A Reason To Be Glad

The word glad in Scripture carries with it the idea of happiness and joyfulness, pleasure and freedom. God’s Word, however, reveals the only source of gladness: the Lord. The Psalmist wrote, “For You make me glad by Your deeds, O Lord; I sing for joy at the works of your hands.”

This source for our gladness does not come from anything we have done or accomplished or any ladder of success that we might have climbed. It does not come from the wealth that we may have accumulated or records we have set. It does not come from any amount of power we have because of our position. The gladness that the Psalmist writes about comes from what God has done for us.

Another Psalmist wrote, “But may all who search for You be filled with joy and gladness. May those who love Your salvation repeatedly shout, ‘The Lord is great.’” And another Psalmist said, “Let the godly rejoice. Let them be glad in God’s presence.”

We often set “goals” for ourselves that we think will bring a sense of well-being and fulfillment to us - the “if only” statements we make: “If only I can get a promotion I will be satisfied,” or “If only we had a larger home our family would be happy,” or “If only...If only...” and the list goes on.

But the “glad” that comes from God that can fill our hearts and lives comes as a result of what He has done and will do for us: He made possible our salvation through Jesus Christ, His Son, and our Savior. Because of Him we can be glad and sing for joy, knowing that “all things are working together” for our good and His glory.

Prayer:  Thank you, Lord, for filling our hearts with gladness because of Your goodness, love, and grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: For You make me glad by Your deeds, O Lord; I sing for joy at the works of your hands. Psalm 92:4 

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"Daily Planning Guide"

Nearly all of us have some method for planning our daily activities. With no plan to follow, our time will likely be wasted and our days meaningless. On the other hand, often our carefully detailed plans can be completely disrupted by an emergency or unexpected demand. In Psalm 92, however, we find a simple way to open and close each day and bring God’s presence into our lives.

The Psalmist suggests that we begin the day with a “proclamation” - we are to “proclaim the love of God.” If we begin each day by proclaiming the love that God has for us, it will remind us that we are safe and secure in His love and that nothing or no one can destroy us. Then, as the day unfolds and when the unexpected occurs, and things seem upside down, we know that He is holding us close to Himself and that He will protect us from that which might harm us. It is in His love that we are safe and secure. As Paul wrote, “Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” It is His love that keeps us close to Him, and no one or nothing can break this bond that comes from Him.

As we end each day, we are advised to praise God for His faithfulness. Indeed, by His grace, He has brought us through another day, and He has proven Himself to be trustworthy. Even when tragedy strikes or the light of His presence is dim, we have the assurance that He is with us.

If “things” look bad today, we can always look back at our “yesterdays” and see God at work in our lives and praise Him for His trustworthiness and faithfulness.

Prayer:  Thank You, Father, for Your unconditional, unfathomable love! May we always be aware of Your love and faithfulness, peace and presence. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Scripture For Today:  It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening. Psalm 92:2 

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Waiting For Wisdom

“You know,” he said stroking his beard, “I have a problem learning from my past sins.”

“What do you mean?” I asked. “Most people say they learn from previous experiences - including sins.”

“Well,” he said with confidence, “I can prove them all wrong.”

“How can you do that?” I asked. 

“Well,” he said, stroking his beard once again. “It’s easy. Have you ever committed the same sin twice?”

“Unfortunately, I have,” I replied. 

And before I could explain what I was talking about, he said with great confidence, “I rest my case.”

Repeating the same sin more than once is common in the lives of many Christians. Others often lose sight of what living the Christian life is all about and are not even aware of their sins. Some become careless about their responsibility to live in obedience to God’s laws and are unconcerned about their lifestyle. We forget that we are accountable to God for everything we have and do. Perhaps it would be helpful if we took some time to do an inventory of the sins we know we frequently commit. To reflect on our past and its problems may keep us close to God and avoid repeating our sins!

The children of Israel had this problem. Listen to the Psalmist: “But they soon forgot what He had done and did not wait for His counsel.” If we focus on the great things God has done for us, and if we seek His counsel and wait for His guidance, we can avoid repeating our sins.

Prayer:  Lord, thank you for the great things you have done for us! We want to live a life that honors You and is free from sin. May we look to You for Your power to resist temptation and falling into sin. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: But they soon forgot what He had done and did not wait for His counsel. Psalm 106:13  

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God's Grace

Now and then it is good to take a “morning inventory” and reflect on the grace of God.

This morning when I opened my eyes I thanked God for protecting me while I slept. As I turned off the alarm clock, I thanked Him for sounds and my hearing. As I rested for a moment before getting out of bed, I could feel my beating heart which He kept working while I slept. As I stood up, I thanked Him for my balance, healthy legs, and my slippers. As I took a shower, I thanked Him for the warm water, shampoo, soap, a towel, and a mat on the floor to keep me from slipping. Then I continued by thanking Him for a mirror, razor, deodorant, and on and on until I thanked Him for each of the articles of clothing He provided for me to wear.

And, then I thanked Him for the words of the Psalmist that reminded me of His promise: “no good thing will He withhold from those whose walk is blameless.”

It was then that I had to pause in deep humility and gratefully thank Him for His love and grace that I do not deserve but desperately need. It is so easy for me to accept the gifts of God - including my salvation - without realizing that everything I have, or ever had or will have, are gifts from God.

And, as I reflected on that verse, the word blameless kept ringing in my ears as though it was my friendly alarm clock. I, of all people, am certainly not blameless. As I meditated on the word blameless for a few minutes and thought about everything I am or have, it’s not because I am blameless. It’s because His life was blameless, and of His unending love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness!

