Sunday, September 30, 2018

One Powerful Promise Keeper

“Promises are like pie crusts,” begins an old proverb. “They are made to be broken.” Not so God’s promises.
Read this amazing statement: “The Maker of heaven and earth, the seas and everything in them, the Lord...remains faithful forever.”
Behind God’s promises are His past performances. He is a God of truth and will not forget or forfeit His Word. Whatever He said He would do, He did. Whatever promise He made, He has kept. If He said it, He meant it, and He will do it!
Behind His promises is His passionate love. He is the very definition of the word, love. Whenever we doubt the fact that God loves us, look at Christ on His cross. Unfortunately, we tend to only look at an empty cross. But, never forget that Jesus, our Savior, at one time hung on that cross for three painful, lonely, humiliating hours. How can we ever doubt God’s love?
Behind every promise is His power. As the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, all of the laws that govern it are under His control. No one or no thing can stand in the way of the fulfillment of the laws that govern His universe - His creation. And if that is not enough, look once again into the empty tomb. He has the power to do whatever He said He will do.
On a very special occasion, Alexander the Great gave one of his loyal supporters a generous gift. Said the recipient, “This is too much for me to receive.” Said the giver, “But it is not too much for me to give.”
Prayer: Forgive us, Father, for those times when we have doubted Your promises, passionate love or power. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: The Maker of heaven and earth, the seas and everything in them, the Lord...remains faithful forever. Psalm 146:6

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Two In One

Have you ever heard anyone accuse Jacob of being the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of the Bible? This way of looking at Jacob was brought to my attention recently. A very strange description of one who has such a significant role in Scripture.
Consider these facts: We see a constant struggle of good versus evil. He rises, yet falls short of his goals. His life is one constant battle between two natures: one earthbound and the other filled with divine intentions.
No one can describe his life in a single word. It is certainly appropriate to speak of Abraham as a man of faith or Joseph as a person of purity. But it does not seem possible to summarize Jacob’s many-sided life into one word unless it would be the word “inconsistent.”
His early years present a vivid picture of these inconsistencies. He was a cheat - having cheated both his father and brother. Yet, he constantly tried to do better.
He might have died as a Jekyll and Hyde, but one night he was forced to face his sins and make a decision about his future. And when he realized that he was at the end of his resources, he finally turned to God to be saved from his sins and self-destructive ways.
After that God-changing event, he went from victory to victory, with hope and help from the Lord.
There is no limit to what God can do for each of us. What He did for Jacob, He can do for us: “Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God.” Wrestling with sin? Turn to God now!
Prayer: How foolish we are, Father, to struggle in our own strength when Yours is available. Save us now! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 146:5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God. 

Friday, September 28, 2018

To Trust Or Not To Trust

It is more difficult to trust than not to trust. So, many people go through life angry and alone.
A father once said to his young son, “James, climb to the second step of the ladder, turn around and look at me. Now, when I open my arms, I want you to jump, and I’ll catch you.”
Obediently, James did as his father asked him. However, when he jumped, his father stepped back and allowed him to fall to the ground. Hurting, crying, fearful and afraid, he looked at his father in amazement.
“James,” said his father, “I wanted to teach you a lesson. Do not trust anyone. Not even your father.”
What a tragic way for a father to teach his son about trust. Though many men and women are not trustworthy, there certainly are those who can be trusted. Many who are Christians strive to be people of integrity and honesty, openness, and trust.
But there is a difference between trusting someone and putting our trust in someone. While it is important to be able to trust others, we must be careful about what we trust them for.
So, God had a Psalmist give us a warning about putting our trust in people. “Do not put your trust in...mortal men who cannot save.” Our trust must be in God.
Many offers to “save” and protect us from the realities of life. Treaties are written, and policies are produced to assure us that “they” will “save” us from every enemy! But in the end, only God can do that. Only He can save us.
Prayer: Lord, Your Word assures us that we can trust in You for everything we need - salvation and eternal life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 146:3 Do not put your trust in...mortal men who cannot save. 

