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MARCH 31 – Where is your expectation?


MARCH 31 – Where is your expectation?

Psalm 62:5  My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. 

6  He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved. 

7  In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. 

8  Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah. 

This gives us the thought that our soul should be fixed upon God. A time of silence and pray will bring us to the point that we will give ourselves to the Lord. We will more readily come to an agreement with God and submit ourselves to Him. Why begin our day without Him when His desire to guide us and have us come into an agreement with Him over the day that is here. Notice that our expectation is from God. What is our great hope? To be in the presence of the Lord. What we are hoping for, our expectation comes from God. He is the author of our expectation.

We no surer foundation that God. When we build upon Him and accept His salvation, nothing can shake us loose. We can suffer sorrow and understand that God is with us to succor us. We suffer attacks and know that God is my defense. We will suffer many things in this life but we are secure on the foundation of God. The defense of God is impenetrable. There are none that can come through His defense.

I consider that I have many brethren in the Lord and I love them, but they are not my salvation or glory. They are not my strength or my refuge. They are weak and fallible just like I am. God is my salvation and I glory in Him. He is the rock that gives me strength daily. He is the one I flee to when I need a place of safety.

Does your soul wait upon the Lord? Do you trust Him implicitly?

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ONE VERSE PREFERENCE


 Parson to Person

ONE VERSE PREFERENCE
If I could have in my possession only one verse of the Bible, which one would it be? Hands down, it would be John 3:16. It is so comprehensive that it pretty well covers all the bare essentials for fallen mankind. It is the key to evangelism. Think about it with me!
It begins, “For God.” Here is the presentation of the eternal, creator deity. There is no need to try to prove God. He doesn’t! He is, and it is literally the fool who does not know this.
It continues, “So loved.” Here is the essence of what God is. I John 4:8 says “God is love.” There is one God. He is the creator and eternal judge, and His essence is love. That draws me.
“God so loved the world.” Here is the object of His love: the inhabited world. It is unlimited to the world of men. As a part of that, I am then the object of His love. I am grateful, and I rejoice!
“That He gave.” Love is giving. Love is sacrifice by its own definition. God, the Creator is a giving God, not a taker. Rather than quake in fear, I run to Him in expectation.
“He gave His only begotten Son.” Love gives! It is not a trivial gift. It is not an expensive gift that would be trivial compared to His universal riches. It is His only begotten Son. The gift is the one and only expression of mankind who could pay the penalty of sin and did so from the depths of His essence of love and grace. It is as the scriptures put it, an “Unspeakable gift!”
“That whosoever.” What a wonderful word! Whosoever includes me! Whosoever excludes no one. The invitation to goodness, righteousness, life is indeed universal to the offspring of Adam.
“Believeth in Him.” The required prerequisite to everlasting life is to believe in Him. One might quibble about the degree of belief under consideration, but the term “believeth” is present tense, and means to trust for that which is eternal, and over which no mortal has control or authority in himself.
“Should not perish” Here is the opposite outcome for failure to believe in Him. Moreover, it is a divine statement that such belief produces the opposite of whatever ideas may be associated with “perish.” But for God, to perish is absolutely, universally certain!
“But have everlasting life.” Life: goodness in awareness minus any of the evils associated with present earthly life and sin. Life! Everlasting life! It is perfection, immortality, awareness in total righteousness without interruption or end. The very idea is overwhelming, but this is the greatest story ever told, the greatest gift ever given, the greatest hope of any human heart.
If I could have only one verse of scripture in my possession to love, live by, and share with others, it would be John3:16

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Pleasant Praise  


Psalm 135:1-3

Ye that stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God, Praise the Lord; for the Lord is good: sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant,” Psalm 135:2, 3.

Let’s do a little quiz today. It is simple, just fill in the blanks. Here we go.

God is good . . . ______ __________ ____________ .

Did you answer “all the time”? Yeah, I figured that would be an easy one. All the time God is good! I can remember as a kid my pastor would always come to the pulpit and say “God is good” and we would reply “all the time.” I thought we were the only church that did this, but apparently we were not.

In today’s passage we are reminded once again that our God is a good God. He not only has good qualities, He is goodness! Do you think a God like that deserves a little praise? Sure He does! That is why we are instructed in this psalm to “sing praises unto his name” (verse 3).

Do you take time to just sing to God? I don’t mean getting up at church and singing a solo. Do you ever have moments where it is only you and the Lord and a song? The Lord deserves our praise and He takes joy in our songs.

