The Thought Of Eternity

There was no one to write about it, and actually, nothing to write about. There was no calendar to record the number of days or years or even centuries or ages. It was a beginning without a beginning and the only Person there was God. He needed no one and was in need of nothing.
But He chose to create the heavens and the earth. And with no pre-existing materials or anyone to help Him, it was the power of His words that brought everything into existence that is or ever will be.
When He said, “Let us make the man” we know what happened: He formed man’s body from the “dust” of the ground. And we know that this “dust” is a combination of all of the various chemical elements that make up the physical body of a man.
Our bodies did not “evolve.” Our bodies were “built” by God from the earth that He created. God also breathed the breath - or the spirit - of life into that body. At that moment, “man” became a living soul.
We do much to take care of our bodies. Each day we are reminded of the cost of “healthcare” and how very important it is for us to take proper care of our bodies. But we seem to have forgotten the words of Jesus: “What good,” He asked, “will it be for someone to gain the whole world and forfeit their soul?” Why is this an important question?
Our Psalmist said: “When You take away their breath they die and return to the dust.” But not the soul.
Prayer: We thank You Lord, for Jesus, Your Son and our Savior, who gave His life for us to live for You forever. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 104:29 When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust.

God Forgets No One

Birthdays and anniversaries are special days and times in the lives of most people. We look forward to being remembered when a friend sends a card or letter, phone call or bouquet of flowers, a special meal or perhaps even a cake.
Poor Mrs. Hattie Hollowell spent three years, four months and sixteen days in a New York jail and no one seemed to know she was there. Fortunately, someone started an investigation for some reason and in the process discovered her. As a result of the search, she came to be known as “The Forgotten Woman.” When asked, a judge blamed the tragedy on the “slipshod work” of an attorney. “Instead of helping her, he hurt her,” he said.
The Psalmist wrote that “All creatures look to You to give them their food at the proper time.” Our Psalmist wants us to know that our God cares for us and will, at the right time, provide for our every need. But there is a very interesting statement about God and our relationship to Him in this verse that is completed in the following verse: “When You open Your hand they are satisfied with good things.”
Notice that “At the proper time,” “He will open His hand,” and “satisfy us with good things.” We are to be completely dependent on God. There is His time, His hand and good things. Often we try to force the hand of God: We want what we want when we want it. But that is not how He works. He knows what we need and when we need it. We must wait upon Him for what is best for us.
Prayer: Help us Lord, to wait patiently on You, knowing that You are doing what is best for us - always. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 104:27-28 All creatures look to you to give them their food at the proper time. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.

It All Belongs To God

Our Psalmist had a great way of looking at things. “There is the sea vast and spacious,” he observed. Perhaps he was sitting on a beach looking beyond the rolling waves as they crashed on the shore one after another. Maybe he was on a hillside far removed from the water - yet thinking about its various contents and the ships that floated quietly above its depths.
But he also “saw” beneath the water and beyond their endless waves. He was aware that it was “teeming with creatures beyond number - living things both large and small. There the ships go to and fro, and the leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.”
The sea - though “vast and spacious” - was not an end in itself. It contained all sizes and shapes of creatures that he could not see nor was able to count. They enjoyed “frolicking” - or playing in a part of His creation that He made just for them.
There also were ships that went “to and fro” that carried people and cargo to distant lands that he could not see. The ocean was not an end in itself, either. With all of its majesty and might and endless movement, it also has its place in God’s creation.
Nothing in God’s creation is an end in itself. “For all things,” Paul said “were created by Him and for Him.” We can look anywhere and everywhere and whatever our eyes see has God’s trademark on it. Everything is signed with His name, for His honor, His glory, for His plan and for His purpose. Especially us. What more can we do for Him?

Prayer: Lord, we are the “crown” of Your creation. We pray that we will do all that we can in Your name for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 104:25, 26There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number—living things both large and small. There the ships go to and fro, and Leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.

