Diligence

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Photography by Cecelia Becker

Psalm 119:4 Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.

A few years ago, when I commuted to work along the coastline of Oregon, I would see the same people over and over walking the beaches. It was part of their daily routine and they were diligent about it. As many of you know, it rains a lot in Oregon but yet these people would be out there walking rain or shine. Such diligence is commendable to be certain. However, what about diligence when it comes to God’s Word? We are commanded to be diligent in doing what the Scriptures tell us to do, amen?

Noah Webster defines diligently as:

DILIGENTLY, adv. With steady application and care; with industry or assiduity; not carelessly; not negligently.

Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God. Deu 6.

I was moved by this: “with steady application and care;” – it describes someone who doesn’t give up – someone who keeps on going no matter what. It’s not just the reading of the Word that’s important here but the “application” of the Word of God to our lives. That’s the “action” in this definition. We can read and read all we want but if we do not apply it to our hearts and allow the Holy Spirit to change us, then we’ve read for nothing, amen? We need to take what we’ve read with our eyes,heard with our ears, apply it to our hearts then put feet to what we’ve learned.

James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

Forgiveness

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Photography by Cecelia Becker

Psalms 25:18 Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins.

Praise the Lord that we do not have to worry about where we will spend eternity once we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour.  It is not by anything that we do, otherwise we could lose that salvation. (Ephesians 2:8-9) The Bible says it is only by the blood of Jesus that we can be saved. (Acts 4:12) Nothing else!

Psalms 32:1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

Psalms 85:2 Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Selah.

 

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

 

Eph. 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

 

Colossians 1:14 – In whom we have redemption through his blood, [even] the forgiveness of sins:

Rather than live a Christian life filled with guilt, rejoice that your salvation is not dependent on you but on Christ. You were given and are forgiven. But if you sin, confess it and forsake it. Remember 1 John 1:9. The devil wants you to continue feeling guilty so you can become ineffective to the cause of Christ. Tell the Lord about it and repent from that sin and do it no more.

Ps 103:8,11 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. 11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.

Lighting the Way

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fogPhotograph taken by Cecelia Becker

 

Psalms 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Have you ever tried to go for a nice walk in the woods when the fog is close to the ground like today’s picture?? You can’t see the tree roots coming out of the ground all that well. In fact, sometimes you trip over them. This immediately brought to mind how God tells us that His Word is a light on our path so we don’t have to ever worry about tripping over unseen obstacles. Granted, we will have surprises, but if we are reading regularly and meditating on God’s Word, we won’t be taken off guard.

The Lord gave us the Bible to guide and direct us in all things, amen? We can turn to the Scriptures and find answers to practically any question under the sun.

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

We don’t have to be led astray by the Joel Osteen’s of the world who preach the “prosperity gospel.” If this type of preaching were what Jesus wanted of us, don’t you think there would be more examples of it in the Bible? Don’t you think God would have had all of His preachers decked out and popular with the world? Jesus was not popular at all. If anyone could “visualize” his success, it would have been Jesus, after all. But no where in Scriptures do we see the preachers living lavishly and having all the world’s goodies! Solomon did but he did not end well, did he? He turned from all that wisdom and adopted the ways of his wives/concubines’ gods. This is exactly what today’s Bible verse is all about.

Don’t be led astray by the world’s gospel, which is the devil’s by the way. Be wise and studious, Christian! There are so many wolves in sheep’s clothing out there. They sound Christian – their words are almost identical to ours – but they are far from God. The Bible is our handbook for life – for everthing!

Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

Blessed – Continued

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1395814_726895177340009_956762371_nPhoto Taken by Cecelia Ellen Becker

 

Psalm 1
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
1:4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
1:5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
1:6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Isn’t it wonderful that God knows our way? He is with us every step of the way! We are never alone – we never need to fear!

Psalm 1:6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

The latter part of the verse tells us that the unsaved are headed down a road of destruction! Can you even imagine what they will go through for all eternity? I’ve burned myself way too many times with a hot iron and the pain was unbelievable! I can’t even begin to comprehend that pain all over my body but yet my body is not consumed by that fire! :(

Once we’re saved, we are born into the family of God. We no longer have to worry about judgment but are made righteous by Christ alone. There’s nothing we can do to add to that righteousness whatsoever!

