What is at the root of your desire to praise God? For most of us the inspiration comes from answered prayers, overcoming obstacles, being healed of sicknesses, a recent promotion or financial windfall or any major milestone achievement in life. But if God all of a sudden seemed to stand back for a season and the blessings were not so obvious and tangible would you pass the test of maintaining a life of praise and worship to Him? Would you continue to offer up praise simply Because of Who He Is?
At the root of every soul is a deep desire to praise the God who created them. Once we experience His presence and the depravity of our soul exposed, worship is a natural response. Once we accept His salvation through Jesus Christ, His redemptive restorative work in our lives becomes the most powerful root and inspiration of praise we have to offer up to our Heavenly Father. No life has slipped too low for His saving grace to reach.
“Consequently, He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25)
Because of Who He Is and what He has done for us through salvation we can live at peace with God. As His children we can live in perpetual triumph in all areas of life, we are overcomers, living and walking in the Truth of His Word, freed from the bondage and curse of sin.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
May God, Because of Who He Is become the root and depth of your praise!
Image: Butterfly Wallpaper
When you find yourself in what seems like ‘the trial of your life’ with personal resources exhausted and it looks like the enemy of your soul is about to throw the crushing blow, how do you respond?
In the days of the prophet Isaiah, Ahaz the King of Judah found himself in such a situation. They were facing the real threat of a crushing blow from the King of Israel who had allied himself with Syria to attack Judah. It goes on to say that “the heart of Ahaz and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind.” (Isaiah 7:2)
The Lord instructed Isaiah to go speak to Ahaz a word. He also instructed Isaiah to take his son with him. I love this small detail about his son, “Go out to meet Ahaz, you and Shear-jashub your son.” (Isaiah 7:3) Isaiah’s son was a sign from God for Judah that “a remnant shall return.” God was letting the people know that their sin would be judged but with mercy, they would not suffer total loss, that a remnant would be left to rebuild and restore the nation.
What looks like ‘the trial of your life’ may be the refining tool that God has allowed to purge out sinful attitudes and lifestyle choices that hinder and sabotage God’s good plan for your life. The words that God instructed Isaiah to speak to King Ahaz and the people gave them the opportunity to see this trial through His perspective of faith and trust:
“Be careful, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint…” (Isaiah 7:4)
God went on to put the enemy in the proper perspective; “two smoldering stumps” in His eyes and in which we are to see any enemy coming against us. Now that their eyes have been opened by God’s perspective they can see that this is a test of faith and trust in God to not only deliver but to bring them through this trial. They are left with this gentle rebuke from God:
“…If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.” (Isaiah 7:9)
If you truly desire to glorify God there comes a time when we must decide to stand firm in our faith, trusting in God’s promise to never leave us or forsake us, no matter what trial is allowed into our lives. If we refuse to embrace His instruction our destiny in Christ will be plagued with instability, doubt and immaturity, failing to live the abundant life that Christ died to give us.
“…until we all attain…to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine…speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ…” (Ephesians 4:13-15)
Be firm in faith!
Photo Credit: LetsGoPlanting.co.uk
Have you ever thought about how many times God would have to show up in your life to settle the question of knowing that He is God? Knowing that God is God is a familiar struggle that we can all relate to. And knowing that God gives us His ‘grace space’ to settle our struggle with unbelief once and for all is also comforting, as long as we realize that it is not His will for us to remain in doubt.
The Israelites struggled to believe that God was God in their lives during their 40 year wilderness experience. Even with the parting of the Red Sea, bread from heaven and numerous miraculous deliveries from their enemies many still could not embrace the All-Sufficient One. We see from their example that even God knows when we reach a point that we should know that He is God as when He said to Moses:
“How long will this people despise Me? And how long will they not believe in Me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them?” (Numbers 14:11)
God was speaking about a people who had experienced His supernatural intervention in their lives for many years and yet still did not believe. God knew that He had provided ample evidence of His presence and they had reached a point of compromising their inheritance in Him. He was ready to strike them with a pestilence and disinherit them from His covenant promises! (Numbers 14:12)
We have another example in the story of the widow and her son of Zarephath in prophet Elijah’s day whom God miraculously kept alive by not allowing her flour and oil to run out, as along as she fed the prophet during a period of severe drought. But it was not until Elijah raised her son from the dead did she believe that the prophet was sent from God.
“And the woman said to Elijah, ‘Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth.'” (1 Kings 17:24)
Are you still within God’s ‘grace space’ of wavering in unbelief? If so, it’s not because God has not shown up in your circumstances a time or two, it is because of unbelief. Don’t waiver so long in unbelief that you forfeit your covenant promises from God. Believing God is just a prayer away.
Before Jesus healed the boy with the unclean spirit, his earthly father gives us a glimpse of his struggle with unbelief when he asks Jesus:
“…But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us. And Jesus said to him, ‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” (Mark 9:22, 23)
And the father of the child cried out – “I believe; help my unbelief!” And the boy was healed.
“Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe His prophets, and you will succeed.” 2 Chronicles 20:20)
(Photo by Goodfon-su)
Have you ever questioned God’s presence in your life? If the answer is yes you are in good company. God knew that you would struggle with this dilemma. He provides an illustration that sheds light on and gives application to you knowing that He is with you. We can see it in the life of King Saul and King David.
