Thursday, January 31, 2013

Divine Deliverance

Our God is a great and gracious God. We see His greatness when we look into the spacious skies at night and see stars that cannot be counted and know that there are galaxies beyond galaxies. We see His greatness when His Son walked among the sick and healed them, the hungry and fed them, the grieving and comforted them, the distraught and encouraged them.

We see His grace when we look at Jesus on the cross, His resurrection from the tomb when He defeated death, His offer of salvation, His promise of eternal life with Him and His invitation to call on Him “whenever” for “whatever” as long as it is in His name.

David said that God “rescued him because He delighted in him.” Delighted here means “to be mindful of, to be attentive to, to keep, to protect, to have pleasure in...” Imagine the great value that God placed on David. He had a special place in God’s heart and was delivered from God’s wrath and his enemies.

In Christ we have the same deliverance. He takes God’s wrath from us in the salvation He provides for us and He also rescues us from the power of Satan who would defeat us. He is with us now just as He was with David three thousand years ago.

Christ living in us gives us His presence and power. When we call upon Him and trust in Him, we can be assured that He “is attentive to us, will keep us, protect us and take great pleasure in us” because He delights in us just as He did David.

Prayer: We thank You, Father, for Your greatness and grace that delivers us, cleanses us and empowers us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 18:19 He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

An Attitude Of Gratitude

Someone has rightly said that when we speak a person’s name we call that one into existence. For example, we can go an entire day without someone mentioning our name. No one has recognized that we are even alive. Does that mean that we do not exist? No. It means that we have not been recognized. We have been “overlooked.”

David began Psalm 18 by recognizing God and proclaiming his love for his Lord: “I love you, Lord, my strength!” This simple statement quickly describes David’s dependence on God, his intimate relationship with God and his devotion to God. God, David said, was the source of his strength. Whatever he did was done through the strength that God gave him.

Often we think of “strength” as our ability to lift something or endure something as an athlete does in a contest. But David was not thinking of that type of strength. He goes on to describe his Lord as a rock, a fortress, a deliverer, a shield, his strength and the horn of his salvation. All of these words that describe God come from a military setting and help us to see that David, in this psalm, saw God as the One who protected him and made him the victor in all of his battles.

When David called on God, something happened: he was delivered or saved from all of his enemies. That also happens when we call on the Lord. “Everyone,” the Bible says, “who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Call on Him now to be delivered and saved!

Prayer: Lord, we love You and thank You for being our Savior and shield, our protector and provider. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 18:1 I will love You, O Lord, my strength.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


David’s boldness is dramatic. He goes before God with confidence and conviction - not fearing what God may uncover in his heart. “Hear me, O Lord - my plea is just and my prayer does not rise from deceitful lips.” Most of us, when we go to God in prayer, begin with a plea for forgiveness, knowing that our lives fall short of God’s expectations and our best efforts.

David, in this psalm, had no fear of God. He said that “You, God, have probed my heart, examined me at night, have tested me and found no evil plans within me!” That’s boldness that we can actually see! Few of us would stand before God and make such statements! How was it that David could ask God to put him under His magnifying glass and have no fear? Was he a favorite of God’s? Did he do something that gave him special privileges in God’s sight? Or was he so aware of God’s love, mercy and grace that he could stand before God and say, “Judge me! I’ve been cleansed of my sin!”

David prayed for God’s presence to be with him and His eyes to be upon him. And we, as David, can make that same claim! Not because we have a clear conscience or a just plea. Not because God has examined and found us faultless.

We can ask for God’s presence and His favors because we have a Savior Who cleanses us from all unrighteousness and Who pleads our cause before His Father. “In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence,” said Paul.

Prayer: Your greatness and grace, Heavenly Father, are more than we deserve but not greater than our needs. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 17:1 Hear a just cause, O Lord, Attend to my cry; Give ear to my prayer which is not from deceitful lips.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Where To Find Security

David had no fear of being honest. He faced life with an openness that allowed him to vent his feelings, state his fears, express his desires, and claim God’s promises.

“Keep me safe, O God!” is the way David begins Psalm 16. And then states immediately that he, at that moment, came to Him for refuge: “In you I take refuge.” He did not say that he took refuge in God in the past or that he planned on taking refuge in God in the future. Indeed not. Something was threatening him at that very moment and he immediately went to God for help.

