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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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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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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Slippery Places

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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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Nuggets of Gold

Nuggets of Gold

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)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Matthew 6:33

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

“Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” – (Psalm 37:4)

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.” – (Psalm 37:23)

“I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” – (Psalm 37:25)

Have you ever noticed that Psalm 37 contains many wonderful verses that we often quote. I have listed three of them above, but really I could have added more. This Psalm almost reminds me of a chapter from the Book of Proverbs, but the theme seems to be the same throughout the Psalm. The bottom line to this Psalm is that God is encouraging us to trust in His promises and provisions; and to not worry about the apparent prosperity of the lost world around us. Their success and superiority is short-lived at best; but ours is eternal.

Let’s consider the three verses listed above. David says that a good man will “order” his steps according to the direction of the Lord. This means tha a good man will yield himself to the will of the Lord. Notice that both verse 4 and 23 say that this good man will “delight” in God. God then in turn not only provides the necessities mentioned in v 25, but also will grant his desires. What a wonderful and awesome God we serve. What does this world have to offer you that could possibly compare to what God wants to give to that “good” man (or woman) who delights in Him.


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Forgiven

Forgiven

Today’s Reading – Psalms 32 – 35(Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 2 Peter 1 – 3; Psalms 106 – 110; Proverbs 22)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Micah 6:8

Read the “0622 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” Psalm 32:1

The Book of Hebrews admonishes us to grow up in our faith and move beyond the foundational truths of the Christian life. That’s good advice: we cannot stay babies forever. However, it is wonderful to be reminded often about the simple truths of the forgiveness that God offers to all those who are willing to put their faith in Him. In this passage, there is a reminder to all of us who are saved. The verse above simply reminds us of the fact those who have their sins forgiven are a blessed people. To think that an omniscient God, who knows every sinful act of my past as well as every evil thought, would be willing to forgive me, and even look at me and treat as if I had never done or thought any of those horrible things.

It gets even better. Notice verse 2:

“Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.” (Psalm 32:2)

It is one thing to choose to forgive the acts of the past; but to also forgive ahead of time all of our future transgressions is beyond comprehension. God loves us unconditionally. He says he will not “impute” our sin. The word impute means to assign to or credit to. God says that he will not assign or credit our debts or sins to our account. Why? Because 2000 years ago he laid all of the debt of my sin upon the His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus paid my sin debt for me. What a wonderful thought. Notice h
ow that happened to David:

“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.” (Psalm 32:5)

He acknowledged his sin. He did not deny them or hide them. He then confessed them to God and asked the Lord for forgiveness. God could only forgive him because the debt would be paid by Christ. Have you confessed your sin to God, and asked Him for forgiveness? Have you come to the foot of the cross and called upon the name of the Lord for salvation. If you haven’t done so yet, please call upon Him today.

To those of us who have received the forgiveness of God through the remission of our sins, how are we at forgiving each other? God has forgiven everything that I have ever done or will do. What right do I have to withhold forgiveness from others? Just a thought.


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Joy Cometh in the Morning

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Today’s Reading – Psalm 26 – 31 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Peter 1 – 5; Psalms 101 – 105; Proverbs 21)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 51:11

Read the “0621 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

 

“For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” – (Psalm 30:5)

This is a tremendous, encouraging truth from the Word of God. Sometimes living and serving on this earth can be very trying. There are going to be days, and even seasons, where we experience hardships, pain, and suffering; but, praise God, He always brings us to the other side of the trials to the place where we can see the glorious sun of God’s love rising over the dark horizon.

As I read this verse this morning, I thought of the Stahl family. Ted and Camille have had a pretty rough go of it for the past few years. They dealt for years with the debilitating arthritis of their daughter, Melissa, which involved many surgeries.  Later, their daughter developed cancer, and after a long battle with more surgeries and painful treatments, she finally went home to be with the Lord. It was certainly a dark time for this godly, faithful, serving family. After Melissa’s death, Camille had a heart attack, which would necessitate surgeries for her. In the midst of it all, Brother Ted was struggling to take care of his family due to problems related to his job. Through it all, they remained true to their God: they stayed faithful. It did not seem like this long night of weeping would ever end, but God has brought them to the place where they could once again experience the joy of living and serving Him.

