Tag Archives: Trials

Don’t be Tossed at Sea

James 1:6 KJV

6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

Let’s quickly review where we have been so far because it ties in so nicely with where we are going. In verse 2 we learn that we should count it Joy when we fall into temptations. Why? Because temptations and tests try our faith and those trials of our faith will teach us patience. Why is patience so important? Because when patience is complete in us and we have learned how to wait on the Lord, we are perfected and we are ready to be used to fulfill the Master’s plan in our life. We will be content and will have no wants outside of a closer relationship with Jesus.

After James explains that process he tells us that if we lack wisdom we should ask God for it. Why?  During test we are going through God will give us wisdom and all we need to do is ask. He gives it out freely and in great quantities and He will never be upset or angry with us when we ask for wisdom. He will give it! Why? So that we can better understand why we are going through what we are going through. God wants us to know! And most likely he is speaking to you and telling you why you are going through the trial and you simply aren’t listening. I can’t tell you how many times that has happened to me. When I finally learn to listen I understood and then he could bring the trial to an end.

Now we come to verse 6. When we ask for faith the King James version says we need to ask with nothing wavering . Now I have always believed I knew what nothing wavering meant. It means having no doubt. And that is brought out in many other verses that use the same Greek word. For example in Matthew 21:21 and Mark 11:23 the Greek word used here for wavering is translated doubt. In Romans 4:20 it is used to talk about Abraham not staggering from the faith. In other words he had no doubt.  Acts 11:2 says that the people of the circumcision, or those who believed they had to follow the law to be saved, contended with Paul. In other words they doubted him. But I wanted to study a little deeper.

The Greek word for wavering out is the word  d i a k r i n o. The word spelled d i a is a word that means always. The word k r i n o means deciding mentally or judiciously. So putting those two words together means that we always decide mentally or judiciously. That my friends is not faith. Faith does not depend on our mental capacity to understand the situation. Faith does not judge the situation by the circumstances that we are in. Faith accepts what God says! When we walk in faith we walk according to what God has spoken into our lives and we pay no attention to what our mind and our judgement tells us.

I am thoroughly convinced that when Jesus walked this Earth He had that kind of faith. He had absolutely no element of doubt in any part of his body when He prayed for the sick, or when He cast out demons, or when He raised the dead or healed the lepers. He said they were healed and He believed they were healed.  His faith went out to them and they were healed. Every single person Jesus came across was healed. Excuse me, there might be one exception. In Acts chapter 3:1-7 we read about a man who has been sitting on the temple beautiful steps for his entire life. Jesus must have passed Him by and he was still not healed when Peter and John got there. I’m not sure why but this is the only case I can see where somebody wasn’t healed. Maybe he never asked Jesus for healing.

In any case when you read the account of Jesus you read that everybody that came to him was healed. If we had the same faith as Jesus everybody that we prayed for would be healed. I am convinced of that beyond a shadow of a doubt. But we see things mentally that tell us people aren’t healed. And we judge by what we see and what we hear. We always do that. That is defined here as wavering.  James admonishes us to have the kind of faith that doesn’t waiver. He says if my faith wavers it’s like the wave of the sea tossed to and fro with the wind.

Have you ever seen the movie “The Perfect Storm”. It’s a great movie to get an idea of what the ocean can be like in a storm. A Biblical example is when of the disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee.  This sea has storms that come up very suddenly. Jesus told him to go over to the other side. In other words He told them that they would make it to the other side. But they fretted and stewed while Jesus slept. They were afraid and they doubted. They cried out to Jesus and He immediately calmed the Sea and the waves. And then he asked them why they didn’t have the faith that they would make it to the other side.

