Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Threat Of God's Silence

Prayer puts our faith at risk.

When we “pray to God in faith believing” and nothing happens or the results are different from what we expected or there is no answer at all, the tendency is to question the goodness and wisdom of God. Nor is it unusual for people to doubt the need for prayer when or if they don’t get what they want.

As we begin to read Psalm 28 David seems to be having a problem in his prayer life. “I pray to You, O Lord, my Rock. Do not turn a deaf ear to me.” Notice the way he begins: “I pray to You!” His prayer is direct and intense. But there is something very important to be noted here. In this moment of need David, in no uncertain terms, lets us into his heart.

Prayer was not just part of his life. It was at the center of his life. He was completely dependent upon the Lord for help. “You, O Lord, are my Rock!” This prayer, though we do not know specifically what David was praying for, arose from a definite need at a specific time in his life. Perhaps years later, when he was writing of this experience, he could not remember specifically what his request was, but he could not forget that he had a need that only God could meet. And God met that need and granted his request.

In this prayer we hear his cry and see his hands raised to God demonstrating his dependence on Yahweh. And his prayer was answered. “Praise be to the Lord,” he finally shouted, “for He has heard my cry for mercy.”

God always answers us - but on His terms.

Prayer: Help us, Lord, to depend only on You - not on ourselves or others - when we face our greatest needs. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 28:1 To You I will cry, O Lord my Rock: Do not be silent to me, Lest, if You are silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Teach Me And Lead Me, Lord

Success in the Christian life begins with our being willing to be willing. It is our willingness, our innermost desire, to want to know God, understand Him and do His will that makes the difference in whom we become, what we live for and give our lives to.

David set the example and gives us an excellent program of being willing to be willing to become a “man after God’s own heart.” He asked God to “Teach me how to live, O Lord, (and) Lead me along right paths.” This short, simple and specific prayer exposes David’s desire: to know God and to make Him known.

When he asked God to “teach” him, David was pleading for God to give him guidance. This prayer did not arise out of need to confess his sins. It came from a deep desire to have an intimate relationship with God - to experience Him as a friend and confidant. David was well aware of the fact that if he did not allow God to be his teacher, he would not enjoy God’s protection and would not be “led along right paths.” And if he did not travel on “right paths,” he certainly could not make God known to those seeking Him.

David, in this verse, also prays for “victory over his enemies” who were waiting to destroy him. David knew that if God was with him no force was powerful enough to harm him or hurt him. Regardless of whom the enemy might be, those who believe in God have nothing to fear. No one or no thing can undo the work of God. What He has done will withstand any attack of Satan.

Prayer: Give us Your assurance, Lord, that as we know You and do Your will, You will always guard us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 27:11 Teach me Your way, O Lord, And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Life's Final Moments

If the two options we have in life are faith or fear, then we can come to enjoy and take comfort in the hope we have in a living God as our light, salvation and hope. If we do not have a hope that comes from the Lord, we are condemned to a life of anguish as we move toward our final hours on earth.

Bertrand Russell said, “The older I get the more nervous I become.” In contrast to his fear is the faith we see in Pope John XXIII. Two weeks before his death he said, “My bags are packed. I’m ready to go!”

David had an unusual boldness as he faced life and death. “Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident.” Even though he is confronted by an army or fighting to win a war or survive with his very life, he says that “I am confident.” Confident of what? His well-trained troops? His superior skills as a leader?

Indeed not. His confidence was in his Lord who was his light, salvation and strength. The word David uses for confidence in this verse means to feel secure or to be unconcerned. His confidence, the security he enjoyed, when facing the uncertainties of life and the certainty of death was in the Lord Himself.

David’s passion was to live in the Lord’s house and to behold His beauty. Living in the Lord’s house means much more than being an occasional visitor. It implies being a resident now and in eternity. To behold His beauty means to enjoy God’s goodness and blessings.

Prayer: How blest we are, Father, to know that faith in You gives us hope for this life and the one to come. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 27:3 Though an army may encamp against me, My heart shall not fear; Though war may rise against me, In this I will be confident.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Life's Choices

Yogi Berra once said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” That seems to sum up the journey before all of us in one way or another. We are constantly faced with making a decision about which way we are to go when we come to the “forks in life’s road.”