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

I’ve been there – I’ve thought that my good deeds would outweigh the bad but that’s not how it works according to Scripture. Amen? It’s all about Christ and what He did on the cross. It has nothing to do with us.

Thank You, Lord, for your unending mercy and grace!

Blessed – Continued

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Photo Taken by Cecelia Ellen Becker

 

Psalm 1
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
1:4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
1:5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
1:6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

The devil has been having a field day as of late.  He has made millions believe that they are on their way to Heaven. Not only that, he has managed to fool even the believers into thinking they are OK in their Christian walk when they are not.

Psalm 1:5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

How very sad that believers have succumbed to every wind of doctrine (as we covered in verse 4). In so doing, Christians have fallen for the oldest trick – “Yea, hath God said?” (Genesis 3:1) This applies to believers as well as unbelievers. Unbelievers don’t believe the Bible and many believers listen to everyone else but God. I think of the recent controversial statement that Victoria Osteen made recently.

“I just want to encourage everyone of us to realize when we obey God, we’re not doing it for God – I mean, that’s one way to look at it – we’re doing it for ourselves, because God takes pleasure when we’re happy.

“So I want you to know this morning: Just do good for your own self. Do good because God wants you to be happy. When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doing it for God really. You’re doing it for yourself, because that’s what makes God happy. Amen?”

 

Verse 5 tells us that the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment.  Praise the Lord the Christian will not be judged for salvation because Jesus Christ has already paid the penalty for our sin and we do not have to worry about going to Hell.  But the unsaved will have to bend the knee and proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil. 2:11).  They will not be able to stand before God and justify why they did not accept Christ as their Saviour.

Blessed – Continued

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Psalm 1
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
1:4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
1:5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
1:6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Again, being the visual person that I am, today’s graphic lets us see what chaff looks like when it is blown by the wind. It has no direction of its own and can only move in the direction the wind blows, correct? To go a step further, it doesn’t have the ability to alter its movement, whether it wants to go sideways or up and down. The wind drives the chaff and can lay it down in a soft place or have it smashed against a wall. The chaff has no choice in the matter and cannot predict the outcome.

Psalm 1:4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

What a beautiful depiction of the world’s influence on the person who does not live by the Holy Spirit’s guidance. When we give in to the flesh, we are like this chaff. We cannot predict the outcome of our sin. There is a good possibility that we would be severely chastised by God. Had Adam and Eve known exactly what was going to happen when they disobeyed God, they wouldn’t have disobeyed. They yielded to the flesh and the repercussions are recorded so that we may grow.

Oh that we should yield to the Holy Spirit’s guidance so we are not like the chaff! A Christian who is not yielded will fall for any of Satan’s tactics. If he can’t cause you to sin, he will try to distract you with the charlatans of the world.

Ephesians 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

Take Time to be Holy
by William Longstaff

Take time to be holy,
speak oft with thy Lord;
abide in him always,
and feed on his word.
Make friends of God’s children,
help those who are weak,
forgetting in nothing
his blessing to seek.

2. Take time to be holy,
the world rushes on;
spend much time in secret
with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus,
like him thou shalt be;
thy friends in thy conduct
his likeness shall see.

3. Take time to be holy,
let him be thy guide,
and run not before him,
whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow,
still follow the Lord,
and, looking to Jesus,
still trust in his word.

4. Take time to be holy,
be calm in thy soul,
each thought and each motive
beneath his control.
Thus led by his spirit
to fountains of love,
thou soon shalt be fitted
for service above.

Blessed – Continued

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Psalm 1
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
1:4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
1:5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
1:6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Verse three is the topic of today’s devotional. I am a very visual person. I can’t learn by being “told” but do very well when I am shown. So as I read verse three, I think of men and women standing by a river and their feet (with roots) are secured in the soil. :-) I know, I know, I’m silly. But it adds meat to the verse.

