Wishing, Hoping And Facts

"Be careful what you wish for – it just might come true!" is a saying most of us have grown up with. It comes with no guarantee or assurance that what we ask for is what we will get. In fact, according to some, it may be the exact opposite and result in problems.
Wishing is imagining something in our minds that we want to come true – believing that our lives will be better or filled with happiness or joy or riches. It is wanting our lives to be more fulfilling or better or happier without our having to do anything or making any effort or changes.
But wishing is different from hoping – especially the hope that believers have in God. We can have unflinching and unwavering hope in God because He has done everything He has ever said He would do. There is no room for any doubt in Him or any of His promises. They are well documented and are a testimony to the fact that God is faithful and can be trusted to keep His Word.
God's faithfulness, the psalmist reminds us, is so predictable that it has become "a law in Israel." And this testimony of God's faithfulness is to be passed on by fathers to their children so they put their hope in God and "never forget His deeds."
God wants fathers to teach their children that hope does not come from politicians or policies. Nor does He want fathers to teach their children that they are to place their hope in acquiring wealth or worldly goods. And He does not want them to teach their children to place their hope in the knowledge or skills or talents they possess. God wants everyone to place their hope in Him.
Prayer: We pray, Lord, that fathers will realize their responsibility to raise their children to hope only in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 78:6 …so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.

Pass It On!

"How many more times do I have to tell you before you remember what I'm trying to teach you?" asked Jim's Dad.
"Probably as many times as it takes for me to see what's in it for me," answered Jim.
Most of us have been involved in similar "discussions." Some "lessons" are more difficult to learn than others if we see no immediate benefits.
So it was with the Children of Israel. Psalm 78 begins with a plea from God: "Oh my people, hear my teaching!" Notice that God is pleading with His people to hear Him. There is a difference between listening and hearing. We often listen but do not hear. So God emphasized that fact: "listen to the words of my mouth."
Of course we want to know what He means when He asks us to "listen to the words of my mouth."
Then, as now, many only listen when any speaker has anything to say that has value to them – even God. If we do not believe that the words of the speaker – even God – will benefit us personally and tangibly we will not hear their voice. Sadly, what was true then is true today.
God spoke to the Israelites many times on many different occasions through many different individuals and unexpected miracles. Yet, His message did not penetrate into the depth of their hearts and make a lasting impression in their lives. They seemed to forget the importance of His teachings and paid a price.
If we listen to and obey His Word, He will reward us.
Prayer: We pray, Father, for ears that listen to Your voice and hearts that are open and obedient to Your Word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 78:1, 2 My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old.

God's Way - The Only Way

There is, perhaps, no more reassuring picture of God’s presence and protection than that of a shepherd carrying a sheep or leading and protecting his flock. In fact, that image which we recall from Psalm 23 brings us comfort and assurance whenever we face insecure moments when our lives are filled with uncertainties. It brings to memory the grace and goodness, mercy and might of our God.
In bringing Psalm 77 to a conclusion our author presents a picture of the Good Shepherd – the One who was with the children of Israel and of the One who could come as Redeemer and one day Ruler. He writes, “You led your people like a flock, by the hand of Moses and Aaron.”
Can you picture in your mind the picture in his mind that he wanted those who read this Psalm to visualize in their minds? Seas writhing and convulsing, drenching rains falling from dark clouds that covered their path; skies that cried out and echoed with deafening thunder; flaming arrows flying above their heads; a whirlwind with noise and lightning; earthquakes that shook the ground under their feet. He wanted to remind them that through it all and in it all was their Creator-Sustainer-God who not only brought them into existence and would not let them perish, but had a plan and purpose for their lives.
Here then is what the Psalmist said to them then and is saying to us today: “Whenever life seems to be coming to an end it is only the beginning for My chosen. I am your Shepherd and will love you and lead you. You are mine and no one can take you from me! I’ll always be with you.”
Prayer: May we always sense Your presence, Father, and be assured that You will never leave us or forsake us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 77:20 You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

