Nothing is Impossible

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Luke 1:37 – For with God nothing shall be impossible.

There are times when a problem appears to be impossible to overcome. But we serve the Master of impossible situations! He who calms the raging storms (Mark 4:39). Think about it for a moment, Christian … Jesus calmed that storm completely.

Mark 4:39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

Not only did the wind stop blowing but Jesus calmed the raging sea! Just how calm did Jesus make it? He made it a great calm!  Think of the calmest waters you’ve ever seen, where you can drop a pebble and the rings seem to go out to infinity – that’s how calm the sea was.

This same Jesus can calm your storms so what is there to fear? Nothing is too hard for Him.

Genesis 18:14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.
Jeremiah 32:17 Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:
Jeremiah 32:27 Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?

God told His people three times that nothing was too hard for Him! How wonderful this is for the Christian to grasp … what seems impossible to us is a “piece of cake” to the Lord. The one he calms the raging sea has things under control! :) Stop trying to take control – be still and let Him take the reins. :)

Psalms 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

A Constant Companion

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Joshua 1:9 – Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God [is] with thee whithersoever thou goest.

There’s nothing like calling a friend on the phone at the last minute and make plans for an outing. That friend is ready at the drop of a hat to go anywhere with you.  I had a sweet friend in Oregon who was always ready to go for a hike along the beautiful Oregon coast or up in the woods near Heceta Head Lighthouse. It never took any coaxing! :)

The Lord doesn’t need any coaxing either. In fact, He is always with you, Christian. The precious Holy Spirit, whom Christ gave to us at the time of salvation, is there all the time. There is no period during our Christian walk where He is not present. Just think about it, the Creator of the Universe has given us a “part of Him,” the Holy Spirit, and He resides within us. He’s right there – ready to encourage, to help, to listen, to teach, to discipline. Where we go, He goes! We are never alone!

The unbeliever does not have the Holy Spirit living within him. He walks alone and it is no wonder that the unsaved lives in a dark place in his heart. But the Christian, the child of the King, has a light shining brightly within! :) What is there to fear? Amen?

Life’s Rudder

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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.

Going through the storms of life can be difficult for anyone. But to the Christian, that storm is no longer raging out of control. Today’s verses teach us to trust in the Lord rather than our own hearts. What makes absolutely no sense to us makes perfect sense to God. He has seen the future and is working things out to reach that goal. What’s even better for the Christian is that God always has our best interest in heart. He would never put us through something that we can’t handle!

What produces that trust in God? It’s seeing how He has helped you through all those difficult storms of life along the way. Each one builds on your foundation of trust in Him … The stronger the foundation, the deeper the trust. Look at the last part of verse 6 – … and he shall direct thy paths.  When you accept the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is at the helm of your ship and you are allowing Him to control the rudder, then you can be assured that He will direct your path!

Even through the raging seas, Jesus is still at the helm and He will still bring you through the storms of your life. :) He will never leave you nor forsake you!

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
Joshua 1:5 There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
1 Chronicles 28:20 And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.
Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Overwhelming Times

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Psalm 29 A Psalm of David. 1 Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty, give unto the Lord glory and strength. 2 Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. 3 The voice of the Lord is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the Lord is upon many waters. 4 The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty. 5 The voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars; yea, the Lord breaketh the cedars of Lebanon. 6 He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn. 7 The voice of the Lord divideth the flames of fire. 8 The voice of the Lord shaketh the wilderness; the Lord shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh. 9 The voice of the Lord maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests: and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory. 10 The Lord sitteth upon the flood; yea, the Lord sitteth King for ever. 11 The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace.

There are days when I am overwhelmed by life’s storms. Each day flows into the next and I find no reprieve from the trial at hand. Today’s Psalm is such an encouragement to my heart because no matter how tumultuous my storm is, the Creator of all is right there beside me helping me to endure and overcome! He allowed this storm in my life so I could experience His goodness!

No matter what the trial, my spirit is lifted up when I begin to praise Him! David said that his Lord and Saviour was powerful and full of majesty! This is my Lord and Saviour! This is my Creator, my Shepherd, my God! The all powerful, the Almighty is also the One who has promised to never leave me or forsake me!

~Hebrews 13:5b … for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

My God is not a man that He should forget about me and abandon me. When the Lord says that He will never leave me or forsake me, He means just that. I am His child now that I am born again. That means that I hold a special position with Him. His precious Son, Jesus Christ, gave His life so that I could have this position! It was a huge price to pay for my salvation. Therefore, I need to encourage myself in the Lord and know that no matter what I am going through, He will be there to help me through this storm.

~Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

As I meditate on today’s Psalm, my heart is overwhelmed by God’s power and might. I may feel small and insignificant, but I feel blessed that this same God loves me personally and will lift me up as I walk through this storm! Oh that He finds me praising His name through it all!

God is Personal

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Psalms 18:2 The LORD [is] my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, [and] my high tower.

Can you imagine yourself being pursued by a predator, running in fear for your life, and not having anywhere to hide? The Bible says that Satan is like a lion who seeks to eat you alive!

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

If that doesn’t frighten you, it should! Satan is not just a cartoon with a tail, horns and a pitch fork. The Lord gave us precise words in the Bible – God refers to him as a lion who looks to devour you!

But we are so blessed as Christians.  We are children of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! Today’s verse tells us that we can run to Him with our cares and worries and He will deliver us from our fears!  Look how personal a God our Father is! Eight times in this one verse, the personal pronoun “my” is used. God emphasizes how personal He is to us – He is our Heavenly Father – there’s nothing to fear – He loves us and will be with us every step of the way! :-)

Psalms 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Can you or can’t you?

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Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

This is probably one of the most popular verses among Christians today.  The Apostle Paul’s state of contentment (verse 11) is the focal point here.  Paul had learned that it did not matter what his circumstances were, he was content because he know that Christ would strengthen him throughout it all.

How about you? If you’re saved, this is an area that we all can stand to approve. For the one who is not born again, they don’t have the Lord to lean on during those difficult times. How can the unsaved do it in today’s world without the Lord to help them and strengthen them in times of need?

These promises may not seem like much to the unbeliever but to the born-again child of the King, they are the source of their strength! Knowing that the Lord is there to help relieves the soul of fear and provides comfort!

Absence of Fear

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1 John 4:18 – There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

When you love someone beyond a shadow of doubt, you trust that person explicitly, amen? In our finite minds, we equate love and trust.  Do you trust the Lord? Do you love Him? Notice in today’s verse, John points out that perfect love casts out fear. Jesus died for our sins – past, present and future. Our condemnation has been eliminated – totally obliterated – because of Christ’s shed blood, my friend. Once we have believed on Christ and received a new life (2 Cor. 5:17), we have received eternal life.  That eternal life with Him will never be taken away.

John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
Romans 5:16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
Romans 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Having no condemnation luring over us, why should we be fearful? Christ’s perfect love has been shown to us – given to us in the perfect gift of salvation! Why should we not love Him with the same fervor? The Christian is so loved by the Lord and that love should cast out any fears that we have. Any uncertainties should be replaced with assurance that no matter what, our salvation is not based on anything that we do or don’t do.  It is based on Christ’s blood and only His shed blood.

Now granted, as believers we will be “spanked” for continuing in sin. Our salvation depends on what Christ did – but if we want fear to be removed and peace to follow, we must remember that this is totally dependent on what we do with our salvation. When we live according to His will, we have peace.  It is when we rebel and fall into sin that this peace is replaced with fear and uncertainty.

Wouldn’t you rather live with peace, Christian? I know I would! :-)

When I Am Afraid

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Psalms 56:3-4 What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. 4 In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.

Most people trust in something else or someone else when it comes to trouble in their lives. If you’re married, you trust that your spouse will help you through these troubles. If you’re not, you may trust in your family. You could be one of those who trust in money or your job.

We can learn so much from the Scriptures when it comes to fear. One fears because one is uncertain about the outcome, correct? I can’t tell you how many times I have heard of a woman thinking that her marriage was secure, only to find out her husband was being unfaithful. In whom did she place her trust? Even still, I’ve heard how people trusted that Enron’s retirement plan and 401k were excellent! People trusted in their employer only to have dishonest people steal and bankrupt the company. Where was that trust placed?

God’s words never fail, reader! NEVER! Not one promise has been forgotten – not one prophecy (except for those waiting still to be fulfilled) has failed. Not one! We can rely on God’s constant love for us. One who loves us won’t lie – one who loves us won’t leave us.

Hebrews 13:5b …for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Praise His Word!! Put your trust where it will never fail!  Don’t put your trust in your religion – don’t put your trust in family – put your trust in God, who’s words are recorded in the Scriptures in order to encourage you, save you, and strengthen you!

Fear Thou Not

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Isaiah 41:10 – Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
Isaiah 41:13 For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.
Isaiah 41:14 Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

As you can see, God is speaking to Jacob (Israel) here.  Although the Christian Church is not modern-day Israel, we certainly can glean from these beautiful verses. What can we glean? We most certainly can see how compassionate and loving the Father is toward His children! Just as my earthly parent’s heart is held tightly by my children, so much so is the Father’s heart toward His children!