Sometimes we wait before we go to God with our needs. We believe that we are capable of handling our fears and failures by ourselves. We often think that we can cover up our mistakes and faults. But there is nothing in us or about us or has come from us that is beyond God’s love, mercy and power. He knows who we are, sees us as we are and understands what we are going through and is waiting for our call for help.

The word keep as used in this psalm can also be interpreted to mean watch over - as a shepherd watches over his flock, or as a guard who keeps watch over the prisoners he is charged to control and contain.

David knew the responsibilities of shepherds first-hand. If anything happened to the sheep, the shepherd would be held accountable. He also knew, as a king, that if prisoners escaped, an entire kingdom could be damaged or destroyed. David knew Who to trust!

Prayer: Help us, Father, to place all of our confidence in Your love and power when we face the unknown. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 16:1 Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Choice And Consequences

The Bible does not present any proof for the existence of God. It simply declares that God exists and that only a fool denies that fact.

The verse, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” is perhaps one of the best-known verses in the Bible. However, many people today would say, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is a God.’” Atheism has become a religion and many individuals and countries base their way of life on the denial of any supernatural being.

To prove the existence of God some would ask us to consider “cause and effect” as a reason to believe in a God. Every effect, they argue, demands a cause - or if there is a creation there had to be a Creator.

Some offer the argument of “being.” Man has the idea that a perfect being exists somewhere or some place. Where did that come from? Certainly not from ourselves because we know we are imperfect. So, it had to come from a Perfect Being - therefore, God is!

Others claim the moral argument. We have a voice inside of us that says, “Thou shalt” and at times, “Thou shalt not.” Certainly these are not man-made, they say, but God-given. So, there must be a “Moral-Ruler” hence, God.

Is it wise to try to prove that “God is” with an argument? We can debate that issue forever.

Would it not be better to live a Christ-filled life that demonstrates the difference that only He can make?

Prayer: Help us, Lord, to live God-honoring lives and show others that You are alive and well by what we do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 14:1 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Triumph Over Trials

Once, while reading a newspaper, my young son was trying to get my attention. He had an urgent need for me to recognize his presence and respond to his request. But I was absorbed in the news.

“Dad,” he said, “I’m talking to you!”

“Yes, son, I’m listening,” I replied.

“I know you are listening, Dad, but can you hear me?” was his embarrassing response. There is an obvious difference between listening and hearing. It is easy to listen without recognizing the presence of the person trying to get our attention. When we actually hear someone, the message goes to our heart and we can sense their feelings and do something about their needs.

David said, “Turn and answer me, O Lord, my God!” He feared that God had abandoned him, turned His face in the other direction and he was on his own. He was so discouraged that he felt the light of God had left his eyes and he would die. But that was only a temporary, fleeting feeling and he did not give up. In fact, he recalled God’s presence and protection in the past and knew that God would never abandon him.

So, he was able to declare, “I trust in your unfailing love!” And he turned his worry into worship.

Notice what he said: “I will rejoice” and “I will sing” - two central themes in true worship. David did not wait for his problems to pass. In the midst of his difficulties he stopped worrying and began to worship. Why? “Because he has been so good to me!”

Prayer: Help us, Heavenly Father, to base our faith on the facts in Your Word not our fleeting feelings. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 13:6 I will sing to the Lord, Because He has dealt bountifully with me.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Our Ever Present God

“Sorrow,” begins a French proverb, “comes swiftly on horseback, but leaves slowly on foot.” Few would disagree that our moments of happiness are as brief as a heartbeat and sorrows sometime last as long as the darkest night.

Once when he was distressed David cried, “How long, O Lord, will You forget me? Forever? How long will You look the other way?” We all suffer greatly when someone we deeply love and need does not seem available.

Betty was suffering with measles. Her infected eyes could not stand the sunlight. As her mother closed the curtains and turned out the light in her bedroom, she asked, “Are you afraid?” “No,” said Betty, “as long as I can touch you.”

David asked a critical question that every believer asks: “How long, O Lord, will You forget me?” And when he did not get an immediate answer, he cried again: “How long will You look the other way?” And finally, “How long must I struggle?”

Our Lord may be out of sight but we are never beyond His reach! David felt that God had abandoned him, had turned away from him and that He was no longer interested in him. But David did not give up. He continued to pray and said, “I will trust in Your unfailing love.”

His faith was larger than all of his fears. He knew God would deliver him as He had in the past.

