Friday, October 31, 2014

Exceeding Joy (Psalm 43:3-4)

Today's scripture: Psalm 43:3-4

Yesterday's scripture felt a bit bleak. Words like "cast off" and "oppressed" don't fill my heart with warm fuzzies!

One of the things I love most about God's word is its frankness. Never does it promise that our lives will be filled with perfection. No. We're told time and time again that being in relationship with Christ doesn't mean a perfect life, but we are promised that He will help us through each and every storm.

So after yesterday's "downer," we read today's scripture, with words like "light" and "truth" and "exceeding joy."

We're never left in the mire. God's word always gives us hope.

We find truth that shines into our hearts. We learn that God the Father loves us so much that He sent God the Son to die for us. We learn that He forgives us and washes us clean. We learn that He offers a refuge through the storm.

Because of His amazing and abundant love, we can have hope. We can be exceedingly joyful.

And we can praise Him. O God, our God!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

God of My Strength (Psalm 43:1-2)

Today's scripture: Psalm 43:1-2

I wrote yesterday about God's being my strength and saving refuge. Today, we visit a new psalm that starts out in apparent opposition. Yes, He is the "God of my strength," but the psalmist today asks, "Why do You cast me off?"

If God is my strength, why would He ever "cast me off"? I don't believe He ever does. He promises to never leave us alone (Hebrews 13:5). He loves us everlastingly (Jeremiah 31:3).

But, I completely relate with the psalmist's words. Sometimes, I too feel oppressed by the enemy. Sometimes, it seems like the enemy of my soul's whispers are louder than the still, small voice of the Lord.

When I'm extra tired or the pain is extra strong, it's easy for me to get a bit depressed, and it's during those moments when I feel "cast off." I feel alone in my suffering.

Sometimes, I just feel alone ...

In those moments, I have to listen more closely to the voice of God. I have to cling more tightly to Him. I have to remember even more purposefully His blessings and how He's carried me in the past.

I have to trust His promises ... because He truly is the "God of my strength."

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

My Saving Refuge (Psalm 28:8-9)

Today's scripture: Psalm 28:8-9

So many times, I have no strength of my own. Chronic illness saps my energy. Poor sleep makes me even groggier than usual (which is pretty groggy ...). Uncertainty about the next steps of life's journey causes anxiety.

Nope. No strength.

How blessed I am that I don't have to rely on my own strength because I serve the all-powerful God of the universe! He is my strength. He is my "saving refuge." I don't have to do this on my own!

I honestly don't know how those who aren't in relationship with God handle life. Really. I don't.

Trying to rely on my own strength (which we've already determined is nonexistent) is impossible. Having to rely on someone else? Well, first, that puts a lot of pressure on that "someone else." Second, what happens when he is out of strength? On whom then can either of us rely?

No. I don't have to be strong on my own nor do I have to rely on another's strength. I serve God, the all-powerful One. The one who gives me strength, who walks alongside me every day ... and carries me when what little strength I have gives out.

The Lord is my strength ... my saving refuge.

Praise Him!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Your Strength and Shield (Psalm 28:6-7)

Today's scripture: Psalm 28:6-7

How often do you feel under attack? By so-called friends? By your boss? By those unseen forces (Ephesians 6:10)?

How often do you feel weak? By illness? By stress?

You are not alone. Never. The God of the universe will cover you with His strength. He will help you through each and every moment of difficulty. He will walk alongside you ... and carry you when you can't take another step.

You can trust Him fully and completely. You can rejoice in His daily care. You can praise and worship Him.

He loves you more than you can possibly imagine. He will shower you with peace and joy, if only you seek Him.

Bless His holy name.  

Monday, October 27, 2014

Truth (Psalm 28:4-5)

Today's scripture: Psalm 28:4-5

God has revealed Himself to seeking hearts and minds. Through His creation. Through the testimony of men and women.

Yet, tragically many refuse to acknowledge Him as the one true God. They deny His work. They scoff at His words. They choose to live just as they please.

One day, though, everyone will stand before the throne of God. Each and every person will hear either, "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:21, 23), or "I don't know you" (Luke 13:27). He will reward those who have committed their lives to Him, and He will judge those who refused Him.

This world is winding down, and I believe the day of Christ's return is close. We who follow Christ need to be diligent about living for Him. We need to surrender to Him each and every day. We need to seek His purpose and His ill.

Ever more, we need to share His truth with others. We need to look for moments to share our stories. We need to help those who are seeking Him to find Him.

It's all that really matters.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Two-Faced Folks (Psalm 28:3)

Today's scripture: Psalm 28:3

We hear a lot about hypocrites, both inside and outside of the church. You know ... those people who say one thing and do something else. Or they wear a godly mask while underneath, they're harboring resentment or hatred for another.

It's hard dealing with those "who speak peace to their neighbors, but evil is in their hearts." We can't read minds, so we can't always know another's motive. We can only, as I mentioned a couple of days ago, love even our enemies.

When we come across those two-faced folks, we can still love them. We can show them patience and mercy. We can offer grace even when they hurt us. We can be hospitable. We can be Jesus to them.

Yes, it's not easy to interact with those who have evil intentions, but we can trust our Maker and know that, one day, He will judge all men for their actions on earth.

One day, those who have hurt us will stand before God's throne and give an account of what we did for Him—and against others. God will judge fairly and righteously. In the meantime, let's do our best to not be like those two-faced people. Instead, let's do our best to be peacemakers.