Daily Archives: January 1, 2023

Where Are You?

Image result for picture verses of god's guidanceImage result for picture verses of god's guidanceImage result for picture verses of god's guidanceImage result for picture verses of god's guidance

Where Are You?

man looking under the bed

Recently, my mother died. While I am thankful she lived to age 90, the final years of her life were filled with health issues and complications, surgeries, physical therapy rehabilitation, and pain. In the final months, dementia took over, wrapping her in a haze of befuddlement and fear.

Each day, when I entered the “memory” unit of the care facility, before I even saw my mother, I heard her pleading voice reverberate down the corridor, “Please! Please! Won’t somebody help me?” Even when I sat beside her, held her hand, and assured her of my presence, she continued to scream for help. During those difficult days, I often prayed, God, where are you? How does my mother’s suffering glorify you? When will you answer her cry for help?

When we are going through challenging times, it’s normal for us to ask, “God, where are you?” We want an immediate response to questions that sometimes have no ready answers. We question God’s timing and want to know the outcome of the situation prior to its resolution. But have you ever wondered what it’s like for God when we distance ourselves from Him?

“But the LORD God called to the man, ‘Where are you?'” Genesis 3:9 (NIV)

When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they experienced fear for the first time. Suddenly, they understood the consequences of sin—separation from God. Prior to sin, they eagerly awaited God and enjoyed fellowship with Him in the beautiful, cool, lush garden that was their home. After disobeying, they feared God’s reaction and hid from their Creator. Even before God asked, “Where are you?” He knew His relationship with Adam and Eve had changed.

Many days, God asks me the same question, “Where are you?” Chores capture my attention. Deadlines loom. The Internet, social networking, phone conversations, or TV watching eat up valuable hours with little return. And God waits patiently, knocking on my heart’s door, asking where I am and why I haven’t spent time with Him.

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20 (NIV)

Where are you? A good question. Where am I in my spiritual walk? Where am I in my prayer life? Where am I in Bible study? Where I am in telling others about God? Sometimes I am hiding because I’ve allowed unconfessed sin to erect a colossal barrier. Other days, I am simply lazy and undisciplined, navigating life in my own terms, seeking wisdom elsewhere, and fearing things that may never happen. Yet God waits patiently, missing special times of connection with me.

Sometimes we forget that God created us specifically for the purpose of having fellowship with Him. The word picture in Revelation 3:20 of Jesus sitting at the dinner table sharing a meal with us provides a reminder of the type of warm fellowship afforded us, if we are willing. But most often we ignore the offer of intimate friendship. God is standing by waiting to impart wisdom, encourage us, comfort and help us with problems and struggles. He misses us when we remain distant. But instead of seeking Him and looking forward to time with Him, we hide behind duties, obligations, events, activities, relationships, or self-created busyness that we consider more important or necessary. We fall into bed at night exhausted, and God is still waiting, sad that we have ignored him yet another day, quietly saying, “Here I am! Where are you?”

Today’s Devotions

Morning

January 1

Genesis 1:1 1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

In the beginning God… The Bible doesn’t argue the existence of God. It does declare that it is the fool who says there is no God. (Psalm 14:1) The very first verse of the Bible begins with His action related to man, the creation of space and matter. That is the logical starting point of creation for an unchanging, eternal God.

The Bible is a declaration of who God is and His relationship to His creation, man. This first verse tells us that God is before all things and the source of all things. The fact that He alone is responsible for all things should cause us to see that we owe our existence to Him. He is the ultimate standard for what is right and appropriate, for He is the source of all. Have you bowed your head to the One who gave you life and acknowledged that you owe your all to Him? Are you living in the recognition of the fact that “In the beginning God…”? What should that mean to you today and every day?

Take a moment to think of the One who inhabits eternity before space was spoken into existence. He brought it into being to create a place for you. He didn’t need to. He wanted to. Do you want to know Him?

Admonition:See the world around you today as a gift from the loving hands of your Creator.

Streams in the Desert – January 1

  • 20231 Jan

The land whither ye go to possess it is a land of hills and valleys and drinketh water of the rain of heaven; a land which the Lord thy God careth for: the eyes of the Lord are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even to the end of the year. (Deuteronomy 11:11-12)

Today, dear friends, we stand upon the verge of the unknown. There lies before us the new year and we are going forth to possess it. Who can tell what we shall find? What new experiences, what changes shall come, what new needs shall arise? But here is the cheering, comforting, gladdening message from our Heavenly Father, “The Lord thy God careth for it.”

All our supply is to come from the Lord. Here are springs that shall never dry; here are fountains and streams that shall never be cut off. Here anxious one, is the gracious pledge of the Heavenly Father. If He be the Source of our mercies they can never fail us. No heat, no drought can parch that river, “the streams whereof make glad the city of God.”

The land is a land of hills and valleys. It is not all smooth nor all down hill. If life were all one dead level the dull sameness would oppress us; we want the hills and the valleys. The hills collect the rain for a hundred fruitful valleys. Ah, so it is grace and brings down the shower of blessing; the hills, the bleak hills of life that we wonder at and perhaps grumble at, bring down showers. How many have perished in the wilderness, buried under its golden sands, who would have lived and thriven in the hill-country; how many would have been killed by the frost, blighted with winds, swept desolate of tree and fruit but for the hill- stern, hard, rugged, so steep to climb. God’s hills are a gracious protection for His people against their foes!

We cannot tell what loss and sorrow and trial are doing. Trust only. The Father comes near to take our hand and lead us on our way today. It shall be a good, a blessed new year!

He leads us on by paths we did not know;
Upward He leads us, though our steps be slow,
Though oft we faint and falter on the way,
Though storms and darkness oft obscure the day;
Yet when the clouds are gone,
We know He leads us on.
He leads us on through all the unquiet years;
Past all our dreamland hopes, and doubts and fears,
He guides our steps, through all the tangled maze
Of losses, sorrows, and o’er clouded days;
We know His will is done;
And still He leads us on.
–Nicholaus Ludwig Zinzendorf

True unity promoted

‘Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.’ Ephesians 4:3

Suggested Further Reading: Romans 15:1–13

Let us cultivate everything that would tend to unity. Are any sick? Let us care for them. Are any suffering? Let us weep with them. Do we know one who has less love than others? Let us have more, so as to make up the deficiency. Do we perceive faults in a brother? Let us admonish him in love and affection. I pray you be peacemakers, everyone. Let us remember that we cannot keep the unity of the Spirit unless we all believe the truth of God. Let us search our Bibles, therefore, and conform our views and sentiments to the teaching of God’s Word. Unity in error is unity in ruin. We want unity in the truth of God through the Spirit of God. This let us seek after; let us live near to Christ, for this is the best way of promoting unity. Divisions in churches never begin with those full of love to the Saviour. Cold hearts, unholy lives, inconsistent actions, neglected closets; these are the seeds which sow schisms in the body; but he who lives near to Jesus, wears his likeness and copies his example, will be, wherever he goes, a sacred bond, a holy link to bind the church more closely than ever together. May God give us this, and henceforth let us endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. I commend the text to all believers, to be practised through the coming year. And to those who are not believers, what can I say but that I trust their unity and their peace may be broken for ever, and that they may be led to Christ Jesus to find peace in his death? May faith be given, and then love and grace will follow, so that they may be one with us in Christ Jesus our Lord.

For meditation: God alone can create unity between the disunited (Ephesians 2:12–16); we are not expected to manufacture false unity with those who teach another gospel. But neither are we expected to undermine the unity God has already created. Rather we are to work towards its perfection (Ephesians 4:13). What is your track record in this matter? Do you need to make a New Year’s resolution?