Ps 50:23 "He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; and to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God."God desires that my expression of Thanksgiving not be from my abundance but from a sacrificial action. Any one can be Thankful and give from their excess but it does nor really express gratefulness. To give from a needy perspective is what communicates a sincere attitude of Thankfulness. This attitude is what honors God.Also how I discipline my life in doing what is right is also honoring to God and He promises to show me His deliverance's or salvation. It is not me doing what I feel like doing but following the ways of God regardless of the way I feel. I need to know the ways of God clearly so I might obey God and do what is right.Lord, I do want to express to You Thanksgiving from a genuine attitude of Thanksgiving and not from my excess or abundance. I must be willing to sacrifice in order for You know I am truly grateful. I need wisdom in how I go about this. First, I should not do this out of convenience but sacrifice my time that I need to accomplish tasks I should do in order to spend time giving You Thanks. Continue to show me other ways to give You Thanks sacrificially.
Ps 49:10-12 "For he sees that even wise men die; the stupid and the senseless alike perish, and leave their wealth to others. Their inner thought is, that their houses are forever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they have called their lands after their own names. But man in his pomp will not endure; he is like the beasts that perish."No matter our status in life we will all die. I may be important and have a lot of money or material wealth but when I die I will leave it to others. I will have no control over what will happen to it. Some are thinking their homes or lands will carry their name on for generations but often it just does not happen. There are a few instances that this is true but that is not important to God.The best way to have our lives remembered is to have our lives attached to eternal values. When I am involved with God in His work and His eternal purposes than I will be remembered not for what I do but because I am an integral part of what God is doing in the world.It is my character, which is the character of Christ, that will be remembered not in what I do but in the way that I do my work. And really not in my work but my work for God. The more I am immersed in what God is doing in the world the more I will have lasting value. I must serve God in humility and for His glory, there is no greater purpose.I am so grateful for all God has done for me. I am grateful for the difficult times in life to help me to see how temporal this life is and what I may accomplish in this life. Only eternal values are worth our focus and our labor. Oh, Lord, help me to keep Your eternal purposes clear in my life and how I do Your work.
Ps 48:1-3 "Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, in the city of our God, His holy mountain. Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion in the far north, the city of the great King. God, in her palaces, has made Himself known as a stronghold."Those who do not know the Lord can only see this as a fairy tale. It is so hard to imagine that this will one day be a reality. Yet, if I believe the Word of God is truly the Word of God then I know this is a truth that will one day be true.God will one day have His city the New Jerusalem and He will dwell there and it will be more beautiful than anything anyone has every seen. The city will be on His holy mountain and the elevation of it will be so beautiful for all to see. It will be the joy of the whole earth. Not only will it be beautiful but it will be a stronghold where no evil will dwell and where no evil can touch anyone or anything. A place of perfect security and perfect peace. It will truly be amazing.Just thinking about this place makes me long for the day when it will be true. Yet in the meantime there is much work to do so in sharing the gospel of Christ with all those around me. There are many lost and God has me here to be a light and a voice to those are in bondage to evil and resisting the love of God. Lord, work through me to bring You honor and glory.
Ps 47:1-4 "Clap your hands, all peoples; shout to God with the voice of joy. For the Lord Most High is to be feared, a great King over all the earth. He subdues peoples under us, and nations under our feet. He chooses our inheritance for us, the glory of Jacob whom He loves."It appears we should be excited about who God is. The psalmist was! Am I confident that the Lord my God is the Lord Most High and that He should be respected so much that others seeing me would think I am afraid of Him. But I am not afraid because I know He loves me so very much but He is still the great King over all the earth. There is no king or god greater than He. All peoples are under His control and all nations bow down to Him. As His sons or daughters we will rule over them to bring them to God through the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact our inheritance is from God which is related to the glory that He has given Jacob whom He loves. I so desire to have that confidence that the Lord is the Lord Most High. I long to have that deep respect of my God that other would think I fear Him. Perfect love cast out fear so I do not fear Him because I know He loves me so perfectly. My love is not that perfect but I know someday it will be. Lord, help me to be so very excited about You all the time. Burn this truth so deep in my soul!!!
Ps 46:10-11 " Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.I strive for a lot of things in this world. i strive for a good job a nice home and maybe even a nice car. There are also a lot of smaller items I strive to gain. God tells me to quit striving and just get to know who He is. The reason is because He will be exalted among the nations and in the whole earth. There is nothing more important than getting to know the God of heaven and earth.This mighty God is right now with me and He is my stronghold against the enemy who hates me. There is security in God more than anything else. No one or anything is greater than the God of all creation. Lord, help me to quit working for the wrong things and seek to know You so much more than I do. It is so easy to work or strive for things that are trinkets in comparison to God. I am so grateful for all God has done for me. Lord help me to truly worship You as I should and get to know You as I should.