Prayer:  Thank You, Lord, for loving us, saving us, and giving us everything we have. May we be ever mindful of Your love and grateful for Your gifts! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  No good thing will He withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Psalm 84:11c 

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Why Worship And Sing Praises?

Each church has its own “temperament.” There are churches where you find happiness and hope, a warm fellowship and a welcoming spirit. Others are cold and closed, old and tired. In between are some that are looking for an identity, trying one thing and then another.

Psalm 33 is filled with enthusiasm for God. And, it has some great advice on how to worship God. “Sing joyfully,” said the Psalmist. “Praise the Lord with the harp and the ten-stringed lyre,” he continues. But why?

One reason is that “The Word of the Lord is right and true.” No one has ever rejected the Bible because it contradicts itself but because it contradicts the reader. “The only objection against the Bible,” said Wilmot the infidel when he was dying, “is a bad life.”

“The plans of the Lord stand true,” is another reason to sing. A father said to his son, “Go to the third step and jump. I’ll catch you!” But he didn’t, and his son fell to the floor. “Now get up and remember,” he said, “not to trust anyone - not even your father.” What terrible, tragic advice. However, our Heavenly Father never tricks us nor tempts us. He is faithful in all places, in all things, and at all times.

Finally, “The eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear Him.” No army has ever saved a king, David once said. Warriors work together and combine their strength but are often defeated. But “God delivers His own from death and keeps them alive in famine.”

Humanists depend on human beings. But Christians depend on Jesus Christ to nourish, deliver, sustain, and save them, while providing strength for the journey.

Prayer: Thank you Father for delivering us! May our hearts and lives be centered on worshiping You in songs of joy and shouts of praise. May we accept all we have in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Let the godly sing for joy to the Lord; it is fitting for the pure to praise him. Psalm 33:1 

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Right Way - Wrong Way

God created us to follow Him - not to forsake Him. He desires that we triumph over temptation - not struggle with guilt for surrendering to sin. He wants us to walk with Him and not stray from Him because of our self-centeredness. He waits to help us achieve the potential He has given us and not be satisfied with less than what is possible. He is willing and able to share His wisdom and give His insights whenever we need to make any decision - if only we ask Him.

There are many wrong ways but only one “best” way - His way. And no one but God can reveal that way, His way, to us. We may search one way and then another, try this route, or another until it comes to a dead end. However, only when we allow God to lead us will we be in the center of His will for us. 

Israel’s experience during the Exodus gives us a great example of God’s guidance and guardianship.

The Psalmist gives us a vivid picture of what can happen when people “try to make it on their own” and do not follow God: “Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. Some were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away.” How sad. How true. Without God’s guidance, we are all wanderers, ebbing away!

“Then they – the Israelites - cried out to the Lord!” And listen to what happened. “He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle.”

No one will ever find a “straightway” to a “safe place” in life unless they surrender their life to God and follow Him. Life without God is a “wasteland,” and unless we accept His salvation, our lives, like theirs, will “ebb away” unless we follow God.

Prayer: Thank you Lord for guiding us to a safe place – You! Please save us from ourselves and our sins, and then lead us safely throughout our lives into Your presence. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle. Psalm 107:7 

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An Attitude Of Gratitude

Someone has rightly said that when our name is spoken, we are “called into existence.” So, here’s a question: If we go an entire day without someone mentioning our name, do we exist? Or, if no one has recognized us, does that mean we are not alive? Not at all! It means that we have not been recognized. We have been “overlooked.”

David began Psalm 18 by recognizing God and proclaiming his love for his Lord: “I love you, Lord, you are my strength!” This simple statement quickly describes David’s dependence on God, his intimate relationship with God, and his devotion to God. “God,” David said, “is the source of my strength.” Whatever he did was done through the strength that God gave him.

Often we think of “strength” as our ability to lift something or endure something as an athlete does in a contest. David was not thinking of that type of strength. But, he does go on to describe that strength: his Lord “is a rock, a fortress, a deliverer, a shield, his strength, and the horn of his salvation.” All of these words that describe God come from a military setting and help us to see that David, in this Psalm, saw God as the One who protected him and made him the victor of all of his battles no matter where he was.

When David called on God, something positive always happened:  in a war he was victorious; in life, he was rescued and renewed. That also happens when we call on the Lord. “Everyone,” the Bible says, “who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” from that which would bring about our death. Call on Him now and be saved!

Prayer:  Lord, we love You and thank You for being our Savior and shield, our protector and provider. Whatever we need, we have in Your Son! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  I love you, Lord, you are my strength. Psalm 18:1 

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He Satisfies

God did not create any need He could not satisfy! He did not create food that would simply taste good. He created food that would taste good and satisfy our hunger – food that would nourish and sustain us, comfort us and bring us enjoyment. Every hunger or need that we have - whether spiritual, emotional, physical, or social - can be fulfilled out of the abundance of His creation. That includes this life and the life to come. He is a needs-meeting God.

 Listen to the Psalmist: “For He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” If we are thirsty, we must drink the water that He provides to quench our thirst through His Son. If we are hungry, we must eat the Bread of Life which is His Son. Unless we ask the Lord to become our Savior, we will live lives that are empty, unsatisfied, and unfulfilled. Only when we are willing to allow Him to fill the needs He has placed deep within us through His Son will we become complete.

There is a story of a little boy returning home from the store with a jar of honey. After struggling for quite some time to open it, he finally succeeded. He stuck his finger into the jar to taste its wonderful, delicious contents. An older man watching him from a distance approached him.

