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Psalm 51:10, 12-13, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (10) Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. (12) Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. (13)

Our daily prayer should start with the verses in this beautiful Psalm! The Christian praying these words sincerely cannot help but start off the day on the right track. The believer with a clean heart has already had his time with the Lord and has confessed his sin and repented. Only in so doing can we experience the true joy of our salvation daily because there is nothing separating us from our God. This does not mean that we lose our salvation each time we sin. It means that our fellowship is once again restored.

A good illustration is when one of my own children lies to me. My child will be punished and our fellowship won’t be the same until it is made right. Until my child confesses to me that he has lied and it is evident that he is truly repentant, the fellowship between us is broken. My heart is broken while our fellowship is broken. It’s not the same between us – he can’t look me in square in the eye and we can’t seem to enjoy that closeness we once had. However, once he repents and asks forgiveness, I can then hug him and that sweet fellowship is once again restored. What a joy it is to be able to fellowship is we once did. He now is not ashamed to look me in the eye and he is confident because he has been forgiven. My son knows that there’s no longer anything that separates us. At any point during this broken fellowship, did my son cease to be my son? Of course not. He was still my son, my flesh and bone – we just did not have the same relationship we had prior to his lying to me. Our fellowship was not the same until he experienced true repentance and asked forgiveness. After he did, he knew that his mother would be waiting to forgive him with opened arms, ready to restore our relationship.

I’ve heard preached that our accounts with God should be kept short – meaning, don’t let a day go by without confessing your sins and being truly repentant. This restores your fellowship with the Lord and all is well. Only then can we be effective soul winners according to verse 13 and win others to Christ. The lost can spot a hypocrite a mile away. If we try to lead someone to the Lord and our lives are filled with unconfessed sin, our efforts will be in the flesh and not in the Spirit. Just as our children, we must turn to our Heavenly Father and confess to Him our sin. Only then can we be free to witness to others without hypocrisy and without hindrance.

It’s so important that we have a clean heart before the Lord so that we do not hinder His Spirit’s work in the lives of the unsaved. I know that there will be some whom God has placed in my path and that I have not been able to effectively witness to them because I have not been right with Him! I dread the day that I stand before the Lord and He shows me those who are lost for all eternity because I did not take this seriously. Create in me a clean heart, oh Lord, so I may be a better witness for You!!!

O For A Heart to Praise My God
Charles Wesley

O for a heart to praise my God,
A heart from sin set free,
A heart that always feels Thy blood
So freely shed for me.

A heart resigned, submissive, meek,
My great Redeemer’s throne,
Where only Christ is heard to speak,
Where Jesus reigns alone.

A humble, lowly, contrite, heart,
Believing, true and clean,
Which neither life nor death can part
From Christ who dwells within.

A heart in every thought renewed
And full of love divine,
Perfect and right and pure and good,
A copy, Lord, of Thine.

Thy tender heart is still the same,
And melts at human woe:
Jesus, for thee distressed I am,
I want Thy love to know.

My heart, Thou know’st, can never rest
Till Thou create my peace;
Till of mine Eden repossest,
From self, and sin, I cease.

Fruit of Thy gracious lips, on me
Bestow that peace unknown,
The hidden manna, and the tree
Of life, and the white stone.

Thy nature, gracious Lord, impart;
Come quickly from above;
Write Thy new name upon my heart,
Thy new, best name of Love.

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The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. (Psalm 9:17)

The believer who is concerned about lost souls has heard many excuses as to why someone won’t be saved. One of the excuses I’ve heard is that there is no God and that when one dies, that’s the end. [To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.] The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. (Psalm 14:1)

Seems to me, I would rather take precautions while I had still had the chance than to find out that it’s too late to make any changes. I think of Jesus’ account of the rich man and Lazarus. In all of Jesus’ stories, this account was the only one that He gave the name of an individual. This was a true story and Luke, the physician, goes into great detail when he records Jesus’ account in Luke 16:20-31. The rich man no longer had an opportunity to be saved, he no longer had an opportunity to warn his family – that was it! He was stuck in hell, burning, thirsting and hurting for all eternity!!

I once heard one of our dear senior saints say, “Eternity is too long and hell fire too hot for me to take the chance of hell not being true!” Oh so very true! These are not the words of a fool, that’s for sure. The word “hell” is found in 54 verses in the Word. God wants us to know all about this place where the unrepentant sinner will go. This place called hell will be a horrifying place where the pain is so great that there will be gnashing of teeth. Noah Webster defines it as:

A grinding or striking of the teeth in rage or anguish.

I found it interesting that there are seven verses which use this phrase “gnashing of teeth.” God’s perfect number is the number seven which means “completion”! Man’s rejection of Him will be complete when he is cast down into hell’s fires. There won’t be any more chances to accept Jesus Christ as the only way to Heaven. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)Allah won’t be able to help you. Buddha won’t be able to help you. Mary won’t be able to help you. Only Jesus can help you – and only while you are yet living, my friend.

But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Mat 8:12)And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Mat 13:42)

And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Mat 13:50)

Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Mat 22:13)

And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Mat 24:51)

And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Mat 25:30)

There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. (Luke 13:28 )

If you are reading this today and you are not 100% convinced that you are going to Heaven when you die, then I hope that you will let these verses speak to your heart and not be the fool as the rich man was. Denying there is a God does not remove the fact that He does exist. God is the beginning and the end. All things started with Him and all things will end with Him. He is not mocked and He does hold judgment for those who reject Him. He also holds reward of salvation for those who accept Him.

And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. (Rev 21:6)

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LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. (Psalm 119:89)

We know that God’s Word is Jesus Christ Himself. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1) The same was in the beginning with God. (John 1:2) The Word of God, our Bible, was breathed to man through God’s Holy Spirit and reveals all we need to know about Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind. Is it any wonder that the different versions today try to take away Christ’s deity? Is it any wonder that they try to remove references to His shed blood and work on the cross? Is it any wonder that they try to remove the fact that there is no other way to heaven but through Him?

Psalm 119:89 says that God’s Word is for ever settled in heaven! The meaning of for ever according to Noah Webster is:

At any time; at any period or point of time, past or future.

God’s Word was settled in the past and it is settled in the future. We cannot change it because it is settled. Period! And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. (Rev 22:19)

God’s Word was, is and continues to be settled in heaven. God never changes – He’s the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Since He never changes and Jesus is the Word according to John 1:1-2, and the Word is settled in heaven, then we must believe that there cannot be 100+ different versions of the Word of God out there. That is why it is so important to believe that God would preserve His Word. Each letter of the Word is so important that there’s not one thing contained in it which will go unnoticed. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. (Mat 5:18 ) Why would God consider every little jot and tittle of the Word? Because His Word is settled. It cannot change. It will not change.

Beware of false imitations out there. Satan would love nothing better than to de-throne Christ. That has been his goal from the beginning. Isaiah. 14:12-14, How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! (12) For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: (13) I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. (14) If he can remove Christ from the different versions of the Bible out there, then people will believe that Allah, Buddha, and yes Lucifer himself is god and he will take as many souls as he can with him to hell.