Ted and Camille Stahl are not the only ones that will go through the fiery trials of this life. Our family also went through a very dark valley a couple of  years ago, and there were times when we thought it would never end. But, God has brought us through to the other side of the trial, and we are now enjoying life more than ever. The truth is that we will all experience the rough times, the dark valleys; but it is good to know that God will be with us every step of the way, even though at times we cannot perceive His presence. It is also very comforting to understand, that every dark tunnel that we may experience in this life has a light at the end of it; and when this life is all over, we have the bliss and splender of Heaven waiting for us.

Are you in a dark valley right now? Take heart. Stay faithful. Joy does come in the morning.


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Mountaintop or Valley

mountain-valley-wallpaper-12

Today’s Reading – Psalms 21 – 25 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – James 1 – 5; Psalms 96 – 100; Proverbs 20)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 40:31

Read the “0620 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read a previous post from today’s reading – “Are You Teachable?

“Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah.” (Psalm 21:2)

“O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.” (Psalm 22:2)

Isn’t it interesting the difference between Psalm 21 and Psalm 22. Many of these Psalms are just praises and prayers to God right out of the heart of David. In Psalm 21 everything is great. David is praising the Lord for all of the wonderful things that God has done for him. In Psalm 21 it appears that everything is going great in David’s life.

Now when we get to Psalm 22, it seems like the bottom has fallen out of David’s life. Notice in verse 2, he accuses God of not hearing him. That’s funny because in the first Psalm he said that God gave him the desires of his heart. What happened? Is there some kind of a contradiction here? No. It is just that David, like us, is viewing God through the eyes of his present circumstance. Apparently his circumstance in Psalm 22 was not as good as Psalm 21. Remember, these Psalms are expressions of the deep feeling coming straight out of David’s heart.

I find that my prayer and praise to God is much the same way. Like David, I too go through different seasons. At times, it feels like nothing is going wrong in life; but at other times it seems as if God is completely absent from my life and the devil is having a “free for all”. Do you ever feel that way? I guess maybe David was just as human as we are. I would like to some day get to the place where my praises to God are consistent regardless of the valley or the mountaintop I may be traveling through.


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My Thoughts and Words

Be-acceptable-in-thy-sight

Today’s Reading – Psalms 17 – 20 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Hebrews 9 – 13; Psalms 91 – 95; Proverbs 19)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Proverbs 27:15

Read the “0619 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)

I love the Word of God. I thoroughly enjoyed the Book of Job; but I am also having a wonderful time each morning in the Psalms. As I read this morning, I was captured by the beauty of Psalm 19. Verses 1-6 are expressions of David’s worship of God. Verses 7 – 11 are remarks that lift up the Word of God, and the reader is admonished to place a higher value on the Word of God than gold. Great Advice!

However, the verses that really caught my attention were verses 12 – 14 where David prays to God regarding God’s help in keeping him from sin. In verses 12 and 13, he speaks of secret sins and presumptuous sins. The presumptuous sins are those that we do blatantly, proudly, and in public view. David begs God’s help in the removal of these things.

Verse 14 is the prayer that all of us should have on our lips and in our hearts the moment that we awake from sleep. How often do we violate our relationship with God by allowing evil thoughts to take hold of our meditations. we muse on things that are clearly outside of the will of God. Ask God to control your thought life. The minute the devil causes you to think about something that is wrong, take it to God. Ask Him to help you. Purposely divert your thoughts to things that are true, honest, just, and pure, etc. Our sin begins with the musings of our heart.

Notice also the petition regarding his words. Oh how I wish that I could take back some of my words. The tongue can be a consuming fire, a deadly poison. Why not ask God to help you get your tongue under control.

I wonder how many mistakes we could have avoided in the past had we made this our prayer? We don’t have to make the same mistake in the future. Let God control your thought life and your tongue!


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Does God See?

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Today’s Reading – Psalms 9 – 16 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Hebrews 5 – 8; Psalms 86 – 90; Proverbs 18)

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

Read the “0618 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“He hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten: he hideth his face; he will never see it.” – (Psalm 10:11)”

“The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.” – (Psalm 11:4)

“For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.” – (Psalm 11:7)

“For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.” – (Proverbs 5:21)

“The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” – (Proverbs 15:3)

“For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” – (1 Peter 3:12)

The simple answer is yes – He sees. I believe the Scriptures referenced above make that clear, and there are many other verses we could include. Yet, little man thinks that somehow his actions and his thoughts are hidden from the eyes of God, but He sees it all. There is both a negative and a positive side to this principle. The negative, of course, is that God is aware of every evil thought that we contemplate, and every sinful thing that we do. The positive side, however, is that God also sees all of the things that we have done for His glory. Whether any man ever sees it or not is not important. We know that God knows, and we also understand that God will reward us for all that we do for Him. Just a thought.

