Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Longing Soul

 17Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.
 18Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.
 19I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me.
 20My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times. 
(Psalm 119:17-20, King James Version)

A Longing Soul

Being from the Midwest, when I see the word, "bountiful," I think of a bountiful harvest. The clear, dry, weather we are having is giving the farmers plenty of time to harvest their corn and soybeans. Whether the crop is bountiful or not remains to be seen. Many famers were drastically affected by a lack of necessary rain during the growing season. One friend of ours said that the ears of corn in his fields were only about half full, but trusted that God had more for him to learn from a lean harvest than a full harvest.

Is the Psalmist, here, speaking of crops or of money, when he said, Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word? No, he is not speaking of crops or of money. What, then, does he mean? He answers that question in the next verse: Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

Because he recognized that he was just a stranger in the earth, the Psalmist understood that the most important things he could gain while on this earth were related to the things out of God's law. As a matter of fact, he so yearned to understand and apply God's law to his life that he said, My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times.

Do we have a longing soul for the things of the Lord? How does one acquire such a thing? It is not unusual in life to find that the more we do something, the more we enjoy doing it. I am a pianist, but like most pianists do not always practice as much as I should. I have determined lately that I am going to spend more time each day practicing. That is something I never not done well before--or have even had the time to do before. I find that it is difficult to get going, but once I am practicing, I have found that it is hard to stop.

The same is certainly true for most believers. We know that we should pray and study God's Word, but it is often hard to get ourselves started, and then motivated to keep up a regular habit of fellowship with the Lord. However, the more faithful we are in spending time with the Lord, the more we love those times, even to the point of often longing so much for the Lord that it seems that our soul would break.

It is time that we, as believers, realize that we, too, are strangers in this earth. This earth has been cast into sin and darkness; as believers, we are not in sync with the general attitudes of the people of this world. As a matter of fact, it is hard to believe how far the world runs away from God. Should we, then, struggle so hard to be accepted by the world, or should we understand that we will never, as Christians, be accepted by those who love the world?

Let us turn our hearts and our faces to heaven, for that is our true home. One day, we will be citizens in God's new heavens and new earth. Would it not be better for us to spend our time in this life in preparation for that life to come?

Let us pray that, like the Psalmist, we would have a longing soul--longing for the things of the Lord.

God Bless You,
Linda



Saturday, September 29, 2012

Your Money or Your Life?


 13With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.
 14I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.
 15I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.
 16I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word. 
(Psalm 119:13-16, King James Version)

Your Money or Your Life?

Years ago there was a famous comedian named Jack Benny, who was known on stage for his love of beautiful women and his love of money. A gunman would walk up and say, "Your money, or your life?" Rather than hand over his money, he would stand there and think about it, first.

Our Psalmist equated the way of God's testimonies with having great riches: I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. Given those two choices, God's testimonies or great riches, what would we choose? Would we have to stop and think about it before making our choice?

The answer to that one question alone, gives validity or lack of validity to our profession of faith. How do we compare the things of God to the things of this world? In Matthew 19, a young man came to Jesus asking what good thing he needed to do to inherit eternal life. After a short discussion, Jesus said, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. We are told that the man went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Was Christ saying that if we sold all we had, and gave it to the poor we would gain eternal life? Was Christ saying that it is sinful to be rich? The answer to both questions is, "No." Salvation comes through faith in Christ, alone. What Christ meant was that those who love their money more than they love Him will not inherit eternal life.

Each one of us, at some point in our life needs to answer the question: Your money or your life? In other words, do you love your money more or your life in Christ? Will you spend your years on this earth with the goal of amassing as much money as you can, or will you spend your life amassing treasures in heaven?

According to the Psalmist, what is the believer called to do?
I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.
The Christian life is an active, busy, life. It takes purposeful time meditating and studying God's Word, delighting in and memorizing His Word. Rather than leaving our "leftovers" for God, we need to approach our walk with the Lord as the most important thing in our lives--even more important than family, friends, and careers.

Jesus said, in His sermon on the mount: But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33, KJV)

What will it be, your money or your life with Christ?

God Bless You,
Linda




Friday, September 28, 2012

God's Word

 9Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
 10With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.
 11Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
 12Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes. 
(Psalm 119:9-12, King James Version)

God's Word

How important is God's Word to us? In this section of 8 verses from Psalm 119, the subject or theme is God's Word. The Psalmist begins with the question, Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? The answer given by the Psalmist: by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

Though the answer to the Psalmist's question may sound simple, it really is not that easy, is it? The answer first presumes that we know God's Word, but how do we do that? It takes more than just a cursory reading of the Bible to really know and understand the depth of meaning found within its pages. It always comes back to the heart. How much do we really love God? Is He truly our First Love? The Psalmist sought God with his whole heart, memorizing much of what he read.

We have all experienced those glorious times when we felt so close to the Lord that we were lifted above the daily hum drum of this world. Yet, it only takes a short time to find ourselves immersed again in the things of this world. Knowing this, the Psalmist pled with God, O let me not wander from thy commandments . . . . that I might not sin against thee.

There is an obvious correlation between the amount of time we spend reading the Bible, as well as our attitude toward it, and our daily walk before the Lord. We may truly desire to live a life pleasing to God, but if we are not spending time in God's Word, studying and memorizing its glorious truths, our life will pretty much go on the same as it always has.

