Know this: the Lord takes
personal care of the faithful.
The Lord will hear me
when I cry out to him.
Although – or perhaps better: Just because King David had so much trouble, he could say this verse above: The Lord takes personal care of the faithful! He experienced great difficulty and great help. The Lord answered him, when he calls for Him.
The more I am relying on Him, the more I see how He acts and things regulate themselves. If I myself take care of everything, I have to solve all the problems myself. It’s very tiring and not always successful. But if I leave everything to Him and just rely on Him, He handles so much! I can discuss my problems with Him and then goon working with peace in my heart. For He is there, standing by my side!
Sometimes He helped me because of my begging, but I did not recognize it. I was so involved in my problems that I did not even notice! Only later I realized: He had helped me and I did not even say thank you! It depends very much on what we see and where we look and what thoughts we have. Some may not realize the wonderful ways of the Lord, since they are too busy or have a “random thinking” (lucky circumstances have helped, not God). It is a shame when we lose sight of the LORD! It’s very liberating when we have Him in mind and always recognize His wonderful ways and works. This makes us and our faith strong! Then we can sing:
But let all who take refuge in you celebrate.
Let them sing out loud forever!
so that all who love your name
can rejoice in you.
Because you, Lord, bless the righteous.
You cover them with favor like a shield.
Thank you, Jesus, You’re with me! I am not alone in this, but You surround me, help me, give me courage and act wonderfully. Like under a shield I am safe and secure by Your great mercy. How wonderful that You yourself take care of me! Yes, You are my Good Shepherd!
Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one come to the father except through me.
Philip says to Jesus: “Lord, show us the Father! – and Jesus replies: I have been with you so long, and you have not known me, Philip?
He is the answer to the question about God!
He is the truth!
In the West we are very much influenced by natural science, by logical thinking, and that is a good thing. But the consequence is that we also want to understand God in this way; – and that is not possible. He is not a fixed truth in the form of dogmas and doctrines, but a living truth in one person.
I had great difficulty in understanding that.
I would like clear instructions for everything, so and so it is and done. For example, the tithe. The churches have made a very strong teaching out of it (perhaps for their own benefit?) And Jesus says: God loves a cheerful giver. He does not commit himself, but always wants to be asked. And then it is decided in prayer, i.e. in conversation, how much will be given to the church and whether another mission work will get something, or whether perhaps nothing will be given because the debts are pressing. Jesus is flexible and our beloved dogmas are not.
The truth is not so today and different tomorrow. Morality has a constant change. What is modern and normal today was abnormal and morbid 50 years ago – and who is right? How will our children judge our morals? They will have a different one because the fashion continues. (Morality has nothing to do with science, you want to prove what you like).
Jesus lives. And He always has the right answer for us, because He lives in us. That’s why we don’t want to commit ourselves so much and leave other points of view behind. We do not want to quarrel and shed blood about opinions as in the Middle Ages. We also do not want to be infected by the absolutism of the ruling opinions: And if you do not want to be my opinion, then I will smash your skull in. – No, we want to stay in conversation with Jesus and hold our opinion calmly and objectively, and let the others do what they think is right (even if it hurts us spiritually). How good it is that Jesus is life!
Thank You Jesus, You are the liberation from the heavy, deadly law that I could never keep anyway. You are life and I live with You!
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Matthew 5, 7
Merciful, that always sounds like “warm-hearted” to me. Yes, a warm heart for those who need help and are in need. There are many who like to take advantage of such helpers, and some like to be taken advantage of and make themselves important through helpfulness. But divine mercy is different. There people have learned to look away from themselves. They know they are carried and cared for by Jesus, they are safe and secure. And that is why they are able to think of others and take care of them.
I think of the man who found the robbed and wounded man, bandaged his wounds, put him on his own donkey, brought him to an inn, and even paid for the care; – it was the Good Samaritan. He no longer needed to think only of himself.
I think of Mother Theresa, who was completely safe in God and therefore free to take care of the dying.
Insecure people cannot do that. It would destroy their souls. Stable people are needed for the service of mercy. In Jesus we become stable, our faith carries us. And He provides us with what we should give away.
I think of Bernardas, who a few hundred years ago in England searched the orphans at night with the lantern in their hiding places and took them into his house; – the man with the lantern.