Why are you so easily deceived that any version is OK to read. Would you follow a child’s drawing of a map to go to Orlando, Florida without questioning its accuracy? Why, then, are you so quick to read a version of the Bible which has been derived from Alexandrian texts? Were we not commanded to come out of Egypt, a type of the world? Why would our God contradict Himself by sending His most precious Word, which is settled in heaven, from the very country He told us to stay away from spiritually? To say that He did contradicts everything God teaches in the Word about coming out of Egypt.

Remember, God’s Word is settled – there’s no changing it. Beware, lest you fall into modernism’s trap and become like the world. Your doctrine will be diluted and your testimony will not resemble your Lord and Saviour, but will resemble the god of this world.

O, Revive Us By Thy Word
Daniel W. Whittle

Heav’nly Father, we Thy children,
Gathered round our risen Lord,
Lift our hearts in earnest pleading:
Oh, revive us by Thy Word!

Refrain

Send refreshing, send refreshing,
From Thy presence, gracious Lord!
Send refreshing, send refreshing,
And revive us by Thy Word!

Gracious gales of heav’nly blessing
In Thy love to us afford;
Let us feel Thy Spirit’s presence,
Oh, revive us by Thy Word!

Refrain

Weak and weary in the conflict,
“Wrestling not with flesh and blood,”
Help us, Lord, as faint we falter,
Oh, revive us by Thy Word!

Refrain

With Thy strength, O Master, gird us;
Be our Guide, and be our Guard:
Fill us with Thy Holy Spirit;
Oh, revive us by Thy Word!

Refrain

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Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. Psalm 100:4

Have you entered into the Lord’s gates today? One of our men preached the morning service yesterday and he preached on our covenant with God. It got me to thinking how blessed we are that Christ’s death and resurrection created a covenant for us with the Father – for all born again believers! What a joy to meditate on that today. So today, I want to encourage each of you toward righteousness.

We do not need to be defeated Christians. We do not need to give in to temptation. We just need to be hard workers at our faith in our precious Saviour. I’m sure many a lady gives it her “all” when it comes to caring for her husband, her family, her home, etc. We can’t stop there … we need to care for our spiritual lives with just as much zeal and effort. Yes, cleaning the bathroom and doing laundry is a chore. I just don’t get that same effervescent feeling the lady in the commercial gets about my scrubbing bubbles cleaning my toilet, ya know? It’s WORK to get these chores done – but the feeling of satisfaction afterwards is priceless!

Making sure that we cover all the areas of our spiritual lives is work also. But this “work” has eternal results. The work in our homes is temporary – the dust will always come back and there will always be dishes and laundry to do. But the work we do for the Lord is forever. I think of Christ’s account of Mary and Martha. He did not use a parable here but referred to actual women. The Lord placed this account in His Word especially for us! Mary spent her time at His feet while Martha carried on with the chores. Mary gleaned from the Master while Martha missed out on His blessings from the Word.

Working at our spiritual lives is just that – WORK! Here is a little something that helps me strive in this area of training myself and I want to share it with you.

W – Wake up with the Lord with song! Sing your favorite hymn – you know the one – it just speaks to your heart and gets you in the right mood – Mine is “Amazing Grace”

O – Open my heart to Him in prayer. I believe in making my heart right with God before praying for others. I confess my sins, I love on Him real good and then I pray for others.
I have a prayer list – in fact, I’m making a prayer journal to start using – and I keep this list with my Bible – the list is so long but I’ve broken it down by days so each day has a different grouping of people (i.e. Sunday = church family; Monday = missionaries; etc. I record specific details for each of these people so I’m praying for specific needs, not generalities.

R – Read His Word! Reading God’s Word is a learned trait. Don’t be so stringent that you don’t enjoy His Word. I have three separate times for reading.

  1. The first is my sweet time with Him. Today is Dec. 11th so I read my Proverb of the day (there are conveniently 31 Proverbs, one each for the 31 days in the month). I then read my Psalms for the day (I read Psalm 11 (then add 30), Psalm 41, Psalm 71, Psalm 101, and Psalm 131. I then read the 11th division or section of Psalm 119. This method for reading Psalms enables me to read the entire Book of Psalms every month. I then read Acts chapter 11 so I can learn about the church’s history. And finally, I read Revelations chapter 11 because we are promised a blessing in Rev. 1:3 if we read and understand this book.
  2. The second time for reading is reading through the Bible – I usually do this before bed. I
    have never been able to completely read the Bible through using a yearly plan but at least I am reading through. Sometimes we set goals that we just can’t keep and then we feel defeated and give up totally. I would rather keep at it and be blessed then to give up.
  3. My third reading comes with studying God’s Word. We’re commanded to study to show ourselves approved UNTO GOD Not to show off our knowledge to others, not to puff ourselves up thinking we’re better than others – but approved UNTO GOD. This is where we dive into meaty things and learn – not learning from someone else’s studying but learning for ourselves. You may have your own method of reading – I hope you do. In my 26 years of salvation, all the women that I’ve come in contact with who have struggled spiritually, struggled because they were not in the Word for themselves. When we stand before the Lord and give Him the reason why we didn’t do this or didn’t do that, our excuse that the preacher never taught us won’t hold water. We are commanded to study for ourselves.

K – Keep Him in the forefront of my mind all day. When we have sung, prayed and read, it’s pretty hard to forget the God you started your day with.

I use to have my time with Him at night because my children were early risers and I ran from the time they woke up till it was time for their bedtime. However, I found that I did not get the fuel and spiritual energizing I so needed to make it through the day. It took hard work to get up in the wee hours to have my time with the Lord. I was not always faithful but I kept at it.

Of course, we women have different routines and whatever works best for you is what you should be faithful in. If you have little ones at home, don’t despair. Your time will come where you will have all the time you need in the mornings. Maybe your time is nap time or after their bed time. If you don’t have a special time, resolve to yourself to make one. If you want to succeed at this, hold yourself accountable to someone. Ask a good friend to ask you daily if you spent your time with the Lord. One who won’t take excuses but will lovingly tell you that your excuse is not a good one!

Dear God…
Help me to be like Mary
As I start this day, oh Lord
Mindful of the things I’ve gleaned
From Your Holy Word!

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~Psalm 145:10-12, All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee. (10) They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power; (11) To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom. (12)

Do we speak of God’s mighty acts to those around us? It’s easy to speak to those who are saved. But what about to those who are not saved? God’s Kingdom will come again. His Word says so. Christ will reign here for a thousand years and His reign will begin in the not-too-distant future. His Kingdom is filled with God’s beauty, His glorious works, and His blessings! How can we not shout from the rooftops?

