Ready Or Not

“I don’t want to die. Please don’t let me die,” he whispered in desperation. He was a world leader – loved by many, dreaded by some, questioned by others. He was a prominent figure on the world’s stage having great power and prestige, wealth and control that could not be denied. But in his final moments everything that he had or had accomplished could not extend the life of Hugo Chavez one moment nor release him from his fear of dying. David wrote of a life that could end this way. “Here now is the man who did not make God his stronghold.”
Another man came to the end of his life who was also a world leader. His résumé describes him as a ruler with great power and authority, vast wealth and owner of beautiful buildings, a soldier, a poet, one who cared deeply for others and was “a man after God’s own heart.” When he faced death he said, “When I walk through the dark valley of death I will not be afraid.”
Two different men, two different destinies because of two different choices. One lived his life with no fear of God. He sought fame and the favor of man. The other lived his life in fear of God and sought His favor, often His forgiveness but always His approval.
All of us have these same choices. We can live for ourselves, as Hugo Chavez did, seeking recognition and power and die in fear as he did. Or, we can choose to live for God as David did, serve Him faithfully with great love and passion and die as he did in peace.
PrayerThank You, Father, for the hope we have in You, Your love and salvation and the gift of eternal life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 52:7 “Here now is the man who did not make God his stronghold but trusted in his great wealth and grew strong by destroying others!” 

The Results Of Restoration

“I know I’m forgiven,” he said, “but I don’t have the same feelings I once had. Will they ever come back?”
While our salvation is established on facts, feelings play an important role in our relationship with God. They come from the Holy Spirit and from God to let us know what our condition or relationship is with Him. If there is joy and gladness in our lives, we know God is with us. When we are uncomfortable in His presence and feel a sense of alienation from Him, we know there is a need for us to confess our sins and repent.
When we go to God and experience His restoration, He, as well as others, will see the fruit of His forgiveness in our lives. David sets our example: “Then – after my restoration when I am given a recreated heart – I will teach transgressors Your ways and sinners will turn back to You.” When we receive a renewed heart there is a renewed desire in us to worship and witness for God. “Old things have passed away and all things are new again!” When we once again walk in God’s ways we, then once again, do God’s work.
Is anyone a more powerful witness to the wonder of God’s grace than someone who has been redeemed from a hell they created for themselves by being disobedient to God’s laws? When we recover from our own self-inflicted wounds, we can recognize the pain and hurt in others who are suffering as we once suffered. We become more open to their needs because we “have been there, done that, suffered and recovered” because God continues to love us and then continues to grant us His mercy and grace.
And the more we worship the more we witness. Our motivation to witness comes from worship.
Prayer: Grant us, Lord, a journey with You that leads us to a life that is dedicated to worshiping You and witnessing to others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 51:12-13 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. 

The High Cost Of Cleanliness

“Liquid gold” is a hot, black-market commodity on the “streets” these days. With rising prices and shrinking incomes people are becoming very creative in making ends meet. One new “industry” is stealing “Tide” – the popular laundry detergent.
Last year, police in Maryland broke up a crime ring that was stealing Tide and taking it to a nail salon that was buying the detergent and then reselling it to stores in other countries. Thieves would fill up their shopping carts with the product and then run for the exit doors.
Tide became the “cleaning agent of choice” because it is such a popular brand and has high resale value. It is used by homes in all countries no matter their income bracket – upper, middle or lower. One police detective told The Daily, “It’s the item to steal.”
We use cleaning products to get soil out of clothes and soap to get our bodies clean but they will not cleanse our hearts from sin. In fact, when David asked for God’s “cleansing” for his sins, he used the word “purge” which means un-sin me – purify me – from my uncleanness. He was so disturbed by the guilt he felt from the sins he committed that he used a word that was often used to describe the cleansing of a leper’s house. He wanted God to know he was serious and desperate for His cleansing.
Look at his words closely: “blot out,” “wash,” “cleanse me,” “hide Your face from me.” These words enable us to understand how much he wanted God’s forgiveness. His cry for forgiveness opens the curtain of his soul where we see a heart that was broken by sin, a mind deeply troubled because of sin, the solution for the removal of sin and his need for God to remove that sin and cleanse him.
What an example David set for every one of us!
Prayer: Father, trouble our hearts as You troubled David’s heart when we sin and give us no peace until we truly repent. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 51:7-8a Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness. 

