Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24 NKJV
God is perfect in every way. He knows the past present and future. He sees into our hearts. He knows us better than we know ourselves.
It is very easy for us to be deceived by our feelings and emotions. “We are all a walking contradiction, partly fact and partly fiction.”
Writing these devotions is a blessing. It helps me focus my heart and mind on Jesus. I still struggle as all people do. My struggles often take place in my mind. My thoughts stir up my emotions. The Word of God tells us that a man is what he thinks in his heart.
God is teaching me to live by faith and not by sight. I am learning not to allow myself to be ruled by feelings and emotions. I am learning to take control of my thought life.
It is difficult to make decisions based on faith in God and not by what we, see, hear and touch. It is difficult to make decisions based on the Word of God and not how we feel.
A man I hardly know was asked, “who is the person you admire the most and why”. He said my name. He said he admired me for my faithfulness to my wife and family. He said he admired me for my faithfulness to my country and God. I was stunned!
I would never describe myself as faithful. I have failed so many times in so many areas of my life. I’ve inflicted heartache and pain on the people I love.
God used my friend to encourage me to continue my journey of faith in Jesus. The Lord reminded me to live according to His good and perfect will regardless of how I feel.
God commands us to be holy just as He is holy. He commands us to be perfect just as He is perfect.
Holiness and perfection cannot be accomplished in our own strength and wisdom. We cannot pull ourselves up by our bootstraps to reach the righteous standards of a holy God.
We can ask God to search our hearts. We can ask Him to try us. We can ask Him if there is any wickedness in us. We can ask Jesus to lead us and guide us into His perfect will.
Trust Jesus to reveal what is in your heart. Trust Him to give you what you need to live according to His good and perfect plan for your life today!
I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made, Marvelous are your works, And that my soul knows very well. Psalm 139:14 NKJV
Somebody wrote these words. They were not spit out of a computer. They did not fall from the sky. The psalmist never claimed he was visited by an Angel who told him where to find the book of Psalms. These words are found in God’s revelation to mankind!
This is the word of God. The psalmist wrote these words under inspiration of The Holy Spirit. How did that happen?
God is not offended when we ask questions. He is not afraid we will discover hidden truth He is keeping from us.
The psalmist was able to write such beautiful words of praise, prayer and thanksgiving because of the depth of emotion welled up within him.
I will praise you, (my God), for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
No scientist or super computer can duplicate the functions of our bodies? The level of complexity is staggering. You are one of billions of people who have ever lived. We are all the same. Yet each of us is unique and special. No one who ever lived is exactly like you. And yet we are all made in the image and likeness of Almighty God!
Marvelous are your works.
Almighty God did an awesome thing when He created you. The psalmist knew he was created in the image of God to be loved by the Lord. He knew the master artisan did not create him by random chance or accident. God created him for a divine purpose. God created Him as part of His perfect plan for His beloved!
And that my soul knows very well.
The psalmist was so overcome and undone by God’s love He needed an outlet to express it. Perhaps God spoke to him. Maybe it was not in an audible way. Maybe God spoke to him in that still small voice that leaves us wondering if the Lord really speak to us.
God is speaking to you today. He is saying, “My precious child I love you. I have loved you from the beginning. I will always love you. I will be with you even until the end of time!”
God’s greatest desire is for you to know how much He loves you. Jesus looks forward to the day when you will love Him as much as He loves you!
The work of God’s hands truly is marvelous. You are His greatest masterpiece!
I will praise You with my whole heart; Before the gods I will sing praises to you. I will worship toward Your holy temple, And praise Your name for Your loving-kindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word above all Your name. In the day when I cried out, You answered me, And made me bold with strength in my soul. Psalm 138 NKJV
David praised God for the truth of His word and His goodness to the faithful.
David was fully committed to the Lord. He held nothing back. David praised God with his whole heart because his heart belonged to the Lord.
The nations surrounding Israel worshiped many gods and idols. They filled their temples with statues of wood and stone. David payed no attention to them. Though he prayed toward the temple in Jerusalem he knew the Spirit of God hovers over all of creation.
David praised God for His loving-kindness. He acknowledged the One True God as the source of truth. David cried out to the Lord all his life. The answers He received filled his heart with boldness and his soul with the strength to serve Almighty God!
Commit yourself fully to Jesus. Do not hold anything back. Don’t wait for a sign God is calling you. Don’t wait until you feel worthy. Praise God with your whole heart because you belong to the Lord.