Prayer: When we become impatient, Father, remind us of David’s steadfast faith and Your unfailing love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 13:1 How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

We Are What We Think

There is a parrot in Brazil that changes its color from green to red or even yellow when it is fed certain fish. And there are some canaries whose yellow feathers will cast off a red hue if they are fed cayenne pepper when they are molting. What is true in the natural realm is also true in the spiritual realm. We become what our minds “feed” upon.

“The Lord’s promises are pure,” said David “....therefore we know that you will protect the oppressed.” David knew that God’s promises were true and that He would honor His word. But what does that mean? That he will simply “protect” the oppressed and keep them that way? That certainly does not make any sense. Why would God only “protect” them?

The word “protect” means “to watch over.” It carries with it the same significance as the promise to Jeremiah: “I am ready to perform My word.” Moreover, God preserves (or performs) His words “from this generation forever” - that is, from now until eternity. The word of our God stands forever!

Because the Word of God stands forever, we know that its contents are true and reliable; it is God-glorifying in its message, Christ-honoring in its contents and comes to life through the Holy Spirit’s power.

If we nourish our souls on its promises and feed our minds on its message our lives will reflect the grace of God. The message of the Bible will keep us from sin or sin will hide the message of the Bible from us.

Prayer: We ask, Father, for Your Spirit to speak to us and open our hearts, control our minds and direct our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 12:6 The words of the Lord are pure words, Like silver tried in a furnace of earth, Purified seven times.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Cry Of The Poor

A young minister and a seasoned pastor were talking about serving the Lord. “When you were first beginning your ministry and were my age, what was your greatest desire?” he asked.

“To know the Scriptures and understand them to the best of my ability. If I could accomplish that,” said the seasoned servant, “I knew that I would know the Savior better and be able to serve Him more effectively.”

Our Lord wants each of us to have that same desire - to know Him personally, intimately. God is anxious to speak to each of us individually as He has always done. He called Abraham personally, wrestled with Jacob and addressed Moses from a burning bush. He spoke through prophets and priests, preachers and psalmists. Through inspired writers He gave us words of wisdom and volumes of knowledge. He even carried on a direct dialogue with David.

“I have seen violence done to the helpless and heard the groans of the poor. Now I will rescue them!” God has a special place in His heart for those who are poor and helpless. He heard their cries and promised to send a Messiah to rescue them from their oppressors - and He did. No one, even those who see themselves as insignificant, is beyond the eye or reach of the Lord.

Daniel was cast into a den of lions. Howl and cry as loudly as they could, they were not able to harm a hair on his head. As with Daniel, so with us. God will never allow His beloved to be destroyed by an oppressor.

Prayer: Lord, if we ever feel unimportant to You, help us to recall Your Word and know that You will rescue us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 12:5 “For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, Now I will arise,” says the Lord; “I will set him in the safety for which he yearns.”

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Help When You Need It Most

We are all grateful for our “first responders.” They save lives, bind wounds, bring food, give clothing, provide shelter and restore power. They have become our “rescuers.” And, indeed, they fulfill a critical role.

But as Christians, when we face a time of trial or tragedy, we have One who has been waiting for us to call upon Him when we need help. He is always waiting for an opportunity to prove His power whenever we face a difficult situation.

One morning, about four o’clock, Peter was in serious trouble. He and a few of his friends were in a small boat far from shore when a fierce storm arose out of nowhere. Fearing for their lives they became even more frightened when they saw what they thought was a ghost. They screamed in terror. And over the howling wind came a stern voice that said, “Stop being afraid.” It was Jesus assuring them that there was no reason for them to fear for their lives because He was there to save them when they needed Him the most.

“If it is really you,” said Peter, “tell me to come to You - let me walk on the water!” “Certainly,” said Jesus, “come on. You’ve nothing to fear!” He got out of the boat, felt the wind and the waves, lost His faith and began to sink. He shouted, “Save me, Lord,” and He did.

It is never the eloquence or length of our prayer that counts, but our simplicity and sincerity. It is never a formula but our faith. He will always come to our rescue if we call on Him in a faith that believes in Him.

Prayer: Lord, we do indeed believe in Your power and Your promises. Increase our faith whenever we doubt. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 12:1 Help, Lord, for the godly man ceases! For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Falling Foundations

Roger Babson was a widely respected economist and entrepreneur who wrote numerous books and articles on financial issues. Once, while visiting the Argentine republic he was asked, “Why is it that South America, with all of its natural resources, is so far behind North America, not withstanding that South America was settled first?” After a moment’s thought, the financier replied with a question of his own. “What do you think is the reason?”

