Monday, January 22, 2018

LIVING IN CHRIST, OUR SHELTER

 

Ps. 91:1-2 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

     What an awesome comfort and security for the soul! When we live in Christ, we are protected and taken care of by Him. A shelter is where one goes to get out of the elements of nature when they threaten us. It protects us from the storms of life and all those times in which it may not be stormy, but still uncomfortable for us. As long as we remain in the shelter, we are alright.  The stronger our shelter is, the more secure we feel.  The shelter of the Most High is His righteousness and holiness.

     When we begin to experience the influences of evil, it is because we wander outside of the shelter of God's protective care. When we sin, it is because we wander away from the Lord. When we fail to apply God's Word to our lives, it's because we wander outside the shelter of His protective care.

     We must understand this wonderful truth. It is imperative that we live in the shelter of the Most High. We will never make it if we don't. We are not strong enough to stand on our own two feet without the protection of God. We are not able to live godly lives on our own. There is no rest for those who are outside of the shelter of God's protective love.

     Notice that we are not to just flee to the shelter when we are in trouble, we are to live in the shelter. As long as we stay in the Lord, we will be able to handle whatever life brings us. Life is good for those who live in the shelter of the Most High. There is always rest for the soul of those who live in Christ.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

TIME USAGE

 

Ps. 90:12 Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom.

      We need to be taught how to make the most of our time. Most people simply waste much of their time, and thus their opportunities in life to do good. Think for a moment how much time you waste on any given day. How much of your time do you spend on things that are non-essential to your life? I suspect all of us can identify blocks of time we waste away. We need to learn how to better utilize the time we have.

     We begin by looking at our priorities in life. Now, before you begin to boast about your devotion to the Lord, consider the time you invest daily in your relationship with Him. You spend time with those who mean the most to you. The time you spend with the Lord in prayer and in His Word are good indicators of how much you really do love Him. In comparison, how much time do you spend on entertaining yourself compared to what you spend on feeding your soul?

     How do you utilize your time at work? Do you give your boss the best use of your time and effort? The Lord expects it of us. How about your time with your family? Do they get sufficient time from you? If you rob them of your time, you are robbing them of your affections and you are losing out on the love they have to give.

     How do you spend your time in worship? Are you focused in on the Lord, or are you busy doing other things? We can never know the peaceful existence of resting beside the still waters until we properly connect with the Lord in worship.  We worship the Lord in both spirit and truth.  We stand unwaveringly on the truth of God's Word and we immerse ourselves in fellowship with the Lord.  Time spent in worship is the most valuable and life-changing block of time we have in life.

     A properly balanced usage of our time enables us to grow in faith and enables us to grow in wisdom. We discover how to be good stewards of time so that we can be witnesses for the Lord as we grow in Him. The more we invest our time in the Lord and His Word, the more we will experience God's love, joy, and peace, and the more we will be satisfied in our souls.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

THE JOYFUL CALL TO WORSHIP

 

Ps. 89:15  Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, LORD.

     Worship is not confined to one day a week.  Worship happens whenever we turn our hearts and minds to the Lord.  Worship does not depend on an agenda to make it happen.  It is the spontaneous reaching upward to God.  Worship is what we do in response to who God is.  It is praise, thanksgiving, meditation, singing, and waiting.  It is confession and adoration.  It is the filling of our souls with God.  It can happen anytime and anywhere.  It can last for a few moments or it could last for hours.

     The call to worship is a joyful call.  All of nature sings forth the praises of God.  Birds do not sing a sad song.  The varied sounds of nature are not a death song.  All of creation testify to God's greatness and glory.  It is a wondrous thing to draw near to God.  God calls us into worship.  Oh, what a joyous occasion worship is!

     Think about it.  God calls us to into His presence!  We are allowed to enter into pure light, into the splendor of His holiness.  We are allowed to linger in the presence of the King of kings and Lord of lords.  We linger and are purified by His amazing presence and touch.  We linger and God renews us, filling our souls with His love, joy, and peace.

     Worship changes us.  It changes our perspective on life and how we live it.  It changes how we react to what comes our way.  How can it not?  Begin each day with a time of worship and see what a difference it makes in your life.  If worship doesn't change you, you haven't really worshiped Him.

     When you leave worship and mingle amongst men, can they see that you have been with Jesus?

Friday, January 19, 2018

TEACH ME YOUR WAYS, O LORD

 

Ps. 86:11-13  Teach me your ways, O LORD, that I may live according to your truth!  Grant me purity of heart, that I may honor you.  With all my heart I will praise you, O LORD, my God.  I will give glory to your name forever, for your love for me is very great.  You have rescued me from the depths of death.

     We owe our Lord everything.  All of us were headed straight to a godless eternity.  We deserve to spend every moment of eternity in hell.  We deserve the eternal agony of being separated from God.  But, our Lord rescued us from our fate.  He took upon himself what we deserve.  He alone was capable of taking on the wrath of a holy God for sin and overruling it.  He alone could give us eternal life in place of eternal death.