My friends, I have a long ways to go to have this type of faith but I am asking God to produce it in me. Guess how that type of faith comes. You guessed it!  Go back up to verse 2 -4 and you will see how this type of faith is perfected.  It is through having joy in our trials and temptations so that patience can be worked out in our lives. This is what faith is used for and how it grows. You have always heard it said that we should not pray for patience because it’ll bring trials. I would submit to you that if you pray for faith the same type of thing will happen. Let us learn to have the patience to wait on the Lord and ask Him to give us wisdom to understand why we have to wait.  Then let us be quiet and listen so that we can hear what He has to say. Then we will start to understand what He is doing in our lives to perfect His plan in us.

 

Be Blessed

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Wisdom for the Asking

James 1:5  KJV

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

James switches gears a little bit and addresses the matter of wisdom. Now I say he only switches a little bit because we need wisdom to discern the trials and tests that face us all the time. It is important that we understand God has a reason for allowing things to come into our lives and often this takes wisdom. We have talked about what we gained through trials and tests the last few days. Now it is time to share what we need while we’re going through them and that is wisdom, along with patience, faith and joy.

 James tells us here that when I am going through these trials, or any other time that I’m not understanding, I should ask God for wisdom. To me wisdom means being able to take the knowledge and the understanding that I have and apply it to the situation that I’m in. Believe me there are often times that I don’t have wisdom. Sometimes I get into the middle of one of my posts and realize that the wisdom that I need to continue the train of thought is not present. So I stop, pray and ask God for the wisdom to continue. He always comes through.
What often happens to me though is I get into the middle of a situation and I try to figure it out myself. I go back through every step I to get here and I look at it how it started and  I try to figure out, in our my understanding, why this is happening to me. Now all that isn’t necessarily. It would be much easier for me to just ask God for wisdom in the first place. He obviously has the wisdom to be able to help me. Remember Solomon? When God said he could ask for anything Solomon ask for wisdom. God told him because he asked for wisdom he would be blessed beyond his wildest dreams. I believe that applies to us too. If we will ask God for wisdom the windows of heaven will open and pour out a blessing that we cannot contain.
The Bible tells us that wisdom has been around since before creation (Prov 8:22). It also tells us a fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov 9:10). It also tells us that the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God (1 Cor 3:19). So many people follow the wisdom of this world instead of the wisdom of God and think they know the heart of God. That is literally an impossibility. Without the wisdom of God we stand as fools. We need his wisdom every day. And the funny thing is that He gives it to us liberally if we just will ask.  That means it will flow into us in large quantities at the time we need it. I use the King James version and it says that God upbraids us not when we ask for wisdom. That means He is never angry or upset that we are asking for wisdom. So we should be coming to Him all the time asking Him to give us wisdom in these situations.
And then there’s a guarantee at the end but it shall be given. Now we have to take into account that God does things in His own time and we have to be patient. We just talked about that at length. But He promises that He will show us the reason for the test in the trial in His own time. All we have to do is ask and He’ll give us the wisdom to work through it. This takes great listening skills because we have to cloud out all that the world is throwing at us, including the trial we are going through.  I hope that you will take the time to do the asking
Be blessed!

Patiently Perfected

James 1:4 KJV

4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Okay now I think James is gone off the deep end. I mean let’s consider what he said so far. He said that we should have joy when we fall into temptation. We all hate temptation but he tells us to have joy. And the reason he tells us that is because we should know that faith when it’s tried produces patience. So in essence what he’s telling us is that when trouble comes be patient. That’s a hard thing to swallow.

Verse 4 comes tells us why we should have that joy in those trials. James tells us that when patience is done working in our lives we will be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. WOW. Doesn’t that sound like a place where you would like to be? A place where your life feels full and you seem to have everything you need? If that is where you want to be then here is your answer. Be patient.

But brother Pete. I thought that love was the key thing that we need! I thought that the most important thing was that we love our neighbor as ourselves and love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. I don’t see anything there about patience.

That is where it gets interesting. Where do most of your troubles come from? Do they come from your own mistakes and your own lack of wisdom in certain areas?  Or do they come from the things that other people do and say? Do they come from worrying about what’s happened to somebody else?  Or is it troubles that come because we don’t have the discipline we need in certain areas of our lives? Where do temptations and troubles really come from in our lives?

