April 28 – He Hears When We Call

“I love the LORD, because He hears My voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live.” Psalm 116:1-2 (NASB)

What reasons come to our minds when we think about why we love the LORD God? This is an intensely personal “thank you” Psalm to the Lord for saving the psalmist from death. The occasion and author are unknown, although the language used by Jonah in his prayer from the fish’s stomach is remarkably similar. Compare Psalm 116:3-4 with Jonah 2:5-6. In these words in this song the psalmist tells how he reacted to the way the Lord responded to his call for help. These words may well also express our feelings in reaction to how God responses when we cry for mercy. It’s surely true that when the Lord responds by turning his ear to our call for help our hearts respond in love for Him. Yes He is a wonderful, faithful Lord and we do love Him. And isn’t it true that when God does hear our prayer it encourages us to again and again call on Him whenever we need help? This is a habit we want to have throughout our lives. Let’s join with the psalmist, saying what he said in our verse “I will call on him as long as I live.”

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April 27 – Need More Than ‘Seems Right’

“There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. Proverbs 14:3; 16:24 (NASB)

Our verse today from is included twice in Proverbs. Both chapter 14 & 16 were compiled by Samson so this truth must have been important to him. It is also an important warning to us. It’s a promise that warns of death. In WW2 the crew of a B-24D plane ignored their instruments which didn’t seem right by their senses. The plane flew past their base until it ran out of fuel and crashed in the Sahara desert. All 9 crewmembers died trying to find their way out of the desert. In Matthew 7:13 Jesus also warns us to not trust what might only seem right. The wide gate may look appealing but many are led through it to destruction. It’s the narrow gate that Jesus directs us to. Both the narrow gate and the wide gate are assumed to provide the entrance to God’s kingdom. Two ways are offered to people. The narrow gate is by faith, only through Christ, constricted and precise. It represents true salvation in God’s way that leads to life eternal. The wide gate includes all religions of works and self-righteousness, with no single way, but it leads to hell, not heaven.

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April 26 – Thank Goodness & Heavens

“And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. ” – Revelation 21:6 (ESV)

Thank goodness! This is a very frequently used expression which most of us do not stop and think about what it actually means. We are thanking a personality characteristic, the way one was treated in an exchange. Sometimes we are being grateful for a near missed unpleasant experience. We may have deserved but we were spared the consequences of our actions. Thank Goodness! True Goodness comes to us from God and Jesus was the demonstration of God’s goodness when he lived a sinless life and sacrificed himself to die in the place of all who deserve death as the wages of sin. That was our place, our debt, but Jesus took it upon himself to rescue us from that consequence. He did it out of Goodness. The Alpha and the Omega (first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.) did it for us. We were adopted as children of God and secured an inheritance in Heaven. So now Thank Heavens! For heaven belongs to those who, knowing their souls are parched by sin, have earnestly sought the satisfaction of salvation and eternal life, this lasting spiritual water of which Jesus promised in John 4:14, 7:37-38 and Isaiah 55:1-2.

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April 25 – Under His Watch

For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the LORD, And He watches all his paths. His own iniquities will capture the wicked, And he will be held with the cords of his sin. He will die for lack of instruction, And in the greatness of his folly he will go astray.” – Proverbs 5:21-23 (NASB)

A different kind of promise for us to consider today. We are in a time where there are many moaning and bemoaning about the changes to our society, our government, and even a good number of our churches. Family values are not so valuable for many in our world – just watch TV programs. Some are wondering how this can be happening and why is it happening? Will we ever see things turn around and be like they once were. Honestly, no they won’t without an intervention by God into people’s hearts and minds. The evil ones who do wicked things are under constant watch by God. He knows who is doing and what is being done. God watches the paths of every person. And this promise is to those who are acting out iniquities; the sins of the wicked will capture them and they will find their sin have them bound up and immovable. The Lord God sees all that man does and in mercy He withholds immediate judgment, allowing the sinner time to repent or to be caught in his own sin. The unrepentant will demonstrate their great folly believing the lies of the enemy.

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April 24 – Proof Through Reproof

“My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord Or loathe His reproof, For whom the Lord loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.” – Proverbs 3:11-12 (NASB)

As children we certainly did not enjoy the reproof our parents gave to us when we misbehaved. As adults do we like it any better? Probably not but we can know from our verse today the reproof is a promise affirming that God loves us and He intends the very best for us. Since even the wisest of God’s children are subject to sin, there is necessity of God’s fatherly discipline. He disciplines us to increase wisdom and blessing in our lives. We should not resist such correction but instead receive it with thankfulness because it is for our benefit. Some think discipline is punishment but the two are not quite the same. Discipline, or reproof is not exactly a pay-back for wrong deeds but it is a consequence when we fail to observe the law of God and His commandments.. Hebrews 12:8 teaches us that if we are not being disciplined by God, then we are but illegitimate children and not adopted children of God. Like our verse says, God allows and does what is necessary to correct us because He delights in us and He wants us to know better what His will is for our lives.