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Praise, Praise And More Praise

Years ago, two masked thieves quietly entered a church as the pastor offered the invocation. Immediately after he said, “Amen,” they shouted, “Everyone keeps standing, raise your hands toward heaven and sing ‘My Hope is Built on Christ Alone’ as though your life depended on it. ‘Cause it does.”
With the worshipers’ hands held high, the thieves were able to go through pockets and purses at a rapid pace. After they were finished and fled from the church, the minister of music said in a trembling voice, “I’m sure that God heard us sing that song of hope this morning as we’ve never sung it before!”
The hope that we have in and from God must always be in our hearts and on our lips. Unfortunately, when our days are trouble free and uncontested, we seem to forget the importance of hope, and the blessings that come with it. However, the hope we have in Him and because of Him should fill our hearts with praise for His grace at all times. Hear the words of the Psalmist: “Praise the Lord, O my soul. I will praise the Lord all my life. I will sing praise to my God as long as I live!” Praise was as natural as breathing, and he did not need special days or favors to praise God. Every day was a day to praise God.
In good times or hard times, the Psalmist joyfully expressed his gratitude to God for everything. “All my life...as long as I live...I will praise Him!”
Good days or bad days, joyous days or painful days, “smiley face days” or tear-filled days: Praise Him!
Prayer: Help us, Father, to constantly raise our voices in grateful praise to You, for Your never-ending blessings! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 146:2 Praise the Lord, O my soul. I will praise the Lord all my life. I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

God Our Supplier

How do we know we can count on God to supply our needs? Can we be assured that he will hear and help us when we ask for His assistance? Yes/If. However, we must take into account the little word if. If we meet two important conditions that He has established.
Psalm 145:19 is interpreted correctly in the Living Psalms to read: “He fulfills the desires of those who reverence and trust Him; He hears their cries for help and rescues them.”
Reverence leads to respect and respect to honor. If we honor God and if our requests are in agreement with His nature and character, what we ask for will be consistent with what He intends for us to have. When we ask for lavish and unnecessary things that will not honor Him we only deceive ourselves. Extravagance always makes a mockery of prayer and displays an irreverence to Him.
Years ago, while in college, I had a post office box that could only be opened with the right combination of letters and numbers. When I turned the small dial in the right sequence, the door would open and I could get my mail.
So it is with prayer. When we use the “right combination” of reverence and trust, and our requests coincide with His plan and purpose for our lives, the “combination” will “work,” and He will grant our requests.
Remember: when “my will” is consistent with “His will” prayers will be answered, God will be honored, lives changed, and His purpose accomplished on earth.
Prayer: Lord, may our lives revere, respect and honor You and our requests be consistent with Your nature. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 145:19 He fulfills the desires of those who reverence and trust Him; He hears their cries for help and rescues them.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Closer Than You Think

Little Harry was saying his prayers before climbing into bed. In a very soft voice, his mother said, “I can’t hear you!” 
“I wasn’t talking to you, Mom,” he responded. “I was talking to God. And I don’t have to yell because He’s closer to me than you are and I know He’s listening!”
The Psalmist reminded us that “The Lord is near to all who call on Him, who call on Him in truth.”
Here are three guidelines for our prayers:
Make them simple. Our prayers ought to be as natural as breathing. Think of praying as a conversation with God. When children call on their father for help, they don’t use long, drawn-out sentences with words that don’t make any difference. They get right to the point.
Make them sincere. We must be genuine when we go to Him in prayer. Included in this part of our prayer life would be honesty and openness. God will not put up with trying to “hide the truth” when we call on Him for help. Trying to say “It’s Your will, Lord,” when we know it’s “our” wants, won’t work. Being open with God means that we must confess our sin and ask for Him to forgive and cleanse us when we pray.
Make them specific. If you order an item on-line, it has a number to go with it. When we order from a menu, we “specify” what we want. Jesus said, “If you ask for anything” - implying a specific, identifiable item or need – “I will do it or get it for you.” Or, “Get to the point!”
God is close, compassionate, considerate and caring.
Prayer: Father, may we realize the power of prayer and the need to be simple, sincere and specific in our prayers. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 145:18 The Lord is near to all who call on Him, who call on Him in truth.

Monday, September 24, 2018

God's Intentions

The young couple had been married for less than a month. One evening after taking his bride to dinner, the husband nervously asked, “Dear, you wouldn’t be offended if I pointed out a few of your flaws and faults, would you?”
“Why, of course not, Andrew,” she responded. “After all, those little defects kept me from getting a better husband.”
We all have defects - except our Lord. The Psalmist reminded us of this when he wrote, “The Lord is righteous in all His ways and loving toward all He has made.”
Before the sixteenth century, the word “righteousness” was spelled, “rightwise.” It meant “one who is as he ought to be.” Our Lord is what God intended Him to be. He committed no sin. He did not violate anyone’s rights. He wronged no person. Whatever He did was right. He was “rightwise.”
Our English word “holy” is closely related to the idea of being “whole” or “complete.” Three feet is a “whole” yard. One hundred pennies are a “whole” dollar. Our Lord approached nothing or no one half-heartedly. He never held anything back for Himself. He was totally committed to whatever He did to the glory of God. Every obligation He had to His Father was “complete!”
Not one of us is who or what God “intended” us to be. We are not who we “ought” to be in God’s eyes. Nor are we “whole” or “complete” as God designed and created us to be. We have all “fallen short” of His intentions.
But through Christ our Savior we can be!

