Thinking God’s Thoughts

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV

As a new Christian I read a book by a brilliant mathematician whose sole purpose in his book was to remove from the reader’s mindset any belief in a God. I recall being swayed for a time by his arguments—but then it occurred to me that when speaking about God, I need a great deal of humility.

What the brilliant man lacked was a realization that if there were a God He would be so much greater than humans that they could never think His thoughts after Him.

How could mere dust on the face of creation fathom the Eternal One? A slug might better understand Albert Einstein than a human comprehend the infinite God.

I am not suggesting we leave our minds outside the church building when entering for worship and praise. Not at all. But this matter of God being so incredibly greater than us argues strongly for the need of the Bible to reveal the Lord to us.

We may learn much about the wisdom and power of the Creator by studying the universe around us. I spend all my time for recreational reading going through science magazines to learn more about the complexity and intricacy of the world we live in and enjoy so much.

We all should marvel at the beauties of flowers, sunsets, and other amazing aspects of our world.

Where we get ourselves into trouble is when we think we can stand in judgment on God for how He runs certain aspects of our personal lives.

We may complain that we live in relative poverty compared to others. We are rebellious at our poor health compared to others. We may wish we had a better family to enjoy, and on and on the complaints go. We can be very dissatisfied with how the Lord has positioned us in life.

Having such feelings ignores all the promises in Scripture concerning the adequacy of God’s grace.

For those who submit to the difficult providence of the Lord, there are exceedingly great and precious promises to take hold of and use to comfort and fortify ourselves in our situations in life.

However, Satan, the world, and the flesh all argue “Not fair!” when we try to understand God’s way with us as individuals.

Today let us seek humility when we do not understand the Lord, and come to Him for the needed and abundant grace He waits to give us. Come to Him and come today.

Waiting

“…though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come…”
Habakkuk 2:3 KJV

I recall reading in the autobiography of George Muller how he had prayed for something for a number of years.

At the time of writing his life story he had not received what he sought from the Lord. Muller did not seem to mind the fact that the Lord had withheld the wanted thing. He felt it was necessary on his part to keep on praying until the answer came.

When the Holy Spirit places a prayer on our hearts—and we can support the desired thing by promises from Scripture—we should persist in prayer until the Lord responds.

We should examine our impression of the Holy Spirit prompting a certain prayer with Scripture support. Too often we can mistake our own fleshly desires for a Spirit led prayer.

Prayer needs to be bold and focused as we come before the Lord to worship, praise, and make our needs known. Always seek Scripture promises to fortify your petitions just as you use Scripture to stimulate worship and praise. All of our approaches to the Lord are strengthened through the proper use of the Bible.

Since the Scriptures are Spirit breathed, we will find the Holy Spirit using Scripture to guide our thoughts and emotions as we present ourselves to the Lord in prayer.

Impatient spirits can be chased away when we use a verse such as we have for today. Habakkuk was in dreadful circumstances and they were getting worse. It seemed as though his entire world was collapsing. Hence this precious promise to wait for the Lord to act as He surely would.

By the time Habakkuk and the Lord finished this time of prayer, Habakkuk could say,  

Although the fig tree shall not blossom,
neither shall fruit be in the vines;
the labour of the olive shall fail,
and the fields shall yield no meat;
the flock shall be cut off from the fold,
and there shall be no herd in the stalls:
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength,
and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet,
and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.”
Habakkuk 3:17-19 KJV

Can you hear the Lord speaking to you with today’s verse? He speaks, come and listen to Him.

“…though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come…”
Habakkuk 2:3 KJV

It is His desire to have you learn to trust Him just as Habakkuk did. Come to Him and come now.

The Fear Of The Lord

“Depart from me Lord for I am a sinful man.”
Luke 5:8

In much of the twenty first century version of Christianity there is a profound deficit according to Scripture. The Jesus we hear about from too many pulpits and in far too many books is a Man of sappy sentimentality Who could not hurt a flea. He is nice, cheerful and a great person to have on your side as you wander through life.

The Christ of the Gospels has a side to Him that defies description and that causes honest, seeking people to occasionally fall on their faces in holy fear. In numerous places in the Bible we read about this reaction on the part of God’s people when they see the Lord in His glory.

For example, the year that King Uzziah died the prophet Isaiah saw the Lord. What was Isaiah’s reaction to this self disclosure by God? He felt greatly out of place and confessed himself a sinner in the presence of a holy God. The man of God had a holy fear in God’s presence.