There are so many examples where experienced Christians stood up against need and achieved great things.
What Jesus promised in Matthew 25 applies to them: I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. What you did for one of my least brothers, you did for me. – Could Jesus forget such deeds? Will He not personally bless these people? Yes, He Himself stands up for them and personally cares for them. They are God’s special jewels.
Thank You Jesus, You are merciful to me, for You love me. You have mercy on me – You do not care how I feel. Thank You, You are there and Your comfort refreshes me when I am in need. Thank You, You help me with Your strong and victorious right!
Be of one another in the way that corresponds to life in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 2, 5
So if there is admonition in Christ, encouragement out of love, a communion of the Spirit, heartfelt affection and mercy, then make my joy perfect by being of one mind, united in love, unanimous and united, that you do nothing out of ambition and nothing out of boast. But in humility one appreciates the other more than himself. Each one pays attention not only to his own good, but also to that of others. Be in tune with one another as it corresponds to life in Christ Jesus. He was like God, but did not hold fast to be like God, but emptied himself and became like a slave and like men. His life was that of a man; he humbled himself and was obedient until death, until death on the cross. This is why God exalted Him above all others and gave Him the name that is greater than all names, so that all in heaven, on earth and under the earth might bow their knees before the name of Jesus and every mouth might confess: Jesus Christ is our Lord – to the glory of God the Father.
This is how it should be in our churches. But pride, greed for power, lust for power, egoism, bitterness, greed for money and blasphemies too often. We want it differently! We want church as Jesus shows us!
We want to put our egoism to death, our dogmatism, pettiness, argument about doctrine and everything that separates us from our brother. We want to live Jesus. We want to live what He has in His heart, for Him alone, not for ourselves. May all glory be to Him, not to us.
That is where dying begins for us. And if there are enough brothers and sisters who live this, then the church really begins. True brotherly love, Jesus love. Then He is the Lord of the church.
Oh, how bitter it is how Christ is ridiculed by our egoism. Much forgiveness is needed.
I want to live for Christ. Even if it is difficult. Even if I myself sometimes relapse. But I want to bow and go His way. How difficult is it for Him in our churches, should it be easier for us?
Oh Jesus, I love You! That is why I want to forget myself and live for You. You are my goal, my way, my truth and my life. Help me to live as You have lived. I need Your Holy Spirit!
One does not light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead one puts it on its stand so that it gives light to everyone in the house.
When I recently went into my garden I found my old pot with a lantern inside. It was totally dirty covered with mud, had several bumps and even holes. I removed the lid and was amazed. A small light shone on me. The lamp was still burning, its flame trembled in the wind. But when I filled the lamp with oil and repaired the windshield, the light shone happily bright again. Now I turned over the pot and put the lamp on it. It was evening and it was already dawn. How beautiful such a light is in the dark. How soothing!
This event with the lamp gave me an instant insight that some Christians are just like this old pot: Oh, how unworthy, dirty and sinful I am! And what people think of me. And he should be a Christian?
What people should look at, the pot or the lamp? Should they be enthusiastic about the pot, be it beautiful or not, or about the light? When you prefer the pott then dress up yourself and make yourself pretty. But if life has been bad for you and the pot has holes and bumps then the light is there on what people better should look.
The dirt Jesus can wash off. Some bumps and holes remain. That should not bother us or even hurt our pride. But surely Jesus will make the lamp shine brightly, will light the light of hope, will put it on the pott. Then our life has a meaning again, the contact with the Lord is restored. We need not to hide ourselves anymore wining around. Even in old age with all the frailty we may look to the light and trust the Lord in whom we have hope, comfort, strength and true life. In Him sin and death are defeated. He can make everything new. He, the light in us, is worth to be looked at.
Thank You, Jesus, You make me, an old pot, still somewhat usefull. Now I can shine for You. People look at the light in me and not at my holes and bumps. Thank You, You are at my side and light again the light of life .
Then you shall rejoice in all the good things the LORD your God has given to you and your household: you, the Levites and the foreigners among you.
