Psalm 6:2 NKJV – In times when we are weak

Psalm 6:2 NKJV – In times when we are weak

Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are troubled.

Have you ever been just plain weak and tired and feel you just can’t go another inch without just falling over? I have felt that way. Recently and in the past. I’m getting older and can’t do what I used to be able to do and certainly I don’t recover physically as quickly as I had in the past. Lack of physical strength may have a number of causes. Physical weakness comes from a body that isn’t as strong as it once was or maybe due to illness, weakness occurs. But there is also spiritual weakness; when we feel weary in the work of the Lord.

Spiritual weakness may lead us to be slack in our time with God. Spiritual weakness may be the result of persecution, spiritual warfare, or even being faced with opposition. My question is this, “when we are weak, where do we turn?” I pray we turn to God. The nature of God, Himself, is compassion and care. God is merciful. God has an understanding of human weakness and what is necessary to restore those in need. “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and- great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.” (Psalm 145:8-9 NKJV)

Friend, today I needed to call upon the name of the Lord and seek His care, His restoration power, His comfort, and His strength. Whether it be physical or spiritual weakness, God is the source of all that we need. As believers we should expect to suffer as part of our calling. To believe is not to evade suffering; it is to face it with new confidence and hope. Rightly approached, suffering develops the character of believers, equips them for more effective service, draws believers closer to Jesus Christ and prepares them for eternal life. The Apostle Paul said it best. “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12”9 NKJV)

O God, thank You for Your mercy in our times of need. Sometimes, God, we are weak either physically or spiritually. Thank You that we can call upon Your name for Your tender mercies. You care for us, You restore us, You comfort us, You strengthen us. Help us God to look toward You when we are weak so that You God can touch us and bring us back. We give You the glory. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Lamentations 3:22-24 – In the morning

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!

I’ve written about this Scripture a few times in the past talking about God’s amazing faithfulness. Today it struck me again. This morning, while sitting in the dining room, I noticed some things. The bright shining of the sun, the flowers of a blooming Magnolia tree, the residents out and about with their pets, young folk taking the time to get in their daily jog, and the movement of God’s creatures. There’s a lot going on.

For me, I see the Lord’s mercies. I see the freshness and newness of the day. Great is our God. But what struck me the most was that everyone and everything went about their business or what they were created to do. The people with their pets and the joggers doing what they do most of the time. The shining of the sun across a southern coastal marsh and touching the well-manicured lawns of a South Carolina development. The blooming flowers of a Magnolia tree opening up at exactly the correct time of day. And God’s creatures both big and small gathering fruit and food for their nests or to store away for later use. I particularly liked the squirrels and birds doing what they had to do in the same tree but appearing that they didn’t even notice each other.

What does this all say to me? The hand of the Lord upon all things. It didn’t matter who I was watching whether human or not. God’s hand was upon everything they did. The creatures moving about doing what God created them to do. The people using the God given time in a bright spring morning to walk their pets and get in a little exercise as well. I guess a more important question is who noticed or should I say who encountered God in the process?

The animals were obedient to what God created them to be and to do. The squirrels gathering the nuts from a tree and carrying them away told me that their instinctive response each morning was to care and feed their families and even take care of a future need. The birds eating the berries in another tree told me the same. The calling of the birds indicated me that they had something to say. But did the humans even notice the new day given to them by the mercy and grace of God? I can’t answer that. But what I can say is that this brief picture of a morning in South Carolina, painted and created by God, was a great gift to me. He gave me a portion of His great love. In His lovingkindness, God took this morning, wrapped it up and gave it to me a His present for today. For that I will praise Him. Yesterday the day was not bright and sunny because in God’s infinite wisdom and knowledge He brought the rains that were so desperately needed. The rains that brought life again to the landscape and I think to the people as well.

Friend, sometimes life goes by and we are so busy we allow it to pass. His mercies are new every morning. This is a promise we can take a hold of. The beauty of this promise lies in whether or not we’ll take the time to see it and encounter its beauty. Great is the faithfulness of the Lord. No matter what is going on, no matter what you are facing, God’s mercies, His love, and His grace are new for us each day that He decides we are to live. Let us praise Him. Today, I challenge you. I challenge you to spend some time in prayer and conversation with the Lord thanking Him for every new day He gives you. Just take time to praise Him for caring for you and for His great faithfulness. I challenge you to set aside your needs and the wants in your life and just thank Him. Don’t ask for anything, just worship God Almighty who spoke life into another day for you.