“South America was settled by the Spanish who came in search of gold,” answered the president, “but North America was settled by the Pilgrim Fathers who went there in search of God.”

Warned Babson, “May we never forget the foundation upon which our permanent prosperity is based.”

Years ago David wrote, “The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do?” Have we as a nation forgotten those words of wisdom? We enjoy our heritage of greatness and free government because our forefathers had a deep faith in God. Our Bill of Rights came into being because of their belief in the Word of God. Where do we stand today? Is our very foundation collapsing around our feet? And if so, what are we to do?

“If my people will humble themselves and pray, seek and turn from their wickedness I will hear them!”

Prayer: Lord, it is our responsibility as Christians to do what we need to do to restore our nation - now! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 11:3 If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Through it All - Trust!

Everyone seems to have a need to be safe and secure. We see warnings everywhere we look and watch for them everywhere we go. They alert us to potential dangers and advise of impending problems. They are an important part of life. There were several times in the life of David when he was forced to flee for his life.

Even though he was God’s anointed king, he was not immune to the injustice and hatred of others. Even Saul had a desire to destroy him. Once when he was in danger he stood his ground and said, “I trust in the Lord for protection, so why do you say to me, Fly like a bird to the mountain?” During this time of outward trouble he looked inside himself and found what he needed: His Lord!

Our society has become heavily involved in seeking temporary solutions to eternal problems. More than we want to admit are addicted to drugs - whether legal or illegal, prescribed or purchased without proper authority. But those solutions are temporary and only last for a short time and ultimately end in disaster.

But that is not true if we trust in the Lord. He is more than a stimulus; He will become our Savior and remain so throughout eternity. He does not destroy - He delivers. He does not control us, He transforms us to that which is good, pure, wholesome and life giving. No prayer is too hard for Him to answer and there is no problem too complex from Him to solve.

Prayer: We trust in Your power, Lord, to deliver us from sin and protect us from whatever would destroy us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 11:1 In the Lord I put my trust; How can you say to my soul, “Flee as a bird to your mountain”?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

There Is An Answer

“I do not know why God ever made me,” he cried in deep despair. “God has not made you yet,” said his friend. “He is making you and you do not like what is going on.” That story neatly summarizes the tenth Psalm.

Whoever wrote this psalm was asking the same question. “O Lord, why do you stand so far away? Why do you hide from me when I need you the most?” But is this a question or an accusation? If God is distant or hiding, could there be a reason? What is going on here? Is it God’s doing or the Psalmists? Who is responsible for the feelings of isolation or separation? Is it doubt or is it distrust? Or is it neither?

This psalm does not end where it begins. It concludes with a bold proclamation, “The Lord is King forever and ever!” And a short time later we read, “Lord You know the hopes of the helpless. Surely You will hear their cries and help them.”

Is God ever absent from the lives of those who look to Him for salvation? It surely seems so. When the ones who claim they do not need God seem to prosper and we who worship Him are forced to go without, where is He?

The author does not speculate about what God is doing nor why He does not respond to our cries immediately. He simply reminds us of the grace of God and that in His time and in His way He will hear us and comfort us. Our faith only grows through adversity.

Prayer: Give us courage, Father, to be patient while You work within us to shape us into Your likeness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 10:17 Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear,

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Signs Of A Grateful Heart

An attitude of gratitude is always obvious. If we are grateful for what God has done for us and given to us, others will see our appreciation of it in everything we do. David gave us a fourfold formula to follow.

“I will thank You Lord, with all my heart.” The thanksgiving he describes is total and consumes all of his being - his entire self. The word he used for heart would include his consciousness of God’s presence, his memory of God's goodness and his awareness of God’s grace. He worshiped God with excitement, enthusiasm and expectation.

“I will tell all of the marvelous things You have done.” Marvelous comes from a word that means “extraordinary, not to be surpassed by anyone and wonderful!” He is so overwhelmed by God’s blessings on his life that he wants everyone to hear about it.

“I will be filled with joy!” Joy is the natural state of the one who trusts in the Lord. Knowing that “all things work together for our good” should cause His joy to radiate from our hearts into our heads and out through our hands. Everything we do should be done with a smile on our face and gladness in our eyes.

“I will sing praises to Your Name, O Most High.” Notice that there is only one letter different between the word “sin” and “sing” - the letter “g” - that stands for God. When we give up sin for the Savior, God gives us a new song to sing. It is a song about the Savior who loves us, gave Himself for us, is present in us and cares for us.