The God Of Miracles

What is a miracle? And who decides what a miracle is? Is there some special committee that looks at various events in history and classifies them as being a miracle or an ordinary event? Or can two people look at the same event and one say, “This is indeed a miracle!” and the other say, “Nothing amazing here. It just happened to end up this way. That’s the way life works.”
Our Psalmist looked around and said, “You are the God who performs miracles; You display Your powers among the peoples.”
There is a beautiful theme in this Psalm. In the first several verses the writer seems to be having a difficult time seeing God. Then, suddenly, God’s Spirit jarred his thinking and brought God’s grace to his attention. When he finally puts things into context, he recalled that it was God who controls everything and it was his God who was the One who parted the waters and led the Israelites to safety. Those who were drown and destroyed by the “mighty waters” could not see their “misfortune” as God performing a miracle. But those whom He saved did!
And so it is today. Those who have been redeemed by the love, mercy and grace of God see His miracles in their lives every day. When we pray, He answers. If we become sick, He heals. When we need forgiveness, He alone can remove our guilt. When others abandon us, He is a friend who stands beside us. When we grieve, He comforts us. When we are stressed, He calms our heart. When we have nothing, He meets our needs. Our God performs miracles.
Prayer: Open our eyes, Heavenly Father, to see the many miracles You perform in our lives each and every day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 77:14 You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.

The Marvels Of Memories

The mind has a mind of its own. Occasionally, it takes little trips and goes on interesting journeys that bring back memories from long ago. Memories that are both pleasant and painful. Memories that are both welcomed and worrisome. Memories that must have been stored there by God to help us remember His mercy and, at times, His judgment.
Psalm 77 is very egocentric. Take time, if you will, and count the number of times the personal pronoun “I” occurs. It is rather amazing.
It begins with the writer carefully reviewing many instances of feeling forsaken and abandoned by God. He writes of calling for help – but no voice responded. His eyes would not close – and he was reminded of tragedies he wanted to forget. He felt rejected and unloved and even gave up on God ever being faithful or kind to him again.
Then, suddenly, his mind called things to a halt. God seemed to awaken him and he said, “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes I will remember Your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all Your works and consider all Your mighty deeds.”
Our minds do wander and walk through dark valleys filled with deep sorrows and painful valleys. And when it does, it only takes a moment, if we choose, to turn things around and change the shadows and sorrows and valleys in to sunlight and smiles and mountain tops. God did this for the Psalmist. He wants to do the same for us: recall His miracles in our lives that give us eternal hope.
Prayer: Remind us, Lord, that in all things and through all things we know You will always bring good from evil. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 77:11, 12 I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.

It Comes From Somewhere!

A long time, political figure was asked, “How much power does it take to satisfy politicians?”
After thinking about the question for a moment, he responded with a twinkle in his eye: “Just a little more!” And then added, “The more we have the more we want.”
Politicians rise and fall, come and go, do helpful things and some things that seem to cause confusion and chaos. Whatever they do comes from the power that we seem to give them. Or does it?
Insightfully, the Psalmist said, “No one…can exalt a man...It is God who judges: He brings one down, He exalts another.” After all is said and done, there is no power apart from God. He is Almighty. He rules.
We often think of ourselves and others as being self-contained. We live, we breathe, we walk and talk, we do this and that, but – in fact – we live breath by breath and moment by moment according to God’s plan for our lives. Our physical life, and the life of those whom He allows to have power and influence over us, do so as He wills and wishes.
These are days of turbulence and turmoil, fear and frustration, uncertainty and anxiety. We do not know what is going to happen before our next heartbeat. But it is comforting to know that God is in control of everyone and everything. He has fixed limits on their terms and time in office. He also has a plan in place for everything.
God often seems to move at the pace of a snail – but He is indeed moving. We can rest assured that all is well.
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for the assurance of Your Words that Your love and faithfulness watch over us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 75:6, 7 No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt themselves. It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.

Why Worship?

We live in a busy world. Days are crowded with more things to do than time allows. Instant texting and rapid responses to anything and everything, whether accurate or not, crown every moment of our lives. Everyone seems to have an opinion we need to hear on every subject – from the mundane to the insane, from the very important to “stuff” that does not matter. We have become conditioned to listen for something to listen to whether it matters or not.
Psalm 75 explodes with an important reminder. “We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks for Your Name is near! Men tell of your wondrous works!” The fact that the word thanks appears twice in one sentence makes it intense and dramatic. But we should not be surprised. We are to thank God not only for His wondrous works but because He is near! God Himself, our God Who created everything and is in everything and sustains everything is close by.
Jesus once commanded Peter to cast his net into the water to catch some fish. He did and was amazed at the results. The disciple falls at His feet in fear and wonder. What a miracle! Jesus spoke and things happened. God’s presence and power came to life instantly.
The same is true for us today. While we may not see many extreme displays of His power, nonetheless He is at work. The little gifts in our lives as well as the immense miracles in our lives prove that He is near us and caring for us. We must always be aware of His presence.
Prayer: We cannot thank You enough, Father, for Your unending blessings in our lives. May we thank You continuously. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 75:1 We praise you, God, we praise you, for your Name is near; people tell of your wonderful deeds.