Precious and loving Lord. Today I thank You for Your great love for me and for Your faithfulness. Thank You for showing me Your hand upon all things; big or small. Thank You for pointing out to me the freshness and newness of the day. You are a glorious God. Lord, cause my mind and heart to slow down to notice You. Teach me O Lord, to see You in all things so that I would praise You and give You thanks. Great is Your Faithfulness over all things. I love You Lord. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 119:114 NKJV – Sometimes I just want to hide

You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word.

Did you ever have a day where you just wanted to become invisible to everyone around you? Maybe you made some poor choices or you might have said something you shouldn’t have said. Sometimes we just want to hide and hope what just happened will go away. Recently I made a poor choice and stood by a decision I made only to find out that people were not happy with my decision. When the discussion with them on the decision I made concluded, I realized I made an error in judgment. I just wanted to hide. I was wrong. I made a poor choice. My decision was based on inaccurate information. Yup. These kinds of events will happen. I placed my trust in something that proved to be weak.

God says that we can come to Him; He is our hiding place and our shield. You know, when it was all said and done, I felt the need to find God. I wanted His assurance that He was near. I wanted the feeling of security. I wanted to be safe. I wanted His comfort. I am more embarrassed than hurt by the inappropriate decision I made. But yet, I desired the presence of God to cover me.

God defends His own, especially when we are the most vulnerable. Today, I feel a little vulnerable. Nobody intentionally wants to make a mistake. Nobody intentionally wants to make a decision that is wrong and that affects others. But as Christians, we too, sometimes face trials and persecutions. We are no different. I was wrong and made a poor choice. But we must never forget that our eternal security is never threatened. I ran to God for cover. I ran to God for His security. I wanted a safe refuge. “Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear, to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may oppress no more.” (Psalm 10:17-18 NKJV)

My hope rests in God. It is a total grounding of my confidence and expectation in God’s goodness and care even in the face of trouble. I have learned a lot. I will learn even more. Will I make another poor choice? Maybe…Probably. But maybe I have learned to stop before I make a poor choice and seek my refuge first in God’s eternal and incredible wisdom and care. “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.” (Psalm 42:5 NKJV)

Friend, I have learned so much today. I share this with you so that you know that in the face of trials and poor choices and wrong decisions, we have a place to find shelter. We may have made a poor choice or wrong decision, but we don’t have to feel alone and secluded. We have a safe refuge. We have a hiding place. God is ready and able to gather us up to shelter us, to comfort us, to teach us, and to set us back out to do His will.

Precious God, thank You that we can run to You and seek refuge. Thank You that You are our shield. God, You walk with us even when we make poor choices and bad decisions. You never leave us. You are there to pick us up and dust us off and set us out again to do Your will. Thank You God for Your faithfulness. May all we say and do give glory to You. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

James 3:17-18 NKJV – Seeking the wisdom of God

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

I can be scatter-brained every now and then. It’s true. My mind gets going in so many directions that it is hard to find my way out of a paper bag. I am not a person who operates very well by multi-tasking. I am the kind of person that has to keep my thoughts on a single point of interest. I find security in knowing if I keep my mind on the task at hand, I won’t get lost. When I try to do too much, I get frustrated and confused and don’t succeed very well. I wish I could be more multi-task oriented, but that is not how God created me.

So this brings me to our Scripture. The wisdom that God gives is pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits and is without partiality and hypocrisy. That is what I desire. Because let me tell you, when I try to do things in my own wisdom, there isn’t much wisdom of what this Scripture promises. Just the opposite. And in all of this confusion, what do you suppose are the attitudes displayed for the world to see? Yeah. Not good.

