James 4:10 NKJV – God blesses the humble

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

God exalts the humble. As believers we should humble ourselves before the Lord. It’s being aware of the majesty and glory of the Lord and the reverence needed before Him. I’ve heard some believers say that when they get to heaven and meet Jesus face to face, they will jump up and embrace Him and love on Him. I say, I will not, just yet. What I know is that I will be on my face in weeping humility and reverence before my glorious Lord. The sheer magnitude of the thought of being face to face with Jesus will drive me to lay prostrate before Him.

Humility is an attitude of lowliness and obedience, grounded in the recognition of your status before God as His creation. God commands humility. That is what our foundational verse is saying. When I was saved in 1999, I came from a life of pride, not humility. I thought I could do anything, live anyway, and I was totally responsible for the outcome of either. But humility is linked to repentance. “So the leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves; and they said, “The Lord is righteous.” Now when the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah, saying, “They have humbled themselves; therefore I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance.” (2 Chronicles 12:6-7 NJKV)

Humility is also linked with God’s favor. “The humble He guides in justice, and the humble He teaches His way.” (Psalm 25:9 NKJV). God will not despise a broken and contrite heart. (Psalm 51:17 NKJV) God will restore those who humbly come before Him. Through Jesus Christ, God has made possible a new relationship between Himself and a sinful humanity. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are born again. We become a new creation. The prideful way I lived my life was taken away and I was reborn and became as new. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things be become new.” (2Corinthians 5:17 NKJV)

In humility I came before the Lord on Sunday, July 18, 1999 and knelt and prayed. He gave me new life and lifted me up. And today, I find myself coming to the Lord in humility each and every time I pray; each and every time I have conversation with Him. I can’t say that I am completely free from my selfish pride. I continue to seek forgiveness with that. But I can say that each day I come to God in humble prayer, I find myself less and less prideful. And more and more blessed as a result. Isaiah 66:2 says it this way, “For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist,” Says the Lord. “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.” Let us worship and bow down to Him, our glorious Lord!

Dearest Lord, we exalt Your Name. We humbly come before You Lord and give You praise. You are our Almighty King and Glorious Lord. Teach us Lord to always approach You in humble reverence but in complete faith that You will hear us and answer us. May we live humbly before You always and repent of any prideful way in our life. May You be glorified in all we say and do. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 19:14 NKJV – My declaration

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

I look at this Scripture as a prayer of humility that seeks God’s intervention into our whole being as we recognize where our all in all comes from. David prayed that he could not bear that a word or thought of his should miss being accepted by God. It didn’t matter to David if his human actions were accepted by others here on earth. What mattered was that his thoughts were witnessed by the Lord.

This scripture verse declares what lives very deep in my heart and all too often, I forget to declare it. It would serve us very well that we declare this verse before we start our day. Before we begin to walk, and work, and go about our lives. Before we even speak another word, we should lift our voices to heaven and make known this request.

Having a prayerful relationship with God is vital for a believer. This is where we can draw our strength from, where we can feel God’s protection, where we receive God’s wisdom, where God restores us, and where the Holy Spirit empowers us to live in this world. The world would like for us to just go about our day and “Just do it”. Get about what needs to be done. And sometimes the world wants us to believe it doesn’t matter what we say or who we push around, as long as we get the job done. Well, that’s not good. I’ve been a victim of that and I must confess a partaker in it as well. I have been caught up in the rush of things and have failed to recognize that my actions were not acceptable in God’s sight.

There are times where we just have to slow down, realize where we are and what we are doing and ask ourselves, “Is all that I am saying and all that I am doing OK with God?” It reminds me in a way of what my mother used to do with two adventurous twin boys who had no intension of slowing down or stopping. She would always say, “I’m going to count to ten before I say something or do something that I’ll regret.” When we heard that we knew we had gone too far. And Mom understood she needed to stop and take a breath.

Friends, David understood how important it was to honor God in all he said and did. He could not even bear the thought of failing in this area. Join with me in declaring this Scripture each day. May the Lord receive it and may He return favor and blessing to all of you.