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April 23 –The Keep Doing So Factor

“So I say to you, 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 he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened.” – Luke 11:9-10 (NASB)

IIn need? Ask. Receive. Lost? Seek. Find. On the outs? Knock at the Entrance. This is a promise. But these are not promises we will receive substantive goods. Not promises of material prosperity. Jesus is emphasizing the effectiveness of prayer. A threefold promise. The triple exhortation is as follows: ask, seek, knock. Arranged in an escalating scale of intensity. Ask. Asking suggests humility and a mindfulness of our need. When we asks, we expect an answer. This demonstrates a faith in God the Father. Having such a faith makes the prayer warm and personal. Seek. Seeking is asking plus acting. We must be active in striving to obtain the fulfilment of our needs. For example, as we pray for a deeper knowledge of the Bible, we should also diligently search and examine the Scriptures. Knock. Knocking is asking plus acting plus persevering. We are doing the knocking again and again until the door is opened. Another translation would be “continue to ask, to seek, to knock.” We continue knocking at the door of the kingdom-palace until our King, who is at the same time our Father God, and our Savior, opens and supplies whatever is needed.

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April 22 – What’s Up Is Down

“He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, Both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord.” – Proverbs 17:15 (NASB)

We might make the heading of today’s post to be “What’s Wrong is Right and What’s Right is Wrong.” This may seem to you and many others that our system of justice has turned upside down and is skidding along on its roof. Disaster seems immanent and when it comes we’ll wonder why we did not see that iceberg immediately in our way. God does not condone and God will judge this twist on what He has declared right and just. It really is a result of verse 13 previous. “He who returns evil for good, Evil will not depart from his house.” The promise is not for a blessing but for embedded evil first we tolerate, second we excuse, and finally adopt as a belief. Nobody wants to be disapproved or called names but those who believe God and His Word and also stand against the wholesale embrace of social debauchery are being vilified and all who speak against this evil will also be scorned and subject to being cancelled, denied and detested. Calling evil good and giving it a pass while condemning the faith of those righteous to God – they are repugnant to the Lord.

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April 21 – Heat That Purifies

“The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.” – Proverbs 17:3 (ESV)

A crucible is a very specialized container that is used to heat metal to the point of melting it. It is a necessary step in the refining process of changing what is unusable into something usable and more valuable. Our verse speaks of refining silver and gold so that it can be suitable for other purposes. This proverb of Solomon teaches us that God allows us to be in the crucible in order to test us. One of the purposes of melting and refining is to burn away the dross and other impurities. It also is to form, shape and strengthen the metal. God does test our hearts for it is our heart’s devotion and love that he wants from us. Another verse in the Old Testament and in the New Testament says that we are to love the Lord our God with our whole heart. In order for that to happen, we have to allow God to refine our hearts in the crucible of life. That is not something we really choose to go through but when we do, we come out knowing and loving God in a more perfect way. It’s a promise, let’s embrace it.

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April 20 – How Doers Listen

“But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” – James 2:22 (NASB)
“But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.” – James 2:25 (NASB)

Sometimes we hear without listening and when asked, “Did you hear?” we may reply “I heard you.” But we may have only heard, but not listened. If we listen, then we can respond by being a doer. God’s Word is given to us so that we can become doers of what we have listened to do. God wants each of us to become a doer.. How do we listen? By paying attention to what we read in the Word of God or listening to those teaching the Bible to us. James calls professing believers to be “doers,” rather than simply to do, because he emphasizes how our entire personality should be characterized in that way. Those who are only hearers are like those who can’t remember who they saw after looking at themselves in a mirror. Practice makes permanent and God wants us to be permanent doers of His law. Throughout the Bible, God’s revealed, inerrant, sufficient, and comprehensive Word is called “law.” The presence of His grace does not mean there is no moral law or code of conduct for believers to obey. Believers are enabled by the Spirit to be faithful doers. Let’s do that today.

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April 19 – Knowing His Plan

Things happen and we react. Maybe we’re primed for a response that is not the right response or time to act. When we do, we often learn quickly of our overreach just as Peter does the night Jesus is arrested. Jesus had just gone three torturous rounds in prayer about the cup he was facing. Now Jesus has to ask Peter if he was trying to divert God’s plan. Impetuous Simon Peter, of course—wielding a sword! Peter was no stranger to jumping right in with both feet. He had jumped out of the boat attempting to walk on water to Christ. He had spoken his mind thinking to rebuke Christ. He had offered to lay down his life for Christ and swore he would be true, always. But shortly after stepping up to defend Jesus, fear would grip Peter and he would deny even knowing Him. Our  impatience might push us to interfere with what God had declared, with His  plans. What God has declared; He will do. Let’s learn to put away our figurative swords. Let’s trust God’s plan as we understand it and, wait on His timing. Acting on God’s command is how we serve Him best.

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