Come! Praise The Lord!

There seems to be an attitude of arrogance in the world today. It is summed up in the epigram that was written above the door of the saloon on the Titanic: “Not even God can sink this ship!” Imagine the irony of those words. They are carved in a piece of wood that is still rotting in the ocean after all of these years.

Unfortunately, there seems to be no fear of God in the world any longer. Today, the list of the world’s fears includes the COVID-19 pandemic, a nuclear disaster, global warming, the national deficit, health care, a flu epidemic, identity theft or a stock market crash. It seems as though God has been assigned the role of being an ex-officio member of the “Board of Governors.” It is a “position” with no power or influence. He is no longer recognized as one who makes any difference in the day to day operation of the universe. He’s simply around to humor some people. Man is in charge now, thank you, and will bring good things to pass now that God is out of the way!

Psalm 34 takes the opposite view of God. The author blesses the Lord for what He has done. In deep humility he recognizes the power and presence of God. His view of the world is God-centered not man-exalting. Therefore, “His praise should always be on our lips.”

How different it is today. People seem to do what they do for the recognition they may receive and the power they exert. Glory and honor belong to the one who can score the most points, accumulate vast wealth or demonstrate great power over people. God, to them, is a “thing” in the past. How very sad. Though He appears silent, He certainly is not!

Prayer: Father, may we praise You at all times and in all things for Your grace and sovereignty. Do “Your thing” through us so others may see You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. Psalm 34:1 

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Why Wait On God?

Waiting, at best, is difficult. Giving up, however, can be disastrous.

We often hear the warning, “Don’t ever pray for patience. God may take you at your word and hide from you for a long, long time.” Whether or not we pray for patience, we often end up waiting on God for a long, long time, and in the process, learn patience. It is easy to convince ourselves that “I’ve waited long enough. It’s time for me to strike out on my own. God will eventually catch up with me.”

“We wait in hope for the Lord,” said David, “He is our help and shield!” Why would a king with armies and wise men, property, and power, advise people to wait? Why not, as the warrior he once was, “move into combat?”

From his past, David could predict his future with God in control. First, the God who created all things is above all things, sees all things, controls all things and, when it is time, appears and “does His thing.” David had experienced God at work in his life and certainly came to believe in God’s presence and power in his life. So, he reassures us and reminds us that He “is now and will be in the future our helper and our shield.”

Second, as our helper, He will, at the appropriate time, deliver us. We may not know when or understand what method of deliverance He will use, but we do know that He will deliver those who trust in Him. We have His word because it is in His Word. However, until He does come and deliver us, we are reminded that He is our shield – the One who will defend us until He delivers us. Our hope and help are in His hands. 

Prayer: Give us faith, Father that will not falter or fail as we wait on You, our helper and shield. May we trust in Your greatness and goodness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield. Psalm 33:20

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A Ten-Stringed Instrument

A wealthy gentleman was known for having an extensive violin collection. When Fritz Kreisler heard of the collection, he went to see the instruments and meet the person who owned them.

When he saw them, he was overcome with joy. Turning to their owner, he pointed at one of the instruments and said, “May I play that one?”

“I’m sorry,” said the owner, “but I will not allow you to touch that violin. It is too costly.”

Kreisler visited the gentleman once again and made the same request. On this occasion, however, the man relented and gave him permission to play the violin. Gently and lovingly Kreisler removed the violin from the case and played it as only a master could.

With tears in his eyes the owner said, “Take it – it’s yours. It must be owned by someone who can play it as you can.”

Make “music to Him on the ten-stringed lyre,” said David. All ten strings were to be used to proclaim the glory of God in worship! 

Someone has said that “the body is to be used as that ten-stringed” instrument. We have two ears, two eyes, two feet, two hands, one tongue and one heart. But as the owner had to give permission to Kreisler to play the violin, we too must “offer our bodies to God as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to Him.” It’s only “reasonable,” said Paul, in view of all that God has done for us. Reasonable, indeed, but the choice is ours.

Prayer: Lord, may we be an instrument of beauty and wonder in Your hands as we willingly surrender to You. Unless we do, we remain worthless. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Praise the Lord with melodies on the lyre; make music for him on the ten-stringed harp. Psalm 33:2 

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Why Worship And Sing Praises?

Each church has its own “temperament.” There are those 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 and try one thing and then another.

Psalm 33 is filled with enthusiasm for God. And it has some great advice on how people and “churches” are 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 is a bad life,” said Wilmot the infidel when he was dying.

“The plans of the Lord stand true,” is another reason to worship and praise God. 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, “don’t trust anyone – not even your father.” Our Heavenly Father never tricks us with false promises or tempts us to do anything that is not in our best interests. He is faithful 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,” said David. 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. Christians depend on Jesus Christ. We believe that He will “deliver” and “nourish” them. And when He does – all praise goes to Him.

Prayer: Father, may our hearts and lives be centered on worshiping You in songs of joy and shouts of praise. May we glorify You for Your goodness.  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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A Straight Line

When the first railroad was built in Russia, the Czar wanted train tracks to be laid from Moscow to another city that he enjoyed visiting.

“Where do you want me to lay the tracks?” asked the engineer, unrolling a map before him.

