July 30 – Watchful Words

“You shall be careful to do what has passed your lips, for you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God what you have promised with your mouth.” Deuteronomy 23:23 (ESV)

Yesterday our verse from Genesis established how God’s spoken words are in fact promises. We know God is perfect in all His ways so we trust His words in the Bible without doubt. He is always truthful and what He promises are made to us through what He has spoken. Such is not so certain regarding the words we speak. Yes, we can recite the words God has spoken and trust them to be Promises from God. But, we must take greater care and not be flippant with our words. Our verse says, we are to be careful to do what passes our lips because our words are voluntarily vows to the Lord. A quick “certainly I can” or “I’ll do so, trust me” might slip out as a careless promise which we may not follow up and fulfill. How about with a concern shared with us and we respond, “I’ll pray for you?” Do we actually pray, even mentally? Or do we say that because it seems a good thing to say to ease their concern? “I’ll pray for you” is not a prayer itself. If we say it, are we not obliged to do it?

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July 29 – His Word, His Bond

“Then the Lord took note of Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had promised.” – Genesis21:1 (NASB)

When giving someone a promise, how do we go about making our words a promise? There are many ways to demonstrate that we are so sincere in what we say.  We hear “I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” This when a witness is placed under oath in a court of law. If the witness fails that promise, it is under penalty of law. Why? Because humans are known to lie and give false testimony even when promising to speak the truth. Such is not the way with the Words of God. Throughout the bible and especially in the Old Testament what is translated as “promised” is from the original a word which means “spoken.” Every time we read ‘God has spoken,’ it is fair to say ‘God has promised.’ Today we hear the term, “my word is my bond.” Frequently found in movies, television and even hip hop and rap music. But only the Words of God can be trusted to be His Promise, His Bond to us. We can rest with explicit assurances that every Word from God is a Promise from God.

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July 28 – Listen. Hear. Receive.

“I will hear what God the LORD will say; For He will speak peace to His people, to His godly ones; But let them not turn back to folly. Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, That glory may dwell in our land.” –  Psalm 85:8-9 (NASB)

God has many things to tell us each day and He has several ways of speaking to us. We are so glad for the way He speaks to us when we read the Bible or hear someone teach us from it. Sometimes He speaks to us by reminding us of something we have read earlier in the Bible, maybe years ago.  We know that He can also speak through our consciences through the Holy Spirit who lives within us. Our verse reminds us of what happens in our hearts when we become conscious that God is speaking to us. When we recognize God’s voice speaking to us and we receive what He tells us in an obedient manner we sense His peace within. How wonderful to know it is the voice of God speaking to us. The peace ultimately comes in fullness in the Messiah’s kingdom. In Ezekiel 10-11 we can read about the time that the glory of God departed from Israel because of their apostasy and refusal to believe and obey God’s word.  His promises were delayed until the end of time when the glory will return. Listen today for God’s voice from His Word. Listen and learn.

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July 27 – Trusting In Our Refuge

“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.” Psalm 118: 8-9 (NASB)

We might ask what it means to take refuge in the Lord? We are glad that the psalmist really explains it by what he says in the last part of each verse. There he uses the word trust. If we take the time to listen to what people are concerned with ⸺ we are talking about faith believers, ⸺ we find many who trust in “a way of life.”  They fret and worry about how our society is changing and what once was common piety is being cancelled by a sinful world. God has been left out of the process of reckoning and replaced by wanton heathenism. We turn to take refuge in the Lord by reaffirming our trust in Him. Our teach us that it is better to put our confidence (trust) in the Lord than in any human being. Our presidents, princes, and kings are not good object of this kind of trust. So if we need to depend on the help of any person us let’s be sure that our real trust is first and always on our God. Trusting in God is a sure and safe means to find God’s way that never fails us.

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July 26 – He Knows Best

Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,
 “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit,
Who leads you in the way you should go.” – Isaiah 48:17 (NASB)

These words were delivered by God’s prophet Isaiah and we apply them to our lives today because we believe that what is given to us in the Bible is for our edification, instruction, and correction. God wants to teach us what is best for us. When He says that, He reminds us that He knows what is best for us. We need to always remember that truth. It is true that God sent Isaiah the Profit to give these words to the people of Israel. They had difficult time obeying God’s Words. It was frequent that God had to discipline and hold them accountable and he was always do so to teach them the way He wanted them to go. Our God knows everything about everybody and He know what is best for each and every individual. It is so very encouraging to know that God is concerned enough about each one of us that He gets involved in teaching us what He knows is best for us.  He does not leave us to figure out the path of our lives on our own. So what do we do? We want to pay attention to His teaching.

