GOD OWNS IT!

Look all around you.  Seriously, look around you.  What do you see?  Look at what you have acquired.  Look at what you cherish most.  Look at your family who was given to you to share life with for a while on earth. 

Now, imagine being outside.  What do you see in your own backyard?  What do you see on your way to work each day?  Close your eyes.  Imagine standing on a tall mountain peak.  What do you see?  Close your eyes again.  Imagine being on an island with the beautiful ocean lapping at your toes as the waves push your feet deeper into the warm sand.

Does any of this really belong to us?  The answer is no.  God owns it all. 

The Psalmist reminds us that God owns all we see around us.  We are merely managers (good or bad) of what He has provided for us.  So, do not provoke God!  It will not go well for us.  Trust God, LISTEN to hear His voice above the noisy din of evil provoked crowds who want their own way.  Walk in God’s way.  How do we know God’s way?  His Word tells us all we need to know.  His Holy Spirit helps us to understand and stay focused on His Road to follow.  It’s up to us.  We get to choose.  We must choose wisely.

Come, let us worship the One who owns it all!

Worship and Wisdom, Psalms and Proverbs

Psalm 95, The Message

1-2 Come, let’s shout praises to God,
    raise the roof for the Rock who saved us!
Let’s march into his presence singing praises,
    lifting the rafters with our hymns!

3-5 And why? Because God is the best,
    High King over all the gods.
In one hand he holds deep caves and caverns,
    in the other hand grasps the high mountains.
He made Ocean—he owns it!
    His hands sculpted Earth!

6-7 So come, let us worship: bow before him,
    on your knees before God, who made us!
Oh yes, he’s our God,
    and we’re the people he pastures, the flock he feeds.

7-11 Drop everything and listen, listen as he speaks:
    “Don’t turn a deaf ear as in the Bitter Uprising,
As on the day of the Wilderness Test,
    when your ancestors turned and put me to the test.
For forty years they watched me at work among them,
    as over and over they tried my patience.
And I was provoked—oh, was I provoked!
    ‘Can’t they keep their minds on God for five minutes?
    Do they simply refuse to walk down my road?’
Exasperated, I exploded,
    ‘They’ll never get where they’re headed,
    never be able to sit down and rest.’”

TRUTH:  God owns it all because He created all and is in all.  Remember this truth.  Worship the One and Only who owns it all.

Proverb 28:9-10, The Message

God has no use for the prayers
    of the people who won’t listen to him.

10 Lead good people down a wrong path
    and you’ll come to a bad end;
    do good and you’ll be rewarded for it.

WISDOM:  Listen to God.  Follow His Path.  God will not disappoint.

Abba Father,

We cry out today for your wisdom, insight and understanding.  Leaning only to what the crowds shout is not working for anyone. Leaning into what is said by leaders of all kinds is not reliable.  Only what you say, Lord is truth and be counted on for life.  So, open our eyes to Truth.  Open our ears to hear Your Voice above all others.  I am humbly repentant and wholly committed to what you want.  Show us The Way down Your Road.  Teach us as we walk together today and forever.

In Jesus Name, Amen

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  2 Chronicles 7:14

We must repent.  I repent.

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GOD—THE CIRCLE OF QUIET WITHIN THE CLAMOR OF EVIL

Lord, help us to gain a more righteous perspective, your way of thinking, so that we might not sin in our unknowingness, arrogance and pride caused by only thinking and leaning to our own understanding of life.  In Jesus Name, Amen

Few problems in this world cause God’s people to question His rule more than, “Why do the helpless and the godly suffer and the wicked get away with their crimes?” When it comes to dealing with the injustices in society, this psalm teaches us that the righteous have four responsibilities.

PRAY FOR JUSTICE

God’s requirement for His people is that we “act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8) for the Lord loves justice and hears the prayers of those who have been treated unjustly.  Did you get that?  God hears!  God cares! 

The word vengeance is often misinterpreted to mean “revenge” or “being vindictive,” as though God were having a temper tantrum, but “to avenge” means to uphold the law and give justice to those who have been wronged. Since the Lord is omniscient, He is able to judge motives as well as actions and deal with situations and people justly.  God is the only judge, the perfect and right judge who will bring justice.

We want the Lord to act immediately, but He is gracious and longsuffering and we must walk by faith (Luke 18:1-8). The wicked convince themselves that God does not see their evil deeds, but He does!

WARN THE WICKED

After praying to the Lord, we must confront the wicked with the truth, as the Lord gives us opportunity. But the battle belongs to the Lord God.  Does God the creator of ears and eyes not hear and see?  What a question!  What shallow thinking!  The subversive plans and plots of these evil leaders cannot be hidden from the Lord, nor will they go unpunished. Paul quoted this verse in 1 Corinthians 3:20 to warn church leaders in Corinth not to try to guide the church using the world’s wisdom, but to rely only on the wisdom of God found in Scripture.

ACCEPT GOD’S DISCIPLINE

The psalmist recognized the fact that the difficulties of life could help him mature in his faith. If God immediately rescued His people from their personal difficulties, they would become spoiled brats and never grow in faith or character. “For whom the Lord loves He chastens” (Heb. 12:6). God uses personal difficulties to teach us new truths from His Word.  There is coming a time of judgment (“days of adversity”), but the Lord will spare His people from it.  God will protect all who believe and trust in Him a “circle of quiet within the clamor of evil”.

The psalmist believed in the justice of God, the future judgment of the wicked, and the promise of a righteous kingdom for the upright in heart.  Do we?

WORK WITH GOD FOR JUSTICE

The psalmist was experiencing the devious plots of the evil leaders and cried out to God for help. He knew that the judges were twisting the law to exploit the poor (v. 20), and he was slipping into a deep and dangerous situation. His heart was anxious within him, but the Lord held him up, pulled him out, and gave him peace within. He was grateful for other believers who stood with him and prayed with him, for “my God” in verse 22 became “our God” in verse 23.  Ask God for justice then do what He says.  He is God and we are not.

