Psalm 30, 2021

I just can’t stop praising your name, today, Lord! You have lifted my problems and worries off of my shoulders. I called your name and you healed my soul. I used to feel empty and worthless but now you have saved me.

Sing with me, all believers! Praise our Holy God!

God’s anger is focused on the Evil One. Satan is fighting very hard but God has already won the war.

Good news! You and I, the redeemed, have already started our life forever with our Father God.  We are his favorite children!

Yes, we still have struggles and trials while we live on this earth. But, through them all, our Father God walks closely beside us, caring for us and giving us joy.

Most of the time, I feel secure.  I feel like I will never be shaken.

But – sometimes – I feel far away from you, God.  Alone. Afraid. So I cry out to you once again – end my loneliness!  Get rid of my fear! Pour out your grace upon me. Help me, oh Lord.

Yes!  Then you turn my crying into dancing! My sadness disappears and I am filled with joy as I sing your praises!

0 Lord, my God, I will praise you forever!

A Deadly Snare

King David’s son, Absalom, had beautiful hair.  It was thick and long and gorgeous.  He cut it once a year, then weighed it so everyone would know awesome it was. Pretty extreme, right?

I wonder how often Absalom stopped to look in the mirror to admire his hair?  (Did they have mirrors back then?  Maybe shiny pieces of metal that reflected back their image?  Or maybe the guys looked into their swords?)

If he made this big deal about his yearly hair cutting, I would image that he was extremely proud of his hair, don’t you?  I’m sure it was a constant source of compliments for him.

And then we read in 2 Samuel 18 that Absalom was riding his donkey under a tree in the midst of battle when his hair got caught in the tree.  He was pulled from his donkey and was left hanging in midair by his hair while his donkey just kept on going.  While Absalom was dangling there, unable to defend himself, Joab plunged his sword into Absalom’s heart and killed him.

Only really thick hair would be able to do that, right?  If Absalom had thin hair or even regular hair, this wouldn’t have happened to him.

The thing he was so very proud of became a snare that caused his death.

So the question to you and I today is – what is the thing in our lives that we are most proud of?  Do we need an attitude adjustment before we find ourselves in a snare?

Are we already caught in a snare?

Dear Father, we are so blessed to have you in our lives lavishing us with your mercy and your love.  We confess any personal pridefulness.  Please help us be most proud of you and what you have done for us.

Psalm 51, 2021

I ask for a pure heart, O God! I want my life to be focused on you.

Keep me close by your side and grow your spirit within me. Bring back the joy I felt when I first asked you to save me. Give me a faithful heart so I stay near you. Then I will tell others about your saving grace and I will share the truth you have revealed to me.

Please lift the burden of my guilt from me, O God, and I will sing of your goodness forever. When I open my mouth, Lord, let it be to praise you.

I know you don’t want me to just ‘show up’ at church because it’s the right thing to do. I know you don’t want me to give money to the church just because it’s the right thing to do. I know you don’t want me to read the Bible just so I can check it off of my reading plan for the year.

You want my heart to be broken open,

repentant,

humbled,

willing to be filled with your truth.

Amen. Let it be so, Abba Father.

Do You Feel It?

Do you feel the power of the Holy Spirit living within you? What does this power feel like?

God’s Word tells me that David and his army took back Jerusalem from the Jebusites.  “And David became more and more powerful, because the LORD Almighty was with him.” 1 Chronicles 11:9  David was obedient and, as a result of that obedience, God was able to fulfill his plan for David and establish him as king.

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Isn’t that what you and I want?  Not to be king.  But don’t we want God to be able to use us for his purposes?  We want God’s dreams for us to come true.

I had the opportunity to visit the City of David in Jerusalem several years ago. (pictures)   It’s very hard to try to describe what it felt like to stand within the ruins of David’s palace, looking down over the rooftops of Jerusalem.

It’s amazing to know that my God was David’s God.

The Alpha and Omega.

The Beginning and the End.

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God was with David in Jerusalem.  God’s power was in David, helping him to obediently fulfilled his purpose on earth.  When David’s purpose on earth was done, our Father God brought him home.

God was also with me – when I was in Jerusalem and every day.  The power of his Holy Spirit lives within me, helping me to fulfill my purpose.  I’m still here because I’m not done yet.  When my time is up, Jesus will walk with me into heaven, my forever home.

Amen! Hallelujah!

A Direct Line

Have you noticed?

It appears that some people have a direct line to God.  When they call (pray), God always responds.   Stuff happens.

I believe it’s true – some people have a direct line to God.

Why?

