"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. Often, however, 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 can 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 all You have done for us. May we always be aware of Your love and faithfulness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Psalm 92:2 proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night,

Finding Life

A Roman soldier once asked his superior for the privilege of speaking to Julius Caesar. His request was granted and when he approached Caesar, he pled for permission to end his life. Looking at the man who stood before him the general saw a man who led a wretched and worthless life. After a moment’s thought Caesar said to him in disgust, “Man, were you ever alive?”

God intended for each of us to enjoy a life that has meaning and is fulfilling, and satisfying. Man, created in the image of God, is to do the things of God and bring honor to his creator. Without God at the core of our life we will be, as the soldier was, living a wretched, worthless life.

The last verse of Psalm 91 presents a picture of a person who has God at the core of his or her life. It tells us that the goal of this God-centered person is to satisfy God - to live a life that can be blessed by, empowered by and honored by God Himself.

Recently I asked a student to share with the class what Romans 6:23 meant to him. Standing before us he said, “Let me tell you about this verse. For me it reads, ‘The wages of sin is an empty life.’ I know because I’ve been there, worked hard and felt like my needle was on empty. It did not matter how successful my life appeared to be to those around me, it did not matter how much land I owned or how many houses I had or how much money I earned. My life was on ‘empty’ because I could never fill it with enough things for the needle to move to ‘satisfied.’”

Prayer:  We ask You, Father, to help us live lives that are pleasing to You, knowing that if we do we will be satisfied. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Psalm 91:16  With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation."

"Too Big For Me, Dad"

Young Timothy was helping his Dad clear a lot next to their home for a garden. Things went well until Tim ran into a large stone that he couldn’t budge. After struggling for a few moments he called to his Dad and said, “Dad, this one is too big for me to handle. What should I do?”

“Well,” said his Dad wanting him to learn a lesson, “what have you tried to do?”

“I’ve pulled on it with both hands,” he said looking down at the stone. “And I’ve tried to pull it with a hoe, too, but that didn’t work either.”

“Sounds like you’ve tried to move it with all the strength that you have,” his Dad said patiently.

“Sure have, Dad. There’s nothing else for me to do but up give up on it,” he said with discouragement.

“Give up, son? Why would you give up?” he asked.

“There’s nothing else to I can do,” said Tim.

“Oh, but there is. You can always call on me to help you, Son,” he said with compassion.

Often God allows us to realize how weak we are without Him. We struggle and fail. We try and give up. We worry and become depressed. We think and realize that many things are beyond us. We practice and still make mistakes. We work and still can’t make ends meet.

Then suddenly we realize that God has put a “gap” between us and the solution to our problem. It’s His way of saying, “You can always call on me for help. And when you do, I will answer you and I will be with you!”

Prayer:  We thank You, Lord, for being just a “prayer away” whenever we need Your help. We are truly grateful. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Psalm 91:15 He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.

Why Love God?

There is nothing more precious than the “hug” of a child when it is given to us without our asking for it. It is so innocent and undefiled. It is given voluntarily with nothing expected in return. It is an expression of “thanks” for something we may have done that we can no longer remember. It is given freely, honestly, openly and joyfully because the child has no other way to express its feelings.

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him.” The word love in this verse carries with it the idea of being hugged. In other words, God not only loves us by what He says, but by what He does. So, says the Psalmist, “He hugs us” - keeps us as close to Himself as He possibly can.

When God rescues us from sin and graciously and generously provides us with His salvation, we receive an eightfold blessing. After He rescues us, we have:

His protection: We are not exempt from difficulties but are assured of His presence and grace when they come.

He knows us by name: He recognizes us as unique individuals with a plan from Him for our lives.

He will hear us when we call upon Him and give us His solution for our problems.

He will be with us and deliver us when we are surrounded by life’s troubles.

He will honor us when we honor Him.

He will satisfy our needs as long as we live and when our life is over join Him in heaven.

Prayer:  Help us, Lord, to love You as much as You love us - to love You with all of our hearts and minds and souls. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Psalm 91:14 Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

Semper Fi

Check on me” was a familiar request that we heard every night as our youngest son, Byron, began walking to his bedroom. Even though we took every precaution to make certain that our home was safe from any threat or danger, there was nothing more comforting than a nightly visit before the lights were turned off. Knowing that someone was near by and readily available if an emergency arose made falling asleep much easier.

The need to know that we are safe and secure is important to each of us. Stripes divide streets and signs give important instructions to drivers. A checklist must be completed before an aircraft can take flight. Warnings about possible problems surround us wherever we go or whatever we do. Sometimes they seem to get in the way of life. But warnings are important to warn us of impending dangers.

Psalm 91 reminds us of the unpredictability, yet the certainty, of dangers that await us. But it does not do so to frighten us, but to give the assurance that we are safe at all times and in all situations because of the faithfulness of our God. Listen as the Psalmist assures of the safety and security we have in God: “You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that strikes at midday...if you make the Most High your dwelling!”

How gracious of our God to assure us that we do not need to ask Him to “check on us” - He does it constantly.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the promise of Your protection that gives us peace, security and hope. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Psalm 91:5-6 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.

Semper Fi

Check on me” was a familiar request that we heard every night as our youngest son, Byron, began walking to his bedroom. Even though we took every precaution to make certain that our home was safe from any threat or danger, there was nothing more comforting than a nightly visit before the lights were turned off. Knowing that someone was near by and readily available if an emergency arose made falling asleep much easier.

