January 16

God Rules

Bible Reading: Daniel 2:20-23; Ephesians 1:11

A company’s organizational chart explains the interrelationships within the company, the name at the top is the one in charge!  That person has authority over all the others, dictating how things are to function and the various roles of his subordinates.  

When it comes to the universe there is only one at the top and that is God.  The Creator rules over all.  Unlike earthly leaders, God rules with absolute authority, possessing all power and knowledge, with complete freedom to exercise His will and to fulfill His purposes.

While there are many excellent reasons to be joyful over this truth, this doctrine is difficult for us to understand.  For example, one might ask, if God is sovereign, why did He allow sin, death, evil, pain and tears into this world. A. W. Tozer had this to say, “While a complete explanation of the origin of sin eludes us, there are a few things we do know.  In His sovereign wisdom God has permitted evil to exist in carefully restricted areas of His creation, a kind of fugitive outlaw whose activities are temporary and limited in scope.”

Another question often raised has to do with the relationship between God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility.  If God is sovereign over all, how can He hold man responsible for the sinful choices he makes? This question has not only been the source of much debate in the church through the centuries, it also led to the forming of two different theological camps, Arminianism and Calvinism.  There’s a tendency to emphasize either side of this puzzle to the negation of the other, but It should not escape our notice there are examples in Scripture of God working through the sinful choices of men to accomplish His predetermined plan (see for example Genesis 50:20 and Acts 2:23).

Joel Beeke used this helpful illustration to explain, “Just as the rails of a train track, which run parallel to each other, appear to merge in the distance, so the doctrines of God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility, which seem separate from each other in this life, will merge in eternity.  Our task is not to force their merging in this life but to keep them in balance and to live accordingly.”

Having said all that, it is easy to get caught up in the theological details and miss the glorious point.  What a comfort to know the ship of humanity is not sailing off course to some unknown destination!  God is the captain and the ship is headed exactly to where He has purposed for it to go.  As A. W. Tozer has said, “We know that God will fulfill every promise made to the prophets; we know that sinners will someday be cleansed out of the earth; we know that a ransomed company will enter into the joy of God and that the righteous will shine forth in the kingdom of their Father; we know that God’s perfections will yet receive universal acclamation, that all created intelligences will own Jesus Christ as Lord to the glory of God the Father, that the present imperfect order will be done away, and a new heaven and a new earth will be established forever.” 

Heavenly Father.  All praise and thanksgiving belongs to You.  Lord, You work all things according to the counsel of Your will.  It is a great comfort to realize all power and authority is vested in You, the One who is good and has our best at heart. There is so much angst and confusion in this broken world.  Lord, help us to always remember “though the wrong seems oft so strong, You are the ruler yet,” and always will be.  Amen.”

January 15

What Can God Do?

Bible Reading: Exodus 15:1-18; Job 42:2; Ephesians 1:19-23; Psalm 121:1-2 

The power output from the sun is 382800000000000000000000000 watts. That sounds like a lot, but it is actually small in comparison to the power expended in the gamma ray burst (GRB) of a supernova. The most powerful GRB ever recorded occurred in September 2008. If the power of that explosion could have been captured and converted it would have produced enough electricity to supply the entire Earth with 13.8 octillion years of power. Octillion = a number equal to 1 followed by 27 zeros. That’s a lot of power, especially when you consider that there have been and will be other GRBs. 

All that being said, the One who created all things and those stars, is even more powerful! In fact, He is omnipotent, which means God has the power to accomplish any end He desires. Stephen Charnock put it this way: “The power of God is that ability and strength whereby He can bring to pass whatsoever He pleases, whatsoever His infinite wisdom may direct, and whatsoever the infinite purity of His will may resolve.” 

God’s omnipotence is revealed in countless ways and examples throughout Scripture, but a few stand out. Creation itself testifies that God is an all powerful God (Romans 1:20; Revelation 4:11). The deliverance of Israel from Egypt was something the Jews praised God for and remember to this day, as evidence of the glory and greatness of His power (Exodus 15:6-7). Jesus’ triumph by way of His death for sins and resurrection from the dead, over sin and death and the devil himself, testify to the omnipotence of God (Ephesians 1:19-23). What is striking about this text in Ephesians is Paul’s prayer that the believer might realize “what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe” (Ephesians 1:19). This omnipotence of God is not merely theological or theoretical, it has direct relevance to the believer and is actually availed to him! Its focal point is not God giving us some kind of superhero power for some obscure purpose. No, the omnipotence of God is manifest in the miraculous work of salvation, by which we are saved from the penalty and practice of sin. We are washed clean so one day, we will stand in the Glory of His Presence. 

