Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Acknowledge that the Lord is God!

Ps. 100:3 Acknowledge that the LORD is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

To acknowledge that the Lord is God is to recognize and accept that God is in control of all things. He is actively ruling over all creation. He is beyond our comprehension or understanding. He is absolute goodness in all things which are good. He is absolute holiness incapable of having sin in His presence. He is unchangeable and eternal. He is capable of doing all things He has revealed He has done. He is not limited in His knowledge and power. He is love personified and has taken an invested interest in us. He created us with a need for fellowship with Him that can only be fulfilled by Him. The Lord, He is God!

We are not who we are by some random act of nature. The Lord has made us who we are--a people capable of having a spiritual relationship with Him. He has made us differently than any other created life on earth. We are spiritual beings encased in fleshly bodies who will live eternally. We are made in the image of God.

We are His when we accept the life we have been created to have in Him. Sin prevents us from being who we were created to be, but the Lord does away with sin. We become His people when we submit to Him, confess our sin to Him, acknowledge Him as the only one who can take away our sin, and commit ourselves to living in relationship with Him. We become His people, a people who reflect His character in all that we do.

We are the sheep of His pasture, a people who rely on Him for guidance and our daily food. We are a people who are content to rest in His loving care and trust Him to always treat us well.

Is the Lord God for you today? Can you say with joy in your heart that you are His? Are you resting in His care for you, trusting in His goodness and love? Are you?

Monday, April 28, 2014

Worship the Lord wih gladness.

Ps. 100:2 Worship the LORD with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy.

It matters how we approach God. It matters to God, and it should matter to us. Think about it. How would you feel if your children always came to you with their complaints and problems and never their expressions of love and gratitude? It wears thin doesn’t it? Now think about God and how many prayers He is hearing all the time. I am sure that most of the time He is hearing the negative and not the positive. I know He wants us to bring our needs before Him. He wants to take the burdens off our shoulders, but don’t you think He also wants to hear the praise of our hearts?

We are to give Him thanks in everything. That is, we are to find things in all things in which to be grateful for. There are lessons to learn about our faith and our Lord that can be found in all things. A grateful heart is a glad heart. Our walk with the Lord is a constant refining and maturing process. As we live in faith we are being made into a holy people pleasing to the Lord. He uses life to grow us and the more we grow, the more we discover the majesty and glory of God.

The Lord is with us and for us! The Lord never gives up on us! The Lord desires nothing but good for us. He refines our souls in preparation for heaven. He helps us in our many battles with Satan to overcome him. O dear brother and sister, enter into the presence of the Lord with gladness! Let your heart sing with joy, for the Lord our God is with us. Lift up your heart today and let Him know that you love and appreciate Him and all He is doing for you. Let your voice be heard today in God’s throne room! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before Him, singing with joy.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Shouting with joy to the Lord.

Ps. 100:1 Shout with joy to the LORD, O earth!

We shout for a wide variety of reasons. We shout to be heard when we are excited, angry, or feel we are being ignored. We shout because we want someone to hear us.

When was the last time you shouted with joy to the Lord? How long has it been since you last were so overpowered by the goodness of God that you shouted out your praise and thanksgiving? Have you ever done it?

We have so much to be excited about and grateful for in the Lord! Think about it. Isn’t salvation something to shout about? The Lord saves us from certain self-destruction. He saves us from an eternity in hell. He saves us from the compulsion to sin. He saves us from a life of sinful misery which has no hope.

Isn’t the future something to shout about? The Lord has guaranteed our acceptance into the eternal kingdom of God. He has prepared a place for us that defies human understanding. It is a place that is so pure and holy that no trace of sin or its consequences will ever be found. It is a place where the glory of Christ will always shine and never dim. It is a place where we will never fear and experience pain or sorrow again. It is a place where we will be surrounded forever by all the saints who have ever lived and who have been perfected by God, a people who will always treat you fairly, lovingly, and joyfully.

Aren’t the resources God has provided for us something to shout about? Think about it. God has made available to us all the resources we need to live holy lives before him. It is not beyond our reach to live in victory. We have God’s Word, the Spirit, the church, and a great cloud of witnesses always around us to spur us on and help us.

Indeed, "Shout with joy to the LORD, O earth!" Let your voice be heard loud and clear! The Lord is God, and he is your God! The Lord is faithful, true, and good all the time! Let your heart rejoice and shout the Good News so all will hear.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

God is unlike anyone else in life.

Ps. 96:9 Worship the LORD in all his holy splendor. Let all the earth tremble before him.

