Friday, February 28, 2014

The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness...

Ps. 25:10 The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness all those who keep his covenant and obey his decrees.

Many of us today believe that once we are saved, the rest is up to God. We can rest and not worry about it if we sin because grace covers our sins. Yet, the Word declares over and over again that we have an active role to play in our salvation. We must keep His covenant and decrees. We must obey the Lord. We must not allow sin to take hold of us. We must work out our salvation. Transformation takes place at Calvary that is life changing. We get rid of our sinful ways of living and take on the righteous living of Christ. The fact that we are indeed saved is seen in how we live.

If we don't allow this transformation to take hold of our souls, we have no right to expect God to continue to pour out His love on us and faithfully keep us safe from sin and its consequences. For a believer to continue to freely sin is a mockery of what Jesus did for us at Calvary. The Lord is our righteousness and holiness from God and He cannot dwell in a sinner's heart.

Our works cannot save us nor can they keep us safe in the arms of Jesus, but they are an essential part of our Christian walk. Our obedience and submission to Christ is measured by what we do and don't do. The meat and bones of holiness is our living.

The Lord never fails to lead His children faithfully in love. He will never take us in a direction that will lead us away from Him. He will never ask us to do anything that He knows we can't do or is not best for us. He will never stop working in us and on us as we walk humbly before Him. The Lord always has His children on His mind and heart. He will never leave or forsake those walking with Him.

The Lord will lead us, but He won't drag us against our will.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Show me the path where I should walk, O Lord.

Ps. 25:4-5 Show me the path where I should walk, O LORD, point out the right road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.

This is a prayer that the Lord will answer every time. The Lord wants us to know the way to Him. He wants us to stay on the path to Him. He wants what is best for us and for us to be on the path that gets us there. He wants us to clearly know the truth. He wants us to learn the things we need to know in order to live holy lives.

The path that leads to the Lord is a rugged path because it is not worn down by many travelers. It is rugged because we are constantly battling Satan along the way to stay on it. It is rugged because it requires much determination, commitment, and work on our part. It is rugged because it's the only way we will ever develop our spiritual muscles to sustain us in life. It is rugged because sometimes it's a very lonely road since most do not travel on it.

We must be careful that we don't get on the wrong road. Only one road leads us to Christ and it is the road of Mount Calvary. We have to ask the Lord to help us because it's so easy to get off track and start traveling on the wrong path. One thing to look out for is if everything is easy with no struggles along the way, you are traveling on the wrong road. On Calvary's road, we must pick up our cross and carry it along with us daily.

As we travel this journey of life we must always be led by God's Word if we want to see Jesus. We must make it a priority in our lives to learn God's truth and live it. We must never be satisfied with what we know, or think we know. We must always remain teachable. We must never get out from underneath its teachings.

Only the Lord our God can save us. He alone is the only hope we have for making it to heaven. Let us stay the course and always follow in the footprints of Jesus, the author and finisher of our salvation.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Who may climb the mountain of the Lord?

Ps. 24:3-4 Who may climb the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies.

A mountain is a very tough thing to climb. In order to get to the top one must persevere. Depending on one's physical condition, there is a great price to pay. It takes a lot of time and effort. A mountain is full of very difficult terrain. There are a lot of known and unknown dangers. Only those who have the will to get to the top will make it. The way to the Lord is just like a mountain climb.

There is great exhileration for those who make it to the top and stand. There is nothing quite like persevering and winning. Reaching the top is a job well done. To have a goal in mind and achieve it is good for the soul. The ultimate goal of every believer should be holiness of heart.

Holiness can only be achieved by those who have pure hearts. There has to be a desire to not sin. There has to be effort put into not sinning. There has to be effort put into staying spiritually fit. There has to be effort put into obeying the Word of God. There has to be more than talk; there has to be a walk as well.

God is not unaccessable. He is found by all who sincerely seek Him. The road can be very rough at times and only those who persevere will make it. There will be much stumbling along the way and perhaps much pain and suffering. In order to reach God, we must keep our eyes focused on Jesus and never leave His protective care.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The earth and all that is on it is the Lord's.

Ps. 24:1-2 The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. For he laid the earth's foundation on the seas and built it on the ocean depths.

Lest we forget, the earth is the Lord's. We do not own anything, we are but stewards of what God has loaned to us. God has entrusted us with that which He has loaned to use. We need to be careful how we treat God's earth. When we squander and waste earth's resources we are being disrespectful to God.

Not only is the earth the Lord's, the people in it are His as well. Wait a minute; let us think about this for a minute. The Lord declares ownership of the people in the world. Therefore, we should take seriously how we treat people. God cares about all people, whether they care for Him or not. We need to consider how we treat people.

We usually have no problem treating well the people we like, but what about the people we don't like or are having problems with? Do we avoid certain people? Do we look down on some people simply because they don't fit into our comfort zone? Do we treat some people worse than we do others? Do we talk down on some people? Do we harbor bad feelings toward others instead of loving them? Do we use others for our advantage? Do we disrespect people by the way we treat them?

