Friday, June 30, 2017

Where Are You, God?

                  Where Are You, God?
                                      
                                    Psalm 42:9-11 KJV
I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?  As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God? Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

The King of Israel, King David, was going through some very troubling times at this point in his life. His family was disintegrating, his kingdom had been disrupted, and he himself was on the run from his own son, Absalom. Adding to his misery, David was continually badgered by those who mockingly asked him, “Where is thy God?” (Psalm 42:3,10).

Have you ever asked the question, “Where are You, LORD?” Did it seem that during those troublesome times in your life that God was not there? Despite the appearance of what is happening, He is there with you and is at work in your life. Don’t be fooled into thinking that God is not around when the going gets tough, or allow your problems to drive a wedge between you and your God. He has promised never to leave you nor forsake you but to guide, direct, and bring about His purpose in your life (Romans 8:28).

Have you committed every trial totally to God and used your circumstances as a springboard for richer fellowship with Him? Every situation has two sides, a dark side and a bright side. Troubles should not drive us away from God but to Him. God is in control of every circumstance–––good or bad! When things around you are overwhelming to you, hear the cries of David in his most troublesome times (Psalm 42:3,4,5,9; 43:2). David learned it was critical for him to have a deeper trust in his God.

Lord, I thank You for working in my life even when I thought You were not there.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Oh, the Pain

                          Oh, the Pain
 
                                      Psalm 25:17,18 
The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses. Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins.

Psalm 25 teaches us to seek God in the hard times. James 1:5-6 is a short summary of Psalm 25. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth  not (without reproach); and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering (not doubting). For he that wavereth (who doubts) is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed."

The counsel of James is the need for wisdom in the midst of various trials (James 1:2-3). By faith we are to seek God and His wisdom in our trials because the testing of our faith produces steadfastness. No matter how difficult our trial or the cause, seek the Lord for His wisdom and trust Him to work for our good and His glory.

David, in Psalm 25 is not only overwhelmed with his enemies but he is also seriously troubled inwardly with sorrow of heart. He repeats his complaints to God frequently which shows that David’s trials were not slight but extremely overpowering. David asked for forgiveness of sins to find a remedy for pain and sorrow. We, too, are called to examine our own hearts and to humbly seek reconciliation with God. This is not to say that all trials are the cause or affects of sin.

We are encouraged, through the revelation of God’s Word, to lift our souls to God in prayer that we may find grace and mercy in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” What mercy the Lord offers when He hears our cries even though we may have forgotten Him until our hour of trouble arises.

Lord, I trust You through every trial.



Friday, June 16, 2017

Showing Grace in Marriage

           Showing Grace in Marriage
                                           
                                          I Peter 3:1-7
. . . showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life. . .
Do you remember the day you walked down an aisle and said, “I do?” That day would change  your life forever. Your friends and family shared in your day and witnessed the union of two hearts becoming one. You would leave your parents home and become his wife, a help meet. Your dream was to be a life long companion and one day, a mother. What joy and happiness filled your heart as your desire to be a loving and submissive wife unfolded.

What happened? How did life change so much? A marriage founded on unconditional love now has demands and expectations heaped upon it. There is scorekeeping at all costs and the fifty-fifty proposition is beginning to surface. Are there proposals transpiring such as, “I’ll do what you want, if you’ll do what I want?” Is this really a grace-centered marriage? A marriage filled with grace is one where you’re both apologizing to each other, seeking and granting forgiveness.  Where both husband and wife give 100 percent of themselves and your apology does not feel like you’re betraying yourself. In reality, you are protecting your marriage and giving unquestioning grace and love to your spouse.

Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” Jesus said, “But the Helper, (Comforter) the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26). When we attempt to show love and grace in the difficult times of our life it will cause us to reflect and then demonstrate what Christ has done for us. Remember, the Gospel is powerful and can change, transform and rebuild a marriage for the glory of God.

Lord, may grace abound in my marriage.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Conditional or Grace

                   Conditional or Grace
                                      
                                       Ephesians 2:1-10
                    “. . . by grace you have been saved. . .”

Have you ever felt that most of your relationships were overlaid with conditions? If you love me,  then will I love you. If you give to me, only then will I give to you. If you serve me, then I will serve you. If you could simply find the right conditions to meet their needs, then your happiness would be secure, or maybe not. Must I do something for you in order for you to accept me? Is the underlying message always the same; accomplishments and/or performance precedes approval?

Everyone knows what it’s like not to measure up to someone’s expectations. This oppressive conditionality is quite real in our society today and exhausting to live under. Not only do we see conditions, prerequisites and requirements placed upon people in the world, but also in the life of many Christians. What about Grace? Grace is the outpouring of love that seeks you out when you have absolutely nothing to give in return. This love is not about preconditions that have requirements and accomplishments and need approval. It is about being loved when you are undeserving of that love, a gift of God’s grace, pure and simple.

The relationship where you continuously feel like you’re being evaluated and falling short of  someone's acceptance is an unhappy relationship. The Gospel liberates you from the judgment of God and of mankind. You’ll never measure up to the demands that are placed upon you and  are therefore in need of a Savior.

It is an unconditional love that relieves the pressure of demands, forgives all our failures, and replaces our unrelenting fears with faith. Jesus Christ came to set us free from the tireless effort of justifying ourselves and finding approval in the eyes of men. The Bible is saturated with the message of Grace and the love that God lavishes upon us. Even though we may try to insist on paying our sin debt, the balance has been settled, paid in full, by His Grace!


Lord, thank You for Your unconditional love.

Friday, June 2, 2017

A Place Called Heaven



A Place Called Heaven
 John 14:1-3 KJV
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

What comfort there is in knowing someone you love is in Heaven a wonderful, gracious gift from God. What sights to behold and pleasures to experience. A magnificent place prepared for those who know Christ as Savior. Have you imagined yourself walking on streets of gold, standing by the River of Life or having your name read from The Lamb’s Book of Life? Have you pictured the Gates of Pearl or visualized the eternal home designed for you? 

This place called Heaven is where God dwells and where Christ will be for all eternity. Can you picture in your mind the scars Jesus sustained for you and me? Do the words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21), ring out in your ears? Will the overwhelming presence of God bring the true meaning of “eternity” to heart? Does singing praises to the Lamb, “Who is worthy to be praised” (Psalm 18:3), bring tremendous joy to your spirit? In all sincerity, are you looking forward to the day when this life is no more and you are in the presence of God?

In remembering those who have gone before you, and praying for those who are on the brink of Heaven’s shore, I pray you are preparing yourselves for this incredible journey. Working while there is yet time “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4 ). Heaven is a promise from God to those who know Him as personal Savior. 

Lord, I pray we will continue to share with others the incredible place we call Heaven.