Psalm 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

If my feet are firmly rooted in Jesus (the Water of Life) through salvation, I cannot be moved.

John 4:10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
John 4:11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?
John 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

Furthermore, once I am saved and growing, I will produce fruit. I will grow in the Lord.  I will lead other souls to Christ.  Being rooted in Christ my Saviour means that my face will reflect His. My heart will be molded into His image! Amen? With Christ on the throne of my life, everything I do will be prosperous because He is in control! :-)

I Shall Not Be Moved
by John T. Benson

Jesus is my Savior, I shall not be moved;
In His love and favor, I shall not be moved,
Just like a tree that’s planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.
Chorus
I shall not be, I shall not be moved;
I shall not be, I shall not be moved;
Just like a tree that’s planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.
In my Christ abiding, I shall not moved;
In His love I’m hiding, I shall not be moved;
Just like a tree that’s planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.

Chorus
I shall not be, I shall not be moved;
I shall not be, I shall not be moved;
Just like a tree that’s planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.
If I trust Him ever, I shall not be moved;
He will fail me never, I shall not moved;
Just like a tree that’s planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.

Chorus
I shall not be, I shall not be moved;
I shall not be, I shall not be moved;
Just like a tree that’s planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.
On His word I’m feeding, I shall not be moved;
He’s the One that’s leading, I shall not be moved;
Just like a tree that’s planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.

Chorus
I shall not be, I shall not be moved;
I shall not be, I shall not be moved;
Just like a tree that’s planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.

Blessed – Continued

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Psalm 1
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
1:4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
1:5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
1:6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Today, we move on to verse two of this wonderful Psalm. So many Christians I know have memorized this Psalm as part of their Bible memorization. But how many can actually say they live by its wisdom?

Psalm 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

Noah Webster’s definition of the word “delight” is truly an eye opener for me:

DELIGHT, n.

1. A high degree of pleasure, or satisfaction of mind; joy.

His delight is in the law of the Lord. Psalm 1.

When reading Psalm 119, we see that the Scriptures have a few synonyms: law, testimonies, ways, precepts, statutes, commandments, etc. The Scriptures encompass all of these. We see that God’s law (His Word) is to be a delight to us.
Using Noah Webster’s definition, we should consider God’s Word with a high degree of pleasure. We should consider God’s Word with satisfaction of mind. We should consider God’s Word with joy. Whew! It’s another morning of licking my wounds, for sure! :-)
I believe this to mean that God’s Word and living by it is to be the center of our lives: not as a daily chore that needs doing but part of our lives, like breathing. We don’t make a conscious effort to breathe, do we? Neither should God’s Word have to be an arduous task. We should have to make a conscious effort to read it. We should read it because it’s a natural part of our lives and we read with pleasure and joy because they are the words of our Lord!
As if that isn’t convicting enough, the verse continues to say that the Psalmist mediates on God’s Word day and night. I don’t know about you, but I can get caught up in my job and chores at home that I don’t stop to meditate on God’s Word. I know that I should! This made me think of when I was dating my husband and how he was on my mind day and night. I would daydream about him while I was at work :-) (said with a bashful look). This was a true conviction for me. I do meditate but not even close in comparison to how I daydreamed about my husband. :-( This is an area of my life that I know needs work!
Thank you Lord for Your Holy Spirit in my life! Thank You for opening my eyes to how I can draw closer to you!!!

O Lord I Will Delight in Thee
by John Ryland

O Lord, I will delight in Thee
And on Thy care depend,
To Thee in every trouble flee,
My best, my only Friend.

When all created streams are dried,
Thy fullness is the same;
May I with this be satisfied
And glory in Thy Name.

No good in creatures can be found
But may be found in Thee;
I must have all things and abound
While God is God to me.

O Lord, I cast my care on Thee,
I triumph and adore;
Henceforth my great concern shall be
To love and please Thee more.

Blessed

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Psalm 1
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
1:4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
1:5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
1:6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

How many times have you read this Psalm? For me, probably thousands of times. However, let’s take a fresh look at it today. Forget what you’ve meditated on in the past and let’s revisit these verse 1.