The need to know that we are safe and secure is important to each of us. Stripes divide streets and signs give important instructions to drivers. A checklist must be completed before an aircraft can take flight. Warnings about possible problems surround us wherever we go or whatever we do. Sometimes they seem to get in the way of life. But warnings are important to warn us of impending dangers.

Psalm 91 reminds us of the unpredictability, yet the certainty, of dangers that await us. But it does not do so to frighten us, but to give the assurance that we are safe at all times and in all situations because of the faithfulness of our God. Listen as the Psalmist assures of the safety and security we have in God: “You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that strikes at midday...if you make the Most High your dwelling!”

How gracious of our God to assure us that we do not need to ask Him to “check on us” - He does it constantly.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the promise of Your protection that gives us peace, security and hope. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Psalm 91:5-6 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.

A Reliable Refuge

The recent tornadoes that have wreaked havoc across the central United States have been devastating. The loss of loved ones, the scope of injuries that will take years to overcome, the destruction of homes and businesses, the feelings of grief and hopelessness that grasped individuals as they sorted through piles of rubbish that at one time represented their entire life is beyond understanding.

In the midst of these great tragedies, however, were the stories and pictures of some who were prepared for such an event. From past encounters with powerful winds and driving rain and hail storms were those who came to the conclusion that preparation for such a time was a top priority. They were the ones who built sturdy shelters beneath the ground where they were sure to be safe. They did not trust their lives to fate or chance. They recognized their need to prepare for the assaults of life.

The author of Psalm 91 spoke of the need we have to prepare for the assaults of life. “He,” wrote the author, “will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge.”

While storm shelters can protect us from wind and rain, flying objects and falling buildings, only God can protect us from the destructive forces of sin. In Him we have the assurance that He will meet all of our needs - spiritual, emotional and physical - every day of our lives. And through Him we have His promise that He will give us His power and strength, presence and protection to overcome the attacks of the devil.

Prayer:  Our hearts rejoice, Father, to know that we can dwell safely “under Your wings” and take refuge in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Psalm 91:4  He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; 

In And Through - But Not From

It was the middle of the night when the nurse entered my hospital room to take my “vital signs.” With quiet confidence she went through her routine reading and recording various numbers.

As she was about to leave my room she stopped and said, “I’m sorry that I had to awaken you.”

“Oh, you didn’t awaken me,” I replied. “Somehow I can’t fall asleep tonight.”

“Well, have you been saying the Lord’s prayer?” she asked. “You know you’ll do much better praying the Lord’s Prayer than counting all those sheep. And besides, sheep don’t count anyway. Only the Lord does.”

As the door closed behind her, I began to recite the Lord’s Prayer. When I got to the phrase “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” a sense of peace swept over me. As I reflected on those two words - “your will” - God spoke to me and said, “You know, I never said that you would be spared from the pain and suffering of life. Only that I would be with you and guard you in and through your life’s journey and ‘deliver you from the snare of the fowler.’” In His will we are always safe and secure.

Often the “snares” of the “fowler” appear when we least expect them. He would encourage us to doubt God’s capabilities or care, His concern or compassion. Certainly he would be delighted if we came to the conclusion that our problems are beyond God’s power. Surely he would want us to believe that God has favorites and we are just beyond His grace. But not so! God will protect His own!

Prayer:  We thank You, Lord, for the assurance we have knowing that if You are for us, no one can destroy us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Psalm 91:3  Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence.


Several weeks ago I was waiting in line for my “pre-op room” assignment. It was a time of anxiety and fear, apprehension and uncertainty. The surgeon had carefully laid out the risks as well as the rewards. All of the tests and examinations confirmed that my physical condition was strong and able to withstand the lengthy procedure.

When it was my turn to speak with the scheduler, I noticed that she had a well-worn Bible in her kiosk next to her computer keyboard. “It’s good to see you reading the Bible. Obviously you must love the Lord. What are you reading today?” I asked.

“Yes, Sir. I surely do love the Lord. He’s my best Friend. And this morning I am reading Psalm 91 and I’m meditating on verse two: ‘I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress.’”

Suddenly the God of all comfort appeared and spoke to me through one of His angels. What an unexpected message from God. As I stood before her, tears streamed down my face and splashed on my medical records while her words comforted my heart and put my soul at ease.

The words “refuge” and “fortress” are normally used in a military context. As used here they convey a special significance. God is in control and has established Himself in a defensive position against all enemies. Moreover, the Psalmist says that He is “My God!” assuring us that He is personal, present and prepared to protect us from any and all enemies. Because of His faithfulness in the past, we have no reason to ever doubt His presence and protection.

Prayer:  Thank You, Lord, for the comfort of Your Word, the assurance of Your grace when we face life’s challenges. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Psalm 91:2  Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” 

Hidden With God

Nine-one-one is the national number to use in the event of an emergency. When we use it, we know someone is there who will come to our rescue. Though we have heard stories of the misuse of that number and reports of incompetent responders answering calls of people in a crisis, it is comforting to know that help is available.

Psalm ninety-one and verse one is a number for Christians to “re-call” when there is a need for assurance and reassurance. It firmly states that our God is on guard and “standing by” to guide us through the crises of life.

The word “dwells” is such an important word for us to understand. It invites the believer “to remain, stay, tarry, endure, and find peace in one’s abode.” It suggests continuance and permanence. It is a place where God’s people can “live” - forever. How comforting it is to know that our God is a “shelter” and a “refuge” in times of life’s storms. For the Christian, He is our dwelling place for life.

