Sunday, July 31, 2011

Requirements

 6Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.
 7Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,
 8I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. 

Requirements

Membership in any organization usually involves some sort of requirements. What requirements are placed upon us by God to maintain our "membership" in His courts?

One has to wonder if David was remembering an event in the life of King Saul, his predecessor when he penned Psalm 40. The prophet, Samuel, was chiding King Saul for his lack of obedience to God's commandments.

And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22, King James Version)

David understood that while man looks upon the outward appearance, God looks upon the heart. Obedience to God is not a matter of memorizing all of the rules and regulations recorded in His Word, and then striving to keep those rules or laws perfectly. The key to obedience to God's Word is found in our hearts. David said, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

Our theme for these Psalms devotions is First Love; we continually see reminders, especially from the Psalms of David, to return to our first love. Think of those times in your Christian walk when God seemed so near that you were bathed in His arms of love; you could not help but respond with overwhelming love for Him.

What are God's requirements for faithful service to Him? We are to love the Lord our God with all of our hearts, with all of our soul, and with all of our might. (Deuteronomy 6:5)

As we go about the duties of this day, let us remember these words from Psalm 40. I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

God Bless You,
Linda

Saturday, July 30, 2011

God's Thoughts

 4Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.
 5Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. 

God's Thoughts

Have you ever thought about God's thoughts? According to the Psalmist, God's thoughts toward us, His children, are so prolific that they cannot even be numbered. Think about that; God, the Creator of the universe, thinks about every single one of His children. Indeed, we may forget Him, but He never forgets us!

No wonder David calls the people blessed who do not respect the proud or turn aside to lies, but rather put their trust in the Lord. As God's children, we need to live with a perspective of life that is from God's point of view rather than that which most people tend to see. 

We cannot see the forces of evil nor the army of the Lord encamped all about us, but does that mean they are not there? We cannot see God's power at work as He continues the stars and planets on their courses, and as He keeps the balance of nature on our own planet, but we know that He is in control of all things. Yet, in all of this, He is not too busy or too preoccupied to care about every single one of His children.

Yesterday my son and his family had car trouble while on the way to our house for a visit. When I picked them up, about an hour later, I noted that my 20 month old grandson was not the least bit concerned about being stuck on the side of the road, waiting for someone to come and rescue them. He had such complete trust in his parents that being stranded caused no undue stress or worry for him.

That is exactly the way we should be. I have a long way to go to develop that kind of sweet and patient trust in the Lord. Oh, I know and believe that God is in control and takes care of me, but I still seem to spend far too much time worrying about how He is going to do just that.

We do not worship a god of wood or stone, or the god of money or materialism. We worship God, who is not only God above all Gods, but God who loves and cares for each and every one of His children. God's thoughts are never far away, neither is He too busy to be concerned about all of the many details of our lives. How amazing is that?

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, July 29, 2011

A New Song

 1I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
 2He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
 3And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. 

 A New Song

In Psalm 39, we left the psalmist in a rather discouraging state. Now, in Psalms 40, we find the psalmist looking to the Lord for his strength and help. He had cried out to God for help, and the Lord delivered him.

He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.

Often, when reading the Old Testament, especially during the times the Children of Israel were wandering in the wilderness, I find myself getting impatient with their repeated lack of trust in the Lord. However, just a quick glance at my own life helps me to understand, that as a Christian, we are not so very different than were the Children of Israel. It is easy to trust in the Lord when everything is going well, but it is hard for us to remember God's faithfulness when nothing is going right.

David has left us with many words of encouragement as he fought through the difficulties of his own life. In his thankfulness to God, he proclaimed,
And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

We can almost hear the music playing, can we not? God, in our day, continues to bless his children, and literally thousands of new songs have been written speaking of God's love and faithfulness to us.

Let us take some time today to choose one of our favorite songs, hymns, or spiritual songs, and meditate upon God's faithfulness to us. I have many favorites, but I will leave you with a very familiar song. Here are the words of the last verse of Amazing Grace.
When we've been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun.
God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I Am a Stranger

 8Deliver me from all my transgressions: make me not the reproach of the foolish.
 9I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it.
 10Remove thy stroke away from me: I am consumed by the blow of thine hand.
 11When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth: surely every man is vanity. Selah.
 12Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.
 13O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more. 