How often does the holiness of God capture your mind and heart in worship? I suspect that it’s not very often. We go through our routines of worship and usually follow a certain pattern. We emphasis certain characteristics of God (usually His power and love). We usually set times for certain things to happen. We gear our services to end at a particular time. Most services do not lend themselves to quiet reflection on who God is.

God is unlike anyone else in life. There is nothing to compare God to. His power and ability are beyond our ability to comprehend. His majesty is seen in all that exists. His handiwork is mind boggling. No words are available to describe who God is. We can only imagine and try to express in words to the best of our ability the majesty and glory of God.

Worship that changes our lives is feasts on the splendor of His holiness. When we recognize that God is holy, it cuts deep into our hearts. We are able to see ourselves in light of who we really are before God. We are able to see what really matters in life, our submission and obedience to God. If we are not drawn into the holiness of God in worship, we have missed out on the most important part of worship.

When we understand that God is holy, we change our attitude towards Him. There is a deep level of respect and reverence for a holy God. There is a level of fear that grips the soul. There is a keen awareness of our need to live rightly before Him. There is a keen awareness that we dare not take God, nor His grace, for granted. A healthy fear of God is essential for a healthy relationship with God.

Friday, April 25, 2014

When was the last time you bowed down or knelt before the Lord in worship?

Ps. 95:6-7 Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the LORD our maker, for he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the sheep under his care. Oh, that you would listen to his voice today!

When was the last time you bowed down or knelt before the Lord in worship? Bowing or kneeling before God is an act of respect. It is acknowledging that the Lord is God and worthy of our humility before Him. It is putting the Lord over us. It is submitting to His authority over us. I don't see much of that going on in the church today. We approach God with enthusiastic worship. We play heavily on our emotions. We rarely come to Him in public with humble hearts. We may give lip service to Him as our God, but seldom do we act like He is. I still believe there is a place in worship for us, His children, to approach Him with the dignity and the honor He deserves. I still believe we need to be still before Him and know that He is God. I still believe we need to remember that it is He who watches over us and provides for our daily needs. I still believe we need to quiet ourselves before Him so that we can hear Him when he speaks.

The Lord is not done speaking to us today. He has much He wants us to hear and know. He is speaking through His Spirit and Word. The issue is, "Are we hearing what He is saying?" If we can gather for worship and leave the same as we came, have we heard from God? If the Spirit has not convicted us from the Word, have we heard Him speak? If we have no greater understanding of God and His ways, have we heard from Him?

If we are not hearing from God, what are we doing wrong? What do we need to change in the way we worship so that we can hear Him? Whether in public or private worship, the goal is to have fellowship with God and hear what He has to say to us. The key to any good communication is the ability to listen and understand what is being said.

May the Lord help us to quiet our hearts before Him so that we can hear what He has to say to us today.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Have you ever felt like you were slipping?


Ps. 94:17-19 Unless the LORD had helped me, I would soon have died. I cried out, "I'm slipping!" and your unfailing love, O LORD, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.

Have you ever felt like you were slipping? Sometimes life is like a slippery slope. Things happen that cause us to think that we are losing the battle. We get caught up in all the things that are going wrong and begin to panic. Life as we know it is in danger of falling apart. We become afraid that the Lord is nowhere to be found. We begin to doubt the reality of faith. We lose all sense of stability in our lives. Perhaps thoughts of dying even creep into our heads.

The Psalmist knew what it was like. Whatever was going on in his life at the time, he was in a panic mode. Circumstances seemed to have overpowered him. What did he do? Did he become a victim to the things going on in his life? No, he prayed. He understood that his hope was not in his ability to get himself out of his mess. He cried out to the Lord for help. He didn't beat around the bush either. He told it like it was. "I'm slipping!" It's important that we too tell the Lord exactly what is going on in our lives. We must be bold in declaring how we are being affected by what is going on around us. We must not hold anything back, but declare our need.

The Lord hears and answers the prayers of an honest heart. The Lord comes alongside us and comforts us in His unfailing love. He reassures us that things are not hopeless and we are not helpless. He renews our minds and shows us that there is hope, even in the worst times of life. His presence revitalizes us and causes the heart to be cheerful once again.

Don't be a victim of circumstances. In Christ you are victorious, no matter how bad things may get. There is comfort in His love. There is hope and gladness of heart in Him. Stay connected to Him and everything will be well with your soul each step you take in life.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Living in the shelter of the Most High.

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.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Teach us to make the most use of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom.

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 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 life.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Worship is not confined to one day a week.

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 mind 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.

