Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sin and Prayer

 13I will go into thy house with burnt offerings: I will pay thee my vows,
 14Which my lips have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken, when I was in trouble.
 15I will offer unto thee burnt sacrifices of fatlings, with the incense of rams; I will offer bullocks with goats. Selah.
 16Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.
 17I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue.
 18If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:
 19But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer.
 20Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me. 

Sin and Prayer

What is the relationship between sin and prayer? The psalmist certainly alludes to it in Psalm 66 when he says,
If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.
Could it be that the same relationship between sin and prayer exists today? During those times in which it seems as though our prayers just bounce off the ceiling, it would be good for us to have a time of self-examination.

It is not always easy for us to be honest with ourselves, as we are prone to excuse our thoughts and actions based upon our circumstances. However, it is important that we remember that we are not comparing ourselves to other people, but are comparing ourselves with God. We must ask ourselves whether our thoughts and actions are acceptable to a righteous and holy God who cannot even look upon sin.

The Old Testament is ripe with illustrations of both God's blessing and curses upon His own people. In times when the people of Judah were faithful to God, even armies of 300,000 were no match for the people of God. Yet, when Judah fell into apostasy, their own huge army was no match for the small armies of their enemies.

We must always remember that we serve the same God today, and the same relationship between sin and prayer exists in our own personal lives, as well as in the lives of the nations.

When we see our countries, especially those which were once faithful to God, fall into great sin and disobedience against the Word of God, we are right to tremble. It is certainly not politically correct or even acceptable among religious circles to equate natural disasters with God's displeasure with a country, however it is a doctrine taught extensively in Scripture.

Psalm 66 ends with the wonderful assurance that God does bless His people and answer their prayers.
But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.
We can go, then, understanding the relationship between sin and prayer. If we find ourselves straying from the Word of God, we must fall before Him in repentance, knowing that He will forgive. Then, we can go to God, being assured that He will answer our prayers.

What an amazing God we serve! He loves His people so much!

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holds Our Soul!

 8O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heard:
 9Which holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved.
 10For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.
 11Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins.
 12Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.

 Holds Our Soul!
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28, KJV
What makes us different than the animals? God has given to man a soul; animals have life, but do not have a soul. What, then, is the significance of the psalmist's words in Psalm 66?
O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heard: which holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved.
Because we have souls, we are eternal beings. It is true that our body suffers death, but our soul lives forever. Therefore, our consciousness does not end at death. The very part of you that thinks, and is aware of your surroundings is the part of you that will live on forever!

Understanding that helps us to realize the importance of Psalm 66:9. As Christians, God holds our soul. How is that manifest during our lifetime on this earth? The psalmist answers that question in Psalm 66:10-12.

It is God, who loves our very soul, who allows us to be tried as silver, and allows affliction to be laid upon us that we may be purified through the fire and water of life. That purification does not save us, as only Christ is able to do that. However, it causes us to continually go before God and find in Him all of our help and consolation.

It is important that we understand that it is God who safely brings us through the difficulties of life. Nothing in this life can help us or console us--that power is given only to God.

One of the things that has impressed me in my Old Testament Bible reading is that David is one of the few kings who served God all of his life. It is true that he sinned greatly regarding his adultery and murder in the lives of Bathsheba and Uriah, however when approached with his sin, he fell down in great humility before God and plead for God's forgiveness.

Most of the good kings of Judah who worshiped and served God seemed to leave Him during the latter years of their lives. What a sad commentary, and what a reminder to us that, by the grace of God, we need to diligently seek the Lord all of the days of our lives.

No wonder the Psalms, especially those written by David, provide so much help and comfort to us in this life. David understood, as did this psalmist, that God holds our soul!

God Bless You,
Linda





Monday, November 28, 2011

Works of God

 5Come and see the works of God: he is terrible in his doing toward the children of men.
 6He turned the sea into dry land: they went through the flood on foot: there did we rejoice in him.
 7He ruleth by his power for ever; his eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah. 

Works of God

As we read the Old Testament stories displaying the wondrous works of God on behalf of His people, it is appropriate to ask ourselves, where is God today? Does He still work on behalf of His people today, causing some nations to rise while allowing others to fall?

In Old Testament times, the nations believed that their country or city was protected by their gods. If their god was angry at them, he would allow other nations to overpower them. We, in our advanced age, see this as foolishness. Sadly, the nations then had a better understanding of the spirit world than we do today.

As Christians we understand that the works of God are manifested today just as much as they were during the Old Testament times. God rules this world! Even though men foolishly believe that they rule their nations by their own power and strength, it is God who allows one ruler to reign and another to be overcome.

