Psalm 18:3 NKJV – My enemies have surrounded me

Psalm 18:3 NKJV – My enemies have surrounded me

“I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.”

Do you want to know something? Enemies can take on a lot of forms and be a lot of different things. I have learned that. Sometimes there are individuals that seem to get their joy from making people feel uneasy, embarrassed, or even frightened. It seems that no matter what is tried to keep these people outside of our sphere, they find a way to get into the door. In the world, there are people who are just plain mean.

But there are other enemies that come in to take away our eternal joy. And these enemies are not flesh and blood. Their names are fear, jealousy, anger, bitterness, bigotry, greed, and lust. There are many more but I name these because the world feeds these every day and tries to make them stronger. The world places those listed here out for everyone to partake in. And these, like flesh and blood enemies, can be powerful and nearly impossible to take down. I said nearly. There is a way! The way is Jesus!

Our defense lies in the One who can save us from the enemies that come against us. It lies in our faith in Jesus and our confidence in Him. Scripture emphasizes the importance of putting our trust in God and God alone. “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” (2 Timothy 1:12 NKJV)

What is the one requirement that is called out in our foundational verse? “I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised.” Sounds simple doesn’t it. And it is. By calling upon the Lord we demonstrate our trust in Him and this is a form of praise. Prayer, or calling upon the Lord, 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. When we are surrounded by our enemies, both human and not so human, we can do what David did as recorded in this Psalm below. We can call upon the Lord and praise Him and we will be delivered from our enemies.

“The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted. It is God who avenges me, and subdues the peoples under me; He delivers me from my enemies. You also lift me up above those who rise against me; You have delivered me from the violent man.” (Psalm 18:46-48 NKJV)

Friend, when we face attacks or enemy forces, we are not alone. The Lord, our Rock is near. All we have to do is call upon His Name, Jesus. “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11 NKJV)

Dear Lord, thank You for Your protecting presence over our lives. You are worthy to be praised. Our enemies must bow to Your Name, Jesus. They must flee from us and leave. Thank You Lord that as we trust in Your love, our faith is increased. And no enemy, either human or not, can stand against the Your authority over all things. For greater is He that is in us than he who is in the world. Glory to You Lord. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 112:7 NKJV – A place of strength; a place of trust

He will not be afraid of evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.

Some of the toughest times we face is when we’re told bad news. Bad news grabs a hold of your heart. You can be overcome by the news; even find it hard to catch your breath. It can be a feeling of defeat; the overcoming of or being overcome by a physical, spiritual or circumstantial enemy. It is hard. I know. That’s why we call it “bad news”. No disrespect here or irresponsible humor. Bad news is bad.

Our initial response to bad news sometimes is the lack of understanding. “Why did it happen?” Knowing about things in advance gives us a confidence that we can probably handle every situation. But we were not created to know anything in advance. That is why we must have an understanding of absolute trust. A place to go when things aren’t good. 1 Corinthians 16:13 NKJV says, “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.” Faith is that body of essential truth to which Christians hold. It is revealed by God. Those humbled before God by such a defeat eventually come to see it as a positive experience, leading to increased spiritual maturity. The way to avoid being defeated is to trust in God and know that He knows what you are facing.

Friend, bad news is bad but we have someone we can go to recover from bad news. His name is Jesus; the name of the Lord. He is our strong tower; a place of refuge and where we can recover through His strength. We can access that strength when we call upon the name of the Lord in prayer. Prayer gives us access to the very throne of God. God desires to restore your heart and bring you to a place where He can pour out His strength in you. The apostle Paul said this, “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV)

Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to you in our times of weakness. Lord, bad news grips our hearts and may even overcome us, but in You, Lord, we have Your strength to endure. You have given us the power to be brave and remain strong. Thank You Lord for Your faithfulness. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 100:1-3 NKJV – Make a joyful shout!

Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

This Psalm is literally a song of praise for the Lord’s faithfulness to His people. Some people have written about this song in other publications and blogs and have called it “The Shouting Psalm”. Praise the Lord. I agree with that! Have I shouted? You bet!!!

