Monday, December 11, 2017

GIVE HONOR TO THE LORD

 

Ps. 29:1,2  Give honor to the LORD, you angels, give honor to the LORD for his glory and strength.  Give honor to the LORD for the glory of his name.  Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.

     What does it mean to give honor to the Lord?  I believe it means we show respect for Him by acknowledging Him for who He is.  It means that we give way to Him because of who He is.  It means we submit to His rightful place as Lord over all our lives. 

     It's interesting to note that the Psalmist is addressing the angels of heaven here.  We have limited knowledge about the angels, but one thing we do know is that they are kept very busy worshiping and serving the Lord.  They are constantly in the presence of God and they have no problem honoring God.

     We, on the other hand, struggle with honoring the Lord.  We tend to take God for granted.  We tend to be lax on how we worship Him.  We are lax on how we use His name.  We are lax on how we represent Him in the world.  We are lax on how we think about Him.

     The heavenly hosts are keenly aware of God's holiness.  I wonder how many of us are aware of God's holiness.  Does the fact that God is holy do anything at all for you?  Does it bother you to think about His intolerance towards sin?  Does it bother you that you struggle with sin as much as you do?  Do you even think about it?  Does the fact that God is holy affect the way you approach Him?  It should.  God declares that without holiness no one shall see Him.  He commands us to be holy, even as He is holy.

     We give honor most to those whom we know and respect the most.  And, you can't really know God without knowing Him in His holiness. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

THIS ONE THING I DO

 

Ps. 27:4  The one thing I ask of the LORD--the thing I seek most--is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD's perfections and meditating in his Temple.  For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in the sanctuary.  He will place me out of reach on a high rock.

     When was the last time you asked the Lord to keep you in His presence so that you wouldn't sin against Him?  It is good for us to long to linger in God's presence.

     Our heart passion ought to be to delight in the Lord's perfections.  Have you ever paused to appreciate our perfect God?  God is perfect in all that is good: perfect love, patience, kindness, goodness, self-control, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and peace.  Because He is perfect, He is perfectly trustworthy and perfectly able to help us with whatever we lack in our life in Him.

     We ought to consider it pure joy to linger in the presence of God's holiness.  Instead of seeing holiness as a negative thing, we should see it as a positive thing.  When we delight in God's holiness we are able to resist the temptations of sin.  We will have the desire to not sin against God. 

     Our heart passion ought to be to meditate on God and His Word.  Whenever you draw near to God, you should be in no hurry to leave His presence.  We should think often on who God is.  We should meditate on the Word and let its truths sink deep into our souls.

     When we dwell in the presence of God, we are kept safe.  The Lord protects those who are in His presence.  We need to always keep the Lord before us.  We need to always stay close to the Lord, never moving out of the reach of His protection.  We need to always be mindful of God so that we will have the will to not sin against Him. 

     Keeping God on our minds doesn't just happen.  We must work hard at keeping our focus on Him.  Life is full of distractions.  The soul has a natural tendency to be distracted.  We must make our connection to God the priority of our lives.  We must take responsibility for our souls by doing the things we must do to keep our eyes fixed on Him.  We must never let our passion for God dim or grow cold. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

WHY SHOULD I BE AFRAID?

 

Ps. 27:1  The LORD is my light and salvation---so why should I be afraid?  The LORD protects me from danger---so why should I tremble?

     We fear the unknown.  When we don't know what to expect and there is a sense that it might cause us harm, we begin to get afraid.  Fear can cripple us to the point that we don't do anything.  It can also protect us so that we don't do something that would harm or endanger us.

     We learn to respect that which we fear.  We understand the danger to us if we don't and become cautious.  We stay alert so we don't put ourselves in harm's way.  We do all we can do to keep as safe as possible.  Fear protects us by keeping us alert and ready for whatever may be before us.

     A healthy relationship with God instills in us a fear of Him.  To fear the Lord involves a reverence and respect for Him.  We acknowledge who God is and humble ourselves before Him.  We don't take lightly God's holiness and justice.  We don't take lightly our need to present ourselves to Him with pure hearts.  We don't take lightly the fact that God holds us accountable for our sins.  We don't minimize our constant need for Him.