Singing to the Lord should be pleasant work to a saint because it is pleasing to God. When we have a melody in our hearts that overflows to our mouth, God finds pleasure in it. We are a people that the Lord has chosen. He has chosen us to bring glory and praise to Himself.

 

JUST ASKING

Does the goodness of God lead you to pleasant praise?

Nathan Rogers

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Cursed or Blessed?  


 

Jeremiah 17:5-8

Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is,” Jeremiah 17:7.

I will readily admit that I am not much of a gardener. Horticulture is not my area of expertise. But I do try. This past summer I planted some nice shrubs in my backyard and expected them to grow and thrive. There was only one problem. Plants need water and good soil to grow. The east Texas summers where I live can be pretty brutal and my lovely plants turned brown and died. They were cursed. I do not know if it was the brutal Texas drought or the poor skill of the gardener, but those shrubs never stood a chance!

In today’s passage we are told that a man who places his trust in people and not in God is cursed. He is like the plant that is placed in the desert, much like my shrubs, utterly hopeless. To be cursed means that a person is constantly affected with adversity. Like a plant in the desert, the brutal relentlessness of the curse will eventually destroy.

But blessed is the man who places his trust in the Lord!

To be blessed is the opposite of cursed. We see that a blessed man is like the tree that is planted near waters (verse 8). To be blessed is to live a life that is jam-packed with good stuff. God is the One who gets to define what that good stuff is, and as much as we would like to pick and chose our blessings, it is not determined by our desires. But you can rest assured that it is still good stuff.

 

JUST ASKING

Would you consider yourself blessed or cursed?

Nathan Rogers

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The Righteous Judge  


 

Psalm 9:1-10

And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people,” Psalm 9:8.

Jesus is not only the tenderhearted God of mercy, coming to town in peace, riding on a donkey; He is also the righteous Judge who will rule with a rod of iron. He will come again wielding the sword of God riding on a warhorse, stomping the grapes of wrath in the winepress of God’s judgment. Personally, as a boy I knew my stepfather loved me unconditionally, but I was scared out of my wits of his old Navy belt which he rarely had to use. That belt symbolized judgment; therefore, even though I loved him, I respected his boundaries. I was usually chicken where pain was eminent.

In Psalm 9, David compares his pagan enemies to his own reign, depending on God’s leadership. David’s life strategy was when the Lord judges the world in righteousness, David would not be depending on his own righteous behavior; his confidence would be in the righteous Judge sitting on the throne.

Regardless of how hard religious people work to turn Christianity into a tiptoe through the tulips lifestyle, one cannot close his eyes to the fact that God’s Word makes it clear. Christ will come again with all His saints bringing God’s judgment upon the ungodly (Jude 14, 15). We need to be sure we are the ones following Him in white robes, not those out front on the receiving end of His sword.

Every sin has its own consequence. Therefore, since the wages of sin is death, the Judge must pass the sentence of death. But, He offers to believers the gift of eternal life through Jesus, the righteous Judge.

 

IN OTHER WORDs

If the Judge be for us, who can be against us?

Robert Brock

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Faith Is Necessary


 

Romans 4:1-5

 

“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness,” Romans 4:5.

 

Some may have questioned, “Is my faith strong enough to save me?” “Do I have enough faith?” Many may believe that their childhood profession in Jesus was not strong enough and remake professions of faith as an adult. The faith of a child is just as good as the faith of an adult. Faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God that He died, was buried and rose on the third day is enough. Our faith in Jesus Christ saves us.

 

Thankfully, salvation is not based on how strong our faith is at the moment of belief or how strong it remains in our lifetime but is based on faith in Jesus Christ. Two other false beliefs are that there is a special prayer to pray and that faith keeps them saved. God judges the intent of the heart. Jesus offers us salvation as a gift because He loves us, not because we have earned it. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit keep us secure.

 

Faith is necessary. It is believing and trusting in Jesus Christ and accepting His free gift of salvation. It is an action of the heart, mind and soul and is necessary to please God.

Faith in our wonderful Savior is effective. Without it we cannot be saved.

 

REFLECTION

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast (Eph. 2:8, 9).

Beverly Barnett

 

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Absent and Present


 

2 Corinthians 5:6-8

 

“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord,” 2 Corinthians 5:8.