Worship changes us. It changes our perspective on life and how we life it. It changes how we react to what comes our way. How can it not? When you leave worship and mingle amongst men, can they see that you have been with Jesus?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

"Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen."

Luke 24:5b-26a "Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here,but has risen."

Today is the most important day of the year for the church. Today we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. Without the resurrection of Christ we would have no hope, no fellowship with God, no reason for our existance.

CHRIST IS RISEN TODAY! He has risen above all of man's self-righteousness. He has risen to bring hope where there was no hope. He has risen to remove the sting of death from us. He has risen to give us victory over our sins so that we no longer have to be slaves to them. He has risen to give us access to God who once was so far removed from us. He has risen to give us a new heart, one that is purified by His righteousness and holiness. He has risen to take all of our sins and cast them into the sea of His forgetfulness; they are no more. He has risen to make sense of life, to give us purpose, a reason to live and to die. He has risen to make the written Word come alive to us as He is the written Word living within us. He has risen to enable us to live lives that are pleasing and acceptable to God. He has risen to stand in the gap between us and God so that we might have fellowship with Him. He has written to give us a new life, a life of joy, peace and love. He has risen to give eternal life to all who believe and live in Him. He lives to make known to us who God is. He lives and is now preparing a place for us in heaven.

Rejoice, dear friend! Sing forth His praises! Christ the Lord has risen today! Hallelujah! Death could not keep her prey, Hallelujah! Today is a day of praises. Join your heart together with all of God's children and sing His praises. We serve a living Savior! He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives today! He walks with me and talks with me all along life's way. Hallelujah! Jesus lives today!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Teach me your ways, O Lord....

Ps. 86:11 Teach me your ways, O LORD, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, that I may honor you.

This is a prayer that if prayed sincerely God will answer every time. When we ask the Lord to teach us His ways, we must be prepared to observe and listen. There are many different ways that the Lord uses to teach us and we need to stay alert so that we don't miss His lessons. We must be looking for things that will help us to learn and grow. The more we learn about God's ways, the more we resources we have to help us walk in His ways.

When we ask the Lord for a pure heart, He will graciously make our hearts pure. A pure heart is a repentant heart; it is a humble heart. It is a heart that is submissive to God. It desires to know God intimately. It desires to honor the Lord above all things.

Honoring God is a lifestyle we live. It is built on reverence and respect for Him. It is the longing of the heart to say and do things that lift the Lord up amongst men. It is moved by a love for the Lord. It is a way of thinking that causes us to consider first whether or not it would reflect positively on the Lord before we plunge ahead. It considers carefully the things we teach and say about the Lord.

We will not live according to the truth unless we let the Lord teach us His ways. We will not have pure hearts unless we admit our sins and ask the Lord to forgive us for them. We will not honor the Lord without pure hearts. We cannot hang on to any of our sins and have pure hearts. They all must be confessed, forgiven, and washed away by the shed blood of Jesus.

Have you confessed all of your sins to Him? Have you? Will you let the Lord search deep into your soul right now just to make sure? He must have every sinful deed, motive and thought. If you give Him it all, He will purify your heart and make you fit for His kingdom.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Jesus is truth and the love of God embodied up as one.

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 up 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.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

What kind of a desire do you have for God in worship?

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. Let's face it; we do not for the most part consider worship a sacred event. We seldom pause to reflect on what it really means to draw near to God. Perhaps if we were to consider God to be holy, we would have a greater desire to be still and quiet our hearts before Him. Perhaps it would affect the way we live and how we look upon sin.

We need to ask ourselves the question, "Am I comfortable being in the presence of the wicked?" If you are not bothered by the sin around you and uncomfortable in its presence, you need to draw near to God and let His holiness bathe your soul. A holy heart has a real problem with sin. Draw near to God and the longing of your heart will be to be in the house of God and not in the house of the wicked.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Longing to be where God is.

Ps. 84:1-2 How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty. I long, yes, I faint with longing, to enter the courts of the LORD. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God.

To be where God is ought to be the longing of every believer's heart. God gives us glimpses of what heaven will be like and we can only imagine just how grand, majestic and glorious it will be. God reveals heaven to us in human language and I am convinced that it is far more than anything we can imagine. What we know of heaven captivates our thoughts. We want to go there. In fact, it is the longing of all who believe there is God. All but those who refuse to acknowledge that God is, want to go there. For most people there longing for heaven is merely wishful thinking, but for the redeemed it is certain reality.

