This Is The Glory Of The Lord

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This divinely inspired bit of writing originally started out as a Theology homework assignment but I cannot help but to share it here as well. My time with the Lord this morning is just way too good to keep to myself. I pray the Lord blesses you immeasurably as you read!

Psalm 37:39-40 (KJV)

But the salvation of the righteous is of the
LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble.
And the LORD shall help them, and deliver
them: he shall deliver them from the wicked,
and save them because they trust in him.
This is the glory of the Lord!

As children of God (those who faithfully follow Him), we are lifted high above all those things that give us trouble. We are elevated by His righteous, forgiving, and loving right hand. “Thou shalt be fed by faith” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary, 1960, p. 613). We are divinely encouraged along the way of strife which is meant to bring the troubled into a deeper intimacy with the Father. This is a precious time of growth and victory for the believer! God (alone) is worthy of praise and thanksgiving because of His sweet and tender care. How faithful He is to His promises, how firmly He holds us, so close and tight; there is no chance of fear and anxiety of the future to creep in and destroy. We cannot be separated from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39). He is our shield and our refuge and because of His constant care of us, we can relax, soak in His Holy Presence and in His peace! Thank you, Father! We are comforted by Him as no other can do. We can be confident in the way we go and in the results of our circumstances. He is good!

Psalm 37:4

Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he
shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

The desires of the heart, all the cravings of the soul are “to know and love, and live to God, to please Him and to be pleased in Him” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary, 1960).

This is far different from the desires of the body, far superior is our soul’s desire and in the Divine exchange that occurs when we seek the love of God. This is long-lasting, not to wither as the grass or fade as the flower: The Word of our God shall stand for ever (Isaiah 40:8). He is trustworthy and there is not one who compares!

We must make God our hope, our heart’s delight, and our guide (Matthew Henry Commentary’s, 1960). In doing this, and all by the power of the Holy Spirit who is our helper, God “will find means to extricate thee out of thy straits, to prevent thy fears, and bring about thy purposes, to thy satisfaction” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary, 1960). Hallelujah!

It is through a devoted (without distractions) time of daily prayer and Holy Bible study, along with church attendance (a Holy Bible based church) and Christian fellowship that we are moved (by the Holy Spirit) towards spiritual maturity. It is through personal strife and victories, all glory be to God, that we are enabled to share the Gospel Message of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Personally, I deliver this Good News through conversation, in my writing, and in action. He is truly our Daily Bread, He feeds us well, generously gives all that we need to carry on in His will, plan, and purpose. An intimate relationship with Jesus Christ is priceless and once you, by His grace and your faith, have received Him as your Lord and Savior, I promise, you will never want to go back to where you were before you met Him. He is just that good!!

God bless you Professor Powell and classmates. I am inspired and boosted in faith by your fellowship!!

Reference

Matthew Henry’s Commentary. (1960). Matthew henry’s commentary: Zondervan classic reference series in one-volume. Zondervan Academic.

I Put Him On The Cross

There is hope and promise in a Biblical Worldview, peace, and joy because one knows God’s Story of rescue, redemption, and restoration. Humanity lost and eternally separated from God because of the sin that occurred in the Garden of Eden. There is security and a safe place to rest in a Biblical Worldview because God is faithful to His promises, kind and loving and not because of who we are but because of who He is. The Biblical Worldview encourages, guides, and saves. There is supernatural wisdom, understanding, and intimacy to all those who look at life and all its events through their God-given Biblical Worldview.

A Biblical Worldview builds upon God’s goodness in this world, within ourselves and for all those around us. It does not matter if they are family, friends, enemies, or complete strangers. Circumstances may be favorable or unfavorable, but because of the firm foundation of Jesus Christ, we remain on solid sacred ground and steady, holding tightly to the fact that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, NIV).

Each decision in life, the way we approach life, our deep philosophical questions, thoughts, motives, and emotions will be filtered through some sort of worldview. What is yours?

I am not sure when God opened my eyes to a Biblical Worldview? I know now, after much prayer and study, that God has, indeed, always been with me (as He is with you), quietly making His ways known, in His perfect timing and only when we have been prepared.

As I see it, my worldview began to change after I read a pocket-sized book by Charles M. Sheldon, called, “In His Steps.” I am not sure where or when I bought it but it is a treasure, old-timey in look and in story, and sweet. I smile when I think of the characters in it and the special change that overcame them as they asked the question, “What would Jesus do?” The clearance sticker shows the cost of $3.00; it is much more valuable to me than that!

As we filter all of our everyday activities, thoughts, emotions, and choices through our Biblical Worldview, we are given divine abilities to show off God’s glory! We will bring His light to all those we meet and all by the power of the Holy Spirit, for He knows every need and He will distribute accordingly. There will be some sort of exchange between the Holy Spirit who lives within us to the person in front of us. How wonderful and exciting is this! A vessel of God’s continuous love working in and through us, in service to the Lord and to people. Hallelujah!

Our relationships will become stronger, honest, and genuine! Rather than the murkiness of self-centered thoughts, pride, and arrogance, we are free to create and nurture long-lasting bonds with the people God puts before us. We think of others before ourselves, and we love as God loves us. It is a marvelous representation of who God is, how He cares, and how He loves, and it will spread from one to the other!

What a privilege and an honor it is to be used by God!

I pray that in all areas of my existence in God’s created earth, that I will measure all that I think, say, and do against the inspired Word of God! I pray the same for you, that our eyes would be open to all those things that God has for us so that we can point people back to Him, that we would use our spiritual gifts to benefit others rather than seek self-promotion and wealth.

I cannot help to reflect back to my prayer time this morning. I was with mixed emotions in reading Psalm 35. I could not help but focus my mind and heart on the emotion and pleas of Jesus Christ as He was pursued, belittled, and tortured by the onlookers all around Him as He was led to The Skull (Golgotha), the place of His crucifixion, where He writhed in pain and bled from the nails that were pounded ruthlessly into His hands and feet, Not thinking of Himself, but of the two men on either side of Him, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

“It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And, the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’ And having said this he breathed his last” (Luke 23:47, ESV).

Jesus was able to sacrificially endure and persevere because He knew and felt joy in the end result. His death is the fulfillment of God’s plan to reconcile humanity back to Himself before the fall of Adam and Eve. He is victorious! As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and in the belief that God raised Him from the dead, we are saved (Romans 10:9), not destined to eternal separation from God, but raised to life again, just as Jesus was and to eternally live with God in the New Creation.