I would submit to you, as James does here, that if we can learn to have patience in all of these areas then our lives would be drastically changed. If we would learn to wait on the Lord and take these situations as a matter of faith, then how would they change and how would our prayer life change? Can we learn to remember that God’s timing is perfect in this microwave society, where we want everything right away. God always knows us better than we know ourselves,  and He knows what we need. If he has not answered your prayer in the way you expect him to then patience is the most important thing you can have.

I did a little word study on that word perfect this morning.  It means pretty much what you think it does. I would compare it to a fruit on the vine that has matured or a house a building that has been completed and is ready to be used for the purpose that it was made for. When we become perfect in the Lord we are ready to be used for the purpose we were made for.

As I dictate this on Tuesday morning the Lord is just filling my spirit and I’m weeping before God as I catch the true meaning of this verse. You have to know that when I do these blogs I rely on the Holy Spirit to give me exactly what to say at the moment that I’m tying or dictating it.   I don’t go out and study things ahead of time and try to figure it out I give it to God. And right now He showed me this truth – that our trials and tests bring us to the point of maturity so that He can use us to fulfill His plan for our lives  It’s just overwhelming me. I’m wiping the tears from my eyes.  What an amazing God we serve.

Can I share with you why this struck me so deeply? I hope you answered yes because I’m going to. When I look at my life I see so many trials and tribulations that God has brought me through. Some have been through joy when I took James 1: 2 and applied it and some not. Ten years ago I had a huge battle against pride that almost ruined my marriage. I lost my job of 20 years because of it.  I went to a ministry in Kentucky called Pure Life Ministry for 8 months to try and get my life straightened out. That test was a phenomenal test for me and for my wife. But God brought us through even though the joy of James was not too evident. This diagnosis of cancer in March of 2016 came and if you don’t think cancer is a trial and a test of your faith then you don’t know cancer very well. I approached it with joy this time. I knew that God would bring me through it., so I accepted it with joy and trusted God There was never any doubt in my mind.

When I look at this verse and apply it the way James has written it, I plainly see these trials I went through were there to try my faith so that patience would be produced.  Patience in both cases brought me through as I waited upon God. And that patience is there to perfect me, to help me become mature in Christ, so that I can fulfill the call He has put on my life. Through this battle with cancer I can’t tell you how many people have been affected by the writing that I’ve been doing. Between the poems on my Psalmist page to the study through Psalms, I have had hundreds of people tell me that they were touched and moved and affected by the words that God has given me. I’ve even had one young man who accepted Christ because he read one of my poems.

I don’t say these things to boast. I say these things to show you that even in the deepest test our lives can go through, God is at work. God is perfecting us in our faith as we wait upon him with patience to go through the battle. He is with us every step of the way and  patience will bring us through to the other side, a vessel that is ready for His purpose and His use. What more could a person want? How can I ask God for any more then His perfect will in my life? It is only arrived at by waiting upon Him and having the patience and the faith to go through the trial with joy.  Always remember that just because we can’t see God working doesn’t mean He isn’t working.  He works the hardest when He is silent in our lives!

One the thing about patience.  We are commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves, right?  Then He tells us our neighbor could be the person we despise (Good Samaritan).  I would submit this is only possible if we learn patience.  Our neighbors can put us through our most difficult tests, and our response should be to pray that God will change us where He needs to so we can understand the pain they have in their lives.  People aren’t mean just to be mean – there is an area of hurt in their lives that we can’t see, and they lash out at those around as a means of protection from being hurt more.  When we learn to empathize with them, and have patience and pray for them, we truly learn to love them.  Here is patience at work perfecting our love!