God is not calling you because you are wise and strong. Jesus is calling you to serve Him because He is worthy. Jesus will give you the strength and wisdom to answer His call.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me. The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands. Vs 7-8
Trouble followed David everywhere he went. David did not have to stretch out his hand against his enemies. David trusted their fate to the Lord. God loved David. The Lord intervened on David’s behalf. God’s mercy endures forever!
Sometimes we feel like we are on top of the world. Other times it feels like we are traveling through a tunnel of darkness with no end in sight. God loves us. His mercy endures forever!
Do not stretch out your hand against people who oppose you. Trust their fate to Jesus. God intervenes on behalf of people who love Him today!
Praise God for His loving-kindness. Praise Him for the truth of His word. Cry out to Jesus when you are weak weary and fearful. He will answer with the strength to make you bold and the wisdom to strengthen your soul!
We are not called to serve Jesus in our strength and wisdom. We serve Jesus because He is our source of strength and wisdom!
By the rivers of Babylon, There we sat down, yea, we wept when we remembered Zion. We hung our harps upon the willows in the midst of it. For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song, And those who plundered us requested mirth, Saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion”! Psalm 137 NKJV
Israel longs for the city of God and remains steadfast in captivity.
God delivered Israel from bondage. He exposed the uselessness of the false gods worshiped by the Egyptians. God’s people plundered them. They began the journey to a new home. The Lord could not take His people directly into the Land of Promise!
Israel grumbled and complained against God. They looked back to bondage in the land of sin instead of looking forward to the land flowing with milk and honey. They turned back to useless idols when God tested them with His eye lids!
Israel is taken into captivity again!
Israel wept for the land flowing with God’s goodness and pleasure. They put away the instruments of rejoicing. They refused to sing. They set themselves apart from wicked people. Only the land where God dwelled with His people could satisfy their souls!
How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land? If I forget you, O Jerusalem, Let my right hand forget its skill! If I do not remember you, Let my tongue cling to my mouth- If I did not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy. Vs 4-6
Having tasted the goodness of God in the land of blessing Israel could find no peace in bondage. The passing pleasures of sin could not replace the joy in Jerusalem. The false gods of the Babylonians provided no comfort or hope to God’s people.
For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of My God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. Ps 84:10
The presence of God satisfies our souls in a way nothing else can!
There is no peace in the passing pleasures of sin. The false gods and idols of our day provide no comfort to those who have tasted the goodness of God. Nothing can replace the joy we find in Jesus!
God is calling us to remain steadfast in a world that has been taken captive. There is no joy in sin. There is no hope in idols. The joy of the Lord is our hope!
If you have been carried off into captivity by sin flee from it. You can return to God’s blessing and protection today!
Fill your heart and mind with God’s promises. Jesus will take you to a new home in eternity. It will flow with much more than just milk and honey. God’s presence will satisfy our souls forever!
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Oh, give thanks to the God of gods! For His mercy endures forever. Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords! For His mercy endures forever. Psalm 136 NKJV
The Children of Israel were born into bondage in the land of sin. God rescued them. He revealed Himself to them as a merciful kind and longsuffering God. He wanted them to remember what He delivered them from and why He did it.
God wanted Israel to be thankful and praise Him for particular acts of mercy. That is what this Psalm is about!
I do not talk about my childhood much. We were left to ourselves a lot. We grew up without supervision. I felt abandoned and unloved. I lived without morals during my teenage years. I never thought of myself as a bad person. I did do a lot of bad things.
I suffered because of my circumstances and choices. I caused a lot of pain to other people. I have much to be thankful for today. God’s hand was upon me. The Lord was longsuffering and patient with me. Jesus kept my life from turning out worse!
Many of the people I grew up with lived short lives. Some became heroin addicts. Others spent years going in and out of prison. I remember specific times when the Lord rescued me. God intervened in 1978 when I planned to use heroin. Jesus stopped me.
Shortly before I met Jesus I committed a gun crime. The mandated sentence for that crime was a five year prison sentence. God intervened. Fifteen years later Jesus sent me into a prison to help men break free from bondage to sin!
Israel suffered persecution and discrimination throughout history. Even today they are surrounded by enemies seeking their destruction. God promised to bless them. He is going to use their circumstances to draw them to Him. God’s love and mercy towards Israel endures forever!
I am thankful for the trials and hardships I have experienced. I am thankful for the years I wandered through the valley of sin. Jesus used those trials and hardships to draw me to Him. God’s love and mercy towards me endures forever!
Oh, give thanks to the God of heaven! For His mercy endures forever. Vs 26
You may be enduring trial and hardship today. Maybe you spent a season wandering through the desert of sin. Perhaps you have felt abandoned and unloved at times. Praise Jesus for everything. God’s love and mercy towards you endures forever!
