He Satisfies

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

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

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

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

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

Prayer:  Lord, fill the emptiness in our lives with Your presence as You become our Redeemer, Savior and Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

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Right Way - Wrong Way

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

There are many wrong ways but only one “best” way - His way. And only God can reveal that way, His way, to us. We may search one way and then another, try this route, or another until it comes to a dead end. However, only when we allow God to lead us will we be in the center of His will.

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

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

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

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

Prayer:  Lord, we come to You and ask You to save us from our sins and then lead us safely into Your presence. Thank you for guarding us as You guide us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

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Grace For Our Grief

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

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

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

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

Prayer:  Thank You, Father, that You love us, care for us and will always be there for us. You are Home, Freedom, and You are Faithful. Thank You for Your grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. Psalm 107:4

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Quiet Christians

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

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

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

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

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

Prayer:  Lord, forgive us for our silence and refusal to be faithful in presenting Your message to the lost around us! Give us the courage to be light in this world of darkness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

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Our God Is A Good God!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, that You are good and, in that goodness, we see Your love, grace, and salvation. When we look at You, we see Your goodness and our need. Help us to be more like you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 107:1

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The Danger Of Anger

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

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

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

But Moses did not speak to the rock. He struck it twice with his rod. Then, in anger, he spoke harshly to the people. Instead of doing what God asked him to do, he did what he wanted to do and then reacted in anger.

Notice that the word anger is only one letter short of danger - it lacks a “d.” The result of his disobedience is seen in his anger. And there is always a great danger when we are disobedient to God. His disobedience led to anger - which led to sin.  As a result, he lost the great honor and privilege of leading his people into the Promised Land.

How sad. How tragic. Moses did many great and glorious things. He had worked hard and done well. He was so close to reaching the goal God had given him. But he disobeyed God, lost control of his emotions, and had to pay the consequences. A moment of anger can destroy anyone.

Prayer:  Lord, only You can give us victory over things that will so easily destroy us.  Protect us from the danger of our anger and give us the personal strength to obey. May we follow Your advice. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: By the waters of Meribah they angered the LORD, and trouble came to Moses because of them. Psalm 106:32

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Aware Of God's Presence

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

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

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

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

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

We were created to worship and have fellowship with the living God. If we forget that and put Him aside, we will “create” another god and put that god in place of the living God who loved us and gave Himself for us.

Prayer:  Help us, Lord, to worship You continually and never forget the good things You do for us constantly. Help us to truly see those things and remember you each time we do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wilderness they put God to the test. Psalm 106:13-15

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Where Is He When We Need Him?

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

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

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

His promise? “Call on me, and I will answer you...” And again, “I will never leave you nor forsake you!”

Prayer:  How foolish we are, Father, to ever forget that You are always present waiting and wanting to help us. Help us to remember You in the good times and in the bad times. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

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Waiting For Wisdom

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

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

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

“How can you do that?” I asked.

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

“Unfortunately, I have,” I replied.

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

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

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

Prayer:  Lord, we want to live a life that honors You and is free from sin. Our habits and misconceptions often derail our efforts. May we look to You for Your guidance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

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Fortified by Faith

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

Faith enables us to live courageously, live life with confidence, and know that with God beside us, His Son within us and the Holy Spirit to empower us, we can be more than conquerors.

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

Sight is concerned with things that are material and visible. Faith is concerned with things that are invisible and spiritual. Each principle struggles to master the other. As Christians, we must choose which one will be our master.

  If we walk by sight, we will encounter many things that will frighten us. We see this in the lives of the people of Israel. When they left Israel, they were followed by the best fighters that Egypt had.

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

“Then,” states the Psalmist, “they believed His words.” When? After they saw His miracle. It was not necessary for them to experience such despair and the fear of destruction. Their lack of faith in the presence and power of God caused them to doubt His promises. “Lord, help our unbelief!” said one disciple. What about you?

Prayer:  Lord, help us to take You at Your Word and trust in You for everything. Please increase our faith now. Teach us to see challenges and threats as faith builders. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

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Remember Me!

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

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

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

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

God has no favorites. His love includes everyone.

Prayer:  Thank You, Father, for Your love that includes all of us no matter who we are or what we have done! Thank you that it is never too late because You are so loving. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

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Do Right!