     We owe our Lord everything.  We have so much to learn about our Lord and His ways.  May our prayer always be, “Teach me your ways, O LORD that I may live according to your truth.”  The more we learn of the Lord, the clearer truth becomes for us.  And the more we are governed by truth, the purer our hearts will be.  Out of pure hearts come pure thoughts and motives.  Only through pure hearts can we honor our Lord.

     We owe our Lord everything.  He loves us with the purest of loves.  He loves us without reservation or conditions.  He loves us so much that He willingly went to the cross and took our place, bearing for us God's wrath for our sins and our punishment.  He loves us so much that He willing broke fellowship with God during the three hours of darkness He endured on the cross. 

     We owe our Lord everything.  May our hearts swell up in praise to Him!  May we seek always to bring Him the glory He deserves.  May His great love fill us and flow through us that others may know Him too.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

RIGHTEOUSNESS AND PEACE HAVE KISSED!

 

Ps. 85:10-11  Unfailing love and truth have met together.  Righteousness and peace have kissed!  Truth springs up from the earth, and righteousness smiles down from heaven.

     What a beautiful picture of the Gospel!  God has given us truth and made known to us His love.  The truth stands on its own merit and cannot be lived apart from God's love.  God makes it very clear that His ways are beyond the scope of man's ability to live on his own.  No one can live up to God's standards, no matter how hard they try.  God knew we could never do it, and because He loves us He did something about it.  God put in place a system that could help man overcome his sins until He came to provide a better way, the only way.  

     God took on human life and became for us the way to live by His standards.  He became for us the way to overcome our sins.  He did what no one could do; He broke the hold of the law's death grip on the soul.  He opened up the door to heaven so that all who would believe in Him and what He had done would have eternal life.  Jesus, did what the law of God could not do; He took away our sins and wiped them out of God's memory. 

     Jesus is truth and the love of God embodied as one.  He is our righteousness and the only way we can have peace with God.  Jesus came to earth as the truth and love of God revealed.  He perfectly satisfied both God's love for man and His demand for justice against sin.  He lived perfectly before God so that He could be a perfect sacrifice for our sins.  He broke Satan's back and God was well-pleased with Him. 

     When Jesus did the impossible He went back to heaven and sat on His heavenly throne.  Truth and righteousness now can dwell in man.  All heaven smiles and rejoices because heaven came down and the glory of God now can fill the soul of man.  Once we were alienated from God, but now we can draw near to God.  We who were once enemies of God now can become His children.  Victims of sin now become victors over it.  He who had no hope now lives in hope.  We now follow God's rules for living by faith and not by works.  We now bring glory and honor to God on earth instead of to ourselves.  Everything changes because in Christ God's love and truth makes us righteous and gives us peace.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

DRAWING NEAR TO GOD

 

Ps. 84:10 A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked.

     What kind of desire do you have when you gather with God’s children in worship? Is church just another thing on the agenda for you to do? Do you approach it as more of a duty or a desire of your heart? I suspect that for most of us, we don’t get too excited about going to church. We go because that is what we know we need to do or because it is expected of us. We go because we don’t want to get out of the discipline of going, knowing that then we would soon slip away from God. We go because we don’t want to be a bad example for others and give them an excuse for not going. We go to church for a wide variety of reasons, but when was the last time you went because your soul longed to go knowing that you would be in the presence of God when you went?

     When was the last time you knew the Lord would be in His house when you went? The Psalmist was caught up with being in the Tabernacle courts because he knew that God was in His house. God chose to dwell amongst His people in the Tabernacle. He had instructed the people on how to construct the Tabernacle and everything associated with it and how to approach Him in worship. God presented himself as holy to His people and provided very strict means on how to approach Him. Only those who were purified could enter into the Tabernacle itself and serve as priests on behalf of the people before God.

     I wonder if we were to take greater pains to present God as holy to each other if we too, would have a greater desire to be in the house of the Lord. Perhaps if we were to consider God to be holy, we would have a greater desire and power to resist the urge to dabble in sin.

     What will it take for you to have a longing in your heart to draw near to God in worship?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

ARE YOU HAPPY?

 

Ps. 84:5  Happy are those who are strong in the LORD, who set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

      Are you happy today?  Are you happy with your life and the way things are going?  Do you see life positively and a joy to live?  If not, then let me ask you, “How strong is your faith?”  Happiness is directly related to the strength of our faith.  The stronger your faith in the Lord is, the happier you will be.  So then, the issue becomes what we are doing to make our faith stronger.

     There is no shortcut to strong faith.  We must be consistently students of God.  We must read, meditate, and find ways to apply to our lives His Word.  We must consistently be in the presence of His children in worship and life.  We must be sponges absorbing godly things, and we must be sponges that let loose those godly things into the world we live in.  Strong faith depends on absolute belief and trust in God and that which He has written through His prophets.

     Strong faith never just happens.  It must be developed and maintained at all times.  If you want to be happy in life, keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and on that day in which He will call you home. An investment in your life with God now will pay eternal rewards in your walk with God in eternity.  Nothing will make you happier than knowing all is well with your soul.  There is no greater peace than the peace of a soul right with God.