“Is it sweet?” he asked. “Yes, Sir,” came the reply. “How sweet?” asked the man. “Well, Sir, I can’t describe it. It’s so sweet it more than satisfies my need for candy. But I’ll tell you what. You stick your finger in the jar and taste it for yourself, and then you’ll know.”

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!” He alone can satisfy our every need. 

Prayer: Lord, thank you for meeting our every need! Fill the emptiness in our lives with Your beauty as You become our Redeemer, Savior, and Lord. Fill our lives with Your sweetness! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: For He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. Psalm 107:9 

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The Signs Of A Grateful Heart

An attitude of gratitude is always obvious. If we are grateful for what God has done for us and given to us, others will see in us our grateful appreciation for it in everything we do. David provided a fourfold formula for us to follow to prove our gratitude.

“I will thank You, Lord, with all my heart.” The thanks he described is total and consumed all of his being - his entire self. The word he used for heart would include his consciousness of God’s presence, his memories of God’s goodness, and his awareness of God’s grace. He worshiped God with excitement, enthusiasm, and expectation.

“I will tell all of the marvelous things You have done.” Marvelous comes from a word that means “extraordinary, not surpassed by anything, wonderful!” He is so overwhelmed by God’s blessings on and in his life that he wants everyone to know it.

“I will be filled with joy!” Joy is the natural state of the one who trusts in the Lord. Knowing that “all things work together for our good” should cause His joy to radiate from our heads into our hearts and out through our hands. Everything we do should be done with a smile on our face and gladness in our eyes.

“I will sing praises to Your Name, O Most High.” Notice that there is only one letter difference between the word “sin” and “sing” - the letter “g” - that stands for God. When we give up sin for the Savior, God gives us a new song to sing. It is a song about the Savior who loves us, gave Himself for us, is present in us, and works through us.

Prayer:  Lord, thank you for the goodness and grace of our salvation. May we always have a joyous, grateful, thankful, radiant heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to Your Name, O Most High.  Psalm 9:2 

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Grace For Our Grief

God’s grace is greater than any grief we may ever have to endure. Psalm 107 describes the greatness of His grace with the Israelites.

First, like them, we are pilgrims: “They wandered in desert wastelands...” We are all “wandering” as pilgrims most of the time. We struggle to determine right from wrong and often make improper decisions because we have left God out of our thoughts. We have a great example of what to do when this happens: When the children of Israel realized that they were wandering, they returned to the Lord and asked for His directions. He would always welcome them back and point them, once again, in the right direction. Remember, too, the words of Jesus: “I am the way.” Wherever or whenever we wander, His grace is always available to welcome us back.

Second, we are all prisoners: “Some of them (were) prisoners, suffering in chains.” Sin fascinates for a while, but it soon fastens us in chains that keep us from enjoying God’s best. Habits are easy to form but difficult to forsake. But when the Israelites called upon God to free them, He always “snapped” their chains, and released them from their bondage. Whomever God saves, His grace sets free.

Third, we are often overwhelmed with grief when persons we thought loved us turn on us and hurt and harm us. “...give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love.” We have all suffered unbearable pain when someone whom we thought cared deeply for us turned against us and tried to destroy us. Being abandoned is difficult to survive alone. Thank God Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you!” We have His promise of His never-ending peace and presence, care and compassion, healing and hope. 

Prayer:  Thank You, Father, that You love us, care for us, and will always be there for us. Thank You for Your much-needed, always available love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Some wandered in the wilderness, lost and homeless. Psalm 107:4 

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Quiet Christians

For many years two neighbors rode the same train to work in downtown Chicago. George went to church regularly, and if pressed, would admit to being a Christian. But he never allowed being a Christian to interfere with his life. On the other hand, Will never went to church and had no use for godly things. As they rode the train each day, they discussed business strategies, sports, politics, religion, and current events. They rarely, if ever, mentioned God.

One morning Will became violently ill and was rushed to the hospital. After a series of tests, his physician informed his wife that he could not live longer than a few days - if that long. Frightened, his wife said, “Perhaps we’d better call George and talk about God.”

“George? Talk about God? Why George? He rarely mentioned God to me or that he knew Him. So I doubt that he would be the right person to call,” said Will. Without saying another word, he passed into eternity - lost.

When George heard the news, he was stunned and filled with guilt. There was nothing he could do for Will now but go to God and ask for forgiveness for not being a witness and promise to become a faithful witness to others. The words of the Psalmist echoed loudly in his ears: “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!”

Unfortunately, the Kingdom of God is filled with too many citizens like George. They know the Lord from a distance but are unwilling to speak as one of His ambassadors. They believe that they have “theirs” and that’s all that matters. But there is no denying that if indeed God has redeemed us, we will present Him faithfully to others!

Prayer: Thank you Lord for redeeming us! Forgive us for our silence and refusal to be faithful in presenting Your message to the lost around us! May we speak Your truth in love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  Let the redeemed of the Lord say so! Psalm 107:2a

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Our God Is A Good God

Mary Jo spent part of her spring vacation with her Grandmother. When she returned home, her mother asked, “Were you a good girl?”

“Mom, I was so good that I could hardly stand it,” she replied. “It’s a wonder I had any fun I was so good.”

The word “good” is difficult to measure. There is no “good-er” or “good-est.”  Why? Because the word good is only applicable to God. And we must never forget that it is not possible for God to improve on anything He does or do anything any “good-er.”

On one occasion when Jesus was starting on a trip, a man came running up to Him and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to get into heaven?”

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good!” 

His reply did not disclaim that He, too, was good.  On the contrary! He claimed and proclaimed His goodness when He confessed that He was God!