I Am a Stranger

Psalm 39 ends on a rather bleak note, and yet it powerfully brings home an important message for all believers. We live in this world, but we are no longer of this world. Where is the beauty we once saw in man? Where is the pride for the things that man has accomplished? Certainly, there is great pride in our day over the greatness of man.

Yet, is that truly the lesson we are to learn from this life? While the Psalmist chaffed under his heavy yoke, he rightly understood its origins. He plainly understood that he was the transgressor.

Is God being too severe? Does he not understand our weakness and our inability to serve Him perfectly? Though that may seem to be the case when we are in the middle of great difficulties, no, God is not being too severe. In His great love, He continually helps us to leave the things of this world and seek a much higher place with Him. In thinking of this the Psalmist states in verse 12,

Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.
In our sinful state, we are all strangers to God, but through Christ's death, burial, and resurrection, we have been lifted from the depths of sin in this world, to a life of righteousness in Christ. We have been transformed; old things have passed away, and all things have become new. Why? Now Christ lives within us.

 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: (Colossians 1:27, King James Version)
When we think of this world, may we by the grace of God be reminded, "I am a stranger in this world. My citizenship is in heaven above with Christ, the hope of glory."

God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hope in Thee

 5Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.
 6Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.
 7And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee. 

Hope in Thee


Sometimes, it is hard to believe that the Psalms were written so many years ago; it is certainly uncanny how contemporary David's words are to our generation. Can you think of any words that describe our age more accurately than Psalm 39, verse 6?

6Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.


Here is the same verse in the New King James Version.


 6 Surely every man walks about like a shadow;
         Surely they busy themselves in vain;
         He heaps up
riches,
         And does not know who will gather them.


Is that really what life is all about? Is that what gets us up in the morning and drives us through the events of each day? Are we here to heap riches upon ourselves and spend every available moment enjoying the things we possess?

Sadly, many Christians are caught up in the same vicious turmoil of life as the non-Christians. David pondered these same things. He asked himself, "Is that what drives me? Is that what I wait for?" 

No! Though David, indeed, was a wealthy man, his wealth did not drive him to heap greater and greater riches upon himself. Though David was the king, his life was not consumed by the desire to seek a greater kingdom and more power for himself. David plainly stated, "My hope is in Thee."


As Christians, that should be our heart cry as well. We must remember that eternity does not come after this life is over. For the Christian, eternity with Christ has already begun! If we do not see ourselves spending all of eternity seeking greater and greater riches for ourselves, then we certainly should not be doing so now.

Our hope is in Christ; we should be focusing all of our attention on seeking a closer walk with the Lord. A meaningless life that was once filled with vanity has now become a life filled with the pursuit of Godliness. Rather than tasting the bitter fruits of this world, God has granted to us the sweetness of joy and peace in Him.

Go this day in the joy of Christ, and rest all of your hope and cares upon Him.

Yes, Lord, my hope is in Thee!

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Measure of My Days

 1I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.
 2I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred.
 3My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue,
 4LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is: that I may know how frail I am. 

Measure of My Days
Have you ever tried to not talk? What happened? When David tried this, he tells us, My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned. David was determined to keep himself from sinning with his words, so he determined he would not speak at all. Of course, we all know that is impossible.

Finally, in frustration, David said, LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is: that I may know how frail I am. This reminds me of the Song of Solomon, written by David's son. Determined to know the meaning of life, Solomon concluded that life was just empty and filled with vanity.

David's conclusion was similar: Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.

Of course, David and Solomon are not the only ones who have pondered the meaning of life; we all must, at some point, face these same deeper issues of life. Why are we here? Are we just here to get all we can get and enjoy as many pleasures of life as possible during our time on this earth?

Solomon actually tried that; he was in a position to heap great wealth upon himself. In the end, did his wealth satisfy him? No! 

I know, we would all like the opportunity to find out for ourselves. Surely, with just a little more money, life would be so much better, would it not? Yet, in our hearts, we know that Solomon was telling the truth. 

So, we ask with David, Lord, what is the measure of my days? It is a good question. From God's Word we learn that the measure of our days is not determined by anything in this world. When our life has been lived, and we stand in the courts of our King of Kings, what will matter? The answer to that question is what really gives us the measure of our days.

Joy, peace, and happiness! Is it possible to attain these in this life? Yes! However, unlike the world, we know that true joy, true peace, and true happiness are gifts from God given to His faithful children. Let us, by the grace of God, take up the mantle He has placed upon us and live this life to the glory of God. That, dear friend, determines the measure of our days!

