Thursday, October 31, 2013

Cows, Cuds and Meditation

Have you ever watched a cow, lying beneath a tree, quietly looking through its leaves at the puffy clouds that are passing across the soft blue sky? They seem to be concentrating on something far beyond themselves, yet important to them. Their stillness reflects a sense of peace and confidence that “all is well in my world and there’s nothing for me to worry about.” All the while they are chewing on “cuds” - round balls of grass that they bring up from their stomachs and chew some 30,000 times each day to get all of the nourishment out of them.

Could that not be a picture of meditation for the Christian to adopt? A time when we quietly “chew” on a piece of Scripture that God brings to our minds from His Word that we have hidden in our hearts.
Imagine how our lives would be different if we sat quietly and brought a verse of Scripture from His Word into our minds and then looked to Him to give us all the nourishment that it contains. Imagine the changes that would take place in our lives if we would invest even a small amount of time “chewing” on a verse or two from His Word each day asking Him to “nourish our lives” with its meaning. Imagine the peace and comfort that could be ours if we simply asked His Spirit to use His Word to calm our fears, lift our depression, eliminate our doubts, change our attitudes and convict us of our sins.

If we can imagine it we can do it! God troubles our hearts and minds to get our attention. Then we must submit to His Spirit to work in us as we meditate on Him. 

Prayer: Lord, speak to our hearts and change our lives as we willingly ask Your Spirit to guide and guard us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 104:34 May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the Lord.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sing to the Lord!


When Herbert Hoover was president he asked Rudy Vallee to sing at the White House. He was very impressed by the famous “megaphone crooner” and entertainer and at the end of his performance said, “You are great, Mr. Vallee. If you can sing a song that would make people feel good, forget their problems and relieve their depression, I will give you a medal.” However, Vallee did not have a song that he could sing that would bring about those results.

But there is One who can do that. David said, “I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praises to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to Him as I rejoice in the Lord.”

The Hebrew word for meditate includes two words from the English language: one is “think” and the other suggests “speech” or “audible thinking.” If we put them together they can bring about amazing results!

Imagine how our lives would be different if when we thought about God’s Word we would begin to talk to Him. For example, if 1 John 1:9 came to mind during a time of meditation, we might say something like, “Oh, thank You Lord for Your forgiveness. How grateful I am that if I come to You, confess my sin, ask You for Your forgiveness and repent, You will forgive me. Thank You for the assurance of Your grace and mercy. How much I need it. And please, Lord, fill my life with Your Spirit so that when I am tempted to sin, I can ask You to give me the strength to overcome the temptation!” 

Prayer: Father, fill my mind with Your Word. Let it speak to my heart and then may my heart speak to You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Scripture for Today: Psalm 104:33, 34 I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the Lord.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Thought Of Eternity

There was no one to write about it, and actually, nothing to write about. There was no calendar to record the number of days or years or even centuries or ages. It was a beginning without a beginning and the only Person there was God. He needed no one and was in need of nothing.

But He chose to create the heavens and the earth. And with no pre-existing materials or anyone to help Him, it was the power of His words that brought everything into existence that is or ever will be.

When He said, “Let us make man,” we know what happened: He formed man’s body from the “dust” of the ground. And we know that this “dust” is a combination of all of the various chemical elements that make up the physical body of man.

Our bodies did not “evolve.” Our bodies were “built” by God from the earth that He created. God also breathed the breath - or the spirit - of life into that body. At that moment, man became a living soul.

We do much to take care of our bodies. Daily we are reminded of the cost of “healthcare” and how very important it is for us to take proper care of our bodies. But we seem to have forgotten the words of Jesus: “What good,” He asked, “will it be for someone to gain the whole world and forfeit their soul?” Why is this an important question?

Our Psalmist said: “When You take away their breath they die and return to the dust.” But not the soul.

Prayer: We thank You Lord, for Jesus, Your Son and our Savior, who gave His life for us to live for You forever. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 104:29 When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust.