1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. – Imagine your Christian walk if you had never walked with the ungodly. I take this to mean walking “intimately” and not just a casual relationship – a close friendship, if you will. Imagine your Christian walk if you had never hung out with sinners by backsliding in a weak moment. As well, imagine your Christian walk if you had never made yourself comfortable with people who mock your God (i.e., watching a movie where the Lord’s name is used in vain).

What would your life be like had you obeyed verse 1 from the time you were saved until now? I know that I have fallen under deep conviction as I look back at my 34 years of salvation and judged those years according to this verse. I have failed miserably! And, as a result of that failure, I’ve paid the price. I reaped what I sowed and grieved in my heart over my bad decisions! :'(

God tells us that we are blessed, Christian, if we don’t do any of those things! The peace that comes with staying focused on our faith is beyond our understanding! God gives permanent peace through salvation, yes. But the peace of obedience to His Word brings daily peace!

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Praise the Lord for 1 John 1:9 and the forgiveness that comes when we have failed Him! Praise the Lord that God is the God of second, third, fourth, etc. chances! Amen?

We’ll cover verse 2, and the others, in the next posts to follow so stay tuned. :-)

Teaching Children

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Psalms 78:4 We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.

What a beautiful blueprint for teaching children, amen? God wants us to have His Word out in the open in our homes, not hidden under a bushel. I can see where Bible verses prominently displayed on the walls and throughout the home would fit this statement, can’t you? Even post-it notes on the refrigerator or bathroom mirror can fulfill that.

The verse continues on to say that when the Word of God is not hidden, it shows the praises of God, His strength and His wonderful works. Having God’s Word as an integral part of our daily lives yields this type of fruit. We can’t help but sing praises of all that He does for us!

What are we showing our children? Today’s verse even talks about teaching them to future generations – our grandchildren! Are we showing them how defeated we are by the world? Or are we singing praises of His goodness? Are we showing them stability through trials? Are we sharing the victories where we have overcome those trials? Children are so easy to teach to praise the Lord! I dare say if Christian parents had done more of this in our day, we wouldn’t have so many ungrateful teenagers and young adults today! This simple verse is packed with wisdom, amen?

Not everyone has children, but everyone has a child in his/her world, whether it’s a relative or a Sunday School class. Start there – teach, teach and teach some more. Your time and effort will not be wasted. :-)

Assured I’m His!

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Psalms 4:3 But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him.

As Christians, there is nothing that you and I can do or say that will be righteous 100% of the time. Amen? Today’s verse would be quite discouraging if we could only be the Lord’s through our own righteousness! Thank the Lord Jesus, our Saviour, for His righteousness!

2 Cor. 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

It is His righteousness that the Heavenly Father sees once we are saved! Therefore, the end of that verse applies to us! God will hear us when we cry out to Him.

Aren’t you glad that you have this assurance? The Father has set us apart in Christ for Himself!! He will hear us when we call! No maybes there! This verse is a wonderful promise to the children of God who rest secure in the Father’s hand. (John 10:29)

Hallelujah!

Blessed Assurance

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine;
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending, bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest;
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

God is Good

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Psalms 145:8 The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.

A dear sweet lady in our Ladies Sunday School class brought up this statement:

God is not only Good, but He is ONLY Good!

Pause for a moment and think about that comment. Is there anything, then, that can happen to you that won’t be for your benefit? I’m not talking about repercussions from sin. I’m talking about those trials and tribulations that come your way, as in Job’s case. No matter what you go through, remember that the Lord God of Heaven can ONLY do good because He is only Good. Do you get it? Now look at today’s verse. Knowing that God is only Good, can you now see how He is gracious? Why? Because graciousness comes from good. Can you see how He is full of compassion? Someone who hates cannot be compassionate. Can you see how He is slow to anger and full of mercy? Oh my! Remember this when you are in the midst of trials. Know that since God is ONLY Good, He won’t give you more than you can carry on your precious shoulders, Christian. He can’t and won’t do that. Why? Because He is only Good! :-)

Needed Strength

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There are times in life where we reach a point where we just can’t go on anymore. We are at the end of our rope and that’s it! We realize that we cannot go on by our own strength. You’ve been there, haven’t you? For years you’ve reached down deep inside you and pulled out every ounce of strength you had to make it through one more day.