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Salvation

 17For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me.
 18For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.
 19But mine enemies are lively, and they are strong: and they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied.
 20They also that render evil for good are mine adversaries; because I follow the thing that good is.
 21Forsake me not, O LORD: O my God, be not far from me.
 22Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation. 

My Salvation
David is in desperate shape; he is ready to fall and his enemies, who are multiplying in number, are upon him. Can't you hear him crying out, "Where are you, God?"

How many times have we felt the same way? Sometimes, when it seems as though nothing can go right, even more bad things happen. What do we do then?

What did David do? David cried, Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation. Think of the significance of that. As king, David had multiple resources, huge armies, and great riches, yet he knew that the only means of help that really mattered was help from the Lord. Not only did he know this, but he was confident that God would answer his prayer.

Do we, as Christians, understand that the only true help we have in facing the difficulties of life is help from God? Is God the first One we think of when life is tumbling down upon us? Do we really believe that God will help? Could it be that God allows desperate times to come upon us so that we would learn this very lesson? 

In this self-help world in which we live, it is not easy for us to place our lives in the hands of God. We want to do something.  Yet, when times are at their worst, God says, Be still and know that I am God. As Christians, until we come to the point of truly understanding God's power in our own lives, we are pretty ineffective in our service for Him. 

Let us take some time today and ponder the goodness of the Lord, and renew our hope in Christ. Let us say with David, "God is my salvation!"

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hope in the Lord

 11My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afar off.
 12They also that seek after my life lay snares for me: and they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and imagine deceits all the day long.
 13But I, as a deaf man, heard not; and I was as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth.
 14Thus I was as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs.
 15For in thee, O LORD, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God.
 16For I said, Hear me, lest otherwise they should rejoice over me: when my foot slippeth, they magnify themselves against me. 

 Hope in the Lord

 Could things be any worse? The Psalmist was brought so low that his friends and relatives would not even come close to him, afraid that the devastating things happening to him might come upon them as well. Those that hated him and determined to kill him continued to lay snares to catch him, while speaking evil about him, deceitfully tarnishing his good name.

How did David, the Psalmist, respond?

But I, as a deaf man, heard not; and I was as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth. Thus I was as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs.

Why? Why did he not even try to come to his own defense? The answer was very simple: his only defense was to remain quiet and hope in the Lord! Though nothing gave evidence for hope, David understood that no matter how bleak his circumstances, the Lord God would hear his prayer and deliver him from evil.

Do we have the same confidence today? When all the evils of this world seem to pile themselves upon us, are we able to shake them off, remain silent, and hope in the Lord? We certainly do not have any power or strength of our own, do we? 

Do you think that perhaps one of the reasons God allows bad things to happen to his people is so that they will learn that they cannot depend upon themselves or their friends and family? Friends and family are precious, but they can never replace the Lord. When all is said and done, we are driven to fall at the feet of Jesus; only there will we find perfect peace and perfect rest.

It is a  hard lesson to learn; in truth, we probably never completely succeed in this life. But, oh how precious are those times when God grants to us His perfect peace and joy and gives us hope in the Lord!

May you, too, find the precious gift of joy and peace granted to us by the Lord Jesus Christ!

God Bless You,
Linda




Monday, July 18, 2011

The Lord Understands

 6I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long.
 7For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh.
 8I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart.
 9Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee.
 10My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me. 

 The Lord Understands

It was right for David, the Psalmist, to cry out, Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee. Though Christ had not yet come during the time of David, we have the rest of the story. We know that Christ not only came to this earth, but that He suffered more than we could ever know!

What an amazing God we serve. There is nothing in us that should cause God to desire us with our sinful natures, but God loved us anyway. He loved us so much that He sent His only Son, the Lord Jesus, who humbled Himself, took on the form of a man, and willingly gave His life for us! Yes, the Lord understands!

We cannot fathom such love. We do not understand such a love that is all about giving, with no thought of receiving. Not only is it true that the Lord understands, but the Lord opens His arms in love and fellowship to us. When, by His grace, we draw near to Him, we find an overflowing love that encompasses all of our being. 

Why do we spend so many of our days rushing after the things of this world, when right before us stands the Lord of Lord and King of Kings? Why do we worry and fret over the circumstances of this life, when our God who has broken the chains of sin's hold upon us stands ready to lift us up above the realms of this world?

