Mornings And Evenings 

Numbers 28:4
“The one lamb you shall offer in the morning, the other lamb you shall offer in the evening”

As a nation, Israel was required to offer sacrifices to the Lord, daily. Each day started and finished with the sweet aroma of a burnt offering being dedicated to God. This is a pretty good pattern for every Christian to follow. Our walk with Christ will be richly enhanced if we start the day by offering ourselves to the Lord and finish by doing the same. The beauty of beginning our day with Jesus is that we receive both direction and strength for what the day holds. Those who spend their mornings in the Word of God can attest to how often they have found that the passage they read had a real life application in their day.  In some cases, it actually led to ministry opportunities in the life of others. The beauty of ending the day with the Lord is we are able to enjoy His mercy and grace for the areas where we have slipped or fallen. We do not have to carry the guilt of sin into the night, nor do we have to continue with whatever ungodly attitude may have been developed in us, through the experiences we encountered that day. Our evening time becomes a time of confession and cleansing, and we can sleep the sleep of the righteous.

Let’s make a commitment to give the Lord our mornings and our evenings, and see what a beautiful transformation takes place in our walk with the Lord.

Pastor Jim

 

Renewable Energy

Lamentations 3:22-23
“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”

Life is filled with things that run out. Many of us have had the unfortunate experience of running out of gas and being left stranded. Others have felt the embarrassment of running out of money and having to ask someone for help. All of us have had those times when we “ran out of steam” and could not complete the task at hand. We could go on and on with examples, like empty milk cartons in the fridge, or time expiring during a comeback effort in the big game. All these things remind us, there is a limit to our resources. How wonderful to be reminded that the resources of God are without limit. His mercies will endure forever.

This is much more than a beautiful sentiment. It is a practical truth which enables us to carry on in our walk with God. As Jeremiah penned these words, the city of Jerusalem sat in rubble caused by their disobedience to God. Rather than declaring the judgments of God were final, he reminds us, that even in the worse conditions of life, His mercies remain.

Whatever guilt you may be carrying, from whatever sins you may have committed, there is a fresh flow of the mercy of God waiting for you. All you need to do is cry out to Him,  ask for His forgiveness, and watch as He is able to restore your relationship with Him. He will begin to make something beautiful out of the ashes of your life.

Psalms 6:2“Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak. O Lord, heal me, for my bones are troubled.”

Psalms 25:16“Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me, For I am desolate and afflicted.”

Psalms 31:9“Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am in trouble; My eye wastes away with grief, Yes, my soul and my body!”

Pastor Jim

 

Not Forsaken 

Jeremiah 51:5

“For Israel is not forsaken, nor Judah, by his God, the Lord of hosts, though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.”

As Jeremiah writes this, Jerusalem is smoldering in the rubble of its own destruction. Babylonian forces have taken the people captive, burned the city to the ground, and set up their own government to rule over Israel. Since the cause of Judah’s fall was their stubborn rebellion against the Word of the Lord, it would seem logical to conclude that God had forsaken His people. Jeremiah declares that those who are in covenant relationship with God, will not be utterly forsaken, even when we have sinned against Him.

Obviously, sin is damaging and has long lasting effects upon our lives. The children of Israel experienced this first hand, as they were defeated in battle, taken captive, and became strangers in a foreign land for seventy years. The same will be true of us. A man who is unfaithful to his wife and family, may destroy his marriage and lose the trust of his children. A person who is  dishonest at work, may lose his job and find it very difficult to support his family. But a child of God, no matter how hard he falls, will not be forsaken.

Hebrews 13:5 “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”

The promise that God will never leave us should keep us close to Him, not living on the edges as far away as possible, while maintaining a relationship with God. This promise should drive us closer and closer to the one who loves us with an everlasting love. This truth should motivate us to cry our for mercy, and allow ourselves to be washed in His amazing grace.

No matter what you have done, His mercy is new every morning, and your relationship with Him can be restored.

Pastor Jim

 

Never Ending Mercy 

Psalm 136:1
“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”

It has been suggested by many, this psalm was sung by the worship leaders of Israel, with the congregation serving as the choir. The Levites would sing a verse and the people would respond, “For His mercy endures forever.” Imagine thousands of travelers finally arriving in Jerusalem, for one of the great feasts, and the skilled musicians begin to play this psalm. The vocalists join in singing, “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good”, and suddenly an explosion of voices, like the sound of rushing waters, burst forth, “For His mercy endures forever.”