When I think about what the Lord has done in my life, joyful shouting sometimes seems to be not enough. Really. God raised me up in spite of myself and set me upon a new life in Him. He took me from the ashes and the deepest of all pits and placed me on a path of joy, peace, service, and favor. My past is my past, but it’s close enough to remember when I wasn’t so happy; when I wasn’t so full of joy; when I wasn’t so blessed.

I’ve said before in previous blogs that, “Life is hard. It’s harder without God.” It’s true. Life in this world is very hard. Without God, I had no hope. With God, I have hope and an understanding that God loves me with an everlasting love and His plan has always been to live with Him in eternity.

Some of you reading this might say, “Well, I just don’t believe that.” It’s your right to have that opinion. I thought the same thing when I was trusting the world to care for me and finding that my options were running out. I thought the same thing when I would find myself hung over or ill because of the abuses on my body. I thought the same thing when I thought I could take my own life and all would be well.

But God had a different plan. He was not finished with me. His ways were not my ways. (Isaiah 55:9) You might be thinking, “Is the God you write about a God who could love me?” The answer is Yes and He does and always will. (Jeremiah 31:3) Or you might think, “Could the God you write about give me the same joy that would cause me to shout?” The answer is Yes and He’s waiting to rejoice with you. (Zephaniah 3:17) God is our shepherd and he cares for each one of His sheep. He will go out searching for the one that is lost and leave the others. (Luke 15:3-5) God is out searching right now.

Friend, what I’ve come to know now is that in Jesus Christ I have life; even abundant life. I can place my full trust in the Lord. God is faithful. I can be content in that understanding no matter what is in front of me or what I am facing.

Dear Lord, Hallelujah and Praise be to God that You are faithful. Thank You for picking me up when I was lost and bringing me into Your family to love me, to care for me, to heal me, to save me. Glory to Your Name. Lord, forgive me when I forget what You’ve done and dwell on my past. Help me Lord to always fix my eyes and heart on You. You are my Lord and I am Your child. I hear Your voice and follow You. Help my friends who might be reading this to turn towards You for their joy. May they understand that You love them with an everlasting love and that You are now searching for them. May they call upon Your Name, Lord, and hear Your voice. Deliver them Lord and give them joy. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 89:9 NKJV – The storms of life

You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, You still them.

Isn’t life just like a raging sea? When it gets really tough and there seems to be no end to the storm, there comes another wave to toss you around a bit. I remember times when out fishing; the storm tossed us around a bit.

Back many years ago, I was out on a fishing trip with my brother. The lake we were on was not a part of the “Great Lakes”, but it was big enough to cause some pretty big waves when the wind came out of the North. Well on this particular fishing trip the waves were big. I remember just wanting to get to shore. We were being tossed around in his 10 foot aluminum boat. The little motor working as hard as it was designed to do. We kept pushing forward but with each wave it seemed that we weren’t getting any closer. We were frightened that the boat would begin to take on water. We were prepared as we had on life preservers and knew how to swim, but still were afraid. Well, our fears were realized when the waves began to wash over the stern of the boat and we had water coming in faster than I could bail it out. Praise the Lord we got to shore.

I can tell you that back then, I didn’t pray. I hadn’t come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ and prayer wasn’t part of my life. But the raging sea still existed. Like I said, life is a raging sea. I’ve not had another storm experience like that in a boat, but I’ve been in storms. The storms of life include grief, disappointment, heartache, anger, fear, stress, and just trying to get by. With each storm, it seems the more I pressed on, the more the storm increases. Two steps forward, and one step back. Yup, I’ve been there. We all have. But I now have a saving relationship with Jesus and things are different. My ability to survive the storms is different. I have a better life preserver. “Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust.” (Psalm 16:1 NKJV) It’s not a floatation device, it’s so much more.