The seasons of life change. If you are in the valley of Baca today praise God. His mercy endures forever. If you are strolling along the mountain top of blessing today praise God. His mercy endures forever!
Jesus never changes. His love and mercy will endure forever!
Praise the Lord! Praise the name of the Lord; Praise Him, O you servants of the Lord! You who stand in the house of the Lord, In the courts of the house of our God, Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; Sing praises to His name, for it is pleasant. For the Lord has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel for His special possession. Psalm 135 NKJV
This Psalm is an exhortation to praise God for His mercy, power and judgments.
Going through the book of Psalms we see patterns. The most obvious is the number of times God repeats Himself. Why does God repeat Himself so often in the scriptures?
God repeats Himself to validate His Word. Only God can validate scripture. That is why we use scripture to verify scripture. God repeats Himself because we need to be reminded. We are easily distracted by the cares of the world the hardships of life and our sinful nature.
Your name, O Lord, endures forever, Your fame, O Lord, throughout all generations. For the Lord will judge His people, And He will have compassion on His servants. Vs 13-14
From before time began until today one thing has not changed. God’s character and attributes are as they have always been. He will never change. He was known by Adam and Eve. God will be known throughout all generations until He stills the passage of time!
Almighty God will judge us at a time of His choosing. He will judge us for our thoughts and deeds. He will hold us accountable for how we lived. Our sin will be before Jesus and we will all be guilty!
Our Heavenly Father will not see sin when He looks at His children. He will see the righteousness of Jesus Christ!
The servants of the Lord will stand before Him in gleaming robes of righteousness. The Lord will give us new names, new bodies and new assignments. We will praise Jesus with clean hands and pure hearts as the centuries pass by like hours!
The idols of the nations are silver and gold, The work of men’s hands. Vs 15
Do not waste your time seeking after the wind and worthless idols. The time is short!
Blessed be the Lord out of Zion, Who dwells in Jerusalem! Praise the Lord Vs 21
Prepare yourself for eternity. Praise the God who dwells wherever He chooses. Praise Him for His mercy, power and judgments. Praise Jesus for choosing to dwell in you!
Are you a servant of Jesus? Do you fear and reverence His unequaled power? Do you marvel at His majesty and glory? Do you bask in the light of Jesus’ love? If so bless Him as only your love and worship can. Do it today before the sun goes down!
Behold, bless the Lord, All you servants of the Lord, Who by night stand in the house of the Lord! Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, And bless the Lord. The Lord who made heaven and earth bless you from Zion! Psalm 134 NKJV
The psalmist was exhorting his people to bless God. This is also a closing blessing to the pilgrim Psalms.
Are you a servant of the Lord? What makes you His servant? Is it living a sinless life? Is it giving away everything you own to the poor? Is it living off the grid and turning your back on the world system?
God created Adam and Eve in His image and likeness. He created them to have dominion over the earth. God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.”
God created the first man and woman to live in a special relationship wherein they would represent Him on the earth. They were to reign with Him over the creatures God created to live upon the earth.
Adam and Eve failed to live up to their calling. They disobeyed God. They surrendered the authority to represent Him. Satan became the god of this world. Sin and death are his offspring!
Satan loses authority over us when we surrender our hearts and lives to Jesus. We are no longer children of the devil. Sin and death do not reign over us. We become servants of Almighty God!
You can bless the Lord if you are His servant. You can stand before Him at all hours of the day and night just as if you had never sinned!
The place where you have set your feet is holy ground. It is holy because the temple of Jesus Christ has been set up in your heart. Lift-up your hands to the Lord in the sanctuary of your soul. Bless the Jesus today!
Jesus is pronouncing a blessing on you today. He is sending you out to represent Him everywhere you go. Jesus wants you to be fruitful by sharing the Word of God with people so His servants can multiply on the earth!
It may appear as if evil is gaining the upper hand. It is not. God is in control. Evil will prosper for a season. It will be a short one. Jesus is going to subdue and ultimately eliminate all evil. His Kingdom will cover every corner of creation. His servants will reign with Him!
You do not have to be a spiritual superstar to serve Jesus. You have the freedom to serve Him today. Let the light of God’s love shine through the darkness in your corner of the world. Bless the Lord who made heaven and earth today and every day!
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, Descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the Lord commanded the blessing-Life forevermore. Psalm 133 NKJV
The unity of God’s people brings His blessing!
Jesus said; “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another, By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
God created us to represent Him. We cannot do that if people don’t believe we are His disciples. The world will recognize us as Jesus’ disciples if they see our love for each other. God calls us to share His love with people who do not know Him. They will not believe we love them if we can’t love each other!
