Clean the Crib But Keep The Oxen!

ross-farm-museum-oxen

Today’s Passage – Proverbs 13 – 15 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 9 – 10; Psalms 91 – 95; Proverbs 19)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Proverbs 3:5 & 6

Read the “0719 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previos post from today’s passage in Proverbs – “O Be Careful, Little Mouth, What You Say

“Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.” – (Proverbs 14:4)

Every Sunday afternoon, immediately following the morning service, we clean the auditorium and bathrooms of our church to make it ready for the evening service. I am often amazed at how dirty our building can get, especially considering that it was only in use for a few hours. There are bulletins lying all over, and the hymnbooks are everywhere except where they should be. We find candy wrappers and water bottles in various places. Sometimes, I even find chewed gum stuck to a chair or on the floor. Yuk! The place is a mess. But I thank God for the mess, because the mess indicates that people were using the building. There are times when I get a little tired of cleaning it, but if I didn’t have to clean it, it could only be because nobody was coming to our services.

I have determined that I will never get the mindset that the building that God has given us is to be some sort of museum for the Saints of God to observe and admire. I want our building to be functional and practical; and I want it to be used by our people as much as possible, and as often as possible. And if it is being used, it is going to get dirty, and at times things are going to need to be repaired. I have been spending a great deal of time this summer painting and upgrading parts of our building. The rooms that were finished last month already have some marks on the walls. Praise God! That means that people: men, women, children; souls are coming to the House of God, and are getting the help that they need. I will keep cleaning the crib, but I think I am  going to keep the oxen as well.

Brother Hyles tells a story about a man in his church that was complaining about the oily messes made in the parking lot by all the busses that were used to bring boys and girls to church. Bro. Hyles reminded the man that D.L. Moody brought in a lot of children, too, in his day, and the horses used to pull the wagons were a whole lot messier.


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The Richest Man On Earth

Today’s Passage – Proverbs 10 – 12 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 7 – 8; Psalms 86 – 90; Proverbs 18)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 121

Read the “0718 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.” (Proverbs 10:22)

What determines the true wealth of a man? Is it the amount of money he has in his bank account? Is it the number of acres he owns or the size of his house? Perhaps it might be the number of toys and possessions that he has been able to accumulate in his lifetime? Can richness be measured by the world’s standards? This world puts a great deal of emphasis on material gain and financial success, and to some degree they are right, because one of the ways that God blesses His children is by providing them with their needs, and even some of their desires. But the truth is, the world is replete with people who have “this world’s goods”, but are not rich. Why? Because they lack the blessing of the Lord. Let me list for you some of the reasons why I feel that I am the richest man on earth:

1 My Father is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and all of the silver and gold belongs to Him. Because I am His child, everything that He has is mine as well. Everything that I need is provided for me. I am completely content, because there is nothing that I will ever need that will not be provided for me.

2 My Family is truly a blessing from God. He has given me the most beautiful wife in all of the world along with four wonderful children (and now two sons-in-law, and a daughter-in-law), and three beautiful grandchildren. They are for me; they support me; they encourage me; they assist me; they love me as I am even with all of my faults.

3 My Friends are also extremely valuable to me. I have a few friends that I believe would take a bullet for me. They are loyal and true, even when things aren’t going so well.

4 My Future looks even brighter. My needs for the rest of my life are guaranteed, and I have a mansion waiting for me in Heaven when I have finished His purpose for me on earth.

How about you? Have you been measuring your wealth the same way the world does? Maybe you are actually richer than you thought? If you are experiencing the blessing of the Lord, you are a rich man indeed.


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Who Are You Going To Listen To?

Listen

Today’s Passage –Proverbs 7 – 9 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 5 – 6; Psalms 81 – 85; Proverbs 17)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 119:105

Read the “0717 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Did you notice in our passage this morning that there were two very different women, and each of them were calling out to men, trying to get them to yield to her?

# 1 – The Foolish Woman (the Strange Woman – [Ladies – this could also be a strange man])

“And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart. (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house: Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.) So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him, I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows. Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves. For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey: He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed.” (Proverbs 7:10-20)

“A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing. For she sitteth at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city, To call passengers who go right on their ways: Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.” (Proverbs 9:13-18)

The first woman is the foolish woman. You meet her quite often in the Book of Proverbs. She is easy to spot because she dresses like an harlot. She is loud, and very bold about what she wants. You see her just about everywhere you go. She is very alluring, and offers pleasure that promises to satisfy, at least temporarily. Unfortunately, those that yield to her end up ruining their lives. “For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.” (Proverbs 7:26-27)

# 2 – The Woman named Wisdom

“Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars: She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table. She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city, Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled. Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.” (Proverbs 9:1-6)

This woman is a different story altogether. She is introduced in the first few verses of chapter 7. Chapter 8, and the beginning of chapter 9 are also all about her. She is also trying to get you to yield to her, and she is desparately trying to keep you away from the strange and foolish woman (7:5). She offers you long life and the favor of the Lord, and promises that the fruit that she gives you is more valuable than gold. She has served as counsellor to the greatest leaders of the world, and was even present when God created the world around us. And she delivers on her promises. She may not give you the temporary pleasure that the foolish woman offers, but in the long run, she is the much “wiser” choice.

So, who are you going to choose? I can give you a suggestion. “Get Wisdom”, and stay as far away from the foolish woman (or man) as you can.

“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” (Proverbs 4:7)

“Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth. Let not thine heart decline to her (the foolish woman) ways, go not astray in her paths.” (Proverbs 7:24-25)


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Consider the Ant

Consider the Ant

Today’s Passage – Proverbs 4 – 6 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 3 – 4 ; Psalms 76 – 80; Proverbs 16)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 92:1 – 4

Read the “0716 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.” – (Proverbs 6:6-11)

I remember a few years back, our assistant pastor, Ted Stahl, was sitting on the curb in back of our church and he was staring down at the ground. I was curious as to what he was doing, so I asked him. He answer was even more curious: he said that he was obeying the Bible. By this point, he had my full attention, so I probed even deeper, and asked him what he meant by that. He told me that the Bible commanded him to consider the ants, and as I looked closer I could see that Pastor Stahl was actually observing some ants as they were going about their business. I will have to agree that the ants are fascinating creatures. They seem to be always busy, working together to accomplish their goal.

Christians ought to have some of the qualities of ants. Our society is filled with lazy people who seem to have little purpose in life, but that shouldn’t be said of us. we should be busy, diligent people who are able to work well with other people to accomplish God’s will for our lives.

As I have read through the Book of Proverbs, I have noticed that there are certain themes that reappear again and again. One of these is the subject of laziness (the Bible uses the terms slothful; and will also call a lazy person a sluggard).

“I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.” – (Proverbs 24:30-34 )

The above passage speaks of a man who, because of his laziness, has neglected his field to the point where it was overgrown with with weeds. I feel that way in my life sometimes. I notice that there are times when I lose focus, and allow things to fall into neglect. It happens in all areas of my life as well. Sometimes, I may neglect the spiritual priorities, and at other times I may become lazy in one of my responsibilities as a father or husband. I get lazy. Laziness seems to be a bigger problem for me in the summertime.

God expects us to be fruitful. God expects us to be busy and productive. Here are some things that will help me stay on track to fulfill the things that God expects from my life:

1 Have a schedule – determine what time you need to get up, and how much time is needed to do what you have to do. Go to bed early, and get up early. Avoid the time wasters like the internet and television.