“The word of the Lord came to Samuel: I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following Me and has not performed My commandments.” (1 Samuel 15:10)
We can know that ‘God is with us’ when we walk in obedience to His commandments. King Saul had a rebellious heart and was more about doing what was right in his own eyes rather than obeying God. A true God follower delights in obeying His word. And this delight in obedience God promises to bless because obedience shapes our heart after God and His ways.
“And David had success in all his undertakings, for the Lord was with him.” (1 Samuel 18:14)
“And David became greater and greater, for the Lord of hosts was with him.” (1 Chronicles 11:9)
God departed from King Saul because of his disobedience and unwillingness to follow Him with his whole heart, Saul broke faith with God. The prophet Samuel was instructed by God to seek out a man after His own heart. (1 Samuel 13:14)
True success in your life is measured by obedience to the God of the universe. You can count on His daily support in every area of your life and the blessings of obedient living.
“Blessed is the man…his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” (Psalms 1:1-3)
You can know that ‘God is with you.’
Arriving into the land of promise is often preceded by a clearly defined path laced with life instruction and spiritual maturity along the way. Maintaining the promise land lifestyle is often far more difficult.
The land of promise showcases God’s blessings. He promises abundance and multiplication far beyond what we can produce through our own efforts. Blessing our households, our offspring and all the work of our hands.
“The Lord will command the blessing on you in your barns and in all that you undertake. And He will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” (Deuteronomy 28:8)
He promises to give us favor with mankind by placing us in positions of leadership and will make us prosperous in what He has called us to do and to become with only one condition…to faithfully obey His voice, being careful to do all His commandments. (Deut. 8:1) Herein lies the dilemma of maintaining the land of promise.
It is one thing to arrive into the land of promise, it’s another thing to maintain it. And God knew our tendency to wander into disobedience and provided a way back before we had to ask.
“And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, and return to the Lord your God, you and your children, and obey His voice in all that I command you today, will all your heart and with all your soul…” (Deut. 30:1,2)
According to this passage we can know that obedience keeps us in the presence of God’s blessings and disobedience drives us away from God’s blessings. But thank God that His mercies are new every morning. His hand is always extended with new tender mercies calling us back to Him but it must be with all our heart and soul. On this condition He is eager to restore us again to the land of promise.
“…then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and He will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you.” (Deut. 30:3)
When we decide to walk in obedience to God out of love for all that He has done for us, with all our heart and soul, He promises life in His blessed presence. The way into His presence is through Jesus, His Son.
“For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, as He took delight in your fathers, when you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments…when you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deut. 30:9,10)
Choose to maintain your land of promise in obedience to God who loves you and desires the best for your life.
Photo Credit: Skilal
Searching for peace in life is a common goal shared by the human race. It can become a life long journey that leads us astray on many misguided paths that seem attractive to our pursuit.
The bible tells us that there is one way to finding peace, happiness and rest for our weary souls and it begins with seeking the will of God. One great man of God said it this way: “Follow the will of God, and happiness and peace and rest will come. The way of obedience is always the way of blessing.” (D. L. Moody, The Overcoming Life, 1896)
Making peace with God brings peace to our souls. The only way to God is through Jesus Christ, His Son. If you have become weary in your search for peace Jesus invites you to come to Him to receive rest.
“Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give your rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
This is the will of God and those who obey His will enter into blessed living. This blessed living is not without trials and suffering but we are promised to never go it alone. Jesus promised that He would never leave us or forsake us. (Matthew 28:20)
Those who follow the will of God are promised triumphant living throughout their lives no matter the circumstances that try their faith. With every triumph of faith we take on more of the fragrance of Christ. This is blessed living.
“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere.” (2 Corinthians 2:14)
When we humble ourselves and submit to the teachings of Christ we enter into blessed living. Jesus beckons us to come under the obedience of His teachings and promises to be gentle in His approach. He knows how fragile and needy we really are.
“Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)
Jesus is Peace.
Blessed living leads to a blessed life.
A blessed life does not imply a life without trials or suffering, it implies a life of consistently bearing fruit that in turn blesses us and those around us.
We tend to think of fruit in the natural mind that is useful to the human body. However, in our relationship with God through Jesus Christ we have been given the capability to produce tremendous fruit if we stay planted near the river.
“He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:3)
In other words, there are no fruitless seasons of life if we stay near the water source, the river of blessing. There will never be a season when we are not enjoying the fruit of our labors in Christ. Jesus promised that;
“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'” (John 7:38)
We can toil all our lives and never experience the ‘river of blessing’ that God has specifically designed for our lives. We must first believe in Jesus who is the river of blessing. When we find our delight in Him we become like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season.
“Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary.” (Ezekiel 47:12)
Are you planted near the river?
Do you ever feel like your faith walk is easily affected by life’s circumstances? Do you seem to waver between trusting in God and trusting in yourself to work through the trials of life? When you don’t know what to do, what do you do?
The bible tells us that faith and wisdom work together to bring stability into our daily lives.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting…” (James 1:5,6)
Did you notice the warning to ‘not doubt’? Doubt embraces uncertainty and distrust, it makes us hesitant to believe, fearful or apprehensive about the truth. God encourages us to receive wisdom from Him and then warns us not to doubt the instruction in truth that He gives. If we doubt we are described as unstable and tossed about as the wind.
“…for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:6-8)
Faith in God and the application of His wisdom in our daily lives will give us the stability we desire that will position us to weather any trial or test that comes our way. This is God’s promise to those who love Him.
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12)