However, when we reach the point in our lives that we are truly in agony over our own sin, and turn to God's Word for help, it will truly become a necessary part of each day. Many books have been written about the secrets to wealth, health, and happiness, but only the Bible gives the necessary information about how we actually achieve such goals. That does not mean that the Bible is a talisman that will guarantee good fortune throughout all of our days on this earth, but rather, the Bible helps us to understand who we are, what our great needs really are, and the solution to all of life's problems which are found in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Oh, that we would find the love and joy of studying God's Word and commit our hearts to incorporating its truths to every fabric of our being. It really is an impossible task, but with God nothing is impossible. If we, like the Psalmist, cry out to God to help us, God will open our hearts and minds to the wealth of information contained within its pages. It is a life-time process, but the Word truly will change us so that we will become more and more like Christ.

May we all join the Psalmist today and say, Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.

God Bless You,
Linda



Thursday, September 27, 2012

Direction

 5O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!
 6Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.
 7I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.
 8I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly. 
(Psalm 119:5-8, King James Version)

Direction

If you were to stop for a moment and evaluate your present course of life, in what direction would you say you were going? As the Psalmist considered that very question, he seemed to be somewhat uncertain of its answer, or at least somewhat dissatisfied.

This group of four verses seems to be the result of the Psalmist's self examination. In verse 4, he is not quite happy: O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes. As Christians, we all go through times when we think, "Why did I do that? If only I had been more obedient to God's commandements, I would not be in the mess I am in." Yet, no matter how desirous we are of living a life pleasing to the Lord, we continually seem to fall short.

Unfortunately, we will wrestle with our sin natures all of our lives. So, what do we do when we examine ourselves and are not happy with the results? The Psalmist determined, I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments. I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.

Like the Psalmist, we must first resolve to make a change in our lives. Then, understanding that we do not have the power to make that change ourselves, we must go to the Lord Jesus Christ, admitting our sin, and pleading for help to live our lives in a manner pleasing to Him. Like the Psalmist, we must learn what God's righteousness requires. How do we do that? We do that by studying God's Word.

By the grace of God, let us determine to increase our knowledge of God's Word through consistent prayer and Bible study. When you consider the lives of saints through the ages, it is rather amazing that most of us have ready access to a Bible. What we take for granted was forbidden at the cost of lives just a few centuries ago. Even as late as the 1500's, the common people did not have access to their own copy of the Scriptures.

Let us, by the grace of God, treasure His Word and make it a daily practice to spend time in prayer and Bible study. It is a sad commentary in our day that Satan does not have to forcibly take the Bible away from the common person, he just encourages apathy, until the common person no longer cares to read the Bible.

What direction are you going?

O forsake me not utterly!

God Bless You,
Linda


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Undefiled

 1Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.
 2Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.
 3They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.
 4Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. 
(Psalm 119:1-4, King James Version)

Undefiled

As we continue in our series, First Love, we will be looking at the longest chapter in the Bible, Psalm 119. Psalm 119 is an acrostic poem with 22 stanzas. one stanza for each of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Within each stanza, each of the 8 verses begins (in Hebrew) with that letter. The main theme of this chapter is the Word of God is all-sufficient for all matters of life.

In verse 1, the Psalmist begins with a blessing to the undefiled, which begs the question, "Who are the undefiled?" Though it is true that no man, apart from Christ, is undefiled, or perfect, all true believers are considered the undefiled. Though, as a believer, we are still tainted by our sin nature, in our heart of hearts we desire to love and obey God perfectly. In the natural course of sanctification, we should expect to become more and more like Christ through our advancing years.

What, then, does the Psalmist recognize as attributes of the undefiled?

The undefiled:

* Walk in the law of the Lord
* Keep His testimonies
* Seek Him with the whole heart
* Do no iniquity
* Walk in His ways

The undefiled seek to do all of the above because God has commanded us to keep His precepts diligently.

As I read through the list shown above, I realized that we cannot walk in the law of the Lord or keep His testimonies if we do not know what the Word of God commands us to do. Neither can we walk in His ways if we do not know what those ways are.

As Christians, it is not just a good thing for us to read and study God's Word, but, rather, we are commanded to do so. As we become more and more familiar with the Bible, we find that we love its teachings more and more. In other words, the more we learn of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, the more we love God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

If we find that our own Christian walk has seemed to stall out, perhaps we need to be spending more time in God's Word. No matter how busy we are, it is essential for our faith that we set aside time each day for prayer and Bible study. The result of doing so has a dramatic effect upon our own personal walk with the Lord.

Usually the first argument we give for our lack of regular Bible reading and prayer is our lack of time, but as in many things, the busier we become, the more important it is that we take some time each day to spend with our Lord.

Daniel was known to pray morning, noon, and at night. Knowing that, his enemies sought his death by tricking the king into making it illegal for anyone to pray to anyone except the king. Yet God miraculously protected him. John Calvin spent at least two hours every day before daylight meditating upon God's Word, memorizing Scripture, and praying. By the end of his life he had memorized large portions of the Bible.

In truth, it is not really a lack of time, but rather a lack of priorities that prevents us from having a quiet time with the Lord each day.

As God's undefiled, let us learn to treasure the law of the Lord, to keep His testimonies, to seek Him with the whole heart, to do no iniquity, and to walk in His ways.

God Bless You,
Linda


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

God is the Lord

 25Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.
 26Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.
 27God is the LORD, which hath shewed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.
 28Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee.
 29O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. 
(Psalm 118:25-29, King James Version)

God is the Lord

Today's devotional in our series, First Love, concludes Psalm 118, and comes right on the heels of yesterday's devotional. The Psalmist rightly understood that all of our health, joy, happiness, and even prosperity comes from the hands of the Lord. Yesterday we learned that Jesus Christ is our chief cornerstone; He it is who has saved us, and it is He who will keep us close to Him all of the days of our lives.