This is the God we love and serve. Let us go forth today with joy in our hearts and a spring in our steps because we know that the Lord understands all our ways. He, alone, is the way, the truth, and the light!

God Bless You,
Linda

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Heavy Burden

 1O Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.
 2For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore.
 3There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin.
 4For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.
 5My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness. 

 Heavy Burden

In Psalm 38 we find David in a position which is sometimes all too familiar to us; David is consumed by the heavy burden of his own sin. One of the most difficult aspects of living the Christian life is dealing with our own sin. One minute we are on the mountain top rejoicing in the Lord, and the next minute we are wrapped in a yoke of despair.

At first glance, this just does not seem to be true, does it? We know that we wrestle with our own sin, but sometimes it seems as though other Christians are always rejoicing in the Lord, never discouraged. However, that always changes when we are in the quietness of our own home, sitting at the feet of Jesus.

Our lives may appear picture perfect to others, but before the Lord, nothing is hidden. Christ sees everything--even the most remote and dark thoughts of our hearts. As a matter of fact, that is usually the first place we become aware that sin is quickly burrowing its way into our lives. We reach out our hearts to the Lord, and there seems to be no response; that is truly a dark hour!

One of the reasons the Psalms are so meaningful to us is that David was not always that "happy-happy-all-the-time" Christian. Neither was David perfect; the Bible records his greatest sins as well as his greatest moments of victory. 

In the middle of all of these things, we saw a man who was truly a man after God's own heart. David was not so consumed with self-righteousness that he did not understand His fallen state before God. When the difficult times came, we saw a man who fell on his face before God. When his sins bore him down, he fell before God, knowing that God was a God who would forgive.

God hates sin, but is always ready to forgive! How amazing is that? When sin conquered David's heart, he was quick to return to his first love, and when his heart was humble, God was waiting to pick him up and carry him on.

May we, when overcome by heavy burdens, look to God for help and comfort. Let us confess the sin that so easily overtakes our hearts, and return to our God, our First Love. We will find Him waiting!

What an amazing God we serve!

God Bless You,
Linda

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Rest of the Story

 37Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.
 38But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.
 39But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble.
 40And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him. 

 The Rest of the Story

For years, Paul Harvey, a conservative newscaster, regaled us with his stories, but we all remember most of all the format he used. After a dialogue of a few minutes, he left us with a cliff hanger followed by an ad. Then he returned with, "The rest of the story," where the surprise ending was revealed.

David does much the same thing here at the end of Psalm 37. After several verses of discussion regarding the righteous and the wicked, he now gives the conclusion of the matter.

Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace. But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.

Why is the end of the righteous peace? The end of the righteous is peace because they understand that God is their strength in the time of trouble. When they reach the point where nothing they can do will resolve their difficulties, they understand that it was never about their own strength or their own abilities. It was always God who saw them through their past troubles, and it is God who will see them through the troubles of this day as well.

As Christians, is it our own wisdom that gives us victory over the vices of our enemies? Is it our own power or strength that gives us the fortitude to face the overpowering forces of wickedness that seem to swallow up any semblance of righteousness remaining in this world? No! It is the help of the Lord which gives us the strength and power to persevere. Why does God help us? He helps us because we trust in Him.

Could it be so simple? Why, then, does it seem to take us our entire lives before we reach that point of perfect peace? We are a proud people; it is hard for us to come to the point of realization that we just cannot live this life uprightly in our own strength and power. Satan's devices and the pull of this world are just too great for us.

Jesus Christ understands our weakness; He was tempted just as we are tempted. Yet, Jesus knew God personally; He drew His strength from God His Father. Let us look to Christ who opened the way to God, and draw from the resources of everlasting strength and power given to us by God, our Father.

No matter what your circumstances--no matter what you are going through at this time--may God grant to you His peace.

And that, dear friend, is the rest of the story!

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, July 15, 2011

Wait and Keep!

 32The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him.
 33The LORD will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.
 34Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.
 35I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.
 36Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found. 

Wait and Keep!

Why does David, the Psalmist spend so much time comparing the righteous and the wicked? Surely the wicked are not that bad, are they? How many of the wicked do you really think are actually trying to slay the righteous?

That very mindset is a very dangerous one for the Christian; it is important that we realize that all people fall into one of two categories. They are righteous or they are wicked; there is no middle ground. As a matter of fact, apart from the grace of God, all people are wicked! The world is truly the devil's playground!