     In Christ we are no longer afraid of our standing with God because He is our light and salvation.  We no longer fear God's wrath because we know we can trust Christ to protect us as we draw near to God.  We understand that there is great danger to our souls away from Him so we stay as close to Him as we possibly can. 

     If fear grips your soul, turn to Jesus and wait before Him.  Abide in Him.  Let Him light your path and protect you.  Perfect love, Christ's love, casts out every fear. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

STAYING PURE BEFORE GOD

 

Ps. 26:4-5  I do not spend time liars or go along with hypocrites.  I hate the gatherings of those who do evil, and I refuse to join in with the wicked. 

     The Psalmist shows us a sure fire way to keep our souls out of trouble with God.  We stay away from those who would lead us into sin.  When we choose carefully those whom we spend most of our time with, we can avoid many of the pitfalls of sin.

     It is a waste of time to hang around with those who are liars.  You cannot trust those who do not have the integrity of heart to tell the truth.  You can be easily deceived by them.  Listen to them and you will find it difficult to distinguish that which is true from that which is false. 

     It is not a good idea to spend time with those who profess one thing and live another.  One can easily fall into the trap of justifying one's own sinful behavior by believing that if it's okay for someone who professes to have faith to do it, it's okay for us to do it.  It is never okay to do what you know God says not to do just because someone else is doing it.  Sin is sin and will always be sin even if the whole world does it.

     We can keep our souls pure before God by not hanging around where sinners hang around.  We should despise being in places where we know people are sinning openly.  It ought to shame us to be where sin is displayed and promoted.  When we hang around in the cesspool of sin, we will more than likely fall into it.

     A pure heart takes charge of his soul.  He refuses to compromise the truth.  He refuses to expose his soul to the ways of the wicked.  He surrounds himself with people who can help him stay pure instead of hindering him.  He just says "no" to sin and means it.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

EXAMINE ME, O GOD

 

Ps. 26:2-3  Put me on trial, LORD, and cross-examine me.  Test my motives and affections.  For I am constantly aware of your unfailing love, and I have lived according to your truth.

     Dare you do it?  Do you have the guts to ask the Lord to cross-examine you?  If not, what are you afraid of?  No sin escapes His notice.  He knows your thoughts and deeds.  It is better to welcome His examinations than it is to fear or resist them.  If you don't deal with sin now, you will deal with them later and later may be too late to do anything about them.

    What motivates you?  The only motivation a child of God should have is to honor Christ always.  We should determine in our hearts to please Him.  We should never let self be our motivation.  Life is about promoting and exalting Christ for as long as we live in this world. 

    Are your affections in the right place?  If you are longing for and loving the things in this world, your affections are in the wrong place.  The Lord, our God, must always be our first love.  To love anyone or anything more than God is spiritual adultery.  If you love Him, it will be evident in your priorities, how you live, and how you speak of Him.

     We should always keep our minds on how much God loves us.  Everything God does is an act of love.  Because He loves us He gives us standards to live by and we must do them.  We must determine in our hearts that we will always be governed by His revealed truth. 

    If you can't honestly say that you are living according to the truth and that you fear facing God's cross-examination of your heart, you need to get alone with God and let Him change you.  You need to confess all of your sins before Him and vow in your heart that you will obey Him.  You need to stay there alone with God until you know that your heart has been restored to a right relationship with Him.  You need to stay there until you know that it is God who moves you and it is God whom you love first and foremost. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

INNOCENCE AND INTEGRITY

 

Ps. 26:1  Declare me innocent, O LORD, for I have acted with integrity.  I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.

     The Lord does not condemn those who act with integrity of heart.  We may not always get it right, but if we do what we do wanting to do what is right, God understands and honors our heart's intent.  He knows we are not perfect and does not hold that against us. 

     Now if we deliberately don't do what is right, that's another story altogether.  There is accountability for those sins we deliberately sin against God.  We are held responsible for willful sin.  If you are a child of God and deliberately sin, are you not being spiteful towards Christ?  It is defiance and should God let you get away with it?  Of course not. 

