Do you love Me?

“All people will fear; they will proclaim the works of God and ponder the things he has done.” Psalm 64:9.

You have no use for God?  You will someday, according to today’s verse.

God has done amazing things……”The heavens declare…”

I must follow the pattern of the verse; proclaim and ponder.

It could be like saying “uncle,” where you can change your mind later.  “Pondering” instead involves long term.

How can I ever lose my awareness of His greatness?  For me, it happens when my distractions overpower me.

I can go through many waking hours out-of-touch with Him.  I am drifting along separated from Him.  Who am I letting guide me?  The Evil One!

Satan doesn’t always hit me with a pitchfork.  He is better known (to me) as a whisperer.  He encourages me to trust myself.  “You can do this.” “You can figure this out.”  And at times I do, and that just leads to more separation from the God I love.

A love-relationship is ongoing.  I will not be easily distracted by other things when I am in love.  My concentration will be on the object of my affections.  Is that the way I am with God?  Not nearly!

Conclusion: I must proclaim and ponder His greatness endlessly because I love Him.

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Start with God and learn from there

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding.  To Him belongs eternal praise.” Psalm 111:10.

I must start with God.

There’s no other approach.

To start without Him is to head immediately in the wrong direction.  The further away I go, the less I have His essential guidance.

The start is important but there’s more: I must follow Him.  That means that I must stay in “sight” of Him.  He must be on my mind.  My mind must be full of Him.

To live like that!  Wouldn’t it be grand.  And it’s there for me to be had.

I must totally surrender myself to Him for the long term.  I’ll see Him work in ways I can’t imagine.  I’ll say His Words to those who need Him.  I will say His Words to those I love.

The relationship is constant.  I see Him.  I hear Him.  I’m tuned into Him.

Surely this will lead to my praising Him, not because things are good but because I’m living life His Way.

Conclusion: Living with God is an all-day event.

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Am I smarter than God?

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.”  Psalm 111:10.

How do I behave when I am around people who are smarter than I am?

I am a techno-midget when it comes to my cell phone.  Okay, I know a few things.  However, when I am with my two granddaughters, I am all ears when it comes to my phone.  I want them to show me how to use it better.  If I have been struggling with its use, I assume that they can give me help.

Do I treat God as if He is smarter than I am?  Often not.  I plunge into things without consulting Him.  I mess up and try to work my way out of it without Him.

But what would I do if I really believed He was smart?  Neither of those two things in the last paragraph!

I would chase His advice.  I would try to remember the things He has already taught me.  I would be so attached to Him that every step I took I would be in contact with Him.

Mess up?  He’s there to help.  I would turn to Him first.  I would willingly listen to His corrections.

I like the guidelines in 2 Timothy 3:16: Scripture is good for; showing what is right, showing what is wrong, telling how to get right, and telling how to stay right.  That pretty much covers it!  His Word is a great source of help.

Conclusion: God is wiser than I am, or ever will be. Will I behave as if that is true?

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I can’t do it

“My heart is not proud, Lord.  My eyes are not haughty.  I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.” Psalm 131:1.

An impossibility!

My culture is infested with self-worship.  I want to be the best.  I want to get ahead.  I want to be recognized for my accomplishments.

This verse goes in the other direction.  I am not to look for credit.  I am not to consider myself better than someone else.

My mind is to be on “lesser” things.

My mind needs to be filled with a persistent search to please God.  I must do what He wants within the framework of being His servant.  Just doing His Will must be my driving influence.

My reward is eternal.  I have better than His praise; I have His assurance.  I will be with Him in the after-life.  I can’t help but want to work full-time for Him because of His grace in my direction.

He’s in charge.  I have no advantages over others.  We are all in this world together.  I don’t try to please Him to get Him to love me because He already does.  I please Him to show Him that I love Him because I do.

My willingness to please Him must not wane.  Circumstances must not change my desire to please Him.

Conclusion: I must take my hands off the controls of my life and give them to Him or I will fail miserably.

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To God be the glory?

“My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty. I am not concerned about great matters or things too wonderful for me.”  Psalm 131:1.

I tend to watch a lot of football this time of year.  Seasons are winding down and the games are often tense and exciting.

One of my biggest peeves about football games gets activated when a team scores.  I cringe as individuals self-celebrate. I know (but do they?) that they are a mere speck in the bigger picture that led to the accomplishment.

Today’s verse celebrates someone who is not proud.

What keeps someone who had accomplished much (David in this case) from self-praise?  I believe that an awareness of those who made the accomplishment possible rules the behavior.