Monday, October 28, 2013

God Forgets No One

Birthdays and anniversaries are special days and times in the lives of most people. We look forward to being remembered with a card or letter, phone call or bouquet of flowers, a special meal or perhaps even a cake.

Poor Mrs. Hattie Hollowell spent three years, four months and sixteen days in a New York jail and no one seemed to know she was there. Fortunately, someone started an investigation for some reason and in the process discovered her. As a result of the search she came to be known as “The Forgotten Woman.” When asked, a judge blamed the tragedy on the “slipshod work” of an attorney. “Instead of helping her, he actually hurt her,” he said.

The Psalmist wrote that “All creatures look to You to give them their food at the proper time.” Our Psalmist wants us to know that our God cares for us and will, at the right time, provide for our every need. But there is a very interesting statement about God and our relationship to Him in this verse that is completed in the following verse: “When You open Your hand they are satisfied with good things.”

Notice that “At the proper time,” “He will open His hand,” and “satisfy us with good things.” We are to be completely dependent on God. There is His time, His hand and good things. Often we try to force the hand of God: We want what we want when we want it. But that is not how He works. He knows what we need and when we need it. We must wait upon Him for what is best for us.

Prayer: Help us Lord, to wait patiently on You, knowing that You are doing what is best for us – always. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Scripture for Today: Psalm 104:27, 28 All creatures look to you to give them their food at the proper time. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Wonder of Work

Years ago a “hobo” came to the back porch as my mother sat there “shelling peas.” “Pardon me, Ma’am, but could you spare a meal to a starving traveler?”

Graciously, but firmly, my mother responded and said she would be happy to provide a meal but he would have to do some yard work first. Politely, he declined. He was “too weak” to work before he had something to eat. He then walked away quietly and went next door.

God intended for man to work. As soon as He created man He planted a garden in Eden and gave him a job to do: he was told to cultivate the garden. The Psalmist reminded us of the importance of work when he wrote, “Man goes out to his work, to his labor until evening.”

Perhaps it is good to remember that in the days of His flesh our Lord Jesus worked. He must have gone to His daily tasks with enthusiasm - not because it was easy or financially rewarding. But because He was using the skills His Father gave Him to do His will and honor Him through the work of His hands. On one occasion, early in His life He said, “I always do the things that please Him.” He did what was necessary yet never sinned.

How comforting it is to know that the Carpenter of Nazareth faced every situation that we face today. This fact assures us that He understands us completely. He faced the same trials and temptations that we face so He understands us. Yet He never gave in to any temptation or committed any sin so He could become our Savior.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for living a life that sets the example of how we should live so others can see You in us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 104:23 Then people go out to their work, to their labor until evening.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Trees of the Lord

William Jackson was a prominent figure in the American Revolution. But even more important was his role as the Secretary of the United States Constitutional Convention. Although we know much about him and his many accomplishments, there is one fact that is rarely mentioned when people speak of him: a fondness that he had for a large oak tree. Its great size and the strength that is suggested gave him so much inspiration that he wrote a deed conveying it to full possession of itself and the land that surrounded it so even its roots would be protected from harm.

Trees have a special significance in the Bible. The Psalmist wrote that “The trees of the Lord are well watered, the cedars of Lebanon that He planted.” Why was the cedar singled out?

Cedars are trees whose branches reach high into the heavens. Their stateliness stands in stark contrast to other trees as they soar well over one hundred feet into the sky – as though they were reaching up for the God who created them. Certainly this represents a worthy characteristic for Christians to follow.

Cedars also are deep-rooted. They send their “anchors” deep into the earth as they reach up to their Creator. While many trees fall when storms “attack” them the cedar remains undisturbed.

Cedars are broad-branched – it spreads its arms widely as it grows old. It appears as though it wants to “embrace” others and protect them from harm. So do we. 

Prayer: Lord, make us like cedars: to reach up to be near to You, down to abide in You and out to help others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Scripture for Today: Psalm 104:16 The trees of the Lord are well watered, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Songs Of Birds

Ornithologists claim that there are over 9,000 birds that live throughout the world. Some make their homes in places that are covered by ice the entire year. Others make their homes in hot and arid places. Many live on the land but some actually live on the water.