God, even in the pages of the Old Testament, pointed to the Lord Jesus Christ who would come as the Light and Life for all who believe. How else can we respond, but as the Psalmist did: Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

When will we as children of God finally come to the same conclusion as did the Psalmist? Why is it that we spend so much time, effort, and money on the things of this world so that we might be happy, healthy, or wise? Why have so many Christians become immersed in the entrapments of the world?

The answer is quite simple; we have taken our eyes away from the Lord and feasted on the tantalizing temptations of the world. Yet, in our heart of hearts we know that peace, joy, and happiness are not things that we can gain from this world. Oh, we can receive a real rush if we find ourselves to be the recipient of a large amount of money, but that "happiness" we think we have achieved is only elusive. In just a little while the joy we experience is turned to emptiness, and sometimes even bitterness.

It is a hard thing, in the modern industrialized nations of this world to really be happy, peaceful, and content in the Lord. Can we really say with Paul? Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. (Philippians 4:11-12, King James Version)

As Christians have we learned to be full and hungry, or to be abased and to abound? Have we learned that our happiness and joy rests only in Christ and not in the many things offered to us in the world? Let us take some time and read the verses shown above from Psalm 118. Then, let us fall down before the Lord and ask Him to show us how to make those words a reality in our own hearts and lives.

God Bless You,
Linda

Join me tomorrow as we begin one of the most amazing Psalms ever written: Psalm 119. Expect to be blessed by the Lord as we slowly walk through this Psalm.


Monday, September 24, 2012

The Cornerstone

 22The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.
 23This is the LORD's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.
 24This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. 
(Psalm 118:22-24, King James Version)

The Cornerstone

Tucked away in this wonderful Psalm is some very significant doctrine. Sometimes I wonder at how little the Old Testament believers must have understood about God, for Christ had not yet come and the New Testament books had not yet been written. Then I read verses like these from Psalm 118, and I realize that though their understanding was somewhat darkened, God revealed much of His truths to them in the Old Testament.

Just as an aside, we must be careful that we do not neglect the Old Testament, for our greatest understanding of who God is and how He works in the hearts of His children comes to us from the pages of the Old Testament.

I am not a builder so I do not even pretend to know the ins and outs of structures, but I do know that when a block or brick building is constructed it all begins with the cornerstone. The strength of that one block determines the strength of the entire building.

What or to whom is the Psalmist referring in verse 22: The stone which the builder refused is become the head stone of the corner (or the cornerstone)? Jesus quoted from this very Psalm in Matthew 21:42:
 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? (Matthew 21:42, King James Version)

Who is this cornerstone? Our question is answered by Paul in Ephesians 2:20: And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; (Ephesians 2:20, King James Version)

Jesus Christ, Himself, was the stone whom the builders refused, and it is He who has become the chief cornerstone of the entire church of God from the time of Adam and Eve to the present. Did the Psalmist know that he was referring to the Messiah? We do not really know, but the Holy Spirit inspired him to write the words he did, and the Lord Jesus quoted from verse 22 in the books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

Indeed, this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes. When we consider God's great gift of Jesus Christ, His own Son, given to us as our cornerstone, we have to fall before Him in amazement. Everything that is made available to us, has come to us through Jesus Christ. He is our Head, and He is the very foundation of everything we believe. We have been bought with a price: the blood of the Lord Jesus.

No wonder the Psalmist said, This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

God Bless You,
Linda

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Open to Me!

 19Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the LORD:
 20This gate of the LORD, into which the righteous shall enter.
 21I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation. 
(Psalm 118:19-21, King James Version)

Open to Me!

It is all about the Lord, is it not? To whom is the Psalmist speaking when he said, Open to me the gates of righteousness? Who has the power to open the gates? The Psalmist makes it clear in verse 21 when he said, I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation. Just as the Lord was the only one who could become his salvation, the Lord was the only one who could open the gates of righteousness.

Can you not picture that glorious gate through which we may enter the courts of heaven and the New Jerusalem? Can you not see the Lord Jesus, Himself, standing there with open arms waiting to welcome us home. It is good for us to ponder that great and glorious day.

The Psalmist, who penned those words, has been with the Lord now for over 2000 years. Our days on this earth may seem to stretch out forever, but they are only but a vapor compared to all eternity. We become consumed by the things of this earth, but the Psalmist understood that our faith is much more precious than anything this world has to offer to us.
 23Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
 24For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
 25But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. (1 Peter 1:23-25, King James Version)
As we are reminded by Peter in 1 Peter 1:24-25, All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the Word of the Lord endures forever.

In just a little time, the gates of righteousness will open to all those living now who love the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us spend our lives serving, honoring, and glorifying the name of Christ, until we can say to Christ, "Open to me the gates of righteousness."

God Bless You,
Linda






Saturday, September 22, 2012

Life or Death

 15The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly.
 16The right hand of the LORD is exalted: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly.
 17I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD.
 18The LORD hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death. 
(Psalm 118:15-18, King James Version)

Life or Death 

Psalm 118 presents an interesting scenario for today's teens. Though this Psalm was written over 2000 years ago, it is timely and pertinent to you specifically. The Psalm is filled with double meanings as we ponder the choice we must all make: Life or Death! It would seem to be a simple choice to make, and yet most choose death!