Nothing But The Truth

After a sermon on “Hospitality Evangelism” the Harts were convinced that they should invite their unsaved neighbors to dinner. Their pastor clearly and carefully explained a process to witness God’s plan of salvation after the meal.
On the night of the dinner, the host and hostess were both anxious to begin and end the evening with real-life situations and Christian standards that presented “God at work in their household.”
After sitting down for dinner, Mr. Hart said to five-year-old Bruce, “Would you please say grace?”
Shy and overcome by the drama of the situation he said, “I don’t know what to say.” Naturally, there was an awkward pause while they attempted to recover from this serious setback to their strategy to witness to their neighbors.
“Well, dear,” said Mrs. Hart with a forced smile, “just say what Daddy said at breakfast this morning.”
Obediently, Bruce folded his hands, bowed his head and said, “Oh, God, we’ve got those horrible neighbors coming to dinner tonight.”
Truth came straight from Bruce’s heart because he was filled with innocence and openness, trust and honesty. Bruce spoke the truth naturally because his heart was pure!
But what about the rest of us? Do we speak the truth?
Truth comes from our hearts when we least expect it. And it comes from what we put into our hearts. David explained it this way: “You desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.” Our God is a God of truth and wants His character to be within us and flow from us. If we fill our hearts with His Word, His truth will flow from us.
Prayer: Father, give us no rest until we fill the smallest space in our hearts with Your Word so we live and speak Your truth each day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 51:6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place. 

Taking The First Step

Addictions – whether alcohol, another kind of drug, food or sexual addiction – will lead to certain destruction and finally death unless the addict completely stops engaging in the self-destroying behavior. As simple as that sounds it is not easy to do. Why? Because addicts must take “the first step” – admit their addiction, its pervasive power over every aspect of their lives and finally recognize their inability to control or stop their self-destroying behavior and surrender that addiction to God.
David said it one way and Paul another way. David said, “I acknowledge my transgressions and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only have I sinned.” And Paul said, “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.” Two powerful statements from two of God’s most honored servants that are different in words yet identical in meaning. Two men crying out to God in a moment of extreme desperation asking for God’s love, mercy, grace, salvation and healing. It describes their battle with sin, their inadequacies to be victorious over sin and their desire to please and honor God.
We can never underestimate the strong hold sin has in our lives. Nor do we recognize our powerlessness to overcome it in our own strength. Unfortunately, one of the most used talents Satan gives to us is denial. As long as we do not admit that there is sin in our lives we do not have to deal with or confront it. We too easily live with it, unaware that it is slowly destroying us.
Robert Burns said that it would be wonderful if someone could give us a gift that would enable us to see ourselves as others see us. God did exactly that in His Word and in the life of His Son. Now it is up to us to “admit what is” and call on Him for what can be.
Prayer: It is too easy, Lord, to deceive ourselves by denying the dominating power of sin in our lives. Convict us to confess it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 51:3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.

Turn Now!

“At the next intersection make a complete ‘u’ turn and follow the direction to return to your original route,” said a calm voice wanting to correct the driver who failed to follow the “commands” coming from his GPS. “Then, in five hundred feet, make a left turn and resume your route.” It was not normal to listen to an unknown and unfamiliar voice to provide information that would direct a driver to a destination he had never seen before.
Following directions from an unknown source is risky. Trust becomes a critical – if not the most critical – factor. How do we know if the person who is giving us advice is credible and trustworthy? Is that person looking out for our best interests or wanting to play a game with our life in the balance? No doubt all of us, at one time or another, have found ourselves on a route that was wrong – either by being careless or by making a mistake.
David decided to follow a route that would take him in the wrong direction. He went against God’s GPS. As a result, he ended up being guilty of a series of sins that came from giving in to a powerful temptation. It set in motion a chain reaction that follows the normal sequence of sin: first, he faced temptation; secondly, he refused to listen to the warning of the Holy Spirit; thirdly, he refused His route of escape; fourth, he committed the sin and then suffered the consequences of the sin on himself and others. What a tragic route he followed. But out of this tragedy there was his triumph. A “voice” said to him, “you have sinned!” And he was listening.
When David heard God’s voice, (His GPS), he admitted his sins and made a “u” turn. He asked God to forgive him and He did. “Have mercy on me,” he cried, “and blot out my transgressions.” If we, like David, listen to His voice and follow His “commands,” He will lead us safely in paths of righteousness. Are you listening to God’s voice?
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for Your mercy and unfailing love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 51:1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.

