You are all around me—in front of me and behind me.
I feel your hand on my shoulder.
Your Spirit is everywhere I go.
I cannot escape your presence.
If I go up to heaven, you will be there.
If I go down to the place of death, you will be there.
If I go east where the sun rises
or go to live in the west beyond the sea,
even there you will take my hand and lead me.
Your strong right hand will protect me.
Suppose I wanted to hide from you and said,
“Surely the darkness will hide me.
The day will change to night and cover me.”
Even the darkness is not dark to you.
The night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are the same.
Psalms 139, 5.7-12
Many people don’t feel very close to God. It is like a smoke screen standing between them. They live good and pious, and if they sin, they ask for forgiveness. But they don’t grow closer to God. On a horse ranch there was a beautiful horse. But it sadly hung the head. It was all too boring for him and nobody got along with him, so the horse thought. It became envious of those, who could jump and who could go horseback riding with other people. Then a man came, saddled it and rode it to the warm-up area. There he placed a small obstacle and tried to move the horse to jump. But everytime the horse hauled off just before the jump. The man had a lot of patience and one could see, how much he loved his horse. But after a few hours, he brought it back to it’s usual stable. This is the problem of many christians: They don’t want to jump! They have many logical and meaningful reasons why they don’t want. But God made the obstacle very low, just for them! He would even carry them, if they just finally jump! But they prefer to stay in the box and to become depressed. There are so many cases to hide yourself from God, but He is always there. He doesn’t want us to work for Him, and to always perform best. He wants to take us by the hand and to accompany us on the road to light. Together with Him, life becomes interesting! Finally jump over your obstacle, then the smoke screen between you and God will clear up. Trust Him, he just has your best interests at heart!
Thank you, Father in heaven! You’re not faraway! You’re with me and accompany me along my way. You know the way and the goal and you’ll do fine with me. Yes, I trust you and want to start walking today and I even wanna jump! For you are my friend and helper!
… and the government will be on His shoulders;
and He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Above wonderful words are describing Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Redeemer. They were written by Isaiah about 600 years before the birth of Jesus. How wonderfully glorious he praises Jesus in these words. This prophet could already see the Messiah and looked forward to Him with joy. Do we the same today in this dark and troublesom time?
Today there are many thyrants and dictators who oppress their people and enrich themselves from them. There is so much injustice and hunger in the world. There is almost no one who rules as Jesus would like to have it. They all rather want to command but no one is prepared to serve the next like Jesus. They want their richness and deny to give something to them.
Everything is twisted in them because the prince of this world has blinded their eyes. Good approaches and ideas are misused and turned into the opposite.The world is full of lies and fraud, of hate and homicide, of theft and bribery, lust and sex. Oh, come peace! If only the people would live according to the word of God!
At least in the church Jesus should be king! Prince of peace, Wonderful Counselor, Everlasting Father! And of couse also in our hearts. Then the Christian community lives as bride of Jesus. In our weakness, we are by far not perfect, we nevertheless want to build God
s kingdom with humility and in forgiveness and not by power and might and money. Jesus only is King in our church who wants to let us experience a part of heaven on earth, Gods kingdom and His peace.
Let us turn to Him intensively to let reshape our hearts in His image so that His church can be built. It will be a Noah`s ark for many people who long for peace and salvation. This Jesus likes!
Thank You, Jesus, You are the Prince of Peace! You fill my heart with peace which I want to pass on as Your messenger. I am safe in You, how wonderful!
Moses was a humble man, more humble than anyone else on earth.
Numbers 12, 3
Moses grew up as a prince in Egypt. But he was very temperamentally and killed another human. God sent him into the wilderness, where this fiery prince tended sheep for many years. There, God formed his character, so that this man got able for God and could Israel lead out of Egypt. God needs more of those humble people!
Humility is a life style, but often a decision. For example, when you take the first step to reconciliation after a quarrel. If one consciously waives his right. If you are doing a job that nobody wants to do otherwise. If you take care of a person who got declined by all others. Humility is the absence of pride, selfishness and good reputation. God wants to make us able for humility!
In the desert, Moses learned to become dependent on God. He noticed, God’s hands, he is safe and secure. God himself takes care of him. That’s why he did not need to do it himself. The proud must always worry about himself, abut his right, about his name, about anything and everything. The believer, who entirely trusts Jesus, knows that Jesus wants to give him everything! – And so he got able to live humility as a life style.