The largest bird is the male African ostrich. It may grow eight feet tall and weigh three hundred pounds. The smallest bird is the Cuban fairy hummingbird. It is about two inches long and weighs about one tenth of an ounce.

The fastest fliers are the common swifts of Europe. They can fly as fast as two hundred miles an hour. But the highest flyers are the geese. They have been sighted at a height of more that twenty-nine thousand feet.

The graceful flight of birds, their sweet songs and beautiful colors have inspired artists, musicians and poets. The Psalmist wrote, “The birds of the air nest by the waters; they sing among the branches.”

Each kind of singing bird has its own special song. However, we are told that sparrows can sing as many as twenty variations of the same song! They, as every other bird, are God-fashioned and “God-tuned.” No other bird has such God-given skills.

Just as God has planted songs in the heart of every bird, He has also planted songs in the heart of every Christian: songs of peace and pardon and joy. With His songs in our hearts let us sing His praises!

Prayer: We ask, Father, that “songs of salvation” will rise from our hearts as we enjoy the gifts of Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 104:12 The birds of the sky nest by the waters; they sing among the branches.

Monday, October 21, 2013

"Winds And Flames" His Servants

Missionary Rachel Smith was carefully telling the Christmas Story to a group of primitive headhunters in the jungles of Peru. With simplicity she told the story of some men who were in the fields guarding their sheep when an angel suddenly appeared.

“What did he look like?” asked one. “Just like a man,” she answered. “Did he have feathers?” he asked.

“No,” she replied. “Then he could not fly and the story is not true,” he shouted.

“Have you seen the missionary plane?” she asked. “Yes,” came his reply. “Have you touched it?” she asked.

“I have,” he said. “Did it have feathers?” she wanted to know. “No,” he admitted. “You see,” she explained, “one need not have feathers to fly.”

Immediately the questioner and the tribe went in to an intense discussion. After several moments they agreed that the Christmas Story could be true. God used an angel that first Christmas evening to be a messenger with the most important announcement that was ever made to man.

The Bible has much to say about angels and their actions but little about their appearance. In Psalm 104:4 we read that “He makes winds His messengers, flames of fire His servants.”

These “messengers” - or angels - are sent by God to help and care for those who receive His salvation. The Lord will always meet the needs of His children through one way or another - even if it takes one of His angels.

Prayer: With grateful hearts, Father, we give You our thanks for Your unending care and constant protection. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 104:4 He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Lord Over All!

The Taj Mahal of India is one of the most costly and beautiful tombs in all of the world. It was built by an Indian ruler, using twenty thousand men, in memory of his favorite wife.

It is built of white marble and rests on an eight-sided platform of red sandstone. Each side is one hundred thirty feet long. A beautiful dome covers the center part of the building. It is famous for its remarkable acoustics and visitors entering the building are advised to be cautious of their voices and the sounds they make. It is to be a place of quiet respect.

Years ago Henrietta Mears, founder of Gospel Light Publications and one of the greatest Christian educators in the history of the church, visited the Taj Mahal and asked the guide, “May I say something?” When she was granted permission she walked on the platform and exclaimed in a moving voice, “Jesus, Christ, Son of God is Lord over all!”

Like rolls of thunder echoing in a canyon between majestic mountains her powerful voice reverberated from wall to wall and down the corridors and all inside of the tomb heard the message, “Lord over all, over all, over all, over all...”

There are times when we look at the conditions that surround us and the problems facing us when we doubt that essential fact - “Lord over all!” God had David encode that fact in Psalm 103:19b: “His kingdom rules over all.” It was then; it is now and ever will be. God rules!

Prayer: May we never doubt, Lord, that You are the one who controls all things - and trust in Your sovereignty! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Our "No Assurance" Policy

Quite frequently a dear, young friend who is very concerned about my health comes to my office to visit me. Each time we meet he “reviews” my work schedule and responsibilities in great detail. He wants to know what time I get to work and what time I leave; what I did on each Saturday and Sunday since we last talked. He wants to know the last time I preached at a church, where it was and how long it took me to drive to and from it. His questions are not meant to be invasive or abusive. He is concerned about my health and wants to know whether or not I am taking proper care of myself.

