For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night. Psalm 90:4
When it came to keeping time, the Romans divided the night into four “watches”—four periods of three hours from sunset to sunrise. This was in contrast to the Jewish standard of measuring the night by three watches of four hours each. But whether measuring by Jewish or Roman standards, a watch in the night was very short—a matter of a few hours.
In Psalm 90, Moses meditated on time and eternity—man’s time compared to God’s eternity—and said that in God’s sight a thousand years is like yesterday, a brief “watch in the night.” We think a thousand years is a terrifically long period of time, and to us, it is! But to God a thousand years is as brief as a few hours, a watch in the night. Why is that true? Because God is “the eternal God” (Deuteronomy 33:27). He is not measured by time as we are.
God sees all of time as one event. He knows your tomorrows as well as you know your todays and yesterdays. Therefore, you can trust Him with what tomorrow will bring.
The great weight of eternity hangs upon the small wire of time. Thomas Brooks
Truths to Transform 2015 – Psalm 90 – Skip Heitzig
The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10
Had the wireless radio been on, they would have known the Titanic was sinking. Cyril Evans, the radio operator of another ship, had tried to relay a message to Jack Phillips, the radio operator on the Titanic—letting him know they had encountered an ice field. But Phillips was busy relaying passengers’ messages and rudely told Evans to be quiet. So Evans reluctantly turned off his radio and went to bed. Ten minutes later, the Titanic struck an iceberg. Their distress signals went unanswered because no one was listening.
In 1 Samuel we read that the priests of Israel were corrupt and had lost their spiritual sight and hearing as the nation drifted into danger. “The word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions” (1 Samuel 3:1). Yet God wouldn’t give up on His people. He began to speak to a young boy named Samuel who was being raised in the priest’s household. Samuel’s name means “the Lord hears”—a memorial to God’s answering his mother’s prayer. But Samuel would need to learn how to hear God.
“Speak, for your servant is listening” (v. 10). It’s the servant who hears. May we also choose to listen to and obey what God has revealed in the Scriptures. Let’s submit our lives to Him and take the posture of humble servants—those who have their “radios” turned on.
By: Glenn Packiam
Reflect & Pray
Why is it vital for you to obey what God has revealed in Scripture? How can you stay “tuned in” to His voice?
Dear Jesus, thank You for being a speaking God. Thank You for the Scriptures that help me follow You in obedience. Speak, Your servant is listening.
Jesus knew what it was like to live with limited resources, to have others question His actions (Mark 3:21), and to be rejected by those He sought to serve (John 6:66). Yet in spite of such opposition, He didn’t let circumstances affect His trust in the Father.
We’re called to follow Jesus’ example by believing that God is able to do what He’s promised. For instance, Hebrews 7:25 assures salvation for whoever requests forgiveness in the name of Jesus—His death on the cross satisfied the demands of divine justice for all our sins. God will pardon everybody who has genuine faith in His Son and will make each one a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). No matter what trouble someone may have caused, the Lord invites that person to draw near in faith and receive the gift of everlasting life.
God also promises to establish in truth everyone who trusts in Him (Rom. 16:25). Through His Spirit and the Word, we start to see things as our Father does, which helps us understand what pleases Him.
By believing God keeps His promises, we grow stronger in our faith and gain peace. Hardships that would once have thrown us off course lose their power. Hope replaces discouragement, and trust overcomes doubt. Next time trouble comes, focus on God’s promises and ability to care for you.
“O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me.” (Psalm 139:1)
The marvelous 139th Psalm consists of a prayer by King David to his King, the omniscient, omnipresent, holy Creator God, the King of kings. In this psalm David reflects on and praises God for His majestic attributes, and by doing so is driven to introspection.
David claims that God knows when we sit down or stand up (v. 2). He even knows our thoughts (v. 2). Furthermore, He knows our direction and habits (v. 3). He knows our words better than we do ourselves (v. 4). In everything, God knows and guides (v. 5). “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me” (v. 6), David claims, and neither he nor we, trapped as we are in finiteness, can comprehend this omniscience.
Where can we go to escape His omnipresence (v. 7)? Neither to heaven nor hell (v. 8). Not to the air or the sea (v. 9). Neither darkness nor light (vv. 11-12) can shield us from His presence. In all, He leads and guides (v. 10).
Thinking such lofty thoughts should compel us to praise and thankfulness as it did David, especially as it relates to our own creation and growth. God knew us in the womb (v. 13) and controlled each stage of our embryonic development (vv. 14-16). He knew and planned all the events of our lives (v. 16). “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God!” (v. 17). They are innumerable (vv. 17-18).
Reflection on God’s holiness makes David painfully aware of his own sinfulness, as it should us. Recognition of God’s nature should bring us to a place of submission and a desire for holiness, as well as a yearning to follow fully the omniscient God. “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (vv. 23-24). JDM
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Some years ago one of our national Christian brothers from the land of Thailand gave his testimony in my hearing. He told what it had meant in his life and for his future when the missionaries came with the good news of the gospel of Christ.
