Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Inconceivable

During the rule of the Roman Empire, each penny was stamped with the image of the Roman Emperor. Anyone who used that coin was expected to obey his laws.
When God created Adam, He implanted His image in and on him. God did not use a penny to remind people whom they were to obey, but a Person. And beginning with Adam, each of us has had His image on us and in us. We are expected to enjoy Him and glorify Him and honor Him at all times and in all circumstances.
In Psalm 8:6 we are reminded of the power of that stamp. “You,” wrote the Psalmist, “made him ruler over the works of Your hands; You put everything under his feet.” The simplicity and majesty of that single, simple verse are staggering!
The word “ruler” means “lordship.” As the “crown” of God’s creation, we are the “lords” of His creation and are to use the gifts and talents He has given us to be masters of everything He created - everything that we see today or ever will be found in the environment.
But, unfortunately, Adam chose not to follow God’s directions. As a result of Adam’s choice, man and God’s entire creation became corrupted by sin. Fortunately, the story does not end there!
When we repent of our sins and turn our lives over to the Lord, this “Lordship” returns. Once again, we become His subjects and are responsible “to bear” His image in our behavior and leave His “stamp” on everything we do. All things are to become new again.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to live as You planned for us to live - as lords of Your creation and glorify Your name! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 8:6 You made him ruler over the works of Your hands; You put everything under his feet.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Hearing, Encouraging, Listening

Years ago, I was sitting in front of a television trying to find an escape from the cares of the day. It had been a difficult forty-eight 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.” My young son burst into my “escape,” shouting, “Dad! Let’s play.” 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. 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 hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them and You listen to their cry.

Monday, October 29, 2018

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 the 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 in 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 Righteousness exalts a nation, and sin is a reproach to any people.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

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 For You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. 

Saturday, October 27, 2018

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 “boomeranged.” 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 he causes recoils on himself, his violence comes down on his own head.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Prayer Does Work!

“Jeb,” asked Steve, “do you ever pray?”
“Pray?” thought Jeb. “Nope. I don’t pray, and I don’t carry a rabbit’s foot. Neither one works.”
David had a different opinion. “The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.”
Do you remember the prayer of Noah? God spoke to him and told him that He would destroy the world with a flood. During their conversation, God advised him to build an ark that would save him and his family. He listened to God, and when the flood came, they were saved.
Moses prayed and asked God to part the waters of the Red Sea. God answered his prayer, the seas were parted, and God saved His people from destruction by the enemy.
Samson prayed one last time for enough strength to accomplish one last task. God granted him that request.
Solomon prayed for God to grant him wisdom. And we see the answer to that prayer on the pages of the Bible and in the lives of the people he ruled.
Elijah was hungry. He asked God for food, and God heard his prayer and gave him food for his body.
Daniel was thrown into a den filled with hungry lions. He asked God to protect him and He sealed their mouths.
Hezekiah was on his deathbed when he asked God to extend his life. God responded, and he lived for fifteen more years.
A thief prayed on a cross, and God saved him.
PrayerYour Word, Lord, assures us that You not only hear our prayers, but will answer them. Teach us to pray! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 6:9 The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer. 

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Emotions

Emotions are a very important part of life. They are a gift from God and have a very important role. Our emotions are an outward expression of what is going on inside of us. We smile when something pleases us. We cry when something saddens us. We rejoice when unexpected gifts are given to us. We groan when we hurt or someone we love hurts. There is no internal feeling that does not have an external result. It is “external” things that we “internalize” that force our feelings.
Take sporting events. When teams face one another in a contest, one will win, and the other will lose. If we select the winning team, our emotions will demonstrate feelings of joy and happiness, excitement, and ecstasy. We will stand and shout, lift our arms in victory and jump up and down. If we select the losing team, our emotions will demonstrate feelings of gloom and doom, discouragement and disgust. Unless one gambles on the outcome of the event, all we stand to lose is our pride for making the wrong choice.
Rarely, however, do we see overt emotions expressed when God grants us His blessings. There were times when Christians wept with joy when a lost soul repented or shared their enthusiasm when a prayer request was answered or stood with arms reaching toward heaven for a miracle of healing. We have allowed a ritualistic “theology” to overcome the joy of “doxology.”
We need to heed the Psalmist: “Let those who trust and love You...be glad...sing for joy...and rejoice in You.”
Prayer: Awaken our emotions Lord! Free us from being lukewarm, uninvolved and impassioned about Your grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 5:11 Let those who trust and love You...be glad...sing for joy...and rejoice in You.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Guided By God