A football player scoring a touchdown had blockers, an offensive coordinator with confidence in him, a God-given body, an encouraging family, etc…  The list of those who aided the player will certainly be lengthy.  But there is the player acting as if he deserves full credit.

God has given me everything I have.  I have no right to deny Him credit by grabbing any for myself.

I write a blog entry and am complimented for it.  God was in every part of making that entry a reality.  And I should bask in credit?  No chance!

I am so blessed to have God in charge of my life.  Surely, Father knows best!

When I put Him in charge, and trust Him completely, my cares are minimized.  So often I “care” about things that I have no control over.  Will it snow?  Will I be able to work?

My behavior reflects my relationship to God.  Exhibitions of pride and worrying are out of place in one who is in a close relationship with God.

Conclusion: To God be the glory and in God I trust.

 

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What’s in my head?

“May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the Lord.”  Psalm 104:34.

How often do I think about God?  I guess it depends on where I am and/or who I’m with.

Some days hours go by before I’m mindful of Him.

How can I change that?

I think that God gets lost from my mind when I begin to minimize Him.

If I can keep in mind how awesome He is, then my thoughts will include Him.

What catches me in today’s verse is that God can be DISpleased with what I think about.  I cannot let that happen.  I want to always please Him.

When I spend time thinking/talking about Him, I will have reasons to rejoice that I am His child.

Satan is keen on keeping me distracted.  He wants me to live remote from God.  He wanted me satisfied with an occasional meditation on God.  If God isn’t in the center of my thinking, then Satan is.  Why would I give Satan any room in my life?

God is calling me to total surrender.  I am often living in conditional surrender.  He wants unconditional surrender.  How much have I missed of Him because I think more often of other things instead of His things?

Conclusion: I must think unceasingly of Him.

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The gift not received

Once upon a time there was an old man who was offered a gift.

The old man had gone to his doctor for a health checkup.

His doctor had raved about the old man’s weight loss…..and rightly so for the old man had shed thirty-five pounds.

The doctor, however, was concerned about the old man’s lack of activity.  The pre-visit blood test had revealed this deficiency.

What to do?

The pro-active physician had a solution: He offered the old man a gift.

The gift was a free membership to a health club located within two miles of where the old man lived.

The gift offer was written on an official-looking document signed by the doctor and safely tucked inside an envelope with the old man’s name on it.

The old man thanked the doctor and went home excited about the gift offer.  “I’ll go to the fitness center,” he thought, “activate the membership, and move on to better health.”

But the old man never went to the nearby fitness center to activate the gift offer.

Why?

The old man began to think that the treadmill in his basement might be an easier option for the exercise he needed.

The old man began to think that walking the sidewalk on the street in front of his house would be an easier option because he would be closer to home.

The old man “thought” his way out of activating the gift offer.  An offer that was free.  An offer from someone who knew his health better than he did.

How silly?

How foolish?

How sad?

Yet how many do the same when it comes to Christmas?

We immerse ourselves in the gifts given and the gifts received.

We achieve various degrees of excitement over the day itself.

And yet what about the ultimate gift offer?

Is it that hidden card, lost in the branches of the Christmas tree?

Is it the one we forget is there until someone finds it late in the gift-opening frenzy?

George Washington and Martin Luther King have earned birthday celebrations.  But it isn’t because of their births that we honor them.  It is because of what they did during their lives that makes them memorable.

No question that Jesus had a remarkable birth but that isn’t the cause for celebration.  Instead, it is what He did during His life that should be celebrated.

Jesus put a gift offer together that is beyond any other.  He offers everyone the real Ultimate Gift.

What is it?

Jesus offers us a free pass to an after-life with Him.

The hard truth is that there is no other way to an after-life with Him.

We deserve an after-life separation from God because we have done wrong.  He is perfect, and we aren’t.

We have all disobeyed Him.  We’re all in this together as sinners!

One sin makes us a sinner as surely as thousands of them do.  It isn’t a balancing act: my good deeds will never outweigh my bad ones.  My destiny is certain.

But then comes the gift offer.

For some unfathomable reason, God sent Jesus to earth to live among us and later to die a death we deserved.

Jesus took our place.  Took the punishment our sins warranted so that we wouldn’t get what we deserved.  That is the ultimate gift!

And yet this remains a gift offer.  Just as that fitness center membership remains a gift offer.

In order for that fitness-center membership to be worth anything, the old man needs to go to that fitness center and activate the membership.

The same is true of the gift offer of God.  Until I recognize my need for that offer, and tell Him that I receive it, it WILL NOT be activated.  What a shame for that to happen!

Have you received His gift?  Certainly a cause for Christmas celebration.

Is God’s gift offer still in the envelope with your name on it?  Great time to open it and activate it.

 

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