God Is Always the Same

Psalm 102:27 “But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end.

When you read about God in the Bible, You are reading about the same God today.  God does not change.  He is who He is.  He was the same before He created all thing, as He is now.  He will be the same for eternity.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Some people thing the God of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New Testament.  That is not true.  He is the same in both, He did not change.  In both, He hates sin and loves people.  He offers grace to the sinners and forgiveness to those who call upon Him.  His character is the same in both.

Which is important, because it shows we can trust who God is.  If God changed on a whim, how could we trust Him.  How would we know what kind of mood He is in?  We do not have to worry about that with God.  He is consistent.  He is faithful to who He is.

Thank you Lord, for being who You are.  Thank you for being consistent day in and day out.  Than you for never changing.  You are God and You are the same yesterday, today, and forever!  You are faithful to who You are and because of that, I worship You.  There is no one like You.  Thank you for being You.  Amen.

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Hear my prayer

Psalm 102:1,17
1 Hear my prayer, O LORD! And let my cry for help come to You. … 17 He has regarded the prayer of the destitute And has not despised their prayer.

As this Psalm begins, the Psalmist is crying out to God to hear his prayer.  He feels that God is far off, during this hard time he is going through.  He was really struggling with something.  Things were not good and worst of all it seemed like God was not answering him.  Have you been there?  Have you had times where nothing seemed to go right and God seemed distant and not willing to help?  I think we have all had times to some degree where we experienced something like this.

The first eleven verses we hear how bad it is for the Psalmist.  His body is wasting away.  He has nothing to eat and tears are mixing in with his drink.  But then something changes in between verse 11 and verse 12.  Starting with verse 12, he starts remembering who God is and he starts worshiping God.  He is filled with hope, because of God’s goodness and promises He has made.  By the time we get to verse 17, the Psalmist says that God has heard his prayer and not despised it.

It is amazing how are perspective can change when we take our eyes off of ourselves and put them on God.  We stop saying ‘woe is me’ and starting saying ‘wow God’.  We have no hope in ourselves, our hope comes from God.  God is there for us, even when we do not think He is close.  In those dark times, He is as close as He always is.  Do not lose heart.  Do not stop trusting Him.  Keep on obeying Him.  Keep on worshiping Him.  Keep on trusting Him.  Keep on praying to Him.  For He hears our prayers.

Dear God, I thank you that You hear our prayers.  I thank you that You never leave us nor forsake us.  I thank you that You are close, even during the times You seem far away.  Help me to keep trusting in You.  Help me to keep seeking You.  I life up those who are struggling right now.  Be with them Oh God.  Help them to know who You are and that You love them and will not leave them.  Amen.

Worthless

Psalm 101:3-4
3 I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not fasten its grip on me. 4 A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will know no evil

As Christians, we are supposed to get rid of the garbage in our lives.  These things give us no benefit in our walk with Jesus.  They only bring us down and pull us away from God.  We need to shed them or they will hinder us.  They cause our hearts to be perverse and filled with sinful ways.

In the classic book, Pilgrim’s Progress, the character Christian goes on a long journey, carrying a heavy burden, which hinders him as he goes.  When he finally arrives at the cross, the burden falls off and he is free from it.  The garbage we have in our lives as Christians is like picking that burden back up and needlessly carrying it once again.  Jesus died to remove this burden from us, that we can be free from sin.  We must not tie ourselves to our once we are free.  Doing so is dumb and very hurtful in our walk.  In Proverbs, this is compared to dog returning to its vomit.  Do not return to your vomit!

Dear God, I thank you for sending Your Son, Jesus, to die for my sin.  I thank you for freeing me from it.  Help me not to be dumb and return to it.  Help me to live in victory and not defeat.  You have won the victory!  Amen.

Know Your Place

Psalm 100:3 Know that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture

It is important to know your place, to know your role.  We need to know who we are and where we stand.  God is our maker, we are His creation.  He is God and you and I are not.  He gets to make the rules.  He decides what is right and what is wrong.  We do not.  If God, the Maker of all things, says something is wrong, then it is wrong.  We do not have a right to overrule Him.

Way too many people today, including many in the church, think that we know better than God.  That we are a better judge than Him as to what is right and what is wrong.  God does not change His mind, nor does He make mistakes.  He is God, we are not.

Our place is as sheep.  We belong to Him and need to listen to Him.  A good shepherd, which He is, will lead His sheep away from danger.  Listening to God will keep us on the right path.  Bad things might come, but we are safe when close to Him.

