Monday, August 3, 2015

The Freedom of Jesus

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,  (Isaiah 61:1-2)

18“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”f (Luke 4)

Thoughts: This was quoted by Jesus (recorded in Luke 4) when he preached in his home church.  When the Spirit of the Lord comes in power- shown especially when the Messiah comes- it is freedom for people.  Jesus ads in Luke 40 "recovery of sight from the blind."  He brings release from darkness- bringing us into the light of hope and truth.  When Jesus said he fulfilled this prophecy, the people of his hometown tried to kill him, but failed.  Yet Jesus has set millions free.  Jesus set many free physically to show He sets millins free spiirtually.  He releases only those who wish to be set free.  He opens the eyes of those who put their faith in him.  

Prayer: Help me, Lord to put my faith in you and be set free from evil, hurt, and harm.  

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Psalm 41- Mercy elicits God's Mercy

1Blessed are those who have regard for the weak;
the Lord delivers them in times of trouble.
2The Lord protects and preserves them—
they are counted among the blessed in the land—
he does not give them over to the desire of their foes.
3The Lord sustains them on their sickbed
and restores them from their bed of illness.I said, “Have mercy on me, Lordheal me, for I have sinned against you.”

Thoughts: Jesus said, "Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy."  This Psalm reflects that too.  Blessed are those who have regard for the weak- for in their weakness , their sickness, their sin, God has mercy on them.  More than that, God protects and preserves them so that they are able to show more mercy to others.  The Lord not only gets them through their sickness ("sustains them on their sickbed" vs. 3), but God also raises them up- restoring them (vs. 4 and vs. 10),  There is more hope for God;s mercy upon the merciful. A similar saying would be to say forgive others as God has forgiven you.  Be merciful to others so that God may have mercy upon you.   The doctors, nurses, therapists, counselors, and those in the healing and helping professions are people to whom mercy is shown  Dr. Kent Brantley risked everything to face Ebola- contracting Ebola himself.  But he survived, and took his family back to Liberia.  Today there is a hopeful vaccine for Ebola.  But it took people like Dr. Brantley to work and research in order for there to be a cure. 

Prayer: Lord, help me to have a merciful heart and merciful hands that I might experience mercy for oth3ers and mercy from you.  

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Psalm 34 Deliverance

17The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
18The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.19The righteous person may have many troubles,but the Lord delivers him from them all; (Psalm 34:17-19)

Thoughts: It is not that the righteous- and those who pursue righteousness- do not have trouble.  Their problems are real and are hurtful.  Verse 19 says they are many. The point here, rather, is that God delivers us from all our troubles, brokenheartedness, and afflictions.  The cross is the ultimate example.  It was not just brokenness in body that Jesus suffered.  It was also brokenheartedness that Jesus suffered.  Those He loved mocked Him, betrayed Him, deserted Him.  The rulers of His own people tried and mocked Him.  But the cross is not the end of the story- the resurrection is.  Our trials are not the end of the story either. God's deliverance from them is the end of the story. 

Prayer: Lord, help me remember you are the God of the end of the story.    

Friday, July 31, 2015

God binds the brokenhearted Psalm 147:3

3He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)

Thoughts: The context of this verse is that God considers the hurting, humble, and helpless. It is not the strong (the strength of the horse/legs of the warrior 147:10) who are necessarily blessed of God.  God is the lifter of our hearts and heads.  Others may pass by the wounded person by the side of the road- but God Himself is the Good Samaritan who stops and helps. A contrite and humble heart He will not despise.  It is not just the broken in body that He heals- He also heals the brokenhearted.  Many in our culture are brokenhearted.  They have disobeyed God and gone their own way.  They are alone and helpless like sheep without a shepherd.  But the Good Shepherd goes after the straying and binds them, bringing them back into the fold.  God Himself is the Good Shepherd who binds our wounds, and heals our hearts.  Let us call out to Him in our times of sickness, loneliness, and sadness.  When no other human being can help- in fact- when they may make it worse, God our Maker is also our Healer. 

Prayer: Lord, you are the Great Physician.  Bind my brokenness and make me whole.  

Thursday, July 30, 2015

There is Healing

26And He said, "If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the LORD, am your healer."  (Exodus 15:26)

Thoughts: It is possible to be healed.  If the surgery will only make it worse, most doctors will not perform it.  But if there is a possibility- it would be worth doing.  There is healing with God.  It is primarily a healing of the soul.  If there is only a possibility that God can give you peace, hope, love, forgiveness, an abundant and eternal life- will you not try it?  Will you insist in not going to the Great Physician?
     This passage gives two important parts of healing.  He is the great preventer of illness.  He says, "I will put none of these diseases on you which I put on the Egyptians."  God protects us from germs, viruses, evil, hurt, and harm that we cannot see and cannot understand.
     God also is the great healer.  When there is no hope, there is hope.  Once I remember when my mother's twin sister died of a long illness my pastor visited and talked with my mother.  My mother wondered why God didn't heal her sister in answer to her prayers.  My pastor reminded her- now she is healed- more and better than any earthly healing.  God is not a magic lamp that has to heal with each wish.  But God does heal- and is able to do so.  The Maker of our bodies knows what is best for them and also how to make them well.  If you believe there is a God who heals- then you will come to the healer.  Forget not all His benefits- He heals all our diseases and removes our sins as far as the east is from the west.  (Ps. 103).  

Prayer: Lord, let me not forget you are the healer.  Let me not forget your great  benefits. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Heidelberg 129- Amen

20For in him every one of God’s promises is a “Yes.” For this reason it is through him that we say the “Amen,” to the glory of God. (2 Cor. 1:20)

Thoughts: "Amen" literally means "so be it" or in prayer- "May it be so." God hears our hearts and our desires more than we even know the words to pray.  We do not have to have eloquent language for the Lord to answer our prayers. The grace of God from the Spirit is that He understands our real desire and seeks to answer that.  

Prayer: Thank you Lord, for the certainty of the word amen. Thank you that you hear our prayers and that is certain.  

Q & A 129
Q. What does that little word “Amen” express?
A. “Amen” means: This shall truly and surely be! It is even more sure that God listens to my prayer than that I really desire what I pray for.1

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Heidelberg 128- Glorifying God

10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:10,11)

9t“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!” (Revelation 5:12)

Thoughts: In the end, all will glorify God.  Every person will admit that God is God and the truth is the truth.  All was created for God's glory and in the end the bad we do, the good we do, and all in between,  will be turned into a way to glorify God.  To glorify God means to reflect back to Him His honor.  We are called to reflect His light- as a small mirror reflects the light of the sun.  Our attention and direction are to be pointed to Him, and we are to shine his light wherever we go.  Jesus taught us to pray in His famous prayer that we would remember that all glory belongs to God.

Prayer: Lord, help me to honor you.  Help me to remember you win in the end and that all that is will glorify you.

Q & A 128
Q. What does your conclusion to this prayer mean?
A. For the kingdom and the power and the glory are yours forever” means: We have made all these petitions of you because, as our all-powerful king, you are both willing and able to give us all that is good;and because your holy name, and not we ourselves, should receive all the praise, forever.2