After thinking for a moment, the Czar took a ruler and drew a straight line across the map from Moscow to that particular city and said loudly, “There!”

The Lord has drawn a “straight line.” We find it in His Word. It is a line that begins at our feet, goes through the cross of Jesus, the empty tomb, the risen Christ and ends with Him in heaven. But that line is often difficult to follow. Even for King David.

“I acknowledged my sin to You and did not cover up my iniquity,” he wrote. Acknowledging this “sin” must have been difficult for him to confess. Hear his cry, “Day and night Your hand was heavy upon me.” He could find no relief from his guilt and God would not give him any peace. “Day and night your hand was heavy on me.”

When we sin and do not repent and ask God for His forgiveness, we can expect – and be thankful for – His “heavy hand on” us. Sometimes we “feel” His hand when we are emotionally unsettled, going through a period of sickness, or sensing feelings of alienation or anxiety. How fortunate we are – for this is God speaking to us, trying to get our attention because He wants us to “confess our sins” and forgive us. Then He will remove our guilt, restore His peace and renew our relationship with Him.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for giving us a conscience that forces us to look at the sin in our lives and the opportunity to realign our relationship with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. Psalm 32:5 

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The Wonder Of Worship

“Is worship an act or an attitude?” asked the Old Testament professor.

As soon as the question was asked, a fierce debate erupted among the students. There was more heat than light in the classroom as positions were defined and reinforced with passages of Scripture and definitions from a dictionary. There was little disagreement about the fact that the end of worship was to show deep, profound, and extravagant respect and devotion to God. But the when and where seemed to be a problem.

Many Christians place worship on their weekly schedule as something “to do” on Sunday morning at eleven o’clock. It is an “event” that has been part of their lives since they were children and one they will continue to “practice” as long as they live.

However, worship in Psalm 29 is something we are to do because of what God has done for us. We are to show submission by kneeling or bow down before Him in an “act” of humility and sincerity that reflects our “attitude” of devotion.

When there is a parade that honors Queen Elizabeth II, we see people bow as she passes before them. We hear them shout, “Long live the Queen” and they address her as “Your Majesty.” These acts reflect an attitude of submission to her as their Queen. They are openly demonstrating their devotion to her and willingness to submit to her.

Can we do less for our Lord? Says the Psalmist, “Worship – bow down in submission - to the Lord in the splendor of His holiness!” Wherever we look we can see God if we open our eyes to His glory and grace and goodness. And when we see Him

 at work in our lives or in His world, we are to bow in worship to our King.

Prayer: Father, may we recognize Your grace and gifts in our lives, and bow before You with grateful hearts and worship You in humility and devotion. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Honor the Lord for the glory of his name. Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness. Psalm 29:2 

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When God Is Silent

The second-grade teacher stood before her noisy class, raised her voice, and shouted, “I want you to be so quiet that you can hear a pin drop!”

Silence suddenly prevailed. When Danny could no longer contain himself, he shouted, “Let ‘er drop!”

It’s not unusual to have an attitude like that toward God. We pray and wait. Then pray again. Then wait a little longer. Still, nothing happens. It seems as though we are waiting for God to “let ‘er drop!”

Psalm 28 begins with the “silence of God.” In fact, He is so silent that the Psalmist becomes impatient and shouts, “If you don’t answer soon, I will be like those going down to their grave – abandoned!” Scary thought!

The subtle message from David, however, was that if God did not answer his prayer his enemies would rejoice. “They,” he reminds God, “care nothing for what You have done or what Your hands have made.” In other words, “God, I don’t want them to embarrass you. I don’t want people to ridicule You. I’ve laid my life and Your reputation on the line and if You are silent, if You let me down, they will believe that You are untrustworthy!”

David was not afraid to present his case to God and demand help. He did not want “unbelievers” to look at his situation and say, “I told you so. Your God is no more dependable than Baal or Dagon. He’s not even listening and does not care, either!”

Not so. David looked at them and said, “I praise the Lord! For He has heard my cry for mercy.” David prayed. God answered. And everyone saw God “at work.”

Prayer: Father, when You seem silent may our faith never falter knowing that You will hear, help and heal. Give us the patience to wait and trust! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  Praise the Lord! For he has heard my cry for mercy. Psalm 28:6

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The Threat Of God's Silence

Prayer puts our faith at risk.

When we “pray to God in faith believing” and nothing happens or the results are different from what we expected or there is no answer at all, the tendency is to question the goodness and wisdom of God. We often doubt the need for prayer or the confidence to trust in and believe God when we do not get what we want.

As we begin to read Psalm 28, David seems to be having a problem in his prayer life. “I pray to You, O Lord, my Rock. Do not turn a deaf ear to me.” Notice the way he begins: “I pray to You!” His prayer is direct and intense. But there is something very important to be noted here. In this moment of need David, in no uncertain terms, lets us into his heart. Prayer was not just part of his life. It was at the center of his life. He was completely dependent upon the Lord for help. “You, O Lord, are my Rock!” This prayer, though we do not know specifically what David was praying for, arose from a definite need at a specific time in his life. Perhaps years later, when he wrote this psalm, he could not remember specifically what his request was. But he could not forget that he had a need that only God could meet. And God granted his request and met his need.

