Wednesday, August 31, 2011

He is King!

 1O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.
 2For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth.
 3He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet.
 4He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. Selah. 

 He is King!
 1O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.
 2For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth.
What a glorious Psalm to read, especially in this 21st century, when it would seem that nothing is farther from the truth. As Christians, however, we need to be reminded that, no matter how things may appear, God is, indeed, King over all the earth.

The world as we know it today is not what it appears to be! It would seem that even the most Godly of all nations really only pay lip service to God. It appears as though man is truly sitting on his own throne, achieving greatness and glory in his own knowledge, evidenced by his continuing great achievements. Where is God in all of this?

How, then, can we believe the words of the Psalmist?
He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet.
How can God be silent at such a time as this? But, is God truly being silent? God is not held fast by man's timetable; His plan, which He established before time began, is continuing to move along exactly in the way He intended it to be. While we focus on our one little moment of time, God sees all of time as one great masterpiece. God, in His great long suffering, is giving time for all of His children to come to the knowledge of Him.

Make no mistake, when that last child has come to Him, time will cease! When everything has been accomplished, just as He planned, Christ will return. Then, yes, we will see that He is King! All the nations will be subdued under His feet.

Then, the inheritance that He has chosen for His children will be given to them; an inheritance that will last forever! No wonder the Psalmist encourages us to clap our hands and to shout unto God with the voice of triumph. Though the end has not yet come, God has already triumphed over sin, death, and hell forever!

This, dear child of God, is the God we serve, and yes, He is King!

God Bless You,
Linda


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Be Still and Know!

 9He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.
 10Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. 

Be Still and Know!

Be still, and know that I am God
I have to marvel at the wisdom of the Psalmist's words in verse 10 of Psalm 46. Before the command, "And know," he said, "Be still." When you think of that, if you are like me, you have to admit that it is very hard to find times to just "be still." When I do find time to sit, it is hard to keep my mind from rushing in fifty different directions at once.

I would challenge each of us to take some time to just think about everything we know about God. How many adjectives can we think of to describe Him? How many life changing events can we remember that are direct results of God's intervention on our behalf? How many answered prayers can we remember? How many people can we recall who have miraculous testimonies of God's working in their lives? These are just a few questions to get us started.

But, there is more to verse 10, is there not?
Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
How has that verse been fulfilled? When Psalm 46 was written, the children of God were the Israelites who lived in the "Promised Land." However, the children of God today are mostly those who have descended from the heathens of the Psalmist's day, and are scattered throughout all of the lands on the earth.

God has and is being exalted among the heathen and is exalted in all of the earth. How many books, written thousands of years ago have such a profound effect on our daily lives today? God's Word is a living Word, written over the course of hundreds of years, and yet relevant to the people of our day just as much as it was relevant to the people in the time it was written.

What an amazing God we serve! Yes, it is good for us to be still, and know our God. Even in the middle of times of great political and physical stress, this world is under the control of His mighty hand. He alone deserves our total trust and devotion!

God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, August 29, 2011

Works of the Lord

 7The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
 8Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth.
 9He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. 

Works of the Lord

The Psalmist encourages us to behold the works of the Lord, but surely God does not have the same impact upon the world today as He did in the time of the Psalmist, does He? We may not actually vocalize such thoughts, but most professing Christians today are guilty of thinking in such a manner. Somehow we see this day of modern warfare as being above the influence of God.

Such thoughts could not be farther from the truth! God is just as proactive in our day as He was in the time of David. There has never been a time, nor will there ever be a time when God is not in control! As we observe the rise and fall of nations, we can say just as assuredly as did the Psalmist, "Come, behold the works of  the Lord!" 

That is important to note, especially when we are just a day away from seeing the largest city in the United States literally shut down due to the approach of Hurricane Irene, which was preceded by only a few days, with an earthquake which shook this same nation's capital. Is the United States above the Law of God? Cannot God, with just a flick of His finger, bring great devastation upon this or any other nation?

It is good for us to remember who this God is whom we serve. He is not brought under the control of mere men, but rules among the nations just as He has since the day He spoke this world into existence. Yet He does so with a love for His creation which we cannot begin to understand. Though man sinned and separated himself from God, yet God already had a plan in place to redeem man, and to bring him back into a state of fellowship with Him. 

That very plan looks forward to the day when God will bring all of His children home to live with Him forever. This world, so corrupted by sin, will be replaced with a new earth, perfect in all of its beauty, a mere reflection of its great Creator. Not only will it be physically perfect, but the men who live upon it will be perfect as well. 

Not even our fairy tales end so well, do they? This is the God we serve, indeed, come and behold the works of the Lord!

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

There Is a River

 4There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.
 5God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.
 6The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. 

There Is a River

In Psalm 46 the Psalmist quickly puts all things in perspective. After declaring, God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble, he states simply:
 4There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.
 5God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved.
What a beautiful reminder of the reality of life. Though the heathen may rage and the earth be moved, it is nothing compared to the power of God. Indeed, God utters His voice and the earth melts!

Why then, do we as Christians spend so much of our time in anxiety over the simple affairs of this earth? We seem to react to the events of this life as though they are the full meaning of life. It certainly does point to our frailty as human beings, does it not? How quickly we become caught up in everyday life, to the extent that we forget that nothing happens in this life apart from the hand of God.