God, who turned the sea into dry land that allowed the children of Israel to escape from Pharaoh's armies, has the same power today to work on behalf of His people. Sadly, Christians today have become apathetic in their devotion to God, not understanding that God still works on their behalf even in the seemingly insignificant aspects of life.

What the psalmist understood and expressed in Psalm 66 is still true in the 21st century!
He ruleth by his power for ever; his eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves.
Let us, by the grace of God, see the works of God as He lives and rules on behalf of His children today!

God Bless You,
Linda

Saturday, November 26, 2011

All the Earth!

 1Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands:
 2Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.
 3Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee.
 4All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah. 

All the Earth!
All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name.
When we truly stop to think of this wondrous God we serve, we are certainly left speechless! Who, in all the annals of time has ever heard of a God, who rather than punish men for their sins, sent His own Son to die for the sins of man, and then offers to man eternal life and glory with Him forever! Of course, the only catch is that man has to make a choice as to whether he will continue to immerse himself in sin or choose the path of life and righteousness with Christ forever.

It seems to be a "no brainer," and yet we know that, in reality, very few choose life with Christ. Yet for those, chosen of God, who make that step of life and light, the glories are never-ending! Unfortunately, while still on this earth, our own struggle with our natural, sin nature causes us unending grief. We truly do love our sin, and find it impossible to give up.

In my current Bible reading, I am in the books of 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles. What a sad commentary for the nation of Israel. First, split apart by dissension, the kingdoms are led by one king after another. None of the kings of the norther tribes, Israel, served God, and many of the kings of the southern tribes, Judah, did not serve God. In spite of momentous times in their history, seeing God miraculously come to their aid again and again, most of the people chose the gods of the nations surrounding them.

Rare was the king who served God all of his days. Even Solomon, the wisest and wealthiest man alive, left the God He loved in his latter days and served the gods of his many wives and concubines. Of course, we have only to look into our heart of hearts to understand the difficulties they faced. Left to ourselves, we would make the same choices.

Though our works do not save us, it is so important that every child of God works out his own salvation in fear and trembling. In other words, we must actively pursue Christ by spending time in His Word and in prayer and fellowship with Him. Though we do not have the power in ourselves to remain faithful to Him, God grants us the help of His Holy Spirit to guide us and keep us faithful to Him.

The psalmist in Psalm 66 reminds us that man will not always be so ignorant. Though most may reject Christ all of their lives, the time will come at the end of the age, when all the earth will bow down and worship the Lord.

How much better to seek the Lord now while He may be found than to live all eternity without Him.
Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands:
Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.
God Bless You,
Linda













Thursday, November 24, 2011

Come Ye Thankful

 9Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it.
 10Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof.
 11Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness.
 12They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness: and the little hills rejoice on every side.
 13The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing. 

Come Ye Thankful

How fitting that this is our Bible passage for today, as this is the day that we celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States. I considered writing a special devotion for Thanksgiving and then continuing on with Psalm 65 the next day. However, as I read this passage from Psalm 65, I realized that it is a very fitting text to use for a Thanksgiving devotional.

Having the internet at our disposal offers us the unique ability to "see" practically anyplace in the world we want to see. I love to look at pictures from countries far removed from my home state of Iowa. Although the buildings may be constructed differently, there are really very few differences. Oh, it is true, some places are desert lands, some inundated with rivers and streams, some mountainous, etc., but nature is still nature.

The sun shines in the desert just as it shines in the mountains, and though the desert receives very little water, there are desert rain storms just as there are rain and snow storms in the mountains. Each land has its own unique creatures, as well as creatures that are found practically every place on our globe. Birds fly over the sand as well as over the water, and creatures burrow under the sand as well as in the crags of the rocks.

We have a great tendency to take our world for granted, and thereby take God for granted as well. What an amazing land He has created and given to man, with the charge to dress it and keep it. Man can do many things, but can we really make things grow? The psalmist was right to proclaim:
Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it. Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof.
This, indeed, is God's earth. He has provided us with a beautiful earth, sends the rains to water it, and gives it the ability to grow a diversity of plants to feed us. However, it is not just a utilitarian land; rather, it is a land filled with awesome and wondrous beauty as well. 

Take some time today, in the busyness of the holiday, to walk outside and enjoy the lovely earth God has provided for us. Just imagine what it would be like without the sound of the birds or without the trees and flowers that dress the land. Even in the winter, the whiteness of the snow provides a stunning display of God's beautiful handiwork.

Yes, come ye thankful people and enjoy the world God has created for you!

God Bless You,
Linda



Wednesday, November 23, 2011

God Our Confidence!

 5By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation; who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea:
 6Which by his strength setteth fast the mountains; being girded with power:
 7Which stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people.
 8They also that dwell in the uttermost parts are afraid at thy tokens: thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice.