In this prayer, we hear his cry and see his hands raised to God demonstrating his dependence on Yahweh. And his prayer was answered. “Praise be to the Lord,” he finally shouted, “for He has heard my cry for mercy.”

God always answers us – but on His terms and in His time – what He knows is best.

Prayer: Help us, Lord, to depend only on You – not on ourselves or others – when we face our greatest needs. May we know that all is well...until. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  I pray to you, O Lord, my rock. Do not turn a deaf ear to me. Psalm 28:1 

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Teach Me And Lead me, Lord

Success in the Christian life begins with our being willing to be willing. It is our willingness, our innermost desire, to want to know God, understand Him and do His will that makes the difference in who we become, what we live for, and give our lives to.

David set the example and gives us an excellent program for being willing to be willing to become a “man after God’s own heart.” He asked God to “Teach me how to live, O Lord, (and) Lead me along right paths.” This short, simple, and specific prayer expose David’s desire: to know God and to make Him known.

When he asked God to “teach” him, David was pleading for God to guide him. This prayer did not arise out of a need to confess his sins. It came from a deep desire to have an intimate relationship with God – to experience Him as a friend and confidant. David was well aware of the fact that if he did not allow God to be his teacher, he would not enjoy God’s protection and would not be “led along right paths.” And if he did not travel on “right paths,” he certainly could not make God known to those seeking Him.

David, in this verse, also prays for “victory over his enemies” who were waiting to destroy him. David knew that if God was with him no force was powerful enough to harm him or hurt him. Regardless of who the enemy might be, those who believe in God have nothing to fear. No one or nothing can undo the work or wisdom of God. What He has done for us gives us confidence that He will be with us to withstand any attack.

Prayer: Give us Your assurance, Lord, that as we know You and do Your way, You will always guard us. Increase our faith to overcome our doubts. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  Teach me how to live, O Lord. Lead me along the right path, for my enemies are waiting for me. Psalm 27:11

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Life's Final Moments

If the two options we have in life are faith or fear, then we can come to enjoy and take comfort in the peace we have in a living God who is our light, salvation, and hope. If we do not have a hope that comes from the Lord, we are condemned to a life of anguish as we move toward our final hours on earth.

Bertrand Russell said, “The older I get the more nervous I become.” In contrast to his fear is the faith we see in Pope John XXIII. Two weeks before his death he said, “My bags are packed. I’m ready to go!”

David had an unusual boldness as he faced life and death. “Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident.” Imagine this if you can: Even though he is confronted by an army or fighting to win a war or trying to survive with his very life, he says that “I am confident.” Confident of what? His well-trained troops and their weapons? His superior skills as a leader?

Indeed not. His confidence was in his Lord who was his light, salvation, and hope. The word David uses for confidence in this verse means to feel secure or to be unconcerned. His confidence, the security he enjoyed when facing the uncertainties of life and the possibilities of death, was in the Lord Himself.

David’s passion was to live in the Lord’s house and to behold His beauty forever. Living in the Lord’s house means much more than being an occasional visitor. It implies being a resident now and in eternity. To behold His beauty means to enjoy God’s goodness and blessings today, tomorrow, and through eternity. Have you accepted His invitation?

Prayer: How blest we are, Father, to know that faith in You gives us hope for this life and the one to come. Thank You for Your grace and salvation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident. Psalm 27:3 

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Life's Choices

Yogi Berra once said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” That seems to sum up the journey before all of us in one way or another. We are constantly faced with deciding which way we are to go when we come to the “forks in life’s road.”

Each morning when we begin the day’s journey, there is no assurance that what we intend to do will unfold as we planned it. Interruptions come from every side and what may have been peaceful and calm ends up being frantic and beyond our control. So, we are confronted with two ever-present options: chose to have faith in God or be fearful of what is in us, in front of us, or around us. We are often faced with the only two choices life has to offer: faith or fear. So, what does faith in God have to offer us?

In Psalm 27 David describes his Lord as his light, salvation, and fortress. As his light, David knew that God would reveal His plan for him and dispel the darkness that might come over him. He also believed that God was his salvation. This meant that God would deliver him from anything, any time, or anywhere that would harm him and rescue him from tragedy when things went badly. He believed that the Lord was his strength – his personal stronghold or fortress – a place where he could take refuge and restore his soul when he was overwhelmed with life’s demands.

No wonder he proclaimed with confidence: Why fear anything?

Prayer: We thank You, Lord, for being our light, salvation, and strength. How desperately we need Your help to meet the challenges of life! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: The Lord is my light and my salvation - so why should I be afraid? Psalm 27:1 

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Look At Me, God!

“How bad do you want to be good?” he asked.

Confused, I asked, “What do you mean? Being bad to be good doesn’t make sense.”

“This has to do with motivation,” came the reply. “Do you really want to be ‘outstanding’ or be just like so many others who do things half-heartedly or just get by in life?” To be outstanding takes determination, and David was a man of determination.

He was determined to be the man God wanted him to be. He was not content to go about his daily activities without making sure that he was a “man after God’s own heart.” So he asked God to “Test my motives and search my heart.”

That must have taken a great amount of courage – especially after he demanded, “Declare me innocent, O Lord!” Imagine his boldness: “I have acted with integrity...I have trusted You without wavering...put me on trial and cross-examine me.”