The oldest map ever discovered was drawn on a clay tablet in 2300 B.C. It pictures a mountain-lined valley in Babylonia.
A thousand years later, in 1300 B.C., the Egyptians began making maps. The Greeks, however, were the first to make accurate maps. Then, the Romans used those maps to conquer nations and countries and collect taxes.
The Muslims were the next “mapmakers.” But they made maps for a different purpose. Their faith demands that they face their “holy city” when they pray. They needed to know the location of Mecca so they could face and bow in that direction when they prayed.
The people of Europe began their map-making in the Middle Ages. They made their maps by reading the Bible.
But no nation or people made maps of the world until the 1400's A.D.
Today, no one would begin a journey without a map or GPS. Yet, we are forever moving into the “unknown” and need detailed guidance and directions.
A Psalmist once prayed, “Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness...make straight Your way before me.”
Our Lord knows our end from the very beginning. He is all-wise, never-failing, ever-present and constantly waiting to protect us from harm’s way. He can be our “travel consultant” on life’s journey and will personally counsel us on the safest and most satisfying paths.
With God above us, the Savior beside us and the Holy Spirit within us, we will end our journey with Him.
Prayer: Thank You, Heavenly Father, for the plan You have established for each of us. May we follow it willingly. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 5:8 Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness...make straight Your way before me. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

the Highway To Happiness

Have you ever caught “lightning bugs” and placed them in a jar with vents in the lids so they could breathe? It was a favorite activity for children in our neighborhood. The bugs would be “captured” and then placed in a glass jar where their tiny bright “lights” would glow in the darkness of the night. After watching them go “on and off” for a while, they would be “freed” and fly off into the darkness.
Had they remained in the jar, they would have died. God, however, intended for them to be free and happy and live the life He planned for them.
It’s like that with us. God planned a special life for each of us: a life of happiness. But happiness only comes from being free. Some think that happiness and pleasure are synonymous. They are not. Happiness is not derived from possessions nor destroyed by poverty. There is a story of a king who wanted the shirt off of the back of the happiest man in his kingdom. They found the man, but he did not have a shirt. He only had a ragged cloak.
Happiness is not what happens to us. Happiness is what happens within us. It is the by-product of what is lived in agreement with the will of God. Life in His will brings us freedom from being “contained” by the things of the world. Happiness fills lives that are regulated by the Word of God. Following His Word and His way will bring pleasure and peace to His children.
Psalm 1:1 promises “a blessed - or - a happy life” to those who delight in and obey His law. His law will set us free from being contained and controlled by worldly things.
Prayer: Father, may we set our eyes on things above, not the things of this world, and find Your happiness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 1:1 Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.

Monday, October 22, 2018

The Beginning And The End

Psalms begin with a promise from God and end with a call to praise God. “Blessed is the man!” shouts the author. Any man? Every man? No. Indeed not. Blessed is “the” man who delights in and obeys the Words and the Ways of the Lord.
Psalms end with a call to “Praise the Lord.” Any man? Every man? Yes. Yes, indeed. “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.”
The first Psalm makes a difference between the godly man and the ungodly man. But the concluding Psalm does not mention the ungodly. Why?
The godly are “like a tree that is planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” What a beautiful description of the godly: they are happy, have lived a worthwhile life, and will live forever!
But the ungodly? They are pictured with words of hopelessness. “They are like chaff,” writes the Psalmist, “that the wind blows away. Therefore, the wicked will stand in judgment, and sinners will not be in the assembly of the righteous.” The ungodly will not be safe on Judgment Day. Nor will they be invited to stand among the godly. What a tragedy. What an ending to lives that surely had opportunities to become godly: lives that were misspent, misdirected and mistaken.
No matter what we hear from politicians and social scientists, there are only two classes of people: the saved and the unsaved. And, two ends: heaven and hell.
Prayer: Lord, may we hear Your Word and Your voice and accept Your invitation to become godly people. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 1 - Psalm 150