2 Set Goals – what do you want to accomplish this year; this summer; this week; tomorrow? Attempt to get a lot of things done. You may not get to them all; but you will accomplish a lot more than if you don’t set goals. “he who aims at nothing hits it every time”. Set spiritual goals; goals for tasks around the house; etc.

3 Be accountable to someone. This is the problem that many preachers have. They have no earthly boss standing over them with expectations. If I am not careful, I will let this lack of accountability cause me to get lazy; get up later; leave earlier, etc.

4 Stay motivated. I listen to preaching and leadership lessons from Godly pastors around the country to stay challenged. What motivates you?

We will have to give an account of our lives to God someday. What did we do with our time? Were we productive? Did we fulfill God’s will for our lives? Or did we sleep in? Don’t be lazy. Get up and do what God has called you to do. Be like the ant.


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Barns Filled With Plenty

Barns filled with plenty

Today’s Reading – Proverbs 1 – 3 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 1 – 2; Psalms 71 – 75; Proverbs 15)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 92:1 – 4

Read the “0715 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.” (Proverbs 3:9-10)

A few years ago our church began planting a community garden. Although I have not really been personally involved in the process, I have observed with fascination as the folks first worked the ground, and then planted the seeds and plants. It didn’t look like much at first, but soon it began to take shape I remember that first year when brought in a tray of the “first fruits”, which was distributed to some people who needed food.  It was exciting to see food that was produced from our garden go to some families in our church who needed it.

When I read Proverbs 3:9 – 10, I am reminded of that garden. This is a wonderful promise from the Word of God. It is really very simple. If we will be faithful to give back to the Lord the “firstfruits” of all that He has blessed us with, He will also be faithful to fill our barns with plenty. In my case it’s actually just a food pantry, but I can personally testify that the Lord has been very faithful to me through the years in keeping that pantry and refrigerator filled. My family has always been abundantly provided for by the Lord, not just with food, but also with clothing, a house to live in, a car to drive, and even many luxuries. Let me challenge and encourage you in this matter of giving back to the Lord. You can absolutely trust Him. He will never fail to do what He has promised to do.

Consider some of these related promises from the Scripture:

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)

“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” (Luke 6:38)

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 3:10-12)

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)


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I Will Sing Praises – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Reading: Psalms 146 through 150

“Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul. While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.” (Psalm 146:1-2)

Good morning. Do you love Jesus? Do you love your church? Do you love singing praises to God? Yes? Then tell your face. When leading the congregational singing, if I’m not looking at the words, I’m looking around. I see a lot of people, especially the youth, not singing. Then there are adults who haven’t learned to smile while the think about what they are singing, and to Whom they are singing. Some even have their arms folded as if to say bless me, I dare you. It can be scary, but I always pray that I will be a blessing, and not screw things up. I don’t understand why some people don’t sing praises to God. David even writes here that he will sing praises to God as long as he lives. Maybe you can’t sing. What does the Bible say?

“To the chief Musician, A Song or Psalm. Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.” (Psalm 66:1-2)

“To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of Asaph. Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.” (Psalm 81:1)

“O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.” (Psalm 95:1-2)

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King.” (Psalm 98:4-6)

“A Psalm of praise. Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.” (Psalm 100:1-2)

So make a joyful noise. You are praising God. You are singing to Him with the voice He gave you. Realizing that should put a smile on your face.

1) Sing praises because you are alive…

“While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.” (Psalm 146:2)

2) Sing praises because it is good…

“Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.” (Psalm 147:1)

3) Sing praises because of what He has done…

“Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God: Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains. He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.” (Psalm 147:7-9)

4) Sing praises with a new song of praise…

“Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints. Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp. For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation. Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds.” (Psalm 149:1-5)

5) Sing praises along with the musical instruments for as long as you have breath…

“Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.” (Psalm 150)

I hope to see you smiling, and singing tomorrow at church. Amen?

Peace.


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Praise God!

childrens-choir

Today’s Reading – Psalms 146 – 150 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 27 – 28; Psalms 66 – 70; Proverbs 14)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 89:1

Read the “0714 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.” – (Psalm 150:1-6)

“Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.” (Psalms 66:1-2)

I remember visiting Solid Rock Baptist Church years ago, and Pastor Clark had noticed some teenagers that weren’t singing. He rebuked them, saying, “Open your big fat mouth and praise God”. I will never forget it, and I often want to shout the same thing at our church.

It is interesting how many times the word praise is used in the Psalms. In fact, every psalm that we have read this morning mentions the word “praise” several times. The Lord deserves our praise. We should praise him first because of who He is; and then because of all that He’s done for us. We should praise God all the time, but it is especially important to praise the Lord in the church house. We can praise Him through our singing, and in our prayers and testimonies. We serve an awesome God, so “open your big fat mouth and praise God”!


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Draw Me Nearer

Draw Me Nearer

Today’s Reading – Psalms 140 – 145 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 25 – 26; Psalms 61 – 65; Proverbs 13)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 61:1 – 3

Read the “0713 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.” – (Psalm 145:18)

“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – (John 8:31-32)

“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” – (James 4:8)

Recently, we had a man visit our church who did not come from any type of a Christian background. He currently knows very little about the Lord, but he does has a desire to learn. He is searching for the truth. I spoke to him after the service, and I concluded that this man was not going to be convinced about the truths of Christianity, and particularly salvation, in just a few minutes. I gave him some things to think about, and I gave him some literature to take with him, and I promised to pray for him. We later visited the man in his home, and talked to him a little more, and gave him some more material to read. He is coming closer to salvation. His heart is open to the truth, but he is just not sure yet what the truth is. He reminds me a little of myself as I was searching for the truth many years ago. I shared with this man, that if he genuinely wanted to know the truth about Jesus Christ, God would reveal it to him. I am convinced that this man will come to a saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ shortly. Pray for him.

God is as close to us as we want Him to be. That statement is true for the lost man searching for Christ, but it also applies to the Christian as well. I find that many Christians aren’t too comfotable with God and His will getting too close to some areas of their lives. They want to have God as a part of their life, but their are also many parts of their life that they don’t want God to interfere with; some rooms in their home that they don’t want God to go in. As a result, their relationship with God is not as close as it could be. As we grow in our faith, we should constantly be drawing nearer to the Lord, and as we draw near to Him, He will come close to us.

Draw me nearer, nearer blessèd Lord,
To the cross where Thou hast died.
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessèd Lord,
To Thy precious, bleeding side.


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The Good Ole Days

Good Ole Days

Today’s Reading – Psalms 133 – 139 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 23 – 24; Psalms 56 – 60; Proverbs 12)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 55:17

Read the “0712 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from today’s reading – “Unity“.

“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the LORD’S song in a strange land?” (Psalms 137:1-4)

Psalm 137 is a very sad psalm written after the Israelites had lost their land, and had been taken into captivity by the Babylonians. In this psalm they are remembering the good ole days, when they were safe and secure inside of their borders, and when they had the freedom and privelege to worship and serve God freely. But, that was all gone. As a nation, they had forsaken God’s word, neglected His worship, and had allowed all of the wicked practices of the heathen to enter in. Though God had warned them of the consequences many times through His prophets, the people just would not listen, so God had to judge them. In this psalm, they are looking back, and wishing that they could go back and do things differently.

