His Face Is Not Hid (Psalm 22:24)

At times, life can be very difficult. Not just for a few people, but everybody on the planet. Health issues, financial strains, domestic upheavals, death, enemies, violent crimes or any other negative experience cause difficulty for our lives. What makes those times even more difficult is the mental struggle that we endure until the difficulty ends.

Many during these times turn their focus towards God. They either focus on him for help or question his holiness. The Psalmist faced a similar situation, but maintain integrity in his faith by recognizing that even when it seems that God is not responding, he does not look down on our affliction and hears our prayer.

For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard. (Psalms 22:24)

Regardless of how circumstances may appear, God is attentive to us and our problems. By his sovereignty, he will accomplish his intended purposes and afterwards bring deliverance. Victory for us is not so much deliverance from the trial, but more so in the battle that occurs in our hearts. We must trust or have faith in the goodness and holiness of God and not allow the enemies’ accusations to abide in our hearts. This battle will not be easy, but by truth from God’s word and fellowship in prayer, the battle can be won.

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The Turning Point (Jonah 2:7)

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I was glad to hear recently that a friend’s father had finally trusted Christ as Savior. He shared how he and his family had prayed for this person for 20 years. Recently the individual had become very ill. It was during this stage in his life that more people began praying for his health and salvation. My friend encouraged others to continue to pray for the lost because God is still working.

God is still working on the lost and he continually works on the hearts of those who have drifted away. Many get discouraged in prayer because their prayer does not get answered in a reasonable time. What they fail to see is that God does answer their prayer in a reasonable time. However, the reasonable time is not determined by God, but instead by the lost or backslidden.

What needs to occur before a person turns to God is that they must come to the end of themselves. In other words, they get to a point where they recognize that they cannot make it on their own or they cannot face the conditions in their lives. It was at this point that Jonah finally turned to God. When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. (Jonah 2:7). It will be at this same point when the lost will turn to God and the backslidden will do the same. Until that occurs, you and I may not see any change in the individual’s actions or attitude, but rest assured, God is working to bring them to the point that they will turn to him.

Be patient in your prayers and trust that God will work in your loved one’s heart. Yield to him so that he may use you in this work and keep you from trying to bring about the change that only he can bring.

If you would like to read more of these thoughts in a hard copy format, my new book is now available at the link below.

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Victory Begins in the Heart (Psalm 17:4-5)

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Doing the right thing is usually not easy. You find yourself confronted with a situation and are torn between at least two options: what God wants you to do and what you want to do. David experienced the same conflict as us and recorded it in the Psalms.

Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer. Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not. (Psalms 17:4-5)

What is vitally important for us to recognize is that we alone are unable to live the spiritual or righteous life. We need God to provide the strength and support that we need. David petitioned God to hold up his goings in the Lord’s paths and we must do the same. What the Christian life boils down to are decisions that we make in our hearts. We may not have the strength to live the life, but we certainly do have the ability to make the right choices. God’s plan is for us to make the right decisions in our hearts and then he will provide the support and strength needed to complete the actions that go with the decisions. The battleground is not with the world, people or flesh and blood, but in the heart. God’s desire is that man, by faith, chooses him and his way. If we allow him, God will take it from there. Remember, victory begins at the heart and not the actions.

Knowledge of Salvation (Luke1:77)

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As believers in Christ, we know that salvation is something that has already been accomplished for us. We know that the complete debt for our lifetime of sin was paid by Jesus Christ and he accomplished this by becoming our substitute or sin bearer before God, but is that action of redemption all there is to salvation?

There is much more to salvation than just the act of payment for sin. What people fail to recognize is that salvation is more than an act performed by God, but that it is also a condition of life that he places us in. In Luke 1:77, God records, “To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins.” The knowledge of salvation comes after and because of the action of salvation.

People know salvation when their sins are remitted or removed. The action of salvation occurs when the debt of sin is reckoned to Jesus’s account and the sinner is redeemed or bought back into a relationship with God. Much more occurs such as adoption into God’s family, God’s righteousness imputed to us and being joint errors with Christ, but what also occurs is that we begin to live in the realm of salvation. Salvation is not only an act, but also a condition of life. Just as having cancer causes a person to live in the realm of illness and great wealth causes a person to experience the “rich” life, having the debt of sin removed by the work of salvation ushers believers into experiencing salvation. One of the greatest things about salvation is the life that you experience after the act was completed.