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Lasting Impressions

One dreadful day, many years ago, a large sailboat capsized on Lake Michigan. It was near the shore, and the lifeguard on duty, Edward Spencer, jumped into the lake and rescued all seventeen people who were on board. Finally, he fell exhausted on the shore and was taken to a hospital to recover. As he was carried into the emergency room, he kept asking, “Did I do my best?”
Years later, Dr. R.A. Torrey, an evangelist, was telling this story in a revival in Los Angeles. Suddenly, a man electrified the audience. He stood up and shouted, “Dr. Torrey, Edward Spencer is here.”
Shaken, Dr. Torrey asked, “Would you please come to the platform?” Slowly, the white-haired Spencer made his way to the platform as the people applauded wildly.
Dr. Torrey looked at him with grateful eyes and asked, “Is there anything that stands out in your mind in the saving of those seventeen people?”
“Only one thing, Dr. Torrey,” he replied. “Of the seventeen, not one of them thanked me.”
“Ingratitude is the mother of every vice,” is a famous French saying. And the Spanish add, “The earth produces nothing worse than an ungrateful man.”
Why is it so difficult to say, “Thanks?” Is it pride? Is it self-centeredness - the attitude that I don’t need you or anyone else? Is it because we are weak and want to appear strong? Is it a false impression of our own value?
How interesting that the last verse of the Psalms reads, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.”
Prayer: Lord, give us an alert mind to recognize the many gifts we receive each day. Give us grateful hearts. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 150:6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

The Sound Of The Trumpets

An old Jewish legend claims that each day in heaven begins with the ringing sound that comes from a trumpet.
After Lucifer, once the son of the morning, had fallen from heaven, he was asked, “What do you miss most?” After a moment’s thought, he said, “The trumpets that sound in the morning.” The legend continues that the reason the trumpet sounded was to call people together to thank God for His love and mercy, grace and goodness.
Sadly, the “trumpet of thanksgiving” is absent from the lives of far too many Christians. The sounds of glory and gratitude have been replaced with groans of gloom and grief, greed and godless living.
But we are urged in Psalm 150: to “Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet.” Trumpets were used in Jewish ceremonies to remind worshipers of the greatness, glory, and goodness of God and to praise and thank Him.
Perhaps it would be a good idea if each church had a trumpet player to begin each worship service. Perhaps the sound of a well-played trumpet might remind us to “bow down” before our Creator and give Him thanks for His many blessings - the ones we are aware of and those who fall on us unannounced and unrecognized.
Giving thanks is an important part of life - especially in the life of a Christian. All that we have or will have, all that we are or will become is not accidental. Everything in our lives comes from the grace of God. And not to thank Him is to insult Him. In ourselves, we have no worth. We only have worth in, through and by God’s grace.
Prayer: God, give us grateful hearts - hearts filled with gratitude for Your love, grace, mercy, salvation, and hope! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 150:3 Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet.

Friday, October 19, 2018

A Reason To Sing

Robert Lowry, a pastor in New York City, was going through a difficult time during an epidemic. Many who were suffering would die in a matter of hours. Day after day he stood beside the graves of those who had died and tried to give hope to their loved ones. On one occasion, however, his faith was deeply challenged, and he cried out to God, “Shall we meet again? Really? Can a gracious God do this to good people? We are parting at the river of death. Will we ever meet again at the river of life?” He took his doubt seriously and began to read his Bible on his knees. Finally, he found God’s answer, went to his organ, sat down and wrote the words and music to the great old hymn, “Yes, we’ll gather at the river that flows by the throne of God.”
The Steds were enjoying a beautiful day of sun and sand on the Long Island Sound. Suddenly, they heard a cry for help. With no thought for his safety, Mr. Sted ran into the water to rescue the boy - but failed. Mrs. Sted’s heart was broken when she returned to her empty home.
She fell on her knees and began to pray. God heard and helped her and gave her hope. She sat at her piano and wrote the beautiful hymn, “‘Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus.”
Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Bicker, missionaries to Peru, were waiting to board a ship that would take them home for a vacation. Just before boarding the ship, Mr. Bicker was killed in an accident. To comfort his wife, and now fatherless children, Dr. Oswald Smith wrote the poem, “God Understands and Cares.”
Said the Psalmist, “Sing for joy on beds of pain.” He understands and cares!
Prayer: How grateful we are Lord for the assurance of Your presence and peace, even when life seems senseless. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 149:5b Sing for joy on beds of pain.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Finding Beauty