Rarely do we hear of God’s judgment anymore. It is no longer a popular topic. Perhaps we have become so accustomed to God’s blessings that we have forgotten that there will be a day when we will stand before our Savior and give an account to Him of every deed – good or bad – that we have ever done. Let us never forget that.

While this took courage for David to ask God to examine him, he had no fear or apprehension. Why? Because he was “aware of God’s unfailing love” that far exceeds His judgment and certain punishment. 

What a great example for each of us!

Prayer: Lord, search our hearts thoroughly. If there is any sin in our hearts, reveal it so we can ask for Your forgiveness so You can cleanse us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Put me on trial, Lord, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and my heart. Psalm 26:1-2  

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Why Twelve?

Why did Jesus choose twelve disciples? Was there some significance in that number? Could it have been because there were twelve months in the Jewish calendar, or because they divided their day into twelve hours, or because there were twelve tribes of Israel? Not at all.

We find the answer in Mark’s gospel: “that they might be with Him!” Jesus wanted His “friends” to be with Him and learn from Him. Psalm 24:14 says, “The Lord is a friend to those who fear Him. He teaches them His covenant” – His plan of salvation.

Someone once said, “A friend is a person who knows you and likes to be with you despite your faults.” This seems to go beyond “love.” Love is “doing” something for someone because, as Christians, it is our obligation.

It is a gracious thought to know that God wants us to be His “friends.” The picture represented in this verse is that of two friends sitting on a couch having a confidential conversation. What a wonderful way to think of our relationship with God: sitting next to Him and quietly talking to Him about this life and the one to come – His eternal covenant with His people – those whom He calls His friends – now and the life to come!

How amazing it is to think that we can share every thought with God as a friend. What an opportunity He offers us: to sit with Him as a friend and ask Him to teach us what His covenant is all about: His promises, His presence, His protection, His provisions, His peace – His plan for our well-being in this life and the one to come.

We can do this – be with Him –this very moment by reading His Word and allowing Him to speak to us through His Word as well as listening for His voice when we pray!  

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for being our Friend and Teacher and always being willing to share Your Words and ways with us now! How blest we are! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: The Lord is a friend to those who fear him. He teaches them his covenant. Psalm 25:14 

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Moving On

There is a story of a patient in a mental institution who sits alone and looks longingly out the window. Every now and then he wistfully moans, “If only I had...” And his voice trails off as his mind recalls a past event.

At one time he was a brakeman on a freight train. On a bitterly cold night, he decided not to light his lantern and leave the warmth of his caboose to warn an oncoming train that his train had stopped to reload its coal car. He had been at this particular place before and could not remember if there were any trains that needed a warning.

Unfortunately, an oncoming train did not see his caboose and crashed into it leaving three of his friends dead. He escaped with severe bodily injuries that healed, but, mentally he could not escape the scene. Whenever his mind recalled the event, he would say, “If only I had...”

Many of us have memories that have left scars we wish we could erase. David also had one. He traded a peaceful mind for a moment of pleasure that left him overwhelmed with grief. Finally, he cried out, “Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways. According to Your love, remember me for You are good, O Lord.”

Was that prayer answered? Indeed. “When we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us.” And He also promises, “Their sins and iniquities I will remember no more.”

There is no sin beyond God’s forgiveness! And, no forgiveness without asking!

Prayer:  Lord, with grateful hearts we accept Your forgiveness and cleansing. But may we never forget that they cost You Your life. We love You sincerely. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways. According to Your love, remember me for You are good, O Lord. Psalm 25:7 

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Challenging God

 Knowledge is one thing. Knowing is quite another. We may know about someone and yet not know that one as a person. We may know the “vital statistics” about a person and never know the “hidden stories” kept deep inside. To get to know someone usually involves the other person disclosing some personal, sensitive, and previously unknown things.

David wanted to know God. Really know Him. So he prayed: “Show me, teach me, and lead me.” He knew of God but wanted to understand what it meant for Him to be the Lord of his life. Notice what he did.

First, he said: “Show me!” Here he is asking Got to “reveal” Himself so David could actually see what He was like. If we, like David, want to see a true representation of what God is like we need to look deeply into His Word and spend time with His Son. It is impossible to know God apart from mastering the content of His Word – His Son, Jesus.

Secondly, he said, “Teach me!” If we have truly repented, we will want God to teach us His ways so we can understand His will for our lives and become obedient to His teachings and commandments. And God will show us His way if and when we truly desire it. But, only then.

Finally David courageously said, “Lead me in Your Truth.” He realized that he could not be successful in his walk with God if he was not willing to completely surrender his life to Him. He didn’t ask God to “be there when I need you,” or “answer when I call.” No! He wanted God to open His eyes to His eternal truth and then he would willingly follow Him. God will “show” us and “teach” and “lead” if we follow David’s examples.

Prayer: Father, may we willingly open our minds and hearts to Your truth, to learn from You and then show Your love to others by following You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Scripture For Today:  Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths. Psalm 25:4

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Need Directions?

Life’s journey is never simple, straight, certain, or serene. It is like a complicated maze that has sharp turns and sudden stops, steep climbs and quick drops. Getting from the beginning to the end is no easy task. Life is often like a “maze.”

