Monday, April 19, 2021

Who Do You Look Up To?

Many celebrities do not want to be held accountable as “role models.” They do want attention and accolades, recognition and rewards, popularity and prestige. But they do not want the “pressure” to have to live lives that reflect integrity and honesty, purity and decency. They do not want, as many of them have said, “to be a role model.” “I want to live my life as I choose.”

Many of us, however, search for “role models.” We want someone to look up to, to follow, to be our hero, our example. Often we think, “If I can see it, I can do it. If there is someone who has already done it, perhaps I can do it too!”

David, in many ways, can be a “hero” for most of us. However, he did not want that responsibility. Not because of the pressure that it would put on him. Instead, he wanted everyone to know that his hero was his Lord, and he wanted others to “hero-up” to Him.

“Blessed,” he said, is the person who “trusts in the Lord,” and does not “look to the proud or turn aside to false gods.” Whenever we look at David, we see a man who knew victory as well as defeat, who sinned and had to plead with God for His forgiveness. He recognized his failures and would never set himself up as a model. And he recognized that there was only One person he could look up to as a model: his Lord and Savior.

When we put our faith in Him, we know that He is not a “false god” living in human flesh. We can follow the Lord confidently!

Prayer: We look to Your Son, Father, as the one who has “been there and done that” yet lived a flawless life filled with purpose. May He become our lifelong model. Amen.

Scripture For Today: Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. Psalm 40:4 

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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Singing His Praises

“Congratulations” is a word of encouragement that we all enjoy hearing. Being recognized for any of our accomplishments means that someone has noticed what we have done. It usually brings us feelings of worth and value, importance and significance. Often we swell with pride saying, “Look at me! I’m someone doing something special.”

When things had finally stabilized in David’s life, he paused briefly and rejoiced by saying, “He put a new song in my heart.” This was not the first time that God heard and answered his prayers. God had delivered him many times – perhaps more times than he could ever remember. And singing a song was not a new thing for David. It is something he did often. We hear his songs throughout the psalms because thanksgiving and praise were a central part of his life. But “a new song in his mouth, a new hymn of praise.” What could this possibly mean?

All too often we take God’s goodness and grace and gifts for granted. We expect His deliverance from “messy” situations. We expect Him to heal us when we are sick. We expect Him to provide for every one of our wants and needs. In one way or another, He does. He guides us and guards us and gives us what we need. And when He does, we should be sensitive to His love to see and understand it as a new act of deliverance. 

Each day is a new day filled with new gifts because we have never been where we are at this moment in our lives. So, we are to enjoy every day as a new day because we have never experienced this particular day. Each day deserves a new song!

Prayer: Help us, Lord, to stand in awe, be surprised at Your gifts and goodness, and sing a hymn of praise for your greatness and grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord. Psalm 40:3

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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Waiting For Results

Fast food restaurants and high-speed internet access have conditioned us to rush our way through life. We resent deeply having to stand in a grocery line, wait for someone to answer a phone call, or return a message. If it isn’t instant, it isn’t worth “my” time.

But there is value in waiting on some things. Especially waiting for God to work His ways and His will in our lives. It was true for David. It certainly is true for us as well.

“I waited patiently for the Lord,” he said. We do not know what David was waiting for or the problems he was facing. It may be that this time of waiting for a response from God was different from the other times he looked to God for help. But it does not matter. There are many instances in the Psalms when David called on God and He responded immediately and rescued him. But this time, however, was different. He not only waited – but he waited patiently. His anxiety did not overpower him. His needs or wants were not driving him to distraction or irrational behavior. No, his mind was focused on God’s love, grace, mercy, and wisdom. From events in his past, he knew God would respond.

And the results of his patience were, as we would say today, unreal. “He turned to me...He heard me...He lifted me...He set my feet on a rock...He gave me a firm place to stand!” From adversity to abundance! 

In humility and submissiveness, he waited for God. He knew that God had the answer that was in his best interests: God wanted to “make him a man after My own heart.”

Prayer: May we learn from David, Lord, to wait on You patiently, knowing that You are at work in us, for us. May we believe, always, in Your goodness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. Psalm 40:1 

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Friday, April 16, 2021

Hope In The Lord

Once, before going into battle, Alexander the Great began making elaborate preparations for a large military operation. He was so uncertain about the outcome of the battle that he gave away his possessions. One of his men, shocked and surprised, went to him in protest and said, “Sir, you are giving away everything you have!”

“Everything,” said Alexander, “but hope.”

Overwhelmed with sickness and facing death, David cried out, “My hope is in You! Save me from all my transgressions!” He realized that despite his vast wealth and power he was morally bankrupt and powerless over his life. He could do nothing to save himself.

But when David came to the end of all his possessions, he found himself at the beginning of what God had – the power to deliver and rescue him. “Save me,” he cried, “from all my transgressions.” His life must have passed before his eyes, frightened him into a sense of reality, and left him in a state of despair and hopelessness.

This verse contains one of life’s most important messages. David, and each one of us, need to be “saved from our transgressions.” Most of us recognize that fact. Knowing and facing that fact, however, is not enough. We must also accept the fact that life is beyond our control – not only our health but the number of days God will grant us. Like David, we must be prepared to face the certainty of death and the reality of judgment.

God used sickness, fear, and aging to get David’s attention. God uses different means at different times to get our attention. What’s God doing in your life today?

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for Your love and the many ways You use to reach us and get our attention. Open our hearts and minds to see and hear You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you. Psalm 39:7

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Thursday, April 15, 2021

There Is An End To Life

All of us are confronted by the passing of time – not only those who are elderly. It is an issue that all of us face whether we like it or not. Yet, our culture is in massive denial that everyone ages, and every life will end.

Our elderly now live in “retirement villages.” More cosmetics than ever are sold to “erase” the lines of aging. There are more products now available to “cover” gray hair that once stood for wisdom than the hairs on some heads. We have surgery to remove the signs of aging that are becoming less expensive and more available. But, it is all in vain. Time is the enemy of everyone, and judgment awaits us all.

David was well aware of the fact that his life was passing away. Overwhelmed by its shortness, he cried out, “Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.” He had some serious questions about life and death and wanted God’s answers. He was aware that his sickness was a result of his sin, and he knew that God was displeased with him and this fact caused him to be alarmed.

So, he wanted a “date” and the “number” of days he had left to live so he could prepare to die. He asked God to give him some assurance of the time he left. Having that information would enable him to “figure” out what to do “next.” But he didn’t get it.

In this simple verse, he admitted that he was frail, that his “days” were numbered, and his “life” short. He knew that one day he would eventually die and certainly face God!

Armand Nicholi said, “Only when we are ready to die can life be peaceful and fulfilled.” Being ready to die means one has peace with God through Christ.  

Prayer: As we face the shortness of life and the reality of death, Lord, may we find peace and hope through Your Son, our Savior. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered - how fleeting my life is. Psalm 39:4 

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