Monday, June 25, 2018

One ... (Psalm 18:31-34)


Today’s scripture: Psalm 18:31-34

There is no other God but our Lord. None.

He is the one who “arms [us] with strength, and makes [our] way perfect.” He leads and guides and protects.

He gives energy and power. He showers with grace and mercy.

He loves beyond comprehension. Peace and joy and hope come from Him.

There is nothing we are, nothing we have, that is not from Him.

Today’s society (and even some “churches”) spout that we are in control. We can find our own happiness. We can become our own “god.”

But no!

There is one God. One Creator. One Lord. One Savior. One Redeemer.

One.

Friday, June 22, 2018

The Light (Psalm 18:28-30)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 18:28-30

Have you ever been in darkness? I mean, complete darkness? Years ago, we toured an underground cavern, and after walking several hundred feet into the lowest part, the tour guide turned off the lights for a moment or two.

Complete, utter darkness.

Then he lit a single match, and the cavern was illuminated.

Many of us have experienced spiritual or emotional darkness. Times when God seems so far away.

Complete, utter darkness.

But when we turn back to Him, when we seek His face, when we confess our sin, He shines a light that chases the darkness. He is light itself, and “in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).

Are you feeling the darkness press from all sides? Go to the Light. Ask Him to illuminate your darkness. Turn to Him. Seek His face. Confess.

And the Light will shine.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

More Like Christ (Psalm 18:25-27)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 18:25-27

So many times in the Bible, we’re shown how God promises to shower blessings upon His people if they obey Him. And so many times, we see how His people refused to obey. Not much has changed …

However, God still promises to show mercy to those who are merciful. When we show love to those who hurt us, we show the mercy of God.

Blameless and pure are a bit more difficult, though. Only God Himself is both of these, so how can we be either? The Contemporary English Version interprets these as faithful and sincere. The New Living Translation uses the word integrity in place of blameless. The Message replaces pure with truth.

What can we conclude?

Well, this is just my opinion, but I believe God calls us to be merciful, just as He is. And to be people of integrity, striving to be blameless as He is. And to live in His truth, knowing that by following it, we will be purer as we become more like Christ.

And that’s the goal, isn’t it?

Monday, June 18, 2018

Deserve a Reward? (Psalm 18:20-24)


Today’s scripture: Psalm 18:20-24

As I often do, I looked at today’s scripture in a couple different versions. Words like “recompensed” sometimes need a more contemporary rendering. Two of my favorite paraphrases are the Contemporary English Version and the New Living Bible. Both help to clarify the psalmist words.

I’m especially taken with the NLT version. The psalmist writes: “The Lord rewarded me for doing right …” (20).

That sounds great, doesn’t it? But the question must be asked: What is right?

This too is made clear in verses 21 and 22:
I have kept the ways of the Lord; I have not turned from my God to follow evil. I have followed all his regulations; I have never abandoned his decrees.
Wow.

Can I say the same? Can you? Am I worthy of a reward? Are you?

I don’t know about you, but these verses make me long to say, “Yes!”

And so, while I’m far from perfect, I’m encouraged again to seek God with a stronger focus, striving to be more and more like Jesus.


Friday, June 15, 2018

He Delights in Me (Psalm 18:4-19)


Today’s scripture: Psalm 18:4-19

Last week, we talked about how King David faced enemies of all kinds. Today’s verses describe vividly how the Lord helped David vanquish his enemies and delivered him.

I’ve never faced anything quite so terrifying nor have I seen God’s power as the psalmist describes. But I have faced my own enemies, some of them within my own heart. I’ve cried out for deliverance from pain. I’ve pleaded for help to forgive. I’ve battled my own sins.

And every time—every time—God was my “support.” He brought me through very dark places. He lifted me when I couldn’t walk. He gave me grace—and helped me to show grace to others.

And I believe, as David did, that He delivered me then—and will deliver me in the future—because He delights in me. He loves me as His precious daughter.

So I don’t need to fear or fret. My loving Abba will always take care of me.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Strength, Protector, Deliverer (Psalm 18:1-3)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 18:1-3

The psalmist describes the Lord God with several words that bring me—and I hope you—encouragement.

First, he writes of God’s strength. I often write of how difficult it can be to get through poor-health days, but I know that Jesus will always give me whatever strength I need to get through those days.

Second, he writes of the Lord’s being a rock. My husband and I love to take road trips visiting different areas of this beautiful nation. A couple of our favorites are Yosemite National Park in Northern California and Zion National Park in Utah. Two must-sees in these breathtaking (in the truest sense of the word) parks are Half Dome in the former and The Narrows in the latter. Both are examples of solid rock. Seemingly-immovable. Powerful. Magnificent. Amazing. Our God is stronger, more powerful, and truly immovable.

Third, he writes of God as a fortress. I just finished watching a six-part BBC series on castles in Great Britain, and each was built as a fortress to protect its inhabitants from all enemies. Our God protects us even more than any manmade fortress.

Finally, while he also writes of His being a stronghold (which to me seems very much like strength and a fortress) and a shield, the final word that touches my heart is “deliverer.” God has delivered me from so much. From my own sin. From abuse. From pain. From depression.

I know I can “call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,” and He will hear me. He’ll be my strength, my solid rock, my unconquerable fortress, and my faithful deliverer.

He’s the same for you.

Monday, June 11, 2018

The Image of God (Psalm 17:15)

Today's scripture: Psalm 17:15

The Bible tells us that the first man was made in the "image of God" (Genesis 1:27). Adam and Eve, before the fall, communed with the Creator Himself. Then sin entered the world, and everything was skewed.

Perhaps that image was skewed as well. Perhaps we don't carry the image of God on our faces. When we commit our lives to the Lord, though, we begin a journey to become more and more like Jesus.

We strive to be more loving, kinder, and gentler. We demonstrate more patience and joy. We are more forgiving.

In these ways, we are indeed showing God's image. The more we live like Christ, the more like Him we are. The more we are like Him, the more we may attract others to Him.

One day, we will do more than see Christ through our fellow believers. One day, we will see our Lord face-to-face. We will see His work in us and in the lives of others who follow Him.

While we linger on earth, our goal should be to live like Christ, being a godly influence on those around us. The, we can look forward to the day when we see Him ... face-to-face.