~Psalm 8:1 [To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David.] O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

The intricacies of a baby, from conception to birth, are mind-boggling! This little peanut of a child, designed by God Himself, comes to us full of innocence and beauty! From its beginning where two cells are joined, each cell thereafter is produced to go to a specific location for a specific function. The brain cell emerges and goes to the brain; the heart cell is formed and goes to the heart, etc. All these different cells with different functions come from the merger of two cells!

~Psalm 8:1 [To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David.] O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

God’s outer creation in the universe is also overwhelming. The Hubble telescope has only captured a miniscule amount of pictures in comparison to all that is out there to be seen! Man is high-minded and thinks he knows so much about what is in the universe. Man’s knowledge is a speck compared to what he does not know. God has shown His love for intricacies in His creation on earth – why should the universe be any different?

~ Psalm 8:1 [To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David.] O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

These tube worms were discovered at the ocean’s bottom in my lifetime! Think of all those other pieces of nature which have not been discovered because of man’s limitations! I remember watching a television special when they were first discovered. They showed how these creatures “came out” and grabbed their food! The worms sway in the current like grass when the wind blows. I stood in awesome wonder then and do still today.

~Psalm 8:1 [To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David.] O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

Have you ever read about the praying mantis? What a beautiful insect it is! This carnivorous insect eats other insects and can be used in a natural form of pest control around your home. I have seen one on my deck that was almost the length of my hand! I can see why they are called praying mantis because their front legs look as though they are praying. The delicate balance of God’s creation should stir our souls when we meditate upon it.

~Psalm 8:1 [To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David.] O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

The only bird I know of that is able to fly backwards is the hummingbird. Hummingbirds have the ability to fly up and down, and forward and backwards because they have a rotator cuff which allows them to move their wings in a figure eight motion. They fly backwards so that they can remove their beak from the flower they are feeding on while in flight. Their normal flight speed can be 30 mph, 50 mph when escaping and 63 mph when diving!! This amazing little bird’s nest is the size of a walnut and their eggs are the size of a pea!

~Psalm 8:1 [To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David.] O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

Have you shared your praises with others today, oh Christian? If not, why not? Have you forgotten what your Father in Heaven has given to you to behold in awesome wonder? Each one of the Lord’s creation is a gift to us.

The greatest of these gifts is the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Without His birth, we would not be able to enter Heaven! We cannot get to heaven on our own merit. God is Holy and He cannot allow sin into heaven. We have ALL sinned. Yes, even you, my friend. The Garden of Eden was created perfect by God – and so were Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve are the ones who brought sin into this world, not God. All those horrible things you see in this world are happening because sin entered in through Adam and Eve – not because God is cruel. In fact, God was so heart broken at the fact that His perfect creation would not be able to enter heaven, He found a way by sending His Only Son to earth. He loved us that much!

~John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

This Perfect Son, Jesus Christ, lived a sinless life, died a cruel death and rose again to defeat death. He took upon Him the punishment for us all. All we have to do is acknowledge our sin, repent and accept Him as Lord and Saviour! Thank You, Father, for loving us so much that You would send Your very own Son to earth to take on our punishment!

~Psalm 8:1 [To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David.] O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

Excerpt from O Holy Night

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His Gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His Name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy Name!
Christ is the Lord! O praise His name forever!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!

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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. Psalm 18:2

The combination of these words is used multiple times in the Word of God. Usually when the Word tells us something twice, we are to take notice. But note how many times these words are used:

For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me. (Psa. 31:3) Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress. (Psa. 71:3)

I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. (Psa. 91:2)

My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me. (Psa. 144:2)

O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit. (Jer. 16:19)

Do you think our Heavenly Father was trying to communicate something to His children? I surely do! Let’s pick out the specific terms used and meditate on them a bit.

God is our Rock. I think of a rock as stable, solid, immovable. And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. (1 Cor. 10:4)

God is our Fortress. Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines a fortress as:

1. Any fortified place; a fort; a castle; a strong hold; a place of defense or security. The English have a strong fortress on the rock of Gibraltar, or that rock is a fortress.

And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; (2 Sam. 22:2) God is our defense and our security. When we are walking in Him (not the world), we can be assured of this!

God is our Deliverer. Christ has rescued and delivered us from an eternity of burning in hell’s fires, total darkness and separation from God! And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: (Rom. 11:26) He also delivers us from evil as He taught us in His example of how to pray.

God is our Strength. Noah Webster defines this word, strength, as:

Support; that which supports; that which supplies strength; security.

The Lord supports us, supplies us with His strength and gives us security in those times when men fail us! And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2Co 12:9) Oh thank You, Lord!

God is our Buckler. I had a mental picture of what a buckler was but reading Noah Webster’s definition made my heart leap!

A kind of shield, or piece of defensive armor, anciently used in war. It was composed of wood, or wickers woven together, covered with skin or leather, fortified with plates of brass or other metal, and worn on the left arm. On the middle was an umbo, boss or prominence, very useful in causing stones and darts to glance off. The buckler often was four feet long, and covered the whole body.

Notice how the buckler was worn on the left arm – protecting the heart of man. This same buckler causes the enemies darts to fall off. I love how the Lord is our defense – our buckler – protecting us from the enemy! When we abide in Him, we have His protection over us. I think of being under His wings at this point!

God is the Horn of our Salvation. Horns were a big part of the Bible. They sounded for danger, they were used for heralding an event, etc. Jesus Christ is the only One who can provide us with salvation – there is no other. And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; (Luke 1:69) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6) Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Act 4:12) I am so thankful that my salvation rests in Jesus Christ. He is the only One – no other!

God is our High Tower. When I envision a high tower, I see a building that is taller than the others around it. This tower allows one to see from all around when danger is coming. This same tower also provides protection to those who are within its walls. Our Lord is our High Tower – He protects us from the enemy. We can rest knowing that He is on the tower watching out for us. What comfort this brings me! My God cares for me! Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (1Pe 5:7)

We have a God who sits atop a high tower watching out for us, shielding us and protecting our hearts from the enemy. Our salvation is secure in Him and He provides us the strength we need to deal with the enemy. He delivers us from the temptations that He sees coming. As long as we stand on His Word (His Rock), we have no need to fear. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. (Heb. 13:6) Oh thank You, Lord, for this blessing today!

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
Martin Luther

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.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

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Psalm 32:1 [A Psalm of David, Maschil.] Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

The Jews have celebrated Passover since the time of Moses by painting the blood of a spotless lamb around their doorposts. This precious blood symbolized the Blood of their future Messiah, Yeshua. In faith, the Jews believed that the blood would protect them from death. What a beautiful depiction of our Saviour, Yeshua, Jesus the Christ. Oh that these dear Jews would have the veil removed from their eyes and they would be able to see their Messiah has already come and He awaits His return to reign!

What compassion our Heavenly Father has to bestow salvation upon all mankind and not just the Jews! Praise Jehovah-jireh. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (Joh 3:16) When our spotless Lamb, Jesus, came to earth, His perfect sinless blood was shed to cover all those who repent and believe in Him. The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (Joh 1:29) He became our Passover Lamb and His blood covers those who trust in Him as their Saviour and Messiah.

