Psalm 36:5 NKJV – Even so, You are good

Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

How much has anything really changed? When you look around you, you might agree with me that the technology, the amenities of the world have changed. That’s what they call progress. But in the real sense, has man changed all that much. David writes this psalm having looked around with grief at the world. He looks at a world polluted, who dishonors God, and who himself feels hunted down. Does this discourage him? It does not. He turns his heart; he turns his eyes toward God. He acknowledges Him saying literally, “However it be right now, even so You are good.” (Matthew Henry)

When reading the news or seeing it “Live” on the television, there are times when my heart aches like when I hear about the needless death of children. Or when I look upon the homeless with nowhere to live and little to eat.   When I realize the billions of dollars spent in the movie industry to pander obscenities and pollute the minds and destroy men, women, and children it leads me to pray, “Have mercy on us, Lord!” Then I remember not too long ago when we could walk the streets without fear and our children could attend school in peace. Not worried about what might happen. But today, there is no such peace. You might say why the gloom and despair? I’m just reporting the reality of life. What can anyone do to get through today?

David reminds us that God is an inexhaustible source of goodness. When men shut down all efforts and thoughts of compassion, with God we shall find mercy and grace at His throne. (Hebrews 4:16) When the enemy and the world begin devising plans of mischief against us, God’s thoughts concerning us are thoughts of good. (Jeremiah 29:11) We will be disappointed here on earth.   But in the presence of God, where His mercy reigns in perfection, there is eternal satisfaction.

So when the realities of this world and the times we live in begin to tear at us and bring us down, let us shift our hearts to the One whose “faithfulness reaches unto the clouds”. Let us set our thoughts and our minds on the One who’s always with us, never leaves us, knows every thought, and promises to give us hope. May we take the time to talk with Him and allow His tenderness and lovingkindness to calm our fears, to dry our tears, to lift us up, and to give us His peace?

Heavenly Father, the world we live in is full of corruption, grief, heartache, danger, and despair. But I life in You; a life in Christ is free from the pressures of this world and brings us the peace that flows like a river. Father, draws us close to you. May we endeavor to increase our time with You. May we have an open heart, open ears, and open eyes so that we can fully encounter You each day. You are our inexhaustible source of goodness; full of compassion. May you pour out Your mercy and grace over us. We give You praise. In Jesus Name. Amen.

 Don’t believe me, believe God!

James 1:17 NKJV – The Perfect and the Good

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

I remember as a child that when I received any kind of gift, there would always be times of categorization like super good, real good, good, not so good, and “I don’t like it”. Gifts from different members of the family carried different levels of categories. In our home, gifts from mom and dad were always pretty high on the charts. Gifts from Aunts and Uncles and friends all had their place. Then when we opened them, the category (as noted above) could possibly change depending on the gift. As thankful as we were, we still had categories.

But the gifts from God are all good. Even super good. Beyond super good. They’re perfect. The gift of salvation through belief and faith in Jesus and His shed blood is a perfect gift. The most perfect gift. Another good gift was the birth of my daughter and son because children are a gift from the Lord. I remember when I knew in my heart that Nancy would be my bride. When I experienced that moment (on my way to work one day) I knew God gave me a good gift. But what about the other good gifts. Like the people God places in your life to love you, pastor you, mentor you, disciple you, listen to you, comfort you, share laughs and tears with you. These people are all part of God’s plan. God knew that they would be a part of your growth in Him from the beginning of time.

Now I have to ask you some questions. Do you pray for your family? Your spouse? Your children? Do you pray for protection over them against any harm? Of course, you do. Do you pray for your friends, your pastor, your co-workers, your neighbors? Do you think it was an accident that they are in your life? I don’t think so. Do you also pray for their protection? That God would not only keep them safe and secure, but that your relationship with them would never come under harm? That’s something to think about. A very dear friend of mine shared that thought with me. It got me thinking and it got me to seek God’s forgiveness. Though I pray for my family and friends, I had never prayed that our relationship would never come under harm. I just took that for granted. We live in a world that can cause change to happen in relationships very quickly. We need to be praying for our relationships, family and friends, to always be kept from harm and that no influence would ever change that.

