We Should Not Be Moved (Psalm 55:22)

Because The Lord promised to sustain you, there should not be any circumstance in life that should cause you to stumble, fall, or give up. The Lord’s presence and power is always there and available. However, how he wants to provide power and the steps he wants us to take in the midst of trials may not be what we expect or desire. If trials or troubles have tripped you up, then you must have been trying to stand on your own.

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. (Psalms 55:22)

Many times in trials, we pray for The Lord to remove our trial and we hang on until he does. But when he does not removed the trial or answer our prayer as expected, we fall. What we should have done was seek God’s face in fellowship. His fellowship will bring joy to our hearts and the joy of The Lord is our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)

I remember years ago when I was without a car and unable to cut my budget enough to save and buy one. Each morning, I left the house before dark and rode my son’s bike six miles to a co-worker’s house and then commuted with him for the remainder of the trip. The ride home required me to complete a ten mile trip. I really wanted God to remove the trial and provide for me a car. However, he had other plans.

The last part of my trip required a quarter mile trip up an extremely steep hill. For each peddle push that I made, I prayed, “God, please give me a car.” Little did I know, but God was more concerned about developing my prayer life than providing me convenience with a car. A car eventually came. It was a Volkswagen Rabbit diesel and it was given to me as a gift. With that The Lord received praise and glory from me and glory and honor before all my co-workers who saw my plight without a car and what The Lord had done.

In the end, I saw that it was best for the trial to come and for The Lord not to quickly deliver me from the trial. If trials come your way, it is alright to pray for deliverance, but what is better is to seek his face in fellowship.

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Goodness Of God (Psalm 52:1)

I remember as a boy in grade school, we had a reading lab for English class. It was a tier level curriculum that required you to read a story and then complete a quiz to assess comprehension. After taking the test, you would score your own material. After completing all the stories in one level, you advanced to the next.

At that time, I really struggled with read so I developed a plan. I would select my reading material and also remove the score key from the storage box. Then after reading the story, I would take the test, but all the while the score key, shaped like a book marker, was under the thigh of my leg. All seemed well and I was moving along through the curriculum at a good pace.

Then one day, the teacher handed me my material and stated that she had the score key at her desk and that I should contact her when I needed her to score it for me. Busted! I thought my plan was great and I was getting away with it. Boy was I ever wrong.

The Psalmist states that many times people think that they are getting away with their sin, but all the while, God knows all. We only are permitted to continue in our way without experiencing his judgment or chastening because of his goodness. We may think that we are getting away with sin, but in reality, we are getting away with nothing.

Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man? the goodness of God endureth continually. (Psalms 52:1)

God’s goodness is not only demonstrated towards us by his blessing, kind acts and help in times of need, but also when he delays in responding towards us and our sin. Both acts of God’s goodness are great and desirable, but we need the latter much more than we do the former.

Loving Kindness and Tender Mercy (Psalm 51:1)

Mercy occurs because of what is in God and is not brought on or motivated by the need of a helpless transgressor.

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. (Psalms 51:1)

God’s mercy or act of having pity towards man is based on his loving kindness and tender mercies. Loving kindness occurs when he displays favor towards someone. An example of this is found in the book of Esther. When the uninvited Queen Esther approached the King, the King showed loving kindness by putting forth the sceptre and receiving her. Similarly, this is God’s response to man. But even greater than loving kindness is tender mercy. Tender mercy comes from a word meaning the womb or the bowels. As the tender love of a mother towards the baby that she carries, so is God’s love towards us. In spite of us falling into sin, he yearns deeply inside for us. It is this deep yearning that causes him to exercise mercy towards us.

Many times when we wrong people, we try to perform actions that may turn their heart to forgive us. With God it is not necessary. By tender mercy he takes the first step and reaches out to man. It is his tender mercy that brings conviction, repentance and confession. If it were not for his loving kindness and tender mercy we would be without hope.

As you grow in grace, allow God to develop this loving kindness and tender mercy towards those around you. As long as you continue to focus on yourself and your own needs, you will never reach this state. However when you esteem others better than yourself and look on the needs of them as stated in Philippians 2:4, you will begin to grow into the image of Christ.

Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. (Philippians 2:4)

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Giving Support (Philippians 2:1)

Remember a great event in your life? Did you keep it a secret or did you run out and share it with somebody? Everything from trips to funny events move us to share them with friends, colleagues and family. Why do we do this? As personal beings, we attach ourselves to others and gain enjoyment, strength, compassion and understanding from those individuals. This is part of God’s design for man. God intends for people in relationships to provide strength and support for others in that relationship. The scriptures share abilities that friends can have towards others.

If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, (Philippians 2:1)

Consolation is much needed today. A great way to receive it is from another person. The word for compassion comes from two root words meaning “near” and “to call”. The action of calling a person near to you is so that they can gain needed strength from the support you offer.

Imagine a child falling down and scraping his knee. His mother calls him to herself and then embraces him in her arms. The pain sensors in his leg continue to work just as before, but the drawing near to his mother helps alleviate the pain. This type of aid is also true for emotional pain as well. I remember when my wife lost her father. She maintained her composure quite well until the graveside. After the trumpet played taps and a flag was presented to the family, she broke down. When she was unable to stand and emotionally distraught, I reached out to her and held her closely. The drawing near and providing support brought the strength that she needed.

This is what is needed in the church today. There are many people who are hurting and falling. Instead of reaching out to these individuals and attempting to draw near to them, the church watches them falter. It seems that the only people getting support are those who are the active members of the church. What is sad is that those who do not have a fellowship bond with others in the church are left to stand on their own. It is no wonder that people fall away from God. Their falling may be due in part to them not having the intended support from others that God had planned.

