Standing Firm

Trust and Obey

Psalm 112 The world clamors for peace and harmony, yet they deny the radical conversion that Christ performs when one yields to Him and chooses to bear His yoke. They choose ridicule rather than the path of godliness—yet they cannot deny the evidence which stares them in the face. They cannot understand how it is possible to stand firm when faced with adversity. They are like Job’s comforters, which could not wrap their minds around Job’s intense faithfulness amid the worst tragedies to befall a man. How could he sit in ashes and mourn yet keep his faith in God?

What was his secret?

Like the psalmist, Job, and the saints who chose Christ, they knew the blessing of walking in harmony with God. Each decided to let God train them to walk beside Him in the furrows of the good, bad, and ugliness of life and then recorded their steps on parchment for us to read.  It is titled  “trust and obey – there is no other way.” They could then see beyond the temporal circumstances to the eternal reward for those who walk uprightly. They submitted their will, heart, and mind to Him.  They chose not to be conformed to this world but transformed by the renewing of their mind.  They knew no matter the circumstances of life: “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. May the name of the Lord be blessed.” Therefore, we like the psalmist can say: “I will not be shaken, and I will remember Him who is just and knows the beginning from the end.”

What choice have you made?

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Patient Wise Counsel

Psalm 109 Just as in Job’s and King David’s time, our world is fraught with vile words and hateful responses without considering the other person. Too quickly, we forget this principle: “I tell you that on the day of judgment, people will give an account for every worthless word they speak.” [Mat 12:36] 

So how do we handle accusations from others that are threatening and often ill-founded? Even though the psalmist desired vindication, he wrestled with God in a verbal dialog. He tried loving his enemies, much like Jesus told his audience, “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Instead, they repaid his love with evil and vile accusations. Instead of giving up or retaliating, he prayed. That is a WWJD response. Peter noted: “he, meaning Jesus, threatened no retaliation, but committed himself to God who judges justly.” He was able to do that because he believed that God will make all things that are wrong now, right in the end. God will have the last word.

The psalmist said, “I continue to pray.” He continued! What a great reminder to those of us that quit early, What wise counsel Paul told the Colossians: be devoted to prayer.

Imagine if more prayer was offered.

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The Never-Ending Words of Jesus

never ending words of Jesus

Psalm 106 Have you driven on a road that seems to go on and on and on? That is what it is like when we come face to face with the God of the universe. It is then that we are humbled and recognize how unworthy we are. We are overwhelmed, and many of us ask: “Who can adequately recount the Lord’s mighty acts, or relate all his praiseworthy deeds?” John noted that as well: “There are many other things that Jesus did. If every one of them were written down, I suppose the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” [Joh 21:25 ] Perhaps that is why Job noted: I am utterly unworthy – how could I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth to silence myself.

Job captures our very essence of how to answer the psalmist’s question. We are unworthy except by the blood of the Lamb of Jesus who “saved us not by works of righteousness that we have done but based on his mercy, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Spirit,” [Titus 3] 

Today as you consider what God has done for you, consider how you came even to understand what He has done except by His never-ending mercy in calling you and saving you. 

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Are You Soaring Like an Eagle?

Psalm 103 & Isaiah 40 Isaiah must have been a bird watcher. He listed some spiritual principles and spiritual lessons to learn from the eagle: “those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” [Is 40]

The eagle pictures the biblical marriage vows, committing to living together “until death do us part.” “For this reason, a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” [Gen 2] Then together they build their “home” at the top of trees or cliffs where they securely can raise their young.

Like the eagle, believers are to be “spiritually vigorous until death.” [Constable] Eagles remain vigorous, symbolizing power, freedom, and transcendence exceeding in superiority to the end of their lives, which can be up to thirty-eight years. They have been blessed with a superior vision to see their prey up to three miles away. So too, believers have the indwelling Holy Spirit who anoints us with a spiritual vision to spot false doctrines and teachers.

Just as the eagle never surrenders to its prey but fights them to the end, we too should fight the spiritual forces of this darkness dressed in our spiritual armor and never surrender to them. [Eph 6]

Joshua told the Israelites to “choose you this day whom you will serve.” [Joshua 24:15] And that same choice is given to us.

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The Blessing of Being a Sheep

Lost Sheep

Psalm 23 and 100 Diary Entry—What a Blessing!

Do you feel like you are lost in the midst of the voices that are shouting? Do you fear your bleating won’t be heard? Beloved, the Good Shepherd hears your bleating and He is coming to your rescue.