Is God's arm shortened so that He cannot protect His children? Admittedly, it is very difficult for us to separate the life we see around us from the reality of a life that we know is ordered by God. Not one day, not even one moment, passes unnoticed by God!

That is particularly comforting to acknowledge when one views the seemingly chaotic events of this world. In one day wars continue in Africa, a hurricane bears down upon the Caribbean heading toward the eastern US seacoast, and a 5.8 earthquake rumbles in Virginia.  

How does the world cope with such turmoil apart from Christ? Is God speaking to the world today? Does the world hear His voice? Perhaps the more sobering question would be, do Christians hear His voice? 

Yes, yesterday the heathen raged and the kingdoms were moved as war continued to erupt in the Mid East, while God uttered His voice and the earth shook in the United States. The Bible is a living book! Imagine the Psalmist penning the words to Psalm 46 hundreds, even thousands of years ago, and it reads as though it might have been yesterday's newspaper!
There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.
This is the God we serve! His Word flows into our hearts and fills us with peace and joy!

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Refuge and Strength

 1God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
 2Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
 3Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. 

Refuge and Strength

Psalm 46 is perhaps one of the most loved Psalms written, and rightly so. When life is at its best or at its worst, God is the One who stands alone as both our refuge and our strength. Only through Christ can we honestly say we have no fear even if the very earth we stand upon is removed.

No matter where we are and no matter what the circumstances, God provides us with a refuge. Even in the middle of the greatest danger and confusion, we can simply close our eyes and we are suddenly alone with God. When all of our friends and family shun us, God is ever present in our thoughts and in our life. No, we may not be able to physically see Him, but His presence is always there to comfort and to guide. 

What do we fear the most? Do we fear being destitute with no money or any means of provision for ourselves and for those who depend upon us for support? Do we fear the loss of all of our friends? Do we fear being overcome by sickness or disease, or perhaps becoming crippled? Do we fear the death of our loved ones? Can we honestly say that we trust God to be with us in those times, or do we just say that because that is what is expected of a Christian?

I know that we will never understand everything there is about life, but as a Christian, we certainly have a better perspective as to why God allows certain things to happen. If we never had any adversity in our lives, how would we learn to trust God? Or, how would we even know that we really do trust God? 

For years, I head people say that when the difficulties come, God would grant the grace to bear them, yet, until I experienced it for myself, I secretly wondered if my faith would hold me up in those difficult days. 

Being older gives one the perspective of years, not only to view God's help in the times of trouble, but also help in understanding what truly is or is not important in life. In the end, Christ is all! Nothing else really matters. 

What is the worst thing that can happen? The Psalmist says that even if the earth is removed, the mountains are carried into the sea, the water surges and roars, and the mountains shake, he will not fear. Can you say the same?

This same God, in whom the Psalmist trusted, is your God! The Psalmist's faith should be your faith as well! You can safely love and trust Him; He will never leave you or forsake you.

What an amazing God we serve!

God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, August 22, 2011

Forget and Rememeber!

 10Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house;
 11So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.
 12And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; even the rich among the people shall intreat thy favour.
 13The king's daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.
 14She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee.
 15With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king's palace.
 16Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth.
 17I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever. 

 Forget and Remember!

In Psalm 45 we are brought into the very throne room of God and are given the opportunity to behold Christ's beautiful bride. Who is this bride and what charge is given to her? The bride of Christ, drawn from the surrounding nations, is the church of God, consisting of all true believers from the beginning to the end of time. In Psalm 45, Christ's bride is charged to forget and remember! 

The beautiful bride is charged to forget her own people and her father's house. As children of God, we are wrenched from the sinful nations that seem to rule this world. As new creatures in Christ we are to forget the old sins and the old ways, and cling to Christ who grants to us a new creation. Indeed, as new believers, everything changes for us. Gone are the desires and goals of this world, and in their place lies that beautiful desire to love and please the Lord Jesus Christ above all.

Not only is the bride to forget the old ways, but she is charged to remember, not her fathers, but her children, for in her children will all of the earth be blessed. Her children will be princes in God's kingdom, and through them she will be remembered forever!

In some ways, reading Psalm 45 is like listening to a fairy tale where everything ends happily ever after! However, it is no fairy tale! In Christ, the church of God, His children, will be blessed for ever more. Though the earth may seem to be languishing, and all men seem to be rushing headlong into sin, and though the church of God seems to be ready to be overrun with sin and wickedness, God will prevail! 

Through the grace and help of God, His church will remain faithful and will overcome all of the wickedness of this world. And, yes, there truly is a happily ever after, when all of the saints of God will live and reign with Christ forever.

So, as the bride of Christ, let us forget and remember. Let us forget the old sin which so easily besets us, and remember Christ, our King, who lives and reigns supremely forever and ever!

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, August 19, 2011

Ivory Palaces

 6Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.
 7Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
 8All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.
 9Kings' daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir. 

Ivory Palaces

Psalm 45 continues to paint a stunning picture of God upon His throne. His kingdom is one of righteousness and holiness, a place where wickedness has no part. It is more than we can imagine! Living in a world so corrupted by sin and wickedness, we cannot imagine such a lofty place as the throne of God. The garments of the king smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia. Out of His ivory palaces flow righteousness, peace, joy, and contentment.

It is more than we can imagine, is it not? No king or ruler who lives today or has ever lived since the time of Solomon lived in such an elegance. We are far more accustomed to countries overflowing with debt; filling the world with corruption designed to increase the coffers of the wealthy off the backs of the poor. As a matter of fact, that is so common that we are not even shocked to hear of it.

