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 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 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!

James 1:2-4 The Message – Testing

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

Trials can be considered pure joy only when there is knowledge that they are designed by God for a purpose. They are tests of faith given in order to develop perseverance, thereby producing maturity in Christian character. “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance.” (Romans 5:3 NKJV)

I will tell you that I don’t like tribulation. I don’t like it, but I understand it and where I need to place my trust. God seeks proof of genuine love, faith and growth in the lives of His people. He tests them in various ways.

God tests us to refine us. “And it shall come to pass in all the land, says the Lord, that two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, but one-third shall be left in it. I will bring the one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; and each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’” (Zechariah 13:8-9 NKJV)

God tests us to prove our obedience. “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.” (Exodus 16:4 NKJV)

And God allows faith to be tested. Faith testing is the means through which the genuineness of our faith is proved and our Christian character developed.

Testing proves the genuineness of our faith. “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6-7 NKJV)

Testing develops our Christian character. That’s what our foundational verse is saying. But not only does testing prove and develop our character, it cleans and purifies us. “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” (Isaiah 48:10 NLKV)

But thanks be to God that He promises help during testing. “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” (Luke 22:32 NKJV) and “When you pass through the water, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.” (Isaiah 43:2 NKJV)

Friend, our faith will be tested. Faith testing is not always pleasant, but with our minds and eyes fixed on God, it will produce a blessing that someday we will not be able to contain it. When we believe that our faith is being tested, that’s the perfect time to go to the secret place where you can call on the name of the Lord and pray. That’s the perfect time to ask Him to strengthen and enlighten you as you walk through your circumstance. It’s the perfect time to gather prayer partners around you to agree to pray with you. That’s the perfect time to worship the Lord. It’s in the midst of worship that God manifests Himself. When God appears in His awesome power, those things, the enemies of God (sickness, disease, conflict, unforgiveness, strife, heartache, fear, sorrow, pain, sin) have reason to fear Him and flea as they will be destroyed. In the midst of worship, God moves. Worship is turning to God in awe, praise and joy, as his people realize how wonderful He is. Prayer is a natural part of worship: to know God is to want to worship him and pray to him. Prayer demonstrates our absolute dependency on God.

Dear Lord, thank You that You test our faith and our obedience. Thank You that You refine us and cleanse us and make us stronger. Teach us to turn towards You when we face testing. Teach us to call upon You in prayer and praise. Thank You for the promises of Your Word that the testing of our faith will develop our patience, and patience will bring about perseverance so that we can run the full race and not fail. Forgive us Lord when we think that giving up is a better answer than to keep on keepin on. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 103:2-3 NKJV – Bless the Lord, O my soul

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases.

We see the compassion of God; an aspect of God’s glorious nature which is reflected in His loving and sympathetic understanding of human weakness and His gracious restoration of those in trouble. Bless the Lord, O my soul! God is at work in all that happens to us. He is at work whether to warn us of harm or draw us unto Him. God is at work in the daytime and at night. God is at work while we rest or while we labor. God is even at work when we sometimes forget of His presence.

As believers, we don’t warrant any blessings we receive. But God continues to bless us, and forgive us, and heal us, and restore us, and renew us, and deliver us. Why? Because God loves us with an everlasting love. A love that cannot be taken away. “The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” (Jeremiah 31:3 NKJV) If God has drawn you, you are valuable to Him. If God has drawn you, you matter to Him. If God has drawn you, He will love you and keep you. That is the kind of everlasting love I’m talking about.

Forget not all His benefits; Love, Mercy, Grace, Forgiveness, Healing, Deliverance, Eternal Life. Hallelujah! Remembering all that God has done brings us to a place of praise and rejoicing; a hope for the future. God even remembers. He always remembers His covenant. “Remember His covenant forever, the word which He commanded, for a thousand generations.” (1 Chronicles 16:15 NKJV)

God always remembers His promises. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9 NKJV)

God always remembers His people. “Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me.” (Isaiah 49:15-16 NKJV)

Let us rejoice in praise and song. Let us raise His Name above all other Names. Let us give thanks to God for all He has done and for all He is. Worship is turning to God in awe, praise and joy, as we realize how wonderful He is. Prayer is a natural part of worship; to know God is to worship Him and pray to Him. Prayer embraces praising God for who He is, thanking Him for what He has already done, and looking forward with joy to what He has promised to do in the future.

