Who’s Your Safety Net?

God will catch you

“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” Ephesians 2:1

There is no one like the God of Israel. He rides across the heavens to help you, across the skies in majestic splendor. The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you.

Deuteronomy 33:26-27 NLT

When you are at the end of your rope, God is there to catch you — but not before.

Erwin W. Lutzer

God’s everlasting arms

Our world seemed to be falling apart. My husband was severely depressed, and his business was crumbling. As I tried to support and nurture our children, help my husband, and take up the slack financially, I became drained physically, spiritually, and mentally. I cried out to God in exhaustion, and I felt his everlasting arms underneath me. Quieting my racing heart, the Lord reminded me that although my own resources might be exhausted, his resources were limitless.

During that difficult season I experienced God as my refuge when there was nowhere else to turn, and I felt his security in the middle of a very uncertain, insecure time.

In today’s passage Moses praises the Lord and assures the Israelites that God will be with them no matter what adversity or trial they encounter — that he is their refuge and underneath them are his everlasting arms. Do you need to feel God’s everlasting arms carrying you today because your strength is exhausted? Do you know someone who is in desperate straits and needs God’s help? Pray these verses for yourself or for someone else, and proclaim God’s faithfulness.

LORD, there is no one like you! You ride across the heavens in majestic splendor to help us when we cry out to you. May we experience you today as our refuge and sense your everlasting arms of protection and love holding us. I praise you for your faithfulness and unparalleled power!

Adapted from The One Year® Book of Praying through the Bible by Cheri Fuller, Tyndale House Publishers (2003), entry for April 9.

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

Do We Please the Lord?

How can I please the Lord?

But Samuel replied [to Saul], “What is more pleasing to the Lord, your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Obedience is far better than sacrifice. Listening to him is much better than offering the fat of rams. Rebelling is as bad as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as bad as worshiping idols.

1 Samuel 15:22-23 NLT

If you love me, obey my commandments.… You are my friends if you obey me.

John 14:15; 15:14 NLT

True Friends of Jesus Obey Him

How do we demonstrate our friendship with Jesus? Quite simply, we do what he says. If we refuse, we have no right to call ourselves his friends.

In 1 Samuel 15 the Bible tells how King Saul disobeyed the Lord’s command to completely destroy the enemies and their livestock. When Samuel asked the king why he heard the bleating of sheep and the lowing of cattle, Saul basically replied, “Oh, right, thanks for reminding me. We’re saving those to offer to the Lord later!”

Samuel recognized a lie when he heard one and replied, “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22 NIV). God wants the same from us, not some great annual recommitment that we soon break. He wants consistency. Regularity. Faithfulness. He wants our obedience.

Adapted from Breakfast with Jesus by Greg Laurie,
(Tyndale House) p 162

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

Do We Hurry God?

How often do you ask God to hurry?

The strength of a horse does not impress him; how puny in his sight is the strength of man. Rather, the Lord’s delight is in those who honor him, those who put their hope in his unfailing love.
Psalm 147:10-11

“O Lord, I am calling to you. Please hurry! Listen when I cry to you for help! Accept my prayer as incense offered to you, and my upraised hands as an evening offering.”

Psalm 141:1-2 NLT

The Second Thanksgiving

The year was 1623. The Pilgrims had been in the New World for two and half years. The first Thanksgiving of 1621 was only a memory by this time because this summer’s drought was jeopardizing everything. Not even the Indians could remember anything like it. The settlers had planted more corn than before, but without any rainfall, there would be no harvest. Daily they had prayed that God would send rain, but he hadn’t answered. As the psalmist did in Psalm 141:1, they were begging God to hurry.

Finally, the settlers set aside an entire day for prayer and worship. As they went for worship, the “heavens were as clear and the drought as like to continue as it ever was,” yet when they left the meeting, “the weather was overcast, the clouds gathered on all sides.” For the next 14 days there were “moderate showers of rain,” according to Edward Winslow, one of the Pilgrims.

The Indians watched and were amazed at how the God of the new settlers had answered their prayers, and that year, after the harvest, a second Thanksgiving was celebrated with the Indians joining in as well.

“Hurry up, Lord,” we often prod, wondering why the Almighty doesn’t seem to be in as much of a rush as we are. Sometimes we need to set our watches to his clock.

From The One Year® Book of Psalms with devotionals by William J. Petersen and Randy Petersen (Tyndale) entry for November 22

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

 

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

Rewards on Earth or Eternal?

Are you looking for rewards on earth?