God, help me to know my place.  You are God and I am not.  You get to set the rules, I get to obey Your rules.  You know more than I do.  Thank you for being a good Shepherd.  You watch over Your sheep and protect us.  Amen.

Exalt the Lord

Psalm 99:5 Exalt the LORD our God And worship at His footstool; Holy is He

Praise the Lord and worship His Holy Name!  That is one of the main reasons we were made.  We were made to worship our creator.  Sadly. a lot of the time we pervert that and worship something else.  Only God is Holy and only He is worthy of our worship.   To worship anything else is a sin.

We are here to tell others about how great God is, so that they might worship Him as well.  We are supposed to be salt and light, so that people see their need of God.  God gives us living water, that we might live.  God lights up the darkness, so that we can see our way through a dark, evil world.  God provides for all of our needs.  He is worthy of our worship.  He is worthy of our praise.  Proclaim His goodness to others.

Lord, I worship You.  For You alone are worthy of my worship and praise.  Help me to only give them to You.  No one else compares to Your greatness.  No else is the creator of all things.  No one else died for my sins, that I might be saved from the punishment I deserve.  It is You and You alone.  And I worship You!  Amen.

God’s Plan of Salvation

Psalm 98:2 The LORD has made known His salvation; He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations.

God knew all along that Adam and Eve would sin against Him.  He knew that mankind would sin and rebel.  Even before all this took place, He had a plan for the salvation of humans.  He knew that He would send His one and only Son, as a man, to die once and for all to pay the penalty for our sin.  He knew this would happen even before creation happened.

The fulfillment of His plan happened in the public.  It was not done in secret.  Jesus was publicly executed for all to see.  He was put high on a cross, way up on top of a hill, outside of a major city.  Jesus died for our sins right out in front of everyone.  God was not hiding it.  He wants people to know that they can be saved from their sin.  After Jesus rose from the dead, He charged His disciples to go all over the world and tell people about the offer of salvation.  He wants His plan of salvation to be known.  He wants you and me to open our mouths and proclaim the good news of it.  His desire is for all to believe in Jesus and be saved.  Sadly many reject Him and choose eternal damnation to Hell.  We need to tell others.  It is matter of life and death!

Dear God, thank you for Your plan of salvation.  Thank you for not leaving us without hope.  Thank you for sending Jesus, You son to die for my sins.  I am a sinner who needs Your salvation.  Thank you for saving me and forgiving me.  You are my only hope.  Amen.

Hate Evil

Psalm 97:10 Hate evil, you who love the LORD, Who preserves the souls of His godly ones; He delivers them from the hand of the wicked.

Do you hate what is evil?  The easy answer is of course, but do we really detest evil.  We as a nation, turn a blind eye to evil things in the name of tolerance.  We slowly accept things and watch things that God would say was evil.  I know I am guilty of it.  As we accept and tolerate more things we slowly slide down the slippery rock.

Why do we tolerate evil?  I think it is because we do not want people to think we are mean and hateful.  Look at what is on TV.  Slowly any type of standards have slipped.  Swearing is a norm.  As is sexual relationships between unmarried people.  Most of watch shows with things like this.  We of course disapprove, but we keep watching.  Why?  Because we want the world to like us.  We need to worry more about what God thinks of us, than the world.  God hates sin and so should we.  The sin, but not the sinner.  It is time to apply God’s standards to things, not the worlds.

Dear God, help me to hate evil, the things which are detestable to You.  Help me to repent and turn from them in my own life.  Help me to get my log out, so I can see the speck in somebody else’s.  Thank you for Your grace, which give me.  Thanks for having patience with me.  Amen.

One True God

Psalm 96:4-5
4 For great is the LORD and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. 5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the LORD made the heavens

There is only one true God, who created all things.  Everything else we worship beside Him, is something that has been created.  Only God was never created.  Everything else has been created by Him.  This seems to be a such a simple concept, but yet our sin nature, at times, gets caught up worshiping created things over the one true God.

Most people today do not have a carved item they call their god, like they did in Biblical times.  We tend to worship people.  We have whole TV networks and shows, magazine, and websites dedicated to telling us what is going on in celebrity lives.  We know who they are dating and what they like to eat.  We want to learn all about their lives so we can emulate them.  Kind of sounds like an idol to me.  It is what we are supposed to do with God, be consumed by Him and try and emulate Him.

Yesterday was earth day.  It is a day people set aside to talk about how great the earth is.  There is nothing wrong with love God’s creation.  However most people who celebrate earth day, do not recognize the creator of the earth.  They talk about “Mother Nature”, but not the one true God.  He created the heavens and the earth.  We need to worship the creator over the created things.

