Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Wealthy, or Poor and Needy?

    May all who seek you
        rejoice and be glad in you!
    May those who love your salvation
        say evermore, “God is great!”
    But I am poor and needy;
        hasten to me, O God!
    You are my help and my deliverer;
        O LORD, do not delay!
Psalm 70:4-5 

In the comic above, Scrooge McDuck has realized that he is only the 2nd richest duck in the world.  Look at that face!  What benefit is it to be the 2nd richest duck?!?

David would become a very wealthy man; in fact, he may have already been.  But at this point in his life, his wealth was of little value since he was running from his enemies and hiding out in caves. He recognized  that he was poor and helpless without his Help and Defender to come quickly to his aid.  His response was in stark contrast to the man in Luke 12 whom Jesus describes to the listeners:

And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:17-20)

Our challenge today, in whatever we have, is to recognize our helplessness without our Help and Defender, and to be rich instead toward God. 

Poor and needy without Him,

Monday, January 30, 2012

Help! I'm Drowning!

Save me, O God!
        For the waters have come up to my neck.
    I sink in deep mire,
        where there is no foothold;
    I have come into deep waters,
        and the flood sweeps over me.
(Psalm 69:1-2 ESV)

I'm stretching this a bit; David was once again drowning in the throes of the enemy and feeling very vulnerable.  Last night was a night when I felt like the waters of sleeplessness were about to drown me.  When that happens it is usually because something is hard on my mind, something that I am deeply concerned about.  And usually my children or grandchildren are the subject of my concern.  Last night was no different.  I left church with a heavy heart for some loved ones.  When that happens I don't sleep.  I lie in bed and pray, toss and turn for awhile, and then get up and lie on the sofa, where I toss and turn and pray some more.

Fist of all, I am thankful for those times.  I believe that God graciously makes me sleepless so that I have nothing better to do than pray.  Secondly, I believe that the person or persons for whom I am praying may be in a situation at the time in which they are in dire need of prayer.  It is not necessary for me to know what is going on or why the prayer is needed, but if God keeps me awake with a heavy heart, then I am remiss not to pray.

   "But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord. 
At an acceptable time, O God, 
in the abundance of your steadfast love
answer me in your saving faithfulness."
  Psalm 69:13  

Oh, thank you, Father for those wonderful words of comfort!  I will not drown in my concerns.  In His time He will answer!

    I will praise the name of God with a song;
        I will magnify him with thanksgiving.
Psalm 69:30 

Though I didn't think to do so last night,  this morning I thank God for His answers, and I praise Him for His unsurpassing ability to answer.  Praise God!

Ever have a sleepless night?  Use it well; pray!


Friday, January 27, 2012

I Don't See Clearly Now, But I Will!

   O kingdoms of the earth, sing to God;
        sing praises to the Lord, 
    to him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens;
        behold, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice.
    Ascribe power to God,
        whose majesty is over Israel,
        and whose power is in the skies.
    Awesome is God from his sanctuary;
        the God of Israel—he is the one 
who gives power and strength to his people.
    Blessed be God!
  Psalm 68:32-35 

 What magnificent power and might this psalm exemplifies concerning our Lord!  I dare say that when we who know and love Him enter our eternal home, we will be most ashamed of our very limited understanding of our glorious God and Savior, of our shortsightedness while we have lived on this earth, even though we have had His own Word in our hands.  Though we are told, in our finiteness we do not perceive with clear vision.  Surely, "Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror...(1 Corinthians 13:12aNLT).  Our praise is so limited, so shallow, so seldom lifted up.  Yet there will come a time when "we will see everything with perfect clarity." (1 Corinthians 13:12b)  And when we do, His praise will continually be on our mouths, our knowledge of Him will be complete, and we will UNDERSTAND.

In the meantime, I want my life and my heart to praise Him in its limited ability and restricted cognizance of  Who He is.  I fail miserably, not only in my understanding, but in my carry-through of what I do understand.  Nonetheless, I say PRAISE THE LORD and HALLELUJAH!!! The One who rides the heavens, who sits enthroned, whose power is in the skies, is deserving of my feeble efforts to acknowledge Him. 

Straining to see clearly,

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Let All the People Praise Him

    May God be gracious to us and bless us
        and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
    that your way may be known on earth,
        your saving power among all nations.
    Let the peoples praise you, O God;
        let all the peoples praise you!
Psalm 67:1-3 ESV

 Interesting concept here, isn't it?  The psalmist is asking God to shine on His people. For what reason?  "That your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all the nations."  God's grace and blessing has an ultimate motive--that He will be known and recognized in the earth.  How does that come about?  The next verse says, "Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!"  

I can only believe that God's glory is revealed to the nations, to the unbelieving people, as we praise Him for who He is and what He has done through the Lord Jesus Christ--out loud, where we are heard and seen.  Our praises personally to God are vastly important.  And yet so are our praises about Him.

Let's all find at least one person today to whom we may sing (or speak!) the praises of our glorious God.

Praising Him,

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Listening and Steadfast

Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
  I cried to him with my mouth,
and high praise was on my tongue.
  If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
  But truly God has listened;
he has attended to the voice of my prayer.
Blessed be God,
because he has not rejected my prayer

or removed his steadfast love from me!

God had taken the people through great trial, according to Psalm 66.  But the majority of the Psalm is beautiful words of praise to God their Deliverer.  The psalmist was quick to tell what God had done for them.  He knew that God had listened.
How can we know that God listens to us?  We do not cherish iniquity in our hearts.  Noah Webster defines cherish as:  "To treat with tenderness and affection; to give warmth, ease or comfort to."  Are there certain sins in our lives which we treat with such tenderness and affection, that are so comfortable to us, that we refuse to let go of them?   

