Maranatha Devotionals

As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place. (Pro 27:8 ) The chick thinks he can leave the nest for a moment to check out the world around him. Mother’s not in sight, here’s his big chance. He looks around – everything looks safe. He takes one small step outside the nest, pauses and looks around for predators. Still safe. So he takes a few more steps. Suddenly, a hawk swoops down from above and snatches him! The chick’s adventure cost him his life.

I love that the Lord picked a bird to convey a message to us. God wants us to think of these illustrations as we read His Word. He put them in there for a reason. There is always a good lesson to be learned by an illustration. We see this evidence in the parables Christ shared with His disciples. We know that this bird had to be a chick because of the word wandereth. The adult bird does not wander because he is quite aware of the dangers lurking about. He has learned to be careful. The nest is his haven. Not only is it his resting place but it protects him.

The Lord warns us that it is just as bad for a man to wander from his place as well. What place could that be? Surely, God does not mean that we should not wander from our homes. We must go out to work, to church, and carry on with life. I believe the Lord is telling us not to wander from our place by His side. When we do, we subject ourselves to the predator of this world, the devil.

What can we find at His side? Well, Jesus is our Shepherd. He rules over the devil and all his fallen angels. They are afraid of Him. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. (Jam 2:19) Their knee shall bow to Him. 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) They have no control over us and our lives unless we allow it. What are some ways a Christian allows the devil to control us?

  • By not reading our Bibles and feeding our spirits. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psa 119:11)
  • By not praying. I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. (1Ti 2:8 )
  • By allowing unconfessed sin in our lives. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1Jo 1:9)
  • By not being faithful in the things of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. (1Co 4:2)
  • Each time we wander from our haven at the Saviour’s side, we toy with temptation. Wandering away a little more allows temptation to turn to sin. It is our choice, my friend. We don’t need to wander. But if we do, our Shepherd is so faithful that He even provides a way for us to come back. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1Co 10:13)

    Let’s learn from this little bird. As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place. (Pro 27:8 )

    Dear God…
    May I learn from this little bird
    That I must stay close by Your side
    And leaving no room for the devil
    So in Your Word I must abide

    Maranatha Devotionals

    Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. (Psa 91:13)

    Today’s Goodness from God revolves around the lion. What a majestic animal this is! What beauty this animal possesses. The Word has so much to say about the lion. As I read the verses, many compared the lion to the devil. The devil’s tactics to prey upon the believer are very much like the lion’s tactics as it preys on the weak and defenseless.

    Let’s look at some of the lion’s characteristics today and be blessed. The Lion is the King of the Jungle. My Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Juda: And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. (Rev 5:5) My Lion is the ultimate of lions.

    The female lions hunt at night or before sunrise and they hunt in packs. This reminded me of the darkness of sin and that Satan abides there. He and his minions do not cut any slack but come and attack in packs. Lions also steal food from other predators. Isn’t that just like Satan? He doesn’t play fair. He will take whatever he can get no matter what the expense. At times, lions prey on the younger of the species and the infirmed. The devil gets believers when they are at their weakest. He can attack a full grown spiritual adult but he cannot succeed because the Christian has the Shepherd watching out for him. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (1 Pet 5:8 )

    Lions can reach speeds of about 37 mph! However, they cannot run for long distances because they don’t have the endurance. Therefore, they have to get really close to their prey before they can attack. The other lions circle around the prey to prevent escape. Doesn’t that just sound like the believer’s life under attack from the devil? We are attacked in spurts, from all around at times – never for the long haul, however, because our Father wouldn’t allow that. Our Precious Father allows a way of escape for us – oh His wondrous love for us! There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1Co 10:13)

    The Book of Psalms uses lion(s) eleven times to depict the behavior of the lion and how it relates to the believer’s life. Yes, we have our bouts with ole slew foot, but the Lord has the victory over him! Each verse shows the desperation felt – placing the lion here as an example truly depicts where we are at times!

    Lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver. (Psa 7:2)

    He lieth in wait secretly as a lion in his den: he lieth in wait to catch the poor: he doth catch the poor, when he draweth him into his net. (Psa 10:9)

    Like as a lion that is greedy of his prey, and as it were a young lion lurking in secret places. (Psa 17:12)

    They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. (Psa 22:13)

    Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns. (Psa 22:21)

    Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. (Psa 91:13)

    The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing. (Psa 34:10)

    Lord, how long wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions. (Psa 35:17)

    My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword. (Psa 57:4)

    Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth: break out the great teeth of the young lions, O LORD. (Psa 58:6)

    The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God. (Psa 104:21)

    We may not have the enemies David had but we do fight against the flesh, evil and the devil. Everyone’s battle may be different but they are battles nonetheless. We should not underestimate the devil’s power. He is not compared to the lion for nothing. The devil waits to devour us – he waits until we are weak and never, ever plays fair.

    In the end, however, the lion will be brought down from being a predator to being a big cat. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD. (Isa 65:25) He will no longer devour flesh but will eat straw! The devil will be brought down by the King of Kings, the Lion of the Tribe of Juda and He will defeat sin once and for all.

    Dear God…
    Your creation amazes me
    I stand in wondrous awe
    Each creature You designed
    For enjoyment one and all

    Maranatha Devotionals

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

    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. Strong’s defines the word “offend” as:

    H4383
    מכשׁל מכשׁול
    mikshôl mikshôl
    mik-shole’, mik-shole’
    Masculine from H3782; a stumblingblock, literally or figuratively (obstacle, enticement (specifically an idol), scruple): – caused to fall, offence, X [no-] thing offered, ruin, stumbling-block.

    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!

    BLEST ARE THE UNDEFILED IN HEART
    by Isaac Watts

    Blest are the undefiled in heart,
    Whose ways are right and clean;
    Who never from Thy law depart,
    But fly from every sin.

    Blest are the men that keep Thy Word,
    And practice Thy commands;
    With their whole heart they seek the Lord,
    And serve thee with their hands.

    Great is their peace who love Thy law;
    How firm their souls abide!
    Nor can a bold temptation draw
    Their steady feet aside.

    Maranatha Devotionals

    Psalm 100:4-5, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. (4) For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. (5)”

    As I read these two verses this morning, the first thing that struck me was that we are to enter the Lord’s presence not only with a thankful heart but we must put action to that thankfulness by saying so and blessing Him. We have so much to be thankful for, my friend!

    If you are one who looks at the world with a pessimistic viewpoint, you won’t be able to see why you should be thankful. In fact, you’re reading this and saying, “Yeh, RIGHT! Easy for you to say! You don’t know what I’m going through!” Do you truly believe that you are the only one going through trials? Every believer has a cross to bear. Every last one of us has something they are going through. What makes you think that your trial is greater than someone else’s? Everyone is allowed the wonderful opportunity to deny himself and follow the Lord. In so doing, they “pick up their cross” [whatever the trial(s) of their life will be] and follow the Lord. And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. Luke 9:23 Notice the word daily? It’s not a one-time thing, my friend. Each day has its challenges and each day we must choose to take that challenge and follow Christ and His will for us.

    I doubt very much any of us can say that we have been tried as much as, or even as close to, Job. If you haven’t spent time in the Book of Job, you should. You would glean so much and it would help you through your trials – especially if you are that pessimist. I know from my own experiences that each trial the Lord has allowed me to go through has built my faith in Him. The more my faith is built, the more I trust Him to take care of these trials. With that comes comfort – what’s in my heart will show on my face. The pessimist’s face reflects how he handles each trial – it’s written all over his face. He does not stop worrying or complaining. He does not spend the extra time in the Word that he so desperately needs. He does not rejoice in the midst of the trial to encourage himself. This was true of Job when his friends came to see him. They didn’t recognize him. Now I can’t say as I blame Job because the trials he went through were enormously overwhelming. However, we still have something to learn from this.

