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Archive for the ‘Verse of the Moment’ Category

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One of your parents may have said to you, “How many times do I have to tell you this?” I know I heard it growing up, and many of you have said it to your own kids.

Why is repetition necessary? Because we forget. We don’t remember everything we’ve ever heard and we definitely don’t put it all into practice.

God tells us over four hundred times in His Word not be afraid. Isaiah 41:10 is one of those places: Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” 

He tells us four hundred times because we forget. Yes, we read and hear His promise. But shortly thereafter, when we face uncertainty or anything anxiety-inducing, we forget His precious promise and begin to fret.

The promise of God isn’t simply strength, help, and upholding, as wonderful as all of those are. God promises Himself to us! The presence He gives is Himself — the omnipresent One who is present with His people in a special and intimate way. The strength He gives is Himself — the One who is omnipotent. The help He gives is Himself — the God who is able. The upholding He gives is Himself — the God is faithful to His covenant promises.

What, or whom, do we have to fear if God gives us Himself? Let’s not forget that.

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As I read Psalm 31 yesterday in my read-through-the Bible-in-a-year program, verse 15 jumped out at me. In the midst of his psalm, David writes, “My times are in Your hands.” 

As I meditated on that phrase, the following thoughts came to my mind.

“My times are in Your hands” teaches us, as does the rest of the psalm, God’s sovereign care and control of the lives of His people. It can be seen even more clearly when each word is considered in turn.

My times are in Your hands. God’s care and control are personal and individual, not just for “first class” Christians or special Christians or especially holy believers. “My” includes me and all of God’s other children individually, too.

My times are in Your hands. God’s care and control are inclusive. Everything I am and have are in God’s hands. It isn’t simply physical time, though that’s included. The Lord determines the day of my birth, my death, and everything in between.

My times are in Your hands. God’s care and control are present – not past (not “were”) or future (not “will be”) or potential (“might be”); it’s actual. His control and care are current and constant.

My times are in Your hands. God’s care and control is active. My times are in His hands, not outside of them. To be “in” is to possess something and have it under control.

My times are in Your hands. God’s care and control are His possession – something He does and doesn’t share with anyone. I’m in God’s hands, not my own (which is a very good thing, for which I’m incredible thankful!).

My times are in Your handsHands are representative of what God id doing – His work on our behalf in this case. Nothing slips through God’s hands – nothing in our life or the lives of God’s people.

Because our times are in God’s hands, He does with us whatever He chooses. Knowing that should be a soft pillow, and not a hard rock, on which to lay our heads.

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“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:2)

Nothing the world has to offer – wealth, fame, power, etc. – will last forever.

Everything God gives by His grace – forgiveness, life, freedom, etc. – will last forever and will never fade away.

Therefore, it only makes sense to focus our attention and ambition on what is eternal and not what is temporal.

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“The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” (Prov. 16:9)

Saturday proved this verse (of course it didn’t need proving – maybe confirmation is a better word). I had my day planned because there were several things I needed to accomplish including my sermon for the next day. Nothing wrong with planning – we need to be good stewards of our time.

A visit to the intensive care unit (as a pastor, not a patient), a flat tire, a visit from relatives that was longer than expected because they helped us fix the flat tire, and a trip to the store all “interfered” with my brilliantly conceived plans.

Days like Saturday are reminders from God that He is in control – we’re not. We can plan – and we should – but the sovereign and good Ruler of the universe always has the last say and final word. We make our plans, He does what’s best for us. I praise Him for that because I wouldn’t want it any other way.

In case you’re wondering, I finished all of my work including the sermon.

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The verse of the moment for Good Friday –

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21).

Jesus, who died a vicious, cruel, horrible, and bloody death – crucified on a cross – did it for the salvation of His people. He died a sacrificial death for our sins as our substitute. He offers us His perfect righteousness in exchange for our sins – the great exchange! That’s what Good Friday is all about.

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