Ps 44:1-3 "O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us, the work that You did in their days, in the days of old. You with Your own hand did drive out the nations; then You did plant them; You did afflict the peoples, then You did spread them abroad. For by their own sword they did not possess the land; and their own arm did not save them; but Your right hand, and Your arm, and the light of Your presence, for You did favor them."God's Word is filled with stories of what God has done for His people. Why would we ever walk away from His truth and what He instructs us to do? Yet, we do even today. We allow the things of the world to attract us away from time in the Word and prayer. We are pulled away from God to things that do not satisfy us and actually destroy us.Just as God gave Israel their land so God has given us so much in the free world but we allow sin to gradually take over our land. Soon God will have to bring judgment on what we are allowing and we will lose much of the freedoms and blessings we once had. God hates sin and will bring judgment against sin.Lord, I am grateful for all You have given me and my family. Help me to lead the family as I ought and to protect our family from the awful sin of the world. Help our family to truly seek God and to follow His ways regardless of what is going on around us.
Ps 43:3-4 "O send out Your light and Your truth, let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your dwelling places. Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and upon the lyre I shall praise You, O God, my God."I need the light of God and His truth to lead me to His holy hill and His dwelling places. The world I live in is full of darkness and unholy situations and I long to be in the presence of a pure and holy environment. It is like going into a place where I are safe and can relax and there is such beauty there. Maybe it is a beautiful garden with a water fountain that soothes my soul. Maybe it is a lovely room that is warm and cozy and I feel so safe and secure from all that is troubling me.Yet I know that it is God's presence that I truly need. So I long to go to the altar of God, to God who is the source of all my joy. There I want to sing praise to Him and honor Him. This altar of God can be anywhere I choose. I must find a place that I can be alone to worship and to praise the God who has given me such joy and peace. He is always available to me.Lord, I am grateful for Your light and truth that leads me into Your presence. Oh, help me to be attentive to Your light and Your truth. I need so much wisdom in knowing how to help Melanie and how to guide those that are seeking to help her. I need Your light and truth so desperately. I feel very weak but I know that You have all the strength that I need. I trust in You with my whole being.
Ps 42:11 "Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me ? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance, and my God."How often do I get discouraged about life or my work or just how my life is going? It is easy to get my focus on the circumstance of life and fail to keep my focus on God. When this happens it is easy to get discouraged and to lose hope and to lose the joy of living.But the answer to all my problems is to "Hope in God". That is to wait on God and to think on His greatness and remember that He is God Almighty and He is able to do anything. Countenance is my demeanor, or bearing or mental composure. It is what people see who I am when they look at me. Am I frustrated and full of anxiety or do I have a calm and confident spirit about what I am seeking to do. God is the help of my countenance and the way I look to others. He is my God!Lord, I need Your grace and strength to keep my focus on God and not the circumstances of life. I need to be reminded of this every day and every moment of every day. Thank You for Your continued presence and Your word in my heart that remindes me of who You are to me. Lord, I need your calming Spirit over my soul today.
Ps 40:1-3"I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay; and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. And He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear, and will trust in the Lord."The word patiently can also be translated intently. So it is not a do nothing patience but a patience with anticpation of what God might do. With my cry out to the Lord I should look forward to what God is going to do. He does hear me when I cry out to Him.In this situation God lifts the person out of a pit of destruciton which has clay that clings to the person trying to keep him or her trapped. This is all a good picture of what sin does to me. It will destroy me and it tries to keep me trapped in the sticky clay of sin that does not want to let me go. What a joy to be given a firm footing so I can stand and have freedom from the sin of the world.Not only does God set me free but He gives me songs to sing. Songs of freedom and forgiveness. Songs of joy and peace. When others see this joy and freedom from sin they will see what God has done and will respect the power of God to deliever and will trust the Lord.Lord, keep me free from the sticky sin of the world. The world is full of it and I can get caught it if I am not careful. I do not want to lose the joy and peace that a life of purity will bring. I want to be singing and help others to see the joy and peace that God brings. The Lord Jesus is the rock that God sets my feet on to stand firm.
Ps 37:29-31 "The righteous will inherit the land, and dwell in it forever. The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip."These are all wonderful thoughts from God and should encourage us as we meditate on them. There is a reward in being righteous even in this life. We will inherit land and dwell in it securely. For me this is strictly by faith. I do not know of any land that I will inherit unless it is in heaven. I am not sure this is a literal promise to me but the spiritual implication is very definitely that I do have a land in heaven that I will inherit and it will be for ever.The second blessing of being righteous is that God gives me wisdom and my tongue will speak justice. Really all the praise goes to God who has made me righteous through Jesus Christ and with His righteousness comes all these blessings.There is another reason for these blessings and this is dependent on what I do with God's Word or God's Law. I must hide it in my heart. This gives me stability and I will not be slipping or falling in my walk with God. I am so grateful for those who have taught me the scriptures and have urged me to memorize God's Word. It has been such a blessing to me and my family. Thank You Lord for Your wonderful grace that You have showered on me and for those faithful servants of Yours who have helped me in my growing up into spiritual maturity. Lord help me to be forever grateful and to be conscious of how I am so unworthy but You in Your great Grace has given me these gifts. Help me to continue to Praise You in what I do and what I say. You are the One and only Almighty God!
