Friday, April 23, 2021

Who God Blesses

What do we need to do to receive blessings from God?

Are they automatic? Do we have to be in the right place at the right time? Sit quietly and meditate? Think positive thoughts and pray for wealth without working? Do we claim a promise, then forget it until we get it? Is there something we ought to be doing?

We would all have to agree that God’s blessings are not equally distributed nor given automatically as some would expect. We are reminded of this in Psalm 41. It begins with an insightful statement: “Blessed is the person who has compassion for the poor or weak and does something about it.” God cares for the weak and the poor and the oppressed and is delighted when we do something on their behalf. To emphasize this fact, David says that those who show God’s compassion will be delivered when they are experiencing the difficulties of life. But there is more.

The first Psalm begins with a statement about the person who God will bless: “...the man who avoids contact with those who have evil intentions and instead finds pleasure in the teachings of the law of the Lord.” As we “hide” God’s Word – His law – in our hearts, it will give us light for our lives, guidance for our journey, and directions to our destiny – eternal life with Him. But there is still more!

God’s Word is clear: If we want His blessings then we must follow His instructions. First, when we accept God’s salvation, we will enjoy the blessing of forgiveness and the removal of guilt and fear. Secondly, we will be blest if we avoid the influence of those who are evil and disobey His law. Finally, we will be blest if we do His work in His world by caring for those in need of His love, mercy, grace, salvation, and hope.

Prayer: We all look for Your blessings, Father. May we follow Your Word and walk in Your ways and then as You promised, be blest now and forever. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Blessed is he who considers the poor; The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. Psalm 41:1 

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Thursday, April 22, 2021

All Or Nothing -Or - One Touch At A Time

Crowds followed Jesus for many different reasons. Some out of curiosity. Some for His teachings. Some for the miracle of touch that brought healing. He did what no one else had ever done. He brought love and light, hope and healing, truth and salvation.

Keith Miller wrote an interesting book entitled The Second Touch. In it, he spoke of Jesus’ healing of a blind man. There was one occasion when He touched a blind man’s eyes and when he looked around he saw people “like trees walking.” Then Jesus touched his eyes again, and his eyesight was fully restored. It was the “second touch” from Jesus that completed the miracle.

David needed a “second touch.” Feelings of distress and defeat were overwhelming him. But they could not erase previous memories of God’s goodness, greatness, and grace. So he asked God not to withhold His mercy from him and asked God to save him, once again, as he had in the past. Though his sin overtook him, he repented.

He began this Psalm by reminding God that on one occasion he waited patiently and God rescued him and planted his feet “on a rock.” Now, once again, things were different. “God, come quickly! I need You! You saved me before – please do it again. This is more than I can handle. But it is not beyond You.” And God reached out – again

There’s good news here for all of us. David needed that “second touch.” And, later on, he would need “more second touches.” Every time he “needed a touch” he went to God and prayed. And God answered every prayer and gave him many “touches.” That’s the way God works. His outstretched hand is always waiting to “touch us” and retouch us.

When we go to God in prayer, we always expect “all or nothing.” Often, however, our requests are granted in “bits and pieces,” or “one at a time.” Touch after touch after...

Prayer: May we never forget, Father that Your touch comes when we need it most. Increase our faith as we wait for Your “touches!”  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Be pleased to save me, O Lord. Hurry, O Lord, to help me. Psalm 40:13 

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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

The Call For Courage

One of the major influences in our society today is the emphasis on being “politically correct.” The threat or possibility of offending anyone about anything at any time has silenced many of us. We fear that we will be condemned or criticized. Unfortunately, many Christians now remain silent when opportunities to speak about their faith arise. Rather than defending the gospel, we have become fearful of offending others even if their values are wrong and beliefs unscriptural.

Being politically correct was not a problem for David. In fact, it was the exact opposite. He was not ashamed to speak boldly and publicly about God’s involvement in his life. He had no hesitancy or fear to talk about his relationship with God. Once, at a very special occasion in front of a large crowd, he said, “I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly!” He put his faith on public display.

There was one period in particular when he had been through an intense struggle with God. It must have been both long and difficult. After his patience and perseverance, his respect and reverence for God were tested, his prayer was finally answered.

As he reflected on God’s grace and goodness and thought about His mercy and blessings, he could not contain himself. “I speak of your faithfulness – Your salvation, love, and truth,” he proclaimed. “I do not seal...I could not conceal...my gratitude.”

If we were talking about this event today, we would say that David “gave his testimony to a large gathering.” However, it was not the size of the group that mattered to David. It was his need “to proclaim” God’s salvation and faithfulness to others. He could not be contained when it came to sharing his faith. We must do the same and share His gifts.

Prayer: Father, give us a courageous attitude and deep desire to share your gifts and greatness, boldly, with everyone, anywhere or anytime! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  I have told the good news about what is right and good in the big meeting with many people. You know I will not close my lips, O Lord. Psalm 40:9 

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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

What Does God Want Most?

Often we deceive ourselves without realizing it. Our hearts can be deeply moved when we learn of an urgent need to do something special for our Lord. We gladly give sometimes, to the point when we have to do without. That is God-honoring and will not go unnoticed by Him. We tend to take great satisfaction in knowing we have done His will when He honors, blesses, and encourages us for our faithfulness to Him.

And no doubt there have been times when we have done this, and God has blessed us in ways that we never thought possible. Again, it is His way of blessing us for blessing Him. And heaven rejoices.

But David reminds us that there is something more that God wants from us than any gift we could give Him. He says that “sacrifices and offerings,” even “burnt offerings and sin offerings you do not require.” What is it, then that You want from me, God?”

After a moment of quiet contemplation, he said, “Then I realized” that what You want is ME! And he continued by exclaiming: “Here I am. I have come back and desire to do Your will. Your law is within my heart.” He could not escape God’s power and presence. God’s law was written in his heart, and His Word controlled and motivated him.

David realized that none of his possessions made any difference to God. Nothing he had given or could give to God was of any significance – now or in the future. God wanted him completely to Himself to do whatever He, his Master, had for him to do. David, the Lord’s anointed, finally presented himself in complete dedication to his God.

Prayer: Lord, may Your Spirit trouble our hearts and give us no peace until we surrender ourselves to You to do the work You have for us. Let us be Your gift. Amen!

Scripture For Today:  I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart. Psalm 40:8

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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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