Saturday, August 17, 2019

Our Ever-Present Help ...

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." - Psalm 46:1 
I left the house the other day without my cell phone. I immediately returned to retrieve the little "necessity". Most of us have grown attached to these little guys for a variety of reasons. We feel like the officers on Star Trek, who were always in touch with the Starship through their communicators. When we have our trusty cell phone by our side, we know that help is always near.
While we are centuries away from the writing of this Psalm, we are still in need of a refuge, strength and help in trouble. The modern development of cell phones may be a great comfort when traveling, but it will never compare to the presence of God. He is far more than a resource who provides or delegates, HE is our refuge, strength and help himself. When we walk with the Lord, we know that help is always near.
Are you feeling alone today? Are there overwhelming fears that fill your heart? Do you feel like your communicator is out of range with no signal bars on the screen? Then I recommend that you "Be still and know that He is God" and gain a fresh sense that "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble."

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Friday, August 16, 2019

Heroes ...

"Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the LORD delivers him in times of trouble. The LORD will protect him and preserve his life; he will bless him in the land and not surrender him to the desire of his foes." - Psalm 41: 1-2
As children, we read the stories of heroes; those who came to the rescue of the downtrodden and abused. They would arrive just in time to deliver from the most terrible treatment and become the heroes of the day. TV programs followed suit for some years with weekly adventures of individuals who could be contacted when no one else would help. While we love to read about heroes, is it possible that we could be someone's hero someday?
David wrote about heroes when he said, "Blessed is he who has regard for the weak". Even the Lord is interested in those who, in his name, will reach out to help those in need. Jesus put it in these words, "Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy" (Matthew 5:7) Yes, if you are willing to hear and follow the Lord's call, you too can be a hero.
Has the Lord put someone in your circle of life that is weak and in need? Is there some little way that you can show them mercy and kindness? God honors those who have regard for the weak. Mercy is a key that often opens the door of the soul to the gospel. Be someone's hero today.

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Thursday, August 15, 2019

Discipline ...

"O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. For your arrows have pierced me, and your hand has come down upon me. Because of your wrath there is no health in my body; my bones have no soundness because of my sin. My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear... O LORD, do not forsake me; be not far from me, O my God. Come quickly to help me, O Lord my Savior." - Psalm 38:1-4, 21-22 
Discipline is always difficult. Whether we are corrected by our parents, school teachers or the local authorities, the process is still painful at best. The ideal hope is for a learning process that will lead to the correction of bad behavior. Discipline should ultimately be a help that will deliver us.
David knew that he was suffering from the corrective hand of God. He had lost health and soundness due to his sin. He was a Godly man, not just because he most often lived for God, but because he also acknowledged his sin whenever he failed God. David was overwhelmed with his guilt and sought the Lord for help and deliverance. 
Are you willing to acknowledge your sin when God comes knocking at your door? When suffering comes your way is it possible that the Lord is working to purge you of habits that will destroy you? Why continue day by day with guilt that weighs you down? The Lord will never forsake you, so cry out to him in repentance and ask that he comes quickly to help you with his grace and deliverance.

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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The "one two punch"...

"I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles." - Psalm 34:4-6
The "one two punch" is defined as a combination of two blows delivered in rapid succession in boxing, especially a left lead followed by a right cross. When troubles come our way, we often face a "one two punch" from the outer circumstances and the fears within. We need to seek the Lord who delivers us from fear and saves us from troubles by his "one two punch".
David was in a serious mess as he faced a formidable enemy with nowhere to turn. He saw his life slipping away ever so quickly, so he sought the Lord. He asked for deliverance from his fears and to be saved from his troubles. David knew how overwhelming his fears were and how quickly they would sap him of strength, so this was his first request. Once free of his fears he prayed with great confidence to be saved from his troubles. God answered David's prayers with his "one two punch".
Never ignore the fears that haunt you my friend. Troubles come your way and fears follow close behind. Because fears will cripple and discourage you to the point of giving up, seek the Lord for his deliverance. Then bring your situation to his throne of grace to be saved from your troubles. Never be discouraged by the fears and troubles of life, just look to the Lord for his "one two punch".


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Our hiding place...

"Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him. You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah" - Psalm 32:6-7 
We had a pretty wet spring this year. On some days the rain came down in torrents. Nearby communities were flooded over and over again. We have lived in three places over the years where flooding has taken homes and lives. Every time such storms come, anxiety runs high. When the mighty waters rise, we need a hiding place.
Early in this psalm David reflects on a forgiven life that is restored to fellowship with God. He builds up to the comforting result of finding security in God's unfailing love. There is no storm or trouble that will overcome the child of God when they rest in him. When the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him. He will always be protected because the Lord is his hiding place.
Where is your protection from the floods today? Will the troubles of life take your song away? Pray, while the Lord may be found and see that he will protect you and surround you with songs of deliverance. When the waters rise, find rest in the One who is your hiding place.


Monday, August 12, 2019

The Lord "IS" ...

"The LORD is my shepherd..." - Psalm 23:1
As a pastor I have performed funerals beyond number. Whether the loved one was a devout believer or rarely attended church, this passage is the reading of choice. In the hours of death, these words are of great comfort for those who grieve. But, the ultimate question concerning the departed is; was the LORD their Shepherd in life?
David expressed his life relationship with the LORD as his Shepherd. The entire psalm takes one through a daily faith walk. It all begins with the present tense of "is". The Lord "is" to be the Shepherd we follow in life, if he "will" be the Shepherd who receives us in eternity. Everyone wants a Shepherd in death, but is he their Shepherd in life?
Will you need the shepherd care of the Lord sometime in the future? Will you request this wonderful Psalm to be read during your last hours of life? Every comfort for your tomorrows begin with the "is" of today. The Lord will be your Shepherd in death, only if he "is" your Shepherd in life. 




Sunday, August 11, 2019

The LORD is Still on His Throne!

""When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD is on his heavenly throne. He observes the sons of men; his eyes examine them." - Psalm 11:3-4

When I attended college, I lived in a college owned apartment for a year. It was very old and scheduled to be demolished. When you stood across the street, you could see the two ends of the building sag down like the leaning tower of Pisa. Yet, we never lived in fear because we were assured that the building was safe. The foundation was weak, but the word of the college was sure.
David knew that although the foundations in life may be destroyed, the LORD is on his throne. The enemies may be many, but the LORD watches over the righteous. He sits on his throne observing our every step, ready to redeem and strong to save. Life may shift and sag like a leaning tower, but the throne of God remains sure and secure.
Are your foundations cracking and shifting beneath you? Do you feel unsettled in the constant changes of life? Then turn to the throne in heaven and be encouraged with this invitation...  "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (Hebrews 4:16) Your foundations may be weak, but the foundations of heaven are strong.

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