As I prayerfully make my way through Psalm 35, I am forced to see by the living and active Word of God, that, sadly, I am part of this mocking, sinful crowd. The cries of Jesus, the prayers to His Father, and all His wounds are just as much my fault as it theirs. Throughout the generations, we all nailed Jesus to the cross! I am one of those onlookers shouting obscenities and throwing stones. I put Him there!

This is truly an awakening and I feel immediate conviction in my heart, sorrow, and shock! Terrible aren’t I?

Forgive me, Father, for I know not what I do! Forgive me for thinking it was someone else. How wicked and unworthy I am?

Psalm 35:4-6 (ESV)

“Let them be put to shame and dishonor
who seek after my life!
Let them be turned back and
disappointed
who devise evil against me!
Let them be like chaff before the wind,
with the angel of the LORD driving
them away!
Let their way be dark and slippery,
with the angel of the LORD pursuing
them!”

I am totally rotten and ashamed but so thankful for this illumination into my own evilness and ever so thankful for the infinite love of God, His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit who is guiding all believers tenderly and patiently into holiness. Help us, God Almighty, live Spirit-filled, Spirit-controlled lives that are pleasing to you!

I also feel anger at myself and at the world, for we have lost many years to the relentless afflictions of Satan. Looking back on my own life, how many hours, days, months and years did I waste because I gave more glory to darkness rather than to Light. This world has fallen into the hands of spiritual oppression and is blind to the magnificence of God. We so easily succumb to the enticements of the enemy and we separate ourselves from the One who saved us. The One who promised to send the Holy Spirit to live in us, to help us navigate torrential waters; He is our Advocate, all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present in times of trouble! Praise God!

In this state, controlled by our sinful nature, let this old creation, our evil selves, be destroyed, let destruction come upon us. Let this tainted, thoughtless, and ugly world be led into Almighty Judgement, eradicate this unrest, discord, and greed, demolish ungratefulness, pride, and arrogance! This world is sickening and so am I!

But, you LORD…

In your mercy, grace, and compassion, you came down from the heavens in the form of a man, but fully God, and saved us. Destroying the sinful nature and bringing in a new life, a new creation, forgiven and saintly, “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of the darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9, ESV).

“And made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (Revelation 1:6, ESV).

Special Exchange

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General revelation from God is seen in nature, in history, and in the human conscience; this unique design is given by God so that we can know the difference between right and wrong. We are all equipped with a conscience (Etzel et al, 2016).

I encourage you to pause for a minute and think back to a time when your conscience, that small inner voice, told you that certain behavior was okay or not okay.

As I pause, I can remember a time when I was in the midst of a moral choice. I knew what I wanted to do but right before I did it, I heard that inner voice say:

“STOP! Do not do this because this is what will happen!”

A second-long video went off in my head and I clearly saw what my wrong choice would bring me and how it would hurt others. What appeared pleasing to the flesh no longer held its draw.

We all have the ability to see general revelation (Etzel et al, 2016). It is up to us to decide what we see. Is God the Creator, man, or something else?

Special revelation is specific to the individual which includes the Scriptures and ultimately what is seen in the person of Jesus Christ (Etzel et al, 2016). It is a direct revealing of God to that person. A special exchange between the Almighty and His child.

The above was written yesterday morning. This morning, by God’s special revelation, I was able to experience it! I want to share this with you and I pray it gives you encouragement and a deeper desire to seek the Kingdom of God above all else (Luke 12:31)!

November 2, 2020 (Journal Entry)

Psalm 18

“In my distress I prayed” (Psalm 18:4-6, ESV, Study Notes).

Verse 3 from the New International Version (NIV):

“I called to the LORD, who is worthy
of praise,
and I have been saved from my enemies.”

My words:

I am a mess this morning! There are all sorts of negative arrows flying at me. Instead of focusing on the onslaught of attacks from the enemy and their effect, I find myself thanking God, instead, for the ongoing transforming work He is doing in my heart.

My usual posture when in this state of oppression is to sit, wallow, and philosophize over why I am feeling this way. I devise a plan to quickly remove myself from the mood. This may work for the day, maybe two, and then I am right back where I started from. I quickly recognize that this stance is not advantageous and I proceed to read from Psalms because I have finally grasped, through the teachings in the Bible, that my daily joy comes from Him. It isn’t in what I can do, but what He can do! It is his Presence and His Word that tells me that I am not alone; it is these kingdom thoughts that ultimately supersede my lowliness.

If you have not gathered by now, I do battle depression, anxiety, and fear, and have since I was a child. I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder back in early 2000 but this is not who I am in Christ! I know this now but I did not know this then! I sought treatment because I was clearly having trouble functioning in my daily life. My sleep cycle was awry, my thought life was out of control and I could not cope any longer without help.

Praise be to God, as I write this entry, I feel lifted and hopeful!

Psalm 18:6-7; 16-17 (NIV):

“In my distress I called to the
LORD;
I cried to my God for help.
From His temple he heard my
voice;
my cry came before him, into his
ears.
The earth trembled and quaked,
and the foundations of the
mountains shook;
they trembled because he was
angry…”
He reached down from on high and
took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful
enemy,
from my foes, who were too
strong for me.”

My words:

I don’t have to listen, withstand, and absorb the negative arrows of the enemy. Almighty God raised Jesus from the dead, He rescued and preserved David (to whom Jesus is descended) and He will do the same today. In our times of strife, we can call on God for help. He will show up but it is in His timing, not ours. He is omniscient, we are not!

Psalm 18 shows us that God does get angry when His children are tormented and challenged by evil. I choose to believe that God is my Vindicator (Jeremiah 51:10) because that is what the Bible says and because to believe anything else only keeps me feeling low. There is no hope in anything or anyone but God and I want to live a life in the hope of Someone bigger than me, more powerful than those around me, and when I take my last breath, I want to be held firmly in His mighty arms and carried to the place where I will continuously sing praises to the One who rescues, redeems and restores. Hallelujah!

In this part of my journal entry, I feel the Lord’s peace and comfort, and my hope is restored!

“Truly I am your servant, LORD…you have freed me from my chains” (Psalm 116;16, NIV).