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

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

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

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

Prayer:  Lord, we all want to “do right.” But we cannot “do right” unless we are willing to spend time with You. Teach us to be You-like. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right. Psalm 106:3

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Proclaim His Mighty Acts!

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

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

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

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

Prayer:  Father, we lift our voices in praise and thanksgiving to You for Your love for us and the gift of Your Son, our Savior. May our humble offering be acceptable to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the LORD or fully declare his praise? Psalm 106:2

Give Thanks!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prayer:  Sometimes we become so complacent in our faith. Trouble our hearts, Heavenly Father, and give us no rest until we willingly do the things Your Son did. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 106:1

The Memories Of A Holy God

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

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

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

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

Prayer:  Give us patience and perseverance, faith and willingness, hope and trust, Lord, as we become like You. Help us to remember our promises to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: For he remembered his holy promise given to his servant Abraham. Psalm 105:42

Our Wonder-Working God

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

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

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

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

Prayer:  Father, if we have strayed from the plan You have for us, please forgive and restore us to the joy of serving You. There are no real riches but those found in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: He brought out Israel, laden with silver and gold, and from among their tribes no one faltered. Psalm 105:37

God Works

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prayer:  May we look to You, Lord, as the only One who can save our nation. May our leaders seek Your guidance. Please help me look more faithfully to you for guidance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: The Lord made His people very fruitful. He made them too numerous for their foes, whose hearts He turned to hate His people, and to conspire against His servants. Psalm 105:24-25

From Humiliation to Exaltation

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

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

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

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

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

Prayer:  Help us, Lord, to be faithful to You, knowing that temptation and suffering is part of Your plan for us. Help us to trust You for the final triumph. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: And he sent a man before them - Joseph, sold as a slave. Psalm 105:17

Guarded By God

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

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

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

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

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

Prayer:  Father, may we turn deaf ears to words that harm others and speak kind words about Your anointed ones. Help us to show the value of Your “anointed ones”. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  Do not touch my anointed ones. Psalm 105:15a

Promises? No! Promises!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prayer:  Help us, Lord, to take You at Your Word: To realize that you have never failed and never will, and To claim Your promises and know that You will fulfill them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: He remembers his covenant forever. Psalm 105:8a

Wonders And Miracles

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

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

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

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

Prayer:  Thank You, Lord, for Your love, mercy, grace, and salvation. They are so undeserved and yet are such strong evidence of your love. May we never forget these miracles! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced. Psalm 105:5

His Strength

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

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

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

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

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

 Prayer:  Lord, Your ways and Your Word and Your wisdom are gifts we do not deserve.  While we know this is true, we realize we have a desperate need for both. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  Look for the Lord and His strength. Look for His face all the time. Psalm 105:4

Giving Thanks

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

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

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

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

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

Prayer:  Lord, You have given us so very much. You often give us more than we recognize. Yet, we ask for and need one more thing: A thankful heart! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

Cows, Cuds And Meditation

Have you ever watched a cow, lying beneath a tree, quietly looking through its leaves at the puffy clouds that are passing across the soft blue sky? They seem to be concentrating on something far beyond themselves, yet important to them. Their stillness reflects a sense of peace and confidence that “all is well in my world and there’s nothing for me to worry about.” All the while they are chewing on “cuds” - round balls of grass that they bring up from their stomachs and chew some 30,000 times each day to get all of the nourishment out of them.

Could that not be a picture of meditation for the Christian to adopt? A time when we quietly “chew” on a piece of Scripture that God brings to our minds from His Word that we have hidden in our hearts.

Imagine how our lives would be different if we sat quietly and brought a verse of Scripture from His Word into our minds and then looked to Him to give us all the nourishment that it contains. Imagine the changes that would take place in our lives if we would invest even a small amount of time “chewing” on a verse or two from His Word each day asking Him to “nourish our lives” with its meaning. Imagine the peace and comfort that could be ours if we simply asked His Spirit to use His Word to calm our fears, lift our depression, eliminate our doubts, change our attitudes, and convict us of our sins.

If we can imagine it, we can do it! God troubles our hearts and minds to get our attention. Then we must submit to His Spirit to work in us as we meditate on Him.