The phrase “He is able” is recurrent in our Bibles. Humanly we often need to be reminded of what our omnipotent God is able to accomplish in our lives. He is able to: 1) make you stand (Romans 14:4); 2) establish you (Romans 16:25); keep you from falling and present you faultless before His glory (Jude 24); make all grace abound toward you (2 Corinthians 9:8); keep that which you’ve committed unto Him against that day (2 Timothy 1:12); build you up (Acts 20:32); transform your lowly body to be like His glorious body (Philippians 3:21); save you to the uttermost (Hebrews 7:25); do exceeding abundantly beyond all that you ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). “What shall we say to these things? If God (the omnipotent God) is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). 

Charles Spurgeon, “O my soul, what can destroy thee if Omnipotence be thy helper? Rest thou secure. If Jesus is thine all prevailing King, and hath trodden thine enemies beneath his feet; if sin, death, and hell are vanquished by him, and thou art represented in him, by no possibility canst thou be destroyed.”

January 14

God is Everywhere Present 

Bible Reading: Psalm 139:7-12; Jeremiah 23:24 

Corrie and Betsie ten Boom helped to hide Jews during the Nazi occupation. The Nazis found out and sent the two middle aged women to a concentration camp. There they endured horrific conditions and incredible suffering. Yet in the midst of this terrible situation, they ministered hope to hundreds of prisoners, as their barracks were transformed into a Bible study. Eventually Betsie became deathly ill and was transferred to a prison hospital. After the orderlies set her on the hospital floor, Corrie leaned down to hear the words on her sister’s lips, “Tell people what we’ve learned here…there is no pit so deep in which God’s love is not deeper still.” Betsie died the following day. Then Corrie was miraculously released as a result of a clerical error. Afterward, Corrie forgave the guards who had held her captive. She touched millions of lives through her books and speaking tours, and once said of her time in the camp, “I’ve experienced His presence in the deepest darkest hell that men can create…I have tested the promises of the Bible, and believe me, you can count on them.”” 

God is everywhere present, even in the horrific prison camp, with all Corrie and Betsie endured. There is nowhere in God’s creation where God is not. King David praised God for this truth, acknowledging there was no place he could possibly go which was away from God (Psalm 139:7-10). 

It is not that God is in everything, that view is called pantheism. It supposes all things compose an all-encompassing, immanent god. Instead what the Bible teaches is the person of God, who is Spirit (John 4:24) is present everywhere in His creation. As Paul testified to the idol-worshippers on Mars Hill, it’s in the one true God “we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). 

What a comfort to know the Presence of God as the Holy Spirit indwells the hearts of those who have received Him. (John 14:17; 1 Corinthians 3:16) We are never really alone. Whether you are at home, or at work, or in school. No matter if you are enjoying worship at church, or are all alone suffering some hardship of which others are unaware. The Holy Spirit, our beloved Helper is with us. What a precious encouragement it is to realize we can walk by the Spirit, consciously depending on Him always.

As with God’s omniscience, there is another side of this truth which will one day be tragically clear to people who do not know God. When God’s judgment falls upon mankind, Scripture tells us there will be no place to hide (Cf. Amos 9:2-4). But for people who have chosen the way of truth, there’s refuge to be found in the One who left His abode in heaven to dwell among us (John 1:14). The One who died for our sins and rose from the dead “that He might bring us to God” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 1 Peter 3:18). 

Heavenly Father. How incredible is the truth that you are everywhere present! Forgive me, Lord. I’m too often thinking and acting as if I’m all alone. Thank you for your abiding Presence, faithfully guiding and upholding me through all life’s circumstances. Help me to walk moment-by-moment in the awareness, comfort and strength of Your presence. Amen. 