It seems to me that since God declares ownership of the earth and all its people that we ought to take seriously our responsibility as stewards of them. Let us see things as God sees them. Let us show our love for God by the way we conduct ourselves in the world. Let us be treat others with honor and respect as much as possible and be as good stewards as possible of the earth and her resources. We show our respect for God in the ways that we live.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need.

Ps. 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need.

In order to know the impact of this verse, we must know what a shepherd is and does. Much has been written and said about this verse, but it would do us well to pause and reflect on it again.

Scripture often refer to believers as sheep and the Lord as our shepherd. A shepherd is the caretaker, protector and provider of the sheep. He diligently watches over his sheep to ward off any potential danger to them from predators. A shepherd takes good care of his sheep because he cares for them; they become a part of him.

In the book of John, good shepherds are distinguished from bad shepherds. Bad shepherds are not attached to their sheep. They don't mean anything to them. His role as a shepherd is nothing more than a job. He gives no thought about abandoning them at the first sign of trouble. Jesus is described as a good shepherd. He cares for His sheep and is even willing to lay down His life for them. Sheep know and trust the voice of a good shepherd and follow him because they know that he only has their good in mind.

Also in Scripture, pastors are often referred to as shepherds. You know you have a good pastor when you have someone who carries you on his heart. A good pastor watches over his sheep and ministers to their needs. He lovingly provides the guidance and nourishment they need in their spiritual walk. He diligently stands guard over his sheep so that no one can sneak in and steal them away. He diligently wards off untruth so they won't be deceived and led astray. He won't let them out of his sight so that when they do begin to wander off he can quickly rescue them. He is a good inspector of the Word so that what he feeds his sheep is good food that will help them.

When we let the Lord be our shepherd, we have everything we need for life and death. We learn to be content in Him and not crave for things He does not provide. We trust in His love and goodness at all times. We stay close to Him because we know that when we do we are safe. When Jesus is our shepherd, we determine in our hearts that He is sufficient for all our needs. We don't look elsewhere; He is all we need.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Forsaken by God?

Ps. 22:1 My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me? Why do you remain so distant? Why do ignore my cries for help?

Have you ever felt forsaken by God? I am sure that there are times in which you have. Satan works hard at getting us to doubt God's presence. Satan wants us to believe that God is not concerned about us, that we are all alone in this battle of life. He wants us to question the worth of trying to live godly lives.

We need to be very careful about letting our feelings dictate our beliefs. Feelings fluctuate with our health and circumstances of life. They are fragile and easily influenced. When we rely on our feelings to determine what we believe, we are often led astray. It is a must that we understand this important truth: faith must be driven by facts and not feelings.

When we are grounded in the Word of God and we build our lives on its sure foundation, we can stand strong, even in our weakest moments. We know that what God has spoken is true and we cling to it, especially during those dark times of our lives. A good principle to live by is to never doubt in the dark what you know to be true in the light.

There are times when we will be overwhelmed by our circumstances and God will seem so far away. During those dark times we will feel like God has forsaken us. We may cry and cry out to God and nothing seems to change. Dear friend, don't doubt God. He has promised that He would never leave or forsake us. His promise is that no matter the valley we may walk in, even unto death, that we don't walk it alone. He has guaranteed that He would be with us, to help us, to minister to our every need. Trust God in the storms of life and He will not let you sink.

We also must consider the fact that sometimes it seems like God has forsaken us because we have fallen into sin or have drifted from Him because of our neglecting Him and His Word. A careful examination of the soul will reveal a sin problem and if it's there, we must return to God.

Stay close to the heart of God in the good times of life and you will have the resources to stay close to His heart in the bad times of life.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

What we say and think matters a lot to God.

Ps. 19:14 May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and redeemer.

What we say matters a lot. Words have the power to heal or destroy. They can either make or break someone's spirit. They can either lead someone to faith or lead them away from faith. We must take what we say seriously. In order for our words to be pleasing to God, our hearts must be right with Him. We speak what is in our hearts. If we let our heart go to pot, the things we say will not be good. We cannot neglect our souls and expect our words to be pleasing to God, even when we say good things.

What we think about matters. We have a very hard time controlling our thought lives. Many of the things that flow through our heads we don't want anyone else to know about, but God knows. We dwell on many things that we should not dwell on. We have thoughts about others that we shouldn't have. It's a good thing we don't verbalize all the things we think about. In order for us to please God in our thought lives, we must exercise self-control. We can't always prevent our thoughts from developing, but we choose whether or not we will dwell on them. The more we dwell on those things which are holy and good, the less of a hold unholy and bad thoughts will have on us.

When God is our Lord, He is our rock and redeemer. He gives us the power and means to please Him. God can be pleased with us with what we say and think about things. When Jesus is our rock, we will not fall into the cesspool of sin. He redeems us and sets us free from sin's hold on us. He takes all of our sinful deeds, words and thoughts and washes them away by His shed blood on Calvary. It is when we let our focus on Christ wander that we begin to have trouble.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Keep me from deliberate sins!