After we conclude his lengthy interrogation, he looks at me and makes the same statements every time we visit: “You’re working too hard. You’re working too much. You need to go on a vacation or you will kill yourself. Why do you work so hard? Do you want to die?”

Each time we have this discussion I give him the same answer: “Dear friend, I am going to die. But I do not know when. So, I want to get as much done for the Lord as I possibly can. But I promise I will care for myself.”

And then I remind him of Psalm 103:15-16: “As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.”

Our days may be few or they may be many. But one thing is for certain: We have fewer days to serve Him after today than we did yesterday. We must make each one count for our Lord. 

Prayer: Help us Lord, to realize the importance of each day knowing that we have no assurance of tomorrow. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:15-16 The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

How Much Is Enough?

While watching a large oceangoing cargo ship slip quietly into the Atlantic I noticed a mark on the side of the ship. Having been in the Navy for several years, I was rather embarrassed to ask my friend what it meant.
“It’s a Plimsoll Mark,” he said with authority. It was not an answer that helped at all, so I asked, “What’s a Plimsoll Mark?”

“It’s a load-line on the ship that shows how much cargo the ship can carry safely under different conditions. For example, the closer the line is to the water, the more ‘at-risk’ the ship would be in a storm.”

The Lord has a “load-line” marking on each of us. As we read in Psalm 103:14, “for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.” The Psalmist assures us that God knows our limitations - what we can safely and securely “carry.”

None of us are immune to trials - nor are any of us excused from being tempted. All of us, in one way or another and at one time or another, face similar types of trials and temptations. None are new. None are different. They come at different times in different situations from different directions appealing to our different weaknesses.

As Paul wrote, “No temptation has seized you that is not common to others, And, God is faithful! He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide you a way out.”

He knows our “load-lines” and will not let us sink. However, we must be careful not to put ourselves at risk.

Prayer: Help us, Father, to realize that You created us, that You know us and that You will protect us if we allow You to. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Relief From Searching

Missionaries who travel to visit distant tribes in the most remote villages of the world seem to have a similar experience: when the natives learn and understand that there is only one God whose story is told in the Bible and whom they can come to know through Jesus Christ, they lose their fear of “their gods.” Most of them have many different gods whom they do not know nor understand - only fear. So, they live lives filled with fear - afraid that they will displease the god they have created who may punish or kill them, their families or tribe at any time. So, they live lives that are haunted, not helped by their beliefs.

How different is the God of the Bible whom we can come to know, love and understand. Our God has the heart of a loving Father. The Psalmist described Him in wonderful, gracious terms when he wrote, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear - stand in awe of - Him.”

He has compassion on us when we are weak and need His strength to make it through difficult days and long nights. He has compassion on us when we hurt and need His hope and healing. He has compassion on us when we have failed Him and need His forgiveness.

One day two fathers were talking. “If your son was my son, I would never speak to him again for what he’s done to you.” “Yes,” replied the father who was filled with grief, “but he’s not. He’s my son and I’ll always love him.” How like our compassionate Heavenly Father.

Prayer: Thank You, Father, for Your compassion which we so desperately need - yet can never earn nor deserve. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

Monday, October 14, 2013

How Great Is God's Love?

Miss Burrell was my second grade teacher and next door neighbor. It seemed as though I could never get beyond her “watchful” eye. When she called on me in class I would “shrivel” up inside and have difficulty getting any words out of my mouth. And when I was out in our yard playing, I imagined that she was “peeking” at me and my friends from the corner of a window. Perhaps it was feelings of guilt for not being a better student or more gracious when she came to visit my mother.

But in spite of those feelings I remember the many evenings she would knock on our front door and ask me to join her in the front yard and study the stars and constellations. She would bring her flashlight and point out “The Big Dipper” and “The Little Dipper” and all of the constellations that God formed in the sky. She would also point out different stars - some that shined brightly and some that we could barely see. I remember asking her often how many miles they were from where we were standing.

