GENESIS 1:27 AND 31.So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them . . . and behold it was very good.
The question of why man exits has been discussed throughout the ages. Philosophers debate it, poets write of it, musicians herald it, and theologians proclaim it. The true answer to this perplexing question is clearly and simply stated in the pages of Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments. We need only look to the Bible for the answer.
1. We were created in the image of God to reflect His glory.
. . . I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. -Isaiah 43:7
2. We were created for His pleasure.
Thou are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour, and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created. -Revelation 4:11
3. We were made for fellowship/relationship with God and with others.
And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone, I will make him an help meet for him . . . And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day . . . And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where are thou? -Genesis 2:18; 3:8 and 9
4. We were made to rule over and take care of His creation.
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. -Genesis 1:26
Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. -Psalm 8:6-8
It's obvious as we review these verses that we were created uniquely, deliberately and purposefully. We're no accident or happenstance! Let's live each day reflecting His glory and fulfilling His purposes.
Heavenly Father, knowing that You made each one of us as part of Your intentional design makes my heart rejoice. Thank You for the reassurance and motivation that brings to us as Your children.
PSALM 55:17 (KJV)Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice.
The telephone company delivered new books yesterday. They're a wonderful resource and certainly help when we're trying to locate specific people, places or services, but since things change so rapidly, these books have to be updated every year. Here's a list of numbers that will never be out dated or out of service because the lines of Heaven are always open and always operating.
Emergency Phone Numbers
When in sorrow call John 14 When men fail you call Psalm 27 If you want to be fruitful call John 15 When you have sinned call Psalm 51 When you have worry call Matthew 6:19-34 When you are in danger call Psalm 91 When God seems far away call Psalm 139 When you faith needs stirring call Hebrews 11 When you are lonely and fearful call Psalm 23 When you grow bitter and critical call I Corinthians 13 For Paul's secret to happiness call Colossians 3:12-17 For understanding of Christianity call II Corinthians 5:15-19 When you feel down and out call Romans 8:31 When you want peace and rest call Matthew 11:25-30 When the world seems bigger that God call Psalm 90 When you want Christian assurance call Romans 8:1-30 When you leave home for labor or travel call Psalm 121 When your prayers grow narrow or selfish call Psalm 67 For a great invention/opportunity call Isaiah 55 When you want courage for a task call Joshua 1 For how to get along with fellow men call Romans 12 When you think of investments and returns call Mark 10 If you are depressed call Psalm 27 If your pocketbook is empty call Psalm 37 If you are losing confidence in people call I Corinthians 13 If people seem unkind call John 15 If discouraged about your work call Psalm 126 If you find the world growing small and yourself great Psalm 19
For dealing with fear call Psalm 34:7 For security call Psalm 121:3 For assurance call Mark 8:35 For reassurance call Psalm 145:18
-Original Source Unknown
Lord, it's a comfort to know that any time I call on You, You hear and You answer. I never get a busy signal or and 'Out of service' message. Because of Jesus, the lines of communication with You are always open. How I praise You for this gift!
PHILIPPIANS 1:21 (NKJV)And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
David Brainerd (1728-1747) was a man well-known for his passion for God, and his compassion for others. After his commitment to Christ at the age of 21, Brainerd gave his total focus to training, and then carrying the message of Christ to others. His faith and his commitment are nearly unparalleled.
On one of his many mission trips to preach the gospel to Native Americans in the northeastern states, a severe storm broke out. Howling winds and pelting rain made it impossible for Brainerd to continue his journey. With no houses or shelters of any kind in sight, the young missionary took refuge from the storm in the only place he could find'-a large hollow tree. Ah! Relief from the rain and wind, but before long, he began to feel hungry. Since he wasn't carrying any food with him, he turned his Heavenly Father and talked to Him about the situation.
It wasn't long until Brainerd's meal arrived, carried in by a chatty little squirrel who laid a pile of nuts at the opening of the tree. And it was the same little messenger from God who brought nuts to the stranded missionary for three days as he waited for the storm to pass and for traveling conditions to improve.
