Devotional

How Do You Picture God? – Part 3 of 3. Know Who God Really Is, and Thank Him

And the LORD passed before [Moses] and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and fourth generation.” Exodus 34:6 NKJV (Emphasis mine)

Happy Thanksgiving! As we know who God really is, we find He is so worthy of our gratitude and praise!

Moses wanted to see the LORD. The LORD said Moses couldn’t see Him face to face, but He honored the request and hid Moses in the cleft of a rock so he could see the LORD pass by him. The LORD proclaimed to Moses, and us, some of His character traits: merciful; gracious; longsuffering; abounding in goodness and truth; forgiving; just, as He doesn’t clear the guilty except through the blood of Christ.

Merciful. The LORD is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. Psalm 103:8 NLT

Patience, longsuffering. Jesus patiently corrected His disciples when they didn’t understand or were distracted by other things like their own position. He didn’t give up, even knowing that one would betray Him. The Lord dealt with Israel’s disobedience and lack of trust as the Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years. He still patiently and lovingly cared for them and protected them. God knew before He ever saved them from slavery that they would be unfaithful, just as He knows we will fail and fall into sin. God is long-suffering and doesn’t quit on us, either. Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus. Romans 15:5 NKJV

Forgiving. But the Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him. Daniel 9:9 NLT

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV

Jesus showed that He had the power to forgive sins. A paralytic’s friends wanted Jesus to heal their companion. With no room to get through a crowd to Jesus, they tore up part of the roof and let the man down through the hole they had made. When Jesus saw their faith, He told the paralytic, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” The scribes and Pharisees questioned, “Who is this that speaks blasphemies? Who is able to forgive sins but God only?” When Jesus perceived their questionings, Jesus said, “Why do you question in your hearts? Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” –he said to the man that was paralyzed- “I say to you, rise, take up your bed and go home.” Immediately the man was healed. He picked up his bed and went home glorifying God. Luke 5:17-26 RSV

Righteous. But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. Romans 3:21-22 NIV 

Photo of Sunflowers by Kathryn Hughes

There is so much to know about the Lord. The more we know Him, the closer we will be to Him, and the more thankful we will be. Let’s list the things we are thankful for, starting with the character traits of God Himself. Thank God for each item on our list. If each petal on a sunflower represents something we are thankful for, how full will our sunflowers be?

What are you thankful for? Please share. I’d love to see a long list on the comment section of my blog.

Thank you, Lord God, for being You. Thank you for being the God of mercy, love, forgiveness, righteousness, and patience. Thank you for abounding in goodness and truth. I can trust You in all things. May I be quick to give You thanks and praise. In the name of Jesus, my Savior, I pray. Amen.

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs.  Blogs post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are archived for your convenience. The previous devotional follows this one on the web page.

Devotional

How Do You Picture God? Part 2 of 3

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Galatians 5:22, 23 RSV

How do you picture God? What is He like?

In How Do You Picture God? Part 1 of 3 (below this devotional), I listed some of the attributes of God, as revealed by His Son, Jesus Christ. In our challenge to find character traits of God in Scripture, what did you find out about God?

Let me share some of the Lord’s attributes and character traits that I discovered.

The character of God is revealed in the fruit of the Holy Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit are exhibited in the believer who is following after the Holy Spirit and not following the flesh. It’s not something we go out and get like we were at a market, but it comes from within as we are yielded to God.

Fruit of the Spirit by Kathryn Hughes

Jesus was and is God, and wholly yielded to His Heavenly Father. Jesus produced the fruit of the Spirit in His life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. 

Love. Jesus’ love for us brought Him to earth and to the cross to pay our penalty for sin. It was the Father’s love for us that had Him give Jesus for us.

Joy. Jesus wants us to share His joy in our lives. “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:10-11 NKJV

Peace. Jesus had peace, even when He was dealing with difficult people. He desires peace for us. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 NKJV

Kindness. Blessed be the LORD, for He has shown me His kindness… Psalm 31:21 NKJV

Faithfulness. I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart; I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great assembly. Psalm 40:10 NKJV

Gentleness. Consider the gentleness that Jesus showed to the woman caught in adultery. She expected to be stoned to death, according to the Law.  Jesus stooped and wrote on the ground. He told her accusers “He that is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” Scripture doesn’t say what Jesus wrote. I wonder if it was a list of their sins, for her accusers left from oldest to youngest. Jesus asked her where her accusers were. “Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” John 8:3-11 ESV

There is so much more about God we can learn. May we know God better every day.

How do you picture God? Has your image of Him changed by looking at His Word? What additional traits have you discovered? I would love hear from you in the comment section.

Dear LORD, Please show me who You really are. Reveal Yourself to me as I search Your Word. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs.  Blogs post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are archived for your convenience. The previous devotional follows this one on the web page.

Devotional

How Do You Picture God?

Part 1of 3

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Phillip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father, so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” John 14:9 (NKJV) 

When people imagine God, there is a wide assortment of viewpoints. Some picture Him as an old, giving man, like Santa, ready to bless and give whatever is requested of Him. Others picture God as judgmental, ready to strike down anyone who strays from what they think He demands. Some people think of Him as indifferent, having wound up the world and walked away from it. The Lord God is described by Jesus as our Heavenly Father, but if one has a negative example of an earthly father, one can have a hard time relating to a loving Father God.

One thing I realized about myself is that I tend to put Almighty God in a box, and not anticipate Him to act beyond my expectations. He didn’t heal my parents of terminal cancer, so I’ve been reluctant to pray with the certainty that He will heal. Yet I personally know people who had been healed of stage-four cancers and other health issues.  During my mission trips to Colombia, I saw people come to faith in Jesus during door-to-door evangelism. I didn’t expect the welcome the local believer, my translator, and I received.  I didn’t expect so many to show interest in Jesus and give their lives to Him. God blasted out of my box. I’m learning that He will do much more than I imagine or pray for.

Photo by Monstera on Pexels.com

We can know who God is through studying His Word. Scripture teaches us about His character and attributes. Many of His names are listed. We can look at how He interacted with people in the Bible as well as with us. Because Jesus said that He and His Father are one, we can examine Jesus’ life. (John 10:30).  No one has ever seen God; the Begotten Son who abides at the Father’s side has made Him known. (John 1:18 MLV)

Jesus showed us the Father through how He conducted His life on earth. Scriptures show the same character traits in the Heavenly Father. Here are just a few:

Truth. Jesus answered, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 NIV) Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. (John 17:17 NASB20) The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever. (Psalm 119:160 NKJV)

Unity of God- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.”…”I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him for he dwells with you, and he will dwell in you.” (John 14:10, 16, 17 RSV)

How do you picture God?

The next devotional in this series will go deeper into the character of God.

In the meantime, let’s dig into God’s Word that we may know Him better. How many attributes of God can we find? Let’s write them down and post them on the refrigerator or another spot where we will see them daily.

Dear Heavenly Father, Help me to see You for who You are, and not with any misconceptions or limitations. Thank you for sending Jesus so I know You. Amen.

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs.  Blogs post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are archived for your convenience.

Devotional

Be Still and Know That I Am God

“Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  Psalm 46:10

How am I going to get through the week? My garden accuses me of neglect with a crop of weeds. Grapes dried to raisins on the vine before I admitted that I won’t finish canning grape jelly. My employment includes lesson plans and teaching. My exercise regimen and housework is often sidelined in the juggling of my to-do list. I want to spend more time with my family and friends, yet a writing deadline looms later this week. Sometimes, I feel like no matter how much I love what I’m involved in, I’m drowning below the waves of tasks and duties.

Do you feel that way, too? Are your responsibilities weighing you down? You may have an aging parent or children to care for, or someone with an illness may depend on you. Work, or the lack of it, may consume you. Maybe you just learned you are supposed to bring cupcakes for the school function tomorrow.

I have a mug that says, “Be still and know that I am God.” As I read it while I drink my tea, part of me asks, “How?” I’m almost always on the go. Who has time to be still in the mad rush of the week?

