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REMEMBER ME!

November 20, 2022

“But I’m not that important to God. I have not accomplished anything with my life, and I’m too old now to do anything about it. I can’t imagine that I will make any difference in God’s scheme of things,” he said. “How could any God love someone as worthless as me? I’m hopeless!”

It seems as though the writer of Psalm 106 felt the same way. “Remember me, O Lord, when You show favor to Your people, come to my aid when You save them.” He felt alone, abandoned, forsaken - perhaps even worthless. He could not imagine God including him in His plan of redemption. “I’m excluded!” he cried. “No hope.”

Another man made a similar statement. This one was a thief hanging on a cross dying for his crimes. How interesting it is to note that he was hanging next to some One who had never committed any crimes but was dying for the crimes he - the thief - had committed. He had no time to turn over a new leaf and lead a better life. He could not go to the people he had wronged and ask for forgiveness or attend a religious ceremony for cleansing. He could not perform any good works - his hands were nailed to a cross. All he could do was to call on the name of the Lord and ask Jesus to “Remember me!” And, we too, must remember that no one is beyond the grace of God.

Although he was a thief condemned to die for his crimes, our Lord loved him just as much as He loves us. “Today,” Jesus assured him, “you will be with Me in paradise.”

God has no favorites. His love includes everyone.

Prayer:  Thank You, Father, for Your love that includes all of us no matter who we are or what we have done! Thank you that it is never too late because You are so loving. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:   Remember me, O Lord, when You show favor to Your people, come to my aid when You save them.  Psalm 106:4

“Blessed are they...,” said the Psalmist, “who constantly do what is right.” Jesus, too, emphasized the importance of righteousness when He began His public ministry. “Blessed,” said Jesus, “are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

Doing what is right and hungering and thirsting for righteousness is not a priority in the lives of many who call themselves “Christian.” It sounds like a lifestyle that is more suitable for monks who live in a monastery and spend their time reading the Bible and praying than for people who work for a living. Monks can avoid the “real things” of life and “be righteous.”

Perhaps when we think of being “righteous” and “doing what is right,” we shudder because it sounds so “limiting” on the one hand, and “impossible” on the other. “What fun is there in being righteous?” we ask. Or “If I ‘do right,’ I’ll live a life of gloom and doom with no room for happiness and joy.” What a grim prospect.

But the exact opposite is true. God has a specific plan for each of our lives and will enable us to fulfill it. Ultimately, we will become like His Son. If we seek and follow the plan and purpose He has for our lives, we will walk in paths of “righteousness for His name’s sake.” If we want to know the “path of righteousness” He has for our lives, we must study His Word. And, the more we study His Word, the more we will become like Him. If we desire to “do right” and become “righteous,” we will need to spend time with Him, get to know Him, and love Him. If we “do right,” we will “become right.”

Prayer:  Lord, we all want to “do right.” But we cannot “do right” unless we are willing to spend time with You. Teach us to be You-like. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:   Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right. Psalm 106:3

Not many people have ever heard of Mithridates the Great, King of Pontus, from northern Asia Minor, in 88 B.C. He was famous for his size, his strength, and his skill of mastering the languages of the twenty-five nations that he ruled. There’s also Cardinal Mezzofanti, who was born in Bologna, Italy who spoke more than one hundred languages and dialects. Language is important. It connects us.

Today, philologists claim that there are between 6,000 and 7,000 different languages that people use to communicate with one another. The majority of the languages in our world flow from one person to another. Some languages exist that have never been reduced to writing. Every one of them evolves and changes over time. When people connect with other people in other places, languages become richer and more inclusive.  Some languages add new words while other words are deleted when they no longer make sense. Some words lose their meaning and are soon forgotten.

Yet, no matter how many words there may be or how many languages are spoken, the Psalmist put things into the proper context when he asked, “Who can proclaim the mighty acts of God, or fully declare His praise?”

We will never be able to praise God as much as He deserves, but we can praise Him with a heart that is sincere. If we ever begin to realize the magnitude of God’s love and mercy that saved us, and now sustains us, our hearts will be filled with such joy that our voices will never cease to express our gratitude and thanks!

Prayer:  Father, we lift our voices in praise and thanksgiving to You for Your love for us and the gift of Your Son, our Savior. May our humble offering be acceptable to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:   Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the LORD or fully declare his praise? Psalm 106:2

Josh felt that things were not going the way he wanted them to go in his relationship with Janie. So, he decided to take her a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a large box of candy. When Janie saw the lovely gifts, she was so excited that she threw her arms around Josh and gave him a warm hug and kiss.

Suddenly, he turned and began running down the steps of her porch. “Where are you going, Josh? Have I embarrassed you? Have I offended you?”

“Oh no,” came the reply. “I’m going for some more flowers and candy!”

God gives us one good gift after another. They come whether we expect them or not - even though we do not always deserve them!

