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!

Zechariah 7:9 NKJV – A Thanksgiving Message

“This says the Lord of hosts: Execute true justice, show mercy and compassion everyone to his brother.”

Guest Blogger: Social Media

The beginning of this prayer devotion is an excerpt of something that has been passed around on social media and shared with me. A big thank you to Pastor Scott. I thought I would share it here. (edited for clarity)

“It’s important to remember that not everyone is surrounded by large wonderful families. Some of us have problems during the holidays and sometimes are overcome with great sadness when we remember the loved ones who are not with us. And, many people have no one to spend these times with and are besieged by loneliness. We all need caring thoughts and loving prayer right now. We need to set aside some time in loving support and care for those who have family problems, health struggles, job issues, worries of any kind that hinder them from enjoying what we sometimes take for granted. Sometimes folks just need to know that someone cares. Nobody is immune from these things.”

Let’s think about this. What would Jesus do? Well, scripture tells us time and again that Jesus was moved with compassion. He looked upon the multitudes and was moved with compassion. Forgive me, Lord, for sometimes looking away because of what I thought was more important.

I’ll let you in on a secret. I was one of those folks as written above. When I was alone, not knowing if anyone cared, someone contacted me. I was a new believer, but knew no one I could call upon. My old friends had gone. And then a wonderful family in the Lord asked me what I was doing for Thanksgiving. They cared. They invited me and my young son to their home where we were made to feel a part of their family. Their kindness continued for a few more years at Thanksgiving and even over a couple of Christmas Day celebrations. Those memories will never be forgotten and we are forever grateful. This wonderful family demonstrated “Jesus Christ Alive” to us.

During this Thanksgiving Holiday, why not take some time and give someone a call. Tell someone that you care and you love them. Maybe even invite them to your Thanksgiving celebration.

Precious Lord, thank You for Your love and compassion. Thank You that You teach us to demonstrate Your love in our lives. Help us Lord to see with Your eyes, hear with Your ears, and love with Your heart. Thank You Lord for all You give to us. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

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 136:1-9 NKJV – His mercy endures forever

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Oh, give thanks to the God of gods! For His mercy endures forever. Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords! For His mercy endures forever: To Him who alone does great wonders, For His mercy endures forever; To Him who by wisdom made the heavens, For His mercy endures forever; To Him Who laid out the earth above the waters, For His mercy endures forever; To Him who made great lights, For His mercy endures forever—The sun to rule by day, For His mercy endures forever; The moon and stars to rule by night, For His mercy endures forever.”

God’s mercy is His total devotion to those who believe. God is unchangeable. His love is consistent. His mercy is consistent. His grace is consistent. His purposes and plans do not change. And God’s Word does not change. God’s grace and mercy are made known in Jesus Christ. Let us give thanks!

We must give thanks to God, not only because He does good, but because He is good; not only because He is merciful to us, but because His mercy endures forever.   Do you know that we are reminded that “His mercy endures forever” twenty-six times in this Psalm? I’m thankful for that. I need the mercy of God each and every moment I live. There’s little wonder that the psalmist begins with a command to thank God three times. Daniel said it this way, “To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him.” (Daniel 9:9 NKJV)

God is compassionate. It is an aspect of God’s nature. It is reflected in His understanding of human weakness and His willingness to restore those in trouble. “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, and He tender mercies are over all His works.” (Psalm 145:8-9 NKJV) Again this demonstrates God’s steadfast love and devotion to His people. His mercy endures forever!

Precious Lord, we give You thanks. Let us lift You above all things. Let us never forget that You are good and Your mercy endures forever. Even when we fail, Your plans and purposes never change. Even when we turn away from You, Your love never changes. In the midst of our human weaknesses, You are gracious Lord and full of compassion. Thank You Lord for Your mercy endures forever. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

 Don’t believe me, believe God!