In evil days, we give thanks that we have the Lord as our refuge and fortress. But we hide in Him, not that we may escape responsibility, but that we might be equipped to go forth and fight the enemy. As the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matt. 5:13-16), God’s people should do all they can to encourage justice in this world. As Edmund Burke said, “It is necessary only for the good man to do nothing for evil to triumph.” But in the end, it is the Lord who knows the hearts of people and who will judge justly. Count on God, not on man, to judge justly.

Worship and Wisdom, Psalms and Proverbs

Psalm 94, The Message

1-2 God, put an end to evil;
    avenging God, show your colors!
Judge of the earth, take your stand;
    throw the book at the arrogant.

3-4 God, the wicked get away with murder—
    how long will you let this go on?
They brag and boast
    and crow about their crimes!

5-7 They walk all over your people, God,
    exploit and abuse your precious people.
They take out anyone who gets in their way;
    if they can’t use them, they kill them.
They think, “God isn’t looking,
    Jacob’s God is out to lunch.”

8-11 Well, think again, you idiots,
    fools—how long before you get smart?
Do you think Ear-Maker doesn’t hear,
    Eye-Shaper doesn’t see?
Do you think the trainer of nations doesn’t correct,
    the teacher of Adam doesn’t know?
God knows, all right—
    knows your stupidity,
    sees your shallowness.

12-15 How blessed the man you train, God,
    the woman you instruct in your Word,
Providing a circle of quiet within the clamor of evil,
    while a jail is being built for the wicked.
God will never walk away from his people,
    never desert his precious people.
Rest assured that justice is on its way
    and every good heart put right.

16-19 Who stood up for me against the wicked?
    Who took my side against evil workers?
If God hadn’t been there for me,
    I never would have made it.
The minute I said, “I’m slipping, I’m falling,”
    your love, God, took hold and held me fast.
When I was upset and beside myself,
    you calmed me down and cheered me up.

20-23 Can Misrule have anything in common with you?
    Can Troublemaker pretend to be on your side?
They ganged up on good people,
    plotted behind the backs of the innocent.

But God became my hideout,
    God was my high mountain retreat,
Then boomeranged their evil back on them:
    for their evil ways he wiped them out,
    our God cleaned them out for good.

TRUTH:  There is only one God and we are not Him.  No one on earth is like God.  God is in control of all.  God is the only perfect and righteous judge.  God is I AM, the Lord our God from creation to everlasting.  Believe in God, put Him first, leave all the rest of this world behind.  Work with Him not against Him.  God is our Hope.  Abide in Jesus, His Son who saved us and He will abide in You.  God is.  We are not…God. 

Do you really believe God or not?

Proverb 28:2-5, The Message

When the country is in chaos,
    everybody has a plan to fix it—
But it takes a leader of real understanding
    to straighten things out.

The wicked who oppress the poor
    are like a hailstorm that beats down the harvest.

If you desert God’s law, you’re free to embrace depravity;
    if you love God’s law, you fight for it tooth and nail.

Justice makes no sense to the evil-minded;
    those who seek God know it inside and out.

WISDOM:  Love God’s law.  Live God’s Love.  Seek God.  Seek His justice.

Abba Father,

Help us to not lash out but to pray for justice.  Guide us to know your justice and work with you not against you.  May all our hope, trust and faith be in You.  Help us to shine your light of hope and salvation for all to see.  May we consistently point the way to You, dear Jesus, and leave all else behind.  Provide a circle of quiet within the clamor of evil.

In Jesus Name, Amen

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ALWAYS, GOD!

I used to brag about a day gone well.  How pridefully foolish was that?  Knowing God the way I do now, I give all praise to God.  Now, I want everyone around me to know that God is at the beginning and ending of each day.  I pray, asking to see His glory at work in small and magnificent ways, and God never disappoints.  In fact, every way that God works is pretty magnificent when you really consider all His ways.  God is always at work in and around us.  It is up to us, our responsibility of trust and faith, to listen more intently to hear God’s voice above all others.  We need to laser focus our vision to recognize what God is doing right under our noses!  Always God.  That’s why we praise Him!

Our hearts, minds and souls need to be thrown open wide to receive Him so we “see” Him for who He is.  The rest of our created senses must join in to feel His Presence in our created beings!  Yes, He is God and we or no one else is…God.  There is nothing He cannot do.  There is no one He does not love.  There is no one like Him.  Seriously recognize God for who He is, not what we make Him to be in our small minds, but who He really is!  He is Love, Mercy and Grace.  God is the One and Only God who sent His Son to save us.  He never changes in His love for us and He never will.  What He promises, He delivers!  Our changing society, who can’t decide what love is much less who to love, cannot be trusted–ever.  Yes, God is the constant we can cling to in these times.  Always God.  Always.

Worship and Wisdom, Psalms and Proverbs

Psalm 93, The Message

1-2 God is King, robed and ruling,
God is robed and surging with strength.

    And yes, the world is firm, immovable,
    Your throne ever firm—you’re Eternal!

3-4 Sea storms are up, God,
Sea storms wild and roaring,
Sea storms with thunderous breakers.

    Stronger than wild sea storms,
    Mightier than sea-storm breakers,
    Mighty God rules from High Heaven.

What you say goes—it always has.
“Beauty” and “Holy” mark your palace rule,
God, to the very end of time.

TRUTH:  What you say, LORD God of all, happens!  God from beginning to end.  Always God.

Proverb 28:25, The Message


WISDOM:  “A grasping person stirs up trouble, but trust in God brings a sense of well-being.”  To know God as God alone who created the world, brings good from bad, protects, provides and loves beyond our wildest dreams brings a “sense of well-being” that no one else can give us.  Always God. 

Abba Father,

Simple truth.  Simple wisdom.  I will look for you all day long and into the night.  I will listen for your voice above the hard to understand voices of others.  I will give thanks now for all you will do today.  Help me to recognize all your works and give you glory immediately.  I stand in awe of You, Lord.  Always You, Lord God.

In Jesus Name, Amen

And I stand, I stand in awe of You
I stand, I stand in awe of You
Holy God, to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of You…

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HOW BEAUTIFUL!

Oh Lord, you’re beautiful,
Your face is all I seek,
For when your eyes are on this child,
Your grace abounds to me.