     There is no condemnation for those who have an unwavering trust in the Lord.  This means that we don't fall into the trap of relying on our own wisdom or understanding or that of others.  We turn to the Lord and listen to what He says.  We acknowledge Him in all we do.  We seek to obey Him because we love Him.   

     When our hearts are firmly set on the Lord, we know all is well with our souls and there is a peace that governs our lives that holds us steady and makes us strong.  Satan may try to cast doubt on our souls but we stand firm because God declares us innocent.  It matters not what Satan thinks or what people think; it only matters what God thinks about us.

     Live with integrity of heart, trust in the Lord without wavering, and all things will be well with your soul both now and forever.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

UNFAILING LOVE AND FAITHFULNESS

 

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

     The Lord does not lead everybody.  He doesn't get involved in the lives of those who have nothing to do with Him.  In order for us to have God be our guide through life, we must do our part by keeping His covenant and obeying Him.  We must deliberately choose to engage ourselves in a relationship with Him.  We must act like God is our Father.  We must strive to live holy lives.  There is no wiggle room on this.  In order for the Lord to be in our lives, we must partner with Him and obey Him.

     The Lord leads with unfailing love.  Be assured, everything God does in us is done out of His love.  We don't always see it or understand it, but it is.  God has only our best interests at heart.  He knows what is best for us and does what is necessary for us to achieve it.  His love compels Him to discipline us when we need it.  It compels Him to convict us of sin as we need it.  It compels Him to correct our thinking and actions when necessary.  It compels Him to keep us from getting too comfortable and complacent in our life in Him.

     The Lord leads us with unfailing faithfulness.  In all things at all times you can count on God to be true to His character and nature.  He never ceases to be anything less than perfect in all He does.  He is faithful in His love.  He is faithful to His Word.  He is faithful to fulfilling His plans for our lives.  He is faithful in ministering to our every need.  He is faithful in helping us make it home to heaven to be with Him for all eternity.

     Blessed are those being led by the Master's unfailing love and faithfulness.

Monday, December 4, 2017

THE LORD IS GOOD

 

Ps. 25:8  The LORD is good and does what is right; he shows the proper path to those who go astray.

     Some get it and some don’t.  The Lord is good.  He always has been, is now, and forever will be.  The Lord cannot be or do anything less than good.  If it appears like He is less than good, then we need to reexamine our definition of what good is.  The problem is not that God is not good, it is that we don’t understand properly what God’s goodness is.

     God is absolute perfection.  He is incapable of doing anything wrong.  He always does that which is good.  We can relax and rest in Him because we know that He will always do what is good for us.  We may not always recognize it as good, but it is because God is the one watching over us and directing our paths

     God cannot do wrong.  If He could do wrong, He would not be God.  We must always know that whatever God does is good, whether we understand it or not.  Give thanks to the Lord for whatever He brings your way because He knows you best and what is best for you whether you think so or not. 

     Trust in the Lord and you will never be disappointed.  He will always show you the proper path to get on if you wander away from Him.  He will not let you get away.  He will always find you and lead you back to the way you should go, because God is good all the time.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

ALL DAY LONG TRUST IN GOD

 

Ps. 25:5  Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me.  All day long I put my hope in you.

     Do you?  Do you put your trust in God all day long?  Or, do you trust Him only when you think about it or when you need something?  Trust is the fruit of an endearing relationship.  We can only trust those whom we really know well.  The better we know someone, the more confidence we have that they will not let us down.  If you don't know God well, you will waver in your trust of Him.  If He is able to save you, He is able to keep you and help you each step you take.

     Trust is an attitude we live by every moment of every day.  It is giving ourselves over to the Lord and letting Him take responsibility for our lives.  It is not fighting Him for control.  It is letting Him guide us.  It is accepting His words as truth and learning from Him how to live by them.  It is letting go and letting God govern our steps.  We cannot pick and choose when we will trust the Lord.  It is the way we live all the time. 