Supporting people who struggle is not a glorious event. It can be very discouraging because those you care to help may still resist the help that God brings. But it is not about you and me or making us feel good. It is about helping the fallen. Look around in your life. Think of the people that you can draw near to and provide comfort. The next time you see them reach out and make a difference in their lives.

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Do I Have To Pray? (Luke 18:1)

Do I really need to pray? I don’t know what to pray. So how can prayer help? Is not there something else that I can do to help me face my trials? These questions have been asked for centuries. However the scriptures give us answers to each of them.

Luke 18:1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

Prayer keeps us from fainting or becoming weak. Prayer does not tire the heart of man, but instead strengthens it. Fellowship with The Lord will stir the heart of man and bring it strength. If man ceases to pray, he will become weak. It is not rest that will bring strength to the heart of man, but prayer.

Prayer is not an option in life, but a necessity. The Lord tells us that we ought to pray. This means that prayer is a necessity of life. Years ago Disney put out the movie called Jungle Book. The movie contained a song called “The Bare Necessities Of Life”. The content of the song contained all things that a bear thought would make life easy and enjoyable. It may seem good for a movie, but life is not easy. Each of us face hardships daily and the necessity of life for dealing with these trials is prayer.

Prayer is not one solution of many for life’s problems. It should always be our choice response to them. There are not many roads leading to God, but only Jesus who is the way. In like manner, there are not different ways to solve life’s trials and struggles, but only prayer. Without prayer, you will not be responding to your trials in the way that God intends. Prayer is not an option, but the solution.

When we cease to pray, we give up.

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Fathers Passing Their Faith To Their Children (Psalm 44:1-2)

Fathers have a the grave responsibility of leading their family and teaching their children about The Lord their God. Most men focus their teaching on behaviors the children should and should not do. This is very important information to convey to children, but the best results expected would be weak Christianity with the worst being a form of godliness without a true relationship with The Lord. What fathers should teach their children is the personal relationship he has with God and how they can have the same. The Psalmist records a wonderful example of this.

We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work thou didst in their days, in the times of old. How thou didst drive out the heathen with thy hand, and plantedst them; how thou didst afflict the people, and cast them out. (Psalms 44:1-2)

You, as a father, would be best to share with your children the trials that you experienced and how The Lord has either delivered you from or through them. This enable children to see your heart and how The Lord has strengthen and affected you. Wisdom on the amount of details and types of trials to share should be utilized, but as your children become teenagers, they would greatly benefit from knowing and understanding how you face and deal with fears. Them seeing the burden you carry and the faith that you demonstrate in God will have a greater impact on them than the rules and standards you teach. The latter is important for protection from sin, but the former establishes strength in a relationship with God which provides strength for victory living. If you had to choose between the two, transferring a faith relationship would be better. It would be better because a relationship with God will develop a heart for God and a hate for evil. The Lord can easily direct a tender heart more easily than he can a self righteous cold heart. Was not this the problem with the Pharisees? Ask yourself, do you want to create a rule keeper with no heart for The Lord or a person with a heart for God who allows Him to develop guidelines for their lives? The choice is simple.

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Accusations Against God (Luke 23:35)

The crowd, who just days before was lauding Jesus as he made his triumphal entry into the city, was now found to be making accusations against him. Why were the accusations made and what was the cause for such actions? The answer to these questions will reveal why all accusations are made against God by the lost and also the saved.

And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. (Luke 23:35)

It seems that every time a tragedy takes place, the first words you hear from people are, “If God is a loving God, why did he allow this to happen? These same words are made against God by saved people when prayers go unanswered or when trials are permitted to come their way. The reason they make accusations against God is because they do not understand God.

The crowd around the cross made accusations against him and commanded that if he was God to deliver himself from the cross. Their accusation indicated their ignorance. Had they fully understood that his greatest work and miracle was being performed before their eyes, they would have praised him instead of making such accusations. Had they known and understood that the redemption for all mankind was being made, his life was being sacrificed for all and that salvation and deliverance from the bondage of sin was being purchased, they would have offered greater praise than when he made his entrance into the city one week earlier. But they didn’t. Because they did not understand, the faulty reasoning in their heart led them to other conclusions.

Many years ago, my wife and I made a church visit to a family in a nearby town. They had several children with one of them having legs that had not formed properly. As directed by her doctor, the mother would brace her daughter’s feet into a contraption that would twist the child’s legs into the direction they were supposed to grow. This treatment caused much discomfort to the child. She would lay in her crib crying. My heart ached as I heard the little girl’s cries and I am sure that it hurt the mother more than it hurt me. I wonder what the little girl thought. What kind of accusations did she make towards her mother. Did she accuse her of not loving her? Did the daughter turn her heart against her mother for such cruel unloving actions? If she did, she was absolutely wrong because the mother’s actions were intended to deliver the daughter from the bondage of being crippled.

Does not our Heavenly Father do the same. Within each of us resides a nature that is in rebellion against God. It opposes the new life in Christ that we have and strives to bring us back into the grip of which we were firmly held. God in his love, mercy and grace works in our lives through trials to enable us to see his mighty power and to conform us to the image of his dear son. When we fail to see his great work, we will make wrongful accusations against him. It is during times such as these that we must trust in the goodness of God our father and believe that regardless of how circumstances may appear, his actions are always in love and are motivated by what is best for us. If you are struggling in a trial, you would be best to draw closer to God and pray that he would reveal himself to you. He may not reveal the purpose of the trial, but he may reveal himself to you and strengthen your faith to trust his love, care and goodness instead of reacting to circumstances.