A Love That Knows No Limits

Forgiveness, above everything else, is a sign of love. The more we love and value another person, the quicker we are to forgive that one if they have hurt or harmed us, injured or insulted us. Love, especially deep love, will forgive quickly and completely.
On the other hand, when someone does something to us that is on purpose, knowing that it will offend us deeply or cause us great pain, that’s another matter completely. We may replace forgiveness with grudges and wait for an appropriate opportunity to get even or settle the score.
David was threatened by his guilt and needed God’s forgiveness. It is obvious in the opening verses of Psalm 51. His guilt was destroying and overwhelming him. And, he could find nothing within himself that provided him any assurance that God would forgive him. He knew that he did not deserve God’s forgiveness. So, he appealed to God’s “lovingkindness, his steadfast love, his great compassion, his eternal compassion” – all words that are included in the translation of God’s hesed – God’s love. Why did he find it necessary to ask God to “blot out my transgressions, wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin?” He feared God’s wrath.
David realized the significance and seriousness of his sins. According to the laws that governed the children of Israel at that time, God would not forgive him for what he had done. He was frightened! Where could he go? What could he do?
Appeal to God for His mercy, faithfulness and love. And that mercy, forgiveness and love have always been and always will be available. “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse of all unrighteousness.”
Prayer: How thankful we are, Father, for Your never-ending, always-available love, mercy, grace, presence and forgiveness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 51:1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.

Need Help? Want Hope?

On one special occasion, Queen Elizabeth, decided to honor a nobleman for his service by giving him a ring. As she presented him the ring she said, “If you are ever in trouble, send the ring to me and I will help you.”
But there is one who is much more powerful than a king or a queen, a president or a premier who is available to us: “The Mighty One, God, the Lord,” declared the Psalmist. “Call upon Me in the day of trouble, I will deliver you and you will honor Me,” is His enduring promise.
The language of The Mighty One is very significant. He did not say, “Don’t call me – I’ll call you when I have time.” Nor did He say, “That problem’s insignificant” or “Your concern does not matter to me,” or “I’ll refer that to someone else later.” Our God, who is richer than the richest and stronger than the strongest and the greatest friend we can have, says to each of us, “Call me when you are facing troubles and need help. I’m always available.” Is that not exciting? If you are facing a difficult problem as you are reading this “Seed” you can put it aside – right now – and He’s waiting for You to call on Him in prayer.
Not only is He available, but He gives us the assurance that He will deliver us. What good is His availability if He is too powerless to protect us, too weak to fight for us, too poor to meet our needs? Whatever trouble we are facing – large or small, ours or someone we love – He guarantees a timely, effective and positive solution. He will deliver us when we call!
But He does make one simple request of us: “You will honor me.” The goal of our prayer must not be to bring attention to ourselves for what He has done or will do for us, it must always be to bring honor to His name in all we do!
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for the hope we have in You and Your willingness to hear our prayer and Your ability to deliver us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 50:15b  I will deliver you, and you will honor me.

Wisdom And Understanding

“You are not prepared to live,” said the professor to his philosophy class, “until you are ready to die.” Few, if any, live with that thought in mind.
When he was twenty years old, David was diagnosed with cancer. After a careful examination the attending physician said to him, “I’m sorry, but you have only a short time to live. At the most, two years.” David took the news without flinching. He had accepted Christ as his Savior six months before he was given the news.
As the disease progressed and his health deteriorated his faith continued to grow. And as his faith grew so did his willingness to witness and he gained a boldness about sharing God’s grace. On one occasion he said, “Cancer brought me to my knees and I realized I had no control over my life – only my mind.”
During a visit with one of his physicians he was asked, “Do you want to live a short time for God or a long time for nothing?” He responded by saying, “Whether I live a short time or a long time it will be for God. My life is in His hands.”
Shortly before his death his mother would walk into his room and ask, “David, are you still here?” Each time he would answer, “Yes, Mother. I’m still here.”
On the last day of his life she went into his room and asked, “David are you still here?” His reply that day was, “Yes, Mother, but not for much longer. I’m going home.” He looked around the room and said, “Mother, faith is a lighted room.”
Where does a faith like David’s come from? “God will redeem my life from the grave,” said the Psalmist, “he will surely take me to Himself.” It comes from faith in Christ.
David lived his life knowing he was ready to die. Are you?
Prayer: We are grateful, Lord, for the confidence we have in You knowing that we are redeemed through the work of Christ. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 49:15 But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead; he will surely take me to himself.

Don't Forget Your God!

Recently an item appeared on the news that told the story of a 34-year-old man suing his parents for “not preparing him to earn a living.” He asked the judge to force his parents to sell their home and from the proceeds purchase him a restaurant. Parents, he argued are responsible for providing a useful education for their children. However, this parental task is as old as mankind. It began with the children of Israel.
Psalm 48 begins with a call to praise the Lord. He is “great,” said the Psalmist, and “worthy of praise.” In between verses one and 14 the author gives many descriptions of the greatness of God and several reason why He was worthy of praise. But why is He great and why is He worthy of praise?
Contained in the Psalm is a description of the City of Zion – the “joy of the whole earth.” And what is this joy or its source? It is the City of the Great King – God Himself! And we read that “God is in her citadels; He has shown Himself to be her fortress; when kings joined forces and ‘saw her’ they fled in terror; it is the city of our God and in her temple God makes her secure forever; in His temple they meditate on His unfailing love; people in the villages are glad because of His judgments.”
The people are then told to “walk about Zion count her towers, consider well her ramparts, view her citadels that you may tell of them the next generation!”
Why were the contents of this Psalm important to the children of Israel? In His wisdom God advised the writers of this Psalm to produce a document that contained a record of God’s love and faithfulness, His goodness and guidance, His strength and power. This Psalm contains a most significant fact: Parents are to pass on to their children the fact that God, in His grace and goodness, will provide, protect and care for His children as long as they are faithful to Him.
Prayer: We thank You, Lord, for the record of Your might and majesty that gives us reasons to trust You for our salvation! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 48:14 For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end. 

