"Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." Luke 5:16
The Bible tells us that Jesus often got up early in the morning and went off by Himself to pray. Those hours prepared Him for the rigors of His ministry and He made time for them. If being alone with the heavenly Father was important to Jesus, the son of God, how much more important is it for us? Can we afford to neglect quiet time alone with our Father? It take discipline to do this. If it's been awhile since you've gone off by yourself to pray, or if you never have, begin with a few minutes each day and watch what happens. Before long you will not want to miss those lovely moments alone with God. You may even find yourself lingering for awhile.
"The Lord watches over you -- the Lord is your shade at your right hand;" Psalm 121:5
There is great comfort in knowing that the God of the universe is concerned about us. He is a loving heavenly Father who cares about our needs and is eager to tend to them. We may not always get what we want, but God will alway supply what we need. Many times he will help us through the hands of others and sometimes we don't understand His timing, but we can rest assured that He does care for us and His provision is always the right kind at the right time.
"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." 1 Corinthians 1:18
All through history there have been those who denigrate the cross of Christ. To them it is ridiculous and they want no part of it. The Bible makes it clear that the message of the cross is salvation to those who accept it. What is the message? Christ gave His life on the cross as a living sacrifice to pay the sin debt we owe. All of us owe it, for we have all sinned (Romans 3:23). Only Christ could pay the debt, as He was completely sinless. After three days in the grave Christ rose to life and now reigns with God the Father in heaven, where He intercedes on our behalf. Foolishness? Not to those who want to be saved from an eternity of separation from God. It's simple. We can accept Christ's payment of our debt, or we can pay the debt ourselves. The cross is the power of God for our salvation. Not to believe it is foolish.
"Praise the LORD, O my soul.
O LORD my God, You are very great;
You are clothed with splendor and majesty.
He wraps himself in light as with a garment;
He stretches out the heavens like a tent
and lays the beams of His upper chambers on their waters.
He makes the clouds His chariotand rides on the wings of the wind."
Consider the beauty of the heavens. The billowing white clouds against the intense blue sky. Yet all their beauty pales in comparison to their Creator. They speak of the splendor and majesty of God, and when we behold them they should inspire us to praise Him. Only He is worthy of our adoration.
"But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." Jeremiah 17:7-8
Some people put their trust in the things of this earth; riches, power, fame. But all those things are fleeting. They can be gone in an instant. Stock markets crash, power shifts and one day no one remembers your name. But those that put their trust in the Lord have something that can never be lost. No matter what happens to the economy or what administration is in power, they are blessed. The Lord is with them and He will never abandon them. Like a tree planted by a stream, their spirits will flourish.
For three years after my first husband went home to the Lord, a copy of Psalm 121 hung next to my desk. Every day I took comfort from those beautiful words. They reminded me that my broken heart would mend by God's hand. He was and is and always will be my Helper. My Redeemer brought me out of a very dark time into the wonderful light of His love . What He did for me, He will do for you, too. Read Psalm 121 and consider how the Lord is able to help you, if you will only allow Him to do so.
"For all men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flower fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever."
1 Peter 1:23-25a
Even the most beautiful flower and green grass of summer will die. They will only last for a season. As it is in nature, so it is with the work that humans produce. For a time it may bring them success, even glory. But eventually it will disappear. It can't last. One day each person will stand before a holy God and give an account of his or her life. Only those who have put their trust in the work of Christ on the cross and not their own good works will enter into His heavenly kingdom and live forever. Where have you placed your trust?
"I tell you," He replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." Luke 19:40
Luke records Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem upon a lowly donkey. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords coming in humility. No grand march. Nothing to distinguish Him as royalty. Yet His followers give Him a grand welcome. They spread their garments on the road ahead of Him, sing loud praises and glorify God for the miracles He has done through Christ. The religious leaders chastise the Lord and tell Him to make His disciples stop the adoration. But Jesus replies that if they do stop the stones will take over. God will be praised. If necessary the silent rocks will break forth in worship of our magnificent King.
"For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the hill shall clap their hands." Isaiah 55:12
Isaiah penned these words in relation to the Jews' return from captivity in Babylon to their own land. They were in bondage and God had rescued them. They returned to their homes in joy and all of creation joined in the celebration. In the same way, when we come to Christ He delivers us from the bondage of sin; rebellion against God and choosing to do things our own way. As we enter into a relationship with our Savior and follow Him, we leave our former lives and go forth in joy and peace. Imagine the mountains and hills singing, and all the tops of the trees clapping as you walk with the Lord. Exciting, isn't it?
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6