If I am the Lord’s servant, then He will move me as He wills because isn’t His will better than my own? I don’t need to be anxious or fearful over school, a job, and whatever else the enemy hurls at me. My next steps will be determined by my Father, in heaven!

Yes, absolutely true! He has done it before and He will do it again!

Father,

I pray we hear your words ever so loudly that we wouldn’t miss out on your divine opportunities. Open our hearts to receive your clear direction. Let us not be so tied up in emotion and busyness that we cannot hear!

And what a reminder, thank you, Father:

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish;
No one will snatch them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me,
is greater than all;
no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
I and the Father are one” (John 10:27-30, NIV).

Special revelation:

“Thou wilt light my candle, that is, thou wilt revive and comfort my sorrowful spirit, and not leave me melancholy. Thou wilt light my candle to work by, and give me an opportunity of serving thee and the interest of thy kingdom among men (Matthew Henry’s Commentary, 1960, p. 595).”

Praise be to God!

Thank you, Father!

Thank you for hearing our prayers and thank you for answering. When we feel morose and defeated, you give us hope, reassurance that you love us, and fill our hearts with joy! Thank you! When we don’t know what to pray, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us through wordless groans (Romans 8:26, NIV). Forgive us Father for rebelling in prayer but sometimes everything is so jumbled up inside that weakness overtakes and we give up. You know our needs before we even ask! Father, help us to pray! How wonderful are you!!

Matthew Henry’s Commentary says this about Psalm 18 (p. 594):

“In the midst of David’s (the author of this Psalm) troubles, the Lord was his stay so that he did not sink. God will not only deliver his people out of their troubles in due time, but he will sustain them and bear them up under their troubles in the meantime…He (God) delivered me because he delighted in me, not for my merit, but for his own grace and goodwill.”

This is God’s revealing of His Son’s death, burial, and resurrection. He was once hated, mocked, and persecuted but now so worthy of praise and thanksgiving, our Savior and Lord. He was crucified for the sins of humanity and now raised and seated at the right hand of the Father.

How can one be lowly after being shown these truths! I am renewed and ready for the day! Lord, help us do all things that are pleasing to you!

Romans 12:2 (NIV)

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

God bless you!!

*****

This blog post is inspired by my current college class, “Introduction to Theology Survey.”

Etzel, G., & Smalls, R. N. (2016). Everyday Series: Theology. Chattanooga, TN: B&H Academic.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary. (1960). Zondervan classic reference series in one volume. Zondervan Academic.

Battle Plan

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The enemy hates the faithfulness of God’s people. As we read the Bible, we can see the torment that oppresses those who love and worship God. As we step out in faith, seeking and trusting God to deliver us physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, the enemy gets mad!

You will know you are headed in God’s direction because the attacks will become heavy, paralyzing, and constant. This is Satan’s ploy to turn us away from our Source, our Savior! He knows that when we take our eyes off of God, we will look inward, we will grow weak, and we will become distracted from all those opportunities that God has lined up for us which are purposed for His glory, for all to see!

In times of trial, we must call out to God in prayer! This is our weapon of defense, cleansed by the blood of Jesus, wearing His robe of righteousness, we are to go before God in prayer. This is hard to do at times but only because the evil schemes of darkness are working against us. Satan does not want us to pray. He knows that when we fall to our knees before God, in our helplessness, we become mighty and an unconquerable force to be reckoned with.

Prayer does not mean to get holy in our words. It simply means an honest and open conversation with our Father who is for us (Romans 8:31). We should feel encouraged to empty out all those things that grieve us. He wants us all to come to Him because He is focused on our presence (not distracted in any way), He cares, He listens, and He answers.

In fact, I found myself this morning weak and dumbfounded by my own personal issues. Before getting out of bed, I contemplated a “battle plan” to combat my current funkiness and as my plans were forming, I sunk even further.

I suddenly realized that I can do nothing to relieve my funk! Instead, I wilted in sadness and told God all my complaints. I cannot fight this battle on my own. There is no fight left in me. Help me draw close to you and do not let me do things my way. I put all my worries at His feet and mustered the energy to get out of bed.

I made a cup of tea and took it to my quiet space and opened my Bible to Psalm 13.

Help us, Father, to depend fully on you. As your children, teach us how to rely solely on your deliverance. Show us what this looks like! It is not what we do but it is EVERYTHING you do. Help us to praise and thank you for ALL the things you have done, are doing, and will do. In Jesus’ Name, amen!

Let us reaffirm our trust in God by reverently telling Him, “We trust you!”

Father, we may not be privy to what You are up to but we have faith that whatever You are doing is good. We have confidence in your steadfast love and rejoice in your salvation. Not just our eternal Salvation but our daily salvation. Thank you, Father, that “no weapon formed against us shall prosper” (Isaiah 54:17, NKJV). Whatever our current circumstances are, we have faith we will not stay in them. We have faith that You will use each trial to deepen our faith, trust, and love of You. The events in our life are not meant to harm but to prosper, to give us hope (Jeremiah 29:11).

Rejoice!

Our battle is spiritual. James 1:17 says:

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”

We cannot win in our own strength; we were not designed this way.

“I am the vine, you are the branches.
He who abides in Me, and I in him,
bears much fruit; for without Me you
can do nothing” (John 15:5, NKJV).

There are no expectations on any one of us to get out there and overcome without the power of the Holy Spirit! We are to trust God and leave all the rest to Him. He sees what we cannot!

Father, we put our trust in You. Although we may feel apprehensive, scared, sad, and anxious. No matter these feelings, Almighty God, we know you are victorious. We know this because the Bible tells us so!

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God
and is profitable for doctrine,
for reproof, for correction, for instruction
in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16, NKJV).

Look what David says in Psalm 13:2 (NLT)

“How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul,
with sorrow in my heart every day?
How long will my enemy have the upper hand?”

Matthew Henry’s Commentary puts it this way:

“I am at a loss and am without a friend that I can put any confidence in.
I have sorrow in my heart daily.”

David complained to God of His sorrow; we can do the same! God does not desire anything from us but our honesty, our heart-felt prayers whether we are angry, bitter, shaken in faith, and even lost. He wants to hear from us, regardless of where we are.

“The bread of sorrow is sometimes the saints daily bread” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary, Psalm 13).

Jesus declares in John 6:35:

“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will
never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will
never be thirsty.”