Wouldn’t you like to be able to go to the store and buy a can of strength right off the shelf? :-) I wish it would be that easy! But you can find super human strength right there in the privacy of your own home, dear Christian. Your Bible has verses just waiting to be read that will encourage your heart and give you exactly what you need … when you need it!

Psalm 22:19 But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me.

Psalm 28:7-8 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. 8 The LORD is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed.

Psalm 118:14 The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.

The Lord God is a compassionate God. He could destroy us in a heartbeat but His nature is such that He looks upon His creation like a father looks upon his child. God is merciful and sees our plight and is there to strengthen us.

Lamentations 3:22-23 It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

What it takes, Christian, is taking time to read your Bible! It’s a simple solution – the remedy awaits you! Encourage yourself and turn to the One who is able to give you that strength. Our Father won’t give you more than you can bear! He will give you that much-needed strength to make it through one more day. Then tomorrow, you can ask Him all over again and He will supply your need. God is faithful and will not fail you!

Great is Thy Faithfulness

“Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Are You Afraid Today?

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Psalm 56:3 What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.

How many times do you stop and think about the Lord when your heart is gripped with fear? To many Christians, God is not the first thing that comes to mind. But He should be! What would happen to you if you heard that negative comments were made about you by your closest friend (your husband, parent, dear friend)? What would be the first thing to come to your mind? Would you deny that your friend ever made those comments because you trusted him/her? Or would you be quick to judge the situation as well as your friend? Most times, you would know beyond a shadow of a doubt that your spouse, or your friend, would never speak ill of you and, therefore, you would dismiss the situation.

Why then, can you not trust God? Would God do anything to harm you? Of course not. When we strive to walk in His will, everything that happens to us in the course of the day happens for a purpose: to bring glory to His Name!

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

We don’t need to doubt – we don’t need to be afraid of anything! No matter how unknown your future is, you are still God’s child. God’s eternal love is unconditional – He died for you while you were yet a sinner. That should speak volumes to your heart! He has your best interest in mind when He allows trials and tribulations to come your way. Think of Job for a moment. Job was put through the ringer, wasn’t he? Yet he was not afraid and he trusted in the Lord.

God won’t abandon you – He won’t allow anything more than you can possibly bear. Don’t be afraid. Praise Him in all things and acknowledge the blessings you have. That will put a new song on your lips and encourage your heart. Fear will simply vanish away! :-) It may try to creep back in but start the process over and praise Him!

Praise Him! Praise Him!

Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer!
Sing, O Earth, His wonderful love proclaim!
Hail Him! Hail Him! Highest archangels in glory;
Strength and honor give to His holy Name!
Like a shepherd, Jesus will guard His children,
In His arms He carries them all day long.

Refrain:
Praise Him! Praise Him! Tell of His excellent greatness;
Praise Him! Praise Him! Ever in joyful song!

Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer!
For our sins He suffered, and bled, and died.
He our Rock, our hope of eternal salvation,
Hail Him! Hail Him! Jesus the Crucified.
Sound His praises! Jesus who bore our sorrows,
Love unbounded, wonderful, deep and strong.

Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer!
Heav’nly portals loud with hosannas ring!
Jesus, Savior, reigneth forever and ever;
Crown Him! Crown Him! Prophet, and Priest, and King!
Christ is coming! over the world victorious,
Pow’r and glory unto the Lord belong.

Satan’s Discouragement

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Psalm 40:1-3 I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. 2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. 3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

Does the child of God have a right to be discouraged? It’s a good question. There are times that we allow ourselves a brief moment to sit in our pity party pool of tears. But normally, we snap out of it and move on. However, there are some good Christians out there who stay in their little pool a little too long. This is a dangerous place to be, Christian.