Each morning when we begin the day’s journey there is no assurance that what we intend to do will happen exactly as planned. Interruptions come from every side and what may have been peaceful and calm ends up being frantic and out of control. So, we are confronted with two ever present options: chose to have faith in God or be fearful of what is in us, in front of or around us. We are faced with the only two choices life has to offer: faith or fear. So, what does faith in God have to offer us?

In Psalm 27 David describes his Lord as his light, salvation and fortress. As his light David knew that God would reveal His plan for him and dispel the darkness that might come over him. He also believed that God was, when he was writing this psalm, his salvation. This meant that God would deliver him from anything that would harm him or rescue him when things went badly. Not only at death, but as life unfolded before him. He also believed that the Lord was his strength - or stronghold - a place where he could take refuge and restore his soul when he was overwhelmed with life’s demands.

No wonder he proclaimed: Why fear anything?

Prayer: We thank You, Lord, for being our light, salvation and strength to meet the challenges of life! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Why Twelve?

Why did Jesus choose twelve disciples? Was there some significance in that number? Could it have been because there were twelve months in the Jewish calendar, or because they divided their day into twelve hours or because there were twelve tribes of Israel?

We find the answer in Mark’s gospel: “that they might be with Him!” Jesus wanted His “friends” to be with Him and learn from Him. Psalm 24:14 says, “The Lord is a friend to those who fear Him. He teaches them His covenant” - His plan of salvation.

Someone once said, “A friend is a person who knows you and likes to be with you in spite of your faults.” This seems to go beyond “love.” Love is “doing” something for someone because they have a need.

It is a gracious thought to know that He wants us to be His “friends.” The picture represented in this verse is that of two friends sitting on a couch having a confidential conversation. What a wonderful way to think of our relationship with Jesus: sitting next to Him and quietly talking to Him about eternal life - His covenant with His people - His friends!

How amazing it is to think that we can share thoughts with Him as a friend. What an opportunity He offers us: to sit with Him as a friend and ask Him to teach us His covenant - His plan for our salvation.

We can do this - be with Him - by reading His Word and talking with Him in prayer and meditation.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for being our Friend and Teacher and willingly sharing Your salvation with us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 25:14 The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Beauty Of Taking Risks

Knowledge is one thing. Knowing is quite another. We may know about someone and yet not know that one as a person. To know someone means taking a risk and becoming vulnerable. David wanted to know God. Really know Him. So he prayed, “show me, teach me, lead me.” He was willing to take a risk! David wanted to come to know his Lord and the Lord of Life.

Notice how much there is in verse four:

When he asked God to “show him” he was literally asking God to make Himself known to him. If we want to know God like David wanted to know God, it is necessary to begin with repentance and forgiveness. The gift of salvation is the first step in our knowledge of God. As our knowledge of Christ grows, we will begin to understand the meaning of salvation, we will become more knowledgeable about God’s love, mercy and grace.

Then he continued “teach me” Your paths. If we have repented, we will want God to show us the path that He wants us to take and follow Him wherever it leads. Jesus said, “I am the way.” He is not a way, but is the way and is always willing to teach us His way but we must be willing to listen to Him speak to us.

Finally he said, “Lead me in Your truth.” He realized that he was fallible - prone to making the wrong choices. So, he was willing to admit that He needed God’s wisdom in place of his knowledge and that he needed His insights. He willingly begged God to equip him for the life that God had planned for Him.

Prayer: Father, may we willingly open our minds and hearts to know You, learn from You and serve You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 25:4 Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Need Directions?

Life’s journey is never simple, straight, certain or serene. It is like a complicated maze that has sharp turns and sudden stops. Getting from the beginning to the end is no easy task. It is much like life.

How blest we are to have the Lord who is personally interested in each of us and is willing to guide us, guard us and give us detailed instructions. But we must be willing to surrender to Him and trust in Him. Not only will God rescue us when we need Him, but He will guide us if we ask Him.

“Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths,” said David. He did not approach God asking for directions and say, “Lord, if You promise me an easy path I will cooperate with You.” He went to God before he started his journey and said, “Show me - teach me,” then I will make my next move. By voluntarily asking God for help before he started his journey, he could expect God to be with him and protect him on his journey. But he did not stop there.

He asked God to “teach him His path.”

When he asked God to show him his way he wanted more than directions. He wanted God to be his teacher - his guide through life - explaining His world and His ways to him. It is easy to want God to show us where to go but it is often difficult for us to open our hearts and allow Him to teach us His ways!

What a beautiful picture of surrender! Show me where to go, God, and teach me what I need to learn.

Prayer: Lord, fill us with an attitude of humility and trust and help us look to You as our Leader and Teacher. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 25:4 Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Calling For God In A Crisis

There are some psychologists who believe that our need for safety, structure and stability are more important than nearly anything else. Perhaps they are right.

When we look around and feel threatened and insecure, we become frightened and build what we think are protective walls to make us safe and secure. Yet, often the protective walls we have wrapped around us are suddenly removed and we become frightened and afraid.

Could it be that God is offering us an unplanned opportunity to grow closer to Him? Disaster strikes and we immediately grasp for His protection. We suddenly realize we desperately need Him and since there is no one else to turn to call on Him for help. We need a miracle working God and want Him to do something special for us. So, we call on Him in desperation because we need help and believe that only He can rescue us.

David did not have an easy life. From infancy to old age he knew and experienced the stress and strain and storms of life. We find many examples of this in his writings. One is when he cried, “I give my soul to You, O Lord. All of me - body, mind and spirit - Lord, is now Yours!” Save me and “Let me not be ashamed” for doubting You. David’s army and amour could not help.

Overwhelmed with fear he called upon God. He knew that he needed a power beyond himself and knew Who that power was. And when he called, God answered.

Prayer: May we, Lord, come to realize that in and of ourselves we are nothing and need Your protection. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 25:1-2 To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in You; Let me not be ashamed; Let not my enemies triumph over me.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Don't Give Up!

The endless questions of growing children often become boring and frustrating. There are times when no answer will do and no explanation is ever sufficient. The child persists, refuses to be satisfied with our best answers and the questions never stop.

Perhaps David had times in his life, as we all do, when it seemed as though his “King” would not answer his questions. It seemed as though the Lord stood far beyond and above him, unavailable and unable to answer his questions. So, what did David do? He thought that he understood Him, did what he knew He expected of him to the best of his ability. Yet we see him standing there in wonder - wanting and waiting to hear a voice and unable to bear the silence.

What was his problem? And do we have this same problem today? Perhaps.

Instant gratification and sudden success do not breed faith in God. But patient expectation and utter dependence on Him does. Perhaps our “fast-food-lanes” and “any-time-bank-tellers” have eroded the importance of waiting and watching and wondering. Deep within us we believe that He will answer our prayers and meet our needs. We know that His power is beyond our imagination. David realized this, too.

David had an intimate knowledge of God and knew Him personally. Yet, he asked the who question twice as though His power was not available. But it was! God wanted David to wait and trust and grow.

Prayer: We know, Lord, that Your power is more than sufficient to meet our needs. Increase our faith and trust. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 24:8 Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle.

Friday, February 15, 2013

More Than A Shepherd

“Life is not fair,” some claim. When they try to place the events of life on a balance sheet, the total seems to be much larger on the negative side of the ledger. They prove their point: Life is indeed unfair.

And if we stop reading this psalm at the end of verse four, it seems that the struggles of life end in victory with no celebration. The battle is over and we sit silently in comfort and security - but alone. Not so! Our Shepherd becomes a Host and we are seated at a lavishly set table with an abundance of food.

After a successful battle in the days of David, the victor would be seated in a banquet hall as the ones he defeated stood and watched as he dined before them. They would watch but not enjoy. They were the losers and could not enter into the joy of victory.

So our Lord will one day seat us in the presence of those who would have destroyed us. Not only is there the celebration of a feast that signifies victory, but the honor of being anointed with “oil” - the sign of a true celebration. Then we read that our “cup” will be overflowing - a picture of the goodness and grace of God - that demonstrates Him giving the very best to His child whom He bought at a great price.