Yet, the longing of the soul should be where God is today. He is with us. We do not have to wait to get to heaven in order to enter into God's presence. Being with God today should equally captivate our hearts. We should have a longing in our hearts to approach God. Drawing near to God should stir our souls like nothing else can. The glory and holiness of God are beyond human imagining. To be in the presence of eternal and pure love is beyond our ability to fully appreciate. Oh, the beauty of the Lamb! Oh, to be near to the heart of God! Oh, the glory of our God and King!

Sing His praises today! With your whole being, body and soul, praise His holy name! Shout joyfully unto the Lord, for He has saved your soul. Shout joyfully unto the Lord for He is with you and will never leave or forsake you. Shout joyfully unto the Lord and let Him know how much you love Him. Shout it; don't whisper it. The Lord Almighty is MY God. The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!

Praise the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me, prasie His holy name.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Open your mouth wide so the Lord can fill it.

Ps. 81:10 For it was I, the LORD your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt. Open your mouth, and I will fill it with good things.

Is your mouth open? Are you waiting and wanting the Lord to fill it? The image that comes to my mind is that of hungry birds in a nest waiting on their mother to come and fill their mouths.

A waiting bird is an expectant bird. He expects his mother to come back with food. He knows that the food his mother brings will be the right kind of food for his needs. He knows that his mother will be faithful to come and feed him. He knows that he cannot feed himself and he must rely on his mother. He knows that if his mother does not come back, he will starve to death. He is totally dependent on his mother for his survival. He waits and if his mother doesn't come back on time, he begins to cry out.

Like a newborn bird in his nest, we must open our mouths up before the Lord. We must understand the things a baby bird knows by instinct. We must quit trying to take care of our basic need for God and let Him feed us. All of our efforts to satisfy our souls are vain. They do nothing to satisfy us and do nothing but drain us of our energy and leave us hungrier.

The Lord knows what we need far better than we do. We often try to feed on things that are not good for us. We don't know how to regulate the amount of food we need. We are more prone to starve ourselves than we are to overfeed ourselves. We don't trust the Lord like we should to feed us. We question His goodness and desire to help us grow. We shut our mouths and refuse to eat what He provides. We crave for things that He knows we should never be eating. We often want only to eat those things that enable us to survive and shun those things designed to help us grow.

Open your mouth wide and let the Lord feed you as He desires. He will feed you with good things. He will complete in you what He has begun if you will let Him. His goal for you is to bring you up to maturity in faith so that you can be useful in His service. He knows that if you feed on His food you will live life at its best. Are you letting Him feed you?

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Lord is our Rock amidst the turmoils of life.

Ps. 75:3  When the earth quakes and the people live in turmoil, I am the one who keeps its foundations firm.  I warned the proud, "Stop your boasting!"  I told the wicked, "Don't raise your fists!  Don't lift your fists in defiance at the heavens or speak with rebellious arrogance."

I have never been in an earthquake, and I hope I never am.  They can be very devastating and deadly.  An earthquake changes things.  Nothing is quite the same as they were before.  Yet, one thing always remains the same; the earth’s foundation remains the same. God has put the earth in place and it will remain in its place until He moves it.  We can always count on the earth to remain in its place, no matter how much turmoil there may be on the earth. 

When it seems like everything around you is going haywire, when your whole world is crashing in, remember this truth.  The Lord is on the throne and He is holding your world together.  The Lord will not let your world fall apart.  He will not abandon you to the elements.  He is the one who keeps your foundation firm.  He will never leave or forsake you, no matter how much turmoil you may be facing.

What should our response be to this wonderful truth?  Recognize from where our help comes from.  Our help comes from the Lord.  He is the one who anchors our lives.  We can't do it, only He can.  We can take no credit for what He does.  We praise and thank Him who is our Rock and Salvation.

Those who refuse to accept and acknowledge this truth will perish.  The proud and defiant will come crashing down.  Those who rebel against the Lord will regret the day they were born.  Be warned; no one will survive who defy the Lord.  No one will survive who are too proud to live humbly before God and dependent on Him. 

The Lord is our Rock; all other ground is sinking sand.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Our health may fail us, but God never will.

Ps. 73:26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.

Our health gives out on us. It is a part of being human. As we age different parts of our bodies begin to fail us and we suffer with aches and pains. As well, sometimes our spirit may fail us. We encounter situations in which our resolve to overcome grows weak. Sometimes our minds fail us and we find it harder and harder to remember things or figure them out. It's just the way life is; we are all subject to it.

But, the good news is that God does not change. He is the same as He always has been. The same God who created all things by the power of His word, is the God whom we serve today. He can be depended on to be able to help us no matter how weak we may become or feel. The Lord will never grow weak or weary.

