Monday, June 30, 2014

You can never stay close to the Lord if you don't call on Him.

Ps. 145:18  The LORD is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him sincerely.

You can never stay close to the Lord if you don’t call on Him.  Prayer is the only way you can get to the heart of God.  Like anyone whom you love, the Lord thrives on communication.  He wants to hear from you consistently and often.  There is no getting around it.  You must take the time and put forth the effort to pray.  And, you must pray sincerely.

Prayer that does not flow from the heart is really not prayer at all.  It’s not the words we say that touches the heart of God; it’s the meaning behind the words that we speak that He hears.  The Lord hears what comes from the heart and not from the lips.  So, if you want to know the closeness of God you must learn to pray from your heart and not your mind.  You must learn to condition your heart to pray.  And the condition of your heart is determined by how well it is saturated by God’s Word.  The Scriptures and God’s Word are essential and inseparable for the heart that wants to draw near to the heart of God.

Closeness to God is also gleaned from living by faith and not be sight.  It is daily letting faith determine how we live.  It is consistently striving to put into practice the Word.  It is understanding that what we believe doesn’t really matter if we don’t live it.  The more we live out our faith, the closer we are drawn to God.  He becomes more and more of a big deal to us.  He is not someone we can ignore.

Take the Lord, His Word, and His presence seriously and He will always be near to your heart.  We must fight the tendency to take faith for granted and the blessings of life we enjoy daily.  We must discipline ourselves to be God-conscious.  We must do things to help ourselves to stay near to the heart of God. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Lord helps the falen and lifts up those bent beneath their loads.


Ps. 145:14 The LORD helps the fallen and lifts up those bent beneath their loads.

Maybe you have never fallen or have been bent by the load of life you are carrying. If that is you, then this may be one of those verses that doesn’t mean much to you. However, for the rest of us, we can identify with what it is like and find hope and encouragement from this verse.

I have fallen many times in my walk with the Lord. I try not to sin, but I find myself doing it anyhow. I don’t want to sin, but it has a way of luring me in. It’s a battle that I will fight for the rest of my life. It’s not easy trying to live a pure life. Satan is an expert at exposing and exploiting our weaknesses. But, I have also found great joy in my struggles and failures, because, the Lord helps me. He doesn’t turn His back on me when I fall down. Instead, He takes my hand and gets me back on my feet. He dusts me off, lovingly embraces me, and helps me begin my walk again. My sin causes me to flee to Him and seek His forgiveness. And, He forgives me! He is always there for me to remind me of what I have done and to help me get stronger so that I don’t do it again. I find that I repeat my sin less and less as I let the Lord help me.

I have often been bent over by the loads of life. The loads vary, but they are real. It is hard to walk with much consistency when you are weighed down. Progress, if any, is very slow. When I am underneath a load, I can think of very little else. I get weary and want to just not go on anymore. However, I have discovered that the Lord is always there to help me carry my load. He may or may not take it from me. When I am asked to carry it, He is there to lighten up the load for me. His presence reassures me and gives me hope. I know that the Lord will never let me fall down underneath the load so that I can’t get up. He gives me strength and power to keep on going. Each step I take I know that He is with me. I know that I can do all things when He is with me. There is wondrous joy for those who let the Lord help them carry their load.

Always remember this wonderful truth. The LORD helps us when we fall and when we are bent down by the heavy burdens of life. He never lets us walk or carry our burdens alone. To God be the glory!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Do you dare pray this?

Ps. 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

I dare you to pray this prayer from your heart today. I dare you to let the Lord search out your heart and reveal to you what He finds there. Do you have the guts to let the Lord have access to your thought life? What do you think about that you don’t want others to know about? God knows all that you think about. What kind of thoughts do you have for those who wrong you? God knows what you are thinking. What do you think about when things don’t go your way and things begin to fall apart in your life? God knows what you are thinking.

Do you have the guts to ask the Lord to point out anything He finds that offends Him? Think about it. In light of what you understand from the Word, is there anything going on in your head or heart that you know offends God? Be honest with yourself. You know there are things that God is not pleased with. We all have the same problem. We all sin against God. What is He pointing out to you today?

What are you going to do about it? Are you going to continue on as if it doesn’t matter what the Lord finds, or are you going to confess it and seek the Lord’s forgiveness? You will do one or the other. If you don’t seek the Lord’s forgiveness, you won’t have His peace overshadowing your life until you do. You will not enjoy the presence of God until you do. It’s your choice.

Do you want the Lord to lead you along the path of everlasting life? He wants to do that for you, but He won’t drag you along. He will gladly lead you if you are willing to follow. He will show you how to live a life that pleases Him. He will show you what you need to get rid of in your heart and the changes you need to make. He will not mess around. He will lead you directly on the path of righteousness. He will not take any side trips. The way to heaven is a narrow path and you must stay behind the Lord at all times if you are going to safely make it home.

Do you dare to follow in the footsteps of Jesus today by letting him have his way with you?

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Lord knows what we are going to say even before we say it!

