Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! Psalm 107:8
Have you ever thought that the situation you are facing is unique and that God has never been asked to intervene in a situation like yours? That thought is untrue. He has heard it all before and He is listening. In terms of the trials in our lifetime—dry periods, spiritual or physical imprisonment, sickness, storms and turmoil—there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). When we cry out to God from the depths of our soul, He is ready to answer our prayers according to His will.
A liturgical psalm in Israel, Psalm 107, gave four examples of God’s deliverance of His people. They had wandered in the desert, some had been imprisoned, some had been afflicted with illness and were near death, and some had been beset by storms on the sea. And in each case, God intervened and delivered those who were in need. Four times, the psalmist exhorted the people: “Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness” (verses 8, 15, 21, 31).
We should take this final challenge to heart: “Whoever is wise will observe these things, and they will understand the lovingkindness of the Lord” (verse 43). God hears our prayers, whatever our needs.
Yank some of the groans out of your prayers, and shove in some shouts! Billy Sunday
Psalm 107 • God to the Rescue!
They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green. Psalm 92:14
Although Lenore Dunlop was ninety-four years young, her mind was sharp, her smile was bright, and her contagious love for Jesus was felt by many. It wasn’t uncommon to find her in the company of the youth of our church; her presence and participation were sources of joy and encouragement. Lenore’s life was so vibrant that her death caught us off guard. Like a powerful runner, she sprinted across life’s finish line. Her energy and zeal were such that, just days before her death, she completed a sixteen-week course that focused on taking the message of Jesus to the peoples of the world.
The fruitful, God-honoring life of Lenore illustrates what’s seen in Psalm 92:12–15. This psalm describes the budding, blossoming, and fruit-bearing of those whose lives are rooted in a right relationship with God (vv. 12–13). The two trees pictured were valued for their fruit and wood, respectively; with these the psalmist captures a sense of vitality, prosperity, and usefulness. When we see in our lives the budding and blossoming fruit of loving, sharing, helping, and leading others to Christ, we should rejoice.
Even for those who may be labeled “senior” or “seasoned,” it’s never too late to take root and bear fruit. Lenore’s life was deeply rooted in God through Jesus and testifies to this and to God’s goodness (v. 15). Ours can too.
Reflect & Pray
How does your life reflect the fruit found in a growing relationship with Jesus? What can you add or eliminate to help you grow?
Father, give me the strength to bear fruit that clearly demonstrates that my life is rooted in the life of Jesus, Your Son.
Prayer is an amazing privilege because it involves conversation with our heavenly Father. Yet, if we are honest, there are times when it seems more like a duty than a joy. This is especially true if we reduce our prayers to a formula or routine, which can deaden our desire to talk to God.
In today’s passage, Paul’s prayer is just the opposite—it is full of life, spiritual truths, and love for his Lord. He asked God to do a great spiritual work in the Ephesians’ lives and, by extension, in ours as well:
To gain a greater comprehension of Christ’s love for us. Although it’s beyond our ability to fully grasp the vastness of our Savior’s love, Paul prays that we will be so firmly rooted and grounded in this truth that we will become controlled by it and “filled up to all the fullness of God” (v. 19). Experiencing Jesus’ love motivates us to obediently live for Christ and enables us to care deeply for others.
To be strengthened with the Lord’s supernatural power. Paul both praises God’s matchless power and invites it into our hearts. The most important battles take place inside us—in our minds, wills, and emotions—and Paul wants to ensure that the power of the Holy Spirit will be at work in our lives. When we welcome His authority, God can use us in meaningful ways, and what’s more, we will exhibit the life of Jesus in fuller measure.
Although physical and material needs are important, the apostle’s prayers more often focused on the spiritual welfare of others. That is a good example for us to follow as well.
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand.” (1 Corinthians 15:1)
The word “gospel” comes from the Anglo-Saxon “god-spel,” meaning “God-story.” The Greek word is euaggelion, from which we get our word “evangel,” and it means literally “a good message” or “good messenger.” The prefix eu or ev means “good,” and aggelion means “messenger.” Thus, the gospel is the great story of God that is to be preached as by an angel dispatched from God. The word normally is used in the sense of “good news” or “glad tidings,” but this good message is specifically God’s story, sent to lost men from a loving, caring, and saving God.
As our text says, it is a message to be “declared” by its messenger, then “received” (literally “once and for all”) by its hearers. It is the message “by which also ye are saved” (v. 2) and “wherein ye stand.” Then, verses 3 and 4 declare the very heart of what is to be received and believed—the substitutionary death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. It is a dynamic gospel—“the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16) for every true believer.
It is a “glorious gospel” (2 Corinthians 4:4) through which Christ “hath brought life and immortality to light” (2 Timothy 1:10). It is the “gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15) and brings “the fullness of the blessing” (Romans 15:29).
Its duration is “everlasting” (Revelation 14:6), and its foundation is the primeval making of “heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters” (Revelation 14:7) by Christ Himself (Colossians 1:16). The apostle Paul gravely warns against “any other gospel” than this gospel that he had preached (Galatians 1:8-9). This gospel, this glad story of God’s grace in creation and salvation, is to be preached “to every creature” (Mark 16:15). HMM
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
The philosopher Socrates said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” If a common philosopher could think that, how much more we Christians ought to listen to the Holy Spirit when He says, “Examine yourself.” An unexamined Christian lies like an unattended garden. Let your garden go unattended for a few months, and you will not have roses and tomatoes but weeds. An unexamined Christian life is like an unkempt house. Lock your house up as tight as you will and leave it long enough, and when you come back you will not believe the dirt that got in from somewhere. An unexamined Christian is like an untaught child. A child that is not taught will be a little savage. It takes examination, teaching, instruction, discipline, caring, tending, weeding and cultivating to keep the life right. RRR043
Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Amen.
The Lord will lighten my darkness.—2 Samuel 22:29.
Upon whom doth not His light arise?—Job 25:3.
Hope, then, though woes be doubled,
Hope, and be undismayed,
Let not thy heart be troubled,
Nor let it be afraid.
This prison where thou art,
Thy God will break it soon,
And flood with light thy heart
In His own blessed noon.
A Christian may for many days together see neither sun nor star, neither light in God’s countenance, nor light in his own heart, though even at that time God darts some beams through those clouds upon the soul; the soul again by a spirit of faith sees some light through those thickest clouds, enough to keep it from utter despair, though not to settle it in peace. In this dark condition, if they do as St. Paul and his company did, cast anchor even in the dark night of temptation, and pray still for day, God will appear, and all shall clear up, we shall see light without and light within, the day-star will arise in their hearts.
“For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.” Ps. 107:9
It is well to have longings, and the more intense they are the better. The Lord will satisfy soul-longings, however great and all-absorbing they may be. Let us greatly long, for God will greatly give. We are never in a right state of mind when we are contented with ourselves, and are free from longings. Desires for more grace, and groanings which cannot be uttered, are growing pains, and we should wish to feel them more and more. Blessed Spirit, make us sigh and cry after better things, and for more of the best things!
Hunger is by no means a pleasant sensation. Yet blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness. Such persons shall not only have their hunger relieved with a little food, but they shall be filled. They shall not be filled with any sort of rough stuff, but their diet shall be worthy of their good Lord, for they shall be filled with goodness by Jehovah Himself.
Come, let us not fret because we long and hunger, but let us hear the voice of the Psalmist as he also longs and hungers to see God magnified. “Oh, that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men.”