January 13

God Knows Everything

Bible Reading: Psalm 139; Hebrews 4:13

He who knows not, and knows not he knows not, is a fool; shun him.

He who knows not, and knows he knows not, is simple; teach him.

He who knows, and knows not he knows, is asleep; awaken him.

He who knows, and knows he knows, is wise; follow him.

Arab Proverb

The one who truly knows, knows that what he himself knows is infinitely small in comparison to the God who knows all about all.

Theologians use the term “omniscience” (the state of knowing everything) in referring to this attribute. A.W. Tozer summarized God’s omniscience this way: “God knows instantly and effortlessly all matter and all matters, all mind and every mind, all spirit and all spirits, all being and every being, all creaturehood and all creatures, every plurality and all pluralities, all law and every law, all relations, all causes, all thoughts, all mysteries, all enigmas, all feeling, all desires, every unuttered secret, all thrones and dominions, all personalities, all things visible and invisible in heaven and in earth, motion, space, time, life, death, good, evil, heaven, and hell.”

King David wrote about this truth from a startlingly personal viewpoint. He understood God knew all about him, his daily activities, his thoughts, his path, his lying down, his ways, his words (even before he spoke them). David’s conclusion? “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it” (Psalm 139:6). Indeed! It is a powerful truth. God, the maker of the Universe, knows all there is to know about each one of us!

Hebrews 4:13 puts forth the matter plainly: “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”  Herein lies the practical implications of this lofty truth.  People who have refused the gospel have no place to hide and no defense to make before the all-knowing judge in the courtroom of divine justice.  God’s omniscience is a fearful truth to them.  

There is, on the other hand, great comfort to be had in this truth for those who have trusted in Jesus. My old, falling-apart copy of A.W. Tozer’s “Knowledge of the Holy” has highlighted portions throughout, but only this paragraph is highlighted in pink: “And to us who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope that is set before us in the gospel, how unutterably sweet is the knowledge that our Heavenly Father knows us completely. No talebearer can inform on us, no enemy can make an accusation stick; no forgotten skeleton can come tumbling out of some hidden closet to abash us and expose our past; no unsuspected weakness in our characters can come to light to turn God away from us, since He knew us utterly before we knew Him and called us in full knowledge of everything that was against us.” Put simply, in Christ, the God who knows all about us, loves us. And that, my friends, is a wonderful truth worth knowing (Cf. Romans 8:33-39)!

Heavenly Father.  We praise You as our all-knowing God.  You know everything about everything in this universe You created.  You know everything about each of us.  As with King David, we are overwhelmed by this lofty truth.  Though you know about our sins–past, present, and future–you still sent Your Son to take our punishment.  Now, in Him, we are accepted in the Beloved and kept safe in Your loving arms.  Help us to walk daily in the light, even as You are in the light.  Amen.

January 12

God Doesn’t Change

Bible Reading: Psalm 102:25-28; Hebrews 13:8: James 1:17

My wife Laura has Stage IV Metastatic Cancer.  She received her diagnosis almost five years ago, after she had dealt with a mysterious back pain for nearly six months.  Cancer changes everything.  Laura was incredibly active before all that.  She admirably fulfilled her roles as a wife and mom and Pastor’s wife and teaching aide.  The cancer had spread mostly to her backbone and caused three compression fractures and a compromised back.  After receiving radiation treatments to shrink a tumor on her spine, she was fitted with a back brace and given a 5lb weight limit of what she could lift.  The cancer treatments left her with a weakened immune system and she contracted shingles (a common occurrence for cancer patients).  The shingles rash eventually disappeared, but she was left with a condition called Post Herpetic Neuralgia, which inflicts her with a chronic pain which she deals with 24/7.  

As a result of Laura’s cancer, we made the decision to move close to our grandkids.  We sold our dream home, left our hometown and our beloved church family (the church I’d pastored for almost 30 years) to move to be near our grandkids.  Every month we make a trip to Kennewick to the oncologist and palliative care specialist to review her blood counts and treatment plan.  She’s now on her third distinct treatment regimen, the first two having run their course.  But God is good–He’s provided the best of medical care for her.  We’ve many friends who pray for her and she has maintained a wonderful attitude through it all, trusting Jesus and finding positive ways to love and serve others (as she has always been prone to do).  By God’s grace she’s been an inspiration to me and others!