Luke 23:34 NKJV – Everlasting love

“Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

An incredible final prayer. Until Jesus’ final breath, He interceded for those who persecuted Him. This prayer reveals God’s amazing love for sinners. The Apostle Paul said, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39 NKJV) This prayer continues to motivate and inspire believers today.

The everlasting love of Jesus is so much above anything we can ever explain, experience, or even think or imagine. These past few days, I’ve felt led to write about the love of Jesus and the impact on our lives because of it. The love of Jesus caused Him to leave His eternal glory. In the glory and honor that was eternally His in heaven, Jesus came to earth to live as a man and to suffer and die. All for you and me. All so that we could spend eternity with Him. All because “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 NKJV)

Grace and mercy are the qualities of Jesus by which He is compassionate, accepting and incredibly generous. Jesus Christ demonstrates these qualities towards those whom he encounters. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 NKJV)

And the love, mercy, and grace of Jesus caused me to see my need for a Savior. God in mercy makes Himself known through His Son, Jesus and the illumination of human minds to understand Him. We are not capable to discern who God is with our own finite minds. God’s majestic brilliance is shown to the world supremely through Jesus Christ. When I heard His Word preached, when I heard about the love of Jesus and that He was ready to meet me at my point of need and redeem me, I was captured. The light of Jesus overpowered me and Jesus became my Savior. Thank You Holy Spirit!!!

Friend, are you in need of experiencing the incredible and everlasting love of Jesus? The love of Jesus is for all who seek it. The love of Jesus is open to you if you would call upon His name. Would you make Jesus your top priority and call upon His name today? He will hear you and He will answer you. Will you pray this prayer today?

O Lord Jesus, there are days that I don’t know the meaning of love. I feel that nobody even cares for who I am or what I’m going through. But I’m told that You are full of grace and mercy. I’m told that You hear and answer prayers. I’m told that nothing can separate me from the love that is in You. Hear me, Lord, right now. I am in need of Your love. Bring it to me in a way I can fully understand. Make Yourself real to me. Thank You, Jesus, for Your saving grace on my behalf. Help me with my unbelief. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NKJV – What is God’s will for you?

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

We sometimes ask God, “What is Your will for my life?” I know I have asked God that question. Here in 1 Thessalonians, Chapter 5, verses 16 to 18, we get the answer.

“Rejoice always” – Well that’s hard to do sometimes. I know it is for me from time to time. But let’s talk about this. Rejoice. According to Strong’s it means to be exceedingly glad, to be well and thrive. Wow. It’s not just a happy party. Sorry, but sometimes people think being happy and rejoicing are the same thing. But what we see here, they are not. It’s like the difference between standing still and jumping up and down. To be well and thrive sounds like something we would be interested in.

“Pray without ceasing” – Prayer is nothing more than a conversation with God. A conversation is two-way communication. Back and forth. God desires to have that kind of relationship with us whereby when He speaks we can hear because when we pray He listens. Praying continually means to have the attitude of prayer with you at all times. To be mindful that God awaits your call. God knows your name and you know His voice.

“In everything give thanks” – Oh, Oh. To be thankful in ALL things. God has designed you just as He desired and has set you upon the path that He has ordered. It is sometimes hard to be thankful in the midst of pain, sickness, trials, and heartache. But God wants you to know that you are not alone. He walks with you though it all. He never leaves you or gives up on you. And when you call on the Name of Jesus, He responds. And He gave His life for you because He has an everlasting love for you. He wants nothing more than to spend eternity with you.

So when someone asks you if you know God’s will for your life or you ponder the will of God, remember that the answer is in these short verses. God wants to make His Word real to you. Not complicate it with a lot of stuff.

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word, the light unto our path. Help me desire to seek and do Your Will. To rejoice and not complain or be bitter, to have the attitude of prayer at all times so that when you call me we can have a conversation. And help me to be thankful for Your Son’s shed blood and forgiveness, for always being with me, and for never giving up on me. I love You Lord and pray in Your precious Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!