September 17 – When To Fix Our Gaze

“O our God, will You not judge them? For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.” – 2 Chronicles 20:12 (NASB)

It shouldn’t be surprising to realize that as faith believing Christians we face resistance from those who do not believe in God. As we live according to the precepts and commandments God has given to us and if the teachings of Jesus are how purpose to walk on life’s journey, our enemy Satan will throw hard times in our path. It doesn’t take much for us to see our inadequacies—especially in living for and serving God. When life’s circumstances press in on us, we become aware of the challenges set before us and can quickly sense ourselves recoiling from it. There was this time when King Jehoshaphat of Judah faced the descendants of  Lot, (i.e. Moab and Ammon), and the offspring of Esau, (i.e. Edomites), were intent on sacking Jerusalem and Judah’s forces. Jehoshaphat knew his weakness and was afraid. He was aware of their power and of the inadequacy of his own people. He also knew that the proper response to his weakness was full dependence upon God (2 Chronicles 20:3). As he confronted this reality, he kept his gaze firmly fixed above, praying, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

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August 12 – Listen to Wisdom

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.” – Proverbs 12:15 (NASB)

The way of the wicked or wickedness is contrasted with the way of righteousness throughout this chapter. Each verse brings us to ponder how our lives measure up. The fool’s arrogance and conceit hinder his ability to tap into God’s wisdom. His way is right in his own eyes. He needs no direction, asks no counsel, is stubborn in his own way, because it is his own understanding that leads him and he follows it to his own ruin. His chief danger is his security. The fool does not see the threat of destruction. He has no teachable spirit and so has little means of increasing his wisdom. Is it that we might not see because there is no flagrant sin?   Thinking that we are okay and at least as good as our neighbor. After all we believe in heaven but we may see the way as having easy access by our own understanding. Instead, we will do better to listen to the counsel God gives us through the Holy Spirit and by means of Godly people who can teach us. It is the wise who listen and heed what God has said.  

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September 2 – Turning from Worthless Ways

“Incline my heart to your testimonies,
and not to selfish gain!
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways. – Psalm 119:36-37 (ESV)

There is no room for doubt when we reflect on our shortcomings and the ways we fail to live up to the standards set for us in the Bible. We all need help and there is only one source that can actually help us. We first need to learn from God how He commands us to live. Psalm 119:33 tells us how if the LORD teaches us the way of his statutes, we will keep it to the end of days. We need understanding and guidance. The psalmist declared his loyalty to the Word, and he observed it with his whole heart. He prayed that the LORD would turn him away from dishonest gain and vanity. Vanity, the way it is used here means emptiness, nothingness, useless. When we commit ourselves, our resources, and out time to what is worthless we are in pursuit of vain things. This is the most common usage of this word in the Old Testament. We have an option and it is what we should desire. Our search should be for God to confirm His ordinances to us that we may enjoy the way of life God gives to us – His way.

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August 16 – Eyes Opened By God

“Open my eyes, that I may behold
            Wonderful things from Your law.” – Psalm 119:18 (NASB)

It was in 1895 that Clara H. Scott wrote the now traditional hymn “Open my Eyes.” It was inspired by more than one Psalm but the verse we have today likely inspired the first stanza of the hymn. If you are familiar with the hymn you know how it can stick in your mind*. Our verse brings to us the promise of wonderful things from God’s Word. But we need to have our eyes opened. Notice we say opened, not open. Even if we have our eye open, it is only when they are opened by God’s Word that we can understand what God has in store for us. God’s Word is full of things for us to have to build our relationship with Him. If we looked at the next verse, we hear the psalmist plea that God’s commandments not be withheld from him. Our time on this earth is a sojourn. Our birth into God’s family by His grace and mercy makes us strangers to this world. We need God’s Word to navigate through. We ask God to “Open our eyes,” because without His help, we are blind to His way and His blessings.

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Open my eyes that I may see
Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me;
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That shall unclasp and set me free.

            Silently now I wait for Thee,
            Ready, my God, Thy will to see;
            Open my eyes, illumine me,
            Spirit Divine!

Listen: