Devotional for June 24, 2020

Greetings in Christ,

  How many of us can look at our bodies and see scars?  Scars are a result of trauma, accidents, surgery or perhaps a physical ailment leaving us handicapped.  We can look at our bodies and remember the events just like they were yesterday in most cases.  The memories take us back to the time frame in our lives and it seemed like it was long ordeal in our life.  We wondered how we were going to get through the event, and how our bodies were going to respond. 

  I can look at my body and see my life history from the scars it bears.  Scars have accumulated from the time I was a small child all through my life into the present time.  I can review those times in my mind and see what it has done to me.  Some of the events have changed my habits, changed my thinking, and changed the way I physically do things.  The scars are reminders of how the events have molded me and made me who I am.  I have accepted the fact no matter how careful I am another event can take place and another scar will appear, and I am OK with this because this is life here on earth.

  This Sunday’s readings remind me of the spiritual scars which can be encounter in spiritual life.  It is reminder of how they can mold spiritual aspects of our lives as we walk this earth.

  The Psalmists pens these words in 34:19-20, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Lord delivers him out of them all.  He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.”  The psalmist himself received many afflictions and wrote about them, but at the same time offered hope to those who were going through the same thing.  He also gives them this aid in 34:4, “I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.”   Also in 34:22, “The Lord redeems the soul of His servants; and none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.”  The psalmist knew there were going to be many afflictions thrust upon mankind, but there was hope for those who turned to God for help.

  Isaiah writes about the leaders of his time turning to evil endeavors and leading the people in doing the same practices.  With those practices, many people suffered spiritually, emotionally, and physically.  They had turned to sacrificing their children to the pagan gods on the mountain tops.  They had turned their backs on God so long He became silent and let them create their own afflictions and pain.  God could no longer be silent and He began to reveal His plan to redeem those who would turn to Him for refuge.  He was making it known all things must change before this could happen.  “And it shall be said, “Build up, build up, prepare the way, remove every obstacle out of the way of My people.”   God was offering a way out of their affliction.

  The Hebrew author gives us another perspective, “You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, my son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines.”  The author writes afflictions can come from not resisting sin.  People can give in too soon and do not want to endure the hardship of walking upright and just, but the author writes of previous people who have given us examples to follow.  “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart.”  Sometimes the afflictions we encounter are a result of the encumbrances we carry.

  We too often forget to look at the spiritual scars we carry.  We do not look back and see how the afflictions we have encountered have made us who we are in our spiritual life.  We forget we will have pain and suffering as a Christian.  We are told too often once we are Christians we will have made it, and God will provide us with untold riches and our lives will be honky dory.  I do not read anywhere in the Bible this will happen.  What I do read is God will provide what we need, and He will redeem us in when He calls us home. 

    A person’s true character will be revealed when they are under pressure not when they are at ease.   It is how we react to situations in our life which make us who we are spiritually.  If we turn to God for help when we are under pressure, we can bear the situation because of His strength not ours.  We have to make sure there is no obstacle preventing us from turning to God in the time of need.  God will bring us through the tough times, and we will be able to look back and see God’s hand guiding us through it.

 Silver is refined over a high amount of heat.  The silver smith has to let the heat constantly churn the silver until all the dross floats to the top of the silver.  Then the silver smith skims the dross off the top.  It not until the silver smith is happy with the reflection he sees in the silver he stops the process.  The silver smith only stops when he can see his reflection.

  God allows us to go under many things in life.  We have to accept the fact no matter what in this life we will encounter many afflictions and pain.  It should be in those times we turn to God and say OK God refine me till You see Your reflection in me.  Allow this process to mold me into the person You want me to be spiritually.  Let Your reflection be seen in me for others to see.

  I believe Jesus said it best, “Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, `From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.”  It is the living water we seek which gives us the peace to our soul and brings us the comfort we need. 

  “The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty; the Lord has clothed and girded Himself with strength; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.”  Psalms 93:1

  Lord help us to turn to You in our afflictions.  Allow them to mold us into the person spiritually we need to be so we reflect You to others.  Amen


Mark Johnson

Psalm 34,94,96; Isaiah 57:14-21; Hebrews 12:1-6; John 7:37-46

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