Praise The Creator!

Years ago a rural farmer was driving his Model “T” into town when it stopped in the middle of a crossroad. He lifted the hood and was amazed at the wires and strange parts he had never bothered to look at previously. Confused, he walked around the car several times then got inside and tried to start it. Again and again he stepped on the starter, the engine would start, run a few seconds and then stop. In frustration he got out once again and slammed the door.
A gentleman approached him in a finely tailored suit, white shirt and tie and said, “Sir, your carburetor is out of adjustment. May I help you?”
Puzzled at the man’s appearance and offer to help he said quickly, “What do you know about this car?”
“Oh, I know very much about it,” came the reply. “I am Henry Ford and I made your car. Since I made it, I can fix it.”
God created the universe from “nothing.” Man came from His creative power. Yet, when things go wrong in God’s universe among the men He created, men generally look to other men to fix the problem or problems. Research is initiated, heads of state meet and negotiate, and conferences are held with any resolution only lasting for a short time.
Jesus taught us to pray, “Your will, Father, is to be done on earth as it is in heaven.” It was God’s plan that the planet He created would reflect His will and bring glory to His name. We know, however, that the first man and woman He created refused to follow His plan. Because of their decision all of us are affected by its results – suffering, wars and rumors of wars.
One day we know that He will return to earth, restore His creation and reign over His Kingdom. He will be exalted.
Prayer: May our hearts be encouraged, Lord, as we look forward to the day You will return and become our exalted King. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 46:10b He says, “I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Confidence Through Quietness

Noise is a major distraction. It interrupts our thoughts, disrupts our concentration and interferes with conversations. It prevents us from going to sleep and even awakens us when we do not want to be disturbed. It is often used in athletic contests and sporting events to destroy the focus of team members at critical times.
Wisely the Psalmist advises us to “Be still, and know that I am God.” Another translation presents it differently and with more clarity: “I will be still in Your presence, O God, so I can learn to know You more intimately.” For us to grow into the likeness of Christ we must become still in the presence of God.
The word still implies the need for the Christian to see, stop, think, relax, and learn the meaning of the great events that God is performing in our lives and in the lives of those around us. Our minds are usually occupied with the ordinary, day-to-day things of life that demand our constant attention. Then suddenly and with no warning we are overwhelmed with an event that consumes us and requires our complete attention – night and day until the threat passes. It is indeed difficult to be still in the midst of life’s challenges. Life’s noises bring deafness to God’s voice.
However, when we do become still in His presence, He will bring calmness to our hearts and peace to our minds. And if we truly want to know Him, as He wants us to know Him, we will take time each day to do only one thing – experience Him as we experience any other person. We will come to know others if we spend time in their presence, believe that they care for us, open our hearts to them in trust, share with them our deepest concerns and know that they do us no harm. Be still to know.
What a Friend we can have in Jesus if we take the time!
Prayer: Help us, Father, to quiet our minds before You, open our hearts to You and share our lives with You as a dear Friend. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 46:10a He says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

What Size God Do You Worship?

“Is your God a great God or a little God?” asked a well-known skeptic of an elderly gentleman known for his deep love of God.
“Well,” he said after a moment’s thought, “He’s both. He’s so great that the heavens cannot contain him, and He’s so little that He can live within my heart!”
This is the identical way that the writer of Psalm 46 spoke of his God: “The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
We often have questions about God’s involvement in our everyday affairs and concerns. “Are my personal problems, even though they are small and only matter to me, important to Him? When I have the flu and feel horrible, does it make any difference to Him? What about the threat of violence, terrorism, children being gunned down at school? What about the preacher being tried in Iran as a heretic? What about the war in Afghanistan?”
“The Lord who is Almighty,” said the Psalmist, “is with us” – not may be or should be or will be – but is with us this very moment. Wherever we are – He is. From our smallest need to our greatest problem He is with us and is always ready, willing and able to do His will for us and through us.
Yet, there is more: He is not only with us, but He is our fortress. When this Psalm was written, a fortress was a place of security and safety. It was built on an isolated, elevated place to provide protection from the enemy. It was the place to go if an enemy was approaching.
What powerful thoughts: Our God is an Almighty God who cares for each of us and protects us from any threat in life.