There is nothing more beautiful that to give God enthusiastic and sincere thanks for all He has done, is doing and will do in our lives.  He loves our praise for who He is, but I wonder if He really loves knowing we are grateful for how He loves us.  Isn’t that the way we feel when our family member or a good friend tells us how much they appreciate our loving provisions or actions for them?  Think about it.  God is our Father in Heaven who loves us and provides for all our needs in His timing.  How beautiful it is to acknowledge what God has done for us!

Because our God reigns supremely, and always will, we can be the people of God that He wants us to be. Gratefully appreciative!  The psalm describes the characteristics of believers who trust a sovereign God.  Let’s take a look;

We are to be a worshipping people.  A part of Israel’s covenant relationship with the Lord was their honoring of the weekly Sabbath. It was a special sign between Israel and the Lord and reminded them that God had delivered them from Egypt (Deut. 5:12-15). But the Sabbath also reminded them of God the Creator.

In Genesis 1 we are told that what God made was “good.” The psalmist added an eighth “good thing”–it is “good to give thanks [praise] to the Lord.” Believers today can praise the Lord for His generous creation gifts, His salvation through the blood of the Lamb, and His gracious covenant with us because of what Jesus did on the cross. Worship ought to be the natural outflow of a heart that loves the Lord and appreciates who He is and what He has done for His people. 

“To announce your love each daybreak, sing your faithful presence all through the night”.  We can begin the day assured of His love and end the day looking back on His faithfulness. We can look around and marvel at His works, including His providential care and leading in our own lives, and we can look into His Word and probe the depths of His great thoughts.

We are an overcoming people.  The psalmist shifts our attention to the enemies of the Lord who make life difficult for God’s people.  These people are God’s concern.  He takes care of those who are against Him and provides for those who are with Him.  God wants His people to be overcomers (Rom. 12:211 John 2:13-144:45:4-5Rev. 2:71117263:5122121:7), and this comes when first we are worshippers.

We are a people of The Promise.  God grows and matures His own to be strong, flourishing and fruitful.  As believers, we take root in Christ, becoming the branches of The Vine.  As we take nourishment from Jesus, we begin to bear the fruit of the characteristics of God.  We can’t make this change without the help of His Holy Spirit. The fruit-bearing of His Holy character are named in Galatians 5:22-23, “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”  Apart from The Vine, we wither and die.

The promise in Psalm 91:16 is still true, and so is the picture in 92:13-14. To stay “fresh and green” in old age and not spend one’s life complaining and demanding is a mark of God’s special blessing!  What a joy it is to hang out with an older saint who is fresh, fruitful, and flourishing. We change as we grow older, but the Lord never changes. He is our Rock, and what He wills for us is perfect, so we will not complain.

PAUSE TO PRAY…

How can this theme be the theme of our lives?  Are we grateful worshippers, overcomers with Jesus, as people of The Promise of His return?

Do we really believe what we believe about God is really real?

Then “come to his gates with thanksgiving and praise”!  How beautiful it is to praise and thank God!

Worship and Wisdom, Psalms and Proverbs

Psalm 92, The Message

A Sabbath Song

1-3 What a beautiful thing, God, to give thanks,
    to sing an anthem to you, the High God!
To announce your love each daybreak,
    sing your faithful presence all through the night,
Accompanied by dulcimer and harp,
    the full-bodied music of strings.

4-9 You made me so happy, God
    I saw your work and I shouted for joy.
How magnificent your work, God!
    How profound your thoughts!
Dullards never notice what you do;
    fools never do get it.
When the wicked popped up like weeds
    and all the evil men and women took over,
You mowed them down,
    finished them off once and for all.
You, God, are High and Eternal.
    Look at your enemies, God!
Look at your enemies—ruined!
    Scattered to the winds, all those hirelings of evil!

10-14 But you’ve made me strong as a charging bison,
    you’ve honored me with a festive parade.
The sight of my critics going down is still fresh,
    the rout of my malicious detractors.
My ears are filled with the sounds of promise:
   “Good people will prosper like palm trees,
Grow tall like Lebanon cedars;
    transplanted to God’s courtyard,
They’ll grow tall in the presence of God,
    lithe and green, virile still in old age.”

15 Such witnesses to upright God!
    My Mountain, my huge, holy Mountain!

TRUTH:  What a beautiful thing, God, to give thanks, to sing an anthem to you, the High God!

Proverb 28:5, The Message

WISDOM:  Justice makes no sense to the evilminded; those who seek God know it inside and out.

Abba Father,

Holy are Great are you, Lord!  You are God and I am not.  You are provider of all that is good and right, beautiful and appropriate, timely and encouraging.  You are our strength by day and our song in the night.  Your Presence is appreciated.  Your teaching is welcomed.  Your love is amazing.  Your grace and mercy–so undeserved, yet you give both from a love that is beyond our human thinking.  Keep me focused on You.  Help me to hear Your voice above all others and obey quickly.  My hope, trust and faith are in You alone.

In Jesus Name, Amen

O Lord, you’re beautiful

Your face is all I seek

And when your eyes are on this child

Your grace abounds to me…

(Keith Green)

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HOLD ON FOR DEAR LIFE!

The first time my dad decided to teach me how to swim, I was terrified.  I was still in shallow water but I didn’t know when he would take me out to the deep water.  Being the very short person I have always been, water was nearly always over my head!  At least in my mind, it was.  Dad’s first idea was to give instruction.  But the words got lost in my fear.  Then he showed me how to swim using my arms and legs as paddles.  Again, all I could think about was when and how he would make me do what he was showing me.  Then, seeing my fear, he said, get on my back and you will see and feel what I’m doing.  Don’t worry, I will keep you safe.

Because I trusted my dad, I eased onto his back and held on for dear life!  I clutched his neck with both arms wrapped tightly around him until he could hardly breathe, but he was laughing at the same time.  Dad knew I wouldn’t drown on his watch.  But I had to be convinced.

Soon he was swimming beyond the depths I was used to playing.  The lesson got more serious.  He swam with ease and I was still hanging on for dear life.  Soon, I relaxed because dad was relaxed.  He brought me back to shallow waters and said, “See, I had you all along”.  He then said, “I love you too much to let you drown in deep waters.”