I see a prophetic parallel to America in this psalm. I believe if we continue down the path that we are travelling as a nation, we too will lose everything, and will one day be looking back in regret, wishing we could go back and re-do things. We have not lost everything yet, but we can see the hand of God’s judgment beginning to fall upon this once great nation. It doesn’t have to happen though. We could repent, and go back to what we were when we were founded. Of course, we had some problems back then as well, and I do not advocate that we do everything exactly as we did then, but I do believe we need to put God back on the throne in this land. Our nation has become a godless, corrupt, and extremely immoral place. We have come to accept and even promote many things which God has declared to be evil. We are forsaking the houses of God’s worship, and instead are consumed with chasing possessions and pleasure. If we keep going, someday soon it will all be gone. But then, we will remember. I guess it won’t be all bad, though, because while we are remembering what we lost, we also will remember God. Just a thought.


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My Help Cometh From The LORD – The Saturday Morning Post on Wednesday

Today’s Reading – Psalms 120 – 132 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 21 – 22; Psalms 51 – 55; Proverbs 11)

Read the “0711 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“A Song of degrees. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.” (Psalm 121)

Good morning. What a great God we serve. He made the heaven and the earth, and everything else. What has the devil done? Nothing but to destroy and tear down. The devil is a created being, and as a created being, he is not more powerful than our Creator. The Lord Jesus Christ: He is the Creator…

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:1-3)

“He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made 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 1:10-14)

And our God wins…

“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10)

The LORD is our Keeper. He keeps us, and preserves us…

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.” (John 10:27-30)

And Jesus also said…

“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:37-40)

“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)

From whence cometh my help? My help cometh from the LORD. Praise Him!

Peace.


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Happy To Be In Church

people-smiling

Today’s Reading – Psalms 120 – 132 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 21 – 22; Psalms 51 – 55; Proverbs 11)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 51

Read the “0711 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.” – (Psalm 122:1)

“Except the LORD build the house they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” – (Psalm 127:1)

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” – (Psalm 133:1)

If you want to put a smile on the face of my 5 year old grandson, Jaxon, just tell him that you are taking him to church. He loves to go to church. He loves to put on his little tie.  He loves to ride in the church bus on soul winning night. He loves everything about the church, and he is glad every time he goes.

For my devotion this morning I have listed a couple of verses from our reading today (and one from tomorrow’s reading) that I believe can certainly be considered together. Though, I may be taking a little bit of liberty regarding the proper interpretations of these Scriptures in their original contexts, I do not believe my thoughts violate basic Biblical truth. The first verse (Psalm 122:1) talks about the joy of being in the house of God. I also love to be in the house of God with God’s people, but there have been times in my life when I did not appreciate going to church. Before I was saved, the last thing I wanted to do was to go to church; and even after my salvation there have been times when I dreaded church. Thinking back at these times I now realize that the reason for my apprehension was either because my own heart was not right, or that there was something not right going on in the church.

I remember years ago my wife and I were at a church business meeting. The pastor of the church had fired the youth pastor. The problem was that a good portion of the church really liked the youth pastor and did not want to see him go. The result was a church split, with a lot of arguing, gossiping, and bitterness that certainly was not pleasing to the Lord. The lack of unity (Psalm 133:1) among the brethren caused the church to become an unpleasant place to go.

The bottom line is, however, that a church where the people are striving together, submissive to the will of God, is a place that is a downright joyful place for the Christian to go; unless, of course, his heart is at odds with the will of God. If the church is healthy, and the Christian is healthy spiritually, there ought to be a joyful anticipation of going to the House of God. I am very thankful for the church where I serve. Though we are not a large church, we enjoy serving and worshipping together. It is my prayer that our church will grow together, both spiritually and numerically. However, the house must be built by the Lord. It must be done His way, otherwise, we are just wasting our time.

Do you look forward to going to church, or to you you dread it? If the thought of going is unpleasant to you, you need to ask yourself, why? It may be that there is a major problem within the congregation; but more often than not, the problem lies within your own spiritual condition. If you are out of the will of God, being in God’s house, and around God’s people will certainly be a difficult experience. If that is your situation, please don’t blame the church for your misery, and don’t run from the church either. If you do, you may experience a temporary relief from your feelings, but it will ultimately lead to more sorrow. The best thing that you can do is get back inside the will of God. Inside of God’s will, the local church is a place of happiness.


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Open Thou Mine Eyes

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Today’s Reading – Psalm 119 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 19 – 20; Psalms 46 – 50; Proverbs 10)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 48:1 & 2

Read the “0710 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” (Psalms 119:18)

What a wonderful privelege it is to be able to open up a copy of the Word of God. Our reading this morning in Psalm 119 is all about God’s word. Almost every verse in this Psalm contains a word that is synonomous with the Bible. For instance, in vs. 1 – 6, you will see the words, “law”, “testimonies”, “ways”, “precepts”, “statutes”, “commandments”, and “judgments”. All of these words are references to the Word of God. They all have slightly different meanings, but together they help us to understand what the Word of God is, as well as what it does. This is a wonderful psalm, replete with tremendous truths and promises regarding our relationship with God through the Bible.

My attention this morning was drawn to v. 18, where the psalmists asks the Lord to open his eyes so that he could understand (see) wondrous things from the Word. The Bible does contain a myriad of “wondrous things”, but oftentimes our spiritual eyes are not open enough to receive them. There are certainly many reasons for this, but I believe one of them is the fact that we do not approach the Word of God expectantly, and prayerfully, anticipating a life-changing truth. Our prayer should be the same as the psalmist every time we open up the Bible: “Open thou mine eyes”.

Everything that we need to succeed in this life is contained in the Bible, but we are missing so many principles that would guide, instruct, and protect us simply because we are not looking, because our eyes are closed. Stop approaching the Word each day as a religious ritual, but rather open it, looking for the truth that you will need to help you survive, and even thrive as an ambassador for the Lord Jesus Christ. God has the answers for the problems that you will face today and tomorrow. They are in His Word. Ask Him to help you to see them.


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Not Short on Truth

 

Not Short On Truth

Today’s Reading – Psalms 115 – 118 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 17 – 18; Psalms 41 – 45; Proverbs 9)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 47:1

Read the “0709 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.” – (Psalm 117:1-2)

Did you ever notice that some of the most powerful messages in the Bible come out of passages of few words. For instance, Peter’s message at Pentecost, which was used of God to lead 3000 people to Christ, was only 25 verses long. The people at our church are hoping that I would learn to preach some of those short sermons. Anyway, Psalm 117 is the shortest chapter in all the Bible, but it is certainly not short on truth. This Psalm speaks about two very important doctrines in the Bible: God’s mercy, and God’s truth. It really says it all if you think about it. Through God’s mercy a way was made possible for us to receive the forgiveness of our sins; and it is because of His truth that we could find out about His mercy. What an awesome little passage of Scripture!


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Unmoveable

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Today’s Reading – Psalms 108 – 114 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 15 – 16; Psalms 36 – 40; Proverbs 8)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34:6

Read the “0708 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Surely he shall not be moved forever…” (Psalm 112:6)

“…his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord” (Psalm 112:7)

“His heart is established…” (Psalm 112:8)

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)

“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….A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:6,8)

There is far too much instability among God’s people today; they just can’t seem to make up there minds as to where they stand. The Bible says about Jesus that His face was set like a flint, meaning He wasn’t budging from the will of God. Why is it that His children, however, are always moving in their doctrinal positions, and in their personal convictions. We need to learn the lesson that the Psalmist teaches here in the 112th Psalm.