Let us rejoice in the fact that God wants to hear from us!

David prays earnestly to God because He knows that he is in a place, physically and emotionally, that he cannot escape without God’s aide. He meditates on what God has done in the past.

Make a note of this wisdom. What God did yesterday, He still does today, and He will do tomorrow.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Dear Holy Spirit, bring to our remembrance all those things that you have taught us (John 14:26). Help us reflect on those moments in the past where you have come alongside and brought us to victory, for God’s glory and honor.

Our defense in any battle is Jesus Christ! We must pour out our soul before Him! There is power in the Name of Jesus, there is power in faith, and in prayer! As we spill our weaknesses to our Father in Heaven, we draw near to Him and He draws near to us (James 4:8). Trust in the mercy of God!

This is the truth!

“It is a common temptation when trouble lasts long, to think it will last always: despondency then turns into despair, and those that have long been without joy begin at last to be without hope” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary, Psalm 13).

Look at how David fights his trouble:

“Consider my case, hear my complaints and enlighten my eyes. Strengthen my faith. Lord enable me to look beyond the present troubles and to foresee a happy issue to them” (Matthew Henry Commentary, Psalm 13).

David asks God to “strengthen his faith” because “faith is the eye of the soul, with which it sees above, and sees through, the things of sense” (Matthew Henry Commentary, Psalm 13).

David says, “enlighten my eyes” and Matthew Henry’s Commentary interprets this request by stating that if David’s eyes were not enlightened quickly, he must perish.

“I shall sleep the sleep of death. I cannot live under the weight of all this care and grief.”

This would only gratify the pride of David’s enemy who is the same enemy who comes after us today. This gives our adversary cause to proclaim that he has prevailed and gotten the day because what he dished out was too hard for God’s children and too hard for God (Matthew Henry’s Commentary Psalm 13).

This gloating snake is maddening! There is nothing too hard for us when we turn in prayer to God. He fights our battles and He wins! How dare he even speak such words! We cannot let this bully think he has the upper hand over us and certainly not over God. We must not let him get away with our days!

Rejoice and praise God that we are His, we are fierce, and we will not succumb to evil ways!

We have to pray!

Always sing and pray in hope of what God will do. Be confident that He will lead the charge in all of our battles and He will conquer. Sing in remembrance of what He has already done. He has overcome the world. He has rescued, redeemed, and restored humanity by sending Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, so that “whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

“But you are a chosen people, a royal
priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special
possession, that you may declare the
praises of him who called you out of
darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9, NLT).

Hallelujah!

Stuck

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You go everywhere else but directly to me.

You look to other things to fix you rather than choosing to come sit before Me.

You expect something else to release and heal you rather than seeking my Almighty Power. I am your only Source. It is I who can spring you from the shackles clamped onto your soul.

You do not have, because you do not ask (James 4:2).

Is this because you want not?

Do you enjoy being stuck?
Tied?
Pulled?
Over-run?
Manipulated?
Exhausted?
Destroyed?
Weak?

I am your refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1).

Do you not believe my Word?

With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).

So, why do you give up?

Persist in your prayers. Fight to find times of quiet throughout your day to talk with me. I want to hear from you. I want to help you.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11, New International Version).

I am your Father! I can give you relief but you have to trust me. Do not doubt my Sovereignty.

I hear your prayers and I will answer! Do not doubt but have faith that what you ask for, will be given (Matthew 7:7).

Do you not realize the enemy is at work; you allow him to dig in deeper. What started out as small and innocent has now turned into a sizable mess. From it, all sorts of manifestations have taken root. You can overcome in the power of the Holy Spirit.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it (John 1:5, New Living Translation).

Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:16, NIV).

I can see by your prayers what really matters to you!

This trouble that holds you captive, however, is not one that you often come to me with. It is only when you find yourself in the pit that you utter a cry of help.

I urge you to cry out often; this will not go away on its own. I am teaching you to depend on me. I am revealing new things as you agonize over your displeasing offenses.

But, do remember this, “…there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2, NIV).

You will surely forget your
trouble,
recalling it only as waters
gone by.
Life will be brighter than
noonday,
and darkness will become
like morning.
You will be secure, because
there is hope;
you will look about you and
take your rest in safety (Job 11:16-18, NIV).

Persist in your prayers. Trust me. I will set you free! I have already set you free!!

*****

Thank you, Jesus, for this timely word!

Thank you, Dr. Anthony George (First Baptist Atlanta) for your message, “Persisting in Prayer.”

My Deepest Appreciation

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Good morning! It is early but I am wide awake so I thought I would spend some time in quiet before the sun rose and my daily responsibilities took hold of me. The day has a tendency to propel us forward whether we are ready for it or not!

Before I write what the Lord put before me yesterday morning, I want to take a few minutes to thank the community of people who reached out to me this past week! I appreciate you!! I value your comments and conversations and I am praying for you! How wonderful and encouraging it is to exchange words of faith and inspiration.

Yesterday, my reading came from Psalm 10. I woke up and was not sure of my direction but that quickly changed as soon as I got quiet and opened my Bible. God’s inspired Word spoke loud and clear and I began to write.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you, that we are yours! You care so well for your children. There is none other like you, Father! Never in my life have I felt such joy. There is always acceptance and love when we sit before you. You hear our prayers and you answer! Never changing, always tender and gracious in your attention of us. How thankful we are for your Holy and Heavenly presence.

I am so sorry it is only now that I have come to know you as I do. Forgive our acts of rebellion, for running the other way and doing those things that offend you. As Daniel and his three friends were only fifteen when taken into captivity by the Babylonians, their faith in you, Father, was that of someone who has lived a thousand years in your Presence. What a divine gift to be filled with such love for our Father at such a young age. Let not one day go by that we don’t praise and thank you, Almighty God.

Father, never let us come to you for no other reason than to praise, worship, thank, and fellowship with you. Never let it be our agenda but yours. Keep our hearts drawn tightly to you, reminding us that there is nothing as vital and lovely as you. It is your Presence we seek, everything else pales in comparison! Thank you, Father, for the opportunities you bless us with every day. How great Thou art!

Psalm 10:2-4 (English Standard Version):

“In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue
the poor;
let them be caught in the schemes
that they have devised.
For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul,
and the one greedy for gain curses
and renounces the LORD.
In the pride of his face the wicked does
not seek him,
all his thoughts are, ‘there is no
God.'”