In the New Testament, the banquet table is a sign of salvation. We conclude this psalm with a vision of being seated at a banquet with our Savior and Shepherd. A banquet where we will celebrate the joy of our salvation and being with Him forever.

Prayer: We look forward, Lord, to that day when we will rejoice in Your presence forever as our King! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

God's Mercy

This day of the month has been set aside as a day to express love and affection. Cards and candy, gifts and flowers are given freely and are usually intended to make a statement of appreciation to someone who has a special place in our heart.

We read in Psalm 23 that the “goodness and mercy of God will follow us all the days of our lives.” But the word mercy is best translated “love” - a love that is not readily visible in our world but is vitally needed by each of us. It is God’s love that we know and experience through His promise to never leave us or forsake and always be available to us.

Rather than being pursued and punished by a god who is angry with us for breaking his laws, we have a God who pursues us and promises to provide for our every need from His limitless love and grace. It is this God that David knew and trusted. It is this God that David knew that he could go to for hope and help, love and forgiveness. It is this God that David knew could be trusted to protect him in times of trouble. It is this God that David knew. We can come to know this God as David knew Him and we can come to trust Him as David did.

When we speak of God’s love, we speak of a love that comes first from loyalty - He will never leave us nor abandon us. We know that it is a love that will surround us with care and compassion. We know that this love will be available to meet our every need every day.

Prayer: We thank You, loving Father, for a love that is never ending, always available and freely given. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Faith, Fear And Facts

Walking in “paths of righteousness” does not protect us from the “valleys” of life, but we can be sure that the Lord Himself is with us and will protect us. Though we may be surrounded by what may seem to be the ultimate darkness brought about by evil, we can rest in confidence because we know that God’s presence guarantees His protection.

“Your rod and your staff, they comfort me,” wrote David. These two powerful words, rod and staff were not meaningless words - but words that describe the way that the shepherd guarded and protected his sheep.

The rod was used by shepherds to beat away any external enemy that might harm his sheep. The “crooked” staff was used by shepherds to snatch his sheep from getting in harm's way. So, here we have a picture of how our Shepherd watches over us. He guards us from any external enemy that would attack, defeat or destroy us. He makes certain that they will not come near us nor harm us without His arm being around us. Nor will he allow internal enemies - thoughts or ideas - that would cause us to doubt His love, mercy, grace or salvation to destroy the peace His presence brings us.

Our Shepherd’s rod and staff summarize His role and describe the ways He will care for us if we allow Him. And when we allow Him to become our Shepherd we can say with David, “I will walk through valleys and fear no evil! They will not overcome me.”

Prayer: Lord, give us faith to believe in the facts of Your Word that in Your strength we need fear no evil. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Dark Valleys - Death's Shadow

It takes the darkness of the night to bring out the brilliance and beauty of the stars. When we face the fear of the unknown, however, we often find the grace of God. “Though I walk through,” David said, “the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil because You are with me!”

We are all joyfully aware of God’s presence when days are filled with sunshine and warmth. All of us, however, have at one time or another, entered into valleys that are filled with ill-defined shadows that we find frightening and foreboding. We look for a light to shine over the rim of the mountain to give us the assurance that there is hope. Yet it is because of those days of sunshine and warmth that David reminds us to remember that God is also with us when all is not well and the light that faithfully guided us fades.

There are times when our “valley” may take the form of suffering. When it does, we must not forget that Jesus also suffered and understands our times of suffering. And when we feel abandoned and alone we must not forget that those whom He spent three years training to be His disciples forsook Him. And when He was laid to rest it was in someone else’s tomb.

Our Savior has walked through every “dark valley” that we will ever face. He understands our grief. Now, He is in heaven with His Father and when we go to Him in prayer with our needs, we have the assurance that He understands our needs. He was there before us.

Prayer: We are blest, Father, by Your presence and protection as we pass through life’s dark valleys. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Right Living

When we are born, we know nothing, have no plan to follow and must be taught how to live. In front of us lie opportunities that are untested and untried. Unfortunately, we do not have any “second chances” in life to live our lives over again. No matter how deep our desire may be or how desperate we are, we cannot relive one second nor retrace one step. Each step is final and every second gone forever.

