Thursday, August 31, 2017
"For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy." Psalm 61:3. Does not God help those who are cast down? Life has many storms. From these, we must have protection. God provides shelter from the devastation of life's happenings. We desire to be surrounded by the mighty power of God. God is a tower that stands. Without fail, God delivers the afflicted. No enemy is more powerful that He. No storm is stronger than He. Our experience tells us what God has done for us, and therefore, we know what He will do for us again. Our faith is strong. Our devotion is steady. Though we are blasted by our enemies, we can not be brought down. God is our fortress, and mighty is He. His voice quietens. His hand calms. God controls all. He will not allow His people to be overthrown. We are guarded by the all-powerful and all-knowing God. We know security and tranquility. Peace and confidence are the mainstays of our life. In the storm, there is hope for we flee to His shelter. Our enemies cannot harm for we are in the tower of His strength.
"Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me." Psalm 3:1. The wicked trouble the righteous. The righteous are disturbed by the actions of the wicked. The righteous seek Godliness for all. We, like God, long for the salvation of the lost. The wicked are lost because of their rebellion against God. The wicked seek to impose their ungodly ways upon the righteous. They want the acceptance of the righteous for their evil deeds. The righteous are not allowed to speak against the evil of the day. The troops of evil men gain numbers each day. Their ungodly ways seem to permeate the earth. Pollution abounds. The earth reeks with the sinfulness of the hour. Multitudes of wicked men are going down the road of destruction. The doers of evil are increasing in number. The devil allures more and more into his snare of doom. The highway that leads to hell increases with travelers. And so, the righteous are troubled. Our hearts ache that so many are deceived. We weep tears as the prophet of old because of the way of wicked men. Evil has risen against us and troubles our very soul.
Friday, August 25, 2017
"Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips." Proverbs 27:2. We are not to applaud ourselves. If we commend ourselves, we are filled with pride. Self commendation accomplishes nothing. We are to go quietly about doing our works. Our deeds are to be the evidence of our goodness, and not our own lips. People are to see our character. We are not to announce it. We are to engage in the business of doing good with the hope that people will be influenced to do good also. We are to silently make a difference among our fellowman. The good that we do is not to be done for the praise of others, and especially, our own praise. But, if praise is due, let that praise come from others. A proud person wants others to know of kindness shown. The haughtiness of an individual announcing his own praise can destroy all good that is done. One does not wish to hear about what another has done, but rather, desires to see it. Let us live life so that others will praise us, and not we ourselves.
Thursday, August 24, 2017
"Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us according as we hope in thee." Psalm 33:22. Because of our frailty, we need mercy. God's mercy provides us with strength and endurance. We can continue to battle against the forces of evil because of God's mercy. His mercy will lift us up and help us to stand. His mercy will give us wisdom and guidance. But, God's mercy is only bestowed upon those who will trust in Him and allow Him to become their hope. Our hope in God gives us access to His mercy. Mercy is an expression of God's love for us. We are blessed with God's promises which are His divine gifts to us. We believe in those promises, and we trust in the God who gave them. This faith or hope, a confidence and dependence, helps bring comfort and peace to our hearts. We hope in God, and He is the pilot of our life. He guides the ship. He leads, and we follow. He speaks, and we obey. From His bountiful mercy comes the eternal blessings that bloom in our heart. Mercy borne from hope.
Sunday, August 20, 2017
"And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger." Luke 17:17-18. Ten lepers were healed by Christ. Only one, a Samaritan, returned to give thanks for the act of mercy that had been shown to him. Why did the other nine not return? Perhaps, they considered that going back to honor Jesus was an inconvenience. Perhaps, they intended to thank Him at another time. Perhaps, they simply had no gratitude for this act of kindness that Jesus had shown them. What about us? Life can be hurried. There can be seasons of inconvenience. And, yes, maybe we can do it later. Then again, we might just not do it at all. Think for a moment about the mercy that God has shown to each of us. It truly is amazing, isn't it? Sin forgiven. Hope renewed. Fellowship restored. The mercy that flows from heaven is a constant stream coming from a God that loves to heal. We need to return and show gratitude lest the next time that we need healing God isn't in the mood to heal.
Friday, August 18, 2017
"For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us." Ephesians 2:14. A wall is built for the purpose of separation. The old covenant which had been given to Moses separated the Jew from the Gentile. But, that wall was broken down in Christ. A new covenant was sealed by the blood of Jesus which brought both Jew and Gentile into the kingdom of God. Racial and social lines were dissolved. The door of God's house, the church, is open to any and all who will enter. There is no distinction of people in the eyes of the God who has created us. Neither should there be in our own eyes. We must see as God sees. We must embrace as God embraces. Jesus brings people and hearts together. Jesus unites. Jesus frees. The kingdom of God has but one name for those who enter. The kingdom of God is one people having one mind and guarded by one purpose in Jesus Christ.