5 Moses, Deuteronomy 26, 11
The Israelites knew why they had to eat, why they we able to live in freedom and why they were special to God: He Himself created them as a nation, He watched over them, He took them out of the slave house of Egypt, led them through the desert and brought them to the land of milk and honey. He, their strong God, protected them with His strong arm, commanded the land to be fertile, sent rain at the right time and blessed them in everything they needed. And now they come together and celebrate the feast of the harvest. They all celebrate it together, even the strangers in their midst, the foreigners, who are taken along with them to this feast of joy and this feast of joy breaks all boundaries.
We do not want to talk about the policies pertaining to foreigners, but about our dealings with people from abroad. They too are people created by God. They are in our midst and we want to share our joy with them. Of course, we have reservations when something is foreign. But we have our God who helps us to jump over walls and trenches.
The harvest festival is to remind us that we have everything from God: Fertility and work, bread, milk and wine. Cars, airplanes and many luxuries that other people don’t have. Good roads, railways, telephone, computers …. our lives are good!! Even though our people have not always walked God’s way, even denouncing the Israeli people, God has still blessed them richly; – how many years have we been free from war!
What if God withdraws His strong hand? Weather catastrophes. Controversy. War. Hunger. Chaos. Fear. Civil war. Sin without end. Lies, fraud, theft, sexual perversions and bondage, addictions. The youth is broken, has no solid ground to stand on anymore. It would be terrible if God had nothing more to say. Let us continue to pray for our country! And let us be thankful for the good times we are experiencing, for this undeserved blessing.
Thank You Jesus, You are the ruler of the universe. Thank You for the peace, the joy, for giving us all we need! Lord, let us accept strangers as Your creation and rejoice with them! You are good to us!!
Lord, here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount. Then Jesus said to him, Today salvation has come to this house.
Luke 19, 8f.
Here we are talking about Zacchaeus, who as a tax collector deceived many people and so became a rich man. Customs officers at that time were crooks and henchmen of the occupying power of Rome. They mainly worked into their own pockets.
Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus, and because he was so small and people did not let him through, he climbed a tree. But Jesus searched for him there and wanted to be his guest. (Jesus is the friend of sinners and tax collectors). Zacchaeus saw in Jesus’ eyes the love and forgiveness of God and the call to come home into the arms of the heavenly Father. He was so happy that he had found God that he wanted to make amends for all the wrongs he had done.
Guilt must always be cleared. Jesus carried our guilt on the cross, we must forgive our neighbor’s guilt, our accusations against God must be destroyed by the truth, our own accusations and self-accusations because of guilt and failure must give way to the truth of love. The Bible teaches us that we must ask forgiveness for our guilt against other people and, as far as possible, make amends for it. Otherwise we have a problem with the eternal judge who is to forgive us our guilt.
We will not feel the heavenly joy and His peace in our hearts as long as we refuse to pay our debt. And if there are a thousand good reasons; – God does not listen at all. He reminds us of our guilt as long as we can hear Him. He does not want to humiliate us in front of other people, but to defeat our stupid pride. We will not be free until we have made up for the damage we have done. Then a feast will be celebrated in heaven and in our hearts!
Thank You Jesus for forgiving my guilt and paying such a high price. I want to make up for the damage I have done. You want my life to be in order, because it belongs to You. Thank You for helping me.
Compare Matthew 6, 23 – 26
This is the day the Lord has made,
let us rejoice and be glad!
Yes, Amen! Above verse I should hang over my bed, so that I read these words before I get up. For I am really a growling bear, especially in the morning. It is always too early for me to get up in the morning and so much has to be done. The weather is not right, the children are noisy and need this and that. Too much at once! You lose your joy if there was any at all. No, life is hard, particularly this day. You want to skip the day, but probably the next day will not be better.
No, I should start the day with praising Jesus first and, indeed, sometimes I succeed doing that before facing all coming daily tasks,, before I realize that the weather is bad, the children are noisy. I am then fine! And when I dwell in His love, His goodness, and greatness I begin to thank Him. It is wonderful how God had lead me through many troubles inspite of my failures. Guess, that was not easy for Him.
Yes, it is true, when I address Him first in the morning, praise Him, then the day runs excellent. Then nothing can knock me down as He is at my side. No problem can be big enough. It is quickly solved. By praising Him I get cleansed, freed of any debt and sin. Like after a resfreshing shower I go newborn into the day. He is so glorious!