Unfortunately, the young man regarded Jesus as a human teacher only. For him to attach the word “good” to a mere human being was a bad thing because of his religious beliefs.  So, it was necessary for him to understand that only God is good and that no one other than God is, in fact, good. Jesus is good because He is God.

 Whenever we think of ourselves, we must always remember who we are, how we think, and that we are human. When we think of God, however, we must shout with the Psalmist, “Give thanks to God for He is good!” 

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, that You are good and in Your goodness, we see Your love, mercy, grace, and salvation. Thank You for being what we are not. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Psalm 107:1

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The Danger Of Anger

Sin is not a behavior to belittle. When it no longer frightens us, we have lost contact with God. A small sin can lead to a large tragedy. And, all sin has consequences.

One day, while the children of Israel were on the path to the Promised Land, they came to a place that had no water. Rather than trusting their God who had always provided for their every need, they became frightened. And, when fear, rather than faith, takes over one’s life, faultfinding and blaming others for what is happening always follows. 

Our Psalmist gives us a vivid report of the consequences of their “faithless” behavior: it “angered” Moses. So, the Lord told him to take his rod, gather the people together, speak to the rock in their presence, and it would provide the water they needed. 

But Moses did not speak to the rock. Instead, he struck it twice with his rod. Then, in anger, he spoke harshly to the people. Rather than doing what God asked him to do, he did what he wanted to do, and it led to tragedy, and eventually his downfall.

Notice what occurs when you place a “d” in front of “anger.” It becomes “danger.” His disobedience aroused his anger which should have been a “danger signal.” There is always a great danger when we become angry and are disobedient to God. In this instance, anger led to disobedience, which led to sin.  As a result, he lost the great honor and privilege of leading his people into the Promised Land.

How sad. How tragic. Moses did many great and glorious things. He had worked hard and did well. He was so close to reaching the goal God had given him. But he disobeyed God, lost control of his emotions, and had to pay the consequences. A moment of anger can destroy anyone at any time and in any place. Remember the letter “d!”

Prayer:  Thank you Lord for always providing what we need. Only You can give us victory over our emotions that will so easily destroy us. May we learn the value of patience and being faithful to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: At Meribah, too, they angered the Lord, causing Moses serious trouble. Psalm 106:32 

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Aware Of God's Presence

When days are good and times are trouble-free, we often forget that God is present in our lives and protecting us from possible tragedies. This seems to be a very real fact of history - for individuals and nations.

The children of Israel believed in God. They were aware of His goodness and grace, presence and power, and had experienced them on many occasions. But, they often left Him out of their plans - as we often do.  Then, when times became difficult, or when situations became uncontrollable, or beyond their - or our - ability to manage, they – just like us - called on God to deliver them - as we do.

As they became absorbed in the physical, they would forget the spiritual - like we do. They would major on temporal and ignore the eternal - as we do. God was not at the center of their lives or uppermost in their thoughts. How like us!

So, the Psalmist reminded them that “They soon forgot what He had done” - as we do!  

The word forgot is an interesting word. It signifies something that has been “mislaid.” In other words, they put God aside. That left a space in their hearts that had to be filled. They needed a god. So, what did they do? They made a golden calf, and instead of praising the God who called them His children, they worshiped an idol made of metal.

We were created to worship and have fellowship with the living God. If we forget that and put Him aside, we “create” other gods and put them in place of the living God. Whoever is or whatever is the priority in or of our life is our God or our god.  

Prayer:  Thank you Lord for always being with us in good times and bad. Help us, Lord, to recognize who or what we worship. May we never forget that who or what we worship is, in truth, who we will become. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  Yet how quickly they forgot what he had done! They wouldn’t wait for his counsel!  In the wilderness their desires ran wild, testing God’s patience in that dry wasteland.  So he gave them what they asked for, but he sent a plague along with it. Psalm 106:13-15 

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Trying To Escape God

God seems to appear when we least expect Him. He certainly will not be confined within the walls of a church or restrained within the rituals of a religion. He is, after all, God the Creator, Sustainer, and Savior. He makes Himself known when and where and how as He pleases.

Once, during the transatlantic crossing of a large ocean liner, a major storm erupted, breaking the silence of calm seas. A huge wave swept over the bow of the ship and swept a sailor into the raging waters. His cry for help went unheard.

But in Philadelphia, his Christian mother, who was sound asleep, suddenly awoke with an urgent desire to pray for him. Even though she was not aware of what had happened or his life-threatening situation, she prayed for his safety with urgency, intensity, and trust. She then returned to bed and fell asleep with peace in her heart.

Weeks later her son returned home, opened the door, and shouted, “Mother, I’m saved!” Then he described what had happened and how he had been swept overboard. “As I was sinking in the swirling waves, I remembered thinking, ‘I’m lost forever!’ Then I remembered a hymn we sang in church about looking to Jesus to be saved and cried out, “O God, I look to Jesus to be saved, and another wave swept me back onto the ship.”

When he finished his story, his mother told her story. They then thanked God for the storm that saved his soul. As the Psalmist wrote, “Pursue them with Your tempest and terrify them with your storm.” Our God is amazing. Our God does the unexplainable.

Prayer:  Thank You, God, for what You can and are willing to do to save the lost. We will never understand Your love but gratefully accept it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Pursue them with Your tempest and terrify them with your storm. Psalm 83:15 

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Where Is He When We Need Him?

The night was so dark that even the stars were hidden behind the clouds. The winds were so fierce and the rains so heavy that it was nearly impossible to see. A chaplain noticed a young sailor trying to hide behind the ship's guns where there was a dim light. Trying to comfort him, the chaplain opened his New Testament to John 3:16 and asked him to read that verse. He wanted to talk to him about God. “For God so loved the world,” he began reading quietly, “that He gave His only forgotten Son.”