Our Wise And Wonderful God

The earth spins around like a top at a speed of about 1,000 miles per hour. This spinning is what makes our days and nights. If it slowed down gradually through the years our days would become so long that the sun would burn our vegetation during the day or freeze all vegetation during the long nights.
The earth tilts to one side as it goes around the sun. It is this tilt that makes the seasons. If it were not tilted 23½ degrees, vapors from the ocean would move north and south, piling up continents of ice.
Most of the time, the moon is about 237,000 miles from the earth. As it revolves around the earth it exerts a “pull.” This “pull” causes tides - the rise and fall of the oceans. If the moon were not at the exact distance it is from the earth the tides would completely overflow the land twice a day.
The earth is a great storage facility. Its resources produce the foods we eat. It contains the fuels we need for heating and transportation. It has the minerals we need for survival hidden beneath its soil. It grows the lumber we need for building homes. Its vegetation purifies the air we breathe by removing various impurities that would suffocate us.
Can all this be the result of an accident? Was there a “big bang” that threw “things” up into the air and when things settled down there were form and function? Or was the Psalmist right when he wrote, “How many are Your works, O Lord! In wisdom You made them all.”
Prayer: It is amazing, Lord, how carefully You planned everything to fit together perfectly to reflect Your wisdom. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 104:24 How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.

The Wonder Of Work

Years ago a “hobo” came to the back porch as my mother sat there “shelling peas.” “Pardon me, Ma’am, but could you spare a meal to a starving traveler?”
Graciously, but firmly, my mother responded and said she would be happy to provide a meal, but he would have to do some yard work first. Politely, he declined. He was “too weak” to work before he had something to eat. He then walked away quietly and went next door.
God intended for man to work. As soon as He created man He planted a garden in Eden and gave him a job to do: he was told to cultivate the garden. The Psalmist reminded us of the importance of work when he wrote, “Man goes out to his work, to his labor until evening.”
Perhaps it is good to remember that in the days of His flesh our Lord Jesus worked. He must have gone to His daily tasks with enthusiasm - not because it was easy or financially rewarding. He was using the skills His Father gave Him to do His will and honor Him through the work of His hands. On one occasion, early in His life, He said, “I always do the things that please Him.” He did what was necessary yet never sinned.
How comforting it is to know that the Carpenter of Nazareth faced every situation that we face today or will face tomorrow. This fact assures us that He understands us completely. He faced the same trials and temptations that we face. However,, He never gave in to any temptation or committed any sin so He could one day become our Savior.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for living a life that sets the example of how we should live so others can see You in us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 104:23 Then people go out to their work, to their labor until evening.

Trees Of The Lord

William Jackson was a prominent figure in the American Revolution. But even more important was his role as the Secretary of the United States Constitutional Convention. Although we know much about him and his many accomplishments, there is one fact is rarely mentioned when people speak of him: a fondness that he had for a large oak tree. Its great size and the strength that it represented gave him so much inspiration that he wrote a deed conveying it to the full possession of itself and the land that surrounded it so even its roots would be protected from harm.
Trees have a special significance in the Bible. The Psalmist wrote that “The trees of the Lord are well watered, the cedars of Lebanon that He planted.” Why was the cedar tree, of all trees singled out?
Cedars are trees whose branches reach high into the heavens. Their stateliness stands in stark contrast to other trees as they soar well over one hundred feet into the sky - as though they were reaching up for the God who created them. Certainly this represents a worthy characteristic for Christians to follow.
Cedars also are deep-rooted. They send their “anchors” deep into the earth as they reach up to their Creator. Many trees fall when they are “attracted” by storms. But not the cedar tree, It stands undisturbed no matter the fierceness of the winds and rains.
Cedars are broad-branched - it spreads its arms widely as it grows old. It appears as though it wants to “embrace” others and protect them from harm. So do we.
Prayer: Lord, make us like cedars: to reach up to be near to You, down to abide in You and out to help others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 104:16 The trees of the Lord are well watered, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.