Prov 37:23-26 "The steps of a man are established by the Lord; and He delights in his way. When he falls, he shall not be hurled headlong; because the Lord is the One who holds his hand. I have been young, and now I am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, or his descendants begging bread. All day long he is gracious and lends; and his descendants are a blessing."God is the one who establishes us but we must cooperate with Him to enable Him to do so. I must wait for Him and to follow His ways which is not always easy. When I do allow Him to establish my ways He will be delighted in my way. That is a great comfort to have.When we do fall He is there to hold us up. It is not if we fall but when we fall. We all will fall at some time and we sure need the Lord near to be holding on to our hand when that happens.I became a Christian when I was 21 and now I am 73 and I can say God is speaking truth. He has done this for my family and I give Him all the credit for taking care of us all. I was so proud of my son when he retired as a LtCol from the US Marine Corps and how he honored the Lord in his retirement field ceremony and in his retirement dinner. He shared how Christ had changed his life and sustained him over the 20 years he was with the US Marines. I was encouraged when Steve's commander Col Boyle told of the exceptional service Steve did while the Operational Officer of the third Marine Division. God allowed Steve to plan some military exercises that Col Boyle had not seen done as well in the 25 years he has been in the military. God desires that His servants to excel in whatever task the Lord may give us to do.I share this to show that God does keep His Word and does bless our descendants if we truly follow His ways and His Word. We have prayed much for our son and shared our lives with him so that he could be the servant of the Lord that God desired him to be.Lord, I do praise You for all You have done for Steve in his 46 years of life and his 20 years in the US Marines. I thank You for protecting him in many dangereous exercises and missions that he has lead troops in different parts of the world. Lord continue to lead him and guide him as he leads his family to be lights in a dark and evil world.
Brief Thoughts 15-02-07
I want to explain a little about what has been happening the better part of this year, both for myself and for others that may be interested. As you see I have not been very consistent with logging my devotions onto my blogg. I have been reading but even missing those times more than I want to admit. I began a new thing with my blogg in Jan to spend more time with the thoughts God was giving me and I think it was more than I could handle. I have been since then trying to evaluate that before I get started again. If I do continue with an expanded devotions I think I will spread it over a few days and not try to do this daily. I would be adding to my blogg every day but not as much on a daily basis. Pray with me as I continue to evaluate what God would want me to do.This last trip we took to Hawaii and back was a very wonderful trip and God did some very special things for us with our family but it truly exhausted me and on top of that I caught the flu with a weakened immune system. I have had a slow recovery and am still recovering. It has been a long time since I have felt so weak and exhausted on a daily basis. My strength is gradually returning but it is a slow process.I am currently reading a book by David Jeremiah called Captured by Grace. It is really a good book and I think I am learning a lot through reading it. I am asking God to teach me some new things through it and my time with Him while I am recovering from my flu. If you can get the book, I would urge you to do so. We all need to be captured by God's grace.
Ps 32: 1-5 "How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit! When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah.I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord"; and You did forgive the guilt of my sin. Selah.I guess the question I need to answer is how do I deal with my sin? Do I make excuse for it or do I take it to God and seek His forgiveness? One thing for sure is that to know my sin has been forgiven is such a wonderful truth. The scriptures say I am blessed if I have been forgiven my sins. Also I am blessed if I have not been charged with sin and there is no deceit in my being. When I keep quiet about my sin it will be heavy upon me and my strength is taken away as in a very hot summer day. God says "Selah" which is to say "Stop and think about this seriously". There is such great power in a clean life. I must not let sin stay in my life but I must get rid of it as soon as possible. I must acknowledge it to others and confess it to God because only God can forgive me my sin.God not only forgives my sin but takes away even the guilt of that sin. Oh, the joy and peace there is in having no guilt in my life for what I have done or not done . It does require that I admit or confess to what I have done or not done in order to be responsible for my failure. I do want to learn from my failures and not continue on in my sinful habits.Lord, thank You for Your forgiveness of my sins. Help me to be more attentive of how I dishonor You by my actions and even my thoughts. I do want to have a clear conscience and to be pure of the selfishness and pride that is in our world. Lord, help me to serve You and others out of a joy and confidence that it is right and pleasing to You and Your Kingdom.