Ps. 139:4; 141:3 You know what I am going to say even before I say it,  LORD. Take control of what I say, O LORD, and keep my lips sealed.

The Lord knows what we are going to say even before we say it! He knows the heart and it is out of the heart that we speak. Think about it, the Lord knows everything we are going to say. He even knows what we want to say and don’t. Are you comfortable with what God knows about you? Does it frighten you that you may say something you don’t want the Lord to hear?  

Let’s be honest; when we control what we say we often say the wrong things.  We say things that we regret saying.  We say things in ways that are hurtful.  We say things that we don’t really mean.  We say things for selfish reasons; things that make us come across in a better way than we really are.  We say things that are self-promoting and defensive.  When we are in control of what we say, we lack the wisdom of God to say helpful, encouraging, and edifying things.

The only way that we can speak in ways that please the Lord is to let Him control our hearts.  Out of the heart the mouth speaks; what is in the heart is what comes out of our mouths.  Only if the character of our heart is godly can we say things that are God honoring and helpful to others.

It is far better to keep our mouths shut if the Lord is not in control of our hearts.  No one needs what comes out of a sinful heart.  Ask the Lord faithfully to purify your heart and you will then be safe to speak.  The Lord knows what is in your heart.  He knows what you are capable of saying.  We cannot hide from God what comes out of the heart.  It is imperative therefore, to keep our souls pure.  The Lord holds us accountable for what we say, how we say it, and why we say what we do. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Lord examines your heart and knows everything about you.

Ps. 139:1 O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.

How does this truth make you feel? Are you okay knowing the Lord has examined your heart and knows everything there is to know about you? There are things that we can effectively hide from others. There are things which we allow to enter into our minds and dwell on that no one knows about, but God knows. There are things we do that no one knows about, but God knows. There are things that we do with less than honorable intent, but God knows. We can’t hide anything from God.

The Lord knows everything about me. He knows my weaknesses as well as my strengths. We often portray our strengths but try to keep hidden our weaknesses. The Lord knows where we are vulnerable, and that is good news. He knows our needs better than we do. He knows how to minister to our needs. He works to help us become stronger in our character, one weakness at a time.

The Lord’s scrutiny does one of two things for us. It causes us to become very uncomfortable in His presence, or it causes us to have peace and joy knowing that He won’t find anything there that displeases Him. If we are pursuing the Lord as we ought to be, we will have nothing to fear. There is calm assurance for those who are letting the Lord be lord of their life.

The Lord is examining your heart right now. If you are uneasy at the thought of it, you need to bow before Him in repentance and let Him restore unto you the peace that only He can give.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

It is wonderful when we can get along; so, why don't we do it?

Ps. 133:1  How wonderful it is, how pleasant, when brothers live together in harmony.

It is wonderful when we can get along.  The problem is, it doesn't happen as often or as well as it should.  It seems like that there is always something that divides us.  The reason why there are so many churches today is that people just did not get along as well as they could and should have.  We know that no two people think exactly the same on everything, and that is the way it should be  But, when we let our differences divide us instead of finding a way to live together in harmony, fellowship is broken. 

Sometimes broken fellowship gets ugly.  Sometimes the breach is so bad that there is no repairing it, even though we both claim to love and worship the same God.  We miss out on so much that we can bring into each other's life when we let our differences interfere with relationships we could have.

It is a wonderful thing when we learn to live together in harmony.  If you are struggling to get along with someone, why not ask the Lord to help you find a way to set aside your differences?  It is God's desire that we strive to live peaceably with each other as much as we can. 

I suspect that we could find a way to do it if we would only be willing to try.  The Lord never tells us to do what can't be done.  If we do our part and try, much of what alienates us from each other will go away.  Instead of wallowing around in justifying our severed relationships, we need to seek reconciliation as much as possible.  We may not be able to mend the broken down fences, but at least we tried to live obediently and live peaceably with all men.  Many broken relationships are never restored simply because no one would make the first move and reach out to the other.

It is God's design and delight when we are able to live in harmony with each other.  Much more can be done for Christ's sake when we are pulling together instead of pulling each other apart. 

Do you have any broken relationship that needs mending?  Why not take the first step and reach out to those you are having trouble with?  It is wonderful when God's children get along with each other.  It makes living so much more pleasant and easier.  With Christ's help, you can do.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

God keeps no record of our sins.

Ps. 130:3-4 LORD, if you kept a record of our sins, who, O LORD, could ever survive? But you offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear you.

If I had to single out which of God's blessings mean the most to me, this would be right at the top of the list. I have sinned a lot in my lifetime. I have done and said things that I wish I could take back or forget. I still do things that are sin to God. If the Lord were to keep track of each one and record them to hold them against me, I would have zero chance of ever making it to heaven.

But, instead of keeping a record of my wrong doings, the Lord forgives me. Not only does He forgive me, He wipes the slate clean with a permanent cleaning solution (His blood) so that they are remembered no more. Only the Lord is able to do that. We can forgive, but we can't forget everything. Forgiveness is the ultimate proof of love. We don't deserve to be forgiven. We don't deserve the opportunity to learn how to live in fellowship with God and to fear Him.