Prayer: Lord, we marvel at Your greatness and are humbled by Your goodness when we understand Your concern for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 46:7 The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. 


Few of us ever stop to think about the fact that the continents on planet Earth are actually afloat. Geologists have discovered that the continents continue to change their shape and form by moving plates. Volcanoes are the earth’s “heating and air-conditioning vents” that are arranged around the plates that allow them to “exhale” when the heat and pressure build. We live on a dynamic planet that constantly expands and contracts, moves and reshapes itself.
God, our Creator, did not “begin” something and then turn it “loose” to go its own way. The universe, in all of its many intricacies, reflects purpose and meaning, design and direction. If, as the geologists have proven, the earth is moving and changing and not in a fixed position, where can we find security and stake out a place where we will be safe from all of the “turbulence” of life?
Scripture always has the answer for life’s essential questions and concerns. Psalm 46 begins with the statement that “God is our refuge, our strength and our help.” That verse is followed by another statement that gives us the assurance that “we need not fear, though the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea!” In these two verses we are given God’s answer for life’s never ending uncertainties. When we face times of insecurity and instability “we do not need to fear” because our God Who created it all is in all and working out His plan for our lives.
The essential fact, however, is that we must have faith and hope. We must have unquestioning faith in our God Who created and now sustains the universe and everything and everyone in it and on it and hope in Him who does all things well.
Prayer: Grant us Your peace and the assurances that come only from You that our fears are unfounded if we trust in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 46:2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea. 

Help When You Need It

There are few things that are more important to us than our safety and security. We depend on rules and regulations for our well-being and protection. We have the police to protect us and the military to guard us. We rely on individuals we have never met to enforce laws and be alert if there is an emergency. Yet, in spite of all of the layers of defense that have been placed around us, the threats of life continue to surround us. We search for a moment of peace in these times of turbulence.
However, as Christians we must always remember that we have a resource that is always available. The Psalmist reminds us that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Not only are we reminded that God is our refuge and strength but that He is ever-present!
The word refuge means shelter. When the rains fall and the rivers rise we find a place of security in the arms of God. When days are dark and nights long we have His light to shine around us and keep us from falling. When sickness strikes and illness lingers we have the assurance of His presence and peace.
And His strength – His mighty power – is there as our shield and sword. No one would go into any battle without the proper equipment to protect and defend himself. Here, however, we are reminded that the battle belongs to our God and He will not only fight for us but will protect us from anyone who would hurt or harm us, destroy or defeat us.
And we can take great assurance that His refuge and strength are ever-present. He is with us – not He might be with us – wherever we are. We have no reason to be frightened when the world seems to be closing in on us and the pressures of life are about to overcome us. God: our refuge and strength – here, now.
Prayer: Help us to realize, Lord, Your presence in our lives and involvement in anything and everything that concerns us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 

Honor Him!

Honor gives recognition to the work of someone other than ourselves. It is placing significance, importance or value on what they have done or accomplished. It places them above us in a position that commands respect for what they have done or who they are.
To honor someone requires us, first and foremost, to be humble. We literally bow before them in recognition for what they have done for us or what they have contributed to our lives and to our well-being. What they have done has cost them something. Perhaps they have had to make a sacrifice and the price is more than we can or are able to pay them for what they have done for us.
Honoring someone is not always easy. Pride gets in the way. Self-importance or not wanting to stand aside while others move to the front of the line often complicates things. It is not easy to give credit to someone when I am obligated to them for what they have done. When we honor someone, we make them look good – often at our expense – and that at times is not easy. Who wants to admit their shortcomings or inadequacies?
The Psalmist wrote, “Honor Him for He is your Lord!” Not a very complicated statement. The problem is not understanding the statement that gives so many Christians a problem. It is in applying it. Honoring or bowing down before God is difficult. Pride gets in the way and becomes a problem for many.
Pride is what keeps us from serving Him and loving others as Jesus loved them. Pride is what keeps us from being submissive to Him when we refuse to serve Him in our churches and witness His saving grace to others who are lost and dying.
Prayer: Lord, give us a desire to become humble and honor You. Remove pride from our hearts and replace it with humility. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 45:11 Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.

A King For God's Kingdom?

