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December 11

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“If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared” (Psalm 130:3-4 NKJV).

From: December 11, 2020

WHO CAN STAND BEFORE A HOLY GOD?

The psalmist asked a rhetorical question of the Lord, that begs an answer from each of us. “If the Lord kept record of all our sins, our impure thoughts, motives and actions, if He decided to judge us according to that record, who could stand and be declared innocent?” The answer? No one could stand. For we are all sinners. We would all fall before God’s perfect and holy justice.
 
I’m glad that this isn’t the only way that God looks at us. For the psalmist begins the next verse with the word, “But.” God does see our sin, “but” He is ready to forgive those who will repent and believe, not marking their record by their sin, but according to His grace and forgiveness.
 
The psalmist wrote that it is God’s willingness to forgive that should cause an appropriate fear, respect and awe of Him. Do you find this surprising? Shouldn’t it be God’s judgment that causes us to fear Him? Surely so. But it is actually God’s forgiveness that the psalmist saw as the real motivating character trait that moves us to respect and awe of God.
 
For if there were no forgiveness with God, men would be most desperate. Having no hope, they would sin all the more. For what would be the point? If there is no forgiveness, then there is no hope and therefore no reason to look to God in awe. For all would be condemned and cut off. Sin would increase without limit, until God swept all humanity away.
 
But there is forgiveness with God. This forgiveness is found by those who repent of their sin and believe in Christ Jesus as the One who paid for and “canceled the record” of their sins. As the apostle Paul wrote, “God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross” (Col. 2:13-14). For this reason, we stand. And standing, we stand in awe of Him.
 
PRAYER: Dear Father, we stand in awe of You and of Your Son, Christ Jesus. We worship and adore You. For You have forgiven our sins and adopted us as Your children. What joy! Yet, we do not forget Your holiness and perfection. We confess our sins to You. Thank You for forgiving us. Cleanse us and sanctify us for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write…” (Revelation 2:18 NKJV).

From: December 11, 2017

The book of Revelation opens with seven letters to seven churches written by the apostle John on behalf of Jesus. They were addressed to the “angel” of each church. The word “angel” might also be translated “messenger,” as each letter would be expected to be read aloud by a messenger to the church, who was most likely that church’s pastor.
 
Each letter followed a similar outline:
1) Place to. (In this case, Thyatira, the ruins of which lie in the modern city of Akhisar, Turkey.)
2) Person from. (In every case, Jesus. To the church at Thyatira He is the omniscient judge, with “eyes of fire” and “feet of brass.”)
3) Praise given. (Jesus commended Thyatira for their “works” saying “the last are more than the first.”)
4) Problem named. (Thyatira was “allowing” or tolerating false teaching from a woman named “Jezebel.”)
5) Prescription given. (“Hold fast” until Jesus returns.)
6) Promise offered. (God would give them authority. After all this is what they had lost with their tolerance of Jezebel.)
 
Christ’s letter to the church at Thyatira is a warning to any church that makes tolerance their main doctrine and therefore gives up the authority of God’s Word.

“He who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning and darkens the day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the Lord is his name” (Amos 5:8 ESV)

From: December 11, 2016

The Lord is not an absentee creator. He is not merely a celestial clockmaker who fashioned the universe, wound it up and watches time pass from a distance. No, the Lord was active in making all things and continues to sustain all things. His creation was fashioned “ex nihilo” (“out of nothing”) by the power of His Word (“per verbum”). And He who “made” it, is he who still “calls” to it. His Word made it and His Word sustains and orchestrates it. Who is this “Word?” It is Jesus. As the author of Hebrews states, “In these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Heb. 1:2-3). Maker, Sustainer, and Savior–– the Lord is his name!

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write…” (Revelation 3:1 NKJV)

From: December 11, 2015

John’s Revelation begins with seven letters from Jesus to seven specific churches. Each letter was addressed to the “angel of the church.” The word “angel” might also be translated “messenger,” so one might assume this meant the letter was to be read by the pastor, who would then read it to the church. All seven churches were located in Asia Minor, which is modern day Turkey. There are many views on how to interpret these seven letters. Some think they describe the progressive ages of the church as the end times approach, with the Laodicean church being descriptive of the condition of the last church before Christ’s return. Others rightly point out that the letters were accurate in their descriptions of the actual churches of John’s day, and therefore had a present tense meaning for them. Perhaps both of these views are correct, so that the letters were both prescriptive and prophetic. I have visited all seven cities in Turkey and I observed that the letters accurately described key features of those cities. Whatever their intent, whether historical, progressive or future, these seven letters tell us that Jesus is the real Head of the Church and He is actively involved in its administration and in its ultimate future.

“I am counting on the Lord; yes, I am counting on him. I have put my hope in his word” (Psalm 130:5 NLT)

From: December 11, 2014

Sometimes we have to lose everything before we finally “count on the Lord.” The bereaved, the homeless, the jobless, the single mom, the parent of the prodigal and whoever has come to the end of their own wisdom and resource, these are those who learn that nothing in this world is dependable. Don’t waste the pain. Learn to depend on God and to put your “hope in his word.” When all else fails, God is there.

“A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression” (Proverbs 29:22)

From: December 11, 2013

Those with anger management problems cause trouble and sin everywhere they go. There is an appropriate emotional response of anger. God gets angry. But God’s anger is under His control. However, the “man of wrath” acts out of uncontrolled anger. Anger controls him. Ironically, “control” is often at the heart of the “one given to anger.” This person is continually angry because they want to be in control of every situation. They have no patience for others and their opinions. They want control. And anger and frustration is their constant state. Why? Because they cannot even gain control of themselves.
Are you angry today? Easily frustrated? Is it because you aren’t getting your way? Give your anger to God. Ask Him to give you patience and self-control. Trust Him with control of your life. Give him your relationships. And watch the boiling temp of your heart finally go calm.

“I am counting on the Lord; yes, I am counting on him. I have put my hope in his word” (Psalm 130:5)

From: December 11, 2012

The Psalmist wrote this to be sung while climbing the steps to the temple in Jerusalem. A song of ascent for worshipers of YHWH (Yahweh). Perhaps we should have such songs to sing as we go to church, then we would bring our worship into the house with us. I’m not counting on my credit card, my job, my government, even my preacher… I’m counting on the Lord! I know He will come through for me!

“Seek me and live; do not seek Bethel, do not go to Gilgal, do not journey to Beersheba. For Gilgal will surely go into exile, and Bethel will be reduced to nothing” (Amos 5:4-5)

From: December 11, 2011

God is a person not a place. Seek Him from where you are now. A change of scenery will not change your heart. Stop running away and start running to God. Seek the Lord and live.