When we are forgiven by the Lord, we must forgive ourselves. We can't undo what has been done and said. We accept God's forgiveness and make a covenant with Him that we will move forward in grace and not live in the past. We let go of the pain and sufferings we may have caused. We let go of the consequences of our sins. Where we can, we strive to right the wrong of what we have done, but where we can't, we let the blood of Christ set us free from the past.

When we are forgiven by the Lord, we extend His forgiveness to others. They may not change their ways, but we can change ours. We can in Christ forgive and learn to love those who wrong us. In fact, we can't really love the Lord unless we do.

When we are forgiven, we learn how to fear the Lord. We learn how to respect Him for who He is. We learn how to keep Him in our thoughts and let him govern our lives. We learn how to pay attention to what He says and do it.

Thank you, Lord, for amazing grace.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Do we need to fear the Lord?

Ps. 128:1  How happy are those who fear the LORD--all who follow his ways!

There is much resistance today about fearing the Lord.  The thinking is that because we live in grace, God is no longer to be feared.  The emphasis is on God's love and not His holy nature.  When we talk about Him being holy, we treat it lightly, as if it no longer needs to concern us.  We have mellowed God to the point where He is no longer perceived to be fearsome.  We hide in grace and don't talk much about God being holy and the judge of all sin.  Hell is seldom talked or preached about.  Preaching a soul to the altar no longer characterizes our preaching.  Condemnation for sin is not promoted much. 

I wonder what we have lost as a result of our "new" approach to the Gospel.  Is the church as strong as it once was, a guiding voice in the local culture?  Has the fire gone out of our evangelism?  Are we as concerned for lost souls as we once were?  Does anyone really listen to us anymore?  Are we paying a price for removing the altar out of our churches?  Why is there an alarming shortage of pastors in the evangelical church?  Why is it that there are so many in the pulpits today preaching a different message than the Gospel?

I believe there is a correlation between the condition of the church today and our sacrificing our fear of God.  Fearing God instills within a respect for God in His holiness.  It keeps us aware of the need to for Him.  It motivates us to not take for granted God's grace.  It keeps us from removing God from off His throne.  It keeps us from adapting God to our likings.  It moves us to live holy lives before Him.

Those who fear the Lord are happy because they are diligent about staying right with God.  Their relationship with God is the most important part of their lives.  They purposely and diligently seek Him.  Because God is the priority of life, they know the peace of God that comes from knowing all is well with their soul.  There is no greater joy in life than to follow the Lord in all His ways. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.

Ps. 127:3  Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.

Throughout history, children have had mixed reviews.  History records how children have often been treated no better than animals, sometimes even worse.  Children have often been regarded as a problem for those who have birthed them.  They have often been victimized, abused, and discarded as if they didn't exist.  In most places in the world today, nothing has changed. 

Adults lord it over their children.  They have little regard for the humanness of their children.  They don't care about their feelings or thought processes.  They force their wills on their children.  They use their power and authority over them and care very little about the affect it has on them.  Children are considered by many to be a liability and measures are taken to keep them even from existing. 

But God does not see children as so many do.  Children are a gift from the Lord.  Each child is precious in the Lord's sight.  God puts His imprint on each child's life.  Each child is created by God for a purpose.  God has a plan for each life.  God loves each child dearly and it grieves His heart when man thwarts His plans.  I believe there will be great punishment on Judgment Day for those who mistreat and snuff out the lives of children.

Your life is precious in the Lord's sight.  Dear child, the Lord loves you.  He created you in your mother's womb to be just who you are.  He brought you into the world with purpose and has very special plans for you.  The Lord wants to lavish on you His love.  He wants you to know just how special you are to Him.  The Lord wants to bless you and keep you for His own for all of eternity.  Oh, dear friend, do not believe the lies of Satan and others about you.  You are a precious gift from God.  You are special and dearly loved by Him.  Your life is not an accident.  God created you and longs to have eternal fellowship with you. 

Children are a reward, not a curse, for the righteous.  We have our children in our lives for such a short period of time.  Each child should be lavished with love and cared for carefully.  The Lord entrusts you with the opportunity to bring them up in the Lord.  He considers you dependable and believes in your abiltiy to prepare your children for life.  Teach your children the ways of the Lord by the things you say and do and when they will never be able to get away from them.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is useless.

Ps. 127:1  Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is useless.  Unless the LORD protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good.

This verse speaks to me.  First, unless the Lord builds His church, the church is useless.  The tendency by many is to build the church around certain people, who may or may not be centered in Christ and intent on doing His will.  There is the temptation to instill our agenda in the church and lose sight completely of what the will of Christ is.  Programs, personalities, and productions, no matter how good they may seem to be, are useless unless they are centered in and directed by Christ.