The Lord strengthens the heart of those who trust in Him. He forever will be ours when we trust in Him. We cannot trust our bodies, minds or our willpower to always be there for us, but we can always count on the Lord if we trust in Him. And the wonderful truth is, even if we utterly are unable to think or know anymore, if He is our God now He will be our God then. He never forsakes those who love and serve Him, even when they lose their ability to even comprehend Him anymore.

The Lord is our strength, both now and forever.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Come and listen to what God did for me.

Ps. 66:16-19 Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he did for me. For I cried out to him for help, praising him as I spoke. If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, my LORD would not have listened. But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer.

Don't you just love these verses? The Psalmist is inviting all who know the Lord to come and listen to his testimony. It is good for us to share with others what the Lord has done for us. I have fond memories of those times in my earlier walk with the Lord when we actually had testimony time in our worship services. It has been quite a while now since that has been done. I don't really know why the church has gotten away from it. I know some churches still do it, but they are in the minority. It seems odd to me that we think we don't need it anymore. If we can't testify to what the Lord is doing in our lives before the body of Christ, how can we expect to do it in the world? If we don't encourage one another by how the Lord is working in our midst, where are we going to find the encouragement we need to remain faithful? If we don't allow time to praise the Lord for His working in our lives in church, when will we be given opportunity to thank and praise Him?

It is good for others to know that we found forgiveness at the throne of God's mercy. It is good for others to know that we are not perfect and are in need of forgiveness. It is good for others to know that the Lord still is in the forgiving business. It is good for others to know that we all need to seek the Lord and confess our sins.

Note that the Psalmist said that if sin was not acknowledged and confessed, nothing would happen, there would be no forgiveness to proclaim. It is very important that we do not miss this truth. In order for our sins to be forgiven, they must be confessed before the Lord.

The church exists to edify those who are in Christ. We are to build one another up in faith and spur each other on to greater faith. What better way is there to do that than to acknowledge that the Lord is actively working in our lives to make us holy?

It is good food for the soul to share what the Lord has and is now doing in our lives. We must be witnesses for Him and the church is the perfect training ground for us. Let us not neglect talking about our Lord in His house.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Confession and Unanswered Prayer


Ps. 66:18  If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, my Lord would not have listened. But God did listen!  He paid attention to my prayer. 

God always hears the confession of a sincere soul.  He lovingly waits for us to confess our sin.  He longs for us to have pure hearts.  He always forgives those who humble themselves before Him in repentance.

It is also true that the Lord does not hear us when we pray if we don't confess our sins.  No matter how emotionally we pray, it's all in vain if we don't have a repentant heart.  We may pray and pray, but without a repentant heart it is a waste of time and energy. 

There is great joy in those who know God has heard their prayers and are forgiven.  There is no greater joy on earth or heaven than forgiven sins.  Not even the angels of heaven know what it is like for a soul to be forgiven for sin.  Oh, what a wondrous thought; God hears our prayers and forgives us for our sins!

If it seems like God pays no attention to your prayers, you need to examine your soul and see if there might be a sin problem you have that you need to confess.  Sin is not always the root cause of why we feel like our prayers are not being heard, but it often is.  May our prayer always be for the Lord to examine our hearts and see if there be any wicked ways in us.  May we always approach Him with pure hearts.  If we do, God will pay attention to our prayers and answer them.



Thursday, April 10, 2014

Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he did for me.

Ps. 66:16  Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he did for me.

Dear friend, may I take the liberty today to tell you what the Lord has done for me?  The Lord refused to give up on me.  He pursued me and would not let me keep going on the path of sin I was on as a teenager.  He constantly confronted me with my sin until I agreed with Him that what I was doing was sin and needed confession.  If the Lord had not relentlessly pursued me, I would probably not be alive today.

The Lord placed His hand on my life and gave me purpose and direction.  He clearly made me understand what He wanted me to do with my life.  He did not leave me alone in the process of becoming who I am today, but graciously watched over me and kept me from messing up my life with bad choices I was making.  He has watched over me and spared me from life threating situations.  He miraculously healed me. 

The Lord has patiently and firmly taught me many things about myself and Him.  He has given me the knowledge and understanding that I need to know in order to do what I do for Him.  He has placed wonderful people in my life who have all played a significant role in my spiritual development over the years. 

He blessed my life with an awesome woman who became the wife that was meant for me and has blessed us with a wonderful family whom we love dearly.  He has enabled us to weather many storms of life together.  He has allowed us to serve Him together in and outside of the church for many years. 