Prayer: Thank You, Father, for providing a way for us to become who You intended us to be through Christ. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 145:17 The Lord is righteous in all His ways and loving toward all He has made.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Helping Hands

Years ago there was a picture of a mother and father walking down a beautiful pathway holding the hands of their two small children who were walking with them. Underneath were the words, “Their Future is in Your Hands.” That is true in a certain sense and to a certain degree.
David realized there was another hand that was far more important than the hand of any parent: “You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” What did he mean?
God is sufficient to save. When he began to sink in swirling waves, Peter shouted, “Save me, Lord!” And He did. Immediately Jesus saw a person who was in need, and He reached out and saved him. He did it for Peter, and He will do the same for anyone who willingly calls on Him for salvation.
God is sufficient to supply every need that we have. Our God is a good and gracious God who is willing to meet the needs of those who depend on Him. God not only saves us by His grace, but His Word assures us that “God will supply our every need according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.” God does not give grudgingly, but generously, because His grace is endless!
God is sufficient to sustain us. Jude assures us that “He is able to keep us from falling and present us before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy to His Father.” Are there any other words that bring more comfort in times of anxiety, adversity or abandonment?
Prayer: Great is Your faithfulness, O Lord, to save us, supply our every need and sustain us each day of our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 145:16 You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. 

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Struggling To Survive

A raging sea, a violent storm, a broken mast and a twenty-foot swell capsized the small ship. A survivor in a small rowboat was struggling for his life - looking for hope. Suddenly, through the dark clouds, he sighted a lone star shining brightly. Rowing with all his might, he said to himself over and over, “If I lose that star, I’m lost!”
What an appropriate scene for us to visualize when all seems lost and storms of life refuse to give way to calm seas. It seems as though wave after wave rises and falls while the wind grows stronger and the night darker. We strain, and we struggle against all the odds to survive. Is the sun gone from my life forever? Will I never see another blossom? Will the clouds never allow the stars to shine again?
Often, we fix our eyes on things that give us no hope or people who do not care for our best. The “immediate” is right here right now, and that’s all that matters! So we “reach out” and grab anything that is available.
However, there is a better way to respond when life has turned us upside down. The Psalmist wrote, “The eyes of all look to You in hope.” There are those who “wish” for better days when things are bleak and black. And then there are Christians who have hope!
The difference between a “wish” and “hope” that comes from faith in Christ is quite significant. A wish is a “desire” or a “dream.” But when we who belong to God say we “have this hope,” it means that because of His faithfulness we have the confident assurance that we can trust the Lord to save us and sustain us in life’s darkest hours.
Prayer: Lord, as unworthy and undeserving as we are, we know that You will rescue us if we have faith in You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 145:15a The eyes of all look to You. 

Friday, September 21, 2018

Need Help In Getting Up?

Not long ago, shortly after spine surgery, I was walking from one room to another with a cup of coffee in one hand and a book in the other. Although I knew my balance had not returned to its pre-surgical state, I would not allow anyone to help me. Suddenly, I tripped, spilled the coffee on myself and my book and was lying flat on my face wondering what happened.
As I lay there, I soon realized that “pride,” no doubt, contributed to my fall more than my inadequate balance.
Struggling to get up, my wife asked if she could help me. I said, “No, I can do this by myself!” When I realized how weak I was, and that I could not get up by myself, I finally asked for her help. Sitting in my chair, I realized that this was an example of my pride and unwillingness to ask for help. First, I fell when I refused her help. Then I refused her help a second time when she offered to help lift me.
As I thought about my experience sometime later, Psalm 145:14 came to mind: “The Lord ‘lifts’ all those who fall; and lifts all who are bowed down.” Reflecting on that verse, I came to realize that we often “fall” in our daily spiritual journey because of pride and vanity. Even after we fall, we often refuse to turn to God for His strength, believing we “can do it on our own,” without His help.
“I can do all things,” Paul said, “through Christ.” He was a man of strength and courage, vision, and victory. He realized that what God called him to do was well beyond his strength. He needed Christ’s strength to do Christ’s work. Are you down? Reach out for God’s hand!
Prayer: Lord, we often fail and fall because of our pride and vanity. May we realize we need You to stay “upright.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 145:14 The Lord ‘lifts’ all those who fall; and lifts all who are bowed down. 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