The Psalmist begins this section with abundant praise and honor for the Lord who works valiantly on behalf of His children. True rejoicing and true salvation are only possible as gifts from the Lord; He alone is to be exalted, for it is He who grants us life or death. Though the Lord chastened the Psalmist grievously he understood that the chastening of the Lord was not unto death, but rather was sent to drive him to God.

As a teen, you have probably encountered and maybe even have felt yourself the prevailing attitude of this age. If their really is a God, then He owes mankind. Because it is in His power to prevent evil and to do good, we seem to think it is His responsibility to continually prevent evil--especially to ourselves, and to only do good to all of humanity. This attitude shows our total lack of comprehension of good and evil, and of justice or lack of justice.

Does God really owe mankind anything? God granted everything to Adam and Eve: a perfect environment, perfect health, and a fulfilling responsibility. Along with all He granted to them, God gave them the opportunity to continue as they were or to choose to disobey. They foolishly listened to the voice of the serpent who dangled the temptation of knowing good and evil--like God--before them. Upon their disobedience they did understand good and evil, but their choice had been made and the repercussions of that choice have been thrust upon all mankind.

Should God have prevented them from their fatal choice? Should God have made them like puppets who would live eternally in a perfect environment? No! Though every person born has stamped upon them the sin nature (and knowledge of good and evil), every person still must make a choice to continue in their sin and rebellion against God, or to come to Him and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. In other words, everyone must choose life or death.

As believers it is our responsibility to present the truth to all those we meet and to pray that God will open their eyes that they might comprehend the truth and come to Christ. Sadly, left to ourselves we do not have the power to make that choice, but God, who is rich in abundant grace and mercy can open our eyes and minds to the truth of His Word.

God owes mankind nothing! Yet, in His great and wondrous love, He uses the trials, the difficulties, and even the tragedies of our lives to bring us to Him--or closer to Him. As our eyes of understanding are opened, we understand what the Psalmist meant: The LORD has chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over to death.

Not only did God protect the writer from physical death, He also protected him from eternal death.

Life or death! The choice is yours.

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, September 21, 2012

My Strength and Song

 10All nations compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD will I destroy them.
 11They compassed me about; yea, they compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.
 12They compassed me about like bees: they are quenched as the fire of thorns: for in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.
 13Thou hast thrust sore at me that I might fall: but the LORD helped me.
 14The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation. 
(Psalm 118:10-14, King James Version)

My Strength and Song

In Psalm 118, the writer of this Psalm gives a glorious tribute of praise to the Lord. Surrounded in battle by his enemies, he called upon God, who delivered him from the sure grasp of the enemy.
They compassed me about; yea, they compassed me about like bees: they are quenched as the fire of thorns: for in the name of the LORD I will destroy them. . . . The LORD is my strength and son, and is become my salvation.
Oh, that we would have such confidence in the Lord our God! Is the Lord our strength and song? Is He the first one to whom we turn when we are surrounded by evil? For most of us, I fear that we tend to view God as our last hope, and not as our first and only hope.

In this age of scientific advancement in which we live, man seems to have an answer for everything. It seems as though there is almost nothing that man cannot solve! Is that really true? Have we somehow evolved to a status where God is no longer necessary?

Sadly many do view that to be the case, but they are wrong. Even when we have reached our most magnificent achievements, our knowledge is paltry compared to our Creator God. The more we learn about this universe in which we live, the more we realize that we do not know. As more and more medical discoveries are made, more and more questions appear.

As we look back into the annals of time, we discover that it is quite possible that man reached greater advancements in the past than we have achieved in the present. What happened? In the period of time that has elapsed, those great secrets have been lost, and are yet to be "discovered" again.

God, however, has never changed. From eternity past to eternity future, God has always been, and will always be the Supreme God over all man, over all creation, and even over all of the universe and beyond.

Let us, as children of God, raise our voices in praise to God who is truly "My Strength and Song."

God Bless You,
Linda


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Misplaced Confidence

 5 I called on the LORD in distress;
         The LORD answered me and set me in a broad place.
 6 The LORD is on my side;
         I will not fear.
         What can man do to me?
 7 The LORD is for me among those who help me;
         Therefore I shall see my desire on those who hate me.
 8 It is better to trust in the LORD
         Than to put confidence in man.
 9 It is better to trust in the LORD
         Than to put confidence in princes.
          (Psalm 118:5-9, New King James Version)

Misplaced Confidence

Who do you trust? Is your trust secure, or is it misplaced confidence? The Psalmist called to the Lord when he was in distress, and God answered his prayers, causing him to declare, The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? 

Thinking over his circumstances he determined that it is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man, or in princes (the government). Do we trust the leaders of our countries to do what is best for us? In today's cynical society, no one really trusts in the government, do they? It is a given understanding that the government does what is best for the government, and not what is best for the people.

As we face another national election in the United States, we are being inundated with campaign promises. The leaders of both parties stand up and boast in their leadership skills, telling us they truly care about the people. No one really believes them, do they? Telling the people what they want to hear may go a long way to getting them elected, but we are so used to broken campaign promises that we hardly expect them to do even half of what they promise.

That, however, is not the case when it comes to God. God makes many glorious promises in His Word, the Bible, and every single promise He has made will come to pass, exactly as He has said. He, alone, can make promises regarding the future, for He controls the future.

Man can make promises, but man does not have the power to make those promises happen. Why, then, are we more apt to put our trust in our fellow man than in God? It really is a matter of faith, is it not? Through faith we read God's wondrous promises, and through faith we rest in those promises, confidently knowing that God will bring all things to pass just as He has said.

