Remember The Works of God

Psalms 105:5 (NIV) Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,

Psalms 106:12-13 (NIV) 12Then they believed his promises and sang his praise. 13But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his counsel.

How soon we forget. God is always working in our lives. At times it is very evident. There is no way to deny it. That is when we believe Him and doubt is the furthest thing from our minds. We sing a song of praise. We make vows that we intend to fulfill.

We should believe without the miracles, or seeing His hand against our enemy. We should know He is capable of healing, even if He chooses not to. But we are weak and easily swayed by our circumstances. When the miracle is fresh, when the healing has occurred, then we are totally convinced. But we soon forget.

We are no different than the children of Israel who sang praise for an incredible rescue one day, and murmured and whined the next. What is wrong with us? We have a sin nature! What can we do about it? We take the sin nature to the cross, but we so readily take it back up again. God tells us to remember what He has done. Keep a journal. Flag those days in which God moved. Review those times when His presence was so real that you could touch Him. Write down the words He spoke to your heart and review them often.

When Joshua led the Children of Israel across the Jordan at flood stage, the LORD had him make a memorial mound of stones. When someone in the future asked about that pile of rocks, they were to tell them about the mighty power of God that stopped the river at flood stage so that all could cross. You probably need to make a few memorial mounds to remind you of the Jordans God parted for you. Pass on to your children and grandchildren the things God has done in your life. Leave a written legacy of the mighty works of God. Most will not care much about the details of your life, but reading about God’s intervention in your life will give them hope and faith to see Him working in their life.

Remember the mighty works of God. It will keep the fire in your heart stoked. It will inspire future generations.

The Undeserved Gift of Grace

Psalms 103:10-12 (NIV) He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

In this psalm, the writer tells us a fact we need to remember. We never get what we deserve. Never ask for justice, or you may get it. We always forget our sins and remember our good deeds with a little embellishment. If we got what we deserve, we would all be cast into the Lake of Fire. We are by nature rebels against the loving goodness of our Creator. Instead of giving us what we deserve, God lavished His love upon us by sending His one and only Son to take what we deserved. Only Jesus could bear it.

How did we ever learn to fear Him, that is, to reverence His just nature that will not let sin go unpunished? It is only an undeserved gift of grace! It is an expression of His great love. That love is much greater than you or I could ever muster. What is your attitude toward those who have betrayed your love for them? God just continues to love us to the fullest extent of His love.

Satan would try to get us to dwell on all our failures and past mistakes. God doesn’t, so why should we? Satan’s accusations are true, but so is the fact that those sins are covered by the sacrifice of Jesus. They are removed from us as far as east is from west. That is a long way. Next time the enemy tries to get you down about a past sin, remind him of this verse. The future is as bright as the promises of God. You are a work in transition, but the scrap that has been chiseled away is already cleaned up and hauled off.

Remember: Look forward, not back, and praise God for loving you so! Praise Him for sending Jesus to get what you deserved.

In God’s Presence

Psalms 84:10-12 (NIV)
Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.

The first section is about the desire to come near to God. The second section is about the journey to the Temple. The third is arriving in the Temple of God.

The psalmist loved to be in the Temple. He said that just one day there was better than a thousand anywhere else. Today, the Temple is the body of believers, the body of Christ. Do you desire genuine fellowship like the psalmist who longed to be in the Temple? To him, that was better than any pleasure the world could offer.

Where do you consider true pleasure to be found? If it is hard for you to relate to the psalmist desire, perhaps you need to ask the LORD for a clearer revelation of genuine fellowship in the presence of God and the horror of the end of this world’s pleasures.

He goes on to say that the LORD God is a sun and shield. The sun is the source of life. It provides the energy from which our planet derives all energy. God is the source of all strength and life. He shields us from the onslaught of the enemy of our soul. He brings good things into our lives. In fact, every good and perfect gift is from the Father of lights (James 1:17).

The psalm ends declaring the blessedness of the man who trusts in God. Where is your trust placed for the activities that lay before you today? Are you trusting in self to get things done, to provide, to meet your families needs? If so, you are not going to find the peace in your heart that the psalmist is speaking of. But if you are trusting in the Maker of heaven and earth, you will be blessed.

Remember: No matter what comes your way, in Him there is joy, peace and true blessing!

Trust God … and Hold On!