Give Thanks In All Things

When four-year-old Sammy awoke after surgery, the nurse explained that it would be necessary for him to be fed intravenously for the next few days.
After assuring him that everything would be fine, she began the process to administer the glucose. Always in the habit of giving thanks before each meal, Sammy asked in a brave and cheerful voice, “Aren’t you going to give thanks?”
It is not easy to give thanks in painful situations. Nor is it natural to see God’s goodness in all of life’s trials and troubles. But the Apostle Paul reminds us to “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
When we give thanks, we acknowledge our confidence in the Lord, knowing that He cares for us. When we give thanks, we express our closeness to God, realizing that He is with us in every situation. When we give thanks, we declare that we are willing to accept the wisdom of God knowing that His will is being done.
Prayer: Dear Lord, may I learn the grace of giving thanks to You in all of life’s situations. Help me to realize that You are always with me, watching, protecting, providing and guiding me in every area of life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Thessalonians 5:16 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

He Will Be King!

A comedian was known to have a quick mind and could turn any subject into a joke. On one occasion he said to his audience, “I can make a joke on any subject. Try me!”
A gentleman stood up and shouted, “The subject is The King.”
Quickly he replied, “The King can never be a subject!”
There is a Psalm that reflects this truth. The people of Israel had an unpredictable relationship with God. There were times when He was indeed their Lord and there were times when they refused to allow Him to be their King. They wanted their own way. They wanted Him to be subject to them.
But the writer of the Psalm was different. He said, “But God is my King from long ago; He brings salvation to the earth.” He wanted God to be His Ruler – His King.
Jesus was born to be King. There were twelve whom He chose to become His disciples. And there were many who followed Him, listened to Him, believed in Him – yet never fully surrendered their hearts and lives to Him. They did not allow Him to be their King and refused to become His subjects. One day they shouted: “We will not have this Man rule over us!” And they crucified Him.
Many years ago hundreds of college students from around the world met in London before going to their mission fields. The group from Japan could not attend but sent a message that read, “Make Jesus King!”
We can change the world if Jesus becomes King of our lives.
Prayer: Come, Lord Jesus, and rule in our hearts. May we serve You as loyal subjects and honor Your Name forever. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 74:12 But God is my King from long ago; he brings salvation on the earth.

Stay Close: Avoid Disaster

“That sure was close, Mom,” said Little George.
“What do you mean?” asked his mother.
“Well, I got three days behind in my prayers and when I heard the thunder and saw the lightning I prayed really hard and got caught up and now I’m not afraid.”
We all allow “gaps” to develop in our prayer life. When things are going the way we want them to go and there are no serious problems to deal with, it’s easy to “let up” on the time we spend with God in prayer.
This life style is not uncommon. In fact, the Psalmist came to the same conclusion when he wrote, “But as for me, it is good to be near God.”
We have all met people in life that keep everyone at a distance. Whether they don’t want to know us or they don’t want us to know them may never be clear. But we feel the separation and there is not much, if anything, we can do about it. So, we move on.
But with God it is different. We can get as close to Him as we desire. In fact, we all know that drawing close to God is something that He wants us to do. His gracious invitation “come to me” is always available.
Life is like an “incline” if we are not walking upward toward Him we are slipping downward away from Him. My mother once said to me, “Larry, if you are not as close to God as you once were, you are the one who has moved.” And she added, “Draw close to Him and He will get closer to you.”
God not only waits for us to come to Him, but constantly calls: “Come to Me.”
Prayer: Lord, may we feel Your presence each moment of every day and stay close to You as we face life’s storms. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 73:28 But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.