An Everlasting Kingdom

World events, at times, are overwhelming. The moral and spiritual decay, the expansion of religions that would eliminate Christianity, the rise of secularism and “political correctness” have dimmed the voice of believers The increased number of martyrs has raised the question: “Will Christianity survive?”
Absolutely! The Psalmist long ago assured us that: “Your Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom, and Your dominion endures through all generations!”
Nearly two thousand years ago some tried to do away with Jesus. They nailed Him to a cross. Sealed Him in a tomb. Surrounded that tomb with guards and proudly said, “This is the end of Him.” They thought that they had rid the world of His presence. But they were fooled. He came back from the dead and became the Living Christ! He was victorious over sin and death and became our Savior.
Robert Ingersoll, the atheist, held up a Bible and declared, “In fifteen years this book will be in a morgue.” Fifteen years later it was he who would be in a morgue.
Islam swept across the Middle East in the 7th century determined to destroy Christianity. A Christian church in Damascus was turned into a mosque. Today, the words, “Thy Kingdom, O Christ, is an everlasting Kingdom and Thy dominion endures throughout all generations” are inscribed over the entrance.
One day there will be no kingdoms but God’s Kingdom. It is not about endurance, but who will be its citizens!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give us courage to speak Your truth to do all that we can to expand Your Kingdom! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 145:13a Your Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom, and Your dominion endures through all generations.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Helping Hands

Years ago there was a picture of a mother and father walking down a beautiful pathway holding the hands of their two small children who were walking with them. Underneath were the words, “Their Future is in Your Hands.” That is true in a certain sense and to a certain degree.
David realized there was another hand that was far more important than the hand of any parent: “You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” What did he mean?
God is sufficient to save. When he began to sink in swirling waves, Peter shouted, “Save me, Lord!” And He did. Immediately Jesus saw a person who was in need, and He reached out and saved him. He did it for Peter, and He will do the same for anyone who willingly calls on Him for salvation.
God is sufficient to supply every need that we have. Our God is a good and gracious God who is willing to meet the needs of those who depend on Him. God not only saves us by His grace, but His Word assures us that “God will supply our every need according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.” God does not give grudgingly, but generously, because His grace is endless!
God is sufficient to sustain us. Jude assures us that “He is able to keep us from falling and present us before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy to His Father.” Are there any other words that bring more comfort in times of anxiety, adversity or abandonment?
Prayer: Great is Your faithfulness, O Lord, to save us, supply our every need and sustain us each day of our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 145:16 You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. 

God Is Good

Only God can be called “good.” And His very name comes from His “goodness.” When “good” and “goodness” are shortened, we end up with “God.”
Everything that comes from God - His creation or counsel, His laws and love, His promises and provisions - must be good because the nature of God Himself is “good!”
God is not good to us if we are good, nor does He always treat us bad if we are bad. Those who say, “God won’t be good to you if you are bad” do not understand God or who He is.
The Psalmist did. He wrote, “The Lord is good to all!”
We recognize God’s goodness in the way He provided for our salvation. After a young Brahman interviewed a missionary, he said, “Hinduism has many things which Christianity has. But there is one thing which you have that we do not have - a Savior.” We have a Savior because of God’s goodness. It was His goodness that flowed from His love that He sent His Son to be our Savior. Only a “Good God” would make such a supreme sacrifice to make salvation possible which is available “to all!”
We realize God’s goodness in the way He meets the needs of everyone. The food that grows in fields, on bushes and branches, vines and beneath the soil, was first planted by God for everyone. The water, which God gave us for survival, falls on the “just and the unjust.” Why?
Again, the Psalmist said: “His tender mercies are over all.”
God is good. But one day, all will stand before Him in judgment and be asked: “Is my Son your Savior?”

Prayer: Lord, we recognize Your eternal goodness and grace and ask Your forgiveness and cleansing for our sins. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 145:9 The Lord is good to all. His tender mercies are over all. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

What's So Amazing About Grace?