Heavenly Lord, bless Your Holy Name. O my soul, bless Your Holy Name. I will not forget all that You have done and all that You promise. I give You praise and thank You for Your gracious mercy. We deserve nothing yet You give us everything. You give us life and eternal life through Your Son, Jesus. Glory to Your Name. We worship You O mighty Lord. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Ephesians 1:3-10 NKJV – Come Thou Fount, Come Thou King

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.

God is the source of all blessings. He is worthy to be praised. It is important to remember times in our lives when God has been our source of help. When we remember those times, it helps us to guard against wandering from the Lord. In the midst of praise to God, we are kept close to Him. In the midst of praise to God, our minds, our hearts, and our eyes are fixed upon Him.

The Fatherhood of a loving God; we are His children and He is our God. God is our Creator and Provider. “Yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.” (1 Corinthians 8:6 NLKV)

God shows us His love and compassion. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3 NKJV)

God exercises His providence and care. “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13 NKJV)

And God disciplines and corrects. “And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” (Hebrews 12:5-6 NKJV)

These are incredible and loving attributes of a loving and caring Father. The love of God is His deepest possible expression of His character. God’s nature is love. “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:8 NKJV) And the gift of God’s only Son is a unique act of love. “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)

Friend, take time to worship and praise God for all that He is. He is our Creator and Provider. He is the lover of our souls and is compassionate. He is our provider and care giver. And He loves us so much that He disciplines and corrects us as we need. God’s attention is upon us all the time; every instant of time. And what a privilege it is to know that we can call upon His name and spend time with Him. We can be with Him any time we need. He is as close as a whisper. And through faith and belief in His Son, Jesus, whom He gave to us, we can spend eternity with our loving Father. Come, Thou Fount, come, Thou King; Come, Thou precious Prince of Peace. Hear Your bride, to You we sing, come, Thou Fount of our blessing.

Holy and Glorious Father, blessed be Your Name. You are the Father of our Lord, Jesus. Through You all blessing flow. You give us spiritual blessings in the heavenly places. Thank You Father that we have redemption through the blood of Jesus, and eternal life according to Your riches. Draw us closer to You, Father. May all we say and do give glory to Your Name. To the praise and the glory of You we pray. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Luke 4:18 NKJV – The Same Power

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.

The authority of Jesus Christ has been given to Him by the Father and this authority is the right of Jesus Christ to speak and act on His Father’s behalf in forgiving sin, pronouncing judgment and promising eternal life to those who believe in Him. Jesus Christ’s authority underlines His divine status. “Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing by Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.” (John 8:28 NKJV)

There isn’t anything we face that Jesus Christ does not have authority over. Nothing! We can trust and believe that He is Lord. Lord over all. “Which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 1:20 NKJV) The same power that conquered the grave lives in us. The same power that defeated sin and death lives in us. The same power that brought life and breath and sight and sound and caused the lame to walk lives in us.

God’s creative power is exercised through Jesus. “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” (John 1:3 NKJV) Jesus Christ’s enabling power remains effective for us today. “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Mathew 28:18 NKJV) All authority is His, over all things in heaven and on earth.

Jesus Christ, the promised deliverer, sets His people free. He delivers us from the forces that are overwhelming. He is our liberator with strength and wisdom to ensure true freedom. Friend, Father God gave all authority to His Son, Jesus. The Spirit of the Lord is upon Him and that same Spirit lives in us. The same Spirit gives us power and authority to stand firm. “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22 NKJV) Again, the same power that brought life and breath and sight and sound and caused the lame to walk lives in us; the Holy Spirit.

Precious Lord, You have authority over all things. Thank You that we can call upon You in our time of need and take possession of that same authority. Authority over sin and death, over sickness and disease, over persecution and trouble, over fear and doubt, over sorrow and pain. The name of Jesus gives liberty and freedom. We have victory in You, Lord. We thank You and give You praise. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Don’t believe me, believe God!