Brace Yourself!

Brace yourself! This is the phrase that we use to prepare ourselves for some impending negative event. It may be physically holding on to something in preparation for jolting or even a collision. It could even relate to preparing yourself for news that may move you emotionally.

As bracing yourself may seem to work in the physical world, it does not work in the spiritual. However, what will work is if the Lord braces you.

1 The Lord hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee;

2 Send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion; (Psalm 20:1-2)

In this time of distress for David, he is looking for the Lord to send him help and strength. The strength he is seeking is comfort and to be held up. Another meaning for the word strength would be to brace. David is not bracing himself for the trial that he faces, but he is asking the Lord to brace him.

When I think of the Lord bracing us for trials, I picture a parent with a child. Imagine a small child in the arms of a father as they face a frightening experience like a thunderstorm. With each flash and bang of the storm, the child buries their head in the father’s chest as the father tightly braces the child. The father’s embrace may not be able to stop the storm, but it does bring security and strength to the child.

As we face the storms of life, God wants to brace us for them. He may not choose to remove the storm, but with his tender embrace, he will provide us the comfort and strength that we need.

Thankfully his loving embrace in these times is based on his mercy and grace. Because of this, we can always count on the father to be there for us. As you face storms in life, bury your head into the chest of your heavenly father and experience his strong loving embrace.

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Did God Forget Me? (Psalm 9:12)

When people forget about you and your needs, it is a hurtful experience. It conveys the absence of love and concern. There are times in our lives when we face trials and difficulties and it appears as if God has forgotten us. We pray and ask for deliverance, but nothing happens. Has God forgotten us?

…he forgetteth not the cry of the humble. (Psalm 9:12)

God has not forgotten you. His love and concern has not been set aside and your life and its concerns have not been mislaid or lost. God has heard your cry, he knows the problems that you face and the heaviness in your heart that you carry because of it.

So, why doesn’t he answer? Why doesn’t he deliver? But he has and he will. God has heard your prayers and is providing the grace that you need. Many of learn the grace and truth go hand-in-hand. It seems that you cannot have the one without the other. God I want you exposed to truth concerning him and buy the truth he will be able to exercise grace in your life. Paul experienced this and wrote about it. God’s grace was sufficient for him because of his reliance on the truth of the power of Christ.

Until your actual deliverance comes, expose yourself to the word of God: read it, listen to the testimony of others, attend church services and listen to the preaching of God‘s word and God will begin working his grace in your life.

How long must you rely on this grace until the deliverance comes cannot be known. Remember as God works in the details of your life, he is also working in the lives of others. He wants to use grace in your life to shine as a light to the lost. He also may be working in the lives of others to bring them to repentance before he moves his hand in judgment or chastening. Until then, you must wait on him. Thankfully because of his grace, you will be able to endure.

…he forgetteth not the cry of the humble.

Protect Yourself !!!

Protect yourself! You hear it all the time. Protect your identity, protect your vehicle, protect your home, get a flu shot. But do you hear anybody talk about protecting your heart from being caught in a snare?

Jesus spoke of this in Luke 17. He tells his disciples that offenses will come. When he spoke of offenses, he was referring to situations that would cause them to stumble or fall. Offenses are traps or snares that take our hearts captive. Much like the branch of a tree is pulled down and attached to a rope so that it can snare rabbits or other small animals.

Each of us could become ensnared and one major way for that to occur would be by refusing to forgive. Right after Jesus’ warning of offenses (snares), he talks about the brother sinning against them and then repenting: not only once, but even seven times in a day. His advice or counsel was for them to forgive each time.

Refusing to forgive can lead to anxiety, anger, depression and a host of physical elements. It would be wise for us to forgive and by doing so, we are not setting the offender free: we really are freeing ourselves.

Forgiveness is not explaining away the offense or allowing the person to be free from the consequences of their wrong. It is simply freeing them from owing you anything.

I remember a conference speaker referring to a situation when he was the principal of the school. He explained how a student brought a firearm to school. When he was caught, he was very sorry and in tears asked the principal for forgiveness. The principal told the boy that he forgave him, but that he could not speak for the law which he also offended. With that, he picked up the phone and called the police. When we forgive, we are acting in the same manner: forgiving them of a debt owed to us, but still having them answer to God concerning their offense against him.

Outside of being persecuted for Christ, you are not required to be a doormat and allow people to wound and hurt you. But you are required to forgive. Remember, when you forgive, the person you freeing is yourself.

Religion Still Doesn’t Work

Since nearly the beginning, sin has separated man from God and with it has brought sorrow, sickness, and emptiness in the heart of man. Throughout time, man has sought to overcome these troubles in his life and to accomplish it created religious acts or rituals, which were intended to appease God of his wrath or at the least turn away the consequences of sin that he faced.

These acts involved offering to God everything from crops to human sacrifices, the punishment of sinners or the punishment of themselves. Always, the results were unsuccessful. David described it best when he spoke to the Lord concerning his own condition.

For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. (Psalms 38:4)

The load of sin that looms over the head of every man is so great that no religious act could ever remove the effect or its debt.

Several decades ago, a teenaged girl attended a local carnival. When she failed to return home, a search was made and eventually her lifeless body was found. For more than 30 years, law-enforcement searched for the suspected killer: who was eventually found. Should he be held for trial? Of course he should! Regardless of how long ago the event occurred, he should still be held accountable.

But what if he was found living a respectable life? What if he, for the last 20 years, had been doing a great humanitarian work? Should he still be held for trial? Should he still be charged even if he has been so sorry for his crime? The answer is a resounding, Yes! He committed a crime and the penalty for that crime must be paid.