He described the godly life of one of the early missionaries and then said: “He is in the Father’s house now.”
He told of one of the missionary women and the love of Christ she had displayed, and then said: “She is in the Father’s house now.”
What a vision for a humble Christian who only a generation before had been a pagan, worshiping idols and spirits—and now because of grace and mercy he talks about the Father’s house as though it were just a step away, across the street.
This is the gospel of Christ—the kind of Christianity I believe in. What joy to discover that God is not mad at us and that we are His children…. What a hope that makes it possible for the Lord’s people to lie down quietly when the time comes and whisper, “Father, I am coming home!” EFE050-051
Thank You, Lord, for this incredible truth! And this is the message of hope that we share as we proclaim the gospel! Let us do it joyfully today. Amen.
This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
—1 John 5:4
No matter what the circumstances, we Christians should keep our heads. God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of a sound mind. It is a dismal thing to see a son of heaven cringe in terror before the sons of earth. We are taught by the Holy Spirit in Scriptures of truth that fear is a kind of prison for the mind and that by it we may spend a lifetime in bondage.
To recoil from the approach of mental or physical pain is natural, but to allow our minds to become terrorized is quite another thing. The first is a reflex action; the latter is the result of sin and is a work of the devil to bring us into bondage. Terror is or should be foreign to the redeemed mind.
True faith delivers from fear by consciously interposing God between it and the object that would make it afraid. The soul that lives in God is surrounded by the divine Presence so that no enemy can approach it without first disposing of God, a palpable impossibility. WOS052-053
This is the victory that overcometh low spirits, a sinking heart, whispers of the devil and all the discouragements of this lower world—even our faith.SAN072
Ecology is that branch of biology that deals with the relationships between living organisms and their environment. Every living thing is immersed in a context or environment with specific characteristics.
Just as there are biological ecologies, there are social ecologies where individuals are immersed in social environments. It is not uncommon for us to be in and out of several social ecologies in one day: for example, home, marriage, work, the supermarket, church. Among my favorite social ecologies are Christian summer camps.
When Peter says “Grow in grace,” (2 Pet. 3:18) he is speaking ecologically. He means that we should immerse ourselves in God’s grace, in His loving kindness and in His presence. He provides a nutrient-enriched environment through our relationships with Him and others.
In the ecology of holiness, God’s plan is that we first develop and progress. As we move ahead in our relationship with Christ, He does a deepening work. Often the work is done in a social/spiritual context of others and always in the context of God’s presence in our lives. Second, at every stage of our growth and development, His love goes before us to help us move toward a restoration to His image and likeness. Third, He provides for us a nutrient-enriched environment to be the “means of grace,” promoting our growth and well-being. This includes Christian teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer (Acts 2:42), and all the wholesome activities of small fellowship groups. God uses others to mediate His grace to us. It is this daily immersion in the means of grace that promotes this social ecology of holiness.
Brother Lawrence, a twelfth-century monk, understood the ecology of holiness when he practiced the presence of God throughout the day. In the wonderful book The Practice of the Presence of God, Lawrence tells how Jesus was experienced as present at all times, and with whom fellowship was immediately enjoyed and never ceasing. He was assigned often menial and mundane work in the monastery and yet he carried out his assignments in partnership with Christ, as his co-laborer, rejoicing and praising Him continually throughout each day.
Our lives represent the threads of the tapestry woven together to be both beautiful and functional for our Lord. To “grow in grace” is, like Brother Lawrence, to daily abide in Jesus Christ and to be immersed in the ecology of God’s grace and holiness.
If you died tonight would you go to Heaven? Now is the time to move for God
1. DO YOU KNOW FOR SURE?
Do you know for sure that you are going to be with God in Heaven?
If God were to ask you, “Why should I let you into My Heaven?” what would you say? You don’t know? Then we have the best news you could ever hear!
The few minutes it will take you to read these steps to life may be the most important time you will ever spend. Did you know that the Bible tells how you can know for sure that you have eternal life and will go to be with God in Heaven?
The Bible says there are five things you need to know about eternal life:
“These things I have written unto you . . . that you may know that you have eternal life . . .” (1 John 5:13)
2. GOD’S GRACE
The Bible says, “ . . . the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). And because Heaven is a gift, like any other genuine gift, it is not earned or deserved.
No amount of personal effort, good works, or religious deeds can earn a place in Heaven for you.
“For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9).
WHY is it that no one can earn his way to Heaven? Because . . .
3. YOU ARE A SINNER
Man is a sinner. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Sin is transgressing God’s law and includes such things as lying, lust, cheating, deceit, evil thoughts, immoral behavior, and more.
And because of this, man cannot save himself. If you wanted to save yourself by good deeds, do you know how good you would have to be?
“Be therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).
With such a high standard, no one can save himself.
However, in spite of our sin . . .
4. GOD LOVES YOU
God is merciful, and therefore doesn’t want to punish us.