When our Lord caused the miraculous catch of fish as recorded in Luke 5 what was Peter’s most appropriate reaction? He sought to withdraw from Jesus whose great power had just been displayed.

In Revelation 2 when the aged servant of the Lord saw the Resurrected One what was his immediate response? He fell before Him as though he dropped dead.

Have you or have I ever had such a powerful display of the eternal God that we felt totally out of place in the presence of this holy and incredible person? Do we know what holy fear really is? Or do we play church where Jesus is a really nice fellow whom we can contain and occasionally call Him to attention when life gets a bit difficult?

Psalm 111:10 tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Until—and unless—we have this biblical fear of God we do not truly know the Lord as we ought. This deep and profound respect and honour for the Lord comes to those who seek Him with all their hearts.

There is no place for a casual relationship with our Maker. We must learn this fear of the Lord if we shall make real progress in the faith. The words of a hymn sum it up well.

Oh how I fear The living God, with deepest trembling fear,
And worship Thee with trembling hope and penitential tear.
Yet I may love Thee too oh Lord almighty as Thou art
For Thou hast stooped to ask of me the love of my poor heart.

Today may all of us blend the fear of God with a true and heartfelt love of Him.

Jesus Loves Me This I Know

“Looking at him Jesus loved him…”
Mark 10:21

One of  the twentieth centuries greatest theologians was asked what was the most profound truth he had discovered with all of his studies and education. His response was effortless and quickly he replied, “The greatest truth I have ever discovered is this; Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.”

In life our faith can be shaken to the core by God’s ‘mysterious way”—to quote dear mad William Cowper. We need to grow the roots of our faith deep in this remarkable doctrine of the Saviour’s eternal and faithful love for His sheep. This is the greatest bedrock upon which to build a life of service to the Lord Jesus Christ.

We delight in the good times to meditate on the wonders of the One Who is the Resurrection and the Life. Reading John 10 we marvel at the self-sacrificing Good Shepherd Who willingly laid down His life for the sheep that He might take it again. Such majestic thoughts lift us to the heavens.

But in sorrow’s dark hour where do we flee for help? What do we say in the dark times that so easily cloud our thinking and confuse our thoughts? Such times quickly show us the strength of our faith, or such times demonstrate to us that our faith is shallow and sadly in need of help.

During pleasant seasons of life it is vital that we store up Scripture in our hearts and develop a strong, consistent prayer life. When it is easy to sing God’s praise we need to sing heartily and attentively the grand truths of the words in the hymns. We ought to be busy ministering grace into the lives of others like widows and the fatherless (James 1:27).

Then, when a storm clouds our horizon and we almost lose our way, we shall be able to fall on the mercies of the Lord and comfort ourselves with the Scriptures we used to minister grace to others.

Are you grounding yourself in Scripture today? Do you delight in the exceedingly great and precious promises of the Word of God? (2 Peter 1:4) Are you finding strength in the simple yet profound truth that Jesus loves you?

May you take time today to simply ponder anew how safe you are in the arms of Jesus. Never forget the words of Isaiah 40:11 (NIV) where we read,

“He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in His arms
and carries them close to His heart…”

Go out today in this strength and truly believe “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

An Ounce Of Prevention

“I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.”
Psalm 119:11 (NIV)

Benjamin Franklin has been quoted as writing, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Such a statement is a common sense comment that is well understood by all of us. It is better to take steps to avoid trouble than to find yourself trying to sort out a mess created by something that you could have kept away from.

An alcoholic would be advised to stay away from a party where liquor will be served than to go and have temptation overcome him. A person who is seeking to quit smoking should seek non smoking public venues to keep themselves from second hand smoke. That is an ounce of prevention.

In the Christian life our best efforts to keep temptation from overcoming us is to memorize Scripture on a regular basis. Numerous Christian organizations offer Scripture memorization programs that can help tremendously. Packages on prayer, dealing with temptation, witnessing—among other subjects—can be excellent aids to not only keeping ourselves from sin but also getting us into a position of strength in our Christian journey.

We cannot start too early helping our children and grandchildren in Scripture memorization. Children’s catechisms have great advantages for getting Scripture into children’s memories. By the time a child has finished committing a catechism to memory they will have sections of different chapters they can recall instantly when temptations come to them.

Before a child can read the Bible for themselves, catechisms can hide God’s Word in their hearts and minds for instant recall. I believe grandparents can find much pleasure helping grandchildren memorize a children’s catechism when they have opportunity.

So whether it is for yourself, or for children and grandchildren, committing Scripture to memory is a wonderful and practical activity in which to engage.