Thursday, August 11, 2016

Confidence in Our Lord

There will be no devotional tomorrow, August 12. They will resume on Monday, August 15
Chuckle: When I was little, I often wondered who Richard Stands was. You know: "I pledge allegiance to the flag . . . And to the republic for Richard Stands."
Quote: “Religion is the possibility of the removal of every ground of confidence except confidence in God alone.” --Karl Barth
"Have no fear of sudden disaster or the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared" (Proverbs 3:25-26 NIV). "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him" (Jeremiah 17:7 NIV).
Many images of Jesus are portrayed in Scripture, especially in Revelation, the last book of the Bible. What is your mental image of Jesus? Do you see Him as a mighty King with all authority and power; or do you picture Him as the Good Shepherd gently caring for His sheep? I have seen pictures in churches and homes depicting Him as a gentle shepherd with a lamb in His arms or across His shoulders. However, in ancient times, shepherds were not the gentle type. Their job included fighting off attacks on their sheep from wild animals. They were ready to die to protect their flocks. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is kind and gentle, but also the fierce and mighty warrior who died to win the battle for the eternal souls of people.
If you are a Christian, the battle for your soul has already been won when Jesus died on that cruel cross outside Jerusalem and rose from the dead. But the battle within our hearts is ongoing every day. We must fight against temptation and sin, but it is the Holy Spirit who fights with us every step of the way. Psalm 24:8 asks, "Who is the king of glory?" Then it answers: "The Lord is the King of glory, the Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle." In Revelation He is describe as "sitting on a white battle horse, the One who judges and makes war in righteousness." (Revelation 19:11).
Since Jesus has won the battle for our eternal souls, we must hold on to Him in faith even during the worst of times in our struggle with doubt, fear, and temptation, because He holds onto us and will never let us go. Many times Paul refers to the second coming of Christ with a sense that it could happen any minute. New Testament believers lived with great hope and assurance, and they did so in the midst of extreme persecution and trials. Our hope for the future has been made possible by the past sacrifice on the cross and the present work of the Holy Spirit.
If you are living close to God today, you have every justification for being confident about the future. God promised Israel, "The Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard" (Isaiah 52:12). We, too, can be confident that our God will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Our hope makes us patient and confident even in the most difficult of times,and causes us to persevere and be devoted to prayer because we are secure in God's love now and forever. Rest in that deep assurance today!
Love, Jerry & Dotse

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