That’s exactly how our Heavenly Father, our Abba Father, feels about us.  He loves us too much to let us drown in our own sin and selfishness, in troubles or from attacks from the evil one.  He sometimes sends us to the deep waters of life to teach us His character while we realize He will always be there to rescue us and will not allow us to drown. Isaiah, God’s prophet, who spoke God’s words says,

“When you go through deep waters,
    I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
    you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
    you will not be burned up;
    the flames will not consume you.” 
Isaiah 43:2

So, hold onto God for dear life…He’s got us!  For life!

Worship and Wisdom, Psalms and Proverbs

Psalm 91, The Message

1-13 You who sit down in the High God’s presence,
    spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow,
Say this: “God, you’re my refuge.
    I trust in you and I’m safe!”

That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps,
    shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you—
    under them you’re perfectly safe;
    his arms fend off all harm.

Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night,
    not flying arrows in the day,
Not disease that prowls through the darkness,
    not disaster that erupts at high noon.

Even though others succumb all around,
    drop like flies right and left,
    no harm will even graze you.
You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance,
    watch the wicked turn into corpses.

Yes, because God’s your refuge,
    the High God your very own home,
Evil can’t get close to you,
    harm can’t get through the door.
He ordered his angels
    to guard you wherever you go.
If you stumble, they’ll catch you;
    their job is to keep you from falling.
You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes,
    and kick young lions and serpents from the path.

14-16 “If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God,
    “I’ll get you out of any trouble.
I’ll give you the best of care
    if you’ll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times;
    I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I’ll give you a long life,
    give you a long drink of salvation!”

TRUTH: “Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times; I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.”  God’s got this and everything else the world throws at us.

Proverb 28:1, The Message

The wicked are edgy with guilt, ready to run off
    even when no one’s after them;
Honest people are relaxed and confident,
    bold as lions.

WISDOM:  Follow God, be honest and relax.  Our confidence is in God alone.

Abba Father,

The reminders of your love and care were just what I needed this morning.  Of course, You are in control of all, in all, above all because you created all.  You know the hearts of all and can work wonders.  We pray for your wonders and glory to be seen in all that is going on in our world today.  We are in deep waters but we are holding onto You for dear life because our faith and confidence is You.  You are our confidence!  Thank you for loving us the way you do.  May we love others they way you love us.

In Jesus Name, Amen

I will rest
In Your promises
My confidence
Is Your faithfulness

Faithful, You are
Faithful, forever, You will be
Faithful, You are
All Your promises are Yes and Amen
All Your promises are Yes and Amen

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YOU ARE GOD!

Oh Lord, you’re beautiful,
Your face is all I seek,
For when your eyes are on this child,
Your grace abounds to me.

These are some of the lyrics to a song, “Lord, You’re Beautiful” by the prolific Steve Green.  It plays in the background as I read and study this next psalm written by a man of God, Moses.  Moses was a leader, but as you recall from his story, being THE leader of God’s people was not what he desired until God put His power in him. Moses learned quickly that obedience to God was the only way to live and the only way to lead.   God poured into Moses all that he needed to lead God’s people out of oppressive slavery.  By God’s power left Egypt, through powerful waters, to a safe haven in the wilderness of God’s care and keeping.  But evil followed them there. 

Oh Lord, please light the fire,
That once burned bright and clear.
Replace the lamp of my first love,
That burns with Holy fear.

From the burning bush to the parting of the Red Sea, Moses humbled himself in obedience to God.  When he failed to do that, Moses knew it and quickly repented and came back to doing what God told him to be and do.  We know when we stray to go it alone without God, don’t we?

I want to take your word and shine it all around.
But first help me to just, live it Lord.
And when I’m doing well, help me to never seek a crown.
For my reward is giving glory to you.

We can learn great wisdom and the character of God from the psalm before us from one who knew God, talked with God and who lived in obedience to God.  This is the true character of leadership called of God for a specific purpose and plan of God.  Yes, God is God and we are not.  When God calls, He has the plan.  Our work is His work in and through us.  We are merely invited to His work for a season and for “such a time as this”.

Oh Lord, you’re beautiful,
Your face is all I seek,
For when your eyes are on this child,
Your grace abounds to me.

Worship and Wisdom, Psalms and Proverbs

Psalm 90, The Message

A Prayer of Moses, Man of God

1-2 God, it seems you’ve been our home forever;
    long before the mountains were born,
Long before you brought earth itself to birth,
    from “once upon a time” to “kingdom come”—you are God.

3-11 So don’t return us to mud, saying,
    “Back to where you came from!”
Patience! You’ve got all the time in the world—whether
    a thousand years or a day, it’s all the same to you.

Are we no more to you than a wispy dream,
    no more than a blade of grass
That springs up gloriously with the rising sun
    and is cut down without a second thought?
Your anger is far and away too much for us;
    we’re at the end of our rope.
You keep track of all our sins; every misdeed
    since we were children is entered in your books.
All we can remember is that frown on your face.
    Is that all we’re ever going to get?
We live for seventy years or so
    (with luck we might make it to eighty),
And what do we have to show for it? Trouble.
    Toil and trouble and a marker in the graveyard.
Who can make sense of such rage,
    such anger against the very ones who fear you?

12-17 Oh! Teach us to live well!
    Teach us to live wisely and well!
Come back, God—how long do we have to wait?—
    and treat your servants with kindness for a change.
Surprise us with love at daybreak;
    then we’ll skip and dance all the day long.
Make up for the bad times with some good times;
    we’ve seen enough evil to last a lifetime.
Let your servants see what you’re best at—
    the ways you rule and bless your children.
And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us,
    confirming the work that we do.
    Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do!

TRUTH:  Long before you brought earth itself to birth, from “once upon a time” to “kingdom come”—you are God.

Proverb 27:21, The Message

The purity of silver and gold is tested
    by putting them in the fire;
The purity of human hearts is tested
    by giving them a little fame.

WISDOM:  Know that God’s testing fire purifies our hearts and souls until He can see his reflection in us.  He is God and we are His people.  Others will know us by Who we reflect in our character.

Oh Lord, you’re beautiful,
Your face is all I seek,
For when your eyes are on this child,
Your grace abounds to me.

