The Lord Is My Deliverer

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“The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock where I seek refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2 (CSB)

Sometimes we reduce our salvation to going to heaven when we die. Of course, heaven is part of our salvation, but the depth of our salvation is vast. Psalm 18 mentions several key attributes of God regarding in our salvation: Rock, Fortress, Deliverer, Refuge, Shield, and Stronghold.

Each of these attributes are meant to be help us as we go through life. Life has a lot of ups and downs, and at different points in life, we have specific needs only God can fill. In difficult times, for example, we rely on God to be our refuge, or when circumstances or people come against us, we need God to be our fortress or deliverer. 

Jesus said “I have come to give you life to the fullest.” Other translations say “life abundantly.” Part of God’s plan for giving us abundant life is His provision and protection for us during this life. This shouldn’t be misunderstood, however, as protection from bad things or difficult circumstances. In fact, Jesus said much to the contrary: You will have suffering in this world. (John 16:33, emphasis added) Even here, though, Jesus immediately followed this warning with a victorious statement that should bring peace and comfort to every follower of Jesus: Be courageous! I have conquered the world.

God, help me to rely on You when I face troubled times as my Protector because You have conquered the world.

The God of My Salvation

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“But I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.” Micah 7:7 (CSB)
I don’t know about you, but if the certainty of my salvation was dependent on me, I would live in constant fear of falling from God’s favor. When I read Jesus’ comments to the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane that, though our spirit is willing, our flesh is weak, the daily struggle with my own sin rings loud and clear. (Matthew 26:41)
As Christians we can take great comfort that it is God’s power that saves us, not our own efforts. Jesus said that the Father has given His children to Him and no one is able to snatch them from His hand. (John 10:29) Therefore, we do not have to worry from day to day whether we are in God’s favor or if He will hear us. As a loving Father, He delights in listening to His children. (John 14:13, Psalm 18:19)
In fact Philippians 1 reminds us that God’s not finished with us, yet, and because of His faithfulness, He will complete His work in His timing. What a relief! When I look into the mirror of my life and see my own shortcomings, I can take comfort that, as the old song says, “He’s still working on me.” (Song by Joel Hemphill (c) 1980)

God, grant me peace that my salvation rests in you alone. Remind me often that, even though my salvation is secure in Your power, I must be faithful to sincerely confess my sin and live in repentance.

He’s Still Working on Me

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“I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭CSB‬‬

Years ago there was a song called “He’s Still Working on Me” which said “how loving and patient He must be ’cause He’s still working on me.” (https://youtu.be/AGjrqV-EOfg)

Last week on Good Friday, we celebrated the completed work of salvation in Jesus’ death on the cross. However, His work of sanctification continues on in the lives of Christians all around the world as we are “conformed into the image of [Jesus].” (Romans 8:29-30)

In my daily struggle between a willing Spirit and a weak flesh (Matthew 26:41), I am thankful for the confidence that “He’s still working on me.”

Living Water

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“Jesus said, ‘Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again. In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up in him for eternal life.” John 4:13-14 (CSB)

Living Water

Have you ever been really thirsty? Maybe after a long workout or run. Maybe working out in your yard on a hot summer day. Maybe you’ve been oversees or in a desert area of the US. Do you remember what it was like when you finally got that first sip of water? For most of us, that feeling of quenched thirst is an incredible relief. What’s interesting, though, is that as relieving as that drink of water was, at some point afterwards your thirst returned. You needed another drink of water.

Our bodies were created to yearn for water. In fact, water is a necessity for life. It’s no surprise that Jesus used water as a metaphor for Himself, calling Himself Living Water. Ever since humanity’s relationship with God was broken by sin, our spirit deeply yearns to be reconciled with its Creator.

David cries out “God, you are my God; I eagerly seek you. I thirst for you; my body faints for you in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water.” (Psalm 63)

What a picture! For me, too often my spiritual thirst wanes. I long to be close to God, but the things of the world distract my attention away from the only One who can completely satisfy.

God, may my spiritual thirst for You match the intensity of my physical thirst.

Do Not Be Afraid

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“Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (CSB)

Do Not Be Afraid

Do you remember a time when you were afraid? Fear comes in many forms often as a result of something unknown such as fear of trying something new, fear of being in a new places, fear of something uncontrollable, fear of a strange noise in the middle of the night, and many others. We all feel fear at some time and in some way.