Dear Lord, I declare that my words and my thoughts are pleasing unto You. Lord, You are my strength and my Redeemer. May all that I say and do give glory and honor to You. Help me Lord realize that it doesn’t matter if my words and actions are accepted by the world. It only matters that I can demonstrate Jesus Christ Alive in my life. Help me and teach me to walk always in Your ways. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Malachi 4:2 AMP – Neck-up Check-up

But unto you who revere and worshipfully fear My name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings and His beams, and you shall go forth and gambol like calves [released] from the stall and leap for joy.

Reverence for God brings favor to believers as God responds to those who revere Him. “The Lord takes pleasure in those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy and loving-kindness.” (Psalm 147:11 AMP) Scripture identifies a range of positive attitudes toward God and we are encouraged to adopt them. And one of those positive attitudes is Reverence. Reverence is the proper sense of awe, respect and wonder that is inspired and demanded by an encounter with, or meditation upon, that character and activity of a living God. And why wouldn’t we revere God? God, the Creator of all things, who knew us before time began, formed us in our mother’s womb to fulfill a plan that He uniquely created for each of us to prosper and find hope and a future. “For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.” (Jeremiah 29:11 AMP)

Part of reverence is the fear of the Lord. “The reverent fear and worship of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom”. (Psalm 111:10 AMP) This verse captures the right way to approach the Lord; the fear of the Lord. The Lord is God, inspiring our reverence and awe. We are to magnify God, that is to give glory to God through worship and through upright living. But there are times when we only magnify God on Sunday mornings or when we are facing crisis. So I have to ask, “Where is our reverence the rest of the time? Where is our fear of the Lord the rest of the time?” I’m not condemning anyone here. I have found myself at a point where my fear of the Lord is not focused on reverent service, but rather fear of hell. Ouch!!! Do we fear God because in our reverence we want to know more of Him or do we fear God because we know that hell is a real thing and that frightens us?

Sometimes we need to have a “neck-up check-up” in our love and reverence and fear of a living God. And we can begin our “check-up” in humble prayer. We can begin to ask God to reveal things in us that keep Him on the outside when God should be flowing from us from the inside. We can go to Him in prayer; another attribute that God finds favor with. “Is anyone among you afflicted (ill-treated, suffering evil)? He should pray. Is anyone glad at heart? He should sing praise [to God].” (James 5:13 AMP) God desires His people to turn to Him in prayer, individually or corporately, in times of need and to bring requests to Him as a Father. Prayer is an act of worship by those who depend upon Him and proclaim His name. That is why Prayer is part of our reverent fear of the Lord. We need to cultivate an attitude of prayerfulness; a constant relationship between God and us.

Friend, the diagnosis of our “neck-up check-up” is simple. Cultivate a reverence and fear of the Lord that positively reflects our love for Him and results in our service to Him. And God promises that the Sun of Righteousness shall rise with healing in His wings and beams and we shall be released from our stalls leaping for joy. Hallelujah!!!

Dear Lord, thank You for the promises of Your Word. Thank You that as we worship and revere You, You bring us out of whatever corrals us and bring Your healing to us. As we worship and revere You, You bring us strength, restoration, renewal, protection, and healing. Lord, thank You for Your Righteousness. Thank You for Your grace and mercy. Lord, help us to see when we need to refocus our eyes upon You. May we never fear You with the wrong attitude. May we always fear You in reverence as we endeavor to know You more as we pray. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 51:6 NKJV – Decisions and choices will never end

Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

Decisions, decisions, decisions. More and more our lives are filled with decisions. We’re asked to make choices on just about everything, I am not afraid of decisions. They’re a necessary part of life. But some decisions we make have both a natural and spiritual consequence. Did you know that every decision we make has a consequence? It does. And our decisions don’t only affect just us, but often times affect others as well.

True wisdom may bring material reward but its value far exceeds earthly riches. To those who receive it, it opens a path to life and security and equips us for leadership and right conduct. There are many benefits to true wisdom. True wisdom is priceless. “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.” (Psalm 4:7 NKJV) True wisdom leads to life. “The way of life winds upward for the wise, that he may turn away from hell below.” (Proverbs 15:24 NKJV) True wisdom brings prosperity. “Riches and honor are with me, enduring riches and righteousness.” (Proverbs 8:18 NKJV) And true wisdom gives us security. “But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil.” (Proverbs 1:33 NKJV)

God is the essence of truth and this quality should be reflected in the character of his children. Falsehood is condemned in Scripture, but truth is praised and advocated. God takes pleasure in truth and honesty, which are marks of an upright person. And truth originates from God. “Oh, send out Your light and Your truth! Let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your tabernacle.” (Psalm 43”3 NKJV) So true wisdom is the truth that is found in God. And fellowship and relationship with God is the starting point to receiving and understanding what is the truth.

