OUR GOD IS OUR SOURCE OF JOY

June 13, 2016

Many centuries ago, the Old Testament prophet Habakkuk set an example for believers of all times: he chose joy. Habakkuk decried the evil, injustice and lawlessness of his day. Pouring his anguish out to God, he finally understood that one day, the God of our salvation would make all things right and establish justice. That’s why, even in the middle of very hard times, Habakkuk was able to choose joy, saying, “…yet I will rejoice in the Lord.” (Habakkuk 3:18)

What if I would choose joy? What would “…yet I will rejoice in the Lord” look like in my life?

I don’t understand why I’m in this situation… “yet I will rejoice in the Lord.”
I don’t see a way out… “yet I will rejoice in the Lord.”
I may lose… “yet I will rejoice in the Lord.”
I may feel alone… “yet I will rejoice in the Lord.”
I’ve been let down… “yet I will rejoice in the Lord.”
I never thought this would happen to me… “yet I will rejoice in the Lord.”

What threatens to steal my joy in the Lord? Fear? Disappointment? Anxiety? A relationship gone bad?

Whatever it is, God is in control. He’s the God of our salvation who one day will right the wrong and establish perfect justice. That’s why He is our source of joy. That’s why we can join Habakkuk and say… “yet I will rejoice in the Lord.”

(Join me every Monday of 2016 as I share my quest to know God better)

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FREE TO CHOOSE

December 29, 2015

A new year, a clean slate and endless choices. We have 366 days ahead of us, (2016 is a Leap Year!) and how we choose to live each day depends on us. We may not be able to choose our circumstances, but we are free to choose our reactions, attitudes, and our conduct. Since we are free to choose, here are some excellent choices I want to make, and I hope you join me!

CHOOSE TIME ALONE WITH GOD. We can start each day spending time with God to get His perspective, wisdom, direction, strength and peace, or we can “wing it” on our own. Psalm 63:1 tells us: “O God, You are my God; early will I seek You…”  It usually doesn’t go as good when we “wing it.”

CHOOSE GRACE. Let’s opt to treat others with the lavish grace that God pours out in our life. In Matthew 10:8 we find these words of Jesus: “Freely you have received, freely give.” We can show grace to others only because we’ve received it from Him.

CHOOSE TRUTH. Instead of allowing damaging thoughts pull us down, let’s believe what is true. We find truth in God’s word. Christ said that if we abide in His word, we will know the truth, and the truth will make us free. (John 8:32) Believing the truth of His Word, we’ll be free!

CHOOSE TRUST. We have a choice: to worry and be afraid, or to trust God. We can’t do both. Psalm 9:10 says, “And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.” Why would we not choose to trust our Faithful God?

CHOOSE TO LIVE FOR JESUS. It’s either our selfish agenda, or His; our lives revolve around ourselves, or they revolve around Him. The Apostle Paul wrote that “…those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” (2 Corinthians 5:14)

CHOOSE SURRENDER. Our burdens can get really heavy; we weren’t made to carry them. That’s why we have the privilege of giving them to God. Peter’s encouragement to believers is to cast “all your cares on Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) Our Heavenly Father wants us to trust Him with our burdens.

CHOOSE CONTENTMENT. It’s easy to gripe and complain; to be grumpy instead of thankful. Let’s learn what the Apostle Paul learned: to be content. He said, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” (Philippians 4:11) When we are content, we are thankful!

CHOOSE TO END THE DAY PROCLAIMING GOD’S FAITHFULNESS. We can end each day lamenting how bad it went, or thankfully proclaim God’s faithfulness. Here’s a recommendation from the Psalmist: “It is a good thing to give thanks to the Lord…to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning and Your faithfulness every night.” (Psalm 92:1,2)

Don’t forget: we’re free to choose!


No Excuses! A Lesson Learned at the Gym

December 23, 2011

It was probably because I didn’t have my headset on as I power-walked around the indoor track at the local “Rec Center” today that I was unusually observant. As I observed, I thought about the people who were also going around the track, and others I’ve seen there before. For them, working out isn’t an option; they don’t make excuse, even though some of them could have very valid ones due to the obstacles they face.