How do we get that kind of faith? Faith is a gift from God; it is not something we can manufacture within ourselves. When we find ourselves lacking faith, we must turn to the Lord Jesus Christ, asking Him to grant us faith.

In Mark 9 we are told the story of a man whose son was controlled by an evil spirit which would try to cast him into the fire or into the water to destroy him. Jesus looked at the man and said, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. How did the man answer Jesus? He said, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. God answered the prayer of this dear father, rebuking the spirit, causing it to come out of the boy.

We must be so careful as children of God that we are not guilty of misplaced confidence. Let us not be guilty of placing our trust in man, but let us place all of our hope and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

God Bless You,
Linda





Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mercy Forever!

 1O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.
 2Let Israel now say, that his mercy endureth for ever.
 3Let the house of Aaron now say, that his mercy endureth for ever.
 4Let them now that fear the LORD say, that his mercy endureth for ever. 
(Psalm 118:1-4, King James Version)

Mercy Forever!

Four times the Psalmist tells us that God's mercy endures forever, but is God's mercy for everyone? The Psalmist begins in general terms, then to Israel, then the house of Aaron, and finally to them that fear the Lord. There is some logic in this progression from all to just a few.

How is the the mercy of God manifest to us today? Is everyone a recipient of God's mercy? Generally, God's mercy is abundant and shown in all of the blessings we see on this earth. Most importantly, His mercy is shown in His offer of salvation from the penalty of sin that came upon every single human being due to the sins of Adam and Eve. God could have let man self-destruct, but instead showed great mercy in sending His only Son to pay the debt of sin we cannot pay, that we might have eternal life.

God's gift of eternal life is available forever, however it is not available to everyone forever. As we follow the progression above, we note that in verse 4, the conclusion of this progression is given: Let them now that fear the LORD say, that his mercy endureth for ever. Only those who fear the LORD are recipients of the Lord's mercy shown by His salvation granted to them, and that salvation does, indeed, last forever.

For those who do not love the Lord, God's door of mercy is shut upon their physical death. No longer is the door of opportunity open to them. It is a sobering thought to think that God has offered such a great salvation, and yet, in the end, so few receive it.

How should we who are saved by God's grace view God's mercy? Do we have any responsibility to God? Yes, we do! God has granted to us His great salvation and has left us here to point others to Christ. Knowing that the days are short, we must pray that God would grant us love for the lost and diligence to present the Gospel to them. Jesus, speaking to His disciples in John 4, said,
 35Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
 36And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. (John 4:35-36, King James Version)
Will there be mercy forever? Only for those who fear the Lord. Let us, by the grace of God, lift up our eyes, and look on the fields that are white already to harvest, and pray that God would send us forth boldly to proclaim the good news of salvation to the lost.

Nothing is more important! God has given to each of us our own personal "mission field" among our families, friends, and acquaintances.

God Bless You,
Linda


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

All Nations

 1O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.
 2For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD. 
(Psalm 117, King James Version)

All Nations

Paul, in Romans 15:11, quotes from this Psalms when he says, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. Though just a short Psalm of two verses, Psalm 117 reminds us that God in His great mercy and kindness, has opened the truth of the Gospel to all nations. No longer is it confined to one small nation.

Because of God's great mercy, the Gospel has spread to all the nations of the world. Bible have been printed in almost all languages--even today, through organizations such as Wycliffe Bible Translators, the Bible continues to be published in more and more languages.

Some countries have a small light, as the darkness of non-Christian religions seek to blot them out, yet God strengthens His people and gives them courage even in the middle of great persecution. There is no nation where the true servants of God outnumber the ungodly, yet God faithfully protects and sustains His children.

As children of God, what are we doing to help spread the Gospel to all the countries of the world? This is the great commission that Jesus gave to us in Matthew.
 18And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
 19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
 20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20, King James Version)
All of God's children are called to reach out to those among whom they live, as well as those who populate all of the nations of the world. As God gives us opportunity, we are to reach out in prayer support, monetary support, and even going to those countries ourselves. That is why we are here!

Go, then, in obedience to God an spread the wondrous truths of God's Word to all nations.

God Bless You,
Linda


Monday, September 17, 2012

Servant of God

 16O LORD, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds.
 17I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.
 18I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people.
 19In the courts of the LORD's house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem. Praise ye the LORD. 
(Psalm 116:16-19, King James Version)

Servant of God

Our Psalmist ends this beautiful Psalm with a reminder that he belongs to the Lord. God has loved and protected him even from the fangs of death, and his response is a vow of fealty to the Lord God. In the eyes of all (in the courts of the LORD's house) he will openly pay his vows unto the Lord.

It is a little more difficult for us to relate to the great sense of thanksgiving and appreciation the writer felt toward God as he was gripped by danger, even unto death. Most of us go about our lives from day to day with little thought of the frailty of our bodies, much less thinking of the great forces of evil poised to remove us from this earth.

Yet there are some even now who live in war zones or countries where religious persecution is rampant, who can definitely understand exactly the sentiments of this Psalmist. Each day is a gift of life given to them by the Lord God. With grateful hearts they gladly pay their vows in the courts of the Lord.

As we look at the unrest in the Mideast, we are reminded that there is so much more to life than the vain emptiness we often sense in the lives of those around us. Living in countries where there is very little religious persecution, we tend to take our faith, and our God for granted.

How soon all of that could change; the Mideast boils with turmoil between Israel and her muslim neighbors. Countries that were once allies are slowly turning away from the small country of Israel. Even the United States seems to be turning away from this little country. We may very well see, again, the amazing power of God as He protects those who have long been His beloved people.