    Our trials are also a testimony to believers and unbelievers alike. They can see where our trust lies through our actions. Our trials also reveal who our true friends are – we saw this so evident in Job’s own life. These friends (Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar and Elihu) didn’t lift Job up in his time of need. We must remember that our friends are sinners like we are and will fail us from time-to-time. We must remember that we have a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother and that is Jesus Christ. (Prov. 18:24) He will NEVER fail us. Be careful as to whose counsel you get when you are in the midst of a trial. Be sure that all counsel aligns with the Word before you act on anything. I’ve learned this through experience. We are not thinking at our best when we are in the midst of trial. It is best to wait on the Lord and let Him show us what He wants us to do. (Is. 40:31) The Lord is faithful and will show you what to do, whether through the Word, the counsel of your spouse, or your Pastor, etc. HE will encourage you!

    My trials have always confirmed my faith in the Lord. After reading Job, I see that God restored his earthly possessions, his health, gave him more children and God even restored his marriage. Job was struck from all sides yet look how blessed he was of God because he depended on his foundation, his faith. How much more should we? Are we tried more than he was? I don’t think so. Are we tried more than those precious saints accounted in Fox’s Book of Martyrs? I don’t think so. Yes, some of you are struggling with physical problems that seem to overwhelm you. But your trial is no greater than the dear woman who has gotten saved and yet her dear husband remains unsaved. I’ve been down that road and would never wish this on anyone. Yes, they are two different types of trials, but trials none-the-less. Each person feels as though their trial is the greater. Each person feels as though they are at the end of their rope. Don’t belittle someone’s trial to make yours appear greater. If you are doing this, you are focused on yourself, my friend, and not on the will of God.

    Remember, your “cross” (your trial) is yours! It’s not more than you can handle because that would make God a cruel God and we know that He is a faithful God. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Cor 10:13) Only you can glorify God through this trial – no one else. Do you take this trial as an opportunity to bring glory to God or to wallow in self pity? Do you take this trial as an opportunity to grow in your faith or do you run from it and smear God’s precious name in the mud? The choice is yours.

    Dear Lord…
    Help me to always remember
    What You have done for me
    Each time a trial comes forward
    May I be found on bended knee

    Maranatha Devotionals

    Psalm 120-1-4, 7 [A Song of degrees.] In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me. (1) Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue. (2) What shall be given unto thee? or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue? (3) Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper. (4) I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war. (7)

    Have you ever been in a quandary like this psalmist? Have you ever been in a situation where lies were spoken against you yet the liar refused to see the error of his ways? If so, how did you handle it? Who did you run to? Did you run to others to gather your defenses? This psalmist ran to the Lord and cried unto Him. This is the perfect place to start. God will deal with this offender – God will allow judgment to fall on this offender. God is not mocked.

    The Lord is clear in His Word as to how to deal with liars – with those who seriously offend us. Matthew 18:15-18 outlines it out for us:

    Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. (Mat 18:15)But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. (Mat 18:16)

    And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. (Mat 18:17)

    Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Mat 18:18 )

    There is proper order to follow in Christ’s church. Go to the offender alone. If he doesn’t listen, take one or two with you. If he doesn’t listen, bring them before the church. If they still do not listen, they are to be regarded as a “heathen” (Matt. 18:17) or a “publican”! Verse 18 is even more interesting. Matt. 18:18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. The Lord says that the offender may have moved on from your church to another, but if he still has not repented, his actions are “bound in heaven”! Once this offender repents, it is loosed in heaven. This offender may have moved on, possibly serving in another church, but his actions are still recorded and are still bound in heaven. How can his ministries be blessed? They can’t, not until he repents and his actions are loosed in heaven. I have read these verses many times but never associated verse 18 with the previous three verses. This is serious business!

    Our Pastor just preached on this yesterday morning. I think this is the first time I ever heard a message on church discipline! I’ve been saved for over 26 years! It is a needed message in today’s world. Our churches are filled with lackadaisical Christians. They come once a week and think they’ve given God their all. You also have those Christians who are whited sepulchres – they appear righteous on the outside but their insides are like dead men’s bones. One of Pastor’s comments stuck with me. He said that the Lord put these verses on church discipline there so that we would learn to fear Him. Surely, we cannot believe that we can continue in our sin and get away with it. No, no one is perfect. We all sin. However, Matt. 18:15-18 deal with those who offend another and are confronted with it.