Almighty God, strip us of arrogance, pride, wickedness, greed, gain, gluttony, and evil schemes. Make our hearts pure and lovely, soft and malleable, to the likeness of Jesus Christ, your only begotten Son.

Father, there is no goodness apart from YOU! Set all to the side, take front and center in our life, let us not have our own way, take away all “cursing, deceit, mischief and iniquity” (Psalm 10:7). Equip us to always encourage, help, think of others before thinking of ourselves and let us always be passionately declaring the Good News of Jesus Christ.

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself” (Philippians 2:3).

Shine your glorious light in and through your children, bless each one with the words to share Jesus Christ, the one whom you sent, who “is the sacrifice that takes away our sins and the sins of all the world’s people” (Contemporary English Version, 1 John 2:2). Father, lift us into your ever-loving arms.

“O LORD, you hear the desire of the
afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart; you
will incline your ear
to do justice to the fatherless and the
oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may
strike terror no more” (Psalm 10:17-18).

Hallelujah!

Father, help us to always be praying for others, never thinking of our own requests and needs first. A praying heart, interceding on behalf of others, is a joyful and grateful heart.

Father, move in your time, your will, for your purposes and your glory in our lives each and every day until we stand before you in awe! What a day that shall be! Do not let not one step in front of you! Disaster occurs every time! Fill each with courage and boldness to walk obediently in your ways. Let us not look to the left nor the right (Proverbs 4:27), deviating from your plan in our life. Instead, let us “live in the shelter of the Most High and stay in the shadow of the Almighty” who is “our refuge and our fortress, our God in whom we trust” (ESV, Psalm 91:1-2).

“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me,’ Says the LORD (NKJV, Isaiah 54:17).

Make us fearless, unshakeable and confident in your Promises!

Praise be to God, “The LORD is king forever and ever” (ESV, Psalm 10:16)

Praise God

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First Baptist Atlanta (FBA) is currently in a time of prayer. The church is calling it “Forward in Prayer,” and it is summarized as “Five minutes, Five Days, Five Weeks, Five Concerns.” Each Sunday at 5 PM, prayer points are emailed and for each day of the week, there is a prayer prompt to take before the Lord. Along with this, there is a short prayer and Scripture that FBA gives to help the prayer warrior along and it is really amazing how the Lord works when groups pray together! One can just feel the agreement from all across the world! We are in the second week and I have to tell you, there is power in prayer (Matthew 7:7-8)! We cannot see others in this fellowship of believers but Dr. Anthony George gave some details on our first week and it is certainly a boost in faith to hear of all the people who have joined together and committed to this special time of prayer.

I know that I put a post up yesterday and I try to space them out because I do not want to overwhelm the ones who do follow me. Most importantly, I do not want to write just to write. I want to be sure the Lord is supplying the right words at the right time. I pray the Lord guides each of us as we read His inspired Word and that He would highlight the Scripture that is applicable to our personal relationship with Him.

I just cannot help but write this morning because our FBA prayer point is a good one. They have all been good but this is especially good!!

In summary, FBA writes:

“Do you ever express to God the reasons why you praise Him…Make a list of five reasons why you want to praise God today. Then tell Him!”

I read this in bed, my eyes barely open, and immediately set down my phone, and started my list of praise to our Heavenly Father! When I did manage to roll out of bed, I sat at my desk and wrote it all down.

Before I start with my praise list, the featured Scripture for Monday is Psalm 145:1-9. I encourage you to read it. You will feel lifted and loved as you read, in Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Dear Heavenly Father:

I praise you for your Son, Jesus Christ, who died, was buried, and resurrected (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) for the sins of the world. As your children, we stand righteous before you because of the precious and powerful blood of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).

I praise you, Father, because as believers in the Lord, Jesus Christ, we are guaranteed to live with you forever (John 11:25-26). There will be no evil, no sorrow, no pain, and no tears (Revelation 21:4), only praise to you, Almighty God, all day, every day.

I praise you, Father, because our offenses have been forgiven, never to be remembered, forgotten, as far as the east is to the west (Psalm 103:12). We are a new creation in Jesus Christ once we have openly declared that Jesus is Lord and that you, Father, raised Him from the dead. We will be saved! (Romans 10:9). We are born again of the Spirit, purposed (Romans 8:28; Ephesians 2:10) to do all things pleasing to you and all for your glory. You will remove our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:24-29), transformed, and tuned into you.

I praise you, Father, for your Salvation, faithfulness, love, patience, kindness, and gentle care of your people. You know every detail in heaven and in earth (Luke 12:7) and you provide every need (Psalm 145:16). I praise you because you are our Daily Bread (John 6:35). All our needs are met more than adequately by you, Father! Thank you!

I praise you, Father, because our lives are full when you stand at the forefront. We don’t have to succumb to oppression from the enemy: depression, anxiety, and fear; YOU are our shield and the lifter of our head (Psalm 3:3). You hear our cries and you answer (1 John 5:15). We can live in perfect peace and joy as our hearts are drawn to you by the power of the Holy Spirit! What matters most is our intimacy with you. We still feel those negative emotions because we are designed in this way, we are human, but it is through those deep-seated emotions that we can climb into your arms and get to know you better. It is a purposed need within us that gravitates to the inseparable and incomparable love of our Father. Praise be to God!! In those lowly feelings, we have the opportunity to lean into you and grow in our faith and, trust and in our love of you. What seems bad is not, it is wisdom and understanding of you, intimacy with you (Ephesians 1:17; Colossians 1:9-14). How truly blessed we are! We have a choice, so Lord, I praise you, that you give us a choice, we aren’t forced to spend time with you, worship, or praise you (Galatians 5:13; Deuteronomy 11:26-28) but it is by your beckoning that we run to you rejoicing! We know the voice of our Father (John 10:27), we know where our help comes from (Psalm 121:1-4)! Heavenly Father, you are always safe, secure, accepting, and steady! Our firm foundation (Matthew 7:24-27).

Thank you, Father, for your constant presence, especially in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1). Thank you for knowing our needs before we do (Matthew 6:8). Father, we pray for more of YOU and less of us (John 3:30) in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

All praise and glory be to you!

Scripture: In Order of Appearance
English Standard Version

Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…”

2 Corinthians 5:21 “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

John 11:25-26 “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Psalm 103:12 “…as far as the east is from the west,
    so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”

Romans 10:9 “…because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Ezekiel 36:24-29 I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. 29 And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. And I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you.