Another thing that strikes me is that unless one's home is built by the Lord, the home is useless.  No eternal good will come from the home if the Lord is not in it.  Out of the home comes that which we need to face the world unscathed.  If the Lord is not in the home, there is little chance that we can survive, let alone thrive, for Christ outside the home.  There is no greater place where the soul can be nourished, encouraged, and inspired than in the home.  It is our training ground for the world.

Unless the Lord is in charge and doing the building, what we do is useless.  We can assist Him, but we can never take His place as the Lord of our living.  When the Lord is in charge, He protects our souls.  Whenever we fail to let the Lord watch over our souls and protect us, we make a mess of things.  We are not alert or sharp enough to stay out of trouble when we strive to be the watchman over our souls.  We need the Lord’s constant help and influence.

Whether it is in the church, the home, or in the world, if we try to wing it without the Lord orchestrating our lives, we labor in vain.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Be honest. When was the last time you were glad to go to church?

Ps. 122:1 I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the LORD."

Be honest.  When was the last time you could say you were glad to go to church?  We attend church for a variety of reasons, but do we do so out of gladness?  Are you so connected with Christ that you can't wait to get to church? 

Does the stuff of life sap the gladness out of you?  It is easy to let life determine our attitude in worship.  We can focus on the things of life, or we can focus our thoughts on God.  What we focus on determines whether or not gladness follows us as we gather for worship.

Gladness is not something we can manufacture for special events.  It is rooted in the heart and flows from it.  It is nurtured by living consistently in relationship with Christ everyday.  Gladness is rooted in thankfulness.  The more grateful you are for Christ in your life, the more naturally gladness will flow from your heart.  Consider the goodness and blessings of the Lord and watch your heart bubble with gladness.

Do people sap the gladness out of you?  People are not always easy to get along with, even in church.  There are issues that arise that cause us to not want to be around certain people.  Some have personality traits that rub us the wrong way.  Regardless of the situation, let me ask you this, "Do you gather for worship to be with people or with the Lord?  Is your focus on the people that surround you or on God who envelopes you?"  When God is the focus of our worship, then gladness drives our worship.

Does sin sap the gladness out of you?  We all sin and it has an adverse affect on us.  It damps our souls.  We are plagued by guilt and shame.  God seems so far away.  The only remedy of our sin problem is to confess them before the Lord, ask Him to forgive us, and determine in our hearts to go and sin no more.  When our hearts are pure before God, there is a spring in our steps; gladness floods our souls.

Does weariness sap the gladness out of you?  Learn the meaning of the word no when there is too much on your plate and get some rest for your soul.  No one can maintain gladness of heart when they are physically and mentally worn out and frazzled. 

"I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the LORD."

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Lord himself watches over you!

Ps. 121:5-8 The LORD himself watches over you! The LORD stands beside you as your protective shield. The sun will not hurt you by day; nor the moon at night. The LORD keeps you from all evil and preserves your life. The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.

What I want us to think about today is that it is the LORD who watches over us and does what He does for us. Stop and consider who He is. He is Lord. What do we mean when we call Him, Lord?  He is absolute ruler and controller of life. There is no power or authority equal to Him. He is the beginning and end of all things. He has the right to determine life and how it is lived. He alone is able to control and alter that which He has created. He alone is worthy to be called Lord.

Now, go back and reread the verses for today. It is the LORD who watches over you. Isn't that great news?!! He doesn't miss a thing in His gaze. He knows at all times where you are at. The LORD stands as your protective shield. Satan cannot get to you!! You are absolutely safe when you are under His care. No one, nothing, can harm you when the Lord is protecting you.

The LORD keeps you from all evil and preserves your life. He keeps you from ALL evil. Isn't that a marvelous truth? The Lord will not let evil overtake you as long as you stay under His care. No matter what kind of sin it may be, the Lord can, and wants to, protect you from it. His intent is to keep you free from sin and to preserve your life for eternity. 

Now, this wonderful truth requires our cooperation.  We must let the Lord watch over us and protect us.  We must not strike out on our own.  We must abide in Him always.  We must work with Him to keep us holy. 

The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go, which reminds me that I am never alone. He is always keeping His eyes on us. He is always aware of our needs and is ever ready to meet them. He is with me each step I take. He is my Lord, my Emmanuel!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

He will not let you stumble and fall......

Ps. 121:3-4 He will not let you stumble and fall, the one who watches over you will not sleep. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never tires and never sleeps.

Let this wonderful truth comfort and bless your heart today. The Lord watches over, protects, and takes care of His children all the time. There is never a moment in which the Lord is not aware of where we are at. He knows when we stumble and is there to pick us up when we fall. He will not let us stay down.

There are many reasons why we may stumble and fall. We may take our eyes off of where we are going and lose our bearings. We may not notice the obstacles in our path and stumble over them. We may get in too big of a hurry and outrun the Light before us. We may become more tuned into the voice of Satan than the Lord and become unsteady in our walk. Our tendency is to stumble. The only way we can walk steadily is if we walk with our hand firmly clasped in the Lord's hand on solid ground at the pace the Lord wants us to walk.