    Have you been offended by one of your brethren? Have you told them so? It could very well be that they haven’t a clue that they have sinned against you. Before you complain about it, you have clear instructions on how to deal with it in Psalm 120 and in Matt. 18:15-18. When you have gone to the Lord first and asking Him for wisdom and a heart for reconciliation, then you can follow the principles outlined in Matt. 18. With this inspired process, you chance to win a brother over. That teaches those who are spiritually immature to grow in the Lord. It teaches us to give grace to those who see their error and forgive them.

    But, on the other hand, if that person is unrepentant, the Lord provides direction in how to deal with that as well. God does not leave His children in the dark. He is the God of light and truth. He provides the proper guidelines for us. I’m so thankful that we do not have to react as the world.

    Early in my Christianity, I was overheard by a believer when I spoke what I then thought was one of those “little white lies”! I praise God for that believer’s boldness toward me. She pulled me aside and corrected me and showed me in the Word what I had done wrong. She was not kind but she was not rude either. I remember that to this day. I remember how convicted and embarrassed I was and the Holy Spirit used that to grow me. If I had been prideful and refused to listen, I would have hurt not only myself but those I affected with my “little white lie.” Of course, there aren’t any little white lies – they are all lies. That would be what the father of lies would have us to believe. A lie is a lie and I found that out quickly.

    I praise God for pastors like mine who do not fear to preach the whole counsel of God! I can’t help but think of Ananias and Sapphira and how Peter discovered their lie and they were struck down dead because of it. Did it stop there? No. God used it in His church. And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things. (Act 5:11) As a church, we must fear the punishment that comes from sin and allow it to put fear into us of the judgment the Father would lay on us if we continue in sin. Pay day some day! The born again believer’s eternal security is secure but punishment will come even more severely if we go unrepentant. Whew! This taught me not to mess around with God.

    We don’t hear messages like this very much and we truly need to. The church no longer fears – we have lost our testimony to the unsaved world – we live like them and think that we will go unpunished.

    Thank You, Lord, for your Word and Your guidance through it. Help me to make the right choices according to Your Word because I fear the repercussions. I know this will keep me in the center of Your will.

    Maranatha Devotionals


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

    Oh what a blessing this verse is when one of God’s children is going through trials. Sometimes our burdens seem to weigh us down. But my friend, we born again believers have a Heavenly Father who cares for us and desires to relieve us of our burdens. The God of all creation wants us to call upon Him. As I pondered this thought, I did a search in my Bible software on the phrase “upon the Lord” – what comfort and joy the search results brought to me. Let me share some of them with you:

    In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears. (2 Sam. 22:7)And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called upon the LORD; and he answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering. (1 Chron. 21:26)

    Thus the children of Israel were brought under at that time, and the children of Judah prevailed, because they relied upon the LORD God of their fathers. (2 Chron. 13:18 )

    I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. (Psalm 18:3)

    In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. (Psalm 18:6)

    For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. (Psalm 37:9)

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

    Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among them that call upon his name; they called upon the LORD, and he answered them. (Psalm 99:6)

    I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place. (Psalm 118:5)

    Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us. (Psalm 123:2)

    But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isa 40:31)

    And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction. (1 Cor. 7:35)

    Our Father cares for His children so much and longs to have this close relationship with us. So many of us take this for granted and don’t go to Him with all our cares. Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (1 Pet 5:7) Don’t you desire to run to a place where the Father is waiting to listen to your every word? He is not distracted by the television. He is not indifferent to your needs. He will be as close to you as you allow Him to be.

    Dear God…
    I want to be so close to You … so much so that one can tell by my actions that I have come in contact with You! May you be glorified in my every thought, word and deed! Amen

    Maranatha Devotionals

    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.

    Maranatha Devotionals

    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

    Maranatha Devotionals

    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.