The Psalmist says that the Lord hears our cries and brings us out of our horrible pit and out of the miry clay. One cannot “hear” unless there’s something TO hear, amen? There must be an action of crying out first. Therefore, this is conditional upon the child of God crying out to Him first. He then places us on a rock and establishes our goings. Furthermore, the Lord puts a new song in our mouth – rather than complaining of our discouragement, we have a new song of praise to Him. This is a testimony to the lost and a testimony to the weaker Christian. Notice that the byproduct of discouragement is fear and the byproduct of praise is trust in the Lord.

Deuteronomy 31:8 And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

One thing we can definitely count on is that God already knows the outcome of our situation.  He walks right there alongside us! And the best part is that He has promised that He will NOT fail us nor will He forsake us. Also notice that we are then exhorted that we shouldn’t fear nor be discouraged! How can one fear or be discouraged if he truly believes that God WILL NOT fail him or forsake him?

Here’s a wonderful little fable called, “Satan’s Discouragement.” It goes with today’s devotional so well and I hope it helps you to see that discouragement serves no purpose but to bring glory to the devil. The total opposite, encouragement, brings glory to the Lord Almighty!

Satan’s Discouragement

There’s an old fable that says the Devil once held a sale and offered all the tools of his trade to anyone who would pay the price. The tools were spread out on the table and each one was labeled: hatred, malice, envy, despair, sickness, sensuality – all the weapons that everyone knows so well.

Off to one side lay a harmless-looking, wood-shaped instrument marked “discouragement.” It was old and worn looking but it was priced far above the rest.

When asked the reason why, the Devil replied, “Because I can use this one so much more easily than the others. No one knows that it belongs to me, so with it I can open doors  that are tightly bolted shut. Once I get inside I can use any  tool that suits me best.”

Psalm 55:22 Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

I stand amazed at how many traditional hymns are based on God’s word! Isn’t this one below just so appropriate for today’s devotional? I hope you have been encouraged today, dear Christian!

Burdens Are Lifted at Calvary

Days are filled with sorrow and care,
Hearts are lonely and drear.
Burdens are lifted at Calvary,
Jesus is very near.

Burdens are lifted at Calvary, Calvary, Calvary;
Burdens are lifted at Calvary, Jesus is very near.

Our Helper

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Psalms 46: 1-3 (To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth.) God [is] our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 3 [Though] the waters thereof roar [and] be troubled, [though] the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

The storms of life happen to everyone.  No one escapes it. The only difference is how one handles these storms.  We can either moan and groan about a storm in our life or we can do what the Psalmist recommends.

Just reading today’s passage in Psalms calms my spirit. God’s precious words bring solace to a weary soul, doesn’t it? The Psalmist tells us that God is our refuge. When we fret about the day’s events or an upcoming battle, we should strive to run to our refuge. I picture a castle or some type of structure that is fortified and impervious to the enemy. God has chosen His words carefully and each word is in our Bible so we may glean and be encouraged. So it is no coincidence that God chose the word refuge. A refuge protects an individual from the enemy, the elements and anything harmful. Sometimes a refuge can be your spouse. But God clearly tells us here that He is to be our Refuge!

When we turn to Him during our trials, He promises us that we are now safe in His refuge, which is impenetrable, and He will protect us from the enemy. We are under His wings and protected from the elements and the enemy.  Are you not encouraged, even now?

Psalms 17:8 Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings,

As if this weren’t enough to be on shouting grounds, the Psalmist continues and says that the Lord is our strength! I’m no longer the young pup I used to be. Even when I was, my strength could not match His. I’m thankful that no matter what my strength levels are, I don’t need to rely on my own but I can rely on God’s strength. There is nothing too difficult for the Lord, Christian. Amen? Jeremiah 32:27 says, “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?” Amen and amen! No wonder the Psalmist was encouraged! I am encouraged! :-)

So now, Christian, we are in His refuge (under His wings) and we don’t have to face a trial in our own strength but can rely on His strength. As if this isn’t enough, we can now count on God helping us through that trial. He will provide the solution – He will provide the way to overcome – He will provide whatever is necessary for us to survive the storm! It reminds me of “Footprints in the Sand” where we see that God carried the Christian when the Christian could not go on on his own. I’ve felt this way, many a time.