The Lord watches over all our steps all the time. He never goes off duty. He never takes a vacation. The Lord is always alert and never grows weary. You would think that He would become tiresome with all we put Him through, but He never does. He is always at His best. He never tires or sleeps.

You are never out of the Lord's sight or protective care. He is on your side and will see you home to heaven. He never abandons those whose eyes are fixed on Him. He will help you when you are down to get back on your feet.

Don't ever believe Satan's lie that all hope is gone. Don't let him persuade you that the Lord has abandoned you. Rather, believe God who declares that He will not let you down. He will not let you stumble and fall away from His watchful care. He watches over you all the time. There is never a time in which you are out of His sight.

Thank you, Lord, for being our constant guiding and protecting Light.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Where do you go to for help when troubles come?

Ps. 121:1-2 I look up to the mountains---does my help come from there? My help comes from the LORD, who made the heavens and the earth!

If there is but one truth that we must get, it is this. Our help comes from the Lord. No one can help us with our most basic needs of life except the Lord. Only the Lord can peel away those things that don't really matter and get to the core of our needs. There is nothing that you will find in this world that helps you in a way that really matters. Our most basic need is a right relationship with God. If we don't get that right, nothing else really matters. We come into the world with absolutely nothing and we will leave the same way. If we don't have the Lord, we have nothing.

You may look everywhere in life for help, but if you don't look to the Lord, you will be bitterly disappointed by what you find. Only the Lord has the wisdom and ability to help you find your way to heaven. Before you start looking for help with whatever need you may have, first look to the Lord. His help is sufficient for your every need.

There are many gifted and very wise people in the world whom we have learned they are trustworthy and deserving of our respect.  They may have great understanding and love the Lord deeply.  Yet, we must never rely upon them in place of the Lord.  We must never think that their wisdom and counsel are the final say.  Only the Lord knows all things and has all understanding.  Only the Lord can be counted on to always give us the best advice and guidance.  Only the Lord will never fail us.

The Lord will never let you down or disappoint you if you will but trust Him to help you. He made the heavens and the earth and is more than capable of helping you. Study the Scriptures diligently and you will find the help you need.  Will you let Him help you today? 

Monday, June 16, 2014

In order to have a healthy relationship with God, you must have a passion for His Word.

Ps. 119:165  Those who love your law have great peace and do not stumble.

Two wonderful things God's law does for those who love it: it gives them great peace and keeps them from stumbling.  The first thing we notice is that we must love the law of God.  Can you honestly say you love it?  You spend time with what and whom you love.  You want to spend time with them.  You want to learn from them.  You want to absorb all that you can from their presence.  You want to enjoy and savor what they bring into your life. 

In order to have a healthy relationship with God, you must have a passion for His Word.  It must captivate your soul.  It must permeate your thinking.  It must govern your living.  If you love the Lord, you will love His Word and you will know the peace of God.

The peace of God is different than any kind of peace found on earth.  His peace is a great peace.  What makes it great is the knowledge that all is well with one's soul.  When we are listening to what God is saying, we are hearing from the absolute authority over all things.  We are listening to the One who knows.  Hearing from God and doing what He says assures us of our right standing before Him.  Nothing can compare to the peace that comes from knowing we are living a life that pleases God, before whom we shall all give an account someday. 

The more we let the Word govern our lives, the less likely we are to stumble along the way.  We stumble and fall when we don't listen to God.  His law is perfect and if we obey it, we will not stumble.  God's Word is His perfect standard for living.  Obeying it is our only surefire way to not stumble.  The Word never fails us; we fail the Word.

Living out the Word keeps us steady in our walk with the Lord.  It is why it is so important for us to stay connected daily with God through His Word.  We tend to easily forget what we know to be true and need daily reminders of it.  We tend to be weak in spirit and need the strength God's Word provides for us.  We tend to let our own ideas influence our steps and we need the Word to keep us in line with God's ways.  Take God's Word lightly or neglect it and you will stumble and fall.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

All your words are true; all your laws will stand forever.

Ps. 119:160 All your words are true; all your laws will stand forever.

ALL means all. There is not one word God has recorded in the Scriptures that is not true. Like it or not, God has declared what is truth. He who tries to water it down or adapt it to fit his own desires does so at the risk of his soul.

Not one of God's laws will falter. God's ways and thoughts are unchangeable. God's Word will outlast all of creation. God is absolute truth. He is eternal Truth. He is the same truth that He always has been and always will be. 

It is imperative for us to strive to understand the words of God as written. It is not our opinions that matter, nor is it an option for us to try to make it say what we want it to say. Many things God has spoken are beyond our ability to understand, but that gives us no right to question its authenticity or authority over us. We must study it diligently under the Spirit's guidance to try and discern what is being said. And if we can't understand some things, we know they are true because God said it and we accept them by faith. 