    Maranatha Devotionals

    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

    Maranatha Devotionals

    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

    Maranatha Devotionals

    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.

    Maranatha Devotionals

    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

    Maranatha Devotionals

    Psalm 100:4-5, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. (4) For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. (5)”

    As I read these two verses this morning, the first thing that struck me was that we are to enter the Lord’s presence not only with a thankful heart but we must put action to that thankfulness by saying so and blessing Him. We have so much to be thankful for, my friend!

    If you are one who looks at the world with a pessimistic viewpoint, you won’t be able to see why you should be thankful. In fact, you’re reading this and saying, “Yeh, RIGHT! Easy for you to say! You don’t know what I’m going through!” Do you truly believe that you are the only one going through trials? (Ecc. 1:9) Every believer has a cross to bear. Every last one of us has something they are going through. What makes you think that your trial is greater than someone else’s? Everyone is allowed the wonderful opportunity to deny himself and follow the Lord. In so doing, they “pick up their cross” [whatever the trial(s) of their life will be] and follow the Lord. And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. Luke 9:23 Notice the word daily? It’s not a one-time thing – each day has its challenges and each day we must choose to take that challenge and follow Christ and His will for us.

    I doubt very much any of us can say that we have been tried as much as, or even as close to, Job. If you haven’t spent time in the Book of Job, you should. You would glean so much and it would help you through your trials – especially if you are that pessimist. I know from my own experiences that each trial the Lord has allowed me to go through has built my faith in Him. The more my faith is built, the more I trust Him to take care of these and future trials. With this comes comfort – what’s in my heart will show on my face. The pessimist’s face reflects how he handles each trial – it’s written all over his face. He does not stop worrying or complaining. He does not spend the extra time in the Scriptures that he so desperately needs. He does not rejoice in the midst of the trial to encourage himself. This was true of Job when his friends came to see him. They didn’t recognize him. (Job 2:12) Now I can’t say as I blame Job because the trials he went through were enormously overwhelming. However, we still have something to learn from this.

    Our trials are also a testimony to believers and unbelievers alike. They can see where our trust lies through our actions. Our trials also reveal who our true friends are – we saw this evident in Job’s own life. These friends (Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar and Elihu) didn’t lift Job up in his time of need. We must remember that our friends are sinners like we are and will fail us from time-to-time. We must also remember that we have a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother and that is Jesus Christ. (Prov. 18:24) He will NEVER fail us. Be careful where your counsel comes from in the midst of a trial. Be sure that all counsel aligns with the Scriptures before you act on anything. I’ve learned this through experience. We are not thinking at our best when we are in the midst of trial. It is best to wait on the Lord and let Him show us what He wants us to do. (Isaiah 40:31) The Lord is faithful and will show you what to do, whether through the Word, the counsel of your spouse, or your Pastor, etc. HE will encourage you!

    My trials have always confirmed my faith in the Lord. After reading Job, I see that God restored his earthly possessions, his health, gave him more children and God even restored his marriage. Job was struck from all sides yet look how blessed he was of God because he depended on the foundation of his faith. How much more should we? We have the Scriptures to encourage us and speak to us! Are we tried more than Job was? I don’t think so. Are we tried more than those precious saints in Fox’s Book of Martyrs? I don’t think so. Yes, some of you are struggling with physical problems that seem to overwhelm you. But your trial is no greater than the dear woman who has gotten saved and yet her dear husband remains unsaved. I’ve been down that road and would never wish this on anyone. Yes, they are two different types of trials, but trials none-the-less. Each person feels as though their trial is the greater one. Each person feels as though they are at the end of their rope. Don’t belittle someone’s trial to make yours appear greater. If you are doing this, you are focused on yourself, my friend, and not on the will of God.

    Remember, your “cross” (your trial) is yours! It’s not more than you can handle because that would make God a cruel God and we know that He is a faithful God. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Cor 10:13) Only you can glorify God through this trial – no one else. Do you take this trial as an opportunity to bring glory to God or to wallow in self pity? Do you take this trial as an opportunity to grow in your faith or do you run from it and smear God’s precious name in the mud? The choice is yours.