He has supplied all of my needs throughout my life.  I have always had enough of whatever I needed whenever I needed it.  He has given me a reason to live and an even greater reason to die. I am so blessed and am not ashamed to declare my allegiance to Him.  I love the Lord with all my heart and long for the day in which I will see Him face to face.

Dear friend, do you have a story to tell?  There are many who need to hear what the Lord has done for you.  By telling your story of God's amazing grace, others will be encouraged and perhaps some will even come to saving faith because of it.   Tell your story in and outside of the church.  Tell it to all who will listen.  Tell it until Jesus comes for we serve an awesome God. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

When was the last time you waited quietly before the Lord?

Ps. 62:1-2  I wait quietly before God, for my salvation comes from him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.

When was the last time you waited quietly before God?  If you are honest, it's probably been awhile.  Most of our lifestyles do not lend themselves to alone time with God, let alone quiet time.  We are so wrapped up into our living that we forget how to really live.  The soul needs quiet time alone with God.  We need to make alone time a priority on our daily agenda.  If we don't have the time, then we must make the time by letting something else go.  We will never know true peace and victory in Jesus without time alone with Him.  Quiet time means we shut out all other distractions.  It means we consider this time of our day more important than everything else.

We wait quietly before the Lord because our salvation comes from Him.  He is our only hope.  He is our eternal life.  He is the anchor of our lives and holds us steady.  He is our fortress and He alone is able to protect us from all that would threaten our souls.  He alone is the one who can guide us along the path of righteousness.  He alone has the authority and purity of heart to rightly judge our souls.  He alone has the power to create life and the authority to take it away.  He alone is the one whom every knee will bow and confess that He is the King of kings and Lord of lords.

God is our rock.  He is solid through and through and withstands whatever storms may come His way.  He is unfazed by the things that faze us.  He is steadfast and is not moved by the things that move us.  When we are anchored to the Rock, we are safe; we will not lose our grip and fall under the pressures of life’s storms.

If you do not have a regular time in your day to set aside to be quiet before our Lord, today is the day that you can do something about it.  Today is the first day of the rest of your life and there is no better way to start a new way of living than to set aside a quiet time to be with the Lord.  Wait quietly before Him and you will be amazed by how much better your life will be.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Fear and how to handle it.

Ps. 56:3-4  But when I am afraid, I put my trust in you.  O God, I praise your Word.  I trust in God, so why should I be afraid.  What can mere mortals do to me?

Fear is something that is common to man.  All of us are afraid of something or someone.  Fear is a good thing when it helps us to stay alert to danger and cause us to take extra care to not get in harm’s way.  Fear is a bad thing when it takes over our lives and causes us to be afraid of everything and everyone.  Like everything else, there must be a balance in our lives.

The way we can maintain a healthy balance on fear is to put our trust in the Lord.  He calms our fears by just being there for us.  He is the controller and ruler of the universe, so there is nothing that He can’t handle.  When we trust Him, He leads us through all the dangerous situations of our lives that rob us of peace.  The Lord reassures us that everything will be alright, that He has a plan and purpose for all that comes our way and it is for our good and His glory.

God gives us many promises that we can latch onto in our fearful moments.  When we trust the Lord and not ourselves, He reminds us of those promises.  His Word addresses whatever we may face.  When we recall God’s Word there is a peace that floods our soul as we are reminded that God will take care of us and protect us.  Praise the Lord for the precious promises of His Word!

There is nothing to be afraid of in this life except for God.  Others may be able to harm or kill the body, but they cannot touch the soul.  No one can take you out of God’s hands.  It is God who determines the eternal destiny of the soul.  It is God whom we must answer to.  We should concern ourselves only with the status of our relationship with God and trust Him with everything else.  There is nothing to fear when we put our trust in the Lord.

Monday, April 7, 2014

What does the Lord want from us?

Ps. 51:17 The sacrifice you want is a broken spirit. A broken and repentant heart, O God, you will not despise.

The Lord doesn't want anything from you but a broken heart before Him. He doesn't need whatever you have to offer Him. He is the creator and owner of all things. You are not going to impress Him with your gifts or talents. You are not going to gain brownie points with the Lord because of what you do or who you know.

The only thing that matters to the Lord is the attitude and condition of your heart. He is interested in how you feel about Him. Do you see yourself as a sinner before a holy God? Do you see yourself in need of forgiveness and mercy? Do you see yourself as helpless apart from Him? Do you see yourself as heading to hell apart from Him? No matter what you or others may think about you, do you see yourself in great need of God?