The Songs Of Birds

Ornithologists claim that there are over 9,000 birds that live throughout the world. Some make their homes in places that are covered by ice the entire year. Others make their homes in hot and arid places. Many live on the land, but some actually live on the water.
The largest bird is the male African ostrich. It may grow eight feet tall and weigh three hundred pounds. The smallest bird is the Cuban fairy hummingbird. It is about two inches long and weighs about one-tenth of an ounce.
The fastest fliers are the common swifts of Europe. They can fly as fast as two hundred miles an hour. But the highest flyers are the geese. They are known to have the strength and ability to fly higher than twenty-nine thousand feet.
The graceful flight of birds, their sweet songs, and beautiful colors have inspired artists, musicians, and poets. The Psalmist wrote, “The birds of the air nest by the waters; they sing among the branches.”
Each kind of singing bird has its special song. However, we know that sparrows can sing as many as twenty variations of the same song! They, like every other bird, are God-fashioned and “God-tuned.” No other bird has such God-given skills.
Just as God has planted songs in the heart of every bird, He has also planted songs in the heart of every Christian: songs of peace and pardon and joy. With His songs in our hearts let us sing His praises!
Prayer: We ask, Father, that “songs of salvation” will rise from our hearts as we enjoy the gifts of Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 104:12 The birds of the sky nest by the waters; they sing among the branches.
Enjoy this video based on today's devotional!

Established Forever!

If God said “it ”we can believe it. And if He did “it” we know it is right. And when He created this planet we have His assurance that it will never be moved from its orbit. It is safe, stable and secure until His “plan for the ages” is complete. The Psalmist was convinced of this when He wrote in Psalm 104:5, “He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.”
There is nothing as important as the foundation of a building if it is to withstand the blasts of tornadoes and tremors of earthquakes. Foundations are essential and are designed and built to withstand the violent acts of “nature.” Many building codes have been revised after buildings have been destroyed and people killed. However, no guarantee is given that they are beyond some damage. Not God’s creation, however. He guarantees His work!
God gave us a guarantee that the foundation of this earth is secure. Isaiah wrote of another foundation: “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts (in this Foundation) will never be dismayed.”
This Foundation is the Messiah, the one in whom we have our salvation and on whom we build our lives for eternity. Even as the foundation of this earth has God’s guarantee that it cannot be “moved,” so does our salvation in Him have His guarantee that this same power is ours for this life and the one to come.
Prayer: What a blessed assurance is ours, Lord, to know that nothing is as secure as Your Eternal Word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 104:5 He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.

"Winds And Flames" His Servants

Missionary Rachel Smith was carefully telling the Christmas Story to a group of primitive headhunters in the jungles of Peru. With simplicity, she told the story of some men who were in the fields guarding their sheep when an angel suddenly appeared.
“What did he look like?” asked one. “Just like a man,” she answered. “Did he have feathers?” he asked. “No,” she replied. “Then he could not fly and the story is not true,” he shouted.
“Have you seen the missionary plane?” she asked. “Yes,” came his reply. “Have you touched it?” she asked. “I have,” he said. “Did it have feathers?” she wanted to know. “No,” he admitted. “You see,” she explained, “one need not have feathers to fly.”
Immediately the questioner and the tribe went into an intense discussion. After several moments they agreed that the Christmas Story could be true. God used an angel that first Christmas evening to be a messenger with the most important announcement ever made to man.
The Bible has much to say about angels and their actions but little about their appearance. In Psalm 104:4 we read that “He makes winds His messengers, flames of fire His servants.”
These “messengers” - or angels - are sent by God to help and care for those who receive His salvation. The Lord will always meet the needs of His children through one way or another - even if it takes one of His angels.
Prayer: With grateful hearts, Father, we give You our thanks for Your unending care and constant protection. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 104:4 He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants.

Who Is The Greatest?

Alexander was the son of a king and tutored by Aristotle, known as one of the world’s most remarkable philosophers. Because of his many accomplishments as a very great military leader, warrior, and king, he came to be known as Alexander the Great.
There is One, however, who is recognized as being even greater! He is acknowledged an admirer as being “very great.” The writer of Psalm 104 exclaimed confidently, “O Lord my God, You are very great!”
He is very great because He is the creator of the universe. With great certainty, the Bible’s opening statement declares that “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” From nothing came everything reflecting His great power, glory, majesty and might.
He is very great because He is the sustainer of the universe. Imagine the power and wisdom of God as He sustains His universe. It functions flawlessly day and night, year after year and century after century. Nothing is ever left undone or incomplete. Season follows season and morning after night and no star or planet has ever veered from where God placed it.
He is very great because He sent His Son to be our Savior. Sin thoroughly damaged His creation and every creature He formed out of the earth to reflect His image. One day this very great Savior will reclaim His creation and restore it to its original condition. He is working out His plan of redemption and reconciliation at this very moment and one day all things will be new, once again!
Prayer: We marvel, Heavenly Father, at Your greatness. Others come and go, but Your greatness, Lord, is forever. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 104:1 Praise the Lord, my soul. Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty.