God uses humble people in His kingdom. He entrusts them large tasks. And Jesus is very close to them, to protect them and bring them to honor. Yes, humility is a life style, on which God’s special blessing is located.
Thank You, Jesus, You yourself were humble for my sake. You bent before us people and became our servant, even our sacrifice, to redeem us. Therefore God has lift You up and now You are sitting on the throne in heaven. Lord, help me to follow You and to become humble like You. I know You’re with me and care for me.
If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come;
the old has gone, the new is here.
2 Corinthians 5, 17
My old car had retreaded tyres. They’d cut off the worn tread and put a new one on. They looked beautiful, but they were old on the inside.
Unfortunately, that’s the way it is with many Christians: they are completely renewed, but on the inside they remain old. The façade is different, the talking and thinking is now Christian, they read the Bible and pray; – and yet inside everything has remained the same. How can that be?
They are not IN Christ, they have never completely surrendered themselves to Him. They themselves are still the masters of their lives, not Christ. They have received healing and comfort, and have experienced much with Jesus. And yet they belong to themselves and not to Christ. It is only the facade that is new, completely renewed, but not reborn.
For the new creation only the small word “is” is important: Is someone in Christ… This is the condition, the condition for being a new creation. This is the condition for a child of God: to be in Christ.
That means to be in close contact with Him, to be one heart and soul with Him. Close exchange about everything that moves us. No counterpart: God there and I here; – but He in us, in our heart.
To be in Him also means: HE sits on the throne in our heart, He rules, He determines, He is the King in me.
I think of the old children’s prayer that my mother prayed with me in the evening (she knew no other): I am little, my heart is pure. Let no one live in it but Jesus alone. – It expresses wonderfully this love relationship between me and Christ.
Thank You Jesus, You dwell in me, in my heart! Yes, You shall be king there. You shall rule and I will obey, for You love me without limit and I trust You. Thank You, You make everything new; – not only the facade, but to the deepest depths of my soul. Thank You.
What do you think a man does who has one hundred sheep and one of them gets lost? He will leave the other ninety-nine grazing on the hillside and go and look for the lost sheep. When he finds it, I tell you, he feels far happier over this one sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not get lost. In just the same way your Father in heaven does not want any of these little ones to be lost.
Matth. 18, 12 – 14
Some time ago I met an old friend. He once had been deeply involved in addiction, but Jesus had freed him. A few years he lived happy in his freedom and was incorporated into the church. But something happened and he turned his back on the community. When I saw him, I realized that he is on his way back to his old life. He is one of these little ones who are so important to Jesus. He does not want that any should perish!
It may be that he himself is to blame. It may also be that the community did not care enough about him. But Jesus wants that He comes back to his flock! Jesus wants us to be responsible for another and stand up or each other in prayer and deeds. This self-blame thinking among other Christians for sure isn’t that pleasing to Jesus. He looks for disciples who go and seek the lost little ones. He needs you, so that you stand up for your brothers and sisters in prayer. He wants to encourage others through you and show them His love. Or do we not care about what Jesus feels?
This indescribable joy when a lost sheep returns to the flock, it is worth spending time and investing energy. This blessing of God is priceless for us! He wants us to avert our eyes from ourselves and our well-being and look at our brothers. Then He can pour out blessings in abundance about us.
Jesus can hardly pour out blessings on a cold, heartless community where everyone actually thinks only of himself and his best friends. But a community where one stands up for the other, He will overflow with life and blessing. Because they do His work.
Are you such a lost kid? A sheep that hopelessly got lost? Jesus seeks you. He will not rest until you lie back on His heart. He is waiting for you, looking for you, going after you, because you’re important to Him, expensive and valuable. He is it, who loves you!
Thank You, Jesus, that I am so important to You! Even if I get lost and forget You, You will never forget me. You go after me and look for me. And You will not rest until You have found me again. Then there will be big celebration! Please give me a sight for my siblings, so I realize where they need me. You love them just the same and want to have them in Your flock!
Sing to the Lord a new song,
His praise in the assembly of His faithful people.