Heavenly Father. Thank You for Your good gifts from above. First Your perfect gift in Your Son, Jesus, who came to die for our sins so that we could spend eternity with You. But also, Lord, for the good gifts we find in our family, our friends, our neighbors, our co-workers. Prosper them all, Lord, and find favor with them. Keep them safe and protect them from all harm; physical, mental, social, financial, and spiritual. May we never forget it to be important to pray a covering over those good gifts from You. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Romans 8:32 – Our protection is in Him

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Matthew Henry published the following in his commentary, “The ground of the challenge is God’s being for us; in this he sums up all our privileges. This includes all that God is for us; not only reconciled to us, and so not against us, but in covenant with us, and so engaged for us—all his attributes for us, his promises for us. All that he is, and has, and does, is for his people. He performs all things for them.”

If we believe that God is truth as written in His Word (John 14:6, Psalm 33:4), then we must believe that God is all that He says He is and that we can rely on God’s covering against those things that try to rob us from the truth.

Sometimes when we hear things told to us from others, we respond, “I can’t believe that!” Or we might say, “You’re kidding me.” We respond that way because what we’ve been told might be pretty outrageous and our minds can’t comprehend that it is believable.

But God IS believable. Without question. God is our defender (Psalm 68:5), our protector (Psalm 61:3), our healer (Psalm 103:3), our deliverer (2 Samuel 22:2), our redeemer (Isaiah 47:4), our very present help in time of trouble (Psalm 46:1). He sees all and He knows all and He performs all. We are never out of His sight, His mind, His love, His rescue. God is fully engaged for us every minute of time. When we don’t feel that He is around, He is. (Deuteronomy 31:8) When we sleep, He does not. (Psalm 121:3) When everyone else doesn’t have time for us, God does. (Jeremiah 33:3) God is who He says He is. Our responsibility lies in believing.

Holy God, thank You for the truth of Your Word. That God, You are definitely for us and never against us. We can count on it, Lord, because You are truth. You see all that we face and nothing is a surprise to You. Help us Lord, to believe and not waver. Help us Lord, to know that in every instant of time, You are watching over us. And when we pray Lord, You listen. May we honor You Lord, with our belief. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Proverbs 9:9 NKJV – Things everyone should know

Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.

During my lunch hour one day at work, I was just paging through the internet and found a blog that really caught my eye. It was titled, “50 Things Everyone Should Know How to do” Wow. How interesting. So I scrolled down the list and was quite surprised by the things listed. So I got to thinking. This is a world secular view of the 50 things all of us need to know. What about things we should know from a spiritual viewpoint; like Prayer. I’ve trimmed the lists down to 5 things, but the exercise is the same. So below are two lists: a Secular Viewpoint and a Spiritual Viewpoint.

Secular Viewpoint –

5 Things Everyone Should Know How to Do.

1. Build a Fire – Fire produces heat and light, two basic necessities for living. At some point in your life this knowledge may be vital.

2. Operate a Computer – Fundamental computer knowledge is essential these days.  Please, help those in need.

3. Use Google Effectively – Google knows everything. If you’re having trouble finding something with Google, it’s you that needs help.

4. Perform CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver – Someday it may be your wife, husband, son or daughter that needs help.

5. Drive a Manual Transmission Vehicle – There will come a time when you’ll be stuck without this knowledge.

Spiritual Viewpoint:

5 Things Everyone Should Know About Prayer (from The Word of God). I chose these 5 but God’s Word is filled with lots of “things everyone should know”. Hallelujah!

1. God hears and answers ALL prayer – The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. Psalm 34:17 NKJV

2. Your prayers need not be wordy or impressive in speech, but a conversation with God – And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Matthew 6:7 NKJV

3. Prayer develops our relationship with God – Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV

4. The Holy Spirit will help you in prayer when you don’t know how to pray – Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26-27 NKJV

5. Jesus is our model for Intercessory Prayer – Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25 NKJV

So I guess I need to ask. Which list is important to you?

