Archive for the ‘Praise’ Category

He Loves Me, He loves Me Not

February 14, 2011

On this fourteenth day of February many people are forced to think about love, relationships, and intimacy.  Remember the cartoon from long ago when a young boy was seated on a rock with a daisy in his hand.  As he picked off each pedal he said, “She loves me, she loves me not.”

There is a lot of truth in that cartoon.  People are very fickle in that they move from love to hate very rapidly and sometimes back and forth many times during the lifetime of a relationship.

Let’s consider God for a moment and His relationship with humanity.  Does God love us consistently?  The answer is yes.  John 3:16 says it all for me.  But this is not the only place we find this truth. We find this truth throughout the word of God.

Consider the book of Hosea, chapters 1-6.  God shows us through a timely illustration that His love is consistent and it is our love for Him that is inconsistent.  “My people inquire of a piece of wood, and their walking staff gives them oracles.  For a spirit of whoredom has let them away, and they have left their God to play the whore,” 4:12. The prophet of God faced a situation that is almost unbelievable.

He was told to marry a prostitute who would not love him.  In this he was giving a picture of God’s love for Israel even though she would give her love to foreign God’s.  God’s sovereign love is amazing in this book.  He loves a people who love everything but Him.  After a long period of mercy God sends judgment on Israel so that they might turn around.  But through it all God shows His steadfast love for His people.

Question, “who is the first love in your life?”  Maybe you respond, God is.” My next question is this, “How do you know?”  Israel proclaimed they loved God and they gave their proof in their sacrifices and their commitment to ritual.  However God said of them, “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings,” 6:1.

God does not desires acts of love.    Instead He desires our love. How often have we reminded God of an action instead of simply consistently loving Him.  We can be assured that He always loves us and we can be assured there is never a moment when He does not love us.

May it be said of us, that we also always love Him.  Allow me to encourage you to spend some time today loving on Jesus.  Spend time in prayer praising Him for His steadfast love.  If you would like a refresher on how much He loves you, check out Psalm 118.  Praise be unto His name that He loves us every day.

Who Are You Looking For?

November 23, 2010

“But the Lord in majesty will be for us a place of broad rivers and streams, where no galley with oars can go, nor majestic ship can pass,” Isaiah 33:21.

This verse leaped off the printed page as I continued my study of the book of Isaiah, 32-35.  The prophet of God is writing about the joy believers will have when they stand before His throne.  A few verses earlier the Prophet proclaimed, “Your eyes will behold the king in his beauty.”

The reason this verse was so important in my heart was simply because tomorrow morning we will lay Sherry’s mothers body to rest.  I was thinking about all the people mom has already seen since going home Saturday afternoon.  She has met family and friends who trusted in Jesus alone for their salvation.  She has been reunited with Pa-Pa, the love of her life.  But I wonder, “What it must have been like to meet Jesus?”

It seems to me that we often spend the bulk of our thinking talking about those we want to meet when we get to heaven, which is not wrong.  But how much time do we give to thinking about meeting Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith.

The Psalmist proclaims, “For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord from my youth.  Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you,” 71:5-6.

The fact is, God is the one who has been our source of strength, salvation, and security throughout our lives.  Even when we come to the latter stages of life, as did Mom-Mom, God is right there with us.  When I think of heaven I think about finally being able to meet Jesus.  I am so excited about being able to fall before Him in praise, honor, and thankfulness.  He is my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, my shelter, and a very present help in a time of storm.

How could I do anything but praise Him.  So tomorrow as I stand to deliver the message at mom’s funeral I will lift up Jesus, because is who I am looking forward to seeing above all others.

But, be assured I must praise Him at all times. Here is what the Psalmist wrote in 71:18, “So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.”

Question, “Who are you looking for?” Your answer will help you understand why you are prone to either happiness or sadness, blessing or bitterness, joy or sadness.   How can I be anything but happy, blessed and joyful because I am going to meet Jesus.  Praise be to His name!!!

All Alone

July 30, 2010

I wonder, “What was your first thought when you read the title of this post?”  For some, it could be thoughts of how they are feeling about their life at this point.  This morning, I received the news about a pastor I knew years ago who had fallen from his place of service to God.  His life began to spin out of control for years and it ended three days ago alone in bed.  He was found two days ago.  Certainly we would say, “He died alone.”