    Maranatha Devotionals

    Once upon a time there was a leafy tree in a field. Leaves grew densely on the tall branches. The roots were deeply into the ground. The tree was the most remarkable among the rest.

    The tree then became the home for some birds. They built their nests and they lived on his branches. The birds made holes on him, and they hatched their eggs within the greatness of the tree. The tree felt so delighted because he was accompanied as he walked through his long lasting days.

    People were grateful for the presence of the tree. They often came over and sheltered under him. Under his branches, they sat down and opened their picnic baskets. “This tree is very useful,” that’s what the people said every time they went home from shelter. The tree was very proud hearing those compliments.

    However, time went on. The tree was beginning to be sick. His leaves and twigs were falling, then his body became thin and pale. The greatness he used to have was fading away. Birds felt reluctant to build their nests there. No one would come to sit under the tree to shelter anymore.

    The tree wept, “Oh God, why is it so hard for me? I need friends. Now no one would come close to me. Why do you take all the glory I used to have?” The tree cried loudly, so it echoed throughout the forest. “Why wouldn’t you cut me down, so I don’t have to bear this suffering?” The tree kept on crying, and his tears were running down his dry body.

    Seasons came and went, but his condition had not changed. The tree was still feeling lonely. His branches became drier and drier. Every night the tree wept and cried, until the morning broke.

    “Cheep…chirp….cheep” Ah, what was that noise? Oh, it’s a little baby bird who has just pipped from the egg. The old tree woke up from his daydream.

    “Cheep…chirp…cheep”, the noise became louder and louder. There was another baby bird. Not long after that, the tree became noisy because of the birth of new baby birds. One…two…three…and four baby birds have been born to this world. “Ah, He has answered my prayers,” exclaimed the old tree.

    The day after, there were many birds flying to the old tree. They were going to build new nests. The dry branches have turned out to attract their attention to nest there. The birds felt warmer to stay inside the dry branches instead of their place before. The number of birds was increasing and there were more kinds of them. “Wow, now my days are brighter with their presence here,” murmured the old tree gladly.

    The old tree was back to cheer again. And when he looked down, his heart was flowing with joy. There was a new little tree growing near his roots. The new tree seemed to smile at him. The tears of the old tree has grown a little tree who would continue his devotion to nature.

    Dear friends, that’s the way it is. Is there any lesson that we could take from the story? God always has secret plans for us. The Almighty God will always give answers to our questions. Even though it is not always easy to guess what the resolution is, be certain that the Omniscient God knows what’s best for us.

    When there are times He sends trials for us, in other times He gives us His overflowing blessings. The test He gives us isn’t something that can’t be overcome. When God gave the trial to the old tree, actually He DELAYED in giving His glory. God didn’t choose to cut the old tree down since He kept some secrets. God was testing his patience.

    ~Author Unknown

    Maranatha Devotionals

    Dark days are stepping stones on the path of light. Anonymous

    Dark days – we all have them! We all deal with them in different ways, as well. As parents, we are constantly being observed. Little eyes are ever watching – and they pick up on more than we give them credit. What do my actions speak to my children as the family goes through a trial? Am I confident in the Lord? Do I fall apart? Do I cry and spend hours on the phone with different people telling them all about my problems?

    ~Psalm 23:4a Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;…

    David was experiencing some very dark days as he wrote this Psalm. So much so, I imagine that he thought death was even at the door. But notice what he says. “I will fear no evil: for thou art with me”! David knew that no matter how difficult times got, they couldn’t be too bad because God was with him. Can’t you just see the confidence behind his statement? His God wasn’t standing in the distance, nor was He indisposed! David’s God, my God, is right there with me! As I go through each trial with this confidence, I get stronger in my faith.

    This strong faith is what my family needs to observe, not someone who is falling apart at the seams! We have such an awesome responsibility to raise spiritually healthy children. I would share Scriptures with my children about God’s faithfulness and His wonderful presence at all times (Hebrews 13:5 and Psalm 23:4). When difficult days came, I reminded them of those verses and related them with a particular trial we were experiencing as a family. As the trial developed and came to an end, we talked about God’s faithfulness (Psalm 89:1, Lamentations 3:22-23).