What a beautiful picture of our precious Saviour! The blood of spotless lambs was shed and was used to paint over the doorposts so the Jews would be “passed over” by death. The Blood of Jesus Christ was shed and was symbolically painted over born again believers so we are covered and sin is not imputed upon us. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. (Psa 32:2)

The blood of lambs could never take away sin but merely covered sin until Christ finished the work of forgiveness on the cross by shedding His sinless blood for us all. All Jews and Gentiles who believe in Yeshua, Jesus Christ, will be able to sing as stated in Rev. 15:3, And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.

I pray that the Jews will know how much Christians love them and desire to share with them, together, in this great song of Moses and of the Lamb.

Dear God…
From the beginning You have laid
A great foundation, the Christ
May our eyes be opened to Your Word
From blindness to precious Light

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Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psa 119:11) God’s Word is the only thing in life that comes with a promise such as this. Do you know of anything or anyone who can promise that if you read and hide their product, it will keep you from sin? Nothing can do this. No one can do this, but God! God’s compassion is so great that He provided His Word to strengthen us in time of weakness.

Not only did our Heavenly Father give us His Word to grow by so that we wouldn’t sin, but He also provided His Word so that we could be cleansed should we fall into sin. BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. (Psa 119:9) The Word will cleanse us and keep us from sin.

So why don’t we spend more time in the Word? I believe that ole slew foot has managed to keep the Christian today from the Word by way of distractions and excuses. Today’s distractions are many. Everyone has them. If you’re not in the Word daily and gleaning from it, then you have too many distractions. If you’re not in the Word daily and gleaning from it, you will continuously struggle with sin.

The fact of the matter is this: the believer who does not read the Word is plain lazy. Would you deprive your family from nourishment? Would you deprive yourself? Of course not! When you are not in the Word, you not only allow sin to come into your life, but you cause sin to come into your home. Your children will see it and will follow in your footsteps. So when you do fall into temptation and sin, you have no one to blame but yourself. It isn’t God’s fault, but your own. God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Cor 1:9) If we fall, we fall because we chose to fall.

The more you spend time in the Word, the less time you will have to devote to sin.

NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psa 119:105)

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O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is. Psalm 63:1 Many think that they need to go to church to seek God or have fellowship with Him. Yes, there are places which promote solitude of heart and communing with the Lord seems to be sweeter there. When my husband and I were out sightseeing one day, we came across this quaint and very old church (built in the 1800’s) in Virginia. But is this the only place we can find solace?

We also visited the Natural Bridge in Southern Virginia. God’s creation is so beautiful and the work of His Hand is breathtaking. Just walking the trails to get to the bridge were peaceful and serene. All we could hear was the babbling of the brook as it led us to a small waterfall. As we sat through the Genesis story that evening and watching the light show in conjunction with each day of creation, God’s beauty combined with His Word and our hearts were full.

One does not need to look far to see the Lord at work. I believe we live in one of the most beautiful areas in our country, near the Blue Ridge Mountains. This photo was taken during one of our motorcycle rides through the Blue Ridge and our eyes could not believe what they were seeing! It was a gloomy day, the rain was coming in and we were hurrying to get to the valley before the storm came in. What a breath taking scene, to say the least. Again, God’s handiwork spoke to me and filled me with awe for a God who intricately created this earth and its beauty.

This same God who created all this, created me as well and all my intricacies. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. (Psa 139:14)
Don’t think we’re wonderfully made? This picture of the inner ear shows us just how intricate our bodies are and reveal a side of God that should overwhelm our spirits! This is only our inner ear, my friends! I could post picture after picture of other parts of our bodies that are equally intricate. But the point is that God is the creator of them all.

I shared all these pictures just to say that our Lord God should be sought, no only in church or in nature or when we examine His creation, but also we should be seeking to learn more about Him and becoming more like His precious Son. We should seek after God as if we are dying of thirst and can’t get enough of Him when we do come to commune with Him. We can find these beautiful places in our mind’s eye even if we are sitting in our private place as we do our devotions and studying.

Dear God…
May I seek You early
Before the start of day
And cling to every word
As I go along my way

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Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. (Psa 95:2)

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it is fitting to focus on a thankful heart. I love Noah Webster’s definition of the word psalm:

A sacred song or hymn; a song composed on a divine subject and in praise of God. The most remarkable psalms are those composed by David and other Jewish saints, a collection of one hundred and fifty of which constitutes a canonical book of the Old Testament, called Psalms, or the book of Psalms. The word is also applied to sacred songs composed by modern poets, being versifications of the scriptural psalms, or of these with other parts of Scripture, composed for the use of churches; as the Psalms of Tate and Brady, of Watts, etc.

Can you imagine how our Heavenly Father feels when His children come before Him in the prayer closets or church services with this kind of grateful and thankful prayer? Can you imagine what it would be like if God’s children would make this joyful noise to Him with this kind of sacred psalm? I have chill bumps just thinking about it.

I know how blessed I am when my children are thankful for their blessings in life and say so. How much more our Heavenly Father? All blessings come from Him. God enjoys blessing His children just as we enjoy blessing ours. Do we like it when our children are ungrateful? Of course not. Nor should we be ungrateful to our precious Heavenly Father. After all, He sent His only Son to take our punishment for sin so that we may inherit eternal life! There is no better reason to be thankful!

Share with me today as we start preparing our hearts for one of the best holidays this country has. Yes, the world has turned it into a money-making holiday. As Christians, we must remember why we are thankful and sing sacred psalms to the One who has provided for us. I can think of many reasons why I am thankful – not just at Thanksgiving but every day: my salvation, my husband, my family, my Pastor, my dear friends, my church family, my health, and the list goes on. When I focus on being thankful, I am not thinking about my problems and trials.

O King of Kings, O Lord of Lords
Henry Burton, 1887

O King of kings, O Lord of hosts, Whose throne is lifted high
Above the nations of the earth, the armies of the sky,
The spirits of perfected saints may give their nobler songs
And we, Thy children, worship Thee, to Whom all praise belongs.

Thy hand has hid within our fields treasures of countless worth;
The light, the suns of other years, shine from the depths of earth;
The very dust, inbreathed by Thee, the clods all cold and dead,
Wake into beauty and to life, to give Thy children bread.

Thou Who hast sown the sky with stars, and set Thy thoughts in gold,
Hast crowned our nation’s life, and ours, with blessings manifold;
Thy mercies have been numberless; Thy love, Thy grace, Thy care,
Were wider than our utmost need, and higher than our prayer.

O King of kings, O Lord of hosts, our fathers’ God and ours!
Be with us in the future years; and if the tempest lowers,
Look through the cloud with light of love, and smile our tears away
And lead us through the brightening years to Heaven’s eternal day.

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He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. Psalm 103:10,11

Praise the Lord that our Heavenly Father does not reward us according to our sins the way we deserve to be dealt with. Had it not been for our Saviour’s work on the cross, we would all be gonners! But the fact that we no longer have to worry about spending eternity in hell’s burning flames does not mean that it stops there.