I Didn't Have Anyone To Turn To

A young child had been lost in the woods. After a long search the rescue team found him and returned him to his anxious parents. With tear-filled eyes he looked at his mother and said, “Mom, when I was lost in the woods I had no one to turn to. Now that I’m back in your arms, I do!”
A Psalmist made the same statements: “Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing that I desire besides You.”
No one or no thing can do for us what our Heavenly Father can do for us. Nor is there anyone anywhere who will ever mean more to us or be more for us than our Lord – if we allow Him.
Some, we know, turn to materialism rather than the Master. There is nothing wrong with having money but it is wrong when we worship money, allow our lives to be consumed with making money so we can acquire the things of this world. In the end, materialism consumes us because there is never enough to calm our fears or give us peace.
Others look for the answers to life in science. Science has provided many benefits and increased and made our lives more enjoyable. But science cannot cleanse us from sin or assure us of peace and hope in this world and a life with our Father in the world to come. Science can improve our earthly lives but it cannot impart eternal life.
Wisely the Psalmist reviewed his past carefully and realized that apart from God there was nothing worth living for.
Prayer: Help us to understand, Father, that in You we find peace and satisfaction, completeness and hope. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. 

The End!

Christianity is not a religion. Religion is man seeking a god. But in Christianity it is exactly the opposite: it is God seeking man through Jesus Christ. Scripture informs us that God “sent His Son” into the world to seek and to save us that we might have a relationship with Him. It is a relationship that is certain, constant and continual.
It begins with a grip. A visitor to the Alps decided to go mountain climbing with a famous guide. As they ascended the mountain all went well until they came to a dangerous crevice. His guide held out his hand but the visitor was reluctant and hesitated. “Grab my hand,” shouted the guide. “That hand has never lost anyone.” So it is with God. “I am always with you,” said the Psalmist, “You hold me by my right hand.”
It continues with a Guide. God has a plan for each of us. He knows our possibilities and our limitations. Only He can guide us in the right path because He created us to be God-guided in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. We often fall short of what God intended us to be and become but if we are willing he will lead us carefully and safely through life. The Psalmist wisely wrote, “You guide me with Your counsel.”
It ends in glory – not a grave. What a blessed hope! He extends His sure-handed grip to keep us from falling. And with our hand in His, He guides us every day of our lives. Finally we end up living eternally with Him in heaven. All because our Father loves us with an everlasting love.
Prayer: We thank You, Father, for the assurance of Your presence and power in our lives – today and every day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 73:23, 24 Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.  You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. 

Discovering The Goodness Of God

If God is good, why do the godly have grief? If God is fair, why do the faithful fail? If God cares, why does He allow Christians to have cancer? If God is powerful, why are innocent people murdered?
And why are the ungodly prosperous? Why are the ungodly happy? Why are the ungodly recipients of any good thing? After all, they are ungodly!
The writer of Psalm 73 had a problem with bad people living godless lives and receiving earthly rewards. He was a bit angry when he saw their lavish lives. They appeared to have everything their hearts desired, lived lives of ease and were healthy. Their riches multiplied even though they scoffed at God and threatened His children. What’s up?
So the writer of the Psalm became vain. He avoided evil and when he sinned he immediately confessed and asked God to forgive him. He read God’s Word, engaged in prayer and tried to live a godly life. But all he got from God was trouble: all day, every day! Finally he asked God, “Am I wasting my time? Why should I bother to be godly?”
Fortunately, he went to the right place for an answer. “Finally,” he concluded when he went to the sanctuary to worship, “I understood their end!” Wrongs in this life will be corrected in the next! Remember: Dives lived in pleasure and Lazarus in pain. But there came a day when things were reversed: Dives was tormented by flames and Lazarus went to live lavishly in his Father’s Home.
The ungodly leave their treasures at death but the godly only begin to enjoy theirs with their Father.
Prayer: Give us a strong faith, Father, to look beyond what is to what will be when we are at last with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 73:12 This is what the wicked are like—always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.


Our hearts are amazing! The average adult heart beats 72 times a minute; 100,000 times a day; 3,600,000 times a year; and 2.5 billion times during a life time.
Although the adult heart only weighs about 11 ounces on average, a healthy heart pumps 2,000 gallons of blood through 60,000 miles of blood vessels each day. If laid out end to end it would circle the globe two times. It pumps blood to almost all of the body’s 75 trillion cells. Only our cornea receives no blood. During an average lifetime, the heart will pump nearly 1.5 billion barrels of blood – enough to fill 200 train tank cars. And every day the heart creates enough energy to drive a truck 20 miles. In a lifetime, it will create enough energy to drive it to the moon and back.
When we consider all that our hearts do for us, its importance cannot be measured. Without its constant beating we could not live. It sustains our lives. Its every beat is a gift from God but we rarely think about it unless we have “heart-problems.” Yet, physical-heart problems are not as serious as spiritual-heart problems. Only God can do miracles with “both” hearts.
The word “heart” occurs six times in Psalm 73. But in verse one it speaks of “those who are pure in heart” – those whose heart is completely committed to God and place Him first in their lives and love Him unconditionally.
Over this God-centered heart is the heart that Jeremiah describes: “a heart that is deceitful and beyond cure.” A heart in this condition needs the Great Physician to cleanse it, restore it, live in it and fill it with His love.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to make room in our hearts for You – to allow Your Spirit to occupy it completely. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 73:1 Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. 