Lord, you are my strength and my protection, my safe place in times of trouble Jeremiah 16:19
When the fierce storms of life overwhelm us, there is only one thing to do if we want to survive. We must position ourselves in the right place – in the hands of God – and He will keep us there until the storm has passed. The comfort of God is faithful and strong – even during the fiercest storms of life.
The words of the psalmist are filled with confidence and hope when he writes, “He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed” (Psalm 107:29). We really can trust God to bring peace and to reduce the worst storm to a mere whisper.
Here’s the deal. The faithful provision and sustaining comfort of God at work in our life depends on the character and heart of God andon our willingness to trust Him.
I love my family with all of my heart. Naturally, there are times when they make me very angry. They make wrong choices and sometimes even disappoint me. But if they are hurt, sick, or in trouble, you can bet I will be there! The anger, disappointment, and even disobedience are overruled by my love for them. I have a driving need to comfort them. If my imperfect heart responds to my imperfect family that way, think about how the perfect heart of our heavenly Father responds to us.
Sometimes, like Paul, you can see neither sun nor stars and no small tempest lies on you. Reason cannot help you. Past experiences give you no light. Only a single course is left. You must stay upon the Lord; and come what may — winds, waves, cross seas, thunder, lightening, no matter what, you must lash yourself to the helm and hold fast to your confidence in God’s faithfulness and his everlasting love in Christ Jesus.
We can face every storm with confidence, knowing that God will redeem it for good. We can trust few things in this life, but God’s faithfulness is one of them. When the hard times come, and the storms roll in, trust God, and hold on. He is with you.
Father, I am blown away by Your faithfulness in my life! Forgive me when I let fear and doubt take over my heart and mind instead of choosing to trust You. Give me eyes to see the treasure buried at the heart of every storm, and help me choose to trust You – even when I don’t understand what You are doing! Teach me, Lord. Let my life be an illustration of Your strength perfected in my weakness.

God’s Word

Psalm 119:105-112

thy word

Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path…I have inherited Your testimonies forever, for they are the joy of my heart. I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes forever, even to the end.

Think of living the Christian life without God’s word! What a difficult path that would be, guessing what God is like, not understanding the principles that make life work, trying to grind out the right way of life by sheer willpower, never knowing about the Holy Spirit.

Take some time today to simply express to God in prayer what His word means to you in your life, just like the psalmist did in this passage! And like the psalmist, renew your commitment to set your heart on God’s word. Your heart doesn’t just go where it wants. You can decide that your heart will be set on honoring and obeying and walking with God. Your life values are not automatic. You can decide what really matters to you.

God wants you to make those decisions based on what He has revealed in His word. He wants your life to be organized around the things that really matter.

What do you need to change in your life today in order to be focused on God’s word?

My Morning Prayer

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Mark 1:35 (NIV)

Mark tells us in our key verse that while it was still dark, Jesus slipped out of the house and went to a secluded place to meet with His Father. Mark doesn’t tell us what morning this was. But we do know this prayer time followed a full day of healing the sick and casting out demons.

After that kind of day, you would think Jesus might have slept in … just for an hour or two. I would have. But not Jesus. He awakened before the sun peeked over the horizon to be refreshed and renewed for the ministry awaiting Him that day.

Oh, how I long to know what Jesus said. How long did He pray? What did He pray? Could He audibly hear His Father’s response? Were the angels with Him? And more practically, did His mind wander? Mine does. Sometimes I find myself praying and my mind travels to my “to do” list. Or I begin praising God but then the concerns weighing on my heart push through and usher out my praise.

I imagine Jesus’ mind didn’t wander because He knew in those solitary places He was sitting in very presence of His Father. And what I forget — perhaps many of us do — is that when we pray, we too sit in the very presence of God, our Father. Although our eyes cannot visibly see Him, I picture Him drawing near, bending close to hear our every word. His Spirit surrounding us. His hands lifting our faces heavenward. His ears fixed on every cry of our hearts … the praises, the confessions, the anxieties, the fears, the doubts … He hears them all.

Sometimes it’s hard to awaken early. Hard to focus. And most of all, it’s hard to fathom that the God of the universe, who holds the entire world in His hands, has time to hear our little prayers. But not only does He have the time,

He calls us to come to Him. Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (NIV).

So, let’s band together this week for morning prayer. Each morning, find a solitary place to pray … your own secret spot.

Dear Lord, I don’t know who or what will cross my path today. But I do know that You are my Rock and my Fortress. You are my Shield and my Strong Tower. Help me to anchor myself to You today. Teach me how to stand strong in You and choose only Your way today. Help me walk by Your truth and not my feelings. Help me to embrace anything that comes my way as an opportunity to see You at work and as an opportunity to point others to You.

