The Lord is Our Refuge

 

As we enter adulthood, we attempt to provide security and stability for our self and our family through our vocation, savings account, two jobs, marrying someone who is already rich, etc.

 

Yet, we often find that our choices oppress our life and cause us more trouble than they help (Psalm 9:9, 52:7). In this world of sorrows and trials, we need an anchor for our soul, a stronghold where we can take refuge (Psalm 18:2).

 

Once we realize that the Lord is our light in the darkness, and our only real salvation, we release our fear of the unknown and humbly go to Him as our defense (Psalm 27:1).

 

He gives us His strength to traverse any trouble we encounter (Psalm 37:39). Even when we allow the stress of our trouble to disconnect us from Him, He is still there waiting for us to turn back in Him (Psalm 43:2; Hebrews 13:5).

 

The Lord is strong enough to tremble the whole earth with His voice; yet He is a gentle refuge for those who trust in Him (Joel 3:16; Psalm 62:2). The Lord lives forever and is the Rock of our salvation (2 Samuel 22:47; Psalm 18:46).

 

He desires that we meditate on Him and His goodness day and night, and that our thoughts, words and actions line up with His Word (Psalm 19:14). This proves our love for Him.

 

To those who stand against Him, He is a stumbling stone, a snare and trap for their wayward feet; but to His Saints, He is our sanctuary who offers us safety and shelter from any trouble we experience in life (Isaiah 8:14).

 

Prayer:

Father God, we cry out to You in our adversity, knowing that You are our only Rock and our Refuge (Psalm 89:26). We cling to Christ as our cornerstone, who gives us stability and order in our life (Psalm 118:22; Isaiah 28:16). The world rejects You, but we stand firmly on the solid footing You provide for our life in every circumstance (Matthew 21:42).

 

You are our precious Savior and we put our faith and trust in You (1 Peter 2:6-7). You are a great mountain and You fill the whole earth with Your power and majesty (Daniel 2:35). You spoke through age-old prophets and then confirmed their words as they came to pass, even over centuries of time (Daniel 2:44-45). This builds our faith in Your faithfulness and we know that we can trust in You.

 

Thought for the Day:

We humbly pursue our Living Stone by faith and do not attempt to earn His love or salvation by our works; so He rewards us with inner peace and joy, which transcend our earthly existence.

– Romans 9:32-33; 1 Peter 2:4-8

 

The Name of the Lord – Our Power

The Lord saves us and raises some people into prominence and authority for His name’s sake, so that He may make His power known in the whole earth; such as the little shepherd boy who slew the mighty giant by the power of the name of the Lord of hosts (Psalm 106:8; Romans 9:17; Isaiah 17:45).

God revives us, delivers us, forgives our sins and brings our soul out of trouble for the glory of His name (Psalm 143:11; Psalm 79:9). God gives His people, who magnify His name, rest like cattle who are fattened by the sweet grass of the valley (Isaiah 63:12, 14).

The Lord knows those who are His and helps us to abstain from evil (2 Timothy 2:19). Since we love Him and intimately know His name, He securely sets us on high and delivers us (Psalm 91:14).

We know and trust the Lord who will never forsake those who seek Him (Psalm 9:10). He helps us to resist our enemies and through His name we have spiritual power and might (Psalm 44:5, 118:12; Romans 16:20).

God gives a chance for repentance and forgiveness to all by proclaiming His name to all the nations (Luke 24:47). He blesses anyone who lives in His name and through them He blesses the whole earth (Psalm 72:19, 118:26; Joel 2:32; Luke 13:35).

When we rely on the Lord, we are overcomers. He makes us strong pillars in His church, and He writes on us His name and the name of His holy city (Revelation 3:12).

Prayer:
Father God, You will make Jesus the only Lord and King over all of the earth. His name will be the only one glorified among the nations (Zechariah 14:9). From the rising to the setting of the sun, we praise Your name, and we look forward to You reigning as King over all the earth (Zechariah 14:9; Malachi 1:11).

Many come in Your name in order to mislead the foolish (Luke 21:8; Matthew 24:5; Mark 13:6). Therefore, we must use discernment to realize who is speaking Your truth. Remind us not to follow any one person, but to feed from the life given to us in Your Word.