For the last 6,000 years, man has been trying to avoid paying the penalty for his sin. But regardless of what he does, the holy righteous God still requires complete payment for sins committed. The only hope for all men would be for God to determine a way for someone else to pay the debt that man owed. God did and that person was himself. He came to earth as human. Born of a virgin, he live a lonely life and yet did not sin. Throughout his entire life he did not commit one sin. For the remaining three years of his life, he taught and performed miracles to declare who it was and the purpose for his coming to earth. Then as foretold by God, he was rejected by his people, judged by the government and punished on the cross.

However God’s purpose for allowing all this to occur was so that he could place all the sin of humanity upon himself as he hung on the cross. The beatings and torture done to Jesus were extremely grave, but nothing in comparison to the punishment that God, while still yet also in heaven, punished himself as he lived as a human hanging on the cross.

Only until Jesus cried, “It is finished!” was mankind given any hope. When Jesus finished, he was finished paying the wages for our sins – yours and mine.

For those, who continue striving to pay for their own sins or are relying on religious acts to appease God’s wrath for sin will continue to fall short and carry the burden of their sin debt. Those who call upon Christ to bear there sin, will find the relief that they need. No longer is the burden of sin going over their head or too much to bear, the burden has been removed and the payment has been made. None of their sins committed have gone unpunished. Instead of them paying the debt, someone else paid the debt for them.

In America, we have discovered that countless people have been falsely charged, found guilty and sentenced for crimes that they had never committed. Society, unknowing of their wrong, was still satisfied because the penalty of the crime was being paid.  

In your case, Jesus willingly took the charge, allowed himself to be found guilty and then paid your complete payment for sin. So that your salvation could take place when you call out to Jesus and trust that he will save you.

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13)

Refuge for the Oppressed (Psalm 9:9-11)


Events in your life can be difficult. There are times when these events make you feel crushed, injured or afflicted. Maybe it was the notice you receive in the mail. The phone call reporting the auto accident or the talk that you had with your doctor. Each of these challenges that you may face has you crushed in on all sides. Each thought of the event is as if a whip was afflicting its cruel punishment upon your injured soul. There appears to be no way out.
The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee. (Psalm 9:9-10)

But God…think of it. Where else could a person go? The Psalmist says that God is our refuge. He is that cleft high up on the rocky cliff. Nothing can reach us there because it is too high to scale. In that cleft of the rock, we are safe. In the midst of our trials, we take refuge in Christ. Physically we are in the same place, but God lifts our hearts above the turmoil that is oppressing and afflicting us.  

During the troublesome times, it is difficult to recognize God’s presence. He is there and ever present to help us in times of need, but in order for him to work, we must reach out with our souls and cling to him and him alone for help. Trusting is difficult: a war takes place in the soul between faith and fear. Fear will always be present, but we trust God when we exercise our faith over our fear. 

All would agree that the best part of a trial is when it is over. The money problem is solved. The wayward child returns. The medical treatment was a success. The relationship was restored. But It isn’t so great because the event has ended. It is great because we can use our experience with God to encourage and guide others.

Sing praises to the Lord, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings. (Psalm 9:11)
Trials in life will come, but God wants to bring you through those trials and when they are over, work his aid to others through you.  

With God, you can do this.

Lying Vanities (Psalm 31:6)

Life seems to be going along fine and them circumstances quickly change. What once seemed to be an easy life is suddenly changed into stormy circumstances of trials. When this occurs, we have one of two options: either to attempt at working out our own deliverance or by faith rely on The Lord to deliver us from or through our circumstances.

The Psalmist contrasts himself with those who rely on resources other than The Lord. I have hated them that regard lying vanities: but I trust in the Lord. (Psalms 31:6). The lying vanities are those things which others trusts to deliver themselves in times of trouble. The Psalmist, David, was not saying that he never struggled with trying to deliver himself. The scriptures give examples of how David attempted to bring about his own deliverance (2 Samuel 12 & 2 Samuel 24:1-3, 10). But what he was saying was that his heart at that time was fully relying on The Lord and not vain opportunities.

Each day we face the same decisions concerning our trials: shall we trust The Lord or strive to work out our deliverance and pray for The Lord to bless our efforts? Many are confused about this matter and think that they are trusting God, but in reality are only looking for his help at self deliverance. When we are trusting God and not lying vanities, we will be resting in him. When we rest in him, we are not working to deliver nor are we experiencing worry, fear or anxiety. If we find ourselves striving, worrying, fearful or anxious, we are not resting. Instead of resting in God, we carry the problems in our hearts as if we were responsible for solving them. Rest is just that: to rest. When we rest, someone else does the needed work. For our trials, that somebody is The Lord. The abundant life is the life of resting in Jesus. As we rested in him for salvation and deliverance from sin, we too should rest in him for deliverance from trials. If not, all other work is trusting in lying vanities.

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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Exalted In Due Time (1 Peter 5:6)

Life is filled with ups and downs. Sometimes the causes are understandable, but at other times it seems that everything is against you, nothing makes sense and all hope for recovery is nowhere in sight. What should a person do? Should they fight? Give up? Run away? All of these plausible solutions are representative of our efforts to deliver ourselves, but God’s solution is different.

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: (1 Peter 5:6)

Instead of fighting, try humbling yourself before God. Kneel before, yield your will, desires and goals. As you place them before God, you allow him complete liberty with your life. You know that God is omnipotent: meaning that he can do anything, but there are some things that he will not do. He will not rob you of your will. He will speak to you, move your heart and even chasten you, but he will not make you do anything. When you are humble before God, you give him liberty to do his perfect work in your life. Many believe yielding to God will limit the joy that can be had in life, but in reality, by yielding to God, you open up to yourself doors of joyful opportunity that you in no other way could possibly experience.

When you do humble yourself before God, he will lift you up. He is not saying that he will promote you to a higher position among men–although he may do that–but he will lift you above your circumstances in life.

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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