Peace treaties and conferences and summits all mean just one thing – lack of conflict between warring parties. The peace from God is the removal of the hostility that separates us from Him and binds us to His love. If our hearts and minds are disturbed by some crisis or difficulty, God wants to fill us with His peace. If you are wondering about your eternal future God wants to remove the uncertainty and doubt and fill us with His Hope. His joy, peace and hope are our promise today and so we give thanks God for His love.
“Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple!” Psalm 65:4b (ESV)
When David the psalmist wrote these words of praise to God, he was thinking of the blessings which comes to God’s people as they worshiped in the Tabernacle and later the Temple. The psalmist references these places as God’s courts. In the time these places of worship existed, it was the place where God would dwell among His people. It is the Lord God who chose Israel and who choses us and brings us near to him. We can apply these words to our experience of belonging to God’s family today. We are members of God’s household and we experience many good things because of it. As our verse says we are satisfied with the goodness God provides. We need to remember each day and be thankful that we are blessed because we belong to God’s family. He is our heavenly Father and He takes care of us as we live here on earth. If we open our hearts to Him to fill us, he will fill our lives each day with His blessings. Then we can say as the psalmist said, we shall be satisfied and give God the glory for all He has done.
“I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. – Psalm 9:1 (ESV)
In the crush of our overly-commercialized world, it does not take long for the spirit of Thanksgiving to fade. Our attention turns to other intentions and desires. We’ve mentioned previously, every day is a good day to give our expressions of thanks to God. We can make every day a day of thanksgiving. When we take the time to consider what God has done for us and for all who need salvation, we have much to be thankful for. Today’s verse is from Psalm 9 and reminds us that true thanks that is pleasing to the Lord comes from within ourselves. It comes from our heart and our whole heart should be involved. We can express thanksgiving with our lips. If we are not focused on God, we can really say the words without our hearts being involved. Today the verse reminds us that true thanks to the Lord requires all our heart. Let’s do so today as you gather with family or friends or if you are by yourself, you can still give thanks to the Lord with all your heart. He knows you and He is with you today so be thankful for that blessing and promise.
“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6 (NIV)
Our Father in heaven has done so very much for us. He is the God of light in many ways and our verse reminds us that He brings that light into our hearts. The Apostle Paul makes a direct reference to God as Creator, who commanded physical light into existence (Genesis 1:3). The God who created physical light in the universe creates supernatural light in the soul and bring believers from the kingdom of darkness to His kingdom of light (Colossians 1:13). The light is expressed as “the knowledge of the glory of God.” That means to know that Christ is God incarnate. To be saved, one must understand that the glory of God shone in Jesus Christ and He drives darkness from our lives. Isn’t it wonderful to know that we don’t have to live in that darkness or with it in our hearts? God has made his light shine in our hearts and it is a glorious light for us who have believed. Be encouraged today as you recognize that God is a God of glory and He wants us to know of His glory. It is a promise that will bring light to our hearts and to our lives.
“Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.” Psalm 25:5 (ESV)
How much do any of us enjoy “the wait?” Who has time to wait in our high-speed world to be put on hold? But waiting is very often a good thing, even the best thing for us to do. Especially in the Psalms of David we find suggestions to “wait” on the Lord. We all have many things to learn from the Lord. And how else will God have an opportunity to teach us what we need to learn if we don’t wait for Him to teach us? We have opportunities to wait for God to act. God’s time is perfect and very different than ours. We don’t care for the army way where it’s common to “hurry up and wait” By waiting we can constantly be ready with hope that God will teach us His ways and His paths. It is through expectation that we wait with hope for God to teach us His perfect way for us. “Lead me in Your truth and teach me” is what David wrote. We too can be at all times looking eagerly to God for Him to show us and teach us and lead us.
“He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction. Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!” Psalm 107:20-21 (ESV)
Needing to be ‘healed’ or ‘delivered’ from something destructive happens. Some have experienced God’s benevolent grace and love this way. All of us have had serious needs from time to time where we felt the need for deliverance or healing. We have reason therefore to be thankful to God. No one is without something that they have thanksgiving for. This day we celebrated Thanksgiving Day in the USA. Our brothers and sisters north in Canada, celebrated Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October. Whenever we pause for a national day of thanksgiving, it is good to remember and keep in mind the reason we do that. We all have reasons to make every day a day of Thanksgiving. Today’s verses provide examples of reasons for giving thanks to the Lord. He is certainly worthy of our thanks. He has done so much for each of us. He has loved us and because of His great love. He offered His Son and He went to the cross for us. He has brought us into His family. Even if we are not with our physical family let’s be thankful that God has brought us into His family.
“…but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him:” 1 John 2:5 (ESV)
This season can be distracting, stressful, confusing, and difficult. The message from the world out there does not always give us the truth. The passage we have today is part of a longer sentence in which the Apostle John compared those who claim to know God but fail to keep His commandments and those who manifest God’s love through their obedience. John repeats the words “know … keep” to emphasize that those genuinely born again display the habit of obedience. Obedience results in assurance of salvation. God has revealed Himself to us through His Word, our Bible. All this comes from the Lord because He loves us. When we follow the standards God has shown us in His Word that His love for us is made complete. Let’s be willing to let God’s love work in our hearts and obedience becomes a part of our lives. So when we learn of something in the Bible that God wants us to do or a principle He wants us to follow remember, He wants it because He loves us, not because He is a dictator. His promise to us is to make us complete through our faith in Him.