    As we saw God’s hand in our lives throughout the entire trial, we were able to rejoice as a family and speak of His goodness. My children had not only learned to trust in the Lord in all things, but they learned to rejoice at His goodness! (Psalm 31:19) So what are we teaching our children during those dark days? Are they able to see that God is using the trial as an opportunity to shine His light on us and direct our path? Are they able to rest in His care? How can they if you’re not? Each trial should be a building block in our faith and should increase our trust in God. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

    Maranatha Devotionals

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    ~Psalm 145:14 The LORD upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down.

    I heard a similar story on the movie, “Love Comes Softly” and it was such a blessing. I searched for the story on-line but couldn’t find a similar one. So I tried to do it justice with my own pen (or blog, if you will).

    A father is walking along the forest with his little girl. Even though he was holding her hand, her ankle twisted as they crossed over fallen trees along the pathway. She fell onto the fallen tree and scraped her knee. The father immediately picked up his crying child and held her in his arms until she was calmed. He then took out his little first aid kit from his backpack and cleaned the scrape. The medication he applied stung but his little girl was brave and did not cry.

     

    “Daddy,” asked the little girl, “why did you let me slip?”

    Her father responded, “Oh sweetheart, I didn’t let you trip. I was holding your hand. It just happened! The important thing is that I was there to pick you up, comfort you and apply ointment on your wound. I will always be there to do that, no matter what kind of falls you have in your life time!”

    You may think that God is cruel at times for allowing you to go through some pretty difficult trials.  Inspite of your “falls,” God is right there and promises to hold you, comfort you and apply ointment to your wounds.  All you have to do is allow Him to do so!

    If God sees it good to strike with one hand, He will support with the other (Watson, Gleanings , 63).”
    Thomas Watson

    Maranatha Devotionals

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    ~Matthew 6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

    How often do we really desire God’s will in our lives? If God’s will coincides with ours, we’re more apt to accept it. But what if it goes against what we want? It is not our nature to desire anything that would be difficult in life. We do not wish for sickness, heartache, and difficult trials. However, there are times that God allows sickness, heartache and difficult trials to draw us closer to Him. He also allows them so that we can be a help to others who are going through the same thing. All that we go through in life should be a testimony to God’s goodness and His faithfulness. It’s a testimony to our Lord, Jesus Christ!

    So when we go through difficulties, let us be thankful because we know that it is God’s will for us and He will be sure to help us through. (I think of the Footprints in the Sand poem!)  God never gives us more than we can handle.

    Fiery trials make golden Christians.
    Charles Haddon Spurgeon

    Maranatha Devotionals

    ~1 Samuel 17:37 David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee. 

     

    ~1 Samuel 17:45 Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. 

     

    ~1 Samuel 17:47 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. 

    As I lay in bed reading last night, this account of David and his battle with Goliath just jumped off the pages and encouraged my heart so much. We have all heard this account numerous times, some of you preachers have probably preached on it several times. But have we truly stopped to think about the little details the Lord has given us?

    I once read that David was approximately 15 years old when he killed the 9-foot Goliath. Several things impressed me about this account.

    • He had already killed a lion and a bear
    • He recognized that God brought him through that and he was confident that God would bring him through the trial with Goliath
    • David was so confident that he confronted Goliath with the statement showing he was not afraid of Goliath’s sword because he had God on his side
    • David recognized that God’s solutions are not with the sword and that the battle was the Lord’s

    David saw the trial ahead of him — a 9-foot soldier with the armor to match his size. How many 9-foot giants have we had in our own lives? Each trial seems to be greater than the last. We’re just now overcoming our battle with discouragement. I didn’t even get a feeling at all that David was discouraged over his upcoming battle with Goliath, did you? I only noticed confidence on David’s part in this account.