It does me well to praise the Lord. That lifts me up, opens my eyes, brings me to a higher level away from all bad, worrryful thoughts, away from dust. Thereby it is important for me that I realize bitterness in time and get rid from it. I then check my thinking and talk to myself. But I will not exaggerate that, will always be prepared to correct my views based on the words of God. Otherwise I would sink in the morass of brooding.
To be free of bitterness and in order to give anger no room I have to forgive. The praise helps me with that.
My whole life should be a praise, a new song, totally dedicated to the Lord, my Redeemer and Savior.
Yes, my thoughts have to be free of worries, bitterness, anger, depression and of any feelings of guilt. To achieve that I intentionally praise the Lord who wants to help me everywhere, to help me not to get stuck in the old, have new life instead. Oh, I praise His mercy to have forgiven me. More and more I ask for the Holy Spirit who protects me against all evil, against everything which want to keep me away from God, who reveals all that to me in good time.
In praising I purify my heart before the cross of Jesus, receive releasement of all guilt which then cannot press me down anymore. I praise Him because He is present and no loneliness can overwhelm me. I praise Him because He is great!
In praise He has a solution for everything. I only must trust and listen to Him, obey and do what He says, go His way. If I ignore that all, it is then my fault that nothing works anymore. No, never! I rather listen and praise Him, come to Him with all my sorrows and carry on happily. Hallelujah!
Thank You, Jesus, You love me! Always You are close to me, help me in all matters, even in the smallest everyday worries. How wonderful that You are my Helper, my Savior and Friend!
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
When I had written the devotion about the mercy of the Heavenly Father, a mail from a dear friend landed in my inbox. I read it with tears in my eyes. Yes, that is our dear Heavenly Father!
I find so beautiful that she has reconciled with her parents and now loves them from the bottom of her heart. This is only possible because Jesus helps us to forgive and makes it real. These are not pious feelings, this is reality: even with such a past, Jesus brings about forgiveness and love. Amazing how our Lord acts and how much power forgiveness has.
Do not let up! You too can get reconciliation with your parents through Jesus! HE wants it!!
I wanted to thank you with all my heart for the last devotion (the one about our Father).
Since I have been treated by a Christian psychologist, I have become aware of many things.
When I read your email, I knew God was speaking to my heart again, “I was there!” Something that I’ve only now come to realize in my treatment.
When I was about four years old, my parents built a new house. Shortly after we moved in, they used to go out drinking with their friends on weekends and leave me alone with my little sister. I remember being in our big, dark house one night looking for her. Sometimes I would go out into the street crying and call out to them. When they came home, my father used to beat me. He was drunk. Then one day they locked the door so I couldn’t get out.
The enemy likes to lie to children! “Be quiet!” “No one can hear you!” “You are a great burden!”
Then, many years later, and when the enemy voices were so distinct in me, at some point I loaded a 9mm handgun and got drunk. I turned off the lights in the house and tried to take my own life. I’d screwed up so much, my marriage… my friendships… my job. And that’s when I met Jesus.
I always knew He was there that dark night when I wanted to end it all. But it wasn’t until recently that I realized that the Lord was with me then too. He was with me in the darkness when I had this terrible fear. He was with me when finally my father came home and beat me. The pain that came from the beatings was better than the fear of being alone. He hit me once so hard that my eardrum burst in my ear. Strangely enough, I still have problems with it when I sit in an airplane …
But the Lord was with me even then. He was there, my good, loving Father!!! He saw everything and used everything … EVERYTHING … for His good (and still does!) … I have no bad feelings towards my parents. That’s the way it was.
Thanks, Frank. Thank you for listening to the Lord!!!! That he is so close to you and that you share him with us!!!
Oh Jesus, bless my good friend! And let her be a blessing to many! Help us to forgive our parents and to love them dearly. Thank You!!!
You will be called by a new name,
A name given by the Lord himself.
You will be like a beautiful crown for the Lord.
Isaiah 62, 2f
If you argue, you certainly will find several names for the other, but for sure not a nice name. And if you are in love, you are whispering all sorts of beautiful names in the ear of your beloved. Names, this is like a programm for us, like a designation of the properties of the other. They show, hiw we assess our counterpart. I often call my little one “Big” although he is still the smallest. But he once will be a Big guy, clear!
Jesus called Simon to His disciples and gave him the name Cephas, Peter, which means rock. Firstly not much of that was foreseeable, but Jesus knew that Simon once will become a rock.