Qualification For Leaders

Books on leadership line the shelves of bookstores. Each month, it seems, there are new titles that describe some new technique that will make any leader a better leader. From the “who to,” to the “how to,” to the “where to,” to the “what to,” to the “why to” and the “when to” these books cover every imaginable leadership situation. But none of them ever give a money back guarantee with the promise that “if you do this you will become successful and rise to the top.”
Solomon is recognized as a great leader. And as the author of Psalm 72 he describes the leadership qualities of a king that would be honored and blessed of God.
It is no wonder, then that he begins with justice and righteousness. It is almost impossible to imagine what it would be like if every leader at every level in every organization was committed to being just and righteous. Yet, this is what God wants and expects of leaders.
“Endow the king with Your justice, O God...May he judge Your people with righteousness!” Although our text reads justice, Solomon was asking God for leaders to set in motion a process that every leader would “do acts of justice, based on righteousness” that flowed from the top down. Solomon wanted everyone to be treated fairly.
Of course, we say, “That’s not possible, Lord.” But He says to each of us “as one of my disciples you must do this. Even if no one else demonstrates my justice and if no one else shows my righteousness to those around them then you, as my disciple, must set the example. You are accountable to me!”
Prayer: Help us, Father, to realize that we either bring others to You or drive them from You by the way we lead. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 72:1 Endow the king with your justice, O God, the royal son with your righteousness. 

Legacies That Live

What others did in the past influences what we do today. What is done today will influence what goes on in the future. It’s like dominoes: stand them on end and place them in a line – one after another – and if the one at the beginning or end of the line is pushed over, all of them will fall down.
We all leave legacies. And all legacies are different because everyone is different. We seldom realize that we actually leave two different types of legacies. Most of the time we think of leaving a legacy of valuables: money, stocks, property, insurance, vehicles, jewelry – things that have monetary value.
But we rarely think of the legacy we leave that has eternal value – a value that has moral and spiritual influence or impact on the lives of others. Whether or not we realize it or want to admit it, we cannot not influence or impact the lives of others.
The writer of Psalm 71 was very conscious of the spiritual values he would leave behind. “Even when I am old and grey,” he wrote, “do not forsake me my God, till I declare Your power to the next generation, Your mighty acts to all who are to come.”
In the preceding verses he recalled the goodness of God in his life: “You are my refuge, my rock, my fortress, my hope, my confidence, my teacher, my Savior.” God had been with Him, had honored and protected him and made his life worthwhile. He wanted others to know this God.
So, he asked God to spare him so he could share His faith and hope.
Prayer: Lord of our lives – may every day of our life be a witness to others and may we leave a legacy of Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 71:18 Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.

Growing Old With God

Hope is one of the most important words in the vocabulary of many people. It is a word that we hear daily – from many sources for many different reasons. It is used to guard minds and guide lives. Sometimes it gives courage and confidence to people who are on the verge of giving up on life. There are those who have little of this world’s goods that have a hope larger than life that one day things will change for them and they will receive all of the “good” things they have wanted from the day they were born. Many people use it to “wish” that something good would happen to them – something out of the ordinary to change the direction of their lives.
But “hope” in Scripture is different from that concept of hope. In God’s Word hope is always directed to “some-thing or Someone we can believe in that will eventually come true.” It is someThing – God’s Word. If God declared it, His Word revealed it and we can believe it because His-story records it accurately. Whatever He said came to pass.
Then there is Someone – God’s Son. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” We can believe in and have confidence in Him because what He said about Himself came true. “I will rise again in three days.” And again, His-story records it factually and accurately.
A famous heart surgeon once said, “Christians who have hope will find that their hope in God is far more reliable and will do more for them than any medication I can prescribe or any procedure I can perform.”
Prayer: We thank You, Father, for a fact-filled faith that gives us the assurance we need to place our hope in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 71:14 As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.