 God Our Confidence!

Why does the Christian have such confidence in God? David stated of God,
Who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea.
To answer that question truthfully, let us think a minute of ourselves. When approached with a situation, how do we make our decisions? Most of us draw upon our own experiences, and maybe the experiences of others, but, in the end, we make our decisions based upon what is best for us. We may consider the morality of a circumstance, but will still lean toward our own self interests.

God bases His decisions upon righteousness. There is not even a shadow of turning in God! No matter how such decisions may appear or affect each individual, they are still the right decisions to make. That should be the determining factor for all of our decision-making as well, but the difficulty lies in our own lack of ability to always discern what is the righteous decision to make.

Imagine a world where no such dichotomy existed; imagine a world in which every single person bases every single decision on righteousness. We cannot even imagine such a thing, can we?

Yet, this is the God we serve! He is a God of perfect righteousness and holiness, and He is awesome in His strength and understanding. He just spoke, and this entire world came into being, and what a world it is! This is not a world of chaos and confusion, but it is a world established in perfect order. The balance of nature did not just happen by chance, but rather, it happened by design--the design of our holy and righteous Father.

Men, worldwide, are afraid of the tokens of God. If we do not think that is true, just imagine for a moment standing in the center of a tornado, or being outside when a Category 5 hurricane washes ashore. These signs of nature are just a mere token of the power of the God we serve. You see, in God's power, he could, if he chose, take an individual and place them in the middle of a storm of fury without them experiencing even a scrape, for even the winds obey His voice!

Yes, God is our confidence, for in Him will no unrighteousness be found! His decisions are always perfect and righteous in every single instance. He, alone, deserves our honor and our praise.

To Him be the glory forever!

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Choices!


4 Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.

(Psalm 65:4, King James Version)

Choices!

God makes choices! Just as God chose a people for Himself, beginning with the call of Abraham, so He continued to make choices throughout the life of Christ, and will continue even unto the end of time. David, being a king, understood the sovereignty of God. As king, he made many choices; choices which had a profound effect upon his subjects.

Being mere people, we cannot begin to understand the interactions of God with the humanity He has created, but we do know that David was correct. Those chosen by God are truly blessed.

Why, then, do we, as Christians, have such a tendency to take God's choices for granted, and why do we fight against God's choices for us? Do we live as those who are truly blessed? Do we even feel blessed, or are we among those who must complain about everything? 

As Christians, it is true that it takes a lifetime to learn to be satisfied with the goodness of God, and to worship, gladly, in His holy temple. As we look back over the years of our lives, I wonder how many things would have been so much easier if we had simply trusted in the choices of God, rather than to kick and squirm and seek to do things our own way.

As Christians, our lives are a reflection of the good and bad choices we have made. Sometimes we seem to take the safer, less traveled route, trusting in God's help, and God's blessings seem to follow us wherever we go. At other times we seek to chisel our own path, circumventing the instructions of God, and we consequently face struggle after struggle before we come, humbly to God and seek Him out.

Life is definitely about choices! No matter what life may bring, those who make the choice of serving and loving God will never be disappointed. Though life may bring many trials and frustrations, God has already won the final victory. When the years of this life are ended, we will be blessed to live out all of eternity with God our Father, and Christ our Redeemer.

Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus!

God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, November 21, 2011

Praise unto Thee!

 1Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion: and unto thee shall the vow be performed.
 2O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.
 3Iniquities prevail against me: as for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away. 

 Praise unto Thee!

For the believer, God is the source, the depth, the height, and the breadth of all of our strength and hope. Truly, to God alone, we say, “I offer all of my praise unto Thee!”

In Psalm 65, verses 1-3, we sense the tension that David felt, and which we also feel, when considering the realities of trying to live a life to the glory and honor of God, our Father. Though our heart is willing and desirous of faithfully serving God, we are left with a meager service, at best, for our sins seem to ever so diligently creep in, seeking to destroy our hope and faith.

However, Christ, our Hope and our Light, has purged our iniquities away! His death on the cross has conquered the sin and death that seeks to slay us. Indeed, unto Christ has all flesh gone; only in Him have all men found the one, true source of all hope, peace, and joy by having their sins removed, as far as the east is from the west!

Even David, though living long before Christ walked this earth, looked forward to that great event when Christ would put an end to the victory of sin in his life. Though he did not know the details, he did know and understand that God was the only One who could purge his sins away!

For the Christian these are the glorious truths that give us hope in the middle of the frustrations of life. Apart from Christ, where is the joy, the hope, and the assurance that God has conquered, forever, the effects of sin and misery upon our lives? God is the only One to whom all who pray the sinner’s prayer will find eternal rest and peace.

