Daily Personal Devotionals

Hope For Dry Land

In Isaiah 66:8 the prophet asks, “Has a nation ever been born in a day?”

Almost 72 years ago, on May 14th, 1948, that day happened when Israel again became a nation. This is a remarkable time to live. Right now the Jewish people are returning to the land that was promised to them by God. They are returning, and have been returning, from all over the world and, even if they don’t know it yet, God is doing this.

Then they will know that I am the Lord their God because I made them go into exile among the nations, and then gathered them again to their own land; and I will leave none of them there any longer. (Ezekiel 39:28)

So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)

Mark Twain referred to his 1867 visit to Israel in The Innocents Abroad and he was unimpressed. He wrote that the valleys were “unsightly deserts”, and they were. Now the Jezreel Valley of Israel is lush and green. It grows corn, wheat, sunflowers, avocados, peppers, tomatoes, and potatoes, watermelon, apples and grapes. A drive through it is a feast for the eyes, and the senses. There is orchard after orchard of all kinds of citrus trees and that’s not all. Israel, the land Exodus 3 refers to as flowing with milk and honey, now has 1,000 dairies and 1,000 honeybee colonies. God is faithful to His Holy Word.

For the word of the Lord is upright, and all His work is done in faithfulness. (Psalm 33:4)

Sometimes we focus on the promises and we lose hope... we are reminded of God’s Word but we think... “Not for me”. Hope deferred makes the heart sick (Prov. 13:12). Getting caught up in our own plans or ideas for our life can derail us from the life God wants us to have. We forget that the object of our hope IS the person of Jesus Christ! God’s promises are many, but, ultimately, Jesus is the very fulfillment of every promise. That same proverb about deferred hope says that longing fulfilled is the tree of life! Picture the tree full of oranges in a valley that was once desert. That is us abiding in Christ. We flourish when we draw near to the Restorer Himself. The Jewish people waited for the promised restoration of their nation for over 2000 years. We have our hope now in the very One who restores!

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

Beloved, what have you tired of hoping for? Ask the Lord to renew your faith in the only One that restores and satisfies. He alone can perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you!

Let us pray together.

Lord,

We thank you for the beautiful promises of your Word. We recognize that Your plans for our lives are better than our own could ever be. When we are heartsick help us to remember to come to You, because only You can satisfy. Through Your Spirit, remind us that You don’t just give us hope, You ARE our Hope. We want to bear fruit for You, Jesus, by Your Spirit and for Your Glory. –Amen

For more encouragement read, meditate, and pray on 1 Peter 5, and Psalm 23.

God Is Our Refuge And Strength

Rising almost 2,000 feet above Norway’s breathtaking Lysefjord is Preikestolen, also known as “Pulpit Rock”. There are monolithic structures like this around the world. There is Uluru in Australia, the Rock of Gibraltar, at the southern tip of Spain, and even our very own Enchanted Rock outside of Fredericksburg. If you’ve ever seen the view of, or from, one of these incredible places you have no doubt been awed by it. We, tiny humans, have been fascinated since the beginning of time by these rocks. Countless tourists flock to places like Preikestolen, just for the privilege of ascending and gazing out from the top, and maybe even to feel that we’re not as small as we really are. In Sri Lanka, there is a monolith called Sigiria, or “Lion Rock”. By comparison to other monoliths Sigiria is very small,  but even this rock was made into a fortress in ancient times. In Psalm 61:2-3, King David wrote: 

Hear my cry, O God; Give heed to my prayer. From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a refuge for me, A tower of strength against the enemy.

Man has always recognized rocks as advantage over an enemy, and as shelter and protection. We have stood upon them, and if we recognize it, we have felt the glory of our Creator, and the grandeur of His creation, but these rocks are not forever. Priekestolen, that majestic cliff in Norway, has a crack in it. Scientists have bolted it, and are anticipating it’s immanent collapse. For those of us that read the Bible this is not a surprise. Again the Psalmists knew:

God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea...  (Psalm 46:1-2)

We see that the Psalmist understood that God is the refuge. He is greater than any monolith, even one that is made by God Himself. As God’s people we are not to put our trust in man, or in fortresses. We are not to stay in places of fear or worry. We are not even called to hide in the physical rocks that God gave us for position and protection. Instead, we are called to stand on the Rock that is higher- Jesus Christ! 

Maybe you’re finding out that your trust was in a job you can no longer get to. Or maybe your trust is in the food you’ve put by for a time like this. Maybe your trust is wavering, and you’re no longer sure what to do. Friend, where are you placing your trust today? Would you take a moment to ask the Lord? Let us pray together.

Lord, 

We come humbly before you now. We confess the sin of putting our trust in anything other than You. We repent of holding the world’s comfort, provision, or even our safety, above You. Help us to put our trust in You alone and then, and only then, may the peace that passes all understanding guard our hearts and our minds, in Christ Jesus. –Amen 

For more encouragement read, meditate, and pray on Psalm 46. 

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