Notice the characteristics of this unbending, righteous man spoken of here in the Psalm 112:

1 He is unmoveable about His Bible.

“[He] delighteth greatly in his commandments” (v. 1)

He is not the type of guy that changes the Bible he uses, or what he believes about the Bible. He is bull-dogmatic about Bible principles. He believes and applies what God says; and doesn’t deviate off of the course that the Word charts.

2 He is gracious and full of compassion. (v. 4)

Even though you are not going to move him about what he believes, he will be gracious and compassionate with those who have not yet grown to where he is. He gives people who are heading in the right direction time to get there. He is willing to give somebody a second and third chance when they demonstrate true contrition and repentance.

3 He is generous in his giving. (vs. 5, 9)

He knows that the source of all of his wealth is God. He knows also that God expects him to distribute the wealth that he has given him in order to be a blessing and a help to others.

How often do we change our minds and our actions regarding our Christian walk. We need to be a little more like this man mentioned in the Psalm. We need to dig in, find out what we believe from the Bible, and stick with it until the Lord takes us home.


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Never Satisfied

Never Satisfied

Today’s Reading – Psalms 106 – 107 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 13 – 14Psalms 31 – 35; Proverbs 7)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34:1 – 4

Read the “0707 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” (Psalm 106:15)

The Scripture referenced above has to do with the children of Israel during their wilderness wanderings. It seems that the people were always griping and complaining about their condition; always discontented about what God had provided for them. You will remember that God gave them manna from Heaven, but the people lusted after meat. God gave them what they wanted, but at what price? The Psalmist tells us they received leanness into their souls. I don’t think that God was upset with them because they had a physical hunger; but He did judge them because they put their lust for the physical above their love for Him.

How often do we put our physical, and other fleshly desires over the things of God. There is nothing wrong with food, but when we become so consumed with eating, playing, enjoying, etc. that we become negligent of the spiritual we too will suffer the consequences of a spiritual famine. I love to eat, I love to enjoy the good things that God has given us to enjoy in this life, but I don’t want to trade off the spiritual blessings that God has for me because of an over-appetite for the physical.

Notice the historical reference of this event from Numbers 11:

“And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague.” (Numbers 11:33)

Our flesh is enemy # 1. If we are not careful, we will allow our flesh to take over our lives. We may be physically fat, but we will also be spiritually famished.


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So Great Is His Mercy

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Today’s Reading – Psalms 103 – 105 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 11 – 12; Psalms 26 – 30; Proverbs 6)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 25

Read the “0706 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” – (Psalm 103:10-12)

I have a good friend who is an evangelist, and every time I ask him how he is doing, he always says, “Better than I deserve”. He’s right. He doesn’t deserve to be doing as good as he is doing, but God has been very good to him; and good to me as well. Today’s passage teaches this truth, which is perhaps the most wonderful truth in the entire Bible: that God is merciful to sinners. Of course, I must be clear to point out that this truth only applies to sinners who have received the gift of salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

There is a principle in the Bible called sowing and reaping, which basically teaches that we will reap in judgment what we sow in sin. But for the Christian, this principle does not completely apply. Those of us who are the children of God will never reap in judgment what we sowed in sin. The judgment of our sin was reaped by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. He suffered for what I sowed. Now, to be sure, there will always be corrective consequences for sin in this life, and perhaps loss of reward in eternity for the disobedient Christian, but we will never get what we truly deserve for our rebellion against God. God is merciful. He has removed our sins. He truly has made them white as snow. (Isaiah 1:18) All of our past sins are gone completely, and He will not “impute” any new sins to our account. (Romans 4:8) What a wonderful God we serve! Have you taken time today to thank the Lord for His mercy? Have you told the Lord how much that you appreciate what He did for you on the Cross? Think about it: if you and I received what we deserved we would be burning in the Lake of Fire right now, but our God is merciful to those who come to Him in repentance and faith. Praise His Name!!


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O Be Careful Little Eyes

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Today’s Reading – Psalms 96 – 102 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 9 – 10; Psalms 21 – 25; Proverbs 5)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 19

Read the “0705 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read previous posts from this passage – “Enduring to All Generations“, and “Before His Presence

“I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.” (Psalms 101:2-3)

Before I get into my main thought for this morning’s devotion, let me point out that in Psalm 101, David uses the phrase “I will”, or “will I” 9 times. These were very bold, and almost cocky assertions on his part, and I am pretty sure that he failed to keep every one of these promises during the course of his life. He was, as we are, human. I am very careful not to make too many promises about what I will or will not do, because I have been known to break a promise or two in my lifetime as well. However, I do believe that it is good to set up some standards and boundaries in our lives based upon the principles that we are taught in the Word; and we should ask the Lord to help us to maintain them.

In vs. 2 & 3 of this psalm, David determines that he will behave himself wisely, and that he will set no wicked thing before his eyes. In the culture that we live in today, we almost have to put blindfolds on in order to fulfill this promise. There are so many “wicked things” for us to look at. Let’s be honest, you absolutely cannot turn on the television without setting some kind of wicked thing before your eyes. Wickedness is blatantly visible in our culture. To be perfectly frank, I am ashamed to say that I have seen some things in our church that should have never entered into my eyes. Things that were condemned just a few years ago are condoned and even promoted today, and it is getting worse every day. It is impossible for us to interact with this culture without allowing wicked images to enter into our eyes, and then ultimately into our hearts. Yet, we must strive to put some blinders on our physical and spiritual eyes that will keep us from beholding sin and thinking about things that could destroy us spiritually.

In Sunday School we sing a song that says:

“O be careful little eyes what you see,

O be careful little eyes what you see,

For the Father up above is looking down in love,

O be careful little eyes what you see.”

Christian, please be careful. If you have a television, you will need to block much of the programming, and you will have to turn off many of the commercials. The ads are often worse than the shows themselves. Don’t let your children watch the TV unsupervised. There is just way too much poison coming through that box. The Internet is obviously a huge problem also. And, there are many places, like the movies or the beach, that we will need to avoid if we want to keep our eyes from beholding sin.

Let me say a word to you ladies. Please be careful about what you wear, especially in the summer months. Immodest dress can be a big stumblingblock to many men. Job had to make a “covenant” with his eyes not to look upon a maid. I think if he were living today he would have a tough time keeping that promise.

Obviously, I cannot address every application that could be made from these verses in Psalm 101, but I think you get the idea. I understand that we are living in some desperately wicked times, but don’t get swept away by the culture. Don’t just be content to be a little more conservative than the culture, either. Determine to please God with what you allow yourself to see, and also how you behave.


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Happy Birthday America

Happy Birthday America

Today’s Reading – Psalms 90 – 95 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 7 – 8; Psalms 16 – 20; Proverbs 4)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 19

Read the “0704 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read previous posts from this passage – “A Penny for Your Thoughts” and “Are You Thriving or Just Surviving?

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. …If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:32; 36)

Praise the Lord for America!  This is the greatest nation on the face of the earth.  When I think about Independence Day I am filled with praise and gratitude to our God for three specific things:

1  I thank the Lord for Jesus who died on the cross for my sins, giving me liberty from the Law and from the bondage of sin.  To think that Christ would love someone like me is really beyond my comprehension.

2  I also thank the Lord for the men and women of God throughout the centuries who have given their lives delivering the message of salvation.  I could not be saved today if it weren’t for people who sacrificed greatly communicating the truth of God’s Word.