Want To Become An Angel?

Marie asked her mother what she could do to become an angel. After a moment’s thought, she looked caringly at her and said, “Be good, Marie - very good, and if you are, someday, when you go to heaven, you will become an angel.”
But no one goes to heaven because of the life they lived or their good deeds. Entrance to heaven - eternal life with our Heavenly Father - is through Jesus Christ His Son, our Savior.
Angels, or heavenly hosts as David calls them, have an interesting status. They are older than man, but they are not eternal. They are mighty, supernatural beings who surround the throne of God and follow His commands and do whatever He asks them as His “special messengers.” They are part of God’s angelic army and His celestial court. While there has never been an increase in the number of angels, the Bible says that their company - or number - is “countless.”
David says something very interesting about them, “Praise the Lord, all His heavenly hosts, you His servants who do His will.” As His servants, they have special roles and relationships with Him. But more importantly, they have special responsibilities. They are His messengers, bring comfort in times of need and distress, give military assistance, provide protection, guard and give guidance to those who are His own.
Finally, an angel will come from heaven, seize Satan, bind him in chains and cast him into “the pit.”
Prayer: Help us, Father, to live in complete obedience to You as do Your angels. May we always follow Your will. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will.

Lord Over All!

The Taj Mahal of India is one of the most costly and beautiful tombs in all of the world. It was built by an Indian ruler, using twenty thousand men, in memory of his favorite wife.
It is built of white marble and rests on an eight-sided platform of red sandstone. Each side is one hundred thirty feet long. A beautiful dome covers the center part of the building. It is famous for its remarkable acoustics and visitors entering the building are advised to be cautious of their voices and the sounds they make. It is to be a place of quiet respect.
Years ago Henrietta Mears, founder of Gospel Light Publications and one of the greatest Christian educators in the history of the church, visited the Taj Mahal and asked the guide, “May I say something?” When she was granted permission she walked on the platform and exclaimed in a moving voice, “Jesus, Christ, Son of God is Lord over all!”
Like rolls of thunder echoing in a canyon between majestic mountains her powerful voice reverberated from wall to wall and down the corridors and who were inside of the tomb heard the message, “Lord over all, over all, over all, over all...”
There are times when we look at the conditions that surround us and the problems facing us when we doubt that essential fact - “Lord over all!” God had David encode that fact in Psalm 103:19b: “His kingdom rules over all.” It was then; it is now and ever will be. God rules!
Prayer: May we never doubt, Lord, that You are the one who controls all things - and trust in Your sovereignty! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.

Our "No Assurance" Policy

Quite frequently a dear, young friend, who is very concerned about my health, comes to my office to visit me. Each time we meet he “reviews” my work schedule and responsibilities in great detail. He wants to know what time I get to work and what time I leave; what I did on each Saturday and Sunday since we last talked. He wants to know the last time I preached at a church, where it was and how long it took me to drive to and from it. His questions are not meant to be invasive or abusive. He is concerned about my health and wants to know whether or not I am taking proper care of myself.
After we conclude his lengthy interrogation, he looks at me and makes the same statements every time we visit: “You’re working too hard. You’re working too much. You need to go on a vacation, or you will kill yourself. Why do you work so hard? Do you want to die?”
Each time we have this discussion I give him the same answer: “Dear friend, I am going to die. But I do not know when. So, I want to get as much done for the Lord as I possibly can. But I promise I will care for myself.”
And then I remind him of Psalm 103:15-16: “As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.”
Our days may be few, or they may be many. But one thing is for certain: We have fewer days to serve the Lord after today than we did yesterday. We must seize each opportunity for the Lord!
Prayer: Help us Lord, to realize the importance of each day knowing that we have no assurance of tomorrow. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:15-16 The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.

How Much Is Enough?