Shortly after a submarine had been commissioned, the commanding officer took it to sea. It was to undergo various tests to make certain that it was trustworthy and ready for service. Shortly after leaving the christening he gave the order to “submerge.” Several days later after he returned to shore, the reporters besieged him with many questions. Asked one, “How did the storms affect you?” “Storms? What storms?” he replied. “We were not aware of any storms. We were dwelling in a safe and secure place in the valleys between the ocean’s mountains.”

What comfort we have when we dwell in God.

Prayer:  Thank You, God, for the peace we have because You love us and care for us and offer us Your protection. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Psalm 91:1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

Working For God's Favor

Not long ago a student came into my office and asked, “Dr. Guido, will you do a favor for me?”

Without knowing what favor the student wanted, it was obvious that I had a certain amount of power over him and could do something for him that he could not do for himself. He literally was at my mercy.

Moses concluded Psalm 90 with a gracious reminder of God’s power and our need to work for His favor. “May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us,” he wrote. And then he described how we could know that God’s favor was on our work: God Himself would establish the work of our hands. “Establish the work of our hands for us - yes, establish the work of our hands.” When Moses added the “for us” he underlined the fact that God Himself is the one who established our work, not us. Whatever we do is temporary. Whatever God does through us is eternal.

How, then, can we work with God to establish works that are eternal? Paul gives us a clear answer: “Stand firm. Let nothing disturb you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

But just what is “the work of the Lord?” we ask.

Jesus answered that: “Love the Lord Your God with all your heart - and love your neighbor as yourself.” And “who is my neighbor” someone asked? His answer: “Anyone who has a spiritual, emotional or physical need.”

It is difficult to go from one place to another without seeing someone who has some need. Our work? Meet it.

Prayer:  Father, open our eyes to see the needs of others, our ears to hear their cries and use our hands to give help. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  Psalm 90:17 May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands.

Pass It On

Goethe is recognized as one of the greatest German politicians and authors. Having keen insight into the life and future of his nation he wrote, “The destiny of our nation can be determined by the opinions of our youth!” Few would disagree with his observation.

The statesmen of our nation say the same: “The future lies with our youth.” If that is true, and it is, we must admit that “the future of our youth lies with us!” And since that is true, and it is, we must ask ourselves, “What are we doing to prepare our youth to lead our nation?” Will they know the God of the Prophets and the Christ of the Apostles and disciples of the early church? Will they learn and follow and lead with the “faith that was once delivered to the saints?” Or will they surrender their lives to the attractions of materialism and self-centeredness?

Recent studies reveal that 60% of our youth will no longer attend church when then turn twenty. And even though some churches have vibrant youth programs, they are having no long lasting influence on their lives. Few make a lifelong commitment to Christ, to serving Him. It seems obvious that we are entertaining but not educating.

What needs to be done? Moses, once again, provides insight and advice: “May Your deeds be shown to Your servants, Your splendor to their children.”

The fact of the matter is that His deeds and splendor can only be seen in our lives. If our faith does not work for us, “why” they will ask, “should we believe in Your God?”

Prayer:  Help us, Lord, to live a faith that demonstrates Your deeds and splendor that will attract others to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  Psalm 90:16  May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children.

Unfailing Love - Songs Of Joy

What is joy? Is it a feeling? An attitude? An emotion? Is it something we “get” or “discover,” perhaps “find” or “inherit” from another or “locate” traveling on the road of life? Is it temporary or permanent? Can it be passed from one person to another? Is it internal or external? Is it possible it could be all of the above?

Things were not going well for Moses. He knew that something was missing in the lives of the people following hie leadership and he knew what it was: joy. They had been through difficult days and trying times. They grumbled and groaned and griped. They were critical of their conditions and angry with God. Why, they wondered, did they leave what they had for something they had been promised but could not find. They were disenchanted and discouraged.

So, Moses, the man of God, knew what to do: He went to God in prayer. “Relent, O Lord! How long will it be? Have compassion on Your servants. Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”

Moses reminded God that He was a God filled with unfailing love. In earnestness he begged God to “show-up” and prove His compassion by relenting. So, he prayed: “fill our empty hearts with a renewed awareness of Your unfailing love.” Moses knew that only God could restore the “joy of His salvation” and the blessings that repentance and restoration could.

Often we become like the Israelites - wanting God’s blessings without being faithful to Him. Hearts once filled with joy become empty because of disobedience!

Prayer:  Lord, if we lose the joy of Your salvation may we understand that it is because of our sins. Forgive and restore us and keep us faithful! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Psalm 90:13: Relent, Lord! How long will it be? Have compassion on your servants.

"Not Here For Very Long"

A soldier wrote his dad from a combat zone in a war-torn country. In the upper left hand corner under his name he wrote, “Not Here for Very Long.”

True of the soldier - true of each of us. Life at its longest is very short in light of eternity. Wisely Moses advised us to go to God and ask Him to: “Teach us the brevity of life, so that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Time has no favorites. We are each given twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and fifty-two weeks a year. It does not matter who we are or what God has called us to do, none of us can add one second of time to our lives once God calls us home. We must guard our time and use it wisely to honor and glorify Him.