Eternal Security

Many place their hope in the stock market or the price of gold or the property they own. Some look to the security of a pension or promise of a retirement account. Others hide money fearing the collapse of the economy. A few store food in containers that they have been told will last for years should a famine occur. Yet in the final analysis all of us know – deep down inside of us – that there is no promise that cannot be broken or possession that cannot be taken from us.
Psalm 71 was written by an old person. It seems as though he is reflecting on a life that has had many ups and downs, problems and pitfalls. But it is a Psalm that proclaims the faithfulness of God – past, present and future. “From my birth I have relied on You...You brought me forth from my mother’s womb...I will always have hope and praise You more and more!”
If there is any comfort we can take from God’s Word it is this: The record of His deeds in the past gives us the assurance of His grace today and hope for tomorrow. In this Psalm the author gives us a powerful description of the fact that there is no shadow of doubt in his mind that God’s great acts in the past are sufficient evidence for us to believe that He will be with us today as well as tomorrow: “I declare Your power to the next generation, Your mighty acts to all who are to come!”
What more can we ask for? Whatever God has done for anyone at any time, He can do for us. He alone is faithful and worthy of worship. He alone endures forever.
Prayer: We rejoice together, Father, knowing that You have been with us and will be with us forever. Thank You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 71:5 For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. 

Growing With God

Miss Sims taught the third grade Sunday school class. One morning she was struggling to teach them the importance of cleanliness – personal cleanliness and Godly cleanliness. She spent a considerable amount of time in her effort to compare germs and bacteria to disobedience and sin.
After going to great lengths to make what she thought was a good comparison she asked her class, “Cleanliness is next to what?”
“Impossible!” shouted Blair.
What an honest answer! So many of us seem to have a difficult time trying to survive the temptations of life. We read God’s Word, understand His expectations, and ask Him to keep us from sin. Then, just when we think we have life under control – it happens once again. The power of temptation is greater than our faith in God and we fall into sin. Living a godly life does seem next to impossible.
In Psalm 71 the author writes, “You will restore my life once again.” Though we fail He will not forsake us. If we fall He will lift us. Any time and every time. There is no limit to the grace of God for those who love Him, seek His guidance and look to Him for His cleansing.
God offers us the presence and power of the risen Christ to face the temptations of life. And He offers us His strength – which can never be exhausted. He offers us His love – which endures forever. He offers us His salvation – which can never be taken from us. And He offers us His forgiveness – which continually restores us.
Prayer: How grateful we are, Father, that Your mercy does not depend on our goodness but on Your love and grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 71 …Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up…

I Need You Right Now, God!

Someone has called this Psalm an “Arrow Prayer.” David was in a life-threatening situation and needed help. There was no time for flowery words or trite phrases. It was now or never: If God did not respond immediately, it would be all over for him. He was frightened!
And because of the urgency of this situation, there are different ways to describe his immediate need: “Hasten, Lord; Please God, come quickly; Please God, rescue me right now; Come quickly, Lord, and help me!”
At the time David offered this prayer there were some who were trying to kill him, humiliate him, put him to shame and rejoice over the problems he was facing. Some of his closest friends threatened to destroy him. He was disappointed. He felt empty and forsaken. Those whom he had trusted betrayed him and those whom he had helped turned against him. This happens to us all.
David felt empty, broken, alone and forgotten by everyone but his Lord. So, he did what he always did: he turned to God during a critical life-crisis and begged for immediate assistance. He knew that God alone could and would help him, save him, sustain him and shield him from harm. We, too, often do the same.
But in the midst of his cry for help, David did as he always did: he praised God. Tucked away in the middle of this “Arrow Prayer” David said, “May those who long for Your saving help always say, ‘The Lord is Great.’”
What a wonderful lesson for each of us. When we face moments of distress let us never forget that God will deliver us!
Prayer: Lord, may we always remember to praise You for Your grace and goodness even when our faith is weak. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 70:1 Hasten, O God, to save me; come quickly, Lord, to help me.

