Monday, March 30, 2015

I AM THE LORD WHO (PART 4)



Can I pray for you in any way? Send any prayer requests to OurChristianWalk@aol.com.

In Christ, Mark
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
** Follow The Christian Walk on Twitter @ThChristianWalk
** Like posts and send friend requests to the author of The Christian Walk, Mark Cummings on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mark.cummings.733?ref=tn_tnmn
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The scriptures. May God bless the reading of His holy word.

This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb:

“I am the Lord who says to the watery deep, ‘Be dry, and I will dry up your streams’”.

Isaiah 44:24a, 27

This ends this reading from God's holy word. Thanks be to God.

One thing is certain about the Lord as we look at our scriptures and experience His work in our lives and the lives of others.

He is a Lord of miraculous power.

How miraculous?

Think about anything that could be humanly improbable or impossible. Man or woman could not possibly achieve it but nothing is beyond what the Lord God Almighty can do. Nothing.

This is the fourth assertion we find from the Lord in the closing verses of Isaiah 44 and thus the fourth devotion on what He assures us we find in Him.

First, He is the Maker of all things. Next, the sole source of perfect truth. Thirdly, He is the Lord who builds us up in righteousness upon His sure, firm foundations. And as we see today, He is the worker of miracles.

Need an example?

Look at our scripture verses again:

This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: “I am the Lord who says to the watery deep, ‘Be dry, and I will dry up your streams.’” Isaiah 44:24a, 27

Who can control the seas so that they move and dry up?

The Lord can.

Remember when the Israelites were fleeing the Egyptians with Pharaoh and his men hot in pursuit. There was a vast sea in front of them and unless some passage was made, they would have been trapped, unable to escape and facing being captured again or even killed.

The Lord, their Deliverer, wasn’t about to let that happen. Here’s the scriptural account of what went down:

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. Exodus 14:21-22

Can you even imagine what it had to be like to experience this, to be an Israelite walking on dry land where there once was a sea which was now turned into walls of water, framing their pathway? It had to be simply unbelievable but then again, this was the Lord making it happen and He can do all things.

We would be well served to remember this as we are dealing with issues in our lives. As I like to say regularly to people who are struggling in the midst of circumstances, the Lord has worked greater miracles than fixing whatever they are going through. And indeed, He has.

Consider these other astounding events:

1. Feeding the masses with little.

As evening approached, the disciples came to Him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”

Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.

“Bring them here to me,” He said. And He directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children. Matthew 14:15-21

Jesus called his disciples to Him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with Me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”

His disciples answered, “Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?”

“How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.

“Seven,” they replied, “and a few small fish.”

He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then He took the seven loaves and the fish, and when He had given thanks, He broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was four thousand men, besides women and children.  Matthew 15:32-38

Two separate occasions in the Gospel of Matthew. Each involved a multitude of people who needed fed but with little food to give them. In each instance, the Lord took a little bread and a few fish, and fed the masses. Imagine you are a disciple that knew what Jesus had done. How would you have felt?

I don’t know about you but I would begin to think that there is nothing this man could do and I would be right because He was the Lord, the One who could do all things.

I could go on to cover the manna and quail (Exodus 16) the Lord sent to His people or the water He brought them from a rock (Exodus 17) during their journey to the Promised Land but you get the point. The Lord is our Great Provider and defies the odds in making sure we are nourished and nurtured.

2. Calming the storm.

Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” Matthew 8:24-27

Imagine you were a disciple in that boat. This wasn’t a cruise ship but rather a basic boat which would easily be capsized by rough seas. When a storm came upon them, it had so much fury that the waves were sweeping over the sides of the boat. It would be easy to be afraid of drowning.

But Jesus was in the boat. He was physically with the disciples and yet they allowed their fear to replace their faith, even though they had already seen Him use His miraculous powers. Didn’t they know He would never let them perish? Apparently not because we know they hurried to wake Him and earned His rebuke as a result before He rebuked the winds and waves bringing complete calm.

What was the result?

Utter amazement. This Jesus could command the winds and waves. He could dissipate storms and bring calm. He could do miraculous things with the elements of weather.

Friends, this almighty Lord we serve, the same Lord we read of in the scriptures, is ready to calm the storms of our lives as well. All we need to do is place our full faith and trust in Him and maintain that even when the winds and waves might threaten. We always find peace when we confidently maintain and sustain our belief and hope in the Lord. He can do all things and that includes bringing you through your circumstances.

3. Giving mobility to the lame, sight to the blind, and hearing to the deaf.

A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and He preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to Him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Immediately Jesus knew in His spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and He said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”

So He said to the man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” Mark 2:1-12

Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. There some people brought to Him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place His hand on him.

After He took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put His fingers into the man’s ears. Then He spit and touched the man’s tongue. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”). At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.

Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.” Mark 7:31-37

They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When He had spit on the man’s eyes and put His hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”

He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”

Once more Jesus put His hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.  Mark 8:22-25

Three separate encounters, each with a man who had suffered through a long term affliction. One had no mobility, confined to lying around on a mat. Another had no sight and the other no hearing. All were healed and restored to full health by Lord Jesus, the Great Physician, the One who can do all things.