But this is not what I am writing about today.  This morning’s devotion covers chapters 9-13 in the book of Hebrews.  Chapters 9 and 10 are so rich concerning the sufficient payment for our salvation.  In chapter 9 we read how the priest in the Old Testament offerend a sacrifice once a year on the mercy seat in the Holy Of Holies for both his sin and his people’s sins.  This sacrifice by no means removed their sin debt, it simply covered it.  The bible records in 9:7, “He went alone once a year…”

As I read those words, the joy of the Lord filled my soul.  Jesus Christ went to the cross alone for my sin and for your sin.  I praise the Lord that He only had to do this once and it was sufficient for my sin and for your sin, 9:26.

So, the fact is, he alone deserves the praise and honor for our salvation.  The glory is His, all alone!!!  I cannot get over this, I must not get over this.  The key to a surrendered life is to glory only in Him.  We must refuse to seek glory for ourselves in any way.  As we glory in Christ alone, the liberty of Christ is abundant in our lives.

Oh the richness of this truth.  God alone deserves our praise.  Brothers and sisters, as we praise Him we discover something wonderful. This God whom we praise alone never leaves us alone. “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have.  For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you,” 13:5.

As we lift Him up, He leads us by still waters and He walks with us in daily life and He carries us through the troubled waters of life.  Jesus told His disciples, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am in the midst,” Matthew 18:20.

As Sunday approaches may we lift Him up alone and watch as His power is released in the church and most certainly we will not be alone.  Praise be to His name, ‘ALL ALONE.’

Who Get’s The Glory?

July 24, 2010

This has been a wonderful few days of ministering with one of the young pastors on our staff.  Each day I have been blessed to work with Pastor Rich.  It’s easy to say, “I know someone,”  But it’s another to really know them.  I have been blessed this week to serve as a team with my brother and to offer support to the rest of our team.

As I read the book of Galatians this morning, I was pricked in the heart by the last verse of chapter one, “And they glorified God in me,” 1:24. Here the Apostle Paul reminded the church that a life that is surrendered to Christ is a life that brings glory to Christ alone.  I was convicted about how often I want the glory to be about me.  I am so thankful that God is changing my life as I draw closer to Him.

I look back over my life as see so many times when I struggled with God over who get’s the glory.  Brothers and sisters the gospel is always hindered when we are presenting two lord’s!!!  We must come to the place where we can genuinely say, “I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life I live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me,” 2:20.

When you live the Christ life, He is lifted up and you are lifting Him up by serving Him in holiness and in humility.  Please pray that our team exhibits this character as we complete the last half of our journey.  Pray for Rich and I that those who come to hear us would only see Christ and that we would desire His glory alone.

We are praying for each of you, that in your individual lives, Christ alone would get the glory.

What Did I Do?

July 6, 2010

There are those days when it seems as if everything is going wrong?  You know what I am talking about, “Those days when even your dog barks at your heels.”  I often talk with people who seem to be stuck in their circumstances.  There seems to be a cloud that hangs over them and no matter how hard you try to cheer them up, it ends the same way, “Woe is me!!!”

As I read John 9-14, Revelation 4-5, I discovered the story of a guy who was born blind, John 9.  The disciples of Christ ask the question, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”  When I read those words, I thought, there are many people who have this faulty viewpoint when things are going wrong.

I am sure that sometimes those who read this find yourself in a place that you ask, “What did I do?”  Notice Jesus response, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.”  Jesus wanted the disciples to know that all that was happening in this blind man’s life was for the purpose of the Glory of God.

Could it really be that God allows rough spots in our lives so that we might come to Him in dependence so the world could see His glory working in our lives?  The answer is yes.  We must come to the place where we can boldly proclaim in any circumstance, “This is for His glory.”

People who come to this settled faith cease complaining because they are now joyously anticipating what God is going to do in their circumstance to bring glory to Himself.  Allow me to encourage you today to cease saying, “What did I do to deserve this hardship?”  And allow me to encourage you to begin saying, “God, why did you favor me in allowing me to be in a place where I can bring you glory.”

Brethren I do not deserve the mercy and grace of God.  Brethren you and I have the honor of serving a God who has positioned us in rough spots to give Him glory.  What did we do to earn this honor?  We did nothing and He does everything.  I love the response of the blind man when he was headed by Jesus and questioned by the religious leaders, “One thing I know, I was blind but now I see.”  Praise God.  Oh how I hope that your resolve is to bring glory to His name in every rough spot in your path.

I leave you with the words of Revelation 5:13, “Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb forever, and ever!”