Yes, let us join with David in saying, “May all glory and praise unto Thee, O God, be given, for You hear our prayer and wash all of our iniquities away!”

What an amazing God we serve!

God Bless You,
Linda




Friday, November 18, 2011

All Men Shall Fear


 7But God shall shoot at them with an arrow; suddenly shall they be wounded.
 8So they shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves: all that see them shall flee away.
 9And all men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God; for they shall wisely consider of his doing.
 10The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and shall trust in him; and all the upright in heart shall glory. 

All Men Shall Fear

As we looked at yesterday's devotion, we pondered the true heart of man noting that those without Christ were desperately wicked. What of the wicked? What happens to them? As Psalm 64 continues, we understand that, in the end, all men shall fear, and all men shall declare the work of God.

In essence, we already know how the story ends. Just as in a good fiction, all seems totally hopeless until the hero stuns his readers with a seemingly impossible victory, so, too, in the end, the wicked will also perish. Then, when all men stand before the great judgment seat of God, they will fear God, and they will declare His marvelous works.
The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and shall trust in him; and all the upright in heart shall glory.
As Christians we have every reason, right now to praise and glorify the Lord. Even if we are right in the middle of a most difficult time, we know that our God is God. He rules the earth with a mighty hand, and in the end, He will bring the righteous to Him and cast away the wicked forever!

As I think of these things, I am amazed, again, at how much David, the psalmist, understood these things. Even though Christ had not come, David had great confidence in His Father, God, knowing that, in the end, God would make all things right.

As Christians today, we have so much more knowledge of God through His Word. Christ has come, and has fulfilled all of the prophecies concerning Him in the Old Testament. Through Him our salvation is complete, for He has paved a path for us directly to God, our Father. 

No matter who we are; no matter how great or small we may be in the eyes of men, we are loved by God, Almighty, King of the universe! He takes great joy in having a personal relationship with each and every one of us.

Yes, the day will come when all men shall fear, but for the children of God, that fear is a fear of honor and respect for God and for the Lord Jesus Christ. In Him is all the fullness of love, joy, and peace. In Him we can rest both now and forever more!

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Heart of Man

 5They encourage themselves in an evil matter: they commune of laying snares privily; they say, Who shall see them?
 6They search out iniquities; they accomplish a diligent search: both the inward thought of every one of them, and the heart, is deep. 

Heart of Man

What is the true heart of man? We all want to believe that all men are basically good, and that, in their heart of hearts, they want what is the best for all people. The Bible, however, never points to the heart of man as being basically good. The heart of man, left to itself, is only evil continually.

I really do not like thinking that way, do you? However, the psalmist made no pretense in his comments regarding the wickedness of man. The real problem is that the wicked do not see themselves as wicked; they are just people like you and I, trying to do the best in this life that they are able to do. What, then, makes them wicked?

Those who live their lives apart from God are entirely wicked! The only difference for believers is the changes made in their hearts by God. Even Jesus said, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. (Matthew 19:17, Mark 10:18, and Luke 18:19, KJV)

Perhaps this is easier to understand when we realize that nowhere, in all of the universe, does goodness exist apart from God. God, alone, is good! We may view ourselves as just as good as the next person, maybe even better, but when we compare ourselves to a perfect, righteous, and holy God, we must all admit that we cannot possibly measure up. In comparison to God, we are all wicked!

That is why we all need Christ. Only Christ, the perfect man, and perfect God, was able to bridge the gap between God and man. When we accept Christ as the only One who can save us from death brought on by our wickedness, we receive the righteousness of Christ. When God looks upon believers, He does not see their sin, but rather sees the righteous blood of Christ.

How does all of that work? I do not know! But this I know, once I was lost with no hope for rescue, but now I have been found and with it has come all of the blessings of Christ: love, joy, peace, gentleness, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
 23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

Against such, there is no law! 

So, let us not despair. Though the heart of man is desperately wicked, the heart of Christ is filled with joy and peace, forever! Let us reach out then, not for the heart of man, but for the heart of Christ!

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fear

 1Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy.
 2Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity:
 3Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words:
 4That they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not. 

Fear
Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy.
David, the writer of this psalm was certainly acquainted with enemies, but he also saw, again and again, the hand of God actively delivering him from the schemes of the wicked. That did not necessarily mean, however, that he was unaffected by the threats of his enemies. David understood the very real threat to his own effectiveness if he allowed his fears to rule his thoughts and life.

Sadly, it does not seem to take Satan much effort at all to fill our hearts and lives with fear and thereby to keep us from living and serving the God we love. We think far too much of what the world considers right and proper, and are far too willing to keep from doing things that might cause others to laugh at us or to ridicule us. How much more are we stopped from serving the Lord if we perceive that we might actually be in physical danger?

