Psalm 37:23-24 NKJV – Our steps are not Ours

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him with His hand.

When we look at this familiar passage, there are some words that jump off of the verse. At least for me. For example, “good man” and then “ordered” and then “delights” and then “Though” and then “shall” and then “upholds” and finally the last two words “His hand”. Whew. That’s a long list. I want to talk a little about each one.

“good man” –The New Living Translation puts Psalm 37:23 in this way: “The steps of the godly are directed by the Lord.” A good man is then a godly man. That would be true because God is utterly good and faithful.

“ordered” – The word ordered tells me that it wasn’t suggested or tossed out there to see if it worked. God “ordered” or really it means “established”. God not only orders our steps, but He “determines” or “directs” or “establishes”. It’s that important to God that He is fully involved every moment of time. Like someone else has said, “The good and the bad; the happy and the sad.” For our good and His glory!

“delights” – According to Strong’s Concordance it means to take pleasure in, desire, be pleased with. God of all creation. The Miracle Maker. Almighty God, Himself delights and takes pleasure in our way as we follow His steps. God is pleased. So here is an answer to a long time question heard from time to time, “How can I please God?” Well, here you go. Follow the steps He as ordered. Hallelujah!

“Though” – From “Though he fall”. Some translations say, “When he falls”. It does not say, “If he falls”. We can be absolutely sure that we will fall. But there’s another absolute truth. When we fall, God will be there. Always. Every time we fall.

“shall” – As in “he shall not be utterly cast down.” Shall is a definitive word. It really means, “count on it”. Not maybe, not should, but shall. And “shall not” is even better. When God stretches out His hand to pick you up, it’s not a joke to Him. He won’t pull His hand back. Again, I say, “count on it.”

“upholds” – God upholds us. Who better to uphold you then God Himself. There’s power in understanding this. There is no one stronger. When God holds you up, nothing will be able to take you down. Nothing.

“His hand” – When we fall, God stretches our His hand for us to grab a hold of and get picked up. Always and every time. He doesn’t keep walking the path so that you have to catch up to Him. NO!!! When we fall, God STOPS!!! So that when we look up we can see His grace and mercy and His finished work, we can reach up to His hand. And with a mighty, yet gentle grip, we are lifted up. Glory to God!!!

There’s a lot of promises in this relatively short verse. Promises that are the truth. And anyways, who would want to follow their own steps. They’d end up lost. Whoops, did I say that? That’s for another devotion. Thank You Lord!!!

Precious God. Thank You for establishing and ordering our steps with You. What a blessing we have to follow Your way. And thank You Lord, for picking us up when we fall. Oh Lord, we will fall. Help us to understand that You are always and eternally there for us. To reach up to You and to grab a hold of You. We love you Lord. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

John 14:16 KJV – The Comforter

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.

What an incredible promise of the Lord. Jesus was giving final instructions to His disciples on what was next. What would lie ahead for them. This was Jesus reassurance to them. That God would send “another” Comforter. The true meaning here in the word “another” is from the Greek word “allos” which means “another of the same sort”. Jesus was telling His disciples that the Comforter would be just like Him, an exact representation of Himself. The disciples were hearing that even though Jesus was leaving, God cared enough for them to send His Holy Spirit who would live and abide with them forever.

Wow! I remember hearing this passage as a new believer and it impacted me a great deal. It gave me a feeling of great security in Christ; that the Holy Spirit would live and reside in me to guide me along the way of serving Jesus. I realized I wasn’t going to have to follow Jesus alone and be a servant of Him all by myself. That God had sent “another”, just like Jesus to walk with me, to guide me, to teach me, to comfort me. In my prayers in the morning, I try to remember to pray that the Holy Spirit direct my path so that everything that I say and do would bring honor and glory to God. What great love God has for us that since the beginning of time, God’s plan was to be with us at all times. Thank You, God!!!

Heavenly God, thank You that You sent Your Holy Spirit to be with us and live in us. To guide us as we live our lives. Help me, God, to seek Your Holy Spirit in time of need, in time of trouble, when I need direction, or when the world overcomes me and I need a Comforter. Help me to not try to figure it out all by myself but seek You Lord. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 141:8-10 The Message – Can you take care of yourself?

But God, dear Lord, I only have eyes for You. Since I’ve run for dear life to You, take good care of me. Protect me from their evil scheming, from all their demonic subterfuge. Let the wicked fall flat on their faces, while I walk off without a scratch.

Here we see the psalmist petitioning God based on his faith and the focus he has upon God. Being free from danger or harm. That’s what we call safety. God promises to keep his people from all lasting spiritual and physical danger; he requires, however, that his people act responsibly.

God promises safety to those who trust Him. “Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling” (Psalm 91:9-10 NKJV)

God promises safety to those who are obedient. “But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil.” (Proverbs 1:33 NKJV)

And God promises safety to those in need. “He sets on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety.” (Job 5:11 NKJV)

God is called Jehovah Jireh or the Lord who provides. He provides for our every need. “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” (2 Peter 1:3 NKJV)

 Friend, keeping our eyes on the Lord is the best weapon we can have in fighting the schemes of the enemy. God promises to protect us and care for us. Placing our faith in God is the key. But you might not have a relationship with God. You might be thinking that you’ve always taken care of yourself. You might also be thinking that you’ve done a pretty good job. But I ask you, can you take the chance that physical or spiritual harm won’t come to you? I once thought that. I was in control or at least that is what I thought. Then some poor decisions and self-pride took over my life and I found myself lost, empty, and with nothing. Yeah, I lost everything I took pride in having; my home, my family, my dignity. But then a man prayed for me and I met a Savior and His name is Jesus. He came and forgave me, promised to protect me from harm, restored my life, provided a home and a wife and a new life in Him. And you can start with a prayer, too. Just as I went to God in prayer, you too can go God in prayer. What is prayer? It’s conversation with God. That’s all prayer is. Prayer is speaking to God and letting Him know what’s on your heart. Will you make an effort to pray? I ask you again, can you take the chance that you are good enough to care for yourself?