Memo to self on Day 100: Make a joyful noise unto the Lord! Shout out praises to the Lord! Worship the Lord with joy! Enter his presence with joyful singing! The psalmist reminded himself that this is the day the Lord has brought about. He wrote: I will, and we will be happy and rejoice in it.  [Ps 118]

Indeed, we are the sheep of his pasture.  He called us out of the darkness of sin into the light, and one day we will see our Good Shepherd. What a blessing to know that He directs our steps and takes us to the refreshing quiet living water. He knows that rushing water and the swirling waters of today’s news is unnerving. It is here that our thirst is quenched, and our heart renewed. What a blessing to know that in His pasture, we find peace amid the storms.  It is in His pasture we can feed on the lush green grass and lie down in peace. What a blessing to know that He is the Good Shepherd who leads us, for we require His tender care. What a blessing to know that out of His love He ransomed us with His blood.

Truly the Lord is good, and his mercy is everlasting. His truth endures to all generations. Therefore, serve Him with gladness and come before Him with singing.

The Good Shepherd is coming soon!

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The Lord God Almighty Reigns!

Psalm 99 “He is Holy!”

Three times in this psalm, the author references God as “holy.” Isaiah also referenced God as holy. He saw the Lord in the temple, and Seraph stood over him and called out to one another, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies! His majestic splendor fills the entire earth.” God sits enthroned above the cherubim.

Whether we worship Him before his footstool (a reference to the Ark of the Covenant) or on his holy hill, we praise His great and awesome name because He is and evermore shall be ‘holy.’ Peter encourages us with these words: “like the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in all of your conduct, for it is written, “You shall be holy because I am holy.” [1Pet 1:15/16] 

May we stop and ponder this marvelous thought this day. Go forth and be holy as He is holy for He reigns on high!  

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In Him, I move and I rest

Psalm 91 God is El Elyon, Yahweh; El Shaddai; Elohim, and Jehovah. He is the God who provides us rest when others are “at war” with themselves and others.

 El Elyon is God’s name of safety and our abiding. Jesus spoke of Himself as the vine and us as the branches. He said if you abide or remain in the vine, you will find shelter.

The Sovereign One; the El Shaddai. He is the All-Sufficient One, the Lord Almighty. He is the “I AM” who has great power. Trust Me and follow Me for I am immutable/unchangeable; therefore, you can find rest in Me and my protective shadow. 

The Lord; Elohim is Sovereign, the Mighty One over all. As we observe the heavens and the sunrise and sunset, the stars and moon, we can know that all is well because Elohim is in control. He cares, and He is steadfast to carry us through even the most difficult of times. Nothing comes to us but filtered through His fingers.

No matter the name you use, know this: God is available 24/7 for us in contrast to the idols and false gods that are detracted from us unless we offer something to appease them. Jesus said, Come unto me, and I will give you rest. [Matt 11] Today, step aside and spend some time with Him and let your soul rest.

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Give God Glory in Song!

Praise God

Have you ever noticed how often the word “sing or sang” is noted throughout scripture? Psalm 89 Ethan said he would sing continually about the Lord’s faithful deeds. “The heavens also praise his amazing deeds as well.” Job referenced this same thought: When the morning stars sang in chorus and all the sons of God shouted for joy.  In Chronicles 16 and Psalm 105, the authors note: Sing to him! Make music to him. Tell about all his miraculous deeds. We should be praising God for he is Lord among the heavenly beings, a God who is honored in the great angelic assembly. At the birth of our Savior, the vast, heavenly army appeared with the angel, praising God.

The author Ethen exalted God in word and song. Paul told the Colossians to exalt God by exhorting one another with all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, all with grace in your hearts to God.

One author put it like this:  “live your life in praise to God.” In psalm 113 we read that God is higher than anything or anyone, outshining everything you see in the skies.

What is your favorite hymn or praise song that you sing to give God praise?

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“It is Good to Talk About God”

The heart of God

Psalm 85 The author of this psalm is unknown to us but not to God. One thing we immediately pick up on is that this author knows God and His character and he extols this in poetic form.

He showed favor, restored the well-being of Jacob, pardoned the people, forgave all their sin, withdrew all your fury, and turned back from your raging anger. Then, because of these attributes, the writer felt bold enough to enter God’s space and pray: Will you revive us once more? Will you show your lovingkindness?

But also the author realizes all of this cannot come to pass until he listens to what God says and not return to his foolish ways.

Where are you wandering in the wilderness expecting God to act, but you have not done your part? You will find out all about God and you in His Word.

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Quiet…

The world as we know it is fraught with danger, toils and tribulations. We can choose to fight them in our own strength or find our strength at the foot of the throne of God. As the people of God we can earnestly seek him in prayer and in our quiet times but it takes a conscious step to come apart from the noise of this world so that God can speak and reveal himself to us.

Have you chosen this way to begin your day today?

It is my prayer that you know God and His Son as your shepherd and/or as your invincible warrior for the need you have before you this day. Listen and hear his voice calling. Listen to his counsel and do not fear for he is your Shepherd and the Invincible Warrior that protects.

 “I made you and I will support you; I will carry you and rescue you.” [Is 46]

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