Shortly after John Newton turned eight years old, he was orphaned and became a “wanderer.” He eventually began working on ships, and the sea captain became his “father.” It was not long before he joined the Royal Navy. Dissatisfied, he deserted his post, was caught, put in irons and whipped publically before being thrown in prison.
Leaving prison angry and defiant, he signed on with the lowest of all seagoing ships - one that carried slaves.
Aboard the new ship, life continued to deteriorate. The wife of the captain treated him with great disdain. When meals were served, his food was thrown on the floor, and he was forced to eat like a dog. If he refused to eat, he was beaten. He finally escaped, made his way to shore where he built a fire and attracted a ship that rescued him.
John could hardly read, but his knowledge of the sea and sailing ships earned him a promotion. One day he served the crew too much rum, and they became drunk. It so angered the captain, that while brutally beating him, John was knocked overboard. But instead of allowing him to drown, the captain threw a harpoon at John and rescued him. The harpoon speared him, and as a result, he carried a scar the rest of his life.
On a voyage from Brazil, a severe storm nearly sank the ship. Newton became so frightened that he fell on his knees and asked God to save him. Years later, reflecting on his sordid life, he fell on his knees again. This time to write the great hymn, “Amazing Grace,” to honor “The Lord who was gracious, compassionate, and slow to anger.”
Prayer: Father, “sin is sin” and all of us have compiled our own list. We thank You that Your grace exceeds every sin! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 145:8 The Lord who was gracious, compassionate, and slow to anger. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Unfathomable Might

A teacher asked his fifth-grade science class a rather probing question: “What’s the most powerful combination of words?” “Atomic power,” shouted one. Another, raising his hand shouted, “Nuclear power.” A third said, “Water power.” The class went silent.
Finally, from the back of the room a student held up his hand and said, “Please, Sir, those are powerful words, but I think that the most powerful combination of words is Almighty God.”
“Almighty” means “having all might.” One who is designated as “almighty” is one who others believe can do anything. Nothing is beyond that one, and no one can even challenge the power vested in that one. Only God Who is the Creator of the universe and everything in it can do anything. His ability to do, control, sustain and work out His purposes is far beyond the power of our minds to understand. It is only something we can accept or reject but never challenge with our finite thoughts. In the final analysis, whatever His wisdom plans, His might and power can perform.
But what do these lofty thoughts mean for us? After all, if we accept the fact that God is Almighty, what real difference does it make to anyone?
The answer is simple and profound: This mighty and powerful God loves us and has sent His Son to save us from ourselves and eternal damnation. He gives us the option to call upon Him not only for salvation but help in times of need, cleansing from guilt and freedom from fear.
Prayer: How wonderful is Your name, O Lord, and how mighty Your thoughts, deeds and love that You care for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 145:3 Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

An Unusual Prescription

There was a physician in Wales who had an unusual remedy for some of his patients. If someone came to him with no specific symptoms other than being unhappy or unsatisfied, discouraged or disgruntled, he would give them his “Thank You Cure.”
He would write on a prescription pad, “For the next six weeks I want you to get up in the morning say, ‘Thank You God for this new day’ ten times before doing anything else. And then before you get into bed at night, you are to say, ‘Thank You God for being with me today.’ And in between getting up in the morning and going to bed at night, whenever anyone does something for you, you are to pause and say, ‘Thank you for...’”
When most of the patients returned after completing the “Thank You Cure,” they were happier and healthier.
The “thank you cure” is a great prescription for each of us: not for six weeks or six months, but every day of our lives. Imagine a successful, powerful, wealthy king who said, “Every day I will praise You, and extol Your name forever and ever.”
“Every day?” Yes, every day! Days could be filled with glory or gloom, sunshine or shadows, pleasure or pain, happiness or horror - it did not matter. The king would fill each day, every day, all day with words of praise to God for His blessings and goodness.
When we pause and thank someone for an act of kindness or a deed showing us thoughtfulness, we are, in fact, praising God for His blessing us through their deeds.

Prayer: Lord, You have given us far more than we ever deserved. However, we ask for one more thing: a thankful heart! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 145:2 Every day I will praise You, and extol Your name forever and ever. 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

What's Wrong With Being Happy?

A friend sitting next to me in church one Sunday commented, “Larry, if you turn around and look at the people here this morning, it looks as if they all have stomach aches, toothaches, facing a prison term or are here under duress.”
I didn’t have to turn around and look. I noticed it when I walked into the sanctuary. Someone once said to me that “Of all the groups of people in the world, Christians seem to be the most unhappy. They seem to be joyless and miserable. If being a Christian is so terrible, why don’t they give up their faith and try something else?”
Some Christians are like a person with a headache: They don’t want relief, but it hurts to keep it. Can we expect others to want to become Christians if we appear to be miserable and hopeless? Things are bad without Christ. Why invite Him into our lives if things will only get worse?
“Blessed - or happy - are the people whose God is the Lord.” To experience the fullness that the Lord has to give us requires that we surrender our lives to Him and become dependent on Him for everything. Some who profess to be people of God do not experience the blessings of God - or are not happy in their Christian faith - because they try to live the “half-life.” Half a “conversion” is like half a lifeboat: it won’t save you!
Happiness, or God’s best blessings, will not come to the half-hearted Christian. Caleb had the secret: “I wholly followed the Lord.” What a difference it will make. Try it!
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to “give it up” and surrender all that we are and all that we have to You and enjoy life! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 144:15b Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