What are you going through today? What trial or temptation has you bothered or upset. I adjure you to find the joy of the Lord in the middle of that trial. Know that God is at work in your life through that person or that incident that’s going on. Know that God is perfecting you even though it seems like you’re falling apart. We have joy when were tempted because our faith will produce patience and patience will perfect us.  It perfects us because we learn to wait on God. Then, as we’re perfected, we won’t need anything else because we have God – and He becomes all we need.  Then we will be perfect and entire wanting nothing.

Are You Breathing?

Psalm 150  King James Version (KJV)

As we finish up this study on Psalms, I want to thank you for reading my reflections on these 2,461 verses.  It has been a journey I will never forget.  It has taught me that I need to be much more patient than I am, that I need to rely on God much more than I do, and I need to listen for His voice much harder than I have.  The Psalms teach me that God is always for me, that He is always watching out for me and that He loves me more than I can possibly fathom with my feeble human understanding.

There are two results of these lessons learned.  The first is that I find myself much calmer – more at peace – when things just don’t go the way I think they should.  I know my God is bigger than anything that can come my way, and He is in control.  Nothing can harm me past what He will allow.  If He allows some trial or trouble, He is always close by to deliver me once I learn the lesson He is trying to teach me.  Trials are a time when I have to listen carefully for His voice.  I think we often forget that Job had a lengthy conversation with God before he was delivered out of his calamity.  Am I listening close enough to have the same type of conversation?

The second lesson is that I always need to turn to praise.  His praise should be on my lips at every turn of every day – no exceptions.  No matter what the day has brought, no matter what obstacles may try to distract me, no matter how I feel – I should be praising Him.  Not because He has blessed me, not because He has made my path straight, not because He has delivered me out of some trouble.  I should praise Him solely because He is worthy of my praise.  That is enough!

This last Psalm is a culmination of David’s desire to be a blessing to His God.  David calls us to pray with everything we’ve got.  Don’t hold back.  Don’t muffle or silence the praise that He deserves.  Let the whole world know about the awesome God we serve.  He is worthy.

1 Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.

Not just in the sanctuary, but out in the open field, we should praise Him.  With all that’s in me, I hope by now you know how important it is to give Him praise!  It is for His good pleasure, but even more it elevates us above the hubbub of this world.  We can forget about our troubles and concentrate on Him when we praise Him.  Way too many Christians only praise Him at church – don’t be one of them!

2 Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.

Two reasons to praise Him.  First, for His mighty acts.   I cannot recount all He has done for me.  The list would go on and on and on.  John said if He listed all the works of Jesus. the world could not contain all the books that would be written (John 21:25).   feel like that for just what He’s done for me!

Praise Him for His excellent greatness.  Just because He is who He is.  Not for anything He has done or provided, but for who He is.  I don’t need any other reason to Praise Him than this.  Many people go through life only praising Him when good things happen.  Then in the down times, they wonder why they feel so alone.  Always praise Him for who He is, not for what He’s done.  This will keep you on top!

3 Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.

4 Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.

5 Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.

Use whatever is at your disposal to give Him praise.  There are thousands of instruments today.  In David’s day, these were the main instruments used at times of worship.  David wants to hear all of them praising the Lord.  For me, I have my voice and my hands.  I am slowly learning to play the piano – very slowly.  I use my voice to praise Him the most.  I am the worship leader at our church, where my wife is the pianist and the pastors wife is the organ player.  They are incredible as both of them play by ear and will adjust the key of the song at the drop of a hat. It is so much fun to sing with their accompaniment.

I remember when I truly learned what worship was all about.  As a young Christian, I was worship leader at our church.  The pastor could not carry a tune at all but He loved to praise the Lord.  Time after time, when I had finished leading and gone to sit down, He would keep singing God’s praises.  He did not care that he was way off tune, or how it sounded.  He just wanted to praise the Lord more.  That spirit of praise was amazing to me, and I have never forgotten it.

6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.

This verse needs no explanation.  I know you are breathing.  Just praise Him!