How blest we are to have the Lord who is personally interested in each of us, is willing to guide us, guard us and give us detailed instructions. But we must be willing to seek Him and trust in Him. Not only is God willing and able to rescue us when we ask Him, but He will guide us and guard us and give us what we need if we allow Him.

“Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths,” said David. He did not approach God asking for directions and say, “Lord, if You promise me an easy path I will follow it and cooperate with You.” He went to God before he started his journey and said, “Show me – teach me,” then I will make my next move. By voluntarily asking God for help before he started his journey, he could expect God to be with him and protect him on his journey. But he did not stop there.

He asked God to “teach him His path.” 

When he asked God to show him his way, he wanted more than directions. He wanted God to be his teacher – his guide through life – explaining His world and His ways to him so life made sense. It is easy to ask God to show us where to go and what to do. But, it is difficult for us to open our hearts and allow Him to teach us His ways!

What a beautiful picture of surrender! Show me where to go, God, and teach me what I need to learn so that I may understand what You are doing in my life. Please? Thanks!

Prayer: Lord, fill us with an attitude of humility and trust and help us look to You as our Leader and Teacher. May we set aside our pursuits and seek Yours. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths. Psalm 25:4

Calling For God In A Crisis

There are some psychologists who believe that our need for safety, structure and stability are more important than nearly anything else. Perhaps they are right.

When we look around and feel threatened and insecure, we become frightened and build what we think are protective walls to make us safe and secure. Yet often the protective walls we have wrapped around us are suddenly removed, and we become frightened and afraid facing a hostile world.

Could it be that God is offering us an unplanned opportunity to grow closer to Him? Disaster strikes and we immediately grasp for His hand, wanting His protection. We suddenly realize we desperately need Him and since there is no one else to turn to we call on Him for help. We need a “miracle working God” and want Him to do something special for us. NOW! So, we call on Him in desperation because we need help and believe that only He can rescue us.

David did not have an easy life. From infancy to old age he knew and experienced the stress and strain and storms of life. We find many examples of this in his writings. One is when he cried, “I give my soul to You, O Lord. All of me – body, mind and spirit – Lord, is now Yours!” Save me he cried and “Let me not be ashamed” for doubting You. David’s army and armor could not help. At times, neither can ours.

Overwhelmed with fear, he called upon God. He knew that he needed a power beyond himself and knew Who and where that power was. And when he called, God answered. 

Prayer: May we, Lord, come to realize that in and of ourselves we are nothing and need Your protection. May we, like David, know what to do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: O Lord, I give my life to you. I trust in you, my God! Psalm 25:1-2 

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Don't Give Up!

The endless questions of growing children often become boring and frustrating. There are times when no answer will do, and no explanation is ever sufficient. The child persists and refuses to be satisfied with our best answers. The questions never stop.

Perhaps David had times in his life, as we all do, when it seemed as though his “King” would not answer his questions. It appears that the Lord stood far beyond and above him, unavailable, unable and unwilling to answer him when he called. So, what did David do? He thought that he understood God and did what he knew God expected of him to the best of his ability. Yet we see him standing there in wonder – wanting and waiting to hear a voice, unable to bear the silence.

What was his problem? And do we have this same problem today? Perhaps.

Instant gratification and sudden success do not breed faith in God. But patient expectation and utter dependence on Him does. Perhaps our “fast-food-lanes” and “any-time-bank-tellers” have eroded the importance of waiting and watching and wondering. Hopefully, deep within us, we believe that He will answer our prayers and meet our needs. We know- at least we say we do - that His power is beyond our imagination. David realized this, too.

But, David had an intimate knowledge of God and knew Him personally which we may not. Yet, he asked the who question twice as though His power was not available. But it was! God wanted David to wait and trust and grow. And, God expects the same of us.

Prayer: We know, Lord, that Your power is more than sufficient to meet our needs. Increase our faith to meet our needs and trust in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  Who is the King of glory? Psalm 24:8 

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Getting There From Here

Following directions to get from one place to another is sometimes difficult. Even using a map or listening to a distant voice speak to us on a global positioning system often create suspicion. Often, we have feelings of uncertainty until we arrive safely at our intended destination.

There was no doubt in the mind of David if someone wanted directions from God. It is a clear if/then. “If,” David wrote, “you want to stand in His presence, ‘then’ you must have clean hands and a pure heart.” Hands refers to our actions and hearts refers to our attitudes. Certainly, the word “pure” would eliminate most of us. In our moments of honesty and openness before God, we all recognize our soiled hands and devious hearts. What then are we to do if we want to plead our case before God? Who can say, “My hands are clean and my heart is pure?”

Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” There is little doubt that any of us will achieve a pure heart in this life. Was Jesus teasing us? Indeed not!

In the beatitudes Jesus is talking about how we are to live. And He knew that we could never achieve the goals for Christian living that He was talking about.

So, what are we to do? Give up? No! In the beatitudes He is talking about motives! He wants us to have an inner attitude and desire to continually seek the Lord by reading His Word, seeking to know Him, and then honoring Him by the way we live.

Prayer: Thank You, Father, for Your Word that shows us the way to find our way into Your presence. May our motives be pure and our live sincere. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Who may stand in his holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure. Psalm 24:3-4  

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The Object Of Our Desires

We often hear phrases such as “I just didn’t have enough time,” or “I ran out of time,” or “If I only had more time.” Time seems to elude all of us. Yet all of us try to regulate our lives by time. We wear watches, have clocks, and are time sensitive.