  • The young man hobbling on crutches, never allowing his injured foot to touch the floor…
  • The young lady who is paralyzed from her waist down, exercising her arms by wheeling herself around the track in her wheelchair…
  • The young and strong who sprint by me (lots of them!)…
  • The busy, full-time employees who carve time out of their already overloaded schedule (I’m one of them)…
  • The elderly who shuffle along with the help of their cane or walker. (Not there yet, but I hope I have their stamina at their age)…

These “athletes” have a “No Excuse” commitment.

The apostle Paul encouraged young Timothy to “exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” (1st Timothy 4:7,8)

The people at the gym are a great example of the kind of commitment that Paul may have been referring to. I can almost hear him saying: “Be committed to godly living. No excuses! Working out at the gym is good; but it’s way more important to exercise yourself in godly living, even if you have obstacles that need to be overcome. No excuses!”


WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I CHOOSE TO TRUST THE LORD?

June 22, 2011

We find the concept of trust over and over in God’s Word: we follow the stories of people who chose trust, others who did not, and the outcome in both cases. We know in our heads that we are encouraged to trust God in all circumstances. But what really takes place when I commit myself to full dependence on the Lord?…when my heart and my will give in to what my head knows? Here are some examples of what really goes on in my life when I choose to trust God. When I choose to trust Him….

  • I make the right choice. “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” (Psalm 118:8,9). There is no better choice!
  • I will be safe.  “…but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” (Proverbs 29:25). There is no safer place!
  • He shields me. “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.” (Proverbs 30:5) There is no greater protection!
  • I will rise and stand upright. “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God. They have bowed down and fallen; but we have risen and stand upright.” (Psalm 20:7,8) There is nothing and no one that is more trustworthy than the Lord our God!
  • He will deliver me. “Our fathers trusted in You; they trusted, and You delivered them.” (Psalm 22:4)There is no greater deliverance!
  • He prepares something very good for me. “Oh, how great is Your goodness,…which You have prepared for those who trust in You…” (Psalm 31:19) There is no greater goodness!
  • He will keep me in perfect peace. “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3) There is no greater peace!
  • I will be happy. “Whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he.” (Proverbs 16:20) There is no greater happiness!
  • Mercy will surround me.  “…he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.” (Psalm 32:10) There is nothing better to be surrounded with!
  • I am blessed! “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” There is no greater blessing!

We know in our head that trusting God is the best choice in every circumstance. Now let’s do it. We just might be surprised at what He does in response!


MAKING RIGHT CHOICES

March 21, 2010

Like all of us, David had to make some important decisions. In fact, many of them may have weighed very heavily on him as he struggled to make the right moves. In Psalm 56, we can read of a few of the principles he chose to live by.

DAVID CHOSE TRUST INSTEAD OF FEAR: “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.” (v.3) “In God I have put my trust” (notice this is in past tense) “I will not fear” (future tense) (v.4) “In God (I will praise His word), In the Lord (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid…” (v.10)

DAVID CHOSE TO BELIEVE THAT GOD IS FOR HIM: “You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book? When I cry out to you, Then my enemies will turn back; This I know; because God is for me.” (vs. 8,9)

DAVID CHOSE TO PRAISE GOD: “I will render praises to You….” (v.12)

DAVID CHOSE TO REMEMBER THAT GOD SUSTAINS HIM: “Have You not kept my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?” (v.13)

In this situation, David was surrounded by the Philistines and running from King Saul; it wasn’t an easy time for him. He had to choose between despair and trust; between lament and praise; self-pity or remembering that God sees his tears and knows right where he is. He could feel alone, or know that God was with him and for him; he could go on his own strategy and strength, or lean on God to “keep him from falling”. He could be overpowered by fear, or trust in the faithful God who had always sustained him.

Fortunately, this Psalm shows us that he made the right choices, because he knew that God gave him the victory many times in the past. He knew not only what God was capable of doing, but also who God is: the Almighty, who was on His side, upheld him, delivered him, remembered where he was and even kept his tears in a bottle and wrote them down in His book! Yes, David knew WHO he was trusting in. That’s why he could confidently declare: “In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid….I will render praises to You…”

When I face difficulties, I want to make the right choices. I want to look back on all the times God showed me His faithfulness in the past, so I can declare with certainty just as David did: “I will trust in You! I will praise His word! I will not fear! God sees my tears! God is for me! In God I have put my trust! I will not be afraid! I will praise YOU! AMEN!”


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