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” is a very familiar saying. If we think about that saying for just a moment, it seems to suggest that there are two parts to beauty: the ones trying to make themselves beautiful and the ones who judge the outcome.
The latest information on the amount of money that is spent on beauty enhancing items is staggering:
Total cost of products worldwide: $426 billion.
Total cost in America: $33.3 billion.
Total cost per person in America: $15,000.
Some might say, “What a complete waste.” Someone else would probably say, “They should have spent much more.” And a third might say, “It didn’t make any difference no matter what they spent, so what’s the reason for spending the money to look better? Why the effort?”
But the Psalmist said, “He crowns, and beautifies, the humble with salvation.”
God can take a heart that is stained and soiled with sin and cleanse it from all impurities and make it beautiful. “Wash me,” cried one Psalmist, “and I will be whiter than snow.”
God can take the damage caused by sin, and the marks left from discouragement and depression and erase their marks, remove every tear and bring hope to our eyes, erase lines of guilt and put the joy of salvation on our faces. Jesus made an important promise when He said, “My peace I give unto you - not as the world gives peace” through false promises, and praise.
God can take a sin-scarred life and fill it with His glory and radiance. "Set me free from my prison," said the Psalmist. And we respond, “Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me!”
Prayer: Only You, Father, can save us from sin, ourselves and the insanity of this world. Come quickly and help us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 149:4b He crowns, and beautifies, the humble with salvation. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Delighting God!

The word “delight” is often a disarming word. Why? What might delight me would not delight you. It’s a word that is in one sense personal, but in another way, universal. It always implies that something has happened to bring joy or satisfaction to another. Or, when used in the Bible, it brings great pleasure to God.
The Psalmist wrote: “The Lord takes great delight in His people.” Not all people or certain people or educated people or even wise people. He only takes delight in His people. Notice, also, that it is more than mere delight, it is a great delight.
So the question we must ask ourselves is this: “Who are His people?” Does God have favorites? Are there some people whom God loves more than others? Can anything be done to become one of His people that bring Him great delight? How can we get into that “inner circle” who are recognized as “His people?”
When this verse was written, however, “His people” were those who were in a covenant relationship with Him. The verses that precede this verse describe people who, in particular, are praising the Lord. They are singing and dancing and making music by playing harps and tambourines - all signs of joyful worship to their God.
However, today we know that we are “saved by faith” through the New Covenant that He established through His Son. Faith in Christ is the first step if we want to become one of “His” people and enter into his Kingdom. To do so, we must accept His Son as our Savior.
Worship signifies humility – bowing down before God our Creator and Lord. Only humble people are willing to accept Christ and worship the Lord. His people are humble people.
Prayer: Lord, true worship means that we bow down before You - and only You - in humility and surrender. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 149:4a The Lord takes great delight in His people.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Singing A New Song

It is not possible to overestimate the significance of the Psalms. In them, we find the ideals of a God-filled life that reflect humility, worship, dependence and service. In them, we find descriptions of men whose lives were in constant communion with God. We also find lives that reflect deep sorrow for sin and the search for holiness and perfection. We discover what walking in darkness is like - without fear gripping our hearts and controlling our minds because we see “faith at work.” We are confronted with the results of sin and the benefits of repentance, restoration, and righteousness. We see minds once tortured by guilt and shame restored to sanity by the grace and mercy of God as a result of His love. We see the beauty of God’s love in comparison to the tragedy of evil and wickedness. We see deep serenity following the storms of fear and danger.
More than any other book in the Bible, we see the tragic effects of sin in first-person stories. We also see what God can do for those who fall before Him and ask for His forgiveness. We see the roller-coaster of life ending in smooth seas of God’s peace for those who submit to and worship Him.
In the wisdom of God, His Spirit inspired the writers of the Psalms to take the experiences of men, who were as human as we are and give us a compass for life. The Psalms provide us with spiritual insight, wisdom, knowledge, and courage to deal with every issue of life.
We read in Psalm 149 that we are to “sing a new song.”
How is this possible when life is falling apart? Can there be any new songs?
Yes! “His mercies never cease!” New day! New Mercies! New songs!
Prayer: Father, make us aware of the unending mercies we receive every day. Fill our hearts with new songs of joy. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 149:1 Praise the Lord! Sing a new song to the Lord! 

Monday, October 15, 2018

What's In A Name?

