Here are some verses to uplift, encourage and challenge you this 5th Sunday of Lent as our world struggles with the pandemic of Covid-19:
God is Sovereign: Psalm 103:19 “The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.” 2 Chronicles 20:6 ““O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you.” John 10:29 “ My Father, who has given (my sheep- believers) to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” Acts 17:26 “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,” Each of these verses shows God’s Sovereign power. He is Creator God and there is none greater. Once we belong to Him, nothing and no one can take us away from Him. God is the determiner of mankind and those things He allows to come into our lives. Like the plagues of the Old Testament, pray, pray, pray for God’s mercy in these days of Covid-19. Humble yourselves and turn back to Him and seek Him and His forgiveness. “We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. 23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Romans 3:22-23 God promises restoration and forgiveness if: if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
Here are the truths we found in God’s Word from Ephesians 4:17-5:20 this last week. They are rich and bring joy and challenge to the believer as we endeavor to walk with Him each day. Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead:
I can be a new creation in Jesus! Ephesians 4:17-24
We are made for righteous actions and thoughts towards ourselves and others which bring joy to God. Ephesians 4:25-32
We can be imitators of Jesus and have lives filled with love. Ephesians 5:1-2
I can choose light and life with Him. Ephesians 5:3-8
His light can be seen in me. Ephesians 5:9-14
How I live my life for Him matters. Ephesians 5:15-20
May you have a Sunday filled with His love and be able to spend time praying and mediating on His Sovereignty and His wonderful truths from Ephesians.
40 days is a long time and it is enough time to establish a habit, overcome an adversary or endure a trial. Do you feel like you are enduring a trying time in your life this Lent? Then, look to Daniel today and see God from His perspective. Daniel was a Jew who was taken from Jerusalem and deported to Babylon. He and his friends were smart and resourceful and were a part of the king’s wise men. The king had a dream and no one seemed to be able to tell him the meaning of it. He got frustrated and ordered all the ‘wise’ men killed. Daniel heard about this and ran to tell his friends, Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah. He asked them to pray and ask God for mercy concerning this mystery. During the night God revealed to Daniel the meaning of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Here is Daniel’s praise to God from Daniel 2:20-23.
“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are his.
21 He changes times and seasons;
he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.
22 He reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what lies in darkness,
and light dwells with him.
23 I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:
You have given me wisdom and power,
you have made known to me what we asked of you,
you have made known to us the dream of the king.”
Do you share Daniel’s high view of God? Daniel knew from first hand experience that God was sovereign, all powerful, eternal, wise, light, and worthy of praise. Where do you need strength or knowledge today? Ask Him like Daniel did then praise Him even before He answers.
Suggestion: As you journey through this day, keep Daniel’s prayer of praise in your mind. When you encounter difficulties, pray immediately and leave it to God. Then wait expectantly for His answers.
Most people who have opened a Bible or been exposed as a young child have heard of the miraculous parting of the Red Sea. Many more have seen the movie ‘Exodus’ about Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt with Pharaoh hot on their trail. Today’s blog is about our miraculous God who again parted waters for the Israelites as they entered the Promised Land after 40 years of wandering. Joshua 3 tells of the nation of Israel, led by Joshua, poised to enter Canaan but needing to cross the Jordan River. It was flood season so the river was raging. The Lord of All the earth told Joshua to have the priests carry the arc of the covenant in front. “Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is passing over before you into the Jordan.” Joshua 3:11 (The arc was very sacred and contained the 10 Commandment tablets, a jar of manna and Aaron’s budding rod. It was covered with gold and had 2 cherubim on top with wings spread creating the mercy seat. It was carried on poles through rings by the priests and no one touched it.) When the priests got to the edge of the raging Jordan and touched the water, the waters parted. “ And when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap.” Joshua 3:13 Just as the Lord had said, when the priests got to the water and started in, the waters piled up on the flowing side so they could cross over. “and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), 16 the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho. 17 Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.”Joshua 3:15-17
I love the image here of the priests carrying the arc going first then stopping in the middle to let the people pass. When all the Israelites had passed by then the arc was brought to the other side. It reminds us that the Lord of All the earth goes before us preparing the way, is with us during our day and then comes behind to protect us. God promises us, just like He did Joshua, that he will be with us always and we need to be strong and courageous day by day. Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
The Lord of All the earth has all the elements of this world under His command. He is sovereign and all-powerful. Where do you need the Lord of All the earth to go with you today? Remember He went before you to ready the day, will be with you all day and He will have your back. There are 3 promises from Isaiah I want to leave you with today as you think about the power and majesty of the Lord of All the earth. Isaiah 49: 16 “Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.” Isaiah 49:23b “Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who hope in me will not be disappointed.” Isaiah 49:25b “for I will contend with those who contend with you, and I will save your children.” The Lord of All the earth knows me, has me engraved on the palm of His hands, will not disappoint and will fight for me. Be encouraged to day.
God revealed himself to Abraham as the God Almighty, El Shaddai, in Genesis 17:1-2. “When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, 2 that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” God has always desired a relationship with his creation, man. He walked with Adam and Eve in the garden. But after they had eaten of the tree of good and evil, they hid themselves from God because of their nakedness and fear at disobeying the Lord. (Genesis 3:8-10) Due to sin, we were separated from God, but God in his infinite mercy and wisdom had a plan to restore us so we could commune with holy God. This story of redemption began with choosing Abraham and his descendants to lead the way to the coming of Jesus, our Redeemer and Savior. God established a covenant, agreement, with Abraham filled with promises of life, restoration, and future hope. Revealing himself to Abraham as El Shaddai is significant as it begins a revelation that continues throughout the Bible. God shows himself to Abraham, and us, as being a God that is real, personal, a promise-keeper and one who is capable of the impossible. God revealed himself to David in Psalm 91:1-2 “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” God is our secure refuge and will provide us a place of rest- now and in the future. Then multiple times God reveals himself as God Almighty in Revelation the book of the Bible that shows us a glimpse of the end of story here on earth. Revelation 11:17 speaks of His eternality and future reign, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign.”
Do you know this God Almighty? He is the all-powerful God of the Bible who is above all others, hates sin, loves righteousness, is holy, gives life and blessings to those who know Him, knows each one who believes in Him and knows the future. He is indeed God Almighty, El Shaddai. We can personally know God Almighty by knowing and believing in Jesus and being filled with His Holy Spirit. Then we can walk with Him each day being in communion with Him. He will enable us to walk with Him blameless in a relationship made possible through our faith in Jesus. If you have time today, read 1 John 1 where John describe this relationship with God through Jesus and tells us how to begin this relationship. 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Knowing God personally is as life changing for us today as it was for Abraham.
Step out today with God Almighty by your side confident and assured that God Almighty, our all powerful God, is with you. Have a blessed day!