The Right Time

David did not have a calm and quiet life. It was a life that was filled with trials and tragedies, anxieties and anguish. He had moments of ecstasy followed by days of despair. He was honest with God and willing to admit his mistakes. Yet, he lived with the fact that forgiveness does remove the consequences of sin.
In Psalm 69 David cries out to God to “Save me, O God for the waters have come up to my neck.” And that was just the beginning of his list of problems. Listen to his prayer: “I am sinking to the depths of the mire...I am in deep waters and floods are overwhelming me...I am worn out in calling to You for help...my eyes fail because they cannot see You, O God, and I am forced to restore what I did not steal!” Could things be any worse?
The easy way out would have been for him to give up on God. He even said, “You, God know my folly and my guilt is not hidden from You.” Why care for me, God?
Why not cave in, David? Why not give up? Time after time you willingly made a mess of your life. God owes you nothing and now you are getting what you deserve!
But David did not give up on himself or God. He knew God loved him in spite of his wrong doings. So he prayed, “In the time of Your favor, in Your great love answer me with Your salvation!” My life is in Your hands!
David was often beaten down. But his faith always lifted him up. In spite of his sins and short comings he knew that God would not abandon him. God’s love is as eternal as He is.
Life is never hopeless as long as our hope is in God.
Prayer: Lord, give us patience as we place our hope in You to deliver us from any problem that would destroy us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 69:13 But I pray to you, Lord, in the time of your favor; in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation.

A Sure Source Of Strength

Are we failures if we fail or do we fail because we are failures?
All of us fail at one time or another or at one task or another. Not because we do not try – because trying is not the problem. It is because we do not make use of the help – or power – that’s available to us from God. God is ready to help us whenever we call upon Him. There are no preconditions.
Sometimes I think that David must have faced more problems than any other person in the Bible. But he knew what to do and where to go when things were about to destroy him. There were times when he was weak from suffering. There were days when doing what God called him to do caused some serious difficulties for him. When he faced these challenges, he knew where to go and what to do!
“Summon Your power, God; show us Your strength, God, as You have done before.”
God provides His strength when we suffer. Paul had no easy life. His life often seemed to go from bad to worse. But God said, “Paul, my grace will be sufficient for every problem you will ever face, my Son’s presence in every cell you occupy and My healing each time you are beaten.”
He gives us strength when He calls us to serve Him. An elderly lady was asked, “Where do you get all of your energy to help so many people?” “Well,” she said, “the first thing I do in the morning is to connect with God’s power through my time of prayer. As I put my hand in God’s hand, I can feel His strength pass into me. Then I can do whatever it is He leads me to do in His name!”

Prayer: Help us, Lord, to believe that no matter what problems we face we can do all things through Your power. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 68:28 Summon your power, God; show us your strength, our God, as you have done before.

Escaping Death

“The one inescapable fact of life is death. Yet, man usually refuses to face it,” wrote a psychologist recently. Then he quoted La Rochefoucauld, who said, “One cannot focus on either the sun or death for any length of time.”
But the Psalmist looked at death differently: “Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death!”
Our God, through His Son Jesus Christ, not only saves and delivers us from sin and its consequences in this life but also after death. Salvation, for example, does not assure us of a life of prosperity and worldly success, a life free from sickness and suffering, a life that has no stress or conflict, a life that is all sunshine and no showers. But we do have the assurance of God’s forgiveness and the freedom from the law and its curse, from judgment and fear and guilt and certainly death.
And we do have the assurance of Christ’s presence in our lives that promises us that “He will never leave us nor forsake us,” be with us when we are sick and suffer, will give us His peace “that passes all understanding” when we are stressed and threatened by the challenges of life.
But ultimately and finally “from the Lord comes (our) escape from death.” Escape literally means exit. As Christians we can, with David, be assured that while there are many entrances to death – or many ways that we might die – our exit from death has been provided by God’s grace through Jesus Christ, our Savior.
This exit from death, however, is also our entrance into heaven.
Prayer: Thank You, Heavenly Father, for saving us and giving us peace and hope and the assurance of eternal life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 68:20 Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.

Daily Deliverance

A preacher was complaining to a close friend, “Oh my, I have so many burdens to bear on behalf of others that I am ready to give up!”
“I am so very sorry,” replied his friend. “But wait until you hear what I discovered this morning. David left me a note in the Psalms that said, ‘Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.’ Why don’t you share them with the Lord rather than trying to carry the load by yourself?”
Often we feel crushed with the cares of life. There are times when we dwell on our defeats. We sometimes assume that our grief is so great that it will be with us for a lifetime. We expect to be overwhelmed with the life’s obstacles and even want to hang on to past failures and seem to take pride when life is unfair.
Could it be that we take pleasure in thinking we have more problems than anyone else in the world? Do we want to be known for having the longest list of unanswered prayers or for being forgotten and forsaken by God? Is it possible that we might even take great pleasure for what we do not have so we can be constant complainers?
Or do we need to change our view of God?
Remember the words of the Psalmist. “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,” said David, “who daily bears our burdens!” Peter put it this way: “Cast all your cares upon Him because He cares for You.” And Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” We can “cast or carry” – be “burdened or blest.”
Prayer: It’s really up to us, Lord. Either we take You at Your Word or reject Your offer to bear our burdens. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 68:19 Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. 