Names are, in fact, a commodity. They have “value” attached to them and can either be “traded” for a favor or used as a “warning.” A name distinguishes one person from another and gives a certain distinctiveness or uniqueness to individuals. Some pay particular attention to their name to make certain that it implies integrity and truth, honesty and hard work, power and influence.
Most of us, from time to time, have been asked by others if they could “use our name” as a reference or as a way of introducing themselves. They assume that our names imply a degree of “significance” for one reason or another.
So, they reason, if they are associated with us in one way or another, it will make a difference in what they want to achieve.
But, human names are all limited. They only have worth in certain areas and for a certain amount of time. If people do not know us or have never heard of us, we make no difference in the scheme of things.
There is an unusual statement made about a name in Psalm 148:13 - “His name alone is exalted.”
There is a certain “exclusiveness” in this statement. Of all the names of all of the people who have ever lived, only one name is to be exalted. And that is because of who He is and what He has done. All other names are flawed or contaminated for one reason or another. His name is above and beyond reproach, worthy of worship and praise because He is holy and without fault.
All of us “fall short of the glory of God” and need a “name” that we can “use” to save us. That name? Jesus!
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for the power in Your name. It assures us of forgiveness and salvation and life eternal. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 148:13b His name alone is exalted. 

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Why Praise The Lord?

All of Scripture is punctuated with outbursts of “praise.” The reason? Praise rises spontaneously from an internal attitude of joy which is in the heart and life of the people of God. The Bible speaks of man being created to rejoice in God’s gifts and God’s grace and God’s goodness. Praising God should be as natural as breathing and as regular as the beating of our hearts.
Perhaps one of the significant aspects of “praising” is that it implies a close relationship with the one being praised. When we praise God, we are letting Him know that we are aware of and recognize His presence in our lives, that we are grateful for His benefits and blessings - big and small - and, that we are dependent on Him for all things. Consider this: If you give someone a gift, and they do not recognize you for it, do you feel unappreciated?
Along with praising God, however, is the duty to exalt His name. Exalt, in Scripture, means to elevate, to glorify and to recognize the place and power of the one being exalted. When we exalt God, we acknowledge His Lordship in our lives and recognize that He is above all, in all, and has control of all. As we lift Him up above all others, we naturally bow down in humility before Him.
“Let them praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted,” said the Psalmist. Strange, isn’t it, how the names of athletes and entertainers are more highly praised and exalted than God’s name. How very sad!
But the day is coming when every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!
Prayer: Lord, You are so thoughtful and generous. All that we are and have is because You care. Thank You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Let them praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Nothing New

Some years ago, a group of Navy scientists began to work on ways to change the direction of major storms. If they were able to do this, they reasoned, they could direct them to do great damage to the enemy.
Furthermore, they thought, if they could direct the storms to disrupt the enemy, they would be able to control clouds and form high seas and waves. Also, they believed if they could create low, solid overcast clouds, they would be able to conceal troop movements.
But God used the weather to His advantage long before the military ever entertained the idea. A great story of God using the weather to accomplish His purpose is the story of Jonah.
One day the Lord said to Jonah, “Go to Nineveh.” But he refused to listen to God and decided to go to Tarshish. However, he never got there. The Lord had a plan for Jonah, and, to accomplish His plan He needed a hurricane. So, He “turned” one loose and the crew of Jonah’s ship became frightened.
Jonah looked at them and said, “It’s all my fault. Go ahead and throw me overboard.” When they did, the sea stopped raging and became calm. But, there’s more.
God then ordered a great fish to get involved in His plan. Soon, the great fish swallowed Jonah and took him for a ride. Finally, the great fish spewed him out, and he went to Nineveh. God does not put up with disobedience. If He has to, He’ll get all of nature to help Him accomplish His plan.
The Psalmist reminds us that “lightning and hail, snow and clouds, and stormy winds...do His bidding.”
Prayer: Lord, we only fool ourselves if we think we can escape from Your plan. May we be willing to follow You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 148:8 Lightning and hail, snow and clouds, and stormy winds...do His bidding.

