He Trains My Hands – Intimate Theology

He Trains My Hands

basketball

Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. Psalm 144:1

When former NBA player David Wood was playing for Taugrés de Baskonia, I was with him at a Spanish Basketball Cup final. Before one game, he read Psalm 144:1: “Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.” He turned to me and said, “You see? It’s as if God has written this verse just for me! He trains my hands to catch rebounds and my fingers to shoot!” David felt called to play basketball and had learned that God takes us as we are and enables us to do what He calls us to do.

We can easily dismiss ourselves as having little use to God because we feel we have nothing to offer. When God appeared to Moses and assigned him the task of telling the Israelites that He would deliver them from the Egyptians (Ex. 3:16-17), Moses felt inadequate. He said to the Lord, “I have never been eloquent . . . . I am slow of speech and tongue” (4:10). Perhaps Moses had some kind of speech impediment, or he was just afraid, but God overcame his inadequacy with His sufficiency. God said, “Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say” (v. 12).

All God wants from us is to follow His plans. He will sort out the rest. In His mighty hands, you can be a blessing to others.

Here I am, Lord, ready to serve You in whatever way You desire. Lead me.

Dr. Jaime Fernández Garrido is director of the evangelical radio and television program Born Again, author of various books, and composer of more than 400 hymns and choruses.

God’s call to a task includes His strength to complete it.

By Jaime Fernández Garrido

Intimate Theology

girl praying

Do you believe this? —John 11:26

Martha believed in the power available to Jesus Christ; she believed that if He had been there He could have healed her brother; she also believed that Jesus had a special intimacy with God, and that whatever He asked of God, God would do. But— she needed a closer personal intimacy with Jesus. Martha’s theology had its fulfillment in the future. But Jesus continued to attract and draw her in until her belief became an intimate possession. It then slowly emerged into a personal inheritance— “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ…” (John 11:27).

Is the Lord dealing with you in the same way? Is Jesus teaching you to have a personal intimacy with Himself? Allow Him to drive His question home to you— “Do you believe this?” Are you facing an area of doubt in your life? Have you come, like Martha, to a crossroads of overwhelming circumstances where your theology is about to become a very personal belief? This happens only when a personal problem brings the awareness of our personal need.

To believe is to commit. In the area of intellectual learning I commit myself mentally, and reject anything not related to that belief. In the realm of personal belief I commit myself morally to my convictions and refuse to compromise. But in intimate personal belief I commit myself spiritually to Jesus Christ and make a determination to be dominated by Him alone.

Then, when I stand face to face with Jesus Christ and He says to me, “Do you believe this?” I find that faith is as natural as breathing. And I am staggered when I think how foolish I have been in not trusting Him earlier.

God created man to be master of the life in the earth and sea and sky, and the reason he is not is because he took the law into his own hands, and became master of himself, but of nothing else. The Shadow of an Agony, 1163 L

OSWALD CHAMBERS

The Key To The Good Things In Life

Ezra 8:22

Perhaps the title of today’s devotion sounds like that of a self-help book promising fame, wealth, and prestige if you’ll follow 10 easy steps. But when you consider how the culture defines the good things in life, you’ll realize that God’s definition doesn’t quite match the world’s—truly good things are achieved only by seeking Him. When we make God our top priority, we can expect His blessings of. . .

An intimate love relationship. Those who earnestly seek God learn to know Him deeply and experience an amazing sense of oneness with Him. Then He’s no longer a distant deity but He becomes a close friend. As your commitment grows, you’ll experience a love that transcends any human relationship.

Satisfaction. Only the Lord can fill the empty place in every heart. All earthly pursuits of pleasure or purpose fade in comparison to the satisfaction found in His presence.

Joy. When seeking the Lord is your priority, you’ll find a new joy that circumstances cannot steal, since it’s based in your relationship with Christ. Suffering and difficulties won’t devastate you, because you’ll trust Him and see the situation from His perspective.

God’s help. As today’s verse explains, the Lord’s hand of favor is upon those who seek Him. In fact, He delights in coming to their aid and providing for their needs.

Are these the kind of good things you’re experiencing, or have worldly values sidetracked you? Your thoughts reveal your true priorities. If you can go all day without thinking of the Lord, you’re not earnestly seeking Him. But when He’s the delight of your life, you won’t be able to forget Him.