I Am Your Servant, Lord

Psalm 143  King James Version (KJV)

1 Hear my prayer, O Lord, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness.

2 And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.

God is faithful to hear our prayer, and will hear it based on His righteousness.  What does that mean for me?

First of all, he is faithful to hear me.  You can look all through scripture and see that Good says He will hear our prayers.  2 Sam 2:24, Psalm 116:1,  Jer 33:3, are just a few examples of verses that tell us He hears us.  But even ore than that are the examples from our own lives/  Have you ever prayed when  you were sick, and you got well?  Every time I hope – otherwise you’d be dead.  He must have heard that prayer.  Have you ever prayed in time of distress, and the situation somehow got cleared up?  He heard your prayer.  Have you ever cred out to Him when finances just would not make ends meet< and suddenly something came through?  He heard your prayer.

Remember that God can use any means on earth to answer our prayers.  They  may not come as miracles like we would like them to, but He answers the prayer in  His righteousness.  In other words, He always answers it n the way that is right and just for us.  God has the ability utilize any and all individuals that come across our path on a certain day. The entire realm of nature is at His command!  Don’t you think He can work with  the doctor, the banker, the business down the street to help  settle your problems when you ask for an answer in prayer?

The truth is that too often we forget to acknowledge God in many  of the ways He blesses us.  Proverbs 3:6 tells us  “In all they ways acknowledge Him”.  That means we should give Him credit every time there is a good thing that comes our way.  He is involved in all that is good.From he morning sun to the stars at night, He is there, watching over us.   Do I take the time to thank Him every time I get an answer to the smallest of prayers?  I sure try to.  How about you?  Do you acknowledge Him when prayers are answered?  he is faithful and righteous, are you?  I take it a step  further and acknowledge Him in the bad things that come to.  I acknowledge that He allowed it, and He will turn it for y good, so In have nothing to worry about.  That’s the God I serve!

3 For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead.

4 Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate.

I can understand why David would be overwhelmed.  After all, he was constantly being pursued by men who wanted to kill him.  heck, I’d be overwhelmed as well!  His enemies had gotten so bad that David and his men were living in caves as a way of hiding.  Remember, they didn’t have cots and air mattresses like we do.  The ground would be hard and dusty, night after night as they went in and out trying to figure a way out of this mess.  It had to be depressing and David’s heart was becoming empty, desolate.

5 I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.

6 I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah.

But then He remembers.  He starts to think about all the things that God has done for him in the past.  He considers all God has done for others like Moses, Joshua, Samuel, the judges, and so many more.  And he lifts up his hands in praise.  His hunger for God is renewed.

Remember.  That is a key ingredient to defeating the enemy when he has brought you down low.  Remember what God has done for you in the past.  if he did it before, He can do it again!  If He has not done a particular thing for you, think about your friends or relatives, or Bible characters and remember.  If He did it for them, He can do it for you!  God does not respect one person over another (Acts 10:34), and He s the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb 13:8).  Once you have remembered, then lift your hands and give Him praise.  It matters not if things are good or bad, He deserves our praise.

7 Hear me speedily, O Lord: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit.

I must not take my eyes off of Jesus.  When I take my eyes off of Him and turn them to something else, I start to wander away from His oath and plan for my life.  We will find ourselves where the psalmist does here – needing a speedy answer from the Lord.  We will feel our spirit getting weaker and our mind will spend less time on God and more time on the things of this world.  Trouble will come and we will want Good to deliver us.

8 Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.

9 Deliver me, O Lord, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me.

When I keep my eyes on Him, I will always trust Him.  When I awake in the morning, He will be with me, letting me know He loves me before i start my day.  He lets me know His way, and when the troubles come, and they will, I know He is there with me and will see me through.  With that knowledge, how can I worry or complain when things don’t go as I like them to.  I know He will deliver me from my affliction.  I know He will hide me from my enemy.

10 Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.