O God, thank You that You protect those who place their faith in You. Thank You that You care for me and that You’ve had a plan for me since before time began. Your desire God has always been for me to live eternally with You. Thank You that You sent Your Son, Jesus, to die for my sins and to rise from the grave to defeat sin and death once for all. Thank You for Your forgiveness and grace that has set me free. I don’t deserve any of it, but by Your grace it is given to me as a free gift. I place my life into Your hands. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

 Don’t believe me, believe God!

Deuteronomy 31:8 NKJV Part 2 – You’re never alone

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Back in February, I wrote about God being as close as a whisper when you need to call upon His name. That there would be days when you desire the presence of God to get you through your circumstance or situation. And God is near. All we have to do is call upon Him.

Today, I write because sometimes we face days when we feel alone. Days when we feel that we are an island unto ourselves. Sometimes we feel we’ve painted ourselves into a corner of a room. And when we feel loneliness maybe it doesn’t occur to us that God is near. When we feel alone, there is no other emotion that is more devastating.

Loneliness is not a part of God’s plan for us. As a matter of fact, God desires to be with us at all times and in all circumstances. “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10 NKJV) And yet there are times when we slip back into unbelief and find ourselves feeling alone. As humans, we face a lot of troubling things. We face a lot of circumstances. The world is a hard place to live in.

But friend, God is everywhere. He transcends all limitations of space and is present in the fullness of His being in every place. We are never alone. Can you believe it? Can you take hold of the truth that God is everywhere and knows your situation and is very, very near to you? “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist.” (Acts 17:27-28 NLT) God says He is not far from any one of us. God promises to be with us when we are depressed, disillusioned, or lonely. We are assured of God’s unfailing and everlasting love. “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.” (1 John 4:9 NKJV) We are assured of His acceptance. “Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.” (Romans 15:7 NKJV) And we are assured of our access to God. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1-2 NKJV)

I felt while preparing this post that there was someone who needed to read this. I pray this blog has reached you. Loneliness or feeling alone is devastating, but doesn’t need to be. I don’t want to sound like this is a simple thing to change or get out of. It is not. I’ve had days of feeling alone; feeling lonely. I’ve had to set my mind on God and press into His presence. It started with prayer. Intense prayer. Prayer between myself and my God. He heard me and He rescued me. “I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth—Praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord.” (Psalm 40:1-3 NKJV) He will hear you, too.

Heavenly Father, we call upon You. Thank You that when we feel alone or loneliness takes over our thoughts, that You are near. Come, Father, and rescue us. Help us understand Your unfailing and everlasting love. Help us understand that we have access to You and that You will never turn us away. Thank You, Father, that You are as close as a whisper and ready to pour out Your presence upon us. May we place our trust and hope in You. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 90:17 NKJV – Your presence is all we need

And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; yes, establish the work of our hands.

The beauty of the Lord encompasses so many things. He is glorious. He is matchless. He is wonderful. He is all loving. He is Almighty. In the midst of life, in wilderness or not, it’s the blessing of God’s own presence which gives meaning and joy. When we are wandering in the wilderness of life, we may not leave any monuments or boast to any of our own accomplishments, but God will give eternal significance to the deeds of hands that serve Him. It is God that establishes the work of our hands. It is God who receives the glory.

There are times when we just “keep on keepin on” because we are called by God to live out His will in our lives. We press in when it gets tough. We labor in the face of discouragement. We endure the hardships. The reason? It’s all about Jesus. God gave His all for us. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NKJV) Now we give our all for Him.

An essential part in the life of believers is more than a matter of external observance. It’s more than a matter of what other people will observe, but it’s a total commitment to God. We serve because He served. We love because He is love. We give because He gave. We submit because He submitted. We press in toward the goal because He established our prize. We give our all because He is our all in all. And if others see our service as being different, or see us as “peculiar”, than glory to God. Pleasing God involves inward attitudes, not simply external observance. “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.” (Romans 14:17-18 NKJV)

The beauty of all of this comes from the eternal and everlasting desire for God to spend eternity with His creation. His desire to be with us has never changed. His gift to us, Jesus, opened the gateway to God’s presence. Jesus Christ is the way to engage God’s Holy presence. Jesus Christ is the way to eternal life. Jesus Christ was given to us because God loved us first. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:18-19 NKJV) And when we accept Jesus Christ into our lives, God continues with His promise to establish the work of our hands.

No matter what we may face, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, no matter the time or the day, no matter how severe our situation is, as believers, God will establish the work of our hands. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 NKJV) And if we keep our eyes on God and if what we accomplish by the hand of God touches someone else’s life, than Praise God!

Friend, join me today in prayer, thanking God for His work in us. Thank God that He prepared beforehand the good works we would do. Thank God that He establishes our way for His purpose and His glory. And thank God for giving us His Son, Jesus, as our gateway to His glory.

Precious and eternal God. Thank You that since the beginning of time You desired to spend eternity with Your creation. Thank You that You establish the work of our hands. Keep us Lord as we serve You. Strengthen us with Your mighty hand. Restore us Lord when we become weary. Thank You God that You gave Your all for us, Your Son Jesus, so that we can receive Your greatest gift. May all we say and do give glory to Your name. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!