This is because “ . . . God is love” (1 John 4:8). And He says, “ . . . I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3).
But the same Bible which tells us that God loves us, also tells us that God is just and therefore must punish sin. He says “. . . (I) will by no means clear the guilty . . .” (Exodus 34:7). And “. . . the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4).
We have a problem. God solved this problem for us in the Person of Jesus Christ.
Who is He? The Bible tells us clearly that He is the infinite God-Man.
“In the beginning was the Word (Jesus). . . and the Word (Jesus) was God. And the Word (Jesus) was made flesh, and dwelt among us . . .” (John 1:1,14).
Jesus Christ came to earth and lived a sinless life, but while on earth, what did he do? He died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins and rose from the grave to purchase a place for us in Heaven.
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him (Jesus) the iniquity (sin) of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).
Jesus Christ bore our sin in His body on the cross and now offers you eternal life (Heaven) as a free gift.
This gift is received by faith.
Many people mistake two things for saving faith:
Saving faith is not mere head knowledge, like believing certain historical facts. The Bible says that the devil believes there is one God, so believing that there is one God is not saving faith.
Saving faith is also not mere temporal faith, that is, trusting God for temporary crises such as financial, family, or physical needs. Now these are good, and you should trust Christ for these, but they are not saving faith!
Saving faith is trusting in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life. It means resting upon Christ alone and what He has done rather than in what you or I have done to get us into Heaven.
“. . . Believe (trust) on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved . . .” (Acts 16:31).
The question that God is asking you now is would you like to receive the gift of eternal life?
Because this is such an important matter let’s clarify just what it involves.
It means that you need to:
Transfer your trust
From what you have been doing to what Christ has done for you on His cross
Accept Christ as Savior
Open the “door” to your heart and invite Him in.
He says: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to Him . . . .” (Revelation 3:20)
Receive Jesus Christ as Lord
Give Him the “driver’s seat” and “controls” of your life, not the “back seat.”
Turn from anything that is not pleasing to Him. He will reveal His will to you as you grow in your relationship with Him. Ask for forgiveness of all your sins.
Now, if this is what you really want, you can go to God in prayer right where you are. You can receive His gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ right now.
“For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:10,13).
If you want to receive the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ, then call on Him asking Him for this gift right now. Here’s a suggested prayer:
“Lord Jesus, thank You for Your gift of eternal life. I know I’m a sinner and do not deserve eternal life. But You loved me so You died and rose from the grave to purchase a place in Heaven for me. I now trust in You alone for eternal life and repent of my sin. Please take control as Lord of my life. Thank you so much!”
If this prayer is the sincere desire of your heart, look at what Jesus promises to those who believe in Him:“. . . I say unto you, he that believes on Me has everlasting life” (John 6:47).
The gospel is bearing fruit and growing. Colossians 1:6
People love doing “the wave.” At sporting events and concerts around the world, it begins when a few people stand and raise their hands. A moment later, those seated beside them do the same. The goal is to have one sequential flowing movement work its way around an entire stadium. Once it reaches the end, those who started it smile and cheer—and keep the movement going.
The first recorded incident of the wave occurred at a professional baseball game between the Oakland Athletics and the New York Yankees in 1981. I love joining in the wave because it’s fun. But it’s also occurred to me that the happiness and togetherness we experience while doing it is reminiscent of the gospel—the good news of salvation in Jesus that unites believers everywhere in praise and hope. This “ultimate wave” started over twenty centuries ago in Jerusalem. Writing to the members of the church in Colossae, Paul described it this way: “The gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it” (Colossians 1:6). The natural result of this good news is “faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for [us] in heaven” (v. 5).
As believers in Jesus, we’re part of the greatest wave in history. Keep it going! Once it’s done, we’ll see the smile of the One who started it all.
By: James Banks
Reflect & Pray
From whom did you first hear the good news of Jesus? How can you share it with another person close to you this week?
I praise You for the wonderful gift of my salvation, Father. Please send me to someone who needs to hear of Your kindness today!
To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the Scripture referenced throughout.
To be called children of God means that we earnestly seek His redemption—not just for ourselves but for the whole world. So when Jesus says, “For they shall be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9), He isn’t prescribing a formula for how to become a child of God. He’s defining what a peacemaker is—someone who believes and trusts the Father to lead us.
Thinking of God as “Father” is reassuring and affirming for many believers. But there are others of us who have a complicated relationship with our earthly father, and this can affect the way we think of and relate to God. To better understand who He is, we need only look at Scripture to see a few of His attributes: He is holy (Isa. 6:3; Revelation 4:8), gracious and compassionate (Psalm 103:8), unchanging (James 1:17), and a faithful Creator (1 Peter 4:19).
Think about it
• How do you relate to the idea of God as “heavenly Father”?
•If knowing God intimately is crucial to walking in our calling as peacemakers, it means we must be committed to spending time with Him. What’s standing in the way of your relationship with the Father right now? Confess it and ask for His help.
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