Dear Lord, thank You that Your Word is filled with wisdom and knowledge. It is filled with Your Will, Your guidance, Your direction, Your love, Your peace, Your commands. All of which are designed specifically for each of us as we pray to You. Help us Lord to know Your Word and Your ways. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

2 Peter 1:2-4 NKJV – Everything for life and godliness

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Peter starts with a wonderful salutation. “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” Knowledge is an important theme; the knowledge of God and of Jesus are connected because God is known savingly only in and through Jesus Christ. “All things have been delivered to me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” (Matthew 11:27 NKJV) But this Scripture goes on to say even more wonderful things. God’s divine power has given to us (believers) all things that pertain to life and godliness through our knowledge of Him. A promise that all things that pertain to living our lives and living in godliness is given through the knowledge of Him. That knowledge comes from the Holy Spirit.

And then this Scripture ends with another glorious promise. We have been given “exceedingly great and precious promises” and that through these promises we would be partakers of the nature of God. We are being conformed to the likeness of Christ and the image of God.

Human knowledge of God may be a purely an intellectual thing, as somebody knows about things by observing. But believers know God in a personal way because we have relationship with Him; a personal relationship with Him through our faith in Jesus Christ. But I have to ask one thing. If we (believers) have a more than human knowledge of God because we have relational knowledge of Him, why is it we have a hard time believing in the promises that Scripture says are “exceedingly great”? God’s promises reveal His particular and eternal purposes to which He is committed and upon which we can depend. God is absolutely trustworthy. “For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.” (Hebrews 6:13-18 NKJV) Sometimes believers don’t believe in the promises of God because we look at them with worldly eyes. Our faith in God and in His promises is fundamental to believers, but just like anyone else, we place those promises into a very small box and believe in our own power.

But friend, it’s not about our power to believe. It’s about the power of God to believe. This Scripture says that God has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness and that through His promises we may be partakers of them. God’s power not our own. God’s strength not our own. God’s victory not our own.   We’re given a choice to believe in the promises of God or not to believe. “For all the promises of God in Him are yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” (2 Corinthians 1:20 NKJV) What choice will you make?

Dear Lord, thank You that your divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness. Thank You that your promises are exceedingly great and precious and that they are available to us. Draw us Lord into a closer, more personal relationship with You so that our knowledge of You increases. Forgive us when our faith and belief rests in our own knowledge, strength, and power. Our victory is in You, Lord. May we glorify You in all we say and do. 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!

Psalm 17:6 NKJV – Reveal yourself to us, O God

I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God; incline Your ear to me, and hear my speech.

You may or may not have heard that God hears our prayers. It’s true. In this verse God is asked to incline His ear and to hear the speech of the psalmist. Calling upon God is an act of dependence upon Him out of sense of need. What we are actually doing when we call upon God is saying we are dependent upon your hearing and acting on what we need or desire.

Calling upon God is an act of worship. We are saying, “O God, how mighty You are. Hear my prayer O God for You are able.” “Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples!” (Psalm 105:1 NKJV) When we set our hearts and minds on God, knowing and trusting in Him to provide for everything, we are offering up a sacrifice of praise that God will receive and accept and return abundance back to us. “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us”. (Ephesians 3:20 NKJV)

Matthew Henry, the commentator, once said, “It will be a great comfort to us if trouble, when it comes, find the wheels of prayer a-going, for then we may come with the more boldness to the throne of grace.” The psalmist frequently went to God in prayer as in “I have called upon You.” Prayer was not foreign to him or something he was unfamiliar with. He spoke with God and gave direction in his prayer, “Incline Your ear”. He was comfortable with God. He knew God; not merely knowing about God, but also with knowledge of God’s presence and power.

Friend, to know God is to be transformed by God. And knowing God comes from revelation of Himself, most importantly through His Son, Jesus Christ. “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3 NKJV) God the Father is revealed through Christ, the Son. “All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” (Matthew 11:27 NKJV) We can be assured that when we call upon God that He hears us and will answer us. That is the faith that the psalmist knew. That is the faith we need to have when we pray. Prayer is a natural part of worship: to know God is to want to worship him and pray to him.

Precious Lord, thank You that we can come to You. Thank You that You hear and answer our prayers. Our prayers to You are offered up as worship to You. Show us Your presence and power. Reveal Yourself to us so that our faith grows and is encouraged in You. May we always feel close to You and confident in our prayers to You. In Your precious Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!