Thought for the Day:
The Son of righteousness has risen with healing in His wings, and enables us to dance with joy like a playful calf. – Malachi 4:2

I’m Dying to Go to Heaven

We often say, “I’m dying … to go to the mall” (or for some ice cream, or for a new dress, etc). No one ever says, “I’m dying to go to Heaven.”

When we are ill, regardless of our age, we spend exorbitant amounts of money and time devoted to living. We applaud one another, saying, “She fought hard to live.”

When a person decides to allow their body to die, we say, “Oh, he just gave up” or “She had no more will to live.” We view life as the ultimate prize to be battled for above all else.

Yet, death is a Christian’s privilege (Philippians 1:21). The death of God’s Saints is precious in His sight (Psalm 116:15). We leave this temporal realm and enter into His eternal realm forever.

God made all of the intricate parts of our body, knitting them together in our mother’s womb. Our body, soul and spirit are wondrously complex and God’s workmanship in us is marvelous (Psalm 139:13-15).

Since God does not dwell in time, He saw us before we were ever born and laid out every moment of our life before we even lived one day of it (Psalm 139:16).

God views the day of our death as better than the day of our birth (Ecclesiastes 7:1). He sends us an angel escort to bring our soul and spirit into His presence (Luke 16:22).

His Saints will never die again, but live eternally in the same respect as the angels. We are children of the Living God, raised from death into true life (Luke 20:36).

God is our guide through death and forever and ever (Psalm 48:14). Even in death, He gives the righteous His refuge (Proverbs 14:32). When we die, our real life is just beginning.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that when we are ill, rather than dreading death or fighting it, our body, soul and spirit can be filled with joy. You do not leave us in the grave. You allow us to experience the joys of life, and then bring us into the peace and joy of Your eternal presence (Psalm 16:9-11).

We can confidently say that when we leave this mortal body, we shall be in Your glorious presence (2 Corinthians 5:8). We simply fold up this earthly tent, and then our soul and spirit go to Your house (2 Corinthians 5:1). Thank You, that at the coming of Your Son, we will leave our corruptible body behind and put on our immortal body to serve You for eternity (1 Corinthians 15:53-54).

Thought for the Day:
God is a refuge for the poor and oppressed in our times of trouble; we trust in Him because He never forsakes anyone who humbly seeks Him, not even in death.

– Psalm 9:9-10

Two-Stepping

Our Christian walk is a two-step process. We start by repenting of our former way of life, which was degraded by Satan’s lies and earthly desires (Ephesians 4:22). Each of us is distracted by various sinful elements.

Some of us lie, but God calls us to speak truth; or we steal and take what does not belong to us, yet God calls us to work and earn money to buy what we need, as well as to share with others (Ephesians 4:25, 28).

Some have trouble with anger; and though it is a God given emotion, we often harbor grudges, while God encourages us to forgive before the sun sets each day, so that we do not give Satan entry into our soul (Ephesians 4:26-27).

Other people use foul language, when God wants us to use our words to edify and minister grace to those who hear us. Some even take God’s name in vain and use degrading words, which grieve God’s Spirit (Ephesians 4:29-30).

All of us give in at one time or another to bitterness, quarreling, gossip, antagonism and forms of cruelty, when God calls us to live with humility, compassion, patience, gentleness and kindness, as we forgive slights and wrongs just as God forgives us (Ephesians 4:31-32; Colossians 3:10).

The second step is to renew our mind with the righteousness mind of Christ and to walk in true holiness all the days of our life (Luke 1:75; Ephesians 4:24). This may sound daunting, but Christ already did it for us.

We are buried with Christ through our baptism into His death, in order to be raised with Him from death in the glory of God, our Father. This allows us to live a fulfilled, blessed new life in Christ, as we exchange our corrupted character with the nature of Christ, promised to us by God Himself (2 Peter 1:4; Romans 6:4; Colossians 3:3-4).

Prayer:
Father God, by separating our self from the sin, which once bound us as its slave, we are freed from the law and allowed to serve You through Your Spirit, rather than by decrees and legalism (Romans 7:6). You enable us to submit to You as You transform our mind, rather than to be conformed to the design of this evil world.