I say all of that, not to garner sympathy, though your prayers for us are always gladly welcomed, but to illustrate that life is full of change.  That’s true for all of us.  We change.  Our circumstances change.  Indeed, these days are not only filled with many changes, but it seems as if change is happening at a faster rate.

There is comfort in the realization God does not change.  God is unchanging in the perfection of His attributes.  God is omnipotent, He cannot grow stronger and will not weaken.  His infinite knowledge and wisdom will never increase or diminish.  His love will never be more, or less than it has always been.  We have bad days, God does not.  We experience mood swings, God does not.  Our strength and ability to remember things diminish with age, but not so with God.  He is unchanging in His purpose, His promises and in His Word.  “The grass withers, and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8).  The heavens and the earth themselves will pass away, but God will remain the same (Psalm 102:25-28).

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).  The Jesus who brought you “out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9) is the same Jesus who is even now at the right hand of God “interceding for (you)” (Romans 8:34). He is the same Jesus who will one day “transform (your) lowly body to be like his glorious body” (Philippians 3:21).  How reassuring is this!

A.W. Tozer, “What peace it brings to the Christian’s heart to realize our Heavenly Father never differs from Himself. In coming to Him we need not wonder if we will find Him in a receptive mood…Today, this moment, He feels towards His creatures, toward babies, toward the sick, the fallen, the sinful, exactly as He did when He sent His only begotten Son into the world to die for mankind.”

“Yet, in the maddening maze of things,

And tossed by storm and flood,

To one fixed trust my spirit clings;

I know that God is good!”

John Greenleaf Whittier

January 11

The Timeless God

Bible Reading: Psalm 90, 93:1-2; Ecclesiastes 3:11

I don’t know about you, but we’ve got a lot of clocks around our house.  I’ve got one on this computer, another on my watch, and still another on my smartphone.  There are several in the kitchen, on the oven and the microwave.  Even the TV tells me what time it is and so will Alexa if I ask her!  I’m thinking maybe the clocks have gotten the best of us, demanding we do this, or do that, at a particular time.  “Ticktock, ticktock” they say as our lives go by one moment at a time.

We may be creatures subject to the dictates of time, but God is not.  God is eternal.  And while this subject may require significant time to consider, I believe it will be time well spent.  The eternity of God Himself is an extraordinary truth.

What is meant by this particular doctrine?  The hardest thing to comprehend is the fact there’s never been a time when God was not and there will never be a time when He ceases to be.  As the Psalmist declared “from everlasting to everlasting you are God” (Psalm 90:2).  We’ve already considered the infinitude of God; the eternity of God is similarly transcendent.  It’s difficult for us time-bound creatures to comprehend a timeless God.

C.S. Lewis likened God’s eternality to a sheet of paper which extended infinitely in both directions. He suggested we take a pencil and draw a short line segment representing time, for just as that line begins and ends on the infinite piece of paper, so time finds its beginning and end in God. 

The month of January derives its name from the Roman god, Janus, who was thought to be the god of gates and doors.  With one face looking forward and one looking back, he was hung over doorways and was said to hold the key to what was and what is to come.  The God we worship is far greater than that.  

God is infinite–He isn’t bound by time .  From our perspective life happens in a series of events…one thing leads to another and so on.  We remember some things from our past and can’t see into the future.  But God dwells in eternity.  He exists in the past, present and future simultaneously.  History is not a series of random events spiraling out of control towards some unknown destiny.  Nothing which happens on earth is a surprise to the One who reigns over all in heaven. He is the sovereign and eternal God who declares “the end from the beginning.” He will accomplish His purpose (Isaiah 46:10; Cf. Ephesians 1:11).

We wear watches, but thankfully God does not.  The eternity of God draws us to Him.  A. W. Tozer put it this way, “’He hath set eternity in their heart,’ says the Preacher, and I think he here sets forth both the glory and misery of men.  To be made for eternity and forced to dwell in time is for mankind a tragedy of huge proportions.  All within us cries for life and permanence, and everything around us reminds us of mortality and change.  Yet that God has made us of the stuff or eternity is both a glory and a prophecy yet to be fulfilled…God’s eternity and man’s mortality join to persuade us that faith in Jesus Christ is not optional.”  The good news is that “our Savior Christ Jesus…(has) abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:10).  