Nothing To Say

June 11, 2010

Believe it or not there are times when people have nothing to say.  This would be a miracle in my youngest son’s life.  He and I spend the afternoon and evening together yesterday and oh boy did he forever talk.  There was a moment when I said, “John could you please be quite for just a moment.”  Afterward I realized he was simply excited to be with his dad.

As I was reading the books of Zephaniah and Haggai this morning I came across this verse, “Be silent in the presence of the Lord God; for the day of the Lord is at hand, Zephaniah 1:7.  Upon further reading I discovered the reason the people were to be silent was simply because their sin was evident before God and they had nothing to say in their defense.

Question, “Do you and I have anything to say in defense for our sin and rebellion against God?”  Could we really say to God, “It’s not my fault or I am just a victim of circumstances.”  The fact is Israel had nothing to say because she was guilty before God, “Woe to her who is rebellious and polluted, to the oppressing city!  She has not obeyed His voice, She has not received correction; She has not trusted in the Lord, She has not drawn near to her God,” 3:1.

I don’t know about you, but I see myself in this verse.  I was born as a rebellious and polluted person.  I did not want to receive God’s nor my parents correction. I only trusted in myself and I wanted to draw near to the things of the world.  The fact is I have nothing to say in my defense.  I am guilty before God.

At this moment, words finally do come, “Thank you Jesus for paying the debt for my sin and rebellion. Thank you that I can repent of my sin and receive the sweet forgiveness of God.  Thank you that I can have fellowship with You. Thank you that I can walk in newness of life in and through Christ alone.”

THE FACT IS, I HAVE NOTHING TO SAY ABOUT MY GUILT BUT I HAVE MUCH TO SAY ABOUT HIS GRACE!!!

If you are reading this today and feeling as if you have nothing good to say about your life, I challenge you to be silent and meditate on the good things the Lord has done for you.  I also challenge you to spend some time praising Him today.  Make a list of all the reasons listed in His word that we should praise Him.  Finally I challenge you to tell others about who He is.

I leave you with the precious word of the Lord, ”  The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing,” Zephaniah 3:17.

Making A Name For Yourself

June 1, 2010

This morning’s devotions covers chapters 35-44 of the book of Ezekiel.  As I read these chapters I was drawn numerous times to the truth that all of our lives are to be lived to bring honor to Christ.

For example, when God was speaking about the day when Israel will be restored He says, “This is not for your sake that I do this,”  36:32.  This is hard to understand in context of a world that is all about doing things for self.  We are born into a world that says, “to get ahead we must make a name for ourselves.”

Many people have made a name for themselves, such as Dwight Goodon, who became a Cy Young award winner pitcher for the New York Mets.  However his career took a turn for the worst when he started to make a name for himself in another arena.  This arena was the drug arena.  Today Dwight Goodon name is marred because his sin nature has taken control.

I wonder, “Are you trying to make a name for yourself?”  If so, you are headed down a path that will lead to failure because our old nature cannot make a lasting name.  When I think of my life in these terms I understand why God wants us to make Him famous in our lives.

He alone is holy and He alone has the power to overcome the sin in our lives.  He alone has the power to lead us in path of righteousness for His name sake.  I am so blessed today to be able to say that it is his name that causes me to have a good name.

Here is what God can do, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep my judgments and do them,”  36:26-27.

Take time to praise Him and take time to plan to make His name famous for this is the very purpose of our existence.  When we do this, “Our name will be identified by a simple word, “CHRISTIAN!!!”

I leave you with the precious word of the Lord, “whatsoever you do, do all for the glory of the Lord,”  I Cor 10:31.

Standing In The Gap

May 28, 2010

In life one of the greatest joys is when someone comes to your assistance.  It has happened in my life twice this week.  The first time was when a friend paid for the repair bill on my vehicle.  I was in amazement when the mechanic said, “Your bill is paid in full.” The second time was at about six-thirty this morning when my phone rang.  It was my neighbor across the street.  He said, “I have about two hours this morning if you want to fix the drainage problem on the backside of  your property.  This time I was amazed at the kindness afforded to me by a neighbor.

My devotions for this morning were Ezekiel 19-28.  I had just finished reading chapter 22 when my neighbor called.  I was praising God for what I read.  Here is what God said to Ezekiel, “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one,” 22:30.

As I read those words, I was sad because there was none in Israel who could take on himself the wrath of a Holy God against sin for the people.  But at the same time I rejoiced because there is one who has stood in the gap for our sin.  This one is Jesus.  But not only did He stand in the gap, He continues to stand in the gap for our sins.  The bible says in Hebrews 7:25, “He ever lives to make intercession for us.”