Luke 12:7 “Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

Psalm 145:16 “You open your hand;
    you satisfy the desire of every living thing.”

John 6:35 “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.'”

Psalm 3:3 “But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
    my glory, and the lifter of my head.”

1 John 5:15 “And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”

Ephesians 1:17 “…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him…”

Colossians 1:9-14 “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Galatians 5:13 “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

Deuteronomy 11:26-28 “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, 28 and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known.”

John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

Psalm 121:1-4

“I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.”

Matthew 7:24-27 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present help in trouble.”

Matthew 6:8 “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

John 3:30 “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

Kingdom Thoughts

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Whether we wake depressed, joyful, anxious, in great anticipation of a new day, fearful, energetic and ready to tackle a to-do list, in panic, dreamy or stressed out, the Lord’s love for us is certain and we know this because Romans 8:38-39 (English Standard Version) says:

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

No matter what is happening in this world or in our personal life, Jesus is always with His people. All those who have confessed with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in their heart that God raised him from the dead, will be saved. (Romans 10:9). He promises to never leave nor forsake us and we can confidently say that the Lord is our helper, we will not fear; what can man do to us (Hebrews 13:5-6)?

As I stated in my last post, I am working my way, carefully and prayerfully, through the Psalms and Psalm 9 was much needed this morning. On Wednesday of this past week, I had two diagnostic tests done and they were quite brutal. I am slowly recovering but still feeling sluggish and unwell. My nephews celebrated their seventeenth birthday on the beach yesterday and I did not attend due to low energy. The pandemic is starting to wear me out and hearing of the climb in positive cases, to include our President, his wife, and their team of people is just not so good news! So, Psalm 9 could not have come at a better time!

Verses 5-8

You have rebuked the nations; you
have made the wicked perish;
you have blotted out their name forever and ever.
the enemy came to an end in everlasting ruins;
their cities you rotted out;
the very memory of them has perished.

But the Lord sits enthroned forever;
he has established his throne for
justice,
and he judges the world with righteousness;
he judges the peoples with uprightness.

What a relief to know that the Lord is enthroned forever and that He is the one who judges the world with righteousness and the people with uprightness.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary (1961, p. 586, v.1-10):

I will be glad and rejoice in thee. Holy joy is the life of thankful praise, as thankful praise is the language of Holy joy.

What I am searching for this morning is Kingdom thoughts rather than Racinda’s thoughts. I am focusing on God in the hopes of rising above my current mood which is flat, unmotivated and indifferent. I am prayerfully seeking to ditch this human feeling of nothingness and instead, grab on to God’s glory. He sits enthroned forever! He never changes! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He does not bend to the circumstances of this world. He has a plan and He is moving forward regardless. The challenges in this world will not stop Him from accomplishing His will. This gives me great hope that God keeps pushing forth even when I drag my feet. He is strong, upright and Sovereign, so, be glad and rejoice in thee!

The Moody Bible Commentary (2014, p. 767) says that David (the author of Psalm 9) expresses his determination (I will) give thanks to the Lord…[I will] tell of His wonders…[I will] be glad and exult in Him and sing praises to Him.

What is my deepest heart’s desire? It is to spend my days always praising God, in close fellowship with Him, without any sort of oppression, in total freedom of my thoughts and emotions and to live just as Revelation 21:1-4 describes:

The New Heaven and the New Earth

Then I (John, the Apostle) saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne say, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’

David, from Psalm 7, is in the midst of challenge but looks beyond his circumstances and chooses to praise God instead.

“He (David) records, with joy, the triumphs of the God of heaven over all the powers of hell and attends those triumphs with his praises…He comforts himself and others in God and pleases himself with the thoughts of him. With the thoughts of his eternity. On this earth we see nothing durable, even strong cities are buried in rubbish and forgotten; but the Lord shall endure forever…He (God) will be a refuge for the oppressed, a high place, a strong place, for the oppressed, in times of trouble (Matthew Henry’s Commentary, 1961, p. 586-587).

In conclusion, David’s prayer is that God would “humble the pride, break the power, and blast the projects, of all the wicked enemies of his church: Arise, O Lord! (Psalm 9:19), stir up thyself, exert thy power, take thy seat, and deal with all these proud and daring enemies of thy name, and cause, and people. Let not man prevail; consult thy own honour, and let not weak and mortal men prevail against the kingdom and interest of the almighty and immortal God. Shall mortal man be too hard for God, too strong for his Maker? It is a very desirable thing, much for the glory of God and the peace and welfare of the universe, that men should know and consider themselves to be but men, depending creatures, mutable, mortal, and accountable” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary, 1961, p. 587).

I look forward to the day when Jesus comes and brings with Him His Kingdom, the New Jerusalem! All His children together, living with God, and praising His Holy Name, forever!

Thank you, Jesus, for this opportunity to write and I pray that all those who read this, that they will be filled with your peace, comfort and joy. That as they read, they too, will praise your Holy and Magnificent Name. You make our days glorious! Thank you, Father!!

*****

Dr. Anthony George from First Baptist Atlanta prayed a very powerful prayer for our President and our country this morning. If you are interested and would like to stand in agreement with him, start the service at marker 14:23. The entire service is worth watching if you have the time 🙂

References

English Standard Version. (2008). The esv study bible. Crossway.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary. (1960). Matthew henry’s commentary: In one volume. ZONDERVAN ACADEMIC. 

The Moody Bible Commentary. (2014). The moody bible commentary; A one-volume commentary on the whole bible by the faculty of moody bible institute. Moody Publisher. Chicago.

Life’s Challenges: God’s Answers

row of barriers on empty track
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Where do you go when faced with life’s constant challenges? It seems when one hurdle has been jumped, there before you, stands another. Whether it is depression, anxiety, grief, addiction, loneliness, divorce, illness, lack of finances, cultural differences, stress, and strife in the family and betrayal, there will be a dilemma that we are forced to face. Since the fall of Adam and Eve, there has always been distress and hardship for human beings.

In Genesis 3:16 (New Living Translation), God says to the woman [Eve]:

“I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy,
and in pain you will give birth.
And you will desire to control your husband,
but he will rule over you.”

