VIDEO Praise the Lord Anyhow

I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies. Psalm 18:3

 

Barry Zito was one of baseball’s brightest stars, winning the Cy Young Award as the best pitcher in the American League in 2002. But his career suffered downturns, and after fifteen seasons in the Major League, he found himself at a very low point in life. The Giants had awarded him the largest contract in baseball history at the time, but fans thought it was a wasted investment, and in 2010 he was left off the Giants’ playoff roster. He watched as a spectator while his teammates won the World Series without him. Finally, his girlfriend told him to lock up all the self-help books he was reading and to open the Bible she gave him. Out of that experience he came to faith in Christ.

Life is hard, but sometimes the hardest places are turning points that lead us to faith in Christ or into a deeper walk with Him. God uses our difficult circumstances to bring Him glory.

Learn to praise Him during times of difficulty; to turn problems into prayers; and to turn hardships into hallelujahs. When life throws you a curveball, praise the Lord anyhow.

God has a purpose for trials and testings.  Warren Wiersbe


Great Praise from a Great Victory – Psalm 18

 

Watched by God

The Lord watches over you. Psalm 121:5

Our little grandson waved goodbye, then turned back with a question. “Grandma, why do you stand on the porch and watch until we leave?” I smiled at him, finding his question “cute” because he’s so young. Seeing his concern, however, I tried to give a good answer. “Well, it’s a courtesy,” I told him. “If you’re my guest, watching until you leave shows I care.” He weighed my answer, but still looked perplexed. So, I told him the simple truth. “I watch,” I said, “because I love you. When I see your car drive away, I know you’re safely heading home.” He smiled, giving me a tender hug. Finally, he understood.

His childlike understanding reminded me what all of us should remember—that our heavenly Father is constantly watching over each of us, His precious children. As Psalm 121 says, “The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand” (v. 5).

What assurance for Israel’s pilgrims as they climbed dangerous roads to Jerusalem to worship. “The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps you from all harm—he will watch over your life” (vv. 6–7). Likewise, as we each climb our life’s road, sometimes facing spiritual threat or harm, “The Lord will watch over [our] coming and going.” Why? His love. When? “Now and forevermore” (v. 8).

By:  Patricia Raybon

Reflect & Pray

What “mountain” are you climbing today? What assurance do you find in knowing God is watching over you?

Our loving Father, as we travel the road of life, thank You for watching over us, keeping us safe.

How Obedience Relates to Love

John 14:16-31

The night before His crucifixion, Jesus reminded the disciples of some important matters. In John 14:21, He pointed out the connection between love and obedience, saying, “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me.” In other words, loving the Lord and obeying Him are inseparable.

What commands are we to obey? Jesus said the greatest commandments are: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” and “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:37-39). The Holy Spirit will show us how to live these out. When we let go of a selfish attitude and put someone else first, when we show forgive- ness instead of anger, or when we demonstrate a thankful heart in the midst of hard circumstances, we are expressing our love for Jesus.

Jesus’ life on earth was one continuous expression of love for the heavenly Father (John 14:31). To follow His example requires a heart that desires to please Him, a will that is bent toward obedience, and a mind that consistently seeks direction from Him. Develop the habit of asking yourself two questions: What does obedience to God look like in this situation? and What can I do to obey God more fully?

The Everlasting Love

“The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

Perhaps no doctrine in Scripture is as clearly stated as that expressed in our text and in many other passages. God loves us! His love is an “everlasting love” and compels Him to act strongly and lovingly on our behalf. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). This theme finds glorious expression in the grand hymn of the 19th century entitled “I Am His, and He Is Mine.”

Loved with everlasting love, Led by grace that love to know;
Spirit, breathing from above, Thou hast taught me it is so!
O this full and perfect peace, O this transport all divine—
In a love which cannot cease, I am His and He is mine.

Jesus prayed, “I in them, and thou in me,…that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am” (John 17:23-24). The Father will never allow us to part from Him or our Savior.