One of the most interesting facts about time, however, is that it reveals our priorities. If we say that we love our wife and children yet have little time for them or to be with them, our words are meaningless. If we say that we love our Lord and Savior yet have no time for church or take no time to serve Him, our behavior mocks us and cancels our words. Our priorities are what matter. Our priorities are known to us and visible to others by the time we spend on “things.”

Psalm 24 makes a bold statement: “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.” It reflects the words that introduce us to God: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth!” This verse states that God was the Creator. Furthermore, this psalm states that the earth and everything in it belongs to Him. If so, He is to be the priority of our lives and everything we do is to be an act of worship – honoring Him in all that we do. And when we do what is right and just and fair, we reflect His priorities.

This psalm clearly announces the Kingship of God. We are quick to recognize God as Creator but that is not enough for Him. As our Creator-King, He has every right to expect us, His subjects, to place Him first and foremost in our lives. We know He is our priority when we honor Him by what we do with our time.

Prayer: Help us, Lord, to make You the priority of our lives by being obedient to Your Word and serving You.  May our deeds reflect Your desires. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. Psalm 24:1 

God's Mercy

Valentine's Day is a day that has been set aside as a day to express love and affection. Cards and candy, gifts and flowers are given freely and are usually intended to make a statement of appreciation and love to someone who has a special place in our heart.

We read in Psalm 23 that the “goodness and mercy of God will follow us all the days of our lives.” But the word mercy is best translated “love” – a love that is not readily visible in our world but is vitally needed by each of us. It is God’s love that we can only know and experience through His promises.

Rather than being pursued and punished by a god who is angry with us for breaking his laws, we have a God who pursues us and promises to provide for our every need from His limitless love and grace. It is this God that David knew and trusted. It is this God that David knew that he could go to for hope and help, healing and forgiveness. It is this God that David knew could be trusted to protect him in times of trouble. It is this God that David knew.

And, we too can come to know this God as David knew Him. And, we too can come to trust Him as David trusted Him. If we chose. 

When we speak of God’s love, we speak of a love that comes first from loyalty – He will never leave us nor abandon us. We know that it is a love that will surround us and sustain us with care and compassion. We know that this love will be available to meet our every need every day. Accept His love by accepting His Son.

Prayer: We thank You, loving Father, for a love that is never ending, always available, and freely given to us through Your Son, our Savior. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:6 

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More Than A Shepherd

“Life is not fair,” some claim. When they try to place the events of life on a balance sheet, the total seems to be much larger on the negative side of the ledger. They prove their point: Life is indeed unfair.

And if we stop reading Psalm 23 at the end of verse four, it seems that the struggles of life end in victory with no celebration. The battle is over, and we sit silently in comfort and security – but alone. Not so! Our Shepherd becomes a Host, and we are seated at a lavishly set table with an abundance of food.

After a successful battle in the days of David, the victor would be seated in a banquet hall as the ones he defeated stood and watched as he dined before them. They would watch but not enjoy. They were the losers and could not enter the joy of victory.

So our Lord will one day seat us in the presence of those who would have destroyed us. Not only is there the celebration of a feast that signifies victory over life’s trials, but the honor of being anointed with “oil” – the sign of a true celebration. Then we read that our “cup” will be overflowing – a picture of the goodness and grace of God. It represents a picture of Him giving the very best to His child whom He bought at a great price.

In the New Testament, the banquet table is a sign of salvation. We conclude this psalm with a vision of being seated at a banquet with our Savior and Shepherd. A banquet where we will celebrate the joy of our salvation and being with Him forever.

Prayer: We look forward, Lord, to that day when we will rejoice in Your presence forever, first as our Shepherd, then our Savior, now our King! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Psalm 23:5 

Dark Valleys And Death's Shadow

It takes the darkness and fear of the night to bring out the brilliance and beauty of the stars. When we face the fear of the unknown, we often find the grace of God. “Though I walk through,” David said, “the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil because You are with me!”

We are all joyfully aware of God’s presence when days are filled with sunshine and warmth. All of us, however, have at one time or another, entered into valleys that are filled with ill-defined shadows that we find frightening and foreboding. We look for a light to shine over the rim of the mountain to give us the assurance that there is hope. Yet, it is because of those days of sunshine and warmth that David reminds us to remember that God is also with us when all is not well, and the light that faithfully guided us fades.

There are times when our “valley” may take the form of suffering. When it does, we must not forget that Jesus also suffered. So we know that He understands our suffering and is with us. When we face the fear and darkness of the unknown, we often discover the grace of God as Jesus did on the cross. And when we feel abandoned and alone, we must not forget that those who He spent three years training to be His disciples forsook Him. And remember – when He was laid to rest, it was in someone else’s tomb.