Ps. 19:13 Keep me from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin.

Keep me from deliberate sins. When was the last time you prayed this prayer and meant it? Many of us scarcely give sinning a lot of thought. We know we do it and often just shrug it off as no big deal. We may in passing know we should not do certain things, but do not change our ways because we know God loves us, is forgiving and gracious, and will not abandon us when we do sin. We have gotten the notion that as long as we believe in what Jesus did for us and accept Him as our Savior we no longer have to be concerned about our sin problems. Such thinking is a distortion of God's revealed truth.

God is holy and commands us to be holy. Without holiness we cannot be with God and he who is holy does not treat his sins lightly. He understands the affect sin has on the soul. He understands that God cannot have fellowship with a sin-infested soul. He understands the importance of confessing his sins before God and the need to strive to live a holy life and keep his heart pure before God.

A person who is serious about his soul asks the Lord to help him so that sin does not control him. The desire of his heart is that God will control him so that he will not deliberately sin against God.

There is no condemnation for those who take sin seriously and take a stand against it so it doesn't take up residence in the heart. There is freedom from guilt and shame when we say no to sin. There is confidence that we are innocent before God. There is no fear of God's judgment. There is peace and joy in the steps of those who guard their souls against sin. There is condemnation for those who don't.

I challenge you to pray this prayer of the Psalmist today and mean it. Your life with God depends on it.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Cleanse me from my hidden sins!

!a lot about how we treat others. 

You may have hidden sins in your heart, things you have said or done that you have not known them to be sinful. Anything that falls short of God's perfection is sin and we fall short of that all the time. Our concern should be that of the Psalmist and we should ask the Lord to cleanse us from those sins. We will never reach soul perfection this side of heaven so we must consistently seek the Lord's forgiveness for sin if we want to stay close to the heart of God.

Now, I know that the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin, that in Him we are made righteous and holy before God. I know that grace covers all of our sin and we don't have a need to spend every waking moment repenting of our sins. But, it is also true that we have a responsibility to want to live in purity of heart. We must want to make sure that there is no sin lurking in our hearts. And, the only way we can be sure that we are pure in heart is to confess our sins, both that which is known and that which is hidden, to Christ as the Spirit prompts us to pray for them.

It is good for the soul to regularly have a check-up, confess our sins, and keep our hearts pure before God.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Every word of God is true and fair.

Ps. 19:9b-11 The laws of the LORD are true; each one is fair. They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb. They are a warning to those who hear them; there is great reward for those who obey them.

Let's think about this for a moment. The Psalmist is declaring that the laws of the Lord are fair, which would suggest that he personally found them to be so. As we discover all the laws God gave to His people, it would seem to be too much. There were so many of them and many of them required a lot from His people. Yet, the Psalmist is suggesting that none of them are unreasonable and unnecessary. God is not unreasonable or too demanding. It is possible to obey the Lord in all things. It's just a matter of whether or not we have the heart to do it.

It is believed that King David wrote most of the Psalms. Remember, David was caught in the act of adultery and murder. He had personally disobeyed God's laws. He knew the guilt and shame of his behavior. Yet, he was able to declare that God's laws are true, fair, and more desirable than anything else on earth. Our personal behavior doesn't invalidate the truth of God's Word.

The laws of the Lord are more desirable than the finest gold on earth; they are sweeter than the best honey found on earth. Instead of looking at God's Word as cumbersome and restrictive, we need to look at it as a wondrous gift from God. We need to be thankful that God loves us and has given us the way in which we can have fellowship with Him and find our way home to Him. The Word of God is given for our benefit and it is the best thing we will ever find on earth for our souls.

The laws of the Lord are a warning to us. They make it very clear what we must do in order to be found pleasing and acceptable to God and what it is like for us when we aren't. God does not leave us confused about this. There is a huge price to pay when we ignore His Word and choose not to obey Him. We have no one to blame but ourselves when we suffer the consequences of our sins.

There is a great reward for those who choose to obey God. We are rewarded here with joy and peace that can only be found in Christ. We are rewarded with a clear understanding of who we are in Christ. We are rewarded with the knowledge that God is with us and will help us through whatever we face in life. And, the greatest reward of all is that we will be rewarded with eternal life with Him when we die.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever.

Ps. 19:9a Reverence for the LORD is pure, lasting forever.

What does it mean to have reverence for the Lord? It means that we have a real sense of who God is. Most who profess faith in the Lord have a very cloudy understanding of God, mainly because they are not in the Word of God like they should be. It is hard to grasp God when all you do is rely on bits and pieces of the Word for your spiritual sustenance. We latch onto the promises of God with very little thought of God who gave us the promises.

God has made himself known to us. When we are into the whole of Scripture, we see things about God that we fail to see otherwise. The God of the New Testament is the same as the one of the Old Testament. We cannot fully grasp how God reveals himself to us as Jesus until we first grasp how He reveals himself to us as the holy, gracious, merciful, and unchanging God of the Old Testament. It is hard to see how God is love until we see that love at work amongst His children in the Old Testament.