Deep down, I think the answer to my drowning life is to learn to faithfully and continually be at rest in the Lord’s presence daily, not just when it fits into my day. A quick reading of a verse or two so I can check off my quiet time with God is not what He desires. He reminds me that He is the source of strength and the One who will fulfill my life. He wants each of us to be in constant communication with Him.

Be still and know that I am God – photo by Kathryn Hughes

Be still – If we want to be still, we need to set aside time to not be running from one duty to another. For me, I have to schedule that, or it either does not occur or is at the final minutes before I head, too late, into bed. Sometimes, my body is motionless, but my mind is chasing after other things. Christian music can help redirect my thoughts. I find journaling about my time with God helps me to focus. In it, I write down what I read from Scripture, and what God is teaching me in it. My prayers may be added to it. How can you be still?

Know that I am God – Knowing who God is and knowing Him personally are two different types of knowledge. We can know our neighbors’ names, but we won’t know them unless we spend time with them. If we want to really know God, we need to spend time with Him in Bible reading and in prayer. We know Him better when we learn what He desires and what He thinks, and when we talk with Him and listen for Him to answer through His Holy Spirit.

God is the eternal being who made us and loves us. He has a perfect plan for each of us – and it isn’t to have us drowning in our responsibilities, for Jesus said He came to give us life abundantly (John 10:10).

Let’s give God our frantic schedules. Let’s find moments throughout the day to just take a deep breath and thank God for it. Let’s practice being quiet in His presence. We can really know God if we set time aside and spend time with Him. Start with five or ten minutes every day, expanding that time with God even longer as being still becomes more natural. Let’s exalt God in our homes and in our lives as we know Him better and become more like Him.  

Thank you, God, for always being available. You are never too busy to spend time with me. Help me to be still and to know you.

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs. They post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are archived for your use.

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Devotional

God is Still Writing My Story

You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. Psalm 139:16 (NLT)

I write historical fiction. I love making up characters. I bring them through lessons in life, whether they be in situations like the children face in The Exciting Adventures of the Trent Twins, such as escaping a cougar attack or problems with a classmate, or major problems such as difficulty trusting God, and the challenges of war time in an inspirational World War II novel I’m working on. Over time, my characters change. They mature, they learn new lessons in life, or they learn how to deal with a situation.  

However, I must always rewrite my work. It is never finished on the first draft, no matter how much I wish it. Sometimes I need a major re-write. When I learned that my England-based American WWII soldier would have been sent to Normandy instead of Italy, I had to throw out chapters of battles in Italy and begin again. Settings had to be changed to reflect his new location. Additional research was required for the changes needed.  

God writes my story. He writes yours, too. I’m glad He doesn’t mess up our storylines. He writes everything perfectly the first time. Oh sure, it may not feel perfect to us, but God sees the beginning and the ending. He uses the problems and situations in our story for our good. He develops our character. As we trust God and learn to obey Him and rely on Him, we grow. We learn from the problems. The Lord doesn’t throw out a few months or years of our lives because we make a mistake. Nothing we do or don’t do is a surprise to Him. God doesn’t need to research as He writes our story. He knows every detail of it from beginning to end.

An author has a purpose for writing, and I believe God has a purpose for writing each of our stories as well. The Lord included many life stories of people in Scripture, and all Scripture is useful for our learning. Through King David’s story we can see part of the purpose God has for our own life stories. We may not sit on earthly thrones or have the same circumstances as David, but we can see truths about God.  

David knew that God thought about him and loved him. He had seen God act on his behalf in the past, whether it was deliverance from enemies, or showing David his sin so that David would repent of it. David knew that it was the LORD who would lead him along the path of everlasting life. David desired for God to get the glory.  David elaborated on God’s interest and involvement in his life in Psalm 139:17, 23, 24 (NLT). How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

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God is still writing your story and mine. I pray we will be faithful characters, obedient to God. Let’s trust God with every chapter of our lives. He knows our every moment. Let’s grow in godliness, becoming more like Jesus every day as we follow Him.

Read Psalm 139. Meditate on how well you are known by God, the author of your story.   

Thank you, Lord, for being the perfect author. I can trust you to write my story.  Please use me and my story to bring You glory. Amen.

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs.  Blogs post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are archived under Devotionals.