I praise the Lord that I can count Him as my Refuge, my Strength and my Helper.  What encouragement that brings my soul today!!!  Thank You, Father! To God be the glory, great things He hath done!

A Might Fortress Is Our God
Martin Luther (1483-1546)

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

The Heavens Speak

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Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

The same God who came to earth to take on our sin created the beauty that is all around us. The Bible tells us that just looking up at the skies reveals God to the heart of man. The native in the deepest jungles of Africa and South America see the same heavens as we do. It has always been in man’s heart of hearts to search for a Creator.  The heavens declare this Creator and man is without excuse. People wonder about the natives and how they can possibly get saved. When looking at these beautiful heavens and creation, a native will sense there is a Creator. When there is a fervent heart, the Lord will send a missionary to this native to lead him to Christ.

John 1:3 – All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

What a praise this is, actually.  Our Lord and Saviour not only created all things but He reveals His nature to every man through that same creation.  He puts that desire in every man’s heart. God would not do anything contrary to His word. If man is created by Him, for Him, it stands to reason that Christ would do anything to draw man to Him. Amen?

Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

All of creation waits anxiously for Christ’s return.  Yes, the heavens – animals – all creation!

Romans 8:21-22 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

Sing out, Christian! Declare with the heavens and all of Christ’s creation in waiting anticipation for His return!! He will make all things new! Read Revelations, my friend! God wins in the end and His creation is brought into the beautiful Millennium period. Earth will once again be as Christ intended in the Garden of Eden. Look up! Our redemption draweth nigh! (Luke 21:28)

To God be the Glory

To God be the glory, great things He hath done,
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life our redemption to win,
And opened the life-gate that all may go in.

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice;
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice;
Oh, come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory; great things He hath done.

 

God’s GPS

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sunlit-road-6140-1024x576Psalms 119:105 Nun. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

God left us His word to give us direction for the here and now as well as to instruct us for the future. Today’s verse tells me that everything I need to direct me for today is in the blessed pages of my Bible. All I have to do is read it. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet,” – God wants to teach us and show us how to live according to His will today! “…and a light unto my path.” – God wants to guide and direct us as we walk down life’s pathway.

Everything we need is right there at our fingertips, Christian. Do you need to be encouraged? Ps. 61:1-3, 1 (To the chief Musician upon Neginah, A Psalm of David.) Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. 2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. 3 For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.

Are you mourning at the loss of a loved one? 2 Cor. 1:3-4, 3 Blessed [be] God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

No matter what life throws your way, God has a word WITH direction for you! You’re His child and He doesn’t want you to stray onto a wrong path.  He has given us the Light of the world (John 8:12) and a wonderful Teacher (Luke 12:12)!!  :)

Patience

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~James 5:8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

Being patient in our “ministry for the Lord” is not always an easy thing. What is our ministry?  It’s not always a job, like a Pastor.  It is our path in life. For example, someone who has been through cancer can help others who are going through cancer.  Someone who has lost a child can help someone else who has lost a child.  Our life’s trials are a gift – a gift that we can share with others by helping them!  Yes, we tend to get weary at times. James encourages us to continue being patient – patient in our work – patient with our brothers and sisters in Christ – patient with being persecuted for righteousness sake.

~Romans 5:3-5 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Through our trials, we build patience, understanding, compassion – our hearts become established in the Lord.  As we learn to immediately turn to the Lord in our time of need, we are able to teach another to do so. We are able to find our comfort, hope and peace in Him! How many Christians have you known who are going through major trials yet you see them surrounded by peace? This is that peace which cannot be explained!

~Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

As we await the Lord’s return for us, let’s strive to keep our hearts established and firm on Him! Let’s share this gift we have received as a result of our trials!!  Don’t give up, Christian!! Christ is near!

Faith

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~Psalm 119:105 NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

~John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

~John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

~Isaiah 60:19 The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.

~Micah 7:8 Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me.

~Acts 26:23 That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.

~John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Faith is like electricity. You can’t see it, but you can see the light.  The proof is in the by-product!

~Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.