A good study on hell and what it has in store for those who are not born again and blood bought is so needful today! I can probably count on one hand the number of times the topic of hell has been the center of conversation in those Christians around me. I have maybe heard two messages in my 26+ years of salvation on the teaching of hell. Why is that? Not only do the lost need to hear where they will be spending eternity but I believe the saved would be more challenged to be soul winners if they had a clear understanding of where these lost souls are going!

What is hell all about? The Bible mentions the word “hell” 54 times. There are three terms that are used to reference hell: Sheol, Hades and Gehenna. Most of Christ’s accounts of hell were referring to Hades and Gehenna. The most popular use of Hades was the account of the rich man in Luke 16:22-24. Here all of the rich man’s natural senses were affected by being in Hades. The account shows that the rich man could see what was happening, he spoke to Father Abraham, he could hear Father Abraham’s response, his mind was clear because he recognized where he was and where Father Abraham was, he cried to him for mercy, he asked Father Abraham to help his family on earth, he felt the pain because he thirsted and asked for water. All his senses were affected, as well as his emotions. He was so aware of his surroundings and what he was suffering that he did not want his family to go through the same thing. He knew he could not escape the torment he was in and it was too late for him, but not too late for his family. It was too late for him to be a soul winner at this point.

Gehenna is another term for hell which refers to the Lake of Fire after Great White Throne judgment. Rev. 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. The souls in hell (Hades) will experience a second death at this point and be thrown into Gehenna (the lake of fire). Gehenna’s fires are so real that Jesus warned that it would be better to lose an eye or other part of our bodies than to be whole in the Lake of Fire! (Mark 9:43-48 ) That’s pretty serious stuff – to be told to cut off a part of your own body! Jesus said it is better that we cut off a hand and enter heaven a partial man than to be in that Lake of Fire with a whole body!

Jesus also said in Matt. 18:8 that the flames are everlasting! Have you ever burned yourself on the stove or with a hot iron? The first thing I do is run to get a cold glass of cold water filled with icecubes and dip my finger in it until the pain subsides. But this won’t be an option to the unsaved person who is cast here! Matthew 3:12 also says that the fires are unquenchable. It’s not like a campfire that dies down after a while. These flames keep going.

The Bible shows us that the Lake of Fire will have different degrees of punishment also. God’s punishment will be given out to the lost in same degree that they denied His Word. Luke 12:47-48 describes it well: And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. (47) But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. (48 ) I also think of Rom. 2:5-6, But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; (5) Who will render to every man according to his deeds:(6)

My friend, all will stand before Christ and give an account of every action we have done. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (2 Cor. 5:10) It’s reiterated in Rev. 2:23, And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

I look at it this way, those unsaved who get “few stripes” will burn for all eternity at a level like being burned all over with the most horrible sun burn he’s ever had. The unsaved who gets “many stripes” will be burning at a level of being totally engulfed with fire!! Both will be suffering but at different degrees. However, they will all share equally in hell’s permanence (eternity) and its unquenching flames – there will be no reprieve – there will be no death as a result of these burns. Granted, there is no way for me to know exactly the pain levels the lost will experience – this is just my interpretation which helps me to imagine. Whatever it takes for you to get a burden for the lost soul, do it! This is just my way of keeping myself motivated to win the lost.

The unsaved stand no chance. Luke’s account of the rich man says it all. Once the unsaved dies, it is too late. There is no going back and changing one’s mind. The Hitlers and Neros of this world will suffer greater punishment once they are released from Hades and cast into that Lake of Fire. In my soul winning efforts, I’ve come across people who just don’t see their sin. They can’t be saved if they don’t know they are lost. But upon death, it will be a horrible awakening in a place where the worm dieth not. Christ spoke this statement three times in Mark 9:44-48. Not only is there no escaping hell’s fire for the unbeliever, but the pain and torment of being burned continuously goes on for all eternity. I cannot even begin to imagine what it will be like for a person to be engulfed in flames and to continuously be burned and their body not turning to ash – just continuously burning and burning and burning. Not for just an hour, a day, or a week – but forever!

Christian, have I helped you to realize your need to tell your lost loved ones about where they will be spending eternity if they don’t repent and get saved? Prayerfully, this has renewed your zeal for lost souls! If not, shame on you.

If you are reading this and you are not born again, won’t you reconsider what you believe today? You may not believe in a literal hell. Many may say that hell is here on earth. But Jesus did not preach that at all. Don’t take what others say and make it your belief. Could you possibly be wrong? Have you been right about everything in your life? What if you’re wrong about this?

God created hell for the devil and his angels (Matt. 25:41). It is your choice to remain in the lost condition you are in right now. No one is forcing you to get saved. But admit this one thing … deep down inside you, you’re wondering if what I have said is even remotely true. I would rather exercise my little faith, be saved, and find out when I die that the Bible was true than to ignore my little faith and enjoy life full of sin only to find out that everything about hell was true and now I have to spend an eternity burning, writhing in pain for all eternity.

A wise Senior Saint once told me, “Hell’s fire is too hot and eternity is too long for me to ignore salvation!”

Dear God…
Please open the heart of the one who reads
What You have laid on my heart today
Create in me a burden so heavy and great
That I need to show someone salvation’s way.

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Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalm 16:11

God is the one who brings salvation. Without the Holy Spirit pricking the heart of man and leading to conviction, there can be no salvation. But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble. (Psalm 37:39) Salvation is of the LORD. (Jon 2:9b)

There is no greater joy and no greater pleasure than to be at the right hand of the Lord for ever more! There is something about the term “at the right hand” that struck me this morning. In America, it is common knowledge that the conservatives are “right-wingers” and the liberals are “left-wingers.” The right hand of the Lord is referenced in Scriptures. The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly. (Psalm 118:15) The right hand of the LORD is exalted: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly. (Psalm 118:16)

I did a search for the phrase “the right hand of God” and found it interesting that it appears eight times. All eight occurrences are in the New Testament. All eight occurrences refer to Christ being at the right hand of God. Christ’s blood convenant was a new beginning for mankind. We no longer had to sacrifice animals but had the Perfect Sacrifice covering our sin and making payment for our punishment! The number eight is commonly known to mean “new beginnings.” How appropriate it is that there are eight verses referencing Christ!

So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. (Mar 16:19)Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. (Act 2:33)

But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, (Act 7:55)

And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. (Act 7:56)

Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. (Romans 8:34)

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. (Col. 3:1)

But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; (Heb. 10:12)

Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him. (1 Pet. 3:22)

Doesn’t that excite you? It does me!! There are no coincidences with God’s Word. Everything in God’s Word is there to excite us, teach us and keep us fed!

Father, God, We Glorify
John & Charles Wesley

Father, God, we glorify
Thy love to Adam’s seed;
Love that gave Thy Son to die,
And raised Him from the dead:
Him, for our offenses slain,
That we all might pardon find,
Thou hast brought to life again,
The Savior of mankind.