Time can be used to influence others - one way or another. It would be interesting to keep a record of our time as an accountant does money - what we spent and how we invested it. We could see what we did with our time and discover whether or not we helped or hindered others, led them closer to God or drove them from Him.

Time gives us opportunities to serve the Lord. Jesus said, “All of us must quickly carry out the tasks assigned by the One who sent Me. There is little time left before night falls and all our works come to an end.”

Time ends with an interview. Each of us will stand before God one day and have an opportunity to review our “time-sheet” with Him. What will matter most on that day is whether or not there was a day when we accepted Christ as our Savior. Do it today!

Prayer:  Father if any reading this Seed has not received You as Savior, may they do so today. Then, together, may we use the gift time to do Your work. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Psalm 90:12 Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

No Place To Hide

It looked old and worn and held together with many stitches. It didn’t look like much of a doll but Missy loved it more than anything in her world. It was stuffed with dry beans. Each day she would play with it and every night she would sleep with it. It brought her peace and pleasure, companionship and comfort.

One day while her brother was building a model airplane, she accidentally bumped into it and knocked it to the floor. Looking at the bits and pieces that were scattered before him, he shouted angrily, “Look what you did! You just wait Missy - I’ll get even with you!”

The next day Missy and her Mom went shopping. As soon as they left, he found her doll, took it outside and buried in his mother’s rose garden. Smiling to himself, he said, “She’ll never find that old doll now!”

When Missy returned home and could not find her doll she burst into tears and ran to her room. When asked, Darren denied knowing anything about the doll, claiming, “She just left it some place. It’ll turn up.” And it did.

Mom was cutting some roses for the dinner table that evening and discovered an arm from the doll sticking out of the dirt. She asked her son, “Did you do this?” Looking at the doll he said, “Yes, Mom, but I should have known better.”

It’s that way with our sins. We try to cover them - but along comes God and uncovers them. “You spread out our sins before You - our secret sins - and You see them all.” Try as we may, nothing can be hidden from God. How grateful we are, that He not only will forgive us, but watching and wanting and waiting patiently for us to do so.

Prayer:  We only fool ourselves, Father, if we think we can fool You. Forgive us of our foolishness as we call on You for forgiveness and salvation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  Psalm 90:8  You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.

From Everlasting To Everlasting

Who better to write of God than “the man of God?” Not only was Psalm 90 written by Moses, but beneath the number of the Psalm and before the verses in the Psalm are the words: “A Prayer of Moses - the Man of God.”

What a powerful description of a Statesman and a servant-leader of God. Moses was not only God’s lawgiver and leader, but was chosen by God to bring the Hebrews out of Egypt, mold them into a nation to serve and honor Him, but to lead them victoriously to within reach of the land He promised them.

There are marvelous statements made about Moses in Hebrews: He refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter which himself at great risk. He chose to share the oppression of God’s people when he could have lived a life of sin and worldly pleasure. He decided to suffer for the sake of the Lord rather than own the treasures of Egypt because he looked to his future with his King the Creator. He left the land of Egypt unafraid of the king’s anger and wrath and never looked back because he kept his eyes on God who he knew would never leave or forsake him. In a bold move of leadership he commanded the people of Israel to keep the Passover and sprinkle blood on their doorposts so that the angel of death would not kill their firstborn sons.

What gave him his vision, his focus, his strength, and his courage? What enabled him to look beyond the fleeting moments of pleasures in a palace to an eternity with God? Where did his wisdom and insight, patience and discipline come from? Why did he refuse worldly wealth and power?

Because of his faith in the God who is everlasting.

Prayer:  Lord, give us a faith that will empower us to live a life that knows no fear or regrets as we trust and follow You. May we be “People of God.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Scripture For Today: Psalm 90:2 Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

The Journey Of Life

Years ago it was a heart-warming experience for me to take my wife and sons to visit my childhood home. With some hesitation I knocked on the door. The owners, who purchased the home shortly after my parents went to be with the Lord, remembered me and invited us in.

We began our tour in the living room, then went into the dining room and eventually the kitchen. We walked upstairs and paused in my childhood bedroom before visiting the attic. Then we went to the basement. Though there had been some changes, many things remained the same. Walking through my “original home” brought back many memories that flooded my heart. There were tears of joy mixed with tears of sadness as I though of my parents. They went to heaven before my thirteenth birthday.

As we returned to the car, I began to think of the many different “homes” I’d lived in since my parents died. The final number was rather staggering but not unusual for most people. In 2011 a census study revealed that the average American will live in 11.7 different “homes.”

Psalm 90 begins with the word “Lord,” referring to our God as a sovereign God who is our eternal shelter - our dwelling place. Moses used the same words in Deuteronomy when he wrote, “the eternal God is your dwelling place.” He told the Israelites that God was then and would always be their “home” - their refuge no matter where they were - whether in the wilderness or in the promised land. Home, in Scripture, is not a place but a Person.

This same Lord is the eternal God who will become the eternal shelter and refuge for all who accept His Son. What a home we have awaiting us through Jesus.

Prayer:  We pray, Lord, that those who have not accepted Your salvation will come to You now and accept Your Son, and have an eternal refuge. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Psalm 90:1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.

Our Faithful God

Ed was late for church and slipped quietly into his regular place for Sunday morning worship. He listened to the new pastor as he prayed: “We have left undone those things we ought to have done, and we have done those things we ought not to have done.” After a moment of silence, the pastor continued, “You know, Lord, I believe I’ve found my kind of people. I belong here.” Without making a sound, Ed said, “Me too!”