When I’m having to make a decision or make a choice, I want to know that the basis of that decision or choice is grounded in absolute truth. I don’t want to take “my best shot” at it. I want to know details and I want to study the results of my decision or choice. Now, I don’t delve too deeply into study for the simple decisions and choices I make every day. Those decisions are given to common sense and my relationship with God. He guides my way. But the difficult or tough decisions and choices are given to God and what His Word says about it. I relinquish those decisions or choices to God and wait to hear from Him. And I start by prayer.

Prayer offers us a means of acknowledging the character and purposes of God and the opportunity to seek guidance concerning His will for us. The direction of prayer is always upward toward God and is in cooperation in response to God’s will and purpose. I desire to be where God is and to do God’s will so that His purpose is completed in me. “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will[a] ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” (John 15:7-8 NKJV)

Friend, truth comes from God and we can be assured that when we seek God for help with the decisions and choices we make, His truth will never fail us. The wise listen to instruction. “A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel”. (Proverbs 1:5 NKJV) Finding time each day to seek Godly wisdom in prayer and conversation with God is time well spent. God’s Word is a road map, laid out for us to follow. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105 KJV) Seeking God and following His Word is our best course of action when decisions and choices come. Remember, decisions and choices will never end. We’ll have to make them every day. Let’s choose wisely.

Dear God, thank You that You give us wisdom liberally. Thank You that we can come to You in prayer and conversation to seek Your will and way for our lives. Sometimes, God, we make the wrong choice. Sometimes our decision leads us into even more trouble. Forgive us, God, when we seek our own ways. Guide and direct us in Your will and help us stay on the path that You have given us to follow. May You be glorified in everything we do. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Zephaniah 2:1-3 NKJV – In humble repentance

Gather yourselves together, yes, gather together, O undesirable nation, before the decree is issued, or the day passes like chaff, before the Lord’s fierce anger comes upon you, before the day of the Lord’s anger comes upon you!  Seek the Lord, all you meek of the earth, who have upheld His justice.  Seek righteousness, seek humility.  It may be that you will be hidden in the day of the Lord’s anger.

God is the righteous judge of all unrighteousness.  God’s anger is consistent with His righteousness and merciful character.  “God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day.” (Psalm 7:11 NKJV)  Thank you God that Your anger is reluctant and short-lived.  “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.” (Psalm 103:8 NKJV)  But there are times when we provoke God to anger.

What are some of the causes of God’s anger?

Idolatry and unbelief – “So Israel was joined to Baal of Peor, and the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel.” (Numbers 25:3 NKJV)

Disobedience and disloyalty – “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.” (Ephesians 5:6 NKJV)

Ungodly living – “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.” (2 Timothy 3:1-9 NKJV)

Pride, arrogance and hypocrisy – “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (Matthew 23:27-28 NKJV)

Rejection of God’s servants – “Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”says the Lord.And again, “The Lord will judge His people.”It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:29-31

Tough Scripture to read, isn’t it?  Humans are fallible and true righteousness must be the product of the Holy Spirit’s work in a believer.  Sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit in enabling believers to lead holy lives, dedicated to the service of God and conformed to His likeness.