Friday, October 12, 2018

The Ways Of The Wind

An army brigade was on a field training exercise in Texas near the Davis Mountains. Without warning, the skies turned dark, and the winds began to blow. Then, a swirling tornado began to travel across the training area. As it passed through the command area, a mangled mass of canvas with a soldier wrapped in the middle of it, dropped right in front of the colonel leading the exercise.
“Soldier,” barked the officer, “what nerve you have. Coming into my area without permission or cause. Have you no respect for your leader?”
“Sir,” said the soldier, trying to free himself from the ropes and canvas, “I had nothing to do with this. I was simply trying to put my tent up when the wind came through and picked me and my tent up, and away we went. And here I am, Sir.”
“But, I didn’t see the wind, soldier,” said the officer.
“Neither did I, Sir, but I sure felt it,” came the reply.
In the Bible, “wind” is an emblem of the Holy Spirit. And in Psalm 147:18 we read, “He sends the winds, and the ice thaws.”
On one occasion, Jesus said, “The wind blows where it wants to. You can hear the sound of the wind, but you have no idea where it came from nor where it is going. So you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”
Nor can we explain the work of the Spirit. He is not predictable nor do we understand Him. eHe is a gift of God who works in our lives to save us and empower us to serve.
Prayer: We thank You, Father, for Your Spirit who gives us eternal life and strengthens us in our daily walk. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 147:18b He sends the winds, and the ice thaws.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

God's Attitude About Strength

What Americans spend on nutritional supplements and bodybuilding is staggering. Consider these facts:
Sixty billion dollars were spent in January to lose weight.
One and one-half billion dollars are spent on food supplements each month.
There are 30,500 health clubs in America.
The average cost per month of a gym membership is $55.00.
The total amount of money spent on gym memberships in 2014 was $23.1 billion.
The number of gym memberships in 2014 was 12.2 million.
“Looking good” for many is much more important than “being good.” Taking pride in bulging muscles and well-toned bodies have become a way of life for many who worship themselves rather than God. It is difficult to watch TV without seeing commercials on how to “get ripped” or pills to lose weight or products that will extend life. The “beautiful body” has become an end for many.
However, the Psalmist staked our God’s position on all of this: “He takes no pleasure...in human might.”
Now, there’s nothing wrong with being physically fit. We are indebted to God to avoid doing anything to our body that would put it at risk for any disease that we can avoid. Why? We are obligated to Him to honor this “gift” and use it for His glory by serving Him. But, we cross a line when we worship our bodies and not the God who created them.
Prayer: Lord, may we care deeply about the gift of life and wellness You have given us and use it to honor You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm147:10b He takes no pleasure...in human might.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

In Vain Or In Victory?

Years ago, a letter was found in the pocket of a young soldier. He wrote it knowing that he would be in a fierce battle and his chances of survival were slim.
“Dear Mom,” he wrote. “Do you know why I feel sad right now? It’s not about dying that worries me. We both know that when my number is up, it’s up. There is nothing that we can do about that. I wouldn’t put it so crudely if we didn’t know the truth and if we could not be honest with one another. And, so I say humbly and without hypocrisy, ‘God’s will be done!’"
"As I said, Mom, it’s not the dying that bothers me. I will be calm right up until the end as you will be after you hear the news of my death. But what does worry, bother and matter most to me is this: Will I have died in vain?”
Paul, in writing to the Corinthians addressed “dying in vain” when he wrote: “We urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.” Could it be possible, he wondered, that they could ignore Christ’s death? Did they doubt the message of Paul? Could they look at the cross and not see that the death of Jesus fulfilled the requirements of God?
“He,” Paul said, “will have died in vain if you do not accept His grace.” In other words, if we do not accept the death of Jesus as the door to eternal life, there is no life in Christ.
But what of those who have accepted God’s grace in Christ? The Psalmist expressed it in heart-touching words: “The Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love.” Can we ask for more?
Prayer: Father, we love You and thank You for the hope that we have in You. We would live in vain without You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 147:11 The Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Look And Learn

There are many stories about birds in the Bible. And they all have their place. But of all the birds mentioned, the raven is close to the bottom of the list as far as having any importance. It is a large blackbird and belongs to the crow family. It is noisy and has a loud, rough, very emphatic cry. It’s not a bird that is filled with grace and charm.
Even young ravens, while in their nest, have a coarse call - especially at feeding time. Even so, when they call for food, the Lord hears them, and their mother then feeds them.
Jesus once said, “Look at the ravens - they don’t plant or harvest or have barns to store away their food, and yet they get along quite well. God feeds them. And you are far more important and valuable to Him than birds.”
If the Lord hears the cry of young birds for food, how much more will He hear the cry of His believers when they call out for mercy? If He looks out for birds, how much more will He look out for us? But we must do our part.
Shovels are not made to lean on; they are made to dig with. We cannot expect God to do for us what we will not do for ourselves. Work is as much a part of life as prayer and worship. Never forget that Jesus worked for a living before He began His public ministry. Even though His Father created the world, Jesus set an example for us by working to meet His needs. Our ability to work is a gift from God, and He expects us to work to the best of our ability and for His glory.
The writer of Proverbs said it best: “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity.”
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the ability to work. May we follow Your example and do what we do to honor You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 147:9 He feeds the wild animals, and the young ravens cry to him for food.