Verse after verse the band leads, and the choir responds, ever being reminded of the mercy of God. I imagine throughout the week you would hear the people whistling, humming and singing this song. The main point of the Psalm, is to remind us of the never-failing nature of the mercy of God.

The writer takes us from creation, through the history of the nation, explaining that God’s mercy has never failed. The mercy that delivered the people from bondage, provided for them in the wilderness, and gave them victory in the battles of life, is the same mercy that is available to sustain them today.

The same is true of us. If we look back on our days, with the eyes of heaven, we will see that every step of our lives has been marked by the mercy of God. It was His mercy that we did not die in our folly, prior to meeting Christ. It was His mercy that led us to realize our need for Jesus. It was His mercy that provided the way for our sins to be forgiven, and eternal life received. It is His mercy that provides daily pardon for our struggles, failures, and even our out-right disobedience. It is His mercy that puts up with our slow growth, and continual backsliding, and it is His mercy that provides everything we need to grow in Christ, and overcome our easily besetting sins. It is His mercy that puts breath in our lungs, strength in our bodies, and provides for our every need. It is His mercy that keeps our marriages going, equips us to raise our children to follow Jesus, and enables us to impact others for Christ.

Years later, Jeremiah would write that the mercies of God are new every morning. Everyday, when you arise, the mercy of God is new again. You cannot overextend it, but you can enjoy it. Instead of spending the day complaining about the difficulties you are facing, or the people who make life hard, why not spend your day extolling God for His infinite mercy? One man wrote,

“When all else is changing within and around,

In God and His mercy no change can be found.”

Pastor Jim

 

Everyday 

1 Chronicles 23:30
“. . . to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord, and likewise at evening; . . .”


The Levites were the tribe appointed to serve around the Tabernacle and later, the Temple. Here, we are reminded of their duties. Webster defines duty as “assigned service, obligation or required activity.” Their duty included beginning and ending each day with worship. They were to stand before the Lord, and the people, and offer thankful praise to God.

We understand the covenant has changed. We no long offer goats and bulls at an altar erected to God. The cross has completed the need for sacrifice. Although the covenant has changed, God hasn’t. He is still deserving of thankful praise. It would do us well to begin and end each day expressing worship to the Lord. Sometimes praise is difficult because we are facing a particularly trying time. What is important to keep in mind is, God is still God. Whether we are facing good times or bad, God remains full of love, mercy and grace, and ever desires to comfort, strengthen and encourage.

Elsewhere, David would write, “why are you downcast o my soul, hope in God.” Instead of being weighed down with things that you cannot change, turn your attention to the one who can do all things, and begin to celebrate His greatness and glory.

Pastor Jim

The Mornings 

Psalms 5:3 
“My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; In the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up.”

On a regular basis, how would you describe your mornings? Do you wake up grumpy, dreading another day? Or late, rushing to get your responsibilities done? Or perhaps you arise and rush to get the morning paper, check the news, or peruse Facebook, or the web.

David declares that his mornings began with the Lord. Even in the midst of difficult and trying times, he would start his day off enjoying fellowship with God. David determined that before he spent time walking about in this life, he would first spend time with the Lord. There is something special about beginning our days with the Lord. Like the early morning offerings sacrificed at the Temple, we should bring our lives before God as a morning offering. When we give the Lord first place in our day, we will find that He prepares us for what is ahead.

There have been so many days where I have had encounters with others, and realized, what I read in my morning devotions, proved to be the very counsel they needed. I have found that during morning prayer, the Lord will impress upon my heart someone who needs prayer; and later find that they were going through something difficult. I was able to participate in their victory by simply praying for them. Most of all, I have observed, when I start my day with the Lord, I avoid many of the pitfalls that I trip over on the days that I neglect to give Him first place.

Begin today making a commitment to start your day with the Lord. If you are not reading through your Bible regularly, go to http://www.ccvb.net and follow along with us, in the Through The Bible Reading.

When you give the Lord first place, you will find your life being transformed by Him.

Pastor Jim