Prayer: Lord, we rejoice in the goodness and grace of our salvation. May we always have a grateful heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 9:2 I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Greatness Of God

Martin Luther once wrote to a friend, “Your thoughts of God are too human!” That certainly was not true of David.

David saw the greatness of God and the glory of His creation: “O Lord, our Lord the majesty of Your name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens!” Perhaps he was thinking about the time when there was nothing and no one but God. Perhaps he was allowing his mind to wander and entertain the idea that God chose to make Himself known to man. It may have been that David was “awe-struck” to think of the possibility that he could actually communicate with God or get His attention by calling on Him.

And he continues His thoughts about the greatness of God when he writes of His “majesty and glory” - the power that He has over the heavens, the earth and all that is in and on the earth. Nothing is beyond Him.

Notice two very important things: David begins with “O Lord” - describing his personal relationship with God. He knew that by “speaking” His name he would get God’s attention. How impressive is that! This powerful God is present with him at that moment and is personally concerned about him and will respond to him if he calls upon him. And this is just the beginning.

Notice that “O Lord” is followed by “Our Lord” which includes all of us. God, speaking through David, wants us to know that He, this “majestic” God, is always thinking of us, watching over us and concerned about us.

Prayer: O Lord, Our Lord - how humbling it is to know that You, our Creator, are also our Companion. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 8:1 O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Head, Heart and Hands

Justin came home from school with a note from his teacher. After handing it to his father he stood quietly as he read it out loud. “Mr. Brady, Justin started a fight during recess today and was sent to the principal’s office. Please discuss this matter with him and decide what punishment he should receive.”

After reading the note, his father looked him in the eyes and said, “Justin, I’m really disappointed in you. I never thought you would do something like that!”

“Dad,” cried Justin, “it wasn’t my fault. It was Danny’s. He hit me first. Cross my heart and hope to die if I am not telling the truth!”

No one enjoys being judged for wrong doing. We all want to believe that we live a life that reflects clean hands, a pure heart and a mind free of evil thoughts. But if we were to be questioned and asked if we lived up to those character traits, not many of us would “cross our hearts and hope to die” if challenged.

David knew that his hands were not clean, nor his heart pure or his mind free of evil thoughts. So, he appealed to the mercy and grace of God and cried out to Him and said, “Declare me righteous, O Lord, for I am innocent, O Most High.”

That wonderful declaration of David was finally and fully answered in Christ. When he called for the righteousness of God to declare him innocent, he knew that it was in God’s nature to forgive him for his sins and to deliver him from his sinful behaviors.

Prayer: How grateful we are, Father, for Your grace that saves us and for Your presence that protects us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 7:9 Oh, let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, But establish the just; For the righteous God tests the hearts and minds.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Confidence For The Christian

The school of suffering has many graduates. It seems that most of them provide insight into the grace and mercy of God for those willing to hear them speak.

King David was a graduate of this school. What he learned about suffering is revealed in the sixth Psalm. He begins by describing his pain and the fear he has of his enemies. He shares with us a list of symptoms that most of us have experienced at one time or another: emotional stress, crying, sleepless nights, being attacked by others. However, when he cried out to God for help, God heard him and healed him.

Whatever brought about the distress of David was relieved when he called on God for His mercy. Here we find a pattern for us to follow when we need God to rescue us from our sin and suffering. First, he asked God not to abandon or punish him. Then he asked for God’s compassion and care, admitting that he was weak, “sick at heart” and could not handle the situation by himself. He described his weeping as so intense that “my bed is wet with tears.” He was remorseful for what he had done and what God might do to punish him. So, he cried out for God’s “unfailing love” and knew that God heard him and he was able to declare with confidence: “The Lord has heard my crying and my plea (and) the Lord will answer my prayer.”

God always hears and answers the prayers of anyone at anytime who asks for His forgiveness. There are no limits to His love nor conditions for His grace.

Prayer: We thank You, Lord, for Your willingness to accept us as we are and grant us Your healing and hope. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 6:9 The Lord has heard my supplication; The Lord will receive my prayer.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Facing Fear

Fear comes from many difference sources. It can be a person or a place. Sometimes it erupts when everything seems calm and serene. Often it seems to grip us when we know we are in the center of God’s will doing God’s work and trusting that we are doing it in His way. All of us have those moments of being jolted by uncertainty and feelings of insecurity.

