Psalm 118:19-29 As I looked through my mother's things after her death, I found a beautiful writing she clipped from a church paper. I do not know who wrote it, but I made copies of it and passed it out at Mother's memorial service. The title of it is "The Gift of a Day." I have included it at the end of today's devotional. It expresses what this psalm says: "This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it" (v. 24). The following poem is included in the reading:
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1 Samuel 29:1-31:13 It looked as if David had lost everything, His city had been burned, His wives were missing, and all those who followed him turned against him and were ready to stone him. He was in great distress, but he made a choice. He made the choice to encourage himself in the Lord instead of giving up. I've often wondered how he encouraged himself in the Lord. When I meditated on this, I received a mental picture of exactly what David did that day when all seemed to be lost.
Proverbs 15:22-23 I pray almost every morning, "Lord, put me in the right place at the right time." As I read this proverb, I now want to add to that prayer, "Lord, help me to speak the right thing at the right time." There is a time to speak and a time to keep silent.
Psalm 116:1-19 Psalm 116:15 is used in many funeral services, and the message conveyed is that God is blessed by the death of His saints. What a wrong interpretation of this scripture! Death is an enemy of God and has been since the Fall. God is the God of life, and death is the result of sin. God desired for us to live with Him in fellowship with Him forever when Adam and Eve were created. In His foreknowledge, however, He knew we would choose death over life. This is why Jesus had to come and die and be resurrected so that death would no longer be the conqueror. Jesus tells us in John 10:10 who is the author of death and who is the author of life. "The thief [Satan] does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."
Psalm 115:1-18 When we spent three weeks in India in 1980, we agreed with our pastor and his wife that we would not visit any of the Hindu temples. We did not want to expose ourselves to the spirits that dwelled in these temples. We knew that even though man had made the idols in these temples, demonic spirits were all around them.
Psalm 113:1-114:8 It was Monday morning, May 17, 1999, when I received a call from the nursing home where mother resided for four years after her severe stroke. I was told she had passed away early that morning. It was my joy to visit mother at least four times a week and spend time with her.
John 8:31-59 I was speaking at a ladies' retreat, and a woman came to me after the meeting to ask my counsel about some things in her life. I asked her if she had looked into God's Word for her answers. She replied, "Oh, I've already read the Bible through years ago." This lady did not have the concept that the Word of God is our daily spiritual bread. When we pray "Give us this day our daily bread," we are not just praying for physical bread. We are also praying for the Father to give us fresh spiritual bread or manna, a fresh word from Him that will sustain us throughout the day.
John 8:21-30 Jesus said to the Jews, "I do always those things that please Him." Jesus had just shared that He only spoke those things that the Father taught Him. Jesus' life on earth was spent pleasing the Father. He was not sent to earth to please Himself or even others. He came to speak the Word the Father spoke to Him and to do the works He saw the Father do. Jesus' life on earth reveals how we are to walk daily.
1 Samuel 15:1-16:23 Prejudice is simply prejudging a person before we even get to know that person. We often make up our minds that we are not going to like a person simply because of his outward appearance. God warned Samuel when he went to anoint a new king of Israel not to look at the outer appearance of the man. He instructed Samuel to anoint one of the sons of Jesse. As each of Jesse's sons passed by, Samuel knew the Lord had not chosen any of those seven sons. He asked Jesse if all the sons were present, and Jesse told him that the youngest was tending the sheep. His name was David. When David appeared on the scene, he was very good looking and had a beautiful countenance. God, however, did not choose David because of his outward appearance. He chose him because He knew David's heart. David had a heart after God.
Proverbs 15:5-7 Is your house filled with treasures? I remember visiting a home in New Jersey and our host showing us all the treasures he had collected from his travels all over the world. There were paintings, statues and every kind of bric-a-brac, each representing a country he visited. I thought to myself, This man's life is wrapped up in his treasures and travels.
Proverbs 15:4 You have heard the phrase, "Divide and conquer." When there is division of any kind that disturbs unity, we are much more vulnerable to the enemy. The enemy does not have to use mighty weapons against us in order to divide us. Instead, he uses the mightiest member of our body, our own tongue, to divide and conquer. Death and life are in the power of the tongue. James tells us the tongue is like the rudder on a ship and the bit in a horse's mouth; this tiny member of our body has the power to control our whole body.