Where two or more of His disciples gather together the Spirit of God is present!
When the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all together in one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit. They were empowered to spread the gospel. They turned the world upside down with the revelation of Jesus Christ!
Jesus told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the promised Holy Spirit. They waited in faith. But they did not wait alone. They waited together in unity and agreement.
God’s anointing flows when we gather together in the unity of faith in Jesus Christ!
I pray for an anointing to flow through me to my wife and children like the oil flowing down Aaron’s beard. We should all have that desire!
We do not have to agree on everything to gather together in unity. We must lift-up the Name of Jesus together. We must love each other in practical ways. We must put our love for Jesus above love for self!
If we love each other the world will take notice. If we gather together in unity to serve Jesus He will empower us with His spirit. If we go forth in the power of God He will turn lives right side up with the revelation of Jesus Christ!
Gather together with God’s people in unity. The Lord will command a blessing and the oil of gladness will flow through the Body of Christ!
Lord, remember David and all his afflictions; How he swore to the Lord, And vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob: “Surely I will not go into the chamber of my house, Or go up to the comfort of my bed; I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, Until I find a place for the Lord, A dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.” Psalm 132 NKJV
David prayed when the Ark of the Covenant was brought back to Jerusalem. He began by asking God to remember his trials and hardships. Then he reminded the Lord of his vow not to rest until a dwelling place was built for Almighty God.
God asked David; “Would you build a house for Me to dwell in? I took you from the sheepfold, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people, over Israel. And I have been with you wherever you have gone, and have cut off all your enemies from before you, and have made you a great name, like the name of the great men on the earth.”
“When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your father, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He will build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.”
David’s greatest desire was to serve the Lord. God blessed him for his faithful heart. David would not build a house for the Lord. But from his seed Almighty God would bring forth a Savior to usher His people into an eternal dwelling not built by human hands.
David had a unique role to play in the establishment of God’s Kingdom upon the earth.
The Lord has a unique role for you to play in His Kingdom today!
The Lord took me away from a sinful shameful life. He did not bring me back into His grace and mercy to rule. He brought me back to serve.
I do not know what God delivered you from. I do know He brought you back to serve Jesus!
God has been with me through trials troubles and tribulations. The Lord delivered me from sin violence and depression. He will be with you wherever you go if you trust Jesus with your life.
God is not promising to give us a great name among the rich and mighty like He did for David. He will give us the privilege of lifting up the great and mighty name of Jesus if we serve Him faithfully!
One day our time on the earth will come to an end. Our children will not be left to themselves. The faithful God who brought us out of the darkness into the light of His love will bless them if they serve Jesus faithfully.
Give Jesus a place where He can live today. Let the Lord set up His throne in your heart!
Lord my heart is not haughty, Nor my eyes lofty. Neither do I concern myself with great matters, Nor with things too profound for me. Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, Like a weaned child with his mother; Like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forever more. Psalm 131 NKJV
This is a Psalm of simple trust in God.
All the bible knowledge in the world is useless if it does not impact our lives and change our destiny. Offering up a prayer of profound words is useless if we do not believe God is listening.
We will not trust God with life altering events if we do not trust Him with the simplest details!
David professes humility, why? He knew God opposes the proud and give grace to the humble. He knew our actions follow our words and our words flow from our thoughts.
David purged his heart of pride by taking control of his thought life. He did not lift his eyes up to the clouds. He watched where he set his feet. When David looked up to the heights he coveted what did not belong to him. His feet followed his heart into sin.
The man with a heart after God’s never disputed with the Lord. He did not try to figure out things no man really knows. He trusted God with things too deep and mysterious to understand.
One of the great sins of our generation is disputing the Word of God!
Some people claim greater revelation and knowledge than God reveals in the bible. They want us to believe they know the great mysteries of the universe. Their hearts are filled with pride. They hate God because they can never gain the glory reserved for Jesus.
David fasted and mourned when his child was sick. When the child died David got up, ate, washed and went back to daily activities. David put one foot in front of the other in faith. He knew God would give him the strength to take the next step!
People with child like faith in God have more joy. They can enjoy life without trying to figure out and fix everything. They sleep better at night!
Living in practical unbelief steals our joy. Our minds are pre-occupied with things better left to the Lord. Our bodies do not get the rest we need. We are prone to illness!
David exhorted Israel to trust God from that day forth and forever. The Lord is calling us to trust Him today and every day!
Trust God in simple childlike ways. Set your heart to walk before Jesus in humility. Take control of your thoughts. Speak words of faith. Your actions will follow!
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