To the man [Adam], God said:

“Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree
whose fruit I commanded you not to eat,
the ground is cursed because of you.
All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.
It will grow thorns and thistles for you,
though you will eat of its grains.
By the sweat of your brow
will you have food to eat
until you return to the ground
from which you were made.
For you were made from dust,
and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:17-19)

I imagine there are many who are reading this post who have or are, right at this minute, going through something difficult. I know I have my fair share of hurdles! Some I’ve jumped and cleared and others I’ve tripped and fell! 

Before I get going on this post, I do want to say that I am sorry to those who are having a hard time right now (myself included) and I would love the opportunity to pray for you. Please reach out to my personal email, ourheavenlyprize@yahoo.com and I will take your prayer request to the Lord and send prayer and inspiration back to you! All prayer requests will remain anonymous. I promise. And, if not a prayer request, I would love to hear some good news. I am working on a Facebook page (this is the only social media that I am somewhat familiar with) and it would be so encouraging to share uplifting words and stories on this page. I will not use names; I know, I need a little bit of help and hope and there is nothing like a feel-good story!! Thank you!

Okay, now let me share what I have been up to the past week or so!

I am currently reading the Psalms but in a very different format as I have done in the past. I am finding much more strength, especially during this pandemic, in the faith, trust, words, and actions of David (who is the main character in what I have read so far) and in the answers of God regarding David’s prayers. God’s faithfulness to a man who has committed some terrible offenses towards God and others is certainly hopeful! 

In Psalm 7 (English Standard Version), David is feeling concerned over the words of Cush who is a Benjaminite, an enemy of David, and a kinsman of Saul. God chose Saul to be the King of Israel because he was tall and striking in appearance and was known for courage and generosity. This, however, did not mean that Saul was capable of being king. He was the ideal vision of a king but his tendencies often went against God’s commands for a king. His greatest victories came from his obedience to God’s instructions and his failures came when he rebelled against God and made his own decisions. It is because of his sinful nature that he grew jealous of David and tried to kill him. (New Living Translation, 2015). 

This is why we find David in such a state of chaotic emotion. He has enemies and they have caused him to run off and hide, to seek comfort and safety in the arms of God Almighty and God does not disappoint. In Psalm 7:1, David cries out:

“O LORD my God, in you do I take
refuge;
save me from all my pursuers and
deliver me…”

This fierce fellowship with God is good for our hearts to witness. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8) and if He delivered David in his sinful circumstances, He will do the same for those who have received Jesus as their Lord and Savior. David displays his trust in God effectively and beautifully; he surrenders all to God because he knows he is held firmly in his Father’s mighty and capable hands. He simply gets quiet and lays all his burdens down, fully aware that he is not alone and that God does hear his prayers and He does answer. David is confident in his requests and waits for God’s perfect peace to fill him. He will be saved from all those who pursue him. The same holds true for us because what God did then, He does today, and He will do tomorrow. 

Matthew Henry’s Commentary (1960, p. 584) says that David’s spirit was not ruffled by the anger and pursuit of his enemies and it did not jar his song to the Lord and because of David’s unshakable peace and courageous faith, we are confirmed that we may rise to the same height as David because of God’s love for us. The injuries we receive from others should not provoke vengeance, cause sorrow and bitterness, or feelings of rejection. Instead, we should be moved to get quiet with God, and while in this act of reverence for our Lord and Savior, our devoted hearts will increase, ignite and propel us forward, no matter the circumstance. Is this not a powerful and staggering promise! 

David goes on to say in vv. 3-5:

“O LORD my God, if I have done this,
if there is wrong in my hands,
if I have repaid my friend with evil
or plundered my enemy without
cause,
let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it,
and let him trample my life to the ground
and lay my glory in the dust.”

The ESV (2008, p.1061) says that David is claiming his innocence. He did not instigate the warring against him. The jealousy of Saul was something within Saul and not something brought about by David.

There is much more to this plotline but now is not the time. 

Let us take a look at the bigger picture here and that is God’s plan for restoring humanity back to its original state before Adam and Eve offended God by eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, “you shall not eat [the fruit of this tree], for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17). God orchestrated the chain of events in David’s life with the intention of paving the way for His Son, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. We know this because 2 Samuel 7 is all about the Lord’s covenant promise to David.

In short, a prophet named Nathan is instructed by God to tell David that when it is his time to die and he is buried with his ancestors:

“I [God] will raise up one of his descendants, your own offspring, and I will make his kingdom strong. He is the one who will build a house–a temple–for my name. And I will secure his royal throne forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. If he sins, I will correct and discipline him with the rod, like any father would do. But my favor will not be taken from him as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from your sight. Your house and your kingdom will continue before me for all time, and your throne will be secure forever.”

God gave guidance and protection to David because it was from his line that Jesus would emerge.

Isaiah 11:1-2; 10 (NLT) confirms this:

A Branch from David’s Line

“Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot-
yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.
And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him–
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
In that day the heir to David’s throne
will be a banner of salvation to all the world.
The nations will rally to him,
and the land where he lives will be a glorious place.”

Without David and most importantly without Jesus Christ, we would all be lost, eternally separated from God and John 3:16 (ESV) tells us, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Let’s explore v. 5:

“let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it,
and let him trample my life to the ground
and lay my glory in the dust.”

In all my Bibles and commentaries (not that I have a lot), I could not find a definitive explanation to this verse and for some reason, I am held in the last sentence, “lay my glory in the dust.” So, may I try and interpret it myself and if there are any Biblical experts out there, please feel free to jump in!

I take this as saying that our best posture in tough situations is to prayerfully sit and lean into God. It is when we are in this state of vulnerability that all self-glory is brought into question and swept out. This position is where God’s miraculous work occurs. We are of no use to God when we are puffed up and on a mission.

2 Corinthians 12:10 (NLT), “That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

That’s all I have got for now regarding Psalm 7! I am ever so grateful for my college courses, “Western Culture” and “Survey of the Old and New Testament.” In taking these classes, my eyes have been opened to God’s story rather than my own. The relief I feel inside that my story really has nothing to do with God’s and God’s story is so much better for all of us.

In summary, I am incredibly full of “want” right now and as I was trying to explain to my husband yesterday during our walk, in which I failed completely because I could not find the right words but in simple terms, I want to be used fully for the glory of God. There is not a lick of know-how within me and I am totally incapable of doing anything without the Holy Spirit’s guidance. He is with me but I keep hearing “wait” which is really hard because there is such a need to serve, in some capacity, within me. I don’t know where and I don’t know how! Like David, we must trust in the LORD, have faith that He hears our heart’s desires, and that He will answer.