If we think this is not true, we can just look at the state of the world today for verification. Who would have dreamed that God would be so far removed from every day life. God is not allowed in schools, in courts, in public places, and is quickly being removed from the airwaves. Just recently, one of the major satellite providers has removed all Christian programming from their available networks. How could this have happened in such a short amount of time? When Christians allow their fears to keep them from being the salt of the earth, the salt loses its savor, and the worldwide results are devastating!

As is evident in this psalm, the wicked are not afraid.
Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words: That they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not.
Solomon said that there is nothing new under the sun, and he was certainly right. How many times have we read words right out of the Psalms of David that might just have well come from the pages of our daily newspapers? 

What is the answer? David knew the answer--the answer was found in God. Just as he prayed, so must we: Preserve my life from fear of the enemy. David's God is our God; just as He continually preserved the life of David, so will He preserve our lives until we have completed the work He has assigned for us to do.

By the grace of God, let us find ourselves willing and determined to spend our lives in the service of the Lord. Nothing we do in this life can have the same lasting effect as the things we do for the Lord. That is why we are here, and that is where we will find the ultimate joy and fulfillment in life.

Solomon summed it up this way: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. Ecclesiastes 12:13b, KJV.

God Bless You,
Linda




Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rejoice in God

 9But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
 10They shall fall by the sword: they shall be a portion for foxes.
 11But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that sweareth by him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped. 

Rejoice in God

This is certainly not a new theme for David, but it is a theme well worth repeating. Not many of us have experienced the extended grief that David experienced, first at the hands of King Saul, and then later, at the hands of his own sons. David understood the necessity of leaving the comforts of home and literally running for his life.

Yet there is no better advice that David could give than to rejoice in God. Why is that? By the end of his life, David had seen, time after time, God's amazing intercession on his behalf. How many times was he right in the palm of his enemies' hands, and yet God delivered him, sometimes by miraculous means, and sometimes through the stealth of his own army?

One of my favorite stories is found in 2 Samuel 18.
 6So the people went out into the field against Israel: and the battle was in the wood of Ephraim;
 7Where the people of Israel were slain before the servants of David, and there was there a great slaughter that day of twenty thousand men.
 8For the battle was there scattered over the face of all the country: and the wood devoured more people that day than the sword devoured. (2 Samuel 18:6-8, King James Version)
Absalom, David's son, was trying to usurp the throne, and had raised a large army to defeat David. The people of Israel (the army of Absalom) were slain before the servants of David. Look at the last phrase of verse 8, "And the wood devoured more people that day than the sword devoured." How can the woods devour men? What an amazing demonstration of God miraculously working on behalf of David.

David was the God-ordained king, and no man could overthrow him. Does God work on our behalf in the same way? Yes!

God has a specific purpose for every single one of His children. No man can destroy what God has purposed. As children of God, we are safely nestled in His hands until the day He has ordained, before time began, that our life on this earth shall end.

When we ponder these things, how can we not rejoice in God? This is His world and yet He has planned that the foolish ones of this world (that is us), should confound the wise of this world. No man can thwart the will of God, for what He has planned from before the creation of the world will come to pass.

Join me today as we rejoice in God!

God Bless You,
Linda





Monday, November 14, 2011

History with God

 6When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.
 7Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.
 8My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me. 

History with God
David had a history with God; when he had one of those nights that he just could not sleep, he would meditate upon God, remembering God's faithfulness to him. Most of us can identify with David, can we not? How many nights do we either have trouble falling asleep, or when waking in the middle of the night have trouble going back to sleep?

We snuggle into our cozy covers and then begin to think about the troubles of life. Have you ever noticed that we automatically bring to mind the things that are bothering us instead of thinking of the blessings that God has given to us? I am sure there are many things David could have pondered in the middle of the night, and probably did, but he soon learned the benefit of taking that precious time and using it to meditate upon the Lord.

If you are like me, it is not always so easy. However, I have found that if I can convince myself to leave my warm, cozy bed and spend some time reading my Bible, and then spend some time in meditation and prayer, sleep returns much more easily. And, if I never do go back to sleep, I certainly can face the coming day with a much more positive attitude.

As Christians, we have a tendency to take such things for granted. We have such a rich heritage in the Lord. Those who do not know the Lord have no true source of comfort and strength. They have no eternal abiding place on which to rest all of their hopes and dreams. Life to them is a continual shifting of sands, with no place to rest their weary soul.

By the grace of God may we be busy building our own, personal, history with God. As we read and meditate upon the Word of God, we should sift through our memories and meditate upon God's working and moving in our own lives. We remember both the answers to prayer we were seeking as well as those times that God did not answer in the way we had hoped. However, as time as has passed, we can see how much better God's answers have been.
What an amazing God we serve! He desires to spend time with each and every one of His children. He is never too busy or too tired to fellowship with us, encouraging us and filling our very hearts and souls with peace and joy.