To revere God is to appreciate God of all eternity. We observe His creative genius and power. We observe His passion to redeem humanity. We observe the display of His character as He deals with man. We observe His revealed plans for the redeemed and what He does to make sure it comes to pass. We observe God and are in awe of Him.

Reverence for God doesn't just happen. We must stay closely connected to Him. Sin dulls our spiritual senses and causes us to take God for granted. It causes us to not regard God as holy. It causes us to not worship Him. In order for us to have a proper understanding and response to God, we must keep our hearts pure before Him.

Reverence for God is eternal. It is pure and good. The Lord our God is worthy to be worshiped and praised both now and forever.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart.

Ps. 19:8 The commandments of the LORD are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are clear; giving insight to life.

There is nothing wrong with God's commandments. They are perfectly suited for our needs. They help us to live right both with God and man. They are not unreasonable in any way. They are for our good. Those who embrace them discover freedom for their souls. Those who reject them are held in bondage by their sins.

The commandments of the Lord bring joy to the heart. They help us make faith a vital part of our living. They help us keep in good standing with God. There is great joy in knowing that all is well between us and God. Living God's way takes the doubts about our salvation out of the equation.

The commandments of the Lord are clear. God does not leave us in the dark. He wants us to know how to please Him. He wants us to know how not to sin against Him. He wants us to make it to heaven. He gives His commandments to us in terms we can understand so that no one has an excuse for not doing them when they are made known to them.

The commandments of the Lord give insight to life. Wise is he who takes what God says seriously. He who does not strive to live out God's Word will not make it to heaven, nor will life make much sense to him. There is no way but God's way to heaven. Those who obey God know a peace and joy in living that no one else in the world can ever know.

If you want to be right with God, you must live under the authority of His Word. If you want to know joy in your heart, you must live underneath its authority, and if you want understanding about life and how you fit in, you must live underneath its authority.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.

Ps. 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.

The law of the Lord is perfect. There is no better way to get to know God than to get to know His Word. There is no better way to please God than to live life His way. There is no better way than to breathe life into your soul than to obey God's Word.

We can trust what God says because God is trustworthy. If we are going to benefit at all from God's Word, we must first believe that God is absolute truth and holiness. We must know that every word that comes from God is truth. If God is not always truth, there is no truth upon which we can stand or God in whom to believe.

We must also believe that the Bible originates in God. Foundational to our ability to trust what we read in the Bible is the belief that all of the Scriptures are inspired by God, that no part of the Scriptures come from any other source but God. There is no wiggle room here; either all of the Bible is absolute truth from God or none of it can be trusted to be true and from God. We must begin and end with God's Word as our source for truth for living. There is no pick and choosing what we want to believe and live by.

The Word of God makes the wise simple. In other words, it is applicable to all and keeps us humbled before God. No matter how wise or smart a person may be, we all need to learn what God teaches us. We all need to see ourselves as we really are in God's eyes. We must all bow to God's authority over us. No one is beyond their need for God's guidance on the pathway to holiness. No matter who we may be or what we may become in the eyes of man, we are equally in need before God. In Christ the wise are made simple and the simple are made wise.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

My God, you light up my darkness.

Ps. 18:28 LORD, you have brought light to my life; my God, you light up my darkness.

Without Christ the soul resides in darkness. This darkness resists the light. It does everything it can to keep the light out. It will not entertain the thought that Light exists. It will refuse to consider that the darkness is danger-filled and leads to certain destruction. It will rebel against those who want to bring light into the darkness. It will squelch the thought that there are consequences for actions committed. It will keep the door shut to the Light with the thought there will always be time to open the door someday. It muddles the truth so that confusion reigns. It causes the soul to believe Satan's lie that there is no absolute truth. This darkness causes the soul to fall over and over again. Chaos prevails in it and people constantly get hurt.

Only God can penetrate the darkness. He alone has the ability to cut through all of the affects darkness has on the soul. The Holy Spirit enters into the darkness and overwhelms the darkness. He sheds light on the darkness so that the soul can see Jesus, the Light. When God comes in, the darkness must leave. He brings to light all the sin and its causes so they can be dealt with. He opens the eyes of the soul so it can clearly see it's way to Calvary.

Prasie the Lord for not leaving us in the dark! Praise Him for loving us and reaching deep into our darkness to pull us out. Praise Him for stripping away from us all those things which hinder us from enjoying to the fullest the light. Praise Him for His work amongst us to shed light on our souls! Praise Him for this Light which can never go out! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Obedience is the key to God's blessings.

Ps. 18:20-24 The LORD rewarded me for doing right; he compensated me because of my innocence. For I have kept the ways of the LORD; I have not turned from my God to follow evil. For all his laws are constantly before me; I have never abandoned his principles. I am blameless before God; I have kept myself from sin. The LORD rewarded me for doing right, because of the innocence of my hands in his sight.