What God CanDo

Has anyone ever looked at you and said, “You’ll never change! You’re hopeless! I can tell you are going no place in life.” Painful words that many of us have heard at one time or another. And, no doubt, there were times when we might have thought the “charges” were accurate, based on the number of times we’ve started something in our lives that ended in disaster.
Imagine a king feeling like he was almost “unfit for duty.” First, he wrote, “Part Your heavens, O Lord, and come down...reach down Your hand from on high...deliver me and rescue me...” Imagine a king feeling so alone and abandoned - even by a God he worshiped - that he could not feel His presence at all. Things must have been about as bad as they could get.
But they didn’t stay that way. God intervened - as He can and will - when any one of us come to the end of our strength and go to Him for His help!
God answered his cry and blessed him so mightily that he picked up a ten-stringed instrument and sang a “new song.”
God wants to give us the desires of our hearts. Our every need is important to Him: large or small, significant or insignificant. They all matter to Him! He is our Father and a father who loves his children, as God loves us, does not want His children to go without.
When God answered his prayer, the first thing he did was to praise God and give Him His due recognition. Perhaps God withholds His blessings because we are ungrateful.
Prayer: Father, it’s so easy to live thankless and greedy lives. Make us aware of Your gifts. Give us grateful hearts. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 144:9 I will sing a new song to you, my God; on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Does God Actually Care For Us?

Most of us are rather strange. We want to live long lives but develop habits that shorten them. We want to be free, yet we make ourselves slaves to sin. We could be saints, but we choose to be sinners. We desire immortality but refuse it because we reject Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord - the only path to eternal life.
Long ago, David the Psalmist asked, “O Lord, what is man that You care for him, the son of man that You think of him?”
Often we neglect to think about the fact that God created us in His image. We did not evolve from nor ascend from some lower life. We are different from all animals in many ways - physically, mentally, socially - but most of all we have a spiritual nature that no living animal has.
We are what we are because God made us the way we are. If God wanted us to be different from the way we are, we would be. So what we do matters to God. What happens to each of us matters to God. We are created in His image, and that of itself makes us uniquely different and special - especially to God.
The fact that we are created in the image of God puzzled the Psalmist. So he decided to ask God, “Why are you concerned with the human race?”
Years later the question was answered: because He loves us. Remember what Jesus said: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Man: different by design. Different because of God’s love.

Prayer: Thank You, Father, for a love that is eternal and the opportunity to enjoy a life that is eternal. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 144:3 O Lord, what is man that You care for him, the son of man that You think of him?

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Learning To Do God's Will

Little eight-year-old Betsy knelt beside her bed with her mother to say her night time prayer. “I’ve had a good day today, God. I hope You’ve planned another good one for me for tomorrow.”
Does God have a special plan for each little girl, an old man, and a young lady? A plan for each of us? Really?
Before construction workers begin working on the foundation of a building, an architect has drawn elaborate plans that describe every little detail of the building. The same is true of building a ship, planting fields of grain or laying out the route for a highway. First the plan then the product. It is inconceivable that God would have no plan for us - the crowning achievement of His creation.
Even a superficial reading of the Bible reveals that all of the men and women of the Bible were guided by God’s plan for their lives. He had a plan for each of them, and He has a plan for each of us, as well.
Perhaps, the question is not whether or not He has a plan for us, but whether or not we even want His plan for our lives. Many try to outsmart God with their plans and end up as failures.
David prayed, “Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” He believed that God had a plan for his life. He also knew that his willingness to follow it was much like the relationship between a teacher and student. He had to be “taught” to follow that plan. Quite often students have to go through a “time of testing” before they get the answers correct. But in the end, a “passing grade” is worth it all.
Prayer: Lord, may we accept the plan You have designed for each of us and follow it willingly each day of our lives! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 143:10 Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Are You Listening Hard, Lord?