While watching a large oceangoing cargo ship slip quietly into the Atlantic, I noticed a mark on the side of the ship. Having been in the Navy for several years, I was rather embarrassed to ask my friend what it meant.
“It’s a Plimsoll Mark,” he said with authority. It was not an answer that helped at all, so I asked, “What’s a Plimsoll Mark?”
“It’s a load-line on the ship that shows how much cargo the ship can carry safely under different conditions. For example, the closer the line is to the water, the more ‘at-risk’ the ship would be in a storm.”
The Lord has a “load-line” marking on each of us. As we read in Psalm 103:14, “for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.” The Psalmist assures us that God knows our limitations - what we can safely and securely “carry.”
None of us are immune to trials - nor are any of us excused from being tempted. All of us, in one way or another and at one time or another, face similar types of trials and temptations. None are new. None are different. They come at different times in different situations from different directions appealing to our different weaknesses.
As Paul wrote, “No temptation has seized you that is not common to others, And, God is faithful! He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide you a way out.”
He knows our “load-lines” and will not let us sink. However, we must be careful not to put ourselves at risk.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to realize that You created us, that You know us and that You will protect us if we allow You to. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.

Relief From Searching

Many missionaries who travel to visit distant tribes in the most remote villages of the world. They all seem to have a similar experience: when the natives learn and understand that there is only one God, whose story is in the Bible, and whom they can come to know through Jesus Christ, they lose their fear of “their gods.” Most of them have many different gods whom they do not know nor understand - only fear. So, they live lives filled with fear - afraid that they will displease the god they have created who may punish or kill them, their families or tribe at any time. So, they live lives that are haunted, not helped, by their beliefs.
How different is the God of the Bible whom we can come to know, love and understand? Our God has the heart of a loving Father. The Psalmist described Him in wonderful, gracious terms when he wrote, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear - stand in awe of - Him.”
He has compassion on us when we are weak and need His strength to make it through difficult days and long nights. He has compassion on us when we hurt and need His hope and healing. He has compassion on us when we have failed Him and need His forgiveness.
One day two fathers were talking. “If your son was my son, I would never speak to him again for what he’s done to you.” “Yes,” replied the father who was filled with grief, “but he’s not. He’s my son and I’ll always love him.” How like our compassionate Heavenly Father.
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for Your compassion which we so desperately need - yet can never earn nor deserve. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

How Great Is God's Love?

Miss Burrell was my second-grade teacher and next door neighbor. It seemed as though I could never get beyond her “watchful” eye. When she called on me in class, I would “shrivel” up inside and have difficulty getting any words out of my mouth. And when I was out in our yard playing, I imagined that she was “peeking” at my friends and me from the corner of a window. Perhaps it was feelings of guilt for not being a better student or more gracious when she came to visit my mother.
But in spite of those feelings I remember the many evenings she would knock on our front door and ask me to join her in the front yard and study the stars and constellations. She would bring her flashlight and point out “The Big Dipper” and “The Little Dipper” and all of the constellations that God formed in the sky. She would also point out different stars - some that shined brightly and some that we could barely see. I remember asking her often how many miles they were from where we were standing.
“No one will ever be able to measure the most-distant star because we will always be finding new ones that are even farther away.” So, “we’ll never know” was her answer every time I asked that question.
“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who stand in awe of Him,” said the Psalmist. What a marvelous statement about the love of God. It is so immense, as are His heavens, that we will never be able to measure it.
Prayer: Lord, we will never understand why You love us, nor how very much You love us. But we do thank You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:11-12 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

How Much Mercy Is Enough?

Albert came home from school with bruises, a torn shirt and tears. “Fighting again?” sighed his mother. “I thought it was clear that you were to be a good Christian, not get angry and to stop getting into fights. Did you count to a hundred like I told you to?” she asked.
“Well, I tried,” he said with resentment in his voice. “But John’s mother told him to only count to fifty, and that’s when he knocked me to the ground and jumped on me.”
Many of us get angry quickly. But not the Lord. In Psalm 103:8 we read that “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.”
Imagine what life would be like with an angry God - one who was quick to punish us for any and every sin. Imagine, if you can, living life in fear of being “hammered” for breaking a commandment. And, if He were not compassionate and merciful, there would be no provision or pardon for our wrong-doings. Or again, if we were suffering and brokenhearted and filled with grief and guilt for betraying Him we would never hear Him say, “My grace is sufficient.” In the Lord, we find mercy for our sins and comfort for our sorrows.
If God were not gracious, there would be no grace - no matter how wonderful and needed it is. But it only has significance when we understand that it means God, at no cost to us, will unconditionally and willingly forgive us of all of our sins. The Lord erases the ugliness of the past and provides us with clean, blank pages to fill with the potential of a new life committed to Him. Amazing grace!
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for Your love, combined with Your mercy that is freely ours because of Your grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