“No one will ever be able to measure the most-distant star because we will always be finding new ones that are even farther away.” So, “we’ll never know” was her answer every time I asked that question.

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who stand in awe of Him,” said the Psalmist. What a marvelous statement about the love of God. It is so immense, as are His heavens, that we will never be able to measure it.

Prayer: Lord, we will never understand why You love us, nor how very much You love us. But we do thank You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:11, 12 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Renewed Like Eagles

Eagles have a unique place in nature - certainly a place that differs from all other birds. They represent strength, power and freedom from the things of this world that would distract them. No wonder they have a special place in God’s Word. Isaiah promised, “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar on wings like eagles.” No doubt David had this in mind when he wrote, “so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” What makes eagles special?

Eagles have fine vision and sharp focus. Their eyes were designed by God for long distance and clarity. This gives the eagles great vision and enables them to see what other birds do not see. We as Christians need God’s vision so we can see what we need to do for Him.

Eagles are fearless. As God’s representatives we need to be fearless as we represent Him and present His message to others. We must never bow to others in fear.

Eagles are tenacious. Other birds fly from a storm. But eagles fly into the storm - taking advantage of life’s difficulties - and rise to greater heights, never giving up.

Eagles are “high flyers.” They easily fly to an altitude of 10,000 feet. Pigeons stay on the ground and “grumble” all day long. The eagle quietly soars above the noises of life and finds peace with God.

Eagles possess vitality. They are full of life yet find time to re-energize themselves and extend their lives.

Eagles nurture their young ones. No other bird is more attentive or gentle to its young than the eagle.

Prayer: Grant us, Lord, the qualities of an eagle. May we live lives that distinguish us from others as we serve You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today:
Psalm 103:5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Crowns and Compassion

He “crowns you with love and compassion,” wrote David. What an amazing statement. Is it possible for us to understand what this means? God Himself crowning us with His love and compassion? What might our author have had in mind when he wrote this? Could it mean that we are kings in God’s eyes?

Not really. It means that when we became His children He crowned us with His loyal, never-ending, steadfast love. We are His now and we will be His forever throughout eternity and nothing will ever separate us from Him or His love.

In his letter to Timothy, Paul wrote that “If we die with Him we will also live with Him, and if we endure hardship we will also reign with Him.”

Although we may suffer great hardships in this life, God assures us that someday we will live eternally with Him. So, it’s worth it. And when we live in Christ’s Kingdom, we will share His eternal reign with Him.

There may be times when our suffering may cause us to doubt God’s love. When these doubts arise, we must never forget that we have been crowned with His love and compassion. “Our present sufferings,” said Paul, “are not worth comparing with the incredible glory that will be revealed in us.” The assurance of His love gives us hope.

Once crowned with His love and compassion we need to remember that we will, as Paul also said, “see the incredible wealth of His grace and kindness.” When we are crowned by God Himself, what more can we ask. 

Prayer: Father, Your love is beyond our understanding. But we accept it with grateful hearts and rejoice. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:4b and crowns you with love and compassion,

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Rescued From the Pit

It is well known that time has a way of bringing about a “lapse in memory.” Many of the important events in our lives - especially when God has intervened in a very dramatic way - have been forgotten over the years. Yes, there are moments when they come to mind, but for the most part, unless we record them somewhere they are forgotten. Certainly this is a shortcoming for many of us and it would be good if we had a “remember this” list.

No doubt that is why God had David add this “benefit” to his list of “Do not forget.”
“Do not forget that he redeems - or more literally - rescues you - from the pit.” In the previous verse we are reminded about His healing. Now we are reminded to “store this ‘benefit’ - being rescued from death inside us.”

“The pit” quite literally means “death.” Those who have ever “walked through the valley of the shadow of death” understand the significance of the “walking back into the light” of life. So, we dare not forget the great benefit and blessing of the restoration of health and healing, hope and happiness.