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July 25 – Belonging to Him, We are His

“Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.” 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (NASB)

We can be sure that our God is involved in what happens in our lives as Christians. It is Christ’s saving work of grace that gives believers stability and places them on a firm foundation in Him. Romans 16:25 also speaks to us about who has established us. “Now to Him who is able to establish you…” We all pay special attention to ‘our things’ large or small and they become important treasures. Our verse reminds us that God thinks of us as belonging to Him. For that reason He is actively involved in our lives to maintain that relationship, helping us to stand firm in Christ. He has given us His Holy Spirit to live within us and also to be our guarantee that we belong to Him. Paul in defending his authenticity gives a clear reference to the work of the three members of the Trinity. The authenticity of Paul’s spiritual life and that of every genuine believer is verified by these four divine works (“establishes us,” “anointed us,” “sealed us,” “gave us the Spirit”) accomplished in their lives. Let’s be thankful for the pledge of ownership Jesus has given to us in the Holy Spirit.

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July 24 – Obedience is Forever and Ever

“Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.” – 1 Peter 1:22-23 (NASB)

Of  all things we are called to do as believers in Jesus who is God Almighty, obedience is the most difficult.  It is also the most important. “The first and the last thing [our] God asks of [us] is simple, universal, and unchanging obedience.i ” After God created the first two people of the human race to live in His world, He immediately began to communicate with them and he continues to do that with us today. We learn about Him through the Holy Spirit inspired writing of His people like Apostle Peter. We learn about his love in giving His Son to die for us and by believing in Jesus we receive eternal life.  We are born again through God’s Word. And this is for eternity because God’s Word is His communication to  us and it is eternal. The love indicated here by Peter is the love of choice, the kind of love that can respond to a command. “Fervently” means to stretch to the limits. We can trust Him forever and live with Him forever. His Word will never perish or fade away – let’s trust it today and every day.

i Murray, Andrew. The School of Obedience [Annotated, Updated]: If ye love me, keep my commandments – John 14:15 (p. 3). Aneko Press.  

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July 23 – He’ll Heal All, Large and Small

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.” – Psalm 147:3-4 (ESV)

This is a wonderful reminder of how God is involved in our lives as His children. This psalm speaks of His response. He knows how to give us the help we need and to bring healing – to restore our spiritual health.  The context of these verses is the return of the Children of Israel to Jerusalem after 70 years in captivity. These words of praise are about how God cares for his own and about his knowledge as Creator God. God has given all the stars their names – not the names we use but the names given when He created each one. It is beyond our comprehension but He knows how many stars there are, something we’ll never know. Our verse mentions the wounds we suffer at times. They might be small wounds or large wounds. No matter the causes, God knows just how to bring healing.  And our verse also mentions hearts that are broken. Our wounds might be more serious hurts but God can take care of them too and bring complete healing. So whether our hurts today are large or small, let’s allow God to do the healing promised and we know He can do.

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July 22 –Receive, Find, and Access Granted

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” – Matthew 7:7-8 (ESV)

Today’s passage is one we have considered previously but it is good and necessary for review. This is a training exercise we should do over and over and over again. So doing, it will become a natural response in times that we need God’s help. This is from what is called the Sermon On The Mount. Jesus was speaking to and teaching his disciples and many more who had gathered around him to listen to him teach. He was also speaking to us and this is a promise for us today. A promise we can take to heart and live by.  We all have needs throughout our life and Jesus knows that. We all are looking for the truth and knowledge and guidance. We all come to places where we might find our way closed. Jesus tells us to Ask for what we need and it will be made available; Seek what we are promised and we will find it; Knock when the door is closed and it will be opened. We can be thankful and rejoice to know that God responds to us when we ask, seek and knock. He is always there to respond.

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July 21 – He Has Done Great Things

“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.” – Luke 1:47-49 (NASB)

As we are approaching what some call “Christmas in July” we take this moment to remember again the words of Mary the mother of Jesus. After receiving the word from Gabriel, God’s arch angel that she would bear the Son of God in human form, Mary visited her cousin. Mary referred to God as “Savior,” demonstrating both that she recognized her own need of a Savior, and that she knew the true God as her Savior. Mary did not see herself as one free from the taint of original sin. She sang about the wonderful works that God was doing in her life. She had learned that she would become the Mother of Jesus, the Messiah and she realized that it was God doing it. We can praise the Lord just like she did. God does do great things for us and He is ready to do such things for us every day. We can remember that He is the Mighty One and His love for us is so great. So whatever we are facing today, you and I can know that God is able to take care of it for us. Let’s trust Him because He has promised.

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