By Thy own right hand of power
Thou hast exalted Him,
Sent the mighty Conqueror
Thy people to redeem:
King of Saints, and Prince of Peace,
Him Thou hast for sinners giv’n,
Sinners from their sins to bless,
And lift them up to Heav’n.

Father, God, to us impart
The gift unspeakable;
Now in every waiting heart
Thy glorious Son reveal:
Quickened with our living Lord,
Let us in Thy Spirit rise,
Rise to all Thy life restored,
And bless Thee in the skies.

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Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God. Psalm 20:7 Chariots and horses were the tanks and fighter jets of David’s day. Battles were won because of chariots and horses. But in that same statement, David goes on to say that he would remember the name of the LORD our God. David recognized where his help came from. [A Song of degrees.] I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. (Psa 121:1) My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. (Psa 121:2)

Do we really know where our help comes from? Do we realize just Who we are serving? Our King will not lose! The battle is not ours, my friend. The battle is His. And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hands. (1 Sam. 17:47) The Book of Revelation shows us Christ is the Victor in the end! He will have the final victory over the enemy! I found it interesting that the phrase “every knee” appears only three times in the Word. Each time, the reference is to Christ!

I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. (Isa 45:23)For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. (Rom 14:11)

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; (Phi 2:10)

We will all bow our knee to the King of kings and Lord of lords! Our battles on this earth will all be behind us! Jesus Christ, the King, will have won not only the battles but He will have won the war against Satan! Ole slew foot’s time is almost over! He is fighting his battles with all fervancy trying to defeat the Christian. Are you going to allow the devil to win in your battle? If you do, you will be ashamed when you stand before Christ and give account for your little faith. Why not have victory instead so your tears will be tears of joy and not of shame and sorrow?!

This is the Victory
Philip P. Bliss

March to the battlefield, march on with sword and shield;
March on; the foe shall yield to Christ our King.
Onward, ye faithful band, onward at His command;
Onward, nor halting stand, but loudly sing.

Refrain

This is the victory, this is the victory,
This is the victory, we sing by the way;
This is the victory, this is the victory,
This is the victory, and faith gains the day.

Stand firm against thy foes; stand, though a host oppose;
Stand! well our Leader knows our conflicts all.
“Fear not,” He says to thee, “Fear not, but valiant be,
Fear not, but trust in Me; the foe must fall.”

Refrain

Fight, though thy foes increase; fight, till the dawn of peace;
Fight, till the war shall cease, then shout and sing.
Shout, then triumphantly, shout, shout the victory;
Shout, “Glory be to Thee, O Lord, our King!”

Refrain

The picture above was taken by Carol Meyers and used here with her permission. She has traveled to some of the most beautiful places in the world and has captured so many pictures which depict peace and tranquility. Thank you, Carol, for allowing me this opportunity to use your work!

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~Psalm 30:4 Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.

How often do we give thanks for all that God has done throughout the ages, even in our own lives? When I look back at God’s hand in my life, I can’t help but rejoice! In the middle of my darkest hours, my heart has led me to His word and encouraged me. Discouragement happens – there’s no getting around it. However, what we DO with discouragement is the key, amen?  This separates the nominal Christian with the disciple (the disciplined Christian).  (2 Timothy 2:15)

Who knows me better than me? If I allow myself to wallow in self-pity or discouragement, I won’t have the desire to seek the holy things of God. I won’t have the desire to remember what He has done for me. However, if I train myself to recognize discouragement and immediately start praising God, I will see the rain cloud dissipate. A grateful heart and a thankful heart does not have room for discouragement.

What does God say about discouragement? If you search the word of God for the words “discourage, discouraged, discouragement,” you will see that they appear a total of seven times – six in the Old Testament and only once in the New Testament. Numbers 32 reveals exactly what God thinks of discouragement and of those who lead others into it. Some discouraged the children of Israel so much so that those above the age of 20 were not allowed into the Promised Land, except Joshua and Caleb (Numbers 32:9,11).  Those are serious repercussions for what some think is a small thing.  God obviously does not consider discouraging others a small matter.

Let’s look at the consequences of discouragement.  Discouragement is an insult to God! It tells God that you are not satisfied with His provisions in your life and that you can do better. But let me ask you this: How is that discouragement working out for you? Aren’t you miserable? Furthermore, you are not acting alone.  You’re dragging others down with you – especially your family members for they can see you as you really are. The unsaved who come into contact with you on a daily basis interpret your discouragement as your God’s lack of power. What a horrible testimony to the Living God!

Psalm 30:4 encourages us to sing  and to give thanks!  If you can’t even come up with one thing to be thankful for, I believe you have more serious issues than discouragement.  This type of thinking is selfish and self-centered.  Life is not about you, no matter what you think!  Life is about Christ and what He has given to us and done for us! The first thing we have to be thankful for is salvation!  Even if nothing else ever happened in the Christian’s life, thanking God for his salvation should be enough to keep him busy!  Our time on this earth is so short compared to eternity!  Our lack of thankfulness here will be reflected there! Don’t you see that?

Make full use of all that God has done for you in your “singing”!  You have a roof over your head; you’re not going hungry; you have clothing; you have people who care for you.  There is always something for which to be thankful!  Always!!!  Make a list if you have to – but do it.  Watch that discouragement melt away as you sing praises to the King of kings and Lord of lords!  God is faithful and loves you!  Acknowledge Him and be thankful for all that He has done.

Great is Thy Faithfulness (Thomas O. Chisolm)

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 has been, thou forever will be.

Refrain:
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.

(Refrain)

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

(Refrain)

The picture above was taken by a sweet Christian lady, Connie Wentworth and used here with her permission. Her pictures are mostly taken in the State of Maine and depict God’s glorious creation! Thank you, Connie, for allowing me this opportunity to use your work!

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It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. (Psa 127:2) It is worthless, fruitless, empty and unsatisfying when one stays up late and gets up early to worry. I never gained a moment’s pleasure or peace from worrying. The Lord emphasizes here how futile it is to worry. In fact, the Lord promises His beloved children rest! He does not promise this wonderful rest to the unsaved. How do I know that? The verse says that His beloved receive sleep. Remember, when we are saved we become the children of God. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: (Rom 8:16) We are His beloved! A search to the word “beloved” in the New Testament will show that they were always referring to the brethren in Christ.

Noah Webster defines the word vain as:

Empty; worthless; having no substance, value or importance.Fruitless; ineffectual. All attempts, all efforts were vain.

Empty; unsatisfying. The pleasures of life are vain.

False; deceitful; not genuine; spurious. James 1.

Since I became a mother, so many Scriptures seem clearer to me. What would I think if my children stayed up nights worrying? I would be devastated first because my child is worrying. But most importantly, I would wonder why my child feels he cannot turn those worries over to his parents. I can just imagine how our Heavenly Father feels when we take upon our own shoulders the cares of this world which have not even happened yet. Our Father in Heaven loves us so much and wants so much to provide for us and comfort us. Why do we insist on taking this worry upon ourselves? I have heard that 85% of what we worry about doesn’t come to past and the other 15% weren’t worth worrying over. The time and effort spent in worrying could easily be spent in the Word and finding comfort there. The Lord has so many golden nuggets to calm our spirit with. We just have to search them out.

