The LORD will restore the splendor of Jacob like the splendor of Israel, though destroyers have laid them waste and have ruined their vines. Nahum 2:2
Although Nineveh had crushed Israel for a time, God was striking back at them. He was going to destroy Nineveh. In the process of doing so, God would restore all the splendor that Israel had lost with being taken over. Even though the enemy had destroyed all their crops and laid everything to waste, God would restore it back to Israel.
When Adam and Eve walked on the earth, they had a perfect life. They had the perfect living place, eternal life, and direct walking with God. Nothing could have been more perfect for them. After they were deceived by the enemy, Satan, they lost all of the glory and splendor. As a result people today live in a fallen, non-perfect world.
The fall of Israel to Nineveh is the same way Adam and Eve fell from grace with God. Yet, God immediately set up a plan to restore them. That restoration would take place through the work of Jesus upon the cross. It is a restoration process that is still in progress to this day.
Although you may have never had someone destroy all of your belongings and physically put you into captivity, you have been in captivity and lost the best. You were born into a sinful world, in a sinful state of being. You lost the direct line with God and all the splendor and glory He has for you.
Once you have repented of your sins and began to follow Jesus, the process of restoration has begun. God is in the process of restoring the life and things you had lost. These are the important, eternal things, not the temporary things of this life. Some of these things you may have never realized that you did not have them and that they were available for you.
As a follower of Jesus, you can now have real joy, real peace, real hope, and a real life that is eternal. You can know that someday you will have a home in heaven with God for all eternity. In Christ you are a new creation. You are being restored to what God intended you to be and have, not what the world has made you to be and says.
I pray today that you will know what God has for you; that you will know the glory of God; that God will restore to you the life He wanted you to have; and that you will know the true life in Jesus.
This last week has held two different firsts in my life. The first was that I turned 50. That did not really seem like that much to me. It is just a natural part of life. I have been bald on top since I was 17, so that did not mean much to me. And I have had some grey hair for several years already, nothing new either.
Getting older has never bothered me in any way. I guess having eight wonderful children has kept me young, even though I am getting older and slowing down. I can no longer run as fast, or as long as I used to be able to.
The other first for me this week did have a major impact on me. My oldest daughter got married and I had to be the one to give her away.
I am not one to cry very easy or at every little thing that comes my way. Although there have been movies that have brought tears to my eyes, and I am not ashamed or afraid to cry, when needed.
Over the last few months, since she got engaged, I have been ready for this wedding to happen. I never cried or was sad about it. I was very excited that she was getting married. It never bothered me that she would be leaving the house now, after 23 years.
However, Saturday, when I began to walk my daughter down the aisle, the emotions started to overwhelm me. It was tears of joy, but tears none-the-less.
One of the things I had to do, as part of the ceremony, was to stand up in front of everyone and pray for her new marriage. She and her husband held hands, the pastor had his hands on them also, and I put my hands on top of hers when I prayed.
I have spoken in front of many people, many times over the years. I have also acted and sang in front of hundreds of people. I have even been the pastor over a wedding and over a funeral. Never once have I been afraid, or unable to speak, till that day.
As I was getting ready to speak, my mind went blank for the first time ever, another first in this past week. What I planned to say completely left me speechless. When I tried to speak, I had to really force the words to come out of my mouth. At that moment, my heart was overwhelmed at what was happening. It was overwhelmed with joy and pride. I also knew the value of the prayer that I was getting ready to pray. It was to be a blessing upon the new marriage.
I knew that the man she was marrying was the one God had for her. If I were to list everything that I would want in a man to marry her, he had it all, and then some. Over the last ten years, I have watched him grow up and become a great man of God. He has a heart to pray for and be a witness to anyone and everyone, anytime and every time. He has a servant’s heart to serve any person in need, no matter the cost to himself. He came from a family that serves God with all of their hearts, souls, minds, and strengths.
My daughter had desired to be married since before she graduated high school. She had continually prayed to God for the one that she was to marry. She constantly asked God where that man was and when would she get him. Although my daughter and her husband had grown up together, for most of that time, they were not together or even considering each other. God, however, was building both of them up to be who each one needed the other to be. They are the perfect helpmates for each other.
As I prayed that prayer of blessing upon them, I knew that God is going to bless their marriage and ministry together. I am looking forward to the ministry that God will do through them, now that they are together in marriage. Both have great ministries of their own, but now together they will work together building God’s kingdom for His glory and honor.
I did pray a blessing over them. God filled me with His overwhelming peace of His Holy Spirit to say the words I prayed. As I prayed, I also had tears of joy welling up in my eyes. Afterwards, my wife was very surprised, because that is not something normal for me.
While I was watching the wedding, and watching it again on video, because it was recorded, I had the same feelings I had when I married my wife 25 years ago. I knew then that my wife was the one God had for me beyond any shadow of doubt. And I still know that to this day with no doubts. As I knew my wife was the one for me, I knew that this man was the one for my daughter. I also know that they will keep God at the center of their lives and their marriage.
For those who are still single and want to get married, keep your eyes focused on God. He will bring the right person to you at the right time. Wait on His perfect timing.
For those of you who are married, also keep your eyes focused on God. Keep your marriage centered on pleasing God and He will do great things in and through your marriage.
Staying in the center of God’s will, will always have many firsts in it, but God will strengthen you to do whatever comes your way or make it through whatever comes your way..
When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, LORD God Almighty. Jeremiah 15:16
As Jeremiah spoke the words God had given him, most of those words were not exactly the most comforting, kind words. They were often words of judgment and coming destruction. Yet, Jeremiah found great joy in those words and was glad to eat them. Despite the challenges and trials that Jeremiah had faced, he was glad to bear God’s name before the people. The words of God brought life and meaning to his life. Jeremiah was glad to bear God’s name on his life, despite the persecution he had to go through.
The world tries to say that the Bible is just a good story, but that it is not really from a god. It is often believed to be just a great book of stories made up by men. It is seen as one of the greatest literature books of all time.
The reason the Bible can be listed as the greatest literature of all time, is that it is in reality, God’s words. It was written by men who were under God’s inspiration, filled with His Holy Spirit. Thus the words of the Bible can bring about life. Any one who has life, also has joy.
It is easy to see the Bible as just a bunch of do and don’t regulations, however, it is much more than that. It gives you the instructions on how to really live life to the fullest. It tells you who God is, what He is like, and what He desires. It provides everything that you need in this life.
As you go through your life, day by day, you also need guidance. You need to know who God is, what He is like, and what He desires. All of this can be found in the Bible.
God will reveal Himself, first through the Bible, then through His Holy Spirit in your life. You cannot know too much about God. There is always more to learn. As you get to know God more, you will have more and more joy in your life. That joy will be there despite the trials of this life.
Are you finding joy in His Word today?
Spend your time with His Words today.
I pray today that you will know God more and more; that you will find joy in His word; that God will make the Bible come alive to you; that you will gladly bear His name in public; and that you will gladly speak His words to this world.