Many of us frequently forget the Lord, His Word, and His works until we need His help. This happened to the people of Israel. The Psalmist reminds us of this in two simple words that all of us, unfortunately, can relate to: “They forgot.”

Often when we face a crisis, it is easy to focus on the crisis rather than the Christ who can guide and guard us through it safely if we would only allow Him. We think of everything that we can do rather than what He can do. So, we delay calling on Him. More than we can understand, He is waiting and willing, to hear our voice. He wants to comfort and care for us, strengthen and sustain us. But, we choose to tackle tasks by ourselves - believing that we can live life without His help. Then, when we realize that we are helpless, we turn to Him and, as always, He responds. Could it be that He allows us to “try it” on our own and fail so that He can remind us of our weakness and His enduring strength?

Can we find promises to assure us of His help? Indeed! “Call on me, and I will answer you...” And again, “I will never leave you nor forsake you!” 

Prayer:  Thank you Lord for always hearing our voice. How foolish we are, Father, to ever forget that You are always present in our lives, waiting, willing, and wanting to help us. Enable us to believe! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: But they soon forgot what He had done. Psalm 106:13a 

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Fortified By Faith

If we knew what was going to happen, we would not need faith. We could plan for tomorrow and the next day and the next with confidence. But only God knows what tomorrow will bring into our lives. So, we need faith.

Faith enables us to live courageously, live life with confidence, and know that with God beside us, His Son within us, and the Holy Spirit to empower us, we can be filled with confidence and assurance that God will guide us and guard us.

Unfortunately, not all Christians walk by faith. Some squeak through life by sight. But, the two principles of action are exclusive of each other and contradictory.

One is sight. Sight is concerned with things that are material and visible. The other is faith. Faith is concerned with things that are invisible and spiritual. Each principle struggles to master the other. Christians must choose which one will be their master.

 If we walk by sight, we will encounter many things that will cause us to be filled with fear and frighten us. We see this in the lives of the people of Israel. When they left Israel, they were followed by the greatest army who had the best fighters in all of Egypt.

When they came to the Red Sea and saw the enemy about to destroy them, they were frightened. But despite their lack of faith, the Lord saved them. He caused the sea to divide and provided a dry road for their escape. God can and did great things for them.

“Then,” states the Psalmist, “they believed His words.” When? After they saw His miracle. They didn't need to experience such despair and the fear of destruction. Their lack of faith in His presence and power caused them to doubt His promises. God is constantly doing the impossible for us even when our faith is weak. Trust in His greatness.

PrayerThank you Lord for doing the impossible for us. Help us to take You at Your Word and trust in You to always protect us. Please increase our faith. Help us to believe in You for all things. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Then they believed his promises. Then they sang his praise. Psalm 106:12 

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Remember Me!

“But I’m not that important to God. I have not accomplished anything with my life, and I’m too old now to do anything about it. I can’t imagine that I will make any difference in God’s scheme of things,” he said. “How could any God love someone as worthless as me? I’m hopeless!” 

It seems as though the writer of Psalm 106 felt the same way. “Remember me, O Lord, when You show favor to Your people, come to my aid when You save them.” He felt alone, abandoned, forsaken - perhaps even worthless. He could not imagine God including him in His plan of redemption. “I’m excluded!” he cried. “No hope.”

Another man made a similar statement. This one was a thief hanging on a cross dying for his crimes. How interesting it is to note that he was hanging next to some One who had never committed any crimes, but was dying for the crimes he - the thief - had committed. He had no time to turn over a new leaf and lead a better life. He could not go to the people he had wronged and ask for forgiveness, or attend a religious ceremony for cleansing. He could not perform any good works - his hands were nailed to a cross. All he could do was to call on the Name of the Lord and ask Jesus to “Remember me!” And, we too, must realize and remember that no one is beyond the grace of God. 

Although he was a thief condemned to die for his crimes, our Lord loved him just as much as He loves us. “Today,” Jesus assured him, “you will be with Me in paradise.”

God has no favorites. His love includes everyone.

Prayer:  Thank You, Father, for Your love that includes all of us no matter who we are or what we have done! Help us to find our worth in Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Remember me, O Lord, when You show favor to Your people, come to my aid when You save them. Psalm 106:4 

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Do Right!

“Blessed are they...,” said the Psalmist, “who constantly do what is right.” Jesus, too, emphasized the importance of righteousness when He began His public ministry. “Blessed,” said Jesus, “are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

Doing what is right and hungering and thirsting for righteousness is not a priority in the lives of many who call themselves “Christian.” It sounds like a lifestyle that is more suitable for monks who live in a monastery and spend their time reading the Bible and praying than for people who work for a living. Monks can avoid the “real things” of life and “be righteous.” It’s what they live and die for.

Perhaps when we think of being “righteous” and “doing what is right,” we shudder because it sounds so “limiting” on the one hand, and “impossible” on the other. “What fun is there in being righteous?” we ask. Or, “If I ‘do right’ I’ll live a life of gloom and doom with no room for happiness and joy.” What a grim prospect.

But the exact opposite is true. God has a specific plan for each of our lives and will enable us to fulfill it if we so chose. Ultimately we will become like His Son. If we seek and follow the plan and purpose He has for our lives, as did Jesus, we will walk in paths of “righteousness for His name’s sake.” If we want to know the “path of righteousness” He has for our lives, we must study His Word. And, the more we study His Word, the more we will become like Him. If we desire to “do right” and become “righteous,” we will need to spend time with Him, get to know Him, and love Him. If we “do right,” we will “become right.”