Abba Father,

You are God and we are not.  Affirm Your work in us and through us.  Give us clarity and wisdom to know we truly are in the center of Your will, accomplishing YOUR purpose and plan.  I want what You want, Lord.  May your glory be seen in me and all around me as I go about this day.  Thank you, Lord.

In Jesus Name, Amen

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THE PASSWORDS OF PRAISE!

Our country is in turmoil.  Countries and providences have been divided for ages. Leaders rise and fall.  Humans want our own way and we want it instantly.  When we don’t get our own way, the fighting begins.  It’s more than a mere difference of opinion, we have lost our path to all that is right and just.  What is right and good comes only from the mind of Christ, our Lord.  If we do not believe in Christ, the Son of the Living, Present God, and follow our own way, then we are lost to our devices of hate and hateful ways with vices of bitterness, addiction to self-satisfaction, which leads to self-destruction.  Friends, none of us are smart enough to go our own way.  No matter what is happening, don’t forget the passwords of praise.  The passwords into God’s grace are humility and repentance.

How often do we forget our passwords to our apps? How frustrating it is to forget our passwords, that we created ourselves, to “protect” important information in our computers!  We try every word, letter and number configuration to get to the right stuff, right?  We shout hallelujahs when we finally remember and can get to what is most important to us. 

It is the same when we lose the passwords of praise to our Creator, our living hope, our salvation, the foundation of our faith.  We try every configuration of behavior to do what is right in our own way instead of being the created who love God with all that is in Him while trusting and obeying God’s way of living His love, mercy and grace.  I love how Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase the psalmist’s words in The Message, describing the avenue to sincere praise;

“The Right and Justice are the roots of your rule;
    Love and Truth are its fruits.
Blessed are the people who know the passwords of praise,
    who shout on parade in the bright presence of God.”  Ps. 89

The passwords of praise are then shown in our responsive behavior to God’s love, truth, justice, righteousness, mercy and grace!  “Blessed are the people who know…”  Blessed are the ones who sing God’s song and tell His story.  Blessed are the ones who live in His ways because of their love for Him. 

Ah, remember, the Lord “looks over the whole earth”, browsing and scanning whose hearts are completely His.  (2 Chronicles 16:9) Is my heart, mind and soul His?  Completely? These are the passwords of praise.

What did our Lord see yesterday at our nation’s capital?  Did it surprise Him?  No.  Jesus explained what would happen over two thousand years ago to his disciples who ask about the future of His coming and His Kingdom’s reign.  Many who believe are wondering the same these days.  The signs have been appearing all along, so to say it is soon is only our way of resolving what has gone on in God’s creation since Cain and Abel.  We don’t know the time, but those who know Jesus will know Him when He does come back for His own.

While living under treacherous oppressive Roman rule we find the disciples concerned about what Jesus was saying about The Temple.  In Matthew 24…”The disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

ABIDING “ENDURANCE” IS A PASSWORD OF PRAISE!

The Coming

29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His [d]elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”  Matthew 24

AND WHEN HE COMES…Those who know Him will know it is He who is coming!  Look for Him!  Lay down all that stands in the way of knowing Jesus now!  To know, repent, abide, follow, love unconditionally, walk humbly, showing mercy to all mankind are the passwords to praise.  There is only one password to setting us free from sin— “Jesus”! 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

The ultimate password to praise?  Believe.  Believe in Jesus and be saved from our sin and from all this divisive world thinking has to offer us as cheap living.  Instead choose to live rich, abundantly abiding lives in and for Him.  There is no one like our God! Absolutely no one.

Worship and Wisdom, Psalms and Proverbs

Psalm 89, The Message

An Ethan Prayer

1-4 Your love, God, is my song, and I’ll sing it!
    I’m forever telling everyone how faithful you are.
I’ll never quit telling the story of your love—
    how you built the cosmos
    and guaranteed everything in it.
Your love has always been our lives’ foundation,
    your fidelity has been the roof over our world.
You once said, “I joined forces with my chosen leader,
    I pledged my word to my servant, David, saying,
‘Everyone descending from you is guaranteed life;
    I’ll make your rule as solid and lasting as rock.’”

5-18 God! Let the cosmos praise your wonderful ways,
    the choir of holy angels sing anthems to your faithful ways!
Search high and low, scan skies and land,
    you’ll find nothing and no one quite like God.
The holy angels are in awe before him;
    he looms immense and august over everyone around him.
God-of-the-Angel-Armies, who is like you,
    powerful and faithful from every angle?
You put the arrogant ocean in its place
    and calm its waves when they turn unruly.

You gave that old hag Egypt the back of your hand,
    you brushed off your enemies with a flick of your wrist.
You own the cosmos—you made everything in it,
    everything from atom to archangel.
You positioned the North and South Poles;
    the mountains Tabor and Hermon sing duets to you.
With your well-muscled arm and your grip of steel—
    nobody trifles with you!

The Right and Justice are the roots of your rule;
    Love and Truth are its fruits.
Blessed are the people who know the passwords of praise,
    who shout on parade in the bright presence of God.
Delighted, they dance all day long; they know
    who you are, what you do—they can’t keep it quiet!
Your vibrant beauty has gotten inside us—
    you’ve been so good to us! We’re walking on air!
All we are and have we owe to God,
    Holy God of Israel, our King!

19-37 A long time ago you spoke in a vision,
    you spoke to your faithful beloved:
“I’ve crowned a hero,
    I chose the best I could find;
I found David, my servant,
    poured holy oil on his head,
And I’ll keep my hand steadily on him,
    yes, I’ll stick with him through thick and thin.
No enemy will get the best of him,
    no scoundrel will do him in.
I’ll weed out all who oppose him,
    I’ll clean out all who hate him.

I’m with him for good and I’ll love him forever;
    I’ve set him on high—he’s riding high!
I’ve put Ocean in his one hand, River in the other;
    he’ll call out, ‘Oh, my Father—my God, my Rock of Salvation!’
Yes, I’m setting him apart as the First of the royal line,
    High King over all of earth’s kings.
I’ll preserve him eternally in my love,
    I’ll faithfully do all I so solemnly promised.
I’ll guarantee his family tree
    and underwrite his rule.