The good news is two-fold. First, Christ's death is sufficient for all men to change from being one of the wicked to becoming one of the righteous. Second, the righteous never need to fear the wicked; God is able to protect His people and bring them safely home to live with Him forever.

God only charges His people with the command to wait and keep. Wait on the LORD, and keep his way. Our salvation is all of God and none of us! Why, then, do we spend so many of our days in worry and in fear? 

We are so busy living in this world that we forget the very God we love and serve! We forget who He is, and we forget that He is able to keep us from evil. Let us take some time this day and thank Him for His great love and mercy, and pray for His grace to help us rest in Him.

What an amazing God we serve!

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Righteous

 29The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.
 30The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.
 31The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide. 


The Righteous

According to Psalm 37, there is more to being one of the righteous than just having a glossy outward appearance. Who are these righteous who will inherit the land, and live in it forever? 

The first evidence given is revealed in their speech. Notice the balance, The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment. In other words, not only do the righteous speak wisely, but they do not neglect sound judgment. We do not like to speak of judgment, especially when thinking of its negative aspects. Yet, where is righteousness without judgment? 

Part of me says, but who do the righteous think they are that they can judge others? After all, no one is perfect; no one is without sin. The answer is revealed in verse 31, The law of his God is in his heart. The righteous have the law of God in their hearts. 

Righteousness is not just an outer coating we climb into everyday when we get out of bed. Righteousness is the state of one's heart; when one's heart is filled with the law of God, that law consumes that person's thoughts and actions.

So, yes, though sin is still prevalent, the Spirit of God within us wars against that sin, and by God's grace, His righteousness shines through victorious. 

As Christians, then, let us fill our hearts and minds with the Word of God, that God's righteousness may overpower the sin that so easily turns our hearts from Him.

The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.

What an amazing God we serve!

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

God Loves Judgment

 25I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
 26He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.
 27Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.
 28For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off. 

God Loves Judgment

God loves judgment! What does that really mean, and how does that affect us? In a world where righteous judgment is almost unheard of, we really have to stop and think about what that really means. In 21st century courts we often see preferential treatment for the criminal, and no true resolution for the victim.

Yet, that is not true in the courts of the Lord; God is not fooled or bribed by the wicked. Because God knows our hearts, He, alone, can judge righteously. What evidence do we see of God's righteous judgment in our everyday lives?

The Psalmist said,
I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.
As Christians, we must pray for God's grace to live in faith, knowing that though from all outward appearances there is no true justice in this world, God's justice does and will prevail. Are the wicked really getting away with their crimes against humanity? No! The day of reckoning will come; justice will be meted out perfectly by God.
What an amazing God we serve. He actively surrounded His children with His loving in care in the time of David, just as He surrounds His children with His loving care in this day. 

How should we respond? We have a job to do! God has chosen us, the weak things of this world, to confound the wise. As we look around to the mission field that God has uniquely provided for each of us, let us pray that we will faithfully live and serve God. May His name be glorified, and may the lost sheep in our care find His love and grace.

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Blessed of Him!

 21The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.
 22For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.
 23The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.
 24Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand. 

Blessed of Him!

Blessed or cursed! Which one do you choose? Put that way, the choice seems rather simple. Then why do so many choose to be cursed?

In viewing life, the choices do not really seem to be that succinct, do they? Yet, how much easier would our life be if we really thought in the simple terms presented by David in the Psalms.

For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.

As if that is not enough to convince us, David goes on, The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.

Could life really be that black and white for us? Why, instead, does life seem to be so complex? 

Unfortunately, we spend too many of our days rushing after the things of this world. How do we ever find time for God? Some days it is almost impossible to find an uninterrupted hour to spend with the Lord--or even an uninterrupted 15 minutes! 

As Christians, we need to view our times with God as the most important seconds, minutes, or hours of the entire day! Though it is not easy, we need to understand the necessity of regular times of fellowship with God. Imagine having the most important man or woman in the world requesting an hour of our time, but we refuse because we are too busy.

Yet, we do that with God every day. God, the Creator of the universe, delights in times of fellowship with His children, but His children are too busy! 

By God's grace, take some time to reorder your life so that your days begin with the Commander and Chief of your life! Commune with Him, fellowship with Him, and be blessed of Him!