The unsaved don’t have that wonderful privilege. The Ten Commandments teaches a person just what a sinner he is. When a person reads the Ten Commandments, he cannot help but see how many of them he has broken. A person cannot help but break them because we all have a sin nature because of the sin Adam and Eve committed in the Garden of Eden.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Once one begins to realize that he is a sinner, he then can realize that he needs a Saviour. Christ is the ONLY Saviour for the world.

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

There are not many roads to God (through Buddhism, Islam, etc.), there is ONE road and that is through Jesus Christ alone. Once a person repents and accepts the work of Christ’s shed blood on the cross for his sins and ONLY this, then is this person born again.

After salvation, a change in that person’s life should occur. This is where you can separate those who are truly saved from those who “profess” to be saved. The Bible says that we are supposed to change AFTER salvation. We can’t change before … if we could, we would not need the Ten Commandments nor would we need Jesus’ shed blood, amen?

2 Cor. 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Salvation brings about such a relief! What relief, you might ask? It’s a relief to know that we are no longer headed for eternity in Hell but we are now a child of the King of Kings and will spend eternity with Jesus Christ. Our faith in Him and His work on the cross secures our position in Him. He holds us in the palm of His hand and we do not have to wonder where we will spend eternity, amen?

John 10:28-29 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

Oh what security that provides us! It removes all fear of where we will spend eternity! :) But make no mistake, it is only by faith in Christ that brings this security!

Galatians 3:24-27 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Have you “put on Christ,” dear reader? No religion will get you into Heaven – no church – no traditions – nothing but repentance and faith in Christ.

Acts 20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

Fear

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2 Timothy 1:6-11 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. 7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; 9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: 11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.

What a wonderful topic for a devotional.  In these end times, the media fills us with frightful news on Ebola, ISIS, wars, earthquakes, storms, pestilence, etc. etc. But should the Christian fear? I was reading a post on a blog recently that said the Bible has 365 verses telling us not to fear. In searching my King James Bible, I could not come up with 365 verses.  However, I came up with approximately 100.  So many verses about fear are taken out of context. The verse has to be read taking the previous and following verses into consideration.

Verse 8 in today’s Bible reading is one of those that is taken out of context. All by its self, one can assume that any kind of fear is covered. However, read what Paul said in verses 8-11. Paul is talking about the persecution that comes with preaching the Gospel of Christ. So many Christians are being persecuted today, especially in the Middle Eastern countries. I recently read about a Christian couple being burned to death by Muslims for being Christians. :'( How very sad that this actually happens in this day and age! But the Bible talks about these events in Matthew 24.

Yes, we are coming to a point in time where speaking out in defense of Christ will be at a cost. Should we be afraid? Paul tells us not to be but to be encouraged in Christ and to rely on Him. Jesus said in Luke 21:14-17 that these times are coming so we as Christians must prepare ourselves.

Luke 21:14-17 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: 15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. 16 And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. 17 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.

Let’s face it, we’ve had it pretty easy living in the United States. But there will come a time in the not too distant future that this will not be so. Build your faith up now – dig into the Bible and read, read, read. Pray that your faith won’t be found lacking when the time comes to defend it.

Where Are Your Thoughts?

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Psalms 92:5-6 O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep. 6 A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand this.

 

What wonderful words from Psalms today, amen?!!!  The unlearned Christian misses out on the beautiful results of meditating on the Lord’s works. The unbeliever doesn’t “get it” because his thoughts are not centered on God at all. His thoughts are on self – exactly where the devil wants those thoughts to be.

Proverbs 12:15a The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: 

The believer’s eyes are looking outward and up while the unsaved’s are looking inward and down. As a child of God, we have the wonderful opportunity for fellowship with the Father through His Word.  The more we know it and are obedient to it, the more the Holy Spirit reveals to us.

Regrets

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Psalm 34:4-5 I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. 5 They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.

Have you ever had regrets in your life that you just couldn’t shake? No matter how bright your future appeared, you still couldn’t help but regret the outcome of some problem you had in the past. We all have one or two of those and letting go of them is not small feat. But there are times when regret can totally debilitate a person.

I think of Lot’s wife. Why do you think she looked back? I’ve heard a few sermons on this and all were centered around the fact that she regretted leaving everything she cared about in her life behind.