It was no different with David. In Psalm six it begins with a statement that suggests that he is trying to deflect God’s wrath. “Oh Lord,” he cries, “do not rebuke me in your anger!” Does this suggest that he is afraid of being punished for some sin he has committed? Or might he fear God’s judgment for something he did in the past while he was still a sinner? Could it be that he is afraid to ask for healing as he was going through a time of sickness?

He admits to “being weak,” his “bones being troubled” and his soul being “greatly troubled.” He really needed help as all of us do from time to time. But notice what he did: he did not focus on his pain and problems, he focused on the mercy of God!

“Have mercy on me!” he cried. He needed God’s help! And in the midst of his fear - whether it was his sickness or some sin from the past that haunted him - he had full confidence in God’s mercy and believed that He would hear him and heal him. When we are overwhelmed by the issues of life, only our faith in God’s mercy and power can restore us.

Prayer: Increase our faith, Father, and give us the assurance that You will protect us in every situation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 6:2 Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are troubled.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

First Things First

“He who runs from God in the morning,” said Paul Bunyan, the author of Pilgrims Progress, “will scarcely find Him the rest of the day.” In other words, if we want to sense the presence of God, the guidance of God and the strength of God throughout every minute of every hour of every day, we must begin the day with God.

Rarely do we begin any day without some idea of the things we intend to do or where we plan to go or what is expected of us. And although we may not go through a formal planning process where we establish prioriies and allocate certain amounts of time for each of them, we have some idea of what we are going to face.

That is why David, in his infinite wisdom that came from God said, “Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly!”

How presumptuous of Christians who profess our dependence upon God to make plans without Him, to set goals that exclude Him or make decisions without His advice. Beginning each morning with God and presenting our “agenda” to Him for His blessing is the proper thing to do. When we offer our thoughts and plans to God and seek His directions we are saying to Him: “Lord, what I face today may be beyond me, but it is not beyond You. Therefore, I need You to be with me in everything I do, to walk with me wherever I go and to put Your words in my mouth before I speak.”

Prayer: Help us, Father, to realize how inadequate we are to face life without Your goodness and guidance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 5:3 My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; In the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

God's Cure For Sleeplessness

Charles Dickens is considered to be one of the world’s greatest novelists and story tellers. He wrote one of the most interesting, compelling and heart-touching stories of all time: “A Christmas Carol.”

However, there is an interesting story that has been told about him. Whenever he left his home to travel or spend the night with his friends, he would take his compass with him. After looking at his compass and before he retired for the night, he would always turn the head of his bed to the north. He believed that he would sleep more comfortably with his bed in that position.

David had his own routine for falling asleep. He said, “I will lie down in peace and sleep, for you O Lord, will keep me safe!” The important word in this verse of Scripture is peace. David did not say that he would lie down and sleep in peace. Rather, the peace that he experienced in his heart is what enabled him to sleep.

But where does this peace come from? For David it came from the Lord. David said that God gave him a greater joy than those who had experienced abundant harvests. The joy and gladness that David experienced in his heart came from his relationship with God.

We will never find joy, gladness or peace if we seek them for selfish reasons. But they will fill the life of a Christian if we meet with Him in prayer, seek Him in His Word and worship Him with all of our heart.

Prayer: Father, give us confidence in the promise of Your Word so that we may enjoy Your enduring peace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 4:8 I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

In Fear And Trembling

George Fox is recognized as the founder of the religious movement that at one time was called “the Quakers.” They were given this name because they would “quake” if they saw someone who they thought was sinning or whenever they thought of “sin.” Once, while appearing before a judge for his beliefs, Fox admonished him “to tremble before the Word of the Lord.” The judge mocked him and called him a “quaker.” Their reputation for holy living was well known.

In Psalm 4:4 David said, “Stand in awe, and sin not.” Another way to translate this phrase is simply, “Tremble, and sin not.”

Today, however, there are many who do not understand what sin is or its very real consequences. We live in a culture that does not recognize nor respect the value of life. We live in a world that focuses on pleasure and entertainment, wealth and the abundance of things. The moral compass of many individuals is spinning out of control and has no reference to what is right or wrong, good or bad, decent or destructive.

In this psalm David uses the word “meditate” - which means “to consider, to reflect.” Too often the only time we spend with God is to tell Him what we want. We talk to Him without giving Him time to respond. Perhaps if we were willing to “consider” or “reflect” on His Word when we go to Him in prayer, we would realize how sinful our lives are and our need to “fear” sin.