But we must also remember the “benefit” of having been rescued from “eternal death!” Jesus promised us that, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me, will never die.” This great benefit, eternity with Him, is the greatest of all benefits!
May we remember and rejoice each day that we enjoy the benefit of eternal life and the hope it gives us.

Prayer: Help us, Father, to somehow understand the tremendous cost of our salvation and the benefit it is to us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:4a who redeems your life from the pit

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Healing

A few years ago I was sitting in the office of a dear friend and orthopedic surgeon. Because of his God-given skills he was able to correct the misdiagnosis of another physician that enabled me to walk once again.

As we sat and talked he asked me how things had been going with my health. After explaining my ordeal with cancer and several other illnesses, he looked at me and said very seriously, “You have no reason to be alive!”

But he was wrong.

There was every reason for me to be alive. It was God who brought the healing to my body even though there were several physicians who worked with Him along the way. David was certainly aware of God’s role in the healing process when he wrote, “and heals all your diseases.” If God is the one who heals all of our diseases, why does He do this? Who is the beneficiary of His healing? Us or Him?

 There is no doubt in my mind that God heals us that we might bring honor and glory to Him by serving Him faithfully. If He restores our health, we must realize that it is a gift of His grace and we show our gratefulness to Him by giving Him the glory and working with Him in this, His world.

We can only demonstrate our gratitude to Him, after we thank Him, by what we do for Him. Gratitude is not gratitude unless we become involved in building His Kingdom. Working with Him and through Him is not an option. It is a requirement if He has “healed our diseases.” 

Prayer: Lord, we are not our own, but Yours. When You heal us, let us show how thankful we are by serving You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:2b and forget not all his benefits—

Monday, October 7, 2013

Forgiveness

We rarely stop and count the many benefits that we have because of God’s grace. Perhaps David clearly and carefully listed five of them beginning with what we can say is the entrance to the benefits He has in store for us: His forgiveness. 

The word forgiveness here means to “deviate” or to “stray” from the expectations, laws or commandments He established from the beginning of time. When we do so, we become guilty of sin and need His forgiveness for us to have a relationship with Him and enjoy His blessings. 

Forgiveness is the beginning, the foundation of our relationship with God. And it is something some of us may need more often than others. The call of God’s Word is first and foremost the call for us to ask for forgiveness and repent of our sins. When we repent and confess our sins, the Gospel promises us that He will cleanse us and forgive us. John wrote that “If we freely admit and confess our sins, He is faithful and just - true to His own nature, faithfulness and promises - and will forgive us of our sins and continuously cleanse us of all of our unrighteousness - everything that separates us from Him.” 

If, in our daily lives, we are not experiencing His benefits or blessings, it is because there is some sin in our life that has come between us and the Lord. And if we want His blessings to return to our lives, we must go to Him in prayer and ask for His forgiveness. Forgiveness is not a once-in-a-lifetime event. It is something we must do repeatedly as we do a daily inventory of our lives.

Prayer: Father, may Your Spirit make us aware of our sins and our need to repent so we may enjoy Your benefits. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:2a Praise the Lord, my soul,

Friday, October 4, 2013

Never Changing!

Dan and his Dad were sitting together looking at a family photograph album. Looking at a picture of a young man who had a head full of hair he asked, “Who’s that guy, Dad?”

“Me,” he replied. “That’s how I used to look.”

“What happened?” he asked curiously.

Things change. People change. Times change. The universe changes. The heavens, admitted the Psalmist, will grow old. God will change them as a man putting on new clothing and throwing away the old. And then he wrote, “But You will remain the same, and Your years will never end!”

Everyone is familiar with change. It is part of life. There are times when it is welcome and there are times when we fight against anything that is new and different, untried and unproven. There are days when everything is turned upside down and inside out. Some mornings begin with peace and calm and then turn into a tempest by lunch. We assume that we will escape every illness and live long only to be diagnosed with cancer. We know that our marriage will last a life time only to receive a notice that our spouse wants a divorce.

Is there any news that could be more welcome – more comforting – more desired – more important – more joy producing than the words of the Psalmist: “You – O Lord – will remain the same”? Now and through eternity.

No matter the day or the difficulty, the problem or the pain, His love and His faithfulness guard us!

Prayer: We are comforted to know, Father, that if we believe in Your Word we can trust You to honor it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Scripture for Today: Psalm 102:27 But you remain the same, and your years will never end.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Where Did It All Come From?

Years ago a man who had difficulty believing that God created the universe stopped by my brother’s office for a visit. As he was sitting there, he noticed his new electric typewriter. After typing a few lines and watching the little ball swirl around and identify the letters of the alphabet that he wanted, he asked, “Where did this amazing machine come from?”

Remembering that he was an atheist, Michael replied, “Oh, a friend of mine just threw a bunch of bars and bolts, guides and keys, nuts and rollers, screws and springs and some toner stuff into a bucket, shook it for a minute or two, turned it upside down and out came this ‘creation.’”

“O.K., Preacher, I get it,” he admitted. “What you’re telling me is that just as there had to be someone design and put the typewriter together, there must have been Someone to design and put the universe together.”

There are many who argue for or against the existence of God. The Bible, however, does not. It simply states that “God is.” In Psalm 102:25 we read, “In the beginning You laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands.” This obviously means that God “was” before anything existed and that the heavens and earth are the work of His hands. Creation is finite and transitory but our God is not. As Peter reminds us “in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.”

Prayer: We rejoice, Lord, for Your promise that one day we will live with You in the “home of righteousness.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Scripture for Today: Psalm 102:25-26 In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

God's Character

The waiting passenger became furious with the gate attendant when the time of departure for his flight had been delayed. “What good are those numbers if you have to change them and tell us that the flight is being delayed?” he demanded.

“Well, sir,” said the attendant, “no one would be prepared for the departure of the flight unless we keep our passengers informed.”

There is a strong statement about the character of God in this Psalm. The people were suffering and felt separated from God because of the sin in their lives. We often forget that suffering and sin are inseparable. And instead of crying to be delivered from sin, they wanted to be delivered from their suffering. But that’s not the way God works!

“You will arise and have compassion,” he wrote, “for it is time to show favor to Your chosen.” There was no doubt in his mind that God would show compassion - but it would be in His time and on His terms. Our God is a righteous God and we cannot expect Him to show us His favor if we are disobedient to His Word.

“You will arise,” said the Psalmist in confidence. He knew that God was not inattentive to their needs. He knew that “the appointed time had come.”

What determines the “appointed time” for God to respond to our prayers? Our attitude: repenting and asking for forgiveness. Then He will open our eyes and we will see Him in all of His glory at work in our lives.

Prayer: Father, may we understand the fact that we must confess and forsake our sins if we want to be blest. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 102:13 You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to show favor to her; the appointed time has come.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Are You There, God?

It was time for her prayers before jumping into bed. Little Susie began her prayer by thanking God for all His blessings that day. She did really good on her tests and her best friend came to visit her after school. So she spent a special time thanking Him for all the good things He did for her that day. But when it was time for her to conclude her prayer, she said, “Good night, Dear Jesus, wherever You are. We’re moving to New York in the morning. It’s been nice talking to You. Amen.” To her, Jesus could only hear her prayers if she was in the right place at the right time.

There are times when each of us feels that God is not paying attention to us when we pray. It seems as though the doors of heaven are locked tight and God is too busy to hear us. Or maybe we’ve moved away from Him and He no longer cares about us or our needs. Even the writer of Psalm 102:1 felt that way when he wrote: “Hear my prayer, O Lord, let my cry for help come to You.”

This was no ordinary prayer. He was desperate and begged God for His attention. He sensed a distance between himself and God, was in a crisis and could not endure this sense of alienation. And he continued by saying, “Do not hide from me - answer me quickly!”

Perhaps a lesson we can learn from this prayer is that God’s “time piece” is different from ours. It includes eternity. We must always remember that He is at work in and with us shaping us into Christ’s likeness.

Prayer:  Grant us patience, Father, as we wait before You, knowing that You are doing things we cannot see. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today:  Psalm 102:1 Hear my prayer, Lord; let my cry for help come to you.