Prayer:  Lord, speak to our hearts and change our lives as we willingly ask Your Spirit to guide and guard us. Please do in us what we cannot do in ourselves. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: May all my thoughts be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD. Psalm 104:34

Sing To The Lord!

When Herbert Hoover was president, he asked Rudy Vallee to sing at the White House. He was very impressed by the famous “megaphone crooner” and entertainer and at the end of his performance said, “You are great, Mr. Vallee. If you can sing a song that would make people feel good, forget their problems, and relieve their depression, I will give you a medal.” However, Vallee did not have a song that he could sing that would bring about those results.

But there is One who can do that. David said, “I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praises to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to Him as I rejoice in the Lord.”

The Hebrew word for meditate includes two words from the English language: one is “think,” and the other suggests “speech” or “audible thinking,” or “thinking out loud.” If we put them together, they can bring about significant results!

Imagine how our lives would be different if, when we thought about God’s Word, we would begin to “talk” to Him. For example, if 1 John 1:9 came to mind during a time of meditation, we might say something like, “Oh, thank You Lord for Your forgiveness. How grateful I am that if I come to You, confess my sin, ask You for Your forgiveness and repent, You will forgive me. Thank You for the assurance of Your grace and mercy. How much I need it. And please, Lord, fill my life with Your Spirit so that when I am tempted to sin, I can ask You to give me the strength to overcome the temptation!”

Prayer:  Father, as I read and focus on You, please fill my mind with Your Word. Let it speak to my heart and then may my heart speak to You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praises to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to Him as I rejoice in the Lord. Psalm 104:33-34

The Thought Of Eternity

There was no one to write about it, and actually, nothing to write about. There was no calendar to record the number of days or years or even centuries or ages. It was a beginning without a beginning and the only Person there was God. He needed no one and was in need of nothing.

But He chose to create the heavens and the earth. And with no pre-existing materials or anyone to help Him, it was the power of His words that brought everything into existence that is or ever will be.

When He said, “Let us make the man,” we know what happened: He formed man’s body from the “dust” of the ground. And we know that this “dust” is a combination of all of the various chemical elements that make up the physical body of a man.

Our bodies did not “evolve.” Our bodies were “built” by God from the earth that He created. God also breathed the breath - or the spirit - of life into that body. At that moment, “man” became a living soul.

 We do much to take care of our bodies. Each day we are reminded of the cost of “healthcare” and how very important it is for us to take proper care of our bodies. But we seem to have forgotten the words of Jesus: “What good,” He asked, “will it be for someone to gain the whole world and forfeit their soul?” Why is this an important question?

Our Psalmist said: “When You take away their breath they die and return to the dust.” But not the soul.

Prayer:  We thank You Lord, for Jesus, Your Son and our Savior, who gave His life for us to live for You forever. You have always had a plan for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: When You take away their breath they die and return to the dust. Psalm 104:29

God Forgets No One

Birthdays and anniversaries are special days and times in the lives of most people. We look forward to being remembered when a friend sends a card or letter, phone call or bouquet of flowers, a special meal or perhaps even a cake.

Poor Mrs. Hattie Hollowell spent three years, four months, and sixteen days in a New York jail, and no one seemed to know she was there. Fortunately, someone started an investigation for some reason and in the process discovered her. As a result of the search, she came to be known as “The Forgotten Woman.” When asked, a judge blamed the tragedy on the “slipshod work” of an attorney. “Instead of helping her, he hurt her,” he said.

The Psalmist wrote that “All creatures look to You to give them their food at the proper time.” Our Psalmist wants us to know that our God cares for us and will, at the right time, provide for our every need. But there is a very interesting statement about God and our relationship to Him in this verse that is completed in the following verse: “When You open Your hand they are satisfied with good things.”

Notice that “At the proper time,” “He will open His hand,” and “satisfy us with good things.” We are to be completely dependent on God. There is His time, His hand and good things. Often, we try to force the hand of God: We want what we want when we want it. But that is not how He works. He knows what we need and when we need it. We must wait upon Him for what is best for us.