Prayer: May we recognize Your greatness and glory Father, and wait before Your presence in deep humility. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 4:4 Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.

Monday, January 7, 2013

From Trial To Triumph

Lord Kelvin is recognized as one of the greatest Scottish engineers, mathematicians and physicists of his day. He had a profound influence on the scientific thought of his generation.

On one occasion, while he was conducting an experiment with his students, it turned into a disaster. Looking at each of them he said, “Gentlemen, when you are face to face with a difficulty, you are up against a discovery.”

This is not only true in learning, it is true in living. When David was face to face with a major difficulty, he made a discovery that lasted throughout his entire life. Faced with a dilemma he cried to God, “Give me relief from my distress, be merciful to me and hear my prayer, O God.”

If it had not been for the pain he experienced, we would not have his psalms of praise. If he had not been tested and tried through his trials, we would not understand the triumphs he enjoyed. If he had not struggled to survive, we would not understand the strength he received from God.

Joseph began his path to a palace from a prison. He became the prime minister of Egypt after he served a sentence as a prisoner. And remember, Job’s boils? Ultimately, they became a blessing to him.

Whatever God brings into our lives is not to destroy or defeat us, but to develop our faith and to enable us to discover His goodness and grace.

Prayer: Father, we thank You for working in us and through us to develop us into Your likeness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 4:1 Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Source Of Our Salvation

An elderly man was sitting quietly in his rocking chair speaking softly to his grandson. “It took me forty years,” he said, “to learn three simple truths. I would like you to learn them at an early age. One - I could do nothing to be victorious over my sins. Two - that God did not expect me to. And three - that Christ has done it all for me.”

David taught those three simple truths centuries ago in one simple verse, “Victory comes from You, oh Lord.”

A story is told of a prisoner, who with the help of his friends, planned an escape. Through careful planning they smuggled a gun into the prison yard and hid it. They informed him that a ladder would be up against the wall where the searchlight would not expose it. And they told him that a vehicle would be awaiting him at a certain hour.

“But,” he asked, “how do I get out of my cell?” “That’s up to you,” they said. Obviously, he did not escape. He remained in his cell because He could not take the first step.

But our Lord has taken the first step in our salvation. He loved the world so very much that He gave His one and only Son to be our Savior. Now, we must do one of two things: receive Him or reject Him. Our Lord is a seeking Lord who will save us from our sin through His salvation. It does belong to Him, but He willingly extends it to all of us.

Prayer: We thank You, Heavenly Father, for saving us by granting Your love, grace and mercy to us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 3:8 Salvation belongs to the Lord. Your blessing is upon Your people.

Saturday, January 5, 2013


The word Selah appears seventy-one times in the Psalms and three times in the book of Habakkuk. Its specific meaning is not known but it implies that the reader, or the one listening to one who is reading the psalm, should pause or rest or stop and think of “this” or “that” - or whatever the writer was addressing. It is illuminating and inspiring when we actually apply it.

David was driven from his palace and people by his rebellious son, Absalom. When he saw his army and his advisors follow his son he wrote the third Psalm.

In his despair he wrote, “O Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me. Many are saying of me, ‘God will not deliver him.’”

Then he paused, thought for a moment and said “Selah!” Which must have meant, “Wait a moment, David, and think of this.” Think of what, we might ask. Being betrayed? Being pursued? Being driven from family and friends?

Of course not. But, then, what is he to think of?

And he answers his own question: “You, oh Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, and the one who lifts my head high!”

David ran away from his son, Absalom. But in so doing he ran into the arms of the Almighty God. He found in Him his protection from persecution and his source of salvation. There is no one like the Lord! He is our comfort in times of conflict and protector when others pursue us.

Prayer: May we realize, O Lord, Your eternal power and presence over anything that could hurt or harm us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 3:8 Salvation belongs to the Lord. Your blessing is upon Your people.blessing is upon Your people.

Friday, January 4, 2013

"We're In Terrible Shape!"

It was the first day of geography class. The teacher was trying to get the class involved in a lively discussion. “What is the shape of the world?” she asked.

Immediately, James held up his hand and said, “My Dad says it’s in terrible shape!”And most people would seem to agree with his dad.

Years ago a Psalmist gave us a reason for the condition of the world: “The kings and rulers of the earth,” he said, “take their stand together against the Lord...and His Anointed One.”