Because they pray in line with God’s will.  When I pray for what God wants to give me, I always get it.  He has promised me.

God tells me in James 1, when I pray for wisdom, I always get it – in generous amounts.  When I pray for more of the Fruit of the Spirit, the Spirit that lives inside of me helps grow and nurture those things.  When it’s God’s will for me, he says yes every time.

The key is praying God’s will.  What does God want?  What is best for his purposes?

To do this, I need to know God well.  I need to have his word etched on my heart and mind so that it’s how I think.  And – this can be a tough one – I need to put what he wants ahead of what I want.  There are times when God reveals to me through his Word what he wants done in a certain situation.  Other times, I simply pray Jesus’ prayer, “Thy will be done.”

I can’t give God a list of things I want and expect him to say yes to everything.  But when I pray for what God wants – knowing and trusting that what he wants is always best –  it happens.

This doesn’t mean I don’t ask God for things I want.  He tells us to pray to him all the time on every occasion about everything.  It does mean that the answer will not be ‘yes’ if I’m praying out of line with his will.

In 1 Chronicles, King David was trying to bring the Ark of God back to Jerusalem but he was running into big problems.  One of his men died because he touched the Ark to steady it.  That scared David so he left the Ark with a local family and went on to Jerusalem.  There, he realized the issue with the Ark  was “we did not inquire of him (God) about how to do it in the prescribed way.” 1 Chronicles 15:13b.

So David consulted God and, when they did it God’s way, they were successful.  David danced with joy in front of the Ark as it entered Jerusalem, the City of David.

When I ask God to do things his way, my direct line to God is wide open.

And the answer is always ‘yes’.

Thank you, Abba Father.

No Such Thing

There are no ‘good witches’. This is one of the lies that permeates our culture. We all see these ficticious characters in movies and TY shows doing good things for people or cleaning their house with a twitch of their nose.

No one can be a ‘good witch’ because there are two major supernatural forces in our world – good versus evil, God versus Satan. God is very clear in his Word that witches do not get any power they have from him. God does not speak through Ouija boards or seances – he speaks through his Word. So that leaves just one place where witches or any of these things can get their supernatural power – Satan. And Satan is never good.

Satan is the great Deceiver and the Father of Lies. He can make something bad look like it’s okay. He can twist the truth just slightly to make it a very convincing lie. He can use something that looks good to bring about a bad result. Make no mistake – evil intentions lie under everything Satan does.

The story in the Bible of King Saul going to the Witch of Endor is a sad story with a interesting twist. The enormous Philistine army was approaching and Saul was terrified. He ‘inquired of the LORD, but the LORD did not answer by dreams, or Urim or prophets.” 1 Samuel 28:6. Saul was regularly disobeying God at this time, so God stopped answering him. Why give Saul an answer if he’s not going to obey? Sometimes God will stop answering us, too, if we continue to ask but are not listening and obeying.

In the past, Samuel had helped Saul listen and obey God, but now Samuel was dead. Saul wanted to talk with Samuel so he went to the Witch of Endor. The witch did her normal ‘consulting the spirits’ act but then screamed when she saw Samuel appear. Why did she scream? She obviously did not expect someone to actually come back from the dead – she was used to making it all up.

And Samuel wasn’t happy about being disturbed. That makes sense. He was enjoying heaven and suddenly he’s back on earth having to deal with Saul’s fear and lack of trust in God.

Samuel told Saul because he continued to be disobedient, God was going to do what he said – take away Saul’s kingdom.

And the next day Saul and his three sons were dead.

In this instance, God worked through a witch in order to achieve his purposes. But she was not a ‘good witch’.

Don’t be deceived.

Thank you for your truth, Abba Father.

Psalm 57, 2021

Hear my prayers, Father, and show me your compassion.  I will hide myself in your shadow until my fears and worries go away.

I ask that you fulfill your purposes for my life.  I know the angels of heaven are fighting my battles and they will give me victory.

Your love and faithfulness never leave me, Father.

I am surrounded by the evil one who is trying to take pieces of me and devour me.

But I still praise you, God.  May your glorious light shine over all the earth.

My enemy sets traps for me – especially when I am weary and distressed.  The evil one digs deep pits in my path but then he falls into them himself.

I am confident in you, oh God.  My heart sings your praises.  I awake every morning with a song of praise to you.  Thank you for your love and faithfulness which has no end.

I praise you, Father.  May your glorious light shine over all the earth.

Psalm 63, 2021

O God, you are my God.  I am searching for you with all my heart.

My soul needs you.  My whole being longs to be close to you in this empty, weary and very confused world.  I treasure the precious time I get to spend with you.