We have no more desire to gratify the sinful desires of our flesh, and we walk as a new creation, Your handiwork, created in Christ to live in Your will, which You prepared for us prior to our birth (Ephesians 2:10; Romans 12:2, 13:14; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 3:10).

Thought for the Day:
My soul silently waits for God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my stronghold; I will never be shaken. – Psalm 62:1-2

More Valuable than Fine Gold

God never changes, and His Word is consistent as well (1 Samuel 15:29; 1 John 2:7; Psalm 55:19; Malachi 3:6). Hiding God’s Word in our mind and seeking Him with our whole heart prevents us from sinning against Him. His statutes are more valuable to us than fine gold. We delight in His ways and give testimony to His provision in our life (Psalm 119:9-116). His Word is eternal and gives us life (Psalm 119:160).

The Old and New Testament are equally important (2 Peter 3:15-16). The still, small voice of God directs our daily activity as we bathe in His Word and seek His face (Isaiah 30:21). If we are Born Again, we do not practice a lifestyle of sin (1 John 3:4-9; Proverbs 3:11-18). Yet, if we refuse to surrender our life to God, and we continue to practice sin, we condemn our self to eternal destruction (John 3:18; 1 Corinthians 11:27-32).

We can trust that God will give us relief in our days of trouble, until He raptures us, or we pass from this sin-cursed world (Psalm 94:10-13). When we live within God’s precepts, we enjoy a good conscience and a peaceful life (Psalm 119:7). If we teach our children to live according to God’s Word, they have a better chance of remaining on the path of purity and blessings.

God’s Spirit helps us to recall the scriptures, which we hide in our heart, and He leads us into His holy truth (John 14:26, 16:13; Psalm 119:11). He enables us to act upon what we learn, rather than being perpetual students and never walking in His ways (James 1:22-25). The Spirit gives us wisdom from God’s inspired Word, as we regard His instruction and walk in His ways (Proverbs 20:32-36, James 1:5-8).

Prayer:
Father God, You bless those who refrain from the worldly paths of life, which lead to unrighteousness. You consecrate those who do not join in with those who have a penchant for mocking You and Your children (Psalm 1:1-2). Thank You for drawing us by Your Spirit and never letting us walk away from Your eternal love. We treasure the fine gold of Your Word, we enjoy spending time listening to Your voice and we depend upon the leading of Your Spirit with each new day.

Thought for the Day:
When we sink our roots deeper in the water of God’s Word, we will live blessed, fruitful and prosperous lives. – Psalm 1:3

Live Well with a Positive Attitude

I am so concerned about people who live from one day to the next in more pain and misery than they did the day before. Things never go right for them and they are always focusing on the negative aspects in their life. I know that some people are genuinely ill; but I have seen others, in the same position, with a smile on their face and a jaunt in their step.

If we do all we can to prevent the pain or circumstances in our life, then we can look to God to deliver us from them. He may surprise us by taking us home to heaven, or allowing some major decision to be made that will affect our life drastically. However, we can continue to live a positive life by focusing on the pure, lovely aspects, which He constantly supplies for us (Philippians 4:8).

Expectations ruin our life and our health. We expect deep relationships, abundant finances, stellar health and increasing spiritual growth each day of our life. When this does not happen, we are devastated. Then depression settles in, coloring every other aspect of our life. Our spiritual, emotional, physical and mental health are all affected by our negative attitude.

We also get too involved in too many aspects of life; and this tires us out, pressures our schedule and makes us feel used and abused. We end up getting tension headaches, stress-related illnesses and our soul gets disheartened and miserable. We get grouchy, irritable and too sick to do anything. The answer is to live each moment in gratitude and praise, led by God’s Spirit in every aspect of our life.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us to cast our cares on Your shoulders. You promise to take care of them and us (1 Peter 5:7). That means that we can thank You for the answers before we ever get them. If we focus on our troubles, we live in a negative spiral that can only get worse. This causes tension, fear, unhappiness and despair. However, if we live with our faith in You, we maintain a positive attitude. Then we will reap many more positive results in our life with Your love filling our soul with joy.

