Footsteps in the Sand

Footsteps

Psalm 142:3 “Even though Fanny Crosby was blind, she knew this truth. “Even when my strength leaves me, you watch my footsteps…” Fanny knew that God was before her, behind her, beside her. God’s Holy Spirit lovingly guides us even as we struggle through the times of darkness, frailty, and distress. That is because God’s eyes are upon His children. He knows their goings in and going out. Nothing is hidden from His eyes, and thus we can appeal to Him for His guidance. Because of this promise, we can glory when the enemy seeks to destroy us because we can trust that God will ensure our protection. We know that our adversary lays a snare for us, but our God is greater than anything the enemy can send our way. Yet, we must have our armor on, pray for wisdom and discernment and then follow the Spirit’s leading.

“He sees you not with the indifference of a mere spectator, but he observes with attention, he knows, he considers your path: yea, he appoints it, and every circumstance about it is under his direction” John Newton.

“All the way my Savior leads me, What have I to ask beside? Can I doubt His tender mercy, Who through life has been my guide?”

 Are these your questions as well? Take heart Beloved, “Jesus doeth all things well.”

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Unity is Key to the Health of God’s People

Pray for unity

Ps 133 “Be Unified”

Unity is not a new idea. We read that even Jesus prayed for his disciples: “that they will all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I am in you.” [Jn 17] Before him, the psalmist wrote: “how beautiful it is to be unified as brethren.” As the Father and Son are unified, we are to be as well. Our model is the Trinity, and we are to be the messengers of this unity to the world.

In Genesis, we read a sad story about disunity and a family that failed to model that principle. Abraham and Lot had lived side by side, but disunity came about over water and grasslands. Whereas Lot was feuding, fussing and fuming, Abraham sought unity: “Let there be no quarreling between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are close relatives.” [Gen 13:8] However, Lot chose to ignore this wise counsel and moved away from Abraham choosing his herdsmen and the well-watered plain of Jordan. He never returned even in his darkest hour. Lot’s decision is a lesson for us in what NOT to do. That is why we need Psalm 133:1,

“How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along!” 

Is there disunity in someplace in a relationship between you and another? Beloved: make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. [Eph 4:3]

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Do you know your ABC’s?

The ABCs

Psalm 119: Many of us have scores of Bibles at our fingertips and bookstores galore. But, the early Israelites learned through oral recitation using the memory aid tool: “abecedaries” just like children today learn their A-B-C’s in a sing-song fashion. All 176 verses of this psalm remind us of the steadfast love of God and His Word and mention the Word of God in nearly every stanza.  

Martin Luther memorized this entire psalm, and as a monk, he followed the pattern to recite long passages of scripture. He found Psalm 119 was easy to memorize because of its sing-song pattern. What a great challenge for us! Just as the psalmist said, those who are blessed are blameless and obedient to the law of the Lord. They choose to observe God’s statutes and seek Him with their whole heart.

The psalmist knew the principle of 2Tim 3:16

“All scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, reproof correction, and training in righteousness.” 

Take time to walk through each stanza for your edification so that you might know who God is and what He does through the hearts and minds of those who taste and see that the Lord is good. 

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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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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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Insomnia —

Do you have insomnia? What do you do when it crops up in the middle of the night? What is its cause? Asaph faced it and I face it often. How about you?

Ps 77 “ Facing Insomnia?”
Insomnia is defined by the dictionary as an inability to obtain sufficient sleep, especially when chronic; difficulty in falling or staying asleep; sleeplessness. No matter the cause, the results are the same when we experience insomnia; bone weariness upon arising. Asaph seemed to have experienced this. Asaph uses this time to pray and seek the face of God. He cries out to God. He recalls God and His attributes, and he prays all night long. He “remembers the song I once sang. I will think very carefully. I tried to make sense of what was happening.” What do you do at times like this?

George Rogers once wrote: A good man cannot rest upon his bed until his soul rests upon God. That is a truth we need to remember when we have nights when we are chasing sleep or insomnia.