Psalm 106 begins with a shout: PRAISE THE LORD! And following the shout, the Psalmist gives us a reason for us to shout: “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever!”

His everlasting love and goodness are like rivers that flow through our lives, bringing us His blessings that we do not deserve nor could ever earn. His river never dries up in the summer or turns into ice in the winter. It flows freely bringing us God’s best every day of our lives! 

Surely, it is good to give God thanks. But it is even better to show Him our thanks for doing His work in His world. Now that Jesus has gone to be with His Father in Heaven, we are left here to do what He started. We are obligated to reach out to the lost and hurting with His love, mercy, and grace.

Prayer:  Sometimes we become so complacent in our faith. Trouble our hearts, Heavenly Father, and give us no rest until we willingly do the things Your Son did. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:      Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 106:1

It almost seems contradictory when we read these words of the Psalmist: “For He remembered His holy promise.” It’s as if God were in a grocery store, and just as He began to walk through the parking lot to His car, He stopped and said, “Oh my. I forgot the milk! I’m glad I thought of it.” But, not so.

As Psalm 105 ends, the author reminds us of the faithfulness of our God. So, he wanted to remind the readers, once again, that whether or not they were faithful to Him, He was faithful to them. He made a covenant with Abraham, and through the many generations from the day that covenant was made until that very moment, He was always with them. When they felt alone, He made His presence known. When they needed protection, He was there to guard them. When they were hungry, He provided food to nourish them. When they were weak and weary, they could rely on His power.

God has been, is and will be true to what He says. And, He is faithful to keep His word to whomever He gives it. Wherever we look in history - in times of defeat and delay - it does not mean that God has forgotten what He has promised. God is always faithful to His holy promises. His promises are holy and sacred because they come from a God who is holy and sacred. Through days that seemed unbearable and nights that had no stars, God was always with them - working out His will in His way according to His plan.

God calls us to Himself to make us like Himself. He will do whatever it takes to restore His image in us. Remember: God is a “working in us God” and always faithful.

Prayer:  Give us patience and perseverance, faith and willingness, hope and trust, Lord, as we become like You. Help us to remember our promises to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:     For he remembered his holy promise given to his servant Abraham. Psalm 105:42

OUR WONDER-WORKING GOD!

November 15, 2022

All of us know individuals whose lives have gone from pinnacles of prosperity to places of poverty. We know that temptations overtake some individuals, and they soon become enslaved and imprisoned by harmful habits. Once they were blest, but now they are in bondage. There seems to be a pattern of self-destruction that overcomes many who are not satisfied with the gifts of God. They apparently will not allow His grace and goodness to satisfy them. They always want “more!”

This is what happened to the people of Israel. It seems that the more God gave them, the less satisfied they were. Finally, their greed led them to slavery. But, thank God, their story does not end there. His love and mercy eventually brought redemption and restoration to them. When? When they repented and returned to the Covenant He made with them. God always keeps His Word.

Not only did He rescue them from their captors, but “they were laden with silver and gold.” When we allow God to redeem us by His grace, His Word promises us that “It is He who will supply all of our needs from His riches in glory because of what Jesus Christ has done for us.” God will honor His Word with us, as He did with Israel.

He also empowers those whom He redeems: “From among their tribes no one faltered.”  When God redeems us, we are called to serve Him faithfully. He has a plan for each of our lives, and that plan contains many opportunities for us to serve Him. And, for each of those opportunities He gives us, we know that He will empower us, and we will not falter or fail if we are faithful to Him. 

Prayer:  Father, if we have strayed from the plan You have for us, please forgive and restore us to the joy of serving You. There are no real riches but those found in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:    He brought out Israel, laden with silver and gold, and from among their tribes no one faltered. Psalm 105:37

GOD WORKS

November 14, 2022

“Do you know what U.N. stands for?” he asked.

“The United Nations,” I replied quickly and confidently.

“Not at all,” was his reply. “It stands for Unsettled Nations,” he informed me.

Then he continued, “Does the Lord care about the condition of the nations of the world? And, if He does care, why doesn’t He intervene and make things better?”

“Yes, He cares,” I answered. “But we need to see how God has intervened in the past by studying His Word so we can understand what He is doing today.”

One nation above all others seems to be the center of God’s attention: Israel.

Psalm 105:24 describes what we might call an “explosion of people.” “The Lord made His people very fruitful. He made them too numerous for their foes.” We have often heard that there is “strength in numbers.” Here we see this “in action.” As the Israelites grew in numbers, they grew in strength, and they were able to overcome their adversaries.

This “strength in numbers” made the Exodus possible. The historian continues by revealing another fact to us: those “whose hearts He turned to hate His people, and to conspire against His servants,” were led by Moses, His servant, and Aaron, His chosen one, to lead them into the land that God had prepared for them. Ultimately, it was the persecution that led them to the Promised Land.