However, God's righteousness, holiness, and purity have no end. This world in all of its wickedness has an end, but God's kingdom is eternal. Amazingly, God grants to His children the opportunity to share in His treasures of righteousness even while living in this world. With our hearts attuned to Him, we are able to share in the joys and delights of His holiness.

It is good for us to take time to dwell upon the righteousness of Christ, and to long for the day when we will leave the confines of this earth and live with Him forever. The things we know of Christ are but a shadow of the glories to come.

I leave you with the words of a beautiful hymn, penned by Henry Barraclough, based upon this very Psalm.
  1. My Lord has garments so wondrous fine,
    And myrrh their texture fills;
    Its fragrance reached to this heart of mine
    With joy my being thrills.
    • Refrain:
      Out of the ivory palaces,
      Into a world of woe,
      Only His great eternal love
      Made my Savior go.
  2. His life had also its sorrows sore,
    For aloes had a part;
    And when I think of the cross He bore,
    My eyes with teardrops start.
  3. His garments, too, were in cassia dipped,
    With healing in a touch;
    In paths of sin had my feet e’er slipped—
    He’s saved me from its clutch.
  4. In garments glorious He will come,
    To open wide the door;
    And I shall enter my heav’nly home,
    To dwell forevermore.
God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Christ the King

 1My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
 2Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.
 3Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.
 4And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.
 5Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee. 

 Christ the King

 My heart is overflowing with a good theme;
         I recite my composition concerning the King;
         My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
          (Psalm 45:1, New King James Version)

Psalm 45 is a beautiful Psalm of contemplation of the Lord Jesus Christ, the King. Who is this Christ we love and serve? Do we take time out of our busy days just to contemplate Christ?

Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever. (Psalm 45:2, King James Version)

I am always amazed when I read Psalms such as this, at the depth of understanding these Godly men had of the King of Kings, the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember, they did not have the New Testament writings that we have; Christ had not yet come. As we ponder the life of Christ as recorded in the Gospels, we certainly can affirm that, indeed, grace was poured upon His lips. 

We are also reminded, from this Psalm, that the Jewish people were expecting Christ to come as their physical King, who would sit on the throne of David. Gone, would be the Roman rule they were under, replaced by the Lord Jesus Himself. 

It was difficult, then, for them to accept Christ as their true Messiah. Instead of a proud king entering their lives with great pomp and ceremony, Jesus came as a poor carpenter urging them to return to God. Instead of the religion of rules and regulations of their time, Christ introduced a religion of humble repentance before God.

What is our view of Christ today? How has He personally impacted our lives? Do we view the Bible as a Book of rules and regulations to obey, or do we understand that it is a God's authoritative Word, continually pointing us to Christ.

Truly, the arrows of Christ are sharp in the heart of the King's enemies. In the end, nothing of this world will matter except our relationship to Christ. In Him, alone, is life and light for all who come to Him. With that being the case, is there anything in this world more important to pursue than a close relationship with Christ the King?

It is a good question to ponder, is it not?

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

True Heart!

 17All this is come upon us; yet have we not forgotten thee, neither have we dealt falsely in thy covenant.
 18Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from thy way;
 19Though thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death.
 20If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god;
 21Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.
 22Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter.
 23Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? arise, cast us not off for ever.
 24Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and forgettest our affliction and our oppression?
 25For our soul is bowed down to the dust: our belly cleaveth unto the earth.
 26Arise for our help, and redeem us for thy mercies' sake. 

True Heart!

In the book of Job we have a rather interesting scene portrayed. Satan comes before the throne of God accusing Job. "Of course Job is faithful to you," he taunts, "look how you have blessed him. But, if you take everything away from him, he will surely curse you." Was Satan correct in his assessment? What was Job's true heart?

In other words, do Christians serve God faithfully because of the great blessings He bestows upon them? Would their faithfulness continue if everything good were taken from them? 

It would seem that the writer of Psalm 44 is addressing this very issue. Things are obviously not going well for him. Look at his complaints:

*Thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death. 
*For thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter. 
*Our soul is bowed down to the dust: our belly cleaveth unto the earth. 

Though the psalmist voices his complaints to God, he never charges God foolishly. Though everything around us may fail, where would we turn apart from God? Is there any who loves us more than God loves us? Is there any who is higher, or greater, or mightier than our God? Is there any who deserves our total allegiance and honor more than God? No!

That is the very point that the psalmist is making. Though God may allow us to be tested beyond all hope and endurance, yet we will not fail Him or charge Him foolishly. Our total love and hope rests in Him alone. In the end, God is and will continue to be our only help and salvation; His arm is not short, neither will He ever forsake us.

Though the waters of this life may be deep; even if we never have another good day while on this earth, look what awaits God's children: life, peace, and joy in eternity with God forever! That is what defines the true heart of a Christian!

Go, and by the grace of God, walk faithfully with God all of the days of your life!

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cast Off

 9But thou hast cast off, and put us to shame; and goest not forth with our armies.
 10Thou makest us to turn back from the enemy: and they which hate us spoil for themselves.
 11Thou hast given us like sheep appointed for meat; and hast scattered us among the heathen.
 12Thou sellest thy people for nought, and dost not increase thy wealth by their price.
 13Thou makest us a reproach to our neighbours, a scorn and a derision to them that are round about us.
 14Thou makest us a byword among the heathen, a shaking of the head among the people.
 15My confusion is continually before me, and the shame of my face hath covered me,
 16For the voice of him that reproacheth and blasphemeth; by reason of the enemy and avenger. 