The past few years have been all about self-glory, I did not realize it then, but I do realize it now (as much as I am able) and for this, I am so sorry! I am in a state of vulnerability and weakness and it is not sadness only a realization that my want is not going to be the same as God’s want and that is exactly where I want to be positioned. There is nothing in me that will make a difference. It is only by God’s glorious hand that life-saving differences happen.

We must not be rattled by our troubles, we must always be patient, always be praying, enjoying God’s presence, and allow Him to dictate our next steps. Easier said than done, I know and as I was walking this morning, my mind and heart were racing with all kinds of godly possibilities. I was jumping ahead of God’s plan and like Dr. Anthony George mentioned this morning from First Baptist Atlanta, reel in the imagination and allow God to do the rest and Dr. Charles Stanley says that we are to trust God and leave all the circumstances to Him. We cannot hurry God and when we do, discord is sure to follow. We are to wait in obedience. It may seem like nothing is happening but He is surely at work and His timing is perfect.  

Father, 

Thank you for these timely words! Thank you for your faithfulness, patience, love, guidance, and protection. Thank you for Jesus Christ. Thank you we do not have to walk this life without You, that you are always for us and not against us. You never leave us nor fail us. You are Almighty God the creator of Heaven and Earth and we praise your Holy and Heavenly Name! Thank you for your strength, perseverance, and endurance. Thank you for opening our hearts to hear you and thank you for the courage to carry out your commands. Help us to love you with all our heart, soul and mind and help us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Help us to always be full of joy in the Lord and help us to always seek the Kingdom of God above all else and live righteously. Thank you we can ask and we shall receive. Thank you we can seek and we shall find. Thank you we can knock and the door will be opened. How good you are to us, Father. Thank you for your inspired Word. Thank you for your rescue, redemption, and restoration. Thank you Jesus, His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. Thank you for the Holy Spirit.

For all those who are struggling, Father, lift them into your ever-loving arms and whisper sweet words of love into their hearts. Help them in their weakness. Provide in their lack. And help them to have greater wisdom and understanding and a deeper knowledge of you. Father,

As Psalm 7:9-11 declares:

“Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to
an end,
and may you establish the righteous–
you who test the minds and hearts,
O righteous God!
My shield is with God,
who saves the upright in heart.
God is a righteous judge,
and a God who feels indignation every day.”

Father, we hold fast to your Word and we thank you for your story! In Jesus’ Name, we pray, Amen! 

References

English Standard Version. (2008). The esv study bible. Crossway.

New Living Translation. (2015). Life application study bible. Tyndale House Publishers. 

Matthew Henry’s Commentary. (1960). Matthew henry’s commentary: In one volume. ZONDERVAN ACADEMIC. 

Made in His Image

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Photo by John-Mark Smith on Pexels.com

I found a “Two-Year Bible Reading Plan” on YouVersion and if anyone would like to join me in this plan, I would be grateful for the company. I just completed a couple of three-day studies with my small group; it is a fun and fascinating way to learn and grow intimately with God and friends. This Two-Year plan does not have the option to discuss the daily reading but perhaps we can figure out some way to communicate the things that God has shown us as we’ve read! There is much to gain from the knowledge of others!

This morning the assignment is Genesis 1 and Matthew 1. I am reading from the English Standard Version (ESV). I did, however, start out in the New Living Translation which is what I always gravitate towards but as I began my reading this morning, I felt moved to do this plan with the ESV.

I was paused at Genesis 1:27 which says:

“So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.”

I then read the Study Notes (ESV) for this Scripture:

“Traditionally, the image has been seen as the capacities that set man apart from the other animals–ways in which humans resemble God, such as in the characteristics of reason, morality, language, a capacity for relationships governed by love and commitment, and creativity in all forms of art.”

If we possess all these godly characteristics, how much more does God possess?

We were created in His image; all these characteristics are from God which is extremely reassuring because if we have them, so does God, but even bigger. It can be difficult to understand just how wonderful God is but if we can look at our own inner workings regarding love, compassion, encouragement, forgiveness, and care, we can relate them to God. These are not qualities that just spring to life. They were created, are grown, and put to good use by God, for God.

In knowing this, we can experience God because He becomes relatable.  He loves us and because our hearts are filled with His love, we love others. Our relationship with Him becomes more intimate as does our worldly relationships. God doesn’t seem so far away when looked at in this perspective! He is our Source! He is God! This brings Him up close and personal. I like this!!

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you that we are made in your image! Thank you for equipping us with love, kindness, faithfulness, peace, gentleness, joy, patience, goodness, and self-control. How truly elevating this news is! Lord grow this fruit within us. Help us to apply all these wonderful gifts to all those around us so that YOU can be seen! You don’t just reside up in heaven but YOU reside in the hearts of your children. You have come down from the heavens and you live in and through those who love and follow you. How amazing you are!

Father, this world is in disarray by our human understanding. We know that it isn’t a surprise to you. We trust and have faith that you have the whole world in your hands and you are turning what’s meant for evil into good (Genesis 50:20). Hallelujah!

Father, give us the courage, strength, power, will, and wisdom to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ, in word and action. Let your love reign in our hearts and in this world. As the early Christians fought so bravely for their faith, let us do the same. Let us be filled with that same passion! Help us to release those things that belong to this world and grasp on to You. As we read your Word together, help us to gain wisdom and understanding of who YOU are, and let us come out of each reading with a deeper intimacy with you. Hold our hearts in your Truth, let nothing distract us, and keep your Holy Spirit fire burning bright!

Thank you, Jesus, and it’s in your Name we pray, amen!

Reference

YouVersion. (n.d.) The bible app: 2-year bible reading plan [Vol. 1]. Riverside Church.

*****

Thank you, CSTU and Professor A.M., for your teachings on the Early Christians!

Please note, I do not hold a degree in anything at the moment! I do know and love Jesus which is most important! He is my personal Savior and so much more. I am growing in my knowledge of Him and would love to grow with you! So, I encourage you, to speak out if I’ve said something that does not line up with Scripture, correction is good! I always welcome the thoughts of others!

God bless you and may His perfect peace always be with you!