    Will we look at our next trial in the same manner David did? David recognized Who helped him with the lion and the bear. So much so, he had confidence that this same God would help him with the next trial. Also, he didn’t keep that confidence hidden away in his heart. David had a testimony before the people. They were able to see where his confidence came from.

    David announced for all to hear, including his nine-foot giant, that he had the Lord of Hosts on his side and that the battle was the Lord’s. Our bout with discouragement was quite a trial in itself. No, it isn’t fighting lions and bears or nine-foot giants, but the circumstances sure did feel like it, didn’t it? But God brought us out of this discouragement. Our hearts have been encouraged once again. We need to glean from this account and realize why God looked at David as the apple of His eye.

    It is this same Lord who brought us through our discouargement. It is this same Lord who encouraged our hearts and helped our eyes to look up. The battles in our lives belong to the Lord, my friend. There is great comfort in that. Discouragement was our Goliath. But it is the same God of David who helped defeat our Goliath and gave us wonderful peace and joy once again.

    ~Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. 

    My Shepherd cares for my every need
    In my life and along life’s way

    He gives me such peace with every trial
    Reviving my weary heart each day

    Maranatha Devotionals

    When I am weary of well doing, I need to remind myself of just who God is. He is not mere man. Man can let us down but God will never let us down.

    God created us in His image with a desire to fellowship with Him. Without salvation, we cannot fellowship with God. Prior to salvation, man feels empty within. Man feels as though there is something missing in his life. That is why he is always in pursuit of happiness and joy. He does not find this joy until the fellowship with God is restored.

    ~Psalm 121:1 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

    This Psalm is one of my favorites. It reveals to me man’s attempt to seek after God and God’s reward for doing so.

    The Psalmist knew that his God could help him with anything. This verse reminded me of when we were fighting as children saying, “My Dad is bigger than your Dad!” David says His God is the Creator of the universe and will surely help him!

    ~Psalm 121:2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.

    It is one thing to believe in God but quite another to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God will help you. How does God help us? As I meditated on this Psalm, I realized that the Father helps us in every aspect of our lives:

    ~Psalm 121:3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.

    Since God never sleeps, we can be assured that He will assist us in our spiritual walk if we allow Him. That is the most important thing for a believer. When we are walking with the Lord, all things are “right” in life. Even the hurdles are easier and manageable because He is guiding.

    ~Psalm 121:4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

    It’s as if the Psalmist wanted to emphasize this point. God is not human that He tires and needs to take a nap. He is always standing watch over us. What comfort! Not only is God watching over us, but He is the same God that has cared for Israel these thousands of years! It almost seems like a resume to me!

    ~Psalm 121:5 The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.

    Not only is this the God who cares for Israel, but He is our keeper! When things get “hot” in life with struggles and cares, our God will provide us with the same kind of care as He promised in Psalm 23 as our Shepherd! What a blessing! 🙂

    ~Psalm 121:6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.

    Our Heavenly Father, the Creator of the sun, moon and entire universe, will not allow us to be defeated – both day and night! We are His children – born into His family through the precious blood of His Son, Jesus Christ! We have a promise that our Heavenly Father is faithfully watching over us!

    ~Psalm 121:7 The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.

    ~Psalm 121:8 The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

    The best thing ever is to know that our Heavenly Father has our salvation preserved for all time. The born again believer does not need to worry about his salvation because it is not in the hands of a mere man. Our salvation is in the hands of the God who never sleeps, my friend! Who can take it away from God?

    No matter where we go in life, we can rest assured that the Father is right there with us preserving every step. The steps we take (as in verse 3) are watched by God. He monitors our lives and is way ahead of us. He knows where we are going and He knows what lies ahead. We do not need to worry because He will guide us. When we are in sweet fellowship with God and we stay in tune with Him through His word, we are going to be protected.

    I am not saying that we will never go through trials. It is through trials that we are shaped into the vessel that God can use. What I am saying is that God will protect us and surround us with His love as we go through the trial. What blessing is that? The weary Christian can rest assured that the Creator of the Universe, the God of Israel, is the same God that will walk along side of him. This same God is the One who loves you and will care for you in those difficult times!

    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!