But God…

Scripture

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
Ephesians 2:4

Observation

A. W. Pink called this the most important phrase in the Bible.  He said it was like a great erasure.  With it, the thoughts, the implications, the actions that came before it are effectively erased.  They are made null and void.  They no longer matter.  Just like this passage in Ephesians.

Verse one says “you were dead in your trespasses and sins.”  That is a terrible way to be in.  Then that is expounded on by giving more details culminating in my spiritual lineage passed down from the father of lies through Adam, I “[was] by nature a child of wrath.”  Now, it’s time for the erasure.  “BUT GOD…”

“…being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when were were dead in our transgressions…”  Because of who God is, is all the reason He needs to do anything.  He decided that I, just like the dead who are content to remain that way, am content to remain dead in my sins, needed His love, His mercy, His intervention.

He “made us alive together with Christ.”  He erased my past and gave me new life.  With Christ.  By grace.  “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”

Application

What now?  Live.  Stop standing around doing nothing.  Serve.  Be with other Christians.  The past is gone.  The present is where I live.  The future is what I live for.  MOVE!!

Prayer

Father, thank You for life.  Help me to live it to bring You glory.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Surely

Scripture

‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’   Isaiah 41:10

Observation

These words, spoken to Israel through the prophet Isaiah, eased the fears of Israel who had a long history of idol worship, forsaking God, and generally acting how ever they wanted.  Israel acted just like I often do.  And just like Israel, I wonder why God punishes me.  OK, so Babylon didn’t invade my city but there are other consequences to bear for what goes in my life today.  And just like with Israel, those consequences serve as a wake up call — HEY!  COME BACK HERE!!  DO WHAT YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO DO!

Isaiah’s words foreshadow those of the New Testament:

  • “I am with you” compared with  “…I am with you always…”  Matthew 28:20
  • “Do not anxiously look about you” compared with ” Be anxious for nothing…”  Philippians 4:6
  • “I will strengthen you” compared with ” After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”  1 Peter 5:10 
  • “I will help you” compared with “ I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;”  John 14:16

And finally, “I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”  This speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ –  “So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.”  Mark 16:19

It is by the very power of Jesus Christ — the right hand of God – that I am forgiven my sins.  By His blood my sins are washed away.  I deserved to be punished but Jesus bore that punishment for me.

Application

In all that plagues me, and makes me anxious, and fearful I need to remember not to navel-gaze and cry out “why me?”  From my knees – an attitude of prayer – I need to look to the Cross, then get up and look in the Tomb.  And remember, I am being held up by His righteous right hand.

Prayer

Father, I recognize that I have sinned against You.  There are consequences for this.  I am so thankful that the ultimate consequence has been placed on Jesus.  I pray that Your Holy Spirit would remind of this regularly.  May You be glorified.  In Jesus’ name I pray…Amen

Add Water

Scripture

“But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
Matthew 17:21 NASB

Observation

Jesus taught about prayer.  His disciples saw and heard Him pray.  They saw Him fast and pray.  He encouraged and admonished them about faith[lessness].  They saw Him doing miracles — healing, feeding, casting out demons, etc.  His disciples wanted to do them too.  But they couldn’t.  Why?  I think it was because they didn’t do the preparatory work that would have led to success.  When they asked Jesus why they couldn’t cast out a demon He said it was because of their lack of faith.  Then He unwrapped it further and said prayer and fasting were missing.  Prayer and fasting are essential to developing faith.  “…faith without works is dead.”  James 2:26b (NASB)  We grow our faith with prayer and fasting.

Application

Have I become so entrenched in the world that I expect results the way the world does?  I want it now.  So, add water.  Or microwave it.  Or hire someone to do it for me.  Look it up on on my PHONE!  There is little effort but great expections of getting results I want.  To lose weight I need to eat healthy and excercise.  Sitting at my desk looking up how to lose weight is not going to get the results I want.

Jesus said I need to work to get results I expect.  My faith is small and weak.  But with prayer and fasting it will grow.  And then I will get results I expect and want.

Prayer

Lord, help my unbelief and faithlessness.  Encourage me to consistently pray.  And to fast.  Not for my will to be done, but for Your will to done.  For Your Glory.

In Jesus’ Name I pray…Amen.

The Transformed Wife

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