Prayer:  Thank you Lord for the plan you have for our lives. We all want to “do right.” But we cannot “do right” unless we are willing to know what is right. May we turn to Your Word to learn Your ways. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: There is joy for those who deal justly with others and always do what is right. Psalm 106:3 

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Proclaim His Mighty Acts!

Not many people have ever heard of Mithridates the Great, King of Pontus, from northern Asia Minor, in 88 B.C. He was famous for his size, his strength, and his skill of mastering the languages of the twenty-five nations that he ruled. There’s also Cardinal Mezzofanti, who was born in Bologna, Italy who spoke more than one hundred languages and dialects. Language enables us to understand one another and share ideas. It connects us.

Today, philologists claim that there are between 6,000 and 7,000 different languages that people use to communicate with one another. The majority of the languages in our world flow from one person to another. Some languages exist that have never been reduced to writing. Every language evolves and changes over time. When people connect with other people in other places, languages become richer and more inclusive.  Some languages add new words while other words are deleted when they no longer make sense. Some words lose their meaning and are soon forgotten.

Yet, no matter how many words there may be or how many languages are spoken, the Psalmist put things into the proper context when he asked, “Who can proclaim the mighty acts of God, or fully declare His praise?” 

We will never be able to praise God as much as He deserves, but we can praise Him with a sincere heart. If we ever begin to realize the magnitude of God’s love and mercy that saves us, and sustains us, our hearts will be filled with such joy that our voices will never cease to express our gratitude and thanks!

Prayer:  Thank you Father for your love and mercy that saves us. We lift our voices in praise and thanksgiving to You for Your love for us and the gift of Your Son, who came to share Your message of hope. In His Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Who can proclaim the mighty acts of God, or fully declare His praise? Psalm 106:2 

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Give Thanks!

Josh felt that things were not going the way he wanted them to go in his relationship with Janie. So, he decided to make her a beautiful bouquet and a large box of candy. When Janie saw the lovely gifts, she was so excited that she threw her arms around Josh and gave him a warm hug and kiss.

Suddenly, he turned and began running down the steps of her porch. “Where are you going, Josh? Have I embarrassed you? Have I offended you?” 

“Oh no,” came the reply. “I’m going for some more flowers and candy!” 

God gives us one good gift after another. They come whether we expect them or not - even though we do not always deserve them!

Psalm 106 begins with a shout: PRAISE THE LORD! And following the shout, the Psalmist gives us a reason for us to shout: “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever!”

His everlasting love and goodness are like never-ending rivers that flow through our lives, bringing us His blessings that we do not deserve nor could ever earn. His river never dries up in the summer or turns into ice in the winter. It flows freely bringing us God’s best every day of our lives!  

Surely, it is good to give God thanks. But, it is even better to show Him our thanks by doing His work in His world. Now that Jesus has gone to be with His Father in Heaven, we are left here to finish what He started. We are obligated to reach out to the lost and hurting with His love, mercy, and grace. His work has now become our work. 

Prayer:  Thank you Lord for Your goodness and your unconditional love for us that never ends! Trouble our hearts, Heavenly Father, and give us no rest until we willingly do the things Your Son did. May we always reflect the love of Your Son. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  Praise the Lord! Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever. Psalm 106:1 

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The Memories Of A Holy God

It almost seems contradictory when we read these words of the Psalmist: “For He remembered His holy promise.” It’s as if God were in a grocery store and just as He began to walk through the parking lot to His car He stopped and said, “Oh my. I forgot the milk! I’m glad I thought of it.” But, not so. 

As Psalm 105 ends, the author reminds us of the faithfulness of our God. So, he wanted to remind the readers, once again, that whether or not they were faithful to Him, He would be faithful to them. He made a covenant with Abraham and through the many generations from the day that covenant was made until that very moment, He was always with them. When they felt alone, He made His presence known. When they needed protection, He was there to guard them. When they were hungry, He provided food to nourish them. When they were weak and weary, they could rely on His power. 

God has been, is, and will be true to what He says. And, He is faithful to keep His word to whomever He gives it. Wherever we look in history - in times of defeat and delay - it does not mean that God has forgotten what He has promised. God is always faithful to His holy promises. His promises are holy and sacred because they come from a God who is holy and sacred. Through days that seemed unbearable and nights that had no stars, God was always with them - working out His will in His way according to His plan.

God calls us to Himself to make us like Himself. He will do whatever it takes to restore His image in us. Remember: God is a “working in us God” and is always faithful.

Prayer:  Thank you Lord for being faithful to us! Give us patience and perseverance, faith and fortitude, courage and conviction, heart and hope to do what You call us to do. Always! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  For He remembered His holy promise to his servant Abraham. Psalm 105:42

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Our Wonder Working God!

All of us know individuals whose lives have gone from pinnacles of prosperity to places of poverty. We know that temptations overtake some individuals, and they soon become enslaved and imprisoned by harmful habits. Once they were blest, but now they are in bondage. There seems to be a pattern of self-destruction that overcomes many who are not satisfied with the gifts of God. They apparently will not allow His grace and goodness to satisfy them. They always want “more!”

This is what happened to the people of Israel. It seems that the more God gave them, the less satisfied they were. Finally, their greed led them to slavery. But, thank God, their story does not end there. His love and mercy eventually brought redemption and restoration to them. When? When they repented and returned to the Covenant He made with them. God always keeps His Word.

Not only did He rescue them from their captors, but “they were laden down with silver and gold.” When we allow God to rescue us by His grace, His Word promises us that “It is He who will supply all of our needs from His riches in glory because of what Jesus Christ has done for us.” God will honor His Word with us, as He did with Israel.