A leading scientist at a convention of scientists was asked, “Is there anyone anywhere whom you know who could solve all of the problems of illness and famine, poverty and killing?”
“Indeed I do,” came his quick reply.
Astonished, the chairman of the committee asked, “Who?”
“A King!” came the quick, confident response.
In utter disbelief the chairman replied, “A king? Where can we find such a king? Where has he been hiding?”
“Oh, He is not hiding,” replied the scientist. “He has made Himself well known. It is just that people refuse to recognize Him. You see, this Man is incapable of making any mistakes, knows the power of healing – both physical healing and mental healing and He knows how to feed thousands and have food left over to feed many more. He can also take care of those without water and solve other problems that people bring to him.”
In disbelief, the chairman asked, “Who is this person you have described and where can we find him?”
“You can find Him in the Bible. He is known as Jesus. In His life on earth He did all of the things I have mentioned. And He is capable of doing many more miraculous things,” he said.
The audience was stunned as the scientist took his seat.
The Psalmist wrote, “Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of Your Kingdom.” The “throne” described in this Psalm is Christ’s throne in heaven and will last through eternity. From this throne He will rule the world in love, justice and righteousness – and all problems will finally be solved.
Prayer: Father, we look forward to that day of days when You will rule the world with Your peace that passes all understanding. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 45:6 Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.

Recognizing Reality

“People do not learn from mistakes,” said the professor. The class was confused. Most of them had been taught all of their lives that the best way to learn was from one’s mistakes.
As he looked into their puzzled faces, he continued his lecture by asking a question, “How many of you have made the same mistake twice?” Hands went up all over the classroom. “That is precisely my point. If we learned from our mistakes, we would never make the same mistake twice. We seem to learn best when someone provides us feedback. We are not honest enough with ourselves to point out our own mistakes or failures. We do not want to admit them – especially to ourselves even if we recognize them.”
The author of this Psalm recalled two important facts: When the Israelites acknowledged God as their leader and followed Him, they were victorious. “Our fathers advised us,” they said, “that it was not our swords or plans that brought victory.” God spoke to them and they realized what brought about their defeat: they trusted in their own strength! It was their defeat that caused them to be open to God’s “feedback.”
When “we pushed back our enemies in Your name,” he continued, “we trampled on our foes!” What a testimony to the power and victory that is available to us through our God!
Like Israel, we must come to the same conclusion and make the same confession with the same amount of conviction: “In Your name, Heavenly Father, we can trample on our foes.” When we read God’s Word and use it as a standard for our lives He will give us His “feedback” and provide a path for us to renew our relationship with Him. If we allow His Word to do its work, we will discover our failings and can call on Him for His grace and forgiveness and restoration.
Prayer: We pray, Almighty Lord, for a willingness to realize that apart from You there is nor will ever be any victory over our foes. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 44:5 Through you we push back our enemies; through your name we trample our foes.

Facts From Our Fathers

A family was seated together watching a science program on television describing the marvels of the rain forest. Shortly after the beginning of the program a biologist began a lecture on evolution. Mark, a bright freshman in high school, turned to his father and asked, “What do you think of that, Dad?”
“It’s not what I think, Mark,” he replied. “It’s what I know. It’s really quite simple. Something cannot come from nothing. So there had to be Someone somewhere who brought life into existence. It had to be Someone with wisdom and a plan. It had to be Someone with the power to create and control everything. It had to be God who designed what we see and know.”
Without any doubt the home was chosen by God to be the greatest center for teaching and learning on the planet. The most formative years of a child’s life are those early years of dependency when they look to a parent for the essentials of life. In the wisdom of God, He planned for the child to be open and filled with trust as their needs for the basics of life unfold.
One of those needs is to come to know the goodness and grace of God. Children are blessed when parents know the book of Books, its message and meaning, its plan and purpose and share it with their gifts from God.
The writer of Psalm 44 in verse one makes this clear: “We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us what you did...” How blest children are when they can say with the children of the writer of this Psalm those wonderful words.
Today most children are left to discover the important lessons of life from teachers who do not believe in our God, the Creator God, the Saving and Redeeming God. Unfortunately, if children are not taught the truth, they will not learn the truth.
Prayer: Father, we pray for children who have no one to teach them Your truth. May someone reach out to them today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 44:1 We have heard it with our ears, O God; our ancestors have told us what you did in their days, in days long ago.

Looking For Guidance?

Chris came home from school with a note describing his involvement in a fight with his best friend Will. They had a major disagreement over whose turn it was at bat and ended up in the principal’s office.
Embarrassed, his mother was lecturing him about the importance of settling disagreements without fighting. “I want you to be good!” she demanded.
Looking her in the eye he said, “But I don’t want to be good if I can’t have my way! That’s being a sissy!”
Many have an attitude like Chris’. It’s my way or no way. But there was one man who chose to be different. “Send forth Your light and Your truth, and let them guide the place where you dwell.”
The Psalmist was in a difficult situation. He had strayed from God and was well aware of his need for restoration. He had lost his close and personal relationship with God who had been his stronghold. He was struggling in a life filled with darkness. He was well aware that the “light” that guided him was gone from his life and he was wandering aimlessly looking for forgiveness and direction. No matter what he possessed or who he knew there was only One who could help him.
In his heart of hearts he knew that he needed God’s light to be his guiding light and His truth to lead him to his Redeemer. Without His light to lead him and His truth to transform and restore him he had no hope. Finally, in desperation He asked God to give him His light and His truth that would lead him into His presence and he would once again enjoy His salvation.
This Psalm begins with “O God” – a God who seems far and distant. It ends with “My God” – one who is in his heart!
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for being the light of our life and the giving us Your truth that leads us to dwell with You in peace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 43:3 Send me your light and your faithful care, let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. 