Thought for the Day:
Prayers of gratitude keep our focus on God’s Presence in our life rather than on our circumstances. – Matthew 6:25-33; Luke 12:22-31

Hope in God

Jesus carried our sins and our sorrows to the cross (Isaiah 53:4). He lifts up everyone who falls and carries those who are exhausted (Psalm 145:14). He heals our broken heart and He binds up our wounds (Psalm 147:3). Everything is possible once we start to believe in God’s faithfulness (Mark 9:23). He rescues godly people from trials, because we put our hope in Him (2 Peter 2:9; Psalm 39:7).

God will give us grace only for today, because tomorrow’s grace will not come until tomorrow. As long as we are alive, we still have hope in His promises (Ecclesiastes 9:4; 2 Peter 1:4). When we put our expectation in God rather than in our self, people or karma, our soul is no longer depressed or worried (Psalm 43:5). We find rest in God alone, because our only real hope comes from him (Psalm 62:5).

God is our helper and we have no reason to live in fear. All we have to do is to cry out to the Lord and to pray to Him for help. He always hears us, because our cries reach His ears (Psalm 18:8). When trouble surrounds us on every side, He always gives us a way out. Even though life is hard at times, He strengthens us, helps us and holds us up with His strong right hand (Isaiah 41:10; 2 Corinthians 4:8).

Total surrender to God is the key to making sense of your circumstances. Surrendering our family and our future to God, walking away from the worries and leaving it all in His hands is the only thing that will keep us sane. Walking in obedience to His Spirit moment by moment through the day will bring us closer to intimacy with God than anything else we could ever do.

Prayer:
Father God, teach us that full surrender of our life to You is the safest place to live. When we get our eyes off our self and onto You, You keep us in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). You lead us one step at a time (Matthew 6:31-34). Remind us not to look at tomorrow, but to look at today and to obey Your Spirit, even if we do not like what is happening and we do not want to obey.

Thought for the Day:
The Lord remains close to the desolate and He saves those who are trampled by life’s circumstances. – Psalm 34:18

No One Loves Us Better

Troubles are all round us on every side, but we are not shut in; things are hard for us, but God shows us a way out of them (2 Corinthians 4:8). We do not worry about tomorrow, because He leads us one step at a time (Matthew 6:31-34). We can face each day braced by God’s Spirit, directed by His leading and praising God for who He is.

 

Then, God will pour showers of blessings on us all the days of our life. God’s sheltering arms keep us from falling and He lifts us up when we are discouraged (Psalm 145:14). His unconditional love forgave our failings before we were ever born (Psalm 139:16). He loves us even when we get so busy that we forget all about Him (1 John 4:9-10).

 

We cannot earn more of God’s love, because we already have it all. He proved this to us by loving Israel through generations of unfaithfulness. He always gives us complete love, forgiveness and acceptance (John 3:16; 1 John 1:9; Ephesians 1:6). His presence is continually with us. He never leaves us or forsakes us (Deuteronomy 31:6).

 

God promises us His divine nature and replaces our carnality with the fruit of His Spirit (2 Peter 1:4; Galatians 5:22-23). He draws us ever closer to His heart by showering us with His loving kindness (Jeremiah 31:3). Nothing can separate us from his love (Romans 8:38-39). We can totally rely on His unfailing love, which is higher than the heavens and from everlasting to everlasting (Psalms 33:18; 103:11,17; 147:11).

 

Prayer:

Father God, You do not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities (Psalm 103:10). We will sing praises to You because of Your love and strength. You are our fortress in times of conflict, refuge in times of trouble and comfort in times of sorrow (Psalm 59:16-17). We remain in Your love as we keep Your commandments, just like Jesus did. Our joy is fulfilled in You, and Your joy is complete in us (John 15:9-11).

 

Thought for the Day:

There is no one that loves us better, or cares for our welfare more than Jesus Christ, our Kinsman Redeemer.

– Leviticus 25:25; Ruth 1-4

The Holy Spirit Within

God gives us His Spirit when we admit our sinful state and cry out to Him for forgiveness and salvation. God gives us pardon for our past sins and His guarantees for our future. This provides deep peace, which never fades as long as we keep our mind on Him (Isaiah 26:3). He wants complete control of every part of our life. We hold nothing back.