When we are at the point of repentance, it’s God’s desire that we should seek after Him and find Him.  Those who seek God with all their heart are rewarded.  “Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me and I will listen to you.  And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity.” (Jeremiah 29:12-14 NKJV)

God exalts the humble and believers should humble themselves before the Living God.  “He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly.” (Luke 1:52 NKJV)  “Therefore humble yourselves under the might hand of God that He may exalt you in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6 NKJV) Humility is linked to repentance.  “See how Ahab has humbled himself before Me?  Because he has humbled himself before Me, I will not bring the calamity in his days.” (1 Kings 21:29a NKJV) And humility is linked to God’s favor.  “The Lord lifts up the humble; He casts the wicked down to the ground.” (Psalm 147:6 NKJV)

As our foundational Scripture verse says, “Gather yourselves together, yes, gather together”.  People get ready; Jesus is coming.  Jesus is returning soon to gather up His people.  Now is the time to seek the Lord.  Seek Him in prayers of thanksgiving and repentance.  Call upon the Lord and return to Him.  He is waiting for you.  Prayer brings us to the place where we call upon the Lord.  God exalts the humble and humble prayer captures God’s attention.  When we call upon the Lord in a posture of humility and seek His presence and power, God responds.  Prayer is worship to the Lord.  Humble prayer is glorious worship to the Lord.  In humble prayer we demonstrate our need and dependency on God.  We proclaim that it’s only Him that can save us, touch us, rescue us, and restore us.  We call upon Your Mighty Name Lord.

Holy and merciful Lord.  We humble ourselves before you.  We call upon You Lord and seek Your righteousness.  We are sinners in need of a Savior.  Forgive us Lord where we have failed You in word and in deed.  Thank You for Your infinite mercy and grace.  We anticipate Your glorious return to gather us up and to take us to where You are.  A place You have prepared for us.  We believe and we repent.  In Jesus Mighty Name.  AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 112:1-4, 7 NIV – Whom shall we fear?

Praise the Lord!  Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments.  His descendants will be mighty on earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed.  Wealth and riches will be in His house, and His righteousness endures forever.  Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness; He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.  He will not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.

Blessed is the man.  When the Lord says you are blessed, by golly you are blessed.  The fear of the Lord is not a scary thing but rather an attitude of the heart whereby we love Jesus so much for what He accomplished at Calvary for us that we honor and give reverent praise to Him as our eternal Savior.  This attitude of the heart remains with us and is demonstrated by how we think, how we act, and what we say.  We honor God in all things.  And as a result, the Lord promises to bless us.  He not only promises to bless us, but promises to bless our descendants.  Our children will be blessed.  Our children’s children will be blessed.

The fear of the Lord leads to a total covering over you.  In this scripture, darkness is a metaphor for troubled times.  Tough times come, but for those who fear the Lord, there  is an understanding that, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV)  We can then stand strong in trouble and distress knowing that God will bring us through it.  Scripture tells us that, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding.  To him belongs eternal praise.” (Psalm 111:10 NIV)  

We do not have to fear what lies ahead of us.  Sometimes thoughts rise up in our minds about what the future holds.  In Christ Jesus, we have Victory and knowledge that God is with us.  This scripture tells us that as we fear the Lord, we will not be afraid.  It says our hearts will remain steadfast as we trust in the Lord.  I’ve often quoted Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV), “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”  We must rely totally upon the Word of God and the promises that are revealed in it.  Acknowledging who God is demonstrates a mind that submits to the authority of God and one who knows Him.

The fear of the Lord leads us to understand that it is God who guides us to our final goal; to the finish line.  We are reminded, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-3 NKJV)

Friend, we can make it.  God is with us and He will direct our paths.  As we seek the Lord, and trust in the Lord, in the fear of the Lord, the New Year shall not frighten us.  “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4 NKJV)  God will protect us and our children and they will be mighty on the earth; His wealth and riches will be in our house; and His righteousness will endure forever.  The prophet Jeremiah said this, “They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.  It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:8 NIV)  What a tremendous promise from God; a promise that we can carry with us in this New Year.  When we pray, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into a greater understanding of the fear of the Lord.

Holy and gracious Lord.  Thank You that You cover us with Your love and protection.  Teach us Lord to fear You even more.  To encounter You in Holy reverence, coming to You humbly as we meet.  Lord to fear You means to love You, to honor You, and to praise You.  Thank You for Your saving sacrifice at Calvary.  Thank You that You died for all of us so that we could be with You forever in heaven.  Teach us Lord to trust in You more and more.  As we acknowledge You, Lord, direct our paths towards Your righteousness.  We delight in You Lord and give You praise.  In Jesus Name.  AMEN.

 Don’t believe me, believe God!