Good Reasons To Rejoice!

Centuries ago, there was a legend that mystics would share with their followers. “The Lord, at one time,” went the legend, “colored all the flowers green. But one day He dipped His finger in the pot at the bottom of the rainbow and when He took it out it was covered with many different colors. When He saw how beautiful the colors were He decided to paint each of the flowers a different color and give each of them their name.”
“One morning,” the legend continues, “a beautiful flower with small blue, pink and white flowers was asked, ‘What’s your name?’” The flower hung its head, sighed and said, “Oh my, I forgot.”
Embarrassed, the flower confessed to the Lord, “I’m so sorry, but I have forgotten my name.” And the Lord said, “That’s all right. Everyone forgets some things. But I have not forgotten you.” Then He added, “Whatever else you do, ‘For-Get-Me-Not,’ for I am the God who created you!”
From that day until today, this lovely little flower has been called “For-Get-Me Not.” Whenever we see it, we need to remember the words of David, “Praise the Lord, all my soul, and forget not all - or perhaps better stated - forget not any of His benefits.”
We seldom think of the extensive range of God’s gifts!: Every beat of our heart, every breath we inhale, every sight we see or noise we hear, every step we take, every taste we enjoy, every friend we have, every blessing we receive, every promise of His that we claim - and mostly our salvation - are only the beginning of His benefits to us.
Prayer: Lord! How gracious You are to give us so many gifts. Most importantly, though, give us thankful hearts. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:2 Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—

Renewed Like Eagles

Eagles have a unique place in nature - certainly a place that differs from all other birds. They represent strength, power and freedom from the things of this world that would distract them. No wonder they have a special place in God’s Word. Isaiah promised, “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar on wings like eagles.” No doubt David had this in mind when he wrote, “so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” What makes eagles special?
Eagles have great vision and sharp focus. Their eyes were designed by God for long distance and clarity. Their vision enables them to see what other birds do not see. We as Christians need God’s vision so we can see what we need to do for Him.
Eagles are fearless. As God’s representatives, we need to be fearless as we represent Him and present His message to others. We must never bow to others in fear.
Eagles are tenacious. Other birds fly from a storm. But eagles fly into the storm - taking advantage of life’s difficulties - and rise to greater heights, never giving up.
Eagles are “high flyers.” They easily fly to an altitude of 10,000 feet. Pigeons stay on the ground and “grumble” all day long. The eagle quietly soars above the noises of life and finds peace with God.
Eagles possess vitality. They are full of life yet find time to reenergize themselves and extend their lives.
Eagles nurture their young ones. No other bird is more attentive or gentle to its young than the eagle.
Prayer: Grant us, Lord, the qualities of an eagle. May we live lives that distinguish us from others as we serve You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Crowns And Compassion

He “crowns you with love and compassion,” wrote David. What an amazing statement. Is it possible for us to understand what this means? Is God Himself crowning us with His love and compassion? What might our author have had in mind when he wrote this? Could it mean that we are kings in God’s eyes?
Not really. It means that when we became His children, He crowned us with His loyal, never-ending, steadfast love. We are His now, and we will be His forever throughout eternity, and nothing will ever separate us from Him or His love.
In his letter to Timothy, Paul wrote that “If we die with Him we will also live with Him, and if we endure hardship we will also reign with Him.”
Although we may suffer great hardships in this life, God assures us that someday we will live eternally with Him. So, it’s worth it. And when we live in Christ’s Kingdom, we will share His eternal reign with Him.
There may be times when our suffering may cause us to doubt God’s love. When these doubts arise, we must never forget that we have been crowned with His love and compassion. “Our present sufferings,” said Paul, “are not worth comparing with the incredible glory that will be revealed in us.” The assurance of His love gives us hope.
Once crowned with His love and compassion we need to remember that we will, as Paul also said, “see the incredible wealth of His grace and kindness.” When we are crowned by God Himself, what more can we ask?
PrayerFather, Your love is beyond our understanding. But we accept it with grateful hearts and rejoice. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:4b and crowns you with love and compassion,

