Materialism and Life #258

10 Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart rejoiced in all my labor; And this was my reward from all my labor. 11  Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done And on the labor in which I had toiled; And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11)

King Solomon was wise, wealthy and powerful. In wisdom he considered the purpose of life in an effort to know “what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives” (Eccl. 2:3). He discovered that indulging his pleasures and rewarding his labors did not satisfy his deepest yearning for fulfillment. He worked hard and he rewarded himself with material goods. By doing so he learned that material things are only temporary and cannot fulfill life’s purpose. Honest labor is good, and to enjoy the fruit of one’s labor is honorable. But, acquiring material goods is not the defining objective of life. Material things can never satisfy life’s purpose for those who are made in the image of God. Finding life’s meaning in material gain is like trying to catch the wind. “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all” (Eccl. 12:13).

The Lord does Valiantly #257

The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation. The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tents of the righteous; The right hand of the LORD does valiantly. (Psalm 118:14-15)

Jesus Christ is the world’s only Redeemer; there is salvation in no other name under heaven (Acts 4:12). As the Lord’s mighty strength delivered Israel from exile in a foreign land, Christ Jesus saves sinners from the bondage of sin. God alone is our salvation; we do not earn the right to be saved. Yet, it is in the “tents of the righteous” that the joy of salvation rings out. God will not save the faithless and disobedient. Sing songs of joyful praise, O faithful one. God is mighty to save!

Blessed are You, Lord God #256

10  Therefore David blessed the LORD before all the assembly; and David said: “Blessed are You, LORD God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever. 11  Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and You are exalted as head over all. 12  Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. 13  Now therefore, our God, we thank You and praise Your glorious name.” (1 Chronicles 29:10-13)

Ponder the exalted greatness and power of God. He is worthy of praise and adoration for His matchless splendor and His unrivaled excellence. Everything you will come into contact today belongs to Him and is ruled over by His wise providence. That includes you. All that you possess comes from Him. Never fail to give Almighty God the respect, honor and thanksgiving He is due.

To the Law and to the Testimony #255

19  And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? 20  To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. (Isaiah 8:19-20)

Countless people seek guidance from those who claim the ability to communicate with the dead. Untold amounts of money is spent seeking after the dead. The irony is obvious: these people refuse to seek after the living God, the One who has true enlightenment! Ancient Israel did the same thing and fell farther into the futility of darkness. Unless we go to God’s Scriptures and “speak according to this word”, there is no light in us, either. There is only the darkness of sin and death.

What Shall I Render? #254

12  What shall I render to the LORD for all His benefits toward me? 13  I will take up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD. 14  I will pay my vows to the LORD now in the presence of all His people. (Psalm 116:12-14)

Christians are blessed with “every spiritual blessing” in Christ (Eph. 1:3). Such incredible goodness from God’s hand prompts us to recognize the great opportunities and responsibilities placed in our hands. Never forget to be thankful to God and to live with a grateful heart toward Him. One of the best ways to do this is to keep the vows you have made to God, immediately and publicly (“now, in the presence of all His people”). Live the good confession you made that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (1 Tim. 6:12; Matt. 10:32). Be an example to other believers, and do it without delay.

He Has Heard My Voice #253

1  I love the LORD, because He has heard My voice and my supplications. 2  Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live. 3  The pains of death surrounded me, and the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me; I found trouble and sorrow. 4  Then I called upon the name of the LORD: “O LORD, I implore You, deliver my soul!” 5  Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; Yes, our God is merciful. 6  The LORD preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me. 7  Return to your rest, O my soul, for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you. (Psalm 116:1-7)

God attends to the pleas of His children when they are in trouble, delivering them from trials and sorrows. Such overflowing mercy compels us to love God and to always call upon Him. God’s grace comforts the weary heart, bringing rest to the soul. Christian, trust God to hear and answer your prayers. Call on the Lord as long as you live, and rest your soul in His love.

Unfaithful Children #252

2  Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the LORD has spoken: “I have nourished and brought up children, And they have rebelled against Me; 3  The ox knows its owner and the donkey its master’s crib; But Israel does not know, My people do not consider.” (Isaiah 1:2-3)

The Lord God knows the pain of children choosing not to follow wise counsel. He yearned for His  children to understand His guidance and to amend their ways. His every desire and provision for Israel was for their good, yet they responded with sinful rebellion. As a loving father, God “daily rose up early” sending His prophet to Israel to teach them of righteousness and to warn them of their sins. God ceaselessly tried to reach them, but Israel would not obey His voice (Jer. 7:25-27). Similarly, as fathers and mothers nurture their children “in the training and admonition of the Lord” they are likely to meet with resistance, and at times, even rebellion and faithlessness. God understands the heartache that causes. He cares. Be like God and keep showing the way of salvation.

Fellowship with Him #251

5  This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6  If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7  But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:5-7)

There is no darkness of sin in God. To think that God is pleased and will accept us while we are sinning against Him is nonsensical. God is holy and we must be holy to have a relationship with Him (read 1 Peter 1:14-16). Do not fool yourself that a little bit of sin is okay with God: “in Him is no darkness at all” (v. 5). Your life in Christ is defined and directed by God and the light of His truth. By choosing to walk in the light (practice the truth) you will enjoy fellowship with God.

Set the Lord Before You #250

7  I will bless the LORD who has given me counsel; My heart also instructs me in the night seasons. 8  I have set the LORD always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. (Psalm 16:7-8)

David was familiar with the word of the Lord. As he meditated upon it his soul received divine counsel. David was compelled to adore and honor God, recognizing the Lord as his portion and his strength. This psalm is prophetic of the Messiah, whose heart was fully set on the Father, trusting and honoring Him always. Set the Lord always before you and He will relieve your anxieties. His strength will provide solace in your trials and stability against the winds of adversity. Bless His great name with honor and adoration!

Mark and Avoid #249

17  Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. 18  For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. (Romans 16:17-18)

The harsh reality is that not everyone has pure motives behind their words. Those who teach God’s word may yield to the unholy motive of self-interest as surely as anyone else. When teaching does not conform to the Scriptures it will cause division and occasions of stumbling; souls are harmed! The apostle Paul says to identify them and turn away from those whose teaching is false. Keep pure motives and teach God’s word – and be ready to correct any error so that truth and unity with God and fellow-Christians prevails.