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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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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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

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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 in my 50’s. 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

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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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Betrayed By A Friend

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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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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 in past  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 and later, his own health issues. 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. At the time of this writing, they are enjoying living in their new RV and plan to do some traveling.

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 few 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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My Thoughts and Words

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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 and 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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