No one escapes failure but our Lord. Whatever He said He would do, He did. Whatever He has promised, He has or will fulfill - in the past, present and future.

The Bible contains about 5,000 promises. As the One who created the universe, all of its laws and living beings that are under His control and command, no one or no thing can stop Him from keeping His promises. “Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave,” said Solomon.

His compassion for His children never fails. His Son experienced suffering and humiliation that is beyond us and endured them with grace and glory. So, He can be sympathetic with us in the deepest, darkest moments of our lives. As Jeremiah the prophet reminded us “His compassion never fails.”

Equally important and impressive is His faithfulness. He is not strong one day and weak the next, nor attentive one moment and indifferent the next. When He created us He did so with the knowledge that He would be faithful to us. Said the Psalmist, “I will not take my love from him, nor will I ever betray my faithfulness!”

Prayer:  We thank You, Father, that we can trust You to honor Your Word and Your words. In them we have salvation, hope and eternal life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Psalm 89:33 but I will not take my love from him, nor will I ever betray my faithfulness.


Recognizing someone as “father” carries with it a very special significance. Immediately, and without doubt, the one who we call “father” is the one who is responsible for our being born. Without that one, the one we call father, we would not have been brought into existence.

Because a “father” is responsible for our existence, he then becomes responsible for our well-being. Whatever concerns us must ultimately concern him. Whether it is food or clothing, shelter or healthcare, protection or education - it is his responsibility to meet that need. It is a role that is not to be taken lightly or without careful thought and planning.

There is more, however, than the responsibility factor. There is the relationship factor. This includes acceptance and openness, honesty and trust, a willingness to hear that goes beyond listening to what is on the child’s heart and in the child’s mind. There must also be loyalty and love, faithfulness and friendliness, between father and child.

One without the other leaves children lacking.

In Psalm 89 David said to God, “You are my Father, my God, the Rock - my Savior.” If an author were writing about David today he would probably say that “David led a charmed life.” He would look at the times he escaped his enemies, faced death, struggled with depression, and knew what abandonment was all about. At times, he could hardly face God because of His sin, knew the extreme pain of guilt and shame.

David knew, however, that it he did not “live a charmed life.” No. It was about having a Father who not only provided for and loved His child - but becoming his Savior.

Prayer:  We thank You, Lord, that You are our Father. We are humbled by Your love and care and especially our salvation. How blest we are!In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Psalm 89:26 He will call out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, the Rock my Savior.’

Above And Beyond

What’s the difference between the word “special” and the word “unique?”

The word “special” implies that someone or something surpasses or exceeds the usual or normal. It could refer to an athlete who excels in his or her particular sport and has done things differently or set records that will remain unbroken for many years. It might refer to a vehicle that has been modified to meet the specifications of an owner.

But the word “unique” implies something different. The word unique means that something or someone is the only one of its kind and has no rival. “It” is not only different, but incomparable and unparalleled.

Our God is certainly not an “it.” Our God is a Person and He certainly is unique. Our Psalmist brings this to our attention when he asks, “For who in the skies above can compare with the Lord? Who is like the Lord among the heavenly beings?”

Of course the answer he would give us is an answer we already know: No one! There is no sun or planet in the sky that is equal to Him. Then, he adds that there is no “heavenly being” - none of the angels or holy ones - who inhabit heaven who can be compared to the Lord. Our God is above all and beyond all because He is Creator of all.

So what are we to do? We are to “greatly fear” Him and understand that He “is more awesome than all who surround Him.” Our “fear” and awe of Him will create a “respect” for Him and when we recognize how “awesome” He is, we will worship in spirit and in truth, in love and humility out or respect of what he has done for us.

Prayer:  Gracious and loving Father, open our minds and hearts to Your greatness. May we stand in awe or Your greatness as we worship You in love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  Psalm 89:6  For who in the skies above can compare with the LORD? Who is like the LORD among the heavenly beings?

When God Does Not Answer

We pray and we persevere. We watch and we wonder. We wait and we become weary. We know that God is there - somewhere. He has responded to our requests before. But where is He now? We stand before Him with great expectations and outstretched hands yet nothing is happening. We cannot help but ask why. He promised us that He would never leave us nor forsake us. Where is He when we need Him?

So, what happens when we pray and there is no answer? Listen to our Psalmist: “Why, O Lord, do You reject me and hide Your face from me?” He seems to have turned from confidence to confusion. This God whom he called upon constantly with outstretched arms and unflinching faith is nowhere to be found. He felt abandoned!

Remember, this also happened to Jesus. In the Garden He cried, “If there is any other way than my death on the cross to save mankind, please make it known. Why, Father, can’t You come up right now with plan ‘B’?” But, God was silent. Absent. Gone!

On the cross He said, “My God, my God, where are You? Why have You abandoned me? I am alone, suffering for something I didn’t do and You left me to be humiliated and suffer and die.” And God was silent. Absent. Gone!

The prayer of the Psalmist, much like the prayer of Jesus on the cross, does not end in immediate resolution - like many of our prayers. But that does not mean that God does not hear or does not care and will never answer our requests.

Often when we pray and do not get the results we ask for when we ask for them, God is saying: “You may not get what you asked for when you asked for it. Just trust in me and do not waiver. What I have planned for you is far better.”

