Thursday, July 31, 2014

Praise The Lord

The Psalms begins with the requirements that we must have as our goals as Christians. It ends with our responsibility to praise Him for Who He is: a God Who is above us yet with us and concerned for us; a God Whose acts of power protect us and provide for us; and surpasses all others because of His greatness. What a glorious God!

The Hebrew word for “praise” in this Psalm contains a significantly different meaning than the other words used for “praise.” It is yadah and means that we are “to confess publicly” God’s greatness. This is not something we often do. But it is something we must do. So, please ask yourself and then answer the two questions below:

First: What God has done for me:
1.
2.
3.

Second: What God is doing to me:
1.
2.
3.

Now comes the hard part: Find someone to share your responses with. Let them know how important your God is to you, the difference He makes in your life and how He can help them.

This Psalm talks of using noisy instruments to get the attention of others. However, the way we live should speak so loudly we won’t need noise makers. Perhaps a final question is: How do others see God in my life?

Prayer: I pray, Father, that my life will be what You want it to be and that others will see You in the way I live. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today:  Psalm 150:6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Real Power - Real Protection

War includes offense and defense, strategies and tactics, weapons and warriors. But, in the final analysis, warriors and their weapons make the difference. Warriors who are fit for battle and weapons that match or exceed those of the enemy.

David was a warrior who had been in many battles. He knew what it took to be victorious or how easy it was to go down in defeat. And he summarized his “battle plan” in Psalm 28:7: “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him and I am helped.”

God is our resource for whatever strength we may ever need. Isaiah said, “He gives strength to the weary...those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.” His strength never diminishes nor will His power ever be less than it was when He created the universe. He will never be too tired to reach out to us nor is His ear ever closed to our voice when we call upon Him to renew us. We can put all of our trust in Him because He was, is and always will be faithful to keep His promises and fulfill our every need.

In Genesis 15:1 we read that God spoke to Abram and said, “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield, your very great reward.” Abram had rescued Lot from the kings of the east and was afraid of some type of reprisal. But God put his heart at ease and assured him of His reward and protection. It was not God nor was it Abram. It was God working through Abram and assuring him that He was his shield, that He would honor him, and go before him and lead him from one victory to another.

Prayer: Father, we are blest to know that every battle is Yours and that YOU alone are our strength and shield. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today:  Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him.

Friday, July 25, 2014

His Ways Are Right Ways

Whenever we have a box delivered to our home that says, “Instructions Inside,” I immediately take it to my wife. It doesn’t matter if it is large or small or somewhere in between, I know exactly what to do with it. If it needs to be “put together,” or is “in pieces,” it’s beyond the skills and talents that God gave me. It’s another example of God’s grace: He graciously brought her to me to make up for many of my deficiencies.
That’s the way God is. Whatever we lack, whatever we need, whatever is beyond us is always available to us through His grace and guidance. With God’s Spirit within us and the fact that His Word is sufficient for us, we must then submit to Him, follow Him and depend on Him. We cannot do what He has for us to do without Him!

God knows our strength and limitations, our skills and talents. He is anxious for us to grow into the likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ. So, it is important for us to look to Him, depend on Him and follow Him because life is too difficult without Him. We often mislead ourselves if we do not recognize “where we are and where God wants us to be.” That’s why David reminded us that we need God to “show us His ways.” Like it or not, we must admit that it is too easy to confuse our ways with His ways and not accomplish His purpose for our lives or know how we can serve others.

God can only guide whom He governs. When we allow Him “to show us and teach us,” He can then lead us in the path He has laid out for us.

Prayer: Father, Your ways are perfect ways. May we willingly accept them as we submit to Your leadership. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 25:4-5 Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

What's Worthy Of Our Trust?

A small child needed a minor operation, but was allergic to anesthetics. The surgeon knew the procedure would be painful, but not unbearable. So, he took a shiny silver dollar from his pocket and said, “This is for you. I’m going to hurt you a little bit. I want you to take a good look at it and hold it really tight in your right hand. Be sure to remember what you saw while I’m at work, because I’m going to ask you what it was when I’m finished. If you do, it won’t hurt you as much.”

When he finished, he gently rubbed her forehead and said, “You are a brave little girl. What did you think about?”

Quickly she replied, “The words, ‘In God we trust.’” In Psalm 25:2, David wrote, “In You I trust, O my God.” Why would a king have a need to trust God?