The Lord is pleased with a broken and contrite heart. He will not turn anyone away who comes before Him broken, stripped of all pride and self-sufficiency. It is the only way we can gain favor with God. He knows the heart and hates those who are not humbled before Him. No matter how many times we approach Him, if we are not broken in spirit, we approach Him in vain. No matter who we may think we are in God's kingdom, if we are not humbled in spirit, we labor in vain.

No one is excluded in their need to be broken in spirit before God. No one.  We dare not believe Satan's lie that we are good enough and don't need to be humbled before God.  We must never lose our sense of need for Christ's righteousness.  We must never think that our righteousness is good enough.  Apart from Christ, there is no righteousness.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Create in me a clean heart, O God.

Ps. 51:10-12  Create in me a clean heart, O God.  Renew a right spirit within me.  Do not banish me from your presence, and don't take your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me again the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. 

This is a prayer that when prayed sincerely God will answer every time.  There is no greater need in life than to have a clean heart before God.  Sin dirties up the soul.  It puts up a barrier between God and us and it won't go away on its own.  We must have God's help in order to get rid of it.  Only the righteousness of Christ can make our heart pure before God.  This is a prayer every believer should live by.  We should always desire to have pure hearts before God.

When we sin there is something drastically wrong with our spirit.  The decision to sin indicates that things are out of kilter with God.  It means that we have neglected our soul.  It means that we have not stayed close to God like we must.  We have neglected His Word and failed to spend time alone with Him in prayer.

If nothing is done about it, God will have no choice but to banish us from His presence.  A sinful soul that will not repent cannot draw near to God.  God is holy and will never let sin go unpunished.  A broken and contrite heart enables God to forgive us and wash away our sin.  Unconfessed sin prevents the Holy Spirit from working in us.  God cannot help us as long as we insist on defying Him by harboring our sin in our hearts.

The joy of salvation floods the repentant soul.  There is great relief and rejoicing in knowing that the soul is right with God.  There is not only renewed fellowship with God, there is a renewed willingness to obey Him.  There is a real desire that when faced with the same temptation again to not yield to it.  There is a desire to do what is right with God and not what is right in our own eyes.  Obedience follows repentance every time.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Repentance is essential because God is holy.

Ps. 51:3-6 For I recognize my shameful deeds--they haunt me day and night. Against you, and you alone, have I sinned. I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just. For I was born a sinner--yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. But you desire honesty from the heart, so you can teach me to be wise in my innermost being.

Repentance is essential because God is holy and only he who is holy can draw near to God and have fellowship with Him.

Repentance is facing up to what we have done. It is not sugarcoating the truth. It is knowing we have sinned and doing something about it. When we sin, we sin against God. It is knowing that we have to answer to God for what we have done. It is knowing that the guilt and shame we feel is warranted. It is admitting that God is justified in condemning us for our sin. It is knowing that God alone is the one we have to answer to for our sin.

Sometimes repentance also means we have to go to someone we have sinned against and humbly admit our sin and seek forgiveness. We cannot know God's peace while maintaining broken relationships with man. We must swallow our pride and seek to be reconciled with others before we can really be reconciled with God. When reconciliation is not possible due to the other person's stubbornness of heart, we can have peace knowing we have tried. To not try is disobedience against God.

Repentance is absolutely essential if we want a heart that is right with God.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Be honest with yourself before God.

Ps. 51:6 But you desire honesty from the heart, so you can teach me to be wise in my inmost being.

Are you an honest person? You cannot be trusted beyond your level of honesty. An honest person tells the truth regardless whether or not it is convenient or self-serving. An honest person does not take advantage of others or embellish the truth. It is the kind of heart God desires for us to have.

Honesty of heart defines who we really are. God is Truth and there is absolutely no falsehood within Him. The more like Him we become, the more truthful and honest we become. Honesty comes from the heart. We cannot be what is not within us. What we are in our souls will show in our living.

An honest person knows what he is really like and is not afraid to admit it. He is transparent before God and others. He does not put on a front pretending to be who he is not. Let's be honest; we re good at not being honest about ourselves. We think we are more righteous than we really are. We don't approach God with a sense of sinfulness very often. We hide ourselves behind our perception of righteousness. We shut our eyes to our need for repentance. We don't easily accept responsibility for what we do and say.

Wisdom is simply the right application of truth. It is the ability to take what God teaches us and apply it to living. It involves submission to Truth, which means that we allow Him to change the way we think about things and thus live. God wants us to be honest in our hearts. He wants us to not make excuses for our behavior or thoughts. He wants us to admit it when we sin so that we can be right with Him.