11 Quicken me, O Lord, for thy name’s sake: for thy righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.

12 And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant.

I am your servant God.  I do as you ask me to do.  I listen for your voice as I still myself from the hustle and bustle of this world.  I long to hear your voice and your instruction for my hours and my days. Teach me to do your will.  Instruct me in the way of righteousness.  Give me strength so that I can lift up your name and glorify you with all that I do.

I am your servant Lord.  Help me to be a faithful servant.  Show me mercy regarding my enemies.  I know trials and test must come and I accept these things as a git from you, helping me to grow.  But I ask for mercy that they do not stress me too much or cause me to fall away from you.  let me mind be stayed on you through every trial and every test.  Keep your servant from evil Lord.

 

Enduring Mercy

Psalm 136

This is a most unique Psalm, as the writer uses constant repetition of the words “for His mercy endureth forever”.  What an amazing reminder that God’s mercy will never give up on us, we should never allow ourselves to forget those simple words.  His mercy will outlast any problem we have, any sickness we have, and inadequacies we have, any difficulties that might come our way.  There is no end to His mercy.  It is so important to remember this when we are in those tough situations in our lives.

The other thing this speaks to me about is how long does my mercy ;last?  I am supposed to be His emissary in this world.  I am supposed to show others the Father, just as Jesus said He did (John 14:9).  We have an obligation to show others what the mercy of God looks like.  What kind of mercy do I show others?  Do I forgive readily?  Do I overlook faults?  It’s time we all do a mercy check in our lives!  Now, on with the psalm.

O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever.

O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Give thanks.  Three times he tells us to give thanks. I thank God for His mercy every day.  Going through this cancer, since the very beginning, I have said that God has been very merciful to me.  When I was diagnosed because I had lesions on my bones, I was told that most people have serious back or kidney problems and bone pain before they are diagnosed.  God was merciful.  When doing chemo, I have never had mouth sores – God is merciful.  I had no ill effects from chemo – God was merciful and still is.  When my shoulder decided to not work,  I was thankful I had no pain (they said 88% of people with my condition have pain).  God was merciful.  I could go on and on.  Even in the midst of batting cancer, I knew God had been merciful to me and I could give him thanks.  You too can find His mercy in the midst of your battles if you really look with His mercy in mind.  You to will find that He has been merciful to you  Give thanks at all tines!

To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever.

To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever.

To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever.

To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever:

The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever:

The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever.

The writer turns to creation first.  God made the things that we so desperately out of His mercy for us.  These are things we can give God thanks for no matter what the day is doing or what we are going through.  They are constant.  They appear every day.  They will never fail, just as His mercy won’t.  The psalmist wants us to remember this.  When you look at God’s remarkable creation, think of His mercy, and give Him thanks.

10 To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endureth for ever:

There are those who look at God and consider Him a warlord because He is constantly telling His people to defeat their enemy and kill them all.  They look at religion as the cause of most wars.  They do not see a merciful God at all when they see all the death and destruction in thew world, both by people and by natural causes.

I am going to take a new tactic with those people.  Instead of trying to defend God in those situations.  I am going to look at them and say “You are obviously still alive”  Now they have to acknowledge that!  Then I can say “My, God has been merciful to you!”  They will most likely be taken aback by that and ask me how I can say that.  “Easy”, I will say. “With all the calamity you speak of, you are still here.  That is God’s mercy on you”.  I will have no problem defending that position with the most stringent  atheist.

11 And brought out Israel from among them: for his mercy endureth for ever:

12 With a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for his mercy endureth for ever.

13 To him which divided the Red sea into parts: for his mercy endureth for ever:

14 And made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for his mercy endureth for ever:

15 But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for his mercy endureth for ever.

God will totally defeat your enemy.  Totally!  Juts as He annihilated Pharaohs Army in the Red Sea, He will deliver you out of your calamity.  His mercy had not changed.  it remains the same.  He does not want you to be looking over your shoulder, wondering if the enemy will be coming after you.  He wants you moving forward into the vision He has given you and into the plans He has for you.  If you ever start to have thoughts about past sins or past events, that’s the enemy trying to come after you.  Ignore Him!  Shut Him off!  If you give into those thoughts, you are vulnerable.  Allow God to drown them completely, just as He did the Egyptian army.