First, for pardon. Later in the psalm he wrote, “Forgive my iniquity, for it is great.” Our relationship with God begins when we ask Him to cleanse us from sin and all unrighteousness so we may enter into His presence. David knew the importance of being rightly related to God.

Second, for peace. “Free me from my anguish,” he prayed. Fear is the natural reaction when we are filled with anxiety. Only God can fill our hearts and calm our souls.

Finally, for protection. “Guard my life and rescue me,” he plead. As a warrior, he knew the threats and dangers of war. He knew that only One could keep him safe in dangerous situations. So, he trusted Him alone.

Prayer:
Lord, we have all that we need in You. May we lift our hearts in prayer and praise You for Your presence. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
 

Scripture for Today:  Psalm 25:2 O my God, I trust in You; Let me not be ashamed; Let not my enemies triumph over me.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Clean - It Means What It Means

“Son,” said Fred’s mother, “dinner is ready and you haven’t washed your hands. They are dirty!”

“They’re not dirty,” he protested, “just a little bit soiled.”

According to Psalm 24, there’s no difference between dirty and soiled. Only those who have clean hands and a pure heart are invited to worship God. So, what does the Psalmist mean when he talks about “clean hands?”

“Clean hands” literally means “clean habits.” Habits are formed over time and are rarely noticed until they draw attention to themselves in one way or another. A habit may be good or bad, depending on its outcome. If it leads to a self-nourishing behavior, or something that leads to wellness or well-being, it is a good habit. But if it is a toxic behavior, and leads to self-destruction or death, it is certainly a bad habit.

“Clean habits” would, of course, begin with a “clean heart.” The Bible is unapologetic when it reminds us “what comes out of us has a home within us.” In other words, God in - God out. If God is not dwelling within us, His “ways” certainly cannot come out of us.

We also need “clean hopes” or we do not worship the “idols” of this world. If God is not in first place, He may as well be considered as being in last place. Why?  Whatever is in first place is what we are indeed worshiping.

And we also need a “clean history” - not making any promises we do not intend to keep. If we say it, we must do it or make restitution - make up - what it costs the other.

Prayer: Lord, we’re careful not to touch unclean things or allow them touch us. May we be that way toward sin. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today:  Psalm 24:4a He who has clean hands and a pure heart,

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Who Owns All This Land Anyhow?

A tourist from New York stopped at a filling station to purchase gas after he visited the Grand Canyon. As he was walking inside to purchase a soft drink, he noticed a farmer sitting near the door, slowly rocking back and forth observing the visitors.
“Wow,” said the tourist, “that Grand Canyon is the most wonderful thing I’ve ever seen. It’s so big it leaves me breathless. What do you think of it, sir?” he asked.

“It’d be a horrible place to lose a cow,” he said slowly.

We live among God’s great gifts every day. Sadly, we rarely pause to admire them, or even stop to thank Him. We are surrounded by the marvel of God’s handiwork, yet are not aware of it. Not David. He was continually in awe of God and His creation. On one occasion, overwhelmed at the sight before him, he exclaimed, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it; the world and all who dwell in it.”

Looking at the way David’s thought unfolds, he is calling our attention to the fact that whatever we think we own or possess or have at our disposal, is not ours – it is God’s and He has entrusted us to be His managers of everything. Everything!

Wherever we look and whatever we see is God’s. We may have a deed to a home or a title to a car or a large portfolio of stocks or an unreasonable amount of cash in a bank. But we have no control over any of our possessions. With the tick of a clock or the beat of a heart, everything could be gone. “The world and its inhabitants are God’s.”

Prayer: Help us, Father, to realize that everything we think we own is Yours. It’s on loan to us to honor You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 24:1 The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Who's In Control?

No matter where we look – within our borders or around the planet – things seem to be spinning out of control. Each day, perhaps even twice a day, a different nation seems to surface, demanding one thing or another. From hostages to ransoms, from earthquakes to floods, from kidnappings to suicide bombings, there is no way to predict what the next crisis will be or where it will occur.
The Psalmist wrote, “Dominion belongs to the Lord and He rules over the nations.” There are times when it is difficult to believe that he knew what he as writing about. Yet, it has to be true if we are to believe His Word. In the final analysis, if we cannot believe that the Bible is the Word of God, that it is inspired, infallible, and inerrant in its entirety, there is nothing left for us to believe in.