Rescued From "The Pit"

Time has a way of bringing about a “lapse in memory.” Many of the important events in our lives - especially when God has intervened in a very dramatic way - have been forgotten over the years. Yes, there are moments when they come to mind, but for the most part, unless we record them somewhere they are forgotten. Certainly, this is a shortcoming for many of us, and it would be good if we had a “remember this” list.
No doubt that is why God had David add this “benefit” to his list of “Do not forget.”
“Do not forget that he redeems - or more literally - rescues you - from the pit.” In the previous verse, we are reminded of His healing. Now we are reminded to “store this ‘benefit’ - being rescued from death inside us.”
“The pit” quite literally means “death.” Those who have ever “walked through the valley of the shadow of death” understand the significance of the “walking back into the light” of life. So, we dare not forget the great benefit and blessing of the restoration of health and healing, hope and happiness.
But we must also remember the “benefit” of having been rescued from “eternal death!” Jesus promised us that, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me, will never die.” This great benefit, eternity with Him, is the greatest of all benefits!
May we remember and rejoice each day that we enjoy the benefit of eternal life and the hope it gives us.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to somehow understand the tremendous cost of our salvation and the benefit it is to us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:4a Who redeems your life from destruction,


A few years ago I was sitting in the office of a dear friend and orthopedic surgeon. Because of his God-given skills, he was able to correct the misdiagnosis of another physician that enabled me to walk once again.
As we sat and talked, he asked me how things had been going with my health. After explaining my ordeal with cancer and several other illnesses, he looked at me and said very seriously, “You have no reason to be alive!”
But he was wrong.
There was every reason for me to be alive. It was God who brought the healing to my body even though several physicians who worked with Him along the way. David was certainly aware of God’s role in the healing process when he wrote, “and heals all your diseases.” If God is the one who heals all of our diseases, why does He do this? Who is the beneficiary of His healing? Us or Him?
There is no doubt in my mind that God heals us that we might bring honor and glory to Him by serving Him faithfully. If He restores our health, we must realize that it is a gift of His grace and we show our gratefulness to Him by giving Him the glory and working with Him in this, His world.
We can only demonstrate our gratitude to Him, after we thank Him, by what we do for Him. Gratitude is not gratitude unless we become involved in building His Kingdom. Working with Him and through Him is not an option. It is a requirement if He has “healed our diseases.”
Prayer: Lord, we are not our own, but Yours. When You heal us, let us show how thankful we are by serving You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:2b And forget not all His benefits:


We rarely stop and count the many benefits that we have because of God’s grace. Perhaps David clearly and carefully listed five of them beginning with what we can say is the entrance to the benefits He has in store for us: His forgiveness.
The word forgiveness here means to “deviate” or to “stray” from the expectations, laws or commandments He established from the beginning of time. When we do so, we become guilty of sin and need His forgiveness for us to have a relationship with Him and enjoy His blessings.
Forgiveness is the beginning, the foundation of our relationship with God. And it is something some of us may need more often than others. The call of God’s Word is first and foremost the call for us to ask for forgiveness and repent of our sins. When we repent and confess our sins, the Gospel promises us that He will cleanse us and forgive us. John wrote that “If we freely admit and confess our sins, He is faithful and just - true to His nature, faithfulness, and promises - and will forgive us of our sins and continuously cleanse us of all of our unrighteousness - everything that separates us from Him.”
If, in our daily lives, we are not experiencing His benefits or blessings, it is because there is some sin in our life that has come between the Lord and us. And if we want His blessings to return to our lives, we must go to Him in prayer and ask for His forgiveness. Forgiveness is not a once-in-a-lifetime event. It is something we must repeatedly do as we do a daily inventory of our lives.
Prayer: Father, may Your Spirit make us aware of our sins and our need to repent so we may enjoy Your benefits. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:2a Bless the Lord, O my soul,