Go today and work on your own history with God!

God Bless You,
Linda



Saturday, November 12, 2011

Better Than Life!

 3Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.
 4Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.
 5My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: 

Better Than Life!
As I read the words from Psalm 63 shown above, I thought about my own walk with the Lord. Is the lovingkindness of God better than life to me? Sometimes the best way to consider our blessings is to think of what life would be without them.

What would life be without God? I shudder to even think such a thing. Even so, how often do we, as Christians, live our lives as though God does not exist. We get up in the morning without a thought of the Lord, and then rush about through the duties of the day, frazzled and frustrated. Finally, at night we collapse into our beds and try to get some rest so we can get up and go through another merry-go-round day.

What was missing in that scenario? God! We live as though we walk through this valley all by ourselves, totally ignoring the One who is walking right there beside us. What comfort and joy do we miss because we do not acknowledge God, who is our strength and redeemer? Somehow we have gotten the idea that David's God was different than our God. The Bible tells us in Hebrews 13:8, that Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.

Before we take another step, let us stop and take some time to meditate upon the goodness of God in our own lives. Let us think of specific ways in which God has worked and moved in our hearts and lives so that seemingly impossible tasks were removed or lightened by God's intervening grace. Last of all, let us think of the glorious eternity that awaits us; an eternity filled with the holiness and goodness of God.

Yes, God's loving kindness is better than life! Let us bless God while we live, until our souls are satisfied with the goodness of God. 

One last thought--the things we do today, and the decisions we make now will have a profound affect on future generations. David said, "Thus will I bless thee while I live." In truth, David is still blessing God through the words he wrote that are a part of our Bible, long after his life has ceased on this earth. 

Will future generations look back and bless and praise the name of God because we lived on this earth? It is something to think about, is it not?

God Bless You,
Linda



Friday, November 11, 2011

Dry and Thirsty Land

 1O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;
 2To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. 

Dry and Thirsty Land
Sometimes God has so gifted the psalmist that the words he wrote seem better than life itself. As David wrote these words so many years ago, we must marvel at how applicable they are to us today. In all of his life, no matter what difficulties he faced, David always turned to his first love, God Almighty. From his words we gain a sense of the depth of his love for God. In the very depths of his soul he thirsted and longed for God.

We live in a dry and thirsty land today; no matter where we may physically live on this earth, apart from God it is dry and parched, for only in Christ does the water of life flow freely. 

My husband and I enjoy watching old episodes of TV shows no longer being shown; it is our way to relax and enjoy some time together. Lately, I have been struck with the emptiness of the world's solutions to problems. The main characters, themselves a combination of good and evil, wrestle with the true meaning of life. However, apart from God, life has no meaning. 

You see, that is one of the dangers of even the old black and white TV episodes; life's problems were faced and resolved by the wisdom of the main characters, but nowhere did God have a part. So, the life presented lacked reality, because God does exist, and as Christians, we always have an Advocate in Christ.

The world today knows nothing about the joy and peace found in Christ. The words to psalms such as Psalm 63 have no meaning to those who have never known and had a personal relationship with God. But, as children of God, that is not true for us. We have been in the sanctuary of God; we have seen His power and glory, and have felt His love and peace wash over us even to the very depths of our souls.

That, dear friend, is the true meaning of life! Man, by his sin is separated from God, but Christ through His death and resurrection has re-opened the gateway so that man can again personally fellowship with God the Father. How amazing is that, that the God of all Gods, King of all Kings, and Lord of all Lords walks and talks with His children? He never leaves them nor forsakes them, but, through Christ, shepherds them all the days of their lives and then ushers them into heaven to live with Him forever!

Though we may live in a dry and thirsty land, Christ, the Water of Life, fills our hearts, our minds, and our souls with His love and grace. That is the reason we are here, and that is the news we must share with those who have no hope.

God Bless You,
Linda


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Unto Thee!

 9Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity.
 10Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them.
 11God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God.
 12Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his work. 

Unto Thee!

As we look upon our lives and gaze into the future, what keeps us going? What gives us the hope and strength to continue on? It would seem that David, the psalmist, was pondering such things when he wrote the words to Psalm 62.

He certainly could not trust in men, whether they were of a low or a high degree. He could not gauge his future upon the relationships he had with them. Whether of low or high degree, what are men before God? They are altogether lighter than vanity!

Neither could David trust in oppression or riches. That may seem like a rather obvious statement to us, but think about it for a minute. As you observe the world in which we live, what are the two things men seem to trust above all others? Men trust in oppression and riches? Through oppression kings and peoples are conquered, and through riches, men of a low degree are brought to a high degree in the eyes of others.