It is a reminder that we who are Gentiles have been grafted into God's olive tree. We who name the name of Christ must faithfully pray that those who are of Jewish descent would turn their hearts to the Lord Jesus Christ. Their ethnicity will not save them; salvation only comes through the Lord Jesus Christ.

May we, as the people of God, pay our vows in the courts of the Lord. May we rise up and faithfully proclaim our love for God, our Father, and for the Lord Jesus Christ who gave His life that we might have life through Him. As the servant of God, let us turn our face to Him, for He is our only hope, our only joy, and truly our only peace.

God Bless You,
Linda





Saturday, September 15, 2012

Precious Death!

 15Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. 
(Psalm 116:15, King James Version)

Precious Death!

As we continue our devotional series entitled, "First Love," we have reached what is perhaps one of the  most interesting, and often quoted verses of the Bible: Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. Sandwiched between verses that do not even seem to be related, the Psalmist makes a simple point. The death of the saints of God is precious in His sight.

As I read that verse, two questions came into my mind. The first question was, "Why?" The second question was, "What does one have to do to become a saint?"

Addressing the second question first, we must ask what is the significance of the word "saint" in the Bible. Does one have to do something extraordinary to be called a saint? Who has the right to determine if we have reached sainthood? The Biblical definition for a saint, is: anyone who has claimed the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Recognizing their sin before God, and their utter helplessness to do anything about it, they turn to Christ and accept the payment He made for them by His death on the cross.

In other words, all true believers are saints! Not only the great Christians of the Bible and the great heroes of the faith down through the annals of history, but all who are the children of God are the saints of God.

As a people who have been given a love of this life from our Creator, how can we say that death is precious? Death certainly does not seem to be precious to us, especially if we have lost a close and intimate relative or friend. However, for the saints of God, God views their leaving this earth as a precious death! Precious in His sight is the death of the saints of God.

We do not often stop to think of God's relationship to us. As His children, He not only has a vested interest in us, but He loves us with a love we cannot even comprehend. The day of our death, though viewed as a sad event in this life, is greeted with joy and singing by the angels of God and those believers who have left this life before us. I think it is not amiss to say that the first hand of welcome we receive when we enter the gates of heaven, will be the hand of the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself.

It is a day of joy and singing praises, for another lost sheep has entered His eternal home. Gone forever are the effects of sin on the environment in which we will find ourselves, and gone forever will be our own sin waging a war against us. If we truly love those who have gone to be with the Lord, would we really want them to have to leave such a glorious place and return here to us? No, we would not!

So, let us view the death of God's children from His perspective. Yes, we grieve, but we do not grieve as one who has no hope! Neither do we grieve for one who is gone forever, for we will soon be with them if we are truly God's child. Whether it is days, months, years, or decades, it is still a short space of time compared to all eternity.

Death: our passing from this life to an eternity with God, is indeed a precious death!

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, September 14, 2012

What Shall I Render?

 12What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?
 13I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.
 14I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people. 
(Psalm 116:12-14, King James Version)

What Shall I Render?

The Psalmist asks a simple question: What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me? Indeed, what shall we give to the Lord? What can we give to One who has given so much to us? God only desires one thing of us, and that is ourselves.

The Psalmist understood this; God has granted such a full and complete salvation, and yet most in this world pass right on by, with not a thought of doing anything else. A simple turning to the Lord would drastically change their lives and set them on a course they would never regret for all eternity.

I am often amazed as I walk with my dog, that we live in a world created by such an awesome God, and yet as a people, only a few even pause for a moment to consider the hands that gave them life and a beautiful world in which to live. Granted this world is forever marred by the destruction of sin, and yet God's loving hand is still evident no matter where we look. But for most in this world, life to them is what they see right before their eyes. Set upon a path deemed to gain them the most from this life, God is simply cast to the side as One who is totally irrelevant--One, who to their mind's eye does not even really exist.

What of the people of God? What of those who claim to know and believe that God truly does rule over all things. Sadly, even most professing Christians are so caught up in the enticements of this world, dazed by the gods of this age that they hardly pause even a moment to think about God, much less take the time to read and study His Word.

What does God require of His people? Is He content to sit in the background until some emergency brings His presence to the forefront of our thoughts? God requires that His children live, think, and act as those who are so in love with their Creator God that they can scarcely go a moment without sending praises to His name. He desires that His children hold all of their thoughts captive to Him. Their awareness of His rule continually goes before them, leading, guiding, and assisting them to live lives that praise and honor His holy name.

Now, how did I get all of that out of Psalm 116? That is the essence of what the Psalmist means when he said, I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD, I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people.

What shall I render to the Lord?

I challenge all who name the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to take the cup of salvation, call upon the name of the Lord, and run with patience the race that God has set before them (Hebrews 12:1), in the presence of all his people. Go with God both today, and forever!

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Deliverance


 7Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee.
 8For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.
 9I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living.
 10I believed, therefore have I spoken: I was greatly afflicted:
 11I said in my haste, All men are liars. 

(Psalm 116:7-11, King James Version)

Deliverance

We have all been there, have we not? Life has thrown us some bitter curves due to the words, actions, or insults from our fellow man. The Psalmist, in Psalm 116, appears to have come to the end of his frustration in verse 11: I said in my haste, All men are liars. Though his words have a taint of bitterness, they are sandwiched between words of glorious praise and adoration to the Lord.

What can we say? It is true, that all men are liars. Even Christians are not loosed from the bands of sin while still on this earth. Knowing the heart of all men, especially those apart from Christ, we should not be surprised by the barbs they may send our way. Rightly, the Psalmist turns to his true source of hope and deliverance: the Lord.