Gen 19:26 But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

This one little action of looking back brought sever consequences for her. It didn’t affect only her.  Lot was now without a wife and her daughters were without a mother. Her city is being destroyed in a most horrific way yet she stops to look back. Her heart was back there, that much is obvious.

Today’s Psalm reveals that the child of God can rest in the Lord’s deliverance from our fears. God will help us through any difficult trial if we will only focus on Him and not on the circumstances around us.  Verse 5 says they looked unto him and their faces were not ashamed. We will never have regrets if we follow His will for our lives – obedience brings peace and comfort, not regrets.

Do you have regrets, dear Christian? Leave them in the past if you have done what you can to repair them. The devil wants nothing better than to distract you from the will of God! Leave them and move ahead – keep your eyes fixed on the Lord, do His work and look forward to His return! Don’t be like Lot’s wife – don’t park your thoughts on the past and all of its regrets!

Philippians 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

 

Nothing is too hard for God

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Psalm 30:4-6 Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. 5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. 6 And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved.

We are faced with impossible situations all the time. It’s what we do with those situations that shows our faith in the Lord. Do we bow down to fear or do we turn to the One who can do all things? I faced this when my husband was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2008. Had it not been for my faith in the Almighty God, I would have crumbled. He reminded me frequently:

Gen 18:14a Is any thing too hard for the LORD? …

The more frequently you turn to the Lord with your doubts and fears, the more you build on your faith and add to your foundation.

Endurance

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Psalm 100:5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

In this chaotic world with all of its wars and rumors of wars, viruses, financial collapses, etc., it is comforting to know that one thing never changes and that is God’s truth! Man is filled with sin – we are born liars.

Psalms 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.

Since Adam and Eve’s fall, all mankind has been born into sin – meaning that we don’t have to be taught to sin – we have the ability “within” us. We do, however, have to be taught to do right and to be obedient to the Scriptures. This is where a Saviour comes into play! No one, and I mean no one, can go without sinning.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

I like what Job said:

Job 14:4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.

No one can clean himself/herself up! Only Christ’s precious blood could do it – only His shed blood can purchase our freedom from this worldly body that is addicted to sin.

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.

Hebrews 9:22 – And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

Revelation 1:5 – And from Jesus Christ, [who is] the faithful witness, [and] the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Praise the Lord that we don’t have to depend upon our own capabilities … if that were the case, we would all be doomed to an eternity in the Lake of Fire!

God is ONLY Good!

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Psalm 145:17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.

I think of the times that I have questioned the Lord and His plans for my life because I did not understand His ways. We may not understand God’s ways for us but one thing is for certain, we can trust that His way is righteous and holy! The above verse makes that quite clear, amen?

Isaiah 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

God lets us know through His Word that we won’t be able to figure Him out … period! Our thoughts, works and ways are not holy and righteous and, therefore, cannot be the same as God’s. We have a sinful nature and our thinking will be based on that. This is why it is so important for us to depend on God speaking to us through His Word. It is always right and it is final. Remember, God will always do right.

Gen 18:25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

God does right because God is ONLY good. What a wonderful thing to meditate on today! Because this is so, how can I worry about what is to come? Praise the Lord!

When You Need a Boost!

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Psalm 86:4-5, Rejoice the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.

Today’s advertising world inundates us with energy drinks galore! Most are bad for you because they are loaded with chemicals. But where does one go when he/she needs a spiritual boost? The Psalmist, David, knew where to go. He went directly to the Lord! Notice what was bringing David down … the answer is in the next sentence: “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive;”

When we are living for the Lord and live according to His words, we are not despondent but are encouraged in the Lord. It’s when we are “in sin” that we get discouraged. David recognized this right off and knew where to turn. The end result was rejoicing that God is plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon Him!

When you need a boost, follow David’s example! Go to the Source who can provide everlasting spiritual energy! :)

Delight Yourself

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~Psalm 37:4 Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Delighting ourselves in the Lord may sound strange to some people. However, to the believer, it is an important part of worshiping God! Noah Webster defines “delight” as:

1. To affect with great pleasure; to please highly; to give or afford high satisfaction or joy; as, a beautiful landscape delights the eye; harmony delights the ear; the good conduct of children, and especially their piety, delights their parents.

Do my actions affect the Lord with great pleasure? Do I please Him highly? Do I give or afford God high satisfaction and joy? Do my actions speak volumes and glorify God? These are all excellent questions to ask ourselves when we do moral inventory of our lives. Keeping our spiritual life and walk with God in check keeps us out of trouble. Even better, we have a promise that the Lord will give us the desires of our heart when we do so. Will our desires always be our “wants”? No! But they will definitely be exactly what we need.