As children of God, we know that, no matter what may appear to be true, power belongs only to God. As we read the Word of God we see nations and peoples were upheld or conquered by the power of God, yet we have difficulty transferring that knowledge to our lives in the 21st century. Has God's arm been shortened so that He no longer controls the hearts of men? No!

Just as in the time of David, we must raise our eyes to heaven today and say,
"Unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his work."
Unless, by God's grace, we the people of God understand that the God of the Old Testament is the same God who lives and rules in our hearts today, we are no different than the people of this world who reject God.

Let us pray that we would not foolishly rest upon the vanities of this world, for we know that in God's time oppression will cease and riches will fade away. Instead, may all of our hope rest in God, to Whom belongs all power and glory.

Unto Thee, O Lord, belongs all praise, and honor, and power, and glory!
God Bless You,
Linda







Wednesday, November 09, 2011

God is Our Refuge

 5My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.
 6He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved.
 7In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.
 8Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah. 

God is Our Refuge
It is interesting to note that, in the verses shown above from Psalm 62, David is speaking to his soul. This is not a message he is proclaiming from the rooftops to thousands of people, but rather a message he is addressing to his own heart of hearts, and what a powerful message it is! All of his expectations are from God.

Surely life cannot be so simple, can it? In the complex world of the 21st century can we truly say, with David, all of our expectations are from God? In thinking of the answer to this question, I would ask another question. In examining every detail of this complex life we live, what aspect of our lives does God not control? What aspect of our lives is so far removed from God that He cannot help and assist us?

When put that way, we have to agree with David that, even in the 21st century, all of our expectations are from God. Where else can we turn? Who, apart from God, is with us 24/7, ready to come to our aid at any moment? Who else understands us, even to the very depths of our souls? What necessary part of our lives does God not provide?

That is really the whole point, is it not? In God is our salvation, and in God is our glory. He is the rock of our strength, and yes, He is our refuge. We can, like David, trust God at all times. We can pour out our heart of hearts to Him because we know that, as His children, God is our Refuge.

As the pressing duties of this day present themselves in a seemingly overwhelming rush of water, let us pause and take a moment to refresh ourselves in the Water of Life. Christ, who lived on this earth so many years ago, understands the pressures of life. Yet He, without sin, lived and then died, just for us! We will never be able to comprehend how the God of All Glory could love us so much that He sent His only begotten Son to live on this earth and then die an ignominious death, just to purchase a people for himself.

Yet, He did not stay in that tomb, but, rather, rose again, and sits, right now, at the right hand of God the Father. Is He done with us now? No! While sitting at the right hand of the Father, He is making intercession for us. Because He lived, died, and rose again, we have an Advocate (Jesus Christ) who gives us access to the eternal throne room of God.

God, the Ruler of all the Universe, holds out His scepter to us, because of Christ. And, because of Christ, God is our Refuge.

What an amazing God we serve!

God Bless You,
Linda


Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Heart of Man

 3How long will ye imagine mischief against a man? ye shall be slain all of you: as a bowing wall shall ye be, and as a tottering fence.
 4They only consult to cast him down from his excellency: they delight in lies: they bless with their mouth, but they curse inwardly. Selah. 

Heart of Man

Psalm 62:3-4 gives us a graphic picture of the true heart of man apart from the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. No one, great or small, rich or poor, is truly kind, loving, and compassionate. Those are traits only made available to man through the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit. We do not like to think in these terms, do we? We like to think of man as basically good with a few rough edges here and there.

However, that is not the way in which the Bible pictures man. No man, apart from the miraculous intervention of Christ can truly be good. We should not be surprised by the things we see in this world; as the influence of the Gospel is removed, man will revert back to his natural self.

David understood that; he saw all men left to themselves as a bowing wall or a tottering fence. A wall that is bowing from the pressure of wind or soil erosion will soon give way, and a tottering fence will soon fall.

As we consider these things, we must, as Christians, realize that we would be just like these wicked men if Christ were not in our hearts and lives. Therefor, we must never boast or think highly of ourselves, as we consider the goodness that is apparent in our actions and words. The good things we do and say are a result of Christ in us, and not a result of some inherent goodness that exists within our own hearts and souls. Even our salvation is not due to our great prowess or understanding, but rather a gift of God.

It is good for us to consider these things. We are much better servants of the Lord when we understand that it is Christ within us that makes all of the difference. How, then, can we praise God enough for the wondrous salvation He has given to us?
 9The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9, King James Version)


 23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23, King James Version)

The heart of man is desperately wicked, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. That is the essence of the Gospel!

As Christians, let us consider what God would have us do in the remaining years of our lives here on this earth. May we be used by Christ to bring more and more people to Him. There is no higher calling in this life!