Heavenly Father.  We praise You as the God without beginning or end, the eternal God who knows the end from the beginning.  Thank you for purposing from eternity to send Your Son to rescue us from our mortality.  Thank you for choosing us before the foundation of the world!  Thank you that nothing which happens in this world is a surprise to You.  Help me to live my life in view of what matters for eternity.  Amen.

 “Trust in the Lord forever,

For the Lord God is an everlasting rock.”

Isaiah 26:4

January 10

The Unlimited God

Bible Reading: Psalm 145:3; Isaiah 55:6-9; Romans 11:33-36

We humans have limits.  There is a limit to how far or how fast we can run, jump, or swim.  No matter how strong we are, there’s only so much we can carry, or lift.  On the best of days there is only so much we can accomplish.  Our cars are limited in how fast they can go.  Our computers are limited by how much memory they can hold.  Everything we own is limited by how long it can last.  There are limits to how much we can spend (except when it comes to the government) (haha).  There are even limits to how much we can think, or love, or endure.  The very length of our existence on earth is of limited duration.

It’s difficult to think of a God without limits.  There is a temptation, if not a sinful tendency, on our part to put “God in a box.”  We are prone to think of Him in earthbound ways.  Just as the French writer Voltaire once said, “If God has made us in his image, we have returned him the favor.”  A.W. Tozer likewise noted, “This God we have made and because we have made Him we can understand Him, because we have created Him He can never surprise us, never overwhelm us, nor astonish us, nor transcend us.”

Because God is infinite, it means He is measureless and knows no bounds.  It is not just that He transcends us (which He does), but His transcendence is in an infinite sphere  of existence in which it is impossible for us to comprehend.  We’ve measurements for length and weight and volume and speed and power and other such things, but these are all rendered useless when it comes to our understanding of God.

Though we struggle as limited beings to comprehend a God without limits, there is much comfort and hope bound up in our consideration of it.  We are limited, but God is not.  What is true of the person of God, is true of Him in all His perfections.  So, when it comes to His thoughts and ways, they are higher to us than the heavens are from the earth (Isaiah 55:8-9).  When it comes to His love and the “breadth and length and height and depth of it” we are told it is a love which “surpasses knowledge” (Ephesians 3:18-19).  When He forgives, He removes our transgressions from us “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12).  His omnipotence is such that “nothing is too hard” for Him (Jeremiah 32:17).  When He saves He “saves to the uttermost” (Hebrews 7:25).  The peace He can bring to our hearts is a peace “which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). Indeed, our infinite God is able to work in our lives in a manner which is “far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).  He is infinite in who He is and infinite in what He does!  His greatness is unsearchable (Psalm 145:3)!

J. B. Philips authored a book entitled “Your God is too Small,” in which he deals with many of the common misconceptions regarding God. It is possible for us to invent in our minds a small and manageable god whom we can contain. We are better off to trust the Spirit, in whom our minds are being renewed, to increasingly aligned our thinking to the truth about God revealed to us in of the Word.

Infinite God.  In our minds we’ve shrunk You to such an extent you bear little resemblance to the full measure of your limitless perfections.  Forgive us.  Open our eyes that we might behold the wonderful truths from your Word which can work to correct our smallish vision of You.  May our hearts be henceforth filled with praise and thanksgiving as we worship You according to the wonderful reality of who You are! 

“To whom then will you compare me,

that I should be like him? says the Holy One.”

Isaiah 40:26

January 9

The Uncaused God

Bible Reading: Exodus 3:14-15; Isaiah 44:24; Acts 17:24-25; Colossians 1:16-17

God is self-existent and self-sufficient.  He alone has no outside grounds for His existence.  The answer to the question of “Who created God?” is “NO ONE!”  The self-existent God does not depend on anyone or anything outside of Himself for His life and being.