     Do you trust the Lord enough to learn anything from Him?  There are so many things He wants to teach us along the way, but we must be willing to be taught.  Are you a student of the Word and the ways of God?  Are you eager to learn more?  Do you long to know more about this great salvation that is ours in Christ?  I pray that it is so.  I pray that it is so.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

POINT OUT THE RIGHT ROAD FOR ME

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 1, 2017

DRAWING NEAR TO GOD

 

Ps. 24:3-6 Who may climb the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies. They will receive the LORD’s blessing and have right standing with God their Savior. They alone may enter God’s presence and worship the God of Israel.

     Who may climb to the mountain where God is? Who dares to approach God, whose holiness demands sin be punished with death wherever it is found? And, if one would dare to approach God, who would dare to stand still in His presence? Who is worthy to draw near to God?

     Only those whose hands and hearts are pure can draw near to God. Only those whose actions and motives are pure in God’s eyes are able to stand before God. In other words, only those who are living in Christ can stand before Him without fear. They do not have other objects of worship. They are honest in their hearts. They are a people blessed by God with salvation and a righteousness that allows them to draw near to God.

     All are invited to approach God, but only those who have pure hearts can linger. All are given opportunity to have pure hearts before God, but only a few actually seize the opportunity. Blessed are those who let Christ be their Savior, for they then can draw near and feast on the riches of God’s grace.

     True worship, worship that is acceptable and pleasing to God, comes from those who are made pure by the shed blood of Christ. 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

CLIMB THE MOUNTAIN OF GOD

 

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

THIS IS MY FATHER'S WORLD

 

Ps. 24:1-4  The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.  The world and all its people belong to him, for he laid the earth’s foundations on the seas and built it on the ocean depths.  Who may climb the mountain of the LORD?  Who may stand in his holy place?  Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies.

     We must never forget that we are but stewards of what is the Lord’s.  No matter what we may think we own, we have only what the Lord has loaned to us.  The earth was here long before we were and will be here long after we die.  Our worth is not measured by that which is really not ours to begin with.  It is not measured by what God has loaned to us.  It is measured by what God has given to us—eternal life.  Don’t let Satan convince you otherwise.

     The Lord laid the foundation of the earth; it is He who made the seas and oceans as they are.  It is He who set the ocean's boundaries and filled the oceans up with habitable life fit for it.  It is He who established the ecosystem of the waters so that life can be sustained and multiplied.  It is He who made the land, mountains, and all that habitat on it.  It is He alone who is worthy to be praised.  Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord to stand in His holy place?  Only those who have pure hands and hearts may approach God.

     Our only merit that enables us to draw near to God is the purity of our hearts.  Only those who have pure hearts will see God.  Those whom Jesus has forgiven and cleansed from all unrighteousness will see God.  Our value lies solely in Christ.  "Thank you, Lord, for giving us pure hearts so that we might see God."

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

THE EARTH AND ITS PEOPLE BELONG TO GOD


THE EARTH AND ITS PEOPLE BELONG TO GOD

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 27, 2017

JESUS UNDERSTANDS YOUR DARKNESS

 

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

     If you are honest, you will have to admit that there are times in which you could be the one questioning God about where He is at. Sometimes it seems like God has indeed forsaken us. There are times no matter how hard you try to believe otherwise, God seems to stay away. Prayers seem to go unanswered. You can’t seem to keep on believing and trusting. What do we do when those times come in our lives? Stay the course of faith.

     Sometimes faith demands of us blind trust. We continue to believe and trust in God because He is God. We go back to what we know to be true of Him in the light. God is incapable of changing who He is. He is absolute perfection in His love, goodness, and godliness. He is true to himself and His Word, always, no matter how we may feel about it. Our feelings do not change the facts. What we cannot see and understand God knows. God is for us and is working out good in our lives whether we believe it’s so or not. He never leaves us or forsakes us, even when we are in our darkest nights. He never stops caring for us or stops working to bring us closer to Him. He always has our best interests at heart. Always.

     Jesus understands exactly how we feel when we go through the dark times of life. He uttered these very words as He suffered on the cross for our sins. He went into the darkest three hours of created history. He was all alone as He faced the full fury of Satan’s wrath. He took away from Satan sin’s ultimate victory, eternal separation from God. Only Jesus could go there to do that. He had to go into that darkness alone because of the holiness of God. He couldn’t feel God’s presence or sense Him at all, for the only time in all of eternity.