My good mood is then contagious, make my children happy. With the saleswoman in the suoermarket I make a joke, behave friendly to the police, aks for the well-being of my neigbours. My mails are then encouraging and building up. Oh yes, one is really useful for God! One shows the kindness that reigns in God`s kingdom. How soothing that is!
But on a bad morning it got me again: I was so much grumbling on the phone when a person with a nice voice wanted to speak with me. The person, however, remainded friendly. One could almost see her smile. Finally I gave in and overcame my grumbling. I preferred to be like that kind person.
Oh Jesus, You are the source of my joy and happiness, my patience, and my kindness. Without You I grumble, mourn, am unfriendly. How wonderful that You are my Lord!
Have this mind among yourself, which is yours in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 2, 5
Jesus was like God, but He did not hold fast to be like God. But He emptied Himself and became like a slave and like men. His life was that of a human being. He humbled himself and was obedient until death, until death on the cross.
Thus was Jesus: humble, without selfishness, obedient to God, trusting in God.
He was so different from all other people. We like to show our power and our wealth; – He does not. We do not give up our trump cards; – He did. We want to go up; – He went down. We want to be perfect, like God; – He left His divinity in heaven. We determine our way and our goals ourselves; – He allowed Himself to be determined by God.
If you want to become a leader in the kingdom of God, then Jesus must be your role model. Your life must be like His. If you are looking for a leader, then he must be like Jesus, or strive for it. If you take a leader, a pastor, an example or an apostle who has other goals and a different lifestyle, do not be disappointed in the end! It was your own choice.
Jesus is building His own church, His bride who loves Him. He calls leaders to do this according to His heart. He brings together His people from all churches, denominations, countries and peoples. He calls the leaders according to other criteria like the church, read Acts 6. His selection looks for faithfulness, wisdom of God, full of the Holy Spirit, humility, etc.
Whether one can speak Greek and Hebrew is only important in line 2, if at all. He calls a college together, brothers who complement each other. Never can an individual have all the gifts of leadership.
Let us search the church of Jesus and leaders for His meaning! Let us build the congregation of Jesus beyond the boundaries of our church! Let us become active for Jesus, for His kingdom, for His church, His bride! Let us sanctify ourselves for Him, the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings! He is worth it!
Thank You Jesus, You free Your people from slavery and bondage and passivity. You are a strong and benevolent LORD! I follow You, for You love me!
In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias.
Acts 9, 10
A disciple of Jesus lived in Damascus. What this is, we will notice immediately on further reading of the text. Often we are only students of Jesus who learn and learn, who discuss and consider all possibilities, but we are not followers who follow Jesus and do what He did. We are not apprentices who watch the Master until we can do it ourselves. We have the plague of questions and discussions. Look how it is with Ananias. He didn’t have a Bible yet, he wasn’t at a Bible school or university, he was a simple disciple of Jesus. But he followed his master who said: “I want to make you a fisherman of men!” – And so he got into Acts and we did not.
He was open to Jesus. Therefore he saw a vision. Perhaps he was praying, perhaps he prayed constantly during his day’s work and Jesus could reach him. Jesus said to him in the vision: “Get up and go! And Ananias really got up and left. We might ask, What does that mean? He did not ask, did not discuss; – perhaps he was used to hearing God’s voice ….
Ananias went to Paul and laid his hands on him and preached the gospel. Then he prayed for healing from blindness and Paul could see again. Then he prayed that Paul would be filled with the Holy Spirit and so it happened. And then Paul’s baptism followed.
Well, that’s quite a lot that Ananias did there. Probably more than we have in the whole last year or decade. And the greatest thing: He was not a pastor, but a disciple. He had no education, but still he acted. He had no Bible, but he knew Jesus.
Ananias did what he had learned from Jesus, what he had seen Jesus do. And we? When do we get up and do the works of Jesus? When do we follow Him? When do we end our own edification, our mental Christianity and finally become “apprentices”? Jesus wants to use us, not just as listeners.
Thank You Jesus, it is Your power that works! It is You who acts! I don’t really need to do anything, just listen, get up, walk and pray. And You affirm the word. Thank You! It is that simple! It is good that you are there!