Clean Your Mind

“But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds.” (Colossians 3:8-9)

Once the intense drives of the fleshly appetites have been “executed,” we who have been created after God “in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24) must cleanse the passions of the intellect as well.

The action required is that we must “place away from” or “throw away” these ideas that are begun in the mind. These notions are sinful and harmful to everyone.

-Anger (orge) is an agitation of the soul that generates an impulse, a desire, that produces a violent emotion.

-Wrath (thumos), as the word suggests, is intellectual heat, a boiling up that produces a fierce indignation.

-Malice (kakia) is the ill will that creates a desire to injure, even elimininating shame at breaking laws.

-Blasphemy (blasphemia), one of the few words directly transliterated from the Greek, means any slander or speech that is injurious to another’s good name.

-Filthy communication (aischrologia) is any kind of foul speaking or low and obscene speech.

-Lying (pseudomai) is any deliberate false information.

We are to put off the old man, that nature and behavior that was bound up in the flesh (Ephesians 4:22), and put on the new man “which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him” (Colossians 3:10).

Our salvation brings with it both a new heart and a new mind. With the one we are able to “mortify” the deeds of the flesh. With the other we are to put on “the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14). HMM III

A Saint in Embryo

For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my
mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
—Romans 7:22-23

The regenerate man often has a more difficult time of it than the unregenerate, for he is not one man but two. He feels within him a power that tends toward holiness and God, while at the same time he is still a child of Adam’s flesh and a son of the red clay. This moral dualism is to him a source of distress and struggle wholly unknown to the once born man. Of course the classic critique upon this is Paul’s testimony in the seventh chapter of his Roman epistle.

The true Christian is a saint in embryo. The heavenly genes are in him and the Holy Spirit is working to bring him on into a spiritual development that accords with the nature of the heavenly Father from whom he received the deposit of divine life. Yet he is here in this mortal body subject to weakness and temptation, and his warfare with the flesh sometimes leads him to do extreme things. “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Galatians 5:17).

Lord, sometimes I could wish I were not “still a child of Adam’s flesh and a son of the red clay.” But I live in this flesh and realize constantly my total dependence on You for spiritual victory. Grant it today, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Christ Opens Our Hearts to Grasp the Truth

Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures. Luke 24:45

The disciples of Jesus were instructed in the Scriptures. Christ Himself had taught them out of the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms; yet it took a specific act of inward “opening” before they could grasp the truth!

The Apostle Paul discovered very early in his ministry that, as he put it, “not all men have faith.” And he knew why: “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Cor. 4:3, 4).

Satan has no fear of the light as long as he can keep his victims sightless. The uncomprehending mind is unaffected by truth. The intellect of the hearer may grasp saving knowledge while yet the heart makes no moral response to it.

A classic example of this is seen in the meeting of Benjamin Franklin and George Whitefield. In his autobiography, Franklin recounts how he listened to the mighty preaching of the great evangelist. Whitefield talked with Franklin personally about his
need of Christ and promised to pray for him. Years later Franklin wrote rather sadly that the evangelist’s prayers must not have done any good, for he was still unconverted.

Why? Franklin had light without sight. To see the Light of the World requires an act of inward enlightenment wrought by the Spirit. We must pit our prayer against that dark spirit who blinds the hearts of men!

I Choose to Worship

Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 1 TIMOTHY 3:6

Strange things are happening all around us in Christian circles because we are not truly worshipers.

For instance, any untrained, unprepared, unspiritual empty rattletrap of a person can start something “religious” and find plenty of followers who will listen and promote it! Beyond that, it may become very evident that he or she had never heard from God in the first place.

All of the examples we have in the Bible illustrate that glad and devoted and reverent worship is the normal employment of human beings. Every glimpse that is given us of heaven and of God’s created beings is always a glimpse of worship and rejoicing and praise—because God is who He is!

Because we are not truly worshipers, we spend a lot of time in the churches just spinning our wheels—making a noise but not getting anywhere.

What are we going to do about this awesome, beautiful worship that God calls for? I would rather worship God than do any other thing I know of in all this wide world!

Lord, just as You evicted the money changers from the Temple, I pray that You will cleanse churches from their self-centered, empty attempts at worshiping You.