16 To him which led his people through the wilderness: for his mercy endureth for ever.

He led them through the wilderness.  He provided light in the nighttime and a cooling cloud during the day.  They moved when the fire or the cloud moved.  For forty years they wandered in the wilderness, following God all the way.  If you are in a trial or test, just tag along with the cloud and the fire of God.  He will lead you through it.  Not around it, not over or under it, but through it.

We want, with all our might, to avoid trials and tests.  But it is through these events that we grow and mature, that we learn and gain wisdom.  And the beauty of it is, that if we yield to these things God will guide us through them all the way.  Our trials become a blessing.  There was a song that really spoke to me a few years ago by Laura Story called “Blessings” that said this as well as any song ever had.

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

17 To him which smote great kings: for his mercy endureth for ever:

18 And slew famous kings: for his mercy endureth for ever:

19 Sihon king of the Amorites: for his mercy endureth for ever:

20 And Og the king of Bashan: for his mercy endureth for ever:

21 And gave their land for an heritage: for his mercy endureth for ever:

22 Even an heritage unto Israel his servant: for his mercy endureth for ever.

God not only led them to victory over their enemies, but He gave them their land as well,  What do you need in your life that the enemy has?  Do you need finances?  God an get it for you.  Do you need health?  God can provide it!  Do you need deliverance from some vice?  God can deliver you and replace it with something better.  There is nothing His mercy cannot do!

23 Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth for ever:

24 And hath redeemed us from our enemies: for his mercy endureth for ever.

25 Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever.

26 O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.

He redeemed us!  The greatest mercy of all was the giving of His Son, His only Son, to die in our place and redeem us from our sins.  You did not deserve that.  I did not deserve that. yet God did it anyway.  That is His great mercy on display.  Do you see mercy when you look at the cross?  God was not very merciful to His own Son on that cross so He could extend His mercy to us through His Son.  Give thanks unto the God of heaven, for His mercy endureth forever!

We Have Things To Do!

Psalm 135

Praise ye the Lord. Praise ye the name of the Lord; praise him, O ye servants of the Lord.

Ye that stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God.

Praise the Lord; for the Lord is good: sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant.

Why do you go to church?  I have heard people give all kinds of reasons why they go to church.  Some go for the fellowship with other believers.  Some go to be built up in the faith by the message or Sunday School lesson.  Some go because they feel obligated.  Some go because they want to be seen (pride).  Then there are those who do not go to church and say they can get the word from all those TV preachers and can worship Him in the calm surrounding of their own homes.  Some don’t go because of the hypocrisy they see all around them, and they would rather not be in the midst of it.  Some just can’t stand the gossip that goes on in our churches. I say all of these reasons are genuine and could be valid.

To me, going to church is all about worship.  It’s all about praising His name.  I’s all about joining with other believers in His court and lifting up His name.  We were created to praise Him!  We were created for that intimate fellowship that comes into a service when all are worshiping with one accord.  There is nothing that can take the place of that time.  believe me, I tried to recreate t when I was not going to church because of my cancer treatments, but I could not.  There is nothing like standing in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God and praising Him.  I urge you if you are not attending a church to find one where you belong.  If you are attending, praise Him with all you have every time you are there.  He deserves it!

For the Lord hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure.

The Lord chose Jacob, and the Lord chose us! In John 15:16, Jesus tells the disciples that they did not choose Him, He chose them.  I think that also applies to those of us who follow Christ with all of our heart.  He chose us to be His vessels, to mold and shape us so that we are ready for the masters use.  1 Peter 2:9 says that we are a peculiar people, a royal priesthood, a chosen generation.  That sets us apart for service if we truly will listen to His call.