If his children refuse to do what I tell them,
    if they refuse to walk in the way I show them,
If they spit on the directions I give them
    and tear up the rules I post for them—
I’ll rub their faces in the dirt of their rebellion
    and make them face the music.
But I’ll never throw them out,
    never abandon or disown them.
Do you think I’d withdraw my holy promise?
    or take back words I’d already spoken?
I’ve given my word, my whole and holy word;
    do you think I would lie to David?
His family tree is here for good,
    his sovereignty as sure as the sun,
Dependable as the phases of the moon,
    inescapable as weather.”

38-51 But God, you did walk off and leave us,
    you lost your temper with the one you anointed.
You tore up the promise you made to your servant,
    you stomped his crown in the mud.
You blasted his home to kingdom come,
    reduced his city to a pile of rubble
Picked clean by wayfaring strangers,
    a joke to all the neighbors.
You declared a holiday for all his enemies,
    and they’re celebrating for all they’re worth.
Angry, you opposed him in battle,
    refused to fight on his side;
You robbed him of his splendor, humiliated this warrior,
    ground his kingly honor in the dirt.
You took the best years of his life
    and left him an impotent, ruined husk.
How long do we put up with this, God?
    Are you gone for good? Will you hold this grudge forever?
Remember my sorrow and how short life is.
    Did you create men and women for nothing but this?
We’ll see death soon enough. Everyone does.
    And there’s no back door out of hell.

So where is the love you’re so famous for, Lord?
    What happened to your promise to David?
Take a good look at your servant, dear Lord;
    I’m the butt of the jokes of all nations,
The taunting jokes of your enemies, God,
    as they dog the steps of your dear anointed.

52 Blessed be God forever and always!
Yes. Oh, yes.

TRUTH: “Your love has always been our lives’ foundation, your fidelity has been the roof over our world.”

Proverb 27:8, The Message

WISDOM:  “People who won’t settle down, wandering hither and yon, are like restless birds, flitting to and fro.”  “Be still and know that I AM God.”  He is God above all His created, above all wisdom the world has ever known.  And He is Savior.  Walk in His ways.  “Settle down”.

Abba Father,

We come to you with broken hearts for what is happening where we live and wonder what’s next for us?  What will we endure because of the brokenness of those who have turned to hate, lies, deceptions while stirring up defenseless people?  Ah, but then we realize you are in control and will always be in control.  Our souls are precious to you.  You saved our souls for eternity by the blood sacrifice of Your Son.  We find peace in knowing, while realizing the depth of your love for us.  Help us to not align ourselves with anyone who hates but instead lean into the passwords of praise that declare our allegiance only to you.  Leaders rise and fall.  But you, Lord? You are our King forever!  Help us love like you love as if our lives depended on it no matter what is happening around us or to us.

In Jesus Name, Amen

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GLOOM, DESPAIR AND AGONY ON ME…

Years ago, a tv variety show was introduced basically so country singers could have a platform to promote their music to the general public.  From the show HeeHaw, a little country humor was thrown in between the country songs.  Every week, two “good ole’ boys, dressed in overalls, would sing:

Gloom, despair, and agony on me
Deep, dark depression, excessive misery
If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all
Gloom, despair, and agony on me

And then they would both spit “raspberries” with their mouths. Yeah, not so high class, but we all laughed as kids for the first few times.  Then it got old.  Very old. 

Is that what the psalmist is singing in today passage?  At first read through, all we hear is darkness and despair.  Going a bit deeper, we learn that this is the last “sons of Korah” psalm in the Psalms and is perhaps the most plaintive song in the entire book. In the Hebrew text, the psalm ends with the word hoshek, “darkness,” and there is no closing note of triumph as in other psalms that begin with pain and perplexity.  What is up with that?

The psalm speaks of darkness, life in the depths, the immanence of death, feelings of drowning, loneliness, and imprisonment.  I wonder if a pandemic was going on at the time?  Heman was a servant of God who was suffering intensely and did not understand why, yet he persisted in praying to God and did not abandon his faith. Not all of life’s scripts have happy endings, but that does not mean that the Lord has forsaken us. 

From Heman’s experience, as recorded in this psalm, we can discover four instructions to follow when life falls apart and our prayers seemingly are not answered; 

COME to the Lord by faith.  Be honest in prayer no matter what is going on.  Heman had trusted the Lord to save him, and the fact that he prayed as he did indicates that his faith was still active. No matter how we feel and no matter how impossible our circumstances, we can always come to the Lord with our burdens.

TELL the Lord how you feel.  He already knows, but if you need a sounding board the best person to tell how you honestly feel is One who can take it.  Telling someone else just brings them down and you still don’t have a solution.  Only God knows and can help.

DEFEND your cause before the Lord.  Heman’s argument is simply that his death will rob God of a great opportunity to demonstrate His power and glory.  Sometimes, when I don’t know what to pray when life is threatened, I simply pray, may Your Glory be seen in this.  God answers that prayer beyond our wildest imaginations. 

WAIT for the Lord’s answer.  This is the toughest one of all.  We cry out, “how long, O God?” many times in our own prayers while waiting of God’s answer and best timing.  Sometimes waiting is the only thing we can do, right?  So, what do we learn in the wait?  God’s best lessons of faith are taught in the wait.  “Be still and know that I am God” comes to mind.  Be still means to let go and give it all to God with faith knowing that He will intercede.  I have discovered that it is in giving up completely but I find God works His wonders.  Mm.

So, it seems this psalm of doom, despair and agony has given us an encouraging lesson about our faith.  What do you think?  Gloom or Gladness?

Worship and Wisdom, Psalms and Proverbs

Psalm 88, The Message

A Korah Prayer of Heman

1-9 God, you’re my last chance of the day.
    I spend the night on my knees before you.
Put me on your salvation agenda;
    take notes on the trouble I’m in.
I’ve had my fill of trouble;
    I’m camped on the edge of hell.
I’m written off as a lost cause,
    one more statistic, a hopeless case.
Abandoned as already dead,
    one more body in a stack of corpses,
And not so much as a gravestone—
    I’m a black hole in oblivion.
You’ve dropped me into a bottomless pit,
    sunk me in a pitch-black abyss.
I’m battered senseless by your rage,
    relentlessly pounded by your waves of anger.
You turned my friends against me,
    made me horrible to them.
I’m caught in a maze and can’t find my way out,
    blinded by tears of pain and frustration.