In his book “The Attributes of God,” Arthur W. Pink spoke to these aspects of God’s nature: ‘In the beginning, God’ (Genesis 1:1). There was a time, if “time” it could be called, when God, in the unity of His nature (though subsisting equally in three Divine Persons), dwelt all alone. ‘In the beginning, God.’ There was no heaven, where His glory is now particularly manifested. There was no earth to engage His attention. There were no angels to hymn His praises; no universe to be upheld by the word of His power. There was nothing, no one, but God; and that, not for a day, a year, or an age, but ‘from everlasting.’ 

During a past eternity, God was alone: self-contained, self-sufficient, self-satisfied; in need of nothing. The creation of the universe, angels and mankind, when He did, added nothing to God essentially. He changes not (Malachi 3:6), because of this His essential glory can be neither augmented, nor diminished.  God was under no constraint, no obligation, no necessity to create. That He chose to do so was purely a sovereign act on His part, caused by nothing outside Himself, determined by nothing but His own good pleasure; for He “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Ephesians 1:11). That He did create was simply for His manifestative glory.”

By way of contrast, we humans are neither self-existent nor self-sufficient.  In 1943 an American Psychologist by the name of Abraham Maslow theorized what he called “Man’s Hierarchy of Needs,” which were categorized according to the following groups: physiological, safety, belongingness and love, esteem, self-actualization and self-transcendence.  According to his hierarchy, basic needs such as food, water, air, clothing and shelter were just the start if a person was to achieve what he referred to as “self-actualization.”  We creatures can’t long survive apart from that which has been provided to us by a benevolent creator.  As A.W. Tozer has noted, “All breathing things need air; every organism needs food and water.  Take air and water from the earth and all life would perish instantly.  It may be stated as an axiom that to stay alive every created thing needs some other created thing, and all things need God.  To God alone nothing is necessary.”

Sin reveals itself in many ways, but at its core is a rebellion which leads to the erroneous belief that we, as created beings, can somehow exist and function independent of our Creator.  The doctrine of the self-existence of God is an affront to every self-worshiper.  In our secular society many folks live their lives supposing the universe revolves around them, only to grow increasingly frustrated by the universe’s refusal to cooperate. 

Though God does not need us, we have intrinsic value inasmuch as He created us in His image. Though He doesn’t need us, He has loved us enough to send His own Son to rescue us from sin’s folly.  Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead so we can be saved (John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Ephesians 2:4-5).  Though He doesn’t need anything from us, by His grace He privileges us to serve Him, having prepared beforehand good works for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).  The Creator of all things, has no needs and in His perfection He is altogether deserving of our worship!

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God

To receive glory and honour and praise

For you created all things,

And by your will they existed and were created.”

Revelation 4:11

January 8

One God in Three

Bible Reading: Matthew 3:16-17, 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14

If we are to think rightly about God it is necessary to grapple with the doctrine of the Trinity.  I say “grapple,” because the truth of the trinity is neither easy to understand, or to  articulate.  Though the word “Trinity” does not appear anywhere in our Bibles, the doctrine is clearly taught in Scripture and affirmed to us throughout the history of the church. 

Put simply, the doctrine of the Trinity is there is One God who has eternally existed in three distinct persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  God is one in essence and three in person.  These three persons are not parts of One God, but three distinct co-equal persons.  Neither should we be misled into thinking there is One God who revealed Himself in three “modes” (a false doctrine referred to as “modalism”).  The three members of the Trinity of God have eternally existed, as co-equal persons, sharing in the same essence in nature and will.

If the word “trinity,” is nowhere to be found in our Bibles then what is the basis for this doctrine?  Good question!  Foundational is the clear teaching there is but one God.  Deuteronomy 6:4 speaks to this, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one” (Cf. 1 Timothy 2:5).  But the Bible also teaches the Father is God (John 6:27; Romans 1:7); and the Son is God (John 1:1, 14; Romans 9:5; Hebrews 1:8); and the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4; 1 Corinthians 3:16).

There are numerous examples in Scripture where we find all three members of the Godhead harmoniously working to accomplish mighty deeds: creation (Genesis 1:1; Colossians 1:16; Job 26:13); the incarnation (Luke 1:35); Jesus’ baptism (Matthew 3:16-17); atonement (Hebrews 9:14); the resurrection of Christ (Acts 2:32; John 10:17-18; Romans 1:4); the salvation of the believer in Christ (Ephesians 1:3-14; 1 Peter 1:2); the indwelling of the Spirit (John 14:16-17). 