Cast Off

Does God need us? Is God obligated to us? Is God to be held in account if things go badly for us? Of course, the answer is, "No!" to all three questions. Why, then, do we tend to act as though these questions are true? When things go badly, why are Christians some of the first to hold God to account, charging Him with not coming to their aid?

We have a very narrow view of life, which is somewhat myopic. Though we know it is not true, we live as though we are each the center of our own universe. But, what of God? Is life just a haphazard jumble of events? Is there no order or purpose in the unfolding events of time upon this earth?

In a sense, the psalmist is asking God these same questions in the verses shown above from Psalm 44. He recognizes that they have been seemingly cast off by God. Wisely, the psalmist understands that all of their hope and strength rests in God, but he is admittedly confused by their current state of life. Where is God in all of this?

As Christians, we are often guilty of immersing ourselves in the affairs of this world, and only giving lip service to the God we serve. In response, God often upsets our world, giving us the opportunity to consider the realities of life, determining what is truly important and what is not. It is not God's purpose to grant us a life of wealth and ease, but rather to keep our hearts tuned to Him. Joy, peace, and happiness are not the results of this world, but are only truly found in God, our Father.

As we grow in the Lord, we begin to understand that, regardless of the current affairs of our life, God is our hope, our strength, and our life. That is a good thing; indeed, God is truly being gracious to us as we come to realize where our true strength lies.

Though the psalmist seems to be doubting God, we will see that, though he expresses doubts, yet his faith and hope really do rest in God. 

As Christians, there are many times it may seem as though we have been cast off by God. At times such as this, we must remember that it is not necessary to know all of the answers to the perplexities of life. God calls us to faith in Him--a faith that will not leave us ashamed, but will strengthen us in our relationship with Him. 

God is our light and salvation; in Him is no darkness, neither shadow of turning. He is the only worthy object of our faith! In truth, we, His children, are never cast off, but will transcend the boundaries of this world to live with Him forever!

What an amazing God we serve!

God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, August 15, 2011

My King

 4Thou art my King, O God: command deliverances for Jacob.
 5Through thee will we push down our enemies: through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us.
 6For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me.
 7But thou hast saved us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame that hated us.
 8In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever. Selah. 

My King

As I read through these verses from Psalm 44, I wondered what it would be like if the rulers of our nations believed these verses. For example, can you imagine President Obama, from the United States, saying, "Thou art my King . . . through thee will we push down our enemies . . . for we will not trust in our military might, but rather, in God we will boast all the day long, and praise His name forever."?

I can imagine George Washington saying such things, but not President Obama. Why? What has happened to the United States; indeed, what has happened to all of the nations of the world? It is fine for a person to be religious in our day, but it is certainly not politically correct to actually believe that God will save us. Instead, it is considered to be political suicide!

This is certainly a sad commentary for a supposedly "Christian" nation. What has happened to Christians in the world today that has caused such a lack of influence upon their governments? Christians today, by and large, are an apathetic lot. The passions of this world have overtaken any passion for the Lord. Winning the lottery is much more exciting than winning souls for Christ.

It all begins with each one of us, does it not? We cannot answer for our Christian friends and neighbors, but, before the Lord, we must answer for ourselves. We must ask ourselves, "Is God my King? If so, what plans of action have we put in place for growing in the Lord?"

Do we read the Bible systematically? Do we participate in Bible studies? Do we set aside a specific time each day to meditate and pray? These questions are just a start. You have all heard the saying, "If you shoot your arrow at nothing, that is exactly what you will get." What is your target? What is your plan of action?

You may say, "That all sounds good, but I do not have the time." In response, I would say, "As Christians we do not have the time not to do these things!" What is our purpose in life? Why are we here? Has God put us here to amass a fortune for ourselves and to indulge in all of the pleasures this life has to offer? 

Let us look at our perfect example:  Christ. He could have come to this earth in great pomp and ceremony; He could have chosen to live in great wealth and ease. Instead, He chose to be born into a poor family, working as a carpenter from a very young age. When He began His ministry, did He reach out to only the wealthy and prosperous men of His day? No! He went to the common people, presenting His Father, God, as the answer to all of their hopes and dreams, purposing by His death to purchase a people for Himself!

As we look to Jesus, we understand the ministry He has given to each one of His children. Each one is to nurture their own relationship with Christ, and then go to their peers, presenting Christ. No matter what a person's status in life may be, all need the Savior. That is the calling God has given to each of us; that defines our true purpose in this life.

No matter where we live or what we do, we must remember, "God is my King!"

God Bless You,
Linda

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Arm of God

 1We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work thou didst in their days, in the times of old.
 2How thou didst drive out the heathen with thy hand, and plantedst them; how thou didst afflict the people, and cast them out.
 3For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou hadst a favour unto them. 

 Arm of God

How are we affected by the study of history? Do we learn from the mistakes of our forefathers, or are we destined to repeat the same mistakes? By the time of David, many centuries had passed since the children of Israel entered the Promised Land. We know of the difficulties God's people faced in the wilderness; time after time they threw aside God's yoke of protection and rebelled against his commandments.