If you want God's blessings, you must keep the ways of the Lord. You must strive to know God's ways and follow them. You must not make excuses when you fail. You must be submissive to the Lord and let Him be your guide through life.

God's blessings aren't always what we think they are. They are those things which God knows we need in order for us to be who we need to be in relationship with Him. God's blessings may be physical or spiritual in nature. Our Father knows best how to bless us.

God blesses those who do not turn from God to follow evil. We cannot follow the Lord and still dabble in sin. There is no wiggle room on this. God's children who think they can engage in some kind of sinful activity and still be okay with God are playing with fire. God never approves of sinful practices and always judges man for his sin. Being in Christ does not keep God from holding man accountable for his sins.

In order to stay on the path of God's blessings we must always keep the Word before us. We must be into the Word and let the Word be into us. We must be guided and influenced by the Word in all that we do. We must determine in our hearts that we will not abandon the Word in any way.

Great is the reward of those who do what is right before God. He blesses His children now, and even greater blessings await them in heaven. God's blessings do not come automatically to those who profess Jesus as Savior. We must live like we are children of God, we must think like His children, and we must talk like we are His children. If God is withholding His blessings from you, then you need to get your heart right with God today.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

God examines the heart and mind of man.

Ps. 17:3 You have tested my thoughts and examined my heart in the night. You have scrutinized me and found nothing amiss, for I am determined not to sin in what I say.

What a testimony! The Lord tested David's thought life and found nothing amiss. I wonder how many of us can say the same thing. No one can see what we think about, but we and God know. We tend to forget the fact that it does matter what we dwell on. Whenever we think about things that are unholy or lead us into sin, we need to take it seriously. We are admonished to dwell on good and righteous things, those things that build up our godliness instead of tearing it down. Are you as confident as David was that when God tests your mind that He finds nothing there amiss?

The Lord examined David's heart at night and found nothing amiss. It is normally at night, when everything is quiet and dark, that Satan comes out and plays in our hearts. It is then that we are exposed to his accusations. It is then that he plants all kinds of sinful thoughts within us. Normally we are alert and aware of what he is doing during the daytime, but at night we tend to let down our guard. Do you have confidence that at the ending of day that you have lived in Christ in such a way that when the Lord examines your heart that nothing is amiss? Are you strong enough to resist Satan's attacks on your heart and mind in the night? If are not comfortable with what God knows about your thought life, you need to let the Lord change the way you think.

David was confident of his standing before God because he was determined to not sin in what he said. In order to accomplish that, we must be right with God in our heart, for out of the heart the mouth speaks. In order for us to say and do the right things, we must live rightly in Christ. We must keep our souls in good shape. We must not allow Satan access to it. It takes determination to ward off Satan. Are you careful about what comes out of your mouth? Think about what you say before you say it. Consider carefully whether your conversation is good or bad. If you know God is not pleased with what you say, then you need to get your heart right with God.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Be honest with God.

Ps. 15:1, 5 Who may worship in your sanctuary, LORD? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? Those who do not charge interest on the money they lend, and who refuse to accept bribes to testify against the innocent. Such people will stand firm forever.

Worship that God accepts comes from honest hearts. We must be honest with our dealings with others, ourselves, and God.

You cannot cheat others, treat them badly, or take advantage of them and expect God to be okay with you. What we do matters to God. We are to love others and if you love others you will not treat them in an unloving way.

If you want to connect with God, you must be honest with yourself. You must accept yourself as you are, a broken vessel before God. You do not have it altogether. You are not perfect. You do stupid things. You say stupid things. You sin against God. You fail to obey God always in the things He directs you to do. You often are driven more by selfishiness than godliness. You don't understand as much as you let on you know. You have doubts. You get confused about things. You sometimes question God. You don't always like what God is doing. You don't always love people in a godly way. You don't like it when God doesn't answer your prayers the way you think He should. You don't like God's delays. You get spiritually lazy and don't always pray and read the Word like you should. You get upset and angry at others. You sometimes stir up trouble when you shouldn't. In other words, you are a sinner in need of a Savior just like everyone else.

If you want to connect with God you must be honest with Him. It's okay to not always be okay with God. Sometimes we have questions and doubts. Sometimes we don't understand why things are the way they are. Sometimes we would just as soon God would leave us alone. God knows exactly how you feel about Him and wants you to be honest about it. Tell Him how you feel, what you are thinking, He can handle it.

In other words, in order to stand firm before God and connect with Him, we must be a people who do not hide behind our spirituality. Sometimes faith is pretty raw. It is not always sweet and nice. We must be honest with God before God can really help us. He gives us free access to His presence and expects us to spill our guts out before Him. He will not be shocked or turn us away. There is wondrous healing and help for all who worship Him in the honesty of their hearts.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

True worshipers keep their promises to God, even when it hurts.

Ps. 15:1.4 Who may worship in your sanctuary, LORD? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? Those who despise persistent sinners, and honor the faithful followers of the LORD and keep their promises even when it hurts.

