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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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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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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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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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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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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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 southern 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 cannot 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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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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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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