God Bless You,
Linda



Monday, November 07, 2011

My Soul Waits

 1Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation.
 2He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved. 

My Soul Waits
Therein lies our greatest problem, does it not? Does our soul wait? Does our soul wait for God? 

Waiting is certainly not one of our strong points, yet, as Christians, we often find ourselves in positions of needing to do just that--wait! When difficulties arise, practically without thinking, we set our minds to solving the problem. That is not bad, in and of itself, but before we began to seek out an answer do we ask the Lord what He would have us do?

The words from Psalm 62, written by David, are certainly born out of his own life experiences. He knew that from God, and only from God, came his salvation. In the middle of the greatest trials of life, God was right there, standing as a rock, ready to come to his defense.

We know that these things are true, and we know that this same God is our God, who walks with us wherever we go. However, often we find ourselves cowering in fear, afraid of the future when the winds of turmoil blow upon us. 

In my country, one the greatest difficulties we are facing is the lack of jobs. My husband just found out that 95 people are going to be let go because there is not enough work. Of course, our first thought was, what will we do if my husband is one of the 95? Upon reflection, we came to the realization that it is God who provides for us, not the company for which my husband works.

Are we right to worry, or is worry just a sign of a lack of trust in our faithful God? We know the rest of the story when we read of the plights of David, because his story has been written centuries ago. Our story, however, is gradually being revealed a day, an hour, and a moment at a time. Can we say with David, "My soul waits for God."? 

Yes, we can and we must wait upon God. Just as He was David's rock and salvation, so is God our rock and salvation today. In the thousands of years that have gone by since the time of David, God's arm has not been shortened. We are fighting the same battles between the people of God and the people of this world who live their lives apart from God.

We must remember that, in actuality, the battle is already done; Christ has already won the victory. Through Christ's death and resurrection, our futures in eternity were sealed forever. We may not know what specific troubles will comes in the years we remain on this earth, but we know that our God is God. There is none like Him, and none can stay His hand.

Let us then, join David in saying, "My soul waits upon God, and no matter what happens, I shall not be greatly moved!

God Bless You,
Linda


Sunday, November 06, 2011

Heritage

 5For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name.
 6Thou wilt prolong the king's life: and his years as many generations.
 7He shall abide before God for ever: O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him.
 8So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows. 

Heritage

As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, God has given us a heritage. Like David, we live before God forever, and are preserved by His mercy and truth. With such an heritage, how can we do anything but praise God's name forever?

However, David spoke of more in these verses that just the heritage he received from the Lord. David also spoke of his vows to God.

Being a Christian involves much more than just receiving the blessings that God has afforded to us. As Christians, we have duties and responsibilities to God, to Whom we have devoted our very lives. No longer are we to be consumed by the things of this world, but our focus--our vows--are to Christ, alone. To Him we have dedicated every ounce of our being; He is now the Master of our lives.

Yes, we should, indeed, sing praises to His name. Can you really imagine it? The God of the Universe, the One who spoke this world into existence, desires to have a personal relationship with every single one of His children. He is not content to just have our lip service; He demands our life, our soul, and our all!

No matter who we are, no matter how insignificant our life may be, the God of all Gods, the Lord of all Lords, and the King of all Kings, desires to have a personal and intimate relationship with each and every one of His children. Though we may not be able to physically see Him, yet that relationship is more real than any we can have with anyone on this earth.

The normal path for every single believer is one that brings us closer and closer to Him as we read and study His Word, and spend time in prayer and fellowship with Him. The closer we become to Him, the more we feel His presence and hear His voice as He speaks to us. Jesus described this relationship most beautifully in John 10.
 27My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
 28And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
 29My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
 30I and my Father are one. (John 10:27-30, King James Version)
This, dear child of God, is our heritage, and no man is able to pluck us out of God's hand.

What an amazing God we serve!

God Bless You,
Linda


Saturday, November 05, 2011

Sad Thoughts

 15Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. 

Sad Thoughts

Just an update to let you know that regular devotions will resume tomorrow. 
My brother-in-law passed away last Sunday, so it has been a busy week of traveling, visiting with family and friends, and sharing memories. The sermon text for his funeral was from Psalm 116:15. What a good reminder to us that, for believers, death is not not a separation, but just a pause in our relationship. We grieve for our own loss, but rejoice in the gain for our beloved. 

Thank you for those of you who have been praying. I know that some of you, when you notice I have not updated my blog(s) for a few days, begin praying for me. I so appreciate the bond we have in the Lord Jesus Christ, even though we will probably never have the privilege of meeting one another on this side of heaven.

God is so wondrously faithful, in good times and in bad.
God Bless You,
Linda