Thank You that You love me and nothing can ever take that away from me! Even if I fail today and fall short, You whisper Your unconditional love deep into my soul and remind me that Your mercies are new every morning. That truly amazes me, Lord. Thank You for meeting with me today.

Rob God – Who, Me?

“Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me.” But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings.” – Malachi 3:8

Imagine a dark scene for a moment. After collecting the offerings, the ushers at your church are taking the money into the office when a man sticks a gun in their faces and steals the money. How would you react to something like this? I know how you’d respond; you would be absolutely appalled! You’d be outraged! “How could anyone rob God and rob the church like that?”

Continue reading Rob God – Who, Me?

A Word for the Lonely

The Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed. Deut. 31:8

Maybe you’ve been abandoned, perhaps it was by your parents, your spouse, your children or by a friend. Or maybe you even feel that you’ve been abandoned by God Himself. There are many people who feel alienated from God. Even if they have everything they want in life, they may still face a deep, inner loneliness.

We read in John 5 of a man at the pool of Bethesda who was in a seemingly hopeless situation. He had been abandoned. He was uncared for and unable to help himself. What’s more, he’d been in that condition for many long, weary years. He must have been desperately lonely.

In this account, we learn that Jesus changed the man’s life forever. It’s a story that tells you and me how to change as well. Before Jesus brought transformation and healing into this man’s life, however, He first asked him a rather pointed question: “Do you want to be made well?”

What if Jesus asked you the same question? Is there something that needs healing or changing in your life? Do you want to be made well? Maybe it’s an addiction or a lifestyle you are trapped in. Maybe it’s something you’ve tried to change time and time again. Or maybe it’s an old hatred or resentment, nursed along over the months and years and becoming more and more toxic with the passing of time.

Jesus turned the course of this man’s life around forever, giving him the ability to live a life free from loneliness and the power of sin. We can live that life too, the ability to break old habits and to forgive old hurts and resentments. He has all the transforming power we need, but we must “want to be made well.

A Place Where You Don’t Want to Be

“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.'” – Luke 16:22-28

If you study the Bible, you’ll find that Jesus painted a pretty complete picture as to what hell is like. In some cases, He spoke literally and in others He spoke more figuratively. He spoke about the suffering of hell. It means being permanently separated from God. It is going to be a place of totally unrestrained evil, where the devil and his. demons reside along with all those who have rejected Jesus Christ. That’s not a pretty picture and not a place you want to be.

Scripture declares that in hell there will be eternal suffering and a clear awareness of what you have missed out on. You will realize that your whole life had been a waste because you never responded to Christ. There is the realization that you are permanently separated from God and that will create great agony.

Whatever it may be, you surely don’t want to wind up there. And you don’t have to. Jesus Christ came to save us from hell. He came to forgive us of our sins and make us right with God. Have you really claimed this good news in faith? If not, please do so today. Hell is definitely a place from which you want to be saved.

Jesus is coming. Be ready and stay ready!

Be Strong and Courageous

Be Strong and Courageous

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7

When Moses died, God appointed Joshua to be the new leader of Israel. One of the very first things God did was to give Joshua a goal—a goal to claim and conquer the Promised Land. God spelled out the northern, southern, eastern and western borders so the goal was very specific. Joshua knew exactly what he needed to do.

God also told Joshua that he had given him, and the ancient Israelites this land—but they still had to go and conquer it. It wasn’t handed to them on a silver platter. They had to battle every inch of the way to conquer it. However, had God not given the land to them, they wouldn’t have been able to conquer it.

Furthermore, God promised Joshua good success providing he and the people fully obeyed all the directions and laws God had given to them through Moses.

It has been noted that “success is the ability to embrace a worthwhile goal and then employ all of your powers for the achievement of that goal.” I’m sure Joshua would have agreed with this definition of success.

God has a specific plan and goal for you and me too. It’s up to us to seek God to discover what that plan and goal is. And then it’s up to us, with God’s help, to “take action and go get it!”

Any worthwhile goal will also be a challenge for us to fulfill. God isn’t going to hand it to us on a silver platter. However, as God promised to be with Joshua and help him, he will also be with us and help us; that is, providing we “employ all of our powers to achieve that goal” and live and work in harmony with God’s will and obey his Word, the Bible. Only then will we, too, have good success. Of that we can be confident.

“Dear God, thank You that as You promised to be with Joshua You will also be with me as long as I live in harmony with Your Word and Your will. Show me specifically what You want me to be and do, and give me the wisdom, faith, courage, and determination to work to fulfill that goal, so that I, too, will experience Your blessing and good success. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus name amen.