Announce The Word!

Years ago someone took a chisel and carved an image into a piece of wood. Then they took some dye, placed it on the raised image, and pressed it on a piece of parchment. Some believe that this was the day that printing was born.
In A.D. 779 the Chinese carved words and pictures by hand and invented “wood block printing.” Years later however, Johannes Gutenberg, a man from Germany, invented a machine with moveable type and called it a “printing press.”
It is not possible to estimate the power of the printed page. It has brought knowledge and insight since the fifteenth century. It has also corrupted minds and been used to lead people into paths of destruction.
Napoleon once said, “There are only two powers in the world: the sword and the pen, and in the end, the former is always conquered by the latter.”
Benjamin Franklin said, “Give me twenty-six lead soldiers and I will conquer the world.”
G. Christian Weiss, a missionary-statesman wrote, “The battle for the men’s minds will be won by the printer’s ink. Make no mistake about it!”
Many years ago David wrote, “The Lord announced the Word.”
Christians have no greater responsibility or obligation than to “announce” the Word of the Lord. Wherever we are and no matter what we are doing we must constantly and consciously “announce the Word” to the world.
Prayer: Help us to be faithful, Lord, to “announce” the Word in and through our lives whether by word or deed. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 68:11a The Lord announces the word…

To Protect And to Provide

A biographer once wrote of Christopher Columbus that “He discovered no island or sea as lonely as himself.”
How different for those who trust God!
David wrote, “When You, God, went out before Your people, when You marched through the wilderness...You provided for the poor!”
The writer of Hebrews echoed those words when he wrote of the risen Christ, “I will never leave you nor ever forsake you.”
King Nebuchadnezzar refused to hear the testimony of three young men. He bound them and threw them into a fiery furnace. In amazement, when he looked into the furnace he did not see three men, but four: unharmed and unbound. He shouted, “Servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” God went before them, protected them and rescued them.
On one occasion the disciples of Jesus were frightened by the winds and the waves that were threatening them. They were in a little boat with little hope. Then Jesus appeared and said, “Take courage. Don’t be afraid. It is I!” He went to them, calmed their fears and then said, “You of little faith. Why did you doubt?”
A Psalmist was traveling through a deep valley with dark shadows. He was filled with great fear as he faced the “unknown.” Yet, he was able to say, “I will fear no evil, for You are with me. Your rod and Your staff will comfort me!” He trusted God because he knew God would never abandon him.
The Lord always goes before us to protect us. He will provide for everything we need now and through eternity.
Prayer: Thank You, God, for assuring us that we do not face the threats of life alone. Thank You for Your protection. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 68:7 & 10b When you, God, went out before your people, when you marched through the wilderness,… and from your bounty, God, you provided for the poor.

Destination And Direction

It was the end of our summer break and my roommate and I were returning for our final year in seminary.
After driving several miles I asked, “Fritz, why is the sun shining in our eyes when we are supposed to be going west?”
Suddenly he realized that instead of turning right at the end of our driveway, he had turned left and we were going east and not west. Realizing our mistake, we laughed at ourselves, turned the car around and headed in the right direction.
No one can travel in the wrong direction and expect to reach the right destination. A wise Psalmist once wrote, “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face to shine on us so that Your ways may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.”
God has made His ways known through Jesus Christ, His Son who said, “I am the way!” Every person on earth is going “somewhere” but if they refuse His “where” they will end up “nowhere” and spend eternity in hell.
Some of those we know are traveling the “Religion Roadway.” They have respect for what is sacred but have not accepted God’s Son as their Savior and made Him their Lord. They are depending on “something” to get them “somewhere” in life but do not know that there is “Someone” who can save them and give them eternal life.
Everyone we know is on their way going somewhere depending on something to get them some place. But it is our responsibility to show them the right way – His way!
Prayer: Father, may we accept our responsibility as Your disciples to present the right “Way” to those who are lost. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 67:1, 2 May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us— so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.