We need to keep in mind that doctors might say one thing but only the Lord has the final word when it comes to matters of health. He is a proven worker of miracles and no illness or injury is beyond His repair.

4. Bringing the dead to life.

While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”

Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at Him.

After He put them all out, He took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with Him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. Mark 5:35-42

 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.

“Take away the stone,” He said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that You always hear Me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that You sent Me.”

When He had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”

The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” John 11:38-44

How miraculous is our Lord?

He can and has raised the dead to life. Now that’s power!

Who can resurrect and reanimate?

Only the Maker and Giver of life, the Lord God Almighty, that’s who.

What makes this fact even more amazing is that the Lord did not just make resurrection a one or two person event. No, God, our of His incredible love for His people, sent His only Son Jesus, the very Jesus who would raise Jairus’ daughter and Lazarus from the dead, to ultimately die for every man and woman, bearing all their sins on Calvary’s cross before being buried in a tomb for three days and then resurrected by His Father, paving the way for all who place their belief and trust in Jesus as Savior to follow some day.

We would be dead from our sins without intercession and that’s why we need Jesus. He is the only way to God the Father (John 14:6) and through Him, we are justified (made just as if we had never sinned) and pardoned from our death penalty, free to live now and forever in service to a Savior who defined selfless sacrifice and obedience to His Father’s will.

Friends, I could list far more miracles than those mentioned but the main point is made here. Through the Lord, all things are possible. Let us be encouraged by this truth as we offer the Lord the fullest measure of our honor, praise, and glory, now and forever more.

Amen.

In Christ,

Mark

PS: Please share this with anyone you feel might be blessed by it.

Send any prayer requests to OurChristianWalk@aol.com

Sunday, March 29, 2015

I AM THE LORD WHO (PART 3)



Can I pray for you in any way? Send any prayer requests to OurChristianWalk@aol.com.

In Christ, Mark
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
** Follow The Christian Walk on Twitter @ThChristianWalk
** Like posts and send friend requests to the author of The Christian Walk, Mark Cummings on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mark.cummings.733?ref=tn_tnmn
** Become a Follower of The Christian Walk at http://the-christian-walk.blogspot.com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The scriptures. May God bless the reading of His holy word.

This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb:

“I am the Lord, who says of Jerusalem, ‘It shall be inhabited,’ of the towns of Judah, ‘They shall be rebuilt,’ and of their ruins, ‘I will restore them’. He will say of Jerusalem, ‘Let it be rebuilt,’ and of the temple, ‘Let its foundations be laid.’”

Isaiah 44:24a, 26b, 28b

This ends this reading from God's holy word. Thanks be to God.

We serve a Lord who is the Great Maker of all things and a Lord who gives us perfect truth every time we seek it from Him. We know this because His word tells us so as we have seen in the first two devotions of this five devotion series on proclamations made by the Lord as to who He is at the end of Isaiah 44.

Today, we see that we serve a Lord who sets sure foundations and ordains building things up upon those foundations, constructing structures to be inhabited and populated. He declares this in the following verses from our passage:

This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: “I am the Lord, who says of Jerusalem, ‘It shall be inhabited,’ of the towns of Judah, ‘They shall be rebuilt,’ and of their ruins, ‘I will restore them’. He will say of Jerusalem, ‘Let it be rebuilt,’ and of the temple, ‘Let its foundations be laid.’” Isaiah 44:24a, 26b, 28b

Israel was on the cusp of experiencing the Lord’s judgment, a judgment that would last 70 years as they would soon be defeated by the invading Babylonians, the holy city of Jerusalem destined to be plundered and laid to waste; it’s people hauled away to a distant, foreign land. Their punishment for turning from God to worship other gods would not go unpunished.

But the Lord is more than a just Judge who rules and reigns over His people with almighty power. He is also a loving, caring, compassionate, merciful God who always keeps His promises and so these verses had to serve as a great comfort to the Israelites. Yes, judgment was coming but there would be a day when they would be permitted to return and rebuild Jerusalem and the Holy Temple where the glory of God resided to be worshipped in spirit and truth by His people. The Lord promised that Judah would be rebuilt and as we look further down the road in biblical history, we know that this promise came true. Ditto for the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Temple. The Lord said it and it happened for it is the Lord who ordains all things.

It is the Lord who tears down and the Lord who builds back up in accordance with His will and way.

Now, think about this from a more personal spiritual perspective. For if we are going to ever come close to being the people that the Lord longs for us to be, that is people who are like Jesus and people who were created in His own image, then we have to allow Him to tear us down and build us back up again. It should be a constant prayer for all of us to ask the Lord to break us down where we need broken, to find those places where sin still finds its way into our lives and takes us away from the righteousness the Lord expects us to display. We should allow Him to build us up while standing on His firm foundation where nothing can sway us or move us from placing our full attention on Him and what He wills for us to do in life.