Those who truly want to worship the Lord must have an attitude towards persistent sinners. There must be a lack of tolerance for those who insist on living in sin. We are to love them, but have a problem with their sinful lifestyles. For the most part, we don't have strong feelings about those who insist on living in sin. We accept them and do not make a big deal out of the life choices they make. We cannot be neutral about sin. We should be bothered over the sinful choices people make and concerned for their souls. We should never idolize those who are living in sin. Have you ever paused to pray for those who entertain you with sin?

True worshipers honor the faithful followers of the Lord. We need to support and encourage those who are following Christ faithfully. We should recognize their faith and show our appreciation when we can. We should act graciously towards them when they mess up instead of criticizing and judging them. We should come alongside of them and help them as we are able. We should trust them and give them slack in their walk with the Lord. We should pray for them. We should learn from them and seek to put into practice what we learn from them.

True worshipers keep their promises even when it hurts. Ouch! It is not unusual for us to make promises we don't keep. Our intentions may be good, but often our execution is poor. We may even be good at keeping our promises, but when it comes to costing us something, we back off. We do not like self-sacrifice. We shy away from being hurt. Yet, a true worshiper of God knows that his word is his honor. For a follower of Christ, our words mean something. We do not make rash promises. We strive to be people of integrity and stand by the things we say.

God recognizes and honors those who honor Him by the way they view sin, treat His children, and keep their word.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Worship acceptable to God.

Ps. 15:1, 3 Who may worship in your sanctuary, LORD? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? Those who refuse to slander others or harm their neighbors or speak evil of their friends.

Worship that connects with God involves refusing to slander others. It is so easy to do, isn't it? We find ourselves finding fault with others and magnifying those faults to the point where we become guitly of character assassination. We jump into judging others without knowing for sure that our judgments are accurate. We bring others down by the things we say about them.

Worship that connects with God involves not harming others. There are so many different ways we can harm others: physically, verbally, emotionally, and mentally. If we knowingly and intentionally harm others, our attempts at worship are in vain. We are commnaded to love our neighbors and love does not go out and harm the ones we love. If we do not conduct ourselves in a godly way with others, the Lord will not honor us in His presence.

Worship that connects with God involves not speaking evil of our neighbor's friends. It is easy to judge others by the company they keep. It is easy to judge people who we don't even know. Let's be honest about this. We do judge people we don't know. We judge them based on our own prejudices. We judge them if they are different than us or live differently than we do. We judge them if they think differently than we do about things. God wants us to stop it. We should love all those for whom Jesus died. How can we reach out to a people we don't love with the Gospel? We need to ask the Lord to broaden our love base so that we will have a genuine love for all people.

If we love with the love of Christ, we will treat others in a godly way and our worship will be accepted by God.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Who may approach God in worship?

Ps. 15:1, 2 Who may worship in your sanctuary, LORD? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts.

Wanting to know who may approach the Lord in worship and be found acceptable to Him is perhaps the most important issue known to man. Not all who approach God have an audience with Him. Only the righteous in heart have access to God’s presence. The Psalmist in this psalm gives us some guidelines to go by if we want to know that we are in the presence of God.

Only those who lead blameless lives and do what is right can enter into God’s presence. Who amongst us can say that we are blameless before God? When we see ourselves as we are without Christ, none of us can make the claim we are blameless and do what is right before God. When we see ourselves as we are in Christ, we find then we can be found to be blameless before God. In Christ our sins are washed away and we take on His righteousness and holiness. When we do what is right by the standards of Christ, we are acceptable to God. There is no condemnation for those who are striving to live lives that are reflective of Christ in them.

Doing what is right entails not only how we live, but also how we deal with sin. Are we aware of our sins when we sin and deal with them before Christ? Do we strive to resist sin when we are confronted with temptations? Do we consider what Jesus would do if He were in our shoes? Do we have a sensitivity to the blatant sins of this world? In other words, do we take sin seriously and consider it an enemy of our souls?

Also, those who speak the truth from sincere hearts can approach God. Many who speak the truth do not do so from sincere hearts. It is one thing to tell the truth; it’s another thing to mean what you say because you know it is true. We must take ownership of what we proclaim to believe. It must be evidenced in the way we live and present ourselves to others. No phonies will ever make it into the presence of God.

Not all who go through the motions of worship are accepted by God. Just because you are surrounded by other worshipers doesn’t qualify you as a worshiper of God. Only those who are found to be blameless before God are true worshipers of Him.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

How foolish can we be?

Ps. 14:1 Only fools say in their hearts, "There is no God." They are corrupt and their actions are evil, no one does good!

It is interesting just how foolish people can be. Mankind will do just about anything to avoid believing in God. I believe it is because they do not want to deal with the possibility of consequences for sin. As long as people deny there is God, they can live with sin without all the guilt and shame, or so they think. One cannot believe in God in his heart without knowing the guilt and shame that comes from living in sin.

The problem most people have who claim to believe in God is that their belief never gets from their head to their heart. I believe it's equally foolish to believe only with the head as it is to believe there is no God. Those who only believe with their minds live corrupt lives, their actions are evil, they do no good. We must never forget that all the demonic forces of hell have a head knowledge of God. In fact, hell will be full of people who believe in God. There will be no atheists in hell.

