Monday, August 2, 2021

Hope's Foundation

Many of us have struggled through difficult times and painful days in years gone by. We recall with pleasure what God has done for us in the past with gratitude – knowing that it was His love, mercy and grace that enabled us to get through lengthy days and long nights. Because of those memories when He graciously lavished His love on us, we can if we chose to, view our future in, through, and with Him, with hope and optimism.

In Psalm 85 our author is apparently reflecting on a loss suffered by Israel in a military battle. They looked at their loss as punishment from God. But the Psalmist does not focus on the loss, he focuses on the fact that God has brought them out of captivity in the past, forgave them of their sins, and promised them  a future. So with confidence and boldness he said, "Restore us again, O God, our Savior."

The message for us to take away from this Psalm is that in times of depression, defeat, and darkness, we must remember God's grace, gifts, and goodness in our past and pray in the present for His restoration and renewal in the present, as we face our future.

Sometimes when we look at our past and are overwhelmed with the guilt of our sins we are fearful of going to God and asking for “more forgiveness, please!” We feel that we are undeserving and unworthy. We approach His throne of grace in fear and trembling, wondering if we have any right to ask for more forgiveness, cleansing, and restoration.

But when these thoughts plague us, we must remember that God's judgment is always tempered by His love and mercy and He will always forgive us, restore us, and revive us again. Forgiveness is one prayer away, and always available when we ask for it!

Prayer:  Help us, Father, to remember Your blessings in the past as we pass through the problems we face today. Surely, “My grace is sufficient for you.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Psalm 85:4a  Restore us again, God our Savior,

Sunday, August 1, 2021

And In Conclusion...

We are all familiar with the Beatitudes of Jesus in the fifth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. But Psalm 84 contains three beatitudes we rarely think about: “The Three B’s.”

The first talks about our relationship with God – about being with Him and worshiping Him and praising Him. "Blessed," said the psalmist, "are those who dwell in Your House; they are ever praising You." Indeed, we are truly blest that His invitation to us is "Come, now is the day of salvation" – an invitation to be with Him today and every day throughout eternity. To dwell in His presence forever is not a blessing we often think abut.

The second beatitude we find is "Blessed are those whose strength is in You, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage." Throughout this life we are not on our own to struggle with the difficulties we constantly face. His strength is always available to us when we are weak, weary, and worn out. He knew our “pilgrimage” would be long and difficult, so He continually makes Himself available to us whenever we call on Him.

And, perhaps the last beatitude actually sums us the other two: "O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man and woman who trusts in You."

A young college student was at home dying from cancer. He had been heavily sedated for days. Every now and then his Mother would sit by his bedside and ask, "Dennis, are you here?" He would answer her, "Yes, Mom, I'm still here." On the day of his death, however, he responded to her question, "No for long, Mother, I'm going home now."

Above his bed in an empty room are the words: "I hear you, Christian, happy, unafraid, For you heard a song from the other side of death."

Prayer:  Thank You Father, for preparing our next home away from our present home. We thank Your for all You all You have done and are doing. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Psalm 84:12 O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man and woman who trusts in You.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

God's Grace

Every now and then it is good to take a "morning inventory" and reflect on the grace of God.

This morning when I opened my eyes I thanked God for protecting me while I slept.  As I turned off the alarm clock, I thanked Him for sounds and my hearing. As I rested for a moment before I got out of bed, I could feel my beating heart which He kept going while I slept. As I stood up, I thanked Him for my balance, healthy legs and my slippers. As I took a shower, I thanked Him for the warm water, shampoo, soap, a towel and a mat on the floor to keep me from slipping. Then I continued by thanking Him for a mirror, razor, deodorant and on and on until I thanked Him for all of the articles of clothing He provided for me to wear today.

And then I thanked Him for the words of the psalmist that reminded me of His promise: "no good thing will He withhold from those whose walk is blameless."

It was then that I had to pause in deep humility and gratefully thank Him for His love and grace that I do not deserve. It is so easy for me to accept the gifts of God – including my salvation - without realizing that everything I have, ever have had, or will have are gifts from God.

As I reflected on that verse, the word blameless kept ringing in my ears as though it was my friendly alarm clock. I, of all people, am certainly not blameless. As I meditated on the word blameless for a few minutes and thought about everything I am or have, it's not because I am blameless. It's because of His unending love and grace!

Prayer:  Thank You Lord, for loving us, saving us and giving us everything we have. May we be ever grateful! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: No good thing will He withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Psalm 84:11c 

Friday, July 30, 2021

A Lovely Dwelling Place

It was Sunday morning and James said to his mother, "I don't feel good." Worried she asked, "Where don't you feel good?" Quickly he replied, "When I'm in church."

One psalmist wrote, "How lovely is Your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God!"

What was it that made the "dwelling place" lovely? It was the presence of the Lord. But anywhere a believer is can be a dwelling place where we can find the presence of the Lord. Wherever we are He is, and we can commune with Him and express the desires of our heart.

Many believe that God can only be found in church when they "report" for worship. For some it may be once a week or twice a month. For a few, worship only happens on special days or occasions. Every attempt is made to "discharge" all of their obligations by making one or two trips to church in any given year.

But if God is not worshiped seven days a week, it does not seem reasonable that we will truly worship Him one day a week or once a year. Worship that is worthy of Him is something we who are His children are to do consciously and constantly every moment of every day. It does not matter where we are or what we are doing.  We are to offer our words and our work, our hearts and our habits to Him as gestures of love and adoration.

Worship is not something we do; it is the way we live. Worship is presenting all that we do as a sacrifice to Him.

Prayer:  Lord, may we gladly present all of us – whatever we do, wherever we are – as a gift of ourselves to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: How lovely is Your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Psalm 84:1-2

Please leave a comment and tell us how you were helped by today's Devotional! 

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Trying To Escape God

God seems to appear when we least expect Him. He certainly will not be confined within the walls of a church or restrained by the rituals of a religion. He is, after all, God the Creator, Sustainer, and Savior. He makes Himself known when and where and as He pleases.

Once, during the transatlantic crossing of a large ocean liner, a major storm erupted, breaking the silence of calm seas. A huge wave swept over the bow of the ship and swept a sailor into the raging waters. His cry for help went unheard.

But in Philadelphia, his Christian mother, who was sound asleep, suddenly awoke with an urgent desire to pray for him. Even though she was not aware of what had happened or his life-threatening situation, she prayed for his safety with urgency and intensity. She then returned to bed and fell asleep with peace in her heart.

Weeks later her son returned home, opened the door and shouted, “Mother, I’m saved!” Then he described what had happened, how he had been swept overboard. As he was sinking in the swirling waves, he remembered thinking, “I’m lost forever!” Then he remembered a hymn he once sang in church about looking to Jesus to be saved. He cried out, “O God, I look to Jesus to be saved,” and another wave swept him back onto the ship.

When he finished his story, his mother told her story. They then thanked God for the storm that saved his soul. As the Psalmist wrote, “Pursue them with Your tempest and terrify them with your storm.” God does all He can to reach us. Our God is amazing.

Prayer:  Thank You, God, for what You are willing to do to save us. Although we will never understand Your love, we willingly accept it! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Pursue them with Your tempest and terrify them with your storm. Psalm 83:15 

Please leave a comment and tell us how you were helped by today's Devotional!