For example, Matt. 11:28-30, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (28 ) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (29) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (30) Good night, are there better verses? After reading these verses, I decided to do a phrase search for “give rest” – here are the results. I need not say anything more :-) Enjoy!

And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. (Exo 33:14) God’s presence goes with us (His Holy Spirit) and provides rest.

Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days. (1 Chr 22:9) We find much rest from the book of Proverbs if we heed its warnings.

That thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked. (Psa 94:13) The chastened man receives rest from the days of affliction.

Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul. (Pro 29:17) We receive rest when we have corrected our children – they will delight us.

And it shall come to pass in the day that the LORD shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve,(Isa 14:3) Again, the Lord provides more rest from sorrow and fear.

Their Redeemer is strong; the LORD of hosts is his name: he shall throughly plead their cause, that he may give rest to the land, and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon. (Jer 50:34) Our Redeemer provides rest.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Mat 11:28 ) Jesus, our Redeemer, provides the rest we need.

Dear God…
May I always be looking to You
Until I find comfort in Your care
And rest from my burdens of worry
At Your feet will I lay them there

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Psalm 121:1-8, “[A Song of degrees.] I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.(1) My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.(2) He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.(3) Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. (4) The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.(5) The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.(6) The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.(7) The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore. (8 )

We have all been through trials, haven’t we? How we deal with those trials all depends on how we prepare for them and how we handle ourselves during the trial. When you prepare for a long trip, what do you do? You make sure you have a full tank of gas, you check your tires and all the fluids in your car. Shouldn’t we be preparing for our spiritual walk in the same manner? Shouldn’t we be fueling ourselves with the Word of God and putting on the full armour of God so we can be sheltered by the Lord during our trials? Why do we make it difficult on ourselves by not doing so?

I am particularly fond of Psalm 121. I have run to this Psalm many a times. I have especially run to it as of late to find solace and my Lord’s love there because of a major trial I’m going through. This time, however, the Psalm meant more to me than it has ever meant. I noticed the different points the Psalmist had made:

1. I have to make a conscious effort to seek my help. God won’t force Himself upon me. But when I seek Him, He is there!

2. I have to recognize where my help comes from. I don’t rest in the counsel of my spouse or my friends, but I know that God is the One who will take care of my trial.

3. I realize that my Shepherd won’t allow me to falter. The more I am in the Word, the more my faith is built. Verses come to mind as I need them for encouragement. Each step is guided by my Shepherd.

4. I realize that my Shepherd never sleeps! Praise the Lord! This verse alone brings me to tears. Nothing happens that He’s not aware of. Nothing! My Shepherd is ever watching over me!

5. I have come to know that my Shepherd will keep me safe.The Lord keeps me – watches over me – provides me with shade when fiery trials are present. That shade is found when I sit quietly reading my Bible and soaking in what He has for me.

6. I trust that my Saviour will keep me from ole slewfoot and preserve my salvation. I know that everything that happens to me has been allowed in my life for my benefit so I can grow in my faith. There is great comfort knowing that my eternal security can never be removed because God is the One that preserves my soul, not me.

7. I know that my Shepherd will guide my path forever more. When I am in the Word, feeding my soul, my Shepherd can keep me from taking the wrong path in life. I cannot claim this if I am not in the Word. NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psa 119:105) and Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psa 119:11)

I must seek for my help and know where that help comes from; I must recognize that this Help will keep me safe when I abide in Him; and lastly, my Help preserves my soul – which cannot be said of any other help this world has to offer. Why not go to the Expert? Thank You, Lord, for Your faithfulness in my life. Teach me what I must learn from each trial.

Dear God…
I cherish my time in Your Word
That peace and comfort there lie
I keep my eyes fixed on those hills
Where my Helper comes from on High

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BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. (Psa 119:9)

I wanted to write about how God uses the Word to bring conviction against sin to us. However, as I read and re-read this verse, it became apparent to me that the Lord used the words “young man (or woman)” here. Why would God use this adjective to describe the man? He could have just used the word man. So why did God interject with the word “young”?

I’ve seen older Christians who have remained “spiritual babes” because they have not spent time in the Word. Taking time in the Word is work but a blessing follows. Some of us work for a living and at the end of the pay period, we receive a check. At the end of our hard work of reading and studying, we also receive a check – a spiritual check. However, our check lasts for eternity. Paul spoke on these spiritual babes. 1 Cor. 3:1-2, “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.” Paul likened the spiritual babes as carnal. They were still more concerned about the things of the flesh than spiritual things. After all, isn’t that what a human baby does? He cries and cries unto he is fed. He is only concerned about his own needs at this point. Not once does this baby consider that Mommy is really tired and could sleep an extra hour if he would just hold off! Paul used the right choice of words here, didn’t he?

The more we grow in the Lord and by His Word, the more we become spiritual adults. We no longer have the same struggles we did as younger believers. We’ve learned to trust more in the Lord; we’ve learned that we can never lose our salvation and we’re sure of it and can prove it from the Word; we’ve learned that God is faithful and won’t abandon us; we’ve received this peace that young Christians and spiritually immature Christians can’t understand. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Phi 4:7) Suffice it to say, however, that just reading the Word is not sufficient. One has to heed its warnings, as the Psalm continues to point out. What’s the use in reading a self-help book if you don’t apply what you’ve learned, right? Applying God’s Word to our lives is the key to maturing as a believer.

I know I sound like a broken record, but God stresses over and over in His Word that we need to be IN the Word and applying it to our lives! Without it we die spiritually. That baby would die without his Mommy feeding him, right? So will the babe in Christ stunt his growth in Christ by not opening his Bible and gleaning from its spiritual nourishment.

There’s a banquet table awaiting the believer who stops to eat!

Dear God…
May I come to you each day
With an open mind and heart
Let me search until I find
Your will, may I not depart

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Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah. (Psa 32:7)

My father used to own a piece of land that was nestled in the woods in Northern Maine. On it was a ponded creek with a beaver’s dam, very much like this picture. He and I would sit for hours watching the beavers swimming to and from the dam doing their work. When their work was finished, Dad would go over the dam and remove one of the big branches. This would cause the current to go through and the beavers would sense it immediately. No more than just a minute or two later, you would see a head pop from near their lodge and off to work they would go to repair the damage. My father loved this hiding place and he would take me to it often. Out of all the memories I have of him, this one is the most special.

So many times I’ve wanted to run away to this place where I can hide from the day’s drama! Unfortunately, Dad sold the land to someone I don’t know – plus we live a thousand miles away. But the Lord showed me this morning that I did not need a physical hiding place because I had my time with Him. That hiding place can be anywhere and any time. I don’t even have to waste gas getting there!