Likewise, foolish are those who believe in their hearts that God is and live like He isn't. In order to do it, one must deny there is a hell. God must be perceived as only a god of love who will accept everyone into His kingdom. Such belief is based on nothing but lies. God is both holy and love. He cannot be one without the other. One born in grace does not have a license to sin.

When we leave, or kick, God out of our hearts, we become slaves to sin and bear the consequences of it. Believe in your heart that God is and live like it and you will make it home to heaven.

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Lord is in His holy temple.

Ps. 11:4 But the LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD still rules from heaven. He searches everything closely, examining everyone on earth.

The Lord is in His holy temple. Lest we forget it, the Lord our God is holy and He is surrounded by only that which is holy. Holiness is His dwelling place. We dare not lose the significance of this truth to our souls! The Lord will not tolerate anything less than holiness in His presence. He cannot not. It behooves us therefore to always strive to live holy lives and the only way we can do that is to live under the holiness of Christ.

The Lord rules from heaven. There is nothing outside the realm of His rule. He created all things, orders their existence, and controls their destiny. There is nothing that can ever wrestle anything from His control over them. All things exist by His permission and for His purposes.

He searches everything closely to ensure that everything continues to function properly until He comes to change everything. From the greatest to the smallest display of His creative genius, He watches over them and keeps them going. Without the Lord's hand on His creation, life would not exist.

He examines everyone on earth. Nothing anyone does escapes His notice. He knows everyone's heart. He knows the righteousness and sin that is there. He knows the intent of the heart, whether it's to glory self or Him. He knows whether or not we are cooperating with Him to fulfill His plans for us or not. He knows whether or not we are fit for heaven.

Dear friend, do not think for one moment that you are not being watched from heaven. No one is going to have any excuse for not obeying the Lord. He has given us very clear guidelines to follow in order to make it to heaven. The issue becomes then whether or not we are submitted to Him. If Jesus is not your Lord now, He will be on Judgment Day. Every knee will bow before Him and declare Him to be Lord, whether they want to or not. Are you living in Christ today?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Those who know God by name trust in Him.

Ps. 9:9-10 The LORD is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O LORD, have never abandoned anyone who searches for you.

These verses remind me of a hymn we sang a lot when I was growing up, A Shelter in the Time of Storm. As I have lived a while now, I can attest to the truthfulness of these verses today. The storms of life come, and they often come unexpectantly and from unexpectant places. I have discovered that the Lord never leaves us alone to weather the storms. He is always there to steady my soul, strengthen me, and show me the way through them. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Those who know God by name trust in Him. It is good for the soul to meditate on the names used in Scripture to identify who God is. The name God used to reveal himself to Moses was "I AM." God is eternally the self-existent one. He is ever-present and all sufficient for every need. He is Lord, ruler over all that is. Nothing is out of His control. He is sovereign and always will be over His creation. The Scriptures describe God through the use of many names. Blessed are those who know God on a name basis.

Knowing God well enables us to trust Him well. We discover that He is forever reliable. He never abandons His children. He is always easily found by those looking for Him. No matter how violent the storms of life may get, we can take refuge in Him knowing that we are safe and everything will be alright.

"Thank you, O Lord, for you have made yourself known to us. You have shown us that you are trustworthy and we always take refuge in you when the storms of life come our way. Thank you, Lord, for never turning us away when we seek you out and never abandoning us. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Lord passes judgment on the nations.

Ps. 7:8 The LORD passes judgment on the nations. Declare me righteous, O LORD, for I am innocent, O Most High!

The world is in a mess. All throughout the world, mankind has wandered away from God. There is no nation on the earth where it can be said of them that they are a people after God's own heart. Every nation on earth is guilty of sin before God and will be judged for it. Nothing escapes God's notice and He will pass judgment on every nation.

Yet, in spite of the wickedness found in the world, we don't have to participate in it. It is possible for us to declare our innocence before God and mean it. We can live holy lives in the world. In fact, we must if we are going to be spared from God's judgments.

Only those living holy lives are innocent before Him. It doesn't matter too much what we declare about ourselves; what matters is what God declares about us. Innocence before God stems from living righteously. When we are striving to not sin and do what is right before God, we are innocent of wrong doing. Our actions may not always be right, but if our heart is right we will be declared innocent.

God examines the motives of the heart and holds us accountable for them. What matters is why we do what we do. We can be assured that our motives are right when we faithfully examine our actions, thoughts and words in light of the Word of God. When we know the right things to do and strive to do them, we are innocent before God. We are not able to keep our motives pure without guidance from God's Word. Also, we must stay close to the heart of God through prayer. We can only know the heart of God through spending quality time with Him in frequent prayer.

We are not subject to the world's judgment when Jesus is our Lord. There is no condemnation to those who are living in Him. Stay in close fellowhip with the Lord and you will not get burned when God passes judgment on the nations.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Travel on the right path of life.