Wise is he who is humble enough to admit he doesn’t have perfect understanding of all things.  Our understanding is limited by our feeble minds.  We understand things based on our own experiences and teachings in life.  Wise is he who lets the Word speak for itself and accepts it as truth simply because God inspired it to be written.  The more time I spend in the Word, the more I discover how limited my understanding really is.  Often, the Lord speaks to me in ways that are outside of my comfort zone of understanding.  It is by faith and not our sight that we are able to gain an understanding of God’s Word.

God gives us opportunity and all the resources we need to learn truth and he will hold us accountable for what we do with our opportunities. Ignorance is not an excuse for those who have been given opportunity and squander it away.  All of God’s words are eternally true and will outlast all or our understandings of it.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Blog tour

I will be  participating in a blog tour in the near future.  I will do this in addition to my normal devotional postings.  I encourage you to be on the lookout for this. 

Lord, you are mine! I promise to obey your words!

Ps. 119:57  LORD, you are mine!  I promise to obey your words!

Can you make that declaration today?  Can you emphatically say and mean it that the Lord is yours today?  Do you really know it to be true?  Upon what basis do you make your claim?  Do you know your sins are forgiven and are no more?  Can you honestly say that the Lord has changed you from the inside out and you are forever a different person than you were before you gave your heart to Him?

If so, stop right now and thank Him.  Thank Him for His loving you so much that He was willing to die on the cross for your sins.  Thank Him for all that He went through to make you His own---the enormous physical, mental, emotional, and most of all, spiritual suffering that He endured for you.  Thank Him for His eternal love---a love that is unconditional, unchanging, and never dies.  Thank Him for His constant work within you---chiseling away at your old self to make you into a holy person, a person after God's own heart.

You know Him and His love for you.  Do you love Him?  How does He know that you love Him?  Do you tell Him that you love Him?  How often do you say it?  You can't say it enough.  He longs to hear you say it.  How do you show Him your love?  It's one thing to say it and it's another thing to show it.  If you really love Him, you will show it.  You will strive to obey His words to the very best of your ability and you will strive to always live a consistent, godly life.  Actions speak louder than words.

If you truly love the Lord, you will honor Him and respect Him.  You will not take advantage of His grace.  You will allow Him to use you as a love channel to others, a vessel of grace.  You will guard carefully your soul so that you don't shame Him.  You will strive to always keep sin out so that He will be comfortable in your presence.  If you love Him, you will take your faith in Him seriously and strive to always work out your salvation in a way that pleases Him.

You are mine!  I pray that you can make that statement today from the very steps of your heart.

Friday, June 13, 2014

God's Word and ways never change.

Ps. 119:152 I have known from my earliest days that your decrees never change.

When did you first understand that God's Word never changes?  Or, have you ever paused to consider whether or not it's true?  If there was any chance at all that God's Word could change, we could not trust any part of it to be true.  We would never be able to trust that what it proclaims about God and His ways are true.  We would always be in a quest to discern what to believe and not to believe.  We could never be sure that our decisions were the right ones.  There would be no absolute standard upon which to build our lives.  We would be no better off than any other form of life on earth. 

God's Word and ways never change. God never goes back on His Word. He had written exactly what He meant to be written. It is sin to try and adapt the Word to fit what we want it to say. We do not have the wisdom, right, or authority to try and make it say what we want it to say.  It is absolute truth from beginning to end.

It is becoming increasingly popular to question what God says. Many people take things out of context to make the Scriptures say what it doesn't say. Many pick and choose what they want to believe and live by. Many will compromise the Word to fit our culture and times in order not to offend certain people. Many refuse to believe that the Scriptures are indeed truth from God.

If we don't have absolute confidence in the authenticity of the Word, we have nothing to stand on and live by. If God has not spoken clearly to all people of all times in the same way, man becomes his own god. There is no absolute truth; everybody is able to determine for themselves what is right and wrong. We see the end result of this way of thinking all around us. There are a multitude of belief systems, all claiming to be truth from God. There are a multitude of religions who deny the Word as God's final authority for belief and practice. Truth is adapted to fit the sinful desires of people, all in the name of God. God's character is distorted and He is deemed to be a God of love who embraces all people and invites them into His kingdom just as they are, without repentance or change.

God's Word is non-negotiable and non-changeable. God says what he means and means what he says. If you have a problem with that, then you have a problem with God. Take your complaints to Him, not me. I stand unmovable on the absolute authority and authenticity of God's Word. ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God. He didn't need man's help in deciding what truth is when He moved man to write it, and He doesn't need man's help in deciding now what truth is.

God has spoken to us by the Word. It behooves us to accept it, learn it, and strive to live by it.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Every promise of God has been proven to be trustworthy.

Ps. 119:140 Your promises have been thoroughly tested; that is why I love them so much.

One thing that we have in common with all humanity is that everyone goes through times of life that are not easy. Everyone needs help beyond themselves from time to time. For the believer, we find our greatest source of help from God's Word.

A multitude of saints who have gone before us have had to put God's Word to the test as they struggled through life. There has never been a time in history in which God's people have not needed wise counsel and renewed hope from God. For most who have preceded us, life has been very harsh. People have been harassed and killed for centuries because of their faith. There is not one promise of God that has not been put to the test over the years. And, every promise of God has been proven to be trustworthy.