He also empowers those whom He rescues: “From among their tribes no one faltered.”  When God rescues us, we are called to serve Him faithfully. He has a plan for each of our lives, and that plan contains many opportunities for us to honor and serve Him. And, for each of the opportunities He gives us, we know that He will equip and empower us, and we will not falter or fail if we are faithful to Him.  

Prayer:  Thank you Father for Your plan for our lives. Help us not to stray from it, but rescue and restore us to the plan You have for us. Help us to find joy in serving You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  The Lord brought his people out of Egypt, loaded with silver and gold; and not one among the tribes of Israel even stumbled. Psalm 105:37 

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God Works

“Do you know what U.N. stands for?” he asked.

“The United Nations,” I replied quickly and confidently.

“Not at all,” was his reply. “It stands for Unsettled Nations,” he informed me. 

Then he continued, “Does the Lord care about the condition of the nations of the world? And, if He does care, why doesn’t He intervene and make things better?”

 “Yes, He cares,” I answered. “But we need to see how God has intervened in historical writings by studying His Word so we can understand what He is doing today.” 

History shows one nation to be at the center of God’s attention: Israel. Psalm 105:24 describes what we might call an “explosion of people.” It reads, “The Lord made His people very fruitful. He made them too numerous for their foes.” We have often heard that there is “strength in numbers.” Here we see this “in action.” As the Israelites grew in numbers, they grew in strength, and they were able to overcome their adversaries. 

It was this “strength in numbers” that made the Exodus possible. The historian continues by revealing another fact to us: those “whose hearts He turned to hate His people and to conspire against His servants,” were led by Moses, His servant, and Aaron, His chosen one, to lead them into the land that God had prepared for them. Ultimately, it was their perseverance through persecution that led them to the Promised Land.

Is God involved in the affairs of nations? Indeed He is. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord!” We may not see it now, but we will see it when the time is right. 

Prayer:  Thank you Lord for being our God! May we look to You, Lord, as the only One who can save our nation. May our leaders humble themselves and seek and follow Your guidance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  The Lord made His people very fruitful. He made them too numerous for their foes. Psalm 105:24, 25

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From Humiliation To Exaltation

One evening when my son John came home from football practice, I noticed that his arms and hands had an unusual number of cuts and bruises on them. “What happened?” I asked.

“Have you ever noticed, Dad,” he replied, “that pain is optional, but suffering isn’t? I wanted to be on the starting team, so I knew it would take some ‘pain’ on my part. I’d been ‘playing,’ and now I wanted the coach to know I could be a ‘winner’ at football.”

The Psalmist reminded us that Joseph was sold as a slave, and that “They bruised his feet with shackles and that his neck was put in irons, till what he foretold came to pass, till the word of the Lord proved him true.” 

Tucked away in the great plan that God has for each of us is our fair share of suffering. After Joseph was sold into slavery, he did not complain about his situation. He persevered through the horrible conditions that were placed on him. By honoring and trusting God, the King of all kings honored him.  

When he was tempted by King Potiphar’s wife, he resisted her seductive behaviors. She did everything she could do to seduce him, but through his dependence on God, he did not give in to his passions. And, when she grabbed him physically, he was able to escape through God’s strength. When she lied about him, he was thrown into prison. And, rather than becoming bitter, he became better. Because he was true to God, he triumphed and eventually became the premier of Egypt. His path to power was through suffering, pain, and imprisonment. If we are true to God in our times of trial, we will be triumphant. 

Prayer:  Thank you Lord for carrying us through. Help us to be faithful to You, in all things at all times. May we understand and know that temptation and suffering, are part of Your plan for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  They bruised his feet with shackles and that his neck was put in irons, till what he foretold came to pass, till the word of the Lord proved him true. Psalm 105:18-19

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Guarded By God

There was a large stag - a red-coated deer - that roamed through the hills of Rome. No one ever came near it or tried to capture or kill it. Caesar protected it, and all were forbidden to disturb it. On its sides were the words, “Touch me not! I belong to Caesar.” It was a sign of ownership, and no one dared to harm or hurt that animal.

There is a far more important statement about ownership in Psalm 105. It is a statement about those who belong to God: “Do not touch My anointed ones.” 

Sometimes the words of God are overlooked by the children of God. This verse is a good example of an “overlooked” rule given by the Lord. Few of us will admit to having never spoken evil of a fellow Christian. But...

We often listen carefully while one “saint” criticizes or condemns another “saint.” We carefully listen to every detail when a fellow church member ridicules or runs down the person who sits next to us during the worship service. We do not see “for whom Christ cares” on the forehead of someone whose marriage is falling apart - so we anxiously listen to the sordid details of an unfaithful spouse.  We blame others for “bad parenting skills” when their children become addicts rather than grieve with them over their loss. We carelessly pass on rumors about the honesty of someone who has more than we do. The tongue can easily become a weapon of wickedness and ultimately destroy “the Lord’s anointed ones.” 

We must use our tongues to help, heal, and give hope, not hurt or harm!

Prayer:  Thank you Father for your love and protection. Help us to turn deaf ears to words that hurt or harm others. Rather, help us to speak words of kindness and show Your love to them! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Do not touch My anointed ones. Psalm105:15a 

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Promises? No! Promises!

Years ago a firm handshake and a sincere look in the eye meant that “my word is my bond as long as I live.” No more questions were required, and no exceptions were included. “If I said it I meant it, and I will do it. I will not deny what I said nor will I offer any excuses if I fail!”