God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, July 11, 2011

Forever!

 16A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.
 17For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholdeth the righteous.
 18The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.
 19They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
 20But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.

Forever!
The Psalmist is certainly not bashful about displaying the contrast between the wicked and the righteous, showing the great advantage of the righteous with his "little" compared to the wealth of the wicked. How can "a little" be better than great wealth? Notice that everything changes when we view our wealth in the perspective of time.

How long is forever? It really does not matter how little or great one's wealth is when viewed with the perspective of forever. What are these few earthly years in comparison? In the end, that is really what is at the heart of Christianity, is it not? 

The world offers so much, and how quickly we rise to the challenge of attaining as much as we are able to attain in the few short years we live. Then what? It will all perish like the breath of the wind; one moment it is all here, and the next moment it is gone. When we stand before Christ at the end of time, everything we have managed to accumulate in this life will be meaningless.

From the view of eternity, everything changes, does it not? That is exactly the point that David was making in Psalm 37.

But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.
But, what of the righteous?

18The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.
 19They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.

This is the the amazing God we serve! Just think, as Christians, forever has already begun for us!

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The Wicked

 12The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.
 13The LORD shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.
 14The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.
 15Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken. 

The Wicked

Who are the wicked? In this 21st century world, that question is becoming more and more difficult to answer? What happened to the world of black and white; good and evil? Do you remember the time when the good cowboys wore white hats, and the bad cowboys wore black hats? We had no trouble identifying the bad guy, did we? However, in our day, no one wears white, and no one wears black; everyone is dressed in gray!

Our culture has become increasingly comfortable with the gray person. No one is truly good, and no one is truly bad; everyone is a combination of both good and bad, and thereby acceptable. 

However, look what the Bible says about the wicked.

12The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.
 13The LORD shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.
 14The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.
 15Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.

Who are these wicked? Is the Bible out of touch with reality? The wicked of this world do not really seem all that bad, do they? Are they really plotting against the just? 

Make no mistake, our greatest enemy is the one who seems to be our best friend. Satan did not come to Eve with a red suit and a pitchfork in his hand; he came to her as a friend. As Christians, we need to pray that we will not be caught in the quicksand of compromise. God defines the wicked, and He defines the just; there is no gray! 

What truly makes one person white instead of black? Only Christ can change our hearts from black to white. He, the perfect and holy Sacrifice, came to this world with the express purpose of saving a people for Himself. He paid the debt of our sins by His own blood, and won our victory for all eternity through His resurrection from the dead. 

No one is white, except those who have fallen before Christ and pleaded for His mercy to save them, and have purposed to make Him Lord over all of their life. Everyone who has not gone to Christ is numbered among the wicked, though they may seem ever so nice. 

There is no other way, but Calvary!

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Meek or Weak?

 11But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. 

 Meek or Weak?

Have you ever thought about the truth that the wicked are truly the weak ones in this world? One does not have to live very long to understand that it is much easier to go along with the crowd that to take a stand against what is wrong.

Where, then, does that leave the meek? Somehow it seems to us that it is the meek ones who are weak. We think of the meek person as being one who is too shy to step forth and take a stand on anything, but is that really true?

Look at this definition  of "meek" from the Merriam-Webster dictionary:

1: enduring injury with patience and without resentment : mild. 2: deficient in spirit and courage : submissive. 3: not violent or strong : moderate

We tend to think of definition #2: deficient in spirit and courage, however, look at definition #1: enduring injury with patience and without resentment.

It takes great strength for the meek Christian to endure injury with patience and without resentment. As a matter of fact, it takes the grace of God! We may be able to endure the injury, but it is impossible for us to do so without resentment toward those who do the injury to us.

Yet, God tells us that it is the meek who will inherit the earth. God is certainly not talking about the time in which we now live, is He? The world is overrun with wickedness; as a matter of fact, it seems as though the more wicked one becomes, the more successful he becomes. Our heroes are tainted with a "colorful" side, and in the political arena, we have quickly begun to distance the idea of morality having anything to do with the ability to govern well.

Is God wrong? No! Remember, God is not a creature of time; He sees the whole tapestry from the beginning to the end of time and beyond into eternity. For a little while wickedness is consuming this world, but in the end, it will not be so. A time is coming, indeed is practically at our door steps, when God will reign in and destroy the wicked.