Eight-year-old Greg was having a difficult time with his prayers one evening. It seemed the more he prayed the less God listened. Finally, in desperation, he said, “OK God, when is the best time I can talk to You? I know You are always listening, but when will You be listening hard for someone who lives in Augusta, Georgia?”
God is always “listening hard” no matter where we are. And, He is never so busy caring for His creation that He forgets where you are or what you need. He is always thinking about us and is aware of every need we have or ever will have.
We may talk to Him for a minute or a moment, an hour or two, or an entire day and night. But, there is one important matter about prayer that we must never forget.
It is always good to bring everything to God in prayer first. If we go to Him before we begin a plan, make a decision, attempt to solve a problem, or try to manage our finances, the best He has to offer us will be ours.
“Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You; show me the way I should go, for to You I lift up my voice.”
Prayer is a very important key to success. It is comforting to know that when we awaken in the morning God’s unfailing love is there waiting for us. And, when we put our trust in Him and ask Him to show us the way He has planned for us, we can be certain that He will do just that because of His unfailing love! If we lift up our voice to Him, He will give us all we need.
Prayer: Lord, You offer us so much, and we ask for so little. Help us to look more to You for everything we need. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 143:8 Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You; show me the way I should go, for to You I lift up my voice.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Searching, Everyone Is Searching

Not everyone knows what they are searching for in life. Most people seem to have an “emptiness” that they can’t fill. Search as they do, and try as many different things as they can, travel to far distant places, and ask one person after another for help, the emptiness lingers on, and there seems to be no solution.
We all have this “built-in-thirst” that the world cannot quench. It begins at birth, and for many, it is still there at death. It came from our Creator and was placed in us by Him for a reason. He put this “built-in-unquenchable-thirst” within us to cause us to seek Him with all of our heart.
But most people do not understand what they are looking for or why. All they know is “it” is there: that life is empty and meaningless and purposeless. There is a feeling deep inside that there is more to life than what they have discovered. So, the search is on.
When a person begins this search, it grows until the emptiness, hopefully, is filled and the “right” thing found. A certain king describes his search like this: “I spread out my hands to You; my soul thirsts for You like a parched land!”
And God made this promise to the searcher: “When you seek Me, you will find Me if you search for Me with all your heart.”
God will fill every longing in every heart if we turn to Him in faith believing. And when we find Him, we are obligated to Him to help others fill their needs with Him.
Prayer: Father, You have created us for Yourself, and our hearts will be restless until we open them to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 143:6 I spread out my hands to You; my soul thirsts for You like a parched land.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

God's Bridge

Mr. Rushing was a great Sunday school teacher who had a real gift to get his eighth-grade boys’ class involved in the lesson. One Sunday, he decided to ask a question to get them involved in the lesson. “If gold stood for good deeds and grey for bad deeds what color would you be?”
“I’d be streaky,” answered Ron. “I’ve done a bunch of things that are really bad. As a matter of fact, I would probably end up looking kind of blurry.”
No doubt all of us end up looking rather “blurry.” We all fall short when measured against God’s definition of “good.”
God is holy, and we are unholy - or “sinful.” There is a great space between the righteous Creator - God - and guilty sinners – “us.” We may try to build a bridge of good works and kind deeds from where we are to where God is. But sooner or later the works and deeds would fall short of the gate into heaven, and we would find ourselves “out there” dangling in space. In words that are clear and impossible to misunderstand the Psalmist wrote, “For no one living is righteous before You.”
But God built a bridge from where we are to where He is. It is called “the cross of Calvary.” It’s where His Son hung on a cross one day until He was dead. Then, He was laid in a tomb until His Father brought Him back to life. And it is this “bridge” - this cross of Calvary - that we “cross” by faith alone.
Any person at any time from any place can cross this Bridge of Faith and be cleansed of sin and made righteous.
Prayer: It seems impossible, Father, that all we have to do is to reach out, grasp Your hand and cross that Bridge. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 143:2b For no one, living is righteous before You. 

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Who Cares For The Lonely?

Some time ago, the body of a man was found in a deserted building in New York. In his pocket was a note that read, “I’m nobody. Nobody cares for me. I’m like a peanut inside of a shell on the walkway in Yankee Stadium. So, I decided to stomp on myself once and for all.”
There is no feeling that runs so deep, is so acute or more widespread than loneliness. The feeling of being abandoned or uncared for or unloved is one that grips the souls of far too many - even the Christian.
We read a store in the Bible about a man who had been forced to run and hide from others to save his life. Years later he wrote, “Look to my right and see; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for me.” His words are all too familiar and his feelings universal.
But notice: He looked around, but he did not look up. Had he “looked up” he could have discovered someOne who cared deeply for him, was looking for him and loved him. This One not only cares, but He did something to show us that He cares.
The Bible states that “Since God did not even spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, won’t He also give us everything else?”
Remember the stories of Noah in the ark, Job in the pile of ashes, Moses being hid in a basket, Jonah in the belly of a fish, Daniel in the lions’ den and Paul in prison?
God carefully cared for them, and He will also carefully care for us!
Remember: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Prayer: In moments of loneliness, Lord, may we look upward and find Your outstretched arms waiting for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm142:4 Look to my right and see; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for me. 

