Friday, June 22, 2018

Our Merciful and Gracious God

Many people think of the God of the Bible as harsh and condemning. Nothing could be farther from the truth. That is a lie of Satan for people who do not know the Word of God. He plants that picture in their hearts, and then the world system and the media reinforce that concept of the One True God. David gave us a very clear picture of God's nature, and there are many examples in the Bible to prove each of these things. (Psalm 87:15) Notice how each one is so true.

God is merciful. He never punishes us as much as we deserve to be punished. That is the definition of being merciful. All of us are sinners. We all deserve punishment for every sin we commit, because we choose to do things our way and to ignore the conviction of the Spirit to show us sin and righteousness. (John 16:8-11) Often, God goes easy on us because of His love, so He is merciful.

God is gracious. He always gives us more than we deserve. We always have more blessings than we can count, and often, we are not thankful for nearly all of them. All we have is from God. If we use it wisely, and honor Him in how we use it and give it, He makes it more than enough. This is true of our health, our energy, and all of the things He supplies.

God is slow to anger. He does not blow up at us in rage, even when we go against Him. Instead He is abounding in steadfast love. He can't do anything else but act in love, since He is love. His love is very steadfast. He never stops loving us, and He loves everyone, even those who do not love and follow Him. In fact, He abounds in faithfulness, too. There is nothing He has promised that He does not fulfill. The sun comes up each morning. He takes care of us in that He gives rain to the just and the unjust. Our God is truly merciful and gracious all the time for everyone in the world.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Psalms 88-91.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Sing Aloud and Shout to God

Worship takes on many forms of expression. We must always remember that worship is something we do. It is not something we attend. When we attend a worship service, we may worship, or we may not. It all depends on us. Asaph was a worship leader in the Temple. One of the instructions for worship that God gave to us through him was to sing aloud and shout to God. (Psalm 81:1) I wonder how many of us have actually worshiped the Lord with that level of exuberance? Maybe, it would help us a lot to heed God's Word in this way.

God is our strength. If we have ever tried to do life without Him, we have found that we are weak. We have realized that He is strong. Therefore, if we are to have enough strength for our lives, we must receive His strength for every day. Then, when we ask God for that strength, He gives it. When that happens to me, it makes me want to sing aloud to God. What about you?

God is the God of Jacob, too. That reminds us that He has had a plan for us. He worked it through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Finally, He sent His Son, Jesus, as a descendant of Jacob. Now, we are saved by the God of Jacob. God never changes. When we realize His faithfulness to work His plan of salvation down through the centuries, it should make us want to shout for joy! God is in control, and He has made a way for all who would trust Jesus. That is great news for us to shout about in worship.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Psalms 84-87.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Restore Us, O Lord

The psalmist, Asaph, lamented when he saw how the glory of Jerusalem had been taken away by the attacks of their enemies. God was punishing their sins by allowing the city to be destroyed. That is why he and others cried out to God for Him to restore them and to save them. They longed to see the face of God shine on them once more. (Psalm 80:19) I think the same thing could be said about many Christians and many churches today. We need to see God restore us. We need His face to shine on us.

Can you remember a time in your life when God was blessing you, and it seemed that His presence was much stronger in your life? The Lord never intended for us, as believers, to drift away from Him. He hates to have to punish His children, but He is a loving Father, so He will do what is necessary to correct us. Sometimes that process is very painful, until we will cry out to Him for restoration. He is waiting to hear our pleas for His face to shine upon us again. However, first He must see our repentance, our returning to Him and His ways. There is no restoration without repentance. However, once we return to Him, He does shine on us and restore us. In fact, we can be even more blessed than before, and that can last, if we will just decide to stay close to Him on a daily basis, growing in Christ, instead of drifting away.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Psalms 81-83.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The God Who Works Wonders

The Bible is filled with wonders and miracles done by the Lord for His people. It seems to me that we tend to downplay the wonders of God, instead of praying for them and expecting them. I wonder why we tend to do that? Could it be a lack of faith? The psalmist, Asaph, made a confident declaration that we need to hear. (Psalm 77:14) This and other verses like it should move us to believe in God and His wonder working more.