Prayer:  Help us Lord, to wait patiently on You, trusting Your love and your heart, knowing that You are doing what is best for us - always. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: All creatures look to You to give them their food at the proper time. When You open Your hand they are satisfied with good things. Psalm 104:27-28

It All Belongs To God

Our Psalmist had a great way of looking at things. “There is the sea vast and spacious,” he observed. Perhaps he was sitting on a beach looking beyond the rolling waves as they crashed on the shore one after another. Maybe he was on a hillside far removed from the water - yet thinking about its various contents and the ships that floated quietly above its depths.

But he also “saw” beneath the water and beyond their endless waves. He was aware that it was “teeming with creatures beyond number - living things both large and small. There the ships go to and fro, and the leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.”

The sea - though “vast and spacious” - was not an end in itself. It contained all sizes and shapes of creatures that he could not see nor was able to count. They enjoyed “frolicking” - or playing in a part of His creation that He made just for them.

There also were ships that went “to and fro” that carried people and cargo to distant lands that he could not see. The ocean was not an end in itself, either. With all of its majesty and might and endless movement, it also has its place in God’s creation.

Nothing in God’s creation is an end in itself. “For all things,” Paul said, “were created by Him and for Him.” We can look anywhere and everywhere and whatever our eyes see has God’s trademark on it. Everything is signed with His name, for His honor, His glory, for His plan and for His purpose. Especially us. What more can we do for Him?

Prayer:  Lord, we are the “crown” of Your creation. Please help us realize how precious we are to You. We pray that we will do all that we can in Your name for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: There is the sea vast and spacious teeming with creatures beyond number, living things both large and small. There the ships go to and fro, and the leviathan, which you formed to frolic there. Psalm 104:25-26

Our Wise And Wonderful God

The earth spins around like a top at a speed of about 1,000 miles per hour. This spinning is what makes our days and nights. If it slowed down gradually through the years, our days would become so long that the sun would burn our vegetation during the day or freeze all vegetation during the long nights.

The earth tilts to one side as it goes around the sun. It is this tilt that makes the seasons. If it were not tilted 23½ degrees, vapors from the ocean would move north and south, piling up continents of ice.

Most of the time, the moon is about 237,000 miles from the earth. As it revolves around the earth, it exerts a “pull.” This “pull” causes tides - the rise and fall of the oceans. If the moon were not at the exact distance it is from the earth, the tides would completely overflow the land twice a day.

The earth is a great storage facility. Its resources produce the foods we eat. It contains the fuels we need for heating and transportation. It has the minerals we need for survival hidden beneath its soil. It grows the lumber we need for building homes. Its vegetation purifies the air we breathe by removing various impurities that would suffocate us.

Can all this be the result of an accident? Was there a “big bang” that threw “things” up into the air and when things settled down there was form and function? Or was the Psalmist right when he wrote, “How many are Your works, O Lord! In wisdom You made them all.”

Prayer:  It is amazing, Lord, how carefully You planned everything to fit together perfectly to reflect Your wisdom. What a comfort to know that You intentionally made us too. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  How many are Your works, O Lord! In wisdom You made them all. Psalm 104:24

The Wonder Of Work

Years ago, a “hobo” came to the back porch as my mother sat there “shelling peas.” “Pardon me, Ma’am, but could you spare a meal to a starving traveler?”

Graciously, but firmly, my mother responded and said she would be happy to provide a meal, but he would have to do some yard work first. Politely, he declined. He was “too weak” to work before he had something to eat. He then walked away quietly and went next door.

God intended for man to work. As soon as He created man, He planted a garden in Eden and gave him a job to do: he was told to cultivate the garden. The Psalmist reminded us of the importance of work when he wrote, “Man goes out to his work, to his labor until evening.”

Perhaps it is good to remember that in the days of His flesh, our Lord Jesus worked. He must have gone to His daily tasks with enthusiasm - not because it was easy or financially rewarding. He was using the skills His Father gave Him to do His will and honor Him through the work of His hands. On one occasion, early in His life, He said, “I always do the things that please Him.” He did what was necessary yet never sinned.

How comforting it is to know that the Carpenter of Nazareth faced every situation that we face today or will face tomorrow. This fact assures us that He understands us completely. He faced the same trials and temptations that we face. However, He never gave in to any temptation or committed any sin so He could one day become our Savior.

Prayer:  Thank You, Lord, for living a life that sets the example of how we should live.  Please help us live a life where others can see You in us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Man goes out to his work, to his labor until evening. Psalm 104:23