Thursday, August 17, 2017
"And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles." Acts 22:21. The Lord had a calling for Paul. The preacher was being sent unto the Gentiles with the gospel of Christ. Paul also needed to depart from the city because of danger to his life. There are times when we need to depart. We need, of course, to depart from sin. Sin is a curse that separates us from God. We must avoid any occasion that would cause us to sin. We must depart from evil companions for their influence will take us in the wrong direction. Evil companions will tarnish a good name, and can also, tarnish a good character. We should also depart from false doctrine. All teaching that we desire to embrace must be examined according to the divine standard of God's everlasting truth. Accept only what can be proven to be truth. We must depart from dangerous situations that would threaten our relationship with God and with others. We must always seek the way of peace and harmony. We must be mindful when the need arises for us to depart.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
"Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good." Ecclesiastes 9:18. Sin leaves destruction in its path. Like a storm that tears apart, so sin does the same. One sinner can bring down all the good that many have accomplished. Sin is harmful and hurtful. Sin will sink a society into the mire of desperation. Not only does sin harm God, but it also hurts society and individuals. Sin will tear apart families. Sin will dissolve friendships. Sin will harm the character. Sin will destroy a reputation. Sin divides, never unites. Sin scars, never heals. Sin discomforts, never comforts. Sin will not create peace, but rather, war. Sin introduces conflict. Sin destroys, and never builds. What mischief has been brought upon the world because of one sinner? How many gifts have been lost because of one sinner? The sin of one can bring grief to the many. Tears have been shed, and lives have been lost because of one sinner. Dreams have been shattered, and futures have been destroyed because of one sinner. What awful impact one sinner has!
Thursday, August 10, 2017
"That ye may approve things that are excellent." Philippians 1:10. We must be very careful in that which we find to be worthy. Our lives are to possess very defining qualities. We are to live on a higher plane that the world about us. We are to seek out only that which is truly wholesome and righteous. We are to find ourselves only in the company of those who will help us achieve the goal of the excellent. That which we desire must be that which we truly need. The things that are excellent in our lives will help us in our relationship with God, and also, our relationship with others. We must embrace the holy and the pure. We are to approve only that which will bring us closer to our God, and develop our union with Christ. We are always to seek out that which is higher and grander. We must have a vision of our future. We should understand that we are not just mortals living for a brief time. That which is excellent is to define our character. We must know ourselves as those who honor God so that He will always honor us. Let us set our sight on the best, the noblest, the magnificent, and the majestic.
"And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment." Philippians 1:9. Paul's prayer for the church is constant. Here he prays that the Philippians may abound in love. We are taught to love. Love is one of the many wonderful attributes of God. Without His love for us, we would be incapable of loving. To be as He is, we must love. But, we must have a knowledge of love. With that knowledge, comes a purpose for loving. We must love for the right reason. We are to love that which is good. We must not love that which is evil. We must be able to love despite the flaws in the character of another. Our love for them and their love for us will seek to help correct those flaws. God's love for us delivers us to a higher plane of understanding ourselves and the battles that we must fight. Our love for one another will remove us from false judgment, and motivate us to help and encourage each other. As we come to a knowledge of Christ's love, we will be able to love each other as Christ has loved us.
Friday, August 4, 2017
"Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay: but rather division." Luke 12:51. Jesus Christ came to start a revolution. Inner peace comes from knowing Jesus, but we come to possess it by division. The truth that Jesus taught would divide people one against another. That division sometimes would be found in families. Loved ones would have differing opinions about Jesus. One individual would accept the message which Jesus taught, and another would reject the same message. One would follow Jesus, and another would refuse to follow Him. Some would believe Him to be the Son of God. Others would think that He was a blasphemer. Jesus brought division. Some would remain in the bondage of sin, while others would seek freedom from sin. One would be willing to give up everything to be a disciple, while others would be unwilling to give anything. Some would have the desire for the spiritual, while others would love only the earthly. One would hope for heaven, while another would settle for the here and now. Jesus brought division rather than peace.
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
"I will love thee, O Lord, my strength." Psalm 18:1. The Lord gives strength from a fountain that never empties. The Lord has all strength, and gives it freely to those who love Him. His strength empowers us, His children. We are strong because He is strong. None of our enemies can overcome us because our Lord gives us His strength. No foe can defeat us for we have His strength. In this world, old Satan comes with all his force. He brings every scheme so that he might bring us down. But, alas, no power is greater than that power of our Lord. The devil confronted our Lord, and walked away in a humiliating defeat. So it will be when he comes to us. Pray for His strength to bless us. Seek to be strong in Him. His power drowned the Egyptians. His strength dried up the heavens for Elijah, and no rain fell. His might closed the mouths of the lions, and put out the devouring fire for Daniel and the Hebrew boys. His power was stronger than Herod's chains, and loosed Peter from prison. His power opens the gates of heaven, and closes the door of hell. Love Him as Lord, and be strong always.