“I know of no better thermometer to your spiritual temperature than the intensity of your prayer.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Our Shepherd

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Psalm 119:169-176

TAU
169 Let my cry come near before thee, O Lord: give me understanding according to thy word.
170 Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word.
171 My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes.
172 My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.
173 Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts.
174 I have longed for thy salvation, O Lord; and thy law is my delight.
175 Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me.
176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.

The last verse of this beautiful Psalm is a wonderful way to end this series on Reflections in Psalms! The Psalmist compares himself to a lost sheep. It’s not the first time this “theme” is found in the King James Bible. In fact, there six occurrences, which I find quite interesting. The Bible number six is defined as the number of man. So it excites my spirit to see man represented as a lost sheep! Man (the sheep) is eternally lost without a Saviour (the Shepherd) (Psalm 23:1)!

Sheep are one of the dumbest creatures on this earth. If led to do so, they will run off a cliff! God compares us to sheep who have gone astray and are in desperate need of a Shepherd to save them, guide them, and teach them (Psalm 23:2-5). Just as Israel was led astray by idols, so are the unsaved today led astray by today’s idols (Jeremiah 50:6). Man’s repeated attempts at “serving God,” failing, and falling away proved futile. The lost sheep needed a shepherd – but much more than just an ordinary shepherd. These sheep needed The Shepherd. This Shepherd would not only protect them, He would give His very life for them (Isaiah 53:6)! Furthermore, He would not lose even one but would seek out each and every one who was lost and die for them all (Matthew 18:12-13)!

I’ve heard that sheep know their shepherd’s voice and are calmed by it. What a beautiful analogy! Once we are saved, we are reconciled to our Shepherd through His precious blood and He is the Bishop of our souls (1 Peter 2:25)! He cares for us in the same way as a Shepherd cares of His sheep! When a sheep goes astray, the shepherd uses is rod to “spank” it. If the sheep repeatedly goes astray, the shepherd inflicts pain in order to keep it in the fold (Proverbs 3:11 and Hebrews 12:7-11). Injured, the sheep becomes dependent on the shepherd and draws nigh to him!  Isn’t that great?

The shepherd’s staff was used to lean on or to support one’s self. Oh how beautiful a picture this paints! I am able to lean on Christ and allow Him to support me when I can’t hold myself up (Matthew 11:28-30)! There are so many things I cannot do in my own strength and wholly have to lean on Him! I have read how the shepherd would stroke (or pet) the sheep with his staff: the sheep would be comforted by it. How many times have I been comforted in this manner during an extremely difficult trial (Psalm 23:4)! I have literally felt the Lord’s presence!

How lovely is God’s word to me! How precious! There is great comfort found when one searches its blessed pages! I hope you have enjoyed this journey as we have reflected on this magnificent Book of Psalms! I know I have :-)

Uphill Battles?

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Photography by Cecelia Becker

Psalms 77:8 Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore?

At times, don’t you feel like you’re climbing a steep mountain and no one seems to care about your struggles? You cry and cry to the Lord but He doesn’t seem to hear? If sin is the cause of your struggles, then God is calling you back. But if your hardships are not due to sin, it seems to leave you in a dark hole, doesn’t it? We know that the Lord would never abandon us because He loves us (1 Peter 5:7). We also know that He will never give us more than we can handle (1 Corinthians 10:13). He always provides a way out for those tempted to fall because of their burden.

Lamentations 3:22 It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

Friend, the Father’s compassion never fail.  God is love, amen? With love comes compassion, does it not? You can’t help but have compassion for someone you truly love! Compassion is motivated by love – plain and simple. God is perfect and, therefore, God’s compassion is perfect also. He would not push you to the end of your rope, even though it feels like it at times. Be encouraged, friend!

In fact, here’s something that will knock your socks off! God is so compassionate that Jesus prays for you! Yes, Jesus Himself prays for each born-again believer.

Luke 22:31-32 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

Doesn’t that encourage your heart? Jesus left us the Holy Spirit who intercedes for us when we don’t know how to pray for ourselves (Romans 8:26). As if that weren’t enough, Jesus prays for us that the devil doesn’t overwhelm us!!! Oh friend, I pray that today’s devotional will bless your heart and will encourage you despite the trials and tribulations you’re going through at this moment!

One of my favorite hymns is “Count Your Blessings” by Johnson Oatman, Jr. Just reading the words are a blessing! :-)

Count Your Blessings

1
When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Refrain

Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your blessings, see what God hath done;
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

2
Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.

3
When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold.
Count your many blessings, money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your Lord on high.

4
So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.