Scripture illustrates a range of attitudes towards other people, some of which are commended, while others are condemned. Commended attitudes include love, forgiveness, helpfulness, kindness, hospitality, generosity, humility, patience, submission, gentleness, and unselfishness. Condemned attitudes include pride, jealousy, judgment, anger, hatred, and partiality. So you can see why pursuing the wisdom of God in all things is so important. I’ve been thinking a lot about living out my faith as Jesus did. What I mean to say is demonstrating “Christ Alive” in everything I do so that others may see the difference that is in me. Christ in me defines or should I say should dictate how I react, what choices I make, and how my attitude is displayed. It “should”. Do I make mistakes? Yes. Do I let things get to me? Yes. Do I let my guard down? Yes.

But Scripture says, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.” (Psalm 103:8 NKJV) AND “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NKJV) Friend, I desire to live and demonstrate a peaceable life and manner, filled with the wisdom of God as I ask for it, always pursuing gentleness and a willingness to yield or submit to others. That is what we all should desire, but sometimes we will fail. How do we get back up when we realize the attitude we just displayed was not our best? We seek forgiveness; both from the affected people and from God. How do we seek the forgiveness of others and of God? First and foremost, humble submission. When we humble ourselves to those we may have offended or at least may have seen something in us that does not glorify God, we demonstrate an attitude that pleases and is commended by God. Secondly, spend some time in prayer seeking God to forgive your actions and to fill you with His wisdom in all things.

I spoke of being scatter-brained in the beginning. Maybe it’s not scatter-brained, but rather we sometimes get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the world and we lose track of our identity. Let’s focus on living out the wisdom of God and demonstrate that Jesus is alive in us. Therein lies our true identity.

Dear God, we call upon Your Name and seek Your wisdom. Thank You God that you are merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in mercy when we fail and try to live out our life in our own wisdom. Help us Lord to live out our life in Christ Jesus. Guide and direct us to demonstrate Jesus is Alive in everything we do. For Your glory and honor. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me believe God!

Luke 21:36 NKJV – The Reason That I’m Standing

“Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

I have recalled the Word of the Lord many times especially when I have faced the uttermost battles, struggles, heartache and pain. His Word is my comfort and my refuge and where I find hope. Over and over again, the Bible repeats to return to the Lord. “Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Return to Me,” says the Lord of hosts, “and I will return to you,” says the Lord of hosts.” (Zechariah 1:3 NKJV) is just one example. The Lord wants us to understand that our hope lies in His faithfulness. There is nothing that He can’t take care of.

We all know what is written above is true. What also is true is that we forget. And I have from time to time fallen into forgetfulness. We try to take control of our situations. Our fears take over and we begin to worry. Fear and worry are schemes of the enemy and these emotions cause us to turn away from the love and care of the Lord.

But Praise God, He will always watch over us. He is faithful. We can rely on the power and authority of God to be in the center of whatever we face. His promise to never leave us or forsake is absolutely true. And NEVER means NEVER. Have you ever wondered why it seems we can’t accept the promises of God’s Word as absolute? I have. And I have learned why. It’s simply belief. That’s it. We need to believe in the Creator of the universe who spoke life into everything simply because He spoke it. We need to believe in God Almighty who through His power and authority raised Jesus from the dead.

Friend, sometimes what we face even seems too big for God, but let me tell you it is not. Believe in God to be in the midst of whatever you face and in the process of bringing you whatever you need; deliverance, healing, restoration, renewal, hope and victory.

Precious Lord, thank You for Your amazing grace that rescues me in my time of need. When I feel that there is little hope, You always step in. Great is They Faithfulness. Forgive me when I’ve let doubt and fear control me. I place my faith in You Lord, today. Keep me strong as I walk with you to Victory. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Isaiah 32:17-19 NKJV – In His rest

The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever. My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings and in quiet resting places, though hail comes down on the forest, and the city is brought low in humiliation.

The Holy Spirit brings a sense of well-being, contentment and wholeness to believers whatever their outward circumstances. Peace is therefore an indication of the Holy Spirit’s presence. What an incredible promise and thought. Especially in the times in which we live. It seems that there is torment and turmoil on every corner.

We find that the Holy Spirit brings peace of mind to those facing difficult decisions. “For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,” (Philippians 1:19 NKJV) My wife and I have been in a season of challenge and some might say, “a season of struggle”. There have been times over the last several months where our faith has been fully tested. Our trust was challenged it seemed almost every day.