As long as I am in my hiding place with the Lord, He will keep me from trouble. The Lord will bring such peace that He will surround me with songs of deliverance and escape. Deliverance and escape from what, you may ask? Our cares, trials, tribulations, temptations, depression, anxiousness, sorrows, etc. God promises to give us song! It is not natural to sing when we are sad, is it? David says he was surrounded with songs of deliverance from God. Meditating in God’s Word surrounds us with the Lord’s goodness and mercy. All through Scriptures we are lifted up, comforted, given joy, given peace and comfort. How can we not have a song on our lips when we serve such a compassionate God!?

Where is your hiding place, my friend? Have you run to it today to discuss the cares of this world with your Shepherd? He awaits to guide you, comfort you and encourage you. All you have to do is show up.

So I retreat to that haven each morning
All my cares at His feet I do lay
I leave them with Him for He loves me
As I travel along life’s narrow way.

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Of all the devotionals I have written, this is probably my favorite.  I would like to share it with you once again over the next month or so.  I hope you receive a blessing.

I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. (Psa 91:2)

How I love the Book of Psalms! I have to admit that this book is one of my favorites because it has brought me much comfort during trial and tribulation. It’s as though God knew His children would need uplifting and encouragement. I’m looking forward to doing this next set of 30-day topical devotionals on the Book of Psalms. I’ve had 30-days worth of teaching and chastisement and am ready for the Lord’s balm through the Book of Psalms.

In reading this Psalm this morning, I noticed that David began with stating “I will say of the LORD.” I believe David didn’t keep this information to himself but was telling others about what God was doing for him. He was bragging on his Lord. Do we brag on the Lord? Do we share the blessings God has bestowed upon us with those around us? It’s one thing to share a blessing during testimony time in church but it’s quite different to share what God has done for you with an unsaved person.

This is especially true when we are experiencing trials in our lives and the Lord has brought us through them. Sharing our experience with other believers serves to strengthen them in the Lord. Sharing our experience with the unsaved world shows them that we are sheltered and protected by our Heavenly Father and He sees us through difficult times. Speaking of God’s goodness is a testimony to others of His love and power.

David goes on to say that the Lord is his refuge and fortress. We all have a picture in our minds eye depicting what a refuge and fortress is. Oh my friend, doesn’t that just excite the spirit within you? Your Heavenly Father provides a refuge which shelters and protects you from danger, distress or calamity, and ole slewfoot!

When I think of a refuge and fortress, I think of Christ’s teaching about building our house upon a rock. I believe David built his spiritual house upon this rock through his faith in his God. His rock was God. There are countless Scriptures which show God as the rock. One that I love is, For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God? (2 Sam 22:32) David knew this rock intimately because he ran to this rock, his refuge and fortress, in time of need. 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. (Psa 61:2)

When I was first saved, I remember reading, And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. (1 Cor. 10:4) Christ is our Rock!! I noticed that the word rock was capitalized. So I did a word search in my e-Sword for the word rock to see if rock was capitalized anywhere else! At this point, I almost came unglued! Here are the verses for you! Be ready to be blessed as you see verses depicting our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!

He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. (Deut. 32:4)

But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation. (Deut. 32:15)

Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee. (Deut. 32:18 )

How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up? (Deut. 32:30)

For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges. (Deut. 32:31)

The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. (2 Sam. 23:3) (Christ speaking to the Father!!)

And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. (1 Cor. 10:4)

A simple word search revealed that the word rock appears 119 times in 109 verses. Out of the 119 occurrences, it is capitalized seven times! Seven is God’s number for perfection! Christ is our perfect gift and the Jews’ spotless Lamb and sacrifice. Christ is revealed throughout the Word in total perfection! Rejoice, oh my soul! What lovely nuggets You have given to me this morning, Lord!! What better refuge and fortress can be provided than by the Rock of our salvation, the Lord, Jesus Christ!

Dear God…
I never cease to be amazed
At the truths Your Word provide
I run to my Rock and refuge
In Your fortress I do hide

Peace

March 10th, 2015
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10931647_915874575098254_2806204772266512045_oPhotography by Connie Wentworth

Psalm 119:165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

The structure of this verse is so wonderful when one takes a few minutes to meditate on it. In so doing, we receive a blessing beyond words. The Lord God tells us that we will receive abundant peace if we love His law (the Word) and nothing will be a stumbling block or an enticement to us. Noah Webster defines the word “offend” as:

To disturb, annoy, or cause to fall or stumble.

Great peace have they that love thy law, and nothing shall offend them.

Have there been things in life which have been a stumbling block or an enticement to you? Are you quickly able to discern what should be done? The amount of spiritual discernment one has is equivalent to the amount of time spent in the Word. The more you are in the Word of God, the less you will be coming face-to-face with stumbling blocks and enticements in your own life.

It all boils down to what your priorities are. Do you spend ten minutes in the morning doing a devotional and call that your time with the Lord? How would you like to have only ten minutes of time with your spouse or your children? Would that be enough? Of course not. How much time do you spend on the internet? Is it more than the time you spent with the Lord? I’ve been in this situation and so I speak from experience. So I ask you:

Do you spend time on the internet and neglect your husband?
Do you spend time on the internet and leave your children to the television?
Is your house a disaster while you are surfing?

If so, the internet has enticed you and has become a stumbling block. There is no peace in that. Instead, you work frantically to get caught up on your chores – you’re bushed when hubby comes home so he gets what’s left over of your personality – you rush to get dinner ready – your kids are hyper because they’ve been sitting in front of the idiot box for too long and you wonder why they are uncontrollable. Priorities – priorities – priorities.

How different your day would have been if you had reversed the roles and spent more time in the Word, then your hubby, then your children, then your chores, and finally a few minutes for the internet, if any time is left. There is much to glean on the internet, however, it is a huge time waster.

So, how can we receive the abundant peace the Lord promises in Ps. 119:165? We must love His law. You cannot love what you have merely scanned over for a few minutes a day. Don’t believe me? Think of your favorite book – how many times have you read it over? You must have read it more than once because you say it is your favorite. I remember reading The Diary of Anne Frank over and over to the point where I knew what page to find a certain passage! I loved this book – and still do. However, do I love God’s Word more?

Although we have repented and received Christ as our Saviour, it cannot end there. Ten minutes a day in His Word won’t be enough to get you to the point where you “love God’s law”! Loving God’s law doesn’t come with hours of reading either. Loving God’s law is obeying it. And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. (1 Sam 15:22b) You can read the Word all day long but if you don’t obey it, your reading is in vain, my friend.

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. (Psa 119:165) The bottom line is if you love God’s Word by obeying it, He will give you abundant peace to the point where nothing will be a stumbling block or enticement to you. Nothing? That’s what this verse says. Nothing! However, you can only claim this if you love His law and obey it!

Are you being enticed today? Are there stumbling blocks in your life? The more you’re in the Word, the less you’ll have them. It’s a wonderful cure!

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