Psalm 107:1-43 A grateful heart is one of the keys to a joyful life. If we look carefully at the moments of our day, we will always see things worthy of our praise. This psalm lists many reasons to praise the Lord. If we do not see His hand in the moments of our lives, then we can praise Him for His very character and His works. Praise comes before worship, and one of the roots of this word is "worth." God's character and works are always worthy of praise. Praise is the first step we have to take when we enter His presence. Let's look the steps the priests had to take to enter the holy of holies in the tabernacle.
John 6:22-46 I'll never forget hosting a Russian Jewish lady on her birthday. The table was set with the finest china, and fresh flowers provided the centerpiece for the table. All the food was presented well, and I felt everything was near perfect. The moment I sat down at the table after much diligent preparation in the kitchen, the guest of honor said in her heavy Russian accent, "I need some bread. Where is the bread?" She sincerely felt she could not even begin her meal unless bread was on the table. I later found out why she was desperate for bread. Her hands were arthritic, and she used bread to help push things on her fork. Often she would just forget to use the fork and raised her food to her mouth on pieces of bread.
Psalm 106:13-31 All mankind has three things in common. We all have three major lusts in our souls: the lust of the flesh (seeking to fulfill our five senses in an overindulgent way); the lust of the eye (greedy longings in the mind that can cause greed and covetousness; pornography is caused by this lust); and the pride of life, which is trusting our own resources and ourselves more than we trust in God. All of these lusts are located in our souls—our minds, wills and emotions. These three lusts are the buttons Satan is constantly pressing with his seducing spirits. James tells us that God never tempts us, but we are led astray by our own lusts. The devil cannot make us do anything. We first have to open the door to him through one or more of these lusts.
Proverbs 14:30-31 This proverb says that envy is rottenness to the bones. Envy is a sin that brings only evil consequences. Some sins are a pleasure for a season, but of course, sin always births death in our lives in some way. The Bible tells us that the person who commits adultery kills his own soul. It may be years before we reap what we have sown, but beware, our sins will find us out. If we do not confess our sins and turn from them, there will be eternal consequences also. We will not lose our salvation unless we commit the sin of denying our faith in Christ, but we will lose some rewards in heaven if we do not deal honestly and openly with our sins here on earth. When we confess our sins, God is faithful and just not only to forgive our sins, but also to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We can go to heaven with a clean slate if we have not hidden iniquity in our hearts by refusing to confess our sins and turn from them.
1 Samuel 1:1-2:21 It was not until this morning that I realized I have been singing often in my private worship time Hannah's song. When Hannah brought Samuel to the temple to lend him to the Lord as her thanks to God for the conception and delivery of this precious son, she prayed a powerful prayer that acknowledged the sovereignty and power of God: "There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God" (1 Sam. 2:2, KJV).
Proverbs 14:26-27 This proverb tells us that the fear of the Lord will give us strong confidence, and our children will have safety because they have a place of refuge. One of the major problems in America is that our children are not being taught to fear the Lord. I just recently taught an eight-week study on the fear of the Lord, and we learned that the fear of the Lord is not caught; it is taught. Parental instruction in the Word of God seems to be waning, and we are reaping the consequences. We see the shootings in the high schools in America, and recently there was even one in the first grade. We learn in this proverb that the fear of the Lord is a fountain of life and keeps us from the snare of death.
John 4:5-42 Immediately after Jesus told the woman of Samaria that she had five husbands and that the man she now had was not her husband, she changed the subject. She saw that this Man knew well her history, but she was not willing to go into it with Him. She proceeded to ask Him a theological question. How like human nature. When someone is getting too close to the truth in our own lives—our own sin and shortcomings—we want to change the subject. The woman asked Jesus where He believed was the correct place of worship. The answer Jesus gave is revealing. "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him" (vv. 21-23).
Proverbs 14:22-24 In a previous devotional we talked about the saying "Loose lips sink ships," which was a by-word in World War II. Those who were working in the war effort were cautioned to be extremely careful about what they shared with others. They didn't want any information to leak out to the enemy. We also have an enemy, and he uses our very own words as ammunition against us. We forget that the devil cannot read our minds, but he can give us thoughts and can hear what we say. A lot of the time we do his dirty work for him just by being careless in our words.
Psalm 104:1-24 This psalm is so beautiful in its description of the majesty of God. This would be a great psalm to read when you are at a low point in your life. As I read about the creative power and manifold works of our God, confidence welled up within me, and I knew without a doubt that God could handle my every problem.
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