A Little Footstool

Reading: Isaiah 66:1-2

What kind of picture do these verses put in your head? Do you have a footstool? What do you use it for?

Sometimes in this busy world it is hard to remember that God is ruling over us. There are so many things that make us forget. We have our worries, our chores, and our responsibilities, and sometimes it feels like God is very far away.

We have to remember that God is all-present and all-powerful. He made all things, and therefore He can control all things. Even in a world of sin and sadness, He says that He will be with us.

God is so powerful that one day He will destroy this earth, His footstool, just as easily as you can break up a little footstool yourself. Can you imagine having that much power over this earth? That alone should make us tremble at His Word (verse 2).

However, for the man who is humble and contrite in spirit, God’s power is an awesome and comforting thing. The person who is humble, contrite, and fearful knows that the all-powerful God is on His side. God is looking at him and wants to take care of him. Is that what God wants to do for you?

The next time you need a chair or footstool to reach something, remember that it serves you, just like we should serve God, and obey Him in all things. For He rules over us with wisdom and lovingkindness, wanting all men to obey His Word.

For Further Study:

  • Today’s reading talked about being humble. What does it mean to be humble? Do you know any humble people? Read these other promises that God makes to the humble: Proverbs 22:4; Isaiah 57:15; Matthew 18:4. Did you notice that last verse? Children are an example to Christians of being humble! How special you are in the sight of God!
  • I’m afraid that sometimes we become too “used” to God. Sometimes people tend to make Christ their “pal,” instead of giving Him the proper honor that He deserves. This reading today reminds us that the Father and Son are worthy of our fear and awe. Read Psalm 135:20; Ecclesiastes 5:2; Jeremiah 2:19; 1 Peter 2:17.
  • How can you be more humble? What makes it hard to be humble? What can you pray to God about being more humble?
Advertisements
Posted in Earth, Heaven, Humility/Pride, King/Judge, Skies, Worship. Comments Off on A Little Footstool

Surviving Difficulty

Reading: Isaiah 17:1-8

As I write this Bible lesson, it is December in West Texas. This is a deceptive month, for some days it is bitterly cold, and some days it is as sunny and warm as an April morning. We may leave the house at breakfast in coats and jackets, then abandon them in the afternoon to play in the park; yet by nightfall, it is time to light a fire in the fireplace.

This is the time that our trees are losing leaves and the garden has been put to bed. Yet, one may see a few brave flowers in the fields. Birds that are flying south for the winter stop here to sing. We see these little reminders of the warm weather, before the January frost arrives. They remind me of these verses in Isaiah.

God says that difficult times will come for His people. Sometimes these include trials and distresses, persecution and wars. But God said He would strengthen His people, and that some would survive. Those are the “gleanings” left in the field, and the “four or five branches” left on the fruitful tree. Those are the ones whose faith remain intact. Could that be you? When things are difficult, will you be that brave little flower in the field, that bird still trilling his song into the gray December sky? Pray that your faith will grow in strength and wisdom, so that you can be a certain reminder of God’s love to those around you.

For Further Study:

  • The idea of a “remnant” is that God would allow some of the faithful Israelites to survive, because Christ was coming from this people (remember the theme of the Old Testament?). See Isaiah 1:9; Jeremiah 23:3; and Ezekiel 14:22. God gave these words to be a hope to His people Israel.
  • In a sense, Christians are a remnant as well. Do you sometimes feel like you’re in the minority because you serve God? There was a young person in the Bible who might have felt the same way, but who stayed loyal to Christ and His cause. Young Timothy traveled with Paul and “stuck with him” even when others didn’t. You can read about him in Philippians 2:19-23.
  • Talk to an older person this week about his or her life in Christ. What things have helped them remain faithful? What things have shaken their faith? What advice could they give you about staying true to God?
Posted in Beasts & Birds, Bible History, Courage, Hope, Joy, Patience, Plants, Savior, Skies, Wars, Weather. Comments Off on Surviving Difficulty

Complete Forgiveness

Reading: Isaiah 1:16-20

Have you ever played in the snow? I used to live in the Northern part of the United States, and every winter the snow would come to fill our streets and yards. Overnight, the world was transformed into a crystal-white play-land. Trees, bushes, and houses looked unfamiliar underneath their blankets. Everything seemed clearer and sharper, as if I were wearing new eyeglasses. Even the air smelled different.

Our mother dressed us in bright pink snowsuits to play outside. The plows would leave tall piles of snow in the school parking lot, which made perfect “mountains” for us to climb and build tunnels and warrens for playing. The snow brought new amusements that couldn’t be done the rest of the year: sledding, skating, and snowball fights.

I no longer live where it snows every winter. The closest impression I receive is when the cotton fields are harvested and left in the fields in large, snow-white blocks to be transported to the cotton gin. Those large white “mountains” of cotton remind me of the snow. But it’s not the same as in my childhood, when every year the snow came and changed my world.

Snow can transform a landscape, can change the way we see things, and can also change the things we do. So, too, does the healing power of God’s forgiveness. After confessing our wrongs to Him and resolving to change our ways, the weight of guilt and shame is dissolved, and we can see the goodness of God around us, urging us on in our service to Him. When God says He will make us white as snow, it is because He knows what snow means to the earth it touches.

For Further Study:

  • Repentance is more than just saying you are sorry ~ it means resolving to change your life so that you will not commit the same sin again. Many people feel sorry for their sin but don’t change their circumstances and habits so that they can do better in the future. Read Luke 3:7-14. When John the Baptist told men to repent, he expected them to prove it through their new works for God. Read also Matthew 12:43-45. What happens when we don’t replace wrong behavior with right ones?