     So the next time you enter into life’s darkness, remember that the Lord has not forsaken you. He is not far away from you. He is always near to those who call on Him. Do not doubt in the dark what you know to be true in the light. Keep on trusting Him. Keep on calling on Him. He will lead you through the darkness into His marvelous light and all will be well once again with your soul.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

THOUGHTS MATTER

 

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

     It is good for us to think this way. What do you say that you know is not pleasing to the Lord? Maybe it’s not so much what you say as to how you say it. Do your words build others up or tear them down? Are you more of an encourager or a discourager? Do you make others feel good about themselves or do your words hurt and damage their self-esteem?

     What about your thought life? We are reminded in Philippians 4:8 that we are to take control of our thoughts and dwell upon those things which are good and helpful to us and others. We are to not dwell on those things which are sinful. Thinking ill thoughts about someone is damaging to our souls and they prevent us from having a loving relationship with them. Harboring bad thoughts about someone poisons our souls.

     What we think about eventually comes out of us. Our living is affected by our thinking. If our thoughts are worldly thoughts, then we will not live lives that are pleasing to the Lord. How much we let our thoughts be influenced by sin has a direct bearing on our ability to live righteous lives before God.

    Never forget that the Lord knows our thoughts. He knows what is behind our words. He knows the heart of man and is not fooled by our words. Sometimes we say things and don’t really mean them. The Lord knows what we mean to say. Good or bad, the Lord knows and will hold us accountable for it.

     The only way to make sure that we don’t get caught by our words or thoughts is to make sure we keep our souls right with God. We need regular soul tune-ups. We need to regularly examine ourselves through God’s Word and make sure we are right before Him. We must stay in tune with the Spirit and listen when He speaks to us about sinful thoughts and deeds. We need to agree with Him and confess sin that is revealed to us. If we do these things, then we can be confident that our thoughts and words will please the Lord.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

SINNING IS A CHOICE

 

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

     Is this your constant prayer? It should be. We do sin; it’s a fact of life we can’t deny or escape from it. We can minimize some of our sinning, by not deliberately doing it. We can stop the process before we act on our desires. We can say no to tempting thoughts and deeds. We don’t have to participate in sinful activities. The Lord gives us His Spirit to empower us so that we can resist Satan’s temptations. We have the Word to ward off Satan’s assaults. We have a great cloud of witnesses who have gone on before us and surround us who have not done what we desire to do. We can control our desires to sin if we draw from the resources of God. We deliberately sin because we want to, not because we have to. We do it because we value the momentary pleasure more and give no regard to the eternal consequences.

When we live in victory over willful sinning, we have peace with God. We are not plagued with the guilt and shame of knowing we have sinned against Him. There is no condemnation for those who live in Christ because they desire to do what pleases Him rather than themselves. They do not want to sin because they know how much it hurts Him. They love Him too much to purposely spurn and spite Him by defying His commandments to live righteously before Him.

Do you love the Lord enough today to pray this prayer? “Keep me from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me.”?  May it be so. May it be so.

“Lord, I pray for all who read this devotional today that they will pray this prayer from their heart. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Friday, November 24, 2017

LURKING SINS IN THE HEART?

 

Ps. 19:12  How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?  Cleanse me from these hidden sins!

     Do you have any sins lurking in your heart?  Before you answer, take a few moments and let the Lord examine it.  It doesn't matter what you think about yourself; it matters what God knows about you.  In light of God's Word, can you honestly say that there is no sin issues that plague you?  Have you confessed and sought forgiveness from the Lord for your sins lately? 

     In order to know that you have sinned, you need to be knowledgeable about what God calls sin.  Are you staying in the Word on a consistent basis so that you can see yourself as God sees you?  God talks a lot about our behavior, attitudes and thought lives.  He talks a lot about why we do what we do.  We can do what is right before God with the wrong motives and God calls it sin.  God talks a lot about our priorities in life and how He must be at the top of the list.  He talks about specific things that are sinful that the world does not acknowledge as being sin.  He talks a lot about how we treat others. 

