Lamentations 3:22-24 – In the morning

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!

I’ve written about this Scripture a few times in the past talking about God’s amazing faithfulness. Today it struck me again. This morning, while sitting in the dining room, I noticed some things. The bright shining of the sun, the flowers of a blooming Magnolia tree, the residents out and about with their pets, young folk taking the time to get in their daily jog, and the movement of God’s creatures. There’s a lot going on.

For me, I see the Lord’s mercies. I see the freshness and newness of the day. Great is our God. But what struck me the most was that everyone and everything went about their business or what they were created to do. The people with their pets and the joggers doing what they do most of the time. The shining of the sun across a southern coastal marsh and touching the well-manicured lawns of a South Carolina development. The blooming flowers of a Magnolia tree opening up at exactly the correct time of day. And God’s creatures both big and small gathering fruit and food for their nests or to store away for later use. I particularly liked the squirrels and birds doing what they had to do in the same tree but appearing that they didn’t even notice each other.

What does this all say to me? The hand of the Lord upon all things. It didn’t matter who I was watching whether human or not. God’s hand was upon everything they did. The creatures moving about doing what God created them to do. The people using the God given time in a bright spring morning to walk their pets and get in a little exercise as well. I guess a more important question is who noticed or should I say who encountered God in the process?

The animals were obedient to what God created them to be and to do. The squirrels gathering the nuts from a tree and carrying them away told me that their instinctive response each morning was to care and feed their families and even take care of a future need. The birds eating the berries in another tree told me the same. The calling of the birds indicated me that they had something to say. But did the humans even notice the new day given to them by the mercy and grace of God? I can’t answer that. But what I can say is that this brief picture of a morning in South Carolina, painted and created by God, was a great gift to me. He gave me a portion of His great love. In His lovingkindness, God took this morning, wrapped it up and gave it to me a His present for today. For that I will praise Him. Yesterday the day was not bright and sunny because in God’s infinite wisdom and knowledge He brought the rains that were so desperately needed. The rains that brought life again to the landscape and I think to the people as well.

Friend, sometimes life goes by and we are so busy we allow it to pass. His mercies are new every morning. This is a promise we can take a hold of. The beauty of this promise lies in whether or not we’ll take the time to see it and encounter its beauty. Great is the faithfulness of the Lord. No matter what is going on, no matter what you are facing, God’s mercies, His love, and His grace are new for us each day that He decides we are to live. Let us praise Him. Today, I challenge you. I challenge you to spend some time in prayer and conversation with the Lord thanking Him for every new day He gives you. Just take time to praise Him for caring for you and for His great faithfulness. I challenge you to set aside your needs and the wants in your life and just thank Him. Don’t ask for anything, just worship God Almighty who spoke life into another day for you.

Precious and loving Lord. Today I thank You for Your great love for me and for Your faithfulness. Thank You for showing me Your hand upon all things; big or small. Thank You for pointing out to me the freshness and newness of the day. You are a glorious God. Lord, cause my mind and heart to slow down to notice You. Teach me O Lord, to see You in all things so that I would praise You and give You thanks. Great is Your Faithfulness over all things. I love You Lord. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 118:24 NKJV – When the world gives you lemons…

This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

We’ve all heard the saying, “When the world gives you lemons, make lemonade.”   I prefer lemon meringue pie, but the point is the same. When the world discourages us, we have a choice of what we can do. We can labor in the discouragement or trouble, or we can turn and make something beneficial out of it.

The Psalmist here is saying because of God’s victory, His people will turn the day of despair into a day of worship before the Lord. Believers often quote this Scripture when they gather together corporately on Sunday to worship the Lord in church. They may exchange this Scripture in conversation with a brother or sister in the Lord. Amen.

When thinking about what God would have me write about, this verse came to mind. God created all things and they were good. God created man in His image and He said it was very good. “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” (Genesis 1:31 NKJV) The very essence of His work of creation speaks of His goodness. “For every creature of God is good.” (1 Timothy 4:4 NKJV) This is why our Scripture verse means so much more. It should be our daily Victory cry.

We experience God’s goodness to us every day. God is good to those who place their trust in Him. “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” (Psalm 34:8 NKJV) As God’s children we can rely on His goodness. “And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me.” (Jeremiah 32:40 NKJV) God works positively for good in not so good circumstances. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NKJV) And God’s goodness is to be praised. “Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; Sing praises to His name, for it is pleasant.” (Psalm 135:3 NKJV) Or I like how the New Living Translation states it, “Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; celebrate His lovely Name with music.”

