I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of his glories and grace. I will boast of all his kindness to me. Let all who are discouraged take heart. Let us praise the Lord together and exalt his name. Negative situations can lead to living there for extended periods of time. We need to move on from these situations instead of camping there. How? As this writer urges us to praise the Lord in spite of whatever happens. Paul wrote no matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. It’s amazing how gratitude toward the Lord can change your attitude for the better. When we constantly speak of His grace then our discontent seems to dwindle. When we exalt all the kindness that God has shown to us then we begin to understand that we need to share it with others. When we are positive then others can be uplifted too. The more of us who gather to praise the Lord and exalt His name then the more we will be encouraged. Let us be the first to gather to praise the Lord and exalt His name today! Amen!
But the eyes of the Lord are watching over those who fear him, who rely upon his steady love. He will keep them from death even in times of famine! We depend upon the Lord alone to save us. Only he can help us; he protects us like a shield. No wonder we are happy in the Lord! For we are trusting him. We trust his holy name. Yes, Lord, let your constant love surround us, for our hopes are in you alone. This reminds me of Elijah the prophet being directed by the Lord to go to a neighboring country to seek help from a widow with one son. It was a terrible time of famine for an extended period of time. She was down to her last meal when he arrived. He asked for food and water. She admitted their dire situation to him before going to fix something for him. He said the Lord God of Israel says that there will always be plenty of flour and oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again. So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her son continued to eat from her supply of flour and oil as long as it was needed. For no matter how much they used, there was always plenty left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah. We are blessed to know the Lord and His protection in our lives. He is faithful and dependable just as He proved in supplying the needs of Elijah and this widow each day for an extended period of time until He sent the rain. God can and will provide for His own. Let us take courage and be strong in the Lord when times are difficult knowing He is watching over us! Amen!
The best equipped army cannot save a king–for great strength is not enough to save anyone. A war horse is a poor risk for winning victories–it is strong, but it cannot save. Mankind’s efforts to build the greatest military might are numerous. But that might is not invincible. Mankind has often labored to build impenetrable fortresses through out history. But Jericho, Nineveh, and Babylon were all toppled. There is only one who can save and it is Jesus. We as human beings put our trust in all the wrong things for protection and safety. But the only worthy one to trust in is Jesus. He is the only sure protection and deliverer. Let us give Him our complete trust instead of trying to do things ourselves which cannot save us. Amen!
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, whose people he has chosen as his own. The Lord gazes down upon mankind from heaven where he lives. He has made their hearts and closely watches everything they do. It is easy to understand that the nation which the Lord has chosen is Israel. Abraham was told that his descendants would become a great nation and God established an eternal covenant with them. Now they would always be His even though they didn’t show it at times through out history. God has even pledged that they won’t cease to exist due to His promises to sustain them through out time. The good news is that God also looks out over all mankind and takes notice of those individuals who please Him. A great example is Job that God spoke of as my servant. He is a good man who fears God and will have nothing to do with evil. Then there is Cornelius, a Roman army officer, who received this message. Your prayers and charities have not gone unnoticed by God. Our God keeps an eye on Israel and He keeps an eye on us as individuals. Let us continue to live in such a way that pleases God when He looks at us on any day! Amen!
Let everyone in all the world–men, women, and children–fear the Lord and stand in awe of him. For when he but spoke, the world began! It appeared at his command! And with a breath he can scatter the plans of all the nations who oppose him, but his own plan stands forever. His intentions are the same for every generation. Mankind is not given to showing God respect. But man’s plans can’t stand up to the ones made by God. The most evident plan of God is the creation of this world. What an amazing plan this was and still is today! Nations which have opposed God seem to rise quickly but fall just as quickly. Here is a very challenging word from another Psalm. O kings and rulers of the earth, listen while there is time. Serve the Lord with reverent fear; rejoice with trembling. Fall down before his Son and kiss his feet before his anger is roused and you perish. I am warning you–his wrath will soon begin. But oh, the joys of those who put their trust in him! Let us keep trusting God in fulfilling the intention He has for every generation! Amen!