 

  • How was true repentance demonstrated in the lives of these people: Paul (Acts 9:1-31); the Philippian jailer (Acts 16:25-34); the Ephesians (Acts 19:11-20).

  • Is there a habit or problem that you feel sorry for and would like to change? Write it down. Write down when it is most likely to happen. Write down the things or people that influence you in this habit. What can you change about your life so that this behavior can cease? Also, what good thing can you do in place of it?
Posted in Baptism, Holiness/purity, Repentance & Forgiveness, Savior, Skies, Weather. Comments Off on Complete Forgiveness

Kindness wins over Force

Reading: Proverbs 25: 20-28

These verses seem to be separate, unrelated thoughts until you read verse 28 – “Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit.”

In Solomon’s day, a city without walls might as well have been dead. The walls protected it. The walls gave its citizens security. The walls showed others the worth and power of the city within. How would you feel if your home had no walls?

Now think of a person who cannot control his spirit (his feelings or emotions). His feelings come out and hurt himself and others. He is a danger to himself and others. What are some of the problems listed in Proverbs 25 that are caused by a lack of self-control?

“Sun and Wind” was written by Howard J. Chidley and published in the book Fifty-Two Talks for Boys and Girls in 1914. It is actually the retelling of a traditional fable. Chidley’s book is now out of print but still available free online.

SUN AND WIND

Once upon a time, according to an old fable, the sun and the northwind had a contest to see which could take a man’s coat off the more quickly.

The northwind tried first. It gathered together all its forces in its own corner of the earth, and then rushed forth upon this man who was walking along a country-road. The wind blew and blew, and it seemed as if the traveller’s coat would be blown from his back or torn to tatters. But the harder the northwind blew the tighter the man drew his coat about him, and the wind could not get it off his back. After it had spent all its force it gave up in despair.

Then the sun had its turn. It came out without noise or violence like the northwind. It did not whistle in the treetops nor bluster through the bushes. It did not buffet nor struggle with the man. It just went on pouring forth its heat. And it seemed as if it could never win, any more than the northwind. But soon the traveller took out his handkerchief and wiped the perspiration from his face. Then, before long, he took off his hat. Soon he unbuttoned his coat, and finally he took it off of his own accord. The sun had won the contest against the northwind!

Now, a fable is meant to teach a lesson. The lesson of this fable is that gentleness wins where only strength and rudeness fail. If some one has done you a wrong, the way to deal with him is not to try to “get even” with him, as we say. Nor is the best way to get angry with him and scold him. The Bible tells us that the way to overcome your enemy is to do good for evil, for it says by so doing you will “heap coals of fire upon his head.”

Usually it is the weak people who bluster like the northwind, and storm and brag. Strong people are usually quiet. There is an old saying that “if you are right you can afford to keep your temper, and if you are wrong you cannot afford to lose it.” Be gentle. You will win more that way than by getting angry.

For Further Study:

  • Read Proverbs 25:20-22. What are some of the wonderful things that happen when we have control over our emotions? Think of how sad Jesus felt when He prayed in the garden before His death. Think of how He bore so much pain on the cross. What wonderful things happened then?
  • Think of the things that make you lose your temper, break down crying, or make your heart jump. Can you learn to control your reaction to these things? It takes a lot of practice to become self-controlled. Some people also use the words “self-discipline” – this means it takes learning. How can you learn not to have such strong emotions? What can you pray about this?
Posted in Anger, Humility/Pride, Kindness, Love, Patience, Skies, Weather. Comments Off on Kindness wins over Force

Pilgrims for God

Reading: Numbers 9:20-23

Imagine living in the Israelites’ camp. Every morning you woke up and went outside your tent to look at the pillar of cloud. If the cloud rose up and moved, you packed up everything and followed it. If the cloud stayed for a month or a year, you stayed there too. You never knew when the cloud would move. How much the Israelites had to trust in God!

What if Dad came home tonight and said, “We’re moving. I don’t know where we’re moving to, but let’s get packing.” What would that be like?

Do we trust God that much? Do we follow where He says to follow, and do we stay where He says to stay? If the Bible says that something is dangerous, do we stay away from it or do we argue and ask, “why?” What happened to the Israelites when they didn’t listen to God?

Remember, the Israelites were traveling in the wilderness. There were enemies and wild animals all around them. Don’t you think that was scary? But even when the journey was long and hard, they were safe when they followed God. God tells us to do things so that we’ll be safe and learn to trust Him. We follow His commandments because we love Him. God would never lead us somewhere that’s bad for us.

We are only pilgrims here, on our way to our home in Heaven. We have to trust that God is with us. He WANTS to watch over us all the way. He wants us to feel safe and loved. So read your Bible every day. It’s your pillar to guide you!

For Further Study:

  • Christians are supposed to think of themselves as pilgrims, sojourners, and travelers on this earth, on their way to a new Home. See Hebrews 11:13-16. If we’re only travelers here, how should the child of God think about the things he owns and the things he loves? See 1 John 2:17. If we don’t belong to this world, how will we be treated sometimes? See 1 John 3:13.
  • Imagine that you’re one of the Israelites, and it’s time to pack up and go. You only have a little while to get ready – the pillar’s moving on! If you only had 30 minutes to pack, what would you take? What would you leave behind?
Posted in Pilgrims/pioneers/immigration, Skies. Comments Off on Pilgrims for God