By the time David became King of Israel, had the people changed? It is obvious from Psalm 44 that the people understood that it was not by their own power or strength that they had become a great people. Rather, it was the arm of God that saved them from their enemies, and safely delivered them into their own land.

As Christians today, we are heirs of these same people. Most of us are not heirs by birth, but rather heirs by adoption. As children of God, we have been adopted into the covenant God made with His people. As heirs, what have we learned from the history of the children of Israel? Have we learned from their mistakes, or do we find ourselves repeating the same mistakes again and again?

Why is it so hard for us to trust God? Sometimes I think we believe that in the 21st century, we are a more advanced people, and therefore are more able to trust in ourselves and our own ingenuity to save us from the troubles that litter our paths. Surely our increase in knowledge has led to discoveries which prevent us from facing the same challenges that God's people did 2500 years ago. Right?

Solomon said, in Ecclesiastes, that there is nothing new under the sun. Man is still man, and God is still God. Sin is still sin, and righteousness is still righteousness. No amount of learning or increase in intelligence changes our state before God.

Today, just as it was true 2500 years ago, we are still saved by the arm of God, and not by our own devices. How much easier might our lives be if we truly understood the full implications of that statement? Go, today, in the power of God, and may His strength and might lead you in paths of great service for Him. That really is the issue, is it not? It is Christ who must be glorified by our lives, and not ourselves!

God Bless You,
Linda

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hope in God

 4Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.
 5Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. 

Hope in God

There is always hope! We have heard that saying over and over, but is it really true? After all, every road has an end. What do we do when we actually get to the end of the road? Where is hope, then?

The real secret lies in the object of our hope. How old are we when we begin to realize that our hope cannot rest in mere people? People have their limitations; no one can be there for us all of the time. As the psalmist pondered these thoughts, he qualified his hope.
Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.
And, that made all the difference! When the psalmist found himself at the altar of God, he realized that only there could he rest all of his hope and trust. The result was: exceeding joy!

When he pondered God, he asked himself the question,
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me?
What was the obvious answer?
Hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
Could it really be that easy? Yes! However, in our humanity it is so difficult for us to trust in God, whom we cannot see, rather than man who stands right before us. As a Christian, that really is the challenge. It is so important that we work to develop a close relationship with the Lord our God.

In time, we begin to understand, that though we may not see God, yet He never leaves our side; we are able to be in continual conversation with Him. As we grow and mature in Christ we begin to sense His presence and His encouragement. We also begin to understand the joy expressed by the psalmist. God is our exceeding joy; how we delight to praise Him.

Take some time today and just talk with the Lord; then, listen! Hope in God, for He alone deserves our trust, our hope, our honor, and our praise!

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, August 12, 2011

Send the Light

 1Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.
 2For thou art the God of my strength: why dost thou cast me off? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
 3O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. 

Send the Light

"What have I done to deserve this?" Can't you hear the psalmist pleading with God? Again, the psalmist finds himself almost overcome by the ungodly nation whose deceitfulness and lack of justice are about to become his undoing.

It does seem that way at times, does it not? One hardly expects to actually receive justice in our courts of law unless one has the money to pay someone off--and, of course, that is not justice at all. It seems as though we live in a time when justice for the criminal overtakes all thought of justice for the victim. Fear of overstepping the rights of the criminal causes even more victimizing of the victim.

Such seems to be the thoughts of the Psalmist in Psalm 43. Look how he questions himself. If God is my strength, why am I mourning because of the oppression of my enemies? Why does it seem like even God has abandoned me?

It is not easy, knowing the God we serve, to understand why things happen as they do. Why do babies die, while the wicked seem to go on unharmed with seemingly no consequences for the evil things they do? How can a God of love allow such things? That really seems to be the root of the psalmists inquiries. How did the psalmist resolve this issue in his own heart?

I think we always feel like we have to be able to answer all of the difficult questions of life, when in actuality, we need to renew our trust and fellowship with God and leave the resolution of such questions to Him. A time will come when all of the answers will come, and we will understand God's righteous resolution. "Send the light," became the psalmist's cry.
O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.
When the darkness of life overtakes us, it is time to remember that God is our light; in Him is no darkness at all, neither shadow of turning!
 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (James 1:17, King James Version)
God answered the psalmist's prayer, as He continues to answer our prayers. Let us look to God and, when the darkest hours come, pray that He will send the light, so that even when in the shadows of death, we will have a light to guide our path. 

God Bless You,
Linda




Thursday, August 11, 2011

God My Rock

 9I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
 10As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?
 11Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. 

 God My Rock
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
Remember that saying? It is really not true, is it? Words can hurt us! Broken bones will heal, but the damage done by words can fester for a lifetime. That is exactly what David is expressing in Psalm 42; the reproach of his enemies are like a sword in his bones.

I love the Psalms of David; when David's life seemed to be at his darkest hour, he reminded himself, yet again, that his hope needed to rest in God.
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
Time and again, David experienced a renewing of his spirit when he centered his focus on God, rather than on the painful circumstances of his life. It almost seemed too simple!

As Christians, we need to revitalize the dying art of meditation upon God, His Word, and the wondrous works He continually does in our lives. We are too busy to take that hour, that 30 minutes, or even that 15 minutes, every day to pour our hearts out to the Lord and focus on the reality of this being God's world. God created this world, and though it may seem to us to be careening out of control, it is progressing steadily along the course God has set from the day it was created.