Both texts in today’s reading speak to the “three-in-oneness” which exists within the Godhead. Before His ascension, Jesus told the disciples, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). The word “name” is singular in the Greek, indicating there is one God. Then Jesus spoke of the three distinct persons within the Godhead.  This “three-in-oneness” is reflected again in 2 Corinthians 13:14.

There are some who scoff at this doctrine.  As A.W. Tozer observed: “Some persons who reject all they cannot explain have denied that God is a Trinity.  Subjecting the Most High to their cold, level-eyed scrutiny, they conclude that it is impossible that He could be both One and Three.  These forget that their whole life is enshrouded in mystery.  They fail to consider that any real explanation of even the simplest phenomenon in nature lies hidden in obscurity and can no more be explained than can the mystery of the Godhead” (A. W. Tozer, “The Knowledge of the Holy”).  I say, “Praise God that we worship a God whose thoughts and ways infinitely transcend our own!” (Cf. Isaiah 55:8-9).

“Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;

Praise Him, all creatures here below;

Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host;

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Amen.”

January 7

Our Creator Cares

Bible Reading: Psalm 121

This Psalm is one of a group of fifteen Psalms referred to as the “Songs of Ascents.”  It is thought these songs were sung by the people ascending to Jerusalem during the three annual festival processions.  It is also possible these songs were sung by pilgrims who were thus journeying on their way.

With that thought in mind, it would be somewhat difficult for us to relate to the traveler of those days.  Most  likely traveling by foot, any lengthy trip would be filled with all kinds of challenges and hazards.  Provision for food, water and shelter would be necessary, no McDonalds along the way!  The very real threat of robbers lurking in the hills would be a concern. There’d be no one to call in case of injury or illness or attack. 

Was he looking to the hills in concern—the hills would provide cover for vagabonds who might attack?  Or, if he was on his way to Jerusalem, was he looking to the hills in anticipation of his arrival to the great city—Jerusalem was hidden amongst those hills.  

Psalmist speaks of our need for help.  He writes, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?  My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

The hills were places where pagan worship often took place.  The Psalmist is explaining he does not look to the hills for help, but to the God who made the heavens and earth!  But let’s face it, who doesn’t need help from time to time?  We humans are needy creatures.  We have spiritual needs, physical needs, and emotional needs.  We have needs for food, clothing, and shelter.  Needs arise out of unexpected challenges and our own poor choices.  Sometimes our needs are easily remedied.  Other times our needs lie so deep within, onlyGod alone can see and address them.

The Psalmist knew where to look for help.  He looked to the One powerful enough to create all things.  The One who is powerful enough to resolve our greatest problems.  The God who loved us enough to send His Own Son to die for us.  He cares about our  our smallest concerns.  The birds of the air neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, but Our creator God feeds them.  He is well able to take care of you too!

We’d do well to follow the Psalmists example.  Where do you go in your times of trouble?  There are plenty of options.  We sometimes anxiously focus our attention on the problem, or the need.  Other times, we look to others for their help and counsel. There’s nothing wrong with that unless it serves as a substitute for trusting in God.  I’m reminded of Ezra’s return with the exiles from Babylon to Jerusalem.  King Artaxerxes would have provided soldiers and horsemen to protect the group along the way.  But Ezra didn’t ask, since he had told the King, “The hand of our god is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him” (Ezra 8:22).  So, Ezra and the people fasted and prayed and journeyed safely, as Ezra recounted: “The hand of our God was on us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy and ambushes by the way” (Ezra 8:31). You’re in good hands in God’s hands.

Heavenly Father.  How prone we are to trust in men to resolve our troubles when it’s you whom we should trust in every detail of our lives.  You made us–who could know us better?  Your power is on display in the universe You created–who could possibly be more able and equipped to come to our aid?  You’ve amazed us by the love You’ve shown to us through Your Son Jesus!  If you didn’t spare your Own Son, but gave Him up for us, why should we doubt your ability to come to our aid?  Thank you for loving us and watching over us!  We look to you!  Amen.