Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mend Your Net

"Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him."
Matthew 4:21-22

When Jesus called James and John, the fishermen, they were "mending their nets." It is often in the most mundane that Jesus calls us. My late husband's great great grandfather was chopping wood in the back of his parents' home when the Lord called him to become a circuit preacher. He dropped his axe and heeded the Lord's call without hesitation. Throughout our walk with the Lord there may be times when the only task He has for us is to mend our nets. To do only the thing that He's placed before us  -- no matter how simple or mundane -- until He calls us to a greater work. If you are waiting on the Lord with a net in your lap, rejoice. Mend that net and trust that a greater work for you is in His plan.

(Today's devotional is the last entry for Mountain Manna. I want to thank all of you who have followed this devotional blog since I started it just a little over two years ago. Many of you have encouraged me personally, and I appreciate that more than you know. I've enjoyed this journey with you, but all good things must come to an end. I feel the Lord is calling me away from this ministry. I don't know what He has planned for me, so for now I'm just going to mend my own net and wait for Him to show me what's next. 

"The Lord bless you, and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace."
Numbers 6:24-26

Remember to keep your eyes on Jesus. -- Nancy)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Be Patient, Be Strong

"You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, 
for the coming of the Lord is near."
James 5:8

James wants to encourage Christians to stand firm in trials. He reminds us that the Lord's return is near, and he tells Christians to "be patient" and "strengthen your hearts". The focus here in on the Lord's second coming. It is imminent. It will happen. The coming of Christ is mentioned some three hundred times in the New Testament.  There is a mention of the coming of Christ one time for every thirteen verses from Matthew to Revelation. It is the one single event that every Christian should long for and watch for. The Christian life requires patience and endurance as we wait for the Lord's return. Trials are never ending. One may end, but another will eventually take its place. There will always be something for us to endure. That's true for everyone - believers and unbelievers alike. The difference is that we believers have access to the Holy Spirit, and He is able to empower us to endure tribulation. Our responsibility is to purpose to live with patience and strength, and then to ask the Holy Spirit to help us do so. His responsibility is to give us what we need. He is faithful. He will do it.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

This I Know

"This I know, that God is for me."
Psalm 56:9

Even under the threat of death David could say, "This I know, that God is for me." David's trust in God was so complete that I sometimes wonder if he was completely human. And yet I know he was because in times of distress he also struggled with feeling rejected by God (Psalm 89:46,49; Psalm 13:1). Perhaps David, more than any other figure in the Bible, is most like the majority of believers. We know theologically that God is for us. We know it by Calvary. But the cares and concerns of life here on earth tempt us to doubt that He is really for us every day. Especially when we are in the midst of physical or emotional pain. Is God really for us when the prognosis is not good? Yes. He is. Is God really for us when a loved one dies? Yes. He is. Is God really for us when a relationship ends, or we lose a job, or our house goes up in flames? Yes. He is. "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:31-32). God is for us. When we call to Him, He will either remove the trial from our lives or give us through His grace the strength to bear it (2 Corinthians 12:9). Like David we can each say with confidence, "God is for me."

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

First Things First

"How blessed is the man who has made the Lord his trust, 
And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood."
Psalm 40:4

It's election year here in the United States and the rhetoric is building. I'm not even talking about the candidates. I'm talking about the conversations on Facebook, at the coffee shops and in the grocery store check-out lines. It seems many people have placed their trust in an ideology instead of God. Certainly we should participate in the election process, but to do so and leave God out of the picture will never lead to the blessings He wants to bestow upon our country. The Bible tells us to acknowledge the Lord in everything we do and He will direct the way we should go (Proverbs 3:5-6). "For I know the plans that I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:11-13). I wonder what great things would happen in our country if we put first things first. If we humbled ourselves and honestly prayed for God's wisdom before we vote. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Our Creative God

"O Lord, how many are Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all;
The earth is full of Your possessions."
Psalm 104:24

There is nothing that speaks to me more of God's creativity than to observe His earthly possessions. From the magnificent mountains to the roaring seas, from the cornfields to the deserts, every locale shows God's fingerprint. They are all beautiful in their own way. The animals that inhabit the earth know their place, for He has placed each one according to their habits and needs. He sees that they are fed and watered. He is the all-wise and loving Creator. "God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good" (Genesis 1:31). Ah, yes. It is very good. "Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created." (Revelation 4:11)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Daily He Bears Our Burdens

"Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden,
The God who is our salvation." 
Psalm 68:19

Isn't it good to know that the Lord bears our burdens on a daily basis. Not just once in awhile but every single day.  We don't ever need to wonder if the Lord loves us. His love is everlasting (Jeremiah 31:3). He is always watching over us (2 Chronicles 16:9). Even when we are old and gray Jesus is our Rescuer (Isaiah 64:4). He is Yeshua" -- God of salvation. He never tires of hearing us say, "Lord, I can't do this alone." Before we even ask for help He is aware of our need and standing before us with outstretched arms, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28 NIV).

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Waiting in Hope

"I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait,
And in His word do I hope."
Psalm 130:5

We must wait for the Lord, no matter how long it takes, because His timing is perfect. Is it easy? No, most of the time it isn't easy to wait on the Lord. We tend to fret that He's taking too long to move. But as Peter said, "with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day." God's timeline is much different from ours. And it is the hope we have in His word -- His promises - that sustains us while we wait. Scripture gives us the strength we need to wait. It assures us that God has not forgotten us. In the middle of the night when anxious thoughts keep us awake we can think on familiar verses like Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope." Praise God that He is a loving Father who has the very best plans for us, and has given us His word to give us hope as we wait on Him.

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