Did Satan destroy God's creation in the Garden of Eden? No! Even then, God already had a plan in place that would bruise Christ's heal, but destroy Satan's head! (Genesis 3:15) We must remember that, as Christians, the victory has already been won. It is time that we stop giving in to the temptations of this world and set our hearts and minds on "God my Rock!"

How much peace and joy do we forfeit when we allow the mindset of this world to captivate our hearts and tear us from that sweet fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ? We are in possession of the Pearl of Great Price which no man (or Satan) can tear from our hands.
For I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
God Bless You,
Linda


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Deep Calls to Deep

 5Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.
 6O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.
 7Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.
 8Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life. 

Deep Calls to Deep

It is due to Psalms such as this that I decided to do an in-depth series from the Psalms entitled, "First Love." No one seems to understand better than David, the sweet Psalmist of Israel, the torrents of life that so quickly engulf us to the point that deep calls to deep, when the waves and billows of the waterfall of life have overcome us with their power and might.

What do we do? Where do we go for help? Certainly, upon reading of the life of David we know that he suffered many great times of anguish. Yes, we may say that he brought much of this upon himself due to his own sin, however that really is the point, is it not? Who of us is without sin?

Though God does not punish us for the sake of showing us who is really in control, or out of anger toward us. Rather, God uses the storms of this life for the opposite reason. God wants us to understand that nothing in this world is greater than Him, and no one in this world could ever begin to love us as much as He loves us! Not only does He love us beyond our understanding, but He is always with us.

 For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (Hebrews 13:5b, King James Version)
We can never hear those words often enough, can we? In our weakness and frailty it is good to be constantly reminded how deep God's love is for us, and how He constantly remains by our side even in the most difficult hour.
Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.
Day or night, God is constantly at our side, pouring His love upon us. He is the God of our life! 

When the difficult days come upon us, when deep calls to deep, let us remember to call upon our loving and faithful God. He will give us grace to go through the deep water and will carry us safely to the grassy bank, where He will flood us with His refreshing love and kindness. 

What an amazing God we serve!

God Bless You,
Linda



Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Thirsty Soul

 1As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
 2My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?
 3My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?
 4When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday. 

Thirsty Soul

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. (Psalm 42:2a, NKJV)

In reality, all people have a thirsty soul which thirsts for the living God. The difficulty is that most people do not recognize the object of their thirst. They may sense a void deep within themselves, or they may feel a sense of loss, but they do not understand the reason for this void.

We have all experienced thirst; imagine how good that icy cold glass of water tastes after several hours in the hot sun. I think there are times that we would even be willing to pay a million dollars for that single glass of water! Yet, man's thirst for God is much greater than even life itself. Life is fleeting, perhaps only a few mere decades, yet eternity is forever.

That very thirst which exists in the depths of our souls is what makes us different from the animals. Man was created in the image of God: not just a physical image, but a spiritual image. Our spirits long for sweet fellowship with our Creator, the living God.

Can that thirst be satisfied? Why is it that most men never find the answer for the longing in the depths of their hearts? Yes, that thirst can be satisfied, but that satisfaction only comes from God, Himself, and in the manner in which He has ordained it to be!

In reality, man's sin separates him from God; sin has caused a deep chasm to exist between man's spirit and the Spirit of God. However, our amazing God was not undone by man's sin, but, rather, made a way for that chasm to be crossed. That bridge between God and man came in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the God-man who came to this earth for that express purpose. His death on the cross paid the penalty for that sin, and His resurrection conquered death forever.

What, then, is the remedy for man's thirsty soul? That remedy is Christ! When our very souls are cast before Christ, when every fiber of our lives is given to Him, Christ fills every corner of our souls with His light and glory. The resulting joy and peace that reigns in our lives is inexpressible and unimaginable!

David expressed it in this way:
When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.
Paul, in 1 Corinthians, said,
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (1 Corinthians 2:9, King James Version)
May we, by the grace of God, walk in sweet fellowship with Christ, not overcome by the things of this world, but with our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith!

God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, August 08, 2011

Before the Face of God

 10But thou, O LORD, be merciful unto me, and raise me up, that I may requite them.
 11By this I know that thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me.
 12And as for me, thou upholdest me in mine integrity, and settest me before thy face for ever.
 13Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen. 

 Before the Face of God

One of the great blessings of having the entire Word of God at our disposal is that we have the privileged view of the bigger picture of life. As we read through the plights of God's people in Old Testament times, we find ourselves getting frustrated with their continual disobedience. Can they not see how easy their life would be if they were just obedient to God? How could they be so foolish as to serve the idols of the neighboring nations?

Then, we stop and look at our own life and realize how easy it is to forsake God and serve the idols of this world. We have the entire Word of God which reveals God's faithfulness to His children. Though they would wander away from Him, He was always there to forgive them and come to their aid when they humbled themselves before Him. David stated it this way in Psalm 41, verse 12,
And as for me, thou upholdest me in mine integrity, and settest me before thy face for ever.
Just think of what David is saying; we are sitting before the face of God, and will remain there forever! How differently might we live if we could imprint that picture in our minds in such a way that it would remain there 24/7? 
However, what do we see every single day of our lives? We see the world, with all of its tantalizing temptations, running at a break-neck pace in the opposite direction. Yet, they seem to be happy and successful without God. How can that be? 

Do you think, perhaps, we have a distorted view of reality? Are the people of the world happy and successful? What do they do to fill that empty void meant for Christ alone? More importantly, even if they were totally happy and successful by our standards, what of eternity?