Monday, October 8, 2018

God's Never-Ending Grace

George and Will had been best friends since they were in grade school. Unfortunately, Will was having a difficult time financially. So, he went to George and said, “I’m having a difficult time with my finances. Can you help me out with a loan until I get back on my feet?”
“Sorry, Will, I just can’t do that,” said George.
“We have been best friends forever,” said Will. “How can you do this to me? We grew up together, studied for our exams together, and went camping together. And, I even rescued you when you were about to drown. Why, George?”
“I remember all those fun times together, Will. They were good times, and I think of them often. But here’s the question: What have you done for me lately?” said George.
Often we ask God the same question: “What have you done for me lately? I know that You love me because You sent Your Son to be my Savior. And, I know You have answered my prayers in the past. But where are You now when I need You? Have You given up on me?”
The Psalmist in his wisdom said, “He covers the sky with clouds; He supplies the earth with rain and makes the grass grow on the hills.” However, we must remember one fact: He always does what He said He would do: but in His time and on His terms.
The beloved spiritual reminds us that “He’s got the whole world in His hands,” and continues by making it personal, “He’s got you and me, brother, in His hands.”
Our God is a powerful God and a personal God. He cares for us and will never abandon us. When we don’t get what we need when we want it, trust Him. It’s coming.
Prayer: Father, there’s no doubt that You love us and will meet our every need. Please add patience to our trust. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 147:8 He covers the sky with clouds; He supplies the earth with rain and makes the grass grow on the hills.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Our Limitless Lord

“Understanding,” said an angry husband, “is one thing my wife knows nothing about.” No doubt, there are many who would make the same statement anytime they feel that they are misunderstood. Not only do we want to be loved, but we all want to be understood as well. And, all too often, when we pour out our heart to our dearest friend, it seems that they, too, don’t really care.
How precious, then, are the words of the Psalmist: “Great is our Lord and mighty in power, His understanding has no limit.” Our God is a God whose understanding is unlimited!
God knows our abilities as well as our possibilities, what we can and cannot do. When we understand and accept that simple fact, we will realize that He is the only one who can direct and guide us each day of our lives. He has given each of us a special skill set and has endowed us with talents and gifts that are uniquely ours and to be used for His glory. So, when He offers us an opportunity to serve Him, He will take the gifts that He has given us and empower us to do what He has called us to do.
God also knows our spiritual limitations. We must never forget for a moment that He alone can deliver us from the temptations of life if we want Him to! If we trust Him and turn to Him, we can be assured that “no temptation will ever overpower us.” If, when we are being tempted, we turn to Him for an escape route, He will deliver us from anything that will destroy us.
He is great, mighty and understanding. Trust Him!

Prayer: Lord, when we come to the end of our limits, may we realize that we are just at the beginning of Yours. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 147:5 Great is our Lord and mighty in power, His understanding has no limit. 

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Just Try!

Mrs. Burrell, my fourth-grade science teacher, often visited the students in her class at night to teach them how to identify the various constellations. Now and then she would ask, “Well, how many stars can you count tonight?” No one was ever able to give an accurate accounting. But, we would giggle and make up some unreasonable number just to humor her.
However, on a clear night, it is possible to see about two thousand stars. With some of the large telescopes now used to research the universe, astronomers can take a photograph and count about thirty billion. Even so, there are still many more billions that are beyond the power of the eye of the telescope.
Sir James Jeans once suggested that there are as many stars as there are grains of sand on all the beaches of the planet. So, there’s a good reason why no one has been able to number them.
Except One. “He determines the number of stars and calls each by name.” Now, that may be difficult to believe. But, when we realize His power and might and majesty, it fits right into His character.
Numbers, however, are not as important as His love. However, our great God, Who created and named the stars and hung them in orbit, is more interested in us than He is in His stars. In fact, He loved us so much that He gave His only Son for our salvation. This God of measureless might is also a God of limitless love. And this very God extends an invitation to us to become one of His children.
Prayer: How blest we are, Lord, that we are of such value to You that You willingly gave Your Son to save us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 147:4 He determines the number of stars and calls each by name.