I have personally witnessed your power and glory.  I praise you for your love which makes this life worth living.

I will lift my hands and heart up to you in praise for as long as I live.  Only you can fill the emptiness inside of me and make me sing for joy.

In the darkest part of the night, I remember how much you have loved me in the past and how much you have promised to love me in the future.  My heart sings for joy as I cling to your promises and feel your arms around me, holding me safe and securely to your side.

The Evil One and his team are all around me, Father, trying to ruin me.  But I know you are fighting my battles, God, and you have already won the war.

I rejoice in you, God.  All who know the Truth know you.  Liars will be silenced.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Psalm 34, 2021

God is good – all the time!

I will share this great news with everyone I know.  They all need to hear this – there is no one and no thing that compares to the LORD!

Say it with me – God is good, all the time!

When I talk to God, he answers me and takes my fears away.

The light of God’s love shines out of us, his children, and we are never ashamed.  When we are lost in a pile of problems that we created, we can call on God who rescues us.  His angel protects us and sets us free!

Try him and see!  God is good!

My Father God is a safe haven and a provider for me and for everyone who has faith in him.  Those who look strong on the outside grow weak and empty on the inside if they don’t have faith in God.

God’s children have everything they need.

Listen to me –

respect and honor the LORD and you will live a life filled with good days.  Stay away from lying and all evil.  Be a peacemaker.

God watches over those who do what is right.  He hears our cries.  God is always close to the brokenhearted.

But God turns his face away from those who do evil.

When we have faith in God, we will still have trials but God walks beside us every step of the way – giving us peace and strength.

The wicked get what they deserve.  The LORD condemns anyone who opposes the people who love him.

God rescues his children – he is a safe refuge that is always available to us.

Thank you, Abba Father.

The Journey

9 years.

I’m in my 9th consecutive year of reading the entire Bible. A couple years after I started, I changed to the Daily Chronological Bible and it has helped fuel the fire God has placed inside of me to read his Word. Every day. Every year. Several of you have been on this journey with me for quite a while – thank you!

I have a passion for knowing what God has to say about everything. I have learned that its very important to know what God says about a certain topic throughout the Bible – one or two verses just don’t give me the message that God intended. When I read the entire revelation of God, the dots start to connect and I begin to understand the bigger picture.

After my 4th or 5th year of reading the entire Bible, I realized that I could start to point out when someone said something they thought was in the Bible but its not. When I hear something like that, I usually ask the person where that is in the Bible in case I missed it. More often than not, they can’t find it in God’s Word. Exposing the truth like this continues to fuel the fire inside of me.

I appreciate the entire journey through the Bible. The Old Testament used to be a little hard to get through but the Chronological Bible helps a lot by condensing several repetitive sections into one so I only read all the laws once, I only read all the details about building the temple once, etc. It’s significant to me that it takes 9 months to read the Old Testament in the Chronological Bible and only 3 months to read the entire New Testament. This shows the importance to God of the Old Testament. And it tells me I should be reading and studying the Old Testament just as much if not more than the New Testament. Since I’ve started doing this, God speaks just as clearly to me from the Old Testament as he does the New Testament.

Because it is condensed, the Chronological Bible is a great reading Bible, but not a good Bible to study. When I’m studying God’s Word, I get out my study Bible.

I have some favorite parts in the Chronological Bible. I’m in one of them right now so I thought I’d take a break in the journey to share some of the things I really love about how this Bible is organized.

I’m reading David’s story right now and the Chronological Bible places the Psalms David wrote into his story at the time he wrote them. David tells me in Psalm 56 all about his thoughts and fears right after I read about him being captured by the Philistines in Gath. I read in Psalm 34 of David’s gratitude to God for taking care of him after reading how David pretended to be insane and King Achish let him go. I hear David’s prayer in Psalm 142 as I read about him hiding in the cave to avoid being killed by King Saul.

Later in the Chronological Bible, it is organized so that some of the minor prophet’s writings are placed next to the story of the king they talked to. It all makes more sense.

In the New Testament of the Chronological Bible, I find myself reading about Jesus’ sacrifice for me on the cross right around Thanksgiving time. It’s so appropriate and helps me focus my gratitude on the most important thing that has ever happened to me and to our world.

Then right after Thanksgiving comes Christmas and I will be reading Revelations. Wow! When Christ comes again, it’s going to be better than the first Christmas for those of us who have put our faith in him.

And then, on January 1, I start again. In the Beginning….

And the Journey Towards the Truth continues.

Thank you for your Word, Abba Father.