Our God is amazing! He used ravens to feed a hungry prophet named Elijah, and a squirrel to cater meals for this young missionary. Most of us will never face a situation like David Brainerd's, but no matter when, or in what area of our lives, we find ourselves feeling helpless and in need, God is able to provide all that we need to sustain us. We only have to ask, and He is faithful.
PRAYER: Lord, thank You for men and women like David Brainerd whose lives have been used to demonstrate Your power, goodness, and greatness.
WORDS TO PONDER: 'Trials are not enemies of faith but are opportunities to prove God's faithfulness.' -Unknown
PHILIPPIANS 1:21 (KJV)For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
American missionary David Brainerd was no stranger to hardships and obstacles, but that never disrupted his devotion to God, nor diminished his resolve to share the gospel of Christ with those in need. He did that not only through preaching and teaching, but by a lifestyle of sacrifice, providing help and resources primarily to Native Americans in the northeastern region of the United States.
Born into a devout Puritan home in 1728, Brainerd grew up with strong values and a deep reverence for God. By the time he was 14, however, both parents had died, and he struggled with physical weakness. At the age of 21, he had his own spiritual awakening and unreservedly committed his life to serving the Lord.
Immediately he entered Yale to prepare to be a pastor, but a rude and critical comment he made about a tutor led to his dismissal from the school, and though he tried repeatedly to be reinstated, he was never able to return to the university. Not one to give up easily, Brainerd shifted his focus and became a missionary to the Indians, but it was a lonely and unsuccessful ministry for several years. Finally, in 1746, he was assigned to work among the tribes of New Jersey. There he had tremendous success as these native Americans welcomed his gospel message.
Sadly, his ministry there was cut short as his tuberculosis worsened. Brainerd died in 1747 at only 29 years of age. What made his life so outstanding was his passion for God, and his determination to follow God's leading. Even though he was plagued by chronic physical illness, and he often battled depression and loneliness, his perseverance and his compassion for others never diminished. The impact of his brief life has had tremendous effect on the lives of countless Christian missionaries and others in the centuries that followed. What an inspirational life for all of us to learn from!
PRAYER: Father, as I look at the life of David Brainerd, I'm astounded at his commitment to You, and I'm challenged to follow his example.
WORDS TO PONDER: 'Let everything you do be done as if it makes a difference.'-William James
Matthew 5:16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Just recently I saw that old saying written somewhere, "Your life is the only Bible some people will ever read." It reminded me of an inspiring story that I'd like to share with you now.
Several years ago, a new preacher moved to Houston, Texas. Some weeks after he arrived, he had occasion to ride the bus from his home to the downtown area. When he sat down, he discovered that the driver had accidentally given him a quarter too much change.
As he considered what to do, he thought to himself, "You'd better give the quarter back. It would be wrong to keep it." Then he thought, "Oh, forget it, it's only a quarter. Who would worry about this little amount? Anyway, the bus company gets too much fare; they will never miss it. Accept it as a 'gift from God' and keep quiet."
When his stop came, he paused momentarily at the door; then he handed the quarter to the driver and said, "Here, you gave me too much change." The driver with a smile replied, "Aren't you the new preacher in town? I have been thinking lately about going to worship somewhere. I just wanted to see what you would do if I gave you too much change. I'll see you at church on Sunday."
When the preacher stepped off the bus, he literally grabbed the nearest light pole, held on, and said, "Oh God, I almost sold your Son for a quarter!"
What an awesome thought! Others are watching me and "reading" my life to learn more about God, and may even try me to see if I really live the faith I profess. That motivates me to do right and to live according to the Word of God, so that others will truly see the Lord Jesus Christ in me.
Lord, it scares me sometimes to think that others will judge You by what they see in my life. Help me to faithfully reflect Your love and goodness every minute of every day.