How different it is today. Contracts, warranties, and agreements are written with clauses that are vague, difficult to understand, and often need the interpretation of an attorney. Word of mouth promises rarely last longer than the time it takes to speak them.

How different it is with God. In Psalm 105 we are reminded of His faithfulness to Israel. If He said it He did it. If He promised something, there is proof in His Word that He made it happen. All of the promises He made have been fulfilled, and provide proof that “God is a Man of His Word.” This should give us courage for today and hope for the future.

Some Biblical scholars who have carefully researched His word have identified 3,000 promises in the Bible! Furthermore, all of them, except one – Christ’s second coming - has been fulfilled. And, we can be confident that He will fulfill that promise at the appointed time. If He said it, He did it – or, we know, will certainly do it! 

So, here are two great promises we can claim right now: First “The Lord is a stronghold in the day of trouble!” Whenever we can’t handle difficult things and horrible times, we have His unfailing word that He certainly can! We can claim this promise!

And, second: “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in My name.” What a wonderful, never-ending, open-ended promise if we call on Him in faith and trust.

Prayer:  Thank you Lord for keeping your Word. Help us to claim Your promises and know that You will fulfill them. May we look to You, in faith, and believe! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  He always stands by his promise. Psalm 105:8a

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Wonders And Miracles

Have you ever planted a seed in a jar, placed it in a window where the sun’s warmth and light were at work and watched in “wonder” as God brought life to that small “package?” Left in darkness, little, if anything, would have happened. But when the seed was placed in soil, nourished by the sun and the life-giving elements in the soil, its thirst quenched by water, a “miracle” took place. It “did” what God created it to do.

Some might question the difference between the words “wonder” and “miracle.” We often watch in awe when we do not understand what is going on around us. Sometimes things that “amaze” us are easily explained by someone who knows more than we do. Then, when we understand what happened, we may still be filled with wonder, but it is no longer a mystery. It’s like God’s love for us. We wonder “why” and “how” He loves us despite our flaws and faults until we know Jesus.

A miracle, however, is some event or action that cannot be explained. It is an extraordinary event that demonstrates God’s power. Without giving us any warning or making any announcement, He “invades what is going on” in our lives, and unpredictably changes things to let us know “who is in charge!” What has been, no longer is, and what will be cannot be predicted. These kinds of things were obvious in the journey of the Israelites: God unexpectedly saved and protected them. When this occurred, the Psalmist wrote, “Remember His miracles.” It was His love, mercy, and grace that saved them.

But what about His miracles in our lives? “By His grace, we can be saved.” Like the Israelites, He can save us, too. Now, that’s a miracle awaiting us we all can enjoy!

Prayer:  Thank You, Lord, for Your love, mercy, grace, salvation, and hope. May we never forget the miracles we have received, or those awaiting us! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles, and the rulings he has given. Psalm 105:5 

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His Strength

“Remember, don’t BLT,” said the surgeon. Of course, that got my attention immediately.

Then he explained, “Do not bend, lift or twist. If you do, you will damage or destroy the work that I did on your spine. You must ask for help from others if you want to heal properly. If you are seated, get help to stand. Do not lift anything that weighs more than five pounds – like a gallon of milk. And, turn your entire body rather than twist if you want to see someone or something that is to your left or right.” 

As I was wheeled from the hospital to begin the trip home, I could not imagine how different my life was going to be. Being dependent on others has always been difficult for me. But thinking of his orders and my false pride forced me to admit how often I had failed at one thing or another because I refused to ask someone for help or seek the counsel of others. Even God. Certainly, “pride does come before a fall.”

“Look to the Lord and His strength,” said the Psalmist. How easy it sounds but how difficult it is for many of us to do. God wants us to depend on Him, seek the help and counsel of others. If we don’t, the likelihood of failure looms large. Our strength is limited, but He is not. 

But there is something more to be learned here. When I come to the end of my strength and am unable to do what He has called me to do and ask others to help me, they share in my ministry. So, two things can happen: when I realize the blessings that can come from depending on others when they are willing and able to help me, they share His love by helping me. And, I can share my ministry with them!

Prayer:  Thank you Lord for Your ways, Your Word, and Your wisdom which are gifts we do not deserve but desperately need. May we willingly share them with others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  Look to the Lord and His strength; continually seek Him. Psalm 105:4 

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Giving Thanks

Sometimes it seems as though we have more holidays and days to celebrate people and events than there are days on the calendar. But this month contains a national holiday that has special religious significance. This special day has been set aside for us to pause, ponder, praise, pray, and give thanks to God for His many blessings.  

Many families will gather together and share stories of God’s love, mercy, grace, and salvation. They will talk of God’s peace and presence in their lives, and tell of His goodness and guidance, hope and healing, power and protection. God’s generous blessings will be the most important topic of their discussions. He will be honored!

There will also be families where God will not be respected or mentioned. It is not that thanks will be absent, but God will not be recognized or respected as the giver of all gifts. They will focus on what they have, have accomplished or achieved - believing that they have “done it on my own.” They will not recognize His gifts.

Some families will resent the day because they feel short-changed or even forgotten by God. They have had trials too tragic to share and losses too great to describe. Their lives seem hopeless with nothing before them but darkness. The consequences of wrong choices have left them scarred for life. However, God still loves them!

But, everyone can join the Psalmist and say, “Praise the Lord and give Him thanks!” - Even those who feel hopeless and ungrateful. Why? This verse talks of His mercy which is always available to everyone: the humble, the proud, and the resentful.    

Prayer:  Thank you, Lord! You have given us so very much. Yet, we ask for and need one more thing: A thankful heart! Please fill our hearts with gratitude. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. Psalm 105:1 

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