What a comforting thought to recognize that our God has not removed His steadfast love from us!  When Jesus cried, "It is finished!" on the cross of Calvary (John 19:30) , what was necessary for the salvation of mankind was complete.  His death, the blood that He shed for us, was the final sacrifice for sin.  And since we are all sinners--all of us--we need the atoning sacrifice that the Lord Jesus Christ made through His death, burial and resurrection.  Through Him we may have life and be assured that God's love is steadfast and everlasting.

What an exciting and encouraging Psalm!  He listens to the prayers of His saints, and His love is sure.  I need that!

Rejoicing in His love for me,

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Morning and Evening Shout for Joy--So Should We!

   Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion,
        and to you shall vows be performed...
    By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness,
        O God of our salvation,
    the hope of all the ends of the earth
        and of the farthest seas;...
    so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth 
are in awe at your signs.
    You make the going out of the morning 
and the evening to shout for joy.
Psalm 65:1,5,8

Finally!  David is rejoicing in God's blessings and in His provisions.  I can all too quickly feel David's distress over the trials that life has to offer.  I don't have any trouble crying out to God in times of despair.  Being at the bottom has a way of drawing us close to God, doesn't it?  Somehow our prayers come to life when things are tough; our hearts begin to cry out in earnestness to the Father of Helps.  We are not reticent during those times to go to Him quickly and fervently.  Beggars know how to beg!

But what about when the righteous God of our salvation, the Hope of all the ends of the earth, answers us with awesome deeds?  What do we do then?  Is it as easy for you to go along your merry way as it is for me?  Is there a tendency to wait until the next major hurdle in life before we diligently seek Him?  Is our praise less often uttered than our plea?  

The morning shouts for joy.  And what does the evening do?  It shouts for joy!  Let us give Jehovah Jireh, our provider, the same time and place in our lives both in times of need and times of abundance.  Let's shout for joy!

Shouting (silently.  Everyone else is asleep!)

Monday, January 23, 2012

I Never Thought I'd See the Day!

    They hold fast to their evil purpose;
        they talk of laying snares secretly,
    thinking, “Who can see them?”
        They search out injustice,
    saying, “We have accomplished a diligent search.”
        For the inward mind and heart of a man are deep.
Psalm 64:5-6

First of all, DO NOT "donate now" to my blog.  You won't receive a free copy!  That just came with the picture of the book.  And I am not endorsing the book since I have not yet read it, so don't  buy it on my recommendation.

After the South Carolina primaries, I was cognizant once again of one very important fact:  no man is able to change the state of this nation on his own.  And what's more, the moral compass of our once great and God-fearing nation has moved to such a degree that immorality has become the new morality.  Dr. Jeremiah says that we are experiencing the signs of a culture at the crossroads. Here is what he says:

The moral foundations of our world have shifted. We see the signs:
  • Marriage becoming obsolete
  • The Bible being marginalized
  • Spiritual warfare intensifying
  • An ancient nation intimidating the modern world
  • America turning its back on Israel
  • Atheists virulently attacking religion
The enemies of the cross are "accomplishing a diligent search," for "the inward heart and mind of a man are deep."  (verse 6)

Who is going to use his heart and mind with more diligence--the enemies of the cross or we who claim to love the Lord Jesus Christ?  If we look at our nation today and the battle that is raging, it would appear that we are losing the battle.  Perhaps, in order to shock us into the real world, Dr. Jeremiah's book would be worth reading.  He goes on to say:

"Can this downward spiral be reversed? Yes, but only if we all, one person at a time, return to God with our heart, our manner of life, our dedication to genuine worship, in serving others, in our giving, and in prayer."

Are we "one person at a time?"

I pray so,

Friday, January 20, 2012

Are You Feeling Parched?

Lesley Wolfe
Lesley with Glaro children in Ivory Coast

     O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
        my soul thirsts for you;
    my flesh faints for you,
        as in a dry and weary land where there is no water...
        My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
        and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
    when I remember you upon my bed,
        and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
    for you have been my help,
        and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
    My soul clings to you;
        your right hand upholds me.
Psalm 63:1,5-8 

As I read these verses this morning I was immediately reminded of my dear friend Lesley Wolfe.  Lesley is a missionary with New Tribes Mission.  She is in the jungles of Ivory Coast, translating the Bible into the Glaro language.  If ever anyone was in a dry and thirsty land where no water is (spiritually speaking), Lesley is there--alone in this village as likely the only Christian at this time.  And yet this wonderful woman of faith takes the time to pray for me and mine!  As she remembers the Lord on her bed in the watches of the night, she remembers me to Him.  When she was unable to stay in Boeue a couple of years ago because of the violence in Liberia, she had one thought in mind--to go back and finish translating God's Word to the people.  Her mind is set on the things of God.

In the shadow of His wings she sings for joy, because she is hiding there, and there she is singing.  I know that Lesley has been bathing in the Psalms for some time now, and I feel assured that God is upholding her with His righteous right hand as her soul clings to Him.  

As you read this post today, please pray for Lesley.  Pray for her protection from the elements, from the enemy of the faith, from the wars and rumors of wars surrounding her.  Pray for her helper as he aids her in translation, that the truth of the gospel will enlighten his heart.  Pray for her health and her spiritual welfare.  Pray that she will not be lonely as she does the work she has been called to.  Pray that God will give her great joy in all things.  

I could go on, but I want you to read this, so I will stop for now!

Praying for you, Lesley, 
With love,