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

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

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

Thursday, November 23, 2017

GOD'S LAWS ARE TRUE AND FAIR

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

TIME FOR GOD AND HIS WORD

 

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

     Recognizing, knowing, and acknowledging God for who He is, is reverence.  He is God alone, the indescribable and incomparable great I AM, ruler of all things and coming King.  Those who revere Him will worship Him forever and ever.

     The laws of the Lord are true and fair, for they come from Him.  Each one of them serves God’s purposes and are meant to help us know Him on a personal level.  God’s Word is more desirable than all the finest gold on earth.

     Wait a minute.  Let us pause right here for a moment.  Do you consider God’s Word more valuable than anything else on earth?  Are you pursuing its treasures more than you are the treasures of earth?  Think about it.  How much time do you spend seeking to know and understand the mind of God as revealed in His Word compared to how much time you spend on other things in life?  Obviously, we can’t spend as much time in God’s Word as we do doing those things we need to do to survive in the world.  We must spend time on our jobs, with our families, and in other relationships.  We must have time to relax and keep things in balance in life.  I get it.  But, how much time do you spend in God’s Word compared to what you do on the non-essential things of your life?  Do you linger in the Word long enough to be fed and learn things you haven’t learned before from God?  When was the last time you can say you had an “aha moment” with God, when God revealed something to you that helped you to grow in your knowledge and faith? 

     It takes time and effort to learn from God.  You will never consider it to be more valuable than the riches of earth if you don’t spend adequate time in it.  Don’t kid yourself and don’t make excuses.  You do have the time.  You have the time for whatever your heart desires.  If you don’t have the time, you don’t have a healthy relationship with God.  Period.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

LIVING BY GOD'S COMMANDMENTS

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 20, 2017

GOD'S PERFECT WORD

 

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

     There is nothing lacking whatsoever in God’s law.  It is perfect for every need we have.  It addresses our life issues.  It has the authority of God behind it so it is permanent and unalterable.  God says exactly what He means and means exactly what He says.  If there is confusion as to what it means, guess where the problem lies.  What we can't understand we accept by faith because God is the author of it.

     No one perfectly understands all of God’s Word.  We are not capable of it.  The more we invest our time and minds into it, the more we are able to understand.  And, we understand things in different ways at different times as our needs change. No one can give us right understanding except the Spirit of Christ.  As we open our hearts and minds to God, He guides us into the truth.  It does not come easily.  We must study it, meditate upon it, and endeavor to live it in order to show ourselves approved unto God.  God helps us and revives our souls through His Word, but not without our cooperation.  

     All that God says is trustworthy and makes the simple wise.  You can trust everything that God says.  It is absolutely true from beginning to end.  God is absolute truth and whatever comes from Him is truth.  No matter how simple-minded a person may be, knowing God’s Word and living by it makes him wise.  We ignore God’s Word in our lives at our own peril.  There can be no peace and joy in living without it.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

THE HEAVENS DECLARE THE GLORY OF GOD

 

Ps. 19:1-4  The heavens tell of the glory of God.  The skies display his marvelous craftsmanship.  Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known.  They speak without a sound or a word; their voice is silent in the skies; yet their message has gone out to all the earth, and their words to all the world.

     What do they say?  What does creation declare about God?  The mysteries of creation overwhelm us.  Consider the magnitude of creation, its design, its interdependency, its variety, its order, its beauty, its functionality, its dependability and all we can do is stand in amazement in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene who made it all and holds it all together.  God is seen through His creation and He is everywhere to be seen.  There is nowhere on earth that you can go without finding the evidence of God there. 

     The same things we observe in the heavens were seen in the days of Adam.  The same laws of nature that were in force then are in force today and will continue to be in force until the Lord suspends them.  The Lord spoke it all into existence and holds it together by the power of His spoken word.

     The heavens declare the glory of God, from the rising of the sun to its setting and beyond.  God has created all that there is and it is good.  Praise the Lord from whom all blessings flow!