Do you realize how important you are to God?  That’s right!  He desires to have you go out and touch people’s lives, showing them what an awesome God you serve.  He has given you a testimony to share with the world.  You probably wondered why you went through all those trials ad tests, all those struggles, all those hard times.  He brought you through all of the so you knew that he cared about you. and so that you would share with others His incredible mercy and grace.  there are people you can reach that perhaps no one else can.  Are you doing your part?  Get busy!

For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods.

Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.

He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings for the rain; he bringeth the wind out of his treasuries.

Who smote the firstborn of Egypt, both of man and beast.

Who sent tokens and wonders into the midst of thee, O Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his servants.

10 Who smote great nations, and slew mighty kings;

11 Sihon king of the Amorites, and Og king of Bashan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan:

12 And gave their land for an heritage, an heritage unto Israel his people.

In Israel’s history, we see so many battles and so many victories.  We see miraculous victories.  In Egypt He caused 10 amazing plagues to come so the nation would be released from bondage.  Then He knocked down the walls of Jericho with a shout.  The Red Sea parted.  The Jordan river parted – during flood stage!  Gideon defeated the Midianites with lanterns and a shout.  Daniel escaped he lions den.  Shadrach, Meshac and Abednego walked out of a fiery furnace.  Now tell me, have you faced any trials even close to those?  I doubt it.  After considering all those, do you think God can bring you through whatever you have going on right now?  You bet He can!

13 Thy name, O Lord, endureth for ever; and thy memorial, O Lord, throughout all generations.

14 For the Lord will judge his people, and he will repent himself concerning his servants.

You see, God never fails.  He will be forever.  His name will be exalted forever.  He will be the judge forever.  There is a lot of talk about judgment going on right now – how we should not judge one another, or judge those whoa re caught up in sinful lifestyles.  We are supposed to stand by and be tolerant, letting them be.  I have to say that God will not be tolerant.  He will judge sin, and will not spare anyone.  Churches today talk a lot about grace but very little about judgment.  We need the message of judgement alongside the message of grace.

As for me, I am responsible to judge myself – to examine myself (1 Cor 11:28).  I need to study to show myself approved (2 Tim 2:15).  I need to crucify this flesh (Gal 5:24).  I need to do the will of the Father Matt 7:21).  there are things God tells me to d, and I need to have enough sense to judge myself and see if I am doing those things.  Jesus said to remove the things from my life before I even think about trying to help someone else get their life straightened out. (Matt 7:1-5).  So many people think these verses teach us not to judge, but Jesus really is teaching us how to judge properly!  So check yourself out – make sure you’ve got it right.

15 The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.

16 They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not;

17 They have ears, but they hear not; neither is there any breath in their mouths.

18 They that make them are like unto them: so is every one that trusteth in them.

I am so glad I serve a God who speaks to me, who sees me, and who hears me.  A living, breathing God.  One who can walk with me each day.  One who actually cares about my well being and arranges things that will bless me day after day.  I serve an awesome God! I don’t trust in idols or false gods or gods who are dead.  In fact, I serve the only God who is alive – Jesus is not buried like so many other of those ancient gods.  Jesus rose from the grave and is alive today!

19 Bless the Lord, O house of Israel: bless the Lord, O house of Aaron:

20 Bless the Lord, O house of Levi: ye that fear the Lord, bless the Lord.

21 Blessed be the Lord out of Zion, which dwelleth at Jerusalem. Praise ye the Lord.

So I will bless the Lord!  We discussed this extensively a few days ago.  I need to lift up my voice and sing my praises unto Him every chance I get.  When I don’t feel like it, I will bless Him/  When times are hard, I will bless Him.  When the storms come, I will bless Him. When I am tired and alone, I will bless Him.  When I feel like no one cares, I will bless Him.  I will lift my praises to Him at all times.  He is worthy!