Prayer:  Help us, Lord, to know that You are present and at work in our lives completing the plan You have designed for us. Give us patience and trust! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Psalm 88:14  Why, LORD, do you reject me and hide your face from me?

How To Begin Each Day

The day began with sunshine, blue skies, and gentle breezes. The deep blue waters were calm and peaceful. A lovely new sailing vessel rocked gently from side to side as the passengers walked around the deck. Each one had been personally met by the captain who greeted them with a smile, a handshake, and the words, “Welcome aboard!” They felt confident with him as their commander.

Soon after the ship set sail a storm appeared on the horizon. Angry waves swept over the sides of the ship and the passengers were forced to go below where they were safe from the winds and waters. In fact, the captain had to be tied to the bridge so he would not be swept overboard. The ship was no longer a place of serenity but of fear and worry.

Finally, one of the passengers, overcoming his fear and anxiety, decided that he would climb from beneath the deck to see if the captain was still alive. He hesitatingly crawled up the stairs, opened the hatch, and saw a sight that steadied his nerves and calmed his racing heart. Returning to the frightened passengers he shouted, “Everything’s fine. I saw the face of the Captain, looked into his eyes, and realized we were safe with him at the helm.”

“In the morning,” prayed the Psalmist, “my prayer comes before you.” What a wise way to begin every day. If we go to the Lord before we are in a storm, we can depend on His presence and power when we are engulfed by a storm. With His arms around us, His wisdom to guide us, His strength to sustain us, and His enduring love to comfort us, we will surely be able to face life’s storms with confidence.

Prayer:  Help us, Lord, to realize that whatever we need to face the challenges of life is available through You. May we come to trust in Your greatness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  Psalm 88:13b in the morning my prayer comes before you.

Ceaseless Prayer

Our Bible says much about prayer. It informs us about how we are to address God and that we are to pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. We are also directed to pray with and through the guidance of and in the power of the Holy Spirit. In Psalm 88, however, we read that the writer tells us what he does when he prays: “I call to You, O Lord, every day; I spread out my hands to You.” Not a day went by in his life that he literally did not cry out His Lord.

The author reminds us that he is in constant contact with his Lord – Yahweh, He identified Him not as a god who was removed from his life, who lived in a distant location, who may or may not be available when he faced difficult times or wanted to worship Him. Indeed not. His God was a personal, present and powerful God who was always by his side. And, his God was a God who he could speak to as though he was speaking to a friend and companion who was beside him waiting to be involved in a conversation.        

What an impressive picture for us to place deeply in our minds and hearts. Wherever we are, whatever we are doing, whatever we are going through, and whatever time it may be – day or night – Yahweh is by our side and we can call upon Him as our friend.

Notice, however, his body language when he prayed: “I spread out my hands to You.” Open hands that were “spread out” because when he prayed he expected God to respond by filling them immediately to meet his need just as any friend would do to a friend in need.

And the psalmist did this every day. Jesus once said, “Give us bread for this day” to remind us of our need to call on Him every day for the needs we have that day!

Prayer:  Father, Give us a “daily faith” – a faith that has “hands spread out,” that we activate constantly, and a faith that believes You hear and answer. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 Scripture For Today:  Psalm 88:9b I call to you, Lord, every day; I spread out my hands to you.

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Almost/Not Yet

Most of us have a memory or two of family trips we took when we were children. Excitement filled our hearts as we left on our journey. Then, after awhile, boredom and restlessness set in and everyone becomes anxious and angry and we begging to wonder why we ever left home. No matter where we were going or how long it took, someone would ask the question, “Are we there yet?” It is a question that is handed down from one generation to the next and one family to another. It’s part of life and every family vacation.

And the answer was and still is the same: “Almost” or “Not yet.” It can remind us of the fact that life is indeed a journey and we are never sure where or when it will end.

It is difficult to face the uncertainties of life wondering when there will be some final resolution to the issues that surround us and threaten us constantly. We are troubled when we see injustice and feel deceived. We want to be free from the fear and threat of terrorism and enjoy the reign of peace and joy. We hear of wars and rumors of wars. We are forced to face the fact that conflict and crises pervade our world and disturb our lives. And the peace that the leaders of this world promise us, never comes. Never!

So we call on God and ask, “Are we there yet? Is it time for Your return?” And He answers, “Almost. Not yet. My time has not come. You and I still have work to do.”

We as Christians have His light in this darkness and His hope in the midst of despair. It is our responsibility to share the gifts of His love and light, healing and hope, peace and presence, grace and gifts with others so they can pray with us: Come, Lord Jesus -come!

Prayer: Father, thank Your for Your mercy that saves us, Your grace to sustain us, Your peace that is alive within us, and Your hope that encourages us! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  Psalm 88:1, 2 Lord, you are the God who saves me; day and night I cry out to you. May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry.

A Birth Certificate From God

Not long ago I lost my billfold and all of its contents. It was simple to call the bank that issued me my credit card and ask them to cancel it. But when I went to get a new driver’s license, it took much more than a phone call. I had to produce three different documents – including my birth certificate. I was able to locate two of the documents with no difficulty. However my birth certificate was the most important of them all and was difficult to obtain.

But a birth certificate that says we are heaven-born and heaven-bound is certainly the most important document we will ever possess. In Psalm 87:6 we read that "The Lord will write in the register of the people this one was born in Zion" – referring to the community of believers – which for us, one day, will be Heaven.

One night, after dark, a religious leader named Nicodemus went to visit Jesus. As their conversation unfolded, he asked, “How can one get into heaven?” Jesus replied, "No one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again."