I PETER 5:5-7 (NKJV)Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for 'God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.' Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
Watching the little child play with his dad and the Frisbee was interesting. The boy grabbed the toy and gave it a fling. It flew, but not too far, so he ran to get it and tried again and again. Finally he ran to his dad and shouted, 'You throw it, Dad!' And with the strength of a man, the father gave the little round disc a fling and this time it seemed to glide through the air forever. The child giggled with delight as he chased his toy and then came running back toward his dad.
'Do it again, Dad, please,' he squealed as he tossed the Frisbee to his dad.'
Once more the father flung the disc in a way that was beyond his son's ability to do and sailed it smoothly across the field.
What a perfect picture of humility! Here was a little child recognizing his own limitations and weaknesses, then turning to the one whose strength and skill could make things happen in a much better way. With glee, the boy stood back watching what the father could do. There was no jealousy, no resentment, no intimidation on the boy's part, just sheer delight as he watched his dad perform.
The apostle Paul told us that humility is the attitude in which we are to cast our burdens on the Lord. So like the little child, we are to focus not on our own inadequacies, but on the mighty hand of God. With assurance and joy we can toss all those hard things over to our loving heavenly Father, then stand back and squeal with delight as He works in ways far beyond our own ability. With thankfulness and appreciation we can run to Him over and over and over again saying, 'Do it again, Father, please. Do it again!' And He will delight to do what we cannot do for ourselves.
Blessed Father, it's such a joy to know that You are always ready to help me with my burdens if I just toss them Your way. Help me to recognize my own limitations and rely on Your strength instead.
Philippians 3:13-14Brethren,I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (NKJV)
An athlete has to get used to many things. He or she has to discipline himself or herself, to hard work, to exercise, to eat right, to show up on time for practices, and to be disciplined all the way around. An athlete also has to get used to loosing, and the feelings of failure, but not defeat. An athlete also has to get used to winning and not dwelling so much in the success that he or she forgets to practice and eat right, and show up on time for practice, and all of those things.
Olympic gold-medallist speed skater, Dan Jansen, said "When people think of me, I would like to be remembered as someone who never gave up. I never lost hope, but more importantly, I skated my best, not only when I won the gold medal, but also those times when I fell or was beaten. Each time it was the same for me; it was the best I had to give."*
Dan Jansen knew the secret of success here. The secret of success is moving forward, not dwelling on the glory of the past, and getting so focused on that that we forget to do today what we need to do to KEEP ourselves being successful. Nor did he dwell on the past failures and become defeated, but he kept doing his best each time.
The Apostle Paul put it this way in Philippians, chapter 3:13-14; "Brethren,I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."Paul knew that glorying in success and thinking 'well, when I was young...it was this way for me, or when I was back in the earlier days, I did this and this and this.' Paul could have done that for he was quite a success in his career, but he didn't. Nor did he get hung up on the defeats and the failures. He kept straining each day toward living in godliness with the desire to become more like Christ, and following His leadership.
Are you hung up, my friend, in living in past defeats or failures? Set those things aside; learn from them, leave them behind, and move forward. Are you dwelling in the success of the past, and living in the past so much that you are forgetting to do today what you need to do? I encourage you. Keep your eyes upward and on the high calling of God to live your life in righteousness and right living; and live as Paul did, straining each day to move forward for the prize of the high-calling of God in Christ Jesus.
By Dr. Ann Shorb copyright Ann Shorb 2018
* A HERO IN EVERY HEART, page 93; Thomas Nelson Publishers
PSALM 46:1-3 (NKJV)God is our refuge and strength,A very present help in trouble.Therefore we will not fear,Even though the earth be removed,And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;Though it's waters roar and be troubled,Though the mountains shake with its swelling.
'Overwhelmed!' That's the only word that describes the sinking feeling I had as I faced my bowl of Cheerios yesterday morning. The list of all that laid before me that day was almost more than I could comprehend. 'How will I ever make it through this day?' I wondered.
The week has already been a conglomeration of unexpected emergencies that ripped my neatly planned calendar to shreds. Responsibilities pulled at me from every direction. Which one do I tend to first? Which way do I go? I sat at my breakfast table wondering.