Friday, September 7, 2018

What To Do With Ttrouble

A young businessman, deeply troubled, went to his pastor. After a deep sigh, he said, “I have some huge problems. I don’t know what to do, and I need your help. Will you pray with me?”
What a great way to look at problems: through the eyes of prayer. That was what David did. “I pour out my complaints before Him; before Him, I tell my trouble.”
Whatever may have been troubling David was not as important as going to God in prayer. He did not go to his friends and complain. He did not go to the leaders of his army and gripe. Nor was he paralyzed in confusion or fear. He did what every godly person does: he went to God and prayed. And it was not an insincere prayer or a prayer that was meaningless. David “poured out” his complaints and troubles. He left his troubles, so to speak, “on the floor.” He kept nothing inside of himself. He put it where God could see what was troubling him.
Far too often we go to others and complain about our troubles knowing that they can do no more than listen or offer us sympathy. Sometimes we sit and sulk and feel sorry for ourselves. Other times we climb into bed and try to hide from them by falling asleep - only to awaken and see them before us on the ceiling.
David did the most sensible thing that any of us can do: Go to God and “pour out” our “troubles” and look to God for His wisdom, guidance, and solutions. God knows the answer before we even identify the problem. So, it makes good sense to go to Him first!
Prayer: It is so strange, Lord, that we often look to others for help rather than You. May we look to You first. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 142:2 I pour out my complaints before Him; before Him, I tell my trouble. 

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Criticism - Good Or Bad?

Criticism can be very beneficial. It can help us correct a problem or avoid making the same mistake again and again. Or, it may damage or destroy the hope that is within someone who is trying to do something good and makes a few mistakes along the way.
When the great Polish pianist, Paderewski, first chose to study the piano, his teacher embarrassed him and said, “Your hands are too small. You will never be able to master the piano.”
When the great American evangelist, Moody, closed a service, a critic said, “I counted eighteen mistakes in your grammar tonight.” Thinking for a moment, Moody graciously replied, “I am using all the grammar I know for the glory of God. Are you doing the same?”
The criticism directed at Paderewski and Moody did not cripple them, it challenged them. History records their stories, and though they had their problems, they went on to great things.
Criticism properly given and directed at something a person can change or improve on can be a gift from God. David wrote, “Let a righteous man strike me - it is a kindness; let him rebuke me - it is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it.”
People who love us will want the best for us. They will offer us suggestions on what we can do to improve our witness, service or testimony to the Lord. It is important to listen patiently, willingly and openly. Notice one word: “righteous.” People who are right with God want our best.
Prayer: Lord, we ask You to bring people into our lives who will help us to become our best and become like You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 141:5 Let a righteous man strike me - it is a kindness; let him rebuke me - it is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

A Strong Heart

After walking for what seemed to be miles, he stopped at the corner of an apple orchard to admire the beautiful apples. The owner of the orchard noticed him and asked, “Son, are you trying to steal my apples?”
“No, sir,” he replied, “I’m trying not to. But my trying not to is losing to my wanting to.”
It was that way with David. Deep in his heart, he wanted to do what was right. But one day he realized that his friendship with evil men was a strong force that was often more powerful than his desire to do the right things.
As his walk with the Lord grew stronger, he began to realize that there was a power beyond human power, And, if he wanted to, he could choose victory over defeat by depending on that power. He was able to move from being overcome by their power to overcoming temptation and sin by calling upon God’s power.
So, he went to God in prayer and asked, “Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil, to take part in evil deeds with men who are evildoers; let me not eat of their delicacies.”
One of the most powerful thoughts that the devil places in our minds is that we are human and that God realizes we may be overcome by temptation to sin. It’s so easy to rationalize sin’s power and our weakness to be tempted to sin.
Paul had an answer or this excuse. “There is no temptation that is more powerful than God’s power. And He’ll provide a way of escape if you want it,” he added.
Prayer: Lord, help us to confront our excuse of being human as a reason to sin. May we run to You for safety. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 141:4 Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil, to take part in evil deeds with men who are evildoers; let me not eat of their delicacies.