When you live in salvation, there is nothing worth going back to. Oh don’t be confused. There have been many who have fallen to deceitfulness and made decisions to walk away from God, but they are like ships tossed in the sea. Their lives again are shallow and empty. They are not lost, just empty. What brings hope is that God continues reaching out to them and if they so choose, they can return and again experience the wonderful life of salvation.

Gladness (Psalm 4:7)

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Gladness, what is it? It is a condition of the heart when a person experiences joy or laughter in their heart. Some people seem to never experience it and others seem to have it as part of a daily occurrence. Everyone is seeking for it, but few truly find it. However, the Psalmist records that gladness is put into his heart by The Lord.

Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. (Psalms 4:7)

I cannot say that I have lived long or that I have the fullness of wisdom, but I can state that I have experienced the two types of gladness that are mentioned in this passage. Gladness when corn and wine increase seems to relate to gladness that comes from events or prosperity. Although each of these can bring gladness of heart, neither will have a lasting effect. You can have all the success and money that your heart desires, but one bad phone call can rob you of that gladness. However, find gladness in God and even adversity cannot take it from you. Remember Paul admonishing us to be content in whatever situation we may find ourselves? (Philippians 4:11)

True lasting gladness comes from an active relationship with God. I say active for a reason. We initially receive gladness when we come to Christ. Remember what you experienced? Gladness filled your heart because you received forgiveness of sin and finally came to know the true God. However, sin affects our relationship with the father. When we sin, our fellowship with God is hindered and becomes distant. Unless repentance occurs, more sin will be committed which will in an even greater way affect our relationship with God. As we drift away from God, gladness drifts away from us because our joy and gladness is tied directly to him. Therefore to continually experience joy, we must have an active relationship with God.

The joy that God brings, still passes all understanding. Regardless of what conditions we face in life, God is there with us and ready to provide the gladness to our heart.

Always Reaching Out (Jonah 1:2)

Living the Christian life is not easy. Sometimes you need to reach out to people who have hurt you. God will direct us to do this for our and their benefit. What is most difficult about it is that many times we don’t want to reach out and at the same time, God doesn’t give us the chance to option out.

However with God, it is a different situation. God, who has every right to punish sinners for their wicked deeds, willfully takes action which will enable him to avoid it. For this to be accomplished, he does not require the sinner to come to him, but rather that he reaches out to the sinner.

Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. (Jonah 1:2)

God is very long suffering towards sinners. He endured the wickedness of the Ninevites and commanded Jonah to convincingly cry out to them for repentance. He also did not give up on Jonah in spite of his disobedience and fleeing to Tarshish.

God is also long suffering towards us. While lost in sin as the Ninevites or disobediently walking as a believer like Jonah, God demonstrates long suffering towards us by not dealing with us in judgment. For the lost, he reaches out in love as a savior, for the disobedient, he reaches out as a loving father.

God’s dealings in the book of Jonah are an excellent example of how he deals with us. As long as we are alive, his love and mercy overrides his righteous anger towards sin. He is always ready to save and forgive.

Protect or Provide (Psalm 97:10-11)

Why did a loving God let this happen? How many times have people made this statement? I ask myself, “Why are they even asking such a question?” I guess some time along their lives they were told and concluded that God would keep evil from happening to them. Oh, what a wonderful thought, but is it true? I am sorry to say and also glad to say that it is not true. Think of the biblical examples that oppose this view: Abel, Adam and Eve (death of a son), Esau, Joseph, Dinah, Tamar (raped), David, the victims of Eli’s sons, and Israel as a nation. In fact, run down the list in Hebrews 11 and you must conclude that God had never promised to keep evil from happening to us.

In order for him to protect us from all evil, he would need to control every human being. That was not his plan. He gave angels their free will and one third of them kept not their first estate, but instead followed Lucifer. God has given man a free will and that decision is a major factor in his plan. Because man has a free will and that free will is a vital aspect of a God’s plan, he rarely intervenes in the actions of men. On occasions when God has intervened, we call them miracles.

What God did promise was that he would deliver our soul from that evil. God did not promise to stop people from doing harm to us or to keep harm from coming into our lives. What he promises is that whatever occurs, he will provide for us what we need so that our soul would be delivered from every evil. Ye that love the Lord, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked. Light is sown for the righteous,and gladness for the upright in heart. (Psalms 97:10-11)

For the righteous, there is one thing that we can be most confident: God will sow into our hearts that which we need so that our souls will be preserved, guarded or protected from being overcome by evil. He may not stop the problem from occurring like we desire, but he will stop the problem from destroying us.

If you would like to read more of these thoughts in a hard copy format, my new book is now available at the link below.

https://www.createspace.com/4441566

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