But one of the things we found as God walked with us during this time was God’s amazing desire to gather us up. God brought us out of the situation as we called upon His name and brought us to a spiritual rest where the peace of God truly surpassed all understanding. It continues to be in those quiet times when all that is left is God, do we find our greatest strength and joy. This rest is promised to all who place their trust in God. Spiritual rest is found only in God. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV)

This is God-given assurance. It’s a promise to all of us. This assurance produces spiritual maturity and stability, so that believers may withstand the adverse conditions of life. Friend, we will stumble and sometimes forget the powerful assurance that God gives to us through the promises of His Word. We are human. But we have hope. Hope in the One who defeated all temptation, all struggle, all circumstances, and all sin. The Resurrection power of Jesus Christ conquers all that we face. When grounded in God, hope provides the motivation to live the Christian life even in the face of trouble and un-rest.

Heavenly Father, thank You that we can place our trust and faith in You and Your Word. God, we live in a world tossed around by turmoil and un-rest. But Praise God that we don’t have to fear because through You and Your loving care we have hope. We come to You Lord with our cares and struggles and place them before Your throne. We lift up our praises to You and thank You for delivering us. Holy Spirit come and encourage us as we walk together to fulfill Your plan. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Don’t’ believe me, believe God!

Matthew 28:18-20 NKJV – The “What If’s”

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

The fear of the unknown is something that all of us encounter from time to time. Not knowing what lies ahead can be frightening. “If only I could know” has resounded from my mouth. If we’re going to be honest, we’ve all said that. We’ve wanted to look into the future. It’s a trust issue. We don’t want to deal with what might lie ahead especially if it will challenge us. Can you imagine what Jesus’ disciples might have been thinking? Jesus was ascending into heaven to sit on His throne and the disciples would now have to walk in faith and complete that which Jesus commanded them to do. “What if?”

Jesus gave His disciples assurance of where their help would come from. First, Jesus was given all authority in heaven and on earth. So the power of Christ over all things was established. Second, Jesus gave them a commission; to go and make disciples in all the nations, baptizing them and teaching them to observe the things Jesus taught them. And finally, Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us, now promised to be with them to the end of the age.

That same assurance is given to us. We, too, have the promise. It’s available to all of us. But, yes, sometimes we forget. The fear of the unknown takes over. What I’ve learned is that when I find myself asking myself the “what if’s”, that’s the beginning of the fear of the unknown. “What if’s” drive me crazy. For the unknown, there are a lot of “what if’s”. When we try to look ahead to the future and realize we can’t, we rationalize the challenge ahead with “what if’s”. What if I just took on another job, then maybe I’ll have enough. What if I worked longer hours, then I know we could make ends meet. If I just do these things, I know God would bless us. Instead, what Jesus is saying is, “I’m right here. You can come to me. I will hear you. My plans will give you hope and a future.”

Jesus Christ’s faithfulness is seen in His character. He is faithful by nature. “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.” (Revelation 19:11 NKJV) Jesus is faithful because He never changes. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8 NKJV) And Jesus is faithful because He is the truth. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 NKJV)

I’m going to be a little transparent again with all of you. Last year at this time I faced a surgery that caused me to ask the “what if’s?” What if something goes terribly wrong? What if they find something worse that they didn’t expect? What if the recovery isn’t like what they said it would be? What if my faith in my healing fails? You see, I tried to justify my fear. I forgot what Jesus said and what He promised. He gave me a commission. He placed a call on my life. He has all the power and authority I need to fulfill His calling. He has told me, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” And yet, there have been times I’ve forgotten. I’m human just like everyone else. So one night just before my scheduled surgery my wife and I prayed.  Then we talked a lot about the “what if’s”. There were questions and even a few tears. And then I was reminded, so softly and gently, that when I find myself fearing the unknown, it is an opportunity to get closer to Jesus and call upon His name. I will find His everlasting love and the power of Christ will rest upon me. “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV)

Dear Lord, thank You for Your strength and Your promise to always be with me. Forgive me, Lord, when the “what if’s” take over my thoughts and I place my trust and faith in my own actions. You Lord have called me to fulfill a unique and special purpose. All authority has been given to You, Lord, and You are my guiding Light. May Your power rest upon me, Lord, I pray. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!