“…we who are still alive and remain on earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and remain with him forever.”

1 Thessalonians 4:17 NLT

Awaiting our day

The story is told of an old missionary couple returning to the States after many years of thankless service in Africa. They happened to be on the same ship to New York as President Theodore Roosevelt, who was returning from a big game hunt in Africa. As the ship pulled past the Statue of Liberty and into the dock, huge crowds were gathered to welcome him home. The press was out in full force, and thousands of people had come to get a glimpse of the president.

In the middle of the chaos, the aged missionary couple fought their way through the crowds with their large suitcases in tow. Silently they hailed a cab and made their way to a cheap hotel. The missionary sat on the bed and said to his wife, “It just doesn’t seem right. We gave our lives to Christ to win souls for the Kingdom in Africa, and when we arrive home there is no one here to meet us. The president shoots a few animals and receives a royal welcome.”

His wife sat beside him on the bed and said softly, “That’s because we’re not home yet, dear.”

It may seem at times as if our work for Christ is going unnoticed. Faith doesn’t bring a lot of praise on this earth. But that’s only because our trip is not yet over.

Our day will come, you can be sure. And when it does, the ceremony will last for an eternity.

From Embracing Eternity by Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins and Frank M. Martin (Tyndale) p 346

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

What is your concept of heaven?

God has great rewards for those who remain faithul

What is your concept of heaven?

“How happy are those who fear the Lord — all who follow his ways! You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How happy you will be! How rich your life!”

Psalm 128:1-2 NLT

Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that there is a God and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

Hebrews 11:6 NLT

He died for us so that we can live with him forever, whether we are dead or alive at the time of his return.

1 Thessalonians 5:10 NLT

Made for another world

Most of us find it very difficult to want “Heaven” at all — except in so far as “Heaven” means meeting again our friends who have died. One reason for this difficulty is that we have not been trained: Our whole education tends to fix our minds on this world. Another reason is that when the real want for Heaven is present in us, we might not recognize it. Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise.


“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

C.S. Lewis

From the The Quotable Lewis edited by Jerry Root and Wayne Martindale (Tyndale) pp 286-87

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

Integrity

God has great rewards for those who remain faithul

Do you ever feel it doesn’t pay to live a godly life?

GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS

“Day by day the Lord takes care of the innocent, and they will receive a reward that lasts forever.”
Psalm 37:18 NLT

God will honor your integrity

Maybe last month it was a relational disaster or an occupational trial. This week it might be a financial setback. Next week could bring a health crisis. After a while the unrelenting stream of tough times takes its toll.

“What’s the use?” we cry. “I try to do right and for what? Life keeps beating me up! I can’t get ahead! I’m not sure it pays to try to live a godly life. I struggle as much or more than my neighbors who couldn’t care less about God!”

Troubles certainly have a way of wearing us down. And if we’re not careful, they can erode even our bedrock convictions. The promise in Psalm 37 is a good reminder of why we must be vigilant about not taking moral or ethical shortcuts.

Those who maintain their integrity, those who continue to do right even when everything and everyone else is wrong will one day receive the ultimate reward.

Praying God’s Promise:
Life doesn’t seem fair at times, Lord, and integrity often doesn’t seem to matter. But it does matter. You see everything. Nothing escapes your gaze. You promise to care for the pure and to reward the faithful. Give me the spiritual tenacity to hang in there. Remind me that the day is coming when you will exalt those who steadfastly trust in you.

From the Praying God’s Promises in Tough Times by Len Wood (Tyndale) pp 204-5
Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

NO MORE SORROW

God will wipe away sorrow forever

JESUS SOON COMING

 

Faith does not isolate us from sadness

Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name. His anger lasts for a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may go on all night, but joy comes in the morning.

Psalm 30:4-5

I am leaving you with a gift — peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

John 14:27 
Truly, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy when you see me again. It will be like a woman experiencing the pains of labor. When her child is born, her anguish gives place to joy because she has brought a new person into the world. You have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy.
John 16:20-22 

Bond of understanding

There is an immediate bond of understanding between people who have suffered similar hardships or losses. Parents who have lost children, widows and widowers, and families of terminal-disease patients, all find comfort and encouragement in the presence of those who have known similar pain.

Paul urges believers to see opportunities for giving comfort as both a way to share the comfort of God and to use their own experiences of sorrow for good. We rarely know why suffering or trials enter our lives, but we can know that God wants to do through our sorrow.

Who do you know right now who needs a word of encouragement or comfort that your experience has prepared you to give?

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House