Friend, every one of our days are “this day”. The Lord has made each and every day. Let us celebrate what God has done each day; even each and every morning we wake up alive. What a great morning prayer if we say, “Good morning Lord. This is the day which You have made. I will celebrate You and rejoice in it.”   The next time that the world gives you lemons, why not shout to the Lord and give Him praise. Then go make your lemonade or pie. But remember, He gives us new days so that His plan for us can be accomplished and He can be glorified. We were created to do good works. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 KJV)

Dear Lord, thank You for this day. I lift Your Name above all things and shout praises to You. Thank You that we are created in Your image to do good works. May we honor You in everything we say and do. We give You the glory Lord, in Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 71:22 NKJV – God is faithful

Also with the lute I will praise You—And Your faithfulness, O my God! To You I will sing with the harp, O Holy One of Israel.

“There is never more hope established, never more joy and thanksgiving enlarged than in the understanding that God is faithful.” (Matthew Henry) David wrote this psalm in the ecstasy of exuberant praise. With a lute and a harp, David acknowledges God and raises his heart to bless Him.

The dictionary defines “Faithful” as a “true and trustworthy performance of duty, the fulfillment of promises or obligations. Worthy of belief or confidence.” Now, I look at this definition with a point of view that others may not have. God is not a performer and it’s not His duty to accomplish anything to prove Himself. God simply is and His grace is sufficient. Just look around you. God spoke and it was created. God is worthy of my belief and my confidence resides in Him. For all things.

However, there was a time when my understanding of faithfulness rested in my belief of myself and others. But I was gravely wrong. I had been let down, lied to, betrayed, cursed, kicked around, and every other thing you could think of. To the point where I decided that I could only trust myself and no one else. I began to create a world that I thought was great but found I couldn’t even live in it. If I decided to do something that I was sure I would succeed in and failed in it, I would just embark on another effort to cover my failure. I always thought that I was one step ahead of everyone else; even myself. But I was deceived. I lied, cheated, schemed, and hustled so that I could feel on top. Sometimes it worked; most times it did not. I was not faithful; to others or to myself. I had no one to look towards who was faithful in all things.

Then Jesus entered my life. I read about His faithfulness in His Word and began to hear about His faithfulness in church. But it took me a while before I could fully believe and understand His faithfulness. The change began to occur in me when I began to endeavor to live a life of prayer. I wanted more than what I read and what I heard. If God was going to be what He said He would be for me, I wanted a relationship. I wanted to talk with Him. I wanted to hear Him. So I began to pray. I prayed for understanding. I prayed for my needs. I prayed for others. And I began to see God move. I began to see His response. I began to hear His voice. I began to understand.

Again, this is worth repeating. “There is never more hope established, never more joy and thanksgiving enlarged than in the understanding that God is faithful.” Will I dance before the Lord in response to His faithfulness? I have. Will I shout His name above all other names? I have. Will I tell the world that Jesus is King and that you can count on Him and His faithfulness? I have. Set yourself on a journey in prayer. God will respond. Join me as I thought about God’s faithfulness the other day and said, “All I can say is Oh my, Thank You.”

Heavenly Lord, I thank You that You are faithful. I thank You that I don’t have to place my faith or trust in anyone else. I can fully place my trust and my faith in You. You are my life, my strength, and my hope. Forgive me when those times come when I place my trust in this world and fail to remember all that You have taught me. May all of my days be filled with praise to You as David did. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 150:6 NKJV – Who do we cheer for?

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!

I am a sports fan. I love watching sports. I love the experience of a live sporting event and I also love the experience of watching it on our newer TV set.  Thanks so much Allyson and James.  Some of my favorite sports include Baseball, Football, the NBA, NASCAR, and even, if I can find it, Curling. Aye? I love cheering for the team and getting on my feet to either cheer or to argue with a referee or umpire. Like they can even hear me. My point is there’s a reason for – O..HI..O. We’re fans and I’m a “Buckeye” fan.

I remember coming home after an event and not having any voice left to speak. I had been screaming so loudly, that there was nothing left but a whisper. Now there’s nothing wrong with being a sports fan and even going overboard with our exuberance for the team. But really, let’s think about this in terms of value.

I can be pretty certain that my voice in the midst of tens of thousands of people didn’t have much to do with the outcome of the event. I can also be sure that the coach or manager didn’t worry about not hearing me and my “well thought out advice”. So what is the true value in it. My life goes on and the team goes on to the next game or event.