Inside Vs. Outside

As John left for the Army in World War I his mother slipped a copy of the Twenty Third Psalm into his hand. “Here,” she said with tears in her eyes and pain in her heart, “take this with you wherever you go, never lose it and read it every time you are afraid and ask God to protect you!”
He followed her advice, even in combat. One day during a time of fierce fighting he slipped the Psalm from his pocket and started to read it. Suddenly, a bomb burst near him, and he jumped into a foxhole and lost the tattered piece of paper. It frightened him, and he said, “Now, I’ll always have bad luck.”
After the battle, he went to a tattooist with a copy of the Psalm and asked, “Please, Sir, tattoo this Psalm on my arm. I never, ever want to be without it.”
Many of us are like that soldier. We have God’s Word in our Bibles but not in our hearts. We keep His Word on our tables or desks but not in our minds. We do not allow it to become part of us. It’s outside and “nearby” but not inside where it can make a difference in our lives.
“Praise the Lord, O my soul,” said David, “and do not forget all His benefits - Who forgives all your sins, Who heals all Your diseases, Who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.”
When we pause and think of this Lord that David is writing about, it does not make any sense to keep Him in a Book or on a piece of paper. He deserves to be living deep within our hearts, guiding and guarding our lives.
Prayer: Forgive us, Lord, for not allowing You to be at the center of all that we do or say, think about or worship. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:

The Universal Language

No matter where you travel - from the darkest jungle to the highest mountain - you will find some type of music. It could be rap or rock and roll, hip-hop or jazz, rhythm and blues or opera, music for a marching band, the painful music of the pagan, the Middle Eastern style that seems to be so irritating or the majesty of hymns or worship music. It all makes a statement about the one who is making it and the ones who are listening.
Sometimes the music sounds sad and sorrowful or joyful and uplifting. Then again it might be the music of marches that stirs up our patriotism on the Fourth of July. Music can bring tears to our eyes or a smile to our face when it reminds us of a loved one. When we sit quietly in church or lift our arms to God, it can elevate our hearts to His presence or excite our senses when we hear music that proclaims the glory of God’s goodness and grace, love, and salvation. But is there more?
A Psalmist once wrote of the music that should always fill the heart of a Christian: “Praise the Lord, O my soul, all my inmost being, praise His holy Name!”
Praise, in the life of the believer, is personal. If we remind ourselves of the work of Jesus while on this earth, we remember that He did His greatest works with individuals. Even when He was dying on the cross for our sins, He ministered to the one next to Him: “Lord,” he cried, “remember me!” And Jesus said, “This day you will be with me in heaven!” Even as our prayer for pardon is personal, so should our praise to our God be personal.
Prayer: Lord, fill our hearts with praise! May our souls be filled with songs of joy and hymns of gladness, always! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:1 Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!

Never Changing!

Dan and his Dad were sitting together looking at a family photograph album. Looking at a picture of a young man who had a head full of hair he asked, “Who’s that guy, Dad?”
“Me,” he replied. “That’s how I used to look.”
“What happened?” he asked curiously.
Things change. People change. Times change. The universe changes. The heavens, admitted the Psalmist, will grow old. God will change them as a man putting on new clothing and throwing away the old. And then he wrote, “But You will remain the same, and Your years will never end!”
Everyone is familiar with change. It is part of life. There are times when it is welcome and there are times when we fight against anything that is new and different, untried and unproven. There are days when everything is turned upside down and inside out. Some mornings begin with peace and calm and then turn into a tempest by lunch. We assume that we will escape every illness and live long only to be diagnosed with cancer. We know that our marriage will last a lifetime only to receive a notice that our spouse wants a divorce.
Is there any news that could be more welcome - more comforting - more desired - more important - more joy producing than the words of the Psalmist: “You - O Lord - will remain the same”? Now and through eternity.
No matter the day or the difficulty, the problem or the pain, His love and His faithfulness guard us!
Prayer: We are comforted to know, Father, that if we believe in Your Word we can trust You to honor it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 102:27 But You are the same, And Your years will have no end.