The other day I was standing beside an elevator, having just pushed the Arrow Down button to call the elevator up to the second floor, when an elderly gentleman walked over and pushed the same button again. Then, he turned to me and said, “I know that was useless. The elevator won’t get here any sooner just because two people push it.”
At the grocery store, a little later that day, I tried to sign my name on a credit card scanner. After several attempts to make a semi-legible mark, the clerk waved her hand at me and said, “Oh, honey, forget it. Your signature won’t mean anything on there. That thing is useless.”
My day of useless things ended when I got home and tried to balance my checkbook. No, it wasn’t balancing the checkbook that proved useless. What was useless was pushing the “C” repeatedly on the calculator, clearing out the old amount before adding a new one. Like the gentleman at the elevator, I suddenly realized pressing the “C” a second time was an exercise in futility. The screen always went blank the first time I pushed it.
There’s a fourth useless thing we may be guilty of as well. It’s forgetting to worship our Creator. God reminds us of this in Isaiah 45:7 when He says, “I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things.”
Failure to acknowledge the God of the Universe, He who created light and darkness, who directs every aspect of our lives, is useless. In the same chapter in Isaiah, God says,” By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return:‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.” (Isaiah 45:23).
Placing trust in someone doesn’t mean they are trustworthy. Trusting a chair to hold you up doesn’t mean it’s sturdy enough to do the job of bearing your weight. Trust must have a basis. Otherwise, it’s not to be trusted.
Trust is a word that’s being discussed a lot these days. That’s probably why I was intrigued by a story about trust in the Old Testament.
Without getting too caught up in the details, here’s the background: The King of Assyria sends an army to fight the Israelites led by King Hezekiah. When the envoy from the King of Assyria arrives outside the gates of Jerusalem with a huge army, he has a message for King Hezekiah.
“Say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you rest this trust of yours?'” 2 Kings 18:19
“On what do you rest this trust of yours?” Hezekiah rested his trust in the Lord. His trust was in the Almighty God, the God of his fathers, his Creator. He trusted Him for deliverance rather than an army of thousands. This was a trust to be trusted.
Hezekiah demonstrated his trust by praying for deliverance to a trustworthy God. “O Lord … you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth.”
Hezekiah’s trust was well-placed. God delivered the Israelites from the Assyrian army in a miraculous way (2 Kings 18-20).
One of Hezekiah’s ancestors, King Solomon, left instructions about how to trust the Lord. Those instructions are found in Proverbs 3:5-6. They involve two commands. 1) Don’t rely on your own understanding and 2) Acknowledge the Lord’s right to control your life.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your path straight.”
“On what do you rest this trust of yours?”
As I enjoyed an early morning quiet time on my patio recently, I became captivated by the play of light and dark, shadow and sunlight, across the foliage of my backyard. I had just been reading a devotional about mankind’s universal search for happiness. In the article, C. S. Lewis’ classic, Mere Christianity, is referenced, particularly this quote, “All that we call human history–money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery–is the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”
After reading this quote, I glanced up from my iPad and saw the patterns the early morning sun was drawing in my garden. Some flowers were in shadow, while others were in sunlight. The flowers highlighted by the sunlight looked “happier” than those flowers residing in the shadows. Why was that? Well, obviously, it was because the “happier” flowers were basking in the sun’s light, while those in the shadow were not receiving the sun’s full benefits..
Although I’m quite certain flowers do not experience human emotions, my garden’s shadows and sunlight illustrated the truth of my devotional reading. We all seek happiness, but as long as we remain in the shadows–substituting other people, pleasures, and pursuits for God in our lives–we will never be truly happy.
“You make known to me the path of life, in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11.
Turn your face toward the Son. Bask in the warmth of His Light today.
Later on in this Psalm, David writes, “He remembers we are but dust,” and he writes this in connection with the compassion of God. “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are but dust.” (Psalm 103:13-14).
God created human beings out of a common substance, a substance of little worth, just a handful of dirt. Inside this dirt-formed vessel, He placed an image of Himself. When that happened, something of little value became something of infinite value—a living human being. Every human being born after Adam reflects this God-likeness.
Even though we bear His likeness, we are still just dirt, and He remembers this. He knows our frailties, our weaknesses, our dirt, and because of this, He has compassion on us. The Psalmist says, “He crowns you with love and compassion.” (Psalm 103:4).
Even though we’re made of dirt, we have a regal bearing because, as God’s children, we wear the crown of His compassion and love. That’s why David begins and ends this Psalm with these words. “Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.” (Psalm 103:22).
Perhaps one of the most astonishing aspects of God’s revelation of Himself in the Bible is that He wants to have a personal relationship with His Creation, and, more specifically, He wants to be intimate with man, the highest of His Creation.
The Psalmist in Psalm 8:4 asks, “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” Good question. The answer is both simple and complex, and, since I don’t write–nor do you read–long blogs, I won’t attempt to answer it here.
Instead, I want to marvel at the incredible fact that God DOES pursue a relationship with me. At a point before time began, He even decided he would die for me in order for us to have such a relationship for all eternity.
Once established, He doesn’t want our companionship to be one-dimensional. That is, He wants me to continually communicate with Him, just as He continually speaks to me. He does so through His Word, through the presence of His Holy Spirit and through His creation. Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”
With that in mind, allow Him to speak to you through this incredible video. Worship and listen to your Creator. Here’s the link, if the video doesn’t automatically load.
A New Year. A New You. That phrase, or some variation of it, often appears in commercials and print advertisements around this time of year. It’s used to motivate a consumer to purchase a product which will make a difference in a person’s health, appearance, or career choice in the new year. At least that’s what’s promised.
While such products may indeed change a person’s health, appearance, or career choice, a true version of the “New You” only comes through the One who created it all, the Creator God. Ezekiel 36:26, “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”
This same promise is repeated in the New Testament. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.
How does God work to bring about the “new heart” or the “new creature” described in these verses? He’s sent His Word down to earth, to His Creation, to do just that. “And the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.” John 1:14.
By putting faith in His Word, that is, in His communication with man in the form of His son, Jesus Christ, a person can become a new creature.
Faith in Christ is what makes you a New You.
However, the New You must be renewed daily. Renewal in Christ comes through reading His Word. ” For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12.
Why not start your daily renewal of the New You on January 1st? Explore all your options for daily spending time in His Word on these websites.