David, however, says that the Good Shepherd will “lead us in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” Note carefully that He does simply want us to understand what righteousness is, but that He leads His own “in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”

This is very important. The “righteousness” that David is speaking of here is not an end in itself. If it were, it would lead us to a state of “self-righteousness” - not godly righteousness. God does not want us to stray or walk in paths that are unrighteous because they will lead us to defeat and destruction, sin and shame. He wants to lead us in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Nothing is more important for us. Why?

Because of the Shepherd’s name - His reputation - is at stake. Like it or not, His name will be respected or rejected by the way we live. Our lives say it all.

Alexander the Great once said to one of his soldiers, “Your name is Alexander and my name is Alexander. But you are bringing disgrace to my name. Change your name or change the way you live.”

Prayer: Enable, us Father, to walk righteously in Your power for Your Name’s sake, to honor You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 23:3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Our Source Of Security

Life is unpredictable. Rarely does a day pass without someone or something interrupting our best laid plans. We look forward to days without worry and nights that are peaceful. Then, suddenly and without our permission, we are jolted into the realm of the unknown and the unexpected. We strive to be safe and secure but we have no assurance that tragedy will not strike without warning.

Psalm 23 is no doubt the world’s most loved psalm. The helpless image of sheep who want to stray from the flock and their need for protection by an ever present and always watchful shepherd gives us comfort and calmness. We all need and want that kind of Shepherd. It gives hope and assurance that we will never be left alone during the dark hours of life and that we will never have to face dangerous valleys or dimly lit pathways by ourselves.

In this psalm David presents a picture of God that reveals His love, His loyalty and His presence. As long as we live we can say He is “my” shepherd - not “a” shepherd or “someone else’s shepherd” but “my” very own shepherd who watches over every step we take.

And finally, when we are face to face with the certainty of death after the uncertainties of life, we know that He is - not might be - but actually is with us as we “pass through” the dark valley of death and enter into eternity where we will enjoy His presence forever!

Prayer: We are grateful to You, Lord, for giving us Your peace, presence and protection, today and every day and that You, our Creator, are also our Shepherd. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Why Now, God?

Feelings of being abandoned and forsaken are, perhaps, among the most painful feelings of life. In desperation we cry for someone or anyone to come to our rescue. Tragedy strikes, hopes are dashed, one whom we deeply loved and have spent our lives with is suddenly taken from us. And there we are: alone. Our cries go unheard - and it seems as though the heavens above have turned to brass and the clouds have become marble. So, we cry out in fear and frustration for our God. But He does not answer. He’s not available.

Jesus knew those feelings. As life was ebbing from His body He cried out, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” David and Jesus felt abandoned, indeed were abandoned, by those who were their closest friends. They had invested time in training them, being open and honest with them in sharing the ups and downs of life and had come to believe in and trust them. And then in their darkest moments they felt the pain of desertion and the fear of being alone.

But they would not give up on God! The lamp of faith may have been dimmed by God’s silence but it had not been extinguished by life’s tragedies. Both confessed that He is still “My God!”

God never promised that if we believed in Him our lives would be free from the fear of isolation or loneliness. He did, however, promise to be with us in our darkest moments. He did not promise to take us around the dark valleys of life, but through them.

Prayer: We accept Your promises, Lord, and pray that in our moments of despair we will not lose faith in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 22:1 My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, And from the words of My groaning?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Choices And Consequences

Failure is never a welcome guest. Nor does one choose failure to be an associate or companion. Yet it is something that often invades our lives even though it is unwanted. Yet, from it we learn some of life’s most valuable lessons.

In Psalm 21 David begins with shouts of praise: “How the king rejoices in Your strength, O he shouts with joy because You gave him You gave him a You preserved his life.” Here we find David rejoicing and praising His Lord for the gracious gifts that He gave him. He praised God for granting him the desires of his heart and giving him victory over his enemies.

But notice carefully: he realized that the source of his strength, the joy of his victories, his golden crown and the preservation of his life all came from his Lord. He recognized God as his source of strength, survival and success. And in doing so, he gave thanks!