 


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Unmoveable

unmovable-faith-570x290

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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A Recipe for Success

FruitTree1

Today’s Reading – Psalms 1 – 8 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Philemon – Hebrews 4; Psalms 81 – 85; Proverbs 17)

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

Read the  “0617 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read a previous post from this passage –Kiss the Son

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” – (Psalm 1:1-6)

The recipe for success in God’s economy is simple and sure. God says that we are to separate ourselves from the philosophies of this world, and immerse our lives in the principles of the Word of God. It’s that simple. Notice that this psalm teaches that if we will do these things we will be fruitful and prosperous. This is a guaranteed promise from God.

Why is it that Christians do not follow this simple recipe from the Word of God? I think that there are many reasons for this, but the one that stands out above the rest seems to be that we really do not fully believe the promise. Our sight of the substance of this world overpowers our faith in the things that are not seen. Another reason that comes to mind is that because the blessings that come as a result of our faithfulness to God and His word often only come after a time of testing, Christians often throw in the towel and follow their own instincts. But whatever the reasons may be, the fact remains that most of us never arrive at the place where we experience the level of prosperity that God promises.

Christian, let me encourage you to meditate, and even memorize this wonderful psalm. Let it be absorbed into your soul. Even more importantly, however, you should put this portion of Scripture into practice in your life. Fall in love with the Word of God, and follow its principles. Don’t be enamored with all the glitz that this world may offer you. Choose to live for the things that really matter.


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Happy to Be In Church

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 – 22Psalms 51 – 55Proverbs 11)

Scripture Memorization for June – Great Commission Verses

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 51

Read a great article by Brother Rick Houk – “Keeping It Fresh – Summer Bible Study

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 2 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 “bacon” tie (Don’t ask – you would have to see it to understand what I am talking about). 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, gossipping, 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 to go 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

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 – 20Psalms 46 – 50Proverbs 10)

Scripture Memorization for June – Great Commission Verses

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

Read a great article by Brother Rick Houk – “Keeping It Fresh – Summer Bible Study

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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Unmoveable

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 – 16Psalms 36 – 40Proverbs 8)

Scripture Memorization for June – Great Commission Verses

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

Read a great article by Pastor Paul Chappell – “Standing on the Promises

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.” (1Cor 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. (v 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

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 – 14;Psalms 31 – 35Proverbs 7)

Scripture Memorization for June – Great Commission Verses

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34

Read a great article from by Pastor Paul Chappell – “Standing on the Promises

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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Slippery Places

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 – 22Psalms 146 – 150Proverbs 30 – 31)

Scripture Memorization for June – Verses Supporting an Unlimited Atonement

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

Read a great article from Ministry 127 by Pastor Paul Chappell – “Striving Together

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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Trouble Sleeping?

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 – 9Psalms 131 – 135Proverbs 27)

Scripture Memorization for June – Verses Supporting an Unlimited Atonement

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

Read a great article by Pastor Paul Chappell – “Everyday Legacy

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

Read a previous post from this passage – “Lead Me To The Rock”

“I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.” (Psalm 63:6)

Have you ever had trouble sleeping at night?  It is a huge problem for many people.  They toss and turn all night, thinking and worrying about all sorts of things.  Thankfully, since my time in Bible college, I can honestly say that it is a very rare occasion when I don’t go right to sleep after hitting the pillow; and usually I sleep like a rock all through the night.  However, every once in a while I do have some pressing issue in my mind that keeps sleep from me.  I have discovered that prayer is a wonderful help during those difficult nights.  I have learned that praying about these rest-robbing problems will cause me to feel more at ease about them, and will allow me to have enough peace to get some rest.

Recently I have taken this a step further.  Now when I go to sleep I start praising God for who He is, and for all of the wonderful blessings He has given to me and my family.  It is usually not long before I am sleeping peacefully with the last thought of the day being about our wonderful Lord.  As a preacher, I often tell our people to give the first part of the day to God; but how glorious it is to finish the day with my last conscious thoughts about Him.

Tonight when you go to bed, why not try to spend those last moments praising the Lord for His goodness.  I bet it will help you sleep better.

“It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.” (Psalm 127:2)


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