Be honest with yourself about yourself. Listen to what the Lord says to you about you. Be open to what the Lord is saying and humble yourself before Him. Wise are those who do it.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Meditation in Worship

Ps. 48:9 O God, we meditate on your unfailing love as we worship in your Temple.

What is the temple? It is God's dwelling place. The temple of God has a three-fold meaning. It can be a building we worship in, it can be us, or it can be our Lord himself. It is where we meet God.

What should we being doing in the temple? We should meditate on God's unfailing love as we worship Him. Dear friend, consider His great love for us. Consider His love in providing for us a church family to worship with. Consider those who are a part of your church family and the love they have for you and the Lord. Sure, there are those who don't show you or the Lord much, if any, love, but there are many who do. Let their love encourage you and comfort you in your journey of faith.

Consider the love of God in you. God loves you beyond your comprehension. He took you at your worst and embraced you. He did for you what you nor anyone else could do; He forgave you for your sins and removed them from you forever. He cleaned you up so that He himself could take up residence in your heart. He is with you always to help you live a holy life. He chose you as His dwelling place.

Consider our Lord Jesus. Jesus is God's love fleshed out. Jesus came to earth to show us just what God's love is like and to invite us to participate in that love. Jesus died for your sins because He loves you. He chose to die for you. He could have said no and just gone to heaven without you, but He loves you too much to have done that. He loves you and does everything He can to show you His love.

Whenever you pause to worship the Lord, think about these things. He never will stop loving you and He will pursue you for as long as you live. Dear friend, you are loved by God. You can't always depend on the love of others, but you can always depend on God's love.

Let us be careful how we treat those whom God loves. Who are we to look down on, spurn, or mistreat those whom God loves? We can't really love God if we don't likewise love those whom God loves. In worship we should as well ask the Lord to enable us to be lovers of others as we walk with the Lord.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Can we know the Lord if we are not silent?

Ps. 46:10 "Be silent, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the whole world."

Can we know the Lord if we are not silent? We tend to do all the talking. We know what we need and want and we tell the Lord about them with little thought given to being still long enough to listen. When was the last time you really set aside time to just focus on who our God is? God wants to make himself known to us on a deep level. He wants us to grasp just how sufficient He is to meet all of our needs. He wants us to linger in His love and holiness. He wants us to know that He alone is God and beside Him there is no other.

Being still and silent before the Lord is important because it stops us from interjecting our opinions and imposing our wills on the Lord. We learn best from Him when we simply wait on Him in silence and hear what He has to say. Silence enables us to observe the display of God in creation, life, and our lives. It enables us to experience the awe of who God is.

We cannot be silent unless we are still and we cannot be still until we stop and get off the cycle of life's busyness. Being silent requires us to come before Him with no agenda but to listen to Him. It is a deliberate setting aside of everything that would distract us. It is a deliberate immersing ourselves in the presence of God. It is waiting. It is lingering until we indeed hear from God.

God declares His sovereignity over the world. He makes it very clear that He is God. Even though the world does not recognize or acknowledge Him today, there is coming a day in which every knee shall bow before Him and honor Him as God. Today, the world is too busy running away from God to fulfill their evil pleasures to acknowledge and honor God. Those days are numbered. God will not be mocked. He is Lord over all the nations of the world and all will honor Him someday as Lord.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Panting for God

Ps. 42:1-2 As the deer pants for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God.

When do deer pant for water? It could be when they are running away from trouble and know they can't safely stop for a drink. It could be when all of the water resources around them are dried up. It could be when they wander away from familar territory and don't know where to find water. Deer pant for water out of need. They instinctly know that they must have it or they will be in serious trouble.

We need to capture the same urgency for God as the deer deprived of water have. We need to recognize the seriousness of life without the Lord. We need to know that we will never have the stamina to continue to flee from Satan or resist him without the Lord's help. We must understand that it is only the Living Water that can quench our thirst. There may be other types of water supply available to us, but none are safe or satisfying but the Living Water. We must understand that we dare not wander away from where the Living Water is found. Otherwise, we may not be able to find our way back to the only water that can help and sustain us.

It is good for the soul to have a constant thirst for God. We must never let ourselves be satisfied by anything but God in our lives. We must stay away from everything that would entice us to drink from resources other than God. We must always stay close to God. We must desire Him more than anything else in life.

The only way we can maintain a thirst for God is to let the disciplines of faith govern our lives. We must be disciplined to read and meditate on the Word consistenly. We must be disciplined to spend time alone with God in prayer. We must discipline ourselves to participant in the fellowship of other believers. We must be disciplined in being witnesses for the Lord whenever we can. The more disciplined we are in the faith, the more we will thirst for the Lord.