3  Finally, I am filled with gratitude for the men and women who have given their lives for the cause of freedom here in America.  With all of her faults, America is by far the best place in the world to live.  I can carry my Bible here; I can open it on any street corner and proclaim the glorious name of Christ.  I have the freedom to worship God here according to the convictions that God has given me through His Word.  I do a lot of complaining about the direction our country is heading sometimes; but today I am going to lay aside  all of the negatives, and be thankful for the blessing of America!

One more thing.  I am going to think today about what sacrifice I can make to send the message of Christ to not just America, but to every living, breathing soul on this earth.

Thank you Jesus for setting me free from sin.  Thank you America for giving me the freedom to thank and serve Jesus.


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Ain’t God Good

Field-of-Flowers

Today’s Reading – Psalm 86 – 89 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 5 – 6; Psalms 11 – 15; Proverbs 3)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 18:3 & 46

Read the “0703 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.” (Psalms 86:5)

This morning’s passage contains a very simple, yet also very profound truth, which is perhaps the greatest truth in all of Scripture. God is good. God is better than good, God is awesome. We sing the song sometimes, “Ain’t God Good”; and He is. It may not be proper English, but it certainly is sound doctrine. Consider the following verses:

“O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” (Psalms 34:8)

“For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” (Psalms 100:5)

“Praise the LORD; for the LORD is good: sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant.” (Psalms 135:3)

“The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.” (Psalms 145:9)

“The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the LORD of hosts: for the LORD is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 33:11)

“The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.” (Lamentations 3:25)

“The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.” (Nahum 1:7)

The Lord is good for an infinite number of reasons, but in the context of Psalm 86, David declares that the Lord is good because He is merciful, and ready to forgive all them that call upon Him. Nearly 30 years ago I heard the gospel preached, and I realized that I was a sinner that needed salvation. I called upon the Lord, and He was merciful to me, and “ready to forgive”. He saved me. You see, I can testify firsthand that the Lord is good. And He hasn’t stopped being good to me. He has never done me wrong one time. Ain’t God good! Can I get a witness?


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Visit This Vine

Grape Vine

Today’s Reading – Psalms 80 – 85  (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 3 – 4; Psalms 6 – 10; Proverbs 2)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Joshua 1:8

Read the “0702 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine; And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself.” (Psalm 80:14 & 15)

The context of this passage of Scripture involves a time period in the history of Israel (the vine) when the people of God were under judgment due to their falling away from Him. Most people believe that it specifically involves the time of the Babylonian captivity. You will remember that God raised up the nation of Babylon to come and judge the northern kingdom of Judah in 586 BC because God’s people had turned away from Him and had fallen deeply into idolatry and immorality. The psalmist was pleading with God to return His favor to the vine (Israel), and to allow her to be restored to a place of God’s blessing; a place of provision and protection.

As a child of God today, I desire the same thing for my home, my church, and my nation. I so desperately want to see God move in my family and in my church. I want to see the evidence of God’s hand in the place where He has called me to live and to minister. I want God to visit the vine called Jersey Shore Baptist Church. I want God to use this place as a bright light in a dark world. I want to see multitudes of souls saved here; and I want to see the wayward saints return to the vineyard.

I believe this can happen. I believe we can see a great revival, even in these last days. But how is it going to happen. The answer to that question is found in vv 3, 7, & 19. Three times the psalmist pleads with God to:

“Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.”

Notice that it begins with a movement of God. The Psalmist asks God to move in the hearts of the people and cause them to desire to be turned toward the things of God. I guess that’s kind of what God has called me to do as a preacher. My job, in part, is to plead with the people and exhort them to turn away from the world and their sin; and turn back toward God. There can not be a salvation without a turning. Don’t misunderstand, I do not believe that this Psalm is specifically dealing with the salvation of a soul from Hell, but the principle can be applied. In order for a person to be saved they obviously have to turn to God; and in order to be moving in the direction of God, one must be moving away from their sin.

The same is true for the revival of our worldly, cold and indifferent hearts in the local church. We need to turn away from our sin and all of the trifles that this world has to offer; and turn back to God with all of our hearts. We are living here for a purpose; but merely living here is not that purpose. We are here to glorify our Lord in this dark world by shining the light of His glorious gospel.

God, please visit the vine of my life, my family, and my church; and cause me to turn away from all of those things that are hindering me from fulfilling your perfect will for my life. Help me to glorify you in everything that I do and say; and help me to wet the appetite of the people around me for the things of God.

 


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He Knows Our Humanity

He Knows Our Humanity

Today’s Reading – Psalms 78 – 79 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

Second Milers also read – Proverbs 1; Psalms 1 – 5; Mathew 1 – 2)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Deuteronomy 32:4

Read the “0701 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read a previous post from today’s reading passage – “Where Is Their God?”

“But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath. For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.” (Psalms 78:38-39)

“For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” (Psalms 103:14)

Isn’t it comforting to know that we do not have to pretend to be anything other than human when dealing with God. Think about it. In every other relationship we have, we are always putting on our masks, and placing defensive barriers around us so that people will not see the real us. We want to portray an image of ourselves to the people we meet that is far better than the reality. But we know that it is futile to even attempt such a thing with God, because He can see right through any veil that covers us. He knows everything about us; every dirty detail; every hidden thought. He knows some things about us that perhaps we have pushed so far back in the recesses of our minds that even we don’t remember. He knows that we are merely “flesh”, and He knows that we are “dust”. To me that is comforting, because I know that God is the only one that I can truly be myself around. And the strange thing is that He loves me, even though He knows all of the dirt.

In our passage today, in Psalm 78, we read about the history of Israel from the perspective of God. God gave Israel everything that they have. He delivered them from Egypt, fed them and protected them as they wandered through the desert, brought them into the land of promise; but what did Israel do in return for God? They rebelled against Him, complained about Him, and turned to worship other gods. God had to send judgment in order to get them to turn back to Him, but their repentance was never permanent, they would always resort back to “being human”. Our humanity, our flesh, causes us to keep leaning unto our own understanding; doing our own thing. Most of the time our thing is in direct opposition to what God wants. But we have this flesh that is continually seeking to satisfy its own lusts, and is constantly pulling us out of the will of God. To make matters worse, we also have the world and the devil cheering our flesh on in its battle with the will of God. No wonder Paul said, “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24) I say “AMEN” to that, but I also, like Paul, thank the Lord that God sent a Saviour who died for my sins, and sent the Holy Spirit to live in and work on this old sinful flesh, conforming me into the image of Christ.  That means every once in a while I am going to get it right down here on the earth, and someday, praise God, I will be delivered completely from this body of flesh.

God didn’t utterly destroy us and wipe us out. He loved us, He died for us, and He is working in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. And someday soon, He will transport us up out of this world, and take us to be with Him (without our sinful flesh) forever.


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The Devil’s Toolbox Part 2: The Lust For Things – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Reading – Psalms 73 – 77 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 17 – 22; Psalms 146 – 150; Proverbs 30 – 31)

Read the “0630 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” (Psalm 73:3)

Good morning. Yes, that’s me standing in front of my all-time favorite car: a ’67 or ’68 Shelby Mustang convertible with padded roll bar. And it’s red! You would need to be a millionaire to own one just for the gas bill: 427/428 with dual Holly 4 barrels. Nice. Just out of curiosity, I found 2 for sale. But what am I going to do with a car that costs almost $200,000? First, I need to move from my trailer to a house with a garage. That’s anywhere from $150 to $250 thousand, or even more. Alarm systems need to be installed. Now that I have a place to keep it, I can only look at it. With the huge engine and dual Holly 4 barrel carbs, who can afford the gas?