Is God involved in the affairs of nations? Indeed, He is. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord!” We may not see it now, but we will see it when the time is right.

Prayer:  May we look to You, Lord, as the only One who can save our nation. May our leaders seek Your guidance. Please help me look more faithfully to you for guidance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:    The Lord made His people very fruitful. He made them too numerous for their foes, whose hearts He turned to hate His people, and to conspire against His servants. Psalm 105:24-25

One evening when my son John came home from football practice, I noticed that his arms and hands had an unusual number of cuts and bruises on them. “What happened?” I asked.

“Have you ever noticed, Dad,” he replied, “that pain is optional, but suffering isn’t? I wanted to be on the starting team, so I knew it would take some ‘pain’ on my part. I’d been ‘playing,’ and now I wanted the coach to know I could be a ‘winner’ at football.”

The Psalmist reminded us that Joseph was sold as a slave, and that “They bruised his feet with shackles and that his neck was put in irons, till what he foretold came to pass, till the word of the Lord proved him true.”

Tucked away in the great plan that God has for each of us is our fair share of suffering. After Joseph was sold into slavery, he did not complain about his situation. He persevered through the horrible conditions that were placed on him. By honoring God, the King honored him. 

When he was tempted by Potiphar’s wife, he resisted her seductive behaviors. She did everything she could do to seduce him, but through his dependence on God, he did not give in to his passions. And, when she grabbed him physically, he was able to escape through God’s strength. When she lied about him, he was thrown into prison. And, rather than becoming bitter, he became better. Because he was true to God, he triumphed and eventually became the premier of Egypt. His path to power was through pain and imprisonment. If we are true to God in our times of trial, we will be triumphant.

Prayer:  Help us, Lord, to be faithful to You, knowing that temptation and suffering is part of Your plan for us. Help us to trust You for the final triumph. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:   And he sent a man before them - Joseph, sold as a slave. Psalm 105:17

There was a large stag - a red-coated deer - that roamed through the hills of Rome. No one ever came near it or tried to capture or kill it. Caesar protected it, and all were forbidden to disturb it. On its sides were the words, “Touch me not! I belong to Caesar.” It was a sign of ownership, and no one dared to harm or hurt that animal.

There is a far more important statement about ownership in Psalm 105. It is a statement about those who belong to God: “Do not touch My anointed ones.”

Sometimes the words of God are overlooked by the children of God. This verse is a good example of an “overlooked” rule by the Lord. Few of us will admit to having never spoken evil of a fellow Christian. But...

We often listen carefully while one “saint” criticizes or condemns another “saint.” We carefully listen to every detail when a fellow church member ridicules or runs down the person who sits next to us during the worship service. We do not see “for whom Christ died” on the forehead of someone whose marriage is falling apart - so we anxiously listen to the sordid details of an unfaithful spouse.  We blame others for “bad parenting skills” when their children become addicts rather than grieve with them over their loss. We carelessly pass on rumors about the honesty of someone who has more than we do. The tongue can easily become a weapon of wickedness and ultimately destroy “the Lord’s anointed ones.”

We must use our tongues to help and heal, not hurt or harm!

Prayer:  Father, may we turn deaf ears to words that harm others and speak kind words about Your anointed ones. Help us to show the value of Your “anointed ones”. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:   Do not touch my anointed ones. Psalm 105:15a

Years ago, a firm handshake and a sincere look in the eye meant that “my word is my bond as long as I live.” No more questions were required, and no exceptions were included. “If I said it, I meant it, and I will do it. I will not deny what I said nor offer any excuses if I fail!”

How different it is today. Contracts, warranties, and agreements are written with clauses that are vague, difficult to understand, and often need the interpretation of an attorney. Word of mouth promises rarely last longer than the time it takes to speak them.

How different it is with God. In Psalm 105 we are reminded of His faithfulness to Israel. If He said it, He did it. If He promised something, there is proof in His Word that He made it happen. All the promises He made have been fulfilled and provide proof that “God is a Man of His Word.” This should give us courage for today and hope for the future.

Some Biblical scholars who have carefully researched His word have identified 3,000 promises in the Bible! Furthermore, all of them, except one – Christ’s second coming - have been fulfilled. And, we can be confident that He will fulfill that promise at the appointed time. If He said it, He did it – or, we know, will certainly do it!

So, here are two great promises we can claim right now: “The Lord is a stronghold in the day of trouble!” Whenever we can’t handle “things,” we have His unfailing word that He certainly can! We can claim this promise!

“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in My name.” What a wonderful, never-ending, open-ended promise if we call on Him in faith and trust.

Prayer:  Help us, Lord, to take You at Your Word: To realize that you have never failed and never will, and to claim Your promises and know that You will fulfill them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:   He remembers his covenant forever. Psalm 105:8a

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