For all God’s words are right, and everything he does is worthy of our trust. He loves whatever is just and good; the earth is filled with his tender love. He merely spoke, and the heavens were formed and all the galaxies of stars. He made the oceans, pouring them into his vast reservoirs. God’s creative power is wonderful to behold. His words are thoughtful not thoughtless so when He speaks all of us should listen carefully. His love of justice and goodness certainly guides His words and actions toward those in this world. God gave Pharaoh in Egypt a lot of love in terms of goodness and justice. The problem with that man is that he remained too stubborn in responding to it. God could have completely destroyed the country with one step but He kept exercising restraint in his actions with a very sinful man. Then there is the example of Peter saying how many times should I forgive my brother? Would 7 times be enough? And Jesus said how about 70 times 7! This is the loving response from God to us. There are so many things to praise God about concerning His character and creativity in this world. Let us exalt Him together! Amen!
Let all the joys of the godly well up in praise to the Lord, for it is right to praise him. Play joyous melodies of praise upon the lyre and on the harp. Compose new songs of praise to him, accompanied skillfully on the harp; sing joyfully. Singing is a great expression of praise. Everyone should praise God for who He is and what He has done. New songs of praise force us to listen carefully and then to commit to our minds these words of truth. It seems that heaven is always filled with praise as the book of Revelation reveals. Listen to this wonderful description from above. John wrote I looked and saw a Lamb standing there before the twenty-four Elders, in front of the throne and the Living Beings, and on the Lamb were wounds that once had caused his death. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which represent the sevenfold Spirit of God, sent out into every part of the world. He stepped forward and took the scroll from the right hand of the one sitting upon the throne. And as he took the scroll, the twenty-four Elders fell down before the Lamb, each with a harp and golden vials filled with incense–the prayers of God’s people! They were singing him a new song with these words: You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it; for you were slain, and your blood has bought people from every nation as gifts for God. And you have gathered them into a kingdom and made them priests of our God; they shall reign upon the earth. Then in my vision I heard the singing of millions of angels surrounding the throne and the Living Beings and the Elders: The Lamb is worthy (loudly they sang it!), the Lamb who was slain. He is worthy to receive the power, and the riches, and the wisdom, and the strength, and the honor, and the glory, and the blessing. Let us loudly join our voices in singing to the Lord too! Amen!
You are my hiding place from every storm of life; you even keep me from getting into trouble! You surround me with songs of victory. I will instruct you (says the Lord) and guide you along the best pathway for your life; I will advise you and watch your progress. Don’t be like a senseless horse or mule that has to have a bit in its mouth to keep it in line! Life is better when we go God’s way. Storms in life are common to everyone but not everyone has a place of safety with the Lord. When we have the Lord with us then we always have security and protection in these storms. God is not silent in our lives as He desires to guide us along the best way in life and teach us about living in the best way. Stubbornness is a definite obstacle to learning and being led in the right path. Our God knows best and we need to trust Him even when we don’t understand everything He is doing with us. How quickly we over react to everything instead of waiting on God’s direction and guidance! Let us learn from this example of the horse and mule so that we don’t imitate their stubbornness or impulsiveness! Amen.
Now I say that each believer should confess his sins to God when he is aware of them, while there is time to be forgiven. Judgment will not touch him if he does. Confession should not be delayed for any reason. Living with known sin for any length of time is never good. The longer sin remains the more damage it can do to our hearts in hardening us. We don’t want to lose the tenderness of heart which can help us in relations with God and with others. Jesus encountered religious people quite often which were hardened in their sin. Mark wrote since it was the Sabbath, Jesus’ enemies watched him closely. Would he heal the man’s hand? If he did, they planned to arrest him! Jesus asked the man to come and stand in front of the congregation. Then turning to his enemies he asked, is it all right to do kind deeds on Sabbath days? Or is this a day for doing harm? Is it a day to save lives or to destroy them? But they wouldn’t answer him. Looking around at them angrily, for he was deeply disturbed by their indifference to human need, he said to the man, reach out your hand. He did, and instantly his hand was healed. At once the Pharisees went away and met with the Herodians to discuss plans for killing Jesus. As we can see here the hardness of their hearts affected their ability to respond in the right way. In order to avoid such developments with our own hearts we must confess our sins to God whenever we learn of them. Amen!