“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.” (Genesis 3:1-7)

That’s the way the devil works. He dangles something we would like to have in front of our eyes, and just like Adam and Eve, we take the bait. With a credit card it is very easy to get what we want now. The hard part is when the beginning of the month comes and the bill is due. Now you have to get a second job to pay for all this stuff. And, of course, that will take you away from doing the Lord’s work. You may be so tired that you stop reading your Bible.

“All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.” (Ecclesiastes 1:7-8)

“From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” (James 4:1-3)

“Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.” (Proverbs 27:20)

What can we do, when the devil takes this lust out of his toolbox, and uses it against us?

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)

I may not have that Shelby, but I have everything I need. The Lord takes care of His children. Just this week my pressure washer broke. Rather than scrambling to dig up money to buy a new one, I was able to borrow one. This one was gas powered and did a much better job than my old electric one: making my job easier. God takes care of His children.

If you understand that God will supply your every need, then when the devil dangles that carrot in front of your face, you don’t have to chase after it.

“Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.” (Matthew 6:30-32)

If you are going to run after something, let it be riches in Heaven…

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:19)

Peace.


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Slippery Places

907464-12

Today’s Reading – Psalms 73 – 77 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 17 – 22; Psalms 146 – 150; Proverbs 30 – 31)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 4:7 & 8

Read the “0630 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.” – (Psalm 73:2)

“Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.” – (Psalm 73:18)

I remember one day years ago when I was working as a youth director at the Christian Bible Baptist Church in South Toms River, I was picking up one of the guys from the youth group during an ice storm. Everything was covered with ice. I watched as this young man very carefully left his house and walked toward my truck. I turned my head for a minute, and when I looked back he was nowhere in sight. I assumed that he went back inside for a moment because he had forgotten something. That’s when I saw a hand stretching up to grab the mirror on the pasenger door of the vehicle. He was holding on to that mirror for dear life. With all of his strength he pulled himself up, and steadied himself to get in the cab. I don’t think that I have ever laughed so hard in all of my life. The young man could not even stand on his own simply because the ground underneath him was too slippery.

I may be taking too much liberty with this passage, but I can not help but notice that twice in Psalm 73 there is a reference made to slipping. In verse 2 the psalmist says that he had almost slipped because of his envy of the prosperity of wicked people. Then again in verse 18 we see another reference to a slippery place. I got to thinking that God’s people often fall because they tread 0n slippery places. You can make the application here wherever it fits in your life, but a slippery place is a place, person or thing that presents to us a great temptation to sin. Maybe for you it’s the wrong crowd, or it could be sitting home alone on the internet; but it is a place where you can easily fall into sin. If you don’t want to fall, stay away from slippery places.

By the way, did you ever notice that when you fall off your feet, you often have a difficult time getting back up on your own. It is the same when you fall into sin. Don’t be too prideful to call out to someone and ask them for help.


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Time Is Running Out

redeeming-the-time

Today’s Reading – Psalms 69 – 72 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 13 – 16; Psalms 141 – 145; Proverbs 29)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 3:1

Read the “0629 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read a another post from this morning’s reading passage – “Who Are You Magnifying?”

“Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.” – (Psalm 71:18)

A few years ago, the verse referenced above would have meant little to me. I would have probably glanced right over it quickly, without giving it much thought. However, the older I get the more I realize that there is still a great deal more that I would like to see accomplished through the ministry the Lord has entrusted me with; yet, I am quickly running out of both the time and energy that I need to do it. You may think based upon what you’ve just read that I am in my 70′s. Though I feel that old at times, I am only 52. But, I am becoming more and more aware of the fact that my time on this earth is very limited.

I want my life to count for something. I want to be used of God to help “shew” my generation the strength and power of God. I need to get busy, and I need to become more proficient at what I am doing so as to make the best use of the time that I have left. I am not all that pleased with what has been accomplished so far in the twenty-seven years that I have been saved, or even in the fifteen years that I have been a pastor. I know that God could have helped a lot more people through a more yielded vessel. But, He is not through with me yet. This morning, I have made a choice to not dwell in the failures (or even the successes) of the past, but instead look to the future. God has given me life today and today I can give that life back to Him, for His use, and for His glory. So can you. What are you living your life for? What are you accomplishing today that will be used of God to make a difference in eternity? The Psalmist’s prayer was to remain here on the earth until he was able to fulfil his ministry of telling everybody about God. That’s a great request and it should be the prayer and goal of each of us who are saved today. Time is running out; your appointment with death is approaching.

Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” – (Ephesians 5:16)

“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” – (Hebrews 9:27)

 


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Make His Praise Glorious

glory-of-god-pic

Today’s Reading – Psalms 65 – 68 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 10 – 12; Psalms 136 – 140; Proverbs 28)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – James 4:10

Read the  “0628 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read an earlier post from this passage – “What Are You Thinking About?”

Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.” – (Psalm 66:1-2)

Our God is an awesome, and wonderful, and great, and powerful God. The English language really does not contain enough adjectives to describe how glorious our God is. Yet, we who have been saved through faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ are encouraged to learn about the greatness of God from His Word, and then communicate our appreciation and admiration to Him first, and then to the people around us. In order to do this, we must first study God. One of the reasons why many Christians hava a tough time praising Him is because they don’t know Him; and there are others who are praising Him, but not according to knowledge. We are commanded to study God through the Scriptures. If the God you serve seems vague or small to you, it is because you do not know Him very well. Open the Bible and read about His awesome power, as well as His infinite wisdom, and loving compassion. He is wonderful. Get to know Him.

Once we know some things about God, we are to sing about Him. These Psalms were all originally songs, and many of them are songs of praise. I sometimes get a kick out of watching the song service at our church. I often see people going through the motions, thoughtlessly and half-heartedly mouthing the words of the hymns. Every once in a while I have to shake myself, and remember what I am singing, and to whom I am doing it. Singing is a form of praise and worship. When we sing the songs of God, we are worshipping Him, and praising Him. If there is one part of our church service that I have really been trying to work on, it is the song service.

Notice also Psalm 66:3:

“Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee.”

Finally, we are to speak our praise to God, and for God continuously. The Scripture says that the redeemed of the Lord are supposed to “say so” (Psam 107:2). We have an awful lot to be thankful for; and an awful lot to praise Him for. My preacher in Texas used to say, “if you’re not going to Hell, you ain’t got no problems; and you ought to be shouting.” He is right. I once heard Pastor Charlie Clark say, “Open your big, fat mouth, and praise God.” Perhaps if we started praising the Lord as we ought to, more people would be attracted to our God. Just a thought.


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The Rock That Is Higher Than I

 

Kohala Mountain Road

Today’s Reading – Psalms 58 – 64 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 7 – 9; Psalms 131 – 135; Proverbs 27)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – James 4:10

Read the “0627 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” – (Psalm 61:2)

I love this verse from Psalm 61. David was a man who had many enemies and spent much of his life fighting them. He valiantly strove against the enemies of God’s people throughout his life, and he also spent a good portion of his life defending himself from some of his own people that had turned against him. He lived much of his life at war. I can certainly understand why there were many times that his heart was overwhelmed. Imagine how it must have felt for David when King Saul pursued him for all of those years; or when his own son Absolam led a rebellion against him, forcing him out of his own city temporarily. David’s life was not easy. He experienced much heartache along the way.