Suddenly the voices of the children's choir on the CD playing softly in the background overpowered all my worrisome thoughts and I heard clearly, 'Tis mercy all immense and free, That Thou my God shouldst die for me.'
With that thought came a flood of assurance that all is well because of the amazing mercy and love of my omnipotent God. This One who loved me enough to give His Son to pay the ransom for my salvation, also provides the wisdom, strength, hope, and peace that I need to face each and every day. In that moment, I was no longer overwhelmed by worry and despair, but by His goodness, love and mercy, and I wept.
PRAYER: 'God I run into Your arms,Unashamed because of mercy.I'm overwhelmed,I'm overwhelmed by You.'-from OVERWHELMED, by Tim McMorris
WORDS TO PONDER: 'A holy life flows from a heart filled with thankfulness for God's grace, mercy, love and salvation. Instead of living for ourselves and our own pleasures, we'll want to exalt Christ in all that we do, say, and think.'-Charles Stanley, Daily Devotion: 'Expressing Gratitude to God', August 2, 2014
JEREMIAH 29:11For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (NIV)
This week's devotion is written by Jane Hull.
Nervously I turned the key to my ignition, put my Tucson in gear, and slowly rolled down the driveway. She was in the back, taking it all in, in complete silence. I was half praying and half thinking out loud.
'This may not be received well,' I muttered.
As I drove on to the scheduled appointment, I kept glancing back at my beloved cat to see what she was doing and wondered what she was thinking.
'How do I try to explain to her that what is about to happen will really, really hurt?' I thought. 'How do I explain that it isn't a punishment '" she didn't do anything to deserve the agony ahead?'
Pulling into the veterinarian's parking lot, I felt such heartache and ambivalence. And then I said something out loud that felt as if the Holy Spirit was holding a microphone to my lips recording my words for future reference and application.
'I just hope she knows my heart and my love for her. I would never cause her pain to satisfy something that could be done another way. Even if I sat down and tried to explain it to her, she wouldn't understand what I am saying or even grasp the picture! And what has to be done now will not improve if I let it go; in fact, it will be worse! I hope she can trust that what I have set in motion is best for her welfare. I hope she will love me the same as before. This nightmare is about to take place, and I realize that even though she may hold me responsible, it's my love for her that is behind this. Even if she turns away from me later, I will still love her like I did before, and reassure her of that. There is something much better on the other side of this ordeal.'
I wondered how many times God my Heavenly Father has said these very words or some similar words over me . . . or you?
Heavenly Father, help me to trust that You have a future and a hope for me on the other side of whatever difficulties I may face in Your eternal plan.
By Jane S. Hull
Copyright Ann Shorb, 2018
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of International Bible Society
PROVERBS 3:6 (NKJV) In all your ways acknowledge Him,And He shall direct your paths.
A young friend of mine shared her story with me recently. For the last year, she and her family were planning and preparing with certain goals in mind'-goals they thought God had directed. Then, suddenly, a circumstance beyond their control changed everything. The path ahead was barricaded and they stood at a crossroad bewildered and confused, not knowing which way to turn.
That morning she picked up one of the many Bibles she had in her home. Inside the front cover was a note a teacher wrote to her while she was still in high school. It had only one simple thought, but it changed her day. It said:
There is always a plan, and there is always a purpose. Always!
Remembering that brought her comfort, and although the confusion lingers in her mind over why things changed so drastically and so suddenly, she knows that her heavenly Father has it all under control. His ways are perfect. His plan is sure.
Whatever circumstance you're facing today, God knows. He has a plan and a purpose for it all. And He also has a promise for you to cling to as you pass this way. Get into His word and find that promise. Repeat it in your mind and hold it dear to your heart as you let go of old plans and find His direction for today.
PRAYER: God, bless my friend and her family. Direct their path so that they can see Your plan and Your purpose clearly.
WORDS TO PONDER: 'Never dismiss the value of life experiences. They are part of the way God teaches us.' Charles Stanley, Advancing Through Adversity