"Nicodemus," Jesus said, "your earthly birth record will not allow you to enter heaven. You need a birth certificate that will be issued by God!"

At birth, we are born into an “earthly family” because we have an “earthly father.” However, when we accept Christ as our Savior, we are born a “second time” – we are “born again” – and God becomes our “Heavenly Father.” Then we become a member of God’s family and enjoy the benefits and blessings God in store for us as our Heavenly Father. Jesus said, “I am the WAY” – the only way there is – to be born again, have a heavenly birth certificate, and have the honor of calling God our Heavenly Father.

Prayer:  Thank You, Lord, for wanting to be our Heavenly Father. Thank You for inviting us into Your Kingdom, and to become Your child - forever. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  Psalm 87:6 The Lord will write in the register of the peoples: “This one was born in Zion.”

Glorious Things!

The Psalmist wrote: “Glorious things are said of You!"

John Newton once was a slave trader. After becoming a Christian he became a powerful preacher, a leader in the fight against slavery, and a famous hymn writer.

 One of his hymns contains those Glorious Things!

"He whose Word cannot be broken" reminds us of the faithfulness of God – a centerpiece of the Psalms. In psalm after psalm we hear the echo of God's faithfulness gas He continually gave strength, hope and encouragement to the children of Israel. Though they often abandoned God and at times paid a dear price for forsaking Him, He was there every time they called on Him and He always answered their cry.

"I will supply your sons and daughters, and all their fear of wanting what they need remove." There never was a time in their history that God did not feed them, go before them, or watch over them.  When they looked to Him for forgiveness, and repented of their sinful ways, His mercy met them at their point of need and His blessings followed. He was always with them to meet their needs, remove their fear, and grant them the desires of their heart as long as they obeyed His teachings and followed Him.

 "Grace which, like the Lord, the Giver, Never fails from age to age." If there ever was a time in the history of our nation that we needed to be reminded that God's grace would "never fail" it is now. Everywhere we look, we see a need for His love, mercy, grace, salvation, and our nation's restoration and renewal. It is not His glory that has vanished – it is our unwillingness to share His grace with others. When we do, it will return.

Prayer:  Lord, how disappointed You must be when You see what we can do to share Your grace, yet do nothing. Forgive us and enable us to do good. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Psalm 87:3 Glorious things are said of you,

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One of the most irritating, aggravating, frustrating – and yet stimulating – questions is – “Why?” It angers parents and annoys teachers. It disturbs moments of quiet reflection when we think we have the answers to "everything." Then suddenly, we realize we don't. It bothers us deeply when we are asked "why" did you do this or "why” did you do that. It seems to be planted deep within the brains of children to make us defensive or angry and even feel stupid.

But "Why" is an important question. It can force us to look at what we have done or what we are about to do. It can, in all reality, keep us from doing wrong or encourage us to do what is right.

David addresses the "Why" question quite frequently. In Psalm 86, however, he makes an observation and then answers it with "why."

He wrote, "I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify Your name forever." Then he adds the why for us: "For great is Your love toward me; You have delivered me from the depths of the grave."

"Praise" and "glorify" are a most important part of our worship. When we look at these two verses together, we find an important reason to remind us why we worship God: it is because of His love and mercy.

We may not know what he is referring to when he said that "God delivered me from the depths of the grave."

And, perhaps that's good. What's don't matter – God does! There are many days when we feel we are about to be "buried alive.” Then, God delivers us, and it's time to worship.

Prayer:  Thank You, Father, for the endless times You rescued us from disaster and defeat. May we always praise Your name for Your generous gifts. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Psalm 86:12 I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.

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The Only Way

A welfare worker, visiting in the home of one of her clients, discovered a crippled child that had never gone to school because he was unable to walk. Her compassionate heart was deeply touched by his condition and she decided to do something out of the ordinary for him.

Initially, she took him to a distinguished orthopedic surgeon who performed several procedures to correct the problems in his legs. Then a podiatrist corrected the problems with his crooked feet. Little by little he learned to walk and run and play. He also learned to read and write and make enough progress to attend school with his friends.

One day, in telling this story to a group of her friends she said, "He is now a grown man. And I want you to tell me where you think he is and what he is doing.”

After a few moments her colleagues began to reply: "A doctor?" asked one. "No," she responded. "A minister?" wondered another. "No," she replied. "I know," said a third, "a welfare worker because of your influence in his life."

"No," she said with tears in her eyes. "He is now in prison serving a life term for murder. You see, we spent all of our time in teaching him how to walk and run, read and write, but we did not teach him where to walk and what to read and who he should communicate with."

David prayed, "Teach me Your way, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name."

Prayer:  Father, write on our hearts and in our minds the words of Your Son: "I am the way, the truth and the life!" May we share those words with others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Psalm 86:11 Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart,  that I may fear your name.

Kingdom Work

What happens when God's people do God's work? Can what we do provide evidence to His mercy and grace? Can those around us actually see Him by what we do?

The Psalmist said that "Surely His salvation is near those who fear Him, that His glory may dwell in our land."

In other words, when people become born again – accept God's salvation through faith in Christ – there will be evidence of God's Kingdom on earth. Christians will busy themselves in working with the needy, bring hope and help to those who are suffering, seek justice for those who are wronged, and establish rules that are just and fair.