Though I have never experienced the horrors of military battle, I have experienced my share of trials and difficulties in life. There have been many times when life got a bit overwhelming. There have been many times when I just did not know what to do. These are the times in life when we should go to God, who is the Rock that is high above all of the circumstances of life.

I have given some thought to David’s use of the illustration of a mountaintop to express his going to the Lord during the difficult days (and nights) of his life. In a battle, there are many advantages to having the higher ground. The mountaintop was a place of safety. It is much harder to attack someone when you have to climb up to fight them. It is easier to defend a higher position than it is a lower one. God is our place of safety. Nothing can happen to the child of God, who is living in His will, unless God wants it to happen. It is very comforting to know that God has got my back.

The mountaintop is also a place where our sight is increased. Have you ever gone up to the top of a mountain? The views are sometimes absolutely breathtaking. A few years ago my wife and I were blessed with a once in a lifetime trip to to Hawaii for our 25th anniversary. We took a drive on the Big Island up the side of an old volcano on the Kohala Mountain Road. I don’t know how high up we drove, but when we got to the top, we could see everything. It was an absolutely gorgeous view. It was a rather strange experience being on top of a mountain, and looking down at miles and miles of shoreline, as well as the vast Pacific Ocean. We could even see one of the other islands from where we were. God wants us to understand that when we are overwhelmed with life, He can see much better than we can; and through the eyes of faith, we can see a little better too. We may not be able to fully understand what we are going through, but we know that God does; and we can trust that He has a purpose for it all.

It is wonderful to know that though life gets a little overwhelming for us, it never is that way for God. He always has things under control.

 


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Betrayed By A Friend

friend-betrayed

Today’s Reading – Psalms 51 – 57 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 4 – 6; Psalms 126 – 130; Proverbs 26)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 Timothy 1:17

Read the “0626 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.” (Psalms 55:12-14)

It is not clear exactly what the context is surrounding Psalm 55. Some have claimed that David was referring to Saul; others have suggested that it was his son, Absalom; and still others believe that it could have been Ahithophel (2 Samuel 15) who was David’s counsellor but had turned against him. A man as great as David was, no doubt, had a lot of friends, along with a lot of enemies; and I am sure that he had several friends (and even family members) that turned on him. Nothing is quite as painful as the betrayal of a friend. It hurts deeply. You expect your enemies to treat you badly, but when a friend turns on you, it often takes you completely by surprise.

What can you do today when you are betrayed by a friend:

Pray –  This whole Psalm is really a prayer from David regarding the situation. He gave the problem to the Lord. Resist the temptation to talk to people about the betrayers, and instead talk to the Lord. It is OK to “gossip” to the Lord.

“As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.” (Psalms 55:16-17)

By the way, don’t just pray for the Lord to punish your enemy; pray that God will restore your friendship. Jesus commands us to love our enemies, which includes those enemies who used to be our friends. Pray also for God to show you where you might have failed as a friend yourself. It is very interesting that the person that betrays us often feels justified in their betrayal, and perhaps sometimes they are; not that their betrayal was necessarily right, but perhaps there may have been some underlying reasons, or hurt feelings that may have motivated the betrayal.

Love – You can continue to love and “do good to them which hate you”. This is certainly not easy, but it is the best way to demonstrate the love and grace of our Lord. He loves us, even though we fail Him continually, and even betray Him at times. We may never win back our friends, but we can make it easy for a restoration to take place. Continue to be a friend to those who no longer see you as a friend.

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (Matthew 5:44)

I think we all have been on both sides of this equation. I have had people that in my view have betrayed me; but I am also sure that there are people out there that would say that I have betrayed them; and I suppose there is some truth to that. We don’t always get it right, do we? But, we can strive to make things right with the people who are at odds with us.


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You Can’t Take It With You

U-haul behind hearse

Today’s Reading – Psalms 46 – 50 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 1 – 3; Psalms 121 – 125; Proverbs 25)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Ephesians 4:32 

Read the “0625 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him.” – (Psalm 49:17)

You have heard it said that you will never see a U-haul behind a hearse, except, of course, in comical pictures like the one above. The bottom line from Psalm 49 is, however, that your accumulated wealth and status in this life will do you no good in eternity, unless your life and wealth have been invested in the cause of Christ, and in the lives of others. This Psalm admonishes us to not envy the lifestyles of the rich and famous among us. First of all, we don’t see the whole picture. While they may seem to be enjoying life on the surface, we know that lives that are lived outside of the will of God are not really happy on the inside. There is a lack of inner peace, and a void that cannot be filled with the things that this world offers.

I want to be clear to point out, however, that wealth or possessions are not evil in themselves. God blesses His children with some of the non-sinful pleasures in this life. The key, however, is found in v. 20:

“Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.” – (Psalm 49:20)

Notice that only the man that understandeth not is like the beasts that perish. Honor and wealth, and possessions, etc. are wonderful gifts given by the Lord to the person that “understands” Him, and His will. So, go ahead and enjoy the possessions that this life contains, but do not let them possess you; and remember to thank the Lord who gave them to you.


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God Wants To Hear You Sing

girl_singing

Today’s Reading – Psalms 40 – 45 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 2 John, 3 John, Jude; Psalms 116 – 120; Proverbs 24)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Ephesians 4:32

Read the  “0624 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read a previous post from this morning’s reading – “Thirsty?”

“I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.” (Psalms 40:1-3)

“Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.” (Psalms 100:2)

“Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them.” (Psalms 126:2)

Christians ought to be a singing people. We are really the only people on this planet that have a reason to sing. David, the writer of Psalm 40 lists the reasons for his song in vs. 1 – 3. He tells us, first of all,  that the Lord inclined unto him, and heard his cry. The word, “incline”, has the idea of bowing down. David was saying that God bowed down, or leaned over, to hear David’s cry. I do not know the reason that David was crying, though I do know that in his lifetime there were many events that would have brought him to tears. This world has a way of beating you down, but isn’t it a great joy to know that God can “incline” to us, give us his full attention, and hear our cries.

God didn’t just listen to David’s problem, however; He fixed it. Notice v. 2 again:

“He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.” (Psalms 40:2)

In the context of this psalm, I believe David was probably referring to one of the many earthly problems he faced. Perhaps, it was when God delivered him from the hands of Saul. We can’t be sure. However, I believe that we can apply the principles of this psalm on a deeper level. When the Lord saved me, He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, and he secured my salvation on the Rock, the Lord Jesus Christ; and now He has given me a new direction in life, a new purpose. I get to live for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He established my goings within His perfect will for my life.

Because of all of this, I, like David, have a reason to sing. If you are saved, so do you. God wants to hear us sing. He tells in Psalm 100 that we are to enter into His presence with singing, and we are supposed to be in His presence all of the time, which means that we should be singing all of the time. So go ahead: let loose with a few verses of “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.” David tells us that when this world hears us sing, many of them will “see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.” Isn’t it interesting that it says here that people will be drawn to God through our singing. I believe that we should preach the Word, and live the Word; but if I am going to really be effective as a soul winner, I will also have to learn to sing the praises of God.