These precious facts are taught to us by the “inspired” (literally “God-breathed”) Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16), and “the Comforter…the Spirit of truth [who] will guide [us] into all truth” (John 16:7, 13). He drew us to Himself “in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself” (Ephesians 1:4-5). “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1). In His grace, we come to Him, experiencing sweet forgiveness and everlasting love. Cradled in the security of His undying love, we have peace. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee” (Isaiah 26:3). JDM

Know I Sure Will Be in Trouble

But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.

—1 Thessalonians 2:2

 

It is good for us to remember how strong [God] is—and how weak we are. I settled this issue a long time ago. I tell you I have talked to God more than I have talked to anyone else. I have reasoned more with God and had longer conferences with God than with anybody else.

And what did I tell Him? Among other things, I told Him, “Now, Lord, if I do the things I know I should do, and if I say what I know in my heart I should say, I will be in trouble with people and with groups—there is no other way!

“Not only will I be in trouble for taking my stand in faith and honesty, but I will certainly be in a situation where I will be seriously tempted of the devil!”

Then, after praying more and talking to the Lord, I have said, “Almighty Lord, I accept this with my eyes open! I know the facts and I know what may happen, but I accept it. I will not run. I will not hide. I will not crawl under a rug. I will dare to stand up and fight because I am on your side—and I know that when I am weak, then I am strong!”   ITB146

Lord, I’m convicted by Tozer’s statement that he has “talked to God more than [he has] talked to anyone else.” Help me to talk with You more. Amen.

 

Called to Be Good, Not Great

A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things.

—Matthew 12:35

 

Every pastor knows…the plain people who have nothing to recommend them but their deep devotion to their Lord and the fruit of the Spirit which they all unconsciously display. Without these the churches…could not carry on.

These are the first to come forward when there is work to be done and the last to go home when there is prayer to be made. They are not known beyond the borders of their own parish because there is nothing dramatic in faithfulness or newsworthy in goodness, but their presence is a benediction wherever they go.

They have no greatness to draw to them the admiring eyes of carnal men but are content to be good men and full of the Holy Spirit….

When they die they leave behind them a fragrance of Christ that lingers long after the cheap celebrities of the day are forgotten….

It remains only to be said that not all men can be great, but all men are called to be good by the blood of the Lamb and the power of the Holy Spirit. GTM100, 102

Come unto God, unite yourself to God, and the doing power you have is infinite! JAS275

 

The Impossible Made Possible

Matthew 19:26

We have a God who specializes in things hardly possible. The Lord asks us to do the impossible and then He gives us the power to do it. It happened again and again during Jesus’ lifetime.

Do you remember the man with the withered hand? Jesus came into the synagogue and said to him, “Stretch out your hand” (Matt. 12:13). He asked him to do the one thing that he couldn’t do. But when the man stretched out his hand in obedience, he found the power was there.

Do you remember the paralyzed man at the pool, an invalid for 38 years? Jesus saw him and told him to do the one thing that was impossible. “Get up, take your mat and walk” (Mark 2:9). And he did.

Lazarus, the beloved friend of our Lord, had been dead four days when Jesus arrived at the tomb. Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” (John 11:43). To command a dead person to come to life was surely asking the impossible! But Lazarus came out of the tomb.

Then there was the occasion on the hillside when Jesus told a group of ordinary people to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20). A small group of apostles to go to the uttermost parts of the world to make disciples of all nations? Surely this was mission impossible!

It is a principle, a Scriptural truth, that the Lord asks the seeming impossible thing and then gives us the power to do it. But there is a second principle. We have to initiate some action for that power to become available from on high.

If that man with the withered hand had held back from Jesus’ command, there would have been no miracle. And the invalid man might have thought,

“I’ve tried for 38 years to walk.” But as he stepped out in faith, the power was there. And power was available for Lazarus also.

The great Augustine said, “Without God, we cannot. And without us, God will not.” You have a God who asks you to do the impossible, but who gives you the power to do it. Keep your eyes on Jesus and you will find that the power will always be there.

John Larsson, The War Cry