In Psalm 85:11 we read, "Faithfulness (to God's Word) will spring forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven." If we believe in the Word of God, we are to live in obedience to the Word of God, and that means we are to do the work of God: we are to do whatever is within our abilities and power to establish His Kingdom on earth.

Whenever people’s hearts are right with God, we see God-things happen. The abolition of slavery and the end of child labor followed a resurgence of faith in God. The Salvation Army came to life when General Booth was convicted that God called him to “bring God's love to the needy”. Seeing children, who were neglected, ignorant and hungry burdened Robert Raikes to start "Sunday" school. Many educational and charitable institutions came into existence because God's people saw God's children in need and were convicted by His Spirit to do something about it. Good deeds and showing compassion are evidence that righteousness on earth comes from Heaven!

Prayer:  Help us, Father, to see what You see and then become Your hands and feet on earth to show Your love. May we find a need and fill it! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Psalm 85:11 Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven.

God's Peace

There is an interesting theme that runs throughout the Bible. It is the if/then theme. If we are obedient to God, then we can be confident of His blessings, favor, gifts and a sense of His presence in our lives. If on the other hand, we are disobedient and willingly disobey His laws and teachings, then we will experience guilt and a separation from Him.

Certainly the feelings of separation can be a good thing. It is God within us stirring up a special gift He has given us – the gift of the Holy Spirit who is to guide us and guard us; and give us peace. When we become "disconnected" from God, He is there to "alert us" of impending dangers and convict us to return to the path and plan He has designed for us. He is eager to do His work if we are willing to allow Him to do so.

Our Psalmist reminds us that God "speaks peace to His people and to His saints." His peace is what brings us "wholeness and completeness" and unites us with Him. It dissolves the fear we have of Him and removes the guilt that we carry within us from being disobedient to Him.

So our Psalmist wisely adds, "but let them not return to their folly" – or perhaps a more appropriate translation of the word "folly" is "stupidity."  What might this mean?

Often we become "presumptuous" and assume that we deserve God's blessings. We take an inventory of our lives and things appear to be "just about as wonderful as wonderful can be." We have no "fear" of God and take His goodness for granted. "What stupidity!" says the Psalmist. "Be careful of falling into Your past sinful ways."

Prayer:  May we be constantly alert, Lord, to any sin that will separate us from You, Your peace, and Your blessings. Please keep us from being “stupid!” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Psalm 85:8 I will listen to what God the Lord says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants—but let them not turn to folly.

Hope's Foundation

Many of us have struggled through difficult times and painful days in years gone by. We recall with pleasure what God has done for us in the past with gratitude – knowing that it was His love, mercy and grace that enabled us to get through lengthy days and long nights. Because of those memories when He graciously lavished His love on us, we can if we chose to, view our future in, through, and with Him, with hope and optimism.

In Psalm 85 our author is apparently reflecting on a loss suffered by Israel in a military battle. They looked at their loss as punishment from God. But the Psalmist does not focus on the loss, he focuses on the fact that God has brought them out of captivity in the past, forgave them of their sins, and promised them  a future. So with confidence and boldness he said, "Restore us again, O God, our Savior."

The message for us to take away from this Psalm is that in times of depression, defeat, and darkness, we must remember God's grace, gifts, and goodness in our past and pray in the present for His restoration and renewal in the present, as we face our future.

Sometimes when we look at our past and are overwhelmed with the guilt of our sins we are fearful of going to God and asking for “more forgiveness, please!” We feel that we are undeserving and unworthy. We approach His throne of grace in fear and trembling, wondering if we have any right to ask for more forgiveness, cleansing, and restoration.

But when these thoughts plague us, we must remember that God's judgment is always tempered by His love and mercy and He will always forgive us, restore us, and revive us again. Forgiveness is one prayer away, and always available when we ask for it!

Prayer:  Help us, Father, to remember Your blessings in the past as we pass through the problems we face today. Surely, “My grace is sufficient for you.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Psalm 85:4a  Restore us again, God our Savior,

And In Conclusion...

We are all familiar with the Beatitudes of Jesus in the fifth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. But Psalm 84 contains three beatitudes we rarely think about: “The Three B’s.”

The first talks about our relationship with God – about being with Him and worshiping Him and praising Him. "Blessed," said the psalmist, "are those who dwell in Your House; they are ever praising You." Indeed, we are truly blest that His invitation to us is "Come, now is the day of salvation" – an invitation to be with Him today and every day throughout eternity. To dwell in His presence forever is not a blessing we often think abut.

The second beatitude we find is "Blessed are those whose strength is in You, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage." Throughout this life we are not on our own to struggle with the difficulties we constantly face. His strength is always available to us when we are weak, weary, and worn out. He knew our “pilgrimage” would be long and difficult, so He continually makes Himself available to us whenever we call on Him.

And, perhaps the last beatitude actually sums us the other two: "O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man and woman who trusts in You."

A young college student was at home dying from cancer. He had been heavily sedated for days. Every now and then his Mother would sit by his bedside and ask, "Dennis, are you here?" He would answer her, "Yes, Mom, I'm still here." On the day of his death, however, he responded to her question, "No for long, Mother, I'm going home now."

Above his bed in an empty room are the words: "I hear you, Christian, happy, unafraid, For you heard a song from the other side of death."

Prayer:  Thank You Father, for preparing our next home away from our present home. We thank Your for all You all You have done and are doing. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Psalm 84:12 O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man and woman who trusts in You.