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The Devil’s Toolbox Part One: Depression – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Reading – Psalms 36 – 39 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 1 John 1 – 5; Psalms 111 – 115; Proverbs 23)

Read the “0623 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me. For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.” (Psalm 38:17-18)

Good morning. King David was ready to halt (ready to fall). With his eyes on himself all he could see was sorrow continually before him. In verse 18, he says that he would declare his iniquity, and be sorry for his sin. But when would his sin be forgiven? David was ready to fall deeper into sin, and take the suggestion of Job’s wife: to curse God and die. He sounds like he is under attack by the devil’s favorite tool – depression. After just finishing up the book of Job, we find Job also getting depressed: wishing he never was born. And we know Job was innocent and under attack by the devil. And we know that David pleaded guilty and was sorry for his sin. Depression can be brought on by your circumstances and also your sin. Depression affects over 15 million Americans per year. And it’s a leading cause of disability. How can we recognize it in ourselves, or in others? Healthy Way has an article called 12 Common Symptoms Of Depression That Shouldn’t Be Ignored, which was eye opening to me. Let’s take a look at them and compare them to King David in our reading.

1)You are always tired.

King David got tired and weary of the fight. He was ready to quit, give up, throw in the towel…

For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me.” (Psalm 38:17)

Here is an example of a situation that David found himself in, and what he did…

And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire; And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way. So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives. Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep. And David’s two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.” (1Samuel 30:1-6)

David went to God with his problem that was causing his depression and making him weary…

And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod. And Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David. And David enquired at the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.” (1Samuel 30:7-8)

And when he had brought him down, behold, they were spread abroad upon all the earth, eating and drinking, and dancing, because of all the great spoil that they had taken out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Judah. And David smote them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode upon camels, and fled. And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives. And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor any thing that they had taken to them: David recovered all.” (1Samuel 30:16-19)

You can struggle and become weary trying to solve problems in your own strength. Bring them to the LORD, for without Him ye could do nothing.

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (1Peter 5:6-7)

2) Everyone and everything annoys you.

King David wrote in Psalm 37…

Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” (Psalm 37:7-11)

If you let everything and everyone that annoys you, get to you, push your button, then you will become like them. Rest in and wait patiently for the LORD.

3) You sleep too little or too much.

There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin. For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.” (Psalm 38:3-4)

There was little rest for David because of his sin. But…

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1John1:9)

4) Eating is an issue.

Matthew Henry in his comments on Psalm 107:18 said…

When people are sick their soul abhors all manner of meat; they not only have no desire to eat nor power to digest it, but they nauseate it, and their stomach is turned against it. And here they may read their sin in their punishment: those that doted most on the meat that perishes, when they come to be sick are sick of it, and the dainties they loved are loathed; what they took too much of now they can take nothing of, which commonly follows upon the overcharging of the heart with surfeiting and drunkenness. And when the appetite is gone the life is as good as gone: They draw near unto the gates of death; they are, in their own apprehension and in the apprehension of all about them, at the brink of the grave, as ready to be turned to destruction.” (Matthew Henry)

I remember seeing a cartoon in the newspaper. The caption said, “When depressed, administer chocolate.”

Depression can make you run to food for comfort, or can make you feel so sick you don’t want to eat. What do you do? Pray…

Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death. Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses. He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalm 107:18-21)

Can you imagine what your life would be like if you allowed the Holy Spirit to lead you, and you went to God first before acting on your own? What amazing things could the church of Christ accomplish for the LORD!

5) You are in pain everywhere.

My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness. I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh.” (Psalm 38:5-7)

David’s pain here was caused by his foolishness. Sin, once again will cause depression, and depression will cause your body pain. Confess it and allow God to heal you.

6) You don’t care that you look messy.

Another stressful source of depression for David was when he sinned with Bathsheba and their baby was born…

“Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun. And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die. And Nathan departed unto his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick. David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth. And the elders of his house arose, and went to him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them. And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead? But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead. Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat. Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread. And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” (2Samuel 12:11-23)

David fasted and laid on the ground before the Lord for 7 days, weeping for his child. But the child died. What did David do? He got up, he washed himself, he anointed himself, changed his clothes, then went into the house of the LORD to worship. After this he went to his own house and had something to eat. But look at David’s last statement here. He says that he will go to his child, but his child would not return to him. There is something very comforting in knowing you have a loved one in heaven. One day you will see that loved one again. Isn’t salvation great?! Do your loved ones know you are saved? Do you want them to suffer in thinking you are in hell? You need to tell them. You need to tell them about Jesus. How He is the only one who can get them to heaven and see you again.

7) You are hiding.

You can’t physically hide from God. He knew where you would be this very second long before you were even born. Maybe you are trying to hide by not praying, you’re embarrassed by your sin, and don’t want to talk to the only one who can forgive it. He already knew what you would do even before the foundation of the world.

When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.” (Psalm 32:3-4)

The next 2 verse give the solution…

I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.” (Psalm 32:5-6)

8) Nothing interests you.

As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday. Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar. Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me. Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life. 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.” (Psalm 42:1-11)

King David didn’t want to know anything but where God was. His enemies would ask him all day long: where is your God? But David had faith, David had hope…

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.” (Psalm 42:11)

9) You are beating yourself up.

O LORD, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed. My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O LORD, how long? Return, O LORD, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies’ sake. For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks? I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears. Mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxeth old because of all mine enemies.” (Psalm 6:1-7)

David was weak, his bones and his soul were vexed. He would cry all night to the LORD. He was down on himself: he was beating himself up. What could he do? Pray…

Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; for the LORD hath heard the voice of my weeping. The LORD hath heard my supplication; the LORD will receive my prayer. Let all mine enemies be ashamed and sore vexed: let them return and be ashamed suddenly.” (Psalm 6:8-10)

10) You are forgetful and have trouble concentrating.

I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice; and he gave ear unto me. In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted. I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah. Thou holdest mine eyes waking: I am so troubled that I cannot speak. I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times. I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search. Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more? Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah. And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High.” (Psalm 77:1-10)

Can man forget his Creator, Almighty God, his Saviour? We do it all the time. By stealing His glory in taking credit for a job well done. By putting things before Him: oops, slept late, have to read my Bible later. Isn’t it funny how later never comes? What can we do? If someone starts talking to me and compliments me, I already have it in my pea brain to say praise the LORD. Praise the LORD for without Him I can do nothing. I will remember my LORD, and what He’s done for me. And I will tell others…

I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings. Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?” (Psalm 77:11-13)

11) You feel numb.

Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted. 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 25:16-18)

David was desolate and afflicted. Have you ever felt alone. You can’t realy get a grasp on things going on around you. You feel numb. If I had a dollar for every missed opportunity I had to give glory to God, I’d have an awful lot of money to account for. Many times I have to pray and ask the LORD to keep me aware of just what is going on around me. There have been far too many times I could have done this, or why didn’t I do that? The best answer to this is to seek God first and walk in His Holy Spirit.

12) You think about dying.

The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow. Then called I upon the name of the LORD; O LORD, I beseech thee, deliver my soul. Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful. The LORD preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me. Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.” (Psalm 116:3-8)

God still has something for me to do. You know how I know that? I’m still here…

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” (Psalm 116:15)

Everyone dies at their appointed time. How? It doesn’t matter, when does. Like I said earlier, God stopped creating on day 7. All the things that made you you were stored up in Adam and Eve. Say you decided to commit suicide? When you died, that was your appointed time. What if you changed your mind. God already knew that it was not your appointed time, and has more wonderful works prepared for you to walk in. God knows everything, and everything is going according to His plan.

If you are going to flee because of depression, then flee to God…

Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man. For thou art the God of my strength: why dost thou cast me off? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God. Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” (Psalm 43:1-5)

Peace.


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