9-12 I call to you, God; all day I call.
    I wring my hands, I plead for help.
Are the dead a live audience for your miracles?
    Do ghosts ever join the choirs that praise you?
Does your love make any difference in a graveyard?
    Is your faithful presence noticed in the corridors of hell?
Are your marvelous wonders ever seen in the dark,
    your righteous ways noticed in the Land of No Memory?

13-18 I’m standing my ground, God, shouting for help,
    at my prayers every morning, on my knees each daybreak.
Why, God, do you turn a deaf ear?
    Why do you make yourself scarce?
For as long as I remember I’ve been hurting;
    I’ve taken the worst you can hand out, and I’ve had it.
Your wildfire anger has blazed through my life;
    I’m bleeding, black-and-blue.
You’ve attacked me fiercely from every side,
    raining down blows till I’m nearly dead.
You made lover and neighbor alike dump me;
    the only friend I have left is Darkness.

TRUTH:  The only true Friend we have in the gloom and darkness times of our lives is God who sheds His light and dispels the darkness.  Be still, wait and watch God do what only God can do!

Proverb 27:1, The Message

WISDOM: “Don’t brashly announce what you’re going to do tomorrow; you don’t know the first thing about tomorrow.”

Abba Father,

We don’t know what tomorrow holds but we know who is in charge of all our tomorrows.  Great are You, Lord!  I love how you love us.  I love how you work.  You have helped me through many dark times, transforming my life little by little.  All my hope, faith, trust is in You alone because of my love for You.  Continue to do what You must in me—but be gentle.  Show me the way I should go and I will walk it.  Lead my every thought and action with your wisdom.

In Jesus Name, Amen

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GOD’S HOMETOWN

Even though we have lived away from our hometown for almost three decades, we still say “we are originally from Oklahoma”.  We were born there, grew to adulthood, married and birthed three children in our hometown.  Randy and I taught elementary school in our hometown before going into ministry.  God led us to pastor the church we grew up in even though others advised against that at the time.  Our mentor affirmed what God was doing in us in our hometown, however, and advised to stay for “such a time as this”, so we did.  Then God led us to leave for ministry assignments elsewhere.  So, we left our physical hometown. 

There are things you miss from your hometown adventures.  For us, it’s eating Braum’s ice cream in warmer weather.  When you make visits back to your hometown, the first activities on the agenda are eating the foods you miss, going to places that bring pleasant memories or looking up former friends that grew up with you and remained in your hometown.  Memories usually get better with age.  (Smiling.) 

God’s hometown on earth, the city of Jerusalem, is described by the psalmist as the place he loves to dwell for it is the place His people come to be reborn, recommitting their love for Him!  But let’s take a closer look for understanding.  The writer was not indulging in arrogant nationalism but only seeking to glorify the God of Israel and the blessings He bestows.

The psalm must be read on two levels. It is a prophecy of the future kingdom, when all nations will come to Jerusalem to worship (86:9Isa. 2:1-5), and it is also a picture of the heavenly Zion where the children of God have their spiritual citizenship (Luke 10:20Gal. 4:21-31Phil. 3:20-21Heb. 12:18-24).  Old and New Covenants come together in this simple psalm of praise to God where all are saved from death by believing that He is who He says He is. 

He is God and we are not.  No one loves like our God.  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).  When we believe that Jesus, God’s Son, died to redeem us, we are reborn and adopted as God’s children to live in His “hometown” of heaven with Him forever! 

GOING DEEPER STILL…

Warren Weirsbe, Commentator, helps to understand the connection between Zion and God’s eternal “hometown”. 

“David chose Jerusalem for his capital city (2 Sam. 5:6-10), and the Lord validated that choice by putting His temple there. The nation of Israel was to be separate from the other nations both politically (Num. 23:9) and geographically. That is why God called Jerusalem “my city” (Isa. 45:13) and “the Holy City” (Isa. 48:252:1) and Zion “my holy mountain” (Isa. 11:956:757:13). It is “the joy of the whole earth … the city of the great King” (48:2).

It is His foundation from which He has built His great work of redemption (Isa. 14:32). “Salvation is of the Jews,” said Jesus (John 4:22); and were it not for Israel, the world would not have the knowledge of the true and living God, the inspired Scriptures, or the Savior. Jesus died and rose again outside the walls of Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit descended on the church meeting in Jerusalem on Pentecost, and it was from Jerusalem that the early Jewish believers scattered to carry the gospel to the nations.”

Jerusalem is God’s hometown on earth.  Jerusalem was not only the temple of the true God, but also the throne of David, and it would be the Davidic line that would give us the Savior, Jesus Christ. In the end times, Jerusalem will be a center of controversy and conflict, but the Lord will rescue His beloved city (Zech. 12:1–13:1). But the prophets have written some “glorious things” about the future Jerusalem, and the apostles have written even more glorious things about the heavenly Jerusalem!

The emphasis in all three verses is on birth, indicating that the people who enter the future glorious kingdom will experience a “new birth” and belong to the family of God. Like Paul, they will be citizens by birth (Acts 22:25-29) and not by purchase. The phrase “them that know me” indicates more than an intellectual appreciation of the Lord. It describes a personal relationship with Him, like that of husband and wife (Gen. 4:119:81 Sam. 2:123:7).

WHOEVER BELIEVES…

As citizens of Zion and the children of God, the Jews and Gentiles not only live together, but they also sing together and play musical instruments as they rejoice in God’s blessings. Be born again into the Kingdom of God.  “Believe and you will be saved”…(Acts 16:31)  Every person is invited to God’s hometown and claim it as their own! 

Worship and Wisdom, Psalms and Proverbs

Psalm 87, The Message

A Korah Psalm

87 1-3 He founded Zion on the Holy Mountain—
    and oh, how God loves his home!
Loves it far better than all
    the homes of Jacob put together!
God’s hometown—oh!
    everyone there is talking about you!