We can either do this willingly or we may find the Lord taking action to break us down Himself through His judgment. The people of Israel had to learn the hard way. None of us should want to repeat the mistakes of the past. It’s far easier to come to the Lord willingly on our knees, prayerfully asking for His hands to mold and shape us to be who He wants us to be, than it is for Him to send His consequences on us, consequences that often bring us to our knees. How many times has that happened in someone’s life, circumstances of their own sinful doing bringing them to their knees when it would have been so much easier to just have been on their knees, seeking the Lord’s way, and avoiding those sins in the first place.

The first steps to being edified come when we willfully submit ourselves and allow the Lord to shape us to be who he wants us to be.

For He is the Master Builder and everything built on His firm foundation holds steady and cannot be moved, a mighty fortress held together by His Spirit and His strength.

That’s the kind of disciple I want to be, the kind of disciple I seek to be every day. I’m a work in progress, clay in the hands of the Potter, and every day the Lord does a little more to make me the man He wants me to be. For that, I am grateful.  

I pray you feel the same way.

Amen.

In Christ,

Mark

PS: Please share this with anyone you feel might be blessed by it.

Send any prayer requests to OurChristianWalk@aol.com

Saturday, March 28, 2015

I AM THE LORD WHO (PART 2)



Can I pray for you in any way? Send any prayer requests to OurChristianWalk@aol.com.

In Christ, Mark
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
** Follow The Christian Walk on Twitter @ThChristianWalk
** Like posts and send friend requests to the author of The Christian Walk, Mark Cummings on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mark.cummings.733?ref=tn_tnmn
** Become a Follower of The Christian Walk at http://the-christian-walk.blogspot.com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The scriptures. May God bless the reading of His holy word.

This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb:

“I am the Lord, who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense, who carries out the words of His servants and fulfills the predictions of His messengers.”

Isaiah 44:24a, 25-26a

This ends this reading from God's holy word. Thanks be to God.

In the first of a five part series based on proclamations from the Lord as to who He is, we saw Him proclaim the fact that He made all things, something we often take for granted. When we don’t do so, we can’t help but be taken to a place of praise, marveling in the majesty and glory of His mighty works.

Today, we see how He is at the heart of truth. Look at these verses in our continued study of Isaiah 44:

This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: “I am the Lord, who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense, who carries out the words of His servants and fulfills the predictions of His messengers.” vv. 44:24a, 25-26a

One thing I think we all crave in our relations with other and attempts to understand the world is truth. We want reliability in the things we are told and come to despise deceit when someone brings it on us.

So where do we go for truth? How can we ensure we are not being misled by someone? Who can we turn to that will always bring us perfect honesty?

Of course, there is only One who can do this for us and that is the Lord who is unerringly sincere and truthful with every word He speaks. No one else possesses perfect integrity. No one.

Look what happens when we turn to the Lord to validate whether words are true or not. For His word assures us that He foils the false prophets and makes fools of diviners. When their words are taken out of the sinful darkness they originate and are placed in the light of the Lord, then and only then are they exposed as falsehood. This goes for the things that people are telling us in our daily lives. This goes for the sermons and Sunday School teaching you are receiving at church, on television, or via the internet (to include these devotions I write every day). False teachers will always be brought out into the open and revealed for the evil sin they are attempting to manifest.

Or as you have heard said many times I am sure, “What is done in the dark will be brought to light” and the scriptures echo this as truth from the Gospel of Luke:

For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Luke 8:17

The Lord of truth will ensure truth prevails when we turn to Him.

But what happens when believers turn from the wisdom of the Lord and seek to create their own truths apart from Him. That doesn’t end up working out to well either. Go back to our passage from Isaiah and you will see the Lord telling us that He overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense. How many people in life have gone along relying and leaning on their own understanding, violating these words from Proverbs:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

Did you catch the key here?

It’s all about trusting the Lord with all our heart. When we do that, we fully rely on Him for all things and why wouldn’t we? Yesterday, we celebrated the fact that He made everything. Who else can do what He can do?

And yet, so many people place their trust in their own intellect or the advice of others and as a result they end up - yes, you guessed it – deceived and led astray. The Lord will make nonsense of the words coming from the mouths of those who consider themselves wise because of their own intellect. His word assures us of that and His word is always truth.

When we place our trust in the Lord, we lean on Him for everything and that includes His truth, His will, His way, and His direction and guidance. No one else will do. No one else can do what He can.

And this leads to the final part of the passage from Isaiah. For when we fully trust the Lord with all our heart, then the words we speak will be words of truth because they come from the One who is perfect truth personified. I never fear whether I am speaking the truth or not because it really isn’t me speaking but the Lord speaking through me through His word and Holy Spirit. The Lord makes good on the words of His servants and messengers because they are speaking His words. That’s why the words of the Lord’s prophets always came to be. They were simply mouthpieces through which the Lord spoke to His people and those words that were spoken were words that would come to be. Period.

Friends, what an amazing assurance the word of the Lord brings our way today. We now know the way to avoid deception and deceit in life. All we need to do is trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding but rather willfully receive His truth always.

Why would we ever do anything else?

Amen.

In Christ,

Mark

PS: Please share this with anyone you feel might be blessed by it.

Send any prayer requests to OurChristianWalk@aol.com