Each morning that we wake up, God has given us another day. Another day to breathe and live life. But with each new day comes new challenges. Some of those challenges might be only small ripples in the water. Not really a storm. No need to worry. But other challenges may cause us to be tossed around. Where is our faith then? Where are our prayers then? I try to remember this. With everything we face, in every situation, God is there. He remains. He doesn’t leave. He’s as close as a whisper. He hears us when we pray, “Lord, help me!” I am absolutely sure that even way back then when my brother and I were in that storm, God was with us. He was watching over us. His eyes were fixed upon us. That is the character of God. That is His nature. He loves us.

Friend, God desires for us to have a way to get through and beyond the storms of life. He proved that when He sent His Son, Jesus to the earth to seek and save the lost. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NKJV) Jesus is more than just a captain of a boat in danger. He’s our ever loving God who can speak to the wind and the waves and say, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10 NKJV) This is where we must place our faith. God will be your guide through every storm and He will walk with you. He knows the way to safety. He knows where the shore is. Let’s pray to Him and trust Him for that.

Great and glorious Lord. I am so glad that in You I can place my trust. That in You, I can know that You see all of my storms. Help me to call upon Your Name when I am in trouble. Lead me to safe passage and refuge in You. Forgive me when I try to get through the storms alone. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Proverbs 28:25 NKJV – “Just the facts Ma’am”

He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife, but he who trusts in the Lord will be prospered.

I have struggled from time to time with pride. My personality lends itself, if not bridled, to be sort of prideful. My occupation is one of detective and problem solver in the nuclear power industry. And I have been trained over the years to always look for the facts. As a problem detective, I have to gather as much fact as possible in the early stages of my investigation, so that I can reconstruct the issue, or event, or problem. So I look for the facts. “Just the facts ma’am.” Like Sergeant Joe Friday would say. (You need to be old enough to remember the police show, “Dragnet” on a black and white TV. LOL) Sorry, I just had a moment of nostalgia. Anyways, it’s important to get the facts. A lot of people have their opinions, but I need to analyze factual information. This is where my pride sometimes gets me in trouble.

I generally do my problem investigations alone, but there are times that I have an investigative team. The team would consist of subject matter experts in plant operations, or engineering, or maintenance of plant equipment, or even leaders in the field of human performance.

Since it’s a team effort, I also learned in my training that others may have differing opinions on what is fact and what’s not fact. I can at times really push my opinion over someone else’s opinion on fact without sometimes seeking additional expert counsel.

What this scripture verse is really saying is that those who are content with themselves, that bear either contradiction or competition, or creates a disturbance to himself or others has a proud heart. Whoa. Really? Yup. I remember times of loud discussion on certain information that I was pretty sure was fact, only to find out my line of sight or point of view was flawed. That is where I have had to humble myself for the greater good of the team and to solve the problem and admit I was wrong. As a lead investigator, that can be hard to do. I know I have learned a lot.

This scripture also goes on to say that he who has satisfaction in God and who dwells at ease will have outwardly good things; that they would be prospered or as some translations say “will prosper”. Note the word “will”. Not maybe, but “will”. How many of you want God to prosper you. I know I do. It’s a promise. Listen to how “The Message” paraphrase puts it. “A grasping person stirs up trouble, but trust in God brings a sense of well-being.” I define “a sense of well-being” as that certain sense I get when I know everything is more than just OK. It’s really, really good.

So now I’ve learned that when I get to that place of pride where I think that I’m right no matter what you or anybody else thinks, I need to pause and pray. I stop and seek the Lord. I seek out that expert counsel and that sense of well-being.

Trusting in the Lord can be difficult. Mainly because we are flawed human beings. But we can trust God for all things; not only because of the promise of this Scripture passage, but because as we trust in the Lord, we can know that He will direct our paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6) That’s what I want; God’s direction.

Precious Lord, I thank You that as we trust in You, we can expect You to prosper us; to bring us into a presence of well-being in You. Help us Lord to recognize when our pride gets in the way of You and forgive us for when we push You aside to do things our own way. You are my Lord and my Light. I will follow You. In Jesus Name.   AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!