Sunday, July 26, 2009
When you cling to things that fade, you store up for yourselves treasures here on an earth that will one day melt away and be no more. When you cling to Christ through trial; allowing God to perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you, you are storing for yourself treasures in Heaven.
Do not lean on your own understanding, you are not as smart as you think you are - just hold on. Run the race set before you letting Christ in eternity be the finish line so when you get where you are going, Jesus will say to you, "Well done good and faithful servant. I told you it was worth it."
"Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you."
"God is most glorified in you, when you are most satisfied in Him -- in the midst of loss not prosperity." - John Piper
"Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You're not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It's the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won't last forever. It won't be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does."
1 Peter 5: 8-11 (The Message)
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Taste and See That the LORD Is Good
Of David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away.
1I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
The psalmist's resolve is to praise God in every situation and under every circumstance. In this verse, David is giving praise to God for protection and deliverance from his enemies.
Do you praise Him during times of trial as well as times of deliverance?
Monday, July 20, 2009
"Burdens" are extra heavy loads, which here represent difficulties or problems that we struggle with. "Bear" (KJV) connotes carrying something with endurance.
Supporting or carrying someone's weight requires being actively involved with your brother or sister, not supporting from afar.
Actively encouraging those of the household of faith can mean praying, bringing food, holding one's hand during a trial, or just actively listening and encouraging.
The Lord actively supports us during our times of need. Follow His example -- who can you support in their time of need?
Thursday, July 16, 2009
To the choirmaster: according to Lilies. Of David.
1Save me, O God!
For the waters have come up to my neck.
2I sink in deep mire,
where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
and the flood sweeps over me.
3 I am weary with my crying out;
my throat is parched.
My eyes grow dim
with waiting for my God.
4 More in number than the hairs of my head
are those who hate me without cause;
mighty are those who would destroy me,
those who attack me with lies.
What I did not steal
must I now restore?
5O God, you know my folly;
the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you.
6Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me,
O Lord GOD of hosts;
let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me,
O God of Israel.
7For it is for your sake that I have borne reproach,
that dishonor has covered my face.
8I have become a stranger to my brothers,
an alien to my mother’s sons.
9For zeal for your house has consumed me,
and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.
10When I wept and humbled my soul with fasting,
it became my reproach.
11When I made sackcloth my clothing,
I became a byword to them.
12I am the talk of those who sit in the gate,
and the drunkards make songs about me.
13But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD.
At an acceptable time, O God,
in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.
from sinking in the mire;
let me be delivered from my enemies
and from the deep waters.
15Let not the flood sweep over me,
or the deep swallow me up,
or the pit close its mouth over me.
16Answer me, O LORD, for your steadfast love is good;
according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.
17 Hide not your face from your servant;
for I am in distress; make haste to answer me.
18Draw near to my soul, redeem me;
ransom me because of my enemies!
19You know my reproach,
and my shame and my dishonor;
my foes are all known to you.
20 Reproaches have broken my heart,
so that I am in despair.
I looked for pity, but there was none,
and for comforters, but I found none.
21They gave me poison for food,
and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink.
22 Let their own table before them become a snare;
and when they are at peace, let it become a trap.
23 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they cannot see,
and make their loins tremble continually.
24Pour out your indignation upon them,
and let your burning anger overtake them.
25 May their camp be a desolation;
let no one dwell in their tents.
26For they persecute him whom you have struck down,
and they recount the pain of those you have wounded.
27 Add to them punishment upon punishment;
may they have no acquittal from you.
28Let them be blotted out of the book of the living;
let them not be enrolled among the righteous.
29But I am afflicted and in pain;
let your salvation, O God, set me on high!
30I will praise the name of God with a song;
I will magnify him with thanksgiving.
31This will please the LORD more than an ox
or a bull with horns and hoofs.
32When the humble see it they will be glad;
you who seek God, let your hearts revive.
33For the LORD hears the needy
and does not despise his own people who are prisoners.
the seas and everything that moves in them.
35For God will save Zion
and build up the cities of Judah,
and people shall dwell there and possess it;
36 the offspring of his servants shall inherit it,
and those who love his name shall dwell in it.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.28Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.
The apostle Paul describes the process of growth - struggling with all of his might. But before we conclude that perfection is based upon will power we have to finish the verse; this energy is not Paul's, but it comes from God.
When we focus on the Lord, HE gives us the strength to wrestle with the obstacles in our soul. It is in this divine paradox that spiritual growth occurs.
David Whitehead, Pastor, Grace NYC