????????????????????????????????????

I name them off, those among whom I’m famous:
    Egypt and Babylon,
    also Philistia,
    even Tyre, along with Cush.
Word’s getting around; they point them out:
    “This one was born again here!”

The word’s getting out on Zion:
    “Men and women, right and left,
    get born again in her!”

God registers their names in his book:
    “This one, this one, and this one—
    born again, right here.”

Singers and dancers give credit to Zion:
    “All my springs are in you!”

TRUTH:  God’s loves his hometown but He loves His created even more!  Believe, love God back, begin a seriously committed relationship with the God who loves us beyond human capabilities.  Believe and God’s hometown is ours, too!

Proverb 27:19, The Message

“As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.”

WISDOM: “Hometown” is where the heart is. 

Abba Father,

We ponder the memories of our hometown and they cannot compare to residing in the hometown of your salvation and redemption.  Thank you, Jesus, for the invitation to dwell in Your Presence, seek Your wisdom, and to live as a member of Your family forever.  Thank you for hope, joy, and peace through good times and bad.  Thank you for loving us the way you do.  Thank you for helping us grow in our relationship with you as “joint heirs” in your forever hometown Kingdom.  There is no one like You.  Great are you Lord.  Praise will forever be on my lips for I have been reborn into your hometown!  Thank you, Lord.  If home is where the heart is then I’m home with you.

In Jesus Name, Amen

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GOD IS NO QUITTER!

When life gets too hard, we quit.  When someone hurts our feelings, mocks us or ignores us, we quit, sulk and walk away.  When our work becomes too challenging, requiring more learning, we quit to find a work that is easier.  When a spouse doesn’t please or “meet our needs”, we quit working on the relationship and turn to someone else who we think will make us happier.  When a restaurant serves us in a manner that displeases us, we quit going there.  No second chances from us to be had! When someone betrays us, we hold a grudge and ban them from our lives forever. When someone gets angry at us and tells us their love for us is over, we quit loving them and everyone else like them.  Quitting for humans in a world that tells us to “have our own way” is easy and even acceptable. 

Quitting is our mantra–unless we know the God who never quits and never gives up on us!

David’s psalm offers high praise to the God who never quits!  Let’s read this passage over and over until we can list all the ways God never quits!  This is a great exercise for us.  If we really believe that what we believe about God is really real, we will want to be who He wants to be and do what He wants us to do.  Jesus, God’ Son, came to earth to show us God’s never quitting love, mercy and grace.  Jesus, the supreme example of never quitting until our lives were redeemed, taught us how to live a never quitting life of love.  Like the prophet of God Micah repeated from God Himself, we are required to live this life “doing what is right, loving mercy, while walking humbly with our God.” (Micah 6:8, paraphrased.)  There is no mention in God’s Word that states we are to quit loving or doing what is right while walking with God.

In fact, for further clarification, Paul writes, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”  (Galatians 6:9) That “harvest” describes lost people, seekers of hope, who need help finding and following Jesus, the Source of everlasting, never quitting love, hope, peace in good times and bad, mercy and grace.  Jesus invites us to His work to tell His story while pointing the “harvest” of souls to Him to be saved from death. 

God never quits.  “God, you’re the one, there’s no one but you!”

“O God, are both tender and kind, not easily angered, immense in love, and you never, never quit.”  Thank you. 

Worship and Wisdom, Psalms and Proverbs

Psalm 86, The Message

A David Psalm

86 1-7 Bend an ear, God; answer me.
    I’m one miserable wretch!
Keep me safe—haven’t I lived a good life?
    Help your servant—I’m depending on you!
You’re my God; have mercy on me.
    I count on you from morning to night.
Give your servant a happy life;
    I put myself in your hands!
You’re well-known as good and forgiving,
    bighearted to all who ask for help.
Pay attention, God, to my prayer;
    bend down and listen to my cry for help.
Every time I’m in trouble I call on you,
    confident that you’ll answer.

8-10 There’s no one quite like you among the gods, O Lord,
    and nothing to compare with your works.
All the nations you made are on their way,
    ready to give honor to you, O Lord,
Ready to put your beauty on display,
    parading your greatness,
And the great things you do—
    God, you’re the one, there’s no one but you!

11-17 Train me, God, to walk straight;
    then I’ll follow your true path.
Put me together, one heart and mind;
    then, undivided, I’ll worship in joyful fear.
From the bottom of my heart I thank you, dear Lord;
    I’ve never kept secret what you’re up to.
You’ve always been great toward me—what love!
    You snatched me from the brink of disaster!
God, these bullies have reared their heads!
    A gang of thugs is after me—
    and they don’t care a thing about you.
But you, O God, are both tender and kind,
    not easily angered, immense in love,
    and you never, never quit.
So look me in the eye and show kindness,
    give your servant the strength to go on,
    save your dear, dear child!
Make a show of how much you love me
    so the bullies who hate me will stand there slack-jawed,
As you, God, gently and powerfully
    put me back on my feet.

TRUTH:  Our Father in Heaven never quits.  He never quits loving us, being with us, protecting us, providing for us and teaching us.  God is always at work in those who love Him back.  Love God.  Love like He loves us.

Proverb 26:13-15, The Message

Loafers say, “It’s dangerous out there!
    Tigers are prowling the streets!”
    and then pull the covers back over their heads.

14 Just as a door turns on its hinges,
    so a lazybones turns back over in bed.

15 A shiftless sluggard puts his fork in the pie,
    but is too lazy to lift it to his mouth.

WISDOM:  Loafers quit, run and hide.  Believers never quit and run to the battle that God is fighting for us and with us.

Abba Father,

O Lord, I am so glad you never gave up on me.  Your love is amazing, relentless and unchanging in depth and breadth.  I fall and you are always there to snatch me from the fire that could burn me forever.  Always is a good word in our language to describe you.  You always love, even when we feel unlovable.  You always protect.  You always show us mercy and kindness.  You always provide just what we need before we know we need it.  Thank you, Lord.  Continue to work on me and teach me to never quit loving and showing mercy.

In Jesus Name, Amen

And we’re singing…

Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me…

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