Romans 1:25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

Let us be careful to worship the one true God and not the things He has made.  For He alone is God and He alone is worthy of worship!

Dear Lord, I thank you for Your beautiful creation.  You created all things and made them beautiful.  Help me to worship You and You alone.  For only You are worthy.  How foolish it would be to worship Your creation over You who made it.  Yet sadly we do at times.  Forgive me of that, Oh God.  Amen.

Knowing Who God is

Psalm 95:6-7
6 Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. 7 For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.

It is important to know who God is.  For when we know who He is, we are able to better worship Him and surrender our lives to Him.  First the Psalmist says that God is our maker.  If God truly is our maker then that means He can set the rules for us to live by.  If you made up a game, you create the rules for that game.  God created us, so He has the right to tell us the right way to do life.  David took this fact farther.  He said that God knew him, before He knitted David together in his mother’s womb.   God made us each personally.  We are all His delicate creation.  This makes us special.  That One who made all things, made you and me individually and unique from everyone else.  You were made for a reason.  God has a plan for our lives.

This brings us to the second characteristic of God, which Psalmist listed.  God is our Shepherd.  After He makes us, He does not leave us to be alone.  He provides lush green pastures for us lie down and eat in.  He takes care of us.  Instead, He is always there watching out for us and rescuing us from evil.  A good shepherd puts their lives on the line for their sheep.  God’s Son did this, for dying for His sheep.  Jesus saw us in danger, so He came and rescued us by laying down His life for us.  We do not deserve this.  For we wandered away from our Shepherd and got ourselves caught up with an enemy.  Jesus saw this and came took our place, died for our evil deeds.  He said in the Gospel of John, that He is the Good Shepherd and nobody steels sheep from His hand.

Take time today to think about these two characteristics of God and other ones.  It is important to let God reveal Himself to us, instead of us coming up with our own view of God.  When we do this, we limit God and we should never do that.  Remember, God is bigger than anything we could ever imagine!

Dear God, I thank you that You are my maker.  That You have created me for a purpose.  That You do not create us and leave us alone, but instead You are our Shepherd.  You watch over and meet our needs.  I worship You for being these and more.  Help me not to limit You, instead help to let You be God and define Yourself.  Help me to be a good sheep today.  Amen.

Count the cost

Luke 14:33 “So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.

I just finished watching the movie, “God’s Not Dead 2“.  First the commercials.  If you have not seen it, watch it.  It is really good and really makes you think.  There is a lot of good apologetics in it.  It features testimony by Lee Strobel  and J. Warner Wallace, both of whom set out as unbelievers intending to disprove Christianity and both came to faith after studying up on it.  Both wrote some really good apologetic books.  If you have not seen it, Pure Flix has it, and you can get a free trial with them.  My wife and I have really enjoyed watching movies on there.  Enough of the commercials…

Jesus tells us in Luke 14 that there is a cost to follow Him.  If you want to be His disciple, we must give up everything else for Him.  He told of parable about somebody finding a pearl in a field.  Upon finding it, He sold all he had to obtain it.  We must give up everything to follow Him.  Not only is that hard to do, it is hard to write.  I know I have not given up everything for Him.  There are certain things I hold on to.  I need to let go of those things to fully follow Him.  We must count up the cost of following Him.  His disciples did, when they left everything to follow Him.  Does that mean we need to sell everything and leave home?  Of course it does not.  Jesus does not care about our possessions that we own, but what possess our hearts.  That is what He is calling us to give up.  Anything in our hearts that we hold back from Him.  He wants our hearts fully.  We must lay down those things at the cross and trust Jesus to take care of them.

I am really feeling convicted right now, for I know I have things in my life that need to be let go of.  I am sure if you are honest, you would admit the same.  Jesus calls us to live radical lives, lives that will offend this world.  This world is opposed to Him and when we live fully for Him, it will be opposed to us as well.  They do not like Jesus, so we must be aware, for Jesus forewarned us,  they will not like us either.  They do not accept Jesus and they will not accept us fully living for Him.  Discipleship has a steep cost.  I think we all to often miss that.  And by missing that, we fail to grow deep in our walk with Him.  We tend to live right below the surface, instead of digging down deep.  While the cost of discipleship is high, the reward is even greater.  The costs in this life is worth it for eternity.

It is time for us all to start growing deeper.  It is time to lay aside all that possess our hearts and give our hearts to Jesus to fully follow Him.  This movie really inspired me to write this and to think about this.  It is time for us to get serious about following Jesus, the cost is well worth it!