Storms And Struggles

As James was preparing to leave for the weekend, the vice-president called him into his office and asked him to sit down across the desk from him. In a somber voice he said, “I’m sorry, James, but we are reducing the sales staff and this was you last day with this company. Here’s a severance check that will help you make the transition.”
Now he was not only out of work but facing a difficult job market. He was overwhelmed with the prospect of going home and telling his wife the news. She was a stay at home mom with a child that was paralyzed from an automobile accident. He could not help but ask, “Where’s God in all of this? Is He for me or against me?” Those certainly are fair questions.
Life is often one storm after another. None of us can escape the fierce winds, raging waters or crashing waves. Sometimes they come swiftly. Other times they seem to brew slowly and painfully. Often a problem that started as a whispering breeze turns out to be a tornado.
The Psalmist said, “Deep calls to deep...all your waves and breakers have swept over me.” It sounds as though he is accusing God of a conspiracy. But that is not true. He wants us to realize that our God is a God who, in the midst of life’s storms, will never forsake us.
Think of it this way: In the depth of life’s storms and in the midst of life’s sorrows, God wants us to call on Him for the depth of His sympathy and support. He is ever present and all powerful and His grace is more than sufficient.
Never forget that whatever sorrow we experience in our lives Jesus experienced it before us. He has been there, endured that and understands our greatest sorrows and deepest needs.
Prayer: We are comforted, Lord, to know that You have gone before us, know us and care for us. Give us your grace to survive. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 42:7 Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.

Here's Hope!

Jake Hess, the great gospel singer was known to say, “Things are going to get better, get worse or stay about the same.” How true!
We all seem to face three types of trouble: things that trouble us from the past, things that are troubling us now and things we expect to trouble us in the future. Trouble seems to be a large part of everyone’s life.
David had his troubles, too. In fact, his troubles were so severe that he was downcast by what had happened in his past and when he viewed his future he became discouraged by what he expected would someday happen to him.
However, one day when he realized what was going on, he asked himself two questions: “Why are you downcast, O my soul, Why so disturbed within me?” The word “downcast” means “to be depressed” and the word “disturbed” means “to growl like a bear.”
When he looked within himself at his depression, he became so disturbed that it sounded like a bear was growling inside of him. But suddenly, he decided to look upward and said to his soul, – himself – “Put our hope in God,” not in yourself!
And when he did he said, “For I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” His inner feelings expressed themselves in questions of despair and defeat. In that moment of loneliness his faith was tested and tried but not trampled by doubt. Ultimately he triumphed by giving himself some great advice: “Put your hope in God,” he said, “and continue to praise Him!” And he did.
Faith and doubt often appear as twins. But when doubt was about to triumph, his hope surged within him and he overcame the troubles he faced by the hope he had in God. What an example for us to follow.
Prayer: Father, in our moments of despair may we turn to You with a never-ending hope that assures us of Your presence. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 42:5b Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. 

"Soul Food"

“Mother,” cried Sally as she climbed into bed, “you forgot my soul!”
“What do you mean, Sweetheart?” asked her Mom. “I don’t understand.”
“Well, when we said our prayers you didn’t say, ‘I pray the Lord my soul to keep.’ What if God forgets about my soul tonight? What will happen?”
It is difficult to watch television, listen to the radio, or read a paper or magazine without the ever present emphasis to lose weight, get in shape, have cosmetic surgery or try a new shampoo. We are constantly challenged to nourish our bodies more carefully, strengthen our muscles to become healthier or do something to look more appealing.
Certainly God expects us to care for our bodies. He created us in His image and gave us the breath of life. But too often we are encouraged to care for our bodies at the expense of caring for our souls.
David longed desperately for God’s presence in his life. He compared his longing for God to that of a thirsty deer panting for water. “My soul,” he cried, “thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?”
The Psalmist had a “thirst” in his soul that could only be satisfied by God’s “living water” – much like a deer panting for water.
God places in each of our hearts a thirst that cannot be quenched by the waters of this world. As appealing as they are – fame and fortune, power and prestige, wealth and well-being – nothing will ever satisfy the thirst that God has planted deep within us. As Jesus said, only those who “hunger and thirst for righteousness” and find it in Him, will ever be satisfied.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for that never-ending thirst that can only be satisfied when our lives are filled with Your grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 42:2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?