Our Savior has walked through every “dark valley” that we will ever have. He understands our grief. Now, He is in heaven with His Father and when we go to Him in prayer with our needs, we have the assurance that He understands our needs because He was there before us, understands from experience what we are facing, and will deliver 

Prayer: We are blest, Father, by Your presence and protection as we pass through life’s dark valleys, knowing that as Your Father saved You, You will save us. In His Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

Faith, Fear And Facts

Walking in “paths of righteousness” does not protect us from the “valleys” of life, but we can be sure that the Lord Himself is with us and will protect us while we are in those valleys.” Though we may be surrounded by what may seem to be the ultimate darkness brought about by evil, we can rest in confidence and be filled with courage because we know that God’s presence and power guarantees His protection.

“Your rod and your staff, they comfort me,” wrote David. These two powerful words, rod and staff were not meaningless words – but words that describe the ways that the shepherds guarded and protected their sheep.

The rod was used by shepherds to beat away any external enemy that might harm his sheep. The “crooked” staff was used by shepherds to snatch his sheep from getting in harm’s way. So, here we have a picture of how our Shepherd watches over us. He guards us from any external enemy that would attack, defeat, or destroy us. He makes certain that they will not come near us nor harm us because His arm is around us. Nor will he allow internal enemies – thoughts or ideas – that would cause us to doubt His love, mercy, grace, salvation, or hope to destroy the peace His presence brings us.

Our Shepherd’s rod and staff summarize His role and describe the ways He will care for us if we allow Him. And when we allow Him to become our Shepherd we can say with David, “I will walk through valleys and fear no evil! The threats will not overcome me.”

Prayer: Lord, give us faith to believe in the facts of Your Word that in Your strength we need fear no evil or harm that could destroy us. Keep us close! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4 

Right Living

When we are born, we know nothing, have no plan to follow, and must be taught how to live. Before us are opportunities and options, choices and consequences that await us. Unfortunately, we do not have any “second chances” in life to live our lives over again. No matter how deep our desire may be or how desperate we are, we cannot relive one second nor retrace one step. Each step is final, and every second gone forever.

David, however, says that the Good Shepherd will “lead us in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” Note carefully that He does not simply want us to understand what righteousness is, but that He leads those who are His own “in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” – so we can avoid the many tragedies that we face in life.

This is very important. The “righteousness” that David is speaking of here is not an end in itself. If it were, it would lead us to a state of “self-righteousness” – not godly righteousness. God does not want us to stray or walk in paths that are unrighteous because they will lead us to defeat and destruction, sin and shame. He wants to lead us in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Nothing is more important for us. Why?

Because the Shepherd’s name – His reputation – is at stake. Like it or not, His name will be respected or rejected, honored or harmed, by the way we live. Our lives say it all.

Alexander the Great once said to one of his soldiers, “Your name is Alexander and my name is Alexander. But you are bringing disgrace to my name. Change your name or change the way you live.” So, it’s “righteousness for His names sake”

Prayer: Enable, us Father, to walk righteously in Your power for Your Name’s sake, to honor You. May we take Your reputation seriously! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Psalm 23:3 


The word “want” in this Psalm covers anything and everything that we might ever desire. It is all inclusive – covering the mental, physical, and emotional as well as the spiritual areas of our lives. And if a “want” is important to us, we need to realize that it was important to God before we ever recognized it.

David knew none of our “wants” were beyond God’s love, grace and mercy. Even the important need to “lie down” in “green pastures” beside “still waters” so our “souls” could be “restored” is important to the Good Shepherd! It is so important to Him that He often “makes” us take time to replenish and refresh our souls as well as ourselves.

There are times when He intervenes in our lives and causes us to “be still.” Why? Not only does He want to guide us but He often has to guard us from ourselves. Jesus said, “Come apart and rest awhile.” If we refuse to “rest awhile,” we may “come apart” and then need Him to put us back together again so He can refresh us and use us.

The Good Shepherd loves and cares for His sheep. He not only guides them but guards them. His protection brings us His peace and with His peace comes His promise to make us “lie down beside still waters” where He will “restore” us – refresh and renew us.

In our frantic lives God expects us to rest in Him, trust in Him, take time for Him and worship Him. If we do not follow His pattern, He may even force His rest upon us in ways we would not choose. We need the benefits that come from resting in Him and with Him so we can do more for Him in worship, praise, and service. 

Prayer: Help us, Lord, to recognize our need to be alone with You and be renewed, refreshed, and restored. May we find our source of rest in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. Psalm 23:1 

Who Is My Shepherd?

Yahweh is my Shepherd are the first words of Psalm 23. These words announce the protection and provisions of a personal God. The emphasis is on the fact that Yahweh – the Creator of the universe – recognizes me as an individual and wants me to speak His name and call on Him for my deepest and most personal needs.

Often when we worship we speak of our God. And He is indeed our God. We come together as believers to worship and praise Him. But David, who once was a lonely shepherd watching his flock, wants us to know that this Shepherd takes a personal interest in the individual needs of each sheep in His flock. Sheep are, perhaps, the most dependent of all animals and cannot survive without the care and constant attention of the shepherd. If any of his sheep have any need at any time, the shepherd is available, night or day, ready and able to meet any and every need of his sheep.

Most of us would not want to depend on anyone for everything the way sheep depend on their shepherd. But Yahweh, our Creator, wants us to depend on Him that way. Why? It keeps us close to Him and dependent on Him and not ourselves.