There have been sermons and messages about where our values lie in terms of God’s Kingdom. You may have heard messages about our exuberant cheering at the game and our not so exuberant praise to our Lord and King during our praise and worship time. I have. And it’s true. We’ve heard said, “Just suppose you would praise God with the same excitement that you cheer your favorite team. What do you think could happen?” Where do we place our priority? What is the ultimate value?

I believe there’s a great and glorious reason why Psalm 150:6 is the very last scripture verse in the Book of Psalms. I believe that the Holy Spirit, who authored it, wanted to make a very important point. He wanted to ensure that we understood where our focus should be. Where our priority should lie. Throughout the Book of Psalms, the Psalmist spoke of God’s never ending love for us and how we can trust and rely on Him. How God is our protector and defender. How we can walk with Him knowing that He loves us. The Psalmist taught us that in the midst of troubles, we can praise Him and know He will deliver us. We could cry out to Him and know He would hear our cries. So this last scripture verse says it all. It’s the ultimate “Conclusion” statement. “Let EVERYTHING that has breath PRAISE THE LORD; PRAISE THE LORD!”

In our day to day walk with the Lord, there needs to be a priority placed on praising God for all things. There’s Kingdom value in this. My voice in PRAYER and PRAISE reaches our “Coach”, God Himself. He hears it and receives it and answers it. Shouldn’t we be fans of God even more than fans of anything else? My desire is to make Jesus famous. In MY PRAYERS, MY PRAISE, MY LIFE, with EVERY BREATH. Want to come sit in my cheering section? J..E – S..U..S!

Dear Lord, hear our praise. Hear our prayers. Help us to make You famous. May we lift our voices Higher than High to our great and glorious King. You are our loving Lord whose desire is to bless us and prosper us; to give us hope and a future. Let us raise the roof in praise. Hallelujah!!! Forgive us Lord when we place You lower than at the top of our life, our walk, our day to day priorities. May You forever be glorified. Praise You Lord!!! All Glory and Honor is Yours!!! In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 34:1 NKJV – Our sacrifice of praise

I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

God is worthy to be praised at all times. He has done and continues to do wonderful works in my life. He has saved me, raised me up and lifted me from the miry clay.(Psalm 40:2) God is my Savior, my Redeemer, my Healer, my Restorer, my Strength, my Shield, and my Everything. I will bless the Lord.

You might ask, “How can I bless the Lord? What is it that I can give to God that would bless Him?” Well, our praise lifted up to Him, blesses God. Our songs, our worship, and our PRAYERS presented to Him as a sacrifice of praise blesses God and honors Him. As we humbly lift our voices and our hearts to Him, God hears, God receives, and God finds favor with it. God looks upon our praise as a worthy sacrifice and returns to us His blessing.

Here is how I think about what happens when we “bless the Lord”. When we offer songs of worship or even PRAY, God hears our praise and adoration to Him and He smiles. God rejoices over us.(Zephaniah 3:17) Then God in His infinite and everlasting love for us returns a blessing to us. Then when we receive that blessing, our thanksgiving and joy causes us to return to God again and bless Him. And so on and so on and so on. The circle is there – The more we bless God, the more He finds favor with our sacrifice. And the more He finds favor with our sacrifice, the more He blesses us. Glory to God!!!

Heavenly Lord, we give You praise and bless Your Name. We offer our sacrifice of praise to You as a gift to an Almighty God who loves us, redeems us, and lifts us up. You provided the Way for all of us to live again, eternally with You. Thank You Jesus for living and dying and giving Yourself for us. May our praise to You be continually on our lips. May our hearts beat as one with You. Glory to You, oh Lord!!! In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 115:18 NKJV – Adoration Prayer

But we will bless the Lord from this time forth and forevermore. Praise the Lord!

Sometimes we have to step back and meditate on the things the Lord has given us. If you don’t this world will begin to pull us back into a belief that what we have is what we have worked for. Well, I’m here to say I don’t believe that. At one time, I believed that, but I’ve changed. Thank You, Jesus. What I have now is so much less than what the world would think as being necessary, but in reality I have so much more. Am I making any sense here? Just keep reading. I’ll begin to clarify myself.

When I met Jesus and accepted Him as my Savior and the purpose of my life, I had to give up the world. I had to leave the world behind and follow Him. I made that choice. There were people who didn’t understand my decision. Some thought I’d get over God and come back. Some thought it was “nice” and they were glad I was “happy now”. I’m not condemning them. I have no regrets. I’m just speaking the truth. I continue to live and work in the world, but what I found to be important in my life and a priority has changed. I am now addicted to God. God healed me of my addictions to the world.