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Handing Off to the Next Generation

Psalm 71 and 78 Getting older is not for sissies, but until we take our last breath, God has work for us to do. Senior citizens have much to offer the younger generation about the lessons gleaned from trials to blessings. But how do we ensure that the next generation knows these lessons? We must purposefully choose to take time to sit with them and share our life’s story.   How many years are there between you and the next generation? Twenty or even fifty? One of my regrets is that my parents did not tell us about their lives even when asked.

Beloved, time is fleeting, and memories are being lost. We must begin to tell the next generation of our story—whether good or bad.

The psalmist is writing from his perspective of being “old and gray.” He has one request of the Lord. His prayer is that God allows him to remain until he tells the next generation about God’s strength and His power. What is your prayer? Do we choose to tell about His praiseworthy acts, strength, and the amazing things He has done? Do we choose to teach and speak of His splendor and tell about His marvelous deeds, power, and majesty?

What is your prayer this day? Don’t waste this opportunity! Prepare now to tell your story.

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SHHHHHHH…

Psalm 64 Whether a child or an adult, we are easily hurt by another’s words, which aim at the heart. We quote this ditty when challenged: “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.” But we know that is not true. Words hurt or words edify. David knew this all too well as he notes that his enemy ‘sharpens their tongues like swords; they aim their arrows, a slanderous charge.’ 

Words either edify or tear down. Words lift, and praise or words seek to destroy. Jesus said that the things that come out of the mouth originate in the heart. James reminds us that our tongue cannot be subdued; it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it, we bless the Lord and Father, and with it, we curse people made in God’s image. Men face this problem. Perhaps that is why David challenged himself with these words: I will put a muzzle over my mouth, and again I will watch what I say for once words are said, they cannot be retrieved. But, also like David, we become impatient, wanting to speak our minds.

We would do well to memorize and apply Ephesians 4:29 “You must let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but only what is beneficial for the building up of the one in need, that it would give grace to those who hear.”

shhhhh
Just a sweet reminder!
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What is the Right Advice in Times Like This?

Psalm 62  Do you find it hard to wait? David was in a desperate situation. Jesus was nearing the end of his earthly life, and he told the disciples to stay alert and watch lest you fall into temptation. How often do we fail to stay alert and ‘wait?’ How often do we fall asleep like the disciples or try to manipulate circumstances as we see fit? The irony is that God knows our past, present, and future. He knows the very hair on your head, and He knows each heart, whether it is single-minded or double-minded. David was busy waiting, not knowing when his adversaries would arrive on the scene. Like David, Jesus was busy praying, but the disciples were asleep. Is this our pattern too? 

In his waiting, David noted that his enemy was like a leaning wall, like a tottering fence, but God was His stronghold. Years earlier, Nehemiah also heard the taunts of the enemy: “Even what they are building-if a fox should jump on it, he would break their stone wall down!” Neh 4:3 At desperate times, we need to take our concerns to God. David reminded himself: ‘wait in silence for God only.’ 

Therefore Beloved remain steadfast, immovable, always abounding, and focus on the God who never fails.

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Jungle Prayers

Psalm 57-59 There is a jungle out there; not a literal jungle, but a jungle of hatred and evil. For David, it was enemies and a king trying to kill him. Thus how pertinent is this group of psalms to our day today! These psalms include David’s thoughts of asking God to invoke judgment upon his enemies.  Even in his trials, David relied upon God to handle his adversity, enemies, and also as Ps 57 notes, corrupt judges. David always went to God when he faced troubling times. The question for us is, do we go to God in our trials?

David counted on that God alone is the avenger and not he, which is a truth we need to employ as we in our world of unjust judges or leaders. David pours out his heart and then says in Ps 57:7, “I am determined, O God. I am determined. I will sing and praise you.” He ends this imprecatory psalm by saying, “May your splendor cover the whole earth.” 

Dr. Constable writes: “Life sometimes seems similar to a jungle with wild beasts threatening to devour hostile hunters trying to trap us. Nevertheless, the godly can count on supernatural assistance and can rejoice in ultimate salvation. In the meantime, we should live for the glory of God.”

Are you facing a jungle today? May I pray for you?

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