Prayer: Help us, Father, to look to You and trust in You to meet our every need in life. May we recognize how blest we are to have You as our personal Shepherd. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. Psalm 23:1 

Our Source Of Security

Life is unpredictable. Rarely does a day pass without someone or something interrupting our best-laid plans. We look forward to days without worry and nights that are peaceful. Then, suddenly and without our permission, we are jolted into the realm of the unknown and the valley of the unexpected. We strive to be safe and secure but we have no assurance that tragedy will not strike us without warning.

Psalm 23 is no doubt the world’s most loved psalm. The helpless image of sheep who want to stray from the flock and their need for protection by an ever-present and always watchful shepherd gives us comfort and calmness. We all need and want that kind of Shepherd. It gives hope and assurance that we will never be left alone during the dark hours of life and that we will never have to face dangerous valleys or dimly lit pathways by ourselves.

In this psalm, David presents a picture of God that reveals His love, His loyalty, and His presence. As long as we live we can say He is “my” shepherd – not “a” shepherd or “someone else’s shepherd” but “my” very own shepherd who watches over me and every step we take.

And finally, when we are face to face with the certainty of death after the uncertainties of life, we know that He is – not might be – but is with us as we “pass through” the dark valley of death and enter into eternity where He will greet us, and we will enjoy His presence forever!

Prayer: We are grateful to You, Lord, for giving us Your peace, presence, and protection, today and every day and that You, our Creator, are also our Shepherd. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. Psalm 23:1 

Why Now, God?

Feelings of being abandoned and forsaken are, perhaps, among the most painful feelings of life. In desperation, we cry for someone or anyone to come to our rescue. Tragedy strikes, hopes are dashed, one whom we deeply loved and have spent our lives with is suddenly taken from us. And there we are: alone and abandoned. Our cries go unheard – and it seems as though the heavens above have turned to brass and the clouds have become marble. So, we cry out in fear and frustration for our God. But He does not answer. He seems to have forgotten us and is not available.

Jesus experienced and knew those feelings. As life was ebbing from His body He cried out, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” David and Jesus felt abandoned, indeed were abandoned, by those who were their closest friends. They had invested time in training them, being open and honest with them, shared the ups and downs of life with them, and came to believe and trust in them. And, then in their darkest moments felt the pain of desertion and the fear and agony of being alone.

But they would not give up on God! The lamp of faith may have been dimmed by God’s silence but it had not been extinguished by life’s tragedies. Both confessed that ‘He is still My God!”

God never promised that if we believed in Him our lives would be free from the fear of isolation or loneliness. He did, however, promise to be with us in our darkest moments. He did not promise to take us around the dark valleys of life but through them.

Prayer: We accept Your promises, Lord, and pray that in our moments of despair we will not lose faith in You.  We know that You are always there! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? Psalm 22:1 

Facing The Unknown

Imagine, if you can, leaving your loved ones behind as you depart for a war zone. Think, if it is possible, how you would feel if you were told you had stage-four cancer and there was no treatment to help prolong your life. Consider, if you will, what you would do if you discovered that your loved one had abandoned you.

While we hear of these tragedies impacting others, few of us would welcome or want them to invade our lives or the lives of our loved ones. But what happens if they do? The Psalmist gives us comfort if or when we must embrace the unwelcome tragedies of life.

“In times of trouble may the Lord answer your cry,” he writes. Not hear your cry, nor think about your cry, nor put your cry on His waiting list. But may He answer your cry.

Life is filled with unexpected tragedies. One moment everything is the way we had planned it to be and the next moment things are upside down. Often we are faced with unforeseen temptations that present choices we never thought we would have to face. But, fortunately, we do not face life alone. We have the protection of God, the power of the risen Christ, and the presence of the Holy Spirit to rescue us from defeat.

We cannot avoid the trials or tragedies of life. Nor do we need to face them alone. God is there to protect and defend us. Victory is ours when our lives are in God’s hands.

Prayer: Thank You, Father that Your ear is open to our cry and Your strength available when we need help. May we look to You, and not ourselves. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: In times of trouble, may the Lord answer your cry. May the name of the God of Jacob keep you safe from all harm. Psalm 20:1 

From Head To Heart

JoAnn was watching her grandfather mulch the soil around his smiling pansies. “Papa,” she asked, “may I please have the yellow one with the purple face?” “Of course, my dear,” he said, handing her a flower with a stem that was once near the center of the plant.

After carefully examining its intricate details she said, “Here, Papa, now take it back and put it where it was.”

“I can’t do that, my dear,” he replied. “It came from the heart of the plant and there is no way to put it back.”

Words are like that pansy. They come from the heart. Whatever we say or whatever anyone else says comes from the heart, and words once spoken can never be returned to their source. Our words either help or harm, do good or cause damage, build up or tear down, bring out the best in people or make them fearful to act.

How wise of David to want his words and thoughts to be pleasing to God. God wants us to love Him, worship Him, serve Him, and please Him. But if we do not know Him we will never be able to honor and serve Him. And we cannot know Him unless we study His Word and allow its message to penetrate our minds.

Then, as we think godly thoughts we will speak godly words and do godly deeds that come from godly hearts and then our lives will be pleasing to Him. Whatever is in our hearts will eventually come out in our words and deeds.

Prayer: We ask, Father, for hearts that are filled with Your Word and lives that are pleasing in Your sight. Only then will what we say be right. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14