Let us take some time today and ponder the truth. God is God. He sits on the throne of heaven with the earth as His footstool continually monitoring and aiding His children, wooing them back from times of disobedience, and filling their hearts with joy, peace, and love. What is more important than that? Nothing! 

As you go through the events of this day, may you ever be mindful that everything that happens to you happens before the face of God. He sees, He cares, He understands, and He loves with a love beyond our comprehension. 

What an amazing God we serve!

God Bless You,
Linda

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Friends or Enemies

 4I said, LORD, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee.
 5Mine enemies speak evil of me, When shall he die, and his name perish?
 6And if he come to see me, he speaketh vanity: his heart gathereth iniquity to itself; when he goeth abroad, he telleth it.
 7All that hate me whisper together against me: against me do they devise my hurt.
 8An evil disease, say they, cleaveth fast unto him: and now that he lieth he shall rise up no more.
 9Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me. 

Friends or Enemies!
David, the Psalmist, was certainly struggling with life when he wrote this psalm, and his struggles all to often have a very familiar ring to them. Friends are so important to us, but what happens when we must ask the question, "Are they friends or enemies?" What happens when our dearest friends turn against us and become our greatest enemies?

David was so perplexed that he was considering his own sin. "Could I have brought this upon myself by my own sin?" he seemed to ask. He already knew that he could not trust his enemies; when they spoke to him their words were filled with lies, but now, even his friends had turned against him. What was he to do?

It is at times such as this that we begin to understand the precious relationship we have with the Lord Jesus Christ. Even our own sin does not separate us from Christ. Though it does affect our closeness to Him, He is always ready to forgive when we come to Him with a repentant heart. There is no person on earth, no matter how close they may be to us, who is as faithful as our dearest Friend. At some time or another, everyone will hurt or disappoint us, just as we will do to them. But, Christ never leaves or forsakes us, and He never hurts or disappoints us.

I wonder if that is the reason God allows such things to happen to us. 

It is interesting to note that David, when overcome by the circumstances of his life, always turned to the Lord, and he always found the Lord waiting right there for him. No matter how great his sin, God always responded to his repentant heart.

What kind of a relationship do we have with Christ? Is He our best Friend? Do we know what it is like to have times of sweet fellowship with Him? How much time do we set aside to just quietly reflect upon who Christ is and what He has done in our own lives? Truly, these times are not wasted! 

Friends or enemies? People will fail us, but Christ is always there; His love never fails!

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, August 05, 2011

Consider the Poor

 1Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.
 2The LORD will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies.
 3The LORD will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness. 

Consider the Poor
Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.

How much time or effort do we put into considering the poor? Do we even consider the poor to be our responsibility? After all, is it not the duty of governments or the church to take care of their poor? 
The Psalmist tells us that the Lord will deliver the poor in times of trouble, but just how does the Lord do that? Could it be that God is expecting His children to show compassion on the poor? Could it be that we are the very ones God is planning to use to deliver the poor in times of trouble?

When we come to Christ many things change; our hearts that were once motivated by selfishness are now tuned to Christ. Rightly we ask, "What would Jesus do?" We do not have to go to a foreign missionary field to serve the Lord; as a matter of fact, he has given each one of His children their own personal missionary field right where they are.

Yes, we need to be concerned about the poor in other parts of the world, but we need to especially be concerned about the poor in our own neighborhoods, cities, states, and countries. Ours is not a salvation by works, meaning our works do not save us. However, evidence of that salvation in our hearts and lives is made known by our works.

So, I would ask you this day to consider the poor. What are some things you could do right where you live to help those who do not have the means to help themselves? Remember, too, your help does not have to be the giving of money. For example, perhaps you could serve your neighbor by staying with her small children one afternoon a week so that she could have some well-deserved time for herself. Maybe your neighbor just needs a friend; perhaps God has placed you right where you are so you could be that friend.

How different would our world be if all true Christians took seriously God's commandment to consider the poor?

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Rejoice and Be Glad!

 16Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified.
 17But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God. 

 Rejoice and Be Glad!

Have you ever had one of those days when the last thing you want to hear is, "Rejoice and be glad!"? Life certainly throws enough surprises that it is truly impossible to run around being happy all of the time. Do you think that is what David, the psalmist, really means in this Bible passage from Psalm 40?

If we look at the rest of Psalms 40:16, David clarifies his command by saying, Let such as love thy salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified. I believe that David is not thinking of being happy, happy, happy, all of the time, but rather, he is speaking of a deeper happiness and joy that go beyond just a smile on our face. 

How do we respond when life throws curves of difficulty in our path? What happens when we find out that our brother-in-law has inoperable cancer? Of course, we do not put a smile on our face and say, "I have to be happy anyway." Rather, we grieve with our sister, comfort her and her husband in any way we can, and remind them that we are praying for God's grace through these most difficult days.

The happiness we feel is a deep peace and consolation, knowing that nothing is happening apart from the good and perfect will of God. We know that God will answer our prayers and wrap His arms of grace around our sister and brother-in-law. In addition, we take great comfort in seeing the way God has worked in their lives especially in the last two years, bringing them both into a deeper relationship with Him. In God's amazing timing, He has already been preparing them for this time.

In great peace, we say with David, But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God. We know, and are comforted that our God will answer that prayer, and deep within our hearts we are comforted and can still rejoice and be glad!