Who God Blesses

What do we need to do to receive blessings from God?
Are they automatic? Do we have to be in the right place at the right time? Sit quietly and meditate? Think positive thoughts and pray for wealth without working? Is there something we can do?
We would all have to agree that God’s blessings are not equally distributed nor given automatically as some would expect. In fact Psalm 41 begins with an insightful statement: “Blessed is the person who has compassion for the poor or weak and does something about it.” God cares for the weak and the poor and the oppressed and is delighted when we do something on their behalf. In fact, David says that those who show God’s compassion will be delivered when they are experiencing the difficulties of life. But there is more.
The first Psalm begins with a statement about the person who God will bless: “...the man who avoids contact with those who have evil intentions and instead finds pleasure in the teachings of the law of the Lord.” As we “hide” God’s Word – His law – in our hearts, it will give us light for our lives and directions to our destiny – eternal life with Him. And still more!
In Psalm 32 we read that “Blessed in the one whose transgressions are forgiven and whose sins are covered.” When we go to God in faith asking for forgiveness and salvation He will accept us, cleanse us and bless us.
So God’s Word is clear: If we want His blessings then we must follow His instructions. First, when we accept God’s salvation we will enjoy the blessing of forgiveness. Secondly, we will be blest if we avoid the influence of those who are evil and obey His law. Finally, we will be blest if we do His work in His world by caring for those in need of His love, mercy and grace.
Prayer: We all are in need of Your blessings, Father. May we follow Your Word and walk in Your ways and be blest. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 41:1 Blessed are those who have regard for the weak; the LORD delivers them in times of trouble. 

All Or Nothing - Or - One Touch At A Time

Crowds followed Jesus for many different reasons. Some out of curiosity. Some for His teachings. Some for the miracle of touch that brought healing. He did what no one else had ever done. He brought love and light, hope and healing, truth and salvation.
Keith Miller wrote an interesting book entitled The Second Touch. In it he spoke of Jesus’ healing of a blind man. There was one occasion when He touched a blind man’s eyes and when he looked around he saw people “like trees walking.” Then Jesus touched his eyes again and his eyesight was fully restored. It was the “second touch” from Jesus that completed the miracle.
David needed a “second touch.” Feelings of distress and defeat were overwhelming him. But they could not erase previous memories of God’s goodness and grace. So he asked God not to withhold His mercy from him and asked God to save him as he had in the past. Though his sin overtook him, he repented.
He began this Psalm by reminding God that on one occasion he waited patiently and God rescued and planted his feet “on a rock.” Now, things were different. “God, come quickly! I need You! You saved me before – please do it again. This is more than I can handle.” And God reached out – again
There’s good news here for all of us. David needed that “second touch.” And, later on he would need “more touches.” Every time he “needed a touch” he went to God and prayed. And God answered every prayer and gave him many “touches.” That’s the way God works. His outstretched hand is always waiting to “touch us.”
When we go to God in prayer, we always expect “all or nothing.” Often, however, our requests are granted in “bits and pieces,” or “one at a time.”
Prayer: May we never forget, Father, that whatever we have is because of Your love and grace and not what we deserve. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 40:13 Be pleased to save me, LORD; come quickly, LORD, to help me. 

The Call For Courage

One of the major influences in our society today is the emphasis on being “politically correct.” The threat or possibility of offending anyone about anything at any time has silenced many of us. We fear that we will be condemned or criticized. Unfortunately, many Christians now remain silent when opportunities to speak about their faith arise. Rather than defending the gospel we have become fearful of offending others even if their values are wrong and beliefs unscriptural.
Being politically correct was not a problem for David. In fact, it was the exact opposite. He was not ashamed to speak boldly and publicly about God’s involvement in his life. He had no hesitancy or fear to talk about his relationship with God. Once, at a very special occasion in front of a large crowd he said, “I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly!” He put his faith on public display.
On one occasion in particular he had been through an intense struggle with God. It must have been both long and difficult. But finally, his patience and perseverance, his respect and reverence for God were rewarded and his prayer was finally answered.
As he reflected on God’s goodness and thought about His mercy and blessings, he could not contain himself. “I speak of your faithfulness – Your salvation, love and truth,” he proclaimed. “I do not seal...I could not gratitude.”
If we were taking about this event today, we would say that David “gave his testimony to a large gathering.” However, it was not the size of the group that mattered to David. It was his need “to proclaim” God’s salvation and faithfulness to others. He could not be contained when it came to sharing his faith.
Prayer: Father, give us a courageous attitude and deep desire to share your blessings with everyone, anywhere or anytime! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 40:9 I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips, LORD, as you know.