devotional

His Presence Ushers Joy

“You have put gladness in my heart, more than when their grain and new wine abound.”—Psalms 4:7 (NASB)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Often our own hardness keeps us from receiving God’s goodness. We can look around at disappointment, fear, loneliness, and even boredom with a heart that mumbles, “Figures.” But our expectation of God shouldn’t be dependent on what we see and feel, but on Whom we know.

In this Psalm, slanderous enemies have distressed David. After he pours out his anger, he consoles himself in God. He says, “You have put gladness in my heart.” David’s circumstances do not shift, just his gaze. He stirs up his faith, remembering God’s history of mercy toward him and takes hold of that which his spirit knows to be true: His God is good; his God is his joy. Later he says, “In peace I will both lie down and sleep (Psalm 4:8 NASB).” He rests believing His God is who He says He is.

Our faith requires that we lift up our eyes to Jesus when the bleakness of our perspective collides with and combats against the truth of His nature. Our eyes may see hopelessness, but He is living hope. Our thoughts may be anxious, but He is our incomprehensible peace. So we stir our hearts to remember who God is, who He has been to us. The faith to believe in His unchanging character is forged in the secret place with Him, in His Presence, in the Holy of Holies.

You cannot know someone you have never met. Jesus says, “Seek, and you will find . . .” (Matthew.7:7 NASB). When we look for God, we encounter Him and He reveals the glory of His nature to us. His presence ushers joy. Like a child is made glad in the presence of his loving father, so the Lord makes His children glad. He is like the morning sun, faithful to make His face shine upon us day after day after day. And if His presence is constantly with us and upon us, then so is His joy, peace, wonder, and the fullness of life.

DIG: Who does God say He is? Study Scripture about God’s character.

DISCOVER: Who do you know God to be? Compare your thoughts with His Word.

DISPLAY: Spend time with God; pour out your heart to Him. Intentionally set aside time to listen to Him respond.


Nia is our social media + web content coordinator, as well as a worship leader and writer. She is fascinated with art and the powerful vessel it is for the Gospel. Learn more about Nia.

Trusting God

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do,  and he will show you which path to take. - Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)

This verse has been hitting home in my life lately! It all started this past October, I had been praying about the right time to propose to my girlfriend. I was nervous and afraid I wouldn’t be able to financially provide. But the Lord spoke to me three times, in three different ways, encouraging me to trust in Him and move forward. The first was on a lunch date with my buddy, he spoke to me and said “Dude, you’re more than capable to provide for her! The Lord has given you all that you need to be able to be good husband (2 Peter 1: 2-4).” God has given me everything I need to live a life that pleases Him. Namely, Jesus. That was a wake up call and I realized that I wasn’t really trusting in the Lord with all of my heart. Two days after that, I was talking with one of my student’s parents, and she said to me, “Alex, I am sorry if this is strange, but the Lord just told me to tell you that you are more than capable of being a good husband and leader of your household. Never let Satan tell you otherwise!” What a faithful God! After this second instance, I thought to myself, “If God has now told me this twice, I need to start trusting Him. My faith is being small right now.” The Lord continued to comfort my heart, so I began making the plans, trusting He would make a way. Finally, when I went to go and buy the ring, I only paid a third of what the ring was really worth! When I walked out of the store I heard God tell me, “See Alex, all you had to do was trust in me. I’ve got your back.” It was incredible. On December 14th, I asked my girlfriend Julie to marry me and by God’s grace she said yes!

God cares about the details our lives, our hopes, dreams and fears. Jesus speaks in the midst of our fear and literally becomes our peace. He will direct your paths and make everything perfect. Maybe not how we would have chosen, but when we trust that He is love, we can let go of our desire to control. We can let go of our disappointments and fears, because He (love) is not selfish, or cruel (1 Corinthians 13:4-7), He doesn’t deal with us according to our iniquity (Psalm 103:10). He is GOD and His intentions for His children are good. We can be sure of this because of Jesus. As we celebrate this Christmas seasons, remember the security you have in trusting God with your whole heart, remember Jesus and His love for you.

Merry Christmas!

 

Righteousness Made Invisible

“And later Isaiah spoke boldly for God, saying, “I was found by people who were not looking for me. I showed myself to those who were not asking for me.”—Romans 10:20 (NLT)

The apostle Paul’s greatest desire was to know Christ above all else and to see every person believe in Jesus. To his own people, the Jewish nation, Paul pleaded most vehemently for their faith. They were chosen by God to be His people, and before the Messiah came, they were bound to the Mosaic Law.

Like most of us, they struggled to obey God. Romans 11:11 (NKJV) says, “Have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall . . . salvation has come to the Gentiles.” To prove His grace to Israel, God offered redemption to a people that were never convicted under the Law, the Gentiles. That’s most of us. He used a desperate situation to bring Himself glory and prove His mercy to Israel and a people who never knew Him.

Through Jesus Christ, God has removed the checklist to righteousness. His death was our justification. There is no longer an excuse for any nation to worship themselves, their heritage or their religious status. Righteousness was made invisible, hidden in Christ, when Jesus died on the cross.

Though the fruit of righteousness can be seen, righteousness itself cannot be measured. Not by how many times you pray, how many Bible verses you know, how many “ministries” you serve in, or how often you evangelize. Righteousness is measured in Christ’s blood. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (Ephesians 1:7 NIV).

What does that mean for you? It means that God’s grace is sufficient for you. It means you are free! As you wrestle with failure, God loves you, and under the banner of Christ He calls you clean.

Just as with Israel, He continues to pursue you until the day of Christ Jesus. Accept that you cannot keep God’s grace in check and you were never meant to! His love is reckless.

Don’t let your mind keep you from living in the fullness of God’s love and mercy. As unnatural as it may feel, Christ is glorified in your weakness. And His mercy in your weakness leads you to obedience. Just as God chose you when you weren’t even seeking Him, He keeps you now and He keeps you close.

DIG: Read all of Romans 10.

DISCOVER: What if there really are no limits to God’s grace? What keeps you from believing this?

DISPLAY: Pray for faith, that God would help you win the mental battle about God’s grace. Make reminders for yourself of who God is by memorizing Scripture or writing notes around the house about His character. Measure your thoughts based on who He is and what His Word says about you.

Republished with permission from Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale.
 http://calvaryftl.org/righteousness-made-invisible/