Maybe this is a day when you are not feeling blessed as a believer?  Maybe you are feeling unloved or you are feeling all alone?  Child of God nothing could be any farther from the truth.  Jesus is standing in the gap for you.  He has done and continues to do for you what you could never do on your own.  He is our Lord and Savior.

Think about what you have read.  Just like my vehicle bill, “Your debt has been paid in full.”  You could never pay it, if you lived a million years, but He paid it all. Just like my neighbor who showed kindness, so too did our Savior show kindness in coming and dying in our place.  Again we did not deserve it nor did we earn it.  It was solely by grace.

When I read about the terrible judgment on the nation of Israel I see what my life would be without the one who stood in the gap.  Be encouraged today and be thankful for the one who stands in the gap.  Also pray for the boldness to share Christ with those who have no one to stand in the gap.

I leave you with the precious word of the Lord, “Jesus died once for all when He offered up Himself,”  Hebrews 7:26.

Reversal Of Roles

May 14, 2010

Last night I experienced “A reversal of roles.”  Let me explain, “Every night I have the joy of doing devotions with my youngest son as I put him to bed. Usually he will crawl into bed and I will read our devotion and then I will pray and will kiss him goodnight.” However last night was different.  I was very tired and as his mother was preparing him for bed, I laid down on his bed.  When he came into the room, I started to get up.  John said, “Daddy I will read to you tonight.”

John got down beside the bed and began to read the devotion and even ask me questions at the end.  He closed with the following prayer, “God I thank you for my Daddy, who play’s with me and loves me.”  Even know tears of thankfulness flow from my eyes.

This morning’s devotions cover Isaiah 51-58.  These chapters are so rich, especially concerning the prophecies of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Isaiah 53 teaches us so much about the love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

One chapter earlier we find these words, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaim peace, Who brings good tidings of good things, who proclaim salvation,” 52:7.  As I read these words I thought how often have we been given credit for His work.

As my son gave credit to his dad for loving and playing with him, so must we give credit to the papa who has given us everything.  We need a role reversal in which we give praise to the one who has given so much to us.

I hope as you read todays devotion you will spend some extended time writing down the reasons you should be praising the Lord.  I promise you it is a reversal of roles that will bring great joy to your heart and it will bring honor to our God who deserves all our praise and glory.

I leave you with the precious word of the Lord; “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by his stripes we are healed,” Isaiah 53:5

The Seasons of Life

April 22, 2010

One of the many things I love about living in Kentucky are the different seasons of the year.  Yesterday as I was driving I was so blessed to view springtime and all the wonders of our God.  To see the trees in full bloom and to gaze at the lush green grass is a creation only from God.  To smell the fresh air and to watch the sun rise in the spring is truly an amazing thing.  To experience the cool morning air and then watch as the temperature rises to a comfortable seventy degrees is a blessing from heaven.

This morning’s devotion covered Psalm 91-100.  In particular the words of Psalm 92 claimed my heart’s attention.  The Psalmist is writing about our need to praise God for His love and faithfulness.  Here is what he wrote in verse one, “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning.  And your faithfulness every night.”

As I read this verse I made the connection that in the morning I am to begin my day with praise for His love in every part of my life.  In the evening the last thing I should do is to praise Him for His faithfulness in the day.  This is to be the daily desire of my life in every season of life.

Here is where the rubber meets the road.  How often do we only praise the Lord in certain seasons?  Later in the same chapter the Psalmist wrote, “Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.  They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing,” 92:13-14.  Our God intends for us to praise Him in every season of life.

It’s not just in springtime and summer but in the fall and in the winter months of our lives.  This passage helps me to understand that His love and His faithfulness are sufficient for every season of life.  So let me ask you, “What season of life are you in?”  Do you feel as if you are in the frozen wintertime of a circumstance or in a relationship?  If so praise Him for His love and praise Him for His faithfulness because He will come through.  The sun will shine again.

If you are in the springtime of your circumstances, praise Him and do not fail to give honor to Him alone because it is the Lord who has blessed you to experience such joy in your life.   I praise my God that it is springtime in Kentucky, but I also praise God that it is springtime in my soul today even though my circumstances are sometimes in the winter.

I leave you with the precious word of God, “Unless the Lord has been my help, my soul would soon have settled in silence,”  Psalm 94:17