God knows every things and beings. For each star He has a name and every tiny creature He calls by its name. He knows the million names and nick names of us humans. This is something very intimate between God and the people. Sometimes, when I pray for somebody, I tell Him: You are a paramour of God. Or I call Him prince or Her princess. Or loyal, strong hero. Thereabouts are the names, God has for us. These names sound like hope and tenderness, yes, God lays all His love in this names.
Also for you He has a very special name, that no one else knows. But in His Holy Book it is written down. Your name shows how precious you are to Him.
Thank You, Father, You know me through and through and love me! You call my name full of tenderness. You know my longing for recognition, love and attention and You want to give it to me. Yes, with You I am the man You wanted me to be. Thank You that You are so full of love and appreciation for me! Thank You for all the good thoughts that You have for me! You really are my dear father!
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
When reading above verses I am thinking of all those who really need the Heavenly Father`s mercy.
There are the many little children, who are lying in bed lonely and have fear in the darkness of the night. How soothing it would be if a loving great father comes to wrap them in a warm blanket, speaks a prayer with them and says: I take care of you, sleep well! He then leaves the door a little open so that some light still can fall into the room.
I also think of all the women who have lost their husbands and now have to do everything alone. How much burden lies on their shoulder with the household and possibly also the upbringing of the children. And there is no one to whom they can confide, on whom they can lean on a little bit. How urgently they need a father at their side with help and encouraging words.
Then there are the many young boys and girls with often heavy inferiority complexes, aggressive behavior who need leadership to find their way. How wonderful it would be if a father is there who understands their situation, gives them helping advices so that they can find their paths, their tasks and gain self-respect thereby.
Who do not need such a father? I am old and still miss him. We all need such a father whom we can contact. Some knows that and other ignore it.
But truly we all have such a father, a Heavenly Father who always is there for us, wants to help us in all our burdens and needs, wants to give us relief in all. Let Him be very close to you then He can comfort you, can change every situation for the better, covers you with peace. This happens as surely as the light of the morning chases away the horrors of the night.
Follow Jesus and God is merciful to you. The way to Him is free. Jesus has paid the price for it. He purifies us, makes us holy. God loves us so much. His valuable children we are, even when we are 80 years old. Glory!
Thank You, Father in Heaven, You are so close to me, so close! I feel Your strong hand on my shoulder. You are my loving Father who is not angry with me. How comforting!
How lovely is your dwelling place,
Lord of heavenly forces!
My very being longs, even yearns,
for the Lord’s courtyards.
My heart and my body
will rejoice out loud to the living God!
Yes, the sparrow too has found a home there;
the swallow has found herself a nest
where she can lay her young beside your altars,
Lord of heavenly forces, my king, my God!
Those who live in your house are truly happy;
they praise you constantly.
Psalms 84, 1-4
It is certainly not so that I am old and tired of living. But I do not feel at home here. Where is my home? Through many removals I am connected with many cities and landscapes and here, where I live now, I feel good. And yet: Life is more than a migration; – It is not a real home. It goes through dark valleys, and sometimes you have to climb a large mountain, it goes over dangerous torrents – Jesus became the bridge for me – and it goes to quiet places where you can relax. Of course there are tasks to be done and of course there will be struggle. And yet I do not lose sight of my goal: The Lord himself is waiting for me! Certainly we should make it ourselves nice and cozy, as far as possible. But we should not allow ourselves to capture and entangle us in a short thinking. Our home here is not our goal!
God does not dwell in a temple made of stones. And, however large and beautiful, it could not grasp God. The sky is the place where He dwells. There it is gorgeous! And my journey’s end is where He reigns. That’s why I long for Him! Because there is really my home. At His heart, His presence, – there I’m home.
It’s nice that we already get a taste of Him and His nearness here on earth. He is close to us! And He can be found by those who seek Him sincerely. His presence refreshes my heart and fills it with new courage again and again. So many times He has intervened and shown His power and glory. So many times He has already shown how He loves me and how He waits for me. Yes, He is wonderful!
Thank You, Father, that You wait for me. Now I’m here on earth and go my way with You, but You Yourself are my goal and once I will be with You. Then I can rest from it all. It’s nice that You accompany me today and never let me out of sight. It’s wonderful that I’m safe and secure with You.