What an amazing God we serve!

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Invisible Forces

 13Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me: O LORD, make haste to help me.
 14Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it; let them be driven backward and put to shame that wish me evil.
 15Let them be desolate for a reward of their shame that say unto me, Aha, aha. 

Invisible Forces

Perhaps I have seen too many cartoons, but when I read the verses shown above, I can visualize a superhero with lightning streaking out from his pointed finger and driving back the hordes of evil seeking to overpower him. In reality, that is really not too far from the truth. Though we cannot see the invisible forces of good and evil that surround us, we know that God does drive back those who wish evil upon us.

In my Bible reading today, I read one of my favorite stories about the prophet Elisha. from 2 Kings 6. The king of Syria was making war against Israel, yet it seemed to him that he had a spy in his court, because Israel always seemed to know when and where they would strike. Unknown to the king, God was speaking through the prophet, Elisha, so that he could warn Israel of any imminent attack.

The king of Syria, learning of this, decided to find and kill Elisha. Discovering that he was in Dothan, the king of Syria surrounded the city with all of his forces. Things certainly never looked more bleak for Elisha. The servant of Elisha, seeing the city surrounded said, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?" (2 Kings 6:15, NKJV

Read the what happened in verses 16 - 17.
So he answered, "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them." And Elisha prayed, and said, "LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see." Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
What did the servant see? The servant saw the fiery horses and chariots of the LORD surrounding the army of Syria. Now I know, this makes for a wonderful story, but what does that have to do with us in our day? 

Is God's arm shortened in our day? Is He somehow limited in His ability to help His people? No! We have every right to cry out, just as David did, Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me: O LORD, make haste to help me. I sometimes wonder how many times we fail to receive God's help because we do not believe He is really there to help us. Somehow, we find ourselves unworthy of His time and effort.

We must remember who we really are! We are the children of God, not righteous on our own account, but righteous because we have been bought and paid for by the blood of Christ. As new creatures in Christ, we have been transformed; old things are past and all things have become new. As children of God, we have every right to call out to God for help no matter what our circumstances, and to expect that God will truly help us.

God's invisible forces are just as active today as they were in the time of Elisha. How amazing is that? Now that should put a spring in your step and a song in your heart!

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Truth Hurts!

 11Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me.
 12For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me. 

Truth Hurts!
When I was a young girl, my oldest brother used to exasperate me to no end when he would say to me, "Truth hurts!" Of course, I was usually trying to hide something I had done wrong. In Psalm 40, the psalmist is telling us that God's truth preserves.

As David ponders his own life, he tells us that unnumbered evils surrounded him, to the extent that he could not even look up, causing his heart to fail. Who among us can come to any different conclusion when pondering his own life, especially when considering that life from God's perspective? 

When comparing our sinful lives to a wise and holy God, who sees and understands all things, we have no hope left within us. We stand eternally condemned before we even draw our first breath of life. Indeed, truth hurts! 

Yet, God did not leave us in this pitiful position, did He? God, through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, provided a way of escape, a preserving truth, in which we can stand before this same holy God in perfect righteousness. No, it is not our righteousness, is it? It is the righteousness of the Lord imputed to us.

As Christians, it is easy to take these truths for granted; it is easy to live day after day consumed by the cares of this world with no thought of our standing before God. Thankfully, God has provided us with the Psalms, largely written by David, who beautifully expressed a binding relationship with God who carried him through the troublesome difficulties of his life.

This same God is our God, whose loving kindness and truth preserve us through all of the storms of life that lash down upon us. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day. (Psalm 91:5, KJV)

So, in the end, truth hurts or truth preserves. It all depends on one's relationship with God who holds the key to all truth!

God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, August 01, 2011

Great Congregation

 9I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest.
 10I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation. 

Great Congregation

Who is your great congregation? David, the psalmist, said, I have preached [proclaimed] righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest.

David was not a preacher; he was a shepherd boy who became king. As such, his "congregation" changed from that of other shepherd boys to those in the courts of his kingdom. Every Christian has his own personal congregation, determined by his own lifestyle, career, and other activities.

When one becomes a child of God, he does not do so in isolation; as one lives his life to the honor and glory of God, it is evident to others that a change has taken place. Whether one speaks of this change or not, his changed life as well as changed desires proclaims the Gospel of Christ to his own personal congregation of people.

As Christians, we should be ready to respond to those around us who notice the change in our lives and begin to ask questions.

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: (1 Peter 3:15, King James Version)

Like David, God gives to each and every believer his own, personal, great congregation. This, of course, begs the question. How faithful are we in proclaiming the hope that is in us both by our actions and also by the words that come out of our mouths?

I, being a timid person by nature, often froze at the idea of telling others about Christ. What I discovered, however, was the ease in which a word or two could be simply inserted into every conversation. Sometimes it was just a matter of commenting on the beautiful weather God had given to us; other times it was simply offering to pray for someone who had shared their own troubled lives or difficulties with me.

It amazed me at how often simple comments would lead into conversations about God and His faithfulness. We must remember that God has made us just the way we are; it is not necessary for us to stand on the corners of our cities and preach the Gospel. Rather, we Christians need to pray for God's grace to help us live in a manner which is pleasing to God. By God's grace, we have been transformed into new creatures: old things have passed away; all things have become new.

Let us, then, join David in saying,
I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation.

God Bless You,
Linda