Accepting God at His Word, and His Word as truth, are what makes being a Christian unique from all others. When we put our faith, our love, our time, our energy and our finances into serving Him, we are not only preparing for our eternity with Him, we are, in another way, actually beginning our eternity now because we are building His Kingdom on earth at this very moment.

If we look at what Jesus did, and think about what He has challenged and charged us to do, we can, if we choose to, do many of the things He did. We can feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, extend a hand to lift up the fallen, share our clothes with the naked, encourage the hopeless, and give help to the sick. If we do as He did, we are working with Him to establish His rule now.

Prayer: Father, may we accept our responsibility to work with You to begin Your reign as Lord over all. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 22:28 For the kingdom is the Lord’s, And He rules over the nations.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Banner Up!

A young boy was sitting on a bench in a park when a stranger walked by and stopped. Looking at Will and his dog, he asked, “What kind of dog is that, young fella?”
Thinking the man was making fun of his dog, Will responded, “He’s a genuine police dog, Sir!”

Looking at the dog once again, he said, “Police dog? He sure doesn’t look like a police dog to me.”

“Of course not,” said Will. “He’s in the secret service.”

Perhaps that can be said of many Christians: “They are in the Lord’s Secret Service.” They don’t want anyone to know whom they serve.

Strange isn’t it that the Christian life begins with a public confession of faith? A declaration that we willingly repent of our sins and choose to follow the Lord. God’s Word makes it clear that “If we tell others that Jesus Christ is our Lord, and really believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

It’s all rather simple, isn’t it? If we say it, according to God’s Word, we are to do it. On one hand it’s easy to profess Jesus in church, but it is quite different to live as He would have us to live in the work place, the gym, the Parent-Teachers meeting, lunches with business partners, customers, or whomever we don’t see in church on a regular basis. But God’s Word says, "Set up your banners!”

Confession is much more than what Christians say. It is also what a Christian is. Our words are important, but not nearly as significant as what we do - especially when we think other Christians aren’t looking.

Prayer: Lord, we only fool ourselves if we think we can fool You. May we be witnesses without walls at all times. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 20:5b And in the name of our God we will set up our banners!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Live it Here!

He was one of those deacons who spoke much more than was necessary and did much less than was needed. There was always a discrepancy between the way he lived and the way he worked for the Lord.
One day he stopped by his pastor’s office in a state of great excitement. “Pastor,” he shouted, “I’m going to the Holy Land. Isn’t that wonderful? Aren’t you happy for me?”

“Well, yes I am,” said his pastor.

“Do you know what I’m going to do?” he asked.

“No, no I don’t. But I’m sure you’re going to tell me,” came the reply.

“When my group gets to the top of the mountain where God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, I’m going to have the group sit in front of me in a half circle while I read them out loud to everyone. Isn’t that exciting? I’m thrilled,” he continued.

“Deacon,” replied his pastor, “I think it would be much better for God and your group if you’d stay at home and live them.”

The Psalmist came straight to the point: “In keeping them there is great reward.”

Many of us have memorized them, given copies of them to others - perhaps even entered into arguments as to why or why not The Ten Commandments should be placed in public places where everyone could see them.

Yet, if God were involved in the conversation, I’m sure He’d be with the pastor and say, “Just live them!”

Prayer: Father, it’s much easier to talk about You than live for You. Help us, please, to show others who You are. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today:  Psalm 19:11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Can You See Him Now?

God has planted evidence of His existence on the pages of history, in the handiwork of nature and the beauty of the skies above us. We read of His faithfulness to care for His people from the beginning of recorded history to this very moment. We find nourishment for our bodies tucked away in plants, animals and minerals. Sailors find directions in the stars He hung in the heavens as they sail from one country to another. Wherever we look, we can find God’s fingerprint on the planet or a signpost that directs to His dwelling above us.
Yet, it takes a willingness to see Him, an open mind to search for Him, a sensitive heart to accept Him and a selfless life to follow Him.

Even those who do not want to believe in Him, use the minds He gave them to try to deny His existence. The arguments they offer and the logic they use, in the final analysis, came from His grace. When we look at all the gods that have been created by man, not one of them has stood the test of time. They last only as long as their creator and then pass into the darkness of emptiness.

But the Creator, the God who is God, spoke through a Psalmist and said, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day…and night after night…there is no language where their voice is not heard.”

Man may speak and argue, lecture and labor, write and work to erase the existence of God, but there is no way they can reach into the heavens and hide the stars.