What then? Then, the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. It is definitely worth the wait! What God has promised will certainly come to pass. This world will enter into a time of peace, ruled by the meek who have, by the grace of God, endured the injuries from the wicked with patience and without resentment.

Are we the meek or weak? Pray that God will give you the strength to be gladly counted among the meek.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5, King James Version) [the words of Jesus, from His Sermon on the Mount]

God Bless You,
Linda

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Rest in the Lord

 7Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
 8Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
 9For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.
 10For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. 

Rest in the Lord
Rest in the Lord! More beautiful words have not been spoken! In a time when life scurries by at an astronomical pace, we hardly know the meaning of the word, "rest." Yet, that is exactly what David, the psalmist bids us do. Not an ounce of our worry will achieve anything; all of our busyness is fruitless. In the realm of eternity, only what is done for Christ will last.

Does that mean that God does not care for anything that has to do with this world? Of course not! What it means is that God, who created this world, has everything under control. All of the events of this life have been planned even before the world began. Nothing happens apart from God's almighty power and control. He has determined this world's end even before it began!

Our normal response to this life, however, is caught up in worry and distress, especially in view of the wickedness which seems to prevail on all sides. Yet, the wicked do not seem to be moved; their path seems sure, and their successes seem to be unlimited.

David carefully advises the righteous to turn their eyes away from the ways of the wicked. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. Instead, he looks beyond the present time, and considers their end. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.

But, what of the righteous? . . . but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.

Rest in the Lord! It is good advice, is it not? The wicked, who seem to control the earth, do so for only a short time; in the end, it is the righteous who will inherit the earth! 

What an amazing God we serve!

God Bless You,
Linda

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Commit and Trust!

 5Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
 6And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. 

 Commit and Trust

Commit! Now that is a huge expectation, is it not? In a time when marriages, even among Christians, are failing at an astronomical rate, it has become more and more common for couples to just live together. Why is that? I think most are afraid of the "C" word: commit. The whole idea of committing oneself to just one other person for life is, indeed, frightening.

Could it be that the real problem in Christian marriages is the lack of committing oneself first, and foremost, to God? Living in the 21st century is like living in a candy store; all sorts of delectables are available. However, one cannot live on just candy! David states, with great assurance, Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. That is some pretty impressive advice coming from a man who was king.

Notice, that along with a commitment to the Lord, comes trusting in the Lord--not just a blind trust, but rather a trust with the assurance that He will take care of us. He will bring forth our righteousness as the light, and His judgment as the noonday. 

We serve a God who is able to do everything He has promised; He laughs at the foolishness of men who believe they can thwart His plans. God created this world, set it spinning in space, and, though man brought sin into this creation, still has a plan set in motion that will bring all wickedness to an end. The righteousness of Christ, applied to His children, gives them hope for an eternity where all wrongs will be made right.
This is the God we serve; this is the God in whom we can commit and trust in both now and forever more!

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, July 01, 2011

Fret Not, but Trust In!

 1Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
 2For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.
 3Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
 4Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. 

Fret Not, but Trust In!

The Psalms give us such a wonderful opportunity to see the heart and passion of the writers who so desired to return to their First Love. Psalm 37 is perhaps one of the most loved of the Psalms and for very good reasons. Knowing how prone we are to be consumed with worries and struggles, David begins with the words,  "fret not" because of evil doers; two verses later he admonishes us to "trust in" the Lord.

It is true that our life is often consumed by worries about others, which is often tempered with envy over their good fortune in comparison with our own poor lot in life. However, what is the great lesson we are forgetting? If the wicked do not turn to the Lord, this life is the best it will ever be for them. They have no great eternity with God in their future, but rather will be cut down just like the grass. No, they are not to be envied! 

But, what of the Christian? God's commandments for us are quite simple, are they not? 

Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

There lies the true "formula" for success. Let us, by the grace of God, not be so shortsighted that we fail to see beyond this temporal life. Let us, rather, look beyond our own experiences and delight ourselves in the Lord. He, alone, deserves our trust, for He orders all things for our own good. Things that may seem bad or distressing in our own eyes are tempered by God to bring about a greater good.

His love for us is so beyond our own understanding; He truly will give us the desires of our heart. Along with that, the desires of our heart will also change. As we grow closer to the Lord, the more we desire Him. The more we desire Him, the less the things of this world will tempt us.

Let us pray, that by God's grace we will fret not, but trust in the Lord!

God Bless You,
Linda