Everyone who stands on the promises of God knows that they shall not fall. God always does what He says He will do. He never fails to see His children through whatever they may face in life. Over and over again, God's childdren proclaim His faithfulness. When difficulties arise, we don't always recognize the workings of God in our crisis. But as we make it through and look back, we can clearly see the hand of God on our lives. We see that God's promises are trustworthy all the time.

Don't you just love God's promises? There are promises of God to see us through every situation of life. They remind us of a God who cares. They speak of God's ability. They speak of God's desire to be involved in every part of our lives. They speak to our needs today and the life that is still to come. They are rich in wisdom and they guide us through life. Hold them close. Let them govern your heart. Let them captivate you and thrill your soul. Let them hold you steady in the storms of life.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Guide my steps by your word, so I will not be overcome by evil.

Ps. 119:133 Guide my steps by your word, so I will not be overcome by any evil.

Our only protection from evil is to let the Lord take His Word and direct our paths. We are not capable of "winging it" on our own and staying pure before God. If you are not asking the Lord to take His Word and lead you through your journey of life, you are depriving your soul of its very essence for life. You cannot sustain a relationshp with God without His Word. You will do nothing but starve yourself to death and give Satan fertile ground upon which to thrive. You will succumb to evil if you neglect God's Word in your life. Guaranteed.

You cannot be led by the Word unless you know the Word. You cannot know the Word without reading and meditating on it. If you don't put in the time, you will do the crime; it's as simple as that. No one has the strength of soul to resist temptation apart from the Word of God. Without the Word to guide us, we will be easily led astray. The Word shows us the pathway to holiness. We learn what not to do and what to do. God does not lead us into confusion. He clearly marks out the path for us to follow. It is imperative for the health of our soulss that we equip ourselves with a working knowledge of God's Word.

We choose daily whether we will be overcomers of evil or victims to it. We choose daily whether or not we will arm ourselves with the Word or not. No one has any excuse. We have time for what we want. There is no activity on earth that is more important for the life of the soul than God's Word. If there is the will to spend time in the Word, there will be a way. Adjustments may have to be made in daily routines, but there is a way. Does your relationship with God mean enough to you for you to do it?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

God gives us His Word to show us the way to Him.

Ps. 119:105-106 Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path. I've promised it once, and I'll promise it again; I will obey your wonderful laws.

I wonder, how brightly does God's Word shine on the path of your life? Is it barely noticeable, or can everyone tell that you are influenced and drivien by it? Does God's Word keep you from sinning, or are you prone to wander away from its truths? Do you rely on it to keep you pure in heart, or does it even matter to you?

God gives us His Word to show us the way to Him. It reveals our sinfulness and His holiness. It instructs us on how to get to God. It forces us to look inward and deal with the sin it exposes. It shows us what we must be doing in order to be found acceptable to God. It magnifies God. The Word strips us of our excuses and leads us into holy living.

Do you know God's Word better than any other source of knowledge you may have? Think about it for a moment. In order to do certain jobs or to use certain skills, we had better know what we are doing. We spend a lot of time, energy, effort, and often money learning how to do what we do in life for a living. Some of us become quite knowledgeable and skilled on how to do our tasks. Why do we pursue those things and so often neglect to put an equal or greater amount of time into learning Biblical truth and how to apply it to life? After all, what is more important, our knowledge of the ways of the world or the ways of God?

The ability of God's Word to light our path and influence our lives is dependent on the time and effort we put into knowing it and living it. You can pretty much tell who does and who does not spend quality time in the Word by how they handle life and the wisdom they have. Obedience is not possible without a consistent quality time in the Word. And, I do not believe that there can be quality time without quantity time. It takes time to discover the truths of God that are there in His Word.

Do you dare make a promise to God today that you will get to know the Word and live it?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Suffering for Good

Ps. 119:71 The suffering you sent was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your principles.

Okay, admit it. You don't especially like suffering, do you? When was the last time you welcomed suffering into your life with open arms? It simply is not something we want to go through in life. There is ingrained in us a desire for things to go well with us and to live out our lives suffering free. Many people make a good living trying to make our sufferings go away or minimizing the pain they cause. Promises are made to help us that are all too often broken because they cannot be kept. Suffering is a natural part of life on earth.

Have you given much thought as to why God stresses so much in His Word that suffering is good for us? God ties suffering to character building. It is when we endure suffering that we discover our helplessness. We learn that we need help beyond ourselves in order to endure, or perhaps, overcome our sufferings. It is when we suffer that we best learn to lean on Jesus. Anyone can have strong faith when things are going well. But the real test of our faith's strength is found in how we respond to our sufferings. We may not go out and look for ways to suffer in life, but neither should we consider it to be something to avoid at all cost.

God does not promise us a suffering-free life, but He does promise us that He will be with us through our sufferings. He is always there to help us, to supply whatever we need to help us through it. Lean on the Lord for your strength and listen to what He wants to teach you the next time suffering invades your life.