This Psalm points to the One who was to come - the Messiah. In it we find a description of Jesus - His life, death, resurrection and future reign. This Psalm also describes the rebellion of the nations of the world and their refusal to be obedient to the Word of God. The author wanted his readers to know and understand that God would fulfill His promises of peace and hope, grace and mercy, love and salvation. God, speaking to us through this Psalm, gave us His assurance that He is the One who is in control of all things - past, present and future. He wants us to know that through His Word we can become free from the worries and cares of this world and be certain of being with Him in eternity.

“Serve the Lord with reverent fear,” said the Psalmist, and “submit to God’s royal Son...and there will be joy for all who find protection in Him.”

Prayer: Lord, we lift our hearts to You in worship and thanksgiving, knowing that Your peace will calm our fears, quiet our hearts and bless our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 2:12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Hindering The Work Of The Lord

An evangelist was visiting with a group of missionaries in South America. He asked them many questions about their work, their families, the natives in that particular country and what they missed most while they were away from their families and friends.

As he was concluding his visit, he asked one final question: “What is the greatest problem you face in your work as missionaries?” The answer surprised him.

“Inconsistent Christians,” they replied. “The way they live confuses the unsaved because they are one way one day and another way the next day. They come between God and the sinner and make our work difficult!”

When we live inconsistent lives, those around us are unable to predict the difference that Christ makes in our lives or the difference He can make in their lives. There is no path for them to follow, no promises for them to claim and no peace for their anxieties.

The life of a Christian should be a bridge to the greatness of God that reflects the power of the risen Christ and the joy that comes from the presence of the Holy Spirit flowing through our lives.

Christians are responsible for setting an example for everyone to follow because we profess to be followers of the One who is “the Way, the Truth and the Life.” If we are irresponsible and inconsistent in the way we live, what do we have to offer others that is different from what the world has to offer? We must be careful not to stand or come between God and the sinner.

Prayer: Lord, may we always represent Your love to those around us in a way that will draw them to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Going Beyond The Ordinary

What does it take to “go beyond?” Education? Wealth? Family? Networking? Occupation? Power?

What about “going beyond” for the Christian? Is it any different?

The first Psalm almost explodes with a joyful exclamation of one who “goes beyond.” That one is called “blessed.” And it is not just anyone. It is “the one” – the one who is genuinely “glad” to be a follower of Christ.

  To look at some who profess to be followers of the Lord does not provide an answer. They do not seem to be satisfied with life, have a sense of peace about them or look forward to life with expectancy and joy. They appear “ordinary.” They give the world the wrong impression of what God has to offer us through Christ.

The first Psalm provides the “do’s” and “do not’s” to “go beyond” the ordinary Christian and become an extraordinary Christian.

  Negatively, the extraordinary Christian does not follow the advice of the wicked, spend time talking to them, listening to their advice and even avoids being in their presence whenever possible.

Positively, the extraordinary Christian takes pleasure in honoring God, following His teachings and being obedient to His Word.

The extraordinary Christian is always seeking ways to grow into the likeness of Christ, to follow His teachings and to worship Him daily.

Prayer: Help us, Heavenly Father, to willingly make every and any sacrifice that is necessary to become all that we can become in You and through You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 1:1-2 Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Everyone looks forward to a New Year and the hope it represents. “Well wishers” come at us from every direction wanting us to reap a harvest of joy and happiness, peace and prosperity. A “good new year” is a universal desire that everyone seeks. But how can we assure ourselves of having a Happy New Year? The answer comes from Isaiah 41:10.

First, we must honor the two “nots” - do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Fear and dismay will disturb our minds, trouble our souls and destroy our health. Only as we place our faith in the goodness and grace of God will our fears evaporate and dismay vanish.

Second, add the two “I ams” - I am with you and I am your God. Our God is always with us and we are never beyond His reach. When problems arise He wants to solve them. When needs arise He will meet them. When foes would destroy us He will conquer them. When storms appear He will calm them.

Third, we need to mix them with the three “I wills.” I will strengthen you. He has all the strength we need with some to spare. I will help you. Here is help that is seeking us and is sufficient for every situation. I will uphold you. With what? The very same hands that hold the universe together!

If we want 2013 to be a Happy New Year we must begin every day of every week of every month of the year reading God’s Word and spending time in prayer.

Prayer: Help us, Father, to experience Your presence, enjoy Your peace, trust in Your power and know that You will provide for our every need. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’