Ps 31: 23-24 " O love the Lord, all you His godly ones! The Lord preserves the faithful, and fully recompenses the proud doer. Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the Lord."My primary responsibility is to love my Lord. It is not to do things for the Lord although I should do that but that is secondary to loving the Lord. Especially for those of us who enjoying doing things to honor the Lord we tend to do more service for the Lord and fail to love Him as we should and it shows in the quality of our service. God reminds me that He is the one that preserves me and others who are faithful to Him. It is not what I do or how much I do that gain God's favor but just my faithfulness to what He wants me to do. That is to first love Him with all my heart, soul and mind.There is a danger in my doing that He warns me about. That danger is our pride! I look at all I do and began to take more credit for it than I ought and that is displeasing to the Lord. God hates pride! He knows how so quickly that can destroy me. This is why my love for the Lord must come before the things I do for the Lord. Love is a protection that delivers me from my pride.God urges me to be strong and to have courage as I keep my focus on the Lord. He knows this is not an easy assignment. Is is so easy to get caught up in whatever task I am doing and lose my focus on the Lord. I must find ways to keep my attention on the Lord even in the midst of very demanding tasks that consume so much of my attention.I have been fighting the flu since I have returned from the US and my times in the Word have been weak. I have been able to read but I have not had the mental strength to do any writing. It has been difficult getting my body clock in tune with Estonia time and getting the rest I need to fight the flu. Today is the first day I have felt like doing much since we arrived back a week ago. Lord, I pray I would be strong and have the courage to love You first of all and keep that love for You foremost in my thinking. I think pausing for prayer from time to time would be a help to me in keeping my focus on You. Thank You for all You have done for me the past three weeks.
Ps 27 is titled in my bible as " A Psalm of Fearless Trust in God". I have memorized several verses in this chapter but I think it is now time for me to memorize the whole Psalm.l The Lord is my light and my salvation; who shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread? 2 When evil doers came upon me to devour my flesh, my adversaries and my enemies they stumbled and fell. 3 Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear; though war arise against me, in spite of this I shall be confident. 4 One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to meditate in His temple. 5 For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; in the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock. 6 And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me; and I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice, and be gracious to me and answer me.8 When You did say, "Seek My face, my heart said to You, "Your face, O Lord, I shall seek."9 Do not hide Your face from me, do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; do not abandon me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation!10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me up. 11 Teach me Your way, O Lord, and lead me in a level path, because of my foes. 12 Do not deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen against me, and such as breathe out violence.13 I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodnsss of the Lord in the land of the living.14 Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.
I know I must grow in my time in prayer if I expect God to do His work in my life and in the ministry He desires for me to have in Estonia. I must be concerned about what God wants to accomplish and not so much in what I think should be accomplished. Lord, use this time of writing out my thoughts to help me to understand clearly what You are wanting me to do.I am so grateful for the past two weeks and all You have done for Lou and me as we traveled to Hawaii and back in just two weeks and two days. Thank You for safety in flight and getting there and back without any major problem occurring during these days. Thank You for the trememdous time with Steve and Melissa and the family and his retirement ceremony. Thank You for the thoughts you gave me to share at the dinner on the 20th. Thank You Lord for the sessions with Melanie , Steve, David and Mike. Thank You for the ideas You have given us in finding a solution to the difficulties that Melanie is facing. Thank You for the spirit in which we were able to discuss hard and difficult items with grace and love. Lord, help us to continue to work and find lasting solutions to difficulties that would bring You much honor and glory.It is good to be back in Estonia and to have the time to think and pray and evaluate where we are and what we should be doing. Lord there is so much that needs to be done and I need the time to get my thoughts in order and to be doing what You have sent me here to do. I know my greatest need is to wait on You and to allow You to teach me and to guide me in Your ways. I feel I should memorize Ps 27 and that it would be a great help in getting my vision clear and to do what You have planned for Lou and me and what You are wanting us to do.Lord, You are the Almighty and You are able to do far beyond what I could ask or imagine. Help me as I wait on You to pour out my heart to You and to allow You to direct my thoughts and my actions.
Ps 27:14 "Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord"Waiting for anyone or anything is not an easy task. To wait on someone or some thing requires a degree of confidence in a person and in the soverign God. This waiting requires strength and courage. Do I trust God to do what is best for me and those I love? Will I trust Him to do a great work in Estonia? Will I do my part in seeing God do an eternal work in the individual lives of Estonians?Will I trust God to raise up a discipling ministry that will impact Estonia and the surrounding countries? What does this waiting require of me? I think a major part is praying? It also requires much work and putting confidence in those who are seeking to know God and to learn how to share this truth with others. There must be a vision and a plan to see where we are headed and how we are going to get there. God must be the author of the vision and the plan.Lord, guide me as I pray in what to do this coming year. I pray I could stir up others to pray and to believe You to do something far beyond what we could even imagine. Give me and others the strength and courage to listen to Your Word and understand what is needed and what should be done.