The Psalmist finds his consolation in the bounty of the Lord when he says, For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living. In the Lord he finds complete rest and hope. Knowing that he finds himself included when he says, All men are liars, he understands that the only hope we have is found in Christ. Apart from Him, what would our life reveal?

In Christ our feet are kept from falling, our hearts receive consolation from our veil of tears, and ultimately, our soul is delivered from death. It is good for us to ponder such things, lest we are overcome by the shadows of evil that seem to surround us on all sides.

What a great way to start the day: praising and magnifying God's holy and righteous name. He is our strength and tower, our rock, and our only defense; in Him, alone, we are made complete! Though oppressed from all directions, we can still praise and bless the name of the Lord, for the days will come when we can lay down our weary loads and enter the joy and eternal presence of the Lord.

I am reminded of that beautiful hymn, written by Isaac Watts: O God our Help in Ages Past. It begins and ends with the following two verses:

O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.

O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our guard while troubles last,
And our eternal home.

Go to Christ today, and find complete and lasting deliverance from the snares of this world!

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Gracious, Righteous, and Merciful

 5Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.
 6The LORD preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me.
 7Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee.
(Psalm 116:5-7, King James Version)

Gracious, Righteous, and Merciful

Who is this God we serve? According to the Psalmist He is gracious, righteous, and merciful. What is the significance of His grace, His righteousness, and His mercy to us, His children.

Grace is the free, unmerited favor of our beneficent God. There is nothing we can do to earn God's salvation; out of His infinite grace He has chosen to save a people for Himself. God owes no man anything, but out of His wondrous grace He has chosen to send His only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ to pay the way so that we might come to Him for salvation.

To be righteous is to be morally upright, without guilt or sin. God is so righteous that He cannot even look upon sin. Without an intermediary, or go-between, no one could come before God. Because He is righteous, He can do what He chooses. After man sinned, it would have been God's right to turn from man and condemn all of mankind forever.

Mercy is defined as, compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm. By sending His only Son, God extended His great and wondrous mercy to mankind. By looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, we can come before God. God then sees, not our sin, but rather Christ's perfect blood.

No wonder the Psalmist responds by saying, The LORD preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me. Before God, we are nothing, and yet God has chosen the foolish of this world (us), to confound those who are wise according to the things of this world. Only by being brought low before Christ, can we come to Him for salvation.

All the saints of God proclaim with the Psalmist, Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee. No matter what our circumstances may be on this earth, we look forward to heaven's bounty, where our souls will find complete rest and peace. It is better that we have nothing on this earth that would prevent us from coming to God, than to have everything according to the standards of this world, and yet lose Christ.

       He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. (Jim Elliot)

Go to this gracious, righteous, and merciful God today, for He alone can pardon our great sin.

God Bless You,
Linda

Saturday, September 08, 2012

My Soul

 3The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.
 4Then called I upon the name of the LORD; O LORD, I beseech thee, deliver my soul. 
(Psalm 116:3-4, King James Version)

My Soul

Did you notice that there is something missing in these two verses? The writer of the Psalm is terrified; he is surrounded by the sorrows of death and can even feel the pains of hell. His life is filled with trouble and sorrow. So, what is missing? In the Psalmist's plea, he does not cry out that the Lord would save his life.

We live in a time when the attitude of most is life at all costs. Our love of this life propels our health care industry into a multi-billion dollar industry. There are those who would practically sell everything they own for one more hour, or day, or week, or year of life. Why, then, did the Psalmist not cry out for his life?

The Psalmist realized what we often do not--there is one thing more valuable to us than our life. Then called I upon the name of the LORD; O LORD, I beseech thee, deliver my soul. Our life is but a shadow or a vapor; we live our three score and ten years, more or less, and then it is over. Is that it? Is that the end? No, it is not the end!

Our life may end, but our soul goes on to live for all eternity. Why, then, are we not more concerned about our soul, rather than our life? The Psalmist was near to death, and yet he did not cry out for life; he cried out for the Lord to deliver his soul. Deliver his soul from what?

Left to ourselves, everyone's soul belongs to Satan! From the time of Adam and Eve's sins in the Garden of Eden, the souls of all mankind were turned over to Satan. Facing the pains of hell, the Psalmist cried out to God to deliver his soul from the grip of Satan.

Is there hope for us? Yes, as long as there is life, there is hope. Christ lived, died, and was resurrected so that we might claim His righteousness. He has paid the blood price for our souls. Like the Psalmist, we only need to turn to Christ, giving Him ownership of our souls. It is a simple choice which, unfortunately, most ignore or refuse to give credence to. Yet, to ignore Christ is to choose Satan.

This day, let us turn our hearts and our souls over to Christ. In Christ, there is no fear of death, for death has lost its sting. Death, then, is just our entry into eternity with God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Constant!

 1I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications.
 2Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live. 
(Psalm 116:1-2, King James Version)

Constant!

Today my husband and I are celebrating 28 years of marriage. It has been a good, even wonderful, journey. Through many ups and downs God has kept us, and I still wonder at God's faithfulness in giving us a love for each other that transcended even the greatest of difficulties. One thing that has impressed me is that life is all about changes, and adapting to them. There are very few constants in life.

The Psalmist, in Psalm 116, reminds us that there is one constant which will never change, and that is his love for the LORD. Why?
Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.
The Psalmist understood that the Lord was always there listening for the voice of his needy children. And, not only did the Lord listen, but He inclined his ear to his child. What an amazing God we serve. He is not far removed from His children, but rather, always ready to listen to their cries--always ready to come to their aid.