Prayer: Thank You, God, our Creator, for making Your existence visible to those who desire to know and love You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

God - Our Guidance System

Often, life’s disappointments end up a being one of God’s special appointments. Like a good father, God will not allow anything into our lives that will permanently hurt, harm or hinder us from accomplishing His purpose for our lives. Often, what seems to be an accident is a very special appointment from God waiting to make sense to us.
Quite often I find it disheartening when I hear a Christian say, “This is my lucky day!” or “I can’t believe that I’m this unfortunate!” or “God must not love me as much as He does others or He would have given me that job.”

Life, for the Christian is not chance. It is choice – God’s choice for us. But as He allows things to come into our lives, we are responsible for looking at “it” through His eyes and choose how we are going to respond to “it.”

Consider the story of Joseph. His brothers sold him into slavery. Then, he was falsely accused of doing things he did not do. But, it did not matter. He had to pay the consequences and was thrown into prison for two years of hard labor.

And what did he say to his brothers? “Guess what. You meant to do evil and harm me. But, God turned your evil intentions into good for His glory!” God led him from being a prisoner to becoming a premier!

Our eyes keep us from seeing beyond the immediate – what is right now. But God sees our past, the present and the future He has for us to become Christ-like.

Prayer: Lord, open our hearts and minds and make us willing to accept Your Leadership and Lordship each day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 18:30 As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Fenced In?

Years ago, one of the most popular songs was, “Don’t Fence Me In!” Its catchy tune and words captured the minds of many and people sang the refrain over and over.

A psychologist became interested in its popularity and decided to conduct a research project to discover why it was so popular.

His conclusion? Everyone feels as though they are fenced in by one thing or another whether it’s a job or a mortgage, unpaid credit cards or the responsibilities of life in general. Life has a way of “building walls around us.”

There is the wall of fear. Life is so unpredictable and uncertain. A job or a loved one or our health can be taken from us in a moment and suddenly what was a shield of security is gone.

There is the wall of failure. Many find themselves behind this wall because of bad advice or poor planning or following the path of least resistance. But failure is not a disgrace - not doing our very best is!

There is the wall of forsaking truth. Often we do not want to admit what is so we make up what isn’t and get trapped. One lie always calls for another until the wall is so far above us it blocks the light of truth.

But we find Good News in the Bible! There is God’s strength to scale these walls and other walls we build ourselves or that rise up before us in life.

“With my God I can scale a wall,” said the Psalmist. Whatever is before us can be put behind with God’s help!

Prayer: Father, there are far too many walls in life to climb without You. Thank You for being our Ladder in life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today:  Psalm 18:29 For by You I can run against a troop, By my God I can leap over a wall.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Has Anyone Here Seen God?

A rather well to do person decided that he would visit a church in a ghetto to see how “people on the other side of the street” lived. On the bottom of the cover of the Sunday bulletin was a statement that shocked him: “Not all who worship here are Christians. Do not leave your purse or any other personal belonging unattended.”
It is tragic but true that many who profess one thing do not practice what they preach. But we who claim to be followers of Jesus are responsible for living as He lived. We are to back up our beliefs with our behavior. It is not how we want to live that matters. It is how God expects us to live that makes the difference an obligation.

When the gears of a transmission turn inside of its transmission case, it will cause the crank shaft to turn and the car will be ready to move when it is put in gear.

So it is with a Christian.

When our hearts are “turned” by the Holy Spirit to the things of God, we will be ready to serve the Lord. When this happens, others will see us “move” or live in agreement with His Word and His ways.

The life of the Christian is much more than churchgoing, Bible-reading, hymn-singing and tithe-giving. If we do all of those “good things” we will still fall short of how God intends us to live: walk blamelessly – live righteously.

The Psalmist said we are to be “blameless in your walk…and do what is righteous.” Being blameless means that when others look at us they find no faults in the way we live because we walk in paths that are righteous.

Prayer: Sometimes, Lord, what You ask of us seems unreal. But, through Christ all things for God are possible. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 15:2a The one whose walk is blameless,

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Goodness And God

“Why be good?” he asked. Before I could respond, he answered his own question: “I guess it’s because I can’t have any fun if I’m good. Everything ‘good people’ do is boring at best. It’s like living in a cell in a prison. The good times are beyond me.”
Here are three basic reasons to “be good.”