As we live in total surrender to His direction and guidance, He orchestrates our body, soul and spirit. In exchange, we live in the joy of the Lord, which defies human description (1 Peter 1:7-9). It is never ending joy, which resides deep within our spirit and influences our body and soul. This is the same joy, which God gave Jesus when he faced the cross of Calvary (Hebrews 12:1-3).

When God’s Spirit moves in, He brings holiness, contentment and triumph with Him, which transcends every circumstance we ever encounter in life (Romans 14:17). These are not fleeting emotions, nor do they depend on any aspect in our life. They are resident within us by God’s Spirit no matter how devastating our life becomes. The Holy Spirit is an ever-present help in times of trouble. 

Continually dwelling within us, God’s Spirit transforms our carnal nature with His fruit and Christ’s divine nature (2 Peter 1:4; Galatians 5: 22-23). He provides the unity and love we receive from our relationship with the Lord of glory (Isaiah 60:1). God is our provider, protector, sufficiency, inspiration, peace and joy. We place our secular life under God’s Spirit’s direction and He leads us to succeed in every area of life.

The Holy Spirit is also the sanctifier who rules in our spirit and soul and gives us grace and mercy in our time of need. His joy is our strength (Psalm 28:7) as we face trials and tribulation. Through His Spirit, Jesus cherishes us with all of the benevolence, patience and love that a bride groom has for His bride (2 Corinthians 11:2; Mark 2:19; Revelation 19:7; Ephesians 5:22-33).

Prayer:

Father God, as Your Spirit transforms us with the mind of Christ, we have a Christ-like attitude at home, work and play, which makes a positive difference in the world around us. Your Spirit forms Christ in us to the extent that we live, move and have our entire existence in Him (Acts 17:28). He conquers sin within us, and casts out any idol, which we still cling to, as long as we willingly surrender it to Him. Help us to give every negative experience to Your safe keeping and remind us to respond in Your Spirit to everyone who comes against us.

Thought for the Day:

We give Jesus our whole heart and He gives our life back to us with more fulfillment and peace of mind than anything we could ever imagine.

God Never Fails

 

There are times in life when we feel devastated, overwhelmed and hopeless. We have no idea how to pay our bills, buy groceries or keep a roof over our head. If we keep our faith and hope in God, anything is possible (Mark 9:23). When trouble surrounds us and life is hard, we know that there is always a way out, because God loved us enough to lay down His life for us (2 Corinthians 4:8).

 

God has good plans for His righteous ones and there is always hope in our future (Jeremiah 29:11). We fear nothing, which life throws at us or people threaten us with. Full surrender to God’s will in every circumstance is the only way to stay sane. If we continue to strive for our own way, we will continue to feel frustrated and hopeless. Total surrender to God is the key to making sense of our circumstances.

 

If we call out to the Lord, and pray to Him for help, He never fails to hear us. Our cries always reach His ears (Psalm 18:8). Our Lord and Redeemer strengthens us and holds us up with His victorious right hand (Isaiah 41:10, 13-14). Surrendering our present and future to God, walking away from our worries and leaving them in His hands is the only way to dwell in His rest (Hebrews 4:10).

 

We trust in God, not in our family or friends, job or bank account, talents or human reasoning, church or neighbors. We can put too much pressure on others when we expect them to support us more than they already are. They will feel undue stress and push back or ignore us. We have to get our eyes off our self and onto God. Then He will keep us in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3).

 

As long as we are still alive, we have hope (Ecclesiastes 9:4). The Lord saves the brokenhearted and those crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). He binds our wounds and carries our sorrows (Isaiah 53:4, Psalm 147:3). Our hope comes from God alone and He gives us rest for our soul (Psalm 43:5; 62:5). As we put our hope in Him, the Lord rescues us from our trials (Psalm 39:7; 2 Peter 2:9).

 

Prayer:

Father God, even when we take our focus off You in the midst of our tribulation, we know without a doubt that You are always there for us, loving us unconditionally and giving us the victory through Your death and resurrection. Nothing this world has to offer compares to the hope we have, which comes only from You (Psalm 62:5; Ecclesiastes 9:4). You are always on our side, ever loving us and drawing us closer to Your heart (John 6:44; Psalm 136:1).

 

Thought for the Day:

God gives us grace to live for today, but remember that tomorrow’s grace will not come until tomorrow.