So sometimes it is vitally important that each of us spend some time in prayer but not ask for anything. What do you mean? Pray without asking? Yes. Prayer is a conversation with God from your heart. You can pray without asking. There is something very powerful in prayer without asking. Prayers of love and adoration to Almighty God Himself. Let me ask you something. When you were growing up, did you like when your mom or your dad or a relative or even a teacher called you out and told someone how special you were? I know I did. We all would love to hear how we were loved and how much we meant to someone? That’s human nature and it is birthed in us. To give and to receive love. How much more important is it to pour out that kind of heartfelt love and adoration to the Lord. To tell Him how much He means to us and how much we love Him. To recall the blessings He has given us. To thank Him for the times we felt His presence. So below, I’ve put together a list of some of the things I thank God for and cause me to bless His Name:

  • Before Jesus died, he prayed for me in the garden (John Chapter 17. You really need to read this and let the Holy Spirit get this into your heart)
  • Jesus gave His life for me so that can spend eternity with Him. (When He was on the cross, we were on His mind)
  • God causes the sun to rise each morning for me and the day and His mercy is new. (It’s a promise – Lamentations 3:22-24)
  • God loves me with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3)
  • God is slow to anger (Psalm 103:8)
  • My lovely bride, Nancy, who I cherish and celebrate each new day with her. (My great gift from God)
  • My Son, Daughter and Son-in Law who love Jesus and call Him Savior

And the list can go on and on and on. My point is there is such a thing as prayer without asking God for anything. I call it Adoration Prayer. I believe that this kind of prayer is received by God as a first fruit offering. Because, let’s face it. Without God we have nothing. But with God, all things are possible.

Precious Lord, thank You. You are a great and glorious Lord and I worship You. O how I love You, Lord. I sing praises to You and worship Your Holy Name. For all Your goodness, I will keep on singing. Now and forever more. Let everything that is within me, Praise the Lord. I will shout of Your goodness day and night. Bless the Lord, O my soul. In Your Name, Jesus. Amen and Amen.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Nehemiah 8:10 NIV – The key is the joy of the Lord

Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Enjoyment is the ability to find pleasure and joy in life. Scripture sees the capacity for enjoyment as a gift from God, whose people are to find pleasure and happiness in Him and the many blessings He has given to them. I have to ask this. When you see the words “joy” and “strength” what do they mean to you?

When meditating on this Scripture, the Lord impressed upon my heart that the word “joy” is the key and the word “strength” means everything for every circumstance. Let me tell you what I mean.

Sometimes the word “strength” means “Spiritual strength”. God is the source and supplier of all spiritual strength through which believers can do all that God asks. The joy of the Lord gives you all you need regarding “Spiritual strength”. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” (Ephesians 6:10 NKJV)

Sometimes the word “strength” means “Physical strength”. We all face times of physical weakness. It may be the result of illness but can also be a part of just keeping up with the physical needs to survive in this world. God is the source and supplier of physical strength through which believers are equipped for the calling God has placed on their lives. “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-13 NKJV) The joy of the Lord gives you all you need regarding “Physical strength”.

Sometimes the word “strength” means “Psychological strength”. We all face times when our minds become our worst enemy. There are times of doubt, fear, and lack of confidence. God is the source and supplier of psychological strength through which believers minds are cleansed and made new. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV) God gives strength to His people. He enables them to be courageous through His gift of faith. God proves Himself faithful to His promises and enables His people to trust Him in everyday life. The joy of the Lord gives you all you need regarding “Psychological strength”.

Friend, the common denominator in this Scripture is the joy of the Lord. Keeping the joy of the Lord pulsating in our hearts each and every day provides all the strength we need, whether it be Spiritual, Physical, or Psychological. How do we keep the joy of the Lord pulsating with each heart beat? Prayer and the study of God’s Word. Prayer is based on God’s love for believers. Through His grace, He gives them things which they do not deserve, while through His mercy He shields them from those things which they do deserve. The study of God’s Word places the truth of His Word into our hearts. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” (Psalm 119:11 KJV) Allow the joy of the Lord to strengthen you for all things.

Precious Lord, thank You that our strength comes from the joy of the Lord. Thank You that as we cultivate our relationship with You, that You increase our strength. With every day our joy increases, You equip us Lord physically, spiritually, and psychologically. Forgive us Lord when we think we can survive anything in our own strength. Help us to walk in the steps You have ordered for us so that we can walk hand in hand with You. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!