We serve the God who created everything in the universe and all that we know on this earth. He is the One who flooded the earth, so that the water was above the mountains. Our God showed Joseph the dreams of Pharaoh, and He parted the Red Sea, so that over 2 million people could cross on dry ground using only one night to dry it up. God stopped the mouths of lions for Daniel. He healed numerous people in the Old and New Testaments, while raising others from the dead. He is truly the God who works wonders. He does not keep these miracles and His great might a secret. He makes it known among the peoples. Both the believers and the unbelievers have seen the wonders of the Lord. They are signs to both that God exists, and He is the All-powerful Creator and Sustainer of all things. Should we not be able to trust Him today to work His wonders? I believe we should, and we should pray for Him to work His wonders in His way and timing, not trying to get Him to do what we want in our way. Then, once we see His wonders, we should make them known to everyone around us to show them the reality of our God.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Psalms 78-80.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Walking with God

I pray that all of us know how to walk with God continually. It is great to be saved from our sins and to have eternal life. However, that is just the beginning part of salvation. It is the starting line. After we come to know Christ, He wants us to walk with Him through the rest of our lives, so we can know His grace and be used by Him to do His will on this earth. The psalmist knew this and expressed it very well. (Psalm 73:23,24) Let's look at what he had learned and apply it to our lives.

Once we are a child of God, we can continually be with Him. He is not obligated to follow us, but we can choose to follow closely with Him all the time. In fact, as we walk together, He will hold our right hand. That is a way of saying that God will fight for us. If He holds our right hand, that takes our strong hand away, but His mighty right hand is free to defend us. Also, He is there to guide us with His counsel. That is why we need to walk with God continually. He knows everything, and we know very little. What He says is always best for us, but we must be walking closely to Him to hear all that He says and obey it immediately. Finally, He will receive us to glory when this life ends. He will usher us into our life in heaven with Him forever. That last part reminds me of my Grandma Howey's prayers. She always closed her prayers by saying, "At last, save us in heaven." That is exactly what God will do for each of us who know Christ, and we should be looking forward to being with Him.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Psalms 75-77. 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sharing God's Righteous Acts

David was overwhelmed by the righteous acts of God, and he made it a practice to share them with others all the day. (Psalm 71:15) In fact, he said that the number of them was past his knowledge. I believe David was doing then what we as believers should be doing today. If we would do this, we would see more people come to Christ, and the world would be a better place.

How many times a day to we tell others the good things God has done for us and for this world? How often to we speak about His deeds of salvation? I am afraid that we do not do this nearly enough. This is the most important thing for us to share with others, so why not do it all the time. There are so many examples that we do not have any excuse for not sharing with the people in our family, our friends,and our acquaintances. We do not have to be Bible scholars to speak about the Lord, nor do we need to know the answers to all of the questions others may have. Those are things that we look up in His Word and research, as we need to deal with hard things. However, we have learned enough, and we have seen God work in our own lives enough to be able to share something about the righteousness and salvation of God with everyone we see. Let's make it a point to do this whenever we speak to another believer or unbeliever, and let's see what God will do in response to our faithfulness.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Psalms 72-74.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

God's Compassion for Us

God is so great and powerful that it is amazing He has time for us at all. However, God is love, so He does care for us. How much does God care for us? I think David gave us a great window into His compassion for us. (Psalm 68:5) He cares for the least among us and for the greatest among us. However, His heart is very soft toward those who can't care for themselves.

God is a Father to the fatherless. The orphans of the Bible times were in a very difficult situation. There were not orphanages. There was no government assistance to help them. If there was not a family member or friend wealthy enough and willing to take them in, they were on their own. We call them "street children." The truth is that God has a soft spot in His heart for children like these, and He assumes the role of their father. He cares for them, and He gets others to care for them like He does. Also, God is a protector of widows. Widows were in much the same situation as orphans, but it was less likely someone would take them in, unless they were young and married a family member to carry on the family name. They could not make a living except by reaping the fields or begging. Therefore, God in His compassion protects them from poverty and those who would harm them, even today. I believe David's point is that God has compassion on anyone who is in a similar situation. We need to thank Him for His compassion toward us, and we need to make sure everyone knows the God we love and serve.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Psalms 69-71.