David learned from his mistakes. And wisely, when he came confident from his victories, he knew whom to thank. His victories came from the Lord.

God often allows us to experience the agony of defeat and the sorrow of disappointment to learn that we must rely on Him for everything, every day. In this Psalm David reminds us that his strength, joy, victory, rewards and protection all come from God. He learned from experience to trust God. What a great lesson for us.

Prayer: Help us, Lord, to realize that we can only expect victory if we look to You for our needs. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 21:1 The king shall have joy in Your strength, O Lord; And in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Facing The Unknown

Imagine, if you can, leaving your loved ones behind as you depart for a war zone. Think, if it is it possible, how you would feel if you were told you had stage-four cancer and there was no treatment to help prolong your life. Consider, if you will, what you would do if you discovered that your loved one had abandoned you.

While we hear of these tragedies impacting on others, few of us would welcome or want them to invade our lives or the lives of our loved ones. But what happens if they do? The Psalmist gives us comfort if or when we must embrace the unwelcome tragedies of life.

“In times of trouble may the Lord answer your cry,” he writes. Not hear your cry, nor think about your cry nor put your cry on His waiting list. But may He answer your cry.

Life is filled with unexpected tragedies. One moment everything is the way we had planned it to be and the next moment things are upside down. Often we are faced with unforeseen temptations that present choices we never thought we would have to face. But we do not face life alone. We have the protection of God, the power of the risen Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit to rescue us from defeat.

We cannot avoid the trials or tragedies of life. Nor do we need to face them alone. God is there to protect and defend us. Victory is ours when our lives are in God’s hands.

Prayer: Thank You, Father, that Your ear is open to our cry and Your strength available when we need help. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 20:1 May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble; May the name of the God of Jacob defend you;

Monday, February 4, 2013

From Head To Heart

JoAnn was watching her grandfather mulch the soil around his smiling pansies. “PaPa,” she asked, “may I please have the yellow one with a purple face?” “Of course, my dear,” he said, handing her a flower with a stem that was once near the center of the plant.

After carefully examining its intricate details she said, “Here, now take it back and put it where it was.”

“I can’t do that, my dear,” he replied. “It came from the heart of the plant and there is no way to put it back.”

Words are like that pansy. They come from the heart. Whatever we say or whatever anyone else says comes from the heart and words once spoken can never be returned to their source. Our words either help or harm, do good or cause damage, build up or tear down, bring out the best in people or make them fearful to act.

How wise of David to want his words and thoughts to be pleasing to God. God wants us to love Him, worship Him, serve Him and please Him. But if we do not know Him we will never be able to honor Him. And we cannot know Him unless we study His Word and allow its message to penetrate our minds.

Then, as we think Godly thoughts we will speak Godly words and do Godly deeds that come from Godly hearts and our lives will be pleasing to Him. Whatever is in our heart will eventually come out in our lives!

Prayer: We ask, Father, for hearts that are filled with Your Word and lives that are pleasing in Your sight. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Searching For God

“The heavens proclaim the glory of God!” Do they really? When the writer looks into the heavens does he really believe that He can see God? Does he see an outline of God in a constellation? Are there stars shining somewhere that actually point to God’s eternal residence?

No. This psalm, more than any other, reflects the beauty, splendor and handiwork of God. He is speaking of the revelation of God in the world of nature. His belief in God as Creator is not an argument against the theory of evolution or the problems of science and the Bible. For him, Creation reveals the Lord’s royal majesty, sovereignty, power and design. He simply declares God’s existence and presence and wants to praise Him in worship and wonder.

We see God’s glory each morning when we are awakened by a majestic sunrise that erupts from the darkness of the night. We see His handiwork each time we look into the face of a rose, watch a bird in flight or see the crashing of waves. All of creation clearly and convincingly announces the greatness and glory of God.

This Psalm reveals a God who communicates to us through the majesty of His creation. The fact that He speaks openly to us through the work of His hands is a gracious expression of His love and His desire for us to know and worship Him. Although sin has attempted to hide His glory it is still with us and cannot be denied!

Prayer: How great You are, O Lord, our Creator and Redeemer, our source of hope and eternal life. We thank You for our salvation and making Yourself known to us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.