Friday, May 30, 2014

Thirsting for God (Psalm 42:1-3)

Today's scripture: Psalm 42:1-3

I have been a Christ-follower for a long time now ... and I love to talk with God and study His word. But I have to admit: I certainly don't "pant" or "thirst" for Him as I should ... or as I'd like.

I'm convicted.

We just celebrated Memorial Day on which we remember those who gave their lives for our freedom. I "googled" the question: "How many have lost their lives for America's freedom," and a site came back with an astounding answer: over 1,346,000 ...

Think about it: over 1.3 million men and women have died so that I—and you—can freely worship as we choose. We can go to church without fear of arrest ... or even death. We can display our Bibles, wear our NOTW t-shirts, and ask God's blessings as we eat in public.

We are so very, very blessed. Other Christ-followers don't have anything like this. They worship in hiding. They risk everything to even own a Bible. They absolutely "pant" and "thirst" for God. You may have already seen this video, but this is such a pure example of thirsting for God.

I'm convicted.

Oh, that I would have a deep-in-the-soul hunger for God, to want to be with Him, to be saturated with His word.

Lord God, help me to pant after You, desiring an ever-deeper relationship with You. Let me hunger after You, needing You more than breath. Be my all-in-all. Be glorified. Amen.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Mourning to Dancing (Psalm 30:11-12)

Today's scripture: Psalm 30:11-12

Some of you are in the deepest of valleys. You've lost a loved one. You can't find work. Your health is failing. You have a prodigal child.

You're mourning. You're wearing figurative sackcloth. And you can't imagine dancing ... perhaps ever again.

I don't in any way want to diminish your pain or suffering or loss. You need to grieve. You need to weep.

But may I encourage you to do something else? May I encourage you to "sing praises to [God] and not be silent"? May I encourage you to "give thanks to [God] forever"?

I know this may seem impossible, and I certainly don't know your exact pain. I do, however, know my own, and I do remember a time when I let suffering steal my joy; I didn't offer any praise or thanks to the Lord. For too many years, I allowed experiences with abuse to keep me in perpetual mourning.

It was only when I fell to my knees in utter and complete surrender to God—knowing if I didn't, I would likely not survive the pain—that I finally found gladness. I was finally able to dance ... even in the storm.

I still grieve sometimes over lost years and current ill health. Yet, even in the pain, I still dance. I still praise. I still thank my God.

If you're mourning today, certainly allow yourself to grieve. But in your grieving, go to your God. Ask Him for His supernatural peace ... and praise Him.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Be My Helper (Psalm 30:6-10)

Today's scripture: Psalm 30:6-10

Many, many times, I have echoed the words of one of today's verses: "Hear, O Lord, and have mercy on me; Lord, be my helper!"

I've written over the last couple days of how I'd love to be healed of my earthly afflictions. I would love to have no pain. I would love to have energy. I would love not to be so very, very weary.

Yet, at least for now, God's answer to my prayer for healing is, "Trust Me, my child. Rely on Me for your daily strength." Many mornings, I wake up and ask Jesus to hold my hand more tightly, giving me just enough strength for that day. (Chronic health issues do certainly make a person live just one day at a time!)

I do cry out for God's mercy and help, and He answers that prayer ... every time.

I wrote not too long ago about how I sometimes have the privilege of performing with a small faith-based community theater and how God often supernaturally carries me through my time on stage. I am still be fighting some weird sinus thing, and my daily pain has been more than usual. Yet, this past weekend, I cried out for God's mercy and help, and again, He brought me through each performance.

I'm sure I've written this before, but it bears repeating: God always, always answers our prayers when we pray for His will and purpose. In my case, His purpose seems to include my poor health. Yet, even on the most difficult days, I know I can cry out for His mercy and help, and He will answer that prayer ... with a resounding, "Yes!"

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Joy in the Morning (Psalm 30:4-5)

Today's scripture: Psalm 30:4-5

We have so many reasons to praise our Lord. Grace. Mercy. Love. Forgiveness. Provision. Protection ... and the list goes on.

So often, however, we get so caught up in our day-to-day struggles, we forget just how blessed we are.

So, it is so very important to remember how much God loves us. I know (for myself at least), I need to pause and meditate on all He is and all He has done.

I remember that He is my shelter, my banner, my strong tower. He offers me peace and comfort. He is my refuge in the storm.

He is holy and just. He desires a relationship with me—with me! He gives me strength to accomplish what He has called me to do ... even if it's just one moment at a time.

Then I'm reminded that any storm I face is only temporary. As the psalmist writes in today's scripture: "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning." This could be literal, but I also believe it is a promise for the time when there truly will be no more death, crying, sorrow, or pain (see Revelation 21:4).

Indeed, in this world, we will have trials and tribulations; Jesus Himself promised this. However, we who follow Him can be assured of one thing: He has already won the war (see John 16:33)!

Joy absolutely will come in the morning!

Monday, May 26, 2014

You Healed Me ... (Psalm 30:1-3)

Today's scripture: Psalm 30:1-3

Those of us with chronic health issues sometimes read verses like Psalm 30:2, and wonder ...

The psalmist writes, "O Lord my God, I cried out to You, and You healed me."

Healing is what most of us want just about more than anything else. Yet, for many of us, healing hasn't happened. Then we read or hear of other's being miraculously healed, and again we wonder ...

Why them? Why not me?

I'm not certain why God chooses to heal as He does. I do believe He often miraculously heals. A tumor disappears. A damaged nerve regenerates. A grieving family hears, "Against all medical odds, your son (or daughter or mother or father) is going to be fine."

I also believe God uses gifted medical professionals to help in the healing process.

I also believe, however, that some of us—for reasons known only to our Lord—will experience healing only after this earthly life ends. Only in that new heaven and new earth will we feel healthy and whole. Indeed, we can be assured: "There shall be no more pain ..." (NKJV, Revelation 21:4).

Yes, I'd certainly like to be healed of any one of the chronic health issues with which I deal. I'd like to have just one moment with no pain. I'd like not to feel this tremendous fatigue.

So, I do ask God for healing, and if not, then I pray for comfort, peace, and strength ... Just for today.