This begs the question, how often do we go to the Lord? Is He only there for the emergencies of life? We used to joke, at one time, that our daughter only came to see us when she needed money. We knew that was not really true, yet we often treat God as though His only purpose is to bail us out of trouble. The rest of the time, He could just tend to the needs of others.

Is that sort of "need-based" relationship what God desires from His children? Paul admonishes us, in 1 Thessalonians 5, Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, King James Version)

The idea is that, as children of God, we should have a continuous conversation with the Lord. Everywhere we go, everything we say, and everything we do, we are doing with God right beside us. He is actively involved in every aspect of our lives.

May we, like the Psalmist proclaim, I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.

God Bless You,
Linda






Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Dead or Alive?

 16The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD's: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.
 17The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence.
 18But we will bless the LORD from this time forth and for evermore. Praise the LORD. 
(Psalm 115:16-18, King James Version)

Dead or Alive?

This seemed to be a rather unusual way to end a Psalm. In the second to last verse, the psalmist makes a distinction between being dead or alive.
The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence. But we will bless the LORD from this time forth and for evermore.
The Psalmist takes all of life and puts it into one of two categories: Those who bless or praise the Lord, and those who do not. If we summarized our entire life from its beginning until today, in which category would we fall?

On one level, everyone brings praise and glory to the Lord--even those who hate God bring glory to His name, when all is said and done. However, I think the Psalmist is making a distinction between those whose goal it is to bring glory to God versus those who have no such desire. In making this distinction, the Psalmsist calls those whose goal it is to glorify God to be among the living. Those who live their lives for their own glory are called the dead.

In other words, there is nothing more important in this life than to seek to bring glory and honor to God. This, then, considers the heart attitude of each person. There are many who live upright lives, go to church every Sunday, and have a squeaky clean reputation, but would still be categorized by God as being among the dead. For God looks upon their heart and asks the question, Why? Why do they determine to live such upright lives? Is it because they love God so much that they desire to honor and glorify Him in all they do, or is it because they want people to think well of them?

All of my life I have heard the elderly speak of the shortness of life, but until I reached my sixth decade, I did not understand what they meant. I know life moves quickly, but it always seemed to stretch out before me. However, reaching the 60's brought with it a whole new perspective. The past--as short as it was--is there behind me, but what has happened to the future? It is gone! Lifetime warranties no longer have to be very long, and my goals for the future have seemed to dissipate.

Suddenly, we look upon our lives and ask, "What have I done for the Lord? How has my life made a difference in advancing the kingdom of God?" As believers we begin to understand a whole new perspective on serving the Lord. As we look back upon our lives we realize how unimportant most of our worldly ambitions were. As we look to life after death, what will we carry with us?

I think perhaps the writer of this Psalm was in his later years. Looking back on his life his writing begs the question, What have I accomplished in my short years that is of lasting, eternal value? Nothing else matters!

Thinking upon Psalm 115, let us take an internal observation and ask ourselves which category we belong in. Are we dead or alive?

God Bless You,
Linda


Monday, September 03, 2012

Blessed of God

 12The LORD hath been mindful of us: he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron.
 13He will bless them that fear the LORD, both small and great.
 14The LORD shall increase you more and more, you and your children.
 15Ye are blessed of the LORD which made heaven and earth. 
(Psalm 115:12-15, King James Version)

Blessed of God

Five times in four verses the Psalmist uses the word "bless" or "blessed."
He will bless us; He will bless the house of Israel; He will bless the house of Aaron. He will bless them that fear the LORD . . . . Ye are blessed of the Lord which made heaven and earth.
Notice that the ones blessed get smaller and smaller, from the "house of Israel" down to "Ye" (or you). You are blessed of the Lord, but who is the Lord? He is the Lord who made heaven and earth. Stop and ponder that thought for a moment. The God who formed the earth, the stars, and all the constellations is not far-removed from His creation; He is a personal God who works on behalf of every single child of His.

Not only does He work on our behalf, but He blesses us. If your life is anything like mine, you will probably say, "Wait a minute, my life does not seem to be blessed. If I am so blessed, why do I seem to have so many troubles and hardships?"

The same God who created everything that exists merely by His spoken word, blesses every single child of His by sending troubles and hardships, as well as good things--each one being fitted perfectly to our own particular needs. God has a specific plan for each child of God, and has equipped each child with their own specific strengths and abilities to accomplish His will. In the process of our lives here on earth, He is gradually sanctifying us--making us more and more like Him.

My husband and I were speaking to a friend of ours who farms. He was relating to us that all of the rain we received in the past two weeks has missed his farm. We received a couple of good showers of 2-3 inches of rain, but his farm was just far enough away that he did not even receive one drop! Yet, he was quick to add that God has blessed him year after year with abundant crops. This same God who has blessed him in the past has chosen to send a drought this year. In His sovereignty, God has lessons to send to him that he could only learn by having the rains withheld.

Think of that! We tend to think that blessings only come in the form of good things, yet God is blessing His children even when He allows them to be overtaken by trials and difficulties. Our agenda for our lives is not necessarily God's agenda. However, God's agenda is always right. Each step we take is ordered by the Lord and brings glory to Him.

As you go about the duties of your day, think about the many ways in which you are blessed of God. Remember - do not include only the good things, but include the troubles as well. Then think about what lesson God is trying to teach you by sending these particular "blessings" to you.

What an amazing God we serve!

God Bless You,
Linda