 

 

 

Paul’s thesis in this passage is that we have two homes, one of the earth where we must live by faith. Since we cannot see our spiritual home with God, we long for that reunion when our yearning heart will be satisfied and at peace.

 

Often when children grow up and leave home, they find dreams do not come true so easily. After regrouping, they try their wings again until they, like Noah’s dove, can find a place of their own to lay their weary heads. Jesus told His would-be disciples, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Luke 9:58). He knew this world was not His home. On the cross, He bowed His head and gave up the Spirit. In the Greek, the words “bowed his head” (John 19:30) are the same words as “lay his head.” On the cross, He finally found the place to lay His head. He had gone home.

 

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived by faith as strangers and pilgrims in a strange land, believing God had prepared them a city, and they would one day dwell there and be satisfied and at peace. Going home gives the child of God inspiration to get out of bed each morning and fight the battles assigned to him that day.

 

Going through the throws of basic training and cutting the apron strings, I called home as often as I could. Finally, I got a furlough. I happily arrived home to find my three brothers had divided all my clothes and one was sleeping in my bed. It hit me hard. This is not your home anymore.

 

 

 

JUST SAYING

 

This world is not our home. We are pilgrims and strangers passing through, convincing as many as we can to go with us.

 

Robert Brock

 

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Christ’s Sacrifice Prophesied


 

Isaiah 53:3-12

 

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all,” Isaiah 53:6.

 

 

Description of the sacrifice (Isa. 53): despised, rejected, sorrows, grief, esteemed not. Does this sound like a sacrifice that would please a holy, perfect God?

 

He carried our griefs and sorrows. Did we appreciate it? No, we turned our backs on Him. He came unto His own and His own rejected Him. Did that deter Him? It did not. He opened His arms of mercy and called us from the cliffs of hell. We turned our backs on Him and ran off like spoiled, rebellious children. He called us friend, and we kissed the holy cheek of God’s Lamb of sacrifice and turned Him over to the enemy for a handful of coins. We beat the thorns of our sins down upon His head, and He offered us a crown of life. He laid down on our tree of death, and we drove the nails through His hands that held Him there, and He prayed for us. Father, forgive them. They do not know what they are doing. That is love that man’s finite mind cannot begin to fathom.

 

Think about it. Oh, how He loved Him, “My beloved Son” (Matt. 3:17). Oh, how He loved us, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow” (Isa. 1:18). “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor.  5:21). “He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth” (Isa. 53:7).

 

 

Just Saying

 

God said it six thousand years ago; God did it two thousand years ago. The proof is in the pudding “that the Lord is gracious” (1 Peter 2:3).

 

 

Robert Brock

 

 

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He Takes Away Sin


 

John 1:29

 

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world,” John 1:29. 

 

 

 

As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him” (Psalm 103:12, 13).

 

And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat . . . Then shall he kill the goat of the sin-offering, that is for the people, . . . he shall bring the live goat: and Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness (Lev. 16:7, 8, 15, 20-22).

 

God has demonstrated from Genesis to Revelation, that before the world was created, He had a plan to take away mankind’s sins. He put them on His Son who carried them away when He died on the cruel cross. That’s why the repentant sinner feels liberated; the Holy Spirit has lifted the burden of the consequences of his sin.

 

 

 

Just Saying

 

Ever hear your grandmother say, your chickens have come home to roost? We must truly repent.

 

 

 

Robert Brock

 

 

 

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Live for God in This World


 

Titus 2:12

 

Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world,” Titus 2:12.

 

 

Two options are presented here: (1) a lifestyle of ungodliness and worldly lusts of this present world, (2) living soberly, self-controlled, watchful-cautious, righteously (our relationship to mankind, Commandments 5-10) and godly (our relationship to God, Commandments 1-4). “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, . . . because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Rom. 1:18, 21).

 

Recently I saw a USO calendar cover of a young father-soldier holding his one year old son who reached up his hand and touched his father’s face. Someone had added a famous caption to the picture, plus an addition: “I reached out my hand and touched the face of God . . . who lives in my daddy.”

 

What greater incentive to live for God in a world stumbling in darkness?

 

How wretched of a parent, by his example, to lead his family to hell, then abandon them there and go to Heaven. King David paid for his example of lack of self-control with the lives of four of his children. To his grave His heart wept for them. “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!” (2 Sam. 18:33).

 

 

Just Saying

 

As Christians, our lack of caution and self-control can invite Satan to blindside us and cast our pearls before swine.

 

 

Robert Brock

 

 

 

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