And yes, seek out the help that others can give you to help you with your sufferings. God gives man wisdom, knowledge and skills to help us in times of need. But as you seek the help available to you, first commit it to the Lord and ask Him to oversee and take charge of the process. He promises to be with you and to use your sufferings for your good.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

I pondered the direction of my life.

Ps. 119:59-60 I pondered the direction of my life; and I turned to follow your statutes. I will hurry, without lingering, to obey your commands.

When was the last time you pondered the direction of your life? Have you ever done it? Take a moment right now and give it some thought. Are you going in the direction you want to go? What do you really want to do with the rest of your life? Are you heading in the right direction? What about your spiritual life? Are you heading in the direction you want to go? Are you doing what you need to do in order to get there? You will never reach your goals when heading in the wrong direction.

The key to making progress is to take the first step in the direction you want to go. You can pick up steam as you begin your walk. The more you walk, the more able you are to walk faster. Now is the time to do something to help yourself achieve your goals. Hurry, don't delay! Don't mess around. Begin your journey today. Nothing will change in your life until you take the steps necessary to change. If you continue to be as you are, your will to change will fade. You will live life in a rut and it will rob you of the joy of living.

The best way to know that you are heading in the right direction is to first obey the Lord. When you are living submissively to the Lord, He will direct your path. He will enable you and bless your living. No matter what you may set your heart on doing, it must be underneath the influence of God's Word.

Do what the Lord has given you to do today. Don't listen to the voices that say you can't do it. The world is full of people who aren't doing it because they believe those who say they can't. Don't be one of them! You can do all things through Christ who is our ever-present strength and helper. Begin your journey of faith today. You will be glad you did.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

How does the evil around you affect you?

Ps. 119:53-55 I am furious with the wicked, those who reject your laws. Your principles have been the music of my life throughout the years of my pilgrimage. I reflect at night on who you, are, O LORD, and I obey your law because of this.

Let me ask you something. Are you angry with the wicked, those who reject God's laws and make no pretense about it? Does it bother you at all that most of the people around you have no regard for the Lord or His ways? Do you get upset by the way evil people treat one another and the Christian community? Does it bother you in the ways that evil people entertain us? We have become so engaged in our own little worlds that we have lost most of our sense that we are a part of a larger community. We may not be a part of the world, but we are in the world and should be concerned by what is going on around us. We should participate in doing what we can to bring Christ into the world. You cannont live in Christ and isolate yourself from the evil around you. We are the salt and light in the world and if we aren't, we are not really in Christ.

God's Word should be sweet music in our hearts as we journey through this life. It should overshadow and determine our steps. It should bring joy to our souls as we reflect on it. It should cause our hearts to sing because God shows us a better way to live, a way that leads us into the heart of God.

As we immerse ourselves in God's Word, we discover God. We are drawn to Him. We marvel at the thought of who God is. He captivates us as we encounter Him throughout the Scriptures. We are humbled before Him as we feast on His greatness in power and character. We are overwhelmed by the knowledge that God can care about us individually and collectively. We are amazed at how God makes each of us individually and enters into each of our lives in relationship with us. God wows us in every way and keeps us coming back for more of Him.

The more we know of God, the more motivated we are to obey Him. The natural response of the soul who is enthralled by who God is is to love and worship Him. Because we love Him, we seek to please Him in all we do by living submissively and obediently to Him.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Are you a New or Old Testament type of a person?

Ps. 119:52 I meditate on your age-old laws; O LORD, they comfort me.

Are you a New or Old Testament student? If you are like I was when I was younger, you rarely delve into the Old Testament. For most, the only Old Testament they really spend much time with are those passages that speak of heroes of the faith and passages that are familar from Sunday School days. There are many parts of the Old Testament that are rarely visited, if ever.

There for a while in my life, I just couldn't bring myself to spend time in the Old Testament. I knew that it was important because God put it there, but I felt it wasn't for me. I was never one to be into history too much; I was always more interested in the present than the past. However, once I did take the time and leap into the Old Testament, I began to discover the great treasures that the Lord had for me there. Much of what we learn about God is found there.

Without the historical perspective of the Old Testament, our concept of God is incomplete and distorted. It is there that God reveals himself as one who is holy. It is there that we learn about God's justice and mercy. It is there that we begin to grasp just how much God loves us and seeks to care for those who put there trust in Him. It is there where we discover that God is just and will not let us get away with sin. It is there where we are exposed to God's great power. It is there where we discover that God uses broken vessels, just like us, for His purposes and glory. It is there where we discover most of God's precious promises. It is there where God establishes the boundaries of holy living.

There is great comfort in meditating on God's laws. Each one is a testimony of God 's love for us as they show us the way to God. God reminds us through the law that He desires a relationship with us. He shows us the pathway to holiness so that we can draw near to God. He exposes our sins and shows us just how much we need a Savior.

If you are not reading the whole counsel of God's Word, you are starving your soul of necessary food for a healthy soul.