Ps. 5:8 Lead me in the right path, O LORD, or my enemies will conquer me. Tell me clearly what to do, and show me which way to turn.

There are many paths in life to travel on; yet, there is only one right path. The path that leads to God is not a well-worn path. While all other paths are well-traveled and often overcrowded, the pathway to God is traveled on by so few. All paths that are well-traveled lead the soul away from God. All who travel on those paths are enemies of the soul.

In order to stay on the path that leads to God, we must be open to the Lord's instructions. We must constantly seek direction from Him. There are many detours along the way and if we aren't careful, we can easily get on the wrong path. Sometimes we can get derailed and find our way back, but only with great difficulty. Taking the wrong path slows us down and keeps us from reaching our destination. We must stay on the right path if we are going to be successful in making it home.

Jesus is the right path. There is no other way to make it to heaven. As long as we stay focused on Him, we won't get on the wrong path. We must let Him lead the way. If we lag too far behind Him, we will get lost. If we try to get ahead of Him, we will get lost. If we don't take His leadership seriously, we will get lost. Only when we stay in step with the Lord and follow Him will we make it.

We run into so many problems when we follow Him reluctantly. We want to compete with Him for control of our lives. We want to follow Him, but we want to do it our way. We do not want Him to be our Lord. For many of us, letting Him be our Savior is good enough. But, it is never good enough. If Jesus is not Lord, trying to follow Him is always a very difficult thing to do. We stumble and fall frequently; often getting battered and bruised in the process. We may eventually make it home, but if we do, it will be a very painful and difficult journey. There will be very little enjoyment along the way with very few victories to celebrate.

Letting Jesus be the Lord of our journey changes everything. As our Lord, Jesus makes the journey home a joyous one. There is a peace and rest for the soul that can be found nowhere else. There is confidence and boldness in the steps we take. There is certainty in our steps as we keep our eyes focused on Him. Life is good for those who let Jesus be both their Savior and Lord.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

God takes no pleasure in wickedness.

Ps. 5:4,5 O God, you take no pleasure in wickedness; you cannot tolerate the slightest sin. Therefore, the proud will not be allowed to stand in your presence, for you hate all who do evil.

Hear ye! Hear ye! Here is a message we must all hear. God takes no pleasure in wickedness. If you do evil, the Lord notices and is not pleased with you. The Lord our God is holy and cannot tolerate the slightest sin. We must understand this essential truth. We tolerate sin, but the Lord cannot, and will not, tolerate it in any form. All sin must be dealt with if we are going to be able to have fellowship with God, both now and forever. We cannot ignore our sin and expect God to be pleased with us. Grace does not excuse us. We are accountable to God for whatever sin we do. We must deal with our sin before God or God will deal with us.

Pride is evidence of self-righteousness. All who are content with who or what they are before God will not be allowed to stand in God's presence. Only those who are humble before God have any standing with Him. We must recognize our lack of holiness and humbly come before Him with broken hearts. We must confess our sins before Him. We must be clothed in the righteousness of Christ. We must never strive to approach God on our own. We must have Jesus as our mediator. He must stand between God and us. We must immerse ourselves in the holiness of Christ. Then and only then, will we be found acceptable to God.

Listen to me, dear friend. God hates all who do evil. These are strong words, but oh so true. Be careful how you live. Do not take sin lightly. It does matter to God what you do and say. All sin must be washed in the blood of Calvary or you will be treated as an enemy of God. We must wake up to this sobering truth. Holiness never goes out of style. We must always strive to be holy because God is holy.

Stand guard over your soul and keep it pure before God. Eternity is at stake.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

O Lord, pay attention to my groaning.

Ps. 5:1-2 O LORD, hear me as I pray, pay attention to my groaning. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for I will never pray to anyone but you.

We can be assured that the Lord hears us as we pray. Sometimes we become so overwhelmed by life that all we can do is groan before Him. Sometimes we can't even express what is overwhelming our souls. The Lord understands and hears what our hearts are crying out. He knows all about our groanings and is able to minister to us no matter how heavy our burdens may be. It is good to bring our burdens to the Lord and let Him handle them for us. It is good for the soul to unload on Him, even if we are unable to do anything but groan.

We need to determine in our hearts that we will only seek out the Lord, our God, for help. There is no other to turn to. God alone hears and answers pray. In order to know for sure that it is God we are praying to, we must first be certain that we know the truth about God.

There is so much wrong teachings about God in the church today. Teachings about God have watered down God to the point where He is barely recognizable as the God of the Scriptures. The weaker our perception of who God is, the less likely we are going to be that our prayers are going to be heard and answered. The stronger our understanding of who God is, the more confidence we will have in our praying. If you are struggling in prayer, not sure that God is hearing you, let alone answering you, then you need to get deeper into the Word and really get to know the God you profess to believe in.

It is one thing to declare with your mind who God is, it is another thing to declare it with your heart. When you know God in your heart, you will know that He hears your prayers and heart groanings. You will know He cares very deeply about what you are going through and will help you through it.