Moses had passed away, and Joshua had taken on the mantle as Israel’s leader. He was standing face-to-face with a whole world of questions and unknowns. Could he be as good of a leader as Moses? Would God’s people follow Him even when things get tough? Could he lead God’s people to take the land God had promised?

God instructed Joshua to be courageous and not be afraid. God’s gave two primary reasons Joshua had no grounds to be fearful of what was ahead: 1) God’s promise to be with him (v 5) and 2) Joshua had “God’s Word” to lean on (v 7-8).

These are the same promises we have as followers of Jesus. Jesus Himself promised He would be with us always (Matthew 28:20) and Peter reminds us we have “all we need for life and godliness” through the indwelling Spirit of God and the Scriptures (2 Peter 1:3)

We must be careful, though, not assume our trust in God guarantees all things will work out in the exact way we want. No, our courage is based on our trust in God who is working out His plan.

Psalm 56:3 gives us a great prayer: “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.”

God, when I am afraid, help me trust that You are with me and have given me all I need to be courageous.

Exposing Light of Jesus’ Holiness

“The Lord is good and upright; therefore he shows sinners the way.” ~ Psalms‬ ‭25:8‬ ‭CSB‬‬

While it isn’t enjoyable when we become aware of our sin, it is, in fact, through God’s goodness and mercy that He reveals our sinful ways to us. His desire is to draw us in. Paul tells us in Ephesians 5: “all things become visible when they are exposed by the light…” (‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:13‬ ‭NASB‬‬). So it is natural for our sin to be more clearly revealed as we get close to Jesus. 

Therefore it is an unpleasant necessity for our sin to be revealed in the light of Jesus’ holiness as we draw near to him. 

The great news of this revelation is that “if we confess (recognize, agree, and admit) our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John‬ ‭1:9‬ ‭CSB‬‬) This is great news indeed because through this repentance we are conformed into the image of Christ. 

God, may I graciously receive the light You shine on my life and confess in repentance the sin in my life that is exposed. 

The Lord is Good #psalm100

Let the whole earth shout triumphantly to God! . . . For the Lord is good, and his faithful love endures forever; his faithfulness, through all generations. Psalm 100:1,5

Acceptable Praise to the Lord – Psalm 19:14

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.” ~ Psalm 19:14

In contrast to the heavens and the earth in verses 1-6 which do not have the ability to praise God with words, David prays that his  words would be acceptable offerings of praise. 

What a great prayer for me as well! “God, may the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you.”

This image was originally posted to Facebook on March 18, 2015. 

Generational Disciplers

“Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (CSB)

There is a lot packed into this passage. Let’s focus on a few key parts.

1. There is only one God. He alone is to worshiped.

2. God expects us to love Him with our entire being. He isn’t interested in simply getting a compartment of your life. . . even it’s the largest compartment. His desire is your entire life to be filtered through Him.

3. Older generations have a responsibility to train up younger generations. Yes, most directly, this falls to parents, but it doesn’t stop there (see Deuteronomy 4:9-10 and Titus 2:1-7). Each generation should seek to learn as much as possible from the previous generation and to invest as much as possible the generations that follow.

4. Once-a-week investment in younger generations will not suffice to pass the baton of faith. Part of older generations investment in the younger must include encouraging and equipping parents to lead their children in the faith.

God, grant me wisdom to learn from those who have gone before me and invest often in those that follow.

Creator and Ruler of All

“So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female. God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. . . God saw all that he had made, and it was very good indeed.” Genesis 1:27-28a, 31 (CSB)

By setting in motion the minutest details of creation, God demonstrated His right to rule over the matters of the family from the very beginning. Did you notice the repetition in verse 27? “God created…he created…he created.” An emphatic point is being made here. God is Creator and set all things in motion according to His plan. Not only did God set all things in motion, but He also sustains all things by holding them together (See Colossians 1:17).

Have you ever thought about the following fact? God had infinite options at His disposal when creating families. He did not have to make man and woman the way He did. Within His design, God set forth a specific plan to create the human race as a replicable species with a special place within creation – His image bearers. Note that after creating mankind God “saw all that he had made, and it was very good indeed.” What happened next? He rested. He was satisfied and content with His perfect design.

As Creator God exercised His authority in His master plan. As His creation, our job is to submit to His plan. That’s easier said than done, of course, but let’s pray for the strength to humble ourselves before Him.

God, help me recognize Your authority over me and give me the strength and wisdom to willingly submit to Your created plan.

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