The first comes from “looking inside.” Self-respect, for a Christian, comes from honoring the “gift of life” God has given us. Our “life” is a gift from God. What we do with our “life” is our gift to God. If we are careless or foolish with the habits we cultivate in the way we live, we put our entire lives at risk. This may result in our being unable to fulfill the plan that God has designed for us. Any self-imposed physical “damage” limits our usefulness to God. Care for our bodies, as reflected in a healthy lifestyle, is a priority for the Christian who sincerely wants to serve the Lord.

The second is “looking at.” Others are constantly watching everything we do for two reasons. First, they want to know if we are sincere about our faith. Do we live lives that reflect God’s teachings that are in His Word? And, second, does our faith “work.” Does God make a difference in the way we treat others? Do our lives reflect a sense of peace and satisfaction? Where’s the joy?

The third is “looking down.” Is God satisfied with our lives? Are we “doing right”? We are all accountable to Him. One day we will stand before Him in judgment and hear what He has to say about the way we have lived.

Prayer:  Lord, it’s not about us, it is about You. May our lives be as You designed them to be – for Your sake. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 14:2 The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Flawless

Flawless: Having no faults, flaws or defects; having no imperfections; something that has nothing that can in any way diminish its value. Seeing something flawless or holding an object that is flawless or knowing of something that is flawless is rare. Yet, most of us own or have access to something that is flawless.

David said, “The words of the Lord are flawless.” If we are to depend on them and believe in them, they must be flawless. They are not like the records of athletes that are made only to be broken by someone who is faster, stronger or wiser. If the words of God could be replaced by someone else’s words, we would not be able to trust Him or have faith in Him.

His promises must not only be flawless, they must be fruitful. Someone has counted more than 30,000 promises in the Bible. That number is far beyond what anyone can ever claim or need. As long as we live, we will never come to the end of them because He has promised to meet our every need every day that we live.

His promises must not only be flawless and fruitful, they must be forceful. If God makes a promise, He will be able to complete it. Always remember that He has all of the power that brought the universe into existence at His disposal. If He said it, it is as good as done.

His promises must not only be flawless, fruitful and forceful – they must be fulfilling. Because He created us, He knows what we need before we need it.

Prayer: How grateful we are Father, to know that we can depend on Your flawless Word to meet our every need. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 12:6 And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Flaw of Flattery

An old English fable contains a truth well worth repeating.

A crow swooped low over the lunch of a peasant and stole a piece of cheese. A wise fox, watching the crow with jealousy, wanted the cheese for himself.

“O Crow,” he said in his most flattering voice, “how beautiful are your wings. How brightly shine your searching eyes. How graceful is your strong, flexible neck. Your chest is the chest of a soaring eagle. Your talons are no match for all the beasts of the field. O that such a bird would lack only a voice.”

The crow was thrilled and excited over the flattery. Chuckling to herself, she decided to surprise the fox with her voice. When she opened her mouth, the cheese fell to the ground and the fox snapped it up and walked away.

A wise man once said, “Flattery is a trap; evil men are caught in it. But the good men stay away and sing for joy.”

Flattery is different from encouragement. We give “courage” to those who are struggling with life’s problems when we recognize their efforts. We give hope to one who has fallen when we offer a hand to pick them up. We give peace when we smile at one with sadness in their eyes.

Flattery is different. It praises someone for something that is not true or honest to make them feel good about mediocrity - even failure. In the end it destroys. The Psalmist said, “May the Lord cut off all flattering lips.”

False praise, though well intended, is deceitful.

Prayer: Lord, may we offer hope to the struggling, help to the weak and recognition to those who do good things! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 12:3 May the Lord silence all flattering lips and every boastful tongue—

Friday, July 4, 2014

Hearing, Encouraging, Listening

Years ago, my son ran to where I was sitting in front of a television trying to find an escape from the cares of the day. It had been a difficult twenty-four hours serving as a Navy chaplain in a large hospital. I was trying to escape from the stress and strain of being with sick and dying patients as the “Chaplain on Duty.”
Whatever he said did not register. So he said it again and then asked, “Dad, did you hear me?”

“Of course, Son, I was listening carefully,” was my reply.

Grabbing my face with his two little hands and looking into my eyes, he said, “Dad, I didn’t ask if you were listening. I asked if you heard me.” Then and there, I was taught the difference between listening and hearing.

The Psalmist recognized this difference, too. “You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them and You listen to their cry.”

What a comforting thought! His ear is always open to the cries of His children and He waits attentively to hear their voices in times of need. What a beautiful picture of a loving Father. There is nothing we need to do to get His attention.is attenti Nor is there a magical formula to use when we pray. All we have to do is to cry out to Him.

We cry and He hears. His ear is always open for our particular voice. His eyes are always on us no matter where we may be. And His heart is always sensitive to our personal needs. When we cry, He hears, He listens, He understands and He will respond and meet our needs.

Prayer: Lord, You are above us but not beyond us. You hear us when we cry and respond when the time is right. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today:  Psalm 10:17 You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Excluding God

Nations, like individuals, are destined to live or die. And both face the same choice: do what is right or do what is wrong. Right choices lead to eternal life and wrong choices that are not consistent with God’s Word and His teachings, lead to death.
The Bible very clearly, carefully and consistently distinguishes the difference between right and wrong, righteousness and unrighteousness. And this distinction applies to cities as well as to citizens.
Individuals like Abel, Moses, Daniel and Paul took the right way. Men like Cain, Pharaoh, Herod and Judas took the wrong way.

Cities like Sodom and Gomorrah took the wrong way and perished. And the “international graveyards” of Ancient Rome, Babylon, Media, Persia, and Ancient Greece also provide historical proof of the fact that:
“Righteousness exalts a nation, and sin is a reproach to any people.”

The desolation, destruction and death of cities and nations are recorded on the pages of history. The evidence provided by archeologists to prove this fact is powerful and plentiful. Yet, many refuse to see and acknowledge the hand of God and the lessons from God that He has planted in the “sands of time.”

However, to deny a fact will not make it go away nor will ignoring it excuse any person, city or nation from its consequences. Punishment for sin is awaiting those who refuse to accept the love, mercy and grace of God. But those who trust in and live for Him will be saved.

Prayer: Father, whether we like it or not, accept it or not, believe it or not, we will be judged by Your Word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 9:17 The wicked go down to the realm of the dead, all the nations that forget God.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Never Forsaken

Their first child was about to be born. The expectant father was standing by the soon-to-be mother when the nurse came into the room and said, “O.K. Time to leave. We’re taking her to the delivery room.”

“Not without me,” he said defiantly.

“Oh yes we are,” she said as she tried to push him out of the way.

Suddenly, he pulled a pair of handcuffs from his pocket and snapped one end to the gurney and the other to his arm. Unprepared for such an event, they wheeled him into the delivery room too.

His wife looked at him with compassion and said, “I knew you’d never leave me.”

The presence of a loved one in times of uncertainty and insecurity can be much more than comforting. They can be essential for maintaining one’s sanity.

No doubt David had that in mind when he wrote, “For You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You.”

God will never forsake us when we face the dangers of life. One evening, a powerful storm arose without any warning. High waves sent the small boat high into the air before it came crashing down. Water was sweeping over the sides and it was about to sink. “Don’t You care?” cried the disciples. “We are about to drown!”

“Quiet down,” said Jesus. And the turbulent seas and pounding hearts of the disciples both became as peaceful as a sleeping baby in the arms of its mother.

“I’ll never leave you nor forsake you,” said Jesus.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the power in Your words and the promise of Your presence when life threatens us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
 
Scripture for Today: Psalm 9:10 Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Life's Boomerangs

The aborigines are given credit for being the first to develop boomerangs. Although there are many different types and varieties of boomerangs, most of us are familiar with what is called the “returning boomerang.”
Shaped like a bent arm, when properly thrown, it will return to the one who threw it. Initially they were used for hunting and war. Now, for many, they have become a recreational object.

David made an interesting observation about life’s boomerangs: “The trouble he causes recoils on himself, his violence comes down on his own head.” Not a pleasant thought for the one who wanted to harm another person.

Remember Haman? He was a conceited and corrupt prime minister. He is a great example of how life can boomerang.

Haman was determined to destroy every Jew in Persia, especially Mordecai. But when Mordecai and his people heard of this diabolical plot, they called upon the Lord for His help. Esther, the queen, decided to give a party and invited Haman to join her and the king. He was elated!

While enjoying the festivities, Queen Esther stood before the king and exposed Haman and his plot. What he had planned for Mordecai came back to him. By nightfall, Haman was hanging on the seventy-five-foot gallows that he had built for Mordecai. No one came to his funeral. In fact, no one liked Haman, except Haman.

Paul said: “The man who sows to